Thursday, 14 April 2016

Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom - The Best Bits

When we booked up to go to Disneyworld, the park I was most excited to visit was Magic Kingdom. It really is the flagship theme park of the Disney enterprise. I was mostly excited to see Cinderella's Castle but also to see Fantasyland and Main Street. The attention to detail in Disneyworld is just magical precision.

As soon as you step off the bus, ferry or monorail at Magic Kingdom, not only are you captivated by the sights, but the smells in the air evoke so much excitement. It's a sort of sweet candy smell that just makes you feel so happy. It is such a happy place, you don't mind queueing to go through security or to scan your MagicBand to enter the park.

Make sure to pick up a map and a list of character meetings, show times and special events! You can also pop in to City Hall and pick up a badge such as a Happy Birthday badge, a Just Engaged badge or, the one we went for, a First Visit badge.

On entering Magic Kingdom, you are greeted by Main Street. It is amazing. Of course, the best sight when you come in to Main Street is the Castle at the very end. It is just stunning and brings happy tears to your eyes.


There are four lands within the Magic Kingdom where you'll find rides and you've got Main Street USA and Liberty Square for shops and restaurants.

Adventureland

If you walk right up Main Street and take a left, you'll spot the sign for Adventureland. This is where we decided to start on our first day in Magic Kingdom. Within this land you'll find the themes of movies such as Aladdin, The Lion King and The Pirates of the Caribbean. What I love about each land is, in the shops you can only buy gifts in the theme of the movies of their land. So in the Pirates of the Caribbean area, you can only buy pirate themed gifts. It makes it super easy to find the perfect souvenir!

Our favourite rides within Adventureland were The Pirates of the Caribbean (Fastpass) and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin (perfect for small children). We didn't manage to get on Jungle Cruise because it had a huge wait time but if you can get a Fastpass for this one, then do it.

The show we most enjoyed in Adventureland was The Pirates League. It was fantastic and Z was so happy to be chosen to take part and battle with Captain Jack Sparrow!


You have to try a Dole Whip if you are in Adventureland as it is the only place within Magic Kingdom that you can get one of these gorgeous ice cream and pineapple deliciousness. Get one from Aloha Isle. Yum!

The Enchanted Tiki Room was probably our least favourite part of Adventureland. It's a tropical bird show which might have been better if they were real birds but they aren't. It's a good place to get a seat for 20 minutes though, if you have time to waste. But not a show I would hurry back to.

Frontierland

From Adventureland you can easily walk to Frontierland. Something else I absolutely love about each land within Magic Kingdom is the change in scenery and flooring whenever you enter a new section. The best bit to see this is in Fantasyland where the ground changes from circus themed to seashells to horse shoes. I love it! The cast members wear completely different outfits not only around each land but at each ride and apparently they can never cross over in to a different land!

Frontierland is probably the smallest land within Magic Kingdom but it boasts two of the best rides; Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. You can also catch the Walt Disney World Railroad in Frontierland which is a train that takes you to Fantasyland or to Main Street USA. It's worth a ride!

Splash Mountain was one of Z and Husband's favourite rides in the whole of Disneyworld. They went on it quite a few times. If you get to the park fairly early, you'll get straight on without the need for a Fastpass. Later on in the day, you'll need a Fastpass. I'd say the same for Big Thunder Mountain which we all enjoyed apart from Miss C. You have to be 102cm or taller to ride this and even though Miss C was tall enough, she wasn't that keen. It might be worth trying Seven Dwarfs Mine Train if you have younger children before jumping on this coaster.

Handy to know, you can get free water from any refreshment stand within Disneyworld, not just Magic Kingdom. We used Westward Ho a lot for getting free cups of iced water. It was never busy and not out of the way either.



Tom Sawyer Island is worth a visit, again if you have some time in between Fastpasses.

Liberty Square

I know I said that Liberty Square was one of the places to eat and to shop however, it is also home to one of the best rides in Magic Kingdom; The Haunted Mansion. We queued up for this one and got on within 15 minutes but it wasn't particularly busy that day. On a busy day, the queues were upwards of an hour. Definitely get a Fastpass. Anyone can ride this and it isn't scary as such but if your children don't like the dark then it might be worth avoiding this one. My two loved it though.


A place we ate a lot was Columbia Harbour House. It's a quick service restaurant with plenty of seating and really tasty chicken nuggets. You can feed a family of four for around $30 in there.

You can also board the Liberty Square Riverboat or visit the Hall of Presidents but these didn't appeal to us.

This is probably one of the best places to catch the parades. Most people tend to head towards Main Street USA but we found a great spot to watch the afternoon parade and it meant we could get going whilst it was still on meaning we avoided a lot of the crowds coming back up Main Street.

Fantasyland

This is probably the biggest and most popular land within Magic Kingdom. It is located directly behind Cinderella's castle and, when the castle doors are open, you can easily pass through for Main Street. Unfortunately they were working on the castle when we were there so we had to enter either via Liberty Square beside the Haunted Mansion or via a side entrance just up from Tomorrowland.


Fantasyland is just that; pure fantasy and magic. So many of our favourite rides are located in Fantasyland; there are too many to mention. The ones we enjoyed the most were Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, Prince Charming Regal Carousel and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Aside from a few rides that have height restrictions, Fantasyland is probably the best land to go to with toddlers or young children. Having said that, each land does have something suitable for babies, toddlers and young children but Fantasyland definitely has the majority of rides that are most suitable.




Storybook Circus, which is part of Fantasyland but is kind of sectioned off on its own, is another great place to visit with toddlers and young children. We loved The Barnstormer; it was Miss C's favourite ride. There is an amazing water area called Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station and, of course, Dumbo the Flying Elephant which also has a brilliant indoor play area you can play in until it's time for you to go on the ride. Saves you queuing in the heat!

In terms of shows, you have to go and see Enchanted Tales with Belle. We went to the show whilst people were getting ready to find spots for the parade so we didn't need to wait long at all. You can Fastpass it though. This is the only place in Magic Kingdom where you'll get a photograph with Belle in her ballgown and the show is interactive so you might be chosen to star in the show alongside Belle. It was brilliant and even the walk through and interactions with cast members before the show were brilliant.



For food, top of the list is Cinderella's Royal Table followed by Be Our Guest. Both are highly sought after table service restaurants and book up from the 180 days ahead. We ate dinner in both and we had some of the best meals of the holiday. For quick service, Pinocchio Village Haus has some of the best pizza I've ever eaten.




Tomorrowland

If you like all things futuristic and space-themed, Tomorrowland is a great place to find both. It is accessed from Main Street USA if you turn right and cross a bridge or if you come down from Fantasyland.


Our favourite ride was definitely Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. This is such a fun ride for all ages and releases your competitive streak. We also really enjoyed the People Mover for just being a chilled ride, taking you right round Tomorrowland with audio description about the land and each ride. Miss C and I went on Astro Orbiter which was brilliant because we could see the full of Magic Kingdom whilst flying through the sky. Tomorrowland Speedway was another favourite, with Husband letting Z drive him around the track.

We went on Stitch's Great Escape which again, if you have children who hate the dark, this isn't for them. Miss C got a bit upset at first but she was fine once the ride began. It wasn't really what we expected; kind of a sensory experience with Stitch running around and spitting water at you.

We didn't manage to catch Monsters Inc Laugh Floor show nor did we go on Space Mountain or Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Z just didn't fancy Space Mountain and Miss C was too small.

Lunch at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe was good. We enjoyed the chicken nuggets and chicken sandwiches there but it was really busy. Probably because it is quite central between Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street. It is a quick service location though and again, you can eat as a family of four for around $30.

Main Street USA

This is the busiest walk way within the Magic Kingdom. Not only is there traffic by foot, there is traffic by old fashioned car. The parades also come down Main Street. It is really, really busy. If you get in to the park early, say for a breakfast reservation before the park opens, it is great and you can guarantee a picture in front of the castle without anyone in the background.



As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the smells as you come in to Magic Kingdom (and throughout the park) are just amazing. Main Street has some great places to grab a snack or a drink (no alcoholic drinks are served in Magic Kingdom, other than Be Our Guest). It's also a great place to grab some souvenirs or gifts. Miss C and I bought some gifts in the Emporium where there was a choice of gift for everyone.

We made a breakfast reservation at the Crystal Palace which is a Winnie The Pooh character dining experience. It was brilliant and the food was really yummy.


Main Street gets even busier around parade times, sometimes up to 2 hours before the show starts. This is also the place to catch Wishes at the end of the night. However we managed to get a spot right at the entrance (or exit) around 30 minutes before the Electrical Parade began. You can get Fastpasses for these shows if you want but I'm not sure it's worth using up one of your Fastpasses on these shows.



During our 15 day stay, we visited Magic Kingdom 6 times. Most of these visits were full day visits and we got lots done however on the days we only did half days we also managed to fit in quite a bit. A good tip is to go to the park later in the day when people are getting ready to leave or are getting ready to find a spot for the parades. The queues are a lot shorter.

Magic Kingdom is a definite if you are planning a trip to Disneyworld. It's so magical and there is something for every family member to enjoy.

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