Magic Kingdom Tips for LSCon Attendees

If you are coming to LSCon later this month, you may have added on a trip to the Magic Kingdom.  As a local, a father, and a multi-year annual passholder, I have some tips, but please note:

  1. I have girls who are in the Princess phase, so I have many tips from that perspective.
  2. They are fearless riders- my youngest rode her first loop roller coaster before she was 5 (Busch Garden’s Scorpion)

So, my tips are through the perspectives of girls who seek princess meetings and will go on any ride they are tall enough to ride.

Tip 1 = FastPasses

You are coming during Spring Break, so planning your FastPasses is critical to ensuring that you get on a few of your favorites.  If you haven’t already booked your FastPasses, many may already be taken up.

I highly recommend the Disney Experience Mobile app, which facilitates adjustments at any time. It also shows wait times, character greet locations.

Tips for the Magic Kingdom

This is the park with the most to do, fantastic parades, unbelievable fireworks at night, and many rides. It is geared toward younger visitors.

Food

Let’s call it what it is: park food. Yes, there are a few restaurants on site (just above the cut of “quick serve restaurant” IMO) Tony’s being a standout in the pack, but if you really know Italian food (I lived outside the North End in Boston for years), temper expectations.

Princesses

Unless you have a FastPass for Elsa and Anna already, you are going to wait a while- no getting around it. During Spring Break, even Cinderella/Rapunzel/Aurora can be a long wait. Here are other places to see princesses:

  • Snow White- appears just inside the park entrance next to the Mickey and Tinkerbell meet and greet. Sometimes Dopey joins in.
  • Belle- Belle’s Storytime is an audience participation storytime where you can meet Belle (ballgown version). It is cute, but geared toward very young visitors.
  • Ariel- Ariel has her own grotto for a visit, and you meet her as a mermaid with a long shimmering tail!
  • Jasmine and Aladdin – next to Aladdin’s magic carpet ride. Just watch out for the spitting camel as you walk there (you can get wet).
  • Merida- just to the side of the castle as you walk toward the teacups.
  • Tiana- in a gazebo behind the Christmas shop which is opposite the Hall of Presidents- she is easily the most accessible princess in the parks.

Power tip 1: Princesses are pulled from meet and greet locations during the parades. Enjoy the parades and once it is concluded, walk straight to the princess meet and greet.

Power tip 2: Snow White, Belle (village dress), Jasmine and Aladdin, and Aurora are all available and generally more accessible at Epcot, so you may want to consider visiting those princesses at Epcot.

Other characters

  • Gaston- near Gaston’s Tavern. Easily my favorite meet and greet character for his banter with visitors. Just don’t challenge him to a pushup contest (youtube it)
  • Stitch- Between Space Mountain and the People Mover in Tomorrowland
  • Buzz Lightyear – by the exit for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger ride
  • Tinkerbelle- Right at the front of the park in the Town Square Theater
  • Mickey- Right at the front of the park in the Town Square Theater
  • Mary Poppins- toward the front of the park by Tony’s restaurant- she often enters/exits through the candy store
  • Chip and Dale- in Liberty Square (just past the Ferryboat)
  • Jesse and Woody- at the exit for Splash Mountain
  • Alice, the Rabbit and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum – next to the teacups
  • Pluto and Marie (Aristocats) can be found at the park entrance
  • Fairy Godmother- behind the castle across from the Cinderella statue

Note: Alice and Mary Poppins are also available at Epcot.

During the afternoon parades, the dance party actually puts characters off the floats into the circle in front of the castle. So kids can dance next to Jessie, Woody, Baloo, and other characters.

Fireworks

World-class. Not to be missed. Viewing is best “straight on” view to the castle, but you don’ t need to be close.

Look for Tinkerbelle flying from the castle across the park at the beginning of the show. Really a site to see.

Parades

In a word, great.

You will see virtually many characters, wonderful floats, a fire-breathing dragon (Festival of Fantasy parade), and lit-up costumes and floats (Light Parade). The jockeying for position can get a bit crazy at times, but most characters are up on floats for decent viewing by all, so there isn’t much to compete for.

The best viewing area in my opinion is in the cul-de-sac right at the park entrance. Most visitors have moved INTO the park, and don’t think to move back to this spot for viewing. And, you get to see the parade approaching down Main Street.

Rides

Snow White’s Mine Car Ride: Let’s just address the big question: Snow White Mine car ride (the newest ride) will be a very long wait unless you have your FastPass. It is a very good ride, despite it being short. The swaying cars actually make it is very smooth ride and a perfect “starter rollercoaster” for any rider unsure if they are the roller coaster type. The animatronics of the Dwarfs in the mine are really well done.

Other thrill rides:

  • Splash Mountain: a fun log flume ride. It is a big drop, but fun. Wetness factor varies greatly. You can get lucky and spared, or drenched. Center of the bench you sit on will be the driest spot; put you phone there. Wait times tend to be long in general. FP recommended.
  • Thunder Mountain: not a tremendously tall roller coaster, but very fast- this is the real deal. Fast turns, fun. Wait times are “moderate” in general (but Spring Break moderate is on a bell curve).
  • Space Mountain- fast, clunky roller coaster in the pitch black. If you are unsure of roller coasters, skip it. If you have stiff neck- be warned that turns with no warning for preparation can be uncomfortable. If you love roller coasters, this is a thrill. The wait tends to be longer, but it is indoors and climate controlled, so bearable.
  • Great Goofini- a kids roller coaster- just over a minute long. Great fun for kids, and generally a very moderate wait.
  • Teacups- the classic. Wait times are generally very reasonable. This is not a ride for anyone prone to motion sickness, but for anyone who wants to spin themselves silly- a blast.

Other rides:

  • It’s a Small World: the longest ride in the park by seat time, and per the constant song playing, it feels longer. These are 1960’s era animatronics and a very nostalgic ride enjoyed by many. Wait times are reasonable, and it is a great way at times to beat the heat.
  • Ariel’s Under the Sea Ride: moderate to long wait times. It is essentially “Little Mermaids Meets It’s a Small World”.
  • Peter Pan; A classic ride, but the wait times are long without fast pass. It is not a thrill ride in any manner. It is a slightly better take on “It’s a Small Worlds” with a flying ship tour through the Peter Pan story highlights.
  • Cinderella’s Carousel: just behind the castle, a classic Merry Go Round. Wait times are reasonable in general.
  • Tomorrowland Speedway: Drive a gas-powered go-cart around a track. A classic ride. The cars don’t go terribly fast and steering is very limited to a track. However, it does let young kids feel pretty cool, and the worse they are at driving, the more fun you will have being pinballed along the track (the jolt of the car correcting can be powerful, snapping the wheel out of the kid’s hands- usually resulting in laughter and more bumper bowling your car along the track). Wait times are reasonable in general.
  • Buzz LightYear’s Space Ranger Spin: A spinning car on a track you use to play a laser tag game by shooting targets as the ride progresses. An easy ride appropriate for any age. Wait times are moderate.
  • Flying rides- essentially all the same, but in 3 themes:
    • Dumbo- THE classic Disney ride. Wait times tend to be reasonable (now they have 2 Dumbo rides- one dedicated to FastPass holders.
    • Aladdin’s Flying Carpets – Essentially, the Dumbo ride done in a Flying Carpet theme. Wait times tend to be shorter.
    • Astro Orbiter – The classic spaceship flying ride, high above the park. It is very fast, and you must ride an elevator above the Peoplemover to ride it. Wait time tends to be long.
  • Jungle Cruise Ride: A nostalgic ride of animatronic jungle animals popping up during a jungle cruise. It’s datedness has actually become great material for the boat operators.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Another classic ride which has been updated to put in Jack Sparrow (whose animatronics are superb- you’d think he was there). Moderate wait times. The whole area around the ride has a cool pirate flair.

Best thing to do when you have time between rides: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card game

Right at the park entrance at the Firehouse, you get pack with 5 player cards along with a key card to open magic (video) portals throughout the park. You visit portals, encounter villains and play your spell cards to defeat them in interactive video. Costs nothing, gives you a fun thing to do while waiting for rides.

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