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DisneyWorld's Magic Kingdom (Florida)

Planning a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida? We recently got back from Disney, so I am documenting some of our experiences and learnings.

Timing, process and planning are everything.

Magic Kingdom is truly magical during the holidays. That said, you are likely to hit crowds. Avoid the wait by buying your tickets online and pick them up at the 'Will Call' entrance. Tickets bought in advance may also be cheaper. This article by The Frugal South explains.

Process and Planning:

  1. First, you need to buy the DisneyWorld entrance tickets. Buy them online. When you buy the tickets, you will need to create an account. Remember to use the same email for everything.

  2. Then, you need to book each of the parks (Magic Kingdom is one of four parks) separately. Since they cap the number of people in each of the parks, park availability changes daily so advance booking is recommended. Customer service is great if you want to call and book and they do have a call-back feature so you don't have to wait on the phone for someone to pick up

  3. Get the Genie + pass for each park. This is an additional cost

  4. Download the Disney Experience app. Sign in with the same email you used to buy the entrance tickets. This is an important and valuable app that you will use to plan your day, book dine-in restaurants, buy and pick up food at counters, and book the most popular rides using Genie +. The app keeps updating real-time so ensure it is downloaded on your best phone!

Genie + is a good idea.

Genie+ definitely adds to the cost but if you do not want to stand in lines, it is worth the extra cost. The 'Genie+' Lightening pass helped us with skipping long lines, every couple hours. The trick is to book the most popular rides every two hours, (even if those rides are later in the afternoon). This way, every few hours, you get on a ride without waiting in line. We were able to book rides at 7 AM via the app even before we got to the park and it saved us hours of waiting in lines.

A website like Thrill Data can help you figure out the most popular rides and how to schedule them. There are many such sites, and even apps. Genie+ is a bit of a learning curve to it if you are using it for the first time but once you get a hang of it, you will love it!

Prioritize and learn it before you go.

The best rides / experiences in Magic Kingdom

  • Space Mountain (fast and dark, jerks)

  • Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road (interesting, with drops)

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (so cute, and feels like a ride too)

  • Splash Mountain (you don't really get wet unless you are at the back, fun ride)

  • Pirates of the Caribbean (well put together)

  • It's a Small World (heart-warming!)

There were other attractions we did go to which, for next time, we would skip or at the least, not wait in line for. These included Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Tiki Bird Show and Speedway.

The Fireworks, Parades and Shows are spectacular!

The night parade looks amazing but there is often a parade during the day. During our visit, the night parade was canceled but we caught a 7 PM entertainment with the characters singing and dancing live on stage. Super fun.

One thing not to miss is the The 'Disney Enchantment' show with immersive projection effects that extends from Cinderella's Castle down to Main Street, USA! On our visit, the 50th year anniversary celebration made it even more magical but I imagine it would be great any night of the year.