Rookie Mistakes to Avoid at Magic Kingdom
Recently, I discussed things that newbies are likely to get wrong at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Today, I’ll shift over to the most popular theme park on the planet. Here are several rookie mistakes to avoid at Magic Kingdom.
Wasting the Early Hours
I understand that Rope Drop isn’t for everyone. Many park guests prefer to show up later so that they can spend more time in and around the hotel.
Also, frequent Disney vacationers know that various resorts offer delicious breakfasts. So, they prioritize these meals over starting the day at the park.
I’m someone who has taken all these approaches at various points over the years. And I’m here to tell you that nothing you do will matter as much.
Few people go to Walt Disney World for the ancillary stuff. You’re there for park visits. As such, you should arrive at the park at the first possible moment.
During the pandemic, the difference in 30 minutes signifies your ability to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train immediately vs. after a 75-minute wait.
I’ve witnessed this firsthand. People who show up two or three hours after opening believe they’re avoiding the crowds.
Statistics and data prove this isn’t correct. The time from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. represents the most crowded part of the park day.
By arriving first thing in the morning, you’ll get much more done. Also, you’ll feel less pressure during those crowded hours.
I can confirm that after experiencing six attractions in 120-150 minutes, I feel less need to keep up a fast pace.
The same thought process applies in reverse. I mentioned the crowded timeframes at the parks. You’ll notice that crowds dwindle after 3 p.m.
This statement applies even after Park Hopping has returned to Walt Disney World. People leave one place and head to another.
The park that receives the most traffic is Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The attendance distribution among the others is relatively even.
I would guess that Magic Kingdom claims the second-largest total, but EPCOT gets a lot of second-park attendance, too.
With only six weeks of data, I’m mostly guesstimating, though. So, Magic Kingdom will remain relatively empty during its final two hours of operation.
You can and should take advantage of this rare opportunity. Once the pandemic ends, Magic Kingdom attendance will shatter records.
Disney has already surveyed potential guests and knows the unmet demand at the parks. So, you should maximize every available minute.
Toward the end of the day, other folks filter out of the park to eat dinner or shop at Disney Springs. Some enjoy the local Orlando nightlife, too.
By staying late, you take advantage of this behavior. You will enter much shorter lines.
Also – and I cannot emphasize this enough – as long as you’re in line for an attraction, you’ll get to ride it.
So, always aim for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train two minutes before closing!
Pushing Too Hard
Presuming that you take the above advice, you shouldn’t feel like you need to be go-go-go at Magic Kingdom.
When you track attraction wait-times in My Disney Experience, you’ll realize that most rides fall into the same general range.
You’ll wait 20-35 minutes for the most popular attractions, and even some of those aren’t as crowded right now.
We never spent more than 15 minutes in line at Peter Pan’s Flight during our trip. Haunted Mansion qualified as walk-on on several occasions.
Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train count as the only Magic Kingdom rides that will require an extended wait.
Knowing this fact, you can plan your day around the other two. So, I’m suggesting that you Rope Drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and/or hit at the end.
Then, work the other two rides in when the lines are smaller. Beyond that, take your time and savor Magic Kingdom.
This park hides so many remarkable amenities in plain sight. You can play in the castle courtyard or pull the Sword out of the Stone in Fantasyland.
Afterward, you can sit down at Tomorrowland Terrace and relax for a bit.
Remember that it’s a Relaxation Station that also serves food on the weekends.
You’ll find other Relaxation Stations at Golden Oak in Frontierland and Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus. Use them to catch your breath!
Similarly, grab a bite to eat whenever someone in your part shows signs of hangry (hanger?).
When you push too hard, you’re likely to feel grumpy throughout the day, defeating the purpose of a magical visit.
Ignoring Your Battery
Look, I don’t want to place too fine a point on this topic, as I know it’s divisive. Realistically, you’re going to use your phone a lot at Disney, though.
So, you need to keep an eye on your battery life to keep your phone charged (Yes, I know I need to update that article).
I recommend that you carry a backup battery that you can use to double your phone juice.
You will use My Disney Experience more than any other app on your phone, and I even include social media stuff in that.
The dirty secret about My Disney Experience involves its hefty phone demands. It’ll drain the battery in a matter of hours.
If we hadn’t had backup batteries at Disney, we would have emptied a full charge in hours.
You should always keep an eye on your battery life. Presuming that you’re not traveling alone, you may want to take shifts when you forget a backup.
Have one person use their phone for a couple of hours and then switch.
Also, make sure to have a charger for overnight. Otherwise, the problem will get worse each day of your trip!
Overlooking the Small Stuff
Hey, I get it. I used to measure a successful park day by how many rides I checked off my list.
As someone who has ridden everything at Magic Kingdom in one day, I appreciate the euphoria that stems from this venture.
You can brag to your friends and on social media about how well you did. It’s addictive.
However, plenty of stuff at Magic Kingdom will entertain you when you’re not on the rides.
Right now, you never know when a Cavalcade will roll down the street in front of you.
These events are presumably temporary, meaning that you’ll never get a chance to take pictures and videos of Cavalcades again.
Then, there’s stuff like a visit to Tom Sawyer Island or Swiss Family Treehouse.
I’m also an evangelist for Mickey’s PhilharMagic, one of the most underrated experiences at Walt Disney World.
In short, don’t fall into the trap of prioritizing rides over everything else. You’ll have a better time if you explore a bit.
I’ve done this one so many times. So, I’m asking that you do what I say instead of what I do here.
Magic Kingdom features the same hub-and-spokes design as Disneyland. Imagineers plotted the park this way because the tactic works.
When you visit Magic Kingdom, you should take a circular approach, splitting through the middle as needed.
What I mean is that you should pick a side of the park and follow it until the end.
The sole exception occurs when you notice a ride with a decidedly low wait-time. Otherwise, stay in your lane, so to speak.
First-time park guests tend to wander back and forth around Magic Kingdom, targeting the attractions that have name recognition.
Well, frequent visitors know that a walk from Pirates of the Caribbean to Space Mountain and then back to Jungle Cruise is stupid.
Please use My Disney Experience’s mapping to understand the locations of the various themed lands. If it helps, grab a physical park map, too.
Backtracking often will wear you out, ruining your park visit.
Feature Image Rights: Disney