Orlando Vacation Recap Part Two: Magic Kingdom
Part Two of our Orlando Vacation Recap (click here to read Part One) focuses on just one park: Magic Kingdom. It was going to be the highlight of our whole vacation because it’s the most toddler-friendly of the Disney parks and I simply couldn’t wait for Stink to see the fireworks over the castle.
Only we didn’t stick around for the fireworks. Once again we were just too tired to hang around the parks from open to close.
Still, the weather was great, Stink had an awesome mid-day nap and we all had plenty of fun. Based on our experience at Epcot the day before we chose to change a few things on our Magic Kingdom itinerary. Below is a copy of our original itinerary along with what we actually did.
You might notice on the itinerary that we were able to get way more done in the morning than I had anticipated. The lines (if they existed at all) were short, the morning was cool and refreshing and it was the perfect time to visit the park. By the time we rode all the rides and met all the characters in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland we had about 45 minutes to spare before Alice and the White Rabbit made their appearance near the Teacups. We spent that time hanging around the Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland where Stink enjoyed her first cotton candy.
Tips and Tricks: Big Top Souvenirs is huge with plenty of space to maneuver a large stroller. It’s wonderfully air-conditioned and a great spot to push around a napping child!
We chose to switch out our Peter Pan Fastpass for a Mickey character meet based on Stink’s reaction to dark rides at Epcot the day before. Unfortunately we never got around to meeting Mickey either (more on that later).
We made lunch reservations for The Crystal Palace which, aside from meeting rare characters like Piglet and Eeyore, was a big disappointment. I’ve heard good things about their breakfast, though, so I might give them another shot. I still have mixed feelings about character dining; it’s great that you don’t have to wait in line to meet the characters but your pictures are crowded with strangers walking around with plates full of food and space for interacting with the characters is limited. Is it worth the extra money you’ll spend? I’m still debating that.
After lunch we headed to Adventureland to ride Aladdin’s carpets but after seeing the long line in the hot sun we decided to enjoy the nice air-conditioned performance of the Country Bear Jamboree instead. It held Stink’s attention for about 2 seconds until she realized 1) it wasn’t a ride and 2) she was still expected to sit down for it. But the bonus is that the Country Bear Jamboree is located right along the Festival of Fantasy parade route in an area that isn’t crowded at all. After the show we were able to find a spot right up front that was also in the shade. Win!
The Festival of Fantasy parade is a wonderful must-see performance during your time at Magic Kingdom. It features all the major characters including Anna and Elsa so if you were unable to get the coveted Fastpass+ to meet them you’ll still be able to wave at them during the parade. Even though Stink hated the fire breathing dragon at Diagon Alley she didn’t find Maleficent’s dragon scary at all. It’s easy to say that the Festival of Fantasy parade was the highlight of our day at Magic Kingdom.
After the parade we walked through Frontierland and tried to take the train back to the entrance to meet Mickey. Unfortunately there’s no dedicated space for strollers on the train and since we had a bulky jogging stroller we agreed that I would take Stink on the train while Brandon walked with the stroller to the front of the park. The ride took much longer than expected and by the time we arrived our Fastpasses to meet Mickey had expired.
Tips and Tricks: The Walt Disney World railroad runs on a strict schedule, leaving the stations just 2-3 minutes after pulling up. That means the cast members will shut the gate even if there’s plenty of seats available and people in line waiting to board. This upset quite a few folks who were in line with us. Be sure to budget plenty of time for the train; sometimes it’s just faster to walk to where you want to go.
Once we realized we missed our chance at meeting The Mouse we decided to take a leisurely stroll up Main Street before our next Fastpasses started, our princess character meets. Because Stink was under 3 she didn’t need Fastpasses so Brandon and I split ours up in order to increase the amount of rides/meets she could go on without having to wait in line. We all met Cinderella and Rapunzel and right afterward Brandon took Stink to meet Anna/Elsa. All the princesses were conveniently located in the same building, just in separate lines. I highly suggest grouping your Fastpasses by location, it makes it so much easier and you don’t waste time criss-crossing the park throughout the day.
Once Brandon and Stink were done meeting Anna and Elsa we were free to sign up for a 4th Fastpass and picked It’s a Small World. Some people hate this ride with a passion but we just love it and so does Stink. A few more rides on the Mad Tea Party and Prince Charming Regal Carousel and we were ready for dinner. We picked Pinocchio Village Haus right next to the castle. Our food was excellent, the prices were reasonable (for a theme park) and Stink’s meal came with her two favorite side items: grapes and yogurt. I would definitely recommend eating here but their selection is small so check out their menu to be sure it’s something you’ll enjoy.
After dinner we were all tuckered out. We just couldn’t see ourselves hanging around another 2 hours for the electrical parade and then an additional hour for the fireworks. We threw in the towel and called it a night.
But despite missing the electrical parade and fireworks we had a wonderful day and to me that’s all that matters. The day after we returned home from Orlando we received our 10 Day Non-Expiring tickets in the mail so we’ve got at least 2-3 more Disney vacations in our future. We’ve even talked about having one as early as next year! And I bet that even with all the lessons we learned from this past vacation there will still be plenty more to be learned on our next one.
If you’re interested in using my template schedule just download it here. I use the “Notes” section to list my Fastpass+ times and dining reservations as well as other things I need to remember