The Magic Kingdom is the most popular Walt Disney World park, but it’s not a place to visit without a plan. While being spontaneous is fun, there’s so much to see and do at this theme park that you need a strategy to make your trip go smoothly.

The biggest reason for creating a plan is ensuring you hit all your family’s must-dos. Those will vary, depending on your children’s ages. For example, if you have young kids in tow, you must include Fantasyland. Walt Disney World opened New Fantasyland, a massive extension of the original, on December 6, 2012, which means even more to pack into your day.

Older Kids VS. Younger Kids at Magic Kingdom

Older kids mean an emphasis on the more thrilling rides, like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain. Their thrill factor makes them popular, so planning is a must to avoid long waits.
Arrive at the park early and ride the “mountains” first thing, or get a FastPass to shorten your wait later in the day.
More Than Rides at Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is also jam-packed with entertainment options, like day and night parades, a projection show on Cinderella Castle, and nightly fireworks. This makes planning imperative for two reasons. First, if you want to include any or all of those attractions in your plan, you have to grab a show schedule as soon as you arrive at the park and plan your day around the show times. Otherwise, you might just be on a long ride, like Pirates of the Caribbean, when you realize it’s time for the fireworks to start.

Mickey is one of the main draws at the Magic Kingdom Theme Park!

Second, if your family has no interest in shows, use the schedule to take advantage of shorter lines. More people lining the street to see the parade or staring up at the fireworks means less filling the queue line at Journey of the Little Mermaid or Peter Pan.

Interactive Queues Available While Waiting
Walt Disney World makes waits as painless as possible with interactive queues at popular attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. Knowing which queues are more tolerable for kids is another good planning tool. For example, the Dumbo “queue” in the Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland is actually a big playground. You get a pager and relax while the kids have fun. That makes Dumbo the perfect ride for those times when the kids are full of excess energy and not likely to wait in a regular queue at a ride like Astro Orbiter or Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Character Meals Must Plan Ahead to Attend

Last, but far from least, planning is vitally important if you want to include a character meal or other particular restaurant on your itinerary. Dining with characters is a must-do with younger children, just to see the delight on their faces as Disney friends like Mickey, Goofy, or Tigger come right to the table.

Perhaps the most popular Magic Kingdom meal is breakfast with Cinderella in her castle. Reservations for this experience open up 180 days in advance and are usually gone the same day. Although it’s
sometimes possible to get a last-minute reservation for this meal, that’s akin to winning the lottery. The Winnie the Pooh meal in the Crystal Palace doesn’t book up nearly as fast, but it’s another place that requires planning at least a few days in advance.

Other Eating Options That Need Planning

Even some restaurants without characters are wildly popular. For example, Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland is a hot ticket because of the stunning detail. Although it has three dining rooms, the crowd
favorite by far is the Grand Ballroom, where snow drifts gently outside the window and gold chandeliers twinkle overhead like they did during Belle and Beast’s famous dance.

This restaurant offers counter service at lunch time, but the lines often get very long. Dinner is full table service, so a reservation guarantees your family a spot.

The exact make-up of your family will dictate the rides, shows, and dining experiences you include as must-dos on your trip. Once you know what you want to do, a good plan ensures a great family vacation.

To kick off 2013 in much the same way we ended 2012 we are offering our guests who purchase a Disney World package through us the chance to buy a 6 Day Disney World Park Hopper at the 3 Day Park Hopper price. To view this and other package offers please visit http://www.orlandovacation.com/packages/