In one word, our day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom was AMAZING! We booked a very last minute trip in mid-March and we are so happy we did. We had a great time and the weather was amazing. 80′s and sunny every day.
Let’s face it, vacationing with a 2-year-old (well, almost, she is 23 months) is uncertain. You never know what you may get from day-to-day, or even hour to hour. I must say, our daughter is a very good, laid back little girl so I wasn’t really worried about her behavior. I was more worried about a day at Magic Kingdom being a waste of money. Not only because of our daughter, but also because I am 5 months pregnant and get tired easily. We knew going in she is young, and she won’t remember this trip…but we decided to go for it anyway.
We stayed outside of Tampa at my mother’s condo and drove to Disney for the day. It’s a 75 minute drive so not too bad. We got up early and reached the parking lot at Magic Kingdom by 8:30am. After the parking lot shuttle, monorail and quick stop to buy tickets, we were in the door before 9am.
Note: you have to fold up strollers to get on parking lot tram shuttles…so if you bring your own stroller, keep that in mind. Luckily we brought a cheap, umbrella style stroller that’s easy to fold up…but a bugaboo would NOT be a good option in this instance. Also, don’t stuff all your belongings under your stroller as soon as you get out of your car if you stroller doesn’t fold well with stuff in it.
We entered the park and immediately saw Daisy Duck…and a very small line! We decided to start our day off seeing how our daughter would react to meeting the characters and she loved it! I think we waited 5 minutes max and it was worth it. Our daughter, who may I add screamed at the top of her lungs with the Easter Bunny last year and wouldn’t make eye contact with Santa, gave Daisy high-fives and a hug.
After a nice stroll down Main Street, we headed to Fantasyland. We grabbed a FastPass for the Peter Pan ride, and then waited in line for Dumbo. We waited about 25-30 minutes for this ride, surprisingly the longest wait of the day. Our daughter did well in the line until the very end when she was just so excited, she wanted ON immediately! She loved the ride….she giggled the entire time and her face just lit up as we went around and around. We’ve been working on teaching her “it’s your turn,” and “now it’s someone else’s turn,” which came in very helpful waiting and getting on/off the rides. We saw a few kids who could have use this lesson.
Note: Depending on how your child behaves, if you are concerned about his/her patience waiting in lines, bring distractions! Whether a small toy, book or an iPad to watch cartoons, bring something to entertain if you are worried. Also, keep your child’s water bottle full and keep it with you…it gets warm in the lines.
After Dumbo, we hit up Cinderella’s Carousel. I think we maybe waited 5 minutes for this and she loved it just as much as any of the other rides. At this age, any and all attractions suitable for them are exciting so if it means riding the Carousel 5 times, so be it!
After the carousel, we were able to redeem our Peter Pan FastPass. I think we waited 10 minutes (as opposed to the regular wait of 45 minutes!). Even though my daughter had no idea who Peter Pan was, she loved it and was so entertained.
After Peter Pan, we decided to walk through Liberty Square where we bumped into Donald Duck. Since we met Daisy, we figured we had to meet Donald. Again, it was a short wait, less than 5 minutes. My daughter LOVED Donald. She gave him high-fives, and a big hug. The look on her face warmed my heart and just made me realize the trip was totally worth it.
At this point, we were past naptime…but as we passed the Country Bear Jamboree, we realized a show was about to start and there was no waiting. So we ran in. I was not sure what to expect in this show, but my daughter loved it…she smiled the entire time and clapped along with the music. The bears pop in and out of the act and every time one was leaving, she’d yell out “Bye bye bear!”
After the show, she ate some lunch. Then we put her in the stroller and she passed out in less than a minute. It was perfect timing and my husband and I grabbed some lunch and sat down to relax for a bit. We found a great little spot back in Liberty Square overlooking the water where the RiverBoat runs. It was quiet and there were benches and shade. Perfect! We also grabbed a FastPass for the Winnie the Pooh ride since the timing to redeem it would be perfect for after nap time. While she slept, we walked through Tomorrowland and some shops on Main Street.
After nap time, we got some ice cream. A funny moment of the day was when my husband was ordering ice cream. He’s quite the fitness buff which makes this funnier as well. He went to order what he wanted, I told him to get our daughter a small vanilla in a cup. He then asked me what I wanted and I yelled out “Brownie Sundae with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce!” It was just out of the blue and somewhat not like me so the look on his face was pretty funny!
We walked over to the front of Cinderella’s Castle to catch a show that was going on while we ate our ice cream. I didn’t think my daughter would like it, or sit still for it, but she loved it. She clapped her hands and danced to the music…she even forgot about her ice cream, which melted during the show.
It was time for the Winnie the Pooh ride, so we headed back to Fantasyland. Again, with the FastPass, we waited 10-15 minutes max which was great. There were a lot of things to entertain my daughter during the wait. She seemed to really enjoy this ride, but she also seemed to really enjoy strolling around the gift shop after the ride too. She’s pretty easy to please.
We walked around the park a little more and then decided to head out….after all, it was a great day and we didn’t want to push our luck As we headed toward the exit, we realized the parade was about to start and we found a front row seat on the curb. We kept my daughter in her stroller and sat her upright so she could see well. Within minutes, the 3pm parade started and we were right at the beginning of it. The music was great and my daughter waved to all the characters that went by. She got super excited to see Mickey and Minnie and almost jumped out of her stroller.
It was about 3:30 and we were all tired! We had a great day and can’t wait to go back again. Since we’ve been home, we’ve watched some of the video footage we took and my daughter gets so excited….the look on her face brings us right back to being there. We are thinking of heading back in October at the end of my maternity leave! I’m sure it will be a different experience with a 2 1/2 year old and a 2 month old, but I’m confident we can manage.
Here are some tips to make the most of your Magic Kingdom visit:
- Stroller - Whether you bring one or rent one, plan on using one. Heck, if I could fit in the stroller with her, I would have…Magic Kingdom is a big place. The strollers that they have for rent are very nice, but not really appropriate for an infant, so keep that in mind. Also, they are not huge and do not have a ton of storage, so consider renting a 2-seat stroller even if you have only one child.
- Realistic Expectations – You have to go into it with realistic expectations. Thinking you will ride every ride and see every attraction is unrealistic. On top of having a 2-year-old, I’m pregnant, so we knew a lot of rides were out of the questions, and we’d both get pretty tired after a full day. We hoped to make it on 2 rides, meet a character and see a parade and that is really all we hoped for….and we managed that and more.
- Have a Plan – Check out the park and attractions online before you go. What things do you think your little one will like? My daughter has only really watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and knows the characters Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, etc. She doesn’t know the princesses yet, or the other characters from Toy Story and some of the other movies. When we looked at all the options, we decided FantasyLand was the best place to start and we headed there to start the day.
- Play the FastPass Game – I was pleasantly surprised that they had FastPass at many of the attractions suitable for little ones. Peter Pan’s Adventure and the Winnie the Pooh ride both had FastPass. If you alternate a FastPass ride with a non-FastPass ride, you can usually get through the rides faster.
- Pictures - I’m sure you’ll have a camera and maybe a video camera. But take advantage of the Disney Photo Pass. There are many spots in the Magic Kingdom (I assume other parks as well) where Disney photographers are staged to take photos of you and your family. Take advantage of it. As we arrived at the Magic Kingdom, we got our first family picture right at the entrance. The photographer handed us the card…and then when we got our photo taken the rest of the day, I handed the card to the photographer and he scanned it so all photos went to our account. The next day, I went to the website, registered quickly (no more than 2 minutes) and then was able to see all our family photos. SO MUCH BETTER THAN 1) having partial family pics because someone always needs to man the camera, and 2) asking a random stranger who may or not even take a good picture. Yes, it is a little pricey, but for a guaranteed great picture of a special memory, it’s worth it. They offer prints, as well as high-resolution downloads ($15 each!).
- Pack Smart – Let’s face it, we all have the ability to overpack. Disney is NOT the place for it. Most of the year, it’s pretty hot so you don’t want to be carrying around a ton of stuff. And if you don’t want to leave it in the stroller, you don’t want to lug a huge bag or backpack onto each and every ride. We put diapers and wipes in a large ziplock bag and always left that in the stroller. We had one small backpack that we kept our daughter’s snacks and water in, as well as an extra dress for her just in case. I had the camera out most of the day. That’s it. Don’t overdo it.