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10 Rookie Mistakes At Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom & How To Avoid Them

1. Sleeping in too late

The morning is undoubtedly the best time to be in the Magic Kingdom, and while sleeping in can obviously be relaxing, you would be doing so at the sacrifice of a beautiful morning in the park. Certain entertainment offerings only take place in the morning, and lines for attractions tend to be short when the park first opens. And of course, there is just something special about strolling down a quiet Main Street U.S.A. first thing in the morning.

2. Waiting until the last minute to reserve FastPasses

Many attractions in the Magic Kingdom will end up with long wait times regardless of the time you may be visiting, and securing FastPasses in advance is a must if you do not want to find yourself in an hour+ wait. Attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, certain meet and greets, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan’s Flight, and in the summer, Splash Mountain routinely see wait times that go well over an hour. Getting FastPasses ahead of time will also help if you do decide to sleep late, as lines will be longer when you arrive in the middle of the day.

3. Not making dining reservations

Magic Kingdom’s table service restaurants are all incredibly popular, and as a result finding a table at the last minute can sometimes be difficult. If you really want to eat at a specific restaurant, especially if this restaurant happens to be Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, be sure to book reservations as early as possible. If you’re booking a last-minute trip, have a backup plan in case your initial plans do not work out. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and the Skipper Canteen for instance are more likely to have standby tables available.

4. Forgetting to snack

So many classic Disney snacks can be found in the Magic Kingdom, and snacking throughout the day can easily be a great alternative to securing dinner reservations if you’d rather eat on the go. Whether it be a churro, turkey leg, or a Nutella waffle, there is a snack in the Magic Kingdom for you. Looking for a snack to take home? Stop at the Main Street Confectionary on your way out of the park.

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5. Missing the parade

Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade is a must-see, especially if you haven’t seen it at least once before. To get the most out of the parade, plan to arrive about one hour early to secure your spot. For a last minute spot, or if you’d rather see the parade sooner and with less crowds, stay more towards Frontierland and Liberty Square than Main Street.

6. Skipping the ice cream

If you’re looking for even more snacks, the Magic Kingdom is the perfect place to stop for an ice cream. The Plaza Ice Cream Shop on Main Street offers a variety of sundaes (even a breakfast sundae piled atop a donut!), and soft serve ice cream can be found both in Frontierland and Tomorrowland. And you can’t forget about those Mickey premium bars that are sold all over the park.

7. Hitting show times at the wrong time 

Show attractions do not carry the same wait times that ride attractions do, so you can help get the most out of your time in the parks by planning on seeing the shows in the middle of the day—when the park is most crowded. Save things like the Country Bear Jamboree and the Carousel of Progress for the later afternoon when the lines for ride attractions will be at their height.

8. Passing the shops on Main Street

Unless you are looking for souvenirs specific to a certain attraction, many items in the Magic Kingdom can be found in the Emporium on Main Street U.S.A. This means that you can spend most of your time in the park enjoying the park, and spend the last parts of your visit picking up souvenirs.

9. Showing up late for the fireworks

If you haven’t been to the Magic Kingdom since Disney debuted the Happily Ever After fireworks show, you may not realize that getting a spot in front of Cinderella Castle is more important for seeing the whole show than it was with Wishes. With so many projections being displayed on the castle, standing behind trees, or too far to one side will not give you the show’s intended effect.

10. Leaving right after the fireworks

The Magic Kingdom is unique from the other parks in that the parking lot and some non-Disney resort buses are located at the Transportation and Ticket Center which is a ferry boat or monorail ride away. When the park first closes, or at least after the fireworks, the lines for transportation (including Disney buses) can stretch all the way back to the park’s entrance. We suggest avoiding this altogether by waiting inside the park for some of the crowds to clear out.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.