You’re finally on your long-awaited vacation, and for a lot of people, that means sleeping in and not having to wake up to the dreaded alarm. Everyone has different priorities on a trip, and not waking up until lunchtime might be most important to you. In Walt Disney World, enjoying extra hours of slumber in the morning means missing out on great opportunities and experiences. In my experience, it’s easy to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when you know you’re at the most magical place on earth! Here’s what you’re skipping when you hit that snooze button:
1. Beautiful weather
I think the loveliest weather in Walt Disney World during the warmest months is early in the morning, when the dew is still glistening on the flowers and grass, the sun is shining, but the humidity is still low and the air is pleasant. A beautiful morning, plus the anticipation of a new day at Walt Disney World ahead of me, is a perfect combination!
2. Fantastic photos
Everyone wants to get that perfect picture in front of Cinderella Castle or the Tree of Life, but it’s almost impossible to take it without crowds in the background. Get there early, and it’s much easier to take a great picture. PhotoPass photographers will be happy to take the picture for you so that no one is left out.
3. Extra Magic Hours
If you’re staying onsite, don’t forget to take advantage of Morning Extra Magic Hours. Resort guests are invited to enter a designated theme park an hour early than the normal park opening time.
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4. A special welcome
Get to the Magic Kingdom before the park officially opens and enjoy a stroll down Main Street USA. Grab a coffee from the Main Street Bakery and find a good spot in front of Cinderella Castle. Each day, the Magic Kingdom welcomes guests with a special show on the Castle Forecourt Stage that officially opens the park. Disney’s Animal Kingdom features a similar morning welcome celebration.
5. Eggs and bacon, character style
What better way to wake up then sharing a delicious breakfast with your favorite characters? There are quite a few restaurants that offer character dining for breakfast, and they are very popular, so making an advance reservation is a must. Enjoy your coffee and juice with Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch at ‘Ohana, or go on a safari breakfast with Mickey, Donald, and their pals at the Tusker House. The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom is the perfect place to say “Good Morning” to Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet while savoring the delicious puffed French toast and Mickey waffles. Start your morning in a royal fashion by dining with the princesses inside a medieval castle at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.
6. Short waits
Get to the parks at Rope Drop, or when the park officially opens, and enjoy short lines on many attractions without a FastPass+. The headliner attractions are still very popular in each park, and lines will grow quickly for those. Being able to walk right on some of my favorite rides and attractions is definitely worth getting up early!
7. Awesome animals
Hop on Kilimanjaro Safaris early in the morning for the best safari adventure of the day. The weather is typically more pleasant, and many of the animals are out in the open, enjoying their breakfast and the cooler temperatures. In my experience, the animals tend to retreat to the shade during the afternoon heat and it’s harder to spot them. If you head right over to Kilimanjaro Safaris as soon as Animal Kingdom opens, the lines should be short enough that you won’t need a FastPass+. Make sure you check out the walking trails early in the morning as well. The animals on the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail are also more active in the morning, and the paths are less crowded, making it easier to view and enjoy them.
8. Leisurely shopping
If you’re not in a rush to get to an attraction or a scheduled breakfast, the early morning is also an excellent time to get some shopping done. The stores are uncrowded, and it’s easier to browse through the merchandise. The larger stores, like the Emporium, especially tend to get very busy in the evening, so this is a perfect time to leisurely shop. The line to check out won’t be long, and you can easily send your purchases back to your resort if you are staying onsite in a Walt Disney World hotel.