Disney Parks - In Magic Kingdom and Epcot with Kids

Many Disney World visitors feel the need to cover every inch of Walt Disney World in a few days. Be ambitious that way if you want to be, but remember this – Walt Disney World is a large place! In fact, it’s nearly as large as San Francisco! Actually, you could spend two weeks on Disney property and still not have time to do it all.

The Best Strategy for Organizing Your Disney World Visit

Make a list of the theme parks, attractions and activities that you most want to do and see and use that as a basis for your itinerary. Allow time for swimming, boating, or just relaxing (trust me, you’ll need it!) A four to five day visit is a good starting point, as it would allow you a visit to each theme park and some extra time to enjoy activities at your resort or elsewhere like Downtown Disney. It’s a good idea to plan your days before you leave home.

Welcome to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom!
Welcome to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom!

Sample one-day schedule at the Disney World’s Magic Kingdom (with or without kids):

  • Eat breakfast at your resort.
  • Arrive at park entrance 20 minutes before the official opening time.
  • Start off with a brisk stroll down Main Street, USA, and then cut through Adventureland on your way to Splash Mountain and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After those, backtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by the Jungle Cruise (my 5-year-old’s favorite!), and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin or The Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management.
  • There’s a path near the Tiki Room that will get you to Frontierland where you may want to have lunch at Pecos Bill Café or Columbia Harbor House. If you have time before the afternoon parade (usually at around 3pm), squeeze in The Haunted Mansion.
  • Watch the afternoon parade from Frontierland, then move on to Fantasyland. Visit as much of Fantasyland as possible, including Mickey’s PhilharMagic, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
  • Depending on your timing, head to the castle’s front side for a live stage show. If you have time before the stage show, check out Ariel’s Grotto.
  • Next, explore Mickey’s Toontown Fair, where more daring kids would love The Barnstormer. A more calm alternative is to hop on and take a ride on the railroad, then check out Mickey’s and Minnie’s country homes. After you tour the houses, you can meet Mickey Mouse in the Judge’s Tent.
  • Some nights, the SpectroMagic parade runs twice. If it runs twice the day you’re there, and you can stay there for it, visit Tomorrowland during the first parade showing and you’ll experience less crowding. Check out Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Stitch’s Great Escape, and the race cars at the Speedway.
  • A must see in the evening is Wishes, a truly spectacular fireworks display – the best place to view it is from Main Street.
  • Watch the nighttime parade from Frontierland, then, if time permits, revisit a favorite attraction.

If you have small children…

  • When you arrive, head straight for Fantasyland – walk right through the castle.  Ride Dumbo, Peter Pan, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  If you have an Ariel fan, go meet Ariel at her Grotto and then let the kids play a bit at Pooh’s Playful Spot.
  • After that, head over to Toontown to meet Mickey Mouse in the Judge’s Tent.  Explore the area and stop for a spin in a tea cup as you head over to Frontierland.  Meet Woody and friends during Woody’s Cowboy Camp.
  • Check the schedule for the next Castle stage show, then if there’s time before the show ride Cinderella’s Royal Carousel and It’s a Small World.
  • Make sure you line up at least 30 minutes early for the afternoon parade.  If you’re willing to skip the parade, finish up Fantasyland and then head over to Adventureland and take a magic carpet ride at The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.  If it’s hot out, let the kids cool off for a bit under the giant camel’s “spit” (the camel squirts water into the street and the kids love to play in it.)
  • If you still have time, most little ones really enjoy the Walt Disney World Railroad and the Transit Authority at Tomorrowland; both of these typically have shorter or faster-moving lines even when the park is packed. 

Walt Disney World's Epcot
Walt Disney World's Epcot

Quick look at Epcot with kids:

  • Start the day off by thoroughly exploring The Seas with Nemo & Friends – it’s a big hit with the little ones!  Then head on over to Imagination! And enjoy Journey Into Imagination with Figment and ImageWorks – truly awesome!  Skip Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, it’s known to frighten small children.
  • After that, head over to the World Showcase and to Mexico’s boat ride.  Braver tots will love the Maelstrom at Norway.  Visit the Kidcot Funstops located at each country where kids can do a quick craft and collect a free memento from each country.
  • The koi pond in Japan is a big hit with kids and adults alike.  If you like to shop, the store at Japan has wonderful merchandise for sale, from small ceramic Japanese dishes and vases to kimonos and chopsticks to beautiful folding fans and more.  It is sure to delight even the most casual shopper; serious shoppers beware!
  • Germany’s tiny village is fun for the kids, too.
  • Visit Spaceship Earth in the afternoon, when the line usually thins out quite a bit. 

© 2010 Lily Rose

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8 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a great hub.


Adriana 6 years ago

Thank you for a great hub.

I will follow your itinerary. It's so nice to have

someone else do all this work.Thanks again.You should be

a travel agent. Are you?


Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast Author

Thanks for visiting, Hello, hello & Adriana.

Adriana, no I'm not - I'm just anal about planning and sheduling things and did a ton of research before our trip...just remember to let yourself be flexible!


JenDobson27 profile image

JenDobson27 6 years ago

It's been a long time since I've been to Disney. I think it might be time to plan another trip!


jim10 profile image

jim10 4 years ago from ma

Great suggestions. We can't wait to go back with our kids. My favorite parade has been the Halloween one. It was Awesome! And I love the Dole Whips. Last time we went in September. the lines were short but, it was kind of hot. So my oldest kept complaining about the heat. A spray water bottle helped a lot though. It stinks you need to plan your meals so far in advance now with the dining plans. The first year they had the dining plan was awesome. they gave us so much more food than we cold eat. The next two times we went the dining plan seemed a little lacking. But, we were used to the banquet before when everyone got a desert and an appetizer and kids could order off of the adult menu.


Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Thanks, Jim! We have yet to go during Halloween but I have heard many great things about Disney at that time of year so we will have to get there for Halloween one of these days. I have never used the dining plan - frankly, I don't quite understand it! =)


simon64 profile image

simon64 4 years ago from UK

Great hub with lots of valuable information. We visited the Disney theme parks late 2011, just prior to the Christmas Holidays and Magic Kingdom and Epcot were our favourite theme parks. We ended up visiting each park three times.

We soon worked out it was better to get there early to avoid the queues for the most popular rides. However the only time we had to queue for a long period was for 'Soarin' at Epcot, as we queued for over 2 hours. The rest of the rides weren't too bad, so we were lucky in that respect.

My 4 year old daughter loved Spaceship Earth, I lost count how many times we went on it.

We spent a total of 14 days in Orlando and was without doubt our best holiday ever. We can't wait to visit again in the near future.


Lily Rose profile image

Lily Rose 4 years ago from East Coast Author

That is fantastic! I'm a short drive away and have never spent that much time there. Good for you!!

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