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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.
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.
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