2 October 2019

THE TRAVEL DIARIES: DISNEY'S MAGIC KINGDOM



Enter the most magical of all the Disney parks. When you think of Disneyworld you think of the castle, standing proud and tall and encompassing every childhood dream and feeling you ever had. That's how it feels when you see that castle for the first time, it's like a warm feeling that starts to fill you from the heart as you breathe in, and releases all the excitement as you breathe out. Ladies and gents, Disney's Magic Kingdom.





This was actually the park my husband was least looking forward to, and he actually loved it so I'm hoping that says a lot about it. 

What's at Magic Kingdom?
Magic Kingdom is the hub and heart of Disney, so here you'll find all your classic characters, Princesses and of course, the castle. You won't find any upside down, super thrill rides here, but there are still some great ones to jump on if you like the thrill, and others if you're not a huge fan of rides. It has something for everyone in the family which I think is part of its charm.

As you walk up Main Street you have shops and cafes, which lead up to the main square where you'll find the castle and pretty gardens. This is the central point and from here you can go to all the other different lands. 

Tomorrowland you have one of the most famous Disney rides - Space Mountain - the Speedway, and other space-themed cafes and shops. You also have a Monsters Inc comedy show run by Mike and can meet characters like Buzz. 

Fantasyland is a lot bigger - and one of my favourite areas. Here you have a circus area where you can meet characters and jump on a couple of rides, Little Mermaid meet and ride, a Beauty and the Beast area where you'll find Gastons and the Be Our Guest restaurant (more on that in a moment). You can also go on the Mine Train, and meet Winnie the Pooh characters. 

As you go behind the castle, you find It's a Small World, the Carousel, you can meet some of the Princesses and hop on a few more rides. 

Keep moving around and you end up in Liberty Square, which is where we watched the afternoon parade (2pm) go through.

In Frontierland, you'll find the other two "mountains" - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. And then you keep moving around to Adventureland (another favourite for me) where you have Pirates of the Caribbean and all things Aladdin. And the Sunshine Tree Terrace which did the most amazing ice cream soda floats. 

There is a lot to do in this park, and mixed with multiple shows it's definitely important to plan your day before you do anything else. 





My Thoughts
I have a lot of thoughts... This was one of my favourite days and there's so much about this place that I love. However, I also have other thoughts that aren't so favourable (I know, what??).

Let's start with my top three peaks:
  • The parade: this was both of our favourite bits about the day we went (we came back to see the fireworks on another night). I didn't think we'd be too bothered but it was so amazing to watch, heartwarming and even at nearly 30, made me feel all the feels to see some of my favourite Disney characters in the flesh.
  • The fireworks: actually we've both said this was one of our highlights of the entire trip. They were spectacular, amazing, emotional - I may or may not have shed a few tears. It's hard to explain how you feel watching it, but it was the best fireworks/light show I have ever seen. The way they tie it all together with the music - just magical.
  • The mountains: all three were great and I definitely understand why they're as famous as they are. I loved all three, however, think my favourite may have been Big Thunder, then Splash, then Space. 
Let's move onto my top three pits:
  • Be Our Guest restaurant: this was one aspect I was so excited about doing, and I expected it to be amazing. Don't get me wrong - the ballroom looks incredible but the way it's all organised and done makes no sense and completely ruined the experience. We booked ahead but still had to queue for 20 minutes before we got in. You then place your order, are given a flower (honestly don't know what this did as no one looked at it), and then you're told to just go and find somewhere to sit. It was so busy we didn't even get to sit in the ballroom - which was annoying as you feel when you book you should get an actual allocated seat. But also, no one had any idea where you were sat - so they just went around with food looking at peoples receipts until they found the right person. It was honestly a mess and was a big disappointment. It's not cheap either - at $28 a head just for breakfast, we definitely expected more.
  • Adam made a good point - a lot of it feels a little bit dated and was missing a lot of the most recent, big films. There wasn't anything for Frozen, or Moana which I found a bit strange. Yet for things like Splash Mountain it was based around a film that we didn't even know. Might just be our age maybe but could probably do with updating some of it to make sure it stays super relevant. 




Top Tips 
So I read a lot of tips before we came for the day, and actually a lot of them we ended up ignoring. But here's just some things we noticed and learnt from the day:
  • FastPasses - if you get fast passes, make sure you use them wisely. We were told to book them months in advance, but to be honest we ended up cancelling and reallocating them depending on what we were doing on the day. We went at a quieter time of the year so might not be worth it during busy months, but for us we found it better to just book them on the day when we knew where it was needed.
  • MagicMaker - I LOVED that they had this option. A couple of things with this though. First of all, you don't need the bands they try to sell at the entrace, you can just use your ticket to sync the photos to your account. Also, as soon as you see a PhotoPass photographer, grab them if you want a photo. Otherwise there tends to be queues, especially at some of the key photo points.
  • For the fireworks, you don't need to sit down two hours before. We went and found a space 90 minutes before it started, but to be honest people who came thirty minutes before could fit in around us still and it didn't make too much of a difference. Just don't leave it too late as it does get busy and be prepared to carve your own space.
  • If you're planning to have dinner in the park, book somewhere in the morning - we found it really difficult to find somewhere good to eat for a proper dinner as they were all booked up.

Overall, we loved the Magic Kingdom and I would go back time and time again. There's just a quality to it that lends itself to any age. It's a must visit if you go to Orlando.
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