Monday, October 31, 2016

Travel Tips for Parents at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida

The first time I brought Nadia to the Magic Kingdom as a single parent, she was 18 months old.  My Mom, Dad and Sister came with us for this first trip.  I believe she was about 2 1/2 years old when I took her on my own for the first time.  It is a lot harder when your children are younger, because of the extra items you need to carry. When traveling with toddlers, I recommend you bring a big bag, filled with diapers, change of clothes, change of shoes, raincoat, snacks and first aid kit.  Also freeze a power aid the night before and let it just defrost during the heat of the day.  This will help give you energy to make it through.  Then when you get inside the park, immediately rent a stroller.  This is not really for your child; it is for your bags :) 

I have to share my story about the “Big Bag.”  This was my first trip alone with just Nadia and I.  Remember she was 2 ½ yrs. old.  We had a great time and were on Main Street USA, waiting for the nightly fireworks to start.  As soon as the fireworks started, the sky opened and it poured.  I had bought the cheap Ponchos from the food store (DO NOT DO THIS – Splurge and buy a poncho from the park it will be your first of many souvenirs and you can always use it again).  Any way, this “food store poncho” was folded real tiny and it was thin like saran wrap.  I was trying to get it open as fast as I could to get Nadia covered.  By the time I got mine on, I was drenched.  Guess what? The fireworks were still happening, so we stayed and watched.  After wards we went to catch our bus back to Disney’s Caribbean Resort.  There were no seats available on the bus.  I had my big green heavy bag on my shoulder and Nadia holding onto me.  A very nice person gave up their seat for me and I was forever grateful.  I was freezing, because the air was on in the bus and Nadia fell asleep in my arms before we got to our Hotel!  Our resort was coming up.  Disney’s Caribbean Resort is a moderate priced resort, so you have a little ways to walk back to your room from the bus stop.  Well, Nadia was in a deep sleep.  I got off that bus, with my big bag on my shoulder and Nadia in my arms and I trekked in that pouring rain back to our room.  I so wanted a hot shower, but I needed to take care of Nadia first.  After I got Nadia warm and tucked in, I finally got that hot shower.  Aaahhhhh.  So anyways, this is why I suggest you work out with weights, before you go. 

Beasts Castle beauty
The Beast's Castle

Now that Nadia is older.  I carry a backpack and I have her carry a small backpack. Our backpacks hold our Frozen Power aids, Ponchos, Energy Snacks, Camera, phone and Aspirin (in mine only) and all souvenirs that are purchased in the park.  I also carry a photo of Nadia and have her carry a photo of me with my cell phone number on it in case we get separated and she needs help.

I almost forgot, they sell those water bottles with the fan on it.  It is a very good idea, if you are traveling during the summer.  I was being cheap and only bought Nadia one.  The next day at Epcot, I had to get one too.  You will get use out these even after the parks. If you lose power for a week during the summer due to oh lets say a hurricane, you can cool yourself down or it is good to use at weekend softball games. I was glad we had ours. 

Now I know some die-hard Disney Fans that are in line ready for “rope drop”  (when the park first opens).  To me, trying to figure out how much time the transportation would take to get there and how long breakfast would take, just overwhelms me. I do not need the added stress, but if you can handle it, give it a try.  If I can make it there by 9 or 9:30 a.m. I am happy.

Main Street USA

When we stayed at Fort Wilderness Resort, we took the boat over to the Magic Kingdom.  As soon as you exit your boat or bus, you go straight to the bag check line.  They check everything, camera cases too.  Have your bags unzipped before they check.  Now there are metal detecters as well.

Now if you decided to use your car to drive to the Magic Kingdom.  You will need to catch a tram from the parking lot, which will bring you to the Monorail or Ferryboat.  You then take either the Monorail  or Ferryboat over to the Magic Kingdom and then head to the bag check line.

As soon as we enter the park, I first try to check the line for the Train Ride, which is located upstairs.  If it is not too long, we hop on the train and ride around the park first. Then we get off at the beginning again and make our way down BUSY Main Street USA.  

I like to head left toward Frontier Land and work my way around that way.  I know others like to head right to Tomorrow Land first.  But, I am a creature of habit I guess, because I prefer going right.  I then try to get a Fast Pass Ticket to Thunder Mountain, The Jungle Boat or Splash Mountain, whichever one has the longest line.  (get your Fast Pass before your trip on the My Disney Experience App)

Now, don’t worry the Fast Pass is FREE. You program it before your trip on the special Disney App and it goes directly to your magic band.  When your Fast Pass time is ready, you check in with your magic band and you get right on the ride, sometimes you might have to wait 15 minutes, but hey that is better than 90 minutes! – Please note: If you are holding a Fast Pass, you cannot get another one at a different ride, until after the time on your three Fast Passes have expired.  You will want a Fast Pass for the Peter Pan ride in Fantasy Land, Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain in Frontier Land and for Space Mountain (if your children are old enough for these rides) in Tomorrow Land.
sunset magic kingdom
Magic Kingdom at Sunset

There are many places to eat in the park.  I have not tried any that you need reservations too, yet.  I also have not tried the Dining Pass.  This may be something you might want to look into.  

I like to eat at the Columbia Harbour House near the Haunted Mansion. It is a quick service meal, but they have two stories of seating and I love the atmosphere. It has a cozy New England kind of look with a fireplace.  They offer chicken strips, sandwiches and soup.  I Love the Clam Chowder, even if it is hot outside.

Also, Pinocchio’s Village is nice.  It is a quick service restaurant too and if you sit by the window you can wave to the people riding “It’s a Small World”.  You can check the website and they will have some sample menus of the different restaurants throughout the park. 

Now remember to plan the parades and fireworks into your schedule.  I think the fireworks at night over the Cinderella Castle are very magical.  It gives me goose bumps and I am so thankful to be able to enjoy them with Nadia.  We also enjoy watching the Main Street Electrical Parade – Awesome!

The Castle at Night

It is easy to spend the whole day at the Magic Kingdom and still not see everything.  You all will have so much fun as long as you just roll with it, take your time, know there will be crowds and it will be very hot if you go in the summer.  Just take your time and enjoy. Do not forget - It is ok to act like a kid too.   Enjoy!!