DISNEY DAY - PARK ESSENTIALS
Disney World in Orlando, FL is one of my favorite places to visit with my family. I have been to Disney World 8 times, as it became a summer trip tradition several years ago when my high school choir and I went to go sing at Disney Springs. My family came to see me perform, and the love of Disney was reignited for all of us. We have been every summer since then and love going to the parks and making memories there. We also typically go to the parks from sunrise to sunset, which is amazing but also pretty tiring. So, I wanted to share some of my park day essentials as well as mention some of my favorite things to do for full a day at the Magic Kingdom!
Arriving at the Parks
My first park essential is Mickey Ears! This may seem obvious, but I think that it adds so much to the experience of being at the parks if you put a bit of effort into what's on your head! Plus, where else in the world can you really wear such a fun accessory? My sister and I (pictured with me on the left) love to plan our outfits out to match our ears with the Disney-themed graphic tees that we're wearing for the day. I think planning your outfits is really fun and can make for some super cute pics, but you don't have to plan the whole outfit to wear your ears with pride!
When leaving for the parks for a day, we also all have a mini backpack that can carry a water, sunscreen, a rain poncho (it can rain quickly and out of no where in Florida), and some pins for pin trading (a Disney tradition that allows you to trade exclusive Disney pins with Disney cast members!).
Also make sure that your shorts are comfortable and long enough to prevent any 'chub rub' - ladies, you know what I mean. Comfortable walking shoes are also incredibly important as trekking around the parks all day will definitely put some miles on your sneakers. Trust me, you will definitely do more walking than you think you will. So, if you don't follow any of this other packing advice follow this one to invest in some comfortable and good-quality walking shoes!
Time to Eat
Now that we have all of our essentials (to review, mine include: Mickey Ears; Disney-themed graphic tee; long enough shorts; very comfortable walking shoes; mini backpack with water bottle, sunscreen, rain poncho, and Disney pins to trade) we arrive at the parks! If you stay at a Disney World Resort, there is full access bus service included that will take you directly to all the four parks so that you don't have to pay for parking. The first thing that my family and I do when we arrive at Magic Kingdom is go see the Welcome Show in front of Cinderella's Castle and then go get a Mickey Waffle! Mickey Waffles are completely essential to fuel you for your Disney Day, which you can get at Sleepy Hollow Café right next to Cinderella's Castle. I order my Mickey Waffle with powdered sugar, but you can also order it with strawberries and whipped cream if you're up for it!
Rides + Attactions
After a Mickey Waffle at Sleepy Hollow, it's time to ride some rides! The schedule of what we ride first typically depends on what Fast Passes we have (which allow you to skip the long lines for popular rides) that you can get in advance on the My Disney Experience App or can periodically check throughout the day to see what's available. If there is a ride that you really want to ride, I recommend trying to get a Fast Past in advance because it can be difficult to snag them day-of as there are so many people trying to get them at one time. The rides that I recommend getting Fast Passes for at Magic Kingdom are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain. These rides are super fun and often have long wait times, so a Fast Pass here is definitely worth it. After some rides, I recommend lunch at Casey's Corner or the Liberty Tree Tavern for a quick bite to eat.
Here Comes the Parade
After some lunch, it is probably time for the Festival of Fantasy Parade in front of Cinderella's Castle! This is one of my favorite parts of the day because you get to see all of your favorite characters! It's also a great break in the day from walking around and is an opportunity to reach into your mini backpack and reapply sunscreen and drink some water. Disney Cast Members also walk around selling cooling water misters so you can spray cool water on your face, which may be an essential for you if you go in the summer when it's super hot outside. However, you will have to carry it around for the rest of the day, and I find that the less you have to carry while exploring the parks the better off you are to experience all the magic in the most comfortable way possible.
Fireworks + Magic
After the parade, we usually go ride a few more attractions if we don't have a dinner reservation at a restaurant. There is lots of information out there about Disney World dining, but we will usually try and book a reservation through the My Disney Experience App a day or two in advance of when we are planning on dining. There are some good restaurants in Magic Kingdom to make a reservation at (Be Our Guest at the Beast's Castle is my favorite), or you could take one of the boats from Magic Kingdom to the restaurants at the Polynesian Resort or Grand Floridian Resort if you want something more upscale. However, it's definitely easier to stay at the Magic Kingdom so that you can stake out a good spot for the fireworks. The fireworks at Magic Kingdom are truly my favorite part of the any Disney day, because they really are incredibly magical! I honestly cry every time I see them, so don't be ashamed if you're moved to tears too.
End of the Day
After wrapping up your Disney Day with an incredible fireworks show, it's unfortunately time to make your way out of the park. However, Magic Kingdom stays open until 11PM so there's still time to get a Mickey balloon and some ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on the corner of Main Street. This is also the time where we usually make our purchases at the Magic Kingdom Emporium so that we can take them right back to the hotel instead of having to carry them around the parks all day. However, there is also an option to have your purchases delivered to your hotel if you choose to buy any merchandise earlier in the day and still don't want to carry it around. After you've had your ice cream, gotten your balloon, and made any purchases, it's time to get on the bus or in your car back to the hotel and rest up for another day of magic in the morning!