Ten Things You Want to Experience at Disney’s Magic Kingdom – Round One
Hey Main Streeters! Funny story, since I started writing for the Main Street Mouse, I have suddenly become the go-to “Disney Expert” for friends and family planning a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth. Whether it be friends with new babies in the family or just a giant group of people wanting to know how to get to a level of awesome that my Disney friends and I do; I’ve started to get lots of calls and messages on social media to help add a little magic to the trip. This got me thinking, why not start a series on TMSM? After all, sharing is caring!
When I visit the parks, I usually try not to make an itinerary because I want to let the magic unfold organically; which is my ultimate recommendation. However, I’m fortunate enough to have Disney World a hop, skip, and 3.5 hour commute away from my humble Haunted Mansion in Northern Florida. For those of you who travel longer distances to visit the House of Mouse, or go all the time but are looking for something new to do, this list can help you find some extra magic. Let’s count ‘em.
1. The New Welcome Show
What will all those people with ‘rope drop to wishes’ shirts do now? Keep wearing them, duh. You now have a Disney nostalgia outfit. Call it ‘vintage’. Although the new welcome show doesn’t feature a rope drop, it’s got a pretty official Proclamation read by a hilarious Herald, and Mickey welcomes you with the help of some of his friends, including the new Princess Elena of Avalor. The magic gets started when the Fairy Godmother tosses a fistful of glitter confetti from the balcony of Cinderella’s castle, you say the magic words Bibbity Bobbity Boo and the pyrotechnics blast high into the sky. Consider yourself ready for the day; a Welcome to Wishes kind of day. Hey, I should make that a shirt!
If you’re planning to check out the new welcome show, there are some positives to yield from the negative of waking up so early. You now get to hang out on Main Street, do a little shopping and wait in a shorter than normal, but still long line at Starbucks if you need your fix to survive the day. Magical.
2. Get a Haircut
No, that isn’t a typo. You can actually and really get a haircut at Walt Disney World, and surprisingly for a very reasonable price. All you have to do is stop by the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street U.S.A. You’ll see this hidden gem when you spot the striped pole and old fashioned storefront next to the Fire Station. If you want a haircut, make sure your hair is clean and dry. Adults pay $19, Children cost $18, and if you want a very special moment for your little one, you can purchase a My First Haircut package for $25. The package comes with commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate. Not too bad.
3. Let the Barbershop Quartet Serenade You
Not in the mood for a haircut but still want some barbershop action? Then add this to your list. The Dapper Dans. This quartet performs regularly on Main Street U.S.A., usually in the vicinity of Town Hall, vocalizing some of the catchiest Disney tunes along with some classics like ‘Mr. Sandman’ and ‘Somebody Stole My Gal’. Shows begin at 9:00 a.m. and usually run every 40 minutes. The great thing about watching this 20 minute performance is that it’s not just all singing, there is a little bit of tap dancing and vaudeville humor to entertain all ages. The Dapper Dans move around, so you can catch them performing with The Citizens of Main Street, at the Barbershop, or Flag Retreat. They also like to hop on the trolley, and occasionally bring some interesting instruments out to jam on.
4. Cruise Main Street
For 1 hour and 15 minute (9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.) window you can hop on a one way ride from Town Square to Cinderella’s Castle (or vice versa) in one of 4 modes of transportation that was popular during the turn of the 20th century. Take your pick from a Horse-Drawn Street Car, a Jitney, a Fire Engine, or a 2 story Omnibus. Enjoy the slow pace cruise to take in all of sights and sounds of Main Street, and give your tootsies a rest while getting back and forth through one of the busiest streets aside from Diagon Alley.
5. Pixie Dust or Bust
Once you step off your one way ride from Town Square to Cinderella’s Castle, you are conveniently in the prime spot to find yourself some extra magic. Tucked behind Cinderella’s castle is a store called Castle Couture, also where the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique is located. Here, you can ask a Cast Member for Tinkerbell currency, also known as pixie dust. Shut your eyes tight, make a wish, and believe in the magic as pixie dust coats the crown of your head. You’ll be a glittery mess, but it’s a souvenir you’ll keep for at least a month, no matter how many times you scrub your scalp.
6. Become Disney Royalty
If your wish was to become a Prince or Princess, and you’re tired of holding out for an actual royal, take matters into your own hands in Fantasyland. In the Castle Courtyard you’ll meet the Royal Majesty Makers who are Cinderella’s trusted advisors and official consultants. Sir Sterling and Lady Llewellyn will guide you on your way to acquiring the proper skills that put shaking hands and kissing babies to shame. A retired knight, Sir Sterling will teach you to swing a sword, fight dragons and properly ride upon a trusty steed. Lady Llewelyn will test your manners, and introduce the proper way to bow and carry yourself with aristocracy. This 25 minute show is interactive for children, but adults get to have some fun too. You can partake in dancing to the medieval band, pantomimes and games. There are often comedic appearances by Squire Tobias and lady-in-waiting Bridget. If you pass all the tests, you can score an invitation to the Royal Ball.
7. Find Pascal and Friends
Since you’re already in Fantasyland, take a stroll on over visit Rapunzel’s Tower. Here you can experience a self-paced scavenger hunt to find 10 hidden chameleon’s in the garden and surrounding area. I find that this area of the Magic Kingdom is like a bubble of tranquility with the sound of running water, the meticulously manicured garden, and the hanging lantern lights. The entire area is lifted from the movie ‘Tangled’. A super bonus of visiting this spot in Magic Kingdom is the free charging stations and ample seating. If you need a little break from it all, sit back, charge your phone and people watch, or try to spot the hidden Pascal’s from your perch. Extra points if you find the imprint of Maximus’ horse shoe. This area is also affectionately known to Disney folk as the Punzie Potties; the newest bathrooms built at Magic Kingdom.
8. Release yourself from your Corruptible Mortal State
Visit Madame Leota’s old home, which has been converted into the Memento Mori shop. This location next to the Haunted Mansion ride and houses the largest collection of Haunted Mansion merchandise in the park. Imagineers converted the old Yankee Candle shop into a storyline following Madame Leota. When you enter the shop, you will find trinkets and items long forgotten, since Madame Leota has moved on to regions beyond making her home in a crystal ball. Also in the shop is the unique Spirit Photography opportunity, where your image is transformed, much like the portraits hanging on the walls of the Haunted Mansion. If you meander around long enough, you may even catch a glimpse of what is rumored to be Leota when she lived, all you have to do is gaze into one of the many mirrors and hope she makes her appearance.
9. Pay your respects to Master Gracey
I highly recommend going through the queue line of the Haunted Mansion. I know the fastpass is a beautiful thing, but the queue line for this ride is so much fun. There are busts of a sinister looking family that beg you to answer a whodunit riddle. You can play the organ, and other otherworldly instruments bringing hauntingly melodic sounds. Time it just right and you will jam with a ghostly band. Interact with everything in the line, because it’s all meant to be experienced. As you walk through the queue you will find Master Gracey’s final resting spot. If you’re extra lucky, you will witness a mansion maid or butler lay a single red rose on his tombstone. Pay your respects to the Master, or you’ll get stuck in a Doom Buggy only to become the 1000th happy haunt.
10. Roll on down the River
Outside of the Haunted Mansion is the Liberty Square Riverboat, known as Liberty Belle. This experience is often forgotten, as it’s a slow moving, and doesn’t really call attention like other attractions. It’s unfortunately under refurbishment at this time, but that only means it’s going to get better. This experience is perfect for those ultra-hot days where you just want to chill out and feel the breeze off the water. The wait times for this experience are usually short, and there are places to rest on all 4 decks, although fair warning, seating is limited. This experience is a 17 minute journey through the wilds of Old America narrated by Mark Twain, while you round Tom Sawyers Island. I personally love taking the Liberty Belle in the early evening just as she’s lit up with a soft glow. You also get some pretty amazing views of Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and other attractions.
So Main Streeters, this is the first 10 experiences to get you started. Once a month, I’ll bring you 10 more on my Thursday spot. So be on the lookout for the next 10 to round out Magic Kingdom in February!
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