Happy Thursday and welcome back Main Streeters. Let’s talk for real, if you’ve got a countdown going until your next trip to the house of mouse, you know all to well the struggle that is waiting patiently, planning meticulously and researching every new and fun thing to add to your list of musts all in anticipation of your next visit to the Happiest Place on Earth. Whether you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom for the first time, or you’re a seasoned Disney guest who thinks that you have all of the best laid plans to maximize your time I am going to share with you the three rookie mistakes you might be making when visiting the Magic Kingdom, even if you’re a Disney “pro”.
Rookie Mistake Number One: Not securing the right FastPasses.
If you’re lucky enough to be booked at a Disney hotel for your visit, you’re at an advantage. You can secure up to 3 FastPasses starting 60 days before your visit. Here is the catch, none of your FastPass times can overlap, and you must use them all at the park before you can grab 3 new ones. If you aren’t staying on property, your FastPass window opens up 30 days prior to a visit, and you are under the same rule of no overlapping FastPasses and using them all before getting access to any more.
The rookie mistake here is settling for the wrong FastPasses. 60 and 30 days out should give you enough time to plan the right kind of FastPasses so you can hit up the attractions YOU want to ride the most, and still have time to cover the whole park. When your FastPass window opens, choose the attractions that you want, and when the selections return, pick times that are preferably earlier in the day, and times that aren’t close to any parades or big shows. I’ll go over why in the next rookie mistake, but you’re going to want to trust me on this one for now.
Secondly, you don’t have to choose ALL 3 passes 60 or 30 days out. You can leave an open pass while you plan.
Now, why would you do that? Simple.
You may not get a time option at all for a popular attraction you really want to ride when you initially choose FastPasses, so leaving an open option gives you some leverage to keep searching for availability the closer your trip gets. For example, let’s say you are 60 days out from your trip, and you know you want to ride Mine Train, but when you looked, you didn’t find a FastPass at all, so you just went ahead and scheduled all 3 FastPasses for different attractions. Now let’s say you’re 20 days out and you decide to check on availability, (because let’s be honest, you’re a Disney fanatic and checking the MyDisneyExperience app is the closest thing to being at Disney for you) and well look here – a Disney miracle! Mine Train has popped up with FastPass availability.
It’s decision time, what are you going to do? Are you going to sacrifice this opportunity and just stick with you’re current FastPasses or are you going to cancel a FastPass you already made to replace it with Mine Train and hope that by the time you do that, the slot you want isn’t already gone.
That’s stressful. I’m already dizzy just thinking about having to do all of that. So avoid the stress and leave 1 FastPass slot open, because if you already had an open slot, you wouldn’t have to worry; you could have just clicked the time you found and you would be all set.
Rookie Mistake Number Two: Not taking advantage of Parade times.
So many people come to the parks, and you can bet many of them make sure they build in time to watch the Parades. So when Main Street U.S.A. is clogged from the Train Station to the Partner’s statue with a wall of bodies, what do you think the lines for the rides look like?
If you guessed, much shorter than normal, or dead…. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!
Never underestimate the power of skipping a parade to get a shorter wait on a ride. After all, most of the parades can be seen at various times in the day, so you won’t be missing the opportunity to catch it yourself.
You’re most likely to get the best walk on times for popular rides earlier in the day or really late at night because parents with small children and large parties want to take advantage of making those memories while everyone is still bubbly and not in need of afternoon naps, and most families and groups have cleared out once the sun starts setting. So while they are all standing around watching floats go by, you can knock out one or two rides in the general vicinity of where your next FastPass will be.
Speaking of your next FastPass, if you took my advice above, you should be able to ride the same attraction twice in a row, using the regular line and then immediately the FastPass line with low wait times. Talk about, more bang for your FastPass buck!
Using this method also allows you to get through some of the more popular attractions if you weren’t able to score a FastPass to begin with, and shorter lines at quick service locations, even possibly dining reservations. So take advantage of parade times and reap the benefits of navigating the park like a Disney pro.
Rookie Mistake Number Three: Hauling your Disney Haul all over Magic Kingdom.
The Emporium and all Disney shops are strategically located near the entrance and exit of the park for a reason. Disney wants you to shop. However, if you’re planning a long day at at Magic Kingdom, and you’re worried about not getting 10 pairs of those brand new Briar Rose Gold ears because they are bound to sell out before the end of the day, go ahead and buy them, but don’t be a rookie and carry them around. Big mistake. Not only will carrying all these purchases around put a damper on your day, but it’s also incredibly inconvenient for other guests who are trying to safely navigate around the park.
Be a Disney Pro and ask for Disney to keep your purchases safe until you are ready to leave the park, and if you’re staying on property for a few days at a Disney hotel, they will even send your purchases directly to your room. How MAGICAL!
If you aren’t on property and plan on making big purchases, do so earlier in the day. This will ensure that your package can be safely sent to the Main Street Chamber of Commerce where you can pick up your haul before leaving the park. There is a cut off point in the day where your purchases cannot be sent to Main Street Chamber of Commerce, and I believe that is 4 hours prior to the park closing. If you happen to find yourself shopping and it’s late in the day, before making a big purchase make sure to ask the Cast Member to verify that this service is available, if not you’ll be toting around big bags or forced to rent a locker for storage.
My pro advice – shop early, shop efficiently, and send your bags magically to the front of the park for pick up. You will need to keep every one of the receipts you are handed safe while at the park because if you lose one you may not be able to retrieve your items.
There you have it friends, 3 rookie mistakes to avoid at the Magic Kingdom!
Until next week,
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