The Magic Kingdom in One Day (with toddlers)

The Magic Kingdom in one day? *GASP*

With toddlers? *DOUBLE GASP*

I'm here to tell you that it's not only possible, it can be enjoyable, too.

Our family of five [children ages 3, 5 and 13] set out for Florida the week after school let out [for us, this is the second week in June]. We had plenty of other things planned, but while our daughter's [age 5] world still revolved around Disney princesses, we couldn't pass up going to the Magic Kingdom. We decided on just one day at Disney, which for a family of five is about $500.00. Our youngest [3] still takes daily naps [and, sometimes, still poops his pants], so we weren't ready yet for the full Walt Disney World experience.

We started by deciding which day of the week we would go. Disney is always going to be busy. But their website indicated that Monday, Thursday and Saturday were the busiest days of the week in the Magic Kingdom. So, we went on Wednesday. We didn't have another day to compare it to, but I'd say our choice to go in the middle of the week was a good one. Most of the lines we waited in were about 30 minutes. The longest line we waited in was one hour.

Leading up to our trip, I packed everything separately that we would need for our day at the park. Doing this ahead of time, and with careful thought was key to our success. Here is a list of everything we took to the Magic Kingdom in a book bag:

  • Two small ponchos

  • Small first aid kit

  • Stroller hooks [1 large for stroller to hang book bag, 1 small to hang water bottles on the book bag loop]

  • Two Brita water bottles with filter [we filled up at water fountains]

  • Ziplock bag w/ pin backs

  • notebooks and pens [for character signatures]

  • Sunscreen

  • Jackery Bar portable charger [charges up three iPhones fully]

  • Snacks/Sandwiches

  • Glow sticks/necklaces

  • Phone charger(s)/charging station

  • Change of clothes for the kids

  • diapers/wipes

  • Lanyards for Disney pins [one for each child]

  • We definitely wanted our daughter to experience the Bippidi Boppidi Boutique. But we didn't necessarily want to use precious park time to make this happen. So, we made reservations at the Bippidi Boppidi Boutique in Downtown Disney for Tuesday night [the night before we visited the Magic Kingdom]. There are two boutiques you can make reservations at: One in Downtown Disney, and another in Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. For the Downtown Disney location, you don't have to have a ticket [and parking is free]. It's mostly shops and restaurants with a couple of small rides.

    We had dinner at T-Rex. We were never able to make reservations ahead of time [because they were filled], so we went straight there and put our names on the wait list. We had about 45 minutes until our table would be ready, so the kids rode the carousel, the train ride, and played with Legos at the Lego store until it was time to eat.

    After dinner, we headed over to the Bippidi Boppidi Boutique, where our daughter [5] and youngest son [3] had reservations. The 13-year-old was completely uninterested in this, but I think he secretly found delight in his younger siblings' experience. We got the Knight Package [$18.95] for our son, which included a thick foam sword and shield and a cool hairdo. We did the Crown Package [$59.95] for our daughter, which included a princess hairstyle and make-up, a princess sash and tote, and she got her nails did. We took a Cinderella dress with us to save money, but once she saw all of the dresses in the store, she had to have one. And we were slightly expecting that anyhow. The fit of that dress was much better though. And just FYI - Elsa dresses are only available in the Boutique [with a package], but not for sale in the store.

    We purchased Disney's Memory Maker package [$149.00]. I was really on the fence about purchasing this, but decided to go for it, because I knew I'd end up buying enough photos of us that would add up to at least $150.00. This was an excellent choice. They documented their entire experience at the Bippidi Boppidi Boutique, and there was a portrait center in Downtown Disney where they had extra photos taken. All of our photos were included for free because of the Memory Maker package. In fact, I felt like we were getting special treatment and extra photos when we mentioned we purchased it [but maybe they actually make everyone feel that special, and I was just hoping we were extra special].

    After the boutique, our daughter could not stop looking at herself in the mirror for the rest of the night, until eventually she laid her princess head down and fell asleep, tiara and all. This worked out well, because she was all dolled up and ready for the Magic Kingdom the next morning.

    Another thing we wanted to do was the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway. The oldest [13] did the junior ride along experience, and my husband did the ride along experience [you have to be at least 14 for this]. This included 3 laps in a NASCAR race car. For this, you do have to have a ticket to the Magic Kingdom. But still knowing our park time was precious, we booked it for the earliest possible time, 9:30 a.m. To get to the racetrack, there was a race way shuttle that picked us up from the Lost and Found building outside of the Magic Kingdom gates. We were picked up by 9 a.m. and they were riding by 9:30 a.m. The shuttle had us back to the entrance by 10:30 a.m. The photos taken here were, unfortunately, not included in the Memory Maker package. There were photos with plaques and videos offered to us for sale after the rides. I would have purchased the plaques, but didn't want to carry them around all day since we already had plenty of cargo. I was told that they are a separate company from WDW, but just located on their property.

    Using the MyDisney app, we made reservations at Tony's Town Square Restaurant for 11:00 a.m. This gave us enough time to meet TinkerBell and Mickey Mouse, who are housed in the same building. We also had some extra time to step out into the Town Square to meet Pluto. At Tony's, I ordered a Margherita Pizza, and I kid you not, it was the best pizza I've ever had! The whole family agreed that the food was reasonably priced and delicious (and kid-friendly). I've been craving more of their pizza since we left there.

    After lunch, our FastPasses were ready to kick into full gear. We were each given three FastPasses to use. We chose our fast pass experiences [and times] using the MyDisney app. We did not purchase Magic Bands, because our admission cards worked just as well [that is what you use to scan your FastPass if you don't have a Magic Band]. You have a one-hour timeframe in which to use each Fast Pass. If you show up five minutes early, or five minutes late, your FastPass will not register [I saw this happen to others]. We weren't sure if we wanted to split up, so we all used the same times and locations for our FastPasses.

    We used one FastPass early in the afternoon to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel at the Princess Hall. With our FastPass, it took about 15 minutes. The regular waiting time was one hour, so I felt like this was an excellent choice. We would have used a FastPass to meet Anna and Elsa, but I was never given that option, so if anyone knows the secret to getting a Fast Pass to see them, do tell! I never did see anyone go to see them using a Fast Pass, so perhaps that's not an option yet. Those girls sure are exclusive, huh?

    We used another FastPass to meet Ariel and we basically walked right in to see her. The regular wait was about 30 minutes, so we probably would have been better off using this Fast Pass for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or the Dumbo ride [which was about a 45-minute wait].

    We used the last FastPass for Ariel's Journey Under the Sea ride. We waited about 10 minutes with our FastPass, and the regular line was about a 45-minute wait. I felt pretty good about our use of the FastPass for that one.

    We stayed in FantasyLand for majority of the day. That's also where we chose all of our FastPasses, so we wouldn't be too far from our time-sensitive destinations. By about 3 p.m., we headed to Tomorrowland. We rode the Tomorrowland Speedway [which would have been another good option for the Fast Pass]. Then, my husband and oldest son rode Space Mountain, while the "littles" and I danced with the Incredibles. Shortly after, the youngest took a quick power nap in the shade while my daughter had some ice cream.

    By 6 p.m., we were heading over to Frontierland and Adventureland. By this point, we got very picky about the rides we went on. We only rode Jungle Cruise in Adventureland, and Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. Either of those also would have been an excellent pick for the FastPass. We waited about one-hour in line for each.

    We didn't make any dinner reservations. We needed some freedom to go and do as we pleased after most of our morning and early afternoon was reserved activities. We actually packed up snacks and sandwiches in a lunch bag and scarfed those down as we kept moving. I really don't know if we were allowed to bring in sandwiches, but we were much too hungry to care.

    We snuck back over to Fantasyland for a bit. Throughout the day, each time we saw a Disney photographer, we took a photo and added it to our MemoryMaker account using a card that they scanned. I had hoped by this point [about 8 p.m.] that the line for Anna and Elsa had gone down some. But it was a 120-minute wait, so we never did meet them. There was no way the "littles" were going to wait in a 2-hour line to do anything. That was a bit of bummer, but we didn't let it get us down.

    We rode a few more quick rides in Fantasyland, and then headed back to the Town Center to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade at 9 p.m. The kids were exhausted at this point [we were, too], but the smiles on their faces gave us enough energy to stick it out. We got a perfect spot on the curb of the main circle in the Town Center. This got the kids up close and personal with the parade characters, and it was close to the park exit. One of Cinderella's mouses came over and bowed to our daughter, who was still dressed up as Cinderella. She clearly felt very special by this gesture.

    We took the ferry back to the parking lot, and drove off as the fireworks blasted over top of the trees.

    A 13-hour day had never gone by faster, or been more magical. From just one night at Downtown Disney, and one day in Magic Kingdom, we ended up with about 105 cherished, captured moments [many that included ALL of us, and we didn't have to lug a camera around]. Then, there's the countless memories housed in our brains. With exception of one [maybe two] of our FastPass choices, and the fact that we probably won't do the Richard Petty Driving Experience again [been there, done that, but we'd consider it], I'd do it all the same again.

    Oh, and in case you were wondering, our 3-year-old didn't even poop his pants while we were there. Yep, it's magical.

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