Today was our first ‘park’ day and we obviously had to start with the big one – Magic Kingdom. This was a super long day for us as we got there at just after 8am and stayed right though to the Fireworks at 8pm.
All information is correct as of our visit on 24th November and all prices stated are before any tax etc is added – I have converted to pounds as of the exchange rate today – $1 = 75p so prices in pounds may vary
For a car it is $25 standard or $50 for express
For a larger vehicle it is $30
We aren’t sure what they class as a larger vehicle as we have a 15 seater mini bus and were charged the car rate!
The car parks are great though they are all named – either after heroes or villains depending where you park – and the row you are in is clearly marked at the end of the row.
Take a photo of the board or drop a pin on your google maps if you need help remembering where you parked.
Entry to Magic Kingdom
Today the park was advertised as open from 9am – 10pm however we were in the park just after 8.30am!
So it is worth arriving early and trying your luck with getting in as we managed to get the ‘must have’ photo in front of the castle and there were only a handful of people in the queue.
If you have pre booked and have your access card you can go straight up to the barriers and scan in, the first time you go through you will need to scan your fingerprint – for younger ones its fine for the adult of the group to do it, just remember who did it because they will need to do it each time you enter the park.
Wifi within The Magic Kingdom was some of the best free wifi we have ever used, at no point were we struggling to load anything.
Depending on the ride there’s a few different ways you can collect your photos.
Going to the counter – Some of the rides still have a counter where you will need to go to get your photo from a staff member added to your card / magic band. If you or any of your group have removed your mask they will refuse to download the image for you (or print it)
Automatic download – Some of the rides will ‘scan’ your pass as you go past the camera and automatically add your image to your account
Self Service – Lastly you may exit the ride to a wall of screens displaying all the images and you can press your card / magic band against the button that relates to your image and it will download.
Disney Genie, Genie+ & Lightning Lanes
Disney Genie is the new interactive app that helps you plan your day – with ride and restaurant recommendations
Genie+ & Lightning Lanes have now replaced FastPass. I’m going to be straight to the point. It’s rubbish. It’s nowhere near as good as the previous system.
Not only is it very confusing, the app isn’t great and constantly crashed, kicked us out or refused to load the page you need to use this service.
I am going to do a whole blog dedicated to Genie & Genie+ as it’s so complex it needs its own post!
Lightning Lanes – Single Shot Ride Fast Tracks
With this service you pay a one off fee per rider ($7-11 / £5.25-8.25 for the rides we looked at) to get one fast track meaning you get to skip the standby queue and cutting your queue time down to just a few minutes.
The new Genie+ service is $15 (around £11.25) per person per day and allows you to use the Lightning Lane to skip the queues.
You can use it as many times as you like through the day, however you can only reserve one ride at a time per person.
This is great if you manage to reserve some early spots but when we got there (just after 8am) it was already telling us there were no slots until 3/4pm right up to 7/8pm for the bigger rides.
We decided to just use it on several smaller rides rather than wasting it on one go at reserving a spot on a bigger ride.
If you are looking for snacks at the Magic Kingdom, head over to Fantasyland and opposite the Dumbo Flying Elephants you will find all the snacks you could want including these super cute Mickey soft iced cookies ($3.99/£2.99) and these giant cupcakes ($5.19/£3.89)
Over by the Prince Charming’s Carousel at Storybook Treats you will find these Fruity Slushies ‘The Wild Ride’ ($5.99/£4.49) – Frozen Wild Sour Cherry, Blue Raspberry, and Sour Apple topped with Whipped Cream and a Black Liquorice Wheel – Super sweet but delicious!
There are also stalls dotted around the park selling bottled drinks, iced lemonade pots, pretzels, ice cream and even beers! You certainly won’t be short of snacking options.
We went for a quick dining option at Magic Kingdom and decided on Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe, located by the Mad Hatters Tea Cups. We used this several times when we visited back in 2019 so we knew what to expect.
I find it really odd that adult meals do not include a drink, this catches me out every time! You need to add them on for $3.99/£2.99.
Below are the Chicken Strips meal ($9.99/£7.49) and 1/3lb Angus Cheeseburger meal ($10.99/£8.25), both of which come with just fries.
I actually think the children’s meals are better value as they come with a choice of BBQ Chicken Sandwich, 2 Chicken Strips, Mac & Cheese or PB&J Uncrustable, plus 2 sides with a choice of Apple Slices, a Mandarin and French Fries AND a drink for $6.69-$7.49/£5-5.60.
Especially when you see the fries are the same size as an adult portion!
Gaz and Oscar also had a whole turkey leg ($12.49/£9.35) from Liberty Square Market – people were going CRAZY for them!
Character Meet & Greets
Character meet and greets are very different now. No more hugs, autographs or even much interaction.
We know this is down to Covid but it has been such a shame for the kids as meeting Cinderella is one of my only memories of my visit in 1994.
Parades are also scaled down. The few that have been on during our visit were just 2 floats and 2 sets of dancers long.
Holly and Oscar still loved watching them, it’s just a shame they aren’t the usual magical experience.
Magic Kingdoms fireworks are incredible. They are far more than just fireworks, it is an amazing show with theming, music and a whole story projected onto the castle.
However in the couple of hours leading up to the fireworks main street is CHAOS.
From 7pm they rope off ‘viewing areas’ and the parts either side become one way walkways. You are not allowed to stop (even to take photos) in these walk ways until they reopen after the fireworks.
You also are not allowed to sit down within the viewing areas (not even the little ones) and the cast members WILL be shouting at you to stand up.
The actual display is almost 20 minutes long so here is a small taster of what you can expect!
They are definitely worth the wait if you can manage staying away after a long day at the park.
Some Magic Kingdom FYI’s
On the speedway ride, when you come off you can purchase a ‘speedway drivers licence’ if you pay by note, there is no change given, so make sure you use as correct change as possible.
On the Dumbo ride take notice of the ride time displayed and not looking at the queue size as there are actually 2 queues. The first queue you go into a play area and are given a buzzer and once this goes off you then join the ride queue.
The buses for the hotels will also drop you off to the car parks, although this isn’t displayed on the schedules, just ask the driver before boarding.
I hope you have found all this information useful for The Magic Kingdom! Next up Animal Kingdom.
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