Magic Kingdom Welcome Ceremony

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One of the best parts of waking up in the morning when you’re at Walt Disney World is the excitement of it.  There you are just moments away from the fun.  Of course, you’ve got to get up, get dressed, maybe eat.  Coffee?  And then somehow you make your way to the park.  If you’re using a Touring Plan, and it’s not designed for a late arrival, then you’re on your way to the park before it opens.

Now, if that park happens to be the Magic Kingdom, then you’re in for a treat.  Every day at the Magic Kingdom is designed around the park’s motto of being “The Most Magical Place On Earth”.  And you get that warm (okay I get it, it’s Florida), happy feeling right from the very start of your day there with the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show.

No matter how you get there (boat, bus, walking, monorail), when you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, just proceed right through the turnstiles as soon as possible.  The show can be seen anywhere from the boat docs to the train station, but past the turnstiles is prime viewing.  It will also allow for you to make your way into the park swiftly after the show is over and “rope drop” occurs.  Find a spot you like, but generally I prefer to either be right in front of the train station or off to the right so that the sun is at my back and not dulling my vision.

At about 10 minutes before the park opens (e.g., 8:50 AM on a day when the park opens at 9:00 AM) the festivities will start.  The show starts with an introduction to Magic Kingdom by the Citizens of Main Street, U.S.A. My favorite is the Mayor, who is truly one of the most genuine and nice people I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking with.  I’ve also seen it introduced by the First Lady of Main Street, as well as other castmembers, and even once by one of the dancing couples.

Oh yes, did I mention there was dancing?  Once the introduction is complete, a cadre of the Citizens come out and start singing and dancing to the song “Good Morning” from the 1939 Busby Berkeley film musical Babes in Arms (later revived in 1952 for Singin’ in the Rain).  This song is just one of those toe tapping rhythms that you can’t help but hum along and dance to.  It really is the perfect way to get you pumped for a day in the Magic Kingdom. (note: independent testers have confirmed that even this number is incapable of overcoming “it’s a small world“)

But, that’s not all.  As the song winds down, another one begins with the sound of the Walt Disney World Railroad’s whistle.  We’re then regaled with the famous lyrics of the “Casey Junior” from the movie Dumbo as the Railroad pulls into the Main Street U.S.A. Station.  On board you’ll find a cast of Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and some of the Princesses, as well as the “Family of the Day”.  This is a family that is often hand picked by castmembers from some of the earliest arrivals to the park, but can also be pre-chosen for various reasons.

Once the train has pulled to a halt and everyone has gotten disembarked to the to the tune of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the movie Song of the South.  When the music completes, the family is introduced to both Mickey Mouse and the audience.  Then it’s time to do what everyone has been waiting for: open Magic Kingdom.  The Citizen who introduced the Magic Kingdom to us earlier will, along with Mickey and the “Family of the Day”, lead us in a countdown from 10 down to 0.  There will be some brief fireworks and the “Family of the Day” will launch some streamers down into the audience – in the past this was various forms of “Pixie Dust”.  The castmembers will then let people enter Main Street and start their day at the Magic Kingdom.

The last time I saw the Welcome Ceremony was with my very good friend Amy and her family.  And she summed up why it’s such a great way to start the day over in her blog post about it.  It’s a point where everyone is at their best for Magic Kingdom.  People’s attitudes are fresh, and folks are generally cheery because they’ve not yet hit the crankiness that tends to creep in in the afternoon.  As she put it, “just miles of smiles”.  I can’t agree more, the excitement created by this ceremony is palpable and completely enjoyable.  And a must see.

What about you? Have you seen the Welcome Ceremony?  Do you like it?  Hate it?  Avoid it?  Must see it every day you’re there?  Good morning, everybody!

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Posted on June 30, 2011

41 Responses to “Magic Kingdom Welcome Ceremony”

  • Not only do I love the ceremony….but I was lucky enough to be “family of the day”!!! Awesome!!!

    • Wow! Cool! So can you explain the process some?

      • I just came home from our family Disney Vacation. We were lucky enough to be chosen to be the “First Family” on Monday. There isn’t any process to be chosen. I just happened to get to the park too early with my family (arrived before 8am and the park didn’t open until 9 am. oops.).

        They asked us backstage, gave us a tour on the fire engine of main street USA, we met the cast of the performance back stage and took pictures and then we were part of the show. A professional disney photographer is snapping pictures of your family from the crowd and they give you access to all of those photos on your photopass account.

        It was a thrill and I still can’t believe it was our family that was chosen.

  • by Tricia Furman on June 30, 2011, at 12:07 pm EDT

    I LOVE this ceremony! It is one of my favorite “must do” things in the Magic Kingdom! I cry every time.

  • by Steven Bassett on June 30, 2011, at 12:12 pm EDT

    I will admit… this is one of the best “magical moments” that exists at the Magic Kingdom. It is the first chapter of the story to me, and I tear up each time.

    Great post!

  • I have never seen the ceremony, in fact, didn’t even know about it until earlier this year. We are planning a trip in October and it is definately on our list of “must do’s” this year!

  • This ceremony brought a tear to my eye. Classic Disney style and a can’t-miss for anyone going to Magic Kingdom. If you’re not an early riser, become one for this one day!

  • We just saw the ceremony and loved it but be warned. The volume is nearly deafening. My sister’s phone has a decimeter app and it registered over 90 which is akin to standing 5 feet from industrial machinery.

  • We got to experience it last week! However, it is important to stand in a place where you will actually be able to see it. We went through the turnstiles and headed to the right. We were standing right up front pretty near the little store where they sell sunscreen, etc. and we couldn’t see a thing. (We were standing there because we had an infant with us and wanted to be in the shade!) It was still magical though!

    • Yes. That’s why I was saying either stand in the center or off the the right. I’d also not stand past the tree that’s there. You only really need to be right up at the arch if you’re doing a really packed or intense plan.

  • This is so worth waking up early for! I cannot recommend it enough for those of us “kids” who truly love the magic. If you think its cheesy, sleep in or stand right by the entrances to beat the rush. As a bonus, you also get to enjoy cooler temps and a far less busy time in the park!

    And really… Now that you woke up early and managed to finish half the park by noon you can go enjoy an afternoon nap!

  • I love this show! It totally caught me by surprise in February (we’re just naturally early risers who love getting to the parks early) as I had no idea it existed. I have to say it brought a tear to my eye! To look out at all the kids and their amazing smiles at seeing all the characters and just the anticipation of spending the whole day at the most magical place on earth! *sigh* Just another reason to love Disney!

  • The MK Welcome Ceremony is by far the best possible way to start the day. Absolutely love it.

  • We experienced this ceremony for the first time one week ago. It was an emotional experience for my wife and I as well. We bad been with a big group earlier in the week and this was our first day to make rope drop. The ceremony as well as the short lines helped make my wife a believer in rope drop and we were also at rope drop for Epcot and DHS over the days that followed.

  • Last time I was at MK for the opening ceremony, I was SO early that I was in the front of the herd to get in the park and I couldn’t see the show bc I was shoved underneath the overhang by the turnstiles. So if seeing the show is really important, in this case, it’s not best to be first!

  • We were just there and saw this on June 11th. We were following a plan so got there early, maybe too early. We were through the turnstiles by 8am. But maybe it was good as the area quickly filled up as it was busy that day. It was also HOT, even that early, so by the time the ceremony started, we were already getting cranky :) It was a great show and we were glad we were able to see it. It was my 4th visit and my wife’s 6th and we had never seen it. After the hour wait, we were just ready to get in though.

    • Heh, and then a mad rush for Dumbo or Peter Pan?

      I generally try to get there (through the turnstile) by 8:30am on a 9am opening. 8am would have been a bit much even for me. Note: this means parking no later than 8:10am.

      • Dumbo! Glad we did too as the wait was short. Have a 6yo and a 15yo so the kids and Mom went to Dumbo and I went back to get Space Mtn. fast passes! Awesome advice in the book. We were exuberant that day on our time. It was the first of 4 days, we were up and fed and ready to go, so we went :) We did Peter Pan after Dumbo, only about a 15 minute wait, later in the day it was over an hour so we are glad we got there at opening and followed a plan.

  • Fab. I’ve now downloaded the song so I can use it as my alarm clock. 8:o)

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE the welcome ceremony at Magic Kingdom–tears me up every time. The last trip we were there, heading in right after the ceremony we were right next to a little girl in a stroller–2 to 3 years old. She was literally shivering with excitement and saying “I’m sooo excited–I love Disney” while clasping her little hands together–never seen anything so sweet before or since…good times!!!

  • Thank you for this article. This opening ceremony is the BEST! Even though we are headed for a day of fun, the early mornings before a park visit can be stressful (getting kids ready, making sure we don’t forget bags and cameras, lugging strollers)…so when we get through the turnstile and get our place on the brick wall we can breath a sigh of relief…and then the show starts…and the excitement begins…and all the morning rushing around is forgotten. The ceremony is a wonderful way to start a day of touring!!!! It gets us is Disney-mode and my family wouldn’t miss it!

  • Oh I just love watching the welcome show. Since I usually go to the parks by myself I’ll make friends with a family or two around me and watch the show with them instead of having them shove themselves to the front of the rope-drop crowd. I love seeing the kids’ eyes light up!!

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