If I learned anything during my six months as a Professional Intern at Walt Disney World, it was how to spend a night at the parks. It became a near-nightly ritual to run home from work at 5:00 PM, grab a quick sandwich, and be in Magic Kingdom’s bag check line by 5:45 PM. From then, the night was mine–from my favorite nighttime attractions to post-Wishes Mickey Bars and everything in between. So whether you’re a local passholder looking for a magical hiatus from your weekday routine or a park hopper trying to catch Wishes, here’s the guide to your ultimate evening at Magic Kingdom!
Grab those FastPass+ Selections
Fire up your My Disney Experience app and grab those FastPass+ Selections at the beginning of the day, if not earlier! Try to make your selections for time slots before Wishes; That’s when the park is most crowded. My favorite nighttime trifecta: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion.
Magic Kingdom’s bag check can get pretty sticky during peak season, especially around 5:00-6:00 PM when many people are trying to get back into the parks after an afternoon break. If you can, ditch the bag and just bring the necessities (credit card, phone, wallet, MagicBand, etc.) so you can stick to the middle lane and cruise by bag check. You’ll only be in the parks for a few hours, so no need to go all out with a full park bag.
Walt Disney World and the Christmas Season. It just doesn’t get any more magical than that. I absolutely love this time of year as the Disney World Parks and Resorts begin to deck their halls and debut their annual holiday events and roll out new festive merchandise, it sort of helps me to kick off my own holiday preparations. One way to prep for the upcoming holiday is to take a few moments to drop by the Magic Kingdom or the Santa Chalet at Disney Springs to let the kids, and yourself, tell Santa what’s on your wish list. This tradition got me thinking… If I could, what would I ask Walt Disney World to get me for Christmas? If you will, indulge with me in a little bit of Christmas fantasy as I fill out My Disney World Christmas Wish List!
Bring Back the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – Of all the holiday entertainment at Walt Disney World, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is my personal favorite. I love the fake snow, the music and carols, the looks on everyone’s faces as they take in the lights, and the fact that it’s free with park admission! So as you can imagine, I was pretty much crushed when I heard that this is the last year for the Osborne Lights, yet I’m just as thrilled about the new developments coming to Hollywood Studios such as Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. At this point, I’m holding onto a hope that Disney may move the Osborne Lights to another location at Walt Disney World. An announcement confirming my hopes is most definitely on my Christmas Wish List this year.
Whenever I’m at Walt Disney World, I’m all about taking advantage of every valuable minute so I can squeeze as much magic and memories as possible. Unfortunately, there are number of factors and obstacles that tend to zap some of my valuable vacation time, ranging from long wait times for my favorite attraction to having to wait for buses. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years for how to better maximize my time in the magic, and today I’m letting you in on a few of the best in My Top 10 Disney World Time Savers.
10. Strategize Your FastPass+ Reservations – FastPass+ is all about saving guests time in line, but to truly maximize the service some strategy is necessary. For starters, do NOT book a FastPass+ for a show. Typically — although there are exceptions on especially busy days — FastPass+ does not get you into a show any quicker as you have to wait for the show ahead of you to end. By that time, the standby crowd has already caught up to those who used the service. In addition, the theaters for the shows at the parks are huge and almost everyone can secure themselves a great seat even without a FastPass+. What I’ve learned is to save those FastPass+ reservation slots for attractions. Secondly, don’t book a FastPass+ reservation for a time within the first two hours of park opening. Even on busy days, most attractions are walk-ons within that first hour and lengthy lines don’t really form until about two hours into the day. One of the best time saving strategies of all is to arrive at the park for rope-drop and then ride the most popular attractions first, saving FastPass+ reservation slots for the attractions you want to ride or re-ride in the afternoon or evening or for another park you plan to visit later in the day.
Looking for a unique way to experience Wishes at Walt Disney World? Consider taking part in the all new Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise. Beginning October 5, Guests will be able to experience Wishes fireworks spectacular in an exclusive spot from the Seven Seas Lagoon via the iconic double stack ferryboat, the General Joe Potter.
The cruise will set sail from the Transportation and Ticket Center’s ferryboat dock one hour prior to Wishes and will allow Guests to enjoy specialty desserts and beverages such as such as “The Grand” key lime tart; pineapple upside down cake from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort; spiced flourless chocolate cake from Disney’s Contemporary Resort; “Main Street” Mickey Balloon Tarts; mini “fireworks” cupcakes with a pop; Cinderella’s Sugar Slipper with Orange Financier; no-sugar-added Florida mango panna cotta; and a fruit and cheese spread. Guests will also get to toast the evening with specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages served in souvenir glow glasses. The evening will conclude with a viewing of Wishes nighttime spectacular (or special holiday fireworks on event evenings) from the unique vantage point on the water. The music will also be pipped in for Guest’s enjoyment.
This is pre-paid experience will be offered on select days and will cost $99 per person for ages 10+ and $69 for ages 3-9 plus tax and gratuity. Discounts do not apply. Advance reservations can be made online at www.disneyworld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
Summer is here, and by now hopefully everyone has had a chance to enjoy a fireworks display. I got a chance to enjoy the fireworks in a small Colorado town on the 4th of July. My friends’ house had a great view of the town’s fireworks display from their back deck, so all we had to do was sit down and enjoy!
I did notice that something was missing. While the display was an impressive sight and had a variety of fireworks, there wasn’t really any plan to the show. One shot went up. BOOM! Another shot went up. BOOM! Oh – here’s a change of pace – two going off at the same time! BOOM BOOM! The only time the show really ratcheted it up was at the end, when the sky was smothered with all of the fireworks they had left.
Was your viewing of fireworks the same as mine? Did you feel like it was missing…well…a little Disney magic?
Hi everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re starting off with some changes to the Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. If you’ve tried it before, you’re probably used to the ancient flip phones used to play the game. This week those were upgraded, and it has definitely made the game more popular. They actually aren’t distributing phones in Future World anymore to help keep up with demand. Even with that change I had to stop at two different locations before finding an available phone to play with! I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait in the past.
Here’s a look at the new graphics in action. You can really see that the upgrade made a huge difference. However, Disney hasn’t done a great job locking down the phones. My husband was out of the game and playing with other phone features in a minute flat. They’ve actually put a sticker over the camera lens rather than locking down that feature. I imagine this is going to cause some problems down the road.
Last week I visited Epcot to find out if IllumiNations is worth your FastPass+. This week I thought I’d share some information about the Wishes FastPass+ viewing. Obviously, this is one of the hottest FastPass+ options in all four parks, often not even showing available 30 days in advance. The viewing location is in the Rose Garden and gives guests enough room to comfortably spread out and sit in the grass. If you’re lucky enough to score this viewing spot, then you’ll be able to also watch Celebrate The Magic from here. Without a doubt this option will get you the best view while waiting the least amount of time for the show.
However, if you check out the photo to the left you can see the view from the Rose Garden is slightly obstructed and off to one side. I’m not saying this is a bad view at all, but I don’t know that it’s worth tying up your 3rd FastPass+ all day long. What if I told you there was a less popular FastPass+ that would give you an even better view?
It’s been a while since I’ve taken you guys with me on one of my after work weeknight adventures and I thought we were due for a few magical hours in the Magic Kingdom. Taking a look at the photo below you can tell the crowds certainly haven’t cleared out from Easter yet! I was worried we wouldn’t get the most out of the night because it was so busy. But I managed to snag some great FastPass+ times that I’m excited to tell you about! Unfortunately, if you take a look at the clock in the photo below you’ll see that I was going to be late for my first FastPass+ reservation that expired at 6:45pm. Eek! Let’s hurry!
Luckily, even though I was a solid 10 minutes late for my appointment with the Haunted Mansion they let us through with no issue. I’ve heard you can be up to 15 minutes late for a FastPass+ and 5 minutes early without getting into trouble. I’m glad they let us in because I was able to get this photo of the grave digger. He’s still a little out of focus but this is the closest I’ve gotten to a decent photo of him. He’s sort of my white whale of photography!! 😉