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Old 12-19-2013, 09:24 PM   #106
PlutoTheDog89
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 285

POA: Magic Kingdom Part 3

POA: Magic Kingdom Part 3

Park: Disney's Magic Kingdom
Opened: October 1st, 1971
Interesting Fact: Inside the upper levels of Cinderella's Castle is an apartment that Walt Disney intended to use when he and his family were in Florida. It was left unfinished when he died, until Disney announced in 2006 that it would be turned into a deluxe suite, which is awarded randomly to a family every day. It comes complete with 24-karat gold tile floors and a "magic mirror" that turns into a television
Areas:
- Main Street, USA
- Adventureland
- Frontierland
- Fantasyland
- Tomorrow Land
Top Ride(s):
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Not only is Magic Kingdom the most popular park at Walt Disney World, but also the most popular park in the world. Magic Kingdom is set up with a wagon-wheel design, anchored by Cinderella’s Castle.

Magic Kingdom is one of the most popular parks in the world. People come from all over the world to see the famous castle. While the other three parks are very popular, there is a certain magic feeling you get when entering Magic Kingdom. You can't help but smile. Add to that the Christmas decorations and cheer and you have an experience that you will never forget.

Dealing with the Crowds

With Christmas being a peak time at Disney World, crowd levels are incredibly high. While parks like EPCOT "absorb" crowds well, Magic Kingdom does not. Main Street can become very congested during crowded times, making it hard to move around and giving you a "claustrophobic" feeling. Once you get past Main Street, it opens up a bit. The problem is that Main Street is the entrance to the park. It is also the best place to view fireworks, parades and street shows. Whereas EPCOT may have many great locations to view Illuminations, and Fantasmic is "off the beaten path" at DHS, many people flock to Main Street for parades and the Wishes firework show. When entering or exiting the park during a parade, it can be nearly impossible to get past Main Street.

Main Street Christmas Night:





One of the main ways to get past this (and my first tip) is to utilize the train. There is a railroad that goes around Magic Kingdom, stopping in each land and area. The main train station is at the entrance to the park. If there is a parade or show taking place when you enter the park, hop on the train and take it to Adventureland or whichever area you desire. If you are trying to leave the park, hop on the train and take it to Main Street.

Magic Kingdom is rare when it comes to rides. If I ask you the top rides at DHS, you'll quickly say "Toy Story" or "Tower of Terror" or "Rock 'n' Roller coaster!" At EPCOT, you'd say "Soarin" or "Test Track". If I ask you about Magic Kingdom, it would really depend on who I am asking. I would tell you that the three Mountains are the most popular - Space, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash. Some people may tell you the Haunted Mansion, others will tell you Small World, and some will go with Dumbo. At Magic Kingdom, there are a number of popular thrill rides, a number of popular classics, and a bunch of cult-followings. On any given day, you can wait nearly an hour for any of them! During Christmas - you may even wait close to two hours!

Here's a quick breakdown of the most popular rides by genre

Thrill
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain

Classics
- Small World
- Dumbo

Cult Followings
- Peter Pan
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Jungle Cruise
- Haunted Mansion

Between 11am and around 4pm, the park sees its highest crowds. By 11am, it begins to get noticeably crowded. During the afternoon, Space Mountain's wait time can be as long as 90-120 minutes. BTMRR usually tops out around 60-70 minutes, but I've seen it around 90. Rides like Peter Pan and Pooh also get very crowded, with wait times of an hour or more. The Jungle Cruise gets up to about an hour, and Pirates has been as high as 120 minutes. You get the point. It gets crowded and the wait times become astronomical.

As a result, I'd recommend getting to the park very early - as close to Rope Drop as possible. This year, Magic Kingdom has morning EMH. Last Christmas, the park opened at 8am for EMH and Rope Drop was at 9am. Getting to the park that early is difficult, but worth it. We told ourselves last year that we would make EMH. We got there for 8:45am but still had a great time.

Getting there at 8:45am, we saw that Space Mountain had a 20 minute wait. My sister and I sent our parents to secure FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear. After we rode Space Mountain, the park was officially opened. It was around 9:10am. Space Mountain was then around a 30-40 minute wait. Buzz was around 30 minutes, but we had a FP. We grabbed a cinnamon bun from Main Street Bakery and watched the morning castle show. We rode Buzz around 9:45am, then ran over to Thunder Mountain. By 11am, we had been on Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Thunder Mountain, and enjoyed a cinnamon bun. Around 11am, we rode Small World. We went to go check out Fantasyland. At this point, the park was becoming very crowded. By 12pm, the line for Small World extended all the way to the Haunted Mansion. For those that have not been to the park - Small World is a continuous-load ride. The wait barely ever gets over 30-40 minutes. For the line to be that long, the wait time must have been around 60-90 minutes!

We left the park, went back to the hotel to relax, got dinner, then returned to the park later that night. Later that night, Magic Kingdom was still pretty packed. The park was open until around 1am that night, and it the crowded started to thin out after the Holiday Wishes fireworks show.

The biggest night for Magic Kingdom is usually the Friday after Christmas. This year, that Friday is December 27th. This is usually Magic Kingdom's latest night for EMH. The park stays open to the public until 1am. Extra Magic Hours go from 1am to 3am. You will notice around 11pm that crowds will decrease following the fireworks, but most people will hang around until 12:30am - 1am. Last year, it rained on this Friday. When I say rain, I mean it was a downpour. We had scheduled a carriage ride at Fort Wilderness and actually ended it early due to the rain. When we got back to the hotel, my parents wanted to stay in and stay dry. We checked the weather and saw that it would only be raining another hour or so. So, my sister and I boarded the bus and were at Magic Kingdom by 11pm. The park was empty due to the rain. By 1am, it felt like we had the park to ourselves. We rode Barnstormer about seven times, walked on Big Thunder Mountain about two or three times, and had great photo opportunities as the park was dead.

Magic Kingdom Late Night. Some pictures of Magic Kingdom around 2am after a night of rain:





It may be a little different this year if it does not rain. Crowd levels may be a bit higher come 1am. But, many young families head back to the hotel early and many people call it a day by park close. I would definitely recommend sleeping in this day and trying to pull a late night. Any time we have stayed at Magic Kingdom until after 2am, it has been worth it. At 2am in Magic Kingdom , there's a really eery and fun feeling seeing and hearing how empty and quiet the park is - especially having been in the park when you feel like a sardine!

Christmas Attractions

During Christmas week at Disney, there are a few awesome Christmas attractions at Magic Kingdom. My favorite is the snow on Main Street. In sixty-degree weather, it's a lot of fun. There's holiday music playing, and seeing the fake snow come down on Main Street makes you feel like you're in a movie. On a cold December night, on the other hand, it just feels mocking.

There is also a Christmas-themed parade that runs during the afternoon in which there is Christmas music and the characters all wear Christmas-themed costumes. I believe this is the same (if not, similar) parade to the one that runs during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I believe it runs around noon and 3pm.

Holiday Wishes is a spin on the normal Wishes fireworks show. It has a holiday theme and features holiday music. It is synced with graphics on the castle as well, making it really cool to watch. Before Wishes, there is a castle show in which high-powered lights display graphics on the castle - making the castle appear as a gingerbread house, wrapped present, etc. This is awesome. For a tech nerd like me, I love to watch this. The best place to watch Wishes is from Main Street. This is not an "insider" tip. You must get to Main Street about an hour or longer before the show. You don't have to "reserve" a spot, just get there. Do some shopping, eat at the confectionary, or just sit on the curb and enjoy people-watching. If you do not make your way to Main Street, it will be near impossible to get there. It gets so crowded in front of the castle and on Main Street that it becomes impossible to walk around. After the show, jump in a store and do some shopping until the crowd clears out. Trying to walk through the crowd is like trying to swim against current. It will get you nowhere.

Another great location is the bridge near Tomorrowland, although the CMs have become a lot stricter and try to keep the bride clear. However, I do believe they let one "level" of people stand on the bride. The rest is roped off to foot traffic. There is also an area between Tomorrowland Terrace and Tomorrowland. Some of the area is blocked by trees and again, they try to keep this area open.

Behind the castle is good as well. They rope off a lot of this area for safety reasons, but by the carousel is a solid viewing area. The only problem with this area is that you will not see the whole show. Many of the fireworks are fired from behind the park. In order to see the entire show and not keep looking behind you, you should try and stay in front of the castle.

Of course, Magic Kingdom features a themed Christmas tree like its counterparts. The castle is also decorated in icicle lights, and Main Street is decked in wreaths and bows.

Choosing rides for your FP+ depends on what you prefer. A majority of the popular rides will encounter long wait times, so there is really no “wrong” choice. We chose Space Mountain, Buzz, and Big Thunder Mountain one day, and Pirates, Thunder Mountain, and Peter Pan another.

To close, I’ll leave you with a few tips:

- Get to MK early and take advantage of the short wait times.

- Wait to see Fantasyland at off-peak times. With Fantasyland being new, there is a certain novelty. People flock there. Between peak times, it will be packed . Head there first thing in the morning, or later at night.

- Going with the last point – treat Be Our Guest as an attraction. There’s a reason why you can FP+ this. Until the Seven Dwarfs coaster opens, this is the most popular attraction in the most popular area in the most popular park. You get the point. If you plan on using a Quick Service here, get here early!

- Use EMH to your advantage. This goes for all the parks – but for MK especially. Morning EMH are your friend – especially on Christmas Day. We brave it out and go to Magic Kingdom every Christmas day. Maybe families are up early opening gifts, or maybe they are sleeping in, but it is always much less crowded early in the morning.

- Use the parades and fireworks to your advantage. If you’ve seen Wishes once, that’s enough. During the next showing or parade (or next time you’re in the park), head to the main rides during Wishes. The lines will be shorter.

If I think of more tips, I will add them! As always, if you have any questions, go ahead and ask. We’re in the final countdown, people!

Posts to come:

- Weather Forecast and updates

- New Years Eve

- Final Tips!
__________________
23 year old Disney lover. My parents began bringing my sister and me at a very young age and I fell in love with everything Disney.

Next Trip: Christmas
12/24/12 - 1/1/13

Previous Trips:

3/29/12 - 4/1/12: Wedding for family friend
A Short trip, but a memorable and enjoyable one! Played golf in Disney for the first time! A very non-traditional trip, but a fun one!

12/24/10 - 1/1/11: Christmas
[I] Our Second Christmas. We drove down to Florida. I had a broken foot, so I got everywhere via EMV. My mom got sick, then my sister, then I was sick for NYE. Missed the parks on NYE day, but I champed it out for NYE at DHS [I]

12/24/09 - 1/1/10 Christmas
[I] Our first Christmas spent in Disney. We took Amtrak down (never again). I fought a cold all Christmas, but fought through it to enjoy. [I]

Summer of 2007: We went following my High School graduation. Fun trip but it was scorching hot!

The one or two other times previous to this, but the dates don't stick out in my mind.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:57 AM   #107
PlutoTheDog89
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 285

New Year's Eve Tips

New Year's Eve Tips

New Year’s Eve is always bittersweet for me. It’s the time when I start to think about the past year and my goals for the next year. It’s also the dreaded day of our trip. It’s the day where we all look up and say “is it over already?” We leave on New Year’s Day, so NYE is our last night at the parks.

Typically, we wake up later on NYE Day – around 10am. Last year, the weather was gorgeous. We woke up to weather in the 60s and it was bright and sunny outside – not a cloud in the sky! This was also bittersweet. It had been a bit chilly the past few days, and this weather was the first of a few 70+ degree days according to the forecast.

We woke up, threw on some jeans or shorts and a t-shirt and decided to go to the Boardwalk Bakery for brunch. My mom said how easy it would be to take a bus to EPCOT, then walk to the back and walk to the Boardwalk. We were sorely mistaken. It took about a half an hour to get to EPCOT. When we finally arrived, there was an incredibly long line for bag check. They had opened up an area where people staying on-site could go through bag check, but quickly closed it – to the anger of many people (not because they closed it, but because it was disorganized and led to many people waiting even longer.)

EPCOT around 11am on NYE Day


When we finally got into the park, there was wall-to-wall people. It was impossible to move. Word had gotten around that MK was actually at capacity (around 12pm) but those rumors start up every year. When we finally got to Boardwalk, it was really nice. We ordered and sat out on the water to eat.

There’s no way around it, NYE day and night is the most crowded day at Disney for Christmas week and possibly the year. It’s more crowded than Christmas Eve and Christmas day, by far. There is a heavy increase in traffic and as you arrive to EPCOT, you quickly realize that the parking lots are packed and people actually park on the grass.

Disney is New York’s time square. Not only do you have a heavy increase of tourists during the Christmas season, but many people from the area flock to Disney to celebrate the new year. Because of this, New Year’s Eve has a Time Square effect – many people arriving very early in the morning to reserve their “spot”, and staying through midnight. For the most part, Disney handles the crowds well and does everything in its power to make sure all guests share a nice experience.

Here’s some tips and info for NYE:

- Disney World has a contract with an outside bus company on the night before, and night of NYE. They send the buses to the parks for those wishing to hop, as well as larger hotels. It really comes in handy and helps, as the buses hit an increase in traffic and there are a lot more people heading to the parks.

- Magic Kingdom does a “dress rehearsal” NYE show December 30th. Magic Kingdom sees the highest crowd level on NYE. Many people can either not get into the park, or avoid it due to the high crowd levels. Well, MK does the same exact show the night before. There is a DJ that plays music throughout the park. There’s something about the music that brings out the crazy in people – people dancing up and down Main Street is really fun to watch. I believe MK does Holiday Wishes and the castle show, then the DJ plays, and there is a countdown at 11:59. It’s definitely something to check out if you don’t plan on going to MK for the real thing!

- Parks closing is over-hyped. There’s always a rumor about Magic Kingdom closing due to capacity on NYE day. It may close, it may not. But, my family always goes to DHS around 8 or 9pm and we never have a problem getting into the park. Now, DHS is one of the less-crowded parks on NYE. The two most crowded parks are, obviously, Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. I can’t make guarantees that you will get into the parks if you go late, however, this leads to my next recommendation:

- Avoid the parks during the daytime. It’s way too packed. As a result, it is not enjoyable whatsoever. Ride wait times are astronomical - Soarin' has a wait time of 2+ hours, TestTrack is around 1.5 hours, and the lines for quick service and even the bathrooms are long. There are people everywhere, making it difficult to move around. At Magic Kingdom, they actually open portions of backstage along Main Street. I believe you may "leave" the park from behind MSB, then re-enter around Tomorrowland. They do this to maintain traffic along Main Street, as it gets incredibly congested. In EPCOT, I believe they open up behind France or Italy to allow additional space for people to move around.

- If you are worried about the parks closing and get there early, do not expect much. If you are arriving at the park early in the day, do not expect this to be a "ride day". I feel like many people head to the parks on this day and are disappointed when they can not get on any rides. Tailor your expectations and enjoy it for what it is.

- It's not all bad. At Magic Kingdom on 12/30, there's a sort of "witching hour". I call it the "Mousing Hour" in which the Disney magic kicks in. You won't notice it right away, but it's around the time the DJ starts playing songs. Suddenly, the park turns from a really crowded park into a really gigantic party. I've heard the same about EPCOT on NYE. If you can brave the crowds and make it to around 8pm, the park turns into an all-out party. I have heard that EPCOT is the best party, with DJs in China and Future World.

- My last and most helpful tip: This tip is mainly for December 30th and 31st, when crowds are at their highest. Many people will look to hop parks and be greeted with GIGANTIC lines for buses. I remember one year we wanted to go from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT. The line for the bus from DHS to EPCOT was about three buses-worth long. The line for the ferry was also incredibly long. One little-known fact is that you can take the bus from DHS to the Disney Transportation Center. From there, you can take the monorail to MK or EPCOT. We were able to get on the first bus to the DTC and cut about a half hour off of our trip. This can also work in the reverse (monorail to DTC, bus to DHS).
__________________
23 year old Disney lover. My parents began bringing my sister and me at a very young age and I fell in love with everything Disney.

Next Trip: Christmas
12/24/12 - 1/1/13

Previous Trips:

3/29/12 - 4/1/12: Wedding for family friend
A Short trip, but a memorable and enjoyable one! Played golf in Disney for the first time! A very non-traditional trip, but a fun one!

12/24/10 - 1/1/11: Christmas
[I] Our Second Christmas. We drove down to Florida. I had a broken foot, so I got everywhere via EMV. My mom got sick, then my sister, then I was sick for NYE. Missed the parks on NYE day, but I champed it out for NYE at DHS [I]

12/24/09 - 1/1/10 Christmas
[I] Our first Christmas spent in Disney. We took Amtrak down (never again). I fought a cold all Christmas, but fought through it to enjoy. [I]

Summer of 2007: We went following my High School graduation. Fun trip but it was scorching hot!

The one or two other times previous to this, but the dates don't stick out in my mind.
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:41 PM   #108
PlutoTheDog89
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Posts: 285

Projected Weather Forecast

If you have been following the weather down in Disney, you know that the last two weeks have been gorgeous - mid 70s to mid 80s, sunny, and warm. That unfortunately ends today. There is a storm rolling in, and with it, colder weather. I have been keeping tabs on different sites. Weather.com seems to be projecting rain the entire week. Weather.gov seems a bit more optimistic. I'm gonna go with weather.gov and Accuweather's extended forecast for two reasons: 1) because it's more optimistic and 2) because it's easy to say it's going to rain. But, it's dry season in Florida. I find it hard to believe it's going to rain every day.

Tuesday, December 24th:
Day: High of 66 with a 40% chance of rain
Night: Low of 45 - wind gusts as high as 25mph.
My tip: Dress warm. I know for some people 45 does not sound bad. For others, it's tropical. But, Disney is surrounded by water and Florida is incredibly humid. On days where it does not go over 70 degrees and there is not much sun, it's going to be a cold and damp night.

Wednesday, December 25th:
Day: High of 73, mostly sunny. Slight chance of rain, wind ~10-15 mph
Night: Low of 56, mostly cloudy, slight chance of rain.
My tip: How to dress in the daytime is a judgement call. I'll probably opt for jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, maybe a windbreaker depending on how cool the wind feels. Last year, there was a low in the mid-50s on Christmas Eve and NYE. It was gorgeous at night. I remember looking at the weather on my phone and the temp was ~63. If it's sunny most of the day, I have a feeling it'll be nice at night. Jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, layered with a hoodie or a sweater will do the trick!

Thursday, December 26th:
Day: High near 71, mostly cloudy, slight chance of rain.
Night: Mostly cloud, low around 55
My tip: You may have to dress a little warmer than you did on Christmas Day. It may reach the same temps, but if it is cloudy you will feel a bit chillier. On the flip side, it may feel warm and muggy. It'll be a judgement call the day-of. If it is not sunny during the day, it's going to feel chillier at night. While a hoodie will be optional the prior night, it will most likely be necessary this night.

Friday, December 27th:
Day: High near 71, mostly cloudy
Night: Low around 53, mostly cloudy
Tip: Similar to the previous day. If you're doing the MK EMH, dress warm! It'll be cold in the wee-hours of the night!

Saturday, December 28th:
Day: High near 73, partly sunny
Night: Low around 55, mostly cloudy
Tip: This may wind up being the nicest day of the week!

Sunday, December 29th:
Day: High around 70, mixed sun and clouds
Night: Low 53, cloudy
Tip: Depending on how much sun we get during the day, it could either be chilly or nice at night.

Monday, December 30th:
Day: High around 71, decreasing clouds
Night: Low 42, clear
Tip: Bundle up at night!

Tuesday, December 31st:
Day: High of 69, sunny
Night: Low of 43
Tip: Going to be a cooler day and chilly night. Hopefully the amount of people in the park will produce some body heat!

Again, this can change on literally a daily basis. Let's hope a warm front rolls in to close out the trip - because the past few NYE at Disney have been pretty nice and mild!
__________________
23 year old Disney lover. My parents began bringing my sister and me at a very young age and I fell in love with everything Disney.

Next Trip: Christmas
12/24/12 - 1/1/13

Previous Trips:

3/29/12 - 4/1/12: Wedding for family friend
A Short trip, but a memorable and enjoyable one! Played golf in Disney for the first time! A very non-traditional trip, but a fun one!

12/24/10 - 1/1/11: Christmas
[I] Our Second Christmas. We drove down to Florida. I had a broken foot, so I got everywhere via EMV. My mom got sick, then my sister, then I was sick for NYE. Missed the parks on NYE day, but I champed it out for NYE at DHS [I]

12/24/09 - 1/1/10 Christmas
[I] Our first Christmas spent in Disney. We took Amtrak down (never again). I fought a cold all Christmas, but fought through it to enjoy. [I]

Summer of 2007: We went following my High School graduation. Fun trip but it was scorching hot!

The one or two other times previous to this, but the dates don't stick out in my mind.
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:14 AM   #109
shelby3hearts
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I know the weather is give or take during this time. I'm from IL so I thought it was warm but the workers were wearing winter jackets
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:04 AM   #110
chesirecatgirl
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thanks for the tips guys!!!!!!!
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:25 AM   #111
WDWRids
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Marking my spot to come back and read all of your great tips, etc. We are planning a trip for Dec 7-14. First time ever during the Christmas holiday and so excited to see Disney decorated for Christmas.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:50 PM   #112
TwinkleKS
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We just finished our first Disney Christmas and plan to go back next year!
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:59 PM   #113
fuzzy164
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When do the Parks get decorated for Xmas ?

I hope this is the right forum to ask this question. We are planing to be at WDW Nov 9-14 2014 and were hoping the Christmas decorations would be up.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:17 PM   #114
babybartione
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Thanks for the tips and tricks. We had 4 days the 24-27 and by getting there when the park opened and using your FP tips we were able to ride almost everything and see all the shows. Thanks again
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