9 Things I Learned On My First Trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom

A few weeks ago, I escaped the cold Chicago temps and headed to Orlando for Spring Break! All of my sisters are high school teachers and for the first time in years, all of our Spring Breaks aligned. This meant we could ALL get away together! Of course, we had to take advantage… making sure to bring our parents, hubbies, and little ones along too!

magic kingdom castle and travel tips

It was amazing to spend the week together, but the highlight of my trip was spending ONE day at the Magic Kingdom (which I felt was plenty since Ben is so young). I’m so clueless when it comes to all things Disney and relied solely on my sister’s research and plans for all of it.

I literally did NOTHING to prepare except show up, and it was glorious. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that if you’re traveling without a “leader”. Disney is expensive and a few tips and tricks can go a long way in helping you make the most of your time there. Here are the few “tips and tricks” I learned throughout the day. My hope is that these very rookie Magic Kingdom tips will help other newbies prep for their trip to Disney.

My Best Magic Kingdom Tips9 tips for visiting Disney's magic kingdom in Orlando, Florida

Disclaimer: I had zero expectations for the day mostly because Ben is young and I was just “along for the ride” with the larger group. And if I’m being completely honest, I’m not super into Disney. I was mainly excited to see the property and enjoy the sunshine. But as it turns out, the day turned out to be pretty magical. I got some requests on InstaStories to share my thoughts… especially on taking such a young child to Disney. And although I am NOT an expert by any means (the exact opposite actually), here are 9 Magic Kingdom tips.

1. Go to Rope Drop

Rope drop is a small “show” outside of the castle to signify the park is opening for the day. Mickey, Minnie, and friends come out and put on this show outside of the gorgeous castle and then the rope drops, which means guests can officially enter all parts of the park. We did this and I’m SO glad that we did because it was easily one of my favorite parts of the day.

It was the least crowded part of the day and the grounds of the castle were stunning. This was also the time where we got the best photos of Ben in front of the castle because it wasn’t as crowded. But in order to get to rope drop via the parking lot, make sure you allow at least an hour to commute over on the monorail or the ferry. That way you have plenty of time to enjoy Main Street and the grounds before the “big opening”.

2. Bring Anything You Wanthelpful tips for visiting disney

Call me naive, but I was shocked to find out that you can bring in just about anything you want. Sunscreen, food, non-alcoholic drinks, clothes, strollers… literally anything! Because we had strollers, we were able to stock them with ALL THE THINGS. I highly recommend bringing anything you want so you don’t have to buy it, especially for the little ones.

3. Little Kids + Pregnant Women Can Go On Almost Every Ridedisney tips and tricks

Maybe this is obvious to the Disney lovers tuning in, but I had no idea that most of the rides at Disney are safe for little kids and pregnant women. I guess I was expecting more intense roller coasters (more like a 6 Flags Great America?!) but that’s not the case! I was 32 weeks pregnant and I could go on almost all of the rides. Ben is only a year and we had my nephew with us who is 4 months old, and they too rode on almost every ride the group did.

4. Make Reservations If You Want A Sit Down Mealwalt disney world tips

This is where my sister’s pre-planning was SUPER helpful. If you want to sit down and eat in the Magic Kingdom for any meal, you NEED to make a reservation in advance. The places are booked solid, so if you don’t plan in advance, you are left eating from the many kiosks throughout the park. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the kiosks have pretty amazing snacks, but it’s something you should know in advance. Or you could avoid all of it and just bring your own food in!

5. Bring A Portable Chargerdisney tips for newbies

If you want to take ALL the photos, use your Disney App to navigate the park, or text the group to keep tabs on each other, I would suggest packing a portable phone charger so your phone is charged throughout the entire day/night. I did not see any charging stations throughout the park. I’m not saying they’re not available, but they definitely weren’t accessible everywhere like an airport. Having a portable charger will give you peace of mind and ensure you don’t get lost… and you don’t miss out on those precious photos!

6. But Don’t Forget to UNPLUG traveling to the magic kingdom

But as much as I don’t want you to be left with a dead phone, I also think it’s SO, SO important to consciously unplug and take in the moment. Pictures are great, but sometimes being present in the moment is far more valuable. Don’t let the day slip away because your head is buried in your phone. I made a specific effort to do this and enjoyed my time so much because of it!

7. Wear Comfy Shoeswalt disney world tips and tricks

Comfort over fashion all the way! You’ll be on your feet almost all day and you’ll put in a lot of mileage so comfy shoes are an absolute must. I wore my new blush sneakers and they were perfect (& stylish!).

8. Make Realistic Goalsfirst time disney travelers

I think this is why we had such a great day at Disney. Going for the first time with a one-year-old who naps twice a day and goes to bed by 6:00 pm meant I had no expectations for our trip. Anything was going to be a “win” for me.

I think the day can quickly become stressful, or even overwhelming, when you make an unrealistic “to-do list” of all the things you want to accomplish. However, I see why people do this, especially after spending so much money to go. Do what you can to resist the temptation to do all the things and focus on a few that are most important to you. Then if you have time for the extra stuff, it will be icing on the cake. And if you don’t have time to get to these other things, you won’t be disappointed or angry. I know, I know…. this is much easier said than done. But I did want to mention this tip because I think it can make the difference between a magical day and a stressful one.

9. Stay For Fireworks!Disney's Magic Kingdom Tips for a Great Trip

My last piece of advice, and possibly my most valuable, is to stay for the fireworks. I’m a stickler for Ben’s bedtime (he’s never stayed up passed it!!) but Matt and I decided that we would stay until the fireworks since we were only going to Disney for one day (and we drove with the group).

Although Ben fell asleep in his stroller, I’m so glad that we stayed because the light show on the castle, paired with the amazing firework show behind the castle, was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m typically not a “fireworks person” but wow, I was blown away. The show was pretty magical. If you have the opportunity to stay late for the show, it’s worth it!

I know none of these Magic Kingdom tips are groundbreaking, especially for the Disney experts tuning in! But for my fellow rookies planning their first trip to Disney, I hope these simple Magic Kingdom tips help make your day more enjoyable (and less stressful). Happy planning!!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.