10 Helpful Tips To Remember When Visiting Disney World | Magic Kingdom

Blog, Travel

Being a Disney connoisseur and taking so many trips there over the years, I have gathered so many helpful insights along the way that I have used repeatedly. These tips always ensure a fun experience where you are able to make the most out of even the smallest of trips. Every park has different perks and ways to maneuver around the parks so today we’re focusing on the Magic Kingdom. I am sure that these tips can apply to all the Disney parks in general but MK is the park I have visited the most over the years.

Tip 1: Get There Early

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If you’re visiting Disney for a short trip, you’ll probably notice almost immediately that there is a million and one things to do while you’re there. From the rides, restaurants, countless shows, parades, and fireworks, you quickly realize that not all of these fun attractions can really be done in one day. And that’s a rational thought, for sure. The goal is to be able to do as much as you can in a fun free-spirited way. One of those ways is making sure you get there early! Thousands of people enter the Magic Kingdom every single day. Walking to and from your car is bound to take at least 2 hours out of your day so you want to account for this loss of time. Get there early, keep in mind the arriving and leaving times, and you’ll have so much time in between to do what you need to do.

Tip 2: Take The Other Monorail

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When you finally arrive at the Transportation & Ticket Center, Disney offers several modes of transportation that get you to the Magic Kingdom park. The most used mode of transportation is the main monorail track that takes you directly to the park. Unfortunately, the line is always so long you’ll find yourself waiting at least 20 minutes or more to just get onto the Monorail. You could always take the Boat Ferry and catch the sights of the Seven Seas Lagoon while you make your way into the park. Or, you could just take the Resort Monorail that also takes you directly to the park. It will make two small stops at the Deluxe Disney Resorts on the way, but it’s never jam-packed like the main monorail and it will get you there in no time!

Tip 3: Plan Your Fast Passes Ahead Of Time

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This is a crucial one. There’s a rough estimate of over 50,000 people or more who enter the Magic Kingdom park every day. Even with all of the different attractions to visit, that’s still a whole lot of people trying to get on the same rides your trying to get on. One thing people always forget to do is to plan out their fast passes ahead of time so wait times become something around an hour long and that’s just more valuable time being wasted standing in a line. Luckily, Disney has made it so that you can plan out your passes from your smartphone at any time for any day. Download the My Disney Experience app. There you’ll be able to set fast passes, reserve your spots at restaurants or hotels, see the wait times for rides, and find the map of the park you are visiting that day. It’s one of the most helpful tools Disney has placed at your fingertips and it’s key to making sure your day is planned perfectly.

Tip 4: Child Swap Is Your Best Friend

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This tip is specifically for visitors that have children that are too small to ride the attractions at the park. If you are using a fast pass or are just waiting in normal line, you can talk to the Disney Cast Member working the ride and ask for a Child Swap. They will most likely ask you if they can see your little one so that you can be approved to receive the ticket. Once you’ve proved you have a little one, you are handed a ticket for you and four other members of your party to ride the ride again.

Now the trick to this is that one person of your party does have to stay out with the little one (obviously) but when you get back from riding the ride, those using the child swap ticket can re-ride the ride and enter through the fast pass lane. If you’re using a fast pass for a ride that you are also using a child swap, you can use the fast pass lane two times in a row. The child swap tickets last a whole month so if you keep the tickets with you and are coming back to visit, you can use them later on.

Tip 5: Take Advantage During Parades

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Disney is always having some sort of show or parade going on. It happens quite often and large groups of people always gather to watch them so I always recommend using this time to take advantage and get to the rides you don’t have fast passes for or go eat food around these times. Think about it, thousands of Disney visitors will be watching these shows or parades and will not be waiting in lines or eating at restaurants. Lines will be significantly shorter and restaurants will be significantly empty. Take advantage, get to those rides, and get what can be done during these times. The Disney app give you parade times so you will have those handy when you need it.

Tip 6: Travel Light

Technically, this is rule number one in my book. I travel with my daughter so most of the time I find myself having to take items that are unavoidable because she’s still so little. But the goal is always to bring little to nothing with you. This is especially helpful when you are entering the park. They do bag checks and waiting in line for them to check everyone’s bag can take a pretty large chunk of your time. The more you bring, the more they have to look through. If it’s just me and my husband then we just bring our phones and our money. That’s it. You can breeze through the no bag line and get to the entrance quicker than everyone else. If you do take bags, you’ll find yourself constantly worried about what to do with them on rides. If you take strollers, you’ll find yourself constantly looking for parking spots. They have limited stroller parking stations and usually, they are filled up. So looking for a safe spot to park your stroller can take some time as well. Again, some things are unavoidable but if you don’t have to bring it, the best bet is that you shouldn’t.

Tip 7: Looking For A Break?


Stop by the hall of presidents or Country Bear Jamboree if you’re wanting to take a break after a large meal or just need to rest your feet. These are often the most overlooked attractions in the parks but you will be able to have a seat for a decent amount of time in an air conditioned room. That’s a win-win for taking breaks!

Tip 8: Watch The Fireworks Without The Crowd


During the Wishes firework show, the large crowds generally like to gather on Main Street to face the castle as the show is going on. Now while that may the most ideal spot to get a view of the fireworks, it’s also the most crowded. And by crowded I mean, shoulder to shoulder, invasion of personal space, too many people in one space kind of crowded. I stumbled across this tip accidentally while resting my feet. Fantasyland has a Pinocchio restaurant the has some outdoor seating. I didn’t realize the time and just so happened to catch Wishes as it was starting. You actually get a pretty up-close view of the fireworks. You’ll be starting at the back of the Cinderella castle but you’ll still get a chance to see what all the fuss is about while having a nice seat and very little crowding.

Tip 9: Extended Park Hours

Disney offers several perks for visitors staying in any of their Disney Resort locations. One of those very awesome perks is Extra Magic Hours. On select days, Disney decides to either open a few hours earlier or stay open a few hours after they “close”. If you aren’t staying in any of the Disney properties, there are a few tricks to this tip. Disney stays open at least an hour after their “closing time.” As the large crowds are making their way out of the park, you can still take some of the extra time to take advantage of visiting a few other attractions or even get your shopping in. You won’t be pressured to leave and you can spend a few extra minutes.

Tip 10: Plan Ahead & Don’t Over Plan

There are hundreds of attractions and sites to see at the Magic Kingdom alone and you are definitely not going to be able to see everything in one day or even on a small weekend. If you plan ahead, you’ll be able to map out all of the most important attractions you definitely want to visit. A lot of visitors think they have to fit a whole lot into their small vacation because it may be one of the only times you may be able to visit the Magic Kingdom or Disney World in general. Because of this, my advice is to remember not to over plan. The Magic Kingdom is at least a 107-acre property with a few miles of walking around. Factor in the time you’re waiting in lines and you will have yourself one very exhausting day. Over planning might just put a bigger strain on your magical fun filled day. Be realistic, keep it light, try some of these tips and tricks, and enjoy yourself. No matter how much you get to see, you will always get your days worth of fun!

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We hope you enjoyed these 6 Tips for visiting the Magic Kingdom. Comment below if you have any questions about your future trips to Disney and I’d be glad to help you out. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get regular updates on new blog posts! -URB

 

Gatlinburg, TN 2017

Blog, Travel

We recently took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee this year with a big group of friends. It was the first time my husband and I had ever taken a trip like this. We stayed in a cabin right by the mountains and got to experience so much of the life there in Tennessee. We rented it through Cabins For You and it was reasonably priced. They have several different cabin styles and locations to choose from throughout Tennessee.

Pictured Above: Our Cabin in Gatlinburg, TN

We went as a large group of 11, so a lot of our activities were divided. Sometimes with large groups, it can be difficult to keep organized to have time to actually get through all the plans in a smooth and peaceful way. Because of that, we decide to split ourselves off in groups so that we could do all the things we were looking forward to doing.

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Pictured Above: The Ski Slope at Ober Gatlinburg

The first event of our vacation was taking a trip to Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area. They have several activities to choose from. Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular attractions there. Even when it doesn’t snow, they make fake snow for you to still enjoy the fun of Ober. During our trip, we just missed most of the snow and didn’t get to see a whole lot of it while we were there unless it was piled up on the ground by the sidewalks.

There was a real cool option to ride a lift to the top of a mountain to see the views of the mountains at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It only cost $7.00. I was skeptical of riding it at first because I am terrified of heights and the lift looked so outdated to me. I was scared it wouldn’t hold us like they said it would. Regardless, I boarded with my husband anyways.

Pictured Above: The Lift We Took To The Top Of The Mountain at Ober Gatlinburg

I have to say, that might have been the best $7.00 I have ever spent. The view from the top was breathtaking. Coming from Florida, where the land is basically completely flat, this was a sight to behold. I couldn’t stop staring at it. My pictures did not do much justice to the views whatsoever. The blue color of the mountains and how they faded into lighter colors as they got further and further away was so beautiful. To be able to stand there and view just a small inkling of Gods great creation.

Pictured Above: The View From The Top Of The Lift At Ober Gatlinburg

When you get to the top, they have a photo area and a small concession shop for hot beverages. It gets so cold up there. And by cold, I mean frozen finger tips and frosty nose cold. After our trip to the top of the mountain, we decided to stop for some ice skating. I hadn’t ice skated in quite a few years so it was a bit of a challenge trying to relearn my ice balancing skills. I can safely say I made it out of there without falling on my butt!

Pictured Above: Our Group Ice Skating

After our time at Ober, we decided to grab some famous Tennessee BBQ. We stopped at a little joint by the side of the road called Hungry Bear BBQ. It was later in the evening so our group just so happened to be the only ones there. The service was fast and we all enjoyed ourselves very much! My husband and I ordered the brisket and pulled pork to share. They had a small selection of bbq sauce flavors to choose from placed on the tables and they even let us move their tables around to make one big table to fit our group.

Pictured Above: Hungry Bear BBQ and The Meal We Ordered

The next activity our group decided they wanted to go explore were some of the tourist spots in town. Downtown Gatlinburg has a large selection of shops and restaurants to choose from. They have everything ready in one large awesome spot for tourist to spend hours and hours of their day. For our group, it was so well worth it that we went back two days in a row to finish seeing all the sights we couldn’t get to. And even then, we weren’t able to completely see everything.

The biggest highlight of our vacation was their moonshine distilleries. Downtown Gatlinburg has several along the tourist strip. Each distillery offers $5 samples to try 12-15 samples of their delicious moonshine flavors. They put on a show and describe every flavor in detail for you. The plus side, you get a $5 off coupon to use in their store if you join one of their sample sessions. Big plus!

Pictured Above: The Three Moonshine Distilleries We Stopped At.

We circulated between three of the main distilleries there. Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, Sugarlands Distilling Co, and Doc Collier Moonshine. Each distillery different in their own unique way while still delivering high-quality flavors. You might even recognize some of them if you’ve ever watched the show, Moonshiners. If you’re ever in Gatlinburg, TN and want to try the moonshine crawl, I would definitely recommend this. They also had a few wineries to choose from.

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Pictured Above: Mellow Mushroom Pizza Restaurant Sign

We stopped at a place called Mellow Mushroom for dinner one of those days. They serve a large variety of unique pizzas with different toppings. Our waitress was super helpful and the food was great. This was another first for me and my husband.

On this trip, we also stopped to do some of the interactive activities they had available. Most of the attractions were hosted by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. We visited the Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies and saw so many unique sea creatures that you won’t generally find in an ordinary aquarium.

Pictured Above: Some Of The Exhibits From The Smokies Aquarium

They also had the coolest shark tank dome area where you feel as if you are underwater. Some of the sharks would lay directly on the glass. For us, it was a different experience that was so worth it.

Pictured Above: A Bottom View Of The Shark Dome Tank

My husband got to even pet jellyfish! Yes, I said pet. It was hilarious because this station is in the kiddie area and I couldn’t even go near them. It just gave me the willies thinking about having to put my hand in the same tank as jellyfish. It was most likely all mental, but I still couldn’t do it. My husband sure enjoyed himself, though!

Pictured Above: My Husband Petting Jelly Fish

The next attraction we took advantage of was the Ripleys Haunted Adventure. I know, you’re probably asking, “Who goes into a haunted house during the month of February?”. We do. Well, I do. It took so much convincing to get our group on board with this because I’m the only one who enjoys all things scary. Needless to say, my friends entertained me and join me for the adventure. I think this was one of the more funny moments on our trip.

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Pictured Above: Ripley’s Haunted Adventure Sign

It started off with a wandering haunted house character walking on the sidewalk in front of the attraction. I didn’t even notice him until he walked up behind me and made a hissing noise. I jumped out of my skin. From that moment, I knew it was going to be awesome. We went through the house and at the end, there is a part where you walk into a room and it opens into a big hallway leading to an elevator. None of us expected that someone was going to jump out and start chasing us with a chainsaw (fake of course), so this caused everyone to run full speed towards the elevator. My husband and I were in the back of the line with our group. He was at the very end, I was directly in front of him. I guess the momentum of everyone running for their “lives” got the better of me because I immediately tripped and fell! I couldn’t stop laughing. Poor guy working there was standing behind me with the chainsaw while my husband was trying to help me up. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get up from the ground, which made me laugh that much more. It was a blast!

Pictured Above: Zaxby’s, El Loco Burro, The Donut Friar

We went to a few other places to eat while we were there. Zaxby’s, which was a first for me because we don’t have them in Florida. A little shop called The Donut Friar, which was sweetly nestled in between several other shops. They are very tiny but their donuts were amazing. And a Mexican restaurant called El Loco Burro. We ate, and we ate well!

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Pictured Above: Me Standing On A Pile Of Snow

While on this trip, a big topic of discussion for what the group was wanting to experience in Tennessee was hiking. Dreaded hiking. Now, before you scoff at my pain-staking annoyance at hiking, you must understand that I am first and foremost a city girl. I don’t hike, I don’t do nature, I hate bugs and I stay far away from anything that may include snakes, bears, spiders, or alligators. I like being very comfortable so hiking is completely way out of my comfort zone. On our final day, the group decided to go hiking in the Great Smokey Mountains. There were some really cool parts to this outing. A lot of the views there were so beautiful; we got to see a lot more snow and even took part in my very first snowball fight.

Pictured Above: Our Views At The Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Then we got to the not so fun part. The actual hiking. Now, remember, when we visited Tennessee we had just missed the snow. So a lot of the snow had already melted by the time we got there. I wish we would have known this when we decided to take the Appalachian Hiking Trail. It’s one of the several hiking trails they have available to visitors at the Great Smokey Mountains. It was so muddy. The higher we got, the more mud there was. Our feet were sinking into the ground. Not to mention, this trail was a narrow walkway with a steep cliff drop right along the edge. Let’s just say this city girl was not having it. I made it about a quarter mile in and decided enough was enough. So my husband and I turned back around. The amount of mud caked onto my shoes was atrocious. For a city girl hiking for the very first time in the mountains, it wasn’t necessarily the experience everyone made it out to be.

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Pictured Above: The Appalachian Hiking Trail Sign

The last and final attraction we decided to try on our trip was in Pigeon Forge, TN. We drove into town to see what other sites we could see and stumbled upon the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. It was a neat experience. It’s a large museum that basically has every criminal in history, their stories, police crime-solving sections, weapons, and belongings owned by known criminals and so much more. There is a lot of reading that goes into each exhibit so it takes more than an hour to go through it all. There was so much to see. They even have a few interactive exhibits.

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Pictured Above: Alcatraz East Crime Museum

I think, generally speaking, this trip was a great success. I loved the city of Gatlinburg, TN and would visit there again. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to stay in Tennessee and sleep in a cabin like setting, check out Cabins For You. They are trustworthy and their properties are to die for. We had a straight on view of the mountains and it was a perfect sight to wake up to in the morning. It was a serene experience.

 

 

Some of the locations listed above:

  1. Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area – 1001 Parkway Suite 2, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)436-3138
  2. Mellow Mushroom – 903 Parkway Ste 103 in Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865)277-0600
  3. Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine – 903 Parkway Ole Smoky Holler, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)436-6995
  4. Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery – 519 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)325-1468
  5. Sugarlands Distilling Company – 805 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)325-1355
  6. Zaxby’s – 611 Parkway, The Mountain Mall, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)412-0800
  7. Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies – 88 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (888)240-1358
  8. Hungry Bear BBQ – 2263 E Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865)325-8048
  9. Donut Friar – 634 Parkway Suite 15, The Village, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)436-7306
  10. Loco Burro – 735 Parkway Suite 1, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)430-5626