Overall the Magic Kingdom is the best park for kids under 4 years old. It has the most rides, characters, and eating options for them. However, even some of the rides can be a bit dark or scary for young kiddos, so here are our top 5 rides for toddlers at the Magic Kingdom:
1. Peter Pan! - This is all time favorite ride at Disney World. With no heigh requirement, everyine can load up into a magical pirate ship and travel over London and Neverland and relive the story. This ride is also incredibly popular so the line queues can be crazy. I recommend either using a Fast Pass for this ride or heading to it first thing in the morning.
2. Winnie the Pooh - Winnie the Pooh ride has taken over what used to be Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Fantasyland. The ride travels with Pooh and his friends through a quick story/dream world in search of honey. The wait times arent terrible for this ride and the interactive queue and play area are always a big hit with the kids.
3. Dumbo - Always a classic! The Dumbo ride allows you to soar above the near Circus area of the Magic Kingdom. With 2 rides, the lines move faster than they used to and they also have integrated an indoor playground. I have trouble getting my kids out of the playground to get on the ride itself!
4. Under the Sea - Part of the new Fantasyland area uses classic Disney animatronics and great design to retell the story of the Littler Mermaid.
5. Teacups - The Mad Hatter's Tea Party with spinning Teacups is always a hit with the little ones as you can make it go as fast or as slow as you want. This ride has a very short line on most days so its also a great way to get a quick ride in when you might be having a child fed up with the lines and crowds.
If you have read pretty much any of my other posts, you know that I am pretty much food obsessed. This obsession does not go away when I get to Orlando. While Epcot is my number one park for culinary adventures, Magic Kingdom is NO SLOUCH!
Here are our Top 5 Snacks to be found in the Magic Kingdom:
Mickey Bar – A timeless delicious classic. Think vanilla ice cream delicately surrounded by the perfect proportion of dense, rich milk chocolate. My son’s all time favorites! Look for them at most Ice Cream Vending Stations.
Mickey Pretzel – Unlike most soft pretzels, these are made fresh and hot throughout the park. Shaped like whom else? MICKEY! They are doughy and salty and always hit the spot. These are sold throughout the park, but we always hit them up outside Fairytale Circus.
Dole Whip – This is one of my personal favorites. The smooth pineapple ice cream is a perfect refresher for a hot day. These can be found at Aloha Isle, but be prepared. These are super popular and so the line can be long, but so worth it! They also come in orange, vanilla, or swirled.
Mickey Cake Pop – Well really almost any of the delicious treats found inside the Big Top Tent or Main Street Confectionary are on this list, but for the adorable characters and portable size, the Cake Pops are a no brainer for me!
Fruit and Nutella Waffle – Sold exclusively at the Sleepy Hollow, these are a great snack or breakfast option. The waffle is warm and melts the Nutella to just the right temperature, and then the fruit give a fresh, sweet kick. Highly recommend grabbing one early in the morning before heading to your favorite rides!
What are some of your not-to-be-missed treats??
Cinderella may have only wanted a night off, but no one can deny her shoes made her outfit! Likewise what shoes you wear to theme parks can make the difference between comfort and tears at the end of a long day. So if you are like me and VALUE comfortable and cute shoes, check out our favorites:
(Note: glass slipper, while cute, seriously not functional...)
1. Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 Flip-Flop - While I normally am not a fan of thin flip-flops for long days at the parks, these are made out of a padded yoga-mat sole. They may not be what you want to wear if you are going to be at the Magic Kingdom from rope drop to the final firework, but these are a great, cool option of a morning in the park, or a day relaxing by the resort pool.
2. Sketchers Performance Go Walk 2 Flash Gym Walking Shoe - These are my number one suggestions for park goers! I have loved these since my first pair! They are much more flexible than a traditional sneaker, and now they too are made with yoga mats, so the footboard is super comfortable. I could wear these all day and still feel great walking back to my car!
3. Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars - These shoes are tremendously popular among the Disney crowd for two main reasons. One they are comfortable and provide a good support for a long park day, and Two, they come in so many cute colors they provide a great balance of style and function. If you are into "Disneybounding", this may be the perfect shoe for you!
4. JSport by Jambu - I first bought a pair of these for Disney World based on the recommendation of a friend and they definitely lived up to the hype! They were super supportive and comfy, but also provided a bit more style to the normal Sneaker option. I do recommend giving these a good 2-3 week break-in period when you first by them. But after that, you should be good to go!
5. Orthaheel by Vionic Tide Sequins - Don't let the name "Ortha" fool you! These are not for your grandmother, although she'd probably like them, too! These are the perfect sandal for dinner out at Epcot or at one of the resorts. The sequins give it just enough bling to mask the fact that its really an uber-comfy flip-flop!
I long for the days of Disney World when you would happen upon a character and grab the signature and photo without a prearranged spot it or it being announced on the Disney app. Well apparently, I am not alone! Disney has been making the random photo ops a thing again! They are also using rare characters as a huge draw to special events such as the Not So Scary Halloween Party. So to date, here are my favorite "rare" Disney characters and where we found them!
1. Captain Hook and Smee - While these two can be seen everyday in the parades, getting a photo of them can now only happen on the Pirates and Pals Voyage, which by the way is amazing. Tip: Ask to sit on the left side of the boat!
2. The Seven Drawfs - They too can be seen during the parades, but to get a photo with them, look for the long lines ahead of the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
3. Lotso - This guy is only ever seen as part of the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Watch out! He likes to hug!
4. Boo - Good luck getting a photo with Boo. I tried for 30 minutes! But she is a dancing character that would just not stop!
5. Br'er Fox - and Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Bear have begun making impromptu appearances near the exit of the Animal Kingdom. They are unannounced and unplanned - Just like when we were kids! Thrill of my day right there!
If there is one thing Epcot does well (and there are so many more than one!) it is SNACKS! Here are our top 5 snacks you can find in Epcot!
1. School Bread - Found in Norway in the World Showcase. A sweet, cardamom roll filled with creme and topped with coconut!
2. Brioce Ice Cream Sandwich - Found in France in the World Showcase. A warm brioche bun, filed with ice cream and sauce. Amazing!
3. Guacamole - Found in Mexico in the World Showcase. Just darn good guacamole!
4. Cannoli - Found in Italy in the World Showcase. They have ones outside at the cart and in the Wine Cellar. I love the Wine Cellar cannolis!
5. Cronuts! Croissant donuts are found in the Refreshment Port near the Canadian stop in the World Showcase. If you haven't tried these yet, what are you waiting for??
Did we mention your favorite? What did we miss?
1. Refillable Water Bottle – A bottle of water at Disney can cost around $2, but you are absolutely allowed to bring in your own water bottle and refill them with the free cups of water at the counter service restaurants or the water fountains. Staying hydrated is so key to spending a full day a park!
2. Cooling Towel – These small towels that cool when wet can be a life saver in the heat of day. Whether your have a hot toddler or a cranky husband, these are worth every penny!
3. Glow Sticks/Light Up Toys – Once the sun starts to set the street vendors with the bright glow toys and the spinning toys are EVERYWHERE. And every child wants one. Do yourself a favor and already have on handy in your bag.
4. Ponchos – In Florida a rain storm is to be expected at least once during your trip. Grab some ponchos from the Dollar Tree before you leave home. The ones in the park are usually about $6!
5. Apparel/Costumes – Inside the park these are going to cost major $$$. But if you scope out your local Wal-Marts, Targets, and even Etsy, you can grab Disney apparel and costumes for way less!
Sometimes the cost of souvenirs in the Disney parks can give some serious sticker shock. So if you are looking for alternative places to pick up a few things for the kids during your trip or maybe just need a bit of Disney magic while you're not on vacation, here are my top spots to look:
1. Kohls - Kohl's carries several Disney lines of clothing and toys! If you wait and catch their deals, they can be a real $ saver! I particularly like their line with Lauren Conrad which features a new Disney theme every season.
2.Dollar Tree - This is the perfect spot to find a few happies for your kids through their trip: tiny toys, washcloths, Disney crayons/markers.
3. Disney Character Outlet - There are two of these located near Orlando. They carry last season Disney merchandise, but really isn't Disney seasonless? We've have picked up some serious great loot including artwork for a fraction of the cost! (See my favorite find below!)
4. Walmart - Not everyone's favorite place to shop, but this is probably lowest cost place to find t-shirts and toys. The Walmart in Davenport Florida is stocked with Disney merchandise!
5. Ebay - If you are on the hunt for a particular character or collectible, this is definitely the go-to spot!
Here are this week's Quick 5!
Top 5 Reasons To Love Disney in September!
1. Low Crowds! - No brainer that since schools are in sessions, there are a LOT less crowds! Wait times for rides are so nice and short. (But be aware then that this is also when refurbishments might be scheduled and there are shorter operating hours...)
2. Fall Decorations Start Going Up - the Fall decorations at Disney World are spectacular! You don't even realize its still 90 degrees!
3. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - Starting September 2nd the Magic Kingdom hosts the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. It is one of the most fun experiences at Disney World. The rare characters are enough to get me there!
4. Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Beginning in Mid-September you can eat and drink your way around the world at over 30 kiosks in the World Showcase, not to mention the tons of special events such as Party for the Senses and Food Tastings.
5. Eat to Beat Concerts - Beginning at the same time as the Food and Wine Festival, Epcot's Eat to the Beat Concert will transport you to the 80s and a 90s and you won't even mind! In 2016 you can revisit classics by Wang Chung, Air Supply, Fuel, and Sugar Ray!
**Eat to the Beat Photo Courtesy of FLICKR user Sam Howzit
Here's my quick five for the week!
What to wear to the Magic Kingdom for a summer day!
1. T-shirt or Tank Top. Its hot. I highly recommend a lightweight, cotton tee! And there are so many cute disney options out there, so I always try to have a bit of fun with mine.
2. Shorts. Just comfortable shorts.
3. Hat and Sunglasses - With the summer sun beating down on your, make sure you have your sunglasses and a way to shield your face. You will be thankful for that sunburn you didn't get because of your hat.
4. Jewelry - Ok so I usually am a NO JEWELRY person at Disney. I don't like it getting sweaty and sunscreeny. That said, there are now so many cute Disney options for women that how can you not get in on the Disney fun?
5. COMFORTABLE SHOES. There was a whole Modern Family episode about this one! Don't wear the stilettos or clogs. Wear something that is supportive and will allow your feet to breathe. I love the sketcher go walks, but a good worn-in sneaker will do!
What's In Your Park Bag?
Here's my quick five for the week!
SO whats in my park bag?!?
1. MY BAG! - I don't mess around with purses if I'm at the parks (exception - date night at Epcot and then just a wristlet!)
2. Magic Bands - These are your lifelines! They are your tickets, your credit card, your identification if you loose your child, and for some they are their hotel room key. Don't forget these!
3. Sunglasses - Its sunny even in the winter in Florida. Bring your sunglasses!
4. Medicines - Every person's medicine bag will be a bit different. But I don't leave without some necessities that you don't want to chase down all over the Magic Kingdom.
5. Portable Battery - With the increased attachment and dependence on my cell phone for the My Experience App, checking wait times, looking for fast passes, and watching the weather, my cell phone battery dies SO FAST! This is the perfect answer!
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!