8 Rookie Mistakes People Make at the Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

While Disney veterans will picture personal favorites when thinking about Walt Disney World, Disney rookies will usually envision the Magic Kingdom. Cinderella Castle is one of Disney’s most recognizable icons, and rookies dream of the moment when they will see it for the first time. If you’ve never visited the park, it’s all too easy to make mistakes that will cost you time. Here are eight mistakes to avoid if you’ve never been to the most popular theme park in the world.

8. Not Learning the Park’s Layout

Many rookies do not realize exactly how big the Magic Kingdom is. They also do not know how easy it is to get from one land to another; if they’ve learned how to do it. If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, go online and study the maps of all the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom. Don’t assume that you’ll figure it out once you arrive. If you have a general idea of what is where and how to get there, you’ll save valuable time.

7. Not Using the App

The My Disney Experience App is a great tool for a day in the Magic Kingdom. You will be able to check Wait Times, read menus, make or change reservations, find characters, see your pictures, and more. You can even use the app to find the closest bathroom. The My Disney Experience App is free, and you will use it a lot. One thing that rookies may not know is that it is a bit of a battery drainer, so close it when you’re not using it.

6. Putting Off Making FastPass+ Reservations

FastPass+ is a free tool that will allow you to skip the standby lines for up to three attractions per day. If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World hotel you can make your reservations 60 days in advance, it’s 30 days for everyone else. Don’t put it off, because reservations for the most popular rides can go fast. At the Magic Kingdom the most important FastPass+ reservation is probably for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, those spots will be gone quickly. Peter Pan’s Flight is another ride that will often run out well in advance. Once you’re at the park and you’ve used all three of your selections, use the My Disney Experience App to make a fourth. You may not get something for the most popular rides, but it will be one less line that you need to wait in.

5. Ignoring the “Less Popular” Rides

Everyone knows about Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, and those rides will have long waits. If the Magic Kingdom is crowded, spend some time experiencing the “less popular” attractions. Many days you can ride Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, and Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in the same amount of time that you would wait in line to get on Space Mountain. If you’re looking for characters, head to the Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland. Pete’s Silly Sideshow features Goofy, Donald, Minnie, and Daisy, and the lines are usually a lot shorter than the line to meet Mickey at the front of the park.

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4. Forgetting to Make Dining Reservations

Dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance. Disney rookies might think that six months is a lot of time, and that they can put off making those reservations. Don’t wait, especially if you have your heart set on dining at either Be Our Guest Restaurant or Cinderella’s Royal Table. Those are two of the hardest to obtain reservations at Walt Disney World, and they will be gone months in advance. Rookies might think that if they don’t get the reservation that all hope is lost, but that’s not necessarily the case. If there’s a dining reservation that you want, keep checking back. People will cancel their reservations as plans change, so you still might be able to get the reservation that you hoped for.

3. Leaving too Early

A day at the Magic Kingdom will take a lot out of anyone, and it’s easy to decide to leave immediately after Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. If you want to see a little extra magic, hang back once the crowds start to thin out. Pick up some souvenirs or enjoy one last Mickey pretzel. Half an hour after the official close time there’s a treat that even some veterans don’t know about. It’s known as the Kiss Goodnight. There’s special lighting on Cinderella Castle, and music plays. An announcement is made, which thanks guests for visiting and wishes them a safe trip home. It’s a polite way of reminding everyone that the Magic Kingdom is closed and that it’s time to leave, but it’s also filled with pixie dust.

2. Missing the Welcome Show

The Magic Kingdom opens each day with style. Magic Kingdom Welcome Show is a must-see for Walt Disney World rookies. Mickey and the gang will ride in on the Walt Disney World Railroad and welcome the guests waiting below. It is made to get you excited for the day, and it will do just that! An added bonus is that you will then be able to enjoy the park when it will be least crowded, so once you’re in head to a popular ride that you don’t have a FastPass+ reservation for. The Magic Kingdom Welcome Show takes place about ten minutes before the park opens for the day. If there is an Extra Magic Hour the show will be held before that, not before it opens to the general public.

1. Stressing too Much

A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, but unfortunately Walt Disney World rookies will often put too much pressure on themselves, and the trip will become stressful instead. Don’t allow that to happen. You’re at The Most Magical Place on Earth! If the lines are long, enjoy the interactive queues. If you’re hot, ask for free ice water. If you get tired, watch Monsters Inc, Laugh Floor and sit down for a little while. If your kids want to wait 45 minutes to meet Mickey, do it. You will cherish those pictures for a lifetime. Enjoy your rookie day at the Magic Kingdom, instead of letting stress get the better of you.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.