Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom opened on 1st October 1971 and its layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland Park, CA. It is represented by Cinderella Castle, which is a replica of the fairytale castle from the 1950 film. To maximise the experience of Magic Kingdom you need enthusiasm and a comfortable pair of shoes - there is a lot to cram in to one day. I suggest one full day and then half a day to do the rides you missed and stay for the fireworks at night.

There are 6 main areas - Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Each "land" has a couple of big rides plus smaller attractions, with a bit of food and souveniers thrown in as well. Expect lots of walking or hop on the railroad if it is going the right way for you and expect queues, even with FASTPASS in operations. In 2012, the park hosted 17.54 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the world that year but when you do the maths, that is on average 48,054 guest per day.

Disney cleverly disguises the queue lengths but provide shade, fans and air conditioning where possible and unless you use FastPass you will certainly have to queue for rides - some just a 10 minute wait others up to an hour or more on holidays. The FastPass system has recently changed so you can now pre book up to 3 rides on the system - ok if you are in one park but if you have a hopper ticket and want to visit another park this limits you. Please note that FastPass has recently changed, make sure you know what you can and can't do.

It takes on average 30 minutes to get from your car in the parking lot via the tram, boat or monorail to the gates of the Magic Kingdom. Head to the Tip Board on Main Street which posts the latest information on queue length and show times, with maps available from Guest Services.

Main Street - once you enter the park through the turnstile and bag search you are on Main Street - a busy assortment of shops selling Disney paraphernalia - don't shop now unless you want to buy Mickey Ear to wear for the day, do it later on your way out or at Downtown Disney.If you are staying at a Disney hotel, shop and have it delivered to your room later in the day. Straight ahead of you is the Castle - great photo opportunity here, stand by the roundabout (roatary). The castle is a stunning 189 feet palace which is in fact a shell, you can just walk through it. Good to use if you loose your bearings so make it a meeting place. Behind you to the left is the Railroad station - it travels clockwise so hop on here if you want to ride Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain when you first arrive - it is faster than walking and there is a station between the two rides to hop off.

Frontierland - the big rides here are Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain - both height restricted >102cm and both FastPass. Ride these first when you arrive. Splash Mountain as its name suggests can be wet, a gentle ride in a bayou following a cute Br'er Rabbit storyline and a 52 foot drop down the waterfall. Thunder Mountain is riding a runaway train through the goldrush in 3 minutes. Apart from eating places the only other points of interest are Tom Sawyer island to explore and the Country Bear animatronics Jamboree.

Adventureland next - head for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, a classic boat ride past realistic robots through pirate infested waters including Jack Sparrow - a 9 minute cruise with a small water fall at the end - be warned it is in the dark and scary for younger riders. The queue can be deceptively long if you join the queue outside expect about 1 hour wait through the winding queue inside the attraction. The Magic Carpet of Aladdin is not height restricted and takes 4 passengers per carpet on a ride over the bazaar. You control whether your carpet flies high or low - watch out for spitting camels though ! Jungle Cruise is a slow ride in a boat with an over enthusiastic Captain - guaranteed entertainment and a good chance to rest your tired feet.

Tomorrowland - quite a lot of rides to do here - maybe a good time to do it when the afternoon parade is on - Space Mountain height restricted >112cm blast off in a rocket in the dark for a thrill ride - blinking lights and climb a 180 foot high mountain - if you go up it only means you have to come down - feel the effect of gravity - maybe not good on a full stomach. Speedway lets you put the pedal to the metal in a hotrod around a minature motorway. Astro Orbitors lets you pilot your own spaceship above Tomorrowland. The Tomorrowland Transit is a breezy 10 minute outdoor ride for younger guests, on a moving tram giving you a behind the scenes look at Tomorrowland. Buzz Lightyear's Ranger Spin is a big hit with young and old - its up to you to manoeuver the space cruiser through the neon lit gamma quadrant firing with a laser cannon to score points to become a Galactic hero. Monster's Inc Laughter Floor is a recent addition in the form of an interactive comedy show. Text your favourite joke before the show starts and it could be included in the show.Beware they may pick on you in the audience and have a laugh at your expense. Finally Stitch's Great Escape height restriction >95cm FastPass - a mischievious monster wreaks havoc on the theatre audience - hearing, feeling and smelling experience!

Fantasyland - this is the land for the younger guests, no big rides here but lots to do. Mickey's PhilharMagic is an excellent enchanting 12 minute 3D theatre journey set to classic Disney soundtacks. Peter Pan's Flight lets you fly into the moonlit sky with Peter Pan aboard the galleon descending back to Never Land. It's A Small World lets you sail on the happiest cruise ever as you set sail along the Seven Seaways Waterway on a 10-minute journey. Under the Sea Journey lets you relive the tale about a lucky mermaid finding true love whilst you take a ride on a giant clam shell. Enchanted Tales with Belle is a story telling experience. Prince Charming Carousel - prince or princesses can command their prancing horses. Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, enjoy a gentle ride in a giant honey pot with Pooh looking for honey, for a change. Get dizzy on the spinning Mad Hatter Teacup ride - a must for all ages. Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride allows you to fly high - there are two sets of rotating flying elephants, flying in opposite directions.

Finally Liberty Square has the Hall of Presidents - more educational than a ride, enjoy an original film showing the dramatic story of the USA. Then see a very special display, as the curtain rises to reveal each and every US President, together for the very first time. Very patriotic. Next onto Liberty Square River Boats - a scenic 17 minute or half a mile trip aboard Liberty Belle around Sawyer Island. You can get off the boat and explore the island if you wish. Haunted Mansion - climb on a gloom doom buggy for a journey through haunted chambers - guaranteed to send chills up your spine. Not a good choice for younger guests if they are easily scared.

Don't forget the Parades - times are issued on the daily Map which also shows the parade route. Want to know the best place to stand for the Parade and Fireworks ? Shhh it's a secret ... contact me and I will tell you :o)