It’s easy to feel instantly enchanted by the magic of the…well, Magic Kingdom in Disney World (clever name, eh?)!
But even in a place as perfect, happy, and MAGICAL as this, it’s surprisingly easy to make mistakes! We are willing to bet you’ve made a few of these yourself (hey — so have we!).
Even though you’re on vacation in the Most Magical Place on Earth doesn’t mean everything will be picture-perfect! The good news? Making the wrong moves in Magic Kingdom WON’T ruin your trip!
The thing is, though, by avoiding a few faux pas, you’ll be able to maximize your fantasy trip and have the BEST time possible! Here’s everything you’re doing wrong (SRY!) at Magic Kingdom:
Buying Minnie Ears From the WRONG Place
It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying ALL your Magic Kingdom merch from The Emporium. After all, it’s front-and-center as the first main shop you see on Main Street, U.S.A.! It is all but screaming at you “Come in here! We have all sorts of cool things to buy!”
We’ve got a tip for you, though: the Emporium is NOT the best place to buy your Minnie Ears! Or most souvenirs in general, TBH. First of all, it’s often CRAZY crowded. Secondly, they don’t always have the best selection of ears!
Our recommendation? Box Office Gifts! You’ll find a HUGE selection of headwear and embroidery over at Box Office Gifts now that the Main Street Confectionery took over the former of The Chapeau. Box Office Gifts is located at the Town Square Theater. Right as you walk into Magic Kingdom on the right, this will be your first larger shopping location.
Inside of Box Office Gifts now you’ll find TONS of Disney ears. Some stores might only have a handful of each design, but we’ve found that Box Office Gifts tends to generally have a plentiful amount of each design they carry. You’ll walk past this store even before you hit the Emporium, so you can get your ears even sooner than you might have otherwise.
We’ve also lucked out with great ear finds at Star Traders, Bwana Bob’s, Fantasy Faire, Tomorrowland Light & Power Co., Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar, and Frontier Trading Post, so you’ve got LOTS of non-Emporium options!
Doing the Holidays Wrong
With its fantastical decorations and themed sweets, it’s super easy to get swept up by the Christmas magic during the holiday season at Magic Kingdom! If you REALLY want to do it right, though, we’ve got some pointers.
It’s helpful to note that Christmas at Disney World lasts much longer than those final few dates in December. In fact, the holiday season usually kicks off in early November and continues through early January!
Visiting in November (before the holiday season really ramps up in the rest of the world!) is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the merry season without those notorious holiday crowds!
Another thing to avoid: over-planning! This is a good rule of thumb year-round, but it’s especially pertinent during the holidays! Since holiday crowds are typically some of the biggest crowds we see in Disney World ALL YEAR, you should keep your itinerary as light as possible — i.e. just plan on your top few rides and attractions.
With crowds expecting to look more “normal” this holiday season (meaning: BUSY!), it’s wise to manage your expectations to ensure a happy and successful Christmas trip to Disney World!
Mobile Ordering at the Wrong Time
Think about it: you’re wandering around Fantasyland at lunchtime, you feel the pangs of hunger, and the irresistible urge for Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots. We’ve all been there.
But don’t wait until the unstoppable urge sets in to place a Mobile Order! In fact, ordering food from one of Magic Kingdom’s Mobile Order options during peak mealtime is a surefire way to ensure you wind up angry! Why? Cause EVERYONE else is doing the same thing! That means pick-up times will get snatched up for popular times and you’ll be left waiting and HANGRY.
There are some easy ways to strategize and plan, in order to time your order and pick up your food with minimal wait time. For instance, our top tip is to open your My Disney Experience app a couple hours before you actually want to eat, and pull up your Mobile Order menu of choice.
By scheduling a pickup spot earlier in the day, we’re talking as soon as you wake up, you’ll better ensure you don’t wind up waiting for an hour or more to eat when you’re already starving!
We also like to hit the “Prepare My Order” button in advance as well, when we first start walking to the restaurant. This way, it gives the kitchen time to get a head start on our order, and there’s a better chance it’s actually ready when we arrive! Don’t go overboard on this one though — like, actually be within a reasonable distance of the location first!
Dining in the Wrong Room at Be Our Guest
Snagging a coveted reservation for Be Our Guest is quite the accomplishment — congrats! But it isn’t always exactly a perfect experience for everyone… .
You’ve likely been checking for reservations for weeks at this point, so you’d obviously want to guarantee your Be Our Guest experience is as magical and perfect as possible, right?!
With three different rooms, it’s pretty important to try and pick the room that you’ll feel the most comfortable in, and that won’t ruin your overall experience. The food and overall experience are the same regardless of where you sit but each room has its pros and cons.
For instance, the flashy Grand Ballroom is breathtaking, but the cavernous space can also be QUITE loud! To the point where you might have a hard time hearing your server, especially through a face mask. Plus, a LOT of guests are here specifically to snag pictures of the ballroom. Depending on where you’re seated (ahem, by the snowy windows, especially!), you might have guests meandering around you taking photos while you dine.
Then there’s the West Wing, which is cool and all, but can be somewhat frightening in all its darkness and flashing lightning (young children might get spooked by this). Not to mention it’s annoyingly difficult to get a good photo! The Enchanted Rose is in this room though, which is really neat to see. But again, if you get a table next to it, you’ll have a lot of foot traffic snapping pics.
The Castle Gallery might be your best bet since it’s the quietest and most relaxed. Sure, it’s the least themed, but if loud noises and flashing lights are gonna be bothersome, it’s totally worthwhile! This is arguably the most “plain” room here though, so if you’re looking to really experience this restaurant, you might feel let down to get placed in here.
It all depends on which vibe you’re after, though! While it’s not always possible to get your room of choice, you CAN request a specific space to sit in, and sometimes a Cast Member can accommodate.
Dining at Tony’s Town Square (Sorry Tony)
Let’s be brutally honest, though: dining in ANY room at Be Our Guest is likely bound to be better than dining at Tony’s Town Square. Sorry, we know it has its fans but, in our experience, it’s just not a great dining option compared to other spots nearby.
Hear us out. We love a Lady & the Tramp theme as much as the next Disney fan, and we LOVE a cute plate of spaghetti and meatballs, but there’s a level of basic happening at this Main Street restaurant that we just CAN’T with.
Sure, the atmosphere is lovely and the patio offers great parade views (the front and center location at the start of Main Street, U.S.A. is GREAT), but the food is nothing to write home about. From the Focaccia Bread with Herbed Olive Oil to the Caprese, there’s a common theme that everything is just…fine.
When you’re in Disney World, you can do a lot better than fine, so spend your money and your appetite at any number of other AMAZING Magic Kingdom restaurants!
Looking for Alcohol
If you’re Park Hopping to Magic Kingdom from literally any other park, you might come with the expectation that, like the others, Magic Kingdom sells booze. (There’s certainly no shortage of it elsewhere in Disney World!!) LOL!
For decades, Magic Kingdom was a COMPLETELY dry park, meaning it didn’t sell alcohol anywhere in the park. This finally changed in 2012, when Be Our Guest became the first dining location in the park to offer alcohol (beer and wine) on its menu.
Since then, more Table Service restaurants started offering it, but these are still the ONLY settings where you can get limited selections of alcoholic drinks. Even so many years later, you can still only find select beer, wine, and possibly wine-centric cocktails (Mimosas and Sangrias, often). If you’re jonesing for a marg, you might want to wait til you’re in EPCOT!
It’s a far cry from a park like EPCOT, where alcohol is in abundance and they literally host months-long Food & Wine Festivals, so when you visit Magic Kingdom, don’t come expecting ready access to whimsical cocktails or boozy Dole Whip! You’ll need to head elsewhere for that.
Not Being Strategic About Park Pass Reservations
Here’s an issue that’s only going to get more pivotal as we near the holidays: Disney now uses a Park Pass Reservation System, requiring guests to select which park they’ll visit on a certain day ahead of time. Some times of the year, this is no biggie and you can often find all parks available in the days leading up to your visit. But for busier times of the year or whenever something special is going on, it can be booked up solid!
So what if you waited too long to get that Magic Kingdom park pass and now they’re sold out? If there are days before you plan to hit the park, continue to check Park Pass availability regularly. Disney often replenishes passes once days have filled up! We’ve seen passes added sporadically here and there so it’s definitely worth checking! (But totally don’t rely on that happening and wait too long to book your passes!) BUT, if you waited and just can’t get in, don’t fret.
If your ticket has park hopping capabilities, at 2PM you’ll be able to hop over to any park you like! Parks CAN hit capacity but, in our experience, it shouldn’t be an issue. The only day we’ve experienced so far that a park was closed to hopping was Magic Kingdom on the 50th Anniversary! You’ll also want to consistently check park hours because sometimes those can change too! We’ve seen many instances where Disney extends park hours with little notice, which will give you a little extra time in the park (YAY!).
The next time you plan a trip to Magic Kingdom, avoid these mistakes to ensure your trip is as MAGICAL as can be!
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What has been your biggest Magic Kingdom mistake? Let us know in the comments!