After choosing where to stay, next up on our agenda was deciding which parks we would visit and on what days, because that would affect where we would make dining reservations while there. After hours and hours of research, I got the hint – You could spend days at Magic Kingdom and still possibly not do everything! Since we were only going to be there for 4 park days and 2 travel days, and we didn’t want to have anything scheduled for our arrival day, we had to choose wisely.
Magic Kingdom was a given. The dilemma was choosing between Epcot and Animal Kingdom. We did not want to get park hoppers this go round. Park hoppers let you do just that, hop between that parks whenever you please. Being that this was my husbands first time back at disney since he was a kid, my first time since I was 22, and the first time ever for Johanna, we wanted to take it easy and just do 1 park a day.
Epcot seemed like a really grown up park. There are countries, and lots of food and drinks to try. Limited on the rides. On the other hand, animal kingdom seemed *to us* like more of a safari or really big zoo with entertainment and attractions. I know people love animal kingdom, but personally, I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend a whole day there. Don’t get me wrong, Johanna loves animals! But we have a fantastic free national zoo in our backyard, and an animal park. I know for a fact that she would’ve been over the animals and just want to get on rides. I had read very mixed reviews about the rides there, so we scratched animal kingdom off of our list. Finally we had ours days figured out
- Monday – Travel Day/Disney Springs
- Tuesday – Magic Kingdom
- Wednesday – Hollywood Studios
- Thursday – Back to Magic Kingdom for the Princesses birthday!
- Friday – Epcot
- Saturday – Early Travel Day
In Hindsight, we would’ve done 4 park days, and 3 resort days tacked on 2 more days to our trip, and our schedule would’ve looked more like this:
- Monday – Travel Day/Resort Day
- Tuesday Magic Kingdom
- Wednesday – Resort Day/Disney Springs
- Thursday – Magic Kingdom
- Friday – Epcot
- Saturday – Hollywood Studios
- Sunday – Late Travel Day/Resort Day
So here’s how it went. First up, Magic Kingdom!
Magic Kingdom (MK) was our absolute favorite park! We actually could’ve used a 3rd day there! The first day was all about trying to see what kind of rides Johanna liked. She had never been to an amusement park before, so this was her first time getting on real rides. Our first ride, and worse ride, was the tea cup ride. Man, let me tell you! If you are no longer in your 20s, you should probably skip the ride lol. I was absolutely miserable coming off of that thing! But Johanna of course loved it. Oh to be a kid again.
I won’t make this longer than it has to be by telling you every single ride that we went on, but I will tell you our favorites, and favorite activities.
- 7 Dwarfs Mine Train: This wasn’t Johanna’s favorite rollercoaster, but it was her favorite! She went on Tuesday and then twice on Thursday!
- Enchanted Tales with Belle: This is a MUST do for your princess loving ladies. Not only do they get to see Belle, but they get to play a part in her story time by being a cast member! Even my husband got a part. And they offer a part to anyone that wants to be apart of it. Johanna was too scared of the talking Wardrobe to go up and get a part, but since her daddy was chosen for one, they let her go up with him at the end of the performance to meet Belle!
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Peter Pan’s Flight – Surprisingly amazing. We were flying! In the dark with great scenes. Awesome!
- Astro Orbiter
- People Mover – It’s actually a very cool, laid back ride. Especially go if you are tired and need a break.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – More on this later this week, but if you have a princess, just do it! No regrets.
- Crystal Palace – I’ll talk about this in my dining post, but evenif you don’t fancy Pooh and friends, go, at least for breakfast!
- Talking Mickey – you can find him just as you come in at the Town Square Theatre on Main Street
- Incredibles Super Dance Party
- Move it, shake it, dance and play it street party
- Festival of fantasy parade
- Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
- Once Upon a Time – Stay for this, even if you don’t want to stick around for wishes (fireworks). It was Amazing! And felt downright magical!
We were there 2 days and Still only did maybe half the things you can do at MK. Johanna road her first rollercoaster at Magic Kingdom (The Barnstormer) and fell in love. I’m so proud of her. She is so cautious and reserved, it was quite pleasant to see her so free. I on the other hand am not a rollercoaster rider at all. I’ve never been on one because I don’t need that kind of excitement in my life, so I had a lot of time hanging out with Isabella.
While at Magic Kingdom, don’t write off the shows if you aren’t a show person. They really are magical. You honestly feel like you’re going to have the best day ever because you’re walking down the street with Pooh and Tigger, or have a moment to chat with Cinderella’s step-sisters. Magic Kingdom is just that – Pure MAGIC!
Johanna’s Second favorite Park was Hollywood Studios (HS), but even while there she was still dreaming of Magic Kingdom, and I don’t blame her.
One of my favorite things at HS was everything Star Wars. I’m not even a Star Wars fan. Like, I’ll watch it if it’s on, but I know it has a cult like following and that’s just not me. But I’ll be darned if I didn’t totally get wrapped up in it while I was there. from March of the First Order up Hollywood Boulevard to meeting Chewbacca, I was thrilled!
Johanna’s favorite area was Disney Jr. of course! She got to sing along with her Disney Jr. friends, and meet her faves, Doc McStuffin and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. And she was so excited that he was 6, just like her!
While those were pretty fun, I think all of us, even baby Isabella, can agree that the Frozen Sing-a-long gave us life! OMG. I got so wrapped up in it. It was just yummy. The two comedians (historians of Arendelle) that helped tell the story were hilarious! Some of the humor goes over the kids heads, but it’s great for the adults. It is certainly a show for everyone. It was hilarious to see men trying not to sing along, but it’s basically impossible. Even my husband wanted to experience it again!
This isn’t the lady from our performance, so it’s not quite as funny, but it’s still very enjoyable.
While we had a lot of good moments at Hollywood Studios, it was a downer after going to Magic Kingdom. There simply isn’t as much to do. In fact, I believe you could get a hopper and do a half day of Hollywood studios and a half day of Animal Kingdom easily.My only regret was not experiencing Indiana Jones, but Johanna didn’t want to do it and this trip was all about her.
- Frozen Sing Along
- Toy Story Mania
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- Disney Junior Live on Stage!
- March of the First Order
- 50s Prime Time – More about this in my upcoming dining post!
Don’t forget to sign your little one’s up for Jedi training while you’re there. In fact, do that first before you do anything else. It gets full pretty quick.
Our final park of our trip was Epcot. It was Johanna’s least favorite of the 3, but as adults her dad and I really enjoyed it and want to go back, just the two of us! As you know, Epcot takes you around the world! There is plenty to see and do, but not much to ride. That was the bummer for Johanna. I think that when she is older, a preteen, she will definitely love Epcot. It is absolutely gorgeous there and if you are doing the dining plan, seriously save most of your snack credits to eat at as many countries as possible. Because it was raining while we were there, our schedule got completely messed up, so we were literally walking back and forth around the world trying to make all of our fastpasses. It was exhausting. We didn’t get to stop at each country like we really wanted to. My advice – if you go, try to schedule all of your fast passes back to back, inching your way closer and closer to the various countries, then take your time enjoying the top countries on your list. That’s what I wish we would’ve done. Also, don’t go on the last day if you don’t have resort days built into your schedule. By Friday we were all a little cranky and worn down.
Did I mention that I was stupid happy to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out? Like I was bubbling over with excitement. Johanna was geeked to meet Minnie and we’re all sad that we missed every ethnic Princess except Jasmine. Like, how? At Epcot there was Pocahontas, Mulan, and Jasmine. We even missed Anna and Elsa, but that was more so on purpose. Johanna didn’t really seem excited to meet them and I thought she would. We did meet Moana at Hollywood studios, but totally missed Tiana at Magic Kingdom. We’ve gotta do better.
- Frozen Ever After – Sit in the middle if you don’t want to get a little wet!
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Disney Animals
- Test Track
Just a warning, Mission: Space made my husband feel unwell, and he and Johanna were on the less intense side (the orange is intense, while the green side is less intense). My husband is young and in shape, so just take that into consideration. I’m super happy that I didn’t ride!
Overall we found the fast passes to be most useful for these rides:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Peter Pan
- Space Mountain (she hated Space Mountain because it is super dark and super fast, but didn’t have to wait long to ride it)
- Frozen Ever After
- Seas with Nemo
- Any of the characters
- Toy Story Mania
- Frozen Sing Along
- Star Tours- The adventures continue
- Disney Jr. Live
When Isabella was born we said we would go to Disney for Johanna’s birthday, then not go again until Isabella is 6. Now we are thinking of taking another trip in a year or two. If we do we will make it a short trip (3 park days, 2 resort days) and definitely do Magic Kingdom again, try out Animal Kingdom, and head over to Universal Studios. We really wanted to go to Universal, but we didn’t know if Johanna was a thrill seeker yet, and it kind of seemed ridiculous to go if she wasn’t going to get on any rides. Well now we know our child is definitely a thrill seeker! If we can get a babysitter to come along, we’ll take a date night trip to Epcot.
What is your favorite park at Disney? Favorite ride? I’d love to hear!