Oh Magic Kingdom, you were a doozie. Maybe because there are so many rides to consider, or so much mileage to cover, or the fact that this is the park where Hailey hit a theoretical wall, but it was a big day for us! First though, our rope drop strategy:
Magic Kingdom Rope Drop Strategy
- Park opens: 9:00 (8:30 for on property guests; Main Street typically opens at 8:00 AM)
- Leave hotel: 7:00 AM
- Mode of Transportation: drive to the Transportation Center then take the monorail
- Lightning Lane: Seven Dwarf Mine Train
- Genie+ selection: Peter Pan
- Rope Drop: Space Mountain (44″)
- Other Rides: Splash Mountain (40”), Thunder Mountain (40”), Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, People Mover
Our morning started off with Mom and I sitting side by side in the lobby at 7:00 to get both the Lightning Lane and Genie+. It turns out Mom thought she had purchased Genie+ but it hadn’t fully gone through, so it was a scramble to snag both Seven Dwarfs and then purchase Genie+ and see what we could get. It’s amazing that just a few minutes makes such a big difference! Luckily it worked out fine- Seven Dwarfs around 10:00 and Peter Pan around 12:30.
The drive to the TTC went smoothly; my favorite part of the transportation is that there was no line for security at the TTC, so it was a quick process, and that was all the security we’d have to go through before entering the park. The monorail was a smooth trip and soon we were being dropped off at the Magic Kingdom! They opened the gates around 8:00, which was exciting as we all rushed in and headed to Space Mountain. There, however, they had the area blocked and we waited until they opened Tomorrowland at 8:30. Quite a crowd had accumulated behind us by that point.
When they opened Tomorrowland, we headed straight to Space Mountain and walked right on. Mom and Hailey decided to skip that one and David and I were tired of forcing the fun on her, so we just said “whatever you want to do kiddo!” The rest of us flew through the darkness, then hopped off, grabbed the strollers and headed to It’s a Small World.
Small World is one of those rides that is cute, but it’s main appeal is the nostalgia around it. It got significantly less cute, though, when our boat got stalled and we weren’t sure how long we’d have to sit there listening to IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFFFFFTER ALL… David was not amused.🤣
From there, we started checking off the rides- from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to Thunder Mountain to Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan. With the help of the Lightning Lane and Genie+, plus a few waits (50 minutes for Splash Mountain), we had a successful morning!
We even got to see one of the pop up parades that they do now. While it made the streets and transportation a little nutty, it was really exciting to see the floats and characters come through; Kaitlyn loved it!
By the time our 1:00 lunch reservation rolled around we were rea-dy for it. We checked in and were delighted to hear they could seat us together. After a few minute wait they led us to a 9 seat round table in the west wing. The thunder and lightning effects were really neat, but it was a stark contrast from outside, a little hard to see and it had a nice blast of AC, which eventually made the girls feel cold. If I were to go again, as silly as it sounds, I would bring a hoodie for the kids.
We ordered beers and meals, from the salmon to the filet. Though the pictures were rough (again, the lighting), the steak was excellent. It was perfectly cooked and super flavorful and juicy. So good!
The kids meals looked hearty, too. However, this was when poor Hailey hit her wall. She was quiet and wanted to sit by me and kept saying she was tired, then she put her head down on the table, and eventually in my lap, and snoozed. She didn’t say anything hurt and she wasn’t feverish so I figured she really was just that worn out, though I did start to keep a closer eye on her.
We debated ending our day, but there was still so much to see, so we used our Genie+ to bounce through some more experiences from the motor speedway to The Barnstormer to letting the littles run through water fountains and stopping for frozen lemonade to try and fight off some of the grueling afternoon heat and humidity.
We met Cinderella’s stepsisters and caught another pop up parade while we waited for our Genie+ timeslot for Pirates of the Caribbean to arrive. It is one of Hailey’s favorite rides so when she barely perked up enough to enjoy it, I knew it was time to go.
When we exited Pirates at close to 5:00, we were greeted by dark skies and a distant rolling thunder. That was our sign. We moved at a quick pace, wheeling our 10 year old through it all in a stroller. I was texting our planner asking if it was possible to move park days. She told me to stop at Guest Relations near the entrance of the park to check on availability. I ran into the building wild eyed, hoping someone could help me push our Epcot day from Thursday to Friday to give us a day of rest. Thankfully, they could!
Though we were rushing to beat the rain, we had to stop for one family shot in front of the castle and I’m so glad we did. How could we go to Disney and not leave with a picture of all us in matching shirts, happy and worn out from the experience?!
We made it to the monorail dry, but by the time we exited, the sky had opened up. We sped walked through the Florida monsoon to get to our cars and headed directly back to the hotel for warm showers and pajamas.
Hailey and Kaitlyn went right to bed, probably around 7:30. I made us PB&Js in the room and we crawled into bed, too. Though we got a full and needed night of sleep, H and K still spent the next day out of commission. While they took it really easy in the room, the rest of us really enjoyed having a relaxing day to fill with rest, pool, putt-putt, and extra sleep.
We planned the back to back days based on the crowd calendars, but I truly don’t know how accurate those are and if I were to do it again, I’d do my best to build in a rest day after every park day or two. Then again, two weeks at Disney isn’t exactly feasible by calendar or budget!
Still, I was grateful for the Thursday day of rest for giving us some time to R&R and get ready for our grand finale, a Friday at Epcot!