The key to having the best trip to Magic Kingdom with Preschoolers is having a plan. That plan has to start before you ever set foot in front of Cinderella’s Castle. And throughout the day, executing the plan and making important decisions to deviate will make or break your trip. We’ve went to Walt Disney World Resort with our 5 year old 4 times over the last 3 years. And we wanted to share all the knowledge we’ve learned so far and share how our plan works. It’s hard to believe but our next trip with him will be when he’s in Kindergarten and officially moved on from preschooler status.
Prep before the trip
The trip prep really starts a few weeks before you leave your house for Walt Disney World Resort. There are a few important questions to answer when travelling to Magic Kingdom with preschoolers. Each kid can be very different and every family has the daredevil that would ride anything at 3.
- Does your child like character in costumes?
- Think of previous encounters, maybe at Chuck E Cheese or Halloween, and how did your child react? If they are leery of characters, which ours is, you may want to wave at Mickey in the parade and avoid any meet & greet.
- Are there types of rides to avoid?
- Is your child scared of heights or prone to motion sickness? Be sure to adjust your plans based on this. No one wants to leave their child scarred from riding Astro Orbiter. As a 4 year old, in 1986, Astro Orbiter is one of the only memories I have of that trip because I’m scared of heights.
- What is their normal nap time?
- Walt Disney World is not the place to start skipping naps as a preschoolers. It’s much better to take that 2pm nap and hit the parks refreshed in the evenings.
You know your child better than anyone. If there are things you would be concerned about on normal trips whether that be shopping or out to the park, be prepared in the same way while at Magic Kingdom. It’s better to prep for any potential issues and have items on hand. Our 5 year old is prone to heartburn and upset stomachs so his pink candy is not far away.
Pack Snacks for the Park
Be sure to plan for snacks throughout the day. I would recommend getting a delivery of snacks from Walmart+ or Amazon. It is a lot cheaper to do this and take in to Magic Kingdom than buying mickey pretzels, churros, and dole whip. Yes, you can bring outside food in to the park! Just throw it in a backpack with a few bottle of water before heading out. We always get deliveries of snacks that they also eat at home such as cuties, gummies, peanut butter crackers, etc. Our preschoolers could be calmed down in line just with snacks and water. It gave him something to focus on besides being in the line.
Getting to the Park
We choose not to rope drop with our preschooler. Rope Dropping is when you are there early and one of the first entrants in to the park. The downside to this is, a lot of people really like to rope drop. So there can be a wait at the TTC, a wait to get on the monorail or ferry, another wait at the check in kiosk, and then wade through a crowd on Main Street USA.
We choose to come to the parks about an hour or two after open. It clears up a lot of the traffic getting in and down Main Street. It also gives a great opportunity to get on the Monorail or Ferry for a once in a lifetime experience without the crowd. All my kids loved the Monorail when they were younger. At that age, they really view it as the first attraction of the day.
Another great tip is to try to stay on schedule while you’re at Walt Disney World Resort. If your 4 year old normally gets up at 8am and eats breakfast, I would try to stick to that. That may mean you aren’t there right at opening but my bet is your preschooler will be in a better mood rested and fed.
What to do First
Stepping through the tunnel and on to Main Street USA is an exciting experience for everyone. The temptation will be to get down to Cinderella’s Castle as quickly as possible. Fight the urge and check out the wait times to meet Mickey at Town Square Theater. A lot of people rush by and don’t realize this is directly to the right after you walk out of the tunnels under the train station. You may be able to catch it with a low wait time and get a photo with Mickey to start the day!
Magic Kingdom Attractions with Height Requirements
Another must do for anyone travelling to Magic Kingdom with preschoolers is to measure their child’s height. There are a lot of rides that will require children to be a certain height so we’ll list those here. Everything else at Magic Kingdom does not have a height requirement which ends up being a vast majority of the rides. My favorite is Its a Small World so everyone be sure to jump on board and hum along!
|Seven Dwarfs Mine Train||38″|
|Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||40″|
Magic Kingdom Restaurants for Picky Eaters
Who else has kids that only rotate a few menu items? I was hoping I wasn’t the only one! We go through a lot of chicken nuggets, fries, pizza, mac & cheese at our house. So one of the keys to knowing how to manage your day at Magic Kingdom, is where to find food they’ll eat. I’ll list two of our favorites that are on each side of the park. So hopefully when you ( or the kids) are hungry, you’ll be within a short walk to one of these.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Who doesn’t love being serenaded by Sonny Eclipse while eating a burger and fries! This is a great spot for kids especially when considering the added entertainment. There are also plant based burger options for those that need it. My wife is vegetarian and it can be difficult to find plant based patties. Cosmic Ray’s is located in Tomorrowland close to Tomorrowland Speedway. This is also a mobile ordering location so be sure to order ahead!
- 1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger
- All-Beef Foot-long Hot Dog
- Chicken Strips (4 Strips)
- Greek Salad
- French Fries
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Barbecued Chicken Sandwich
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
This is probably our favorite place to eat at Magic Kingdom. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe has a great mix of food and desserts. No one goes hungry when we make a stop over here by Splash Mountain. Also as a an added bonus, if you sit on the patio facing Splash Mountain, you can see the start of parades.
- EARidescence Nugget Churros
- Powdered Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes – Personal Favorite!
- Fajita Platter
- 1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger
- Taco Trio
- Veggie Rice Bowl
- Macaroni & Cheese
Magic Kingdom Souvenir Strategy
This can be very tricky and I would adjust based on your budget. It can be very easy to walk in to a Walt Disney World Gift Shop and walk out with hundreds of dollars in merchandise. If you can afford that, Awesome! But if you’re like me and want to keep the amount of souvenirs traveling back in a checked bag, here are a few tips. Tip number one is to try to avoid the gift shops as much as possible. Magic Kingdom actually doesn’t have a ton of attractions that empty in to gift stores. Disney definitely learned that trick by the time that Hollywood Studios was built. But you can navigate your way around gift shops with Main Street USA being the biggest gift shop destination.
Tip number 2 is to set aside gift cards per child with money loaded. Once they are out of money, no more souvenirs to buy. Its also a great way to get kids to think about options and what is more important to them.
No matter how you approach it, having a strategy for souvenirs can reduce the amount of money that gets spent while on vacation. It’ll also decrease the number of times you get asked for toys, if the strategy is clearly laid out to everyone. I always tell my kids, we didn’t travel to Florida to buy souvenirs. I think it helps redirect their attention to all the things going on around them.
Magic Kingdom with Preschoolers – Overall Tips
The key to the best visit to Magic Kingdom with Preschoolers is preparation and managing expectations. Hopefully we have shared a few tips that can help the trip go smoothly. It really is a great experience to travel to Magic Kingdom with preschoolers and see it through their eyes. Also if you are there during Fall, be sure to check out the Halloween Party! It is our favorite time of the year to go. c
Now, will you be able to go on every ride and attraction in one day? Probably not! In my experience with our toddlers, they are ready for the resort and bed by about 8:30. So you have a limited amount of time to get things done in the park. But can you go to Magic Kingdom for a few days and get everything done? Absolutely! So remember to slow down, take breaks, pose for lots of pictures, and enjoy the Magic Kingdom!
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