Disney Infant Travel Toddler Travel Trip Reports

Daring to Disney: One perfect day at the Magic Kingdom

So I haven’t decided whether I’ll do a ride by ride analysis for Magic Kingdom like I did for the other parks, but what I would like to do is go through one day we had at the park. I made a conscious decision not to go into detail about what most of our days at the parks were like, but I think our last full day at Disney World warrants a bit of detail if only so people can get a feel for how wonderful a day at Disney can be. Sorry I couldn’t think of a less saccharin adjective, but I think it truly was one of our best days ever! Dare I say: one perfect day at the Magic Kingdom.


This was our seventh straight day in the parks. M had already visited Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom twice each. At this point it was firmly established that MK was her favorite park and which rides were her favorites. So knowing all that, I put together a brand new touring plan the night before, my goal being to give her the greatest day in her young life.

We had also picked up a “Happy Birthday” pin at Animal Kingdom the day before. Although in some sense the entire week was for her birthday (at least we used her birthday as the benchmark for when we’d go to Disney World when we first told her about the trip months earlier), in my mind this final day at Magic Kingdom was her birthday celebration. Here’s how our magical day unfolded:

Making it to Rope Drop

Everyone with an infant under the age of one knows that feeding can be sort of on demand at times. And, that’s right, we have more than one kid, oops! (Just kidding, H, love you buddy). Now M and I had already rope dropped Magic Kingdom once (aka get there before the park opens), but I really wanted Jess to be able to make it with us this time. To accomplish this, she fed H a little earlier, but at 8:10 she was still a little hesitant to leave him. I can’t remember how exactly it went down, but eventually we YOLOed and we were on the road by 8:15. Big shout out to my parents for watching the little guy, though I think they probably were a little relieved I didn’t force them to rope drop.

We parked our car by about 8:30 and were on Main Street by 8:57. OK, so we didn’t make the rope drop itself, but close enough! First up, a visit with Mickey Mouse at the Town Square theater. This is the Mickey Mouse to see because via the magic of technology he talks! I am 99% certain that the person in the costume isn’t actually talking, it seems to be some kind of computer run talking program (this is my hypothesis because I heard the same things twice across two visits). But who really knows.

All that matters is this happened:

Mickey and M’s entire two minute interaction has been recreated no less than twenty times in our household over the last month. Somehow it seems to be my birthday every single day and “Mickey Mouse” sings to me on the reg. We could have gone home right then and there and it still would have been one of the best days of her life. As a bonus, she met Snow White on the way out. Snow’s line was six deep and slowed us down, but whatever, girl needed to get her autograph book filled!


We made our way to Future World to hit up some of M’s favorites. We walked right up to the front of the line of the Astro Orbiter and began our ascent of the trifecta of Magic Kingdom flying carousels. After that, M really wanted to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Jess took her while I soloed Space Mountain, but they made sure to come with me first so we could grab a rider switch.

A little short…

I ended up beating them timewise since I had a FastPass for Space Mountain. The Space Mountain queue actually looks kind of fun (there are random space invader type video games) but TIME is a hot commodity if you want to have the best day ever! Of course…we got right back on Buzz Lightyear. But hey, birthday girl is in charge, right?

You spin me right round baby, right round
You spin me right round baby, right round

At that point it was about 10:45 or so and we wanted to make sure M got the chance to ride It’s a Small World at least twice, so we hit up the Mad Tea Party on the way. After a ride on M’s favorite ride ever, it was time to get over to the Contemporary for Chef Mickey’s.

Chef Mickey’s Brunch

I’ve been avoiding talking about food because I want to cram it all into one post, but Chef Mickey’s deserves a bit of attention since it played such a key role in this day. Getting to Chef Mickey’s was M’s one and only ride on the monorail this entire trip so that was noteworthy in and of itself. We met up with my parents and H before taking some pictures as we were waiting for our table. We were seated at 11:35 for an 11:30 reservation so not too bad at all. At our table was a birthday card for M signed by all of the characters – very nice.

If you’re not familiar with Chef Mickey’s, it’s pretty straightforward. As you eat some standard American brunch fare (I basically ate my fill of chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, and Mickey shaped waffles because I am a seven year old), Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto rotate around the restaurant. The restaurant is broken up into sections and they’ll all hit a section at the same time so you see them all in quick succession. You can take pictures, get autographs, or whatever really.

Ready for autographs
Ready for autographs

At various points they sing some song which I have since forgotten the name of. During this song they run around the restaurant waving napkins around like it is the AFC Championship game for the Steelers or something while everyone in the restaurant does the same. Why yes, we do have to do that at home sometimes now, thank you for asking! At the very end of brunch they brought out a cupcake with a candle in it for M, just tell them you are celebrating a birthday at least 24 hours before you get there. You can also get a cake for $20 if you’d like.

perfect day at the Magic Kingdom
H: “What the what?”

I’d say the one downside of this character meal was we were sat in a section where the sun was beating down on us pretty hard. Other than that it was amazing and there was an ear to ear grin smile pasted on M’s face for an entire hour. I think her father had a similar smile.

Incidentally, the Contemporary was a great place to feed H since there were plenty of comfortable chairs in the lobby where Jess could find some space. The timing worked out perfectly. After feeding and all the excitement, it was already 1:45 so we convinced M that if she napped in her stroller we wouldn’t have to leave the park. We made the fifteen minute walk back to the Magic Kingdom and she was asleep before we even reached bag check. In a happy coincidence, so was H, resulting in this wonderful family picture:


Splitting the team all throughout the afternoon

With both the kids asleep, my parents offered to watch H&M, which played right into my master plan. I had FastPassed Big Thunder Mountain for Jess and myself, but we had my mom walk up to the queue with M in the stroller so we could grab another rider switch. After Jess and I finished the ride, my dad and I took the kids and hung out by Sleepy Hollow Refreshments while my mom and Jess went to go see the Hall of Presidents.

They emerged about ten minutes before the parade was about to start. I realized on the little walkway up to Cinderella’s Castle there is a little bench with a direct view of the bridge that the parade crosses, so I set up shop there with H while my parents, Jess, and M set up right in front of Sleepy Hollow. Our seats for the parade were excellent (though into the sun). M realized that parades were what she had always wanted from life but never knew existed!

Instead of looking through the crowd they could just look diagonally at the bridge
Instead of looking through the crowd they could just look diagonally at the bridge

After regrouping, we split up once again – my mom and dad gave Jess and myself an hour to go ride as many adult rides as possible while they took M on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Jungle Cruise (FastPass). Now my initial plan was to use our rider switch tickets to go on Big Thunder, Space Mountain, and then hit our 5:00 PM FP+ reservation at Seven Dwarves Mine Train, but we decided to axe Space Mountain. Still, it was pretty sweet to get straight onto Big Thunder and then get straight onto Seven Dwarves which had a wait time of 100 minutes at the time. Seven Dwarves has a lot better themeing and things to look at, but Big Thunder is the more fun roller coaster. Just my opinion!

No thanks.
No thanks.

Saving her favorite rides for last

Jess and I caught up with my parents and our kids at Dumbo. Jess took H to the nursing center while I hung out with M in the waiting area. If you haven’t been to Disney for awhile, they have done something brilliant with the queue at Dumbo. Instead of lining up, you get a pager and go into this huge circus themed playground. When your pager buzzes it’s your turn to get on the ride (I think). Of course, we hung out in the playground for awhile even though there was no line for the ride. Slides are fun! We then rode Dumbo though my mother insisted we all get in the same elephant which was a tight squeeze, indeed.

The timing worked out perfectly – I took M for one final ride on It’s a Small World (her first and last of six rides were with just me, I’ll cherish that). We went into the Pinocchio Village Haus to eat but it was already closed, so Jess walked over to Gaston’s Tavern to get us some beef stew. While we were waiting, M declared herself the mayor of It’s a Small World and waved to every. single. boat.

Originally we had planned to go home for dinner but M was so into parades that we decided to stay for the Main Street Electrical Parade while my parents wandered off on their own. M had to forego the Tomorrowland Speedway (the one ride she wanted to hit that she couldn’t on her last day) but it was worth it. Having seen the parade twice already, I was content sitting away from the crowds with H eating my final Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. When asked which parade she preferred, M replied with the Chinese equivalent of “same same”.

Final Souvenirs – paid and free

M really, really wanted Mickey Mouse hands the entire time she was at Disney. We told her at the beginning of the trip that she could pick one souvenir on the final day to buy and bring home. For some reason, we convinced ourselves that Mickey hands were not the souvenir she should get, which in retrospect is one of the stupidest things we did that whole week. We were so convinced that we told her if she got something else she could buy two souvenirs. Again, what? It all seems so insane to me sitting here now. So she bought a stuffed Minnie (which she sleeps with most nights these days) and a Minnie drink/snack cup combo that isn’t dishwasher safe what is up with that Disney?

My precious...
My precious…

For some reason, we thought we could buy Mickey Mouse hands elsewhere if we changed our minds, like at the Disney store at the mall. NOPE! You lied to us, Siri and Google Now! Of course three days after we got back I regretted not buying them when M put tiny little socks on her hands and pretended they were Mickey Mouse hands. I KID YOU NOT. So I ended up buying some from Amazon Sellers aka China. They were only $20 which means they are probably bootleg but I’ll take it. Mental note: buy real hands next time so Money Metagame doesn’t troll my THREE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.

On our way out we caught a bit of Celebrate the Magic which is straight up one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in my life. They basically project cartoons onto the castle while playing soundtracks from your favorite movies. M insisted that we get out of there before the fireworks started because she is scared of the loud noises so we couldn’t watch, which was cool with us because Jess and I had seen it another night.

Not a bad view at all...
Not a bad view at all…

Disney had one last cherry on top of the perfect cake that was our day. As our ferry set off for the Ticket and Transportation Center, Wishes started up – we got to watch the entire show from the boat and the dock at the TTC. H&M could enjoy them because they weren’t as loud, and Jess and I really enjoyed seeing them from a different perspective. It was an amazing ending to an amazing day – even if the park closed at 8 PM that night, going from Rope Drop to Wishes was truly spectacular and a day I won’t soon forget.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for indulging me. Or you know, hello to my wife since you’re probably the only one! Regardless, hopefully you have a taste for how wonderful a day at the Magic Kingdom can be. Our entire trip was amazing, but if I had to distill the experience down to one day – this day would be it. As long as Disney can produce special days like this one, I’ll throw all the money in the world at them (you know, after I buy 50 gift cards to save 10%).

Other Posts in this Series

Flights, Hotel, and Car

Making Disney Dining Reservations

Saving Money on Disney Tickets

Using Touring Plans (the non-touring plan parts)

Optimizing a visit using Touring Plans’ touring plans

Saving money by staying off site

When a Disney annual pass makes sense

Touring Epcot attractions with a toddler

Touring Animal Kingdom with a toddler

One perfect day at the Magic Kingdom

Dining Reviews

Tips for parents of toddlers and infants

Things I wished I knew before I went to Disney


Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

10 thoughts on “Daring to Disney: One perfect day at the Magic Kingdom

  1. We used our fourth Fast Pass on Dumbo so we totally missed the playground! We split up and went twice and my 18 month old cried and cried when we told her we were done riding. This is great to know for a future trip!!

  2. Once in a while it is puzzling how we are related … I don’t think any place on earth could evoke as much emotion in me as Disneyworld seems to do for you (I mean, M) (no I mean you). I do remember one souvenir I got from Disneyworld though. Daisy Duck hat with long eyelashes. I feel like I made us go to a bunch of stores until we found it again. I also feel like we were also only allowed one souvenir as kids.

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