Even though I am a bit of a newbie to Walt Disney World in my later years, I do actually have a few preferences for my vacations there. The first and foremost of these is where I like to start and end my days in the park. With many years of visiting with family and friends, I have come to know the moment I feel like I am actually in WDW and some of you might share my exact notion.
In the recent years, as an adult, I have picked up many tips when planning trips to WDW. There are things that simply must be done if you want to maximize your time there. For us, it’s booking our hotel, our dining, and our Fastpasses the moment we physically can. These have become staples to what we think are the most successful Disney vacations. Having said all that, I have a major request in the planning process. We must go to Magic Kingdom first AND last if at all possible. I will park hop like Cri-Kee from Mulan forging a letter from the general to get what I want if I have to.
If you are a planner like I am, you may or may not have just gasped at that previous statement about starting and ending at MK. The reason being that there are multiple places for you to look at Disney park crowd levels when planning out your vacation. We don’t know exactly from where these numbers originate but they are based on previous years and estimated for future dates. Some sites put these out in forms of colors (red, yellow, green, threat level midnight), or numbers (1-10, or a million, because sometimes it feels like that many people are in the park). Might I suggest a Disney character scale where Bambi is the lowest and the highest is the Maleficent dragon on fire during the parade? What, too soon? I want to assure you that we look at crowd levels on multiple sites and try to do our best to plan out which days we go to each respective park in relation to those levels. Usually, I like to at least start at MK so I can see Cinderella’s Castle and walk down Main Street, USA.
If you’ve ever been to Magic Kingdom in WDW then you might know what I’m talking about when I describe the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you first see Cinderella’s Castle. Every time I turn that corner on Main Street, USA, the goosebumps begin and I can’t stop smiling (feels like Christmas morning). For me, the castle is the creme de la creme, the cream of the crop, the highlight of my adventures at WDW. What’s the best way to get to the castle, you might ask? It’s walking down Main Street, USA of course.
As a child, I don’t remember a ton from all of my Disney travels but Cindy’s Castle — you just don’t forget it. She’s a beauty, she’s magnificent, and she makes you feel like a child by just being. This structure has always just about brought me to my knees in awe of her majesty and for this reason, it’s my number one place to be in WDW.
Coming in a close second, right behind this favorite spot is strolling down Main Street, USA to get as close as I can to this majestic beauty. A few years back, Doug and I were gifted tickets to take the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at MK. We already loved Magic Kingdom so dearly and now, with a ton of new insider information about the park, we can appreciate it even more. I already loved walking down Main Street before this, but after Keys to the Kingdom, it’s brought so much more meaning into our lives. It’s an all encompassing experience to be thrown back in time to turn of the century USA, but to know what we know now (about the flags, names on the windows and intentionality in the structures) it’s so much more meaningful to us. It has nostalgia.
Another reason I want to start my Disney vacation at MK is this nostalgic factor. On a scale from Bambi to Maleficent dragon on fire, MK is on fire with nostalgia for me. From the Peter Pan ride, to The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, The Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes, my most memorable moments took place in MK. It’s the place my love for Disney skyrocketed and many special memories were made. This blog post could go on for days about all the ways in which I love it so I will spare you today. Just take my word for it, it’s my absolute favorite park.
For all of the same reasons I just gave, it’s also the place I feel I must end my vacation as well. It’s the perfect bookend to the perfect Disney trip. My heart is full when I get to watch Happily Ever After the day I arrive and have it be the last thing I see as I wave goodbye (and die a little inside), as we leave the parks for the last time to take the saddest car ride home. I have said it before but the Disney blues are legit and you straight feel like Sadness from the movie Inside Out for about a week. Don’t worry, it’s all 110% worth it in the end.
I hope you have YOUR place as well. WDW is many things to many people and I hope you get a glimpse of why I hold it so dear. If you haven’t, I am very excited for you to embark on your own journey and start making your own Disney memories.
I want to give a special thank you to @thezipadeedoocrew, @dizdad and @mickeys_photographer for the use of their photography for this post.