Tons of Magic Kingdom Vacation Tips for Kids!

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Thinking about taking the kids to Disney World on vacation? It’s not as easy as it used to be, when you could just show up, buy your tickets at the gate, pick up paper FASTPASSES from the machines, and walk into restaurants without reservations. Disney is a vastly different place these days, and it’s good to have a plan ahead to ensure things run smoothly.

Magic Kingdom is THE most visited theme park in the world, and it’s the one big must-do when visiting Walt Disney World. We have tips and tricks to make taking kids to Magic Kingdom simpler and easier. 

1. Scheduling

Schedules are important to think about when you plan to travel to Orlando. When kids are out of school, thousands of families go to Disney, and the number one park visited is Magic Kingdom. Missing school can be hard for those with older children who may struggle with make up work or truancy policies. If you can take the kids out of school, lines will be somewhat shorter and crowds will be lighter, although most people say there are no longer any un-busy times at Disney these days. What Are the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World?

2. Get the Phone App.

If there’s one phone app. you will definitely want to get before you go, it’s The My Disney Experience app. This easy to use application helps you view and update your plans, make dining reservations, search park maps, and get attraction wait times. Older children could easily learn to navigate this app. on their on, plus practice their reading on a wealth of information regarding rides, restaurants, and resorts. For more detailed information, use this link.


3. Schedule FastPass+

This part of planning a Disney vacation is vastly different from in years past. It’s now imperative that you use Disney’s website or the My Disney Experience phone app. (see #2 ), to make three (per day) pre-reservations for rides, shows, or meeting characters before you even arrive in Orlando. This is called FastPass+, which is different from the FASTPASSES you may have used in previous years. On-property guests can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days before their trip for up to 14 days; everyone else can book FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance. Once you use your first three FastPass+es, you can then get more one at a time. Find out what rides are most important to the kids, and let the pre-planning begin.  Use this Disney link for more info.

Tip One: FASTPASS has changed in recent years. It’s important to understand that you can schedule FastPass+ rides in advance but not for the same ride. Some parks put rides into categories called “tiers,” and you can only choose one attraction per tier. Without a FastPass+, stand-by lines for your child’s favorite ride can be really long. Use this link on touring for more information.

Tip Two: FastPass+ ending times are now strictly enforced. You will not be allowed on a ride if you arrive past your return window. Screenshot your My Disney Experience so you remember your times, or write them down, and double-check them frequently to ensure you arrive on time.

Tip Three: When the switch was made from FASTPASS paper passes to FastPass+ and MagicBands, you were only allowed three passes per park per day. You can get more PastPass+ passes once you have used your original three, one at a time, but warn the kids, there may not probably will not be many popular ride passes left by the end of the day.


4. Start Walking 

Kids have a tough time walking miles for days at Disney World. Start those little feet walking way before the actual vacation, as exhausted children make for brutally long days. Hey adults, that’s great advice for you too, because when was the last time you walked 8-12 miles on a normal day?  The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

5. Wear Comfy Shoes

Kid’s need shoes that are comfortable. Glittery heels, flip-flops, and sandals can be rough on little feet hour after hour, and wearing brand new shoes is just asking for trouble. What are the Best Shoes to Wear on a Disney World Vacation? We Asked the Fans…

6. Autograph Books

If the kids plan to collect character autographs, you’ll need an autograph book. Make or buy your own book pre-trip, or you can purchase a Disney autograph books for around $10. We have a lot of great tips on out of the ordinary items you can have autographed:  12 Totally Cool Ideas to Replace Your Usual Disney Character Autograph Books.

7. Sharpie Marker

And for those character autographs, make sure you bring a large wide-tip Sharpie marker. Many of the characters wear big chunky gloves, so it’s hard for them to hang onto small pens. Over 20 Disney Character Autograph Tips from Fans and Parents


8. Glowing Items

When the sun goes down, glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets appear around the park. Many parents purchase these items in advance from Dollar Tree or Michael’s. This is also a great way to spot your child in a crowd while you are in dark lighting situations. Plus kids just love wearing them.  

9. Costumes

Children really dress up at the Disney parks these days. And If you don’t bring pirate and princess costumes for your kids, it’s going to cost a fortune to buy them there. We suggest you bring outfits with you to save money, including comfy walking shoes. Tips with prices: Can You Afford Those Adorable Disney Princess Costumes at Walt Disney World?

10. Matching Clothes

Dressing the family in matching t-shirts creates a sense of belonging and makes your group members (especially children) easier to spot. Home-made shirts have become a huge deal in the last several years, with the price of adult Disney shirts creeping toward $30. You can order your shirts or make them yourself. Tips and instructions: Save Money on Disney World T-Shirts by Making Your Own!

11. Rain Gear

It rains a lot in Orlando, especially in the summer. You can buy good quality ponchos at the parks, but they are expensive, so many parents just bring their own.



12. Height Requirements in Alphabetical Order

  • Big Thunder Mountain – 40″
  • Goofy’s Barnstormer – 35″
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 38″
  • Space Mountain – 44″
  • Splash Mountain – “40
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – 40″
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – “32 riding, 54” driving

13. Stroller Rentals

You can bring your child’s stroller from home, which obviously saves money. However, sometimes families prefer to rent strollers. Disney offers molded plastic strollers rentals, which are not suitable for infants or older babies but are fine for toddler age to preschoolers. To get the length of stay stroller discount, you pre-pay the number of days that you need.

  • Single strollers (children 50 lbs. or less) cost $15 daily and $13 for multi-day rate.
  • Double strollers (children 100 lbs. or less.) cost $31 and $27 for multi-day rate.

Several private companies in the local area also offer stroller rentals across Disney World.

Cast Members often move strollers around as they straighten the area, so there’s no need to panic if you don’t find your stroller where you originally parked it. Many people attach balloons, ribbons, or decorate their stroller for easier recognition. If you plan to ride Disney busses and trams with your stroller, you need to fold it up. Strollers can be rolled onto monorails and some boats, depending on space, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared to fold it up.


14. Locker Rentals

You can rent key-operated lockers to store your personal items in the theme and water parks. Not including a $5 refundable key deposit. Return your locker key before one hour after park closing to receive the deposit refund. Use this link for more information. 2018 Pricing:

15. Extra Magic Hours

Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are hours the parks open early or stay open later for those guests staying at Disney resorts. EMH at Magic Kingdom are a great option for vacationing with small children, because when the really popular roller coasters have long lines, there are still lots of MK attractions for kids without crazy waits.

Tip: If you attend Extra Magic Hours, you will need a MagicBand/park ticket for every person you are traveling with to show a Cast Member for E.M.H. admittance. You will not be allowed on rides or go in shows without a ticket or band, and that rule applies to every person.

16. Night Time Shows

If the kids can stay up late, some of the best shows start after 9 p.m, there’s a night-time projection show onto Cinderella Castle that changes periodically. In 2018, it’s called “Once Upon a Time,” hosted by Mrs. Potts and her son Chip, featuring a captivating bedtime story that recounts cherished moments from tales that begin with the classic line. This show lasts 14 minutes and is typically run before and after the fireworks show.

Happily Ever After” is an 18-minute fireworks show that features brilliant lasers and immersive lighting, amazing rooftop pyrotechnics, state-of-the-art projections, score featuring contemporary versions of popular Disney songs. At Happily Ever After, you’ll witness the many transformations of Cinderella Castle as it becomes a part of popular Disney stories. 

If there is a second show time, the second showing is generally less crowded than the first.


17. Tickets

Unless you are an Annual Passholder, your tickets will expire 14 days after the first day of use. So if the kids get tired after several days of early mornings and late nights, you have the flexibility to schedule in a free day without stressing over looming expiration dates.

If the kids beg you to stay another day in Orlando, to add another day(s) to your current tickets, go to Guest Services before you use the final day of your tickets. Unless it’s the last day, you have the option to add more days, park hopper, and water parks options.

18. Souvenir Pick-Up for Big Toys

Theme park merchandise purchases can be delivered to a designated location near the front entrance for convenient pick-up as you exit the park. When you make your purchase, tell the Cast Member to have your items delivered to the park entrance.

19. Celebrate Something

Did you know you can celebrate “something” at Disney six months prior to and six months after the date? This opens up all sorts of reasons to plan a trip, including birthdays and anniversaries. Nine Tips for Celebrating Birthdays at Walt Disney World for FREE!

When you celebrate a special event at WDW,  stop by your resort front desk or Guest Services for a FREE “button” ( this is a big pin, but don’t confuse this with Trading Pins) announcing your special event. Get them for first trips to Disney, birthdays, anniversaries, and occasionally special events. Why Celebrate with a Birthday Button at Disney World? Let a Cheapskate Princess Tell You!


20. Beware the Automatic Toilettes

The toilettes in Disney parks and resorts are automatic flushing. You can put your hand over the sensor, but this makes helping out children with potty time difficult with one hand tied up. Take along some Post-It notes with you into the bathrooms (keep them stored in your Ziplocs.) Place a sticky note over the sensor before your little one sits down, taking it with you when you exit.

21. Baby Care Centers 

Open during regular park hours, each full-service Baby Care facility is FREE to use and includes the following:

  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs
  • Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
  • Feeding area with high chairs
  • Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
  • Main room with television, table, chairs and sofa
  • There is an on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase. There items are not free.

22. Hand Sanitizer 

You won’t always be able to get little hands to a sink with real soap, and kids touch everything in sight at Disney. (So do I!) Keep some small bottles of hand sanitizer with you and apply often; wash with soap in sinks when possible.

23. Sick Children

What do you do what a child gets sick on vacation? In the parks, visit one of the First Aid centers. First Aid in the Magic Kingdom is located between Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace restaurants.

Nurses are available during normal park operating hours to offer over-the-counter medications, bandages and other quick remedies.


24. Lost Children

If you look up and can’t find your child, or they didn’t show up at a designated meeting spot, immediately tell a Cast Member. Lost children can also be reported at Guest Relations and Baby Care Centers. When a lost child is found, they will be taken to the Baby Care Centers.


  • Have your children memorize your full name and phone number.
  • Write your information on a Disney button or on a piece of tape (secure that inside their shirt collar.)
  • Cast Members say MagicBands will NOT provide any information about a lost child.
  • Make sure kids know to find a Cast Member – explain they wear white Disney name tags.
  • Snap a quick cell phone picture of your child leaves the hotel each day.

25. Sleepy Children

On a typical Disney day, kids start to lose it just after lunch, so if this is going to be your child headed for a huge melt down, head back to the hotel for a quick rejuvenating snooze. You’ll notice kids napping in strollers everywhere, which is a great other-option as opposed to going back to the resort.

26. Finding Characters for Children

If your child is looking for a certain character, just ask Cast Members where to find them. If you want to make advance plans, use this list on for typical character locations, although remember these can change at any time without any notifications.


27. Kids Under Three Eat Free 

Children under the age of three eat for free at Disney’s buffets and family style table service restaurants as long as they eat off your plate. So their food is free as long as they are willing to eat what you eat. It may be stressful for you, but taking children under three will certainly save you money. Time goes by fast, and they won’t be free for long! Why Take a Baby to Walt Disney World? Because It’s FREE!

28. Free Drink Refills

Kids get thirsty, as do adults, and at almost all WDW theme parks, you’ll pay more for additional drink refills at counter service dining locations. But FREE refills are available in the Magic Kingdom at Tortuga Tavern and the quick service lunch at Be Our Guest. Use this list for the other park free refill locations: FREE Drink Refills at Disney World Theme Parks? Choose These Restaurants!

29. ADRs 

Because of increased crowd levels, it’s difficult to get a table at a full-service restaurant without an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR,) especially the super popular locations. You can make ADRs 180 days before your trip by calling 407- 939-3463, make reservations online, or Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations, do it for you. For last-minute trip planners that cannot secure a reservation, it never hurts to walk up and ask if you can get a table. If you are close by anyway, the best they could do is locate a table!  For a Fabulous Disney Meal, Make These Reservations ASAP!


30. Drink Water

Mid-summer in Orlando is Africa hot. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, direct sun, and high humidity without sufficient rest and fluids puts children at risk for dehydration. So keep those fluids going, both water and Gatorade type drinks. There are Poweraid and water bottles for sale in the parks for around $3. That cost will add up fast.

31. Water Tips

Bring your own water bottles, and to save money, refill them with fountain water, water left from lunch, or water you get in a free cup from counter service restaurants. Take your own refillable water bottle/container with you into the parks to keep you from throwing away so many plastic bottles, teaching the kids about recycling. To Save Money on Food At Disney, Bring This Bottle With You

Many children do not like the taste of Disney water when it comes out of the water fountains, so bring flavor packets to mix into your water bottle. Let the kids pick these out at the store.

Freezing water bottles the night before you need them is a great way to fight the heat, and many believe it makes the yucky Disney tap water taste a little more palatable. Drink the cold water as it melts. Cold water bottles are good to place on the back of children’s necks to cool them off. 

You can order water with meals, and water is FREE!  Kids will save calories, and you’ll save that and money. You don’t have to be eating a meal to order water. Counter service restaurants and snack stands will give you water or cups of ice for free, so just ask. Want to Save Money on Drinks at Disney World? Order This Drink for Free!

32. Bring Your Own Snacks

If your children are picky eaters, bring snacks with you on vacation so they will have their favorites. Not only will this save money, but it can keep the picky eaters satisfied and full in-between meals. We have tips on the best food to bring into the parks: Can You Bring Your Own Food into a Disney World Theme Park?


33. Check the Menus

Are your kids picky eaters?! It’s a good idea to take a peak at the restaurant menus before you show up for an expensive meal. How to find menus online: Before You Make Your Disney World Dining Reservations, You Should Read These…

34. Recipe Request

If your children really enjoy a specific dish served at a table service restaurant or character meal, speak to your server. Sometimes they can give you the recipe. You can also phone Disney Guest Services at 407- 939-6244 to request a recipe or visit for recipes.

35. Eat Now, Not Then

If you dine at Disney during your children’s regular meal times, you will probably be standing in long ordering lines. Try to eat before the rush, like a late lunch or even a late dinner. Lines will be shorter, more tables will be available, and you won’t have to leave the kids seated and reserving your table while you order. Disney World Food Tip #5: Eat When They Are Not!


36. Happily Ever After Fireworks Viewing

Things get crazy and congested in front of Cinderella Castle before 10 p.m. when fireworks start, especially with the pyrotechnics and effects in the new 2017 show. If your children can handle the loud booms of fireworks (or bring ear plugs,) try standing behind Cinderella’s Royal Carousel. Fireworks are shot from the roof tops and the swampland behind Fantasyland, so you get a tremendously “in your face” experience from behind the castle. Beware falling ash on windy nights, but this spot becomes more popular each year for a reason. Watching from Frontierland by the ferryboat is also a nice viewing spot off the main area. 

If you plan to watch from Main Street, you almost need to get there early to secure an unobscured viewing spot. 

37. After the Fireworks 

After the fireworks, head to the front of the castle for Celebrate the Magic. You should be able to get an unobstructed seat right up front. This can help you avoid the crazy crowds exiting the park after the fireworks. 

38. Shop & Snack Late

After park closing, Main Street at Magic Kingdom frequently stays open a full two hours. While the whole world is standing in transportations lines to get home, kids can take their time and look through the gift shops or grab a snack and eat it above the train station. Music is playing, and there is no burning sunlight and high temperatures. This is a nice time to talk with the little ones about all you did and saw that day.

39. Transportation Time

Getting out of the parks at night can be a mad dash to get in yet another line to wait for transportation. Lines to get on the monorail or ferry to get back to a tram, bus, or car can seem endless. By now everyone is tired and sore from walking all day.

You need to leave before or leave after the whole world decides it’s time to go. Many parents take the kids and leave before the Magic Kingdom fireworks. If you stay, and I do recommend staying to see the night shows, this places you leaving after 11 p.m. or later, when the transportation lines will be much more manageable.


These are free with Magic Kingdom admission.

40. Trading Cards 

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game gives you five FREE collectible trading cards per day for each ticket that has been activated that particular day. If dad stays back at the resort, sorry, you can’t pick up his cards. You can get your cards each day at the Fire Station on Main Street. You don’t have to actually play the game to collect the cards.

41. Hair Confetti 

The Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, U.S.A., will “confetti” and “pixie dust” your child’s hair for free. Castle Couture in Fantasyland also has “pixie dust.” If it’s still available, this is still a free service. 

42. Free Snack Samples 

Visit the Main Street, U.S.A., Confectionery for an assortment of free candy samples, with cotton candy being a pretty common sample handed out daily. Good luck on getting out of there without purchasing something sweet.

43. Use for Crafts

At the Magic Kingdom entrance, pick up time schedules and park maps. You can use these in scrap books, picture frames, or turn them into drink coasters by gluing them onto small ceramic tiles, coating them with Mod Podge. You can get these at the resort front desks as well, also for free.

Be on the lookout for Cast Members with free stickers, which are great for t-shirt decorations, scrap-book mementos, as well spilled-food stain cover ups. 


For all shows, be sure to check the Times Guide for the show schedules. With outdoor shows, they may be cancelled for weather. Shows and times are always subject to change.

44. Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial

Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial is a 25 minute show in Adventureland, across from the Pirates of the Carribbean attraction.

Captain Jack picks young “volunteers” to begin training. Children should raise their hands for a chance to be chosen. About four children are picked to learn sword fighting. When this training is over, the Captain calls for any children wishing join the crew. Participants will receive a membership scroll plus take the official pirate’s oath. You left home with kids; you’ll go home with pirates!

45. INCREDIBLES Super Dance Party

In Tomorrowland, the Agency Headquarters’ outdoor deck, (a.k.a. Rockettower Plaza,) preschoolers and older children can hit the dance floor to tunes spun by Mr. Spin, the Agency’s own dynamic DJ. They’ll dance with Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and Frozone.

46. Pete’s Silly Sideshow

In Fantasyland for kids and preschoolers, step right up and visit Donald Duck and Goofy as they join the circus. Enter Pete’s Silly Sideshow at Storybook Circus to meet some of the Big Top’s biggest stars. Donald plays the role of snake charmer The Amazing Donaldo, while Goofy appears as daring stuntman The Great Goofini. They’re having so much fun, you may just want to run away to the circus with them!


47. The Royal Majesty Makers

During a 25 minute show in Fantasyland, everyone from preschoolers to adults can join Sir Sterling and royal etiquette expert Lady Llewellyn for “lessons” in horse riding, swordsmanship and more.

The Royal Majesty Makers, official consultants of Cinderella’s court, acquaint boys and girls with the genteel ways of aristocracy as they entertain audiences in the Castle Courtyard in New Fantasyland. Mount your virtual horse and slay invisible dragons, then dance medieval -style with Lady Llewellyn.

48. Bring Change

One of the cheapest souvenirs ever is the pressed penny, and pressing machines are found all over property. For $.51, you can get a Disney image pressed onto a penny. For $.75, you can get an image pressed onto a quarter. The Cheapest Disney Souvenir EVER? Many crafty moms turn these souvenirs into jewelry: Cool Disney World Pressed Penny Jewelry! Children will enjoy throwing change into fountains on property as well.

49. Hair Cuts

Nobody really thinks of hair cuts as all that much fun, but they can be in the Magic Kingdom at the Harmony Barber Shop. Prices for kids and adult hair cuts are extremely reasonable. For prices and photos, we have two articles. Let the kids see what they are in for!

50. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Similar to the location at Disney Springs, there is a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle, a styling salon for children over the age of three. The hairstyle choices are Disney Diva, Fairytale Princess or Pop Princess, although they have styles for boys now. This is popular, so reservations (407-WDW-STYLE) are highly suggested. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance, and a $10 cancellation fee will be applied to no-shows or late cancellations. All packages include a sash, and these are package prices for 2018:

  • Knight Package $19.95 plus tax
  • Deluxe Knight package $79.95 
  • Crown Package starting at $64.95 plus tax
  • Courtyard Package starting at $109.95 plus tax
  • Minnie Dot Package starting at $124.95 plus tax
  • Castle Package starting at $199.95 plus tax
  • Princess Signature Dress Collection starting at $450.00 plus tax

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: Can A Cheapskate Afford To Become A Disney Princess?

51. The Pirates League

If princess and knights are not your child’s thing, next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, kids ages three and up can become transformed into pirates or empresses, complete with a new pirate name and a bag of loot. This is becoming popular, so so reservations (407-WDW-CREW) are highly suggested. Package prices for 2018:  

  • Sculls and Scurry Package – $18.95
  • Uma Package – $19.95
  • Empress Package – $44.95
  • First Mate Package – $44.95
  • Mermaid Package -$44.95
  • Mermaid Deluxe Package – $74.95
  • Captain Hook Deluxe – $99.00

Use this link for more information. 

52. Character Meals

If you would like to get some photos of the kids in e relatively empty pre-opening park, schedule a character meal. Make an early reservation for Crystal Palace or Cinderella’s Royal Table on a day with no Extra Magic Hours, and you are admitted into the park ahead of other guests. Your child may not eat $30 worth of food, nor might you eat $50 worth of food, but it’s the experience you are paying for. Tips to Keep a Good Disney Character Meal From Going All Wrong

Another reason to schedule a character meal? Children under the age of three eat for free at Disney’s buffets and family style table service restaurants as long as they eat off your plate.

53. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Everyone from kids to adults dress up in costumes and collects mouth-watering candy throughout Magic Kingdom park. Many Disney Characters are dressed in their very own Halloween costumes.

This special event is held on select nights in fall from August to the end of October, and you’ll need a separate event “hard ticket” is required for admittance. For more details, use this Disney link. 

54. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Held select nights in November and December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offers live entertainment (Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade), spectacular fireworks and an amazing holiday parade.

There are several other experiences during the party that kids love.

  • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski and Stitch perform musical dance numbers in a musical revue.
  • Celebrate the Season Show is a musical spectacular with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and others in a Disney-fied version of The Nutcracker.
  • Enjoy meet-and-greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom park with some of your favorite Disney Characters
  • Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
  • A magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.

For more information, use this link. 

There’s so much to do and see at Magic Kingdom for children, it seriously make take more than one day to do it. We actually suggest a minimum of two days. One thing we can guarantee is that the MK memories you make will last a lifetime!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


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50 tips for a Magic Kingdom vacation