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It's been some time since we've been to Walt DisneyWorld, including the Magic Kingdom, but the memories really do live on forever. We've been considering trying to visit Disneyland sometime in the next few years, going back to where everything began, maybe when we decide to drive the Coastal Highway. With all the travel dreams we've been chatting up with our kids, I thought it'd be fun to relive a few of our Disney memories from years past.
Disney's Magic Kingdom is so much fun with littles, from the characters to the rides to the shows and parades. I'm sure there are way more than 12 things, but I'm just sharing a few of the highlights from our experience.
Here are 12 things you must be sure to do if you're visiting the Magic Kingdom….
1. Don't miss out on the wonder of it all.
The number one thing to be absolutely sure of, is to not miss out on the wonder in your child's eyes. Jacob was so little here, and this picture captured that wonder and emotion perfectly. There are times this parenting gig is so hard; but times like this, where you can just feel the excitement on your kids' faces, far outweigh those difficult moments.
2. Explore the Swiss Family Treehouse.
The movie comes alive for those who dare to climb up into its branches and take a look around. It'll make you want to take off your shoes and stay awhile, that's for sure. You'll be able to see the living room, the kitchen and dining area, the Crow's Nest, a library, and more. The Swiss Family Treehouse is located in Adventureland.
3. Eat lunch at Tortuga Tavern.
Located in Adventureland, you'll find Mexican cuisine, along with the best taco salad ever. Maybe we were just really hungry, but we really enjoyed being able to sit down and eat together, and the food was delicious.
4. Enjoy a Pineapple Whip for dessert.
I could have sworn I had a photo of this, and I so wish I did. You just can't go to the Magic Kingdom and not have a Dole Pineapple Whip. It's like a rite of passage. You can find the Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Adventureland. (I'm sensing a theme here with Adventureland.)
5. Explore every inch of Tom Sawyer Island.
Ride the ferry over to Tom Sawyer Island, located in Frontierland. Once you arrive, pick the path you want to take, and explore every single inch of the island. We went through Injun Joe's Cave, enjoyed the crooked bridge, and made our way through obstacles galore. It was a blast. It's like a hideaway from the rest of the park, a secret spot that only you and your family, along with a handful of other families, know about.
6. Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
This was one of my boys' favorite rides. It's a fast moving roller coaster that gives you a glimpse into the Old West. You do have to be 40 inches or taller to ride, and you'll find it in Frontierland.
7. Take a tour of the Haunted Mansion.
Located in Liberty Square, you'll definitely want to take the tour. Part of it is walking, mainly the wait time and the entertainment while you wait. But soon you'll get into a “Doom Buggy” for a spooky ride through the mansion. Now, Jaden wasn't so fond of this; at the time, he was easily spooked. But Jacob ate it up.
I remember the first time I rode Haunted Mansion, a long time ago, on a college trip. As I was exiting my Doom Buggy and leaving the mansion, the hand of a cast member crept out from behind a curtained off area and grabbed my shoulder. Holy cow, that scared me to death. It was definitely a spooky experience.
8. Grab the obligatory photo of Cinderella Castle.
Oh yes, it's a must. You must have a photo of the castle, both in the daylight and at night, all lit up. And, of course, be sure to get a photo of the entire family in front of the castle, as well.
9. Ride It's a Small World.
Mmhmm, it's a must, no matter what! Yes, you'll be singing the song for days to come, but you can't go to the Magic Kingdom and not ride this classic ride. And honestly, it's really kinda neat to ride through, seeing all the different cultures represented. Located in Fantasyland, it's one ride you'll never forget.
10. Dine with Disney characters.
This particular experience is from a work trip that I went on a few years ago, but I encourage you to do this, if at all possible, when you visit. Plan a time for a sit down meal with some of the Disney characters. The Crystal Palace, on Main Street, U.S.A., is one place you can eat and enjoy meeting Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends. It's an easy way for your kids to meet some of their favorite characters but enjoy a meal at the same time.
11. Ride Space Mountain.
Jacob loves this ride…. me, it's ok, but mainly because I have a particular memory of Space Mountain from when I was a little girl. My parents took me to Disneyland, and this was one of the rides I insisted on riding. Little did I know that I would be scared out of my wits, with my dad literally holding me down in my seat and me screaming like a banshee the whole way through. Yeah, so those memories are still with me when I ride this in present day time. However, Jacob absolutely loved this ride, and your kids probably will too. Beware, it is in the dark. It's a fast moving roller coaster, and you must be 44 inches or taller to ride. You'll find Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.
12. Watch a parade and fireworks too.
The parades at Disney are quite the show and yet another way for kids to catch a glimpse of their favorite characters. Not only that, but the fireworks displays are amazing. It's definitely a must if you wish to experience all the sparkly magic of Disney's Magic Kingdom.
The last time we visited Walt Disney World, we were quite rushed; we were trying to visit several parks in one day. My advice…. pick one park to focus on, and just have a blast with your family. Enjoy every single second of your time while there. Next time we go, we'd love to choose from either Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or the Animal Kingdom, and just explore that one park out to the hilt. Our short experiences at Epcot and Hollywood Studios left us wanting more time in both parks, as they are both full of adventure and fun. If you do have a park hopper pass, you can always visit one park for most of the day, then head over to the Magic Kingdom in the evening, since they tend to stay open later.
I have a feeling our next Disney experience will be back where it all began in California at Disneyland…. that's the word from our family travel dreams, anyway. Coastal Highway….Disneyland…. now that will be a fun trip. Don't ever stop dreaming with your family.