2009 I got a job in Walt Disney World, Florida. Both of my sisters had worked in Disneyland Paris so it was like a family tradition to work in Disney. I was so excited! I’d get to see the US and get paid whilst I spend a half a year in Disney. Disney does these International College Programs: They’ll offer you a J-visa, because you’re studying in Disney College. Basically you end up working 5 days a week and study 1 day a week. Here and there you might get more days off but, yeh, it’s not such a sweet deal as I thought it would be. Also they paid absolute minimum and you had no right to request days off or your work hours. The American long term workers would choose their hours first and then us College Program or International College Program workers would do what ever hours are left. No double pay on holidays or any other great benefits. So safe to say I worked mainly in evening/night time and all national holidays. It can be a bit disheartening but there are also great times with friends and Disney clients. So I have spent a lot of time in Magic Kingdom. Mainly in the area, Fantasyland, where I worked. We did get free access to all the Disney Parks as a perk so I did visit MK several times on my days off as well. So I have been through all the different rides and know couple of little tips here and there (although I have to admit that I would remember more if I would have written this years ago). I’ll write it area by area to try and make it easy to follow:
MAIN STREET: When entering the park do a short visit to City Hall to get your pin on (If it’s first time, just married, happy birthday etc..). Cast members notice these all day long and you get small little congrats etc things along your day. If it’s your first time, you might be lucky to get a Disney experience if a cast member decides to do some magic on you. So make sure you’ve got your pin on! Emporium obviously is the must place to shop in. It’s also open the latest in MK but it will be super busy in the night as people are heading out of the park and doing their last minute shopping. So make sure you choose your moment of shopping right! When passing Main Street Bakery you will smell this delicious ice cream waffle smell. They make ice cream waffles from scratch. The smell is great but I found the waffles not as amazing. TheCrystal Palace has amazing breakfast and overall it’s not a bad experience. Loads of characters hanging out at the meals so kids will stay happy and parents might be able to eat in peace for a second or two. Just make sure you book it!! Main street also has loads of shows and parades. These are fun activities for kiddies and parents get to party along too!
TOMORROWLAND: This is the place to be! So make sure you run here first thing when you enter to get your Fast Passes! Space Mountain will be busy and, as a devoted roller coaster maniac, this was always my first fast pass run. After getting your designated time with Space Mountain, you can chill for the day and see what you can. Tomorrowland is great for a bit older kids as it has the Tomorrowland Speedway and other piloting space stuff. I think I only did Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin only once but it’s more fun for younger kids as you get to shoot things. Also my friend Mattias would beat me up if I didn’t recommend Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café for dining. This was actually our go to location. They have the main stuff (burgers & whatnots) but they have a salad buffet table. As a vegetarian (back in the day already) I didn’t have a lot of options in Disney (Gosh I hope they’ve changed this and added veggie stuff in). I would have my go to bean burger and loooooooads of salad stuff from the buffet. This is what I would do with my two kids, who I aim to nourish with decent food rather than the sugar stuff everywhere else.
FANTASYLAND: How much can I talk about Fantasyland? I’ll try and keep it short and concise: I would say save your Fast Passes for other rides but if you’re traveling with small kids: This is your place to be. Pretty much all rides are kid friendly and fun for the younger ones. Obviously as a 21-year-old I enjoyed the most Dumbo The Flying Elephant and Mad Tea Party. Something that I worked in and doesn’t get always noticed by families is Mickey’s PhilharMagic. It is a really enjoyable 3D short movie experience. Kids absolutely love it and you get to sit down for a bit. Normally you don’t even have to queue much. When in Philharmagic you need to try and catch some diamonds. It’s a must! “it’s a small World” is a bit creepy and maybe because working around it and listening to the song too much, I can’t really recommend it. Peter Pan’s Flight is fun for kids so is Pooh’s ride. Overall just have fun in this area. Queues are fairly decent (read: long but move) in many of these rides. Just a little note from the Wishes ex Cast Member: Fantasyland closes access to the Main Street through the castle before Wishes. So if you’re planning to see the fireworks from the front of the castle, leave Fantasyland early. The fireworks aren’t bad from Fantasyland either and you can ride rides at the same time. Fantasyland is also the place to be to see princesses. Cinderella’s Royal Table is the place to be if you want to get into close contact with most of the princesses but you do need to book early. Like in the planning stages of your holiday. Inside the Castle to me wasn’t that magical or great. And after seeing pictures (my friends got got visit) from the suite upstairs, I wouldn’t spend my money on this. But each to their own. The Cruise family wanted to sleep in the castle so I guess you can say you’ve slept where many famous have slept before.
LIBERTY SQUARE: This area is a bit small and mostly about American History so it didn’t really attract me much. Haunted Mansion obviously is kinda cool thing to do, specially with older kids. I would point out Funnel Cakes, which you can find around Liberty Square. They were the best thing in Disney World as a snack, at least to me. They’re this deep fried pastry served with jam and whipped cream. DELICIOUS! Also great little shop to get beautiful memories in is Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe. Buying one or two Christmas ornament could be just the little memory you need from WDW and it’s not a lot to carry. I’m just sad that throughout these years my ornaments have broken.
ADVENTURELAND: This was actually place that sort of disappointed me. I wasn’t huge fan of these rides and didn’t ever spend much time in this area. One thing I have to mention though is the Jungle Cruise. Depends on, of course, the person running the boat but these boat trips were funny and they had some funny jokes onboard.
FRONTIERLAND: This is another destination to make your run in the morning! Or the next rides you want to get Fast Passes on. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is fun and Splash Mountain is pretty iconic to Disney World. I’m obviously old and I have experiences the original Splash Mountain with the controversial characters.. Would love to see how they’ve changed that around.
TIPS TO SURVIVE THE PARK BETTER
Get focused: Plan your day ahead a bit. Check your maps ahead of time, choose where your main meal is going to be and what time (Make a booking!) and then wing the rest. This way you’ll get the most out of your day.
Prepare to walk and queue A LOT! Magic Kingdom is very American style, so a lot of space and long distances. So preferably no heels on or at least pack yourself another pair of shoes too. And watch out for scooters. It is America after all and a lot of bigger people opt to use a scooter to move around the park. And they do not have a driving licence to these things!
Check character visit times and choose which characters, shows etc you want to watch. Expect not to see everything on one day. The park is designed to be visited over and over again.
Having a task for the kids keeps them wanting to walk around: Pins, collecting autographs, searching for hidden Mickeys etc.. This way your kid will want to walk to the next ride or place.
Prepare to pay. Once in Disney, you’re in Disney. They don’t allow other restaurants, shops to the area so there are no cheap McDonald’s or other things around. Prepare yourself to pay for each waffle (shaped like Mickey) a lot. This way you will not have to be angry about all the money lost.
If you know a Cast Member, check if they have Family Tickets left over and could get you to the park cheaper/for free. Also if you know a cast member, they have access to Cast Member shop (where all the ‘broken’, ‘dirty’, ‘little bit wonky’ toys and things are to be found).
Engage with Cast Members, specially if you’re going around with young kids. Each and every worker in Disney World is obligated to make your day magical. Don’t beg for anything but a little hello or telling where you’re from etc.. might get you a magical experience.
Hey! We love biscuits, cookies, brownies all sorts.. so we serve cookies.
If you think cookies are ok, just click "Cookies, YUM!". You can also choose what kind of cookies you want by clicking "Settings".