Walt Disney World is magical any time of year, but it’s a whole other level of happy during the holidays. Yes, there’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas for those who want to go all out, but any day at the park is going to feel festive, thanks to the decorations that abound, along with the parades and performances.
On a recent trip to Florida we decided to add a day away and sneak in a visit to Disney. Since we knew we could only spend one day at a park, we went on a Saturday to maximize the amount of fun we could experience. Between Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, all of the parks offer something that makes them a must-see, but we had a child with us who had never been to Walt Disney World before, so we knew she had to get to the iconic Magic Kingdom.
We parked just as Magic Kingdom opened at 9am and yes, we stayed and played until the park closed at 11pm. Actually, we stayed past 11. We wanted to get in a couple more rides after the incredible fireworks show ‘Happily Ever After’, so we played right up until closing, and still managed to do a little shopping at the stores on Main Street, which close at midnight to allow for everyone who, like us, wait until the last minute to pick out our souvenirs. After all, who wants to carry that stuff around all day anyway, right?
If you get there right when the park opens, lines for rides such as Space Mountain will be much shorter than the middle of the day. We got lucky and rode it once first thing in the morning and then again, after the fireworks. Now, you could probably get on a lot more rides with no lines if you skip the fireworks showcase at the castle, but it really is the perfect finale to your day, so I don’t suggest skipping it unless you’ve already seen it before. Otherwise, find a good spot in front of the castle and park yourself there for a display of lights that will make it hard to enjoy your city’s typical 4th of July fireworks ever again. Disney puts on a show night after night that really flows all other fireworks away (pun intended). It’s not just fireworks—there’s also an entire lights show projected onto the castle which transforms it from its grey exterior to a brilliant display of color. Words don’t do it justice. You can see a bit of it in the video we shot of our day of fun (just click on the arrow to have it play).
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