lens and sunscreen

2022 Disney World Planning Guide

We celebrated our little one’s 5th birthday in Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Now we know why there is so much hype around Disney – the MAGIC is for real!!!

Incase you didn’t know, Orlando is a theme park mecca with numerous parks from Disney, Universal studio, Seaworld, waterparks etc.
We didn’t want to get overwhelmed or exhausted by the time our trip ended so decided to do 2 parks – Magic Kingdom (MK) & Animal Kingdom (AK)

Start your trip with Magic Kingdom, with the castle, fireworks and distinct theme of each ride, you are definitely gonna be blown away at the sheer excellence of it. And the fact that it was created in 1970’s just makes you wonder at the planning and execution of parks this scale back in the day!

Disney is your go to site for buying tickets, reserving days, park details etc.

Table of Content

1. 4 day itinerary for Disney

We stayed offsite and didn’t feel the need to rent a car. Uber was pretty convenient to-from the airport and parks. Goal was to not exhaust ourselves by the end of this trip so we kept a rest day in-between parks.

Day 1:
Land at Orlando (MCO) airport – We landed on time, grabbed our luggage, and headed straight to the Courtyard Marriott at Lake Buena Vista. We just relaxed, chilled by the pool and went to bed in time to be up early for the next day. The highlight of this day was lunch at Sofrito Latin, walking distance next door. They served Latin food – cuisine all across South American countries. Definitely worth a try!

Lunch at Sofrito Latin restaurant
Lunch at Sofrito Latin
itinerary for disney world
Beautiful sunset captured from Hotel lounge

Day 2:

We were up and ready in time to take the hotel shuttle to Magic Kingdom but it got delayed so took an Uber instead. From there you take a further ferry or monorail to get to MK. So plan accordingly, best is to get in at rope drop – fancy term meaning before the park opens.

Entering MK first time is mesmerizing – from comic theme characters greeting you to castle-ish structures lining the main road leading upto the main castle – it feels like you entered a fairy land!

There is a maddening array of rides to pick from with wait times ranging from 20 mins upto 2 hours. So you need to plan ahead what rides are a must do. Also the Genie Plus is a MUST, details below.

Apart from the rides there are regular parades and wonderful firework to end the day. We found the restaurants to be reasonable with a good variety of food.

The Castle
Fireworks at Magic Kingdom

Day 3:
After 13 hours on our feet (16K steps) the previous day we had NO plans for today. Woke up late, ate breakfast and then headed to the pool. The hotel had good outdoor games like bean toss, ping pong that kept us entertained until late lunch. After an afternoon siesta we spent our evening at Disney Springs. This place is lively with a lot of concerts and live music.

Carousel, T-REX cafe, Disney store, Coca Cola store, Once upon a toy, numerous restaurants and cafes and best of all an open air CONCERT. You can grab your dinner and sit on one of the benches by the stage to enjoy live concert with Rainforest Cafe playing tricks in the background!

Day 4:
Today was our day at Animal Kingdom park. We didn’t buy Genie+ for this one that’s why rope dropped and headed straight to Kilimanjaro Safari, which along with the Lion King show are must do’s. Wait time can get crazy as the day progresses so try to cover these first thing. AK is easy paced park compared to MK. We wrapped up by 6pm and headed straight to our hotel to again chill at the pool and watch some winter olympics final 🙂

2. TIPS for Disney Parks

  1. SPEND MORE GET MORE: Spend extra $ to buy Genie+ especially for Magic Kingdom. We did 12 rides – credit to the detail planning and genie+ of course.
  2. YOU SNOOZE YOU LOSE: Get an early head-start by being at the main entrance 30 mins before park-opening. Once you get your tickets you either take a ferry or monorail to get to MK entrance which adds up to the overall time.
  3. GO GREEN: There are water refill stations after every few rides, save time, money and planet by getting your own water bottles and refill at these stations.
  4. SMART LUNCH BREAK: We booked our trip in less than 2 weeks so all dine-in restaurants were booked out. If you are in a similar boat, make sure to utilize MyDisney app to see wait times at quick service restaurants and order ahead of time. If possible, take lunch break after the rush hour to save on time and get good seating options.
  5. WEAR COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR: By the end of Magic Kingdom we had clocked 16K steps and Animal Kingdom 13K steps. Need we say more?!
  6. SAVE YOUR PHONE BATTERY: You are going to be on MyDisney app for better half of your day – checking standby lines for rides, map, booking on genie+ etc. Keep your GPS, data off so you still have call making ability and save on battery.
  7. Safari & Avatar: We rope dropped the busiest rides of AK when wait time wasn’t more than 15 mins. Something you may want to do if you haven’t bought genie+.
  8. RENT STROLLER: Renting stroller within the park is easiest – 15$ for single and 25$ for double stroller. When kids aren’t sitting you can lug your backpacks in it.
  9. RIDES BREAKDOWN MIDDLE OF THE DAY: Believe it or not this happens quite often so be prepared and have backup. We decided to start our day with Tomorrowland only to find 3 rides broke down right at that time.
  10. UTILIZE POST-FIREWORKS: When people were leaving the park we did 2 more rides that had no lines at all. If you still have some stamina left do try.

3. MAGIC KINGDOM RIDES

All the rides listed here are in order of our liking. Keep in mind these are 5 year old approved. Needless to say use your own discretion based on your kid’s comfort level.

  1. Its a small world
  2. Buzz Light year
  3. Peter Pan (Booked slot on Genie+)
  4. Splash Mountain (Booked slot on Genie+)
  5. Under the Sea
  6. Haunted Mansion (Booked slot on Genie+)
  7. Magic Kingdom Cavalcade
  8. Dumbo the flying elephant
  9. Speedway
  10. Winnie the Pooh
  11. Barnstormer (Booked slot on Genie+)
  12. Mad Tea Party

4. ANIMAL KINGDOM RIDES

All the rides listed here are in order of our liking. Keep in mind these are 5 year old approved. Needless to say use your own discretion based on your kid’s comfort level.

  1. Kilimanjaro Safari
  2. Lion King show
  3. Kali river rapids
  4. Its tough to be a bug – 3D movie
  5. Feathered Friends in flight
  6. TriceraTop spin
  7. The Boneyard – lots of competitive games(at an extra cost), obstacle race etc.
  8. Dinosaur – could get a little loud and scary in between
  9. Maharaja Jungle Trek & KiteTails – we didn’t enjoy these much
Tree of Life – Animal Kingdom

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