My family visited Magic Kingdom on 12/8, as part of a makeup trip for our would-be DisneyLand/Hawaii combo trip we’d had booked since Feb. With the way everything changed since our booking, we obviously had our hearts very set on visiting both destinations for the first time. As time went on the outlook got more and more bleek, and I believe it was Oct/Nov. when I finally scrapped it and put together a Florida trip to make up for it.
First off, my wife is high-risk due to low white blood cell count, and to my surprise felt OK to head to FL considering all the precautions we’d seen in place. She was nervous about the unknown, but overall felt fine enough to do it. Once we arrived and throughout our 9 days, she didn’t have concern whatsoever. That’s how good we felt the precautions were everywhere we went. Major kudos to the parks, attractions, restaurants, etc. in the area. I know that in our home area, it’s not as good because everyone is arguing their opinions vs. just dealing with it and going about their merry way. It’s a pain.
Anyway, here is some rundown of Magic Kingdom on a Tuesday.
Opening was advertised as 8am, though with Liners knowledge I knew they’d open around 7. Thanks to all the hot tips here, I was able to get in very early while staying off-site and not getting stuck in the parking lot. As some know, you can get a Mobile Order at a nearby resort and then walk. We did a simple order at Contempo Cafe @ CR, Ubered there, and were walking on Main Street at 7:20am.
Nearly empty entry lines, buses were starting to arrive, and we literally walked right through temp checks and security. I believe our success run went like this:
Walked straight onto 7Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Space Mountain, Buzz, then about a 10min. wait for Astro Orbiter due to the elevators slowing it down. When we were walking over to Space Mtn, it was about 805am and I heard someone in shock that the line for 7 Dwarfs had already reached 60min. as far as the signs suggested. He got there so early and it didn’t help - meanwhile we’d already knocked out 2 top rides and saved a lot of time! They were each 30-60min. the rest of the day, with only PP reaching the lows of course.
From there went on Jingle Cruise with a wait of 30min or so, walked onto Aladdin and Haunted Mansion, met the Country Bears, Chip & Dale, saw some cavalcades, walked onto Dumbo, waited maybe 10 min for Splash twice, 15min for Big Thunder, and 20ish for Tiki Room (just missed getting into the show we arrived for, so that slowed us down considerably. Had a Dole Whip while waiting though!). Onward to Tony’s for lunch, timestamp ~2pm.
Saw more characters & cavalcades on our way, and then on our way to Little Mermaid where we had another 5min. wait or so. Had to make it back to Adventureland for Pirates, where we had another long wait but that was designed as a sacrifice since we rope dropped 7D, PP, and SM. This was 30-40min. and wasn’t ever any better all day, except the earliest hour of the day or so. Son wanted to do Aladdin again before we waited for Pirates, so we did with another maybe-5min. wait.
To end the night we ran through Teacups (5-10min.?), Carousel (20min. wait?), Philharmagic (10min.?), and then walked onto Buzz twice. Left 20min. on the park hours clock when our son was too tired to do Buzz again. I figured we’d do it a couple more times since it’s one of his favorites, but as you can see we had a pretty tiring day and it was our 3rd full park day in 4 days.
The rest of our trip was pretty hectic. The party was myself, my wife, and 6yo son:
Day 1: evening arrival
Day 2: Legoland - loved it, did everything minus 1-2 rides we didn’t want to, met Lego Santa and other characters, very fun. Glad we got a deal on an annual pass because we want to go back)
Day 3: misc. area attractions like go karts, mini golf, etc. Distancing, cleanliness, etc. were all about as good as the major parks
Day 4: Busch Gardens - this has always been one of my and my wife’s favorite parks. Been 15 years since we’ve been there though and a lot has changed! We got a deal on an annual pass here too, as well as on Quick Queue passes. They weren’t needed on a Monday, but they DID save us some decent time on the major rides once the afternoon hit. Unfortunately, this was the day Tampa had a water emergency and they had to shut down early! We were at least issued free passes to return (wife and child, who used my free guest passes, so that leaves us another ‘free’ visit with those since I have the pass already). Plus they gave us extra all-day dining passes to replace what we’d purchased. We did use them for 2 meals so overall there’s some free food in the end. Granted this is useless if we’re not planning to go back, but we do, so I can see silver linings. The Christmas stuff was great and we got to see Rudolph & Clarice, ride nearly everything, and do a bunch of things repeatedly. Great day regardless.
Day 5: Magic Kingdom
Day 6-9: Universal, both parks, twice each. We got ourselves a night at the Royal Pacific in order to be on property and get Express Passes (this was cheaper than getting the passes outright, so it saved us that plus an extra day overlap of parking costs. win/win/win!). So we took overnight bags from our other hotel, came here, did the 2 parks to death on the first 2 days covered in our stay, went back to our main off-site hotel, and came back to have more leisurely visits at each park. We ended up doing every ride, every attraction we wanted, met a bunch of characters, and did so much so quickly that FOR ONCE we left the parks before closing despite rope dropping. Just ran out of things to do! Of course, I could have re-ridden some rides but the waits were just crazy at this point on weekends. Got lucky w/rope drop and able to ride Hagrid with a 30min wait before they closed the queue. We also had a Virtual Line pass at the same time to return within the hour, so basically within 90min we got to ride twice with a few trips on the Hippogriff and snacks in between. We’d ridden it at night a couple days prior, so we took advantage for sure. By far the best Harry Potter ride there, as everyone says. Lots of Christmas stuff was cool especially the Grinch experience and the Macy’s balloons which was pretty unique. And a bonus Santa meeting. Only bummed that Popeye wasn’t out to meet (or we kept missing him?), and we never caught the Simpsons, but we did find Krusty & Sideshow Bob and a bunch of other characters.
Day 10: aquarium and more area attractions before returning home.
All this and our son was still giving us trouble getting to sleep almost every night! Just full of energy except when it’s time to walk the parks - LOL. Ahh, youth.
All in all it was a very successful trip and despite being mega-bummed by not going to Disneyland & Hawaii, this made us very happy. It was only our 2nd time to Disney at all, and our first family trip to Uni & Busch. First time for any of us to Legoland. All great. Son says they were all his favorite and he cannot pick just 1. That works!
Both Universal and Disney did well at spacing, especially in lines. Sanitizer was everywhere, Universal seemed a little more adament about giving you some before/after every ride, and each park had areas where crowds couldn’t help but …crowd. Didn’t bother any of us but I know some might not be comfortable. IMO if you’re that concerned then going to parks is probably not wise. My wife w/her condition wasn’t bothered, which says a lot to me about how comfortable she felt regardless and the feeling of safety if you’re not a worry-wart. Legoland and Busch Gardens were similar in these respects, but much less crowded so it was much less a concern.