Hey all! I’m up early today (did someone say After Party Sale?!) and thinking about my favorite place in the whole world to be up early- Disney’s Magic Kingdom- so I thought I would share some of my favorite tips. Now at the time I’m writing this (you don’t want to know o’clock on January 5), we’re just a few days away from Disney starting its new morning experience on January 9 so I thought it would be useful to give you guys a few quick tips about early morning breakfasts and how this new experience might affect them. I’m going to be back soon with a full Early Morning Magic Kingdom tips post but wanted to hold that until the new experience begins so I can give you the most helpful ideas!
Tip #1: Focus reservations on the 8:20-8:35 time slot.
Disney announced here that starting Jan 9 guests will be able to enter the park a half hour before the opening time. However, it’s important to note that on normal park hour days (usually 9:00 openings) this means that guests will get in around 8:30 BUT people with dining reservations before 8:30 will still get in ahead of this event. In my head that means that the park will be least crowded before 8:30 and start to get crowds at 8:30… so 8:00-8:30 is when you want to enjoy the empty main street and 8:30 is when you want to start making your way towards breakfast and before
Oh and I ended my recommended time slot here because what I’ve heard is the usually-not-enforced-but-still-official word is that they should let you in 15 minutes before the reservation. In the past they’ve always let everyone with a before park breakfast in at the beginning but with the new experience they might hold 8:45 and on back. I’ll let you know though!
Tip #2: It doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think!
In Magic Kingdom you have 3 pre-park-opening breakfast options: Be Our Guest ($-$$$), Crystal Palace ($$$), and Cinderella’s Castle (let’s just give that all the money signs). Crystal Palace is a fantastic breakfast option and if it’s in your budget go enjoy! Cinderella’s Royal Table is good enough to get by in terms of food quality (notice I did not say quantity though) but is really more about the experience. Be Our Guest is kind of the magical ticket here. Breakfasts here are $24 per person and come with an entree, drink, and pastries.
Our little breakfast hack here is to actually have 2 breakfasts (or if you’re like us… breakfast and elevenses #nerdlife)! We like to share one breakfast which is plenty to get our day started and then later in the morning have a super early lunch (we also like having early dinners so we have plenty of time for fireworks so this definitely helps with that too!). David usually opts for “cinnaa-loaf,” our name for the gigantic loaf of bread they call a cinnamon roll and at $4.49 it definitely helps down costs!. For me I usually like to try to catch gluten free Mickey Waffles over at Gasparilla, they serve them until 11:00 so we leave the park around 10:20 and hop our favorite little boat ride!
Tip #3: Resist the urge to run to Mine Train!
(This tip applies if you plan on being done with breakfast at official opening time so you can be among the first to ride attractions, if we get to Be Our Guest at 8:25ish we are usually done in time).
Before the park opens they keep the area in front of Mine Train roped off but right around (usually 2-3 minutes before) the official opening time the let the flood gates loose. And let me tell you- within 5 minutes there will be more people on that Mine Train line than you even KNEW were in the whole park with you! BUT this first half hour or so of the day is actually the ideal time to ride, well, almost anything else! Most people, just getting in the park, will either stroll down main street, maybe grab a few castle selfies, and then get their bearings… or run/power walk as fast as they can to get to Mine Train. For you, this means it’s the ideal time to ride everything in the “I want to ride it but it isn’t worth a 2 hour wait” category. For us that means rides like Little Mermaid or Peter Pan which are so empty at the start of the day we usually tell people to go around us in line so we can enjoy the queue for a while!
Tip #4: Don’t stress about time!
Transportation early in the morning can be hit or miss. I’ve had trips where the bus was waiting for me at 7:20 and trips where I missed the boat by a hair and waited up to my reservation time for the next one (mini tip here: getting to MK from the Poly at 7:30 AM is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do in Disney- I suggest talking to the concierge about what transportation will actually be running that day).
Restaurants WILL hold your reservation for a while and they WILL still let you into the park even if you’re late just getting to the gate. Now that’s not to say to ditch the reservation (they’ll charge you and if you’re at Cindy’s then they already did charge you!) or to be super late, but just try as hard as it can be sometimes that this is Disney and you’re on vacation. So even if you’re running a few minutes behind (or the busses are), still give yourself those couple minutes on Main Street to just enjoy! Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for a table once you check in anyway and honestly you’ll enjoy your meal so much more if you’re having fun!
So what do you guys think? Do you love pre-park opening breakfasts too? Let me know any of your favorite tips in the comments!