Making the Most of a Quick Disney TripNov 08, 2022 ● By The Hood Magazine
By: Ashley Thompson, KELOLAND Living
When I realized our family’s work and school calendars aligned to allow us to enjoy a quick getaway, I knew I wanted to advantage of going to Florida. I knew we needed to take our kids to Disney while they were all at an age they’d appreciate the experience. As a Disney World novice, I was intimidated to tackle it. Another obstacle was planning the rides when our children ranged from four to 13 years old, each with different tastes in amusement park fun. But I set out on a mission to get to everything at Magic Kingdom in one day, strategically using Genie Plus reservations but not extra lightning lane purchases. For those looking to maximize your Disney experience, here’s how we enjoyed our trip.
First, let me explain the Genie Plus Ride Reservations. You can begin making ride reservations at 7:00 am the day of your park reservation. Do this right away and do not just wait until you get there because you can only make one every two hours, so waiting until 9:00 am means you miss an entire reservation opportunity, and some of the good ones might be gone.
At first, the Disney Genie Service was confusing, but once I figured it out, the nerd in me was excited to figure out how to "game the system" for the most reservations. You don't get to pick your booking times; you have the option of the next available time, but it is a whole hour window, and if you need to change something, they will help you in the ticket office.
The app allows you to book different people in your party on various rides. I should have taken advantage of that by splitting my husband and me up between the kids and getting separate reservations rather than just not using them on the rides too big for our youngest. But it can be a lot to manage and a lot of moving parts.
7:00 am: Reserve Haunted Mansion for 10:50 am.
9:00 am: Reserve Peter Pan's Flight for 2:30 pm. Park opens - rope drop to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (65-minute wait in line but I watched it the rest of the day and the times were consistently 140-minute wait so it was a good one to "rope drop".
10:50 am: Check into Haunted Mansion reservation and immediately make next reservation for It's a Small World at 1:10 pm. Technically we had 10 min left to wait for our 2-hour window to make a new reservation but since we checked into a ride we were able to do it earlier. It helps to get ahead of people who were on the same 7:00-9:00-11:00 reservation scheduling schedule you were on.
11:30 am: 15-minute wait to meet Mickey at Town Square Theatre, bathroom and Starbucks break
12:30: 30-minute wait for Mad Tea Party
1:10 pm: "it's a small world" via reservation. Immediately book Jungle Cruise for 8:20 pm. (This is where reserving a couple rides with earlier reservation slots helps because I didn't have to wait until 2:00 pm to book my next ride.)
1:50: Lunch at The Plaza Restaurant (reserved when we booked the trip)
2:30: Peter Pan's Flight via reservation. Immediately make next reservation for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for 8:50 pm
3:30 Bite the bullet and stand in line for Space Mountain for 75 minutes. I should have just paid the $9 each for the extra lightening pass.
5:30: Wait in line 35 minutes for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. It's also been 2 hours since the last reservation was made so book 8:30 PM Pirates of the Caribbean. This gives you 3 overlapping rides between 8-9 pm but with an hour window for each.
No plans until 8:00 pm fireworks and subsequent ride reservations so get a snack, do souvenir shopping and ride any rides with really low wait times that might be fun. We hopped on the Liberty Square Riverboat just to relax and sit down for a bit!
8:00 pm: Fireworks
8:20 pm: Jungle Cruise, then immediately get on Pirates of the Caribbean and then Jungle Cruise.