I don’t manage to visit Orlando very often at all, so I wanted to make sure I started my day out early on my first day at the Magic Kingdom on my recent visit to see what it’s like early in the morning. It was a Thursday and normal park opening time was 9am. That meant they likely would start letting people in onto Main Street around 8am so they could spend time shopping and wandering around Main Street before the 9am “rope drop”. I’d grabbed an early morning breakfast reservation at Be Our Guest with an 8:35am reservation time. I knew that they likely would let people with early morning breakfast reservations into the park around 7:45-7:50am, and I wanted to make sure to be there very early.
I started out my day by grabbing an Uber from my off-site (e.g. non-Disney) hotel to the Disney Contemporary Resort. I was dropped off at the front lobby around 6:40am, where I quickly asked for directions to the walking path to the Magic Kingdom. Easily finding the path, which is clearly marked, I walked down the path for about 5 minutes until I reached the small security checkpoint which is for guests walking from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom. It was around 6:45am at that point, and the security guards informed me that they didn’t let people through the checkpoint until 7am. Promptly at 7am, they checked my bag and purse and I was let through. I then continued down the path for a few more minutes until I reached the area in front of the Magic Kingdom train stations with the entrance turnstiles. I found my way to the far left entrance which was clearly marked “Event Entrance”. There was a couple of guests in front of me in the Event Entrance line – presumably they had taken the Monorail or boat from the Ticket and Transportation Center instead of the walking path from the Contemporary.
At about 7:15am a cast member came over and verified our early breakfast reservations using one of their tablets and then a few minutes later let us pass through the entrance turnstiles. Cast members then held us at the tunnel that leads from the train station area into Main Street. Because it was raining a bit, they let us wait underneath the overhang. From there I could see cast members working diligently to clean up Main Street before rope drop.
Precisely at 7:45am, we were let through onto Main Street. I quickly walked down Main Street, trying to capture a few photos along the way. Several Photo Pass photographers were waiting down the middle of Main Street waiting to take photos of guests. I grabbed photos of the empty street, in front of the castle, and the little character statutes around the fountains. I then walked over to the empty area in front of Adventureland (which was roped off) and snapped a few photos. From there, I walked over to the Liberty Square entrance where I snapped some photos and found a PhotoPass photographer who captured some images of me on the bridge with the castle in the background.
After that, I finally walked over into Fantasyland. By this point it was about 8:15am, and even if other guests were let in onto Main Street at 8am, only guests with early breakfast reservations were allowed back into Fantasyland. Thus, it was still quite empty! The carousel wasn’t running yet with guests on it. I walked a bit towards the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and that is where I was stopped and told I couldn’t go any further (that direction led towards Tommorrowland.)
Around 8:20am I headed to the Beast’s castle for my breakfast reservation. I was quickly checked in and was served my pre-ordered breakfast.
After breakfast, I headed over through Fantasyland to the Tangled Restroom area.
Then I snapped some photos of the Peter Pan ride wall, walked through to Liberty Square and looked at the outside of the Hall of Presidents – which was closed for renovations. I started planning the rest of my morning; I wanted to be over at the Boardwalk area at 11am for lunch with a friend, so I headed out down Main Street to exit the park, and stopped up on the 2nd floor of the train station to snap a quick photo of Main Street. The park was filling up quickly!
To save time, I wanted to Uber to the Boardwalk so I decided to take the Monorail back to the Contemporary to catch a ride from there. I hopped on the Monorail to the Contemporary Resort and 5 minutes later I was in the lobby of the resort looking at the Mary Blair murals. I explored the hotel for a few minutes, then grabbed an Uber over to the Boardwalk. I arrived at the Boardwalk and had fun exploring the hotel and Boardwalk area for a while before lunch.
After lunch I hopped on a FriendShip boat to Epcot Center and entered the park via the Worldshow case entrance in the France area. This was a great way to enter the park and maybe someday we will stay at on of the Disney Boardwalk area resorts and use this route!
I then spent a bit of time wandering around the Epcot World Showcase. I had dinner reservations at the California Grill at the Contemporary at 5:10pm, and had plenty of time of time before then to wander around. After my tour around the world, I made my way towards the Epcot front entrance, stopping by the Bubblegum Wall along the way.
I grabbed the Monorail from the Epcot entrance and headed over to the Contemporary Resort. At a few minutes before 5pm, I checked in for the CA Grill and was quickly taken upstairs in the special elevator to the 15th floor. When I entered the restaurant and saw the view, I was not disappointed. The view was incredible.
The dessert menu was so ridiculously good, I decided to wait on dinner and instead I just ordered several desserts, including this crème brulee.
After “dinner”, I went out onto one of the two outdoor terraces located at the CA Grill and marveled at how incredible the Magic Kingdom looks from 15 stories up. After checking out the view for a few minutes, I went back downstairs, hopped on the Monorail and rode over to the Polynesian Resort. I explored the hotel for quite a while and then grabbed a snack of Thai meatballs.
Around 8:30pm I popped back over to the Contemporary and explored some more, before heading back to the CA Grill check in spot so I could back upstairs to view the 9pm fireworks show from the terrace; they told me to show my receipt to the elevator cast member who let me up back to the restaurant. After going back inside the restaurant, I went to the back terrace by the restrooms which was largely empty at the time and grabbed a great spot for fireworks viewing.
After viewing the fireworks, I grabbed the Monorail back into the Magic Kingdom where I explored what the park looked like in the evening. The Tangled restroom area is so charming at night and as guests starting heading home for the night, I was able to capture some images of an empty park.
It was a very long but rewarding day and I can’t wait to return!