I've been visiting Disney World since I was a kid, and these disappointing photos show what a day at Magic Kingdom can really be like
Posted on October 27, 2022
I think Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, is a must-visit vacation spot.
But there are still aspects of visiting that can be disappointing to some fans.
As seen in photos, crowds can be intense and rainstorms can dampen bright days at the theme park.
Magic Kingdom is the heart of Disney World in Orlando, Florida — but it's not always magical to visit.
Read more: I visited every attraction at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Here's how I'd rank them from worst to best.
I've been visiting regularly since I was two years old and have experienced the park at its best and worst.
Alongside princesses, rides, and delicious food, a typical day may also include long lines, overpriced merchandise, and giant crowds.
Though I've found most parkgoers are lovely, it can feel hectic when crowds gather around Cinderella Castle to wait for the park to open and take photos.
Once the ropes are dropped, many fans race to popular rides like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan's Flight, which can feel a little stressful.
But even those who get there early have to spend time in line. I rushed to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during my last visit and still spent 20 minutes waiting.
Most rides, like Peter Pan's Flight, have fun, interactive decor to keep parkgoers entertained while they wait. But the hallways still felt dark and cramped to me.
And depending on which ride you go on, you might have to sit with other parkgoers. Of course, this can be for the best — sometimes you meet great people.
Some parkgoers may be disappointed when they find sections of Magic Kingdom under construction during their visit, like when I tried to visit Fantasyland in 2021.
Others might be bummed when they realize that you can't actually visit each part of the theme park. Most of Ariel's castle in Fantasyland, for example, is just for show.
When it's time to eat, you might be disappointed again. Restaurants at Magic Kingdom tend to be crowded at all hours of the day.
And you might not always get what you bargained for. I loved every bite of Dole Whip when I tried it in 2021, but I didn't expect the dessert's giant swirls to be hollow inside.
Read more: I tried Disney World's Dole Whip for the first time, and it was one of the best desserts I've ever eaten
You can see many of your favorite characters, like Mickey Mouse and friends, up close in Magic Kingdom at parades, meet-and-greets, and more.
But you can't always hug your favorite characters. Sometimes, you have to greet them from a distance.
As I walked around the park in 2021, I skipped a few rides because the listed wait times were long. I was bummed when I realized the signs weren't always accurate, and I could have ridden more rides.
If you're on a ride that gets stuck, you might be there for a while. When I rode the People Mover, I found myself stuck in a dark, noisy room for almost 30 minutes and left with a headache.
Even classic attractions like Prince Charming's Royal Carrousel can be disappointing.
Its popularity with kids means that there will probably be a ton of strollers in your way as you approach it for a photo.
Need to get away from the crowds? You won't find much reprieve in Magic Kingdom's shops.
And they can add an extra layer of frustration, as expensive items often don't have prices on them. I had to bring these Minnie Ears to a cash register to learn they cost $30.
And if you want to visit another Disney theme park in the middle of the day, you might want to avoid the Monorail. I've found that it gets crowded fast.
Read more: I tried all of Disney World's free transportation, and the best option has a history of crashing
In my opinion, the best way to avoid crowds can also be annoying for some. Florida's dark clouds and frequent rain tend to drive people away, and if you don't mind getting soaked, you can get on rides quicker.
After the day comes to a close, you can experience one of Magic Kingdom's most iconic shows: the nightly fireworks.
But if you want to see the show with a close view, you'll have to spend at least an hour of your day holding a good spot.
Once the fireworks start, expect to have thousands of people in front of you. I think the late-night crowds in 2021 were the worst I've experienced.
And thousands more people may be behind you. I found myself worried about how I'd leave the park after my visit in 2021.
After the firework show, those crowds followed me outside the park to resort shuttles and other transportation.
I love visiting Magic Kingdom. It encapsulates the heart of Disney World, and there's so much fun to experience, from iconic rides to delicious snacks.
But, as I tell anyone who visits, I think it's good to keep expectations in check. Disney isn't actually magical, after all.