One of the most common questions we get asked is about how we get our empty park pictures. It’s a fairly straight forward answer – we’re just the last, or next to last people out of the park some nights. That’s our favorite time to be in The Magic Kingdom, when we feel like it’s a special place made just for us, a twinkling Neverland, unobstructed by crowds, or stroller traffic. A lot of times, this has us leaving the Magic Kingdom as late as 2 am, which we’ve been told, and we fully understand, isn’t feasible for many vacation schedules, and many families. So on our last trip to Disney World, in the name of research (you’re welcome, world!), we tried a different approach, towards the goal of an empty park. We’ve known for a long time that you can eat breakfast in the Magic Kingdom before the park actually opens. You can make reservations at several restaurants, The Crystal Palace, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or most recently, Be Our Guest. Reservations start around 8, and they start letting people into the park around 7:45. Please note, that this strategy will only work for a morning that they are not doing early Extra Magic Hours, as the park will open early for resort guests, and people will already be in the park. It will only work for days that the park is scheduled to open at 9 am.
We made a breakfast reservation for 8:20 at Be Our Guest, and arrived at The Magic Kingdom at 7:20, wanting to be some of the first in line to get into The Magic Kingdom. Some other theme park enthusiasts had us beat though, and we were about twenty people back. It’s also important to note that the resort monorail loop begins running earlier than the transportation and ticket center monorail. The resort monorail begins at 7:00, and the TT&C doesn’t start until about thirty minutes before The Magic Kingdom opens, so you’ll need to take the resort monorail line. We chose to bypass the TT&C all together, and park at the Polynesian Village Resort, so we’d have time for a quick coffee to start our day.
By the time they started letting people in the park at 7:45, the group of people had grown to about 50, and everyone wanted to be the first person to get a glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle. Adult’s were trying to out fast-walk each other, camera’s posed for that first unobstructed view. But can you really blame them? It’s honestly really special to be in an almost empty theme park. We now had 45 minutes until our breakfast reservation, and even though no rides were open, we walked around, taking pictures, and enjoying how few people there were there. This is a great time of day to get your family pictures in, or even just really see the park, when you aren’t having to rush to your next fastpass.
The central hub area, right around the partners statue, is the area that get crowded the most quickly, with all the surrounding ‘lands’ remaining virtually empty. We enjoyed eating a Be Our Guest because it was a great experience, but it wasn’t a super long, drawn out meal, so we could be out of the restaurant and ready to beat the crowds to the front of the long lines (Seven Drawfs Mine Train, anyone?).