Rockin’ Our Disney Side at the Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Did you ever wish you could hide out in a theme park after the gates were locked?  For the past three years, Disney has let you do the closest thing, staging a Magic Kingdom 24 hour party.  In 2012, they gave guests an extra Disney Day to celebrate leap year.  In 2013, a Monstrous Summer All-Nighter was held.  And this year, Disney encouraged guests to Rock Your Disney Side along with Heroes and Villains at the Magic Kingdom 24 hour party.  I enjoyed the party with my 13 year old daughter.  Take a look at how the day began with a VIDEO of the 5:50am Magic Kingdom welcome show, and continue reading for a full recap of our adventure.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

VIDEO courtesy of John Saccheri of BigFatPanda.com

After the welcome show and fireworks, everyone made a mad rush through the gates, I held back, and had a chance to chat with Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller.  Steven and I have been twitter friends for a while, and it was great to finally connect in person and learn about our mutual Pittsburgh roots.  He showed off some of the fun special merchandise created just for the day’s Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 hour party including an embroidered mouse ears cap, special t-shirt, and really cool Heroes & Villains glow stick.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour PartyRock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Afterwards, Evie and I made our way into the Magic Kingdom to play the day away, and were treated to a magnificent sunrise on Main Street U.S.A.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour PartyRock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

First stop… breakfast of champions at Gaston’s Tavern; we needed a sugar boost after waking up at 3:30 am to get to the Magic Kingdom.  This was Evie’s first experience with the Magic Kingdom’s mega-sweet roll, her thoughts; “it’s like someone rolled-up heaven and topped it with icing.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Finally it was time for some rides!  We checked out Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; it was running even though not officially scheduled to open until May 28th.  Unfortunately, the wait was already over 2 hours [everyone must have rushed right to the new roller coaster]; we decided to come back later in the evening.  Mine Train might have had a long wait, but everything else was a walk on; we quickly rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland.  We made our way to Tomorrowland, drove on the Tomorrowland Speedway, and defended the galaxy TWICE from Zurg on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (where Evie got her TOP score ever, over 400,000!).

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour PartyRock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

We gained access to fly the Astro Orbiter via the special “Other Tomorrowland Incline System” or OTIS Elevator, and then toured the land via the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Our first FastPass+ reservation for the day was 8:30 am on Space Mountain, and we made our way over to the empty attraction.  Used our FastPass, and then rode Space Mountain two more times for back-to-back-to-back transports via the classic Starport.  Although, that third trip to outerspace might have been one too many for this old Dad.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Back to Fantasyland for us… I wanted to show Evie the new interactive waiting/play area for Dumbo, and we discovered no wait for the ride.  No wait!!!  For Dumbo!!!  Unbelievable… well, there’s only one thing you can do at that point.  That’s right, we rode Dumbo.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour PartyRock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

It was only 10:00am at this point, and Evie and I had already rode on 11 attractions.  It was time for a snack.  We ran into our friend Jenn from Destinations in Florida Travel who treated us to this special Princess Cupcake made just for the Magic Kingdom 24 hour party.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

After another boost of sugar in the bloodstream, we were off to ride more attractions including: Peter Pan’s Flight (one of our favorites), Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and “it’s a small world.”  At this point we were still walking onto every attraction, and were surprised at our luck with no lines.  Where were the crowds for this “Rock Your Disney Side” party?  And then we saw it… apparently the families visiting the Magic Kingdom could not resist the siren song of Disney’s newest princesses.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

A 300 minute wait to meet Anna and Elsa from Disney’s FROZEN… 5 hours in line for a short meet & greet photo opp with Disney Characters?!?  Between that, and the massive line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it was no wonder all the other rides in the Magic Kingdom were empty.  Well, we weren’t going to waste our day standing in line; it was almost noon, and we wanted to grab a spot for Disney’s new Festival of Fantasy Parade.  Heck, we got to see Anna and Elsa in the parade anyhow.

Anna and Elsa: Festival of Fantasy ParadeFestival of Fantasy Parade - SUNY Geneseo Alternative Break

This was my third time seeing the Festival of Fantasy Parade (click here for our FULL Multi-Angle Video of the show), so I decided to put my camera down and just watch.  I noticed so many more details in the floats and costumes; it’s such a great parade, and Evie loved it as much as I did.

As the noonday sun climbed high in the sky, we had one more FastPass+ to use (12:30 pm for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad), and then we hopped on the Walt Disney World Railroad to head out of the park, back to our condo for an afternoon break from the sun (the temperature eventually topped 100 degrees during the afternoon).

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

We never planned on staying in the Magic Kingdom the full 24 hours.  That would be way too hard on my 13 year old daughter (and myself), and we wanted the day to be fun.  We went back to our condo, took a much needed nap, and, more importantly, cooled off.

We obtained a FastPass+ reservation for the Wishes fireworks spectacular, and planned on arriving back at the Magic Kingdom by 8:30pm for the 9:00pm performance.  However, it took us longer than we thought to get back into the theme park.  The Magic Kingdom parking lot reached capacity, and we were directed to park at Epcot and take the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  By the time we parked, went through security, etc., it was closer to 10:00pm.  No worries, there were still 8 hours left to the 24 hour day, and we were ready to ride – off to Adventureland for Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

We decided to watch the 11:45pm Celebrate the Magic! projection show on Cinderella’s Castle from inside The Plaza Restaurant while enjoying hand scooped milkshakes.  You could certainly do much worse than a midnight snack and a show in air conditioned comfort.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

After Celebrate the Magic, we were off to ride Haunted Mansion using our FastPass+, and back to Fantasyland to check on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue (still a 2 hour wait).

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

No worries, down to Tomorrowland for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – which caused a bit of panic in Evie when she learned there was audience participation (you could have warned me about that Dad!).

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

We headed back to Fantasyland to check on the wait time for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and it was STILL 2 hours long (surely, the wait would drop as the night/morning progressed).  Oh well, off to Ariel’s grotto to go Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Another check of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train following the Little Mermaid, and it was STILL listed as a 75 minute wait.  Now at 2:30 am, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and just get in line and wait it out.  Evie really wanted to experience the new attraction, and after I rode it at the press preview I certainly didn’t want to deny her.  [Click here for our full review of the attraction.]

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

We ended up waiting nearly 80 minutes for the new coaster, but it was worth it.  We both loved the new attraction and thought it was a fantastic addition to New Fantasyland, and a compliment to the classic attractions of Fantasyland.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

The one character we met during the evening was Maleficent who made a surprise appearance during the wee hours of the morning at the Magic Kingdom.  Villains were prevalent all throughout the Heroes vs. Villains 24 hour party.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Prior to the usual Main Street Electrical Parade, there was a Villains Pre Parade called “It’s Good To Be Bad” with many famous Disney Villains.  Check out Lady Tremaine’s moves; she knew how to boogie.

Speaking of boogy-ing, we noticed people milling about around Cinderella’s Castle, and wondered what was attracting all the attention.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

A DJ was set up on the Cinderella Castle forecourt stage, and a dance party was taking place in front of the castle with a lit up Main Street U.S.A. as the backdrop.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

In Frontierland, a second dance party raged by Country Bear Jamboree complete with Minnie, Chip, and Dale dancing away in their PJs.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour PartyRock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

We ducked through the dance floor, to head back to Adventureland for a second ride on Pirates, and a perfect 5:00 am Dole whip float breakfast treat (hey, it’s fruit and juice, right?).

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Before the Magic Kingdom 24 hour party ended, we wanted one last ride, a personal favorite for our family – Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.  Yes, it was a “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” and Evie and I partied all the way into a beautiful tomorrow.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

As we made our way out of the Magic Kingdom, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Chip and Dale all showed up in their jammies at the Main Street station of the Walt Disney World Railroad to give us a special “kiss goodnight” (perhaps good morning was more appropriate), and the Magic Kingdom 24 hour party was over.  We Monorailed back to Epcot, found our car, and Evie was asleep before we were out of the parking lot.

In case you wondered how we felt after the Magic Kingdom Rock Your Disney Side Party, well, it was 7:00 am by the time we went to bed, and we ended up sleeping until 2:00 pm in the afternoon.  After a day indulging our “Disney Side,” we wanted to give back, help other families have a magical vacation, and spent the evening volunteering at Give Kids The World Village – where children with life-threatening illnesses stay when they have a WISH to visit Walt Disney World.

Volunteering at Give Kids The World

We were assigned to help with “Mayor Clayton’s Big Splash Bash” pool party.  Evie was a little nervous to volunteer due to a 13 year old’s social anxiety, but jumped right in with the new experience.  She drew chalk decorations on the pool deck, and played pool games with the Wish Families [Evie particularly liked the game where she threw Mr. Potato Head pieces into the pool, let kids retrieve them, and the first to rebuild their Potato Head won].  It was a wonderful experience to give back to others after we spent the entire previous day focused on ourselves.

Volunteering at Give Kids The World

All and all, in our time at the party, Evie and I experienced nearly 30 attractions, but the best part of the Rock Your Disney Side Party was having that 1:1 time together.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

It’s so rare to be able to spend the day, just with her, totally focused on what she wanted to do, in the most Magical Place on Earth.

Rock Your Disney Side Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Party

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone, and here’s to the beginning of summer fun!  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.