The Magic Kingdom Trolley Show is just one reason to get to the park early (Photo: Walt Disney World)

The Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort is the most popular and most attended theme park in the world, so when you walk in, it shouldn’t ever come as a surprise that is it often busy and crowded. But, there’s a reason that it is the best, and even though it’s crowded, MK is always worth a visit. The best way to make the most out of an MK day, thought, is to get there early and beat the crowd that decided to sleep in.

Get there an hour before opening
No, seriously, plan to get to Magic Kingdom a whole hour before it opens. You will be able to enter the Park and explore and shop along Main Street, USA. They let you go all the way down to the courtyard in front of Cinderella Castle, but they have the entrances to the Lands blocked off so you have to stay on Main Street until the official opening time of the park. This is the best time to get photos done, too. Main Street and the area in front of Cinderella Castle will be the least crowded you will see it all day, and you and your family will also probably be the least sweaty and exhausted you will be all day, so grab those snaps first thing while you wait for the attractions to open!

Welcome show
Every morning, right at the official park opening, Mickey Mouse and a whole crowd of your favorite characters come out for a song and greeting to say “Good Morning!” and welcome to the Magic Kingdom! This short show is only performed once every day, and is the perfect start to a day at one of the most magical places on earth. It takes place on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle, so make sure you take the first tip and get there early to be able to experience this!

Getting to Magic Kingdom early is no small feat, between dragging yourself out of one of the Disney resort’s plush beds to taking Disney transportation, by the time you walk in the gates of Magic Kingdom, you are ready for breakfast and probably some caffeine. The good news is that the Starbucks location on Main Street is open early in the morning, and usually has a short line. If you’re looking to really indulge for breakfast but still grab something quick, Sleepy Hollow right at the entrance of Liberty Square is home to a wide variety of waffle dishes, and you will not regret the fresh fruit waffle sandwich with hazelnut spread.

Main street trolley show
Another entertainment offering only available in the mornings is the Main Street Trolley Show. If you’ve never made it to Magic Kingdom before noon, chances are you’ve missed out on this show, which includes entertainment Cast Members riding down Main Street in – you guessed it – a trolley. There are four stops, starting with Casey’s Corner, the middle of Main Street, in front of the Emporium, and the Main Street Railroad Station, where the Cast Members sing and dance to "Walkin' Right Down the Middle of Main Street, U.S.A." and “The Trolley Song”. It’s perfectly themed to the turn-of-the-century vibes of Main Street, USA,  and a great start to feeling immersed in the magic of the Magic Kingdom.

Short wait times     
Okay, the best part of waking up and getting to MK early is definitely the short wait times for the attractions. If riding the big thrill rides of Magic Kingdom is one of your goals, making sure you get there early to beat the crowds is the way to go. If you are at the entrance to the Lands right at opening time, you can easily ride Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain with less than a 15-minute wait, no FastPass necessary. If the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is more your speed and you didn’t book a FastPass, heading there first thing is your best bet, as you might still experience a wait, but it will definitely be less than what you will see the rest of the day.

The next time you visit the Magic Kingdom, take advantage of these tips and set those alarms! You can always leave early, walking smugly past all the latecomers who slept in, knowing that you got the best start to a magical day in the Magic Kingdom.