Once again, Walt Disney World is holding a special over-night event at the Magic Kingdom. It starts at 6 a.m. on Friday, May 23, and runs straight through until the same time on Saturday morning. It's a great way to watch dawn break over Cinderella Castle and to grab some great photos with the rare characters who come out to play.
I've attended the last two over-nighters, and I highly recommend them. Yes, it's a long day/night/day, but it's a rare opportunity to say you literally spent a full 24 hour day in the Magic Kingdom (of course, many people cheat and head over on Friday evening).
Click the slideshow accompanying this article to see some of my adventures at the event last year. I even donned my nightgown late in the evening to get a photo with Mickey and Minnie in their pajamas. I also had to grab a photo in front of the clock on Main Street U.S.A. to show that I was in the park at 3 a.m., as proven by the dark sky.
Last year's theme was Monstrous Summer, and this year it's centered on Heroes and Villains (who doesn't love the Disney villains?). If you decide to do the event, here are my recommendations:
- Arrive early. Even if you're not going to stay for the full 24 hours, don't head out to the park too late or you'll catch the worst of the crowd. It tends to build in the evening, so at least aim for afternoon.
- Be prepared for long waits. Photos with the rare characters can attract long lines. The good thing is, you have lots of time, so be ready to spend it waiting to get those great shots. The way I look at it is that I can ride the rides any time, but the characters are unpredictable. Of course, all bets are off if the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has a soft opening during the event.
- Bring some snacks. A lot of the eateries will be open during the event, but if you're staying for the full 24 hours, you'll save some money by bringing easy-to-carry snacks to nom in between meals. It might be really hot out, too, so bring a water bottle and keep refilling it at the fountains to make sure you stay hydrated.