This is a guest post from Lindsay Routh. Her family recently participated in Disney's Family Magic Tour, and she wrote a review of her experiences. Just a heads up: the review below does include some spoilers so you might want to skip it if you're trying to avoid those. Now, here's Lindsay...
My family, including my husband of 11 years and two kids, Mallory (8) and Lucas (6), had the opportunity in October 2017 to do Disney's Family Magic Tour in Magic Kingdom!
Note: spoilers ahead!
What does the tour look like?
The tour begins when you check in to Town Square Theater on Main Street U.S.A. Currently, the tour is offered once a day at 10:00 a.m. so we were to check-in by 9:45.
We were given very large name tags and a cold bottle of water and told to use the restroom before the tour began. At 10:00 a.m. sharp, our tour guide called for us and pulled our group to a quiet corner of the theater lobby for introductions and instructions.
Our group totaled 13 (7 adults and 6 kids), plus our guide. During introductions we said our names, where we traveled from, and our favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World which was a fun way to break up any nerves the kids were having.
Our guide then told us about our mission. She explained that we were going to take an informational walk through Liberty Square and learn all about our founding fathers (my kids weren’t fooled) but our plans were foiled because the night before, the Disney villains stole a bunch of items from the “good guys” and we needed to help find those items and return them to restore order in the Magic Kingdom.
And that’s where our adventure began….
Starting on the front porch of the Town Square Theater, we discovered our first clue by playing a game of bean bag toss. Everyone (yes, the adults too) took turns tossing bean bags to reveal the clue that ultimately set us on the hunt for Olaf’s carrot nose.
Our tour guide was very helpful in making sure each child was involved. My kids tend to be quieter in groups, and there were some children in our group who were more outgoing.
It would have been easy for my kids to stand in the back of the pack and never actually get to answer a clue or retrieve a lost item, but our tour guide made sure that wasn’t the case. She took turns within the group and included each child the same which we really appreciated.
Our first two or three clues had us move up Main Street towards the castle hub. It’s important to note that there is a fair bit of walking during this tour, though the clues are laid out in a way that reduces back-tracking.
Some clues were simply riddles that pointed us to the next location and lost item. But several clues required us to solve a puzzle or play a game.
At the castle hub, we entered into one of the gated grassy areas to search for puzzle pieces. I was surprised that the pieces were as tricky to find as they were, but that didn’t stop the kids from finding many, if not most, of the pieces.
They were hidden in the small topiary trees and within the bushes surrounding our gated grassy lot. In the frenzy to find clues, my son nearly toppled headfirst into the bush and was excited to come up with the last puzzle piece!
Once assembled, we were heading to Liberty Square where the kids retrieved another lost item. One thing I noticed at this point in the tour, is that even as a self-proclaimed “expert” of the parks, I was seeing little nooks and crannies that I hadn’t noticed before.
There was also an element of fun in entering areas that were otherwise restricted to guests, such as the aforementioned grassy area that was gated off. This just added to the fun!
I should mention at this point that we did draw some attention from other Magic Kingdom guests. After all, we were moving through the crowded streets with purpose and wearing noticeable name tags.
As we made our way from Liberty Square around to Fantasyland, one clue instructed us to play a game of "follow-the-leader." Again, each kid was given the chance to be the leader of the line as we marched, waddled like ducks, and made silly sounds -- whatever the leader did.
Yes, even the adults.
At this point, about 45 minutes into the tour, our guide suggested we stop for some fun. We were standing outside The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride when she suggested we give our legs a break and go for a ride. She escorted the 13 of us through the FastPass line and met us on the other side a few minutes later.
From here, our next clue seemed to be directing us to the Cheshire Cafe. Hmmm...but where?
As we poked around the outside of the cafe, a friendly face was suddenly beaming out at us from inside the cafe window. Peter Pan came outside to join us.
He and his handler escorted us into a shady cove next to the cafe where we discovered the next lost item -- Hook’s hook!
We were given about 10 minutes to take pictures with and chat with Peter Pan, who is always so much fun!
By now, we were a little over an hour into the tour and our guide offered us a 15-minute break. We could use the restroom, grab a snack, or just rest our legs.
I enjoyed sitting down with my small family and hearing from the kids what they liked best so far. As I mentioned, my kids are rather shy in the group setting so it was nice to hear them perk up and excitedly recap their highlights to that point of the tour.
Once we reconvened as a group in the shady alcove where we’d met Peter (we’d previously said bye to him), our guide pulled out the clue Peter had left which ended up being a game of memory.
The kids sat down in a circle and played the game, matching the cards as they went until the next clue was revealed. Again, the guide did a fantastic job of keeping it fair and making sure each child had their turn.
The tour made its way through more of Fantasyland and eventually to the Liberty Bell before we had just one more item to find -- a Mickey Mouse Duffy bear.
In the Main Street Confectionery the kids searched high and low to find the stuffed bear. Like a kid in a candy store….oh, wait...my son excitedly noticed the bear behind a cashier and ran to find our tour guide.
With the bear and our final clue in hand, we learned that we needed to return all of the lost (now found) items to the “boss.” The kids quickly realized it was Mickey Mouse himself who we should return our backpack of stolen goods to, and we headed back to the Town Square Theater.
Once again, we were escorted to the FastPass queue and only had to wait a few minutes to meet Mickey! As Mickey was feeling talkative on this occasion, he asked the kids about their mission and thanked our group for restoring order to the Magic Kingdom.
We ended our tour with group pictures before thanking our guide and parting ways.
Was the tour worth it?
As annual visitors to Walt Disney World, the Family Magic Tour was a great way to experience something new and learn a little more about the park. As I previously mentioned, I noticed little details within the park that I hadn’t seen before.
As is with most things about a vacation in WDW, I loved seeing my kid’s faces when they solved a clue or found a missing object!
How much did it cost?
Currently, Disney's Family Magic Tour is $39. I was able to secure a discount when I called to book the tour using my Disney Visa.
How long is the tour?
The tour is approximately 2 hours per Disney's website. However, on our particular tour, it was closer to 2.5 hours. Times will definitely vary based on the speed of your group and the overall crowds in the park.
We were hung up on our return to Main Street by the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party which delayed our return by a few minutes, not that we minded the chance to watch the floats and characters go by!
What ages is the tour recommended for?
Disney asks that Family Magic Tour guests be at least 4 years of age. My kids were 6 and 8 at the time. Personally, I think 4 might be a little too young to enjoy the tour as some of the clues might be difficult for them.
The kids benefited by being able to read the clue, though that’s certainly not a deal-breaker to being included in the fun.
We weren’t prohibited from taking a stroller on the tour; however, I’m happy that we left it parked outside the Town Square Theater for the duration of the tour as I think it would have slowed us down and possibly prohibited some of the fun interaction, such as follow the leader.
How do I book the Family Magic Tour?
You must call in order to book the Family Magic Tour. I was able to reserve our tour 180 days in advance, though I found no availability in 2016 when I tried to book in advance so book early if this is a priority for you!
- (407) 939-8687
- (407) WDW-TOUR
Disney’s site mentions same day tours may be available by walk-in. This might be a viable option for small groups or individuals, especially if the tour isn’t fully booked.
Would you recommend Disney's Family Magic Tour?
Absolutely! Specifically to families/groups that are returning to Walt Disney World after several previous trips.
Personally, I think for your first trip (or even second), you might get more mileage out of your hours in the park by enjoying other attractions, particularly since this event takes place between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. which are some of the best times to enjoy the rides before afternoon crowds increase.
However, my family loved this tour as it provided us with something new to try and tested our knowledge of the Magic Kingdom and its characters!
Thank you, Lindsey!
The tours at Disney World are great options if you are looking for something a little bit different to do on your next trip. There are TONS of different tours available. Want to learn more? Check out our All About Disney World Tours post. There you'll find lots of FAQ's, information on discounts, and tips for taking a tour at Disney World.
Thinking about taking a tour on your next trip? Let us know in the comments.