As far as Walt Disney World goes, the Magic Kingdom is an absolute essential place to go; and within the park, there are definitely essentials experiences you must have. Being the most popular Disney park, everyone will have a differing opinion on what you MUST do, but these are the essentials that ANYONE will tell you are a must:
15.) Try the delicious flavors at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
An essential at the Magic Kingdom is to visit the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on the corner of the beautiful Main Street USA. Full of timeless charm and bright cheer, this place is a must for all those who visit the Magic Kingdom. Try the delicious “Plaza” Ice Cream Sundae, made with Hot Fudge, Whipped Cream, and a Cherry served in a freshly made Waffle Bowl with your choice of two hand-scoops of Ice Cream; it’ll make your taste buds happy, while being immersed in antiquated enchantment.
14.) Explore Tom Sawyer’s Island
Whether you’re an explorer or you just like to sit back and watch the lazy river, Tom Sawyer’s Island is another necessary experience at the Magic Kingdom. Covered in beautiful trees and winding paths, Tom Sawyer’s Island is a fantastic chance to navigate through the world that Mark Twain crafted in his novels long ago. With twisting caves, a secret fort, and a few old mills, there is sure to be something for everyone to do here. The coolest part is, the only way to get to the Island is by log raft, and that’s one of the best parts of the entire experience!
13.) Eat some delicious Italian food with your loved one in Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
If you’re going to talk about romance in the Magic Kingdom, this restaurant is an essential part of any amorous experience in the Magic Kingdom. Featured on Main Street USA, this lavishly constructed restaurant pays homage to the dinner Lady and Tramp have in the classic Disney film, Lady and the Tramp. Featuring delicious Italian items such as Calamari, Tiramisu, Shrimp Scampi, and of course Spaghetti, this fair is only exquisite, but the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two in the most charming area of the Magic Kingdom. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, so make sure you plan this experience as soon as you can!
12.) Embrace your swashbuckling side and ride on Pirates of the Caribbean
As one of the most popular and oldest rides in the Magic Kingdom, there is no possible way you can skip out on this ride. Climb aboard a small vessel and make your way through a city in the Caribbean, amidst drops, looting pirates, and cooling waters. One of the best parts about Pirates of the Caribbean is the air conditioning, which makes it an incredibly popular attraction on hot days. This ride is incredibly immersive and fun, and it is a total essential for anyone visiting the park.
11.) Sit back, relax, and have a good ole’ time at the Country Bear Jamboree
Who doesn’t love the Country Bear Jamboree? As one of the cutest, silliest, and foot-tappingist things to experience in the Magic Kingdom, this experience is a requirement for anyone visiting. This audio-animatronic show is a Walt Disney World original, and has been in the Magic Kingdom since the park opened. Featuring Henry the narrator, the Five Bear Band Rugs, and the three mounted heads, this show is an incredibly fun experience for audience members of all ages. It’s full of original music and colorful bears; not to mention it’s air-conditioned, and awesome on a hot day!
10.) Lose yourself in the Emporium
This is definitely an easy thing to accomplish; the Emporium is the biggest shop in the Magic Kingdom, and it takes up about half of Main Street. This shop is full of everything you could ever want from to take home from Walt Disney World, including candy, collectibles, and clothing! This store has separate sections, each with different entrances from the street. One of my favorite things is to just adventure through the Emporium while waiting for dinner reservations, and browse through the mugs, stuffed animals, collectible paintings, and specialty items, and maybe even buy one!
9.) Walk through Cinderella Castle
Even though this may seem obvious, you’d actually be surprised by the fact that many people don’t go anywhere near Cinderella Castle during their visits to the Magic Kingdom. Not only is Cinderella’s Castle breathtaking from the outside, when you walk through the Castle’s main corridor, the beautiful surprises waiting there will make sentimental tears come to your eyes. Featuring 5 handcrafted mosaic murals—containing 14-karat gold and silver plus over one million pieces of glass in 500 different colors- you can see the tale of Cinderella laid out before your eyes as you walk through her castle. Who wouldn’t want to see this beautiful sight?
8.) Kick back and take a trip on the Magic Kingdom Railroad
This is one of the most relaxing things you can do in the Magic Kingdom, and it’s also one of the most beautiful. With three stops around the park in Main Street USA, Fantasyland, and Frontierland, you can ride the train around various areas and see amazing views of the park that you won’t see everywhere. The railroads are all named after people who heavily influenced and participated in the creation of Disney, including Walter E. Disney and Roger E. Broggie. I love taking the train around after eating Dinner, when the park is starting to slow down, and you can really enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
7.) Eat French Delicacies at the Be Our Guest Restaurant
As one of the newest restaurants in the Magic Kingdom, the Be Our Guest restaurant is lavishly decorated with pieces that pay homage to Beauty and The Beast, the movie that the restaurant is derived from. This restaurant features a delicious menu that changes depending on whether you’re going for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With beautiful rose mosaics, warm fires roaring in a fireplace, and elegant chandeliers, the Be Our Guest restaurant is absolutely breathtaking. As one of the newest and most sought after dining experiences in Walt Disney World, you must have a reservation to eat dinner there. You can also go for lunch and breakfast and wait in line, but be prepared for a long but well worth it wait!
6.) Ride on all of the Mountains
This one is a big one, and it’s vital that you do this while at the Magic Kingdom. Even if you’re not into big thrills, you have to ride Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain at least once in your life. Each ride is so different and unique, even if two of them are side by side. One takes you on a stellar rocket-ride through space; one puts you in a ghost train and takes you on the wildest ride in the wilderness; and one brings you through Briar Rabbit’s home in the bayou, and will definitely get you wet! These rides are essential parts of the Magic Kingdom, and you must go on them if you visit!
5.) Meet Mickey Mouse and Friends
If you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom, there is no way you can skip out on the essential experience of meeting the one and only Mickey Mouse. Featured in the Town Square Theatre on Main Street USA, you can meet Mickey and take pictures with him to show off to your friends. If you want to meet Mickey’s friends, like Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, they can be found at Pete’s Silly Slideshow in Fantasyland, where they are dressed up as Circus Stars. Young or old, this is an experience that everyone should have in their lifetime.
4.) Buy your own set of Mickey Ears in the Chapeau
For anyone who visits the Magic Kingdom, you HAVE to purchase your own set of Mickey Ears. The Chapeau, located on Main Street right by the Confectionary, is basically the headquarters for all Mickey Ear hats and headbands. The coolest part of getting your ears here is that they will customize the hats for you, and embroider your name on the back. I have a set of ears from when I was very little, and one that I recently got on my trip to Disney. You can get Mickey Ears, Minnie Ears, princess hats, pirate hats, and so much more! This is an absolute essential for a true Magic Kingdom experience.
3.) Eat a Dole Whip
While many don’t understand why this is so important, it’s probably because they’ve never tried it. Featured at Aloha Isle, Dole Whips are one of the best treats in the Magic Kingdom, and they are an absolute necessity. The fruity, light taste of pineapple will fill your mouth with happiness as you walk in the sunshine around Adventureland. And this is no regular icy treat; it really is incredible, and you have to experience it at least once.
2.) Take a small ride through It’s a Small World
When you think of the Magic Kingdom, you think It’s a Small World, which is exactly why you must go on it at least once. This experience is essential to a good Disney trip for people of all ages, featuring audio-animatronic dolls and incredibly colorful settings. This ride opened along with the rest of the Magic Kingdom on October 1st, 1970, making it one of the oldest attractions in the park. Featuring an original score by the Sherman brothers, this little ride sends out vibes of harmony and peace through all the world, while still celebrating the different cultures around the globe. No matter how old you are, you must experience this ride that Walt Disney himself helped create; you’ll leave the boat smiling and singing along!
1.) Watch the Celebrate the Magic Firework Show
This is the ultimate essential that you must do in the Magic Kingdom. No matter where you are in the Kingdom, whether it’s right outside of Cinderella’s Castle or on Splash Mountain riding down a giant waterfall, you have to watch the fireworks. Hold on to the ones you love and watch the splendor and magic of a Disney fireworks show while eating an ice cream cone or sipping on some Lefou’s Brew. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, the Celebrate the Magic Firework show is quintessential to an excellent Magic Kingdom experience, and should always be enjoyed!
As you can see, the Magic Kingdom is full of amazing experiences that are important to do. Remember that while these items are definitely essential, there is a never-ending amount of fun to be had in the Magic Kingdom! There is so much to do and see that you should still research everything ahead of time in order to make the most out of your trip; and above everything, have fun!
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like MickeyTravels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!