The Magic Kingdom is often the most crowded and bustling park in the Walt Disney Resort. Sure enough, the Magic Kingdom is the place to be, featuring classic rides such as Peter Pan’s Flight and Pirates of the Caribbean, the monumental Cinderella castle, and fun for guests of all ages! Navigating through this park can be tricky at times for visitors who are overwhelmed with all the different directions to explore. Here are 20 steps to having the absolute perfect day in Magic Kingdom!
1. Reserve Your FastPasses at Home and Plan Accordingly!
This is a crucial step to take before even leaving for your Walt Disney World vacation! Many FastPasses can be reserved prior to your arrival, so do take advantage of this option. You are allowed to reserve up to 3 FastPasses online. I would recommend getting FastPasses for attractions that tend to hold records for the longest wait times including Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and if available, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Try to time your FastPasses so that they work with a clockwise motion around the park, i.e. Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain so that you won’t be running from one side of the park to another trying to catch your next FastPass. This will save you time in the parks to actually enjoy the atmosphere instead of waiting in line at a FastPass kiosk!
2. Dining Reservations
If you know that you want to dine at a certain restaurant during your time at the Magic Kingdom, make reservations! Reservations can be made up to 180 days before your visit for Cinderella’s Royal Table, and it is highly recommended that you do so due to the popularity of the restaurant. The same goes for other popular dining establishments in the Magic Kingdom such as the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Plan ahead and avoid stress.
3. Take the classic Cinderella’s Castle Photo ASAP!
When guests first arrive at the park, they tend to look their best. Take advantage of the Cinderella’s castle photo upon arrival with your friends or family. Because guests tend to get sweaty and sunburnt as the day goes on, pictures taken later on during the day can turn out, well, less than picture perfect. Before you get wet on Splash Mountain, take your pretty pictures!
4. Start by Exploring Adventureland
One way to avoid crowds is to begin by turning left once reaching the middle of the park, towards Adventureland. Most guests tend to turn right towards Tomorrowland, so turning left will help to alleviate some of the crowds early on into your day. Take a ride on the Jungle Cruise and find your inner pirate at Pirates of the Caribbean before stopping for a quick Mexican snack break at the Tortuga Tavern! I don’t recommend visiting the Swiss Family Robinson house until later one during the day. If the line isn’t too long, stop by for Aladdin’s magic carpet ride!
5. Visit Frontierland
Frontierland has always been one of my favorite locations in the Magic Kingdom because of Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. If you chose FastPasses for these two rides, or simply want to wait in line, your next stop should be these two main attractions. If you’re waiting on your next FastPass time, be sure to check out Tom Sawyer Island as a great place to relax and cool off. Tom Sawyer island closes before sunset, so the early afternoon would be the ideal time to visit. If the Florida sun is getting to you, enjoy the various ice cream and frozen lemonade stands located around this area.
6. Liberty Square
After finishing up with Frontierland, continue the pathway towards Liberty Square. If you are feeling hungry around this time of the day, stop by Liberty Tree Tavern or Columbia Harbor House for some familiar American favorites and Seafood dishes! If you are craving dessert, check out the Sleepy Hollow quick service café tucked near the Hall of Presidents for waffles and funnel cakes. I would recommend leaving the Hall of Presidents for later in the day, as it can be a good place to relax and cool off as time goes on. Nevertheless, be sure to check out the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, which has holiday decorations for sale all year round!
7. The Haunted Mansion
Following your tribute to American history and dining in Liberty Square, make your way over to the Haunted Mansion. I wouldn’t recommend a FastPass for this attraction, as the wait time is generally bearable, especially considering the amazing queue leading up to the ride. Be sure to save time for this Magic Kingdom classic.
8. Fantasyland Classics
Fantasyland is a grand chunk of the Magic Kingdom park, filled with many attractions, great shopping opportunities, and long wait times. This area of the park usually takes up the most of my time during family vacations. Upon exiting the Haunted Mansion, I would begin with It’s a Small World, a classic Disney staple. Across from It’s a Small World is Peter Pan’s Flight. Note that this is one of the most popular attractions in Magic Kingdom and can have wait times over 100 minutes in length. Avoid the lines by getting a FastPass in advance. If you are unable to do this, the queue will keep you entertained as you wait for your trip to Neverland!
9. A Wild Ride and a Show
Mickey’s PhilharMagic and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train should be next on your bucket list. Mickey’s PhilharMagic should not require a FastPass, but it is certainly a 4D show worth seeing! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is worth however long the wait will display. Quite often the wait time listed is over-exaggerated. Take the time to wait for this attraction no matter what the wait. I would avoid the Prince Charming Regal Carousel and opt for spending your time on more pertinent attractions first. If you are feeling hungry, the Pinocchio Village Haus offers a great selection of flatbread pizzas and salads with views of It’s a Small World for those lucky enough to grab seats by the windows.
10. Have a Meal and Go Under the Sea
To finish off your time in Fantasyland, hop in line for Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid. For a little dining experience, try sampling food from Gaston’s Tavern. If you wish to have a grander meal, make reservations from the Be Our Guest Restaurant. For Beauty and the Beast fans, check out the Bonjour! Village Gifts for souvenirs such as art pieces and tapestries.
11. Storybook Circus
Inspired by the Disney classic, Dumbo, this area of the park is a bright and cheery place to be! Dumbo the Flying Elephant and The Barnstormer are the main attractions of this corner of the Magic Kingdom. Souvenirs can be found at Big Top Souvenirs, which is a giant circus tent setup that’s hard to miss. For those with a sweet tooth, Big Top Treats offers cotton candy, caramel apples, and so much more!
12. Mad Tea Party
Unless you have motion sickness (like me), you will love this Magic Kingdom classic! The Mad Tea party is a whirlwind of fun for all members of your family. This attractions builds the bridge between Storybook Circus and your walk to Tomorrowland. Be sure to keep an eye out for Alice and Merida who do meet and greets near this area.
Space Mountain, Buzz Lighter’s Space Ranger Spin, and Tomorrowland’s Speedway are my top three picks for the futuristic side of the Magic Kingdom. A fastpass is highly recommended for Space Mountain. Be sure to visit all three attractions. One of my favorite attractions to relax on is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, located near Astro Orbiter. This slow moving attraction will take you on a soothing spin around the Tomorrowland area and even inside Space Mountain!
14. Wishes Night Time Spectacular & the Main Street Electrical Parade
My two favorite entertainment events at the Magic Kingdom and the perfect way to end your night at the park. Wishes is a twelve minute breathtaking fireworks show that is centered around the Cinderella castle set to the narration of beloved Disney characters. Find a great place to view the fireworks at least an hour before. The Main Street Electrical Parade is arguably the most stunning parade in the Magic Kingdom. The twinkling lights of the floats will leave you in awe.
15. Main Street Shopping
I always leave the Main Street shopping for last as a way to salvage my few remaining moments left at the Magic Kingdom that day. Apparel, accessories, memorabilia, jewelry, and sweets can all be found here. Splurge on something that will help you remember the memories you’ve made at the Magic Kingdom forever!
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper