No matter how many times I go to Magic Kingdom, no Disney experience can match the thrill and awe I get walking under the arches and onto Main Street, U.S.A. and seeing Cinderella’s Castle in the distance. Six lands comprise Magic Kingdom: these tips will help you get the most out of your day while there.
Main Street, U.S.A
TIP 14. Main Street is the opening act to your day at Magic Kingdom. If you look up to the second and third floor windows above the shops, you will notice a variety of names and company listings. The names are for people who were influential in creating Disney World and the various company names are the actual company names Walt Disney created when he was buying all of the land for Disney World, known back then as “the Florida Project.” Disney’s attention to detail is amazing and if you’re moving too quickly, you’ll miss out!
TIP 13. Main Street offers the best place to take pictures with the family in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Since Magic Kingdom is the most popular of the four parks, it tends to get busy quick. If you want a photo without all the crowds, consider making a breakfast reservation at the Crystal Palace, located off to the left at the end of Main Street. If you have a reservation before the park opens, you’ll walk to the restaurant and Disney’s photographers are already in place to capture a great shot of you and your family! Plus, you’ll get a great breakfast and the company of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger, too!
TIP 12. In Adventureland, you can explore the Swiss Family Treehouse or ride the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Two classic, must-do Disney attractions are located here. Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise are both amazingly fun boat rides. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, Pirates of the Caribbean offers a nice reprieve from the punishing Florida heat. There is also a hallway that connects Adventureland and Frontierland – equipped with bathrooms, this is also one of the FastPass+ kiosk locations. If you didn’t make your FastPasses in advance, stop by here first thing! You can also stop back here after using your three FastPasses and see if you can get more!
TIP 11. Jungle Cruise is a great ride. There is humor for both kids and adults. If you go out on a voyage later in the evening, the skippers tend to get a little more “adult” in their humor. Even if they don’t, it is still relaxing to enjoy a cruise down the rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America. As your walking back up into Adventureland, be sure to stop by Aloha Isle for some Dole Whip! No trip is complete without this Disney treat!
TIP 10. The American West is featured in Frontierland. It is also home to two of the most popular attractions in Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It also has some of the best food carts in the entire park – whether you’re looking for popcorn, corn dogs, or pretzels, no one should be leaving Frontierland hungry!
TIP 9. While it is tempting to take a ride on Splash Mountain during the heat of the day and you certainly may want to, try and ride it after sunset, too. The ride is extremely relaxing at night and you catch some amazing views of Cinderella’s Castle all aglow. This is truer in November and December when holiday lights are festooned in the park! Splash Mountain is a definite FastPass on any trip to Magic Kingdom – lines have been known to balloon past 90 minutes on particularly busy days.
TIP 8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad holds you hostage on a runaway mine train through the Old West. Contrary to most roller coasters, the best place to ride this coaster is in the back! Much like Splash Mountain, the ride feels completely different when riding at night. If you can’t make it till sunset, be sure to wait until the afternoon to take a ride! There is grease on the track and the sun warms it up. As the grease warms up, the ride gets a little bit faster than first thing in the morning.
TIP 7. Take a step back into colonial America in Liberty Square. It is easy to miss Liberty Square since it is sandwiched between Fantasyland and Frontierland, but there is a lot to enjoy here! A great place for dinner is at the Liberty Tree Tavern – this restaurant serves an all-you-care-to-enjoy family style dinner of turkey, roast beef, pork, vegetables and stuffing! If you’re not that hungry, be sure to stop by Sleepy Hollow and get some delicious waffle sandwiches! They also have a selection of ice cream and coffee.
TIP 6. Haunted Mansion is located in the back of Liberty Square. Even if the line is short, don’t run through the queue – there are some fun things to explore in the line. A “touchstone” orchestra and a haunted bookcase are just some of things you can enjoy while waiting for your ride! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a hidden Mickey when traveling in the dining room!
TIP 5. Home to the new Princess Fairytale Hall and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Fantasyland is the first destination for many families at rope drop. You may want to consider heading there first thing or using some of your FastPasses for the attractions here. If you’re looking for a delicious treat in the morning, head to Gaston’s Tavern before jumping on a ride.
TIP 4. Ever want to try pulling Excalibur from its rock? You can try in Fantasyland! Head to the front of the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and see if you are going to be the next King Arthur. The back of Cinderella’s Castle is home to the entrance to Cinderella’s Royal Table. This is an extremely hard character dining reservation to get. If you want to eat there, make sure you make your advance dining reservation as soon as you can!
TIP 3. There are a lot of people who miss Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. You can see the Imagineers subtle nod to the classic ride in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. If you look over your left shoulder as you enter Owl’s House, you can see a picture of Mr. Toad handing the deed to Owl. Just another detail to appreciate!
TIP 2. Storybook Circus is another area of Fantasyland. Be sure to check out Big Top Treats for some delicious Disney creations! If anyone is looking to rest their feet, but still enjoy a ride, head for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. When the ride was relocated during the construction of New Fantasyland, capacity was doubled on the ride, but a waiting area was constructed. There is a playground for kids, but tired adults can sit down and enjoy a well-deserved break before taking to the sky!
TIP 1. Tomorrowland has two underappreciated, in my opinion, rides. Tomorrowland Transportation Authority PeopleMover offers elevated views of the whole of Tomorrowland (including a trip inside Space Mountain). The ride rarely has a line and is rideable multiple times in an afternoon.
BONUS TIP. Our family always stops by Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor – not only is it a great stop for air-conditioning, but the comedy is hilarious! The monsedians (monsters + comedians) do pick some people out of the audience to help the show along. Most of our family have had to participate one way or the other – again, this hidden gem rarely has much of a wait and it something that kids and adults alike can enjoy!
There is much to do in Magic Kingdom and even with repeat visits, it is still tough to get everything accomplished here. Be sure to grab a good viewing spot for the nightly viewing of Wishes! This spectacular show combines classic Disney music, fireworks, and Cinderella’s Castle as a backdrop for a montage of Disney footage in an amazing mixture showcasing the power of wishes, imagination, and everyone’s favorite mouse!
Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper