Congratulations! You are on your first-ever visit to Walt Disney World Resort. And your very first stop is none other than the iconic Magic Kingdom Park that you’ve heard so much about. As the ultimate rite of passage, Disney’s Magic Kingdom is just overflowing with magical must-dos and endless enchanted endeavors that you just have to experience for yourself.
But it can all be a bit overwhelming, leaving you to wonder where to begin. You also may be wondering which experiences are really worth it or not. Well, we’ve got you covered; we’re providing this list of top 12 must-do pursuits to tackle on your first visit to Magic Kingdom Park.
12. Make Rounds on Main Street, U.S.A.
You will want to visit all the different Lands within Magic Kingdom Park, of course, but we recommend that you spend just a bit more time exploring Main Street, U.S.A. specifically. This is, after all, the main hub through which you will be entering into the Park. Furthermore, it’s a quaint, idyllic and heartwarming sight to walk into — a truly nostalgic setting that emanates that feel-good Disney classical charm.
There are so many different shops to browse around in, as well as several great foods and refreshment establishments to check out. But when you take the time to really appreciate all the sights, sounds and smells of Main Street, along with all the hidden touches, it really lights up the experience so entirely.
11. Strike a Pose In front of Cinderella Castle
At the end of Main Street, U.S.A. sits the one and only Cinderella Castle. Serving as the Park’s iconic emblem, Cinderella Castle is also host to many in-Park shows and events (which take place on its corresponding stage) and even houses a popular restaurant known as Cinderella’s Royal Table.
While there is much to be said about the Castle’s importance within the Park, it’s also worth noting that it makes the ultimate backdrop for a classic photo op to commemorate your visit to Disney World. So go ahead, strike a pose. Being such a popular location, there are always Cast Member photographers onsite who will gladly take pictures via PhotoPass as well as with your own camera or device if you request it.
10. Eat Iconic Treats
Perhaps you’ve heard about all those iconic treats and just have to try them for yourself. There is that legendary Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar that you’re no doubt familiar with. And fortunately, they’re fairly easy to find at just about any location at Disney World, so you should have no trouble locating one within the Magic Kingdom. There’s also that contested Dole Whip, which you can find at Aloha Isle, right within Adventureland.
Other treats that folks frequently come to Disney World looking to try include character-themed cupcakes, candy apples, and just about anything else Mickey Mouse-shaped, if we are to be honest. And Magic Kingdom Park has no shortage of any of the above.
Related: 15 Best Snacks At Disney World
9. Look for Hidden Mickeys
If you think this sounds far too much like a simple pleasure, then you’d be correct. But it’s engaging and entirely worth it in igniting that spark of Disney Magic and appreciation that you want to have about you as you enjoy the Magic Kingdom. It’s also the perfect way to fine-tune your powers of Disney observation.
But do take note that Magic Kingdom Park isn’t the only place where to find Hidden Mickeys. They can be spotted throughout innumerable Disney designated locations the world over. All the same, trying to spot as many Hidden Mickeys as you can is always a blast!
8. Purchase a Much-Needed Memento
While your time spent at Magic Kingdom Park is certain to be memorable, we strongly encourage you to go ahead and purchase a meaningful memento to remember your first visit just the same. From an article of clothing to a cute Disney Character plush, there are so many options to pick and choose from. Mickey Ears are still a top seller, and there are even options to customize a pair, if you want something especially commemorative.
First-time visitors, also take note that when you visit City Hall in the Park they will provide you with a special “First Visit” button that you get to wear (and keep) for free. Take note, you will garner the attention of several well-wishing Cast Members throughout the day!
7. Ride the Classics
You’re going to want to ride rides, of course. After all, that is one of the main reasons why people visit theme parks, right? And Disney certainly has its fair share of must-ride rides, several of which are located right within Magic Kingdom Park. While we cannot guarantee whether or not you will cover everything in a single day, we do suggest you try to tackle the timeless Disney Classics at least. Those hailed traditionally as Disney Classics include the following:
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- “it’s a small world”
- The Haunted Mansion
- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Liberty Square Riverboat
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
If you can, we also suggest riding Peter Pan’s Flight over in Fantasyland, but given its reputation for lengthy wait times, we don’t want you to miss out on all the aforementioned by committing too much time to standing in line for this one.
6. Take the Monorail
The Walt Disney World Monorail System really isn’t an in-Park attraction, but rather a mode of transportation by which to travel. But getting to ride the Monorail is another Disney rite of passage. And fortunately for Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom, the Monorail stop can be found right outside the entrance gates to the Park. So go ahead and embark on a full circular loop at least once, taking in all those fantastic aerial views out the window as you go. And if you happen to be staying at one of the three Deluxe Resorts that happen to be situated along the Monorail Line, it’s even better, because you don’t even need an excuse to hop on and utilize this mode of transportation during your stay.
5. Visit Tom Sawyer Island
This is one peaceful Park location that often gets overlooked, but making plans to stop and look around will be entirely worth it. In fact, you really haven’t done the Magic Kingdom entirely unless you can say you’ve visited Tom Sawyer Island. While there is some debate on whether or not you can count it as an attraction in the traditional sense, it is an attractive walkthrough explore-at-your-own-pace endeavor that you won’t want to miss.
4. See the Shows
While rides can be counted as some of the best-loved Disney attractions of all time, stage shows and other auditorium-centered spectacles also make the list. And at the Magic Kingdom you will find several that are noted must-see endeavors. Our recommendations include checking out all of the following:
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
3. Watch a Parade
While subject to changes in regards to times, seasonal offerings, and what’s currently being featured in the way of the procession, one thing that always remains constant is that there’s always a parade, every day, happening at the Magic Kingdom. And as another beloved Disney traditional must-do, we strongly encourage you to make it a point to watch one.
Disney’s current Festival of Fantasy Parade only lasts around 12 minutes or so and provides the perfect opportunity to see several of your favorite Disney characters all in one place! Just be sure to check the times for that day’s scheduled procession and plan to arrive early enough to get a good view.
2. Stay for the Fireworks
Just as the parade is part of the heartfelt Disney tradition, so are the evening fireworks. And nothing compares to the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectacle of epic proportions: Disney Enchantment! With the Magic Kingdom serving as both the backdrop to the accompanying projection effects as well as the epicenter of all the action, even if you had a long day at the Park, you’ll want to make it a point to stay for this most magical moment.
1. Meet Disney Friends
In assuring that you have the most magical first-time experience at Magic Kingdom Park possible, there’s just one other essential you still need to cover, and that is meeting your favorite Disney pals in person. These are the very manifestations of Disney Magic, after all — those friends you’ve known and loved your whole life.
Of course, you’re going to want to meet them. And thankfully, there are several Character Meet and Greets all around that will enable you to do just that. Share some hugs, get a couple of cherished photos, and even have them sign your autograph book (if you have one). You’ll be happy you did, as nothing constitutes the perfect Disney experience quite so well as meeting Mickey Mouse and other lovable legends.
In order to tackle as many things as possible, we strongly encourage you to arrive bright and early at the Magic Kingdom, before they are even open, if you may. If this is your first time being here, you’ll want to get in as much time as possible, believe us.
Early arrival is essential for getting a head start and avoiding those larger crowds and longer wait times that tend to manifest by midday. It’s also helpful to have a map on-hand, so you know how best to navigate in addition to which attractions are where accordingly.
We understand that each Guest has their own list of experiences they long to cover, but we hope we’ve bestowed you with some valuable insight into a couple of the most contested must-do experiences to be had when visiting Magic Kingdom Park at Disney World for the very first time.