Timeline/Personal Journal of a Visit to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

One of my favorite Parks at Walt Disney World is the Magic Kingdom, and it truly is magical, with so many themed rides, attractions, and incredible dining choices. I always keep a journal of our trips to Disney World, and I decided to share our experience with Disney fans. This is a sample of the timeline of one of our trips. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe it will give a little insight on ways to navigate this “most magical place on earth”! *My journal is based on the year we stayed at Port Orleans/Riverside.*

6:00am – 7:30am – Rise and Shine — Good morning, Disney World! Rise and Shine! After preparing ourselves for a busy day at the Magic Kingdom, we join other early risers at our Resort’s Food Court for a delicious breakfast.

7:45- 8:15am – Ride to Magic Kingdom — It’s a very short distance from the front lobby of our Resort to the bus depot, and luckily the Magic Kingdom bus was pulling up just as we arrived. After a 15 minute bus ride, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom bus terminal. From there it was a short walk to the main entrance. After passing through the security bag check area, we entered the terminals where we scanned our Magic Bands, checked fingerprints, then joined the crowd that was already forming near the entrance tunnels.

8:30 – Welcome Ceremony At Rope Drop — After enjoying the welcome ceremony with Disney cast members and familiar Disney characters singing and dancing to lively Disney tunes, the official “Welcome” announcement is made, and the Magic Kingdom is open for all to enter.

8:35-9:00am – Main St. USA to Tomorrowland — We strolled down Main Street, taking pictures, and window shopping as we made our way toward Tomorrowland. Our first attraction for the day was “Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin”, a constantly moving ride in a 2-passenger vehicle equipped with laser guns to shoot at hundreds of moving targets; and at the same time controlling your vehicle’s spin, an exciting ride for the whole family.

9:10-9:30am – Space Mountain — As we exited Buzz Lightyear, we noticed the line to Space Mountain was not long at all, a 20 minute wait, so why not? Space Mountain is a fast, dark roller coaster ride, which simulates a trip through space. It’s very speedy, with lots of dips and sharp turns. It’s a thrilling ride, but definitely not for anyone subject to motion sickness.

9:35-10:00am – Carousel of Progress — After Space Mountain we decided to visit one of our favorite classic Disney attractions, the “Carousel of Progress”, basically a travel through time highlighting man’s progress over the years; in a theater which turns at every turn of the century. This attraction was one of Walt Disney’s personal favorites.

10:00-10:20 – People Mover — We have never visited Tomorrowland without a ride on the People Mover, an elevated
mass transit system of the future, and because people access the ride via a conveyor belt, there is hardly ever a line. It’s a pleasantly moving tram ride in and out of Tomorrowland attractions and shops. The view from the People Mover is awesome, and presents an excellent photo opportunity. This is the “to go to” ride when the crowds get overwhelming, and the heat is bordering unbearable. Hop aboard and “chill” for about 15 minutes of pure pleasure.

10:30-11:00 – Astro-Orbitor — Our next ride was on the Astro-Orbitor. You access the loading platform by an elevator, then climb into a 2-passenger spaceship which begins a series of rapid revolutions while you control how high or low your vehicle goes by pushing or pulling a lever inside your ship. This is a really fun ride, but it’s not for those who get dizzy easily.

11:05—11:45am – Dumbo Ride — We visited Dumbo’s Storybook Circus, a delightful area dedicated to the classic Disney film, “Dumbo”. There are actually two Dumbo rides, so the wait time is usually short, which it was that day. After a 10-minute wait we rode Dumbo, a ride that rotates, and the height you travel is also controlled by a lever inside the ride. These delightful childlike rides are fun for anyone of any age. They are just plain fun and give everyone a chance to be a child again! The “Barnstormer” is another quick ride. You board an airplane “roller coaster” and enjoy a twisting, turning ride which is very short and very appropriate even for non-thrill riders. The wait for this ride is usually longer than the ride itself, but it’s worth it!

11:45-12:15pm – Big Top Souvenirs — We next took a tour of “Big Top Souvenirs”, a large circus tent filled with every kind of Dumbo merchandise you can imagine, and a central area selling nothing but fantastic treats of all kinds; specially designed character cake pops, cupcakes, cookies, fudge, candy apples, cotton candy, and many more scrumptious goodies! We each bought a cake pop to eat as we walked to our next attraction, “The Voyage of the Little Mermaid”.

12:20-12:45 – Voyage Of the Little Mermaid — Thank goodness, the wait time for the “Little Mermaid” ride was only 20 minutes. This is another one of my favorites. You ride in a giant clamshell and into the underwater world of Ariel, Sebastian, and all the other animatronic characters from “The Little Mermaid” Disney classic. It’s colorful, musical, and very entertaining for the whole family. We even enjoyed playing the interactive games and activities along the queue line.

12:30-1:45pm – Be Our Guest Restaurant — It was starting to get really crowded, and we noticed that the “Be Our Guest” restaurant was now open. It was not open on our previous trip. As it turned out, we were quite lucky, because they had apparently just recently opened and not everyone knew this, so we did not have to wait long to get it, probably around 20 minutes. This was an awesome experience. From the décor to the atmosphere, it felt like we had actually entered Beast’s Castle. The ordering was an experience in itself. You approach a monitor and each person selects their meal, including beverage and dessert. Then the Host hands you a rose to put on your table. We were really elated when we walked into the gorgeous dining hall, decorated with beautiful murals from the movie, ornamental chandeliers, elegant dining furniture, a phenomenal Disney Imagineers’ creation. After seating ourselves at a table of our choice, and within a few minutes, a cast member approached our table and served our food exactly as ordered. The meal was delicious with a scrumptious dessert. This was a very unique, magical experience.

2:00-2:15pm – The Flight of Peter Pan — After our delicious lunch, we made our way to “Peter Pan” to use our first fast pass. This ride is also another favorite. It is the one ride in all of Disney World where you are in a ship and actually suspended from a track on the ceiling. The scenes and music on this dark ride are spectacular, which make it one of the more popular rides in Fantasyland.

2:15-2:30pm – It’s A Small World — While we were in the area, we decided to ride “It’s A Small World”, a boat ride through different countries, where animatronic children sing and dance to that very familiar song, “It’s A Small World After All”! This is one of those rides you just sit back and enjoy. It’s colorful, musical, and you need no imagination; the ride does it for you!

2:30-3:00pm – Haunted Mansion — Just around the corner from “Small World” is the “Haunted Mansion”, and since the wait time was only 25 minutes, we got in line, and enjoyed our ride in a “Doom Buggy” as we visited the 999 ghosts and other spirits in this dark, scary, slow moving ride. Small children may not enjoy this ride as much as their parents.

3:00-3:30pm – Festival of Fantasy Parade — As we exited the Haunted Mansion, and headed toward Frontierland, people were beginning to line up for the afternoon “Festival of Fantasy” Parade. Okay, decision time: “do we stay and watch the parade, or make our way through the crowd to two awesome rides, “Splash Mountain” and “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad”? After purchasing some popcorn and drinks at a street venue, we find a spot in front of Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café just in time to enjoy this newest Disney parade. It was amazing! The floats with all the different scenes from classic Disney films were so elaborately decorated, and the music was fantastic! We made a good decision.

3:30-4:00pm – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad — After the parade, our next venture was a ride on a train called “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad”. We used another fast pass for “Big Thunder” and boarded our train for the “wildest ride in the wilderness”! This speedy train ride is filled with sharp turns, dips and curves, including trips through dark tunnels and caverns. It was over too soon! “Splash Mountain”, which is next door to “Big Thunder” was our next quest. Our luck this particular day was holding out, and because the ride had been closed, but just opened up again, the wait time was only 20 minutes. This is a delightful, whimsical log ride into the world of Brer’ Bear, Brer’ Fox, and Brer’ Rabbit and all their buddies who cavort, play, and sing about their special “Laughing Place”, and just before the end, you get the thrill of a two-story drop into the “Briar Patch”! This ride is tame with a couple of small dips, but the cascading drop at the end may be a bit too much for the very young visitors. We dropped by the “Briar Patch” for bottled waters, and a quick look at the Winnie the Pooh and Splash Mountain themed merchandise.

4:15-5:00pm – Pirates of the Caribbean — Just around the corner from Frontierland, you enter Adventureland, and “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction. The wait time was 35 minutes, but we just couldn’t pass it up. “Pirates” is a dark boat ride through the world of pirates and skeletons, mermaids in the waters, a village being pillaged, many animatronic villagers and pirates, and of course, a very lifelike animatronic figure of Captain Jack Sparrow. It’s a dark ride, with some scary scenes, but small children seem to enjoy all the action.

5:05-5:45pm — Next door to “Pirates” sits the “Jungle Cruise” attraction, and even though the wait time was 30 minutes, we decided “why not”? The “Jungle Cruise” is a boat ride through the backwaters of the Congo, Asia, Africa, and South America. It is an exciting tour, where you can observe native inhabitants, such as crocodiles, hippos, lions, elephants, hyenas, gorillas, and even a tribe of headhunters. Each time you ride, you get a different pilot, each with their own sense of humor. This is another classic ride that Walt Disney himself had a hand in designing.

5:45-6:00pm – Swiss Family Robinson Tree House — Our dinner reservations (7:30 at the “Plaza Restaurant”), were next on our agenda, so my daughters could not pass up a climb to the top of the “Swiss Family Robinson Tree House”. This famous tree house is an exact replica from the Disney classic, “Swiss Family Robinson”. You climb hand carved stairs, while viewing different bedrooms and living rooms with furniture and fixtures designed to resemble the movie sets, down to the eating utensils, organ, and outdoor water wheel. I opted to find a bench in the shade and await their return to the ground.

6:00-7:30pm – Shopping on Main St. USA — From Adventureland it is just a short distance to Main Street, and since we had over an hour before our dining reservation, we decided to do some shopping while we were in the area. One of the perks of staying “on property” is that you can shop and have your packages sent back to your Resort. Shopping on Main Street is so enjoyable, so many choices, apparel, jewelry, toys, collectibles, hats, etc. We shopped until time for our reservation.

7:30-8:15 – Plaza Restaurant — The Plaza Restaurant has the atmosphere and look of a turn of the century dining parlor, with furniture and light fixtures resembling that era. The waitresses wear long dresses with frilly aprons, and the men wear gold vests and ties. The early 1900’s theme is eminent everywhere you look. The food and service were exceptional. The choices were varied, and I myself had the meatloaf meal with a hand-dipped chocolate milkshake. It was so delicious, and I was so full afterwards. We all were. I highly recommend this casual dining restaurant.

8:15-8:45 – Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel — The “Wishes” fireworks show begins nightly at 9:00pm, so we decided to stay around Fantasyland for an excellent view of the show. Since we had a short wait, “Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel” became our next ride, and what a marvelous way to spend a few minutes while awaiting the spectacular fireworks display. This magical carousel features 90 elaborately decorated horses, surrounded by hand-painted scenes from the “Cinderella” fairy tale, and plays Disney tunes as it spins. This is a truly Disney classic, one of Walt’s favorites, and ours!

8:45-9:15 – Wishes Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular — After a short wait, at 9:00pm we enjoyed the “Wishes” nighttime fireworks spectacular, a nightly magical experience in the skies over the Magic Kingdom. There are not enough adjectives to describe this truly breathtaking exhibition. It’s not just fireworks; it’s a brilliant pyrotechnic extravaganza, complete with Disney music, and narrated by Jiminy Cricket; you just have to experience it to believe it!

Bonus Tip!

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9:20-9:45pm – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train — Now we were finally going to ride the newest WDW attraction, the “Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train, and we had luckily been able to reserve a fast pass. This attraction was amazing and all the hype and advertisements we had seen met all our expectations. It was thrilling, fast, curvy, and filled with all the delightful scenery and atmosphere of the “Snow White” movie. The mine cars you sit in rock side to side and the track is so smooth and quiet. We loved it and couldn’t wait to ride it again and again. You will too!

9:45-11:30 Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Again! — We were so impressed with the “Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train” ride, that no matter what the wait time was, we were determined to get in another ride before the Park closed, which that particular night was 11pm. We did get back in line, waited just over 45 minutes, and found that even the queue was worth the wait, with several interactive activities. After another exhilarating ride, it was time to say good-bye to the Magic Kingdom, and return to our Resort. As we walked down Main Street, many of the shops remained open while the crowds pass by, and we did a little shopping at the Main Street Emporium, purchasing some post cards, a couple of souvenirs, and some snacks to take back to our room. Good night, Mickey! We’ll be back!

This was a page out of a journal of just one day of one of our trips. As you can tell, we did not even make it to some of the rides and attractions of the Magic Kingdom. We made sure we took advantage of our fast passes, but the rest of the day was totally spontaneous. Whether you go by a strict schedule or go with the flow, there is never a dull day at Walt Disney World. Every day you are there is a magical adventure into a world created by a true visionary, whose dream was to create a place where families could “play” together, and all the Disney theme parks carried out his vision with extreme success! Thank you, Mr. Disney, for your contribution to the American Dream!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Cecilia

I am a working mother of four adult children, 2 granddogs, and one grandcat. I have been a Disney fanatic since 1959, when my parents took my sister and I on a journey across the country to Disneyland. Needless to say, we were thrilled, and this became our vacation destination for the next 10 years. Later, when Walt Disney World was opened, we travelled to Florida and discovered a whole new Disney experience, and WDW became our new vacation destination. Now, our extended family members are all Disney Fanatics and always ready to talk about anything Disney.

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