Magic Kingdom is the most popular theme park in the world and it's no wonder, with all the things to see and do there, it truly is magical. But how do you make the most of your day at the Magic Kingdom, especially with little ones? Below I've detailed how I recommend going through the park base on crowds, interest (little ones 5 years old and under), and convenience.
The first thing, and I think one of the best things you can do is get to the park before it opens. I would recommend 30 minutes before it opens. Lately I've seen the park opening up to 15 minutes before the posted opening time. Plus, most everyday there is an opening show at the Magic Kingdom. The steam train pulls up with lots of your favorite characters and there is singing and dancing and some fireworks. Then the ropes are dropped and you are free to enter the park.
Getting there early also allows you to have some time in the park before the major crowds start, around 11AM. When visiting the park with little ones I suggest going straight back to Fantasyland. There are many attractions close together and you can enjoy quite a few before having to stand in any significant lines.
The first attraction I would go on is Peter Pan’s Flight®, this attraction is very popular and tends to have 45+ min wait for most of the day. If you go straight back after the park opens you should be able to go straight on or have just a 5-10 minute wait.
From there I would go over to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, Dumbo the Flying Elphants, The Barnstormer, and the Mad Tea Party. If the line isn’t long and you have time, jump on the Tomorrowland Speedway but resist the temptation to go over into Tomorrowland at that time. You will be hitting the largest crowds and possibly the longest wait times.
By the end of all of that you will have started to wait in some significant lines. You may also be starting to think about lunch. If you have planned your vacation 4-6 months out I would recommend Cinderella’s Royal table for the princess lovers. It is a character lunch with multiple princesses. It is a very popular table service restaurant, so book early. Another popular restaurant and great for a quicker bite to eat is Be Our Guest. It is the newest restaurant at the Magic Kingdom and it is beautiful. It is Beast’s castle and it has three different dining rooms to choose from. It is a quick service restaurant for lunch and a table service restaurant for dinner. The lunch is definitely a step up from most quick service lunches around the Magic Kingdom.
If you are booking late and can not get into those restaurants or are not interested in princesses but would love a table service restaurant with delicious food, I recommend Liberty Tree Tavern. The pot roast is scrumptious! And you can not leave before you have had the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.
As you continue on with your afternoon, one must see is the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. It is at 3PM everyday. I’m not usually one to recommend parades but this one is fantastic. It far exceeds any other parades that Disney has ever done. One of my favorite places to watch is on the circle at the end of Main Street USA. Many people “camp out” 30-60 minutes before the parade to get a good spot. That’s fine but most people don’t know that they can watch the parade from the inside of the circle so you usually can find a spot 15-30minute before the parade there. I will also mention the Main Street Electrical Parade. If you are still at that time, definitely check it out. It’s a fun one.
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. After lunch I would head over to Liberty Square and hit the Haunted Mansion (if everyone is up for that), otherwise head over to Frontierland. If you are up for a little adventure (a.k.a. run around time) take a trip over to Tom Sawyer Island. There are caves, a fort, and a secret passage to explore. In Frontierland you will also have to go on Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain if your kids are tall enough and interested - these two are a little more intense.
Then continue on to Adventureland and ride Pirates of Caribbean. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is also there. This tends to be another ride that has a long wait time all the time. I find it to be very similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant so often we skip it. If Aladdin is your little one’s favorite, FastPass it.
You may need a snack now so don’t forget to pick up your Dole Whip (pineapple softserve floats!) on the way out of Adventureland.
On to Tomorrowland, I like going their last, because most people go their first. That doesn’t mean that their won’t be long lines but they might not be as long as they are around noon. Things not to miss are Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Astro Orbiter and of course Space Mountain. Many people miss Astro Orbiter because they don’t see it (you have to take an elevator up to it) or they see the wait time and they don’t think it’s worth it. It’s another spinning attraction like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, but it’s a little faster and you are up much higher so you get to see the Magic Kingdom from a different view point. During your time in Tomorrowland you may be feeling like you would like to sit and rest for a bit. Good news! There is a perfect attraction just for that, Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover (the “blue line” is one of my personal favorites) and my little ones love it! It is a slow tram around Tomorrowland.
And that’s the Magic Kingdom. I left out a few attractions like It’s a Small World, the Hall of Presidents, and Country Bear Jamboree. These are all wonderful attractions too but you can’t see everything in one day - you probably won’t be able to see everything that I’ve listed but what I’ve highlighted are some of the do not miss.
Everything above doesn’t take into consideration FastPasses. You will get 3 FastPasses that you can book in advance of your visit. You do this through MyDisneyExperience on the Disney Parks website. This also connects with an app, My Disney Experience - Walt Disney World. What I recommend is to look at what I have proposed as a plan for the day and decide if it makes sense for you. If it does I would estimate that you will be in Fantasyland until about 12. I would schedule your first FastPass at 11AM. You don’t want to use FastPasses before that because the lines aren’t that long, you want to take advantage of bypassing long lines. At 11AM lines are getting long and I would FastPass something like the Seven Dwarf Mine Train, or Enchanted Tales with Belle. Both of these tend to have long lines. You could use two FastPasses in Fantasyland one at 11AM and one at noon right before lunch. Do not FastPass Dumbo, while you wait for your time to ride, they have a play space for the kids that is really wonderful. If you don’t want to go to Peter Pan first, definitely use a Fastpass for it.
I would then look at using FastPasses for Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, or Pirates of the Caribbean around 1:30PM to 3PM.
After you have used all three FastPasses you can select another one if there are Fastpasses available by visiting one of the Fastpass kiosks throughout the park.
I mentioned the My Disney Experience app and it is extremely useful in the park. You can reschedule your FastPasses from it and you also can see all of the wait times for the attractions. So if you are trying to decided which way to go, check the wait times. If you have time before you get down to Walt Disney World, spend some time looking at the app and familiarizing yourself with how it works.
I hope this helps! Have a magical day at the Magic Kingdom!
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