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This is part of an ongoing guest post series on DISNEY WORLD SAVINGS, written by a life long Disney lover.
It’s been a running theme through these posts that you must build all the value you can with each decision on your vacation. These decisions do include cutting costs, but there are times where you can build a ton of value in your vacation (I.E Park Hopper for some) that may cost extra. So, in light of trying to build value, I’m going to try and share all of my tips and experience on the parks so that you don’t have to waste any time figuring out what to do. My way is certainly not the only way, so I’d love for y’all to leave comments below about your experiences.
This is WDW’s first park and has, arguably, the most to do. This is a beautiful and well designed park. If you look at a map, you’ll notice it resembles a wheel with spokes, a popular theme park design that was pioneered by Disney. The center contains the famous Cinderella Castle with paths leading to Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Frontier Land (Toontown is closed). Magic Kingdom has lots to offer to your smallest child as well as the thrill seeker in your family. Here are some of our favorites:
Most Popular Rides (longest wait):
Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
Splash Mountain (Frontierland)
Thunder Mountain (Frontierland)
Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland)
Peter Pan (Fantasyland)
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger (Tomorrowland)
Other Good Rides to Do:
Haunted Mansion (Liberty Square)
Jungle Cruise (Adventureland)
Mad Hatter Tea Cups (Fantasyland)
Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor (Tomorrowland) (Big Fan of this one)
It’s a Small World (Fantasyland)
Hall of Presidents (Liberty Square)
People Mover (Tomorrowland)
Full list of Magic Kingdom attractions.
You’ll walk into Magic Kingdom and immediately be on Main St. USA. For first timers and returners, it can really be a breathtaking sight. Cinderella’s Castle stands picturesque at the end of a street lined with shops. One of my favorite shops is the Confectionery. You’ll know when you are near because the smells are incredible.
When you first enter the park it can also be a little intimidating. There is so much to do and the park feels very large (actually the smallest WDW park). I recommend looking over a map prior to entering the park to get a feel of where everything is. Talk with your family about the rides they want to do and make a VERY flexible plan. This may seem counter intuitive to having a relaxing vacation, but having a flexible plan allows you to have direction so you aren’t spending precious time figuring out what to do. Here is where a Disney wait time app will come in handy. Check the wait times as you enter the park and hit the rides with the most reasonable wait. During lunch, mid afternoon, and dinner hours, the wait times generally drop.
I strongly suggest you get to this park as it opens at least once during your stay. We call it “opening the park.” This can be a ton of fun for everyone as there is usually a show with Donald Duck, Mickey, and the gang. They come in on Mickey’s Train and the mayor of Toon Town calls on the crowd to help open the park. After it opens I suggest going straight for the ride that your family wants to do that is most likely going to have the largest wait time. In Magic Kingdom that will be either Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, or Thunder Mountain. One idea is to head over to Splash and Thunder Mountain (right next to each other) and get a fast pass for one while you ride the other.
If you don’t have a roller coaster lover in your family or if someone is too short to ride, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger and the People Mover are great rides to do while waiting for the Space Mountain crowd to finish. They are located in the same area so it’s easy to meet back up with your party. They are also kid-friendly.
Dining in Magic Kingdom is not my favorite, but they do have some good restaurants. For a table-service restaurant, I suggest Tony’s. This Lady and the Tramp-themed Italian restaurant has great dishes and a cozy atmosphere. For counter service meals, Tortuga Tavern and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe have plenty of options that will keep the kids happy and both are pretty tasty, too. Here’s a list of all the restaurants.
Firework and Parade times can change seasonally, but Magic Kingdom currently has the Dream Come True Parade at 3:00 pm, Main Street Electrical Parade at 9:00 pm, and the firework show “Wishes” at 10:00 pm. Recently Disney has added a very cool projection light show right before “Wishes.” They have a number of projectors light up Cinderella’s Castle and do some really amazing stuff. The Dream Come True Parade is always fun for the kids, but the Main Street Electrical Parade and “Wishes” are truly a must-see. Hint: The wait times for rides are usually drastically lower during the parades and shows.
Overall, Magic Kingdom is a fan favorite for a reason. This tends to be the most populated park, but there is enough to do that you and your family can easily be entertained for a full day in this park alone. Another exciting note is that MK has opened a new addition to the park! Fantasyland!!
Tell us about tips and tricks you have for navigating the Magic Kingdom.
Come back tomorrow as we discuss EPCOT.