Headed to The Magic Kingdom?! WE’RE SO EXCITED FOR YOU! You’re going to have the best day ever! We know it can be overwhelming to know where to begin, and when you’re spending a lot of money to go somewhere, you want everything to be perfect. Being the compulsive planner that I am, I decided to create detailed park itineraries for what my perfect day at each theme park would look like to help you navigate the parks and make your day a little easier. (You can deviate from these in any way you want. We understand that our perfect day doesn’t look like everyone’s perfect day)
1. To start your day at The Magic Kingdom, make sure to get to the park at least 20 minutes BEFORE the park opens. If you are a Disney Resort guest this may be affected by ‘Extra Magic Hours’, which you should check before you go. Trust me on this, you will accomplish more in the first two hours of the park being open than you will the rest of the day. This is when lines are short, and Disney magic isn’t being interfered with by midday heat and monstrous crowds.
2. After you arrive, if you haven’t pre-made your Fastpass+ reservations (which we HIGHLY recommend doing), you can stop by City Hall to do so. We think it’s best to try to get Fastpass+ reservations for later in the day, after crowds have already built.
3. If your reservations are already made, bypass this and head straight for a ride! We recommend heading straight towards Fantasyland and knocking out the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train. As of right now, this is drawing the longest lines at the Magic Kingdom and has to be done first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or with Fastpass+. After doing Seven Dwarves Mine Train, ride Peter Pan’s Flight, which is also in Fantasyland, and draws massive midday lines. Next, ride Space Mountain, which is close by in Tomorrowland.
4. Take a coffee break! At this point, you’ve already accomplished a lot, so it’s time to treat yo’ self. Pick up your favorite form of caffeination and some breakfast, if you haven’t had any, at the Starbucks on Main Street. We love to sit on the new hub grass and look at Cinderella’s Castle while we refuel. Make sure to enjoy how beautiful everything is — you’re in Disney World!
5. After you feel sufficiently caffeinated, cut through Adventureland towards Frontierland — you’re getting ready to go on the wildest ride in the wilderness! Board one of our favorite rides, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (you should grab a Fastpass+ to do this one at night as well, as it’s a completely different experience), and then ride its neighbor, Splash Mountain.
6. It’s lunch time! We love the quick-service option at Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland. It is without a doubt the most immersive dining experience at Magic Kingdom and should not be missed! You’ll want to make sure you get a reservation before your trip (you can book up to 180 days in advance). Don’t forget to try the grey stuff — we hear it’s delicious.
7. If you’re feeling tired or the sun is too hot, after lunch is a great time to take a nap! By now the crowds have built and the heat of the day is in full force! We almost always take midday naps so that we won’t be exhausted during fireworks. Remember, you’re on vacation: make sure you enjoy it!
8. If you decide to forgo the nap and adventure on, the afternoon is a great time for fast loading rides whose lines don’t build as long as others. These rides also tend to be inside, where it’s air conditioned. These include Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Another great option for crowded, hot afternoons is the underappreciated cult favorite — The Country Bears Jamboree.
9. Looking to beat the heat? At a Disney Park that means Dole Whip! Pick some up in Adventureland! 10. Don’t miss the 3 pm showing of the Festival of Fantasy Parade! We love to watch it from the end of Main Street so you can see the castle in the background!
11. After Festival of Fantasy, go back to Tomorrowland, and ride some lesser-known, but still fantastic attractions such as People Mover, Astro Orbiter, and Carousel of Progress.
12. It’s dinner time! If you aren’t dead set on eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table, we recommend venturing to the neighboring resort hotels. We love The Kona Cafe and The Grand Floridian Cafe for more casual sit-down dining. But if you’re feeling fancy, The California Grill is amazing, and has fantastic viewings of the park. Check out our review for pics and tips.
13. Head back to the park for the best time of the day — Magic Kingdom comes alive at night! Make sure to catch The Main Street Electrical Parade, Celebrate the Magic, and Wishes from a prime viewing place of Main Street. Usually, there are two showings of both The Main Street Electrical Parade and Celebrate the Magic, and the second showings are virtually empty. If you can, catch these.
14. Most people rush out of the park as soon as Wishes is over. This isn’t smart for several reasons. One, the lines for the monorail are atrociously long. Two, this is a great time to go back and do any smaller rides you haven’t had time to experience yet. Three, Magic Kingdom is better experienced at night, and this is one of the least crowded times of day to do it. Enjoy these hours after Wishes!
We think the Magic Kingdom is the most magical place on earth (apart from maybe a private island, where everything is free). We also know that with so much to do and see, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. We hope our one day itinerary can help make your vacation a little easier and stress free.
If you want more ideas on how to travel well, check out all of our itineraries (we have Disneyland and California Adventure too)!