Planning a trip to Magic Kingdom and looking for some help? We’ve got you covered!
Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time, this list of insider tips and secrets will help you get the most out of your time at Disney World’s most famous park.
We’ve made it a point to include acutally helpful tips, not just the obvious ones. You’ll find plenty of input for rides, restaurants, snacks, experiences, ride passes, and general planning.
#1. ENTER MAGIC KINGDOM BEFORE IT OPENS
The best way to get into Magic Kingdom early is to book a breakfast before the park opens. We recommend setting a reservation an hour before park opening time at the Crystal Palace where you’ll meet Winnie the Pooh and Friends to celebrate a very special Friendship Day.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast buffet of American favorites like eggs, breakfast meats, pastries and pancakes. This location is perfect for families with children, plus you get to meet four characters first thing in the morning.
#2. HOW TO DO ROPE DROP
“Rope Drop” (park opening) is the second best way to get in Magic Kingdom early. The line begins to form as early as an hour before the park opens, so be sure to hurry to the entrance when you come in the morning.
The best use of time in these early morning hours is to plan which ride to get in line for while the park is slow. We suggest you go for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain or Peter Pan’s Flight – or whichever you weren’t able to snag a pass for.
First timers won’t want to miss the opening ceremony, Let the Magic Begin. Mickey Mouse and friends, along with tons of other face characters, take the stage at Cinderella Castle to greet Magic Kingdom’s first guests of the day.
P.S. – We don’t cover gear in this guide, since we’re sticking to Magic Kingdom-specific tips, but we do have a recommended gear guide for things to bring to Disney.
#3. SCHEDULE ride passes WISELY
We recommend you try to book your favorite ride first, then schedule your second and third rides in succession after that. Do your best to book your first pass early in the morning and finish the third by mid day or early afternoon. That way you can get more ride passes when you’ve completed your first three.
#4. TAKE THE MONORAIL, NOT THE FERRY
If you’re planning to take the bus or boat from your resort, or are Ubering in, you don’t have to worry about this one. But if you’ve opted to drive your own car to Magic Kingdom, this tip will save you some time.
In our experience, no matter the time of day or the length of the line, the monorail is always going to get you to Magic Kingdom from the Transportation & Ticket Center faster than the ferry.
For those who want to squeeze every last drop out of their day, save time by taking the monorail. If you’ve never ridden the ferry and simply want to try the experience, it is still a great ride despite being a bit slow. It’s also a good way to take in all of the Disney sights around the Seven Seas Lagoon.
#5. FIND THE DOLE WHIP
The famed Dole Whip can only be found at Aloha Isle in Adventureland, just behind the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. It’s top ranked in our list of ice cream desserts in Magic Kingdom. They serve regular soft-serve and floats options along with various other delicious treats.
Recently, Aloha Isle has been featuring specialty Dole Whip treats based on characters from Disney movies like Rapunzel and Hei Hei from Moana. Right now they have a raspberry flavored Dole Whip on tap.
Stay tuned to Disney’s social media accounts to learn when new treats are being introduced.
#6. BECOME A PIRATE OR A PRINCESS
Boys and girls ages 12 and under will absolutely love being transformed into their favorite character in a special Disney makeover.
The Pirates League, found near Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland, gives kids the chance to be made up as a pirate or a mermaid. Depending on the package you choose, kids will get a full face of makeup, bandana, sword, costume and more.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is one of Disney’s most magical salons, a perfect addition to a child’s birthday or special celebration. Kids can choose from a variety of princess and knight packages, with the most deluxe including makeup, hairstyling, outfit, accessory set and stuffed animal.
#7. GET passes FOR SEVEN DWARVES MINE TRAIN
Seven Dwarves Mine Train is still one of the hardest ride passes to get in Magic Kingdom. People will usually settle to wait in line for this popular ride but we have another suggestion.
We’ve found that if you don’t happen upon one as you’re planning your trip, wait until two or so hours before the time you want it. Usually new passes will populate in this time frame for you to snag.
Of course, this works best during less busy times in the year. Do not expect to make this happen during Christmas or summer time!
#8. GO CLOCKWISE AROUND THE PARK
The easiest way to manage Magic Kingdom is to pick a direction and stick with it, instead of bouncing across lands having to cross the park multiple times. We recommend going clockwise starting with Adventureland as most people tend to go counter clockwise into Tomorrowland.
I personally like to walk the left side of Main Street, U.S.A past the Crystal Palace into Adventureland, then to Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Storybook Circus, and end with Tomorrowland.
Once you’ve completed the first trip, it’s easy to continue that circle hitting all the things you may have missed the first time around. If you need suggestions of what to do in each land, check out our post ranking Magic Kingdom lands.
#9. BEST TIME TO SEE TOMORROW LAND
Tomorrowland is one of our favorite sections of the park and it is truly spectacular at night! The daytime is great for cooling off inside the indoor rides, but sunset into darkness is when this land truly shines.
Be sure to head over to this land at night for the beautiful neon lights all over this section of the park.
#10. GET SHORTER WAIT TIMES ON SPACE MOUNTAIN
Space Mountain, along with Seven Dwarves Mine Train, is one of the only rides that takes single riders in Magic Kingdom.
This will diminish your wait time significantly, but be aware that your party is not likely to ride together this way. Space Mountain’s ride vehicle sits six individuals in single-file fashion, so single riders are highly unlikely to be seated together.
If you’ve never ridden Space Mountain and are wondering how scary it is, we’ve broken down all the details in our post answering “How Scary is Space Mountain?“.
#11. GET BABY’S FIRST HAIRCUT
Did you know you can get your hair cut at Magic Kingdom? Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street is a fully functioning salon for guests of all ages.
Located by City Hall, this barber shop specializes in baby’s first haircuts with their My First Haircut Package. The experience is $25 and includes a special certificate, Mickey ears with “My First Haircut” embroidered on them and a lock of hair for you to take home.
We recommend booking reservations for this, but they may take walk-ins if the park is less crowded than usual.
#12. WATCH THE FLAG RETREAT
This is a very special ceremony performed at the end of each day, around 5pm, on Main Street. Veterans will feel honored and proud to be a part of the flag retreat and it makes a great surprise for a birthday or special occasion.
Main Street Philharmonic leads the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and plays the “Star Spangled Banner” as Walt Disney World’s color guard removes the American flag from the pole for the day.
The color guard folds the flag as the philharmonic plays “God Bless America” and the folded flag is then given to a veteran in the crowd. To catch the ceremony, be sure to arrive at the front of Main Street near the train station at 15 – 30 minutes in advance.
#13. BEST SPOT FOR Disney Enchantment
We love Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show and encourage you to watch it any time you’re inside Magic Kingdom – or outside.
As a matter of fact, our very favorite spot to watch the show is from the California Grill balcony in the Contemporary Resort, or from the beach at Polynesian Village.
However, if you are stuck inside the park for the fireworks, save a spot on the train station steps at the front of Magic Kingdom park. Be sure to secure this coveted spot up to two hours in advance, though. Not only does this give you a great center view of the castle, but this also gives you the best look at the projections on Main Street.
#14. PARK AND RIDE
Magic Kingdom can take a tole on you if you’re going hard all day. Parents with kids or anyone needing a break should take a look at these options to rest your feet before heading back out.
Many people praise the PeopleMover as a slow and simple ending mode of transportation. It’s covered, it’s fairly comfortable and it gives you a tour of the inner workings of Tomorrowland.
We also recommend taking the Walt Disney World railroad. The best place to board is at the Story Book Circus station – not only is the line fairly short, but the circus is worth seeing!
The railroad has stops at Main Street, Frontierland and Fantasyland and gives you a peek at parts of the park you didn’t realize existed along the way. You can also ride around the park as long as you want.
#15. RIDE THE LIBERTY BELLE RIVERBOAT
Liberty Square is a great place to explore American history and one of the most beautiful experiences you can have in this land is to ride the Liberty Belle Riverboat.
The boat ride starts outside the Haunted Mansion and takes guests on a scenic tour around Tom Sawyer’s Island in the Rivers of America.
This cruise is a great way to rest while catching unique views of Magic Kingdom attractions all narrated by a Mark Twain imitator, recalling his sailings on the Mississippi River.
#16. DON’T SKIP MONSTERS, INC. LAUGH FLOOR
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor can easily be overlooked when planning experiences in Tommorowland, but it definitely should not be! Surprising as it may be for many Disney World fans, it’s actually one of the most entertaining stage shows on property.
You get hilarious performances by some of Monstropolous’ finest, along with indoor air-conditioned seating. Definitely pencil the Laugh Floor in on your schedule to take a break from a hot Florida afternoon.
Guests will get chosen from the crowd to speak or interact with the monsters on stage, or the camera will simply prompt them to dance or do something silly. We haven’t laughed harder at any other Disney attraction.
#17. BEST QUICK SERVICE IN MAGIC KINGDOM
Sleepy Hollow is conveniently located at the edge of Liberty Square near Cinderella’s Castle. The menu is small, but the few items listed are always unique and will change seasonally. It also is a top choice on our list of best Magic Kingdom breakfasts.
The Columbia Harbor House is the best place at Magic Kingdom for good comfort food. If you’re tired of burgers and hot dogs but want to stay on the cheaper side, it’s a great option. Plus, skip the line by using mobile ordering.
Casey’s Corner is a tried and true quick service spot and one of the cheapest places to eat at any of the parks. It’s great for anyone who wants to spend more time exploring the park and less time eating.
You can find additional quick service reviews on our big list of lunch locations in Magic Kingdom.
#18. HOW TO GET TO TOM SAWYER ISLAND
Have you walked through Frontierland, looked toward the water and wondered, “How did people get over there?” So have we. This secluded island is accessible by log raft from a dock by the water near Splash Mountain called Tom’s Landing.
It’s quite a fascinating experience for children and adults alike. Kids will like the playground feeling the island offers with plenty of nooks and crannies for them to discover.
Adults will enjoy seeing one of their favorite childhood tales come to life from riding the log raft to exploring Fort Langhorn and Harper’s Mill. Tom Sawyer’s Island closes before sunset, so plan on visiting this attraction during the day.
#19. BEST CHARACTER DINING IN MAGIC KINGDOM
There are three character dining options in Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest, the Crystal Palace (pictured above) and Cinderella’s Royal Table.
We recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table for the best character dining restaurant overall as it has the most unique experience available in Walt Disney World. Located inside Cinderella Castle, guests get the chance to meet six different princesses over dinner.
These reservations are very difficult to get and we suggest you book 180 days in advance, or look diligently every day leading up to your vacation to catch it.
#20. FIND ALLERGY-FRIENDLY FOOD OPTIONS
Walt Disney World’s other three parks have several locations with menus designed for specific allergies. While that isn’t the case in Magic Kingdom, we assume these offerings will be available in the near future.
In the mean time, guests with allergies can request allergy-friendly menus from Cinderella’s Royal Table, The Plaza Restaurant and Tony’s Town Square while dining in Magic Kingdom.
#21. BEST ADULT ACTIVITIES IN MAGIC KINGDOM
Magic Kingdom is well-known for bringing the child out in all of us, but mostly for being a great park for kids. We’ve put together a quick list of the best activities that adults will enjoy in Magic Kingdom without the little ones:
Best Magic Kingdom Attractions for Adults:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Hall of Presidents
- Haunted Mansion
- Jungle Cruise
- Liberty Square Riverboat
- Main Street Philharmonic
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Pirates of the Carribbean
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
#22. HOW TO RIDE THE ASTRO ORBITER
A lot of guests don’t realize this ride exists atop Tomorrowland, mainly due to the fact that Disney doesn’t do ride passes for this attraction and the entrance is slightly hidden.
You can locate the loading dock near the PeopleMover behind The Lunching Pad quick service cafe. There is usually a short line for the elevator where a cast member will escort you to the top of Tomorrowland Terrace.
The views on this ride are amazing, and we recommend you go at sunset or nighttime for the best experience. Each ride vehicle holds two people, and operates similarly to Magic Carpets or Dumbo with a lever to control the vehicle up and down.
#23. DON’T SKIP THE CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS
Walt Disney’s love for this ride has kept it around for so long. While so many people opt out of it, or don’t even see it hiding in the corner of Tomorrowland, we suggest you do it at least once.
The ride depicts different eras of the twentieth century and the progression of technology over time with accurate representations of dress and home decor for each time period.
There’s hardly ever a line for this attraction and it’s a great way to cool down and sit for a while as this rotating theater takes you on a journey through society’s development. Remember, there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow!
#24. BEST DATE NIGHT RESTAURANT IN MAGIC KINGDOM
Be Our Guest. Hands down. Regardless of whether you like the Beauty and the Beast movie, this restaurant is a must-do. The food is excellent, the design is beautiful and you get to meet the Beast at the end of your dinner.
In true Disney fashion, this particular restaurant design makes you feel like part of the movie. Each guest is seated in either the main Ballroom (complete with painted cherubs on the ceiling), the Gallery or the West Wing.
The dinner menu is prix fixe, featuring French-inspired cuisine. We refer to this restaurant as the best dinner in Magic Kingdom, which makes Be Our Guest the perfect option for date night and our number one pick for best Magic Kingdom restaurants for adults.
#25. ESCAPE THE RAIN
It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter rain throughout your day. That’s why we’ve equipped you with a few attractions that are great for escaping the short showers while you wait for the sun.
Our number one pick is Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland. This ride has been present in Magic Kingdom since the beginning and is a rootin’ tootin’ good time.
We also love Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Enchanted Tales with Belle and Peter Pan’s Flight. There will be a wait for all of these, but the lines are almost entirely indoors.
If you’re visiting central Florida for the first time and you’re wondering what to pack for the rain, take a look at our Disney rain gear guide.
#26. USE RIDER SWAP
This is a great option for adults with very young children who don’t meet height requirements, or simply don’t want to board the ride. The Barnstormer, Thunder Mountain, Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Tomorrowland Speedway all offer rider swap.
You simply arrive to the ride line with your entire party and speak with a cast member who will give you a rider swap pass. One adult will board the ride while the other stays behind with the children.
Once the first adult is done, he or she will wait with the children while the other adult skips the line using the pass to board the same ride.
#27. FIND THE PURPLE WALL & THE CASTING AGENCY DOOR
The infamous Purple Wall is hard to miss if you’re coming into Tomorrowland from the Hub (lawn areas at the base of Cinderella Castle). Notice it on the right hand side just before you reach Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
The Casting Agency Door is a little harder to find, located on Main Street, U.S.A. As you enter Magic Kingdom, walk down the left walkway on Main Street. You’ll find it in an alleyway between all two entrances to the Emporium.
#28. BRING SNACKS & DRINKS, BOOK DINNER RESERVATIONS
While Magic Kingdom does have great snacks to nosh on, we recommend skipping the quick service stations for breakfast or lunch. If you’re trying to do Disney World on a budget, this will really help your wallet.
We suggest you enjoy one snack purchased inside the park and bring other things from home to eat for meals so you can save the fine dining for dinner.
We’ve compiled a general list of best restaurants for dinner in Magic Kingdom for you to reference and see which is best for your traveling party.
#29. WALK THROUGH CINDERELLA CASTLE
This is a really cool experience that Disney regulars know, but not all first time guests realize. At the end of the day, when the castle shows are over, cast members will open up the Cinderella Castle for guests to enter.
Enter by climbing the slope to the castle doors and there you’ll find a grand hallway that leads directly into Fantasyland. The most beautiful portion of the walk is the story of Cinderella told in a masterfully designed mosaic on the left side wall.
#30. SAVE SHOPPING FOR LAST
We’ve heard people say before that shopping is the first thing you should do at Magic Kingdom – they are wrong! You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle if you plan to shop at the end of the night and here’s why:
The park may be closed, but the shops will stay open till an hour past closing time. Take our advice – don’t waste precious ride and attraction time to shop during the day!
Also, saving your shopping till the end will allow you to travel the park with limited baggage and could help save you money.