Dreaming of an unforgettable trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom? Or perhaps you’ve already booked your trip and want to truly make it a trip of a lifetime? Don’t miss these tips and tricks from Travel Counsellor Tina Hopkins to help you make the most of the magic in the next part in our Disney travel series (catch up on Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruises and Hollywood Studios).
The Magic Kingdom is the original park and first opened its gates in October 1971; next year it will celebrate its 50th anniversary and Disney have gone big! The park is made up of six lands; Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. These all meet in the middle at the magnificent Cinderella’s Castle. You will need at least two days here to see everything.
How do I get there?
If you are staying on-site, Disney has a range of free transportation options to get you to the theme parks. Most resorts have buses that will take you to the entrance. Magic Kingdom area resorts offer a wider range of transport; there are boats, monorails and even a footpath if you are staying at The Contemporary Resort!
Minnie Vans are another option- great if you are trying to get to the park in a hurry for a reservation. You will need to order one through the Lyft App, and the cost is based on how far you travel. They work like an Uber but are all driven by Walt Disney World employees, they carry up to six passengers and come with two car seats for little ones.
For guests who choose to drive their own vehicles to the park; you will drive to the Ticket and Transportation Centre. From there you will need to get on a monorail or ferry to get to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. The parking fee is currently USD25 per day (fee for Disney World Resort guests) and the car parks are so large it is likely that you will need to take a tram from your car to the Ticket and Transportation Centre.
Main Street USA
Walking into the Magic Kingdom you will go under the train station into Town Square at the top of Main Street USA which leads to Cinderella’s Castle. On the left-hand side there’s Town Square Theatre where you can meet the main man himself – Mickey Mouse or Tinkerbell. Many other characters can often be seen in Town Square too. Main Street is primarily a shopping area, with many Photopass photographers to capture your photo outside the castle.
As well as the many characters you can meet in Main Street there’s also the Walt Disney World Railroad. The steam train encircles the park with stops at Main Street, Frontierland and Fantasyland- or you can stay on, sit back and just enjoy the 20 minute journey.
Places to eat
Tony’s Town Square is a waiter service restaurant next to the Town Square Theatre. It serves Italian classics in a Lady and the Tramp themed dining area. The Crystal Palace is closer the castle; a buffet restaurant where you will meet Winnie the Pooh and his friends, whilst enjoying all you eat!
Casey’s Corner is a great place to pick up a hot dog and the Main Street Bakery serves Starbucks. There is also an ice-cream parlour and the Main Street Confectionery for all those with a sweet tooth. However, a MUST for all those traveling with a princess fan (big or small!) is Cinderella’s Royal Table. Located inside the castle your greeted by Cinderella and once at your table several princesses visit you throughout your meal.
Top Tip: Did you know you can get a haircut inside the Magic Kingdom? The Harmony Barber Shop is located next to the Emporium. It is a great place to take a little one for their special first haircut.
When you reach the castle hub and make an immediate left turn you will find yourself in Adventureland; home to pirates, tree houses and enchanted tiki rooms!
Adventureland is a great place to find rides for the whole family, with no height requirement for many of them! Be sure to do the classics; Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean – did you know that the Pirates of the Caribbean rides were in the Disney parks long before the films? They have now been updated to include characters from the film.
Places to eat
For those who have a more adventurous palate, there is the waiter service restaurant, Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen and don’t forget to stop by Aloha Isle or Sunshine Tree Terrace and pick up a famous dole whip!
Top Tip: If you have a little pirate in your party be sure to make a stop at The Pirate’s League where they can be transformed into a pirate or a mermaid. There is an additional cost and it is always advisable to make a reservation if this is a must-do for someone in your party.
Continue to walk clockwise through The Magic Kingdom and you will notice your surroundings change to resemble the wild west – now you’ve reached Frontierland.
Frontierland is home to two of the three mountains in The Magic Kingdom. Splash Mountain takes its inspiration from Disney’s Song of the South and ends with a 15m drop into the briar patch. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a mine train without a driver! For those who prefer to hang on to their lunch; you can catch the boat across to Tom Sawyer Island and explore, or visit The Country Bear Jamboree.
Places to eat
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe is a great place to pick up some counter service Mexican Cuisine!
Top Tip: Some of the rides at Disney World can get some quite long queues; so be sure to make the most of Fastpass+, Disney’s virtual queuing system. Onsite guests can make their Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance and those staying off-site can make them 30 days in advance. You can reserve time slots for up to three attractions, once you have used these you make further Fastpass+ reservations on the My Disney Experience App or at kiosks located around each of the theme parks.
As you continue your journey through the Magic Kingdom you will find yourself in Liberty Square.
Take a relaxing ride on the Liberty Square Riverboat, or visit the Haunted Mansion where you will find 999 happy haunts- but don’t worry they always have room for one more!
Places to eat
Sleepy Hallow Refreshments is a quick counter location where you can get some American Classics, such as a foot-long corn dog! Or there is Liberty Tree Tavern- where you can have a traditional Thanksgiving meal for dinner every night.
Top Tip: Ye Olde Christmas Shop is in Liberty Square and is the place to find all your Disney Christmas essentials. A great way to take home a memory of your trip is to have a decoration personalised!
When most people think of The Magic Kingdom they think of Fantasyland. This land is home to iconic Disney rides and in 2012 was expanded to include New Fantasyland.
There’s loads for the little ones! Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Enchanted Tales with Belle and Under the Sea- Journey of The Little Mermaid, to name but a few! Don’t worry though, Disney hasn’t forgotten about the thrill-seekers – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a roller coaster where the cars rock as you go around the track.
For the slightly smaller thrill-seekers there’s the Barnstormer and guests of all ages will enjoy Mad Tea Party. If you are traveling with children, remember to stop by Casey Jr Splash and Soak Station- and don’t forget a change of clothes! It might be warm outside but there’s air conditioning inside!
Places to eat
Pinocchio Village House is a great place to stop off from a quick bite to eat. You can also eat a meal in the Beast’s Castle at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Here you may be seated in Belle’s Library, The West Wing (complete with enchanted rose) or the Ballroom- this is a really popular dining location though so be sure to make advance dining reservations. Beauty and the Beast fans can stop by Gaston’s Tavern to sample LeFou’s Brew.
Top Tip: Fantasyland is home to some must-visit restrooms for all those who are fans of the film Tangled. At night you will also find a Disney Photopass photographer here with a luminous lantern from the movie! Disney’s Photopass photographers can be found all over Disney World. They take a wide range of professional photographs and the best bit. All these photos are included in Memory Maker which comes as part of any adult Disney Ultimate Ticket.
This is the final stop of your clockwise tour of the Magic Kingdom.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger spin is another great ride for the whole family. As is Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover (known as the People Mover). The train takes you on a ride around Tomorrowland and is a great place to sit back and take the weight off your weary feet for a while! For the slightly taller there is the Tomorrowland Speedway where you can drive your own hotrod. It’s also home to The Magic Kingdom’s final mountain- Space Mountain, where riders blast off to space in a rocket in the pitch black! Coming in time for the 50th Anniversary in 2021 there will be a new Tron Coaster located next to Space Mountain.
Places to eat
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Tomorrowland Terrace are two great places to pick up a quick bite to eat.
Top Tip: If you have a child who doesn’t meet the height requirement or doesn’t want to ride an attraction, be sure to make use of the rider switch service, available at a number of attractions across the four theme parks. One member of the party waits with the guest unable to ride, whilst the rest of the party enjoy the attraction. Then when they have finished the guest who waited with the child can ride without waiting in line again!
Your time at The Magic Kingdom doesn’t have to come to an end when you have toured the six lands, as well as the various character ‘meet and greets’ scattered throughout the theme park, it is also home to the Festival of Fantasy Parade. This afternoon parade is spectacular and even features a fire breathing dragon!
To really add a bang to your day, don’t miss the Happily Ever After Fireworks, there are impressive projections on the castle with a breathtaking firework display. And to finish the day at the Magic Kingdom there is also the Kiss Goodnight!
Well, I don’t know about you but this has really left me wanting to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom! Is a trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom on your bucket list? Do share in a comment below.
Picture credits: nixter Disney Magic via photopin (license), chris.alcoran It’s a music celebration | Soundsational via photopin (license), Jeff Krause Photography Magic Kingdom – Peter & Wendy via photopin (license)