Magic KingdomMagic Kingdom is the classic Walt Disney World park – the one that springs to mind when you think of a Disney park, with Cinderella Castle – and based on Walt Disney’s original concept at Disneyland, California.
Magic Kingdom is quintessential Disney. If you were to only have 1 day at the Walt Disney World parks, and it was your first visit, it would probably be here you’d choose. Home to Cinderella Castle and the three Mountain rides, there is something for everyone. For thrill seekers, make sure you plan to visit Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Princess lovers will want to meet the Princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall, Ariel in her Grotto, Belle with her Enchanted Tales and maybe take a visit to Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique to be styled as a princess for the day. Pirate fans can visit Pirates of the Caribbean and the Pirates League to be made into a pirate for themselves. There are rides for little ones all over the park, but you might find a lot of time spent in Fantasyland, home to “it’s a Small World”, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo, the Carousel and so much more. Add some amazing shows and parades to the rides and you have a magical experience like no other. There’s a lot to do so make sure you know your ‘must dos’ before you get there. Click the links below or scroll down to learn more.
When you enter the Magic Kingdom you come into Town Square which leads onto Main Street USA. This is an old style street, lined with shops and food-eries that leads you down and into the ‘hub’ of the Magic Kingdom, from where you can enter 4 of the parks lands. Main Street is an experience in itself, equally as enjoyable as the rides and shows around the parks, with a friendly, buzzing atmosphere. There is really something special to that moment when you stand and look down Main Street and see Cinderella Castle waiting for you at the end of it.
Key things you want to look out for on Main Street are:
The Emporium – taking up the majority of the shops on the left hand side (as you face the castle), this is Magic Kingdom’s largest store, selling gifts and merchandise.
Meet n Greets with Mickey and Tinkerbell, in Town Square Theater – the building on the right hand side as you enter.
Plaza Ice Cream Parlour – on the right, towards Cinderella Castle end of Main Street, selling hand scooped ice creams and sundaes.
Main Street Bakery – now home to Starbucks – so you can get your fix before you take on the park and the day. Be warned, it does get busy.
The Main Street performances – through out the day there will be mini performances along Main Street, from a barber shop quartet to a mini show, these are a great ‘extra’ to Magic Kingdom.
Harmony Barber Shop – there’s a barbers in Magic Kingdom and it’s become a tradition for many to have their kid’s first haircut there, where they are awarded with a special set of mouse ears and a certificate. It takes appointments, so consider booking in advance if you fancy trying it out – it is regularly fully booked on the day.
Walt Disney Rail Road – the first of the stations is located in Town Square, and its a nice way to get to Frontierland or Storybook Circus in Fantasyland.
Adventureland is the first land to the left when you reach the ‘hub’. Highlights are:
Pirates of the Caribbean. This is based on the original Disneyland ride, and the famous films are based on it. It was renovated a few years ago to include Captain Jack Sparrow and you see him pop up through out the ride. It is technically a log flume kind of ride – you’re in little boats and there’s one little dip as you go along, but its not a thrills ride like you might class a log flume to be.
Dole Whips! Near the Enchanted Tiki Room is Aloha Isle, selling pineapple Dole whips and Dole whip floats – essentially soft whipped pineapple flavoured ice cream. Incredibly refreshing on a hot day.
The Jungle Cruise. Set sail on a boat with your Captain around the Jungle to see the animals. In Walt Disney’s original concept, the animals were going to be real. Sadly, that wasn’t to be with this ride and Walt never lived to see Animal Kingdom, which really brought his dreams to life. The ride is a fan favourite and gets extremely busy – but be warned your experience is entirely dependent on how good your skipper is, as they keep up a running commentary of cheesy jokes as you take a turn around the river.
Magic Carpets of Aladdin. A ‘Dumbo’ style ride- use the levers to lift up and down and tilt the magic carpet, as you fly.
Continue through Adventureland and you come to Frontierland, which has a sparse, cowboy type feel to it. Your big reasons for a trip here are:
Splash Mountain – the perfect way to cool down on a hot Orlando day – because you will get wet! It is a traditional style log flume, with dips and climbs building up to the big one at the end. Less traditional is that this ride is actually reasonably long – it makes you feel it was worth the wait to queue up for it, and it is based on the tale Brer Rabbit, telling his story on the way round. Watch out for Brer Fox!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – a ‘run-away mine train’ style ride; a rollercoaster, but it doesn’t go upside down.
You can get into Liberty Square via Frontierland, from the main hub at the end of Main Street or from Fantasyland. Liberty Square is themed on Colonial America, and features a replica of the Liberty Bell. The big things here are:
Haunted Mansion – this spooky ride is a favourite. Just be careful not to take any ghoulies home with you!
Liberty Square Riverboat – A two-storey riverboat that takes you on a relaxing 12 minute journey around the Rivers of America.
Hall of Presidents – an animatronic show featuring all America’s Presidents, telling their history. Its actually really interesting and is being updated to include President Trump.
Right at the back of the Magic Kingdom, you can walk through or around Cinderella Castle to access Fantasyland, or get there via Liberty Square or Tomorrowland. If you’ve got young kids, this is probably where you’re headed and it can be one of the busiest areas. Highlights are:
Peter Pan’s Flight – take a pirate ship and fly over London. The queues for this are long – make it one of the first things you do, or get a Fastpass.
“its a small world” – this is a ride on a boat (you won’t get wet) taking you around the World to a very catchy tune!
Mickey’s PhilharMagic – a fun 3D film.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – fun Pooh themed ride.
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – a spinning tea cups ride. Very fun, but don’t eat first.
Fantasyland – Storybook Circus
One of the newer areas of Fantasyland, Storybook Circus houses:
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – sit in Dumbo and have him fly you around, using the lever to go as high or as low as you like. The popularity of this ride and resulting length of the lines resulted in a duplicate version to be added. It has an interactive queue and play area, to keep the kids occupied while you wait.
Pete’s Silly Sideshow – meet Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy in their circus outfits. Be aware that there are two separate queues for Daisy/Minnie and Donald/Goofy and that this attraction usually opens slightly later in the day, not at park opening – check the My Disney Experience app for times.
Goofy’s Barnstormer – the smallest of the ‘rollercoasters’ in the park; a kids coaster – with the lowest height restriction at 89cm.
Casey Junior’s Splash n Soak Station – your typical water shooting splash area, adored by every child and a relief from the Florida sun. Take swimwear or a change of clothes.
Fantasyland – Enchanted Forest
Another newer area of Magic Kingdom, with a focus on Beauty and the Beast and the Princesses:
Seven Dwarf’s Minetrain – the newest rollercoaster in the park, with wait times to prove it. Definitely worth doing, but strongly suggest you get a FastPass for it. If you go at park opening, cast members walk the crowd through to it so unless you’re at the very front, you’re looking at an immediate wait.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid – sit in clam shells as you are taken through Ariel’s story.
Princess meet and greets, at Princess Fairytale Hall and Ariel’s Grotto.
Enchanted Tales with Belle – interactive story time, as Belle tells her story helped by the children in the audience.
It does what it says – it focuses on the futuristic. You can reach it from the hub or through Fantasyland. Here’s the key rides:
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Sit two to a car, each with laser guns and shoot at targets as you go around the ride to be awarded points. Your points are tallied up and you can rank yourself against a score board at the end. In low season (when it’s not quite so busy) this is worth jumping out and straight back into the queue for a second go.
Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor – an impressive comedy show that interacts with the audience.
Tomorrowland’s Indy Speedway – race your cars round a track. There is a height restriction and it is popular with adults on it but is more forthe kids (or maybe non-drivers) – you’ll definitely drive faster pulling out of your driveway!
Space Mountain – an indoor dark rollercoaster – very fun!
Astro Orbiter – not one for you if you’re afraid of heights. The ride itself is a breeze – you sit in space ships that raise up and go round in a circle. But it is set way up in the sky, in open air and gives you terrific views of Walt Disney World. Or it would if you can open your eyes.
Tomorrowland’s Transit Authority – a train ride around some of Tomorrowland’s attractions.
Parades and Shows at Magic Kingdom
One of the things that makes Walt Disney World so special is all the extras – no-one comes just for the rides, its the whole experience and the shows and parades are a big part of that. You can find out the times via the My Disney Experience app, or pick up a times guide to see what’s showing the day you’re there, or check out the Magic Kingdom calendars on the Official Disney World website before you go so you can plan which days to visit which parks. A few to look out for are:
Let the Magic Begin and rope drop – the park itself and a number of the shops on Main Street open earlier than the rest of the park, usually around an hour before official park opening. 5 minutes before the official park opening time for that day, there is an ‘opening show’ which performs in front of the castle – after this, the ropes drop for the other lands of the park and everyone floods in. (Note, if you have visited in the past, this replaced the opening show that used to perform in front of Main Street Station.)
Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade – this is the main daytime parade and is a ‘tribute to the tales of Fantasyland’.
Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire – a show at the front of the castle, performed several times a day, including lots of family favourites in this ‘musical extravaganza’.
Move it! Shake it! Celebrate it! Street Party – another day time parade that is a little more interactive, encouraging you to get up and dance along.
Happily Ever After – the night time fireworks and projection show. Absolutely not to be missed. (And replaced Wishes, for those that have been in previous years).