Let’s dive in with a travel topic near and dear to my heart – Disney.
I blame my parents for my absolute love of all things Mickey Mouse. My first vacation was to Disney World when I was two, and I’ve been a dozen times since then. I love the excitement that comes with planning a trip to the parks, however, if you’re unfamiliar with Disney World, it can be incredibly overwhelming to even begin figuring out the musts for your Disney trip.
For those trying to make sense of the basics, I’m kicking off my Disney Guides with an overview of the park that started it all: Magic Kingdom. Home to Cinderella’s Castle, the Happily Ever After fireworks show, and some of the most popular rides and dining spots across the parks, Magic Kingdom is incredibly family friendly and has something for everyone in your Disney crew.
As the most iconic park in Disney World, Magic Kingdom is the perfect place to start your trip. It is one of the six stops on the monorail, and can also be reached by ferryboat or Disney Transport buses. With six distinctive lands throughout the park with their own themes and attractions, you can easily spend an entire day here.
Main Street, USA
Just through the park gates, you’ll find yourself on Main Street, USA. This area of the park is a cute shop-lined street with a picturesque view of Cinderella’s Castle. If you want Disney-themed merch and snacks to take home with you, you’ll definitely find them here. Main Street, USA is also home to one of the three stops on the Walt Disney World Railroad (you can find the other two stops in Fantasyland and Frontierland).
Attractions: Dapper Dans Barbershop Quartet, Main Street Trolley Show, Walt Disney World Railroad (temporarily closed)
Dining: Casey’s Corner ($), Crystal Palace ($$, $$$), Main Street Bakery ($), Plaza Ice Cream Parlor ($), The Plaza Restaurant ($$), Tony’s Town Square ($$)
Character Meet and Greets: Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell
Insider Tip: Main Street, USA boasts some of the best viewing spots for Magic Kingdom’s iconic fireworks show, Happily Ever After, and for the Festival of Fantasy parade. For fireworks, be sure to snag your spot in front of Cinderella’s Castle or, for a view further back, by the Railroad. For the parade, snag a spot near the Emporium or the Railroad.
A jungle-esque area of Magic Kingdom representative of foreign lands and faraway places, Adventureland is home to a few classics: Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Swiss Family Treehouse, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Be sure to stop at Aloha Isle for a beloved Disney treat, the Dole Whip!
Attractions: Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Swiss Family Treehouse, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Dining: Aloha Isle ($), Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen ($$), Sunshine Tree Terrace ($), Tortuga Tavern ($)
Character Meet and Greets: Aladdin, Captain Hook, Genie, Goofy, Jasmine, Peter Pan, Rafiki, Timon, Tinker Bell, Wendy
A representation of the Wild West, Frontierland is home to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, two absolute musts for any Magic Kingdom trip! While Frontierland is a natural stop after visiting Adventureland, be sure to note that it is a bit secluded and does not connect to Fantasyland. You’ll have to jump on the Walt Disney World Railroad or backtrack towards Liberty Square to get to the other lands.
Attractions: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, Splash Mountain, Tom Sawyer Island, Walt Disney World Railroad
Dining: Golden Oak Outpost ($), Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe ($), Westward Ho ($)
A colonial American town set during the Revolution, Liberty Square has two of the best rides to beat the heat, the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents. As a slower ride with a spooky theme that is great for all members of your Disney crew, the Haunted Mansion should be on your list of absolute must-dos for your day at Magic Kingdom.
Liberty Square is also home to Liberty Tree Tavern, a family style restaurant that serves up American classics. If you happen to be in Disney for Thanksgiving, this is one of the best places to have dinner. Treat yourself to a Patriot’s Slush, one of the most refreshing drinks on the menu!
Attractions: Haunted Mansion, The Hall of Presidents
Dining: Columbia Harbour House ($), Liberty Square Market ($), Liberty Tree Tavern ($$, $$$), Sleepy Hollow ($), The Diamond Horseshoe ($$, $$$)
Insider Tip: Be sure to ride the Haunted Mansion even if it has a bit of a wait. It has one of the best line queues in the park, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied!
In the heart of Magic Kingdom is Fantasyland, a sprawling, mountainous village that features Cinderella’s Castle as its focal point. It is one of the most popular and newest parts of Magic Kingdom and is home to Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the Mad Tea Party, Enchanted Tales with Belle, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. Each of these rides have no height requirement with the exception of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so this area will have something for everyone in your Disney crew.
Located within Beast’s Castle, Be Our Guest is arguably one of Disney’s most popular restaurants. Its French-inspired menu offers counter service for lunch and table service for dinner. If this restaurant is on your list of Disney musts, make sure you book well in advance as reservations fill up quickly.
Attractions: Dumbo The Flying Elephant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, “it’s a small world,” Mad Tea Party, Mickeys Philharmagic, Prince Charming Regal Carousel, Princess Fairytale Hall, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Barnstormer, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh
Dining: Be Our Guest ($$, $$$$), Cheshire Cafe ($), Cinderella’s Royal Table ($$$, $$$$), Gaston’s Tavern ($), Pinocchio Village Haus ($), Prince Eric’s Village Market ($), Storybook Treats ($) The Friar’s Nook ($)
Character Meet and Greets: Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Fairy Godmother, Gaston, Goofy, Merida, Minnie Mouse, Peter Pan, Rapunzel, Tiana, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh
Insider Tip: Need a break from the heat or want to get off your feet? Pop into Mickey’s Philharmagic. A 12-minute magical concert, this show is one of the comfiest and coolest in the parks.
Designed as a futuristic, intergalactic city, Tomorrowland features rockets, robots, and, of course, Space Mountain. It is also home to the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
Attractions: Astro Orbiter, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Carousel of Progress, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Space Mountain, Stitch’s Great Escape!, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Tomorrowland Speedway (temporarily closed)
Dining: Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodness ($), Cool Ship ($), Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe ($), The Lunching Pad ($), Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant ($)
Character Meet and Greets: Buzz Lightyear
Insider Tip: For a little competition, take your whole Disney crew on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Aim for the highest target in the room – you won’t be disappointed!
With so many rides, character meet and greets, and places to dine, Magic Kingdom is guaranteed to be a amazing day whether it’s your first trip to Disney or your tenth! My favorite attraction in the park is a classic – Splash Mountain. However, my favorite time to ride it is after dark during extra magic hours!
What’s your favorite attraction in Magic Kingdom? Do you have any Magic Kingdom tips or tricks? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
As always, if you want help planning your trip, I specialize in creating a completely custom dream Disney vacation just for you! Whether you’re about to book or just starting the planning process, send me an email or check out my services here.