10 Tips & Tricks to Enjoy the Best Day Ever at Magic Kingdom

Dumbo Attraction

The Magic Kingdom. The classic Disney theme park, now almost 50 years old and not showing it for a second. This timeless park will forever make grownups feel like children and children feel like they are in a fairytale. No visit to Walt Disney World would be complete without a visit to the Magic Kingdom, and here are 10 tips & tricks to help you make it the BEST DAY EVER!


10.  Arrive Early

Disney vacations are not necessarily designed for those who want to sleep in. I mean it is doable, but if you really want to maximize your time you need to arrive early.   Like before the park opening time early.  I usually try to get to Magic Kingdom about an hour before the advertised opening time, and often I find that it is already open and rides are running.  This doesn’t happen every single time because there can be delays and technical issues, but I like to be one of the first people in the park to start lining up for the popular attractions nonetheless.  Not only is it more park time, but it is more productive park time because you can get more done in those first few hours the park is open before the lines start building.

9.  Buy Memory Maker

While it may not make sense to buy Memory Maker if you are ONLY going to Magic Kingdom, chances are you’re going to all four theme parks and can make it a great value.  But, at Magic Kingdom you have so many opportunities to take advantage of the photos you get.  There are ride photos on Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. You also get some video and some “magic” shots depending on the attraction.  Plus, you know everyone needs a group picture (or 4) in front of Cinderella Castle.  Make sure you ask photographers for “magic shots” too, there are a lot of fun ones in the Magic Kingdom.  Memory Maker is one of my favorite souvenirs, helping to preserve all of those happy memories.

8.  Ride the Classics

While you may be drawn to the newer attractions, don’t forget to pay homage to the classic Magic Kingdom attractions by taking a ride on as many as possible.  Peter Pan’s Flight, it’s a small world, Carousel of Progress, The Jungle Cruise, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion all exemplify how the Disney parks got their start.  These endearing attractions are some of the best!  And don’t forget to ride some of the “kiddie” rides too.  I love the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and I dare you to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant and NOT smile, maybe even giggle.

Credit: Disney

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7.  Eat a Dole Whip

A hotly debated topic is what is the top snack that defines Walt Disney World.  Some say it is the chocolate covered Mickey Bar.  Others say the Dole Whip.  Really, you can’t go wrong with either one.  However, there is something to be said for enjoying a refreshing Dole Whip in Adventureland which originally was the only place to find them.  Especially on a hot day, and let’s face it there are 360 hot days at Walt Disney World it feels like.  (Also, you should probably eat the Mickey Bar too just for good measure, I mean it is the BEST day EVER).

6.  Hit the Mountains First

If you want to maximize the number of attractions you are able to fit in you will want to hit the “mountains” first.  That is Space, Splash, Big Thunder, and Seven Dwarfs.  While Seven Dwarfs doesn’t have mountain the title, and it is more of a large hill we will give it to them.  Normally we go to Seven Dwarfs first, then I would probably do Space, cut across the hub to Splash then Big Thunder.  Of course, you can eliminate a mountain based on your family’s ride preference.  The way these rides load they are a bit slower than the continuous loading attractions (like Haunted Mansion) so the lines build faster, plus they are very popular.  If you do them early before too many people have entered the park you’ll have a bit of an advantage.  Right now without FastPasses that is the best strategy.

5.  Have Lunch at a Resort

The Magic Kingdom quick service restaurants can get pretty chaotic at lunch time, in particular with the mobile order situation right now.  You need to choose your pickup time pretty early so that you don’t have to wait too long to get your food.  But, a great alternative is to visit one of the Magic Kingdom resorts and have lunch there.  You get away from the hustle & bustle of the park, you get to visit one of the beautiful resorts where you may not be staying, you can enjoy the transportation (walking, monorail, boat), and often the menus at these are a bit more diversified than at the Magic Kingdom where each quick service location specializes in one particular thing.  The resort quick service may satisfy more of your party (& I think the food is better).  You can take the boat to Wilderness Lodge to eat at Roaring Forks, walk or take the monorail to the Contemporary for Contempo Café, take the boat to the Polynesian for Captain Cooks, or take the boat, monorail or walk to the Grand Floridian for Gasparilla Grill.  You can put in your mobile order as your exiting the park or waiting on transportation & then have it prepared when you arrive. The wait times are generally shorter, the places less crowded, and bonus, most have nice outdoor seating areas. Then you can come back to the Magic Kingdom refreshed and refueled for a fun afternoon.

4.  Stop & Smell the Roses

While it is tempting to go, go, go at Magic Kingdom because there are so many fun attractions there, don’t forget to slow down and take in the details too.  Walk through Cinderella Castle and look at the gorgeous mosaic mural.  Stop by the wishing well.  Look for Pascal around the Tangled Bathrooms.  Visit Tom Sawyer Island or ride the Liberty Belle.  Read the names on the windows on Main Street.  There are so many clever details that have been incorporated into the parks.

Credit: Disney

3.  Take Breaks in the Parks

Slowing down to smell the roses is great, but sometimes you just need to get off your feet and take a break.  Right now there are some great relaxation stations set up where you can remove your face coverings while being socially distant.  These are nice for a quick breather.  You can take a break while enjoying the attractions as well, shows like Philharmagic and Carousel of Progress are great to sit for a while in the air conditioning—entertainment and rest. 

2.  Make a dinner reservation

Dining is a little different these days, but there are still several delicious table service options available to you at the Magic Kingdom.  Since you enjoyed a quick lunch, a sit-down dinner may be just the thing to make it the Best Day Ever.  Depending on your family’s tastes, you can choose from Tony’s Town Square for some traditional Italian fare, The Plaza for American food, The Crystal Palace for family style food (not currently hosting characters), Cinderella’s Royal Table for a nice meal (not the typical character meet experience), Be Our Guest for a prix fixe menu of French cuisine, Liberty Tree Tavern for traditional American food, or Skipper Canteen for a fun Jungle Cruise themed experience with a more exotic menu.  Dining reservations can currently be made 60 days in advance, so you want to make those as early as possible to make sure you get the restaurant and time you prefer.  If you are unable to get a reservation in the Magic Kingdom you can always try one of the resorts and take the transportation over like in the lunch suggestion (or switch lunch for table service in the park and dinner for quick service at a resort).

Photo: Matthew Cooper (www.thetimethespace.com)

1.  After Dark

As long as Magic Kingdom is open past sunset on your vacation you should plan to be there at night.  It transforms into a shimmering fantasy with lights on Main Street USA and Cinderella Castle.  The lighting across the park in all the lands makes it feel a little more magical, a little more immersive.  And some of the attractions take on a whole new feel at night.  I highly recommend trying to ride Jungle Cruise at night for a very different experience, as well as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain.  The Tomorrowland Speedway is also more fun at night, I think.  I just love the way all the parks “feel” at night, but especially the Magic Kingdom.  If you are making it the BEST day ever, then it needs to extend well into the evening.

What are your favorite tips for having the Best Day Ever at the Magic Kingdom?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).