The Florida sun is shining, you’ve selected the perfect set of Minnie Ears for the day, and your fanny pack is stocked with Park must-haves. You are starting off your Disney Vacation with a visit to the OG — Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. You’ve likely also made a list of all those must-eat snacks and must-see attractions in Magic Kingdom. A day in the classic Disney Park is so much fun, here are the things I always do during a day at the Magic Kingdom.
Rope Drop Dash
I am not a morning person — unless I am on a Walt Disney World vacation! Seriously, hitting the Disney Parks when they open is one of the best ways to see more attractions and skip a long wait time for at least one attraction of your choice. The number one thing I always do during a day at the Magic Kingdom is to “rope drop dash” a ride. Set that alarm and leave your Disney Resort early to arrive at rope drop. Arriving early adds to your Disney experience and cashes in on the best thing about staying at a Disney Resort – proximity to the Parks!
Park opening is often called “rope drop” in Disney fan circles. Arriving prior to rope drop so you can head straight to a ride of your choice is a great way to skip the line (because there is not a line yet) for a high-traffic attraction. My family’s go-to rope drop attraction is Space Mountain. We (and lots of other Guests) head directly to this popular attraction to walk right on the ride or enjoy a short wait time of ten minutes or less before boarding. Later in the day, this attraction’s wait time can easily climb to nearly two hours long, so hitting this ride first thing is a huge time saver.
Tailor this tip to what works best for your family. Those with small kids looking to ride Peter Pan’s Flight with a minimal wait time might choose to rope drop dash this attraction, then spend time in Fantasyland enjoying the other rides. Likewise, you could hit the opposite end of the Park to ride Frontierland favorites like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain as the first rides of the day.
Lots of Disney Guests are wise to this tip, so your first attraction of the day is the only guaranteed walk-on (or nearly walk-on) attraction. However, you will enjoy shorter wait times during the first hour of park opening and will certainly enjoy much cooler temperatures than are to come later in the day.
Related: Things I Always Do When Booking a Disney Vacation
Hit High Sun Attractions Early
If my group has must-see attractions that are in high sun areas of the Park, we hit those early — like, as early as possible. In the spirit of avoiding sunburn and minimizing risk of heat exhaustion. Enjoy these attractions with high sun ride queues soon after rope drop when temperatures are lower.
Rides like The Magic Carpet of Aladdin, Tomorrowland Speedway, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad have hot queues. These ride queues are in mostly direct sun during most of the day and don’t have much covering, making it a more miserable waiting experience while putting you at risk for sunburn and heat exhaustion.
Knock out these attractions as early as possible in the morning or after dark in the evening.
Highway in the Sky
Riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a not to be missed experience on my visits to the Magic Kingdom. Known simply as the PeopleMover, this relaxed ride is one of my favorites. I love that it can be enjoyed by the whole family and offers beautiful views of Tomorrowland. I have great memories of riding this as a kid on vacation. I also loved that my family of four could enjoy this attraction together in the same ride car.
Today, a mix of nostalgia coupled with the short wait time for this ride, beautiful views and refreshing breeze are all reasons this ride is a must for me. I’ve even snagged some fun Etsy items inspired by this attraction. Riding the PeopleMover during a day at Magic Kingdom is a must for me!
ProTip: A ride on Walt Disney World Railroad offers a similar laid-back vibe, but with a longer ride. Consider this ride if you want a full circle tour of the park and are looking to relax while still enjoying an attraction. You’ll see views of Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Storybook Circus on this ride.
Snag a Starbucks
Basic? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. I always snag a Starbucks coffee on Main Street U.S.A. during a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Frequent readers know of my love for iced coffee and my devotion to Florida brand Joffrey’s Coffee. However, I make an exception during visits to the Magic Kingdom, where I enjoy a Starbucks brew.
The adorable cup design unique to the Disney Parks coupled with the allure of a delicious caffeine boost during a busy day in the Parks is just too tempting to bypass. Hitting Starbucks for a midafternoon iced coffee in Magic Kingdom is a tradition I love.
Related:Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade returns, but LOOK WHAT’S MISSING from the experience
Snap a Castle Pic.
I know, I know, you are probably thinking — frequent Walt Disney World visitors still take castle photos on every visit?! The short answer is…yes. Even after being a repeat visitor and Annual Passholder for over a decade, I pretty much always end up snapping a castle photo on a visit to Magic Kingdom.
In browsing my iPhone camera roll, there are castle photos from every Disney vacation. Some are group family photos, others are stereotypical Cinderella Castle selfies, and still, others are basic Instagram photos of that iconic Magic Kingdom Starbucks bev. I love adding to my collection of Cinderella Castle photos by snapping pics from different angles and sides of this iconic Disney landmark. It looks different in different lighting depending on the time of day. Of course, Cinderella Castle is stunning dressed up for the holidays or pictured alongside fireworks or projections in the evening. One thing is for sure- I am always going to snap a Cinderella Castle photo during a day in the Magic Kingdom!
Pro Tip: Consider snapping photos from the back of the castle (think King Arthur Carrousel facing the back of the castle) to see a different angle of this beautiful building. I also love posing in the front corner of the castle near Liberty Square. You won’t be crowded by others taking photos in this area, and you get a bit more unique look with fewer people in the background.
Related: Time Saving Tips for the Magic Kingdom Without Using Lightning Lane
Ride Pirates of the Caribbean
Catching up with that crafty pirate Jack Sparrow — excuse me, CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow — is a must-do when visiting the Magic Kingdom. I always ride Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland when visiting this Park. I have fond memories of squealing through the drop on this ride as a kid, and inhaling that water ride smell (if you know, you know) as pirates unleashed chaos in the ride scenes.
The immersive ride queue begins the fun of the attraction, leading Guests through winding corridors and giving them glimpses of dungeons, cannons, and chains that tee up the theme and vibe of this attraction perfectly. The ride queue design coupled with the dark corridors and foreboding ride boarding area really transport Guests into the ride in a way other attractions don’t. Pirates of the Caribbean is an elite Disney attraction, so I always ride it at least once during a day in the Magic Kingdom.
Cool Off with a Dole Whip
You better believe I am beating that afternoon Florida heat with a refreshing Dole Whip. These frozen treats are iconic for a reason — they are the perfect balance of creamy and sweet with cold and refreshing. It’s easy to snag a Dole Whip soft serve or a Dole Whip float from Aloha Isle right before or after a visit to Pirates of the Caribbean. I love sharing a Dole Whip soft serve with my husband in the shade near the entrance to Adventureland and planning what attractions to ride next.
Hopefully these Magic Kingdom tips are helpful as you begin planning your next trip to The Most Magical Place on Earth. A visit to Walt Disney World Resort with the family really is unforgettable. Be sure to check out other articles on what I always do during a day at Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs. Wishing you a fun-filled day of short waits on your favorite rides, strong coffee, delicious Park treats and flawless castle selfies!