Getting the best out of your trip to Disney is always a top priority. Good planning assures you will see everything on your must-see list. That said, the question of timing arises. So, what is the best Magic Kingdom Itinerary?
Here is my pick for the best 1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary:
Mornings – Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Mad Tea Party, and Big Thunder Mountain
Afternoons – Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, Hall of Presidents, Mickey’s Philhar of Magic, The Barnstormer, Dumbo, The Flying Elephant, and Tomorrowland Speedway
Evenings – Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, and Haunted Mansion.
Now, bear with me. I’m not going to leave you with that basic information. My itinerary needs a little more explaining. I just want you to get an idea of where my mind is going with this plan.
Read on and I will break it all down for you. I love to help make your Disney vacation planning easier and help you get the most for your time and money. I also understand that most family vacations involve visiting those other Orlando theme parks, which only allow for one day at the Magic Kingdom. We won’t get into those places in this article, but the itinerary I suggest will allow you to make the most of your time so you can enjoy them too!
How many days do you need at Magic Kingdom?
So, how many days do you truly need to visit the Magic Kingdom? Disney’s theme park is a massive undertaking if you are trying to see everything in one day. That would be a crazy, whirlwind tour of the park.
I suppose, with proper planning and almost no crowd, you could see everything in one visit.
Unfortunately, this utopian idea is not practical on the majority of days at the Magic Kingdom. While there are those that say you need a full week of Disney fun, I believe you can see every attraction the park has to offer in two days, three if you need to visit attractions more than once.
Is one day enough for Magic Kingdom?
If it is virtually impossible to see everything in one day, how is one day enough to visit the Magic Kingdom?
Of course, it is! The trick is to have a pre-planned Magic Kingdom itinerary. Without a proper plan, the park can be a bit overwhelming. Where do I go first? Wait, I wanted to go over here…
Here is where good research comes into play. Doing your due diligence on the Crowd Calendar or seeking the help of a Disney Travel Agent, like myself, can help you devise a schedule that will allow you to see the best attractions the Magic Kingdom has to offer in one day!
The key is to have a must-see list. You know, write down every attraction you need to see on your visit. Then you can lay out a plan using Disney’s own park maps and Crowd Calendar. This way you will have a designated route and all your must-see attractions lined up for optimal enjoyment.
You really can fit everything you want to see in one well-planned day at the Magic Kingdom! Need help planning? Contact me!
What should I not miss at Magic Kingdom?
There are way too many attractions at the Magic Kingdom. Don’t get me wrong. I mean that as a good thing! There is something available for everyone in the family. Unfortunately, you cannot expect to see everything in the park on the same day.
Since we are talking about a 1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary, we will have to pick our most favorite attractions. I know, it isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I can promise that if you plan it right, you will have a fantastic time and be able to experience the best the park has to offer.
Here are a few of the must-see attractions at the Magic Kingdom. You may not get them all into your next trip, but think of it this way, you will already have an agenda for future visits! 😉
Let’s break it down by parks.
Cross the narrow, wooden planked bridge into the world of Adventureland. While it can get a bit crowded down its narrow aisles, be sure to really look at the scenery. It is easily missed while trying to navigate through the masses, but Adventureland’s tropical island, jungle, desert oasis mash-up design is a sight to behold.
One of the most popular attractions on the must-see list in Adventureland is Pirates of the Caribbean.
Board a barge and return to the 17th century as your sail through Disney’s version of a pirate’s life. Discover Dead Man’s Cove and avoid cannon fire between the pirate fort and a 12-gun Spanish Galleon. The life-like animatronics and exhilarating scenes make this ride a must-see.
The next on my list of must-see attractions in Adventureland is A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas.
Join the treasure hunt with this interactive adventure. Follow the clues and collect the cards. Find the last one for a surprise from Jack Sparrow himself. This is a great activity that doesn’t require waiting in lines!
It really adds to the Adventureland experience by drawing you to important themes that you might have missed because you were avoiding the couple with two strollers walking ahead of you. It also allows you to interact with important characters within the park to obtain your prizes!
Add it to your Magic Kingdom Itinerary. You’ll love it!
Fantasyland is the heart of the Magic Kingdom. It is where Disney’s original fairy tales come to life. This area of the park is the heart of all ages entertainment and rides. Every trip to the Magic Kingdom deserves a trip behind the Castle walls into the storybook world of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Dumbo, to name a few.
While in Fantasyland, be sure to catch the 12 minutes, 3D movie Mickey’s PhilharMagic. This immersive attraction takes us on a journey with Donald Duck getting into his typical mischief with good ‘ole Mickey saving the day. It is a fun journey with two of Disney’s most iconic characters and some sneaky surprises along the way. Add it to your must-see list!
Another easy-going yet super enjoyable attraction in Fantasyland is Peter Pan’s Flight. Hop on an enchanted pirate ship and set sail to Neverland to join the Lost Boys and save Wendy, Michael, and John from the clutches of the evil Captain Hook.
Experience wonderful scenery as you fly over London on your way to Neverland. Another classic in Disney’s arsenal of attractions. You need to experience the fun!
We are not done yet! You cannot visit Fantasyland without riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This themed roller coaster takes you through the mines the Seven Dwarfs work on a daily basis. Experience exciting turns, climbs, and drops as you make your way through the mountain home of Snow White’s faithful friends. At the coaster’s highest peak, you’ll get the best views of Fantasyland in the park. Don’t miss it!
Take a stroll back in time to the Wild West when you visit Frontierland. Disney does a magnificent job of bringing the old west to life in this exciting section of the park.
Grab a smoked turkey leg and eat like a pioneer. Take time to shop at the many western and Native American themed stores inside the old-timey wooden settler buildings and storefronts that were popular in frontier America. Frontierland is a great stop on your Magic Kingdom Itinerary. It is like walking through a time warp into the past.
Frontierland has two of the best thrill rides in the Magic Kingdom. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad plunges you into a dark cursed cavern where you fly around turns and take a bumpy ride around exploding dynamite and falling boulders like you would find in an old gold mine. When you think it is over, you’re tossed into the light and the eerie ghost town of Tumbleweed.
The ride is quick and truly leaves you exhilarated at the end. Definitely worth checking out!
The next thrill ride in Frontierland’s repertoire is Splash Mountain. Ready to get wet? Pick the right spot in the cart and you may get soaked. I’m not kidding! Splash Mountain runs 950,000 gallons of water through the ride’s environment. It has three dips and a massive five-story drop at the end. This is always a fun time! I mean, who doesn’t want to get soaked on a hot, Florida day?!?
The 1800’s come alive as you enter colonial America and wander the streets of Liberty Square. Brick-faced buildings create a suitable theme for Disney’s homage to America’s past. Don’t miss the replica of the Liberty Bell in the square. It was made exclusively for use at Walt Disney World in 1989. It was created at the same foundry in France with the same mold as the original Liberty Bell. How cool is that!?!
There are a ton of ghost stories that originate in colonial times. Disney’s adventure into this world is The Haunted Mansion. You will feel the hairs stand on your neck and maybe get a few goosebumps along the way. Tour through the rooms of this haunted estate with a spirit voice as your only guide. Avoid unwanted ghostly friends along the path of eerie displays and frightening surprises. This is a must-see on your Magic Kingdom itinerary.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Pass under the railroad tracks and enter the Magic Kingdom and you are walking on Main Street, U.S.A. It is the first area that everyone sees when first arriving for a day of Disney fun.
Main Street takes you directly to Cinderella’s Castle. You can walk along the turn-of-the-century pathway or ride in style in your choice of a horse-drawn trolley, fire engine, omnibus, jitney, or horseless carriage. While the different transportation methods down Main Street are extremely popular and hard to acquire, it is definitely an experience worth having at least once in a lifetime.
You will find Guest Services on Main Street near the Fire Station. There are many restaurants and shops to choose from. There is also a full-functioning Barber Shop that offers commemorative certificates for a baby’s first haircut. Love it!
Main Street, U.S.A. is the home of the Happily Ever After fireworks display. I can’t lie to you. It can get a bit crowded during this event. But, seeing this 18 minutes long, end-of-day display of pyrotechnics, lasers, and music is a Disney bucket list experience. Yes, you read that right–bucket list.
You should also catch Once Upon a Time. After dark, make sure to catch Cinderella’s Castle light up with projected images from Disney favorites, such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, Frozen, Alice in Wonderland, and Beauty and the Beast set to a soundtrack of our most favorite Disney songs. Sing along and watch the all-ages show. It is sure to put a smile on your face!
Tomorrowland was originally created to depict the future of humankind. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go the way Disney pictured. In the ’90s, they decided to switch the theme to a vision of the future as depicted by science fiction authors from the 1920s and 30’s. While not the futuristic vision Disney originally imagined, Tomorrowland has some of the coolest, must-see attractions in the park.
Space Mountain is one of the oldest, yet still most awesome rides in the whole park and worth adding to your Magic Kingdom itinerary.
Strap into the ride and get plunged into total darkness. Feel as if you are zooming through space in a rocket as you fly past comets, meteors, and other celestial objects. Whoa! Watch that wormhole! Don’t want to get ourselves sucked in! Hop aboard and enjoy some sensory magic.
Entertainment And Advance FastPass+ Reservations
One of the only ways to make it through my 1-day itinerary is to reserve your FastPass+ in advance. You are allowed three passes with your initial park reservation.
FastPass+ lets you bypass the line when you arrive at your chosen time. This makes for little to no wait. Some rides might just save you a few minutes. Others may save hours of waiting to participate in an adventure.
You should reserve your fast pass as soon as it’s allowed to get the times you want. This is where all that planning pays off. Remember, you must show up for your chosen reservation time, so make sure you plan carefully!
If you are not staying at a Disney Resort, you are allowed to make your FastPass+ advance reservations after 7:00 AM, 30 days before your visit date. If you stay at one of the many, exciting Disney Resorts, you are allowed to make these reservations 60 prior to your visit.
A good time saver when navigating through attractions is to get a MagicBand. It allows you and your family touch-and-go functionality within the parks, including at entrances, as a FastPass+, and with PhotoPass photographers.
This is so much easier than trying to keep track and show actual tickets at every attraction. Just scan the RFID and go!
Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom
Everyone always asks about the rope drop at the Magic Kingdom. The truth is that there is no actual rope. The term simply refers to when the park opens. Once the gates open, the proverbial rope has dropped.
Now that we have that cleared up, let’s talk about strategy. I have heard some describe the rope drop as Disney’s version of the running of the bulls. To some, this description may be a bit unnerving and intimidating. Others consider this the official start to their Disney vacation and want to be among the first to elbow their way toward the Seven Dwarfs Mine.
That said if the rope drop is on your Magic Kingdom itinerary and you want to have a chance at your best spot in line first thing in the morning, get there early. Gates open at 8:00 AM for the general public. You should be there between 30 minutes to an hour before that rope drop. Channel your inner magical power and get yourself in the front of that line.
If you secured early park entrance, you will be allowed past the turnstiles starting at 7:30. Take advantage of this to get ahead of the crowd at rope drop.
Don’t forget your agenda so you know which way to go!
Mornings at Magic Kingdom
OK, let’s get down to business. Here is my ideal 1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary. I will break it down to an hourly schedule. After the morning Rope Drop, we will make our way toward Fantasyland. Almost all of our morning itinerary is located here.
Once we make our way through Fantasyland’s must-see attractions, we will wander over to Frontierland for some Wild West fun.
Remember, you may want to switch a few of these attractions up a bit, or maybe forego them all. But I am here to get you the most bang for your buck and this is the schedule I would use to accomplish that goal.
|8:00 AM*||Peter Pan’s Flight – FantasylandSeven Dwarfs Mine Train – Fantasyland|
|9:00 AM*||The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Fantasyland|
|10:00 AM*||Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid – FantasylandMad Tea Party – Fantasyland|
|11:00 AM*||Big Thunder Mountain – Frontierland|
*All times are approximate and can vary with crowd size or use of FastPass+.
Afternoons at Magic Kingdom
Sneak in an hour lunch to our Magic Kingdom itinerary around this time. We are going to need the fuel to make it through our afternoon itinerary.
We will do a bit of wandering through the various zones. It will be a great time to check out some shops and food along the way! We will visit Adventureland, Liberty Square, Tomorrowland, and revisit Fantasyland. Check it out.
|12:00 PM*||Lunch! Take the hour to refuel and rehydrate. You will need the break.|
|1:00 PM*||Jungle Cruise – AdventurelandPirates of the Caribbean – Adventureland|
|2:00 PM*||It’s a Small World – FantasylandHall of Presidents – Liberty Square|
|3:00 PM*||Mickey’s Philhar of Magic – FantasylandThe Barnstormer – Fantasyland|
|4:00 PM*||Dumbo, The Flying Elephant – FantasylandTomorrowland Speedway – Tomorrowland|
*All times are approximate and can vary with crowd size or use of FastPass+.
Get more FastPasses
Did you use your three FastPass+ reservations during the morning agenda? Don’t worry. You can easily get more from within the park.
There are small kiosks set up in many areas of the park. Just visit one of these buildings and the customer associate will get you all set up with new passes and reservations. Even more convenient, you can add passes to your account through the My Disney Experience app on your mobile phone once you use your initial three.
Just remember, the later you try to get a FastPass+ reservation to an attraction, there is a possibility it will be booked. Reservations go fast and you need to make your selections as early as possible.
Evenings at Magic Kingdom
Our evening Magic Kingdom itinerary will start out with supper. I would try not to eat anything too heavy because you don’t want to get sick on the next couple of rides. 😉
We ended our afternoon forays in Tomorrowland and will stay there for a little while longer. Then we will make it full circle to where we started our Disney adventure earlier this morning.
|5:00 PM*||Supper time! Rest, regroup, rehydrate before we move forward.|
|6:00 PM*||Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin – TomorrowlandSpace Mountain – Tomorrowland|
|7:00 PM*||Haunted Mansion – Liberty Square|
*All times are approximate and can vary with crowd size or use of FastPass+.
Magic Kingdom Nighttime Shows
Well, we made it back to Liberty Square. The park is winding down for the day and everyone is anxiously awaiting their favorite nighttime show.
People are claiming their high-demand piece of Disney real estate to get the best view of the Happily Ever After laser and fireworks show. I mentioned this a little way back in this article. Bucket List!
The Happily Ever After show is Disney’s closing event. The 18-minute long mix of fireworks, laser, and music brings everyone’s adventure to an end for the day. Once you brave your way through the Haunted Mansion, you are already in prime position for the show. Find a spot to relax with a clear view of Cinderella’s Castle and you are golden.
Looking for a little storytelling time? Make some time in your Magic Kingdom itinerary to check out Once Upon a Time at Cinderella’s Castle. This show is replacing the ever-popular Celebrate the Magic.
Beauty and the Beast’s Mrs. Potts and Chip enjoy bedtime stories about our favorite Disney tales, such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and many more.
The projection mapping technology used to create this show is so precise, the characters almost appear to be in 3D. Fly through London with Peter Pan on his way to Neverland. Relive the daring duel between Gaston and Beast. Definitely worth adding to your must-see Disney attraction itinerary.
After Fireworks, Almost Time to Leave Magic Kingdom
Once the fireworks are nothing but a smell of sulfur in the air and Mrs. Potts has put Chip to bed, it’s time to make our way out of the park and home to a shower and bed.
No matter how you try to plan it, if you stay for the end-of-night shows, there will be a herd of people making their way towards the busses and trams. Then there will be a whole flock of vehicles trying to exit the park. Make sure you know the best route to get back to your vehicle. Don’t forget where you parked!
Disney employees are used to this onslaught of people and truly manage the traffic well. If you stay for the Happily Ever After or Once Upon a Time shows at the end of your day, just be patient on your way out. Normal exit times run from half an hour to about 45 minutes. That’s not too bad for all the visitors flowing out into the world once more.
Kudos to Disney for understanding crowd control!
A Final Word
You can get the best Disney experience possible in one day by following a specific Magic Kingdom itinerary. If you plan it correctly, you can see everything you must see by utilizing the tools given to you with your Magic Kingdom and FastPass+ reservations.
You should begin planning your next vacation with the attractions you could not see this time around! It will give you something to look forward to!
Have questions? I can help you out. Just contact me and we can work on your next dream Disney vacation!