One day in the Magic Kingdom for your family can be an amazing experience or could quickly devolve into a pain in the neck. With all sorts of recent changes to the parks, creating a plan to optimize your time in the park can be difficult. This article will help outline your day in the Magic Kingdom to make sure you avoid stressful lines as much as possible and get the most out of your vacation! Best of all, an ex cast member helped with these tips!
Must Do Rides for your Magic Kingdom Itinerary
To start out, you need to know which rides are absolute can’t-miss experiences. Though everyone has their own preferences, there is still hierarchy of what your family is most likely to enjoy. We have split up the rides into categories to make it a bit easier.
Thrill Rides at Magic Kingdom
Though Magic Kingdom does not have any “crazy” thrill rides that really get the adrenaline pumping, there are quite a few cleverly designed roller coasters that can please even a timid rider. In that case, we highly recommend that you make an effort to experience these attractions by starting slow and graduating up the scale to the larger coasters as you prove your bravery. Though the rides are listed in order of the best of the best, each includes a relative thrill rating and height requirement to reference.
- Splash Mountain, 40” Thrill 5/10
- *Tron Lightcycle Run, 48” Thrill 7/10
- Space Mountain, 44” Thrill 6/10
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, 40” Thrill 4/10
- Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, 38”, Thrill 3/10
*Note that TRON is expected to open late 2022 or early 2023, and Splash Mountain is expected to close at the same time.
Non-Thrill Rides at Magic Kingdom
If you prefer things a little slower, there are still tons of great rides in the park that your whole family will enjoy. Among these best-of-the-best non-thrill rides are some quintessential Disney attractions that no vacation is complete without! Keep in mind that most of these rides are very high-capacity rides that can take a lot of guests, so their wait times tend to stay reasonable during the day, even if a lot of people are riding (the odd one out is Peter Pan’s Flight which can see excessive wait times – so be sure to ride early in the morning or grab a Lightning Lane).
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Jungle Cruise
- Peter Pan’s Flight
This new Genie+ system replaces the old Fastpass terminology with Lightning Lane and includes a paid service that allows you to skip the line on certain rides. Each day, you can book reservation times for your favorite attractions and jump right on! Most attractions are available to select for a fee starting at $15 per person per day with price varying on demand and day, but some of the top-tier attractions in each park are an additional “per diem” fee for each rider (Individual Lightning Lanes). Currently, the extra cost attraction is Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, but that will change to Tron as soon as it opens.
What should I pick for Lightning Lane?
The easiest way to make picks for your lightning lane are to choose from the list of favorites above! Any of these selections are a great choice since other guests are also likely to have most of them on their must-do list which leads to longer lines.
Since Lightning Lanes can be scheduled one at a time, or after 2 hours since making a selection, you will have to go with the flow to see what is available throughout the day.
Paying attention to when you can make a new selection will allow you to create the most total picks throughout the day so you can skip the line the most!
A Good Day Plan Strategy
It is always incredibly beneficial for you to arrive at the park slightly before it opens so you can be ready to head straight to your top pick. When you’re there first thing in the morning, there are very few others who can be waiting in line ahead of you, so you can easily knock out 3 or 4 rides with very little waiting time.
It’s best to head straight to the left and back of the park into Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain first thing.
You can then work your way through Adventureland next, riding Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. If the park opens at 10, you can have 2 whole lands complete in just about 90 minutes! Next, you work your through the rest of the park through Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and then Tomorrowland.
As an alternative, if you don’t want to miss some Fantasyland rides, start there at Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight before heading towards Frontierland or Adventureland.
In the afternoons, parks get busy, the heat can get worse, and your family will get tired. It’s best to head back to the hotel for a few hours between 1pm and 4pm, or from about 4pm to 6:30pm if you don’t want to miss the Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3pm.
The afternoon can drag on and really slow down your family, so it’s always best to try to avoid it if you can. It is VERY important to keep the whole family rested and happy to avoid meltdowns that can ruin a whole day for everyone. Even if you don’t get as much total park time in, being in the parks bright and early in the morning and/or staying until closing time at night will allow you to get a lot more done due to lower crowd levels.
Shows at Magic Kingdom
It’s also a great decision to save many of the indoor, air-conditioned shows for the afternoon time. Not only are they a great way to rest and cool off, but they tend to have little to no wait all day, so visiting them when all of the rides have their longest waits of the day is far more efficient. Magic Kingdom has a ton of shows to choose from with at least one in each land, so it’s also easy on the legs to visit them in order (from 1 to 6 or 6 to 1 depending on the direction you’re going) if you have the time to catch all of them. They’re also great as a 15 to 30 minute respite any time you need it!
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Hall of Presidents
- Mickey’s Philharmagic
- Carousel of Progress
- Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor
Fireworks at Magic Kingdom
To cap off your day, you’ll have to be back in the park for the fireworks, which are usually around 9pm. The best spot to view them (which also doesn’t fill up quite as early) is equidistant between the Ice Cream Shop and Casey’s Corner on Main Street, which is where the show is designed to be viewed.
As you’ll see, there are TONS of people at the front of the park waiting for the fireworks, so if you don’t mind skipping the “optimal” front of the castle viewing, you can also head back into the lands to ride many attractions with low wait times.
Frontierland is beautiful at night and sometimes feels like a ghost town with the lack of crowds. You can still see the fireworks and hear the soundtrack throughout any land in the park and it’s even piped into some hotels too, including the Polynesian Beach Resort Hotel!
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