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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Magic Kingdom - Tips for Planning Your Day

Updated: Mar 3

Every family is different, so instead of giving you a step by step plan (that may or may not work depending on so many factors) we will provide you with some tips and tools to make your own park touring plan. See our general planning posts here, for Magic Kingdom specific tips read on.




 


Starting Your Day


For Magic Kingdom more than any of the other parks (except maybe Hollywood Studios) we recommend getting to the park early, before park opening if possible, then make good use of the early morning hours to take advantage of shorter wait times. During more crowded times this window of short wait times is smaller, and more valuable. For Guests staying onsite, the Early Theme Park Entry will be on the right, entering through tomorrowland.


Not all rides are open for Early Theme Park Entry, only the attractions in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, with a few exceptions. If you are looking to ride either Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, or Space Mountain, getting there early is a good way to knock out one or two of them with relatively short waits.


Early Theme Park Entry Rides:

  • “It’s a small world”

  • Astro Orbiter

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Mad Tea Party

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic

  • Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

  • Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train

  • Space Mountain

  • The Barnstormer

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • Tomorrowland Speedway

  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress



We recommend taking this park either left to right or right to left if possible, there are a lot of rides and you can find yourself zipping from Tomorrowland to Liberty Square, to Adventureland, to Fantasyland (a bad route if you look at the map) if you are not careful. We do understand based on Genie+ and the TRON virtual queue some backtracking may be unavoidable, but a general plan will help minimize this.



The exception to this is if the rides in Fantasyland are super important to you. Fantasyland is the most popular area of the park and as such it becomes crowded very quickly compared to other areas in the park. If this area holds a lot of must dos for you and your family we recommend arriving for park opening (so an hour before park opening) and going to Fantasyland first.


Unless you really are at the front of the crowd going in for Earlly Theme Park Entry, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will likely already have a sizable wait by the time you get to it. Know that if you join that queue it will probably be the only thing you accomplish with your extra park time, and lines for other attractions will be building by the time you get off. If you are trying hard to avoid spending the extra money on ILL then that is still going to be your best option for riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This is still the ride most people go to at park opening and its wait time builds fast and typically remains high all day. There is a possibility of getting in a ride with only a short wait if you stay until park closing and slip in line shortly before the park closes. However, the Cast Members will sometimes close off the queue before park closing to prevent an hour long line after park closing. However, if you are okay spending the money, we recommend just grabbing the ILL at 7am.


At the beginning of the day, or late in the evening, if you are looking at wait times you should know that no ride will ever say it is a 0 minute wait. Generally, if the posted wait time is 5 minutes the ride will be a walk on (or extremely close to it). However there are some rides, mostly the popular roller coasters and e-ticket attractions, that have a higher posted wait time even if the ride is walk on. Another exception to the rule is Haunted Mansion, which has a starting wait time of 13 minutes.


Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


If you are staying at a Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort Disney offers 2 hours of extended evening hours at Magic Kingdom and Epcot on select days. This is a free amenity for deluxe resort guests only. Extended Evening Hours are only available twice a week, usually every Monday at Epcot and Wednesday at the Magic Kingdom, but you should check your My Disney Experience app for when you are there.


For these guests, an additional virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle / Run opens at 6:00pm.


Rides available:

  • “it’s a small world”

  • Astro Orbiter

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

  • Country Bear Jamboree

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Haunted Mansion

  • Mad Tea Party

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic

  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

  • Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  • Space Mountain

  • Swiss Family Treehouse

  • The Barnstormer

  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • Tomorrowland Speedway

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room



Navigating the Crowds


Some areas of the park, and rides, are busier at specific times and for specific reasons. Below are some examples of how the ebb and flow influence how crowded an area feels and the corresponding wait time of rides in that area.

  • Haunted Mansion will always see an uptick in wait time around meal times, especially lunch. This is because Columbia Harbour House is right across from Haunted Mansion, so many families will grab a bite to eat and then hop in the line for Haunted Mansion (or vise versa).

  • Adventureland is always busier after lunch through the evening. This is because early entry filters people through Tomorrowland, then at the official park opening everyone bee-lines for Fantasyland, and it takes a while for the crowds to matriculate over into Adventureland.

  • As Fantasyland ramps up in the morning you can often still find little to no wait at Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid. This is because there are lots of other rides for people to stop at on the way to that back corner, so when Peter Pan is sitting at 30 minutes or more in wait time, there is a good chance that The Little Mermaid is still at 5 minutes.

  • Shortly after lunch there really isn’t a good part of the park left any more, this is when we recommend either taking a break and going back to the hotel, or taking in some shows which will have short waits and provide a good break from the crowds.

  • If the fireworks are not important to you (we recommend seeing them at least once) many of the wait times will plummet starting about 20 minutes before the fireworks begin. This is because the majority of park goes have gone to mob in front of the castle to watch the spectacle.

  • There are a couple different bottleneck points in the park, they sometimes are not avoidable but knowing about them is better than being surprised. When going from Fantasyland to Liberty Square the walk area in front of Peter Pan and “it’s a small world” is often incredibly crowded with people trying to go in every direction. In front of Big Thunder Mountain there is a similar issue, except here because this is at the end of a path there are people trying to get to the ride, people standing in the overflow queue, people waiting who didn’t want to ride, and people trying to leave the area.

  • After the fireworks the bulk of the crowd will turn and head up Main Street, USA and out of the park. It is a massive flood of people that is hard to navigate. We don’t recommend anyone who dislikes crowds or who has claustrophobia joining the hordes of people heading out. Further, if you join the crowd this is when the line for the buses will be the longest. To avoid being a part of the throngs of people flooding down Main Street, USA we recommend simply staying put or, if the park isn’t closing right then, venturing into the park to do an attraction or find a snack.

  • The shops on Main Street, USA are absolutely nuts after the fireworks. Plenty of people, on their way out of the park, duck into the shops, either to escape the people outside or to do a last round of shopping before calling it a night. If you want to do shopping on Main Street, USA without half the park surrounding you, we recommend you try to do it earlier in the day or accept that they will be absolutely chaotic as people are leaving after the fireworks.

  • If the park does remain open after the fireworks, and you decide to go ride another ride, don’t stop at the first ride you come to. The posted wait will be short, because it was short during the fireworks, but it just hasn’t caught up yet. If you stop at the closest ride to the hub, for example Jungle Cruise, you can expect to wait at least 20-30 minutes to ride if not longer because many other people also stopped there.


Making Genie+ Choices


If you do choose to get Genie+ for your day, there is some strategizing you can use to make the most of your day at the Magic Kingdom. First and foremost you should be familiar with how Genie+ works in the MDE app, you can read our post about it here. Click here for our downloadable Genie+ reference sheet. Below is our recommendation for the order to try to get Genie+ reservations in:


Most Popular Attractions(make these selections first):

  • TRON Lightcycle / Run (Virtual Queue or ILL)

  • Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train (ILL)

  • Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Space Mountain

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • Jungle Cruise

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant


Moderately Popular Attractions (good for after you’ve made the initial reservations):

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Haunted Mansion

  • “it’s a small world”

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

  • Enchanted Tales with Belle

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater

  • Meet Princesses at Fairytale Hall


Low Priority Attractions (really don’t need to use Genie+ on unless you have nothing else to book):

  • Mad Tea Party

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

  • The Barnstormer

  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

  • Meet Ariel in her Grotto


Shows (generally make little sense to book on Genie+ because you can almost always just walk in at the start of the next show):

  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic

  • Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor


For TRON Lightcycle / Run we recommend grabbing an Individual Lightning Lane (ILL). You can try to join the virtual queue at 7am, and again at 1pm - but if you get in at 7am you will not be able to try again at 1pm. The virtual queue is hard to get however, and you will likely still have to wait in a long line after your boarding group is called. The ILL is still popular but does not sell out as fast as the virtual queue vanishes, and you will have a shorter wait. As a bonus, if you do snag the virtual queue and get an ILL you can ride twice in one day. This is currently the only way to ride more than once in a given day. Read more at our Virtual Queue post here.



Random Tidbits


  • Disney has been doing a great job updating their restrooms but even so not all restrooms are created equal. At the Magic Kingdom park we love going to the Tangled restrooms because they have such a cute theme, but the area can be crowded. The restrooms by Gaston’s Tavern are similarly updated but because they are tucked away in the corner don’t get used as often. The ones over by the Pirates of the Caribbean are the same way.

  • When grabbing quick service at Columbia Harbour House or Pinocchio's Village Haus, there is a second floor with additional seating. So if you are wandering around and cannot find an open table look for some stairs to the second floor.


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