PlanningTrip Planning 101

Trip Planning 101: 10 Tips for Planning Your Days at Magic Kingdom

Are you a Magic Kingdom newbie or semi-rookie? It’s overwhelming, right? Everyone talks about Magic Kingdom and how incredible it is, so you don’t want to miss a beat. But, when you start to explore the park it can be hard to navigate through all the options. Here are a few planning tips we hope will help you begin your Magic Kingdom trip planning for an exceptionally “magical” visit.


1 – Six Lands To Explore!

The first tip to planning Magic Kingdom is having a basic understanding of the park. Go ahead and look up a Magic Kingdom map and start exploring the layout of the park and the numerous things it has to offer. From a vast list of attractions to entertainment around every corner and unmatched dining – Magic Kingdom has it all! The easiest way to begin your understanding of Magic Kingdom is by being sure you have a grasp on all six lands held within this one park. The six lands include: Main Street U.S.A, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland. Understand their theming, their attractions, restaurants, characters – the works. You’ll start to see that breaking the park down into six separate areas makes it easier to understand.

2 – Two Days is Better Than One

Absolutely! If you can swing two days at Magic Kingdom, we promise your experience of the park will be a much better one. Two days take away the stress of rushing around and trying to tackle everything that honestly isn’t possible to defeat in one day. This will allow you to spread out your must-dos over two days and really explore the park at a steady pace.

3 – Holiday Parties are a PLUS

We suggest you schedule your visit around a special ticketed event like the Halloween party and Christmas party. While this is an extra ticket fee, the bonus time in the park with special entertainment, characters, and more is well worth the cost, in our opinion. The more time in the park, the better!

Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train

4 – Use My Disney Experience App

Go ahead and grab your phone now and download the My Disney Experience (MDE) app if you haven’t already. This little app is literally the key to the Kingdom and you don’t have to be in the park to start exploring it. Download and check it out well before your trip so you’ll have no trouble navigating the app once in the park. Use this as your park map, your Times Guide to character meet and greets and entertainment, check wait times, Mobile Order food, make dining reservations, see your PhotoPass photos, and more! Also be sure to check out the complimentary Disney Genie planning tools that give you a personalized itinerary, tip board, forecasted wait times. These planning tools are free and are a great help for those looking for a place to start planning.

5 – Seriously Consider Purchasing Disney Genie+

Disney Genie+ is one of the paid options to access the Lightning Lane (formerly FastPass) at many different attractions at the parks. The idea is that you’ll be able to skip the line and thus save time and enjoy more attractions during your visit. This costs anywhere from $15-$35 per day, per person. Out of all of the theme parks, we feel that guests get the most bang for their buck when purchasing and using Genie+ at Magic Kingdom. This is because there are twenty-one different attractions that are included with Genie+ at the park.

Here are the Lightning Lane attractions that are included with Genie+ at Magic Kingdom:

        1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
        2. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
        3. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
        4. Haunted Mansion
        5. “it’s a small world”
        6. Jungle Cruise
        7. Mad Tea Party
        8. Meet Ariel at her Grotto
        9. Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
        10. Meet Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
        11. Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
        12. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
        13. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
        14. Peter Pan’s Flight
        15. Pirates of the Caribbean
        16. Space Mountain
        17. The Barnstormer
        18. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
        19. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
        20. Tomorrowland Speedway
        21. Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Again, with so many attractions for guests to choose from, it’s easier for guests to book a lot of return windows for the various attractions, allowing you to get more done. If you’re considering purchasing Disney Genie+, Magic Kingdom is a great park to do it at. Learn more about Genie+ and Lightning Lane by clicking here. 

6 – Arrive BEFORE Park Opening

Magic Kingdom allows guests to enter the park about an hour early. Guests can walk all throughout Main Street U.S.A. to shop and grab coffee and treats. Cast Members line the Castle hub to keep guests from going into the different lands. If you are a Disney Resort guest, you’ll be allowed to leave Hub area and enjoy attractions thirty minutes before park opening. This gives you a huge advantage over non-resort guests! About five minutes before the official park opening time, “Let The Magic Begin” is presented as a sweet welcome show on the stage in front of the Castle. Arrive well before park opening and enjoy unwinding on Main Street U.S.A. before the rush of the day!


7 – Dine in the Castles

While Magic Kingdom has a great selection of both quick-service and table-service restaurants, our must-do for dining here must be dining in the Castles! Cinderella’s Castle is one of the world’s most iconic images, and you can dine within it at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – all great meals here! This is definitely a must-do restaurant with Princesses visiting your table and the incredible décor and views. The second castle is Beasts’ Castle. We highly recommend dining in this castle at the restaurant known as Be Our Guest. Be Our Guest makes you feel like you’ve literally been swallowed up in the Beauty and the Beast film. Lunch and dinner is a prix fixe meal. Keep in mind these two Castle reservations go extremely fast—book 60 days in advance to snag a reservation.

8 – Join the Virtual Queue to Ride TRON Lightcycle Run

Be aware there is no standby queue for TRON Lightcycle / Run. Guests with valid park admission and Magic Kingdom Park reservations can request to join the virtual queue to experience the attraction via the My Disney Experience app on the day of their visit. The virtual queue is limited and subject to availability and is not guaranteed. The Virtual Queue becomes available at 7:00 am each morning, and you can be anywhere to join in. You’ll want to join as soon as possible since, as expected, the queue will fill up quickly at the 7:00 am slot. If you miss out, you’ll have another chance to join at 1:00 pm, although, at that time, you’ll need to physically be in Magic Kingdom to join the Virtual Queue. An evening Virtual Queue is available as part of the Extended Evening Hours benefit to guests of Deluxe Disney resorts. Deluxe Resort Guests can request to join at 6:00 pm. Finally, during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, guests with party admission can join the Virtual Queue at 6:00 pm.

Credit: Disney

9 – Characters Galore

Magic Kingdom is the perfect park for characters galore! Several Disney favorites are spread throughout the park, including Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and so on. Let’s not forget about the incredible lineup of Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Tiana, Rapunzel, and more! There are also a few unique characters that can only be seen in Magic Kingdom, such as Merida and Elena of Avalor. It’s good to be aware that characters don’t typically wander around the park but instead are in the designated meet-and-greet locations. Keep in mind that watching the daily Festival of Fantasy parade and different character cavalcade is a great way to see loads of characters all at once.

10 – Fireworks (with Dessert!)

As if the nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom isn’t enough… Magic Kingdom hosts three different Fireworks Dessert Parties. If you make a reservation for a Dessert Party, you’ll have the opportunity to dine on loads of incredible desserts before, after, or even during fireworks! The cost for each dessert party varies, so check this out when making reservations.

  • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Happily Ever After Treats and Seats: has reserved seating in the Tomorrowland Terrace with great views of the Castle and fireworks right from your seat.
  • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Happily Ever After Pre-Party will let you dine on desserts in the Tomorrowland Terrace before the nighttime spectacular happens. Just before the show, you are guided out to a reserved standing area in the Plaza Garden to view the show. This one has the best views yet!
  • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Happily Ever After After-Party offers the reverse of the above. You’ll still have a reserved viewing area, but then be guided to the Tomorrowland Terrace for desserts AFTER the fireworks. Let the crowds leave the park while you enjoy desserts!

Got these 10 planning tips down? Let’s get to planning the most “magical” Magic Kingdom day yet!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Matt & Kim

We have had a long time love affair with Disney. We love the magic and the memories we've made at Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. From lodging to dining to Genie+ we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us.
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