Magic KingdomThe Parks

15 Things to Know Before You Go to Magic Kingdom

It doesn’t get any more magical than visiting Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! Yes, Disney’s other theme parks are spectacular but Magic Kingdom – well, it just has that extra special touch of Pixie Dust that we can’t seem to get enough of no matter how many times we visit. As you prepare for your Magic Kingdom visit, check out these fifteen things you’ll want to know before you go!


1 – Parking

If you plan to drive to Magic Kingdom, you’ll first want to know that parking is NOT at Magic Kingdom but rather at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), a few miles away from the park entrance. Once you’ve parked at the TTC, you’ll get on the Monorail or Ferryboat to be shuttled over to Magic Kingdom. Sometimes Disney also operates buses that will take guests from the TTC to Magic Kingdom, but this is typically only during the busier seasons.

2 – Closest Resorts

Not in the mood to tackle the TTC? No worries! Stay at one of Disney’s many resorts. The resorts offer bus transportation that will drop you off at the park entrance. Some of the resorts even offer boat transportation. The very best resorts to stay at if you’re looking to be close to Magic Kingdom is Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Bay Lake Tower, Grand Floridian Resort, and the Polynesian Resort. Just catch the Monorail for an easy ride to Magic Kingdom. If you stay at the Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Tower – you’ll be able to WALK to Magic Kingdom!

3 – Tickets Prices Vary

As with any of Disney World’s four theme parks, the Magic Kingdom ticket price varies. The one 1-day ticket price for admission varies between $115 and $189 per adult (10+ years), plus tax. Disney sets the price of the ticket depending on the crowd levels expected. The less popular dates are where you’ll pay the $115 (such as mid-week in September) versus something like Christmas day when you’ll spend $189.

The Cadaver Dans. Photo Credit: Disney/Ali Nasser

4 – Special-Ticketed Events

Looking for something extra special? Guests can purchase special-ticketed event admission at Magic Kingdom for select days (specifically during the holidays). The two special-ticketed events are Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. You can enter the park beginning at 7 pm on select nights, so even if you are not planning on going to one of these parties, you’ll want to know which days they are, as your general admission ticket will have you leaving the park early on event nights!

5 – Six Themed Lands

Don’t let looking at a Magic Kingdom map overwhelm you! Magic Kingdom’s layout is almost like a wheel, with the Cinderella Castle at the hub. Each area is known as a “Land.” The six themed lands include Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Every land has unique attractions, dining, and entertainment that match the theme.

6 – Be Ready to Join the Virtual Queue for TRON Lightcycle / Run

Magic Kingdom’s newest and most thrilling attraction has no standby queue. Instead, guests who wish to ride TRON Lightcycle / Run can request to join the virtual queue to experience the attraction via the My Disney Experience app on the day of their visit. Note you need both valid park admission and a Magic Kingdom Park reservation. The process is the same as that of other Walt Disney World attractions using the Virtual queue. Each morning, the Virtual Queue becomes available at 7:00 am, 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. Finally, an evening Virtual Queue is available as part of the Extended Evening Hours benefit to guests of Deluxe Disney resorts on select evenings. Deluxe Resort Guests can request to join at 6:00 pm. Note that boarding groups for the virtual queue are limited, subject to availability, and not guaranteed.

7 – Arrive Well Before Park Opening

Magic Kingdom opens before the park officially opens. Ok, we know this sounds weird, but if Magic Kingdom opens at 9 am, you’ll be able to get into the park around 8 am – if not a little earlier. Guests are welcome to explore the shops on Main Street, U.S.A., but are stopped from going anywhere past the Castle hub. At 8:30, Disney resort guests can head to the attractions and will get a huge jump ahead of non-resort guests. At 8:55 am, a show called “Let The Magic Begin” is held on the stage in front of the Castle. With all this excitement, if you arrive at the official park opening time, you’ll be behind the crowd already in the park.


8 – Go Left

If your Mama didn’t tell you this – we will now! Statistically, for whatever reason, in a crowd, more people tend to go right. Not only will this save you some time in the grocery store, but you’ll find this also to be the case for Magic Kingdom! While most people head right to reach Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Space Mountain, you’ll want to head left toward Adventureland. You’ll be surprised at how much you can tackle on this side of the park before the crowds reach you.

9 – Consider Lightning Lane Access

You might want to consider purchasing access to the new Lightning Lane on busy days. There are two Lightning Lane paid options that include different attractions. First, you can purchase Disney Genie+ for the day of your visit. This costs anywhere from $15-$35 per day, per person, depending on when you visit. With Genie+, you can access Lightning Lane at many attractions in Magic Kingdom. See the list below for the Genie+ attractions at the park.

Disney Genie+ Attractions 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. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
      9. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
      10. Peter Pan’s Flight
      11. Pirates of the Caribbean
      12. See Mickey at Town Square Theater
      13. See Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
      14. See Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
      15. Space Mountain
      16. The Barnstormer
      17. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
      18. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
      19. Tomorrowland Speedway
      20. Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

A second option for purchasing Lightning Lane is the a la carte method. The attractions below are NOT included with your Genie+ purchase and must be purchased separately. 

Individual A la Carte Lightning Lane Attraction at Magic Kingdom:

      1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
      2. TRON Lightcycle / Run

Keep in mind that you do not have to purchase either of these options to enjoy these attractions.  

10 – Best Dining

There is no possible way we can pick just one favorite place to dine at Magic Kingdom! There are plenty of kiosks, snack carts, quick-service, and table-service dining options spread throughout the park. Two of the most difficult restaurants to get a reservation for include Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Both are spectacular, which makes getting a reservation for them all the more important – but also much harder to obtain. Book your table-service dining reservations 60 days in advance from your Disney resort check-in date or dining date if you are a non-resort guest. If you don’t want to deal with table-service dining, be sure to use your MyDisneyExperience App to Mobile Order your food at quick-service locations. Did you know you can even order a Dole Whip via Mobile Ordering?!

11 – Mostly No Alcohol

Unlike the numerous lounges and alcoholic-beverage drink carts situated throughout Disney World’s other three theme parks, alcohol is a lot tougher to come by at Magic Kingdom. Even though we enjoy sipping an adult beverage from time to time, we appreciate that Disney is trying to keep Magic Kingdom especially family-friendly. Magic Kingdom used to be a totally dry park until alcohol was offered at Be Our Guest Restaurant, and now several table-service restaurants.

12 –  Characters Galore

Of course, what would Magic Kingdom be without an influx of Disney characters? Several character meet and greets are available, including some of our absolute favorites like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Daisy, Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Pooh, Tigger, Buzz, Ariel, and MORE. Looking to see several characters at once? Two restaurants in Magic Kingdom are character dining experiences, including the Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh and Friends) and Cinderella’s Royal Table (Cinderella and many other Princesses). Be Our Guest dinner guests will also have a chance to meet the Beast.

13 – Flag Retreat

This one gets us every time! Get ready to feel your heart fill with sweet patriotism as Magic Kingdom celebrates a memorable Flag Retreat each day in the park. Typically, at 5:15 pm (but be sure to check the My Disney Experience app, gather at the large flag pole in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. After a Pledge of Allegiance, the American flag retreats to the “Star-Spangled Banner” tune played by Disney’s band. A guest Veteran is then handed the flag to complete the ceremony. It’s really an incredible experience to see!

14 – Parades, Fireworks, and a Kiss Goodnight

We mentioned characters galore above, but you can see them in action at one of Magic Kingdom’s many entertainment options. The highlight of any day is the afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade, which features numerous characters, spectacular floats, and beautiful music. Then, there is a terrific fireworks show at Magic Kingdom called Disney Enchantment. Last but not least is a not-so-well-known special moment called A Kiss Goodnight. Many guests miss this 2-minute announcement and projection of the Castle as it takes place roughly 30 minutes after the park closes. It’s Disney’s sweet way of saying sorry – but you’ve got to go!

15 – Need More Than One Day

This is very true. There is no way to do all of Magic Kingdom in just one day. Spending two days (if not more) at Magic Kingdom is easy. This will allow you to try multiple restaurants and hit all the entertainment, characters, and attractions you may not be able to tackle in one day.

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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