When most people think of Disney World, they think of Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom may just be one of four Disney World parks, but it is certainly the most popular! And with good reason: it has the most rides and attractions out of any park. This guide to Magic Kingdom will walk you through all of it!
Growing up, I went to Magic Kingdom A LOT. I was a lucky kid with grandparents who lived near Disney World, so we often went over for the day when we were visiting and we almost always chose Magic Kingdom. So even though I love some of the other parks a lot (coughAnimalKingdomcough), Magic Kingdom is still one of my favorites and will always have a special place in my heart!
With so much to do in the Magic Kingdom (and I mean SO MUCH), you need to approach the park with a great plan, as well as a list of priorities. So here is our complete guide to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, with everything you need to know from rides to prioritize, food you should eat, and entertainment to see.
One disclaimer before we get started: we really think Magic Kingdom works best in two days. It is almost impossible to get everything done in one day at the Magic Kingdom (unless you are part of a special ticketed event in addition to your day in the park). So if you can, plan two days for the Magic Kingdom unless you want to have to make some tough choices about what to skip!
Getting to Magic Kingdom
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, on-site transportation will take you to Magic Kingdom. If you are staying at a monorail resort (i.e. the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or Contemporary) you can take a direct monorail or water taxi to the Magic Kingdom. You can also choose to walk from these resorts (but if I was staying at the Polynesian I don’t think I’d choose to that).
If you are staying at another resort, you can take the bus to Magic Kingdom.
If you are staying at an off-site hotel, many of them offer complementary shuttle service to Disney Parks.
If you are driving to Magic Kingdom, you will park at the Transportation and Ticket Center where you will take the monorail or a boat.
Getting Around Magic Kingdom
As with the other parks, you will walk. So get those comfy supportive shoes ready.
But Magic Kingdom is also unique in that you can get a one-way ride on the Main Street Vehicles from the front of the park to Cinderella Castle.
Magic Kingdom also has a train that runs the perimeter of the park with stops at Main Street USA, Frontierland, and Fantasyland. (Note: the train is currently closed because of Tron construction.)
Guide to Magic Kingdom Rides & Attractions
The Magic Kingdom is separated into 5 separate “lands” plus Main Street USA, all splitting off from the main “Hub” (where the Cinderella Castle is).
You will enter onto Main Street USA, where a lot of the park’s shopping is located, and then branch out to separate lands from the Hub.
Fantasyland is by far the most popular land in Magic Kingdom and this is where you’ll find family friendly rides based on Disney’s popular animated movies.
Fantasyland Rides and Attractions:
- Ariel’s Grotto (an Ariel meet and greet) (currently closed)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Enchanted Tales with Belle (an interactive show) (currently closed)
- It’s a Small World
- Mad Tea Party (aka the tea cups)
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic (an indoor show)
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pete’s Silly Side Show (a character meet and greet with options for either Donald and Goofy or Minnie and Daisy) (currently closed)
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel
- Princess Fairytale Hall (a princess meet and greet with options for either Cinderella and Elena or Tiana and Rapunzel)
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- The Barnstormer
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
Tomorrowland is meant to be a futuristic land. But remember, it was futuristic when it opened in 1971, so now it is more of a retro-version of the future.
Tomorrowland Rides and Attractions:
- Astro Orbiter (just like Dumbo but high in the sky)
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor (an indoor comedy show)
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress (an indoor classic show)
Adventureland is themed after a remote jungle (although you’ll also find Aladdin?).
Adventureland Rides and Attractions:
- Jungle Cruise
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (again, very similar to Dumbo)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (an indoor show)
- Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (a self-guided treehouse tour)
Frontierland is in the back corner of the park and it’s main attractions are Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But you’ll also find Tom Sawyer Island, a good quiet spot to relax if you feel like you need to get away from the park for a bit without actually leaving the park.
Frontierland Rides and Attractions:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Country Bear Jamboree (an indoor show)
- Splash Mountain
- Tom Sawyer Island (there is a raft-like boat you take to get to Tom Sawyer Island)
Liberty Square is just a small section of the park between Fantasyland and Adventureland, and it’s mostly known for its single ride: the Haunted Mansion (which really is in the back section of it, almost in Fantasyland). The Hall of Presidents is also here as well as several dining options.
Liberty Square Rides and Attractions:
- The Hall of Presidents (an indoor show)
- The Haunted Mansion
- Liberty Square Riverboat
Main Street, U.S.A. and The Hub
You enter Magic Kingdom via Main Street, USA. All along Main Street, USA runs The Emporium, the biggest shopping area of Magic Kingdom. You’ll also find coffee, ice cream, and several dining places as well as some street entertainment.
Mickey Mouse also has a meet and greet at the front of Main Street, USA.
The central part of Magic Kingdom is Cinderella Castle (of course!) that sits at the end of Main Street USA. The Hub in front of the castle is where you can watch castle entertainment, as well as a place to sit in the grass and take a break.
How to Use Genie+ at Magic Kingdom
What is Genie+?
Genie+ is a new system that has replaced Fastpass+, and if you’ve been to Disneyland it will probably feel somewhat similar to MaxPass. It’s basically gives you access to Lightning Lanes for the rides, where you wait a very minimal time.
But unlike Fastpass+, it also comes with an extra cost. At Disney World, Genie+ is $15 per day per ticket. There are also Individual Lightning Lanes, which are super popular rides that charge a separate fee (usually between $7 and $15) for Lightning Lane access. (You do NOT have to purchase Genie+ to purchase Individual Lightning Lanes.)
Note that aside from rides using Virtual Queues (right now, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind) you are not required to purchase Genie+ for ride access. Standby lines are still available as usual.
To use Genie+, after purchasing it you can book your first Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. on the morning of your visit. After that, you can book your next Lightning Lane either 2 hours after park open (or, during the day, 2 hours after you booked our previous Lightning Lane) OR when you scan into your first Lightning Lane ride.
If you want to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane, you can do so at park open (or at 7 a.m. for resort guests).
Also note that Genie+ is not the same as regular Genie. Disney Genie is a free service in the Disney World app that can help you plan your day and reserve dining.
Using Genie+ in Magic Kingdom
Out of all four Disney World parks, I think Magic Kingdom is probably the one where Genie+ is the most valuable. With so many popular rides that can rack up high wait times, you will be able to get through so much more of the park with Genie+.
Before your day at Magic Kingdom, get in the app and play around with the Genie+ interface. You can see it by going to “My Day” and then “Tip Board.” It will show you what rides are available for the park, the wait times, and when the windows for Lightning Lane bookings are open.
Here are the Magic Kingdom rides that have Lightning Lanes with Genie+ (and asterisk indicates a popular ride with consistently high wait times, where Lightning Lane might be especially useful):
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad*
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade (for special seating)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion*
- It’s a Small World
- Jungle Cruise*
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight*
- Pirates of the Caribbean*
- Splash Mountain*
- The Barnstormer
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Space Mountain (from Feb. 25 to Aug. 7, 2022)
Here are the premium rides that would require an individual Lightning Lane Purchase (remember, standby is always a free option):
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain (available in Genie+ instead from Feb 25 to Aug. 7, 2022)
Planning how to use Genie+ at Magic Kingdom is going to depend a lot on what your individual priorities are.
A good general strategy is to rope drop (i.e. ride as soon as the park opens) a super popular ride. I would probably go with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Space Mountain (one of the paid attractions). Schedule your first Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. for an hour or so after park opens for either Peter Pan or Jungle Cruise (as these are the two that seem to the go the soonest).
One note though: If you can’t be at the park for rope drop or at not toward the front of the line, I wouldn’t try for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. That line can easily reach an hour wait first thing in the morning, so I would either purchase the Lightning Lane or see if the wait time drops at all during the day. You might still have to wait in a long line, but the morning is valuable time and you would be better off hitting a lot of rides with smaller wait times.
Then I’d try to get as much done as possible in the morning before that first Lightning Lane and then keep booking them as soon as I scan into my next ride. What decisions you make will depend on what rides are most important to you, but keep in mind the most popular rides from the list above and try to use Lightning Lane for those.
Do I Need Genie+ at Magic Kingdom?
Out of all four parks, this is the one where I would say yes. There is just so much to do at Magic Kingdom and Genie+ will help you get most of it done.
But what about if you want to travel to Magic Kingdom without Genie+? The first thing I would say is to temper your expectations. You will most likely not get to everything you’d like to.
Early mornings and late evenings will be key (if you need it, take a break in the middle of the day), as this is when lines can be the lowest. Try to hit the most popular rides that are most important to you in the first hour of the day (you can hopefully get through 2 or 3), then go for rides with shorter wait times. Then, before the park closes, hop in line for another popular ride.
You should be able to get through a good many things this way, but there also probably be a couple popular rides that you may not be able to ride unless you are willing to wait in a super long standby line.
Characters at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom has several ways to meet characters, and we’ll break them all down here.
Meet and Greets and character dining are slowly returning, and we’ve done our best to note what is available below. Note that right now, you can meet Mickey and Minnie in Town Square Hall and Princesses in Princess Fairytale Hall. You can also see some other characters out and about, like Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland and Jack Sparrow in Adventureland.
Character Dining still hasn’t returned to Magic Kingdom, but note that sometimes Princesses will appear socially distant at Cinderella’s Royal Table. And Crystal Palace Character Dining, which features characters from Winnie the Pooh, will reopen on September 20, 2022.
And while a lot of character opportunities aren’t currently available, we’ve included what’s been available in the past below to give you an idea of what might be available in the future.
Character cavalcades are unscheduled mini-parades taking place throughout the day. Favorite characters appear on floats that run along the usual parade route from the back of Frontierland to the front of the park. There are currently two main cavalcades running at the Magic Kingdom. Note that these are all subject to change, as Disney is known for switching characters up.
- Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Pluto in their 50th attire.
- Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade includes characters from Zootopia, The Jungle Book, The Three Caballeros, Coco, Brave, Moana, The Incredibles, and Mirabel from Encanto!
Note that not every cavalcade runs every day, so check your times guide.
Regular Character Meet and Greets
Now let’s break down where you can meet characters at traditional character meet and greets. This means you will wait in a line and have a change to talk to and take pictures with a character.
Meeting Mickey Mouse and Friends
You can meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse at Town Square Theater near the park entrance.
You can meet the rest of his gang at Pete’s Silly Side Show in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland. (Note: Pete’s Silly Side Show is currently unavailable.)
Princesses can be met mainly at Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland or at the character dining experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella Castle. (Note this character dining experience is currently not available.)
Other meet & green opportunities that will hopefully return in the future:
Merida also has her own meet and greet between Cinderella Castle and Mad Tea Party.
Ariel has a meet and greet at Ariel’s Grotto in Fantasyland.
Jasmine often has a meet and green in Adventureland near the Magic Carpets.
Tinkerbell (not a princess, but a fairy, so close enough) has a meet and greet near the entrance to Magic Kingdom.
Belle can sometimes be seen near Maurice’s cottage.
Magic Kingdom Character Dining
There are two character dining opportunities in Magic Kingdom: Cinderella’s Royal Table and Crystal Palace.
Currently Unavailable: At Cinderella’s Royal Table you dine inside Cinderella Castle while princesses visit your table. Princesses can vary, but usually include Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, Ariel, Jasmine, and of course, Cinderella.
Reopening September 20, 2022: At Crystal Palace you can dine with Pooh and friends. You can meet Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. The meal is a buffet. *Currently Crystal Palace is open for dining but characters will not return until September 20.
Other Character Interaction Opportunities
There are several other spots in the park where you can see favorite characters out in the wild.
- Characters at the Main Street Train Station — these characters vary.
- Pooh and friends on the Main Street Trolley and in front of Crystal Palace.
- Belle near Maurice’s Cottage in Fantasyland.
- Snow White in Fantasyland.
- Chip and Dale on a raft near Tom Sawyer Island or in Storybook Circus.
- Anastasia and Drizella behind Cinderella Castle.
- The Country Bears near The Country Bear Jamboree.
- Stitch on the Tomorrowland stage.
These characters are subject to change (and Disney changes them up a lot!) so be sure to check your times guide or My Disney Experience app to see what characters are out and about on your visit.
Outdoor entertainment at Magic Kingdom is not to be missed! From parades to fireworks it is all spectacular!
Times for the shows and parades can change throughout the year based on the season, so be sure to check your daily Times Guide (you can pick it up at the front of the park) or My Disney Experience app for that day’s times.
The Festival of Fantasy Parade will have all of of your favorite characters and takes place twice in the afternoon, usually around lunchtime and again in mid-afternoon. It travels from Adventureland and down Main Street.
Let The Magic Begin is a 5 minute show that takes place in front of the castle right before the park opens.
Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire is a show in front of the castle. It takes place multiple times during the day, so check your times guide or My Disney Experience app to see when it is showing during your visit.
Disney Enchantment is the new 50th anniversary fireworks show. Note that it will replace Happily Ever After and should be running for at least 18 months in accordance with the 50th Anniversary celebration timeline.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for other street entertainment such as Dapper Dans, the Casey’s Corner Pianist, and Citizens of Main Street.
You also might occasionally stumbled upon some unexpected characters. You never know what surprises you may find at Disney’s Magic Kingdom!
Need help planning your trip to Disney? Check out these 9 Steps for Planning a Disney World Trip!
Magic Kingdom Dining
We’ll be honest here, dining at Magic Kingdom compared to some of the other parks at Disney World is not always…the best. There are some great finds though! The food at Be Our Guest is usually great! Cinderella’s Royal Table, while expensive, usually has pretty good food. I’ve also enjoyed my meal at Columbia Harbor House (partially because it can be a nice healthy break compared to other theme park food). And I know there are people that LOVE Skipper Canteen and Pecos Bill (although we haven’t been there recently).
Here’s a guide to all the dining at Magic Kingdom. We’ve tried to note the kind of food you can find there, although if there is no note you can assume it’s pretty standard American fare (sandwiches, burgers, etc.).
Magic Kingdom Table Service Restaurants
Main Street USA Table Service
- The Plaza Restaurant
- Crystal Palace (character dining–Pooh and Friends returning September 20)
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Italian food)
Fantasyland Table Service Restaurants
- Be Our Guest Restaurant (dinner; lunch and dinner are quick service; cuisine is French)
- Cinderella’s Royal Table (character dining is usually Princesses but currently unavailable)
Adventureland Table Service
- Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen (Asian-ish food)
Liberty Square Table Service Restaurants
- Liberty Tree Tavern (get a Thanksgiving dinner all year round)
- The Diamond Horseshoe (BBQ)
Magic Kingdom Quick Service Restaurants
Quick Service restaurants fall into two different categories–a full restaurant where you order from the counter and find a seat, and restaurants that are more of a glorified snack stop with just a couple menu items. Here are the restaurants with fuller menus.
Fantasyland Quick Service Restaurants
- Pinocchio Village Haus (pizzas and pasta)
- Be Our Guest (breakfast and lunch; dinner is table service; cuisine is French)
Tomorrowland Quick Service Restaurants
- Cosmic Ray’s Starship Cafe
- Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
Adventureland Quick Service
- Tortuga Tavern (BBQ)
Frontierland Quick Service Restaurants
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn (Mexican)
Liberty Square Quick Service Restaurants
- Columbia Harbor House (New England seafood)
Main Street USA Quick Service Restaurants
- Casey’s Corner (hot dogs)
Magic Kingdom Quick Service Snack Spots
Here are Quick Service restaurants that are more snack spots. You can make a meal from some of these (some of them sell sandwiches or turkey legs), but they by no means have a complete meal menu. In addition to these Quick Service spots, you will also find popcorn and ice cream carts throughout the park.
Fantasyland Quick Service Snack Spots
- Cheshire Cafe (don’t miss the Cheshire Cat Tail!)
- The Friar’s Nook
- Gaston’s Tavern (famous for a giant cinnamon roll)
- Prince Eric’s Village Market
- Storybook Treats (ice cream)
Tomorrowland Quick Service Snack Spots
- Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies (ice cream)
- Cool Ship (churros)
- The Lunching Pad
Adventureland Quick Service Snack Spots
- Aloha Isle (the spot for the famous Dole Whip)
- Sunshine Tree Terrace (ice cream floats and citrus swirls)
Frontierland Quick Service Snack Spots
- Golden Oak Outpost
- Westward Ho
Liberty Square Quick Service Snack Spots
- Liberty Square Market
- Sleepy Hollow (Nutella waffles!)
Main Street USA Quick Service Snack Spots
- Main Street Bakery
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
Special Events at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom has several special events throughout the year that come with an extra price. These events can be great opportunities to see unique things in the park and go on rides with shorter wait times!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is returning in 2022!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special event that takes place at the Magic Kingdom on select nights from August 12 to October 31 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. It requires a special ticket, but you do not need to have an additional park ticket. And even though the party starts at 7 p.m., you can enter Magic Kingdom with a party ticket beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party includes special character meet and greets with rarely seen characters, trick-or-treating throughout the park, the Boo-To-You Parade, the Hocus Pocus Villian Spelltacular stage show, and Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks as well as other special entertainment throughout the park.
Some rides also get special Halloween party theming and there are special food offerings throughout the park.
Guests are encouraged to dress in costume, but be sure you know the costume guidelines.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is returning in 2022!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event that takes place at Magic Kingdom on select nights from November 8 to December 22 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Like the Halloween party, it is a separately ticketed event and you do not need to have a park ticket. Guests can enter the Magic Kingdom beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party includes special character meet and greets with rarely seen characters, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. (There has also traditionally been special lights on the castle, but this has not been announced for 2022, and there is speculation that it is because of the special 50th decorations currently donning Cinderella Castle.)
Other special entertainment can also be found throughout the park, and like the Halloween party, some rides get specially themed overlays.
There are also special holiday cookies you can pick up throughout the park and other special food options.
Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebrations at Magic Kingdom
Disney World began celebrating its 50th anniversary on October 1, 2021. The celebration will last for 18 months (so you’ll have plenty of time to plan your trip to see all the 50th anniversary fun!).
Here’s what we know is being offered at Magic Kingdom for the 50th anniversary:
- 50th Anniversary Castle Decor — Cinderella castle has gotten new decorations to mark the celebration.
- Disney Enchantment — New nighttime show featuring music, fireworks, and projections. This is the first show we’ve had at Magic Kingdom that promises projections down Main Street, but I think it’s still better to get a spot where you can see the castle projections.
- Disney Fab 50 Character Collection — Special gold statues of characters displayed throughout the park.
- Beacons of Magic — Cinderella Castle will be lit up at night to celebrate the anniversary.
Current Closures and Upcoming Attractions
- Walt Disney World Railroad (closed until sometime in 2021)
- Enchanted Tales with Belle (currently closed)
- Ariel’s Grotto (currently closed)
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow (currently closed)
- Bippity Boppity Boutique (reopening August 25, 2022)
- Tron Lightcycle Run (opening 2021)
Magic Kingdom Tips and Secrets
The Emporium is one big store even though you can enter it through different storefronts. So if you are trying to get out of the Main Street crowds, you can walk from the front of Main Street to the end of Main Street through the store.
Cast Members will begin taping off sections of the sidewalks for parades ahead of time for walking pathways, so be aware of that.
When the monorail is crowded, we HIGHLY recommend taking a boat. They are usually much less crowded.
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover and the Carousel of Progress are both great attractions to sit down and cool off. They are classic attractions that I love (and a lot of other people do to), but they usually aren’t too crowded.
Don’t miss the Tangled themed bathrooms in Fantasyland! There is a great little plaza you can sit down, and the theming both inside and outside the restrooms is incredible.
Looking for one of the most famous Disney Instagram spots? It’s the Purple Wall in Tomorrowland is it!
Need more Disney planning help? We have guides for the rest of the parks too!