Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom
By Giles Kennedy
Family and Travel Columnist
Welcome to the Happiest Place on The Earth!
A few tips prior to entering the Magic Kingdom or any other Walt Disney Property….
Whether a one day visit or an entire vacation; please keep in mind, it’s a large park.
Although the smallest out of all the Florida resort parks, it is still vast with 107 acres to explore.
Opened in 1971, the Magic Kingdom is a must when visiting the Walt Disney Floridian Empire.
Divided into Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Fantasyland; it is a very navigable park and lots to do.
Make sure whether staying on Walt Disney property or not, have 2-3 pairs of shoes to make your feet feel so much better.
If a family of 1-5 kids; punch on the Magic Bands, Park Hopper and Basic Meal Plan (Disney Dining Plan). It will keep your visit less stress and much more enjoyable.
Meals can average between $60-$200 for a whole family. The DDP is the way to go.
Magic Bands loaded with Fast Passes can make life easier at the park, too. Make sure to have your Fast Passes reserved within 60 days of your visit. Popular rides such as the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride sell out quick.
Guest Experience Reps are through out the park. Look for the blue umbrella booths. If a ride is down for a few; they can change your fast pass into an open pass to not lose your ride credit.
Let’s look at the park through the themed areas.
Main Street USA
It is the welcome mat for the Magic Kingdom.
As much I hate to admit this; it is one of the world’s largest gift shops and cafeterias. Other than the Walt Disney World Railroad and several theme restaurants; it’s gift shop after gift shop.
This is extremely convenient for leaving the park; getting last minute gifts and t-shirts.
During the day; for the kids, there are several parades, performers and such. Although very fun to watch; you can not cross the main fairways when a parade is on.
Restrooms do abound. The gift shops, cafes and restaurants can be a welcome cooling place either prior or during your visit.
With the Country Bear Jamboree, Tom Sawyer Island and many other sit down or walk through attractions; there is so much to do in Frontierland.
We rode Splash Mountain on our visit there. If able, Big Thunder Mountain is a great thrill ride. Fast Passes can come in handy; for popular rides can be 45 minute to nearly two hour wait. Please plan accordingly.
Although my family did not even make it to this corner of the park; if able, please check it out.
If you are a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean or Aladdin; this area is for you. Both have rides themed around them as well as slow boat rides to explore the area.
On top of the Haunted Mansion being the main thrill experience; the Hall of Presidents, the Liberty Belle Steamboat and others call this area home. Several times during the day (as of 2019) the Muppets perform a live show near the Hall of Presidents with their take on American History.
With Cinderella’s Castle as the main entrance as well as the centerpiece of the park; it is also a vast area to explore. Themed around Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and more recently Dumbo; it’s a lot to take in. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride is not far for the bookends of the Castle gate and Tomorrowland’s northern entrance.
A hidden gem is Storybook Circus. Themed around the classic and rebooted icon Dumbo the Flying Elephant; it is a treat for the hurried pace of the main park.
Goofy’s Barnstormer ( a full family mini coaster) and Casey Jr’s Splash and Play Station (complete with splash pad) are great places to enjoy. The Flying Dumbo ride (two each) can get busy; but is very enjoyable for the family.
Hidden within the Tomorrowland busyness is a hidden gem of an attraction.
The Carousel of Progress first debuted in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. It has been updated, a circular slow ride documenting American and Modern history through inventions. You sit down, it’s in AC and last about 20 minutes.
So if Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Tomorrowland Speedway or Space Mountain tap you out; a great way to rest up.
The Tomorrowland People Mover does go around the area. If able, take it in. Hey, it’s Disney; after all.
In 2020, a new thrill ride will rival Space Mountain. Currently under construction, an indoor/outdoor roller coaster will journey you into the world of Tron and Tron:Legacy. Check Magic Kingdom’s website for updates.
Here is a link to the park map. Happy Exploring and enjoy your Magic Kingdom experience.