Welcome back to Day 3 of The Week of Disney! Today we’re talking about the Magic Kingdom.
If you are traveling to Disney and can only pick one park to go to, Magic Kingdom should be your first choice. Magic Kingdom has the most rides of any park and it is really tailored towards the younger crowd. This is the park where you’ll find the most rides for the 2-6 year old age group.
IMO, it takes 2 days to do the Magic Kingdom right. We went in December, which is the least busiest time at the parks, and we spent 2.5 days at the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to do and if it is crowded you will spend much of your day waiting in line.
When you enter the park, I recommend you head immediately to Fantasyland. This is by far the busiest/most crowded area. Fantasyland was recently expanded and most people will head directly towards Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid and Enchanted Tales with Belle. Hop over to the new Fantasyland and pick up a Fast Pass for Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid first thing.
I’m going to break this post down into sections of the park, and talk about rides/food/character greetings for each section. Check your park map for detailed information about height guidelines and restrictions for all rides.
Main Street USA
This is where you enter the park. The majority of shopping can be found at Main Street USA. This is also the best viewing spot for the parade and is where the parade ends.
- Main Street USA Railroad: If you are headed to Frontierland or Fantasyland, you can hop on the train to beat some of the crowds.
- The Town Square Theatre houses Mickey and the Princesses. The lines tend to be long for these character greetings, so be prepared.
- Goofy and Pluto are just beyond the entrance to the park.
- The Plaza Restaurant – table service for lunch and dinner. The menu features soup, salad, sandwiches, and hamburgers.
- Crystal Palace – sit down restaurant which requires reservations. This is a buffet (breakfast, lunch, dinner) that features Pooh characters.
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – Italian restaurant themed after The Lady & The Tramp. It requires reservations. The food is good and the portions are large. When you make your reservation, schedule your meal during the parade and ask to sit on the porch.
- Casey’s Corner – counter service for hot dogs and fries.
- Main Street Confectionary – all kinds of sweets. Croissants, muffins, cupcakes, etc.
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – ice cream, of course.
You pass through Cinderella’s castle to enter Fantasyland. Cinderella’s Royal Table is located in the castle as is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which is where the princess makeovers take place.
Fantasyland has three parts: the “old” Fantasyland, Storybook Circus, and the Enchanted Forest. The “old” Fantasyland has the classic rides, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, the carousel, Winnie the Pooh, and It’s a Small World. The Storybook Circus is formally Toon Town, where you were able to tour Mickey and friends’ homes. Storybook Circus now includes Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Barnstormer, and a really cool splash pad area. The Enchanted Forest contains Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Gaston’s Tavern, and Be Our Guest restaurant.
- Peter Pan’s Flight – this is an actual ride. You get into a flying pirate ship and are taken through the story of Peter Pan. This is a very mild ride and is appropriate for all ages.
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel – a typical carousel, appropriate for all ages.
- Winnie The Pooh – another ride. You sit in a honey pot and are taken through scenes from a book. There are some mild dips and dark areas in the ride, but Cooper was not scared at all.
- Mickey’s Philharmagic - this is a 3D show.
- It’s a Small World – this is a boat ride that featuring dolls that sing “It’s a Small World.” The dolls are dressed and perform to make the countries to which they are assigned.
- Mad Tea Party – spinning tea cups. I can’t ride this because it makes me sick, but Cooper loved it.
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – LOVE. It takes you through scenes of the movie, and each area plays songs from the movie.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle – My family did not want to wait in line for this, but I’m so glad we did. It’s an interactive story time with Belle. They pick kids from the audience to be characters from the movie and act out the story. At the end, you get to take pictures with Belle.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant – this is a flying ride.
- Barnstormer – a very mild roller coaster. Cooper loved this!
If you have a toddler, I’d come immediately to Fantasyland and ride each of the rides there.
- In Storybook Circus, you can meet Goofy, Donald, and Minnie dressed as circus characters at Pete’s Silly Sideshow.
- Ariel is located in Ariel’s Grotto.
- Belle is part of Enchanted Tales with Belle and children have an opportunity to take their picture with Belle at the end of the performance.
- Winnie the Pooh and Tigger are located outside of the Winnie the Pooh ride.
- The Mad Hatter can often be found outside of the Mad Tea Party.
Food: (if there is no comment, I haven’t personally tried it nor heard anything about it)
- Be Our Guest Restaurant – you MUST book this right at 180 days in advance of your trip. I’m being told even then it is super difficult to get a reservation.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table – this is where you dine with the princesses, and again, you must book 180 days in advance to get a reservation. This is by far the most expensive meal at the park!
- Gaston’s Tavern
- Pinocchio Village Haus – we ate lunch here one day. I had a flatbread pizza and a Caesar salad. It was good!
You can schedule a princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. My niece has done this on our last 2 visits. Depending upon the package you choose, your child will have her nails painted, hair done, makeup applied, and can will have her picture taken. They also have dresses available for purchase. Make sure you make your reservations well in advance!
- Enchanted Tiki Room – this is a 20 minute show… and that’s all I know about it. In all the years I’ve been to Disney, I’ve never seen this!
- Jungle Cruise – fun short cruise on the water. Your “tour guide” tells jokes as you navigate the waters, where you encounter cannibals and crocodiles.
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – very similar to the Dumbo ride, but it is flying carpets.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – another classic Disney ride! It is a water ride featuring scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean. It has been updated to include Captain Jack Sparrow.
- Swiss Family Treehouse – I didn’t let Cooper go through the tree house. It is a lot of climbing and while there are ropes and rails, I just didn’t feel comfortable going through it with a toddler.
- Jasmine & Aladdin are located right outside the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. This was probably the best character experience we had. Only the princesses are allowed to talk (nothing is a costume can talk) and they really spent a good amount of time interacting with Cooper.
- Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinker Belle, Timon, and Rafiki can often be found wandering around. I don’t think they have a set schedule as to when they greet.
- Tortuga Tavern – counter service featuring mexican food. I’ve never eaten there but it always smells good!
- Aloha Isle – DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND STOP HERE FOR A DOLE WHIP. YES, I AM SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS. IT IS THAT GOOD.
The Pirates League is located right outside the Pirates of the Caribbean and this is where you little man can get a pirate makeover. We did this with Cooper and he had so much fun. The package we chose included makeup, a bandanna, an earring, an eye patch, and a sword. You get sworn in as a pirate and get a certificate and a picture.
There isn’t a lot here for younger kids. I’ll list the rides but the only thing appropriate for young children is Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer Island.
- Big Thunder Mountain – bigger roller coaster. My 6 year old niece was able to ride.
- Country Bear Jamboree – singing and dancing show featuring animatronic bears. This is another one I’ve never had the desire to experience.
- Splash Mountain – water ride. You will get wet!
- Tom Sawyer Island – you have to ride a raft to get to this playground. It’s a good place for parents to sit and take a break while the kids run off some steam.
- Woody and Jesse can be found outside of Big Thunder Mountain.
- Pecos Bill Café: chicken fingers, hamburgers, and taco salads. We always end up eating here for lunch when we visit the Magic Kingdom.
I usually pass through this area, stopping only for the Haunted Mansion.
- Hall of Presidents – show featuring past Presidents. I believe they have added President Obama.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – the riverboat offers a tour of the River of America. It’s a nice break on a hot day. At times it features performances from Princess Tiana.
- Haunted Mansion – this is my favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom. You ride throughout the mansion and see the ghosts. Small kids might be scared as it is dark, but Cooper did fine.
- Princess Tiana performs on the Liberty Square Riverboat.
- At Christmas, Santa and Mrs. Claus are available for pictures outside of the Hall of Presidents.
- Liberty Tavern – sit down restaurant which requires reservation. It’s a family style meal that you pay one price per person. I’ve never eaten here, but the menu looked promising!
- Columbia Harbor House – counter service for fish and chicken.
This is the area where we spend the most time, aside from Fantasyland.
- Astro Orbiter – flying spaceships. Appropriate for small kids.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – best ride in this area for toddler. You ride in a space ship and a tasked with shooting aliens with a stun gun. You earn points for each target you hit.
- Carousel of Progress – animatronic “ride” through the 20th century. Snooze. Only do this if you need a break and want to get out of the heat.
- Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor – interactive show. Mike from Monster’s Inc. tells jokes and measures the audience laughter.
- Space Mountain – roller coaster. This is very fast and dark! My 6 year old niece met the height requirements.
- Stitch’s Great Escape – this is a show that is probably not appropriate for under 4 years old. It’s very dark and can be very scary.
- Tomorrowland Speedway – ride a race car around the Speedway. Anyone can ride with an adult.
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority – tour of Tomorrowland. This is another ride that’s good to do when you are hot and tired.
- Buzz Lightyear is located right outside of the Buzz Lightyear ride.
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café – counter service for hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs. This is another place we almost always end up eating lunch.
Make sure to check your park map for times and locations, which can vary based on park hours and the time of year.
- WISHES Nighttime Spectacular – this is is firework show narrated by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy.
- Main Street Electrical Parade – the floats are lit up and the parade features many old and new characters.
- Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It – dancers sing as they make their way down Main Street. This happens several times during the day.
- Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade – small parade that takes place during the day. It features Disney characters on floats.
I always plan to stay at the park to see the WISHES Nighttime Spectacular and the Main Street Electrical Parade. You’ll want to find a seat about an hour before the show. The best viewing spot, IMO, is at the entrance to the park. That way you can pick up and leave as soon as it is over. Keep in mind everyone else will be leaving at the same time so you will encounter long wait times for transportation.
That’s it for the Magic Kingdom! Got questions or feedback? Leave them in the comments!