Magic Kingdom : The Ultimate Guide

When most people think of Disney World, they automatically think of The Magic Kingdom! It’s no wonder since it is probably the most iconic place in Disney World. It’s where it all started.

I’ve put together a Magic Kingdom guide with all of the information you’ll need to ensure a fulfilling trip and I’ll discuss all of the things that I am commonly asked about.

Let’s start with a little bit of history on the happiest place on earth, shall we?

Walt Disney Productions began construction on the entire resort in 1967, right after the passing of Walt Disney himself.

Essentially the idea was to build a world even larger and more astounding than the original Disneyland in California. A feat which they have certainly attained.

Daily Operation and Hours

Depending on what time of year you visit depends on what the hours are. The park always opens for all guests at 9 am. Seasonally the parks stay open at night anywhere from 8 pm thru 11 pm.

During the slower, winter months, they tend to close the park at 8 pm. Once spring comes along and vacation weeks they extend to 9 pm and during their busiest months of summer and fall they are open until 11 pm.

Extra Magic Hours

For guests staying on property at one of the resorts, they will occasionally open 1 hour early or stay open 2 hours later. You must have a resort reservation in order to partake in these extra hours.Magic Kingdom : The Ultimate Guide 1

Early Morning Magic

Early morning magic is a special ticketed event on select dated thru-out the year that allows the guest to enter the park 75 minutes early and have unlimited access to limited attractions in the park. Currently, the prices are $69 for adults and $59 for kids (plus tax). We have heard that December 2nd and after, prices are $79 for adults and $69 for kids (plus tax). You are required to have park tickets along with the extra magic hours ticket.

Disney After Hours

Disney After Hours is similar to early morning magic in that it is a separately ticketed event that allows you to stay after the park closes as late as midnight or 1 am. The advanced purchase price for tickets to this event are $125, for adults and kids) If available, same-day tickets are $129 plus tax. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can purchase tickets for $95.Magic Kingdom : The Ultimate Guide 2

Getting Tickets

There are plenty of places and ways to get tickets for the Magic Kingdom.

If you are planning a trip to Disney World and building a travel package you can add them into the package. Once at Disney, you will either get a magic band or you will get a plastic card.

If you are not staying on property or you live within driving distance you can wait and purchase your tickets at the Ticket and Transportation Center or right at the gates.

If you are lucky enough to live close to Disney or you are able to travel to Disney and plan to visit the parks approximately 10 days or more through the year your best option for tickets may be buying an annual pass. As an annual pass holder, you also get discounts on food and merchandise. You also get discounts on special ticketed events and access to private events just for pass holders.

Magic Kingdom Map

You can click on the map to enlarge it.

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Main St USA

Travel back in time to turn to the century America. So many times when we enter the Magic Kingdom we often rush down Main Street hypnotized by the pull of Cinderella Castle and eager to go on our first adventure either into outer space, uncharted waters in the Caribbean, or back in time during the western expansion of America.

But it’s important to take in the sights and sounds of Main Street as well. This land not only serves as the introduction to the Magic Kingdom but also pays tribute to some of the most important figures in Disney history. Main Street also packs in an amazing line-up of entertainment from small scale and intimate shows like the Dapper Dan’s to the greatest spectacle of them all, the new Happily Ever After fireworks display.

It’s also easy to forget that some of the most iconic Disney snacks can all be found right here on Main Street. This land is home to two attractions, dozens of shops, six food locations, and a whopping 11 entertainment offerings.

The attractions on Main St USA include:

  • Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Town Square Theater
  • Main Street Vehicle Rides

rides magic kingdomFantasyland

Magic Kingdom is the main event when it comes to the four parks in Walt Disney World and Fantasyland is the star of Magic Kingdom. This is where you’ll find a large collection of attractions all based on classic Disney animated films. Whether you’re a fan of the original films like Cinderella or enjoy the newer classics from the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s there is something in Fantasyland and it’s attached Storybook Circus for you and your family.

Best of all Fantasyland is where you can meet the most amount of characters in one land, especially if you love your Disney Princesses. The park’s premier restaurants are inside two different fairytale castles right here in Fantasyland. Altogether this land features over 10 character meet and greets six stores five dining locations and nine attractions.

The attractions in Fantasyland include:

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • The Barnstormer starring the Great Goofini
  • Casey Jr. Splash “N” Soak Station
  • Be our Guest Restaurant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Ariel’s Grotto
  • Cinderella Castle
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel
  • It’s a Small World
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Winnie the Pooh

Magic Kingdom : The Ultimate Guide 4Liberty Square

Take a trip back in time to the 1700s at the birth of the United States of America. Liberty Square is perhaps the most underrated land of the Magic Kingdom and it’s the smallest. If you’re a history buff I strongly encourage you to take some extra time here on your next visit to the park. There is a tremendous amount of detail packed into this little corner of the park. The land features some stellar shops that I always make a point to visit and browse the merchandise.

Liberty Square is also home to some unique dining in that its table service restaurant offers a Thanksgiving feast all year round. This is also the second place in Disney World to meet up with your favorite pals from the Muppets. Liberty Square is also home to my personal favorite of all the classic Disney attractions, the Haunted Mansion. All in all, this land features two shops, three dining locations, one major form of entertainment, and three attractions.

The attractions located in Liberty Square include:

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Hall of Presidents
  • The Liberty Belle Riverboat

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Frontierland

Frontierland is an exciting corner of the Magic Kingdom. It boasts not one, but two mountains where guests can take an exciting thrill ride down a 52 waterfall or hop aboard a runaway mine train into a cursed mountain range. At the same time, Frontierland offers some relaxing views of scenic beauty at the parks secluded island retreat Tom Sawyer Island.

The 19th-century western town is home to a few interesting shops, an old-fashioned saloon, and a music hall featuring some friendly bears singing classic country tunes. All in all, Frontierland features 4 attractions, 4 shopping locations, and three dining choices.

The attractions inside Frontierland are:

  • Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Frontierland Railroad Stop

Adventureland

This is without a doubt one of my favorite sections of the Magic Kingdom. This is one land that has stayed relatively intact from when the Park first opened in 1971, with a few minor updates here and there. In fact, Adventureland boasts not one but three opening day attractions.

This exotic corner of the park is home to perhaps one of Disney’s most iconic snacks as well. All in all, Adventureland features four food and dining locations, three main shops, one character meet-and-greet location, and five attractions.

The attractions inside Adventureland include:

  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Swiss Family Robinson Tree House
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

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Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland ironically is the one area of the Magic Kingdom that has seen the most history. When it first opened with the park in 1971, there was hardly anything in this barren corner of the park. In fact, the Tomorrowland Speedway was the only opening attraction in Tomorrowland in 1971.

Every other attraction currently in Tomorrowland has also seen its share of changes over the years. Many attractions today are not just replacements of older attractions, but sometimes the third incarnation of a completely different idea.

Tomorrowland is certainly a land always on the move and ever-changing. All in all, this land is currently home to two entertainment offerings, four dining locations, four stores, and a total of five attractions. Some of which are some of the most iconic rides at Magic Kingdom like Space Mountain.

The attractions that can be found inside Tomorrowland include:

  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway

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Cinderella’s Castle

While there are many great rides at the Magic Kingdom, the one thing I have always look for as soon as I enter the Magic Kingdom is Cinderella’s Castle. After all, it’s the most regal reason to go to this park in the first place. Cinderella’s castle stands over 189 feet tall and overlooks everything else in the park.

Every little princess dreams of living in this castle someday. Inside Cinderella’s Castle you will find two things in particular:

  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table

cinderella castle - walt disney world - magic kingdom

Daily Events at The Magic Kingdom

There are plenty of fun events that happen at the Magic Kingdom every day.

One of the activities that aren’t mentioned nearly enough is Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where your child can be transformed into their favorite Disney Princess or pirate. This is a really sweet photo opportunity and creates a really special memory that both you and your little ones are going to really cherish for years to come.

Each afternoon there are 2 parades to enjoy. The Festival of Fantasy Parade is a fun parade and the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party.

Several times a day at Cinderellas castle stage is Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire where you can see Mickey and his friends perform in this magical and musical celebration.

At night there is Once Upon A Time, a family favorite of projections of beloved Disney scenes and characters that bring Cinderella castle to life!

To top off your day at the Magic Kingdom you can’t miss the nighttime spectacular Happily Ever After, the newest fireworks show. Happily Ever After starts with a dream and takes you on a memorable journey that captures the heart, humor, and heroism of many favorite Disney animated films. This one is sure to bring a tear to your eye.wishes fireworks - magic kingdom - walt disney world

Dining at The Magic Kingdom

There are so many options when it comes to dining in this park. There are some really great Character meals, nice relaxing table service restaurants, and great quick service options!

Table Service

Sometimes you just want a nice quiet meal without the character meet and greets and the Magic Kingdom has a great selection of casual dining. A few of our favorites are:

  • Tony’s town square restaurant where you can get some great Italian dishes.
  • The Plaza restaurant, family-friendly fare amid an atmosphere of the turn of the century elegance.
  • Liberty tree tavern, serving traditional New England-inspired fare in a colonial-style inn.

theme park - be our guest

Cinderella’s Royal Table

For any princess, it’s a dream come true to be able to dine INSIDE Cinderellas Castle. I know for me as a little girl if it had been open I would have loved it! On our last trip, we were able to get a dinner reservation and I was just as excited as my daughter, it for sure was a dream come true for me. They offer Breakfast Lunch and Dinner fine dining style, ball gowns optional (lol) offering some fabulous dishes.

You will be greeted by 5 princesses coming to your table to chat and take pictures. If you are lucky enough to get a window seat the views of Fantasyland are spectacular. Make sure and book reservations right on the 180-day mark, because they book up fast! But there are ways to ensure that you get a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table (or Cindy’s as the cast members like to call it). So make sure you check out that handy guide as well.

Be Our Guest

You will be dining in the Beasts Castle and feel like you are transported into the movie. My favorite dining room in the ballroom where they have it lit with beautiful crystal chandeliers and a snowy view outside.

They have some great choices for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. We enjoy dinner there because that is the only time that you get to meet the Beast and have your picture taken with him. We actually wrote a full review and guide on dining at Be Our Guest, so you may want to check that out if you are thinking about eating here.

The Crystal Palace

We have only been to the Crystal Palace once. But it is definitely worth it if you have little ones that are the age where they are really into the Pooh bear. You get to meet Winnie the Pooh and a few of his Pals at the Crystal Palace and take in the views of the gorgeous Victorian-style greenhouse dining room.

For Breakfast and Lunch, it is all you care to enjoy buffet dining. The buffet dining is great, especially if you have picky little eaters. This way everyone can get exactly what they want.main street

Quick Service

Most of the time when we visit Disney we don’t make too many reservations for meals because sometimes we don’t know where in the park we will be around mealtime and we don’t want to rush to make it to a reservation on time. That’s where quick service restaurants come in handy. There are tons of great options for quick service.

Our hands-down favorite in the Magic Kingdom is Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe! They have the most options for whatever you are looking for. They have 3 ‘bays’ so you don’t have to stand in 1 line for everything, you simply go to the bay for the type of food you want.

They also now offer Mobile Ordering so you can place your order when you are walking to the restaurant and once you get there I check in on the My Disney Experience app and within minutes I am notified that my order is waiting and ready for me. This is so handy when you have hot hungry family members.

Other great quick service options are:

  • Casey’s Corner for traditional American fare.
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe has great Mexican options
  • Columbia Harbour House has great fish and seafood
  • Pinocchio Village Haus offers good Italian options to make the whole family happy.

Shopping at The Magic Kingdom

The Emporium is my favorite shop at the Magic Kingdom. They have just about everything that you are looking for. From shoes, sunglasses, and shirts to jewelry, housewares and decor you are sure to find something for anyone.

Next on my list is The Chapeau. If Disney makes a hat or pair of ears this is the place to get them!

Both of those are located on Main Street but there are several little shops around the Kingdom in each land carrying specific gifts to their location. You also can’t help but look in all of the little gift shops at the exit of most rides where you can find ride specific gear.

Remember, you can always have souvenirs sent back to your Disney World Resort, if you don’t want to have to carry them around the park with you all day.

No one wants to have two bags shoved between their knees while attempting to ride Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean.

Special Events at The Magic Kingdom

Now let’s talk about special events in the park. For every season it seems like there is a special event going on at Walt Disney World. But we are going to focus on the two special events that take place at the Magic Kingdom every year.

magic kingdom guide

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween

Also known as “MNSSH”, guests can enjoy Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, beginning in August and running through Halloween. The Magic Kingdom transforms with the most spectacular Halloween decorations I have ever seen! On select nights you can arrive and go along the trick or treat trail, have special meet and greets with characters that you don’t see any other time throughout the year, and taste some special goodies. This is the only time of year that adults can dress up in costumes along with the kids!

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

No one does Christmas like the Magic Kingdom. End of story. The park gets transformed into a winter wonderland the day after Halloween and the party runs on select nights through December. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is similar to the Halloween Party in that you can get special photo ops with characters and special treats.

Wrapping Up

The Magic Kingdom is definitely the first park everyone first thinks of when they think of Disney World. It’s a can’t miss, have to go back, don’t want to leave part of every trip for my family. Before you leave also make sure to check out our page about Magic Kingdom Tips and Tricks for some more fantastic tips and tricks and also check out our page about the best FastPass Strategies for the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney did it right when he dreamed up the Magic Kingdom taking guests to different lands with experiences that no one will ever forget.