Are you overwhelmed with how to plan your Magic Kingdom itinerary to please everyone in your party? Do you want a Magic Kingdom touring plan that doesn’t have you spending all day waiting in lines? We’re here to take the stress out of the situation and to give you all the information you need to plan the best Magic Kingdom itinerary for you!
Whether you’re planning just one day in Magic Kingdom or you want to know the best things to do at Magic Kingdom to make the very most of your time, we’ve got all the bases covered and we’re going to give you our top tips to plan your day to delight everyone. This Magic Kingdom itinerary will include the best stops like Dumbo, Space Mountain, and even the Festival of Fantasy Parade!
Overview of Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is the original park at Walt Disney World, that opened in 1971. You will enter onto Main Street USA, and head down towards the castle. The park itself is separated into different “lands,” that all branch out from the middle hub where Cinderella’s Castle is located. You can reference our Magic Kingdom Map to get your bearings prior to your visit.
Overall, there is a lot to do in a 1 day trip to Magic Kingdom! There are 20 rides to prioritize, 9 shows and experiences, a big afternoon parade, and an amazing nighttime fireworks show!
Not to mention there are several character meet-and-greets, a splash pad, and lots of fantastic dining experiences!
This itinerary for Magic Kingdom will be assuming that Magic Kingdom is open from 9am-9pm. The hours can vary depending on events and time of year, but this is the usual operating hours for Magic Kingdom and how we will plan our day.
Before You Arrive at Magic Kingdom
Before you step foot in Magic Kingdom, prepare your phone and do some pre-planning! Make sure you have the My Disney Experience App, and go ahead and buy Genie+ if you are planing to use it.
Buying individual Lightning Lanes and Genie+ will help insure that you are going get on the rides you have to get on. If you’re going to do Magic Kingdom in one day, then using Genie+ could maximize what you get done. This will let you pre-book some of your Magic Kingdom rides, as well as you’ll be able to pick up more rides throughout the day, minimizing your wait time.
If you plan on riding TRON Lightcycyle/Run during your Magic Kingdom one day itinerary, then you will have to use the MDE app to request to join the Virtual Queue. You will be able to request to join at 7:00 am, so do that before you head to the park!
Arriving at Magic Kingdom
We suggest arriving at Magic Kingdom at least 45 minutes before the park opens to make the most of your Magic Kingdom touring plan.
If you’re driving, you’ll need to arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) almost an hour before that, to make sure you have plenty of time to get from your parking space, to the transportation options. You’ll need to take either the ferry, or the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and go through bag check before you get to the park entrance.
If you’re staying at one of the Magic Kingdom monorail resorts, you can take the monorail. Or, you can now walk from either the Contemporary or the Grand Floridian. From the Wilderness Lodge, you will be able to take the Ferryboat.
From all other Disney resorts, we suggest taking the busses. They take you right to the park entrance, as well as they start running an hour before the earliest park opening – giving you lots of time to get to the park!
Taxis and ride shares, like Uber, are not allowed where Disney busses are and would drop you at the TTC (in this instance, we recommend getting them to drop you at the Contemporary and walking).
Here’s a breakdown of the estimated time it takes to get from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to the Magic Kingdom entrance when you arrive at the TTC at 8 AM:
- 8:00 AM: Arrive at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC)
- 8:10 AM: Park your car and proceed to the TTC entrance
- 8:15 AM: Go through security checks at TTC. The time can vary depending on crowds.
- 8:25 AM: Board the monorail or ferryboat to the Magic Kingdom entrance. Wait times may vary.
- 8:40 AM: Arrive at the Magic Kingdom entrance. The travel time depends on your chosen mode of transportation and any waiting time.
1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary
Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom
The benefits of rope drop are getting into the park to start enjoying the best things to at Magic Kingdom before the crowds build: the first hour after park opening is often the quietest of the day and you’ll be able to ride several rides with little to no wait.
Main Street USA opens an hour before the park does and so visitors can look in the shops, and get snacks and take photos before the park opens. Five minutes before park opening, there’s a short show on the Castle stage. You could watch show, or you could proceed to your preferred of the 3 ares where Cast Members will “hold” guests until park opening.
These are: to the left of the castle by the bridge to Liberty Square, to the right of the castle heading towards Tomorrowland, and around the castle into Fantasyland. From here, the Cast Members will walk in front of guests (running is not allowed) to the main attractions.
I’ve done this, in August, on a Saturday, and rode Big Thunder Mountain (twice), Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion in the first hour – rope drop can certainly help you get a start on your Magic Kingdom itinerary!
Also, if you’re staying on Disney property at one of their hotels, you will be able to take advantage of Early Entry! You will be able to get into the park 30 minutes before actual park opening (which means 30 minutes before rope drop!) and be able to enjoy rides before the crowds arrive.
We recommend taking advantage of this, especially if you’re trying to get in as many rides as possible during your Magic Kingdom in a day trip!
Sample Rope Drop Itinerary:
Before Rope Drop (8:00 AM – 8:30 AM):
8:00 AM: Arrive at the TTC, park your car, or be on the Disney bus. You’ll have a bit more time since the park opens at 9 AM.
At Rope Drop (Approximately 9:00 AM):
9:00 AM: Be at the Magic Kingdom entrance gates, ready to enter as soon as they open. Ensure you have checked the park’s specific opening time for the day you plan to visit.
After Rope Drop (9:00 AM – 10:00 AM):
9:00 AM: Enter the park and proceed directly to your chosen attraction or land. Popular choices for the early morning rides are still:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland
- Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
- Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland
- Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland
Assuming a 9 AM opening:
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM: Enter the park and make your way to the attraction of your choice.
9:15 AM – 10:30 AM: Ride your chosen attraction(s) and enjoy shorter wait times during the early morning.
10:30 AM: After riding popular attractions, you can consider having a more leisurely breakfast at a dining location like the Main Street Bakery.
Late Morning Plan for Magic Kingdom
If you’re not an early bird, or you know that your family won’t be able to get up and out the door early enough for rope drop/early entry, don’t feel like you won’t be able to enjoy the morning at Magic Kingdom! You will be able to ride a few rides before lunchtime, especially if you decide to use Genie+ or buy Individual Lightning Lanes.
If you only have one day ay Magic Kingdom, you don’t have to be up at dawn to enjoy. The way times are still fairly short in the morning, even if you’re there closer to 10AM or 11AM. Here’s an example of wait times at 10 AM:
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Average wait time: 15-20 minutes
- Swiss Family Treehouse – typically no wait or minimal wait (virtually a walk-on)
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel – Average wait time: 10-15 minutes
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Average wait time: 30-35 minutes
- Haunted Mansion – Average wait time: 30-35 minutes
One Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary Morning Plan
We’ve indicated where we think you should try to plan your Genie+ Lightning Lanes, everything else is suggested Stand-by!
The aim is to ride as much as you can in the first 2 hours of park opening. If we’ve suggested a ride you don’t like, or missed something you really want to see or do, of course you should make that switch – but read on in case we suggest doing it at a later time in the day.
First Hour 9-10AM – Fantasyland
9:00 AM: Begin with Fantasyland. Use Genie+ for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (with a 12:15 PM reservation) or Peter Pan’s Flight. Ride the other one first.
9:45 AM: Depending on your first choice:
Ride Winnie the Pooh (if you did Seven Dwarfs Mine Train First)
OR experience It’s a Small World (if you did Peter Pan’s Flight first)
Second Hour 10-11AM – Liberty Square and Frontierland
10:00 AM: Haunted Mansion – located part way between Fantasyland and Frontierland, the standby line should be reasonably short
10:30 AM: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Genie+ reservation)
11:00 AM: take a relaxing break with the Country Bear Jamboree or the Enchanted Tiki Room
Third Hour 11-12PM – Adventureland
11:30 AM: Start with Pirates of the Caribbean. If the wait for Jungle Cruise is short, go for it; otherwise, secure a Genie+ reservation for later
12:00 PM: Explore the Swiss Family Treehouse for a unique perspective on Adventureland
TRON: Use your Virtual Queue or Individual Lightning Lane if you were lucky enough to get an early call time for it! This will take the place of something else in our Magic Kingdom one day itinerary – but you’ll be able to make it up later!
Lunch at Magic Kingdom
Remember, if you’ve come to a suitable break in your morning schedule, and are able to stop for lunch before noon, you’ll find shorter lines. If you’re planning to eat in this area, you could consider breaking for lunch before you explore Swiss Family Treehouse.
If you’re staying in this area, check out Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland. Or you can go ahead and start your trek towards Fantasyland (which is where your next rides are!).
In Fantasyland, grab a bite to eat at Pinocchio Village Haus or the Friar’s Nook. Any of these Quick Service options are great for an easy and delicious lunch.
We definitely recommend using Mobile Order though when you can! You can order your meal on the way to the restaurant and it’ll be ready by the time you get there and grab a seat, saving you even more time!
Afternoon Plan for Magic Kingdom
Just a note: the longest wait times in Magic Kingdom are between 1 & 6 PM. It’s also the hottest part of the day, so you don’t want to be out in line in the heat for a long time. This is a great time to cash in those Genie+ choices and ride some indoor rides! You don’t want to waste any time during the afternoon if you only have 24 hours in Magic Kingdom.
First Hour (1-2PM) – Fantasyland:
1:00 PM: Use Genie+ for either Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight (whichever you didn’t ride earlier)
1:30 PM: enjoy a spin on the Mad Tea Party
Second Hour (2-3PM):
2:00 PM: watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade (consider watching from Liberty Square for fewer crowds or from the Tomorrowland side of the castle to minimize walking).
2:30 PM: Use Genie+ for Space Mountain (ideally with a window starting around 2PM). After tapping in, open the My Disney Experience App and look for Genie+ for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
2:45 PM: Challenge yourself to get the highest score ever on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin using our top tips!
TRON: Use your Virtual Queue or lightning lane for TRON if it falls in the afternoon – don’t miss this window! This will replace something else in the one day Magic Kingdom itinerary if your number is called.
Rest of the Afternoon:
After using your third Genie+ reservation, continuously refresh and modify for additional Genie+ reservations throughout the day.
Consider resting or grabbing more Genie+ reservations.
Enjoy attractions with minimal lines for a change of pace, such as Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and the Hall of Presidents.
These are great places to escape the heat, and they are still fun! You don’t want to skip the shows or even the PeopleMover, and we think they are worth the time during your 1 day Magic Kingdom plan.
Both Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Fantasyland) and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Adventureland) are fun rides, but they can have slower loading times. Choose the one closest to your next destination or dinner. If you have kids with you, the Dumbo ride has a great play area for the little ones while waiting.
Choose only one of these to work into your itinerary for 1 day at Magic Kingdom, since they are identical rides.
Dinner at Magic Kingdom
You’ll probably need some to time to unwind, rest your feet and refuel, to be ready for the rest of your Magic Kingdom itinerary! Here, you’ll want to make a choice between grabbing another Quick Service meal or sitting down and taking the time for a Table Service meal.
If you want to lose less time choose Quick Service. But, if you’re only going to visit Magic Kingdom for one day, it might be worth it to sit down and have a dining experience.
Plus, if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, it’s a great way to use up credits!
Also, keep in mind that if you plan on eating at a Table Service restaurant, it’s best to have a dining reservation booked for this time frame, so that way you aren’t waiting a long time and using ups valuable time.
Here are some of our dinner choices for your Magic Kingdom plan:
- Columbia Harbour House ($): Enjoy seafood, sandwiches, and salads in a cozy nautical setting
- Casey’s Corner ($): Grab classic American fare like hot dogs and corn dog nuggets on Main Street
- Library Tree Tavern ($$): Experience an all-you-can-eat-family-style feast with American colonial cuisine
- The Crystal Palace ($$): Dine with Wine-the-Pooh and friends in a buffet-style restaurant featuring American cuisine
- Be Our Guest ($$$): Enjoy French-inspired cuisine in the Beast’s Enchanted Castle
Evening Magic Kingdom Itinerary
The night may be winding down but there’s still lots to do! If you’re only going to visit Magic Kingdom for a day, then you don’t want to pack up and leave after dinner.
Our best tip is to wait until the end of the day to shop! Don’t waste time and don’t cary around stuff al day as you try to jam so much into your day!
We also recommend doing anything you missed throughout the day – rides you couldn’t grab a Lightning Lane for, and attractions you must see.
We also think it’s worth watching Happily Ever After – but you don’t need to camp out to see this show. Watching from behind the castle is still good, and just seeing those fireworks from anywhere around the park is one of the best ways to do Magic Kingdom.
Sample Nighttime Itinerary:
6:00 PM: Finish dinner and start with popular attractions that tend to have shorter wait times in the evening:
- Winnie the Pooh: approximately 20-30 minutes wait
- Tomorrowland Speedway: approximately 20-30 minutes wait
7:00 PM: Continue with more attractions that usually have shorter lines in the evening
- Journey of the Little Mermaid: approximately 20-30 minutes wait
- It’s a Small World: approximately 20-30 minutes wait
8:00 PM: secure a spot near Cinderella’s Castle for the “Happily Ever After” fireworks show, which starts at 8PM. I don’t recommend arriving too early as there is always space, this allows you to maximize your time!
8:15 PM: Enjoy the show (18 minutes)
8:25 PM: after the fireworks, make your way to one smaller ride:
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin: approximately 5 minute wait
- PeopleMover: approximately 10 minute wait
- Meet Mickey or characters: approximately 10 minute wait
8:59 PM: be in line for one of the big rides you haven’t done yet. Lines may vary but could be around 20-40 minutes at this time. if you are in line moments before closing, you can still ride!
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
- Peter Pan’s Flight
9:00 PM: the park officially closes. Enjoy your last ride of the evening
10:00 PM: make your way out of Magic Kingdom. Enjoy shopping on Main Street and one last snack or treat as you leave.
Just a quick note: if you’re staying at one of the Deluxe Resorts, you may have extended evening hours during your trip! The park might be open until 11pm for you, and this is a great time to ride A LOT of things without lines!
So if this applies to you, then you can take it a little easier during the day. I rode 5 rides during extended evening hours one time, and all of them were complete walk-ons. Take advantage of this and you’ll be able to do a lot more Disney in a day!
Magic Kingdom Crowds
Crowds will vary, depending on the time of year and even the day of the week (typically weekends are busier, even at “quieter” times). If you want to make the most of your Magic Kingdom itinerary, arrive EARLY. If you arrive before the park opens, you can usually have an hour of enjoying rides without waiting in line.
Most people will eat lunch around noon to 1pm, and dinner between 5-7pm. If you can flex your mealtimes to avoid these times, you’re going to wait less in line for food (if you’re buying food at the park) AND you may notice a slightly lower crowd level while other people are eating. Similarly, if you are happy to miss the parade and fireworks, you can maximize your ride times and benefit from shorter lines.
Before you go and before you finalize your itinerary, be sure to check our crowd calendar.
Magic Kingdom Hours
Generally, the “core” hours are from 9am-9pm, but you should DEFINITELY check on My Disney Experience before starting to plan your Magic Kingdom itinerary. If you are staying offsite, you will not be able to take advantage of any extra hours, so you will need to stick to our Magic Kingdom touring plan.
The park will close early for “hard ticket” parties – these are events that you need a ticket for and which you don’t need separate park admission for. If you only have one day at Magic Kingdom, you should skip these days for your all-encompassing Magic Kingdom itinerary. With the park closing at 6pm on these days, you will lose a lot of time.
These include Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. When you look on My Disney Experience, any of these will show up as “Special Ticketed Event.”
Magic Kingdom Itinerary Tips
Even though we have completely laid out the ultimate Magic Kingdom guide for you, we think there are a few more tips to help you squeeze the most into your Magic Kingdom itinerary!
- Wait to go shopping! Don’t buy your souvenirs until the end of the day! Main Street USA stays open an hour after park close, so you can buy all you want then! Plus, it’s on the way out of the park so you’re headed that way anyways.
- You can get in line by 8:59pm and still be able to ride! This is something a lot of people don’t think about when planning their Disney’s Magic Kingdom itinerary. If you’re in line, then you get to ride!
- Use Lightning Lane and Genie+ to your advantage! If you bought it, then use it. But, you don’t NEED it. You can have a great time and ride a lot if you this guide as the best plan for Magic Kingdom.
- Don’t try to do everything! Especially if this is your first time to Magic Kingdom, you might feel overwhelmed. But, if you’re not into thrill rides, you can skip those. Or, if you don’t like dark rides, don’t ride those. You prioritize whatever is most important to you.
- If you have young children, the utilize Rider Swap! This won’t take any extra time, and makes sure everyone in your party rides what they want to ride.
- Take advantage of early entry and extended evening hours if they apply to you! Staying on property has a lot of benefits, and being in the park during these extra hours can be one of the best ways to ride the most things in Magic Kingdom. Use our guide to Magic Kingdom loosely if you have that extra time, and get as much done in those hours that you can!
Have you done Magic Kingdom in a day? Do you agree with our strategy? Leave us a comment and let us know! Whether you only have one day, or just want to make the very most of the time you do have, we’re confident that this will help you create the very best Magic Kingdom itinerary for your party. If you have any questions, let us know, and as always, we’ll be happy to answer them! Thanks for reading!
We hope you enjoyed this article, and you may also enjoy the Ultimate Epcot Itinerary too!