1. Spend an entire day
Unless your trip is very short, only about two days or so, and you’re really dead set on doing more than one park per day, I would highly suggest giving the Magic Kingdom an entire day. In my opinion, if you’re going to stay in any park from opening until close, this is the one to do it. The whole atmosphere of the park changes throughout the day, and chances are that even with the entire day spent there you’ll never run out of different things to do. As a side note, this does not mean you should forgo some relaxation if you want to—you can still relax in a restaurant, or hop on the monorail and stop at a monorail resort for a change of pace.
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2. Arrive early and/or stay late
Arriving early for a day at any Disney park is crucial for a couple of reasons. One major reason is that the parks are much less crowded when you arrive right after they open. During this time many guests are still making their way to the parks, getting breakfast, and sleeping in, so the lines for the attractions will be much shorter and everything will be less crowded. Staying late often has the same effect, and can be especially helpful on days when you do arrive to the park late. So many guests leave after Happily Ever After, meaning if you can stay for a couple of hours after that you’ll also see shorter lines for the attractions.
3. Take advantage of Fastpass+
The Magic Kingdom is one park where the Fastpass service can come in extremely handy. With newer attractions like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Princess Fairytale Hall, Fastpass can be more important than ever as the waits for these attractions seldom drop below an hour. There’s also classic attractions like the Haunted Mansion or Space Mountain that tend to draw long waits, so using a Fastpass to forgo waiting in the standby line for some of those can be helpful as well.
4. Use your Fastpasses for rides
While Fastpasses can also be used for parades and shows, I would not recommend using them for these attractions. Show attractions have a higher capacity, and therefore either have shorter waits, or do not require you to wait long as they take place at set times. While the parade does have reserved viewing areas, you’d still need to arrive early, meaning you could have just found your own spot and reserved it yourself.
5. Sit down for a meal
If you don’t want to spend the time or money, this does not need to be a table service meal. While I do like having one table service meal per day, preferably for breakfast or lunch, it is definitely not a necessity. Sit down at any restaurant, table service or quick service, or even on a bench with a snack, to refuel and save up some of your energy for the rest of the day in the park.
6. Tour the park efficiently
The Magic Kingdom is one park where more attractions are contained in a slightly smaller space. This means that you’ll be more likely to see no issue with bouncing back and forth between Tomorrowland and Adventureland, whereas at somewhere like Epcot you would probably not be interested in hopping back and forth between World Showcase and Future World. While this is definitely doable in the Magic Kingdom, I wouldn’t suggest making a habit of it, since it can definitely tire you out more than you think. Start on one side of the park, and work your way around, then you can go back later to catch whatever you’ve missed.
7. Meet the characters
The Magic Kingdom is home to some characters that you won’t find anywhere else, like Marie, Tinkerbell, and Peter Pan just to name a few. If you’re interested in meeting characters, this is one park where you’ll want to make this a priority. Grab a times guide or check the My Disney Experience app for their times and locations to be sure you don’t miss out on any of your favorites.
8. Plan around parades and shows
Have you ever tried coming into the park immediately after the parade? It’s not a terrible idea if you don’t mind spending some time getting up Main Street or through the bypass, but it’s not the best idea if you’re trying to run to Space Mountain to use a Fastpass that’s up in ten minutes. At the same time, if you really want to see the parade, grab a spot early, or wait for the second performance if there is one since it will be much less crowded. Regardless of whether or not you want to see the shows or parades, it’s important to know the times so you can plan your day around them.
9. Take in all the details
The Magic Kingdom is full of details, many that the average guests tend to miss, though they are actually quite interesting. Check out all of the work that went into designing interactive queues, wander through the shops and notice the details in the set up and architecture. Don’t forgo places you tend to not spend a lot of time in, for instance: if you often breeze through Main Street as a way of simply getting to your favorite ride, slow it down a little bit and look around. There’s a lot of nice details in each part of the park that really do add to the story being told, and it’s definitely worth taking a look!
10. Stay for the fireworks, but don’t leave right after them!
Happily Ever After is one fireworks performance that I have to see at least once per trip. While I definitely do suggest that you see the fireworks, I could never suggest trying to exit the park in the massive cattle herd that moves out once they finish. Even if the park closes soon after Happily Ever After, you might as well wander through the shops or get some last minute PhotoPass pictures, since the lines for buses and monorails will be crazy until the crowd thins out anyway.