First Things We Do When Arriving at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

50th castle magic kingdom
Credit: Disney

You’ve just arrived at Walt Disney World (hurray!), and have no idea what to do first.  Heading to Magic Kingdom is a great place to start, since it’s the most iconic park in WDW.  But what then?  You have so many choices, and you’ll want to make the most of the morning hours before the park gets busier.  So here are some of the first things we like to do when we get to Magic Kingdom.  But feel free to find your own favorites!


1. Selfie with Cinderella Castle

There’s nothing like that first magical glimpse of Main Street USA to bring tears to a Disneyphile’s eyes!  One of the first things we do in Magic Kingdom is snap our requisite selfie with Cinderella Castle.  Sure, we have about a dozen of them now, but it never seems to get old, and it’s our favorite way to kick off a WDW vacation!  Bonus points if you’re visiting during a special event or holiday, and can include some seasonal decorations in your castle selfie.

Credit: Disney

2. Sweet Treats

If you skipped breakfast to make rope drop, never fear.  One of the first things we like to do in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is sample the sights, smells and tastes of the Main Street Confectionary.  From character candy apples to gourmet popcorn to scrumptious cookies, bars and cupcakes, there’s a never-ending parade of yumminess to tempt the senses here.  And don’t listen to anyone who tells you that dessert doesn’t count as breakfast – you’re at WDW, after all!

3. Visit the Emporium

Understandably, souvenir shopping is not something most guests do when first entering Magic Kingdom.  Usually, they’ll head for their favorite rides to beat the crowds, which is a great idea.  But this means that the Emporium, the park’s biggest shop, should be pretty empty first thing in the morning.  So it’s a perfect time to wander around and look for the perfect gift for that friend or family member back home – or for yourself!


4. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion is one of our favorite attractions on Disney property.  And it can get busy later in the day, so we often make a beeline for this spooky ride early in our day at Magic Kingdom.  Sometimes, we’ll even ride it twice in a row.  The bonus with Haunted Mansion is that the queue is so entertaining, even if you do find a line, you’ll have plenty to look at while you wait!

5. Splash Mountain

Another attraction that can get quite busy later in the day, especially if it’s a sunny day, is Splash Mountain.  This is why it’s typically one of the first rides we do when visiting Magic Kingdom, to try to beat the crowds looking to cool off on a hot Orlando afternoon.  Without crowds, you may even get to sit in the very front, which is of course the best place to be when riding Splash Mountain!

6. Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar

We wait all year to get a taste of our favorite snacks at Walt Disney World, including the famed Mickey Ice Cream Bar.  If you’re not familiar with this iconic treat, it’s a vanilla ice cream bar dipped in delicious milk chocolate.  Oh, and it happens to be shaped like Mickey’s head.  One of the first things we do in Magic Kingdom is locate a snack cart, buy a Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar, and then take it on a mini photoshoot around the park.  And don’t worry, if it melts while you’re posing for the perfect shot, there’s bound to be another snack cart around the corner!

7. Visit a Hidden Gem

If you need a quiet spot to chow down on that early morning snack or Mickey Bar, then you can retreat to one of the hidden gems we love to visit when we get to Magic Kingdom.  Head down Main Street USA, and turn down Center Street until you get to the dead end (it doesn’t take long).  Listen carefully, and you’ll hear the strains of music lessons taking place in the windows above you; look up, and you’ll even see advertising for these lessons.  Because the audio is so faint, you may not hear it over the sounds of the crowd later in the day.

Credit: Disney

8. Admire Cinderella Castle’s Murals

While many people content themselves with a Main Street USA selfie with the park’s classic icon, we like to walk straight through the castle for a peek at the gorgeous mosaic murals that line the walls of the pass-through.  They tell the story of Cinderella, and we’re told it took two years for talented artisans to lay each piece by hand.  It’s worth a look, and there’s no better time that first thing in the morning, when crowds are light, and you can admire and photograph the mosaics without throngs of guests walking through to Fantasyland!

9. Be Our Guest Restaurant

One of the first places we like to eat at on Walt Disney World property is Be Our Guest Restaurant.  No matter what meal you eat here, you’ll be mesmerized by the atmosphere, and you’ll feel and eat like royalty.  It’s one of our favorite places to be immersed in a Disney story, because you truly feel like you’re dining in the Beast’s castle.  Choose the West Wing for moody, dramatic ambience, the Castle Gallery to watch figures of Belle and the Beast dancing, and head to the Grand Ballroom to dine in majestic splendor. 

About Stacy Milford

Stacy has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents, and travels whenever humanly possible. Passionate about music theatre, dessert, and adventure in the great wide somewhere, she visits Walt Disney World every year, usually during Halloween! Stacy currently divides her time between writing and teaching English as a second language to children in China, and is pretty sure growing up is over-rated.