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How To Tackle The Magic Kingdom If You Only Have One Day

The Magic Kingdom is home to seven distinct lands each filled with unique attractions, shopping, and dining options. With so much to do and see, a visit to the Magic Kingdom can be overwhelming when guests try to do everything. The first thing to accept is that it is impossible to see everything in the park in one day. However, if guests tour the park in an efficient way, they are sure to be able to experience tons of fun things along the way. Here are some tips on how to tackle the Magic Kingdom and see as many things as possible if you only have one day in the park.

Be There For “Let The Magic Begin” –

The Magic Kingdom opens at different times each morning depending on the season and day. Be sure to look up the exact time of opening and get to the park at least a half hour before that. Guests who are there early are welcome to enter the park to spend time on Main Street U.S.A. before the park officially opens. Main Street and the hub in front of Cinderella Castle remain open while the rest of the park is still closed. Roughly 5 minutes before the official park opening, “Let The Magic Begin” begins! This is a welcome show held on the stage in front of the Castle with fun music, special characters, and a few fireworks to kick off the day!

Book FastPasses –

Guests who only have one day in the Magic Kingdom should definitely book FastPasses either before heading to the parks or first thing in the morning. FastPasses allow guests to reserve specific times for attractions where they can then ride with little to no wait time. Some of the best options in the Magic Kingdom to book FastPasses for are Peter Pan’s Flight, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain as they tend to be the attractions with the highest wait times. By booking FastPasses, guests with only one day in the park can save tons of time that would otherwise be spent waiting on line.

Check Extra Magic Hours –

If guests are staying on property in a Disney Resort, they should be sure to check out whether there are any Extra Magic Hours happening in the Magic Kingdom on that day. Extra Magic Hours allow guests to either enter a certain park up to an hour early or stay in the park up to three hours later than the general public. Since these hours are only available to resort guests, the crowds are smaller and the wait times for attractions tend to be lower making it a great time to enjoy the park. If guests only have one day in the Magic Kingdom and are staying on property, they should definitely take advantage of Extra Magic Hours if they are available that day.

Head to Adventureland First –

Many guests head straight towards Tomorrowland and Space Mountain at rope drop. A great way to avoid some of the crowds is to take a left at the end of Main Street and head for Adventureland first. With little to no crowds in that area first thing in the morning, guests can experience The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and the Swiss Family Treehouse in record time.

Conquer the Frontierland Mountains –

After spending time in Adventureland, guests should head over to Frontierland and ride both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Located right next to each other, these mountains generally maintain low wait times in the morning hours and are the perfect stop after Adventureland. Guests who only have one day in the parks should definitely save their FastPasses for other attractions and visit these mountains early on to experience low wait times and lots of fun.

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Haunted Mansion –

After conquering Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, guests should work their way through Frontierland and into Liberty Square on the pathway along the Rivers of America. Guests can there ride the classic attraction the Haunted Mansion which should still have a relatively low wait time in the late morning. Since the Haunted Mansion has a continually loading ride system, it can handle heavy crowds quickly so guests never end up waiting too long for this awesome attraction.

Lunch at Columbia Harbour House –

Located in Liberty Square across from the Haunted Mansion, this quick service dining location is a great place to stop for lunch when guests only have one day in the Magic Kingdom. Featuring a menu with fresh seafood options that can’t be found anywhere else in the park, Columbia Harbour House might look crowded at first glance, but the lines move quickly and many guests do not realize that there is an upstairs seating area. Guests can order up a delicious meal and generally find an upstairs table with ease making it a great place to stop for lunch. Plus, don’t forget to take advantage of Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering on your My Disney Experience App.

Do Fantasyland During the Parade –

Fantasyland is home to the attractions that are mostly kid friendly in the Magic Kingdom, and therefore the area tends to be super crowded in the mornings when families head there first. Many families either break for lunch, head back to the pool for a while, or head to Main Street to watch the parade in the early afternoons. This makes it an ideal time to visit Fantasyland as there will be lower wait times allowing guests with only one day in the park with more opportunities to experience attractions like It’s A Small World, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Don’t forget about booking those FastPasses for Peter Pan’s Flight and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland!

Regroup in Tomorrowland –

With most of the Magic Kingdom covered so far, taking a few minutes to regroup in Tomorrowland can help to keep energy up and make sure that guests get the most out of their one day in the park. A great way to relax for a few minutes while still experiencing an attraction is to hop aboard the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Taking guests on a ride on the highway in the sky above Tomorrowland, guests get to look into certain attractions and take in great views while sitting down for a few minutes and enjoying the breeze. By the time guests get off of the TTA, Tomorrowland should be getting a little less crowded as the evening approaches. Don’t forget about booking a FastPass for Space Mountain though!

Dinner At Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café –

A great place to stop for dinner when you only have one day in the Magic Kingdom is Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Featuring quick service options served in several different bays, there is a meal for everyone to enjoy. Plus, if you can score a table near Cosmic Ray, you’ll be entertained by his performance throughout the meal. Don’t forget to use the Mobile Ordering option from your My Disney Experience App so you don’t have to wait in line for your food.

Watch Happily Ever After –

Fireworks have always been the perfect way to wrap up a day at Magic Kingdom! Happily Ever After Fireworks has replaced Wishes, but has thankfully lived up to the beautiful display of fireworks, lasers, projection, music, and storytelling Magic Kingdom is known for. With 18-minutes of “heart, heroism, and humor”, Happily Ever After will send you on your way with your own “happily ever after” ending to an unforgettable Magic Kingdom day!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.