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What to Do With Only One Day in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Only one day in Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park – perish the thought!! Hopefully on your next Walt Disney World vacation you have more time to devote to this iconic park, but if not, one day is infinitely better than nothing.

With so many quick service and table service restaurants, attractions, and experiences, how can a Guest with only a day in Magic Kingdom narrow down the options and decide how to spend that one glorious day? Here are some suggestions on how to spend an unforgettable day in the Park!

Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Begin your day on a high note with breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table. You’ll enjoy VIP access inside Cinderella’s Castle, along with memorable views of Fantasyland as you dine.  

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Credit: Disney

The food is excellent, but the overall experience is key here: from the gilded elevator to the stained-glass windows to the soaring vaulted ceiling and stone archways, you’ll feel like royalty!  What better way to start the day?

Adventureland

Home to two of Walt Disney World’s classic attractions, Adventureland is a great place for your first rides of the day!  Head to Jungle Cruise for a pleasant river cruise, during which you’ll encounter animatronic animals, famously “punny” Skippers, and of course, the “Backside of Water”!

Pirates of the Caribbean is next on the list.  Remember that time when a classic Disney attraction inspired a series of hit movies, which then inspired updates to said classic attraction?  See it all here!  Plus, you can get a whiff of that weirdly intoxicating dark water smell that just screams DISNEY!

Frontierland

Splash Mountain is always our go-to attraction at Disney’s Frontierland, and we typically ride it several times each vacation, if lines are short enough.  This year, Splash Mountain will be down for scheduled refurbishment (though not, we’re told, for its transition to The Princess and the Frog (2009) theming) starting January 10, reopening on February 13. 

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Credit: Disney

If Splash Mountain is down when you visit, try Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (although it, too, closes from February 14 – 18).

Lunch at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café

One of our favorite quick service restaurants on property is Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café in Frontierland.  It has plenty of seating, and a great menu that includes chicken fajitas, nachos, bacon cheeseburgers, rice bowls and salads.  There’s something here for kids, adults, carnivores, and veggiesaurs.  

Liberty Square

Haunted Mansion is an easy pick for a must-do ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom!  Hitchhiking Ghosts, Madame Leota’s spooky seance, and that ever-impressive ballroom ghost scene are just a few of the reasons Guests adore this classic Disney attraction.

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Credit: Disney

Fantasyland

There are a ton of nostalgia-inducing attractions at Fantasyland in Disney’s Magic Kingdom!  Peter Pan’s Flight is a Guest favorite that invites you to fly with Peter Pan on an enchanted ship, over iconic scenes from the animated film.

Next up is Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, which takes Guests on a clamshell ride under the sea through scenes from Ariel’s adventure in the 1989 Disney animated film.  The animatronics here are impressive, especially the 7.5 foot by 12 foot Ursula.

If time allows, hop on board a mine train to meet the famed Dwarfs in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  Lines here can get long, but the interactive queue will help you to pass the time!

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

What would a day in Magic Kingdom theme park be without a meal at one of the most popular restaurants on property?  Fantasyland’s Be Our Guest Restaurant, themed after the classic animated film Beauty and the Beast (1991), is a hit for good reason – between the impeccable theming and yummy French-inspired cuisine, you’ll truly feel like a Guest at Beast’s Castle.  

Find a seat in The West Wing if you can, to enjoy the moody atmosphere, enchanted rose, and changing portrait of the Beast.  If not, the massive Grand Ballroom has plenty of seating, and you can enjoy the gorgeous painted ceiling and perpetually snowy scene out the windows!  Whatever you order, don’t forget to sample the Grey Stuff (yes, it really is delicious!).

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is much more impressive at night than during the day, because the neon lights stand out so much more in the dark.  So this is a great time to visit this area of Magic Kingdom Park!  

Let your meal settle by starting with the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, a leisurely elevated tour of Tomorrowland.  Guests will travel backstage to see behind the scenes of rides like Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Now that you’ve seen behind the scenes of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, it’s time to ride it yourself!  In this target shooting spinner ride, Guests will help Buzz fight the evil Emperor Zurg.  There’s a huge, talking animatronic Buzz Lightyear at the end of the queue that is a ton of fun.

Disney Enchantment

Nighttime at Disney’s Magic Kingdom means a stunning show that will forever ruin fireworks for you is close at hand (seriously, once you’ve seen fireworks at WDW, you’ll never see fireworks the same way again!).  

Disney Enchantment is the new nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park.  It centers on Cinderella Castle, but the effects extend down Main Street, U.S.A..  Projections, Disney music, a feel-good story, and magnificent fireworks – Disney Enchantment has it all!

Shopping

Many Guests make a beeline for the buses and monorail immediately after Disney Enchantment has ended.  We always take this time to do a bit of shopping – most shops in Walt Disney World remain open for at least an hour after the fireworks end.

Check out Memento Mori over in Liberty Square for Haunted Mansion-themed souvenirs, or wander down Main Street USA for some excellent options – Crystal Arts offers beautiful items made of glass, Main Street Confectionery is perfect for delectable hand-made treats, and The Emporium has just about everything you could ask for in a Disney gift shop.

Bottom Line

Depending on when you visit, and whether you’ve purchased Disney Genie+ service, you may be able to fit in more attractions and experiences than described above, but these attractions and experiences will give you an excellent representation of what Magic Kingdom has to offer, in just one day!

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.