Your Guide to Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park in Orlando
By Lauren Tjaden
Enchantment comes to life at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, with its lavish fantasy worlds, scream-inducing coasters and beloved characters. Soar high on a playful flight aboard Dumbo the Elephant; fall under the powerful spell of the Cinderella Castle during a fireworks spectacular; and meet the Disney princess that inspires you most.
Here's how to discover some of the must-do experiences at this famed Orlando theme park, along with some information about how to plan your trip.
There’s a reason that Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort is the most-visited theme park in the world, and a big part of that is its rides and attractions. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss on your Sunshine State getaway.
Considered a Walt Disney masterpiece and billed as “the happiest cruise that ever sailed,” this musical boat ride takes you and your littlest adventurers on a calm, 10-minute journey through all seven continents. You’ll pass through vivid, colorful lands showcasing the iconic sights and sounds of dozens of nations, accompanied by a joyous chorus of children, singing one harmonious song in their different languages.
A roller coaster with big drops in total darkness, Space Mountain invites daredevils to blast off on a rip-roaring rocket into the furthest reaches of outer space. You’ll have galaxies of fun soaring past shooting stars, satellites and wayward meteors before you’re sucked into a spinning wormhole.
Splash Mountain warns passengers "you will get wet,’" and since it features 950,000 gallons of water, three dips and a five-story drop, that’s a promise you can count on. Accompanied by the carefree Br’er Rabbit, this enchanting musical cruise drifts through a vivid Southern bayou populated by audio-animatronics geese, frogs, raccoons, possums, bees, alligators and other critters singing classic Disney ditties before its splash-happy conclusion. If you’re yearning to get soaked, sit in the front. Kids too small to ride the attraction – under 40 inches – will enjoy the Laughin’ Place, a bright and breezy play area situated close to the Splash Mountain exit.
On this slow-moving attraction that even your smallest scallywags can enjoy, your gang will climb aboard a weathered barge for a perilous voyage back in time to the 17th century, when unruly scoundrels and callous troublemakers plundered Caribbean seaport towns. Hum along with the pirates as they regale you with their theme song - “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me” - while navigating the oh-so-haunted Dead Man’s Cove, dodging cannon fire and watching buccaneers set a seaside town awash in flames. You might even catch a glimpse of Captain Jack Sparrow, the swashbuckling daredevil from “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.
Stay tuned; you’re just getting started on Magic Kingdom’s attractions. Check out more favorites, including:
· Cinderella Castle: Complete with imposing spires and lavish turrets, and surrounded by a moat, the Castle stands at the gateway to Fantasyland, a symbol of Disney’s magic and majesty.
· Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid: Board a clamshell to delve into Ariel’s world on a musical adventure rich with spectacles from the beloved animated film.
· The Hall of Presidents: Presidents of the United States are showcased in this inspiring show chronicling the nation’s history.
· Here’s where you can find a complete list of Magic Kingdom attractions.
Tips to Enjoy Attractions and Rides
FastPass+ , which is included in the price of your ticket, can help you skip the lines. It lets you reserve access to Walt Disney World attractions, entertainment and Character Greetings in advance – up to 30 days in advance of your visit, or 60 days prior to check-in if you’re planning to stay at a Disney Resort hotel.
Make sure to download the My Disney Experience app; it gives you attraction wait times, showtimes for fireworks and parades, and finds Character Greeting locations and times.
The app offers other nifty features, too, including browsing restaurant menus, making dining reservations and placing mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.
And you’ll never get lost when you use the ‘Get Directions’ function.
Disney’s planning page can help you answer other questions.
Spectacular parades! Dazzling fireworks! Princesses! Disney’s Magic Kingdom features them all and more. Here are a few experiences you’ve got to try.
Enchantment and pageantry are on vivid display in this parade that showcases the stories of Fantasyland and its occupants, marching through the park in a glittering combination of floats, action and music. Your favorite Disney Characters, performers on stilts and a fire-breathing dragon promise a gala your family will love.
The words "grand finale" don’t do justice to the glory of the latest—and most brilliant —fireworks show in Magic Kingdom history. Cinderella Castle, made even more spectacular than usual with lights, lasers and special effects, is the star of this astounding 18-minute fireworks extravaganza, accompanied by inspiring contemporary versions of treasured Disney songs.
A dream is a wish your heart makes - something Cinderella and Princess Elena know well. Share an encounter with these princesses in a magic setting, where everyone gets the royal treatment.
The American flag retires for the night in this daily, stirring patriotic ceremony, a tribute and thank you to our country’s veterans for their service, sacrifice and commitment.
You can meet Merida from Brave at Fairytale Garden, get a hug from Mickey Mouse backstage at Town Square Theater, or show off your best dance moves at the Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party, complete with multihued floats and much-loved Disney pals.
Here’s a complete list of Magic Kingdom’s entertainment, meet-and-greets, and parades.
Check the Entertainment Schedule, My Disney Experience app or the Times Guide at Magic Kingdom park for the schedule and showtimes. Be aware that outdoor parades and events may be cancelled due to inclement weather, and that showtimes are subject to change.
The Magic Kingdom spreads its pixie dust even further with extraordinary experiences, special holiday events and behind-the-scenes tours. Discover some popular offerings here.
This three-hour tour is just the ticket for a glimpse into the intriguing world of steam trains and their role at Magic Kingdom.
Imagine the look on your little girl’s face when she’s transformed into a princess. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, nestled inside the fantastical Cinderella Castle, is a one-of-a-kind beauty salon where girls and boys are turned into princesses and knights.
On select nights, Magic Kingdom park stays open for an extra three hours for guests with tickets for Disney After Hours. The benefit for night owls is that the wait times for popular attractions and Character Greetings are short. Ice cream, popcorn and select beverages are included with admission.
Here comes Santa Claus—and Mickey! Your whole gang will love this gala, brimming with Disney characters, holiday treats and festive surprises around every corner. Savor delectable yuletide goodies, enjoy event-exclusive dining options, and get in the spirit of the season with events like the ‘Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.’
Yearning for a quick snack to refuel, an indulgent candlelight dinner made for romance, or a sit-down meal with a princess? With almost 40 ways to satisfy your hunger, the Magic Kingdom is certain to deliver. Here are some yummy options.
Turn lunch or dinner into a fairytale at Cinderella’s Royal Table, encircled by towering stone archways, medieval flags and extravagant stained-glass windows. The feast begins with a variety of cured meats and cheeses, followed by a main course offering choices for adults that include roasted chicken breast, beef tenderloin or the fish of the day. The kids can enjoy favorites like chicken nuggets or mac and cheese. Save room for dessert: the restaurant’s signature ‘The Clock Strikes Twelve,’ a dark chocolate mousse complete with a dark chocolate ganache served with raspberry coulis, is worth every sinful calorie.
Housed in an ornate, easy-to-spot Victorian era building, this classic Disney eatery feels bright, open and cheerful even on the cloudiest day. It promises an all-you-can-eat buffet among friends from ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ who share laughs, photos and autographs with guests. Breakfast features freshly baked pastries, Mickey waffles, fruit and omelets, while lunch and dinner feature soups, salads, peel-and-eat shrimp and roasted carved meats as well as desserts that include warm bread pudding, brownies, cheesecake bites and soft-serve ice cream. Everyone will leave satisfied: the kids can nosh on favorites like mac and cheese, hearty eaters can indulge to their hearts’ content, and those who want healthy options will be pleased with the enormous variety of tasty, creative salads.
Tip: If someone in your group has a birthday or anniversary, make a note of it on the reservation, because the characters will help you celebrate.
Step into the Beast's enchanted castle to spoil yourself with a scrumptious three-course meal starring French-inspired dishes that are très délicieux in any language. Offerings include decadent options like pan-seared sea scallops, seasonal risotto with wild mushroom and butter sauce and dark chocolate truffle filled with dark chocolate Grand Marnier ganache. the restaurant encompasses three dining areas, each highlighting the intrigue and passion of Beauty and the Beast. They are:
· The Grand Ballroom –This magnificent ballroom lives up to its name, with a soaring ceiling, Gothic arches resplendent with snow and decadent chandeliers.
· The West Wing – Try to spot The Beast’s enchanted rose – and fall under its spell—in exotic West Wing study.
· The Castle Gallery – The spirit in Belle’s private library is pure romance, complete with larger-than-life figures of Belle and Beast dancing.
In a hurry? You don’t have to sit down at an elaborate restaurant to refuel; here are 13 Great Disney Snacks at Magic Kingdom. Popular quick service restaurants include the Columbia Harbour House, offering fare like fried fish, New England clam chowder and grilled salmon, as well as Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, an old-West saloon serving Tex-Mex.
Special experiences that are especially tasty include Ferrytale Fireworks, a cruise party that lavishes guests with wickedly delicious desserts and eyepopping water views of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. The Signature Celebration Package at Cinderella’s Royal Table is another way to mark noteworthy occasions, with a royal feast and a celebration of sweets, capped off with the Happily Ever After fireworks spectacular.
Didn’t see what you want on this list? Don’t worry; the Magic Kingdom probably has what you’re looking for. Here’s a complete list of Magic Kingdom Restaurants and Dining Experiences.
In addition to a confirmed dining reservation, in-park dining at table-service restaurants requires a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date for each person in your party ages three and up. Dining reservations don’t guarantee admission to the park.
Make sure to make reservations, and make them early. Dining reservations can be booked online up to 60 days in advance.
The My Disney Experience app lets you browse restaurant menus, make dining reservations and place mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.