The Magic Kingdom is the original flagship park of the Walt Disney World resort. Although the park is relatively small in terms of square footage, especially when compared to such behemoths as Epcot Disney and Animal Kingdom , every inch is overflowing with exciting rides, shows and attractions. It would be easy to spend a week exploring the Magic Kingdom and still not see everything that this amazing park has to offer.
Nonetheless, with two days to explore, it is possible to enjoy the majority of attractions at the Magic Kingdom. When touring the park, keep a few recommendations in mind. First, be sure that you understand the Fast Pass system. A Fast Pass ticket, in effect, holds your place in line. The time that you may return will be posted on a sign above the ticket machines. If the Fast Pass Return time is far in the future, while the standby line is relatively short, it is to your advantage to simply stand in line. Waiting around for a Fast Pass Return can cause you to waste time.
If a queue splits into two sections, always take the left hand path. Walt Disney World was left handed and wanted to give a break to fellow lefties. Since most lefties choose the left lane, while right handers tend to choose the right, the queues are designed to make the left path shorter than the right. Additionally, the best scenic décor is usually located in the left hand queue.
There are two basic ways to divide your time between two days at the Magic Kingdom. You could dedicate Day One to the major, so-called “must see” attractions, leaving Day Two for exploration and minor attractions. Or you could divide the Magic Kingdom in half, seeing half the park in depth one day and the other half in depth the second day. While both systems have their merits, due to the sheer density of attractions at the Magic Kingdom it is recommended that you divide the park in half. Park operating hours will determine how long you can spend in each land. Simply divide the number of hours that the park is open by the number of lands you have to see in a day.
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Begin your day by turning left at the foot of Main Street USA. You will want to bypass Main Street on this first day, as most of the appeal of that land is in the shopping and dining, for which you will have time tomorrow. Simply head straight to the end of Main Street, then turn left into Adventureland.
The main attractions here are Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise . Since Pirates recently underwent a multimillion dollar expansion to include the characters from the hit films, the ride is extremely popular. Visit this one first to beat the crowds. After riding Jungle Cruise, check the time. Fill your remaining time visiting the smaller attractions, enjoying a Dole Whip, or shopping for pirate souvenirs and island merchandise.
At the top of your list should be Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad . Use Fast Pass if it is prudent. No visit to Frontierland is really complete without a trip to Tom Sawyer’s Island , where it is possible to spend a lot of time. Therefore, you should do everything else you want to do in Frontierland first, then head to the Island to spend your remaining time..
There are only two actual attractions in Liberty Square: Haunted Mansion and Hall of Presidents . Haunted Mansion is consistently one of the top rated attractions throughout Walt Disney World, and the common consensus is that it is best after dark. Be sure to make a rest stop here to enjoy a loaded baked potato from the vendor cart.
If you have additional time remaining, make your way back to Adventureland to ride the Jungle Cruise at night. While enjoyable during the day, the animatronics are much more believable and the Hidden Mickeys easier to spot after dark.
Make your way directly to Fantasyland, accessible through Cinderella’s Castle . Leave Main Street USA until the end of the day, as the shops and restaurants will be open for one to two hours after park closing.
If you arrive first thing in the morning, you should be able to visit all of the attractions without too much of a wait. Be sure to finish Fantasyland before lunch, as late mornings and early afternoons tend to be extremely packed.
This is a great place for character meet and greets, particularly Mickey and Minnie. If you are not interested in character photos and autographs, you may want to simply take a stroll through, perhaps stopping for snacks at the outdoor Farmer’s Market. If the line is not too long, kids and adults of all ages will love Goofy’s Barnstormer. This short but high speed coaster is great fun for all.
Depending on your personal interests, Tomorrowland will be either your favorite or least favorite land. Worthwhile for everyone, however, is the last of the Magic Kingdom mountains: Space Mountain . This indoor dark roller coaster is a must see. Other major attractions include Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the Carousel of Progress . A great place for some relaxation is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority , offering a slow moving overlook of the entire Tomorrowland area. Spend as much time as you like in Tomorrowland, since Main Street USA will be open after official park closing.
The major draws of Main Street are the shopping and Magic Kingdom dining opportunities . Grab a hot dog from Casey’s Corner and watch the world go by, or simply stroll through the massive stores in search of the perfect piece of memorabilia. If you want to get a haircut at the old fashioned Barber Shop, or catch a performance by the Dapper Dans a cappella troupe, then you will need to spend some time here during the day. Otherwise, virtually everything stays open past posted park closing hours.