Magic Kingdom Guide: Essential Pre-Visit Information on Dining, Rides, Transportation

Our kick off guides to the Disney World theme parks serve as a easy reference to planning your day at the work from everything to the touring strategy to follow and the must see snacks! This quick reference Magic Kingdom guide can help you pick your dining, plan your attractions, and find the characters all in one place.

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Transportation to Magic KingdomCinderella's Castle- Magic Kingdom guide

Let’s first talk transportation in our Magic Kingdom guide because the first step for planning your day is thinking about how you will get to and from Magic Kingdom. One thing to know about getting to Magic Kingdom is that if you don’t arrive by a Disney World bus, you can only get as far as the Transportation Ticket Center where you will have the option of going the rest of the way on the bus, monorail or ferryboat.

  • Transportation Ticket Center– the only way to get to the Magic Kingdom, if you’re not traveling directly from a monorail from a Disney World resort or bus, is the Transportation Ticket Center. If you are driving this is where you will park your car and then you can arrive to the resort via bus, monorail, or ferry. If you use rideshare, this is the closest place you can dropped off.
    • If you’re worried about your resort bus not getting you to Magic Kingdom as early as you like, you can take a rideshare to the TTC and get dropped off. We did this one of our trip days and I found it was faster than waiting for our resort bus. We were at the front of the line for security and the first group on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.
    • As for choosing your transportation once you’re in the TTC, the monorail or bus can often be the quickest options. The ferry is a popular choice though since it really doesn’t necessarily take that much longer and the view is wonderful.
  • Disney World Resort Bus– I recommend lining up at your bus stop at your Disney World resort at least 90 minutes prior to the park’s official opening time.
  • Driving – you can drive yourself to the parks or use rideshare (read our guide to using Uber at Disney World) which some people prefer especially if they plan to park hop. You will have to pay for parking though! Currently, Disney is only letting people in the parking lots an hour or less before the park opens so you have to time this right or you will be turned away.

Transportation hack: If being as close to the front of the line at the opening gates is TOP priority for you, especially if you want to do Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train with no wait, then here’s two tips the serious park touring folks utilize to accomplish this since Disney World is currently not letting people use the parking lots earlier than an hour before the park opens.

  1. Uber to the TTC in the morning, plan to get dropped off at least 60 minutes before the park opens. They will hold you there and not let you line up for awhile but you will be at the front of the pack when security opens. When we did this and we were easily in the first main group to enter the park!
  2. Uber to the Contemporary Resort and walk to Magic Kingdom from there. The walk is less than ten minutes and doable with kids. Keep in mind that since the reopening Disney may ask guests to show proof of mobile order or restaurant reservation for drop off at resort hotels. You can easily mobile order coffee or arrive earlier for breakfast and walk over. I don’t recommend doing the monorail from there though, just walk over as the monorail will already have a big group of resort guests waiting.

>You can read all about transportation at Disney World in our guide.

Characters at Magic KingdomDisney Princess parade float- magic kingdom guide

Time to talk characters in our Magic Kingdom guide! Magic Kingdom will have the most characters and cavalcades as compared to the other theme parks making it one of the best places to find characters even though there’s no traditional meet and greets at the moment. As for the character cavalcades you can expect to see:

  • Fantasyland Friends features Alice, Winnie the Pooh, Aladdin, and Mary Poppins on a large float. You will also see Gaston horseback and Tigger.
  • A Goofy Cavalcade features Goofy, Max, Clarabelle Cow, Panchito, José Carioca on a parade float with a dance crew following behind.
  • Mickey & Friends features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Pluto on a float with a parade of dancers.
  • The Royal Princess Processional features all your favorite princesses in a large royal procession.
  • Tinkerbelle & The Lost Treasure features Tinkerbelle and a big treasure chest parade float.

You will also find seasonal cavalcades with Disney villains for the Halloween season heading down Main Street throughout the day. During the holidays, you will see Mickey and friends in their holiday attire along with characters you usually see in the Christmas parade like the Toy Soldiers.

As for random character interactions in the park Magic Kingdom does a great job integrating them as often as possible. A few places you can expect to find them are: the porch above Country Bear Jamboree, the Main Street Train Station, the Tomorrowland Stage, and on the Main Street trolley.

>Read our guide to Disney World right now to see why we love these new character interactions.

Dining at Magic KingdomBe Our Guest restaurant

Now it’s time to talk about food in our Magic Kingdom guide! What are the must hit restaurants inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom? We have a few great options to suggest whether you’re looking for fabulous themed dining, quick service, and snacks!

There are two popular options for themed dining in Magic Kingdom which are great experiences for guests looking to dine inside a famous Disney castle and enjoy high dining:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
    • This dining experience takes place inside Cinderella’s castle which is the iconic centerpiece at the end of Main Street U.S.A. You can expect to see Cinderella come out and greet guests as you enjoy your three course meal.
  • Be Our Guest
    • This dining experience takes place in Fantasyland inside the Beast’s castle from Beauty & the Beast. We absolutely loved this experience on our recent visit and you can read our review to see why it took our breath away!

Since these two restaurants are meant to be more themed experiences you can expect a higher price tag to match but it’s always worth mentioning since they are often so popular for guests. Other popular table service locations with a more affordable price tag include:

  • The Plaza Restaurant
    • This is one of the most popular sit down restaurants with a great themed parlor atmosphere with sandwiches, burgers, and milkshakes.
  • Tony’s Square Restaurant
    • This italian restaurant is themed after the Lady and the Tramp movie and is a great option for families that love traditional spaghetti.
  • The Crystal Palace 
    • This buffet style restaurant features American food and typically offers character dining featuring characters from Winnie the Pooh.

As for quick service options, you can find a large variety at Magic Kingdom including many traditional food staples such as the coveted Dole Whip or Corn Dog! Some of the most popular include:

  • Aloha Aisle
    • This is where you find the Dole Whips in Adventureland.
  • Gaston’s Tavern
    • This little stop offers great snacks like the popular giant cinnamon rolls and Gaston’s Brew.
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café 
    • This burger stop in Tomorrowland is known for having awesome food for reasonable prices.
  • Pinocchio Village Haus
    • This grab and go food stop offers indoor seating with a view of it’s a small world and a decent food variety to meet most family’s needs.
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café
    • You can get great portions for a reasonable price at this quick service location.

But regardless of where you eat, you cannot sip the famous Dole Whip inside Adventureland or enjoy a Mickey pretzel which you can find at various carts around the park!

>You can read about all the dining options at Magic Kingdom in our guide. 

Touring Plan for Magic KingdomSeven Dwarfs Mine Train

Based on our personal experience in the park, here’s the order I would tackle the rides in:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
    • only if you manage to be the first group of people entering the parks, if not skip this until before park closing or purchase Lightning Lane for it
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Haunted Mansion

At this point, all the lines will be at their typical length for the day and you can really go about the day at your own order but I like to continue making a circle around the park so I’m not zigzagging my way across. Magic Kingdom is spread out so you will be doing a lot of walking! Following this order once you knock out the key ones earlier in the day prioritizes that. But if you see one of these rides drop to a low wait, you can always change it up and head there before the others!

  • Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Space Mountain
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Dumbo
  • Barnstormer
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Swiss Family Robinson

And don’t forget to grab a Dole Whip after you visit the Enchanted Tiki Room!

This strategy can be used with Genie+ which will greatly maximize your time- just make sure you’re still hitting popular rides in the morning/evening even when waiting for your Genie+ Lightning Lane time to begin.

Most Popular AttractionsPirates of the Caribbean

I would look at the list below from the top six most popular attractions and make those your priority for either using Genie+ or rope dropping:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Big Thunder Railroad
  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain
  • Peter Pan’s Flight

This is why I save Space Mountain for later in the day, I can hit most of these rides listed above quicker in the morning because they’re all located near each other. If you arrive and you see Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train already has a long line, skip it, and go right to Peter Pan before heading towards the rides in Adventureland/Frontierland. If you do that, just save Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train for later. We did this on our second day in Magic Kingdom, we skipped it in the morning to get on other rides quicker and then just hopped in line right before park close.

If you have small kids that can’t or aren’t interested in rides like Splash Mountain, Big Thunder, Space, etc. then just spend your day knocking out the rides in Fantasyland which can easily become more cramped as the day goes on.

Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Enjoy reading our Magic Kingdom guide? Then keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the content director of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and Disney Dose- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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