Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has an abundance of attractions, character experiences, and entertainment to fill weeks and weeks of fun for the entire family. Ideally, guests would have oodles of time to explore everything this magical land offers. If you are short on time (and who isn’t when visiting Disney World where you can find an additional three fun-filled parks – Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to explore), then read our quick guide of top ten ways to help tackle Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in just one day – And, yes! It can successfully be done!
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1. Plan Ahead for Your Day at Magic Kingdom
The most important thing you can do when you are planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom is to plan ahead! For a successful trip, it is crucial that you do your research way in advance so that you are aware of everything the Magic Kingdom offers.
Discuss with each of your travel companions (even the wee little ones) what attractions they definitely cannot leave the park without experiencing, which characters they must meet, shows they would like to see, or dining experiences that are must-tries!
Check the entertainment schedule so you can plan your day around must-see parades and shows! Make these special experiences a priority on your to-do list! And don’t forget to purchase your admission tickets ahead of time to avoid long waits at the ticket booth!
2. Download the My Disney Experience Mobile App
The My Disney Experience App is a necessary tool for all Guests visiting Magic Kingdom! Download this app before your visit to the Park to help you plan your vacation! You will need to create an account on the app so that you have the option of linking your tickets. Creating an account also allows for easy access to such fun features as the Disney Fastpass+.
Once in the Park, this helpful app is a hand-held map that can come in handy in such a big park like Magic Kingdom! Among the many features this app has, the attraction wait time feature is its most popular feature, allowing you to see all wait times for all attractions! And if you must wait in long lines, download the Play Disney Parks app to play interactive Disney Park games!
3. Obtain Your Three Complimentary Fastpass+ Passes
Disney’s Fastpass+ is a convenient tool to use even before you step foot into the Magic Kingdom! Access more of the magic with a Fastpass+ by reserving your must-experience attractions!
Once you link your family’s purchased park tickets to your account, you are able to choose up to three (3) Fastpass+ selections up to 30 days in advance. If you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, you are able to make your selections up to 60 days prior to check-in.
By using Fastpass+, you are able to skip long lines and head to the front of the line. Don’t worry if your plans change when you are at the Magic Kingdom, you can modify your Fastpass+ selections at any time using the My Disney Experience App, at a Disney Resort Hotel lobby concierge, or at a Fastpass+ kiosk located throughout the Park.
Fastpass+ locations are located in the following areas: Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Pete’s Silly Slideshow, The Diamond Horseshoe, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Tomorrowland Bridge. You are able to hold one Fastpass+ at a time per each paid admission ticket after your initial three Fastpass+ have been used. So once these three are used, book more throughout the day.
As if that is not convenient enough, Fastpass+ is also available for select character meet-and-greets and reserving a viewing spot for select parades and the fireworks show! Don’t miss out on this time-saving feature that is free to all guests!
4. Pick a Day with Longer Park Hours
When you are planning your Magic Kingdom one-day vacation, plan to go on a day when the Park is open the longest. More hours means more fun for you and your family. Weekends are always a good choice for visiting the park and enjoying longer hours.
5. Get Up and In the Park Early
If you are staying at select Disney Resort Hotels that offer Extra Magic Hours, get up extra early and get into the park to experience most of the popular attractions with little to no wait. This extra hour at the Magic Kingdom is on select days throughout the week and allows guests the opportunity to play in the park a full hour before it opens to the general public! This can be a great way to maximize your time when experiencing Magic Kingdom in one day.
The following attractions are open during Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom:
- Astro Orbiter
- The Barnstormer
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- “it's a small world”
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey's PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
Another option Disney offers Guests that you may want to take advantage of if one day at the Magic Kingdom is not quite enough is Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park. For an additional fee, a limited amount of Guests are able to enjoy an extra three hours at the park after the park closes to the general public! Select attractions and character meet-and-greets are available with little wait times!
If you are not staying onsite at the Resort and do not want to pay extra to extend your time at the park, then you still have the option of being in the park at rope drop. Simply put, guests are able to enter the park before the park “officially” opens and stroll Main Street only (some gift shops and food carts are open). There is no rope that is dropped, however, there are areas that are closed off that are not open until “official” opening time. Cast Members basically either move their make-shift barriers or simply step aside to let the crowd in once the park is officially open.
If you find yourself at rope drop, safely dash to popular attractions that may have a long wait time later on in the day. Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are two attractions in Fantasyland that are hugely popular and may be a great choice to head for once the rope drops! Plan to arrive one hour before the official opening time to allow plenty of time to make your way into the park.
6. Reserve Your Dining Options Ahead of Time
One thing is for certain on your visit to the Magic Kingdom in one day- you will need to eat. The Magic Kingdom offers many options for dining. Depending on what you are craving on your one-day adventure, know before you go! Do you want a nice table-service restaurant? Do you want to eat on the go? Well, the Magic Kingdom offers guests many options on how to dine. Counter-service restaurants, casual dining, fine/signature dining, character dining, buffet and family-style… the Magic Kingdom has it all.
To ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possibly, plan your dining around your trip around the park with your Fastpass+ times by reserving a restaurant (or researching casual restaurants) in the land that you are currently in around lunch and dinner time. A popular restaurant in Fantasyland is the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which is a table-service restaurant that requires reservations! Guests can start reserving dining 180 days before their trip.
If you are looking for a quicker, on-to-go option, well, that, too is an easy find at the Magic Kingdom. Order food, beverages, and snacks right from your My Disney Experience App on your smartphone to be picked up at the Mobile Order Pick Up window at select restaurants. This convenient option is a time-saving option for dining that allows you the flexibility to order your meal right from your smartphone, pay for the meal, and schedule when you want to pick it up.
Another dining option comes in the form of dining plans! When you book your vacation, decide if you want to take advantage of Disney’s dining plans! There are three awesome choices – Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan, or Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. Depending on how, when, and where you want to eat determines the plan you may choose. This option is great because you pay ahead for all meals and so when you are in the Park, all you have to do is select participating restaurants, order food, and go.
7. Use a MagicBand to Save You Time!
Another great way to move quicker through the Magic Kingdom is by using a MagicBand. MagicBands are a secure all-in-one device that can make your time in the Park run more efficiently and smoothly. Much like a bracelet, MagicBands allow you to carry all your information conveniently on your wrist. No more need to fumble with bags or your smartphone to find your admission tickets or Fastpass+ tickets!
If you are staying at one of the Disney Resort Hotels, you automatically receive a MagicBand with your vacation package. If you are not staying onsite or are not a Passholder, you can purchase a MagicBand online.
MagicBands are super convenient especially when seeing Magic Kingdom in one day. MagicBands, once linked to your My Disney Experience account, hold your entry tickets, Fastpass+ passes, dining reservations, and, if staying onsite at a Disney Resort Hotel, act as room keys or can be used as a way to purchase merchandise or food and have it charged back to your room.
8. Plan to Watch an Afternoon Parade
In the middle of the day is when burn-out is inevitable, so plan to sit for a while to enjoy a show or parade when accomplishing Magic Kingdom in one day.
One of the most popular shows that takes place right in front of Cinderella’s Castle is Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. The best thing about this show is that there are many shows throughout the day, so crowds are not as dense as they would be if there were just one show daily.
Also, you can squeeze in a show when is convenient for you. And parades are also a great time to take some time to rejuvenate so you are ready to make it through the night.
9. Prioritize Attractions, Entertainment, Character Experiences, and Dining
With over 40 attractions and rides, over 32 lively entertainment scheduled throughout the day, character experiences, and dining, the Magic Kingdom can be quite overwhelming. Narrow your choices by prioritizing what’s important to your family! Browse MickeyVist to learn what are the best shows, attractions and rides, and dining!
Here are just a few rides that you must experience when seeing Magic Kingdom in one day:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- “it’s a small world”
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Space Mountain
- Astro Orbiter
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Jungle Cruise
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- Haunted Mansion
10. Shop After Hours
Save shopping for last – especially since the shops on Main Street are open one hour after park closure!
Not only does this allow you more time in the park to play, but is also saves you the trouble of carrying heavy souvenir bags around with you throughout the entire day. Saving your shopping for the way out is a key way to enjoying Magic Kingdom in one day.
Plan Your Vacation to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth!
Get started now planning your Disney vacation! Subscribe to our FREE newsletter where you will find a world of 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:
- When to Visit Disney World and Disney World Crowd Calendar
- Walt Disney World Planning Guide: Experience More, Save Money at Disney
- Disney World Hotel Reviews: Pros + Cons of Every WDW Resort
- Discount Disney World Tickets Guide: Get Cheap WDW Tickets!
- Attraction Guide to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom