Exploring All the Magic of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in One Day: Our Quick Guide for a Successful One-Day Adventure!

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 KingdomMagic Kingdom flower shot in front of Cinderella Castle

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.

Spend some time on the Magic Kingdom’s website where you will find everything you need to know about each attractions, entertainment schedules, character experiences, dining, and much more!

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 AppMy Experience 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 Genie+.

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. Learn How to Use Genie+Image result for magic kingdom attractions

Disney Genie+ is a new paid FastPass style service that has replaced the previous FastPass+ system that allows guests to make reservations for over 40 attractions across all four theme parks on the same day that they are visiting the resort.

The new Disney Genie+ costs $15 per day per person at Walt Disney World. This is actually $5 less per day per person than the Disney Genie+ service at Disneyland.

If you want to book any of the Disney Genie+ Individual Lightning Lanes this will be an additional cost per person, per attraction.

4. Pick a Day with Longer Park HoursCinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

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 EarlyEmpty park at Walt Disney World

Guests staying at Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels will also be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. These hours usually begin at park close and vary between parks and dates in (usually) two hour time blocks. You can find the schedule for Extended Evening hours on the Walt Disney World website. 

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 TimeIndoor dining hall

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.

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.

7. Use a MagicBand to Save You Time!Guests using Magic Bands

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 Genie+ access!

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, Genie+ 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 ParadeCinderella's Castle with the fab five in front of it

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:

Fantasyland

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Tomorrowland

  • Space Mountain
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Tomorrowland Speedway

Frontierland

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Splash Mountain

Adventureland

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Liberty Square

  • Haunted Mansion

10. Shop After HoursMagic Kingdom shopping

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.

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Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Kim Schultz

Kim has her Bachelor's Degree in English Literature with a minor in Technical and Professional Writing from San Francisco State University. She received her editing certificate from University of Berkeley Extension and won numerous awards for fiction writing from the San Mateo County Fair Literary Stage.

One thing she loves most in life besides family and writing is Disneyland! Kim and her family are season pass holders and travel to Disneyland numerous times a year (between 10-15 times to be exact!).

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