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Brian Bennett

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Touring the Magic Kingdom


The Magic Kingdom (MK) is a wonderful collection of adventure, heritage, fantasy, and science fiction.

Special Ticketed Events at the MK

Don't miss Night of Joy, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party if you're at WDW when these events are held.  They all require a separate admission for the evening of the event, but are a very special time and well-worth the additional cost!

E-Ride Nights are another popular event, that is held throughout the year.  You may want to take advantage of E-Ride Nights, too, if you'd like to enjoy a few hours of park time with a very limited number of guests.

Park Layout

The grand entryway into the Magic Kingdom is through Main Street USA.  Like the parlor of an 1890's home, the town square greets you, makes you feel welcome and comfortable, then sends you on your way to the various lands of the park.  Main Street has several shops and restaurants that you may wish to visit, as well as the first of several railroad stations that you'll come across in the park (the railroad runs around the park and can be handy for a quick ride back to the park entrance if you use it strategically.)

At the North end of Main Street is a circular plaza.  Fanning out from the plaza (beginning at left) is Adventureland, Frontierland (and Liberty Square), Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland.  Mickey's Toontown Fair is another land that is nestled between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland...you can't get to the Fair from Main Street without walking through one of the other lands.

Touring Suggestions

  • My first and strongest advice is to enjoy the "E-ticket" rides very early or very late. Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Alien Encounter, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean have much shorter lines first thing in the morning and later at night (on those days when the park is open late). The Legend of the Lion King is another very popular attraction right now. Catch that one early, too, if you can.  (Incidentally, the term "E-ticket" comes from the old practice at Disneyland when tickets for individual attractions were sold in a book. When you bought your tickets, you were given an assortment of A, B, C, D, and E tickets. "A-Tickets" could be used on the lesser attractions such as the storybookland rides. "B-", "C-", and "D-Tickets" could be used for gradually better rides. The best rides, like the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pirates of the Caribbean, and so on required "E-tickets"...thus, a term was introduced into the American lexicon.)

  • Many of the lesser attractions form lines immediately after the park opens just because they have a limited load capacity. The Teacups, Dumbo, Astro Orbiter, and Skyway are examples of this phenomenon. If you have kids, prepare to wait for these. If you don't have kids, catch them very early or skip them altogether.

  • Except for these observations, I also suggest that you start in Adventureland and work counter-clockwise around the plaza hitting the rides you're interested in as you go. That will minimize crossing your paths as you tour the park. A piece of park trivia is that the walkways into Tomorrowland are significantly wider than those going into Adventureland (check it out next time you're in the park). The reason is that most people are right-handed, and so they tend to automatically move right when given a choice. By the time that the Magic Kingdom was designed, that lesson had already been learned at Disneyland, so the walkways were designed asymmetrically. If you go left early in the morning, you'll be amazed at the lack of crowds as you stroll through Adventureland. One drawback to this strategy, is that Disney sometimes opens some of the Adventureland attractions later in the morning since they can't run anywhere near capacity until enough guests migrate into the area. Pirates of the Caribbean, though, is usually a walk on at this point of the day.

  • In a non-busy time of year, a couple or three mornings will easily cover the entire park.

The Magic Kingdom Says "Goodnight," with a Kiss...

Anne Campbell (annebcampbell@yahoo.com) told me about the Magic Kingdom's "good night kiss":

"Oh, it's fabulous. About a half-hour after official Magic Kingdom closing, the castle starts to change colors quickly and to sparkle with "pixie dust." They play "When You Wish Upon a Star" and a little message about the purpose of the Magic Kingdom. It's a wonderful ending to the day. I highly recommend sticking around to see it!"

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