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.
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.
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
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 (email@example.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!"
Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide