Planning a Day at the Magic Kingdom

Planning a Trip ⇒ Planning a Day at the Magic Kingdom

This guide to spending a Day at Epcot assumes that you plan on spending the entire day at the park.

The first thing to do when planning your day at Epcot is to select your Fastpasses.  I would suggest making the following Fastpasses:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (10 am)
  • Big Thunder Mountain (11 am)
  • Splash Mountain (noon)

A good Fastpass strategy for the Magic Kingdom is getting the headlining attractions for late morning and early afternoon.  This gives you a chance to hit some attractions when the park first opens and is at its least crowded without wasting a Fastpass.  This strategy also gives you the ability to use your Fastpasses early enough in the day to try for a fourth and possibly fifth Fastpass.

Ice Cream Parlor - Donut Sundae

Main Street at the Magic Kingdom opens about an hour before The Magic Kingdom’s opening time.  Guests are allowed onto Main Street where they are held by Cinderella Castle for rope drop and the Welcome Show.  Breakfast is available during this time at the Main Street Bakery, Ice Cream Parlor, and Casey’s Corner.  This is a great time to have breakfast before the park opens and a great alternative to having breakfast at your hotel.

If you’re interested in a character breakfast, you might want to make a breakfast reservation at the Crystal Palace or Cinderella’s Royal Table before the park opens.  This is a great way to meet some characters before the park even opens, and if you choose Cinderella’s Royal Table, it puts you closer to Fantasyland than those waiting for the rope drop in the hub.  Just make sure your reservation is early enough that you’ll be out of the restaurant by the time the park opens.

Peter Pan's Flight - Captain Hook

Once the park officially opens your first destination is going to be Fantasyland.  This is an excellent place to start because the attractions here are short in duration and located close together, so you can get a lot done in a short amount of time.  Ride Peter Pan’s Flight first because the lines will grow here the fastest.  Keep making your way through Fantasyland (you can save Mickey’s Philharmagic for later) until it’s time for your Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass.

Next make your way towards Frontierland, stopping at the Haunted Mansion if the line isn’t too long.  Once you get into Frontierland, it’s time for your next Fastpass, Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.  Try to time it out that you’re riding Big Thunder Mountain at the end of the Fastpass window so that you can ride Splash Mountain right after.  This will save you some time in backtracking because these two attractions are right next to each other.

Splash Mountain - Brer Bear and Brer Fox

After hitting the two Frontierland mountains, it should be around lunchtime.  Pecos Bill’s Inn and Cafe in Frontierland is a great place to stop for lunch located in Frontierland.  They serve Mexican food in pretty large portions, and they’ve also got a great topping bar.  Now that you’ve used all of your Fastpasses this is also a good time to check the Disney Parks App to see what your options are for a fourth Fastpass.  I’d suggest trying for Jungle Cruise or Pirates of the Caribbean.  Space Mountain would also be a good choice for a Fastpass, but it’s less likely that one will be available.

Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise would be good options for right after lunch if you weren’t able to get a Fastpass.  They’re right near Pecos Bill’s, making them a convenient next stop.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dog

After this, the rest of the day is really up to you.  Up until this point you should have already hit most of the major attractions in the park.  The afternoon is a good time to get out of the sun and rest your feet with some shows.  The Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Mickey’s Philharmagic will all fit the bill.  During the afternoon the Magic Kingdom is at it’s busiest, but the longest you should have to wait for a show should be the duration of the previous show.

You could also spend some of your afternoon time meeting characters around the park.  There are many of them located indoors if it’s a hot day.  The Festival of Fantasy Parade also takes place each afternoon at the Magic Kingdom through Frontierland and Main Street.  I’d start looking for a space to sit about 45 to 30 minutes before the parade begins.

Festival of Fantasy - Tinkerbell

The Magic Kingdom doesn’t have the largest selection of Table Service restaurant for dinner, so you should plan ahead when making your reservations.  I would suggest Be Our Guest, but as a last-minute choice, the Jungle Skipper Canteen and Plaza Restaurant make good choices as well.

A day at the Magic Kingdom is perfectly capped off by the nightly fireworks show, Happily Ever After.  Don’t mistake the fireworks used throughout Once Upon a Time projection show as the full fireworks, show.

Happily Ever After - Go the Distance

The attractions in all of the Disney Parks will allow you to get into the queue up until park closing.  As long as you’re in the line by the time the park closes you’re guaranteed to ride the attraction.  This is a great time to ride Space Mountain if you haven’t already.  The lines for all of the attractions in the parks should be pretty short in the half hour before the parks closes.

In reality, getting everything done in the Magic Kingdom in one day is very ambitious. It’s better to split everything in the Magic Kingdom over two days. Just follow the same principals laid out above of hitting the headliners in the morning and with Fastpasses and saving the indoor shows and character meet and greets for the afternoon.

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