Our Guide to The Magic Kingdom for Beginners is an essential guide to The Magic Kingdom for first-time visitors & experienced travelers. Find out everything about the Magic Kingdom to help plan a fantastic Disney World Vacation. Our Guide to The Magic Kingdom has been updated with all the latest planning information for 2023.
Jump Right Into Our Guide to The Magic Kingdom
A lot changed when the Magic Kingdom reopened in July 2020. Many of our regular tips and tricks on planning your Walt Disney World Vacation were no longer valid and still aren’t. However, one thing that has not changed is the need to plan your day at the Magic Kingdom.
We have updated this guide with all the latest information for 2023. If there is specific information you are looking for, these jumps will help you find the information.
- Magic Kingdom Basics the history of the Magic Kingdom and some fascinating facts
- Planning Your Visit to The Magic Kingdom All the Essential Knowledge to plan a great vacation.
- Useful Information when visiting the Magic Kingdom If you have a question about the Magic Kingdom, you will probably find the answer here.
- Top Tips, Mistakes & Must-Do Attractions at The Magic Kingdom
- The Lands at the Magic Kingdom Learn all about the six lands in The Magic Kingdom. Information on all attractions and dining options. Plus, if you want to go straight to a specific land, click these links:
- Main Street, USA
- Liberty Square
- Parades and Entertainment at The Magic Kingdom, all about the fantastic parades & shows you can see at The Magic Kingdom.
- Special Events & Festivities at The Magic Kingdom, Including information on Christmas and Halloween parties at The Magic Kingdom.
- Magic Kingdom News & Rumors all the latest news and rumors at The Magic Kingdom
- Read More other Walt Disney World planning tips from Modern Life is Good.
Magic Kingdom Basics
Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney… and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney’s dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place … a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together.Roy O. Disney, October 25, 1971
The Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open in Walt Disney World on the 1st of October 1971. Today it is the most popular theme park in the World. It often attracts large crowds and has a maximum capacity of 100,000, currently reduced, often reached on Major National Holidays.
The park’s icon is the blue & gold turreted Cinderella Castle, which rises 189 feet above the park’s 142 acres. Despite its appearance, there isn’t a single brick in the castle, with the whole structure made of fiberglass.
Magic Kingdom’s layout and attractions are based on Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Although Walt Disney was heavily involved in the planning for Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom did not open until after his death.
On opening, there were 23 attractions in The Magic Kingdom, several of which are still open today. The newest attraction is TRON Lightcycle / Run, which opened in April 2023.
As the World’s Busiest Theme Park, The Magic Kingdom has many historical and interesting statistics, e.g., did you know that Prince Charming Regal Carousel was built in 1917? You can find some of our
Planning Your Visit to The Magic Kingdom
On March 16th, 2020, the Magic Kingdom closed due to COVID-19 Pandemic. The resort reopened in the summer of 2020 with significant changes to the guest experience. In 2023, the resort will be in regular operation, or at least the new normal.
To experience the Magic Kingdom, you should spend time planning your experience. Most guests will need at least two days to experience the full park. Not having a plan could mean you miss your top attractions.
Traditional key booking windows at Walt Disney World, including how you make dining reservations, have changed in recent years. We will guide you through all the Essential Magic Kingdom knowledge you need to enjoy your vacation.
Magic Kingdom Park Hours
Park hours are published about six months in advance. However, they often get extended as you come closer to the actual date! Click the link to get all the latest Walt Disney World Park Hours.
The Magic Kingdom is constantly changing, and it is almost inevitable there will be some refurbishments and closures whenever you visit. Check My Disney Experience for the latest information.
Disney Park Pass Reservation System
Just turning up at the Magic Kingdom is no longer possible. A new park reservation system is in place. Disney introduced Disney Park Pass during the reopening of Walt Disney World. Guests must present their park reservation and a valid park ticket to access their first park daily. Guests who do not have either will be refused entry, including if they have a dining reservation.
It is important to book early as the Magic Kingdom does tend to be the park most likely to run out of Park Pass Reservations.
To learn more about the Disney Park Pass System, visit our dedicated Guide.
Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit more than one park at Walt Disney World daily.
Guests still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for their first park each day, and they must enter this park before trying to enter another. Guests can then enter a second park during Park Hopper Hours.
Visit our Guide to Park Hopping to learn more.
Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours.
Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours are a great benefit for onsite guests; both are available at the Magic Kingdom.
Early Theme Park Entry started in 2021 and replaced Extra Magic Hours. All Walt Disney World Resort guests, and other select hotels, can gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park each day. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Hours are only available for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Guests staying at one of these resorts can enjoy extended evening hours in the Magic Kingdom on select nights. A valid Disney Park Pass is also essential for guests taking advantage of Extended Evening Hours. However, guests may visit with a Park Hopper option as long as the park where they made their reservation has been visited earlier in the day.
Extended evening hours are typically held at Magic Kingdom park on Wednesdays.
Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes.
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+. Purchasing Disney Genie+ allows you to book reservations for the Lightning Lane at select attractions in the Magic Kingdom. The Lightning lane will enable you to join a shorter line than the regular standby line.
If you are on a short vacation, you might wish to purchase it every day, but it probably isn’t necessary for more extended vacations. Many attractions included with Disney Genie+ do not have long waits, and Lightning Lane isn’t required.
Some of the most popular attractions at the Magic Kingdom are unavailable on Disney Genie+. An individual fee of up to $25 is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions.
The list of rides has changed several times since the introduction of Individual Lightning Lanes, but the current attractions in the Magic Kingdom are:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- TRON Lightcycle Run
Visit our guide to learn more about Individual Lightning Lanes.
The Virtual Line
There is no standby line for TRON Lightcycle / Run, and guests must reserve their place using a Virtual Line via My Disney Experience.
Guests must have valid admission and a theme park reservation to join the virtual queue. There will be two daily opportunities to request to join the virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle / Run:
- 7:00 AM (Guests do not need to be in the park when they join, but must have a theme park reservation for Magic Kingdom park)
- 1:00 PM (Guests must be in Magic Kingdom park to join the virtual queue)
An additional opportunity to request to join the virtual queue will be available at 6:00 PM during extended evening theme park hours.
You will be notified on the phone when it is your turn to board. Unfortunately, a Virtual Line reservation does not guarantee you can board.
Are the kids tall enough to ride?
Before planning, attractions ensure everyone who wants to is big enough to ride. Disney enforces height limits rigidly. If the kids are not big enough to ride, ensure they know beforehand. The following attractions at the Magic Kingdom have height restrictions:
- Tomorrowland Speedway 32″ of 54″ to drive
- The Barnstormer 35″
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 38″
- Big Thunder Mountain 40″
- Splash Mountain 40″
- Space Mountain 44″
- TRON Lightcycle 48″
However, if the kids are too small, it does not mean older children and adults can’t ride. Visit our Guide to Rider Switch for more information.
Park Wi-Fi and My Disney Experience.
Online access is essential when visiting Walt Disney World. Don’t even consider entering the Magic Kingdom in 2023 without access to Wi-Fi.
Having access to WiFi allows you to access My Disney Experience. My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World that allows guests to plan their vacations. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations, including those of your family & friends.
- Make Disney Genie, Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Order in advance food at select Quick Service Locations. Mobile Ordering is a great time saver.
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and essential information via the app.
- Check on all the latest resort changes, including any closed attractions.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile devices before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location services and notifications enabled.
Alcohol at the Magic Kingdom
Traditionally alcohol was forbidden in the Magic Kingdom. In 2012 Be Our Guest became the first venue in the Magic Kingdom to sell alcohol, but all other restaurants remained dry. Since then, all table service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom have started selling a small amount of alcohol.
Dining at The Magic Kingdom
While it might be the busiest and possibly best theme park in the World, The Magic Kingdom is not known for its outstanding culinary options. In our opinion, The Magic Kingdom probably offers the worse dining options at all four Walt Disney World parks. While you will not go hungry, you will unlikely experience a sensational meal.
There is a selection of quick service, table service & signature locations at the Magic Kingdom. There are also various food carts serving a wide range of snacks. Table Service locations at the Magic Kingdom fill up fast & you should arrange an Advanced Dining Reservation prior to your visit. Dining reservations open 60 days before your visit.
All venues cater to common food allergies, but we have noticed a reduction in the number of choices offered.
To learn more about Dining at Disney World, visit our guide.
Meeting Characters at The Magic Kingdom
Many of us will spend time meeting characters while in the Magic Kingdom, and those with children will likely spend considerable time doing so. Characters are now back at the Magic Kingdom and supplying hugs and autographs.
The Magic Kingdom is home to many of the classic Disney Characters. You will likely meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Aladdin, Tinkerbell, Ariel, Cinderella, and many more in the Magic Kingdom. Meet and greets vary throughout the year, and rare characters appear at both Halloween & Christmas parties.
Information on what characters are meeting is available on the My Disney Experience App. Remember, if you don’t want to wait for characters, there are other ways to see many of your favorites, including watching parades. Also, if you buy Disney Genie+, the Lightning Lane is available for some characters.
Our How To Find Characters in Walt Disney World Guide has further information, including top character spotting tips.
Character Meals at The Magic Kingdom
In the Magic Kingdom, there are 2 Character Meals that offer a great opportunity to meet your idols:
- Crystal Palace buffet meal with Winnie the Pooh and friends.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table is set upstairs inside Cinderella Castle. Characters vary, but you can expect to meet Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora & Snow White.
In addition, although not strictly a character meal, the Beast meets guests after dinner at Be Our Guest.
Our Guide to Character Meals at Walt Disney World has further information.
Visiting with Disabilities at The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom provides extensive facilities for all disabilities, including visual, auditory, mobility & cognitive disabilities. Guests can contact Walt Disney World at (407) 560-2547 or email@example.com before their visit to discuss requirements.
Our Guide to Disabilities at the Walt Disney World has plenty of useful information.
After your initial research, you will want to write down your vacation plans. Our Free Walt Disney World Planners are a great resource to help create a perfect Walt Disney World Vacation Plan.
Our Planners include new sections for the latest changes at Walt Disney World, including Disney Genie+ and Early Morning Magic. Our Free 2023 Walt Disney World Planners will ensure you miss nothing out on your vacation plans.
We have redesigned these planners for 2023; make sure you download this free resource.
Useful Information when visiting the Magic Kingdom
Sometimes it is difficult to find the answers to all your questions before visiting the Magic Kingdom. We have created a section on Modern Life Is Good that answers many of these questions about the Magic Kingdom.
If you have a specific Magic Kingdom question, the following links will take you straight to the advice:
- Guest Relations at The Magic Kingdom
- Available to Hire at The Magic Kingdom
- Disabilities at The Magic Kingdom
- Accessing the Internet
- Lost & Found at the Magic Kingdom
- Smoking at the Magic Kingdom
- Charging your Mobile Phone at the Magic Kingdom
- Baby Care Center at The Magic Kingdom
- Locker Hire at The Magic Kingdom
- Payment for Goods & ATMs at The Magic Kingdom
- Pregnant at the Magic Kingdom
- What you should pack in your Park Bag
- Magic Kingdom Tours
- Translation Services at the Magic Kingdom
In addition, you might find our Walt Disney World Useful Information Guide has the answer if it isn’t here.
Top Tips, Mistakes & Must-Do Attractions at The Magic Kingdom
Anybody who has ever visited The Magic Kingdom will have a list of Tips & Tricks for a future visit. Here is a selection of ours which we have learned on previous visits.
The TopMagic Kingdom Hacks for 2023
- Our Magic Kingdom Mistakes to avoid when on vacation
- Our Magic Kingdom Must-Do Attractions
- If time is tight, these are attractions we would consider skipping.
- We have previously considered what we love and what we hate at the Magic Kingdom
The Lands at The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is split into six themed lands. Previously there was a 7th land called Mickey’s Toontown Fair which merged into New Fantasyland during the 2012 expansions.
The Walt Disney World Railroad circles around the entire 1.5-mile perimeter of the park and will make stops at Main Street, Frontierland, and Fantasyland.
Main Street, USA
Main Street USA is the first land you enter once heading through the gates of the Magic Kingdom. It is based on an early 20th-century small American town. The street is lined with shops selling merchandise and food. Most guest service facilities are located on Main Street.
You can meet various characters on Main Street, but the most famous is Mickey Mouse.
On occasions, period transportation is available to take guests along Main Street to the Central Plaza. Main Street forms part of the parade route at The Magic Kingdom. The circular area around Central Plaza is one of the most popular spots to watch parades and fireworks. The Central Plaza spokes out to the other lands of The Magic Kingdom.
The following dining locations are on Main Street
- Casey’s Corner serves hot dogs and fries.
- Crystal Palace has a character buffet with Winnie the Pooh & Friends, serving breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Main Street Bakery featuring Starbucks Coffee
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Plaza Restaurant table service sandwiches.
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant seems universally disliked, but I previously quite liked it.
Frontierland is the home to the American Old West of the 19th century. It forms part of the parade route, and often quieter spots are found here to watch, compared to Main Street, USA.
The Current attractions in Frontierland are
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad a mine-train wild roller coaster. Make sure you ride it in the dark when it becomes a sensational dark ride.
- Country Bear Jamboree a stage show with audio-animatronic figures. A sort of Disney Classic but really only serves as a place to get out of the heat or have a mid-afternoon nap.
- Tom Sawyer Island You take a journey by log raft to embark on a self-guided expedition into the heart of early America.
- Walt Disney World Railroad
Splash Mountain has recently closed and will reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in late 2024.
Restaurant and refreshment stops at Frontierland include:
- Diamond Horseshoe opens seasonally, serving the same food at Liberty Tree Tavern.
- Golden Oak Outpost chicken nuggets
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café Mexican inspired counter service
- Westward Ho
- Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn food stand is located on Tom Sawyer Island
Themed after colonial America, Liberty Square is found in no other Disneyland Theme Park. Replicas of both the Liberty Bell and Liberty Tree are located in Liberty Square. Liberty Square is the smallest land in the Magic Kingdom.
Liberty Square is the only land in the Magic Kingdom not to have had a major refurbishment since the park opened. All the opening-day attractions still exist in Liberty Square.
Current attractions are:
- The Hall of Presidents a stage presentation of all the presidents in Audio-Animatronic form.
- Haunted Mansion classic Haunted House ride. Do not think this is the same haunted house you get at a traveling fair. The attraction is very impressive and should not be missed.
- Liberty Square Riverboat We recommend you take a little time out and ride the Liberty Square Riverboat.
The following dining locations are located in Liberty Square
- Columbia Harbour House serving fish and chicken. In our opinion, this is one of the best quick-service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom.
- Liberty Tree Tavern family-style Thanksgiving-themed meal. Plenty of food but not necessarily the best quality in Walt Disney World.
- Sleepy Hollow
Adventureland is part tropical island and part jungle. It is divided into two sub-areas, the Arabian Village and the Caribbean Plaza.
Current attractions are:
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is another Disney Classic that offers an excuse to escape the heat. The attraction was originally featured in Disneyland and was an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World.
- Jungle Cruise is a commentated (mildly) humorous riverboat ride past audio-animatronic animals. A Disney classic attraction that is very popular. Perhaps surprisingly, this ride is better in the dark.
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin is similar to Dumbo, but you ride a carpet & might get wet. U
- Pirates of the Caribbean, the ride the film is based on, is now based on the film!…. Confused? Jack wasn’t in the original attraction, but he is now.
- Swiss Family Treehouse climbing and exploring. Kids love this, and it is very clever. A really good option when the park is crowded.
Dining options include
- Aloha Isle Refreshments serving the legendary Dole Whips.
- Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen is based on the Jungle Cruise; this restaurant is a Modern Life is Good Favorite.
- Sunshine Tree Terrace serving citrus swirl
- Tortuga Tavern
If one land signifies what people think of when they think of Walt Disney World, it is likely it is Fantasyland.
The area went through a massive expansion between 2012 and 2014, including adding new attractions. In the past, many visitors to Fantasyland may have left a little disappointed, but now it reaches the levels of dreams.
- Ariel’s Grotto is a meet and greet with Ariel as a mermaid.
- Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, a new dark ride built during the expansion, is becoming a favorite. Perhaps the best dark ride in Disney World.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle guest participation and tales with Belle. Not a personal Favourite, but kids do enjoy it.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a great little roller coaster with realistic audio-animatronics. Get an Individual Lightning Lane, or be ready for a very long wait.
- Mad Hatters Tea Party classical waltzer-type ride. You will find that Alice and Mad Hatter often ride the last ride of the day!
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a dark ride that some small children might find a little frightening. However, most guests will find it harmless bouncy fun.
- The Barnstormer is a short children’s roller coaster. It is a great introduction to coasters for small children, but it is quicker than expected.
- Casey Jr, Splash ‘N’ Soak Station a fun wet zone for younger children.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant now with two carousels. Waits are much less than in the past. Is this ride the ultimate Walt Disney World Classic?
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow allows you to meet popular Disney Characters.
- Walt Disney World Railroad joins the fantastic railroad in Fantasyland.
- It’s a Small World, the annoying tune that will not leave your head but is still a Disney classic. The first incarnation of It’s a Small World debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic 4D movie.
- Peter Pan’s Flight is a very popular dark ride that attracts very long waits.
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is a classic, beautiful carousel.
- Princess Fairytale Hall
is your opportunity to meeta Disney Princess or 2.
Dining in Fantasyland, the Magic Kingdom
Dining and refreshment options in Fantasyland include:
- Be Our Guest Restaurant
- Cheshire Café
- Cinderella’s Royal Table a signature Character meal.
- Friar’s Nook chicken nuggets & hotdogs
- Gaston’s Tavern
- Pinocchio Village Haus chicken parmesan sandwich, flatbread pizzas, and pasta dishes
- Prince Eric’s Village Market
- Storybook Treats Brilliant treats here!
- Big Top Souvenirs My favorite treats at Walt Disney World, but not as good as it used to be!
Tomorrowland is a 1950s vision of the future. The vision now looks odd, but Tomorrowland still has some interesting attractions.
- Astro Orbiter is a shuttle faster version of Dumbo.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is popular with all Space cadets. I am now officially a Galactic Hero!
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor interactive cartoon comedy. Very clever this attraction & rarely attracts a lengthy wait.
- Space Mountain is a classic dark roller coaster. It is pretty fast. It attracts very long waits.
- Tomorrowland Speedway ride race-cars. Despite its age, it is still a fun experience. The track has recently been shortened.
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover train ride above Tomorrowland. See Walt Disney’s original vision for EPCOT as you ride this attraction.
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress includes a catchy theme tune, a look back at 20th-century history, and Walt Disney designed the attraction himself. What is there not to like? Plus, it is cool when it is hot outside.
- TRON Lightcycle / Run is the big new, fast coater opening for Summer 2023. This is going to be the most popular attraction in the park.
Dining and refreshment options at Tomorrowland are
- Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
- Cool Ship
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is perhaps the worst place to eat in Walt Disney World. It really is awful!
- The Lunching Pad at Rockettower Plaza
- Tomorrowland Terrace Cafe is a seasonal restaurant that opens when the park is busy. It is also the venue for the Magic Kingdom Dessert Parties.
Parades and Entertainment at The Magic Kingdom
What makes the Magic Kingdom stand out compared to your average theme park is the number of additional shows and acts you might see. However, the number of offerings has reduced since the resort reopened.
The entertainment starts each morning at the Magic Kingdom with the Let the Magic Begin welcome show, which features Mickey and the Gang.
Main Street USA is always a hive of activities, and you may encounter various entertainment during your visit. There are regular shows on the Castle Stage. Currently, the show is Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire.
The current Main Street parade is the Festival of Fantasy, usually at 3 pm. On bust days the parade is shown twice. Festival of Fantasy is a beautiful parade and should not be missed. Characters occasionally change, but you may see up to 40 of your favorites in the parade. Familiar characters include Mickey, Minnie, Anna, Elsa, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, The Seven Dwarves, Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, and Jiminy Cricket.
A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas is an interactive treasure hunt throughout Adventureland. You can collect details on how to participate in the Crows Nest.
Happily Ever After returns to the park in 2023, replacing Disney Enchantment. This firework show has been updated and was previously very popular. Make sure you check the My Disney Experience App for showtime.
Special Events & Festivities at The Magic Kingdom
Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom
Disney After Hours runs on select dates throughout the year. These hard-ticket events, which are not cheap, allow you to experience the park for 3 hours after regular closure. You are promised little to no wait for attractions, unique experiences, and character greetings. Ice cream, popcorn, and select beverages are also included in your admission.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an annual event with limited tickets and special entertainment, including fireworks, rare characters, and spooky overlays of certain attractions. Unlike Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, this is a family party.
Christmas at The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is transformed at Christmas with spectacular decorations and 2023 will be no different. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard ticket annual event on Select Nights between November and December.
Highlights of the party include fireworks, the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, snowfall on Main Street, exclusive entertainment & characters, and unlimited cookies & hot chocolate.
News & Rumors The Magic Kingdom
The world’s busiest theme park never stays still for long.
In 2023 we welcomed Tron Lightcycle Run, the hottest coaster in Orlando. In 2024, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open on the site of Splash Mountain.
At Modern Life is Good, we keep you updated with all the latest news from Walt Disney World, including the Magic Kingdom. Visit our Walt Disney World News Section for all the latest information on The Magic Kingdom.
Read More Walt Disney World Tips
To learn more about Walt Disney World, visit our 2023 Guide to Walt Disney World.
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