I think the Magic Kingdom is the most difficult park to decide how to get around. There are several different areas that are separated and jut out from the central hub. There are so many options for attractions, character meet and greets, dining, shows, parades, and of course, Wishes fireworks. Before I had children, I had the luxury of wandering through the park without really thinking about making anyone happy other than myself (and my husband, but back then he was really just along for the ride). These days, a successful trip means hitting the right attractions, characters and parades so that no one is disappointed or sad they missed something.
In planning my upcoming trip with my children, I got to thinking about the best way to get around the parks efficiently. A mistake I so often see made is jumping from one area of the park and back again, wasting so much time walking back and forth. I’ve already written about the importance of choosing the right Fastpass+ reservations to optimize your time, but how do you put that into the larger scale idea of where to be when? So I started working on touring plans that I thought would be the best way to get the most done, while also leaving time for unexpected, “magical” moments.
Since what you choose to do may vary depending on the age of your children, I’ve separated my touring plans into younger children and older children. These are meant to be a general guideline, not a hard and fast plan. This is just how I would organize my day if I only had one day to visit Magic Kingdom, which is usually all my family does anyway. These graphics are downloadable onto your smartphone, so feel free to save as a reference while in the parks!
Now, young children will most likely enjoy Fantasyland the most, so I’ve dedicated a large chunk of my day to this area of the park. If your little one needs a nap, by all means adjust for that! My youngest is just starting to drop his naps, so this next trip with him will be my first without heading back to the hotel for a couple of hours. But, sometimes, everyone needs a little break in the middle of the day to recharge!
With little ones, I suggest the following Fastpass+ reservations: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight and Princess Fairytale Hall. With those in place, start the day to the left of the hub, beginning in Adventureland. for Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. From there, travel clockwise to Frontierland and Liberty Square to ride Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Haunted Mansion. Then, take a break for lunch!
After lunch, head to Fantasyland to use your Fastpasses, and spend plenty of time checking out the rides, attractions, shows and character meet and greets available that are sure to please any little one. At 3, be sure to head over to the hub for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Find pictures, details and great viewing spots in this post.
After the parade, head over to Tomorrowland for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor (a family favorite!), Tomorrowland Speedway and Tomorrowland Transit Authority.
Be sure to save this graphic to your phone for quick reference!
Older children will likely want to spend less time in Fantasyland, but may be more interested in thrill rides. I suggest the following Fastpass+ reservations for this age group: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
After arriving at the park (preferably at Rope Drop), head straight to Fantasyland and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It may not be the most exciting ride, but it’s new, and very popular so get there first since we don’t have a FP+ for it. Make sure to get on Mad Tea Party as well, it’s a classic. If you need a quick breakfast, my favorite options are the gigantic cinnamon bun at Gaston’s Tavern and the Nutella waffle at the Sleepy Hollow. Go here to look at all my favorite quick service breakfasts in the parks.
From there, head clockwise to Tomorrowland and use your first Fastpass+ for Space Mountain. Then be sure to challenge each other on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and laugh yourselves silly at Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. After this, time for lunch! Casey’s on Main St is a favorite!
After lunch, head over to Adventureland where you should be able to ride Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Pirates of the Caribbean. Then, in Frontierland, use your remaining FP+ for Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and switch to Liberty Square for the classic Haunted Mansion.
Even older kids will enjoy the Festival of Fantasy Parade, so make a stop along the parade route to enjoy it for a little break. Once done, the rest of the day is open to enjoy other rides, shows, attractions, and dinner in the park until the grand finale, Wishes fireworks.
Now, just for fun, a touring plan for the princess-lover in your life. I’ve designed this touring plan with the thought of maximizing the number of princess meet-and-greets while minimizing the line waiting. For the Magic Kingdom, this means a pre-park opening breakfast reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table (2 dining credits) as well as lunch reservations at Be Our Guest. There are no characters at the lunch option at Be Our Guest, but dining in the Grand Ballroom is pretty amazing. Belle doesn’t meet here, but the Beast does for dinner. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, make that switch. Fastpass+ recommendations for this plan include Enchanted Tales with Belle and the left and right sides of Princess Fairytale Hall.
Beginning the day at Cinderella’s Royal Table will guarantee you at least 5 princesses before the park even opens. Cinderella is a given, and often in rotation are Snow White, Aurora, Belle (in her plain, blue dress), Ariel and Jasmine. After breakfast, hop onto the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to beat the crowds, ride the Mad Tea Party (just to make sure you get the delicious breakfast all shook up in your belly) and then head around the front of the castle for a meet and greet with Merida.
Next, use your first Fastpass+ for Enchanted Tales with Belle (no official meet and greet here, but being a part of the show allows for great photo opportunities!). Then Journey of the Little Mermaid and the meet and greet in Ariel’s grotto to visit with Ariel in her mermaid form.
Next up is Be Our Guest for lunch (or another option if you’d decided on dinner instead). After lunch, head into Adventureland for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Jungle Cruise, Jasmine and Aladdin and Tiana in Liberty Square.
For the rest of your princess lovin’ day, use your princess fastpasses to catch any princesses that weren’t at your breakfast. The current configuration is up in the air, but it seems as though the four princesses will be Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora and Rapunzel. Then, enjoy the rest of your day. Maybe look out for Gaston or the Tremaine family – always a great time!
By the end of the day, the only official princesses you will not have met will be Pocahontas (found in Animal Kingdom), Mulan (the China pavillion in Epcot) and Anna & Elsa (Norway pavillion in Epcot). Not bad for one day!
I hope this helps you to plan out you day in the Magic Kingdom!