Our 1-day Magic Kingdom touring plan offers a step by step itinerary for an ideal visit to Walt Disney World, with strategy for attractions to minimize time in line, maximize efficiency, and avoid crowds. These are the attractions we’d ride, the restaurants at which we’d dine, and the quiet moments we would stop to enjoy. (Updated October 20, 2019.)
While efficiency is a big goal, this Magic Kingdom itinerary focuses on both doing as many rides as possible while still enjoying the Disney ambiance and details that make Magic Kingdom the most popular theme park in the world. Our Magic Kingdom itinerary is somewhat subjective in that it covers our favorite things to do during our “perfect day.” This Magic Kingdom touring plan is optimized and ordered so that your waits in line are minimized, and certain things are timed for the best experience…
To accomplish this in a single day, some (less popular) attractions and shows are skipped. (Sorry, Magic Carpets of Aladdin! Actually…not sorry.) For our ride ratings and reviews of every attraction, read our comprehensive Best Magic Kingdom Attractions & Ride Guide post. For something more comprehensive to plan every aspect of your vacation, from where to purchase discount tickets to when to visit and more, read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide…
FastPass+ throws a monkey wrench into this 1-day Magic Kingdom touring plan because not every guest is going to have access to all FastPass+ selections based upon when they make their ride reservations. You need FastPass+ if you want to see as much as possible in Magic Kingdom.
Our picks for the “objective” best FastPass+ choices are Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Other good options include Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. For more FastPass+ tips, read our Guide to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.
Once you wake up from wherever it is that you are sleeping (if Magic Kingdom is your “most important” park at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the best hotel pick because it’s a 10 minute walk to the Magic Kingdom), here’s what to do during our ideal day in Magic Kingdom…
Early Morning Attractions: Fantasyland – We know a bunch of stuff from Fantasyland is listed as the FastPass+ best picks, but those were the ‘objective’ best picks. Just like at Disneyland, we like starting the day in Fantasyland and knocking out short duration attractions all nearby one another that develop long lines later.
Hitting Peter Pan’s Flight, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid can allow you to save those FastPass+ selections for the Magic Kingdom Mountain Range attractions, which are located throughout the park. If Enchanted Tales with Belle doesn’t have too long of a line once you finish everything else, it may be a good time to do that, too.
First Round of FastPass+ – At this point, you’ll want to start redeeming your FastPass+, hopefully for the attractions we recommended earlier in the post. We highly recommend booking your first “round” of FastPass+ from 10-11 a.m., 11-noon, and noon-1 p.m.. This means you can book more FastPass+ earlier in the day, which is a good idea.
Late Morning Attractions: Disney Classics – Late morning is a good time for Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. Then, head to Haunted Mansion and ‘it’s a small world’ before heading to lunch. It’s probably excessive to schedule a restroom break on the itinerary, but the Tangled Toilets by ‘it’s a small world’ are one of the best restrooms at Walt Disney World (yes, we actually ranked them!).
Lunch: Be Our Guest Restaurant – Be Our Guest Restaurant (read our full review) is still so popular that it’s tough to book for the table service dinner, but the good news is that you can grab a counter service lunch here.
The theming and attention to detail are great here and the food is ambitious for a restaurant in the Magic Kingdom (let alone in New Fantasyland), with several solid individual menu items. Make sure to check out the West Wing!
Magic Kingdom Masterpiece Theater – The middle of the afternoon is when any Disney theme park has its longest lines, so take an AC break with these life-changing (in a good way) shows that are just too awesome for the general public to comprehend.
Start with Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room or Hall of Presidents (or both!), and then continue to Mickey’s PhilharMagic in Fantasyland. You’ll also want to hit your second round of FastPass+ attractions now, if you make additional selections.
Our top recommendation here would be the Peter Pan Float at Storybook Treats. If you did the ‘Masterpieces’ out of order and are in Liberty Square or Adventureland, the good news is that there are wonderful snacks in both of those lands, too. (Including the Dole Whip and Citrus Swirl, which are beloved among Walt Disney World fans!)
Festival of Fantasy Parade – From Fantasyland, head towards Cinderella Castle and up towards the front of the park for Magic Kingdom’s flagship daytime parade, Festival of Fantasy.
This is not to be missed, and we recommend grabbing a spot on Main Street, ideally on the right side of the street (if you’re facing Cinderella Castle). Near Plaza Ice Cream Parlor is a good location that’ll allow you to make a quick getaway (and not get caught in crowds) once Festival of Fantasy is over.
Masterpiece Theater Part 2: Afternoon AC – After Festival of Fantasy, head over to Tomorrowland to enjoy Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, which is a stage show chronicling innovations of the 20th century. This should be a nice respite from the heat after watching the parade.
Following that, consider a spin on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (you can wait until nighttime for this, if you want). After that, head to Frontierland to enjoy Country Bear Jamboree, which is one of our all-time favorite attractions. (Admittedly, it’s an acquired taste that depends upon your sense of humor.)
Dinner: Columbia Harbour House – Our standard procedure for these touring plans is one counter service meal and one table service meal, but given the sheer number of worthwhile attractions in the Magic Kingdom, we’re saving time by having dinner at Columbia Harbour House (read our full review)–a second counter service meal.
Great seafood options, plus the quaint and somewhat secluded (or perhaps underutilized is the better term) upstairs seating area makes this an easy pick. We love grabbing a table by the window, recharging, and watching the hustle and bustle of Magic Kingdom outside.
Evening Attractions: Better at Night – Astro Orbiter, Dumbo, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are the six attractions that we most strongly recommend doing at night for a superior experience.
That’s an ambitious list, but lines get shorter at the end of the night. Astro Orbiter and Dumbo are the wild cards that you might have to skip, but late in the evening short waits for those is not uncommon. As for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we’ll cover that below. If you have time for additional attractions, check out our 10 Best Magic Kingdom Attractions at Night for others to add to this plan.
Nighttime Spectaculars: Happily Ever Upon a Time – The new fireworks show, Happily Ever After, and the Once Upon a Time projection show are the nighttime entertainment in the Magic Kingdom. Try to see both. (Note that Once Upon a Time isn’t always shown.)
We recommend watching the Happily Ever After fireworks (check out our viewing location tips for Magic Kingdom fireworks) and sticking around for Once Upon a Time afterwards. Happily Ever After is incredibly popular, and likely will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Because of this, we recommend staking out a spot around 45 minutes in advance of the fireworks.
Due to the projection-heavy nature of both shows, it’s wise to go a bit closer to Cinderella Castle than you would’ve for Wishes, Happily Ever After’s predecessor. Somewhere between Casey’s Corner and the Partners statue will be the sweet spot, but don’t be afraid to get even closer to Cinderella Castle than that. While a closer spot will prevent you from seeing some of the pyrotechnics, it’s an excellent angle for the projections, spotlights, and the on-castle effects.
Park Closing Tranquility – How much time you’ll have after this is highly variable based upon the park hours. If you’re fortunate enough to go on an Evening Extra Magic Hours night, you might have a few hours. Jackpot!
Beyond attractions, this is a great time for appreciating the details of Magic Kingdom as it empties. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse followed by a walk on the boardwalk along the Rivers of America leading away from Splash Mountain towards Haunted Mansion is a solid, surprise pick here.
Mine Train Half Court Shot – Jumping in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 1 minute before Magic Kingdom closes is like sinking a game-winning, half court shot. Or, so I assume…I’ve never done the latter. You basically avoid the huge, 1-hour plus long lines all day long by getting in line as late as you possible can, and you will literally feel yourself saving time in line.
With the Disneyland 1-Day Plan, we had a nightcap at Trader Sam’s at the end of the night, but assuming Evening Extra Magic Hours in the Magic Kingdom, you probably don’t have time for that with this plan. If you do, our favorite lounge in the Magic Kingdom area is also Trader Sam’s (Grog Grotto edition).
If you’re able to do even 75% of the things on this Magic Kingdom touring plan, you are pretty much assured of having an excellent day in the Magic Kingdom. That’s our guarantee! (Please note that this guarantee has no cash value and is not offered to residents of any state except Wyoming. Also note that any day you are at Magic Kingdom should be amazing, so if you don’t have a great time, it’s probably your own fault! ;))
While this itinerary covers most of the park in a single day, in a truly ideal world, we recommend reading our 2-Day Magic Kingdom Ideal Day Plan. That’s how much time you should be spending in Magic Kingdom if your trip lasts a week or longer. Magic Kingdom is the only park at Walt Disney World that we believe requires two days to do everything without feeling rushed–you can do the other parks in one day each.
What would you include in your ideal day in the Magic Kingdom? Any hidden gem favorite attractions, quiet spots you enjoy savoring, little details to stop and enjoy, or delicious snacks to try? Do you agree or disagree with our strategy? If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World, what do you plan on doing? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!