If you’re spending 2 days in Magic Kingdom, this provides a time-saving plan for efficiently experiencing Walt Disney World’s most popular park. Our itinerary covers step-by-step ride recommendations, dining advice, tips & tricks, and how to “stop and smell the roses” to enjoy the exceptional atmosphere.
This 2-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary has been updated for 2024 in light of recent changes. There are a number of reasons for that, with the biggest ones being the return of more entertainment, closure of Splash Mountain, replacement of free FastPass+ with paid Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. (See our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for more info about that and to determine whether it’s worth the money for your party.)
This Magic Kingdom plan assumes you will not be buying those line-skipping services nor will you do Early Entry or Extended Evening Hours. Nevertheless, you will want to enjoy everything Walt Disney World’s flagship park has to offer, and at a more leisurely pace. We visit Magic Kingdom regularly, while also monitoring wait time data, and fine-tuning our strategy. This is the 2-day Magic Kingdom itinerary we’ve devised as a result…
The 5-day ticket is Walt Disney World’s most popular ticket, so many of you are going to spend more than one day in at least one of the four parks. Without a doubt, we spend the most time in Magic Kingdom. It’s the most-visited park at Walt Disney World, so it’s not just us.
Quite simply, the vast majority of guests who are going to spend 5 days in Walt Disney World should spend their “bonus” day in Magic Kingdom. A big component of this is Magic Kingdom’s reputation as the iconic park, the original, and the one with Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street. Alongside Disneyland, it’s the quintessential American theme park. Then there’s the practical reason: Magic Kingdom simply has more rides and attractions than any other theme park at Walt Disney World.
If you do opt for a second day, much of it can be spent repeating favorite attractions. Rather than following this unique plan, you could take our 1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary, and do that a second time, making modifications and skipping things as it suits your tastes and interests. Or simply have a more laid back and spontaneous visit, not using a touring plan at all.
If you want maximum efficiency and don’t want to simply “double up” on our 1-day Magic Kingdom Itinerary, this is the plan for you. This is a stand-alone post that reevaluates what your priorities and pace should be if you’re spending a second day in Magic Kingdom. You might even opt for a “best of both worlds” approach and follow the steps laid out here for each morning, and then do your own thing for the afternoons and evenings.
Finally, it’s worth noting that we do recommend buying Genie+ at Magic Kingdom. There are currently 22 attractions offering Genie+ Lightning Lane access, which can be extremely useful even if you have plenty of time (assuming you want to do re-rides. If you want to know the basis for that suggestion, see My Day Using Genie+ at Magic Kingdom.
Additionally, if you’re staying on-site and can arrive early, check out our report on Early Entry at Magic Kingdom. Likewise, if you’re staying at a Deluxe Resort or Disney Vacation Club property, read about our experience during Extended Evening Hours at Magic Kingdom. Either of those things will help you save time and avoid crowds, giving you a big advantage. However, neither are strictly necessary for a productive day in MK.
Rumble in the Jungle – While it’s early, head over to Adventureland to hit Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean (in that order). While you’re in the area, if the temperature is getting high, make a pass through the misting Liki Tikis–yes, even if you’re an adult. Remember that whole “young at heart” bit.
Fright Row – Next up are Magic Kingdom’s two scariest attractions. Haunted Mansion and ‘it’s a small world.’ One features creepy characters whose words will send shivers down your spine, frightening you to your core. The other has grim grinning ghosts. In between, “schedule” a stop at the nicest restroom in Magic Kingdom, the Tangled Toilets.
Ice Cream Antidote – Ice cream fixes everything. There’s a reason Ben & Jerry were (probably) awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, and that’s because ice cream is a known panacea. After the show, consult our Best Magic Kingdom Snacks & Desserts Listfor a sweet treat. The Peter Pan Float (pictured above) is highly recommended! That should curb any meltdowns that are brewing as a result of the prolong time in the sun for the stage show.
Lunch: Be Our Guest Restaurant – Still the most popular spot in Magic Kingdom, this Beauty and the Beast-themed restaurant now does an all-day prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner.
Midday Break – Going back to your hotel and taking a nap or lounging by the pool to prevent your kids from having a meltdown later in the day is a great option. Logistically, transportation and parking eats a lot of time, and you can expect to add at least 90 minutes to your break for transit–possibly 2 hours.
The midday break is a great idea, but here’s an efficient, decompressing alternative: indoor stage shows. Things like Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, or even a few back-to-back showings of Hall of Presidents. All are dark, laid back, and feature plenty of refreshing air-conditioning.
While sleeping during Hall of Presidents may not work for everyone, if you think it will work for your kids, give it a shot. If they are really zonked, they’ll likely fall asleep within the first 5 minutes. That is, unless you’re raising little Rutherford B. Hayes aficionados.
Festival of Fantasy Parade – One of the biggest advantages of 2 days in Magic Kingdom is being able to do the daytime parade and Cinderella Castle stage show on different days. Doing them back-to-back in a single day is “Meltdown Fuel,” and that applies even if you’re an adult. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “parade person,” Festival of Fantasy is worth catching.
Tom “SERENITY NOW!” Island – Now that your kids are rejuvenated, burn some of that second wind on Tom Sawyer Island. This is one of the biggest chunks of Magic Kingdom, and the vast majority of guests never visit it. I could blame it on “the kids these days,” but I think it’s more on the parents, and not wanting to “waste” time on a play area given the cost of a Walt Disney World vacation. However, this is a great place to unwind, get away from the crowds, and blow off some steam. I enjoy wandering it even as an adult, and it’s a great change of pace and reprieve from the stimulation of Magic Kingdom.
Sunset Cruises – Late afternoon is the perfect time for the transportation attractions in Magic Kingdom. While you’re in the area, we’d recommend setting sail aboard the Liberty Square Riverboat. It’ll give you another vantage on Tom Sawyer Island, and as with that, it feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of Magic Kingdom.
Dinner: The Plaza Restaurant – While this spot won’t wow you with amazing theme, it’s a table service restaurant that does comfort food really well and offers some great entree and dessert options.
After two days of table service meals, Plaza Restaurant is a nice place to relax a bit and enjoy a quality meal without breaking the bank.
A Fantastic Evening – For families, Fantasyland is the heart of Magic Kingdom. Saying Fantasyland is “for families” misses the point of Walt Disney World entirely and how it’s for the young or young at heart. Fantasyland sets the tone for that, and is where you should finish your first day.
Knocking out the Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Peter Pan’s Flight (in that order) is an excellent way to end your evening. Running around doing these Fantasyland attractions is like walking barefoot over burning embers–both equally likely to hurt your feet–it’s a rite of passage among Disney fans.
Mine Train Half Court Shot – One minute before Magic Kingdom closes, consider jumping in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This is like sinking a game-winning, half court shot.
Or, so I assume…I’ve never done the latter. You basically avoid the long lines all day by getting in line as late as you possible can, and you will literally feel yourself saving time in line.
The shops on Main Street are open roughly 1 hour after the park closes, so don’t feel rushed as you leave–but remember, you have to do all of this bright and early the next morning (or a future morning, if you’re not doing Magic Kingdom on consecutive days).
Set Sail for Adventure – Start with Adventureland, where you should prioritize Jungle Cruise. This has become one of the most popular attractions in Magic Kingdom, with the 3rd highest wait times in the park. From there, knock out Pirates of the Caribbean before bouncing to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Consider doing re-rides on one or both of these if time allows and wait times aren’t too bad. Same goes for Haunted Mansion or “it’s a small world,” none of which will have lengthy wait times at this hour, save for Jungle Cruise. There’s not the same sense of urgency the second morning in Magic Kingdom as the first.
Dole Whip Break – Same idea as the day before, but this time with a Dole Whip. Morning ice cream is the key to stamina for Magic Kingdom touring.
Quick Diversion – While you’re in the area, consider doing Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room or Country Bear Jamboree. You might want to do these before lunch. Best to avoid falling asleep during these shows and being forever labeled “distinctly unpatriotic” by your friends and family (or as they will call you, “just a casual acquaintance, I swear!”)
Lunch Break – If you’re doing two full days in Magic Kingdom right now, our strong recommendation would be at least 3 table service meals over the course of your 4 meals. In part, because counter service is really weak at Magic Kingdom, and in part because sit-down dining takes more time, and you’ll have a surplus of that to kill. As for this lunch, we’d recommend Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, which recently “redeemed” itself for us.
On the counter service front, we’d go with Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn for lunch. It’s a Tex-Mex place with a really robust toppings bar, but a fairly loud seating area. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe would be our alternative pick if you’re looking for a wider-ranging, but ordinary menu.
Afternoon Unwind – Just like the midday break from the previous day. There’s a good chance you didn’t knock out all of those, so hit the ones you missed the previous day.
If the tried and true formula of Hall of Presidents did the trick exceptionally well, repeat that. If you want to try something new, go for a spin aboard Carousel of Progress. (Both have the most comfortable seats of any shows in Magic Kingdom, making them equally great for napping.)
Fun with Friendship! – Once the sun is a bit lower in the sky, head to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage for one of the last couple performances of Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, the daytime stage show.
This is well-worth seeing, with sequences from Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen, and a new finale with Mickey Mouse and friends in their sparkling, EARidescent fashions. Seeing it later in the day will save you some sunburn, too.
Dinner: Skipper Canteen – The newest restaurant in Magic Kingdom is themed to the Jungle Cruise attraction, and it’s a great option, especially for adults. I recommend requesting the S.E.A. room, which is nicely appointed and includes tons of detail (many of which will be lost on non-Disney fans).
The cuisine here is the best in Magic Kingdom, so that’s another plus. Don’t be scared away by the menu, it’s surprisingly approachable once you get past the window dressing of the descriptions.
Back to the Future– In the early evening, we’d recommend making the trek to Tomorrowland. Knock out Tomorrowland Speedway, Astro Orbiter, and Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover, which are great ways to transition from day to night in Magic Kingdom.
When you’re done with those, you should also find a short wait time at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Same goes (hopefully) for Space Mountain after that. Finally, it’s time for finding a fireworks spot…
Fireworks Finale — For most of the year, Happily Ever After is the nightly fireworks show in Magic Kingdom. This particular show is one of our absolute favorites, plus fireworks exploding over Cinderella Castle is always a good time, so you won’t want to miss it.
Magic of the Kingdom at Night – Even if you’re going on fumes at this point, the experience of being in Magic Kingdom at night should be a nice shot in the arm. At this point, you can either try to hit the other attractions on our top 10 list that you missed, or slow down and take a leisurely stroll through the park, soaking up its brilliant nighttime ambiance. Do some last minute shopping in the Emporium on Main Street, and call it a night.
Historians always blather on about how Europeans scoured Florida for the Fountain of Youth during the Age of Exploration. Obviously, these guys were too cheap for a park ticket, because anyone who has spent a couple of days in Magic Kingdom will tell you that it can be found there. As tiring as 2 full days might seem, I always leave Magic Kingdom energized and with a smile on my face. If you follow the rough plan in this guide, I suspect you will, too.
Did we miss anything you consider a highlight or must-do at the Magic Kingdom? Any other quiet moments or ‘ambiance spots’ you’d recommend? Have any questions about our recommendations? Hearing your thoughts is half the fun, so please share your comments or questions below!