1-Day Magic Kingdom Plan

This 1-Day Magic Kingdom touring plan offers any guest step by step instructions on how to complete most everything in the park for an exciting and fun-filled day. While it is possible to get all things done in one day, it isn’t likely due to crowds and current COVID-19 closures. Not to worry though. You’ll have one of the best days ever no matter how much you get done. That’s the magic of Disney!

With the suspension of FastPass+ currently, guests will be doing things the old fashioned way; standby lines. Not to worry though. With current capacity restraints, it’s still possible to get a lot done. On our last trip, the park opened at 9am but we were there 45 minutes early and guests were allowed to go in. This has been very common during COVID so we always suggest arriving early. Those extra 45 minutes in the parks can give you a really good head start on the crowds which you will be avoiding throughout the day as you follow the plan.

Anyway, we ended up doing the following before 11:30 am: Peter Pan, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion Splash Mountain, “it’s a small world”, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Pirates of the Caribbean. This is completely possible for anyone to do if they follow our touring plan. We’ll get to this in a minute. First, a few things to consider.

Magic Kingdom is the most popular, attended theme park in the world with well over 20 million guests visiting annually. There’s a reason for this: it provides guests of all ages with fun thing to do over and over again. Hence a good chunk of guests are visiting for the 2nd, 10th and 100th time. For this reason we have created our 1-Day Park Plan to help you navigate these crowds and get the most done.

Along with this, don’t get overwhelmed by everything that’s available at Magic Kingdom. If you looked at a list of complete attractions and shows you would feel the anxiety creep in. It does take a good 2 days or so to really “do it all” but at the same time, there will always be things that don’t interest you that can be skipped.

Let’s go over some of the mentioned attractions, their popularity and where they fall on the average park goers list of things to get done.

MOST POPULAR MAGIC KINGDOM ATTRACTIONS

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Attraction, brown cottage with greenery
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Attraction

These are considered the “must-do” attractions at the park; ones that any passholder or regular park goer would recommend. You’ve most likely heard of them and maybe even seen some videos on them on websites like YouTube. Many of these are classics while some are new but jumped to the top of guests lists because of the amazing experience they offer. These attractions also tend to carry some of the longest lines which is why a good touring plan is important to have.

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Splash Mountain (soon to be re-themed to Princess and the Frog)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Space Mountain
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Coming Soon – Tron

The next level down would be attractions that guests tend to go on as “fillers” or “in-betweeners” while waiting for the above mentioned attractions:

  • The People Mover
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Dumbo
  • Buzz Lightyear – Space Ranger Spin
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Magic Carpets
  • Tea Cups

Must-see shows at Magic Kingdom include:

  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Tiki Room
  • The Carousel of Progress
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic

While our 1-Day Plan focuses on attractions, we think that guests who find themselves with spare time or an extra day at Magic Kingdom should take some time to watch the shows and park entertainment. Overall, the average guest is going to be trying their hardest to get on all the big attractions in one day. It’s just natural to try and get them done as quickly as possible.

If you really do only have one day at Magic Kingdom then this plan is perfect for you. Guests who have 2 days or more should still follow it but may be more leisure in their approach, possibly splitting it up over the course of 2+ days.

1-DAY TOURING PLAN AT MAGIC KINGDOM

Magic Kingdom Castle day time

You need to plan to be at the park before the gates open. This is key to making the plan work, otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll always be behind and rolling with the crowds. Our first plan is going to focus on guests who have no height-restrictions in their group meaning, everyone who’s in the group can go on any attraction. It’s also taking into consideration that the FastPass+ service isn’t available or you just decided to skip it.

Lately Disney has been opening the parks about 45 minutes to 1 hour earlier than the time you’ll find on their official park hours. We don’t know how long this is going to last but there’s no sense in risking it. We suggest getting there 1 hour early. If you’re using the Walt Disney World bus transportation system, there’s a decent chance you’ll arrive only 30 minutes early because of stops. We don’t suggest this option if you want to be there before the park opens. Take an Uber, LYFT or drive your own car.

Once you’ve arrived at the gates of Magic Kingdom, prepare to have your temperature taken, go through security and scan your tickets for entry. Once inside, you’re going to make a mad dash to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This is by far the most popular attraction at the park and the one that carries the longest line throughout the day. You’ll find it behind the castle so if you can go through, do it, otherwise take the walkway just to the right of the castle.

Once you’ve finished Seven Dwarfs, head over to Peter Pan’s Flight which is also one of the most popular attractions. We realise it’s just a filler so if you don’t care about it, skip it and move on. You’ll want to head over to The Haunted Mansion next no matter what you decide to do. If you stay in Fantasyland, hit “it’s a small world” and possibly Winnie the Pooh. Now move on to Liberty Square.

The Haunted Mansion is a fantastic ride to sit and relax on. You just went a bit crazy in Fantasyland getting to Seven Dwarfs so it’s a nice breather here. This attraction tends to get busy during the hot hours of the day (noon-4pm) so doing it now will keep you from hitting major crowds.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at dusk

After Haunted Mansion it’s time to stroll over to Frontierland where you have two major attractions to do. First is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and you’ll want to do this one first. Reason being, Big Thunder is a roller coaster that guests love to go on all day long. The second attraction is Splash Mountain and most guests don’t like to get wet in the early morning so they tend to skip this one and save it for later. Well, later is when the crowds are so it’s best to do Splash Mountain right after Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If you’re really worried about getting wet, bring a poncho with you. We have some great suggestions in our packing guide for the parks.

At this point you should have done the following or close to it:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Splash Mountain

This is a decent chunk of attractions and it should only be around 10:30 am – 11:30 am depending on how early the parks opened and if you were able to participate in early hours.

Now is a great time to take a lunch break. You’ll be over in Frontierland so we would recommend trying out Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe which is a great quick service option for Spanish food or head over to the Skipper Canteen restaurant if you want some really great sit down food. It’s located in Adventureland which is where you’re headed after lunch.

Once lunch is over your next stop is going to be Pirates of the Caribbean. A classic for the park and typically an attraction that can move a line very quickly. Plan on a wait time of around 10-15 minutes at this point. If you skipped lunch and went right to the attraction, it’s probably around 5 minutes.

Next jump on the Jungle Cruise (right next door) where you’ll you’ll be delighted with decades-old jokes and the driest humor ever heard on the water. Your wait time for this should be 15 minutes or less.

Mark Twain Riverboat in river during the day
Mark Twain Riverboat

After riding Jungle Cruise we suggest grabbing a snack at either Sunshine Tree Terrace who serves up amazing soft serve cones and floats or the ever-popular Aloha Isle where you can get a world-famous Dole Whip. You really can’t go wrong with either one. Grab your snack to go and start walking over to Tomorrowland where you’ll be going on Space Mountain next.

Space is one of the parks more popular attractions but still falls below Seven Dwarfs. You’ll probably be looking at a 25-30 minute wait which is excellent. Typically, guests wait about 50+ minutes for this one so you’re still on a roll. After Space Mountain, walk over to The People Mover which is the perfect attraction to rest and let your stomach settle from your journey into space. You’ll have about 10 minutes of peace and quiet which we think is important to incorporate into your day.

By the time you’re done with this attraction it’s probably going to be about 2-3pm. You’ve had lunch, did Pirates of the Caribbean, had a snack, and finished up with Space Mountain and The People Mover. It’s time to keep circling around the park so make a stop at Tomorrowland Speedway and Tea Cups (if you can handle them). These 2 attractions tend to hold smaller wait times throughout the day so you shouldn’t seen anything more than 20 minutes on them.

Once you’re done, you can head over to the Casey Jr. Circus area for Dumbo or head to the back of Fantasyland for Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. This attraction’s line tends to move quickly as the vehicles inside are constantly moving. On the other hand, Dumbo may be around a 20-30 minute wait.

Magic Kingdom Parade near castle

At this point, you’ve dominated the park and should congratulate yourself on the achievement. It may only be about 5pm so the rest of the day can be spent doing your favorite attractions or stopping at some of the shows we suggested above. Most shows have short wait times, typically around 10-15 minutes but they are great ways to avoid the heat if it’s hot.

The only change-ups we would recommend is if you’re there on a very hot and humid day, you may want to consider adding in shows here and there. For instance, when you’re in Adventureland you may want to stop off at The Enchanted Tiki Room for the show and enjoy your snack. If you’re over in Fantasyland, checkout Mickey’s Philharmagic.

This plan can change based on weather and closures so if you find that an attraction is down, skip it and move on to the next one. It’s always best to stay ahead of the crowds than to slow down and then become part of them.

Over-all you’ll notice that our plan has you doing one big circle around the park. We’ve found this tactic to be very successful over the years and it’s still the one we use today. The only thing we anticipate changing in the near future is the addition of Tron Lightcycles. Once this attraction opens, Seven Dwarfs will fall to the wayside and Tron will become the attraction to rush over to. There is one caveat to this; Tron may join Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in virtual queue status which would mean there is no standby line. Guests would have to join via the Disney World app each day for a chance to ride. This would mean our plan would hold until the virtual queue was removed.

1-DAY MAGIC KINGDOM PLAN WITH KIDS

Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland

Kids…make things complicated (😂) but for most guests, it’s why they are there so it’s best to have a plan that accommodates everyone. We’ll first start off by introducing you to the Parent Swap (Rider Switch) program. Disney created this program to help parents enjoy the bigger attractions while allowing one of them to stay behind with younger kids who don’t meet the minimum height requirements.

What parents need to do it ask for a parent swap at the entrance of the attraction. For instance, let’s say you’re headed to Space Mountain and you have one child who can’t ride. At the entrance of the attraction, ask a Cast Member there to do a parent swap. They’re going to ask you which parent is riding first and which one is staying behind. The one who’s riding first will enter the line and ride. The parent who waits will be given a return time on their ticket from the Cast Member. It allows them and 2 other guests to go through the FastPass+ line once the first parent has finished riding.

A lot of guests are unaware of this program which is unfortunate because it can save a lot of time. Any attraction that has a height restriction offers this program.

So, assuming you have kids who don’t meet some or all the height requirements, this is the plan you’ll want to follow:

Head over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train when the park opens. It’s the first attraction with a height requirement so be sure to get the parent swap before you enter the attraction. Let the first one ride, then the second. Now stay in Fantasyland and do Peter Pan, “it’s a small world” and Winnie the Pooh in that order.

Next, head over to the Haunted Mansion which has no height restriction. If you have little ones who are too scared, keep them off or head over to Frontierland. You’ll be riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then Splash Mountain after Mansion. Both offer the parent swap so if you need to use it, talk to a Cast Member at the entrance. It shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes to do both of these in the morning if you’re swapping.

Display of Happily Ever After Fireworks outside of Cinderella castle

Next take your lunch break in or around Frontierland or Adventureland. You’ll be heading to Pirates of the Caribbean right after. This is a family-friendly attraction with no height restriction so all can ride. After, head over to Jungle Cruise which is also a family-friendly attraction.

Once you’re done with both of these, jump on Aladdin’s Magic Carpets which all ages can go on as well. Now grab a snack at Aloha Isle or Sunshine Tree Terrace and go watch The Enchanted Tiki Room show. Kids love seeing all the birds and the music they sing.

Now you’ll take your journey over to Tomorrowland where you’ll parent swap at Space Mountain. This should take you about 30-40 minutes. Then you’ll want to head over to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin where the kids (and maybe you) can let off some steam and shoot aliens. After this, take a nice relaxing ride on The People Mover where you and your kids can just sit and relax for about 10 minutes.

When you’re finished go over to the Tomorrowland Speedway and let your kids drive (you crazy) around the track. It’s kind of fun to watch them try and drive these cars. At the same time you’re full of regret for letting them do so. 😂

After deciding 18 is when they’ll be allowed to get their license, head over to Tea Cups so they can spin out that last bit of energy. Now head over to Dumbo or Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. If it’s super hot outside we suggest Ariel’s as Dumbo is very much exposed during the ride. Both of these attractions have no height requirements so all can enjoy.

It may be 5-6pm at this point and you’ve done a lot. You can now go enjoy some of your favorite attractions again, see some more shows like Mickey’s Philharmagic Orchestra or simply rest. There is a splash pad over in the Casey Jr. Circus area as well as some nice shaded tables. Also close to here, guests can meet Donald and Daisy.

We didn’t mention character greetings because they are not being offered during COVID. However, when they do return, be sure to take your kids to them in the evening. Many can be found at the beginning of Main Street. Another evening activity is riding the Walt Disney World Railroad. This should reopen once Tron Lightcycles is completed sometime in late 2021.

PLANS CAN CHANGE – BE PREPARED

Adventureland Entrance Signage

We mentioned weather as one of the things that can impact your plans at Magic Kingdom. Honestly, it’s usually for the best if you come prepared. During heavy rain at the park, most people go and hide somewhere because they weren’t prepared for it. They tend to go into restaurants, stores and shows or huddle around bathrooms. This is the perfect time to hit the bigger attractions either for the first time or second depending on what you’ve already done. So if you’ve done Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and you’re over in Tomorrowland, you may want to pause your activity there and head back over to it for a shorter wait.

Being prepared for these situations includes having rain gear like ponchos and umbrellas with good shoes. You can accomplish a lot on days like these. They tend to happen in the summertime so be sure to check the weather before you go to see if it calls for rain.

If you’re travelling with kids, especially little ones, naps and feeding can change how much you get done in a day. It’s not always easy to designate one parent to stay behind while the other one goes off. If you have a little one with you who needs to be breastfed, there is an indoor nursing station with AC on Main Street where you can go. Otherwise you can feed anywhere in the park. If the parent who is staying behind doesn’t want to miss any of the big attractions, it’s a great idea to feed during shows.

If you have a child who falls asleep, change your plans up a bit and hit the attractions that offer parent swap. That way the child can sleep and there’s always a parent with them and no one misses out on anything.

If you find that one of these attractions is closed, skip it and move on or fill it in with an attraction that’s in the same location. Your overall goal is to continue circling around the park, always one step ahead of the crowds so as long as this is being followed, it doesn’t matter if you need to swap one out.

If you do find yourself falling behind, you may want to skip a smaller attraction or show and move on to the next big attraction. You’ll know if you’re following behind if you come across an attraction that has a 45+ minute wait. Occasionally, there are days where for some reason the crowds just spread to every land and attraction and that when you know you’ve come on one of the busiest days. Stick to the plan though and you’ll make it through. If you’re really concerned about the crowds you can read our Disney World Crowd Calendar to help you plan the best time to visit.

DINING DURING YOUR DAY

Waffle with nutella and strawberries on top

Dining, in our opinion, is every much apart of a Disney vacation as the attractions are so we feel it’s very important to make sure that your plan includes time for this. While there are park goers who pack their own lunches and snack their way through the day, we love to enjoy some the dining that’s available at the park because there are so many offerings and great menus.

When you do come to a break in the day and you’re ready to eat we do suggest staying close to the area that you’re already in so you can continue your touring plan as quickly as possible once you’re done. The best way to decide where you should eat will depend on how far you’ve gotten and what time it is.

While we have suggested taking your lunch break after Splash Mountain, on a day where the park opens pretty early and you’re only at 10:30am – 11:30am, we suggest going to a sit-down restaurant like the Skippers Canteen. It’s a hidden gem in Adventureland that offers up some really delicious plates. Reservations are typically not required but checking the day before wouldn’t hurt.

If however, you find yourself finishing Splash Mountain and it’s past noon, you may want to head to a place like Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe to do some quick dining. Their Spanish style menu serves up some great dishes including rice and beans, carnitas, salads, nachos and more. It’s located in Frontierland (barely) and is a great place to dine indoors.

Your snacks are a no-brainer after you’ve finished Adventureland and are ready to head over to Tomorrowland. Aloha Isle is located in Adventureland right next to The Enchanted Tiki Room and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. It serves up fantastic Dole Whip treats that are perfect to eat as you walk across the park. To make things even quicker, look at mobile ordering while you’re in line for Jungle Cruise or Magic Carpets so it can be ready for you when you’re done.

On your way out of Adventureland (and next to Skipper Canteen) is Sunshine Tree Terrace. It offers soft serve ice cream and floats, all of which are delicious and, again, easy to carry across the park.

The evening time is when we choose one of the park’s many restaurants to dine at. Attractions and shows are done and now we can head wherever. We sort of leave this blank so you get the picture. Choose a sit-down or quick service of your choosing and enjoy it! The most popular restaurant in the park is Be Our Guest Restaurant which requires advanced reservations.

PARADES AND FIREWORKS

Cinderella's Castle during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party with Fireworks and Christmas lights
Cinderella Castle Holidays

One of these is easy to fit into your day and the other can be a bit harder. It all depends on the schedule that Disney is running. When it comes to parades, as long as Disney is running them at least twice, you should be fine. You’re going to want to view the daytime parade which means you’ll need to stop your attractions quest and head over to the nearest viewing area. The reason we suggest the daytime parade is twofold. First, there are typically less guests watching it which means better viewing areas. Second, most guests watch the evening parade and this makes for the perfect time to get on more attractions with shorter wait times.

Fireworks at Magic Kingdom happen during the evening time so you shouldn’t really have to worry about missing out on anything. They should be part of your plan though. Grab a times guide at the entrance as you come in or take a look at the Disney World app for details on when the fireworks show will start. Plan on being about 45 minutes early for the best viewing. This is easily the best way to end your perfect day at Magic Kingdom.

AFTERTHOUGHTS

Stick to the plan. If you find yourself wandering around the park and lines are long, you need to pull yourself together. Overall though, your 1-Day touring plan is going to take you from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in a counterclockwise circle of the park, ending back in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland depending on how far you get. Food is an important part of the plan so make sure you incorporate it with good restaurants.

By the time the evening comes around, you should have accomplished a lot. Be proud. Enjoy a lovely dinner somewhere and be sure to arrive early for the fireworks show. The evening time is also a great time to just walk the park and see its wonder. You’d be surprised at what you come across when you slow down and look at everything.

If you’re an avid visitor of Magic Kingdom and have some suggestions for our current touring plan, we’d love to hear it! Are the attractions that we missed or shows you would include? What’s your plan for 1-Day at Magic Kingdom and how much can you get done. Leave your comments below or send us an email. If we find it helpful we’ll be sure to add it to the list.

2 thoughts on “1-Day Magic Kingdom Plan

  1. This is very similar to what we’ve been doing for over 5 years. It’s always worked for us!

Comments are closed.