For many, a visit to Disney World doesn't feel complete without a stop at Magic Kingdom. In fact, it's often the very first stop! This iconic park started it all in 1971 and offers the most classically "Disney" experience of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, complete with that magical view of Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. Many Magic Kingdom rides and experiences have remained mostly the same over its 50 years (that's right, Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary!) while also adding in fun new options for all ages. Magic Kingdom has the most attractions of the four parks, so there's a lot to pack in, but there are certain things that you won't want to miss!
With so much to choose from, it's hard to decide what to do, especially if you only have one day to spend at the park. While each family has its own specific wants, we've created this list of the not-to-be-missed attractions and experiences — and even food and drink! (Like we'd miss the opportunity to talk about Dole Whips.) This should help you get started with some iconic moments and experiences at Magic Kingdom.
We always think it's good to have a flexible plan ahead of time, or at least know what to prioritize and keep on your must-do list. (For a little extra organizational help, don't froget to check out the Undercover Tourist Orlando app — we offer pre-set Park Plans, plus the ability to customize your own plan with YOUR family's must-dos!). Without further ado, here's our Frog Family's list of what not to miss at Magic Kingdom!
Not-to-Miss Magic Kingdom Rides for Older Kids and Adults
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
One of the most popular Magic Kingdom rides, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, takes you on an exciting journey through the dwarfs' mining mountain. Enjoy dives and turns as your mine cart teeters back and forth. Catch characters from "Snow White," and some pretty cool views of Fantasyland. The height requirement for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is 38 inches. This ride is always on our list, especially for first-time visitors! If you're wanting to save time and not wait in a long line, consider purchasing individual Lightning Lane access through Disney Genie.
Located in Liberty Square, this slow-moving omnimover (constantly moving) ride takes you through a spooky mansion where lots of grim grinning ghosts materialize. The queue and stretching room pre-show help add to the experience. There isn't a height requirement, and while there may be some mildly spooky scenes for little ones (particularly if they don't like the dark), the upbeat music and whimsical ghosts add to the fun. Hurry baaaaaack!
Calling all thrill-seekers! One of the iconic "mountains" of Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain zooms you through dark space at high speeds. Located in Tomorrowland, this fast indoor coaster is very dark and has extreme twists and turns. Adventurous teens and tweens will love it! Space Mountain has a height requirement of 44 inches, and those who deal with motion sickness may want to sit this one out (hop on the PeopleMover while you wait for your party and catch a glimpse of the ride in action). If you're wanting to save time and not wait in a long line, consider purchasing individual Lightning Lane access through Disney Genie.
Pirates of the Caribbean
You'll be singing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me" all afternoon after your swashbuckling adventure on Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. This slow-moving boat ride (with one small drop) takes you through a pirate battle and seaside town, all while keeping an eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow. Fun froggy fact: Did you know that the original ride came out 30 years before the hit film series? This ride is perfect for cooling down in the Florida heat. With no height requirement, the whole family can set sail!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
"Hold on to your hats and glasses, 'cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!" This exciting roller coaster winds you through canyons and an abandoned mine shaft. Located in Frontierland, Big Thunder is one of our Frog Family's go-tos when we're at Magic Kingdom. The ride does have a height requirement of 40 inches or taller. It is fast and bumpy, and some parts are in the dark, so keep this in mind for younger tadpoles. For adventurous riders, try riding again at night for a toadally different experience!
Not-to-Miss Magic Kingdom Rides for Younger Kids
Perfect for the younger tadpoles, Dumbo is a classic ride that truly says "I went to Disney World!" Soar like Dumbo, and as you're flying, you're in control if you want to go up or down. No height requirement means this is perfect for those traveling with little ones. We recommend spending some time in Storybook Circus for other kid-friendly rides and play areas.
After riding Dumbo, head next door to The Barnstormer, the perfect mini roller coaster for kiddos! Zoom through Goofy's stunt show and take in the views of Storybook Circus. The shorter height requirement of 35 inches makes this the perfect "thrill" ride for young tadpoles who aren't tall enough (or ready) for the larger Disney coasters.
Peter Pan's Flight
This popular ride takes you through iconic scenes from the beloved "Peter Pan" film. The attraction is another omnimover but with a twist — your ever-moving ride vehicle is a flying ship. Tadpoles and adult frogs alike will delight in how you are able to easily fly over London and Neverland. Keep a close eye after you board, as cast members may just sprinkle some extra pixie dust on your ship to help you fly!
Embark on a comedic boat adventure for the whole family aboard Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. This whimsical journey takes you through the Amazon and other exotic places, all while your skipper keeps the boat entertained with corny jokes your kids will love (and some just for the adult frogs, too). If you're not laughing, you're in de-Nile!
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
It's time to head under the sea on Journey of The Little Mermaid in Fantasyland! This omnimover lets guests board a large clamshell and cruise through many iconic scenes from "The Little Mermaid." Don't worry — there's no actual water so you won't get wet! The ride and exterior queue creates the perfect setting and is a must for any Ariel fans (aka me).
Not-to-Miss Experiences at Magic Kingdom
Parades and Cavalcades
With various cavalcades to see, it feels like characters can parade through the streets of Magic Kingdom at any time. While we await the return of the full Festival of Fantasy parade (returning March 9!), you won't want to miss these character cavalcades. Throughout the day, you can see the Disney princesses, members of the Fab Five and more! The characters travel from Frontierland, through Liberty Square, past the castle and down Main Street. The parades and cavalcades are your best chances to see many different characters right now. Check the My Disney Experience app for cavalcade showtimes.
You won't want to miss the nighttime spectacular Disney Enchantment, a new fireworks show that debuted for the 50th-anniversary celebration! Disney Enchantment features both classic and modern-day animated films, a new original song called "You Are the Magic," enhanced lighting, fireworks and, for the first time ever, projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. The projections combined with the fireworks make for an awe-dropping show. Looking for the best spots to catch Disney Enchantment? Check out our full guide!
One of the best parts of a trip to Disney World is meeting so many of our favorite characters! While character sightings are mostly still unscheduled, some distanced indoor meet and greets have returned. Mickey Mouse himself is back to meeting at Town Square Theater, now in his EARidescent outfit (we can't get over how amazing his suit looks)! There are ropes for distancing, but you can get one-on-one time with the mouse that started it all. The princesses have also returned to Princess Fairytale Hall. Meet Cinderella, Elena, Tiana and Rapunzel with distanced interactions and photos. (Psst ... meet and greets are now available as Genie+ selections, too!)
Special Holiday Parties
Every year, Magic Kingdom transforms into a spooky or festive scene for the seasons. In the fall, Main Street turns into a quaint autumn town with pumpkins and orange decor. On select nights, Magic Kingdom becomes a Halloween extravaganza with Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (replaced with Disney After Hours Boo Bash in 2021). These separately ticketed events include themed entertainment, special characters, treat stops, themed food and drink and more. And best yet — adults are able to wear full costumes, so the whole family can dress up for the occasion!
For the perfect festive trip in November and December, you won't want to miss Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (replaced with Disney Very Merriest After Hours in 2021). These ticketed events offer festive entertainment, characters, themed food and drink and more. Plus, "snow" falls on Main Street! It's a great way to celebrate Christmas at Magic Kingdom without being there on the actual holiday.
If you're traveling between August and December, we highly recommend booking these parties! Though the events require an additional purchase, we think they are toadally worth it.
Not-to-Miss Food and Drink at Magic Kingdom
Dole Whip from Aloha Isle
Our family never leaves Magic Kingdom without enjoying some classic Dole Whip from Adventureland! Pineapple is the original flavor, though other flavors have emerged as well, such as lime or raspberry (if worried about the full pineapple flavor, I always get the swirl cup so the vanilla balances it out). This popular treat is offered as a soft-serve or float. And best yet — it's vegan and gluten-free! We highly recommend mobile ordering, as there are typically three mobile order lines to only one standby line.
Corn Dog Nuggets from Casey's Corner
Casey's Corner on Main Street offers American classics with a baseball theme. This popular quick-service restaurant has lots of options for hot dogs and fries, but our favorite is the corn dog nuggets. Add a side of cheese sauce for $1 for the perfect combo. Mobile ordering is typically required here, though a standby line may be available (since this location is so popular, we recommend mobile ordering either way). Sit back and enjoy the live pianist throughout the day while you enjoy!
Waffle Sandwiches from Sleepy Hollow
At the bridge to Liberty Square, you'll find a small walk-up, quick-service spot called Sleepy Hollow. You won't want to miss this hidden gem! Breakfast is very popular here with fruit waffle sandwiches and Mickey waffles. For the rest of the day, enjoy favorite items, including the chicken waffle sandwich, turkey leg, funnel cakes and more. Mobile ordering is available and recommended during peak times.
Spring Roll Cart
This fan-favorite cart at the entrance to Adventureland offers a variety of spring rolls. The cart offers fun flavors, including pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger, and sometimes even seasonal items such as the 50th celebration pastrami spring rolls (which, dare we say, are the most delicious of the three variations!). The cart is often only open seasonally, and there's no mobile order, so hop in line on your way into Adventureland if these are on your list!
What's on your family's not-to-miss list at Magic Kingdom? Did we miss anything? (With so many amazing things to do at Magic Kingdom, we're sure we did!) Let us know in the comments below!