The main purpose of this post is to give people who are planning visits an example of a one-day itinerary at Magic Kingdom. The primary foundation of this post is a visit we made in October 2018, and the specific times given are from that day.
I give times for pretty much everything I did, from getting in line to modifying a FastPass+, to give you the most detailed view possible of how you could spend a day at Magic Kingdom. At the very bottom of the post, we give our final itinerary in abbreviated form.
This was a beautiful Saturday, with clear skies most of the day, one short period of rain, and temperatures between 70 and 90 degree. Crowd levels were 7 out of 10 on this day according to Touring Plans.
Advance FastPass+ Reservations
There may have been some small amount of luck involved, but I was able to grab the following three FastPass+ reservations on Friday night for our Saturday visit: Space Mountain (10:45AM), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (12:50PM), and Peter Pan’s Flight (2:25PM).
These were clutch, as these rides had high waits all day and were relatively tough to find on Saturday during the day, though I did see space on each multiple times. Their times were also pretty perfect, as we had plenty of rope drop time but also had eight hours of our afternoon / night to tap / grab / modify through rides.
Arrival and Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom
We advise taking an Uber to Contemporary for visits to Magic Kingdom, but we know lots of people drive, so we wanted to go through Transportation and Ticket Center, the designated Uber drop off for Magic Kingdom.
The scheduled opening for the park was 9AM. We arrived at TTC at 8:21AM. The express monorail wasn’t operating until 8:30AM, so we opted for the ferryboat. We departed at 8:30AM and disembarked at 8:37AM. We had a slow experience at the turnstiles, but were in the park around 8:42AM.
Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom
Rope drop at Magic Kingdom is much more fixed and structured than the other parks. Because Magic Kingdom has a welcome show in the park, Let the Magic Begin, the gates open well before scheduled open (about an hour), and you’re allowed to access Main Street, U.S.A. and the area in front of Cinderella Castle. Let the Magic Begin starts five minutes before scheduled open and lasts—you guessed it—five minutes.
After the show, there are rope drops into the various lands of the park. There will be crowds at these ropes, but if you’re a quick walker you’ll have little difficulty navigating yourself to a good position on the way to the rides. If you’re not, just keep an eye on the crowds and line up at your earliest convenience. The welcome show isn’t essential, and you can get a decent view of it from the rope drop positions.
Frontierland Rope Drop (9AM to 11AM)
Because we’d gotten advance FastPass+ reservations for Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we had an easy decision to start our day at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We discuss rope drop strategy in more detail on our Magic Kingdom FastPass+ post, and we’ll supplement this post with our own experiences as we expand them.
With ropes dropping at 9AM, we were in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 9:04AM when the posted wait was five minutes. We were on the ride at 9:11AM and off at 9:16AM. We headed to Splash Mountain, which at 9:16AM had a posted five minutes wait. We walked on at 9:18AM and were off at 9:33AM.
Rope drop strategy for this side of the park is pretty simple. We started with Big Thunder because it is a much quicker ride than Splash Mountain, as the above times reveal. Unfortunately, after these two you’re left with longer options: Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Haunted Mansion.
We went with Jungle Cruise, which at 9:38AM had a posted 25-minute wait. We went with Jungle Cruise because we’d recently had multiple bad experiences with FastPass+ return on Jungle Cruise, including reported 45-minute waits. Happily, the wait was actually only 11 minutes, and we were off at 10AM.
We finished the major rides in this corner of the park with Pirates of the Caribbean, which had a posted 15-minute wait. We got on at about 10:17AM and were off at 10:25AM.
Pirates of the Caribbean is usually easy to grab same-day FastPass+ for, and we saw it plenty this day. If you have smaller kids, you could do Magic Carpets of Aladdin or even head to Fantasyland if there are still short waits over there (we’re looking particularly at Dumbo, Barnstormer, “it’s a small world”, Mad Tea Party, and Under the Sea). You might also consider getting a character stop or two in at this time.
On a short day, Haunted Mansion’s 25-minute wait would be a good box to check off now. We had until 11PM, and between our morning and our FastPass+ reservations, we were in great position. We took a minute to relax and watch the 10:40AM Trolley Show, on the north end of Main Street, U.S.A.
The show finished at 10:47AM, and we headed to use our first FastPass+. We tapped onto Space Mountain at 10:50AM when the posted wait was 65 minutes. We were on at 11AM and off at 11:04AM.
Afternoon at Magic Kingdom
Afternoon at Magic Kingdom is unlike the other Walt Disney World parks. Typically, we advise mixing up entertainment, short waits, and FastPass+ in the afternoon. We tweak that a bit for Magic Kingdom.
There is less entertainment in Magic Kingdom than at Animal Kingdom or Epcot, though if you count Country Bear Jamboree, Enchanted Tiki Room, and Carrousel of Progress as entertainment, the gap is smaller. More important, there are no short afternoon waits at Magic Kingdom most days. Afternoon at Magic Kingdom is about covering what entertainment there is, using your existing FastPass+, and then using tap / grab / modify to avoid lines.
Entertainment and Advance FastPass+ Reservations (11AM to 2:30PM)
11:04AM would have been a good time to squeeze in PeopleMover (one of the few short waits at that time) before the 11:30AM Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party, but we opted for coffee before watching the party.
From there, we knocked off some more entertainment and used our remaining FastPass+ reservations. At 11:45AM we visited the Citizens of Main Street. At 12PM we watched the castle stage show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. We squeezed in PeopleMover (in line at 12:25PM, on at 12:34PM, off 12:43PM) before tapping onto Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 12:49PM when the posted wait was an impressive 130 minutes.
Off Mine Train at 12:59, we moved toward Frontierland where we planned to watch the 2PM parade. We watched the 1:05PM The Muppets Present… show, followed by Country Bear Jamboree, which we walked into at 1:23PM. After exiting at 1:36PM, we grabbed a parade viewing spot (something we never do), and hung out there until the end of the parade at 2:13PM.
Having stood in the sun for an hour, we grabbed water from Pecos Bill. We needed to wait for the parade crowd to clear out before we made our way to Peter Pan’s Flight.
We finally used our last FastPass+ , tapping onto Peter Pan at 2:28PM when the posted wait was 75 minutes. We were off at 2:38PM, and it was time to start tap / grab / modify!
Tap / Grab / Modify Through Fantasyland (2:30PM to 4:30PM)
Someone recently commented on one of our FastPass+ posts, asking if tap / grab / modify meant spending the entire day with your face in your phone. The honest answer is “sometimes, yes.” Today was one of those days for me.
Not everyone is going to want to do this, and there are plenty of alternatives. First, you could just wait in lines. If you want to spend time with the family, one place to do it is in lines. Second, you can grab the first good FastPass+ you find and then explore the park a bit while you wait for it to come up. This is a great opportunity to get some shopping in. Third, you could plan a table service meal for this time of day.
I didn’t want to hold back, so I set off to tap & grab my way through Fantasyland. Here’s how that went:
Grabbed 3PM Dumbo at 2:54PM. We tapped at 2:55PM (posted 45 minute wait) and were off at 3:04PM.
Grabbed 3:10PM Barnstormer at 3PM. We tapped at 3:05PM (posted 45 minute wait) and were off at 3:20PM.
Grabbed 3:20PM Under The Sea at 3:10PM. We tapped at 3:23PM (posted 35 minute wait) and were off at 3:37PM.
Grabbed 3:45PM The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at 3:37PM. We tapped at 3:40PM (posted 35 minute wait) and were off around 3:45PM.
Grabbed 4PM “it’s a small world” at 3:43PM. We tapped at 3:56PM (posted 45 minute wait) and were off at 4:20PM.
Grabbed 4:15PM Mad Tea Party at 4:13PM. We tapped at 4:23PM (posted 30 minute wait) and were off at 4:28PM.
Using tap / grab / modify, we were through six Fantasyland attraction with combined waits of about 4 hours in about 90 minutes. That’s two-and-a-half hours saved! None of those rides had huge waits, and most people would be okay sitting through them. But they’re all close together, and you can easily tap / grab / modify to hope between them.
This was a pretty challenging FastPass+ day. We had a lot of trouble finding Haunted Mansion, in particular, letting a 4PM and a 10PM go, and then never seeing it again. Character greetings also were hard to come by, though we weren’t focused on those.
Evening at Magic Kingdom
Your evening will be built around the two night time shows, Happily Ever After and Once Upon A Time. Those were scheduled for 9PM and 9:45PM this day, so we still had four hours to fill.
This is also when tap / grab / modify gets tough. There are no “easy” grabs left on our list, other than Magic Carpets of Aladdin. But we still need to finish Tomorrowland (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Speedway) and visit Haunted Mansion. Even if you can grab those three, modifying them is not super easy.
Finishing Entertainment & Tougher FastPass+
We grabbed a 5PM Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at 4:25PM and later a 7PM Tomorrowland Speedway at 6PM. We weren’t able to grab Haunted Mansion. We did manage to grab a 10:05PM Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at about 8PM.
Before using our Buzz FastPass+, we fit in two pieces of entertainment—Carrousel of Progress (technically an attraction) and then the 5:15PM Flag Retreat—the latter of which we’d never watched. We tapped onto Buzz at 5:29PM (posted 45 minute wait) and were off—one of us as a GALACTIC HERO!—at 5:40PM.
After dinner at Pecos Bill, we caught a show at the Enchanted Tiki Room. Then we hopped on the Walt Disney World Railroad at the Frontierland Station at 6:50PM. Finally, we caught Mickey’s PhilharMagic at 7:16PM. We tapped onto Tomorrowland Speedway at 7:37PM (posted 45 minute wait) and were off at 7:53PM.
Night Time Shows at Magic Kingdom
It was once again decision time! Haunted Mansion had a posted 50-minute wait. That was a little long for us since we wanted to be sure to be free for the 9PM Happily Ever After fireworks.
It was Saturday night, though, and we wanted to do something special. With time to spare, we headed over to the Polynesian to watch the fireworks from the beach over there. We left at around 8PM, grabbed a drink from the pool bar (which has a public-facing counter), and watched the fireworks. We returned at around 9:30PM and grabbed a spot for Once Upon a Time.
Post-Fireworks - Wrapping Up Magic Kingdom
After Once Upon a Time, we headed to Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which had a posted 10 minute wait. We got in line at 10:03PM, were on the ride at 10:12PM and off at 10:16PM.
We headed to the carrousel, which was a walk-on at 10:20PM despite its posted 10-minute wait. After that, we were off to Haunted Mansion, which had a posted 35-minute wait. That wait was way off, though, and we were off the ride at 10:46PM.
This was awesome because we were able to go use our last FastPass+ reservation on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! The posted wait at 10:50PM was 40 minutes, and we were off at 10:57.
We took in the evening park and watched the Kiss Goodnight at 11:15PM. We headed to Contemporary to catch an Uber. The Uber crowd was huge and the surge was high, so we decided to check out Wave Lounge for a bit.
Magic Kingdom One Day Itinerary Conclusions
Magic Kingdom is a really tough park to conquer, even in a 9AM to 11PM day. We were able to ride almost all the rides (we skipped Main Street Vehicles when we could have ridden it in the morning, and we didn’t make the time for Astro Orbiter at night). And that was while “wasting” the 8PM to 9PM hour heading over to Polynesian.
But we missed a lot. We didn’t meet any characters. We really didn’t walk around the park much. And most of all, I actually didn’t take time to enjoy many rides. Checking wait times and doing tap / grab / modify so much takes your attention away from the moment.
I’m really happy with everything we got done, but the cost was real. What this itinerary shows is mostly that you don’t need to be intimidated by Magic Kingdom. A good rope drop and FastPass+ strategy will carry you far. But how far really depends on how much attention you’re willing to put into it. It may be a tough park, but it will give you back what you put into it!
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