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Dis411 | Walt Disney World, Disney World, Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Sunday, 20 February 2011 20:54

A Complete Guide to the Magic Kingdom

 

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The Magic Kingdom was the first of Disney's theme parks developed in Florida in 1971. It is the "main" park at Walt Disney World and the one most people thing of when they think of the area.  The theme park is largely based on the original Disneyland which was built in the 1950's in Anaheim, California. The Magic Kingdom is home to Cinderella's Castle, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. We have a complete guide on this page and included at the top of it, our most recent tweets about the Magic Kingdom as well as links to our articles about the Magic Kingdom that fall outside of the guide.

History Traveling Park Info Main Street, USA Adventureland Frontierland Liberty Square
Fantasyland Tomorrowland Entertainment Special Events Tours Shopping Dining

Our Most Recent Magic Kingdom Tweets

Our Most Recent Magic Kingdom Articles

 

Entering Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom utilizes what's generally known as a "hub and spoke" design for its theme park layout.  This method is similar to other Disney parks, and theme parks as a whole have adopted this layout as the norm in modern design.  It is organized around the hub which is the afformentioned Cinderella's Castle. The various "lands" are organized around this central hub and consist of Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. You'll find all of these in the Magic Kingdom Map later in the guide which also includes Magic Kingdom Rides, Magic Kingdom Tickets, Magic Kingdom Pictures and Magic Kingdom Videos.  We also have guides for the other Walt Disney World Theme Parks like Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and other area parks to include Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Visiting the Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is far and away the most popular of Disney's Theme Parks and the most popular park worldwide. The park is not popular by accident. There are a wide variety of activites, rides and entertainment that can please everyone in your family. There is a reason that this park is known as the "Most Magicl Place on Earth" with old mainstays like Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World to the newer interactive attractions like Buzz Lightyear or the amazing PhillHarmagic it is the most iconic of the four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort, and might be the one best suited for younger children. 

It's worth noting, that like the other Disney theme parks, the Magic Kingdom has a FastPass system that helps you in planning your day and allows you to walk onto a ride at a predetermined time. This is especially beneficial if you visit a park on a busy day. When used effectively, a Fastpass can make your day all the more enjoyable. Please read our writeup about the Fastpass system and how to utilize it.

Walt Disney World History

After Walt Disney was so successful in California with Disneyland, he turned his attention to a much bigger vision. Disneyland was certainly a huge success, but the real estate in and around the park were so limited, that Walt needed to look elsewhere. 

Magic Kingdom Grand Opening Roy O. Disney 1971The solution he finally settled on was to secretely thousands of acres in Central Florida, southwest of Orlando, for a new "Disney World". He wanted an area with good weather and lots of land, and he found both near Orlando. Interestinly Walt didn't really plan to have the centerpiece as the Magic Kingdom. Rather, his design for the hub of the area was to be EPCOT something he envisioned as an experimental "community of tomorrow". It would be a complete community where people would live, work, and play. The Disneyland like park was in the works, but Walt himself had very little interest in recreating what he'd already done before. 

Unfortunately, Walt Disney passed away in 1966 just a short while after he had revealed his plans to the world.  While EPCOT was later built, Walt's actual vision of EPCOT died with him. His brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney, moved forward with the construction near Orlando, beginning with the tried and true concept of Disneyland as the basis for the Magic Kingdom.

Roy Disney worked tirelessly and diligently to make sure that the park would open. He wanted to preserve at least a part of his brother's dream, and on October 1, 1971, the Magic Kingdom opened. It was an overwhelming success and began the massive undertaking that would become four theme parks, amazing restaurants and shopping that make up the entirety of today's Walt Disney World. Sadly Roy Disney died just a few months after the opening. Check out more interesting facts about Magic Kingdom!

Getting to the Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is on the northern side of the Walt Disney World property.  You can take World Drive north to the Magic Kingdom's enormous parking lot.  The lot is actually about a mile (1500 meters) south of the park and you need to board a tram, or walk, to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). At the TTC, you'll be looking across Seven Seas Lagoon towards the Magic Kingdom.  From here, you have two options to get to the park. You can take the ferryboat or the monorail. If you are visiting for the first time, take one each way so you can experience both. They are both visually very interesting and entertaining options. At the time of updating the guide, parking at the Magic Kingdom is $14.00 per car. You'll probably tire of reading this as this tip is in each of our guides, but once you pay for parking a theme park, you can freely park at another. If you are staying onsite in a Disney resort, you can park for free, and you simply show your "Key to the World" card at the toll booth.

Magic Kingdom Area Resorts

If you are staying at any onsite Disney resort, you can take advantage of their massive bus transportation system. However, if you are at one of the monorail resorts (Polynesian, Grand Floridian or Contemporary), the monorail would probably be the best choice. There are actually 2 monorails, the monorail from the TTC that was mentioned earlier and a second that travels clockwise around the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom and makes stops inside the Contemporary, the TTC, the Polynesian, and then the Grand Floridian before again stopping at the entrance/exit of the Magic Kingdom.  If you are staying at the Contemporary Resort, you are so close and may actually find that the short walk is the quikest method of travel.

Fort Wilderness and  Wilderness Lodge are not on the monorail system. They do have the standard buses for traveling to the Magic Kingdom. Also, each of these resorts, with the lone exeption being the Contemporary, have smaller boats, or water taxis as they are called, that can be used for transportation to and from the Magic Kingdom. Again, if you are planning to visit the park just once, pick multiple options so you can experience each of them. They are a very entertaining and scenic way to begin or end your day.

From Disney Resorts

If you are staying at another onsite resort, you can either use the freely provided Disney bus transportation system or you can drive to the park. If you choose to drive, the parking is free with your "Key to the World" card. If you take a bus, you will be dropped off in a very conventient location right in front of the Magic Kingdom gates and not at the TTC. It's a nice perk to taking the bus.

Magic Kingdom transportation from Theme Parks and Downtown Disney

If you are at another park and wish to travel directly to the Magic Kingdom, you are in luck. Disney provides this free transportation as well, or if you have driven, you can certainly drive as well. If you are at Epcot, you can take a monorail to the TTC. From there, you can choose to board another monorail to travel to the Magic Kingdom or have the option of a ferryboat. If you are at Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom, you can take a bus to the TTC and then transfer to the monorail or ferryboat. You could also as take a bus to one of the Magic Kingdom (Contemporary, Grand Floridian or Polynesian) and from there you have all of the options depending on the resort.

You will not be able to get bus service directly from Downtown Disney to the Magic Kingdom, but you can travel by bus to any Disney resort and from there you can take another bus to go to the park. Another option is to take a bus to one of the afformentioned monorail resorts and then take the monorail. As you can see, a theme quickly emerges. You can basically take a bus to any resort and travel to any Disney park or destination by taking another bus.

The Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Map

When you first enter the park, your location is Main Street U.S.A. Although there are actually a great deal of scenic objects whe you enter the park, including gift shops, and characters walking about, your eyes will probably be drawn to the impressive image of Cinderella's Castle. As we mentioned earlier, is is the centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom, and it sits directly at the end of Main Street.

As you can see in the above Magic Kingdom Map, when you are facing the Castle, you can reach Adventureland by the leftmost path. You will also notice Liberty Square going clockwise, Fantasyland is located directly behind the castle with Tomorrowland to the right.  You can make your way to Frontierland through either Adventureland or Liberty Square. You will probably also notice that in addition to the hub area leading to the lands, you can also travel the perimeter of the park to get around.

If you are tired, or don't really feel like walking, you can sometimes find a horse-drawn trolley that travels up and down Main Street. This will take you to the central hub at which time you will have to make your way on foot to your desired destination. Another option is the train which has stations at Main Street and Frontierland (near Splash Mountain). The train travels the outermost perimeter of the park and is something you should try atleast once.

Magic Kingdom Video Gallery:

Here is a small gallery of EPCOT videos that we're sure you'll enjoy. We'll add some regularly, but you can always find the largest collection of Magic Kingdom videos on the web on our video section.

Holiday time at Magic Kingdom is spectacular! Take a look:

 

 

 

 

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Magic Kingdom Attractions

The Magic Kingdom has a wide variety of attractions that people from around the world are drawn to. Some of the attractions might be the same as those in Disneyland or another of Disney's parks, but the majority are available only at the Magic Kingdom. The rides are geared mostly towards younger children, but there are several options for older thrill seakers as well. 

A Fastpass is available for several of the biggest attractions in the park including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Jungle Cruise, Mickey's Philharmagic, Peter Pan's Flight, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise and Winnie the Pooh. We wouldn't recommend using a Fastpass for PhillHarmagic as you can usually walk-in and find a seat. Of these rides, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain are usually the busiest with lines that sometimes have wait periods of a couple of hours during the busiest times of the year. If you plan to ride one of these attractions, and visit during a busy time, a Fastpass may be the only way to make sure you get the opportunity to get to everything.

The Magic Kingdom has daily parades, fireworks, and stage show performances. You need to be sure to pick up a Guide Map when you enter the park and a Times Guide which details the specific times for that particular day. It's important when planning your day to keep these times in mind as well if you want to see any or all of these.  There is also a Wait Times Board which is located at end of Main Street. You can see the board on the left as you walk towards the Castle from Main Street. There are often cast members available if you hae any questions at this location as well. Along with the posted times of the parades, fireworks and live entertainment, the Wait Times Board will also list the FastPass availability for each of the rides that accept it and what the current wait time is for each of the rides without a FastPass.

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Main Street, U.S.A.

Disneyland's Main Street was famously modelled after Walt's hometown of Marceline, Missouri at the turn of the century. Its sister Main Street in Walt Disney World is said to be designed more like a turn of the century Kansas City which is where Walt called home after leaving Marceline and before he moved to California. Kansas City was also home to the original Disney Brothers studio and is where Walt met legendary animator Ub Iwerks who was the original Mickey Mouse artist. There are a variety of areas that are reprensented in the Magic Kingdom version and the architecture is circa 1910. Interestingly, Main Street is the only area in the park that has no rides or traditional theme park attractions.

The first part of Main Street looks like an old time town square. There is a small area in the middle with a flagpole which has a small flag ceremony everyday around 5 pm. Veterans can participate in the flag ceremony and can inquire about it with guest relations or with a cast member.  During the ceremony, a small brass band plays and the flag is lowered and then folded. Many guests wonder why the flags that adorn all of the building on Main Street are also not taken down. For starters, the flags are not actually real American flags. They each have something missing so that they can be left up each and every day. For example, they may have stripes missing or a star. It's a clever way Disney can give the correct look and feel but still honor the flag. The flag poles on the buildings perform double-duty as well -- they are also lightning rods.

As you make your way down Main Street, you’ll notice the names of several different businesses painted on the windows of the second and third stories. These are not real businesses or locations that you can visit but it is very interesting where the names came from. When Walt was buying up the centeral Florida land, he used various dummy corporations so that sellers wouldn’t realize it was Disney and raise the price. One of the businesses you'll see, for example, is the "M.T. Lott" developing company which was owned by none other than Minnie Mouse. The businesses names may also represent names of the people that were part of the early Disney company.  

There are interesting gift shops along the way, a bakery, an ice cream shoppe, a functioning old time barber shop called Harmony Barbershop where you can actually get your hair cut (call (407) WDISNEY or (407) 934-7639 to make an appointment), several locations to get some food and goodies, and a Crystal Arts glass shop can be paticularly interesting. They have glass blowers working in the shop and you can watch as the make some of the amazing creations sold in the store.  The daily Times Guide lists some of the entertainment that you will find on Main Street such as the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet. We have a more complete list of the dining and shopping options at the bottom of this guide.

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Adventureland

Adventureland, as the name accurately depicts, is an area full of exotic locations.  It begins, when entering from Main Street, as a representation of the jungles of Africa. Continuing west, you will soon be in an area that represents the Middle East and South Pacific before finally arriving at the Spanish outposts on the Caribbean Sea. This are is also home to the Dole Whip Float -- one of our favorite treats in any of the parks. Each of these themed areas have attractions that fit the locale:

Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room - The show has been revamped to its original roots which started as "Tropical Serenade." The birds will serenade you and make you want to sing along with them!

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin - Guide your carpet up and down as it spins around and around.  Beware of the spitting camels, you may get a little wet!  

Jungle Cruise - Tour the world's jungle rivers, from the Amazon to the Nile to the Irawaddy.  The pilots of your boat are well-equipped, both with pistols and with the worst puns known to man.  View the back side of water, and visit "head" salesman Trader Sam, but please, no "hand outs" to the crocodiles!  

Pirates of the Caribbean - The classic swashbuckling adventure along the Spanish Main now features Captain Jack Sparrow from the hit series of Pirates of the Caribbean films.  A bit spooky at the beginning, but once the pillaging starts, things start to get goofy.  

Swiss Family Treehouse - Walk through the shipwrecked Robinson family's ingenious home.

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Frontierland

Frontierland is designed to look at feel like the lands west of the Mississippi in the 19th century, or in other words, like the wild west. It contains some of the best attractions in the park and even has hoedowns with Woody and other Disney characters.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - This roller coaster has a runaway mine train theme.  This ride has no loops, but the hairpin turns, fast hills, and frequent tunnels make for a fast and thrilling ride.   

Country Bear Jamboree - Live stage show with country music-singing Audio-Animatronic bears.  It's a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time!

Splash Mountain - A log flume ride based on Song of the South, with a thrilling 50-foot drop into the briar patch!  You will get wet - maybe soaked; one way to avoid that fate is to purchase a rain poncho at the gift shop nearby to wear on the ride.  

Tom Sawyer Island - Take a raft ride across the Rivers of America to a pair of heavily wooded islands perfect for adventurous play.  Lots of  areas to explore. 

Walt Disney World Railroad - Board the steam train that will circle the park and stop at Main Street, U.S.A.  

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Liberty Square

Liberty Square is the smallest of all the lands and is based on Colonial America. There are a few of out-of-the-way treasures to discover such as a recplica of the Liberty Bell, one of the 50 that were made during the bicentennial celebration in 1976. Every state actually received one, but because Pennsylvania already had the original, Disney inherited the extra one. Another item you might walk past would be the Liberty Tree, the largest (real) tree in the Magic Kingdom. It holds thirteen lanterns each one representing one of the original thirteen colonies.  A wooden pillory is popular for photo-ops, and some of the most unique shopping is available here.

The attractions in Libery Square :

The Hall of Presidents - This attraction starts with an inspirational ultra-widescreen film on the history of the U.S. presidency.  The ending shows all 43 presidents on the stage, presented in lifelike Audio-Animatronics.  Washington, Lincoln, and Obama give brief speeches.  

Haunted Mansion - A stately Dutch Gothic mansion sits on a hill to the north of Liberty Square, that represents the Hudson River estates of the 19th century. Visitors will, however, hear some eerie sounds originating from the mansion; those who venture inside will find themselves placed in a creepy, wacky house of horrors.  This is a ride-through attraction featuring 999 happy haunts (which means there's room for one more—did you bring your death certificate?) and the only Disney cast members who never creack a smile. The latest round of renovations in 2008 have done wonders in updating the innovative special effects.  

Liberty Square Riverboat - Ride a steam-powered stern-wheeler down the Rivers of America.  This boat ride gives you some unique views of attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain that you will not see from anywhere else in the park.  Also, there are more exciting sites that are only viewable from the riverboat.

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Fantasyland

Fantasyland is where Disney's classic animated fairy tales come to life and is currently in the midst of an extreme makeover. It is home to many of the iconic Disney attractions for younger children and might be the most crowded area in any of the parks. The change in Fantasyland is the biggest one to hit the Magic Kingdom in its 40-year history. Combining some underused land and some unused space (the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction was once in the location), Fantasyland will be transformed into a very lush fairy-tale setting. This is an enormous change from the fair-like atmosphere of the current lands with Beauty and the Beast to be well represented here, with a new  "Be Our Guest" restaurant and a recreation of Gaston's tavern.  The Little Mermaid is getting her own ride, and there'll be a Seven Dwarfs mine-cart roller coaster.  The Princess Fairy Tale Hall, where children (and adults!) will be able to meet some of their favorite princesses, will be here too.

The area formerly known as Mickey's Toontown Fair will take on a circus theme, with "The Great Goofini" kiddie coaster and a twin Dumbo ride.  Here are some of the other attractions that make this area so popular:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - Dumbo spreads his giant ears and flies around and around, and you can control your elephant to go up and down.  This classic attraction has been the very first "thrill ride" for many kids through the years.  

"it's a small world" - Set sail on the happiest cruise around the world, to be serenaded by stylized Audio-Animatronics of children from every continent.  This was originally Pepsi and Bank of America's pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair.  The cheerful theme song is known all over the world, both for its message of unity; as well as for its catchy tune.  

Mad Tea Party - The Mad Hatter and the March Hare have invited you for a spin in a giant teacup - good luck!

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Follow Pooh and his friends on an adventure through the Hundred Acre Wood.  This may be the most popular ride in the park for the little ones. 

Mickey's PhilharMagic - A computer-animated 3D movie.  You think you're in for a magical concert conducted by Mickey Mouse, but Donald Duck steals Mickey's sorcerer hat, and things go awry.  The audience follows Donald into iconic scenes from the movies: Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and more. 

Peter Pan's Flight - You will enjoy the story of Peter Pan from your own flying pirate ship.  Fly over the rooftops of London on your way to Neverland.  

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel - This carousel was built in 1917, making it the oldest ride in the park.  Found dilapidated and unoperational in 1967 in Maplewood, New Jersey, it was meticulously restored.  Try to find the horse with the golden ribbon on its tail; it is Cinderella's own horse!  

Snow White's Scary Adventures - Make your way through the woods to the Seven Dwarfs' cottage; beware of the Wicked Witch!  Harmless fun, but there are a few scenes that the little ones may find scary.  

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Tomorrowland

Like the other lands, you'll get an idea of the concept of the area by the name. Tomorrowland is an ever-changing vision of a futuristic city that celebrate and anticipate the dreams and innovations that will keep us moving forward into the future.  This land is very different from the other lands of the Magic Kingdom that are all borrowing concepts from the past.

The attractions in Tomorrowland are:

Astro Orbiter - Climb into a rocketship and control your altitude as you spin around a central pillar.  This ride is very similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephants in Fantasyland, except that it is positioned much higher in the air; allowing for some very nice views.  If you can time it right, it is a fun spot to watch the fireworks at night. 

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - An indoor dark ride with a laser gun game.  You will be helping Buzz Lightyear beat the evil Emperor Zurg by firing your laser at the many targets along the ride. Some targets are worth more than others, but you won't know which are which!  This ride can be addicting as you will want to try to beat your scores.  

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress - A four-part Audio-Animatronic production taking you through a century of technological progress.  Housed in a unique rotating show building.  This production holds the record for being the longest-running stage show in history.

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor - Interactive comedy show featuring characters from Monsters, Inc.  Audience members can submit jokes from their cell phone for the monsters to use in the show.

Space Mountain - The classic rocket-themed indoor roller coaster.  It's really dark, which makes it all the more thrilling!

Stitch's Great Escape! - The little genetically engineered terror, Experiment 626, is up to his tricks and you're locked into your seat and at his mercy.  This attraction gets very mixed reviews; adults often find it boring, while young kids can be scared out of their wits.  Not many people enjoy smelling Stitch's chili-dog breath.  Try it if you want, but know what you're getting into, especially if you have kids.  

Tomorrowland Indy Speedway - You don't need a driver's license to drive these real gas-powered cars; you just have to be able to reach the gas pedal.  Take a cruise around a 0.4-mile (640 m) racetrack (safely secured to a guiderail).  

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover - Take a round-trip sightseeing tour on an elevated track around all of Tomorrowland.  The almost silent, smooth vehicles are an innovative prototype for an efficient and comfortable transport system.  The ride goes inside several of the show buildings, giving you behind-the-scenes look at both Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear.  

Here is a complete list of all of the Magic Kingdom attractions.

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Entertainment

The parades and shows at all of the parks draw in large crowds.  At the Magic Kingdom, it is really noticeable; perhaps it is due to the narrow streets and it being the favorite park for most.  You'll need to get a good viewing spot early (check your Times Guide for the schedule).  If you want to sit on the curb or grab a bench seat, you will want to arrive about an hour prior.  Not so worried about the view, you will be able to find a good spot as little as 15 minutes beforehand.  If you're running late for a parade, try to get to the end of it, as the parade will take up to 20 minutes to get there.

More importantly, if you don't want to watch the parade or the show, stay well away from the main viewing locations.  This is a good time to get on that popular ride as the wait times are shorter!

The parades start in the entrance plaza and head up Main Street, then through the hub to Liberty Square and down through Frontierland.  They will end near Splash Mountain.  You can watch the fireworks anywhere in the park, but they are the best with Cinderella Castle as a backdrop.  So most people will try to get a spot on Main Street to view them; then you will be able to exit the park quickly after them.

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade - Daytime parade of classic Disney moments.  

The Main Street Electrical Parade - The classic nighttime parade that ran for many years and then made an exciting comeback in the Summer 2010, and Disney has not yet decided when its special engagement will end and SpectroMagic will return. Until that time arrives, enjoy this blast from the past!  

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular - At park closing there is a fireworks show to send everyone home with a great memory.

You just might catch the moving/talking trash can! Watch:

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site

Complete list of Magic Kingdom entertainment.

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Special Events

Night of Joy - September 9-10, 2011; 4PM-1AM - A Christian music festival, with contemporary Christian bands and soloists performing on multiple stages throughout the park.  This is a hard-ticket event, meaning the park will close at 7PM for regular guests and only Night of Joy ticket holders will be allowed to stay in the park.  Several of the park's attractions will be open after 7PM, the main attraction is to be the music. 

In recent years, the Magic Kingdom has been host to two extremely popular "hard-ticket" holiday events.  On select nights from September through December, the park closes early, but guests who buy a special ticket for this event will get to stick around and see special shows and go on the popular rides with shorter lines.  Tickets are limited; if you plan to attend, you should get it as early as possible.  You will pay a little less for it by doing so. 

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - Mid Sep - Nov 1; 7PM-midnight.  A five-hour party with two chances to see the "Boo to You" special Halloween parade, the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show, costumed characters wearing costumes of their own, and trick-or-treating throughout the park.  Wear your own costumes, too!   Many adults as well as kids will dress up for this festive event. 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Early Nov - Dec; 7PM-midnight. A five-hour party with two chances to see the special Christmas parade, the Holiday Wishes fireworks show, complimentary hot cocoa and cookies and snow falling on Main Street U.S.A. 

Note that after the last Christmas Party, about a week before Christmas, the holiday parade and fireworks show are run in place of the usual events, allowing guests to experience them without buying a ticket to a special event.  Alternatively, you can listen to and watch the fireworks shows from the Contemporary, the Polynesian, or the Grand Floridian resorts without needing admission to the park.

Here is a complete list of Magic Kingdom events.

Tours

Guided tours of the Magic Kingdom are quite popular.  All tours can be booked by calling +1 407 WDW-TOUR (939-8687). You will need to have an admission ticket to the park to take advantage of these tours.

Disney's Family Magic Tour - This tour is best for kids of all ages, but works best for kids 4-10.  The two-hour tour works like a scavenger hunt, looking for themed clues in each of the Magic Kingdom's lands trying to save it from the evil plans of a Disney Villian. 

Disney's Keys to the Kingdom - This is the ultimate Disney tour, which goes over, under, and behind the scenes to illustrate Disney history, show you tricks of the trade, and reveal "secrets" of Disney operations.  The tour Includes a trip through the Utilidors and other backstage areas that are not seen by the average guest.  Be warned, though: if this is your first visit to the Magic Kingdom, do not take this tour.  Spend at least two days just enjoying yourself and experiencing the Magic.  The tour will forever change the way that you look at the Magic Kingdom.  This is a 4.5–5 hours walking tour, including a break for lunch at the Columbia Harbour House (order at beginning of tour).  Must be 16 or older. 

Disney's The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains - Walt Disney was a big fan of steam trains, and this tour lets you get a really up-close view of the trains in operation at the Magic Kingdom.  You can also go behind the scenes to the roundhouse and maintenance facilities, while learning about the history behind each of the locomotives. This tour takes approximatley 3 hours.  Must be 10 or older. 

Check out a complete list of tours at the Magic Kingdom.

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Shopping

The Magic Kingdom practically invented the modern theme park merchandising plan: put the biggest store and most expensive stuff at the exit, so you have a place to shop when you're ready to leave the park.  Sure enough, Main Street, U.S.A., the Magic Kingdom's entrance and exit area, is loaded with shopping locations.

The Emporium - This store is huge and takes up most of the western side of the street.  It provides a large variety of Disney merchandise. 

Main Street Confectionery, Uptown Jewelers, and more are on the opposite side of the Emporium.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (inside Cinderella Castle) - This is the place to go for a little girl who wants to get the full princess treatment. Her "fairy godmother" will do her up right with makeup, hairstyle, and other accouterments, although Mom and Dad will have to pay for the privilege.  A Knight Package is available for boys, though it's considerably less involved.  Very popular; appointments (call +1 407 WDW-STYLE (939-7895)) are strongly recommended. $50-$250

Mickey's Star Traders (at the exit of Stitch's Great Escape) - While it's not very heavily themed, this store is widely thought of as one of the best souvenir shops in the park.  

Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe (in Liberty Square) - Open year round, this store sells holiday-related goods reminiscent of 18th and 19th century Christmases. 

Pirates Bazaar (after you exit Pirates of the Caribbean) - Find all of your pirate-themed goodies here.  

The Pirates League (next to Pirates of the Caribbean)  ☎ +1 407 WDW-CREW (+1 407 939-2739) Daily 9AM-4PM.  Not all kids are into the whole "princess" thing; some of them can only look into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and think "why?"   But maybe they would be willing to be inducted into the Pirates League.  Find the hidden entrance near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and then you'll choose the First Mate or the Empress package, and the Pirate Masters will dress you up right.  Both packages include a choice of facial effects, accessories, and a personalized pirate name and oath. $30 

Complete list of Magic Kingdom shopping.

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Dining

For dining reservations call the main Disney Dining number at +1 407 WDW-DINE (939-3463) or hop on the web at Disneyworld.com/reservations.

Counter Service

The Magic Kingdom has an abundance of counter service restaurants; more than at any other park, dining here is dominated by the quick-service segment of the market.

Casey's Corner (Main Street, U.S.A.) - A baseball-themed restaurant, inspired by Ernest L. Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat" (also a segment from the 1946 Disney package film Make Mine Music).  Just hot dogs and a couple of sides.

Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square) - Seafood is the specialty at this eatery near the Hall of Presidents.  If you're not in the mood, you can also get chicken, salad, or a hummus-and-slaw sandwich.

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland) - The food is typical Disney counter-service (burgers, chicken, etc.), but with three separate ordering "bays" (each with its own menu), the variety is practically unbeatable. The burger topping bar is pretty good, too. As an added bonus, this is the only counter-service restaurant with entertainment—Sonny Eclipse is an animatronic alien lounge singer, bringing you the galaxy's best hits (and worst jokes) while you eat. Cosmic Ray's is usually very crowded but often worth the hassle.

Golden Oak Outpost (Frontierland) - Open seasonally. A few chicken entrees, plus a vegetable flatbread. Not much seating—this is more of a snack stand. 

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Frontierland) - Decent selection, often pretty busy as the west-side counterpart to Cosmic Ray's.  BBQ Pork, burgers, and taco salad are available—just enough western flavor to spice up your lunch.

Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland) - Lots of seating (some of it overlooking the 'it's a small world' loading area) but often not as crowded as Cosmic Ray's or Pecos Bill's. You will find pizza, salads, meatball subs, etc. here.

Tortuga Tavern (formerly El Pirata y el Perico) (Adventureland) - Open seasonally. Have a burrito or a taco, if the place is open. 

There are a large amount of snack stands with generic pre-packaged snacks throughout the park, but if you're in the mood for something special, head to Main Street U.S.A.:

Main Street Bakery (Main Street U.S.A.) - Grab a croissant or a cinnamon roll on your way into the park for a quick bite.

Main Street Confectionery (Main Street U.S.A.) - Yummy, freshly baked fudge is a treat difficult to resist, although the vast racks of other fine candies and chocolates may help.  Most of the items here are made right in the shop.

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Main Street U.S.A.) - An old-fashioned soda fountain specializing in hand-dipped ice cream.

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Table service

Compared to the other parks, table service at the Magic Kingdom is very limited.  The choices are all very good, but most of them have characters and you're probably going to need Advance Dining Reservations for any of them.

Cinderella's Royal Table (inside Cinderella Castle) - Cindrella invites everyone to dine in her castle; young girls will love this experience the best.  The price is a little steep, but it includes photos of you and your party in the lobby, a special gift for children ages 3-9, and the chance to meet Cinderella herself.  Be sure to call ahead for reservations as this is one of the most popular restaurants in Walt Disney World.

Crystal Palace (Main Street U.S.A., near Adventureland) - A buffet style meal with characters. The food is a bit more upscale than your average buffet back home, but only a bit.  Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood make appearances during your meal for photos and fun.   

Liberty Tree Tavern (Liberty Square) - Dine like the Founding Fathers in a tavern inspired by 18th century New England.  At lunch, choose from items such as roast beef, roast turkey, or even a cheeseburger if you must.  Dinner is served family-style, and the pork, turkey, beef, potatoes, veggies, stuffing, and mac & cheese will keep coming until you're done. 

The Plaza Restaurant (Main Street U.S.A.) - A restaurant specializing in sandwiches, inspired by the Victorian times of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. You can expect to find grilled Ruebens, club sandwiches, cheeseburgers, etc.

Tony's Town Square Restaurant (Main Street U.S.A., near the entrance) - The atsmosphere in this restaurant is of the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp.  Yummy Italian type food here.

Here is a complete list of dining options at the Magic Kingdom and menus.

Drink

The Magic Kingdom is intended to be a carefree place, where children and adults can have fun together.  As such, no alcohol is permitted within the park gates.  No Magic Kingdom restaurant serves alcohol, and don't even think about trying to sneak some in from outside.

 



Last Updated on Sunday, 04 December 2011 15:10
 
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