Disney Magic Kingdom
The Park That Started It All
Magic Kingdom is the original theme park of Walt Disney World Resort and it opened in 1971. If you can if you could only manage to visit one of Disney World theme park, this is the one. The famous Cinderella’s Castle can be found and this park is by far the busiest theme park in Orlando. To find the best ticket options for you, visit the Disney World Tickets section.
Magic Kingdom is absolutely enormous and Saturday is traditionally the busiest day so try and avoid a Saturday. Young children will love Magic Kingdom more than any other theme park because it really is ideal for little ones. The whole park is like one big fairy tale and even if the park was empty (but it never is) you would still struggle to do everything in one day. If you are planning to visit Magic Kingdom for just one day, make sure you set out early. Psych yourself up for a long day and leave when security throw you out.
The only negative thing I can say about Magic Kingdom is that some of the rides are a bit dated. There isn’t too much in Magic Kingdom for thrill seekers so if you are a pure adrenaline junkie you may not love it as much as most people. Magic Kingdom is definitely worth visiting at least once whoever you are.
Remember! To Download great Disney Apps and get lots of Disney theme park tips, read my Walt Disney World Resort page. If you skipped ahead in the guide and just came straight to the Magic Kingdom page, try to read every page in Mr Brit’s Orlando Guide. There are literally hundreds of tips throughout Mr Brit’s Guide To Orlando.
The Boat Or The Monorail?
After hopping off the car park tram you will come to Seven Seas Lagoon. You then need to get across the lagoon and you wouldn’t really want to swim. There are a lot of alligators in that lagoon and they are real. There are two safe ways of getting to the park entrance and your choices are the monorail or the boat.
If a boat has just left and you can’t see another one coming, head for the monorail. Whichever you choose, come back to the car park on the other one so you have experienced both. We like to get on the monorail for speed and ride the boat back for the view. If you wait too long for a boat you could be losing half an hour in the park and at Disney’s prices, that works out to quite a lot of money for a full family.
The Disney Brick Road
When you get off the boat or the monorail you will see that the block paving near the entrance is full of family names and dates. This is an old feature of the park that is no longer available to park visitors. People were allowed to buy a brick and add a message to it. The scheme was ended around 2000.
I have a feeling that Middlesbrough football club chairman Steve Gibson has visited Magic Kingdom previously. At the front of the Riverside Stadium there is a similar feature called the Boro Brick Road. Fans could buy a brick and have a comment or name engraved into it. Maybe Walt Disney copied the Boro, who knows.
One more thing, don’t spend too much time trying to find the brick in the picture because it only exists on my PC, the wonders of technology.
The Parades And Night Time Shows
When night time approaches the whole park looks truly amazing. The big attraction at night is Cinderella’s Castle where fireworks and animations are a great end to the days visit. Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After pull the curtain on an amazing day out. There are numerous Disney parades flowing around Magic Kingdom throughout the day so check your paper park map for viewing times.
To see the shows and parades I would recommend queueing early unless you are 7 feet tall. A lot of people gather for these stunning parades and shows but it really is worth putting time aside to experience them. Disney really do know how to make you feel like you are inside of a Fairy tale.
Disney’s Keys To The Kingdom Tour
In Magic Kingdom there is a special behind the scenes tour available to all people over the age of 16 years old. The tour learns visitors about the creation and the history of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The reason for the age limit is that Disney World do not want to spoil the dreams of younger children. On this tour you are likely to find out many of the Disney World park secrets that make the park such a magical place.
One part of the tour is the tour of the utilidors, these are a set of tunnels and roads that actually operate under Magic Kingdom. The utilidors are a hidden network of short cuts and supply routes that help park supplies and Disney characters secretly move from one area of the park to another. The utilidors were not tunnelled under the Magic Kingdom, they were created first. Magic Kingdom was then was built on top of the utilidors. When you are walking around Magic Kingdom, you are on the first floor.
The tour costs $99 + tax so just over £80 at 2019 prices and it lasts between 4 1/2 hours to 5 hours. One thing to note is that you must have already have paid for admission to the park as this tour is an extra. You can call to book a tour on (407) WDW-TOUR (see making a call to figure the number out). Lunch is included and guests must carry photo ID during the tour. Large bags and cameras are not permitted on the tour.
A view with a Castle
There is a great place to get a cracking family photo with Cinderella’s Castle as the back drop. As you leave the Liberty Square area past The Hall Of Presidents attraction, turn left. You will walk across a small bridge, half way across look to your left. You will have a beautiful view of the castle with the river below.
I am not a great photographer but even my effort looks quite good. The great thing about this location is that you haven’t got hundreds of people stood behind you and that is quite rare in Magic Kingdom.
There are many great photo opportunities in Magic Kingdom and the first one that you will come across will be in front of the castle. There is a Walt and Mickey statue called “Partners” and this makes a great picture. The only problem with that location is, every man and his dog will be there trying to get the same photo. The first image in Mr Brit’s Orlando Guide was taken by me at this location.
The Rides of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
This is one of the newest attractions in Magic Kingdom so the wait times can be horrendous on some days. This is definitely a FastPass+ option if you can get it. The whole Brit family love this ride and it is our ‘must do’ ride in Magic Kingdom. The regular queue area is great and it helps to ease the pain of waiting in line. Kids will be entertained with things to see and do in the caves.
The ride is the smoothest ride I have ever been on. You are in a mine train carriage that swings side to side as you go around corners. You will travel through caves and get to see the Seven Dwarfs at work. The Dwarfs are so realistic so it adds another dimension to the ride experience. Keep your eyes on Snow Whites house as you come to the end of the ride.
The ride is located in the Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom and has a height restriction of 38″ or 97cm. FastPass+ it if you are lucky enough to get one.
Pirates Of The Caribbean
This ride is suitable for all levels of riders so don’t be worried about it being scary. This ride is a slow boat ride where you journey through a pirate adventure. There is no height restriction so this shows it is suitable for all. Similar to the Spaceship Earth ride in Epcot, this ride uses some brilliant animatronics.
The likeness of the Jack Sparrow is amazing and you would think it was him. Jack pops up from barrels and sticks his head out of windows at various points throughout the ride. Get your kids to look for Jack as you float through pirate town.
There is usually no need to use a FastPass+ for this ride. Pirates Of The Caribbean isn’t one of the busiest attractions in the park so save your FastPass+ for another attraction.
Pirates Of The Caribbean is located in the Adventureland area of Magic Kingdom.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This train ride may look like a rollercoaster from some angles but it has no loops or big drops so don’t worry about it. Nanna Brit had a heart attack in Tenerife many years ago and she loves this one. She is scared to go on a lot of rides but not Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The ride is fine for thrill ride beginners but don’t expect to be ‘buzzing’ when you come off. The queues can get quite long so you will probably want to FastPass+ this one. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad can be found in the Frontierland area and it has a height requirement of 40″ or 102cm
I must have been on over a hundred steel rollercoasters in my life with loops and 90 degree drops. I have been on every thrill ride imaginable but put me in a queue for a high drop on a water ride and my heart starts beating. Splash Mountain is by no means the scariest ride out there but to me it is a thrill ride because of that drop.
I think it must be the fact that you are falling at a very steep angle with no, or very little safety harness. With today’s big rollercoasters you are strapped in really well. It is usually hard to scratch your bum on a rollercoaster so there is no concern that you could fall out.
The ride is very similar to Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls in Islands Of Adventure. There is a slow 3 minute build up of sailing around indoor caves and looking at cartoon characters. Then the BIG drop comes. You will get wet and you will scream (especially if you are like me). I consider it a much better ride than it’s neighbour – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The ride does attract big queues so it is worth a FastPass+. There is a height requirement of 40” or 102cm. Splash Mountain is located in the Frontierland area of Magic Kingdom.
The Haunted Mansion
Mrs Brit has always been scared of ghost trains so she always refused to ride the Haunted Mansion with me. I convinced my Mam – Nanna Brit to join me one year and we both loved it. It’s not frightening so don’t be put off if you are a bit of a scaredy cat. Jump aboard and enjoy. I think everyone except toddlers will enjoy this one.
First there is a pre-ride show where you are locked in a haunted part of the mansion where you listen to some of the spooky historical stories about the mansion. Riders are then placed into a small black car and head off through the mansion. You see ghosts come and go but none of them will come very close. There are some quite good special effects to be seen and it is worth a visit. Keep your eyes on the mirrors at the end.
Save the FastPass+ for one of the more popular rides as the wait shouldn’t be too long. The ride is located in the Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom, across the lake from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
This ride is very popular and I don’t know why because I almost fell asleep at the wheel. If you look at my picture you will see that the cars are stuck on a track and cannot drive freely.
People behind you cannot overtake, you don’t have to steer properly and it is as slow as Brexit negotiations. I would avoid allocating any time for this ride unless you have very young children. It may brighten their day up if they are easily pleased.
When we visited one year my older child saw the ride and wanted to ride straight away. This is roughly how the conversation went –
Child – “Can I go on Indy Speedway Dad”,
Me – “Not just yet, we’ve got better things to do”
one minute later…
Child – “Can I go on Indy Speedway now Dad”,
Me – “I’ve just told you, not just yet”
another minute later…
Child – “please can I go on Indy Speedway Dad”,
Me – “Oh go on then and don’t blame me if it’s rubbish”
An hour later child returns…
Child – “that was rubbish, I’m never gonna go on it again”
Riders need to be 54″ or 132cm tall to ride alone. Passengers must be 32″ or 81cm to ride. The ride can be found (or avoided) in the Tomorrowland area which is to the right of the castle.
Liberty Square Riverboat
This old fashioned replica Mississippi paddle steamer boat is one ride that never has a big queue. If you see the boat about to dock, you will still get on even if there’s a large queue.
Real steam power is used by harnessing the water from the lake. The Liberty will take you on a slow ride past Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and into old America. You will see an Indian settlement and scenes from the days of mining. You will travel around the Tom Sawyer Island and then back to port.
The Liberty Square Riverboat can be found in the Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom.
it’s a small world
This ride is very “Disney” so if you are a lover of dolls and fairy tale type things, this one will delight you. For everyone else it will probably be quite annoying.
Throughout the ride you will be greeted by hundreds of dancing and singing audio animatronical children from around the world. They all sing the same song and the song goes on and on and on. The “it’s a small world” song has become quite famous over the years and has appeared in movies. It has featured in Shrek, The Lion King and a spoof Duff Beer version was sung in an episode of The Simpsons. The queues can get quite long but it still doesn’t deserve a FastPass+. If you have done everything in the park, maybe jump on it when the parades are on. It will be less busy then.
The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh
In Fantasyland behind the castle and off to the right is The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh. You will climb aboard a large honey pot that acts like a slow waltzer at times. When you enter the Tigger phase of the ride, it turns into a jumping honey pot as you follow Tigger around Hundred Acre Wood. The ride will have a few “moments in the dark” but nothing else that will scare your little ones.
This ride is aimed at really young children so it won’t be such a hit with the bigger kids.
The Barnstormer is a rollercoaster ride aimed at smaller children. The Goofy rollercoaster is located in the Storybook Circus area of Magic Kingdom and it is a great step up towards the more adult rides for smaller children.
It won’t be ideal for all kids but if your child is quite a tough nut of a toddler, it might be worth riding this one with them. This ride is a great opportunity to test out their ride confidence. The rollercoaster does speed up a little as it spirals downwards but there are no high drops. The ride doesn’t last long and this is another good reason to use it as a ‘starter rollercoaster’. If they hate it and scream, it will be over in a flash and the stress will be minimised.
The ride has a height requirement of 35″ or 89cm.
This is the best thrill ride in Magic Kingdom so if you like to rollercoaster in the dark, FastPass+ Space Mountain. The ride used to be a bit rough so it had a major refurb’ a few years ago. Disney have now added video games for you to play while you are queueing for this ride. There are also other interactive elements to keep you entertained while you wait in line.
Space Mountain is almost a ride in the dark but you can see the odd thing when random flashes occur. You will be placed into a small bullet shaped car with single file seats. Whoever is at the front will have the luxury of knowing when the turns and sharp drops are coming. If you are sat behind someone, you will get a very thrilling ride because you just don’t know what will happen next.
There are no loops or really, really high drops so you don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to ride it. The best way I can describe the ride for you are transported to the top floor of a 5 story steel framed building and you drop one floor, do a few sharp turns and then drop another floor and so on until you reach the bottom.
The ride can be found in Tomorrowland at the right hand side of the park as you enter. There is a height requirement of 44″ or 113cm. FastPass+ is recommended.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority
This ride is really quick to get on compared with most of Disney’s other attractions. It isn’t the best ride you will ride at Magic Kingdom but it is quite a good excuse for a sit down and seeing some of the park.
The tour takes you around the Tomorrowland area and into the Space Mountain building at a nice slow pace. It is ideal for babies, small children and older visitors. There is a running commentary which will tell you about some of the dreams Walt had for Walt Disney World. The ride can be found in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
This ride is a “Shoot em Up” which the younger Toy Story fans will love. Each rider has their own zapper gun and you are helping Buzz fight off the evil Emperor Zurg. It is one of the most colourful rides that you will ever experience.
Space Ranger Spin has a point scoring system so if you are competitive, try and keep a steady hand and don’t shoot the goodies. The ride is similar to Men In Black Alien Attack at Universal Studios
In the queue area there is a great “human sized” creation of Buzz Lightyear giving out orders to the waiting rangers. This Buzz is a great feat of engineering and will keep you entertained, if only for a minute while you are waiting.
Space Ranger Spin is located in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom. The ride has FastPass+.
The Shows of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Monsters Inc Laugh floor
As the original Monsters Inc story ended, Mike Wazowski decided to open up his very own comedy club. He wanted to help Monstropolis’ energy needs which was now fuelled by laughs instead of screams. Club visitors will enter through a special “door” and be taken into the monster world of Monstropolis for a good laugh.
Wazowski comes out on stage and tries his hardest to make everyone chuckle. If you are the sort of person that hates being singled out by comedians, keep your fingers crossed and don’t wear anything too noticeable. One audience member (it could be you) will become ‘that guy’ throughout the show. ‘That Guy’ will become the butt of many jokes throughout the show. The spotlight will pounce on ‘that guy’ and the unlucky persons face will be projected onto the comedy clubs TV’s for the audience to laugh at. Children with novelty hats and costumes will also have a good chance of being projected onto the large screens.
You won’t see the same show twice so if you enjoy it, go back another day and some of the jokes will be different. The show opens its doors about every 20 minutes so you shouldn’t wait too long to get in. Laugh Floor is a great little show but you wouldn’t need to use a valuable FastPass+ on it.
Laugh Floor is located in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom.
Walt Disney’s Carousel Of Progress
Mrs Brit and I love this show. Little Brit says he can “take it or leave it”. Maybe it is an age thing! Although this attraction is quite old, it is really unique. The show is not in the most prominent position of the park so if you are not looking for it, you will probably walk on by. We actually visited Magic Kingdom 8 times before we came across the Carousel Of Progress. I saw a door sliding back and forth and I thought “I wonder what is in there”. We headed over and stepped inside.
You sit in a theatre-style seating area while a series of short shows are played out on stage. The shows use old style animatronics to take you through the years. Once each era finishes, the theatre rotates around the circular stage to the next point in time. The seats are the Carousel. The show follows the day to day lives of an American family and how their lives have been affected by technological advancements.
The father of the house is telling you – the audience, about some of the great gadgets they use in their every day lives. Keep your eye on the dog on stage, he is a great little character. The show lasts around 30 minutes so it is another great excuse to rest your feet. FastPass+ is not available for this show but you don’t need one.
Carousel Of Progress is one of the least popular attractions in Magic Kingdom and this is probably due to it being old fashioned. For me, it is a little gem of Magic Kingdom.
The History behind the Carousel of Progress
This ride was originally created by Walt Disney for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It was then moved to Disneyland in California until 1973 when it was replaced. 2 years later the dust was cleaned off it and it was shipped to Disney World in Orlando. It has operated in Magic Kingdom since 1975. The show has been updated many times over the years to keep up with advancements in technology. It is reported that this attraction was Walt’s favourite attraction and he stated that it should never cease operation.
Carousel Of Progress is located in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom.
The Hall Of Presidents
The kids won’t appreciate this show but history loving adults will. The Hall Of Presidents is a great show that charts the history of America and the US presidents. From Washington to Trump, the presidents you know and the ones you’ve never heard of all make an appearance.
Disney imagineers love animatronics and they have done a great job creating all 44 US presidents. The show starts with a short video celebrating the history and achievements of America. After the video, the brilliant animatronics take over. The most well known presidents address the audience with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama and Donald Trump being the main players.
The show is so respected today that the last 4 presidents have actually recorded their own audio for the show. Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump all recorded their own speeches for this Disney World show. It is well worth a visit but maybe take some treats with you to keep little ones quiet.
You won’t need a FastPass+ for the show and you can find it in the Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom.
If you have a 1 metre wide TV at home, you are probably pleased with yourself. Imagine what Mickey’s PhilharMagic 46 metre wide screen TV looks like. Every Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck fan will love this 3-D show located just behind and to the left of the castle. The amazing 3-D show (which is really 4-D) is projected onto one of the largest seamless screens in the world.
If you have previously been to shows such as Shrek 4-D at Universal Studios or It’s Tough To Be A Bug at Animal Kingdom, you will be familiar with this style of modern day show. Donald, as always is causing trouble and his pal Mickey must come to the rescue once again. Mickey needs to save Donald from the perils of movies such as The Lion King, Beauty & The Beast and Peter Pan.
The theatre is beautiful and it’s a real treat for the eyes while you wait for the show to start. This show is great for all ages and the wait times aren’t bad so don’t waste a FastPass+ on it. Maybe plan to slot this show in halfway through your day to give your feet a well earned rest. Keep your eye out for Donald at the very end of the show as he is takes one last high speedy journey towards the audience.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic is located in the Fantasyland are of Magic Kingdom, behind the castle.
What To FastPass+ In Magic Kingdom
|Popular So FastPass+ If You Can||Good But Shouldn't Need To FastPass+|
|Seven Dwarfs Mine Train||Mickey's PhilharMagic|
|Space Mountain||Monsters Inc Laugh floor|
|Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||Pirates Of The Caribbean|