Orlando, Florida has a lot of great theme parks, but none of them can touch Disney World's Magic Kingdom for families with small children. This is why I created this 2 Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary.
The majority of the attractions at Magic Kingdom are slow-moving and suitable for those just learning to walk, as well as those who enjoy a good early-bird special. There are also tons of characters, and the fireworks are the best I have ever seen. You really need two days to enjoy it fully. Although there are ways to save money, like Disney cruises, it is definitely expensive. Like small car expensive.
With the magic of Disney World comes crippling crowds, humidity, and rain. Don't bother prettying up before your trip. You will sweat it off in no time. Disney World is the equivalent of spending the day in a sauna taking turns sitting on top of other people, followed by an Ice Bucket Challenge.
Despite the downsides, we believe that Magic Kingdom is worth it. Your level of enjoyment will be directly affected by whether you have a great Magic Kingdom touring plan that minimizes waits and extended sun exposure.
Everyone tours Magic Kingdom differently. We have two children, ages 5 and 7. Because they slow us down and whine a lot, we focus on half of the park each day to minimize walking. I drag the kids out of bed to arrive right when the park opens, but we have yet to make it to closing time.
Depending on your family's sleep schedule, eating habits, interests, preferences, and goals, the plan we follow may not be the best for you. A good general rule for everyone is to ride the attractions with longer-than-average waiting times in the morning before it gets crowded.
To make a customized plan tailored to you and your family's needs, I recommend using the free version of Touring Plans. This website allows you to input what you want to accomplish, including a break if your family requires it. It provides you with a recommended schedule to minimize wait times. You can refresh the plan throughout the day on the app to get an updated plan as needed.
A Magic Kingdom FastPass allows the guest to enter a line shorter than the regular standby one. Each guest can reserve three FastPasses per day before arrival. FastPasses can be booked 60 days before your park day if you stay at an on-property hotel, like Animal Kingdom Lodge, and 30 days before your trip if you stay off property.
Thirty days may not sound like that much of an advantage, but FastPasses for the most popular attractions are usually taken well before the 30-day mark. Generally speaking, you want to be online right when reservations open to have the best chance of getting what you want, and to reduce complaints from children.
You should choose your FastPasses based on what your family wants to do. The big-ticket FastPasses include the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and meeting characters.
FastPasses have a return time with a one-hour window. The return times cannot overlap. After the three FastPasses have been used, or the time to use them has expired, you can book additional FastPasses, one at a time, until the FastPasses are gone for the day.
We usually book our first FastPass about two hours after the park opening. The crowds are at their lowest when the park opens, so a FastPass would be wasted during this time. We usually do the other two in the early afternoon.
After that, I spend the rest of the day on the app searching for as many additional FastPasses as possible. This means I am largely ignoring my children to play on my phone, but hey, we can talk on the plane, right?
Disney World dining reservations can be booked 180 days in advance for all guests. I realize this sounds ridiculous. Who knows where they want to eat in six months?
As silly as it is, you need to be online right at the 180-day mark if you care at all about where you will go. Dining reservations go fast. Menus are available online, and they all have relatively limited options, so you should be able to narrow down the choices.
We typically eat on the early side for both lunch and dinner to avoid crowds. We reserve a sit-down meal for at least one of those meals to soak up some air conditioning and take a break from walking. This is certainly not mandatory, but we find it makes for a more pleasant day for us.
Magic Kingdom Attractions
Magic Kingdom is broken into six sections, each with a unique theme and attractions. We generally break our visit into three parts per day. I also try to pay attention to whether attractions are indoors or outdoors to prevent standing in the Florida sun for hours on end without a break.
Sample Two Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary
Our family follows a touring plan similar to the itinerary below with tweaks depending on the FastPasses and dining reservations we can obtain, as well as wait times throughout the day. This Magic Kingdom guide works for us with small children, but may not be the ideal plan for you. A Magic Kingdom map is also included below for your convenience.
On the first day, you will explore Tomorrowland, Main Street, U.S.A., and Adventureland. You will also watch the afternoon parade and fireworks.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a slow-moving, indoor attraction that everyone can ride. You shoot at alien targets and compete with the rest of your car to get the best score. It is a very popular attraction, and the line can get pretty long.
Astro Orbiter is an outdoor attraction where you spin in a circle in rockets. The ride is located high in the air, requiring an elevator ride to reach it, so you get a beautiful view of the park. It spins very quickly, so it is not a good choice for people prone to motion sickness.
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is an indoor, air-conditioned show. During the show, you are told jokes to help collect laughter. Cameras zoom in on various audience members to tease them in good fun. The line can get long if you have to wait for more than a couple of shows to enter.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a smooth ride around Tomorrowland in a car. It has both indoor and outdoor portions. The journey takes you through buildings housing several attractions. There is never a line, so it is an easy walk in when you need a break from walking.
You enter Magic Kingdom onto Main Street with a view of the iconic Cinderella Castle. Although not an attraction in itself, this is a great place to take a family photo.
Town Square Theater is an area where you can meet Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell. Other than meeting the characters, the area itself is not particularly special. The lines for both of these characters can get pretty long.
Have an early lunch. Consider Tony’s Town Square Restaurant for a sit down Italian meal that includes priority seating for the afternoon parade and is located right next to Town Square Theater.
Space Mountain is an indoor roller coaster through space. It has a 44” height requirement. It moves quickly and turns sharply in complete darkness, so this ride is not for everyone. If you like roller coasters, it is a must-do. It is one of Magic Kingdom’s most famous attractions, but with infamy, comes long lines.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a show in an indoor, air-conditioned theater that rotates through different sets. During each portion of the attraction, an animatronic family talks to you about different eras in history. The ride is extremely outdated, but it has a classic Disney vibe and is good for a laugh at the “future” family.
Tomorrowland Speedway is an outdoor attraction where you can drive cars around a long track. The tracks have dividers so that children can drive. It is not overly exciting, but it is fun for kids who don’t have to sit in rush hour on a daily basis like the rest of us. The line can be long but is usually not too bad.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is an old school Disney attraction. During this show, outdated animatronic birds sing to you. It would be lame if not for its classic feel. There is never any wait for this attraction, and it is in a blissfully air-conditioned room, so it is definitely worth a stop.
Jungle Cruise is an outdoor, slow-moving cruise down a river. It is suitable for everyone. During the ride, you encounter several ancient animatronic animals.
The highlight (or downside) of this attraction is the skipper who tells jokes throughout the journey. This is definitely comedy belonging to the D-list, like Last Comic Standing variety, but it can be amusing depending on who you get. The line can be quite long for this ride.
Watch the afternoon parade to see several of your favorite characters on intricate floats.
Swiss Family Treehouse is an outdoor, walk through climbing attraction with a lot of stairs. It is one of the few attractions at Magic Kingdom that may be more difficult for those with mobility issues or baggage in the form of small children to maneuver.
Throughout the attraction, you will come across different living areas in the treehouse. It is a great place to burn some energy, and there is never any wait.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is a simple ride that appeals to small children. You fly around in a circle on Aladdin’s magic carpet outdoors. The ride is slow to load, so although it is similar to a lot of kiddie rides you would find at your local carnival, the line can feel pretty long.
Pirates of the Caribbean is an indoor, slow-moving boat ride with tons of animatronic pirates to see. The amount of detail in this ride is incredibly impressive. The music is fun. Everyone can enjoy this attraction, although it may be scary for some small children. The ride itself is air-conditioned, and the wait is usually pretty reasonable.
Walt Disney World Railroad is a basic train ride around the park. It can be either a mode of transportation or an attraction in itself. There are also entrances to the train in Fantasyland and Frontierland.
Have an early dinner. Consider The Crystal Palace for a buffet with Winnie the Pooh characters or the Jungle Skipper Canteen for tropical cuisine.
After dinner, continue to try to get additional FastPasses and revisit your favorite attractions from the day.
Finally, consider finishing off your first day at Magic Kingdom with a fireworks dessert party. If you do this, you will also get priority seating for the fireworks so you don’t have to stake out a spot.
On your second day, explore Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square. Also, re-ride your favorite attractions from both days of your trip.
Splash Mountain is a mainly indoor, slow-moving boat ride that ends with a substantial drop. Before the fall, there are several sections of animatronics from Song of the South.
The ride has a 40” height requirement. It is not for everyone, but it is fun as long as it is warm enough outside to not feel too miserable when you get wet. Because you will. Really wet. The line gets pretty long for this attraction.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an outdoor, mild roller coaster. It has a 40” height requirement, and the line can get pretty long.
Mad Tea Party has teacups in which you sit and spin. It is not a good ride for people sensitive to a spinning motion. It is another ride that is not special in and of itself, but it is an iconic Disney World attraction, and it usually does not have much of a wait.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is an outdoor roller coaster with some animatronics mixed in. It is a relatively new attraction that always has an extremely long wait. It has a 38” height requirement. If you can handle the speed, it is a fun ride.
Have an early lunch. Consider Be Our Guest for a quick service meal in the Beast’s castle or Cinderella’s Royal Table for a sit down (very expensive) meal with princesses.
“It’s a small world” is a slow-moving, indoor boat ride through rooms that are meant to represent various cultures. It is a long, classic attraction. Everyone can enjoy this ride. The animatronics are outdated, but the level of detail is still awesome. The line can get long, but it is usually OK.
Peter Pan’s Flight is an indoor, slow-moving flight over various scenes from Peter Pan. There is a lot to see, and the animatronics are fun. Everyone can ride it, and the line for this one is long pretty much all day.
Tom Sawyer Island is an outdoor area to explore that you access via a raft. It is an excellent place for kids to run around and burn some energy. There is never any substantial wait for a raft.
Country Bear Jamboree is an indoor, air-conditioned show starring animatronic bears singing and telling jokes. It is an older attraction. It may not be overly entertaining for kids, but there is never any wait. It is a nice place to sit down and take a break from the heat.
Liberty Square Riverboat is a large boat that cruises slowly down a river through the park. It is definitely something everyone can ride, and there isn’t much of a wait.
Haunted Mansion is a slow-moving ride through a haunted house. It is dark and could be a little much for small children, but the little kids I know are okay with it.
There is a stretching room you enter before boarding the ride that is scarier. You can ask an employee to skip this part of the attraction. The trip is a good length and air-conditioned. There is a ton of detail, and it is a fan favorite at Disney World.
Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid is an indoor, slow-moving ride through various scenes from the Little Mermaid. It is a great ride for everyone. The animatronics are bright and fun. The line is usually reasonable but can get long.
Enchanted Tales with Belle is an indoor, Beauty and the Beast-themed attraction where members of the audience are selected to participate in the show. This is a popular attraction that can have a long wait time.
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is a carousel with white horses. It rarely has a wait, and it is fun to ride a carousel near Cinderella’s Castle.
The Hall of Presidents is an indoor movie about the history of the nation, followed by all of the presidents in an animatronic form on stage. Before the show, you wait indoors in a room with a lot of things to see. There is never much of a wait for this attraction.
Have an early dinner. Consider Columbia Harbour House or Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe for quick service options.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic is an indoor, 3-D movie with scenes from Fantasia. Mickey Mouse conducts an orchestra and instruments to fly at the audience. The film is cute. There is never much of a wait, and it is air-conditioned.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is another attraction where you can fly in a circle, but this time, in Dumbo cars. There is an indoor section for kids to play while they wait, but the actual attraction is outdoors. The ride isn’t special, but it is an iconic Disney World attraction.
The Barnstormer is an outdoor, kiddie roller coaster that is not much different than any other children’s roller coaster. The wait time is usually pretty reasonable.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is an indoor, slow-moving, but jerky ride, through the Hundred-Acre Wood. The queue gets a bonus because there are things for kids to play with while they wait. The ride is cute with a side of an acid trip. The line can get long on this ride, and a good portion of the queue is outdoors.
Finish your second day at Magic Kingdom by trying to obtain more FastPasses, and re-riding your favorites from both days of your trip.
Disney World is expensive, hot, crowded, and filled with crying children (some your own), but it is totally worth a try. If possible, plan to spend two days at Magic Kingdom to enjoy it fully. Make sure to book dining reservations and FastPasses as soon as you can to maximize your trip. Go to Magic Kingdom. You won’t regret it.
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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