Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park is consistently rated the number one theme park in the U.S. Long considered a right of passage in family travel, Disney’s premier Florida park has also grown a cult-like adult following in recent years.
One survey revealed that adults without children make up the largest number of guests visiting the Disney World theme park, with only 37% of parkgoers heading out with youngsters under 18.
What makes this theme park so popular is part nostalgia, part fantasy–a combination that mixes well at Magic Kingdom.
What is Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park in Orlando was the original and first Disney theme park built in Florida. MK was designed to mirror, and improve on, the original Disneyland. When Walt Disney built Disneyland, he found funds were short, meaning land and space was limited.
Shortly after Disneyland opened in California, people began quickly buying up the surrounding land to build hotels, restaurants, and other businesses, to make some money off the Disneyland traffic. While this greatly benefitted these business owners, it boxed Disneyland in, making future expansion much more difficult.
Additionally, Disneyland, while created to be extravagant and perfect, was done on a very tight budget. Due to these issues and mixed with the money from the success of Disneyland, Walt sought out to begin another theme park, one with a big budget, and lots of space.
Walt purchased around 43 square miles of Florida swamp land, and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was born.
While Disneyland and Magic Kingdom have a lot in common, there are also many differences. Disneyland is a compact park, with narrower walkways, a smaller castle, and more rides in a smaller area.
The Magic Kingdom was designed very similarly to Disneyland, but on a bigger scale. Both parks feature a wheel and spoke design with the castle as the centerpiece. But, the Magic Kingdom is larger with larger walkways, and more space.
The commonalities and differences go on and on. But luckily, we have put together a full list of the similarities and differences, which can be found here.
What Can I Do at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
The entire Magic Kingdom experience brings guests into a fantasy world. The music, décor, smells, and even cast member outfits provide an in-depth, immersive experience based on the land you are in, and even the ride you are riding.
A walk down Main Street USA brings in the sounds of laughing children and trolley horns, the smell of the confectionary and fresh popcorn, and the sights of a well beloved but forgotten time.
This experience ends while guests gradually transition to the glorious courtyard of the castle. A feeling of nostalgia for a place you’ve never been, one that does not in fact exist, overwhelms you as you see the looming castle for the first time.
From here, guests can make their way to one of the other themed lands. Each land is like stepping into a different world. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park takes theming to the next level with each land having unique rides, restaurants, and shows.
Main Street features turn of the century themed shops, including a candy store. In Tomorrowland, space themed rides pair with restaurants like Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, where an alien performs a musical stage show for guests.
In Frontierland you can ride a runaway mine train, then dine at a Southwestern tavern, and meet the Country Bears as you wander to Adventureland to ride through the jungle and explore a treehouse.
Magic Kingdom Rides and Theming
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park is set up in a spoke and wheel layout, just like its predecessor Disneyland. Guests enter into Main Street USA, and then make their way to Cinderella’s Castle.
Once at the castle’s courtyard, pathways lead to each themed land of the park. Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland all branch out from the castle in the center.
Adventureland is designed to allow guests to take far away adventures. Here, you can take a boat ride through the jungle and see many exotic animals and have a few punny laughs along the way on the Jungle Cruise. Then guests can head back in time and join a pirate brigade, ride magic carpets with Aladdin and finish off with a Dole Whip.
In Frontierland, you’ll find Splash Mountain, a themed log flume ride with a big drop and beloved characters in animatronic form and Thunder Mountain: a thrilling rollercoaster runaway mine train.
In Liberty Square, join the 999 happy haunts on the Haunted Mansion, or ride the Liberty Belle steamship around the Rivers of America.
Fantasyland is one of the most popular lands inside of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. It is chock full of rides that transport you to a fantasy world. Peter Pan’s Flight allows you to fly over England the Neverland, and Mine Train takes you on a tour of the Seven Dwarf’s Mine, with a surprising twist.
Lastly, in Tomorrowland, you’ll find Space Mountain, a thrilling space themed rollercoaster that blasts off into the dark expanse of space. Additionally, guests can ride the beloved people mover called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, or take down Zurg in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
The Jungle Cruise: A sedate boat ride through a faux jungle, perfect for all ages and thrill levels.
Pirates of the Caribbean- another sedate boat ride, except for one very mild hill. Could be scary for small children afraid of the dark or loud noises.
Magic Carpets of Aladdin- A slow moving carpet ride above Adventureland. Great for small children who are not afraid of heights.
Swiss Family Tree House- Treehouse themed to the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. This walkthrough experience is fun for all ages.
Enchanted Tiki Room- a mild show featuring songs with many animatronics.
Splash Mountain- a semi-thrilling boat ride with three drops in between slow paced animatronic show scenes. Not suitable for children under 40”.
Thunder Mountain- A thrilling rollercoaster through an abandoned mine site. Could be scary for some children. No children under 40” can ride.
Tom Sawyer Island- a fun walk through experience for people of all ages. Features plenty of mild obstacles and buildings to explore by foot.
Country Bear Jamboree- A fun stage show for all ages featuring music and animatronics.
Liberty Square Rides
Liberty Square Riverboat- Board the Liberty Belle- a colonial era riverboat, for a calming tour of the Rivers of America.
Haunted Mansion- an omni mover ride through show scenes depicting ghosts, and spooky scenes with a comical twist. Open to all ages, but could be frightening for very young guests.
Peter Pan’s Flight- A suspended ride taking guests on a flight with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and the rest of the gang. Perfect for all ages.
It’s a Small World- a sedate, slow moving boat ride through the world with animatronic dolls depicting and celebrating many cultures.
Prince Charming Regal Carousel- A traditional Carousel depicting show scenes from Cinderella. Perfect for all ages.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- a dark ride through Winnie the Pooh scenes where the ride vehicles react uniquely to each scene. Perfect for all ages.
Mad Tea Party- a spinning teacup ride where guests can rotate their teacups as fast as they please. Suitable for all ages, but not for those with motion sickness.
Journey of the Little Mermaid- an omni mover dark ride through show scenes and songs of the Little Mermaid. Slow moving and perfect for all ages.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant- slow moving high flying elephant ride- where guests can move a joystick to move up or down. Perfect for all ages.
Barnstormer- The perfect first rollercoaster for any child.
Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train- A smooth and quick, mildly thrilling rollercoaster through the Seven Dwarf’s Mine. Perfect for small kids, as long as they are over 38”.
Space Mountain- a thrilling coaster in the dark which features tight turns, sudden drops and inclines. Guests over 44” can ride.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin- A omni mover shooter type ride where guests can compete for points by shooting lasers at aliens. Perfect for all ages.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority- a slow moving ride through Tomorrowland for all ages.
Astro Orbiter- A spaceship flight high above Tomorrowland. Great for kids without a fear of heights. Seats are very small.
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom MUST Dos
While the term “must do” can certainly be subjective when it comes to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, we believe there are some things most people agree on.
Magic Kingdom Thrill Rides
Magic Kingdom is not known for its thrill rides, but there are quite a few every Disney fam must try inside Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Space Mountain in Tomorrowland is a coaster through space with quick turns, drops, and high speeds. Also, did I mention it takes place completely in the dark, only lit by stars?
Thunder Mountain is a runaway train rollercoaster. This coaster careens through turns around canyons, through mining tunnels, and even below a dinosaur skeleton.
Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, while not as thrilling as the other coasters, is still on our thrill ride list. This quick coaster is a smooth experience through the ups and downs of the Seven Dwarf’s Mine. You will even be let in on the secret of what exactly is inside the mine.
Splash Mountain is a traditional log flume ride, with a show. In between drops that range from fun to thrilling and always end in a splash, the boats float through animatronic show scenes.
Beyond the Thrills
Beyond the thrills of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, there are must do parades, restaurants, and shows. For example, the Carousel of Progress is a Disney tradition. This rotating stage show is the longest running one in history.
Originally designed by Walt Disney for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Carousel of Progress is a fun and comical way to learn about progress through the years.
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando also features some of the best restaurants in the entire area.
Both the Liberty Tree Tavern and Be Our Guest have long waits and bring in the food critics. Liberty Tree Tavern boasts a rating of 4.5/5, and serves Colonial and Thanksgiving style items in an all you care to eat fashion.
Be Our Guest is a high-end French themed dining experience with food as delicious as the theming is intricate. Dine in the West Wing of Beast’s Castle, the Castle Gallery, or the Grand Ballroom, while you enjoy your three course meal.
Magic Kingdom is also home to many parades, stage shows on the Cinderella Castle Stage, and many holiday celebrations.
Magic Kingdom Park Tickets
Magic Kingdom tickets come in two types, a base ticket, and a park hopper ticket. The base ticket allows guests to visit one park a day (as long as they have also made a theme park reservation).
The park hopper option allows guests to visit more than one Disney World theme park in a day. This means that you could visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park in the morning and EPCOT in the evening.
It is also worth noting that ticket prices do fluctuate slightly based on seasonality and day. For example, prices will be a bit higher during peak travel days like weekends, holidays, and spring breaks. Additionally, ticket prices go down per day when you book more than one day.
For January 2023, one day base ticket prices range from $124-$154. And park hopper one day passes range from $189-$219.
For the same month, if you were to book tickets for five days, the price drops to $102- $111 per day for base tickets. For the same five day tickets, but with the park hopper option added, the prices range from $116- $128.
For March 2023, one day base ticket prices range from $144-$150 per day. And, a park hopper one day pass ranges from $209- $219.
For the same month, if you were to book tickets for five days, the price drops to $111- $114 per day for base tickets. For the same five day tickets with the park hopper option added, the ticket prices range from $128-$131.
Parking At Magic Kingdom
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park is unique in that it has no onsite parking. All the other parks have a parking lot attached, but Magic Kingdom is only accessible by Disney bus, boat, or monorail.
To get to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, guests can park at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and then board the monorail or ferry to the park itself. For everything you need to know about the TTC, click here.
Magic Kingdom Dining
Magic Kingdom features some of the best character dining in the entire Disney World resort. Additionally, MK houses buffets, high end dining, and quick service dining. No matter your preferences or budget, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park has dining options for you.
Character dining in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is always a table service experience, some of which include buffets.
Character Dining includes:
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace offers all you care to eat buffet style dining with characters from Winnie the Pooh. The food can be described as American, and the restaurant is themed to a Victorian era greenhouse.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Cinderella’s Royal Table allows guests to dine in Cinderella’s Castle… literally! This restaurant can be found on the second floor of the castle, and is a princess character dining experience with fine dining.
Be Our Guest
Be Our Guest serves all things French inside of the Beast’s Castle. This is technically considered a character dining spot, as the Beast can be found wandering around. It is his home after all!
Table Service Dining
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom hosts many table service restaurants without characters as well.
Jungle Skipper Canteen is located in Adventureland and serves Asian and African inspired dishes served by the same skippers who take you through the Jungle Cruise, jokes and all!
The Plaza Restaurant in Main Street USA serves casual food in an elegant setting. The restaurant matches the turn of the century theming of Main Street, and serves deli style sandwiches and many types of ice cream desserts.
The Diamond Horseshoe
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has many themed lands as we’ve discussed. In Frontierland, you will find the Diamond Horseshoe, a wild west music hall which serves up all you care to eat frontier feasts.
Liberty Tree Tavern
The Liberty Tree Tavern is one of the highest rated Magic Kingdom restaurants. This colonial style inn serves a Thanksgiving feast all you care to eat style.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
Did you know Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is home to the restaurant where Lady and the Tramp shared their first kiss. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant serves up pasta and Italian fare surrounded by nods to Lady and the Tramp.
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Counter Service Restaurants
Counter service, also called quick service dining is the Disney take on fast food, with higher quality of course. Quick service meals are ordered and picked up within just a few minutes.
The Magic Kingdom has many quick service options and snack carts. In fact, there are so many, we will jut discuss a few favorites.
Pinocchio Village Haus serves up various flatbreads and salads, and even has a special view of It’s a Small World.
Columbia Harbour House serves traditional New England Seafood like fish and chips and lobster rolls inside a nautical setting.
For snacks, we highly suggest heading to Aloha Isle in Adventureland for a Dole Whip, or stopping by the Main Street Confectionary for some sugary treats. Gaston’s Tavern is another favorite. Sit in Gaston’s overly large chair as you sip hip proprietary Lefou’s Brew. This applie-inspired frozen drink includes hints of toasted marshmallow and a mango passion fruit foam.
Disney World Magic Kingdom Hotels
When Walt built Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, he knew he wanted to include elaborately themed and immersive hotels right onsite for guests. The Magic Kingdom resorts were some of the first to be built in property.
All of the Magic Kingdom resorts are located on Seven Seas Lagoon and on the monorail line. Guests can access the Magic Kingdom via boat or monorail.
The Contemporary is a modern resort with the monorail traveling through the building. Guests can board the monorail without even setting foot outside.
The Contemporary shares a monorail stop with one of the DVC hotels called Bay Lake Towers.
The Polynesian is a Polynesian themed resort near Magic Kingdom. The Poly is a fan favorite for its immersive theming, world class dining options, beach front relaxation and volcano themed water slide.
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the crown jewel of Disney World resorts. The Grand Floridian is a Victorian era resort of Palm Beach’s golden era. The resort features many high end restaurants, a full service spa, beachfront areas, a wedding pavilion and two pools.
Magic Kingdom FAQs
Do any Magic Kingdom rides have height restrictions?
Yes! The thrill rides of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom have height restrictions.
Splash Mountain: 40”
Thunder Mountain: 40”
Mine Train: 38”
Space Mountain: 44”
Tomorrowland Speedway: 32”
Does Magic Kingdom Sell Alcohol?
Yes. This past September, Disney announced they would begin serving mixed drinks with liquor at many of the restaurants throughout the park. These restaurants are all table service dining options, and all require a reservation.
Alcohol can be found in the following Magic Kingdom restaurants:
- Be Our Guest
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- Jungle Skipper Canteen
- Liberty Tree Tavern
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
- The Plaza Restaurant
- The Crystal Palace
- The Diamond Horseshoe
Are Disney World and Magic Kingdom the Same?
Technically no. Disney World is the entire park featuring 4 theme parks, two waterparks and countless resorts. Magic Kingdom is one of the theme parks inside of Walt Disney World.
How Many Acres is Magic Kingdom?
Magic Kingdom is about 107 acres.
Does Magic Kingdom have Secret Tunnels?
Yes and no. Magic Kingdom does have storage and transportation areas underneath the park. But technically, they are not tunnels.
When Disneyland was built, Walt observed a Frontierland cowboy walking through Tomorrowland to get to his post, and he felt it ruined the illusion.
When Magic Kingdom was constructed, Walt wanted a way for cast members, garbage, etc to get around the park without being seen by guests.
Additionally, the land Magic Kingdom was built on is very swampy. Therefore, the park was built up, with the area guests walk on being the second story of the park.
Underneath, the utilidors exist to allow cast member and park services to get around the park. While the utilidors are typically off limits to guests, the Keys to the Kingdom tour takes guests on a quick tour of them.
For a complete history of the Utilidors, and their layout, read our blog on the subject here.