One day at MKWalt Disney World: Looking for the ideal itineray for one full day at Magic Kingdom
From Julie ZimmermanWe (family of 4 w/ two boys: age 7 and 10) are planning on going to MK on Sunday Jan 23rd. The park is open from 9am-8pm and we're looking to maximize the day. I've seen the recommended 4 hrs at MK itinerary on this site, but hopefully we'll have time for more.
Posted January 14, 2011 at 6:04 PM
Any suggestions? We are WDW newbies so could use advise on fastpass, crowds, parade/fireworks placement, etc.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From James RaoThis plan always works well for me... although I have no idea what is going to be happening with all the construction going on these days:
Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:39 PM
1. Arrive 50 minutes prior to opening
This itinerary should be doable in one day, provided the crowds are not completely out of control. If the crowds are killer you can always skip steps 14, 15, and 16. But everything else is pretty much "must-do".
I would recommend eating lunch at the Contemporary (Contempo Cafe), which is just a short walk away from the Magic Kingdom. You can get out of the park for a bit, relax away from the crowds, and eat in relative peace. For dinner, if you want a good table service meal, make reservations at the Plaza Restaurant. It has good food, decent prices, and great desserts.
From James KoehlJames, did I actually see you write "16. Ride Jungle Cruise."??! I realize that you did that to give Julie an impartial itinerary, and you did give her an out if the crowds are too bad, but how much did it hurt to type that? You do realize that a FastPass doesn't make the boats go any faster, don't you? ;+)
Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:44 PM
From James RaoAs the most objective and neutral TPI poster ever to grace these fine pages with his impartial prose, I pride myself on letting folks make up their own mind about an attraction. One man's Jungle Snooze is another (easily impressed) man's masterpiece. You just never know! =)
Posted January 14, 2011 at 9:00 PM
From Anthony MurphyPretty good list!
Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:23 AM
I would say anything with a 7 or higher on TPI is worth going on.
Here are some of my tips:
Get a Fastpass for Spash and Space Mountain
Jungle Cruise is good at night
Figure out where you are going to be in the park around 2pm and decide to either eat or go on an indoor attraction since it usually rains!
Pick a "flying ride" (Astro Orbitor, Aladdin, or Dumbo) and just go on that one!
From Julie ZimmermanGreat recommendations - thanks.
Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:20 AM
One additional question: no one mentions the afternoon parade. Is it a must do or worth skipping in favor of less crowded rides? Will 7 and 10 year old boys be interested?
From James KoehlAnthony, is Jungle Cruise better at night because it's dark and you can't see as much, or because it's easier to sleep at night? ;+) (I just wanted to beat James Rao to that one). Actually, this line is coming in handy for me, since we're going to Orlando in June and spending most of the time at US/IOA but one day at MK. We want to use it to see stuff we missed last time or want to do again.
Posted January 15, 2011 at 6:15 AM
Here's a question from me about this- I was thinking that the fireworks show would be best seen from the balcony at the train station, at the part in the front center that juts out over the town square. Is that a good place to watch them from, and are you even allowed to watch from there?
From James RaoJulie, I like a good parade, and Disney does some of the best. Both the afternoon and evening parades are worth watching, which is why the touring plan I suggested knocks out most of the "headliners" before lunch. You'll have the rest of the day to relax and take in shows, parades, and fireworks - all high-capacity, low wait attractions. So if you can arrange it with your other plans, it is worth your time to take in a parade or two.
Posted January 15, 2011 at 10:55 AM
James, the second story of the Main Street station is a great place to watch the fireworks, however, stake out a spot early, as that location is very popular. And, I agree with Anthony, the Jungle Snooze is better at night, but "better" is a relative term in this case, to be sure.
From damond harrisIn all truth, my entire life I have been able to do everything multiple times in one day at Disney, even on Christmas. What most people have a problem with is seeing the wait time, and going, "oh let's come back later". That works SOMETIMES but me and my dad just wait. 7/10 times the ride doesn't get much shorter on a crowded day. Also, bring a book or something for your kids. It's a great way to pass the time.
Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM
Also, keep in mind that Magic Kingdom has shows going all through out the day. If you want to make all the rides, your going to have to skip some. The parades are a must see for me but other than that I normally skip many of the shows.
I hope you all have fun!
From James RaoOh, Julie, one more thing... between the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise (or instead of them, if you are pressed for time) make sure to get a Dole Whip Pineapple Float from the Aloha Isle snack shop in Adventureland. You won't regret it.
Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM
From Julie ZimmermanThanks everyone - now we'll just keep our fingers crossed for manageable crowds!
Posted January 15, 2011 at 3:30 PM
From M. Ryan TraylorI think the most important thing discussed here that you should not forget is the Dole Whip.
Posted January 16, 2011 at 10:05 PM
From Julie ZimmermanJames' itinerary was a godsend for us first timers! We were able to do just about everything we wanted between 9am and 8pm.
Posted January 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM
From Anthony MurphyVery good!
Posted January 27, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Where you able to do everything on the list? One item I did not catch was COP, while my favorite attraction, might have closed early due to the lower crowds at WDW around this time.
From James RaoGlad you had a great trip, Julie. Make sure you let us know about the details of your visit... and your Dole Whip experience!
Posted January 27, 2011 at 5:44 PM
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Stories from a Theme Park Insider
What's it like to work in a theme park? Stories from a Theme Park Insider takes you inside the famous tunnels and backstage at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a look at how theme parks really work, sharing the funny moments and embarrassments that can happen when your job is someone else's vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive