Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email Newsletter

One day at MK

Walt Disney World: Looking for the ideal itineray for one full day at Magic Kingdom

From Julie Zimmerman
Posted January 14, 2011 at 6:04 PM
We (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.

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 Rao
Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:39 PM
This 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:

1. Arrive 50 minutes prior to opening
2. Ride Space Mountain
3. Ride Buzz Lightyear
4. Ride Winnie The Pooh
5. Ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures
6. Ride Peter Pan
7. Ride Small World
8. Ride Haunted Mansion
9. Obtain Fastpasses for Splash Mountain
10. Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
11. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean [8 minutes]
12. Ride Splash Mountain (FP)
13. Midday break (leave the park for a swim or head to Tom Sawyer's Island to let the kids run around free)
14. Obtain Fastpasses for the Jungle Cruise
15. See The Enchanted Tiki Room [15]
16. Ride Jungle Cruise (FP) [9]
17. See Hall of Presidents [23]
18. See Mickey’s Philharmagic [20]
19. See Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor [15]
20. See Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress [18]
21. Ride Tomorrowland Transit Authority [10]
22. Experience the end-of-day Fireworks

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.

Good luck!

From James Koehl
Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:44 PM
James, 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? ;+)

From James Rao
Posted January 14, 2011 at 9:00 PM
As 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! =)

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:23 AM
Pretty good list!

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
If something has a long line, come back a little later
Have a plan when getting a fastpass

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 Zimmerman
Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:20 AM
Great recommendations - thanks.

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 Koehl
Posted January 15, 2011 at 6:15 AM
Anthony, 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.

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 Rao
Posted January 15, 2011 at 10:55 AM
Julie, 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.

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 harris
Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM
In 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.

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 Rao
Posted January 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM
Oh, 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.

From Julie Zimmerman
Posted January 15, 2011 at 3:30 PM
Thanks everyone - now we'll just keep our fingers crossed for manageable crowds!

From M. Ryan Traylor
Posted January 16, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I think the most important thing discussed here that you should not forget is the Dole Whip.

From Julie Zimmerman
Posted January 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM
James' itinerary was a godsend for us first timers! We were able to do just about everything we wanted between 9am and 8pm.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 27, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Very good!

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 Rao
Posted January 27, 2011 at 5:44 PM
Glad you had a great trip, Julie. Make sure you let us know about the details of your visit... and your Dole Whip experience!

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.

Stories from a Theme Park Insider

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)