Visitors Guide to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World opened October 1, 1971 with its plus-sized version of Disneyland – the Magic Kingdom. Welcoming more than 20 million visitors each year, the Magic Kingdom is the world's most-visited theme park and the anchor of the four-park Walt Disney World Resort, which also includes EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Subscribe here to our free weekly email of theme park news to participate in the next ranking survey.

New for 2023

TRON Lightcycle Run: This indoor Vekoma family roller coaster opened April 4, 2023.

A new production of the Happily Ever After fireworks show returned in April, as well.

What to Do

Top 10

  1. Haunted Mansion ★ ★ ★
    Dark ride with "999 happy haunts," located in Liberty Square

  2. Space Mountain
    Indoor family roller coaster located in Tomorrowland. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Space Mountain

  3. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
    "Snow White"-themed family roller coaster located in Fantasyland. Height requirement: 38 inches

  4. Pirates of the Caribbean
    Indoor boat ride located in Adventureland

  5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Outdoor family roller coaster located in Frontierland. Height requirement: 40 inches

  6. Carousel of Progress
    Audio-Animatronic show in a rotating theater in Tomorrowland

  7. Jungle Cruise
    Narrated, outdoor boat ride located in Adventureland
    Jungle Cruise
    In 2021, Disney rewrote several Jungle Cruise scenes at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Photo courtesy Disney

  8. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
    Elevated track ride through Tomorrowland

  9. Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
    Afternoon parade down Main Street USA and through Liberty Square and Frontierland

  10. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
    Interactive movie in Tomorrowland
    Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

Also recommended:

  • Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island
    Boat ride to a playground located in Frontierland
    Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island
    Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by Robert Niles

Other Attractions

Starting on Main Street, then turning right at the hub into Tomorrowland and continuing around the park.

Main Street USA
  • Walt Disney World Railroad: with additional stops in Frontierland and Fantasyland
  • Town Square Theater: meet Mickey Mouse
  • Astro Orbiter: spinner
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin: interactive dark ride
  • Tomorrowland Speedway: driving cars
  • Mad Tea Party: spinner
  • The Barnstormer: Vekoma junior coaster
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: dark ride
  • Princess Fairytale Hall: meet and greet
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant: spinner
  • Under the Sea - Voyage of he Little Mermaid: dark ride
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic: 3D movie
  • Peter Pan's Flight: dark ride (warning: distasteful racial content)
  • It's a Small World: dark ride
Liberty Square
  • Hall of Presidents: movie and Audio Animatronic show (warning: sometime disruptive crowds)
  • Liberty Square Riverboat: boat ride
  • Country Bear Jamboree: Audio Animatronic show
  • Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room: Audio Animatronic show
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin: spinner
  • Swiss Family Treehouse: walk through (warning: many stairs)

Where to Eat


  • Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen
    Table service with world cuisine in Adventureland
    Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen
    The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen is the Magic Kingdom's home for Disney's Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Photo by Robert Niles

  • Be Our Guest
    French-inspired counter service at breakfast and lunch with table service at dinner, inside The Beast's castle in Fantasyland

  • Columbia Harbour House
    Counter service seafood in Liberty Square

Park Map

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida – about 24 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Note that Disney no longer provides free Disney's Magical Express bus service to and from the Orlando airport for its hotel guests.

If you are renting a car while visiting Orlando, you can save on toll road fees by getting a Visitor Toll Pass at the Orlando airport rather than renting a toll transponder from your rental car company: Toll Discounts Return for Orlando Theme Park Visitors

Best Time to Visit Disney World?

Disney's theme park ticket prices vary by day, so you can use Disney's pricing calendar [scroll down] to see which days have the highest expected crowds. The lower the price for a ticket, the smaller the expected crowd that day.

In general, you will find the lightest crowd levels at the Walt Disney World theme parks during these periods:

  • late April through the week before Memorial Day
  • after the first week of August through September
  • late October and early November

Large crowds will fill the parks on runDisney weekends:

  • November 2 - 5, 2023
  • January 3 - 7, 2024
  • February 22 - 25, 2024
  • April 18 - 21, 2024
  • October 31 - November 3, 2024
  • January 8 - 12, 2025
  • February 20 - 24, 2025
  • April 3 - 6, 2025

In addition, crowd levels are high during:

  • any holiday week
  • President's Day week through Spring Break in mid-April
  • the week of Thanksgiving through New Year's week

Whenever you plan to visit, you must make date-specific reservations in advance to use your tickets. You can see which dates are open to reserve on Disney's "Park Pass" availability calendar. See the next section, below, for more advice on planning your Walt Disney World visit.


Before You Go

The Walt Disney World Resort now requires that all guests make date-specific reservations in advance to visit its theme parks. You can see which dates are available to reserve on Disney's "Park Pass" availability calendar.

Dates are listed up to about 15 months in advance, and reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, Disney maintains separate pools of available reservations each day for its annual passholders and its on-site hotel guests, as well as for regular ticket holders. So if a specific date is "sold out" for annual passholders, it might still be available for regular ticket holders.

If you want to visit more than one Walt Disney World theme park on a single day, you will need a "Park Hopper" ticket. You will make a reservation for the park you visit first on each date, then you can park hop to other parks starting at 2pm that day. After April 17, annual passholders also may visit any park after 2pm without a reservation, with the exception of the Magic Kingdom on weekends.

Once you have selected the dates you wish to visit and made your Disney Park Pass reservations, you may want to make dining reservations in advance of your visit, as well. Reservations can be made via the Disney World website, and each date's reservations open 60 days in advance, at about 5:45am Eastern Time. Disney's on-site hotel guests may make reservations for their entire stay (up to 10 days) starting 60 days before their check-in date. That gives Disney's on-site hotel guests an advantage in making reservations for the most popular restaurants.


Disney's hotel guests get 30 minutes of early access to each of the resort's four theme parks every day. So hotel guests should plan on an early start each morning to take advantage of empty queues. Unfortunately for guests staying off site, this new early admission policy means that they no longer have any opportunity to be the first to enter any Walt Disney World theme park in the morning.

As for planning your day, Walt Disney World now offers a new tool on its official My Disney Experience app to create a custom itinerary for each day of your visit. In addition, Disney offers two ways for its theme park guests to pay to access shorter wait times for many popular attractions. You can learn more about these options in our posts:

Disney uses a virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle Run, so if you want to ride that new coaster, you will need to try to enter that queue via the My Disney Experience app at 7am on the morning of that visit. If you do not get into the virtual queue, you might consider buying Individual Lightning Lane access, if there is no standby queue option. Definitely try for the free virtual queue before paying for Lighting Lane access, though.

The longest wait here throughout the day tends to be Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so even with Disney's hotel guests getting a head start, it's still a good candidate to make your first ride when the park opens. The next-worst queue is Peter Pan's Flight, though if you wish to skip that attraction, there's better use of your time elsewhere in this park. If Pan's a must, though, hit it after Seven Dwarfs.

Space Mountain and Jungle Cruise are the next longest waits in the park. We recommend doing Space Mountain as soon as you can in the morning, perhaps after Seven Dwarfs. But leave Jungle Cruise until mid-afternoon, when the parade draws crowds away from many attractions. Or go for it later in the evening, when crowds come down across the park. It's a great ride at night, too.

After Space Mountain, cut back across the hub to Haunted Mansion and then pick up rides as you wish, at your convenience.

On most days, you don't really need to buy your way into Disney's Lightning Lanes to experience the top attractions in the park, though we would consider getting the Individual Lightning Lanes for TRON and Seven Dwarfs before buying Disney Genie+ in the Magic Kingdom on its busiest days. Book those as soon as they become available in the Disney World app at 7am, however.

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