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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Other notable attractions include the Swiss Family Treehouse walkthrough and Magic Carpets of Aladdin spinner in Adventureland; the Barnstormer junior roller coaster, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, the Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Mad Tea Party spinners, and Winnie the Pooh and The Little Mermaid dark rides in Fantasyland; and the Astro Orbiter spinner, Tomorrowland Speedway mini-cars, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin interactive dark ride in Tomorrowland.
A TRON Ligtcycle Run indoor roller coaster is under construction in Tomorrowland.
New for 2021 is Disney Enchantment, a 50th anniversary fireworks and projection mapping show on Cinderella Castle and Main Street USA. Other notable shows include Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room show in Adventureland and the The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square. The Festival of Fantasy parade will return in 2022.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida – about 24 miles from Orlando International Airport.
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.
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 also 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:
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. Just try to avoid riding Splash Mountain in the heat of the afternoon, when its wait time spikes. Read our guide to Disney Genie for more advice on how to use Disney's app to avoid long wait times in the park.