Are you planning a Disney World family vacation? There is so much to see and do at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Here are 11 tips for families visiting Magic Kingdom.
11 Magic Kingdom Tips for families
Below is a video of this article. You can also read it below.
1. It’s Worth It to Stay at a Disney World Resort
Getting in and out of Magic Kingdom is exhausting and an ordeal in itself. If you are driving in, you will have to park at the large Magic Kingdom parking lot, take a tram to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then take the Ferry or Monorail to get to Magic Kingdom. The entire process can take 45 minutes to 1 hour. The worst part of this is you have to do it twice!
While if you are staying at Disney World resort and you take Disney transportation, you will be dropped off right at Magic Kingdom, bypassing the Transportation and Ticket Center.
If you will be spending most of your Disney World vacation visiting Magic Kingdom, then I think it’s worth it to stay at a Disney World Resort. Preferably stay at the Disney World resorts that are on the monorail line such as The Contemporary, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Village, and The Grand Floridian. These resorts are just a monorail ride away or within walking distance from Magic Kingdom. However, know that these Disney World resorts are pricey so they may not be within your budget. Not a problem though, because if you stay at any Disney World resorts you will be dropped off directly at Magic Kingdom. Saving you lots of time getting in and out of Magic Kingdom.
2. It’s Worth it to Buy Disney Genie Plus at Magic Kingdom
If you are on the fence about whether to buy Disney Genie Plus for Magic Kingdom or not- buy it! It is worth it to pay the $15 per person per day for Disney Genie Plus. Magic Kingdom has some of the most popular rides at Disney World. Standby lines for popular rides can be long. Time is money at Disney- your $15 will be worth it if you can save a few hours with Lightning Lane at Magic Kingdom!
If you are still on the fence about buying Disney Genie Plus check out my in-depth analysis of Disney’s Lightning Lane- Is it Worth it to Buy Lightning Lane at Disney World?
3. Wake Up Early to Start Booking Lightning Lane Reservations at 7 am for Magic Kingdom
Lightning Lane reservations for popular rides at Magic Kingdom do sell out. Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight typically sell out. You need to set your alarm and book Lightning Lane for these rides at 7 am.
I suggest you book Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight at 7 am. After that wait, 2 hours after the park opens to book your second lightning lane reservation- the Magic Kingdom roller coaster rides like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or Splash Mountain can also go quickly so book them as your 2nd Lightning Lane option.
Check out my Magic Kingdom Lightning Lane Tips and Strategies
4. For Lots of Seating: Head Over to Columbia Harbour House, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, or Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
Lunchtime can be a zoo at the quick service restaurants at Magic Kingdom. It’s often hard to find seating and the line can be long to place your order. For quick-service restaurants with lots of seating, head over to Columbia Harbour House, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, or Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. Avoid The Friar’s Nook, it lacks seating (just a few tables outdoors).
Columbia Harbour House is a large quick-service restaurant near Liberty Square. There is even an upstairs area for seating. Just know that there is no outdoor seating at Columbia Harbour House but there is an outside seating patio nearby where they sell Turkey legs.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a large quick-service restaurant in Tomorrowland (right across from Speedway). There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe is a large quick-service restaurant in Frontierland (near Splash Mountain). Most of the seating is indoors at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. There are a few outdoor seats.
5. Use Mobile Order at Magic Kingdom
The food ordering line at quick-service restaurants in Magic Kingdom can be really long. To save time, instead of lining up, I suggest placing a Mobile Order on the Disney App. When the order is ready, you just go straight to the pickup window! It’s a major time-saver at Magic Kingdom.
Tip: Place your Mobile Order early. I usually place my mobile order before getting on a ride. They won’t prepare the food until you tell them you are nearby and ready to pick it up.
6. It’s Worth it to Buy Disney MagicBands
It’s worth it to buy Disney MagicBands for everyone in your family. I know what a major hassle it is to have to pull out your Disney tickets or Disney app every time you check in for a Lightning Lane ride or when you enter the park. Trust me, you will be doing it a lot! Make your life easier at Magic Kingdom by getting everyone a MagicBand so there is no more rummaging trying to find those Disney tickets!
7. Take an Air-Conditioned Break at Disney’s PhilharMagic, Tiki Room, and Carousel of Progress
Spending the day at Magic Kingdom is physically demanding. You will be doing a lot of walking ( I counted 20,000 steps!) and most likely in the heat! You will eventually need a break to cool off and rest your feet. The best places for breaks at Magic Kingdom are Disney’s PhilharMagic, Tiki Room, and Carousel of Progress. These attractions usually don’t have a long line. Check your Disney app Tip Board before heading over. My husband usually takes a little nap in these air-conditioned attractions!
Disney’s PhilharMagic is located in Fantasyland. It is a 12-minute show in an air-conditioned theater. It is an entertaining 3D show featuring lots of Disney characters.
Carousel of Progress is located in Tomorrowland. It is a 20-minute show where you sit in an air-conditioned theater to watch the lives of an animatronic family. The theater is a carousel and you will move from scene to scene.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is located in Adventureland. It is a 15-minute show where you sit in an air-conditioned theater to watch animatronic birds.
8. It’s Worth It to Buy Disney’s Photopass Memory Maker Package
It is worth it to buy Disney’s Photopass Memory Maker package if you are visiting Magic Kingdom. Disney Photopass Memory Maker gives you unlimited photo downloads. The more photos you take, the more photos you can download!
From personal experience, I think there are proportionally more Disney photographers at Magic Kingdom than at the other Disney parks. Also, there are more Magic Kingdom rides with in-ride photos included in your Disney’s Photopass (that Space Mountain photo is priceless!). You will have lots of photo opportunities at Magic Kingdom, making Disney’s Photopass Memory Maker worth it.
9. Magic Kingdom Rides to Go to in the Late Afternoon/Early Evening
The wait times for some of the popular rides in Magic Kingdom shorten in the late afternoon and early evening. These rides are Pirates of the Caribbean, Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid, “it’s a small world” and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. This is a great time to go back to re-ride these rides if you already rode them earlier in the day! Please check the Disney App Tip Board to make sure the wait times are short before heading over.
10. Don’t Do Character Dinner on Your Magic Kingdom Day
I know, I know this can be controversial. I agree that it is magical to do character dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table since you will be dining in the castle. However, to be honest, spending the day at Magic Kingdom with kids is a really exhausting day. In my opinion, adding a character dining experience to the day can become a little too much for everyone.
I think if you want to do Character Dinner, do it during one of your non-theme park days. Book it at one of the Disney Resorts so you don’t need to buy theme park tickets. This way, you will be more relaxed, you can get dressed up and truly enjoy your Character Dinner. Also if you want to save money, do a Character Breakfast instead! It’s less expensive than dinner!
11. Preferred Parking at Magic Kingdom is Worth It
Preferred Parking at Magic Kingdom is worth it. By parking at the preferred parking spots, its close enough that you can walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center. You don’t need to waste your time waiting for the Tram.
Check out my Disney World Tips for Families:
You May Also Be Interested in These Disney Vacation Articles:
How Much is a Disney Vacation: Check out our Disney Vacation Calculator