The OG Park of Disney World, there’s a lot of history and magic here, but also SNACKS! This isn’t meant to be a page of things you “Must do,” but just my thoughts on some of our favs. Disney has something for everyone, so just go after the things that sound the best to you and your crew!
Magic Kingdom is the best when it comes to rides for the whole family. You really can’t go wrong here. Rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid will let you relive some of your favorite Disney stories and Enchanted Tales with Bell will make your part of the story. The first two having great queues with interesting things and spaces for kids to play as they wait. The mountains (Thunder, Space, & Splash) will give you some decent thrills. And for a bit of Disney history you can ride the same rides Disney designed for the 1964 World’s Fair; It’s a Small World and Carousel of Progress.
If you’re in the Magic Kingdom with a toddler, Fantasyland is your best bet. Nearly every ride here doesn’t have a height limit. A few exceptions are Seven Dwarves Mine Train (38″) and Goofy’s Barnstormer (35″). Those are both two of our favorites!
Barnstormer is a great first roller coaster, but just a heads up, it is a VERY short ride, so keep that in mind if wait times stretch out. This area also features Storybook Circus which has a great splash pad area if it happens to be a warmer day for little ones to stretch their legs and just play.
Dumbo has a great queue because it’s actually a playground and they give you a pager to alert you when it’s your turn to line up for the next ride. It can get pretty chaotic inside though and your kid might enjoy the playground so much they don’t want to leave. Other family favorites are Pirates of the Caribbean (it has one small drop) and Jungle Cruise, both early attractions that have stood the test of the time. Our family also loves Haunted Mansion, which can be a bit spooky, but we think it’s silly spooky and no one hasn’t gotten too scared yet. Some of the often overlooked attractions here aren’t the favorites of many people, but I think they’re perfect for kids. Swiss Family Tree House is a huge walk through tree house in Adventureland. It’s pretty simple but it’s got neat settings and great views of the rest of the park (plus it usually has short to no wait times). Tom Sawyer’s Island in Frontierland is an island you must take a ferry to, featuring paths, a playground, a fort, a barrel bridge, and caves to explore. There’s no ride here, but there are some porches with rocking chairs if you need to put your feet up for a little bit. On busy days it also has a pretty fun counter service restaurant called Aunt Polly’s. Also in Frontierland is Country Bear Jamboree, a short performance with audio animatronic bears (a great spot to rest your feet as well). The Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover in Tomorrowland is a surprisingly fun ride around the perimeter of Tomorrowland. I’m always surprised by how fast it goes (don’t worry, not really that fast) and gives you great views of the land and the castle. Toddlers might not really understand what’s going on with the blasters in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, but they’ll probably have fun anyway!
Something to look out for as you enter the park will be Main Street Transportation, a collection of vintage cars and buses that you can ride on from the entrance up to the hub in front of Cinderella’s Castle. There’s often a lot of great streetmosphere here, especially the barbershop quartet, The Dapper Dans. They’ll be mic’d up so even if you can get right next to them you can still hear to enjoy the show.
The Parades down main street are pretty fantastic. They also happen to be a time when lines go down a bit for rides since so many stop to watch the parade. The start time listed will be for the time the parade actually begins over in Frontierland before making it’s way to the hub and then down Main Street. So you’ll be waiting even longer if you’re on Main Street. People tend to line up very early (30 minutes to an hour ahead of the start) so be ready to get your spot if you plan to watch.
If you were going to stay in the parks late only one night for a show, I’d make it Magic Kingdom. The fireworks and projection shows on the castle are incredible. Your best view is going to as close to the middle as you can get near Casey’s Corner and The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Crowds are tight here and it’s one of the most chaotic times in the parks. Cast Members will be doing their best to keep pathways clear and people will be pushing their way closer to the castle, I think it’s worth the hassle. It’s usually a 15-20 minute show plus however long you waited, so be prepared to have tired legs!
Magic Kingdom isn’t the best food park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some real gems here. My favs are definitely the snacks.
First up, if you need coffee, The Main Street Bakery is a Starbucks, which typically has a unique themed cupcake! A little further up Main Street USA is Casey’s Corner, pretty good hot dogs with a a good seasonal option, but what you’d really go here for are the corn dog nuggets (but make sure you order them with dipping cheese, it’s that plastic nacho cheese and it’s perfect)!
From here we’ll just work our way around the spokes starting in Adventureland. The most important option here is the classic Dole Whip, deceptively simple and delicious Pineapple soft serve. You can get it plain, as a float with pineapple juice, or on top of a small pineapple upside down cake, no matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong. It’s probably my favorite of the iconic Park Snacks. Adventureland also has Sunshine Tree Terrace if you prefer orange soft serve or even an orange/vanilla swirl. As you make your way towards Pirates of the Caribbean, be on the look out for a small snack cart serving spring rolls. These are definitely worth a look. The flavors change often, from Pizza to Philly Cheesesteak, but the best is Cheeseburger.
Moving from Adventureland around the back to Frontierland brings you by Golden Oak Outpost. This spot is one of many that often gets new snacks to test, it’s main focus is waffle fries (which are just okay) but if you see the Spicy Fried Cauliflower, get it! Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe is a crowded but good spot for a quick meal. Southwest inspired food combined with a toppings bar to make it how you like it is a great combo and I like to at least pretend it’s a healthier option than burgers.
Next around the hub from Frontierland is Liberty Square, so if you head back towards the castle here next to the bridge you’ll find Sleepy Hollow which is always worth a look, from a Churro Ice Cream Sandwich to a Nutella Waffle Sandwich.
From here heading back through the castle to Fantasyland brings you to Friar’s Nook for all things Tater Tots and Storybook Treats for ice cream treats and the peter pan float, much like the Dole Whip Float but made with Lime soft serve. This spot often has good seasonal options too! In Fantasyland you’ll also find Gaston’s Tavern for Lefou’s Brew, which is basically an apple slushie mixed with a bit of marshmallow and topped with passion fruit foam.
Last on my list for Magic Kingdom is a Cheshire Cat Tail from Cheshire Cafe near the Teacups. It’s a simple braided pastry filled with chocolate and drizzled with colorful icing. Very simple, yet very good.