(Note: this is from the Disney World Genie+ Itinerary.)
SUGGESTED APPROACH TO MAGIC KINGDOM
Magic Kingdom is the quintessential Disney theme park, and the heart of Walt Disney World.
Inspired by the original Disneyland, it presents iconic attractions ranging from Dumbo to Space Mountain. Loved by all ages, it is especially popular with younger guests.
My pre-COVID itineraries included dining on Magic Kingdom days at four table service venues—two in Magic Kingdom and two in nearby resorts: Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary, Cinderella’s Royal Table and Crystal Palace in the park, and Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness. As a result of all this table service time, and the fixed points they added to schedules, my itineraries for Magic Kingdom pre-COVID included three comfortable days.
Given limitations coming out of COVID, I don’t particularly recommend any table service reservations on park days. Thus, for those tall and mature enough to enjoy everything in the park, and willing and able to use Genie+ and Early Entry, all its best can be seen in two days. If you choose to add back in some of this dining, you may wish to add the third day back. Thursday is open for such an addition (if you target in-park dining, you will also need another ticket day, and a park reservation for Thursday).
Magic Kingdom has both more attractions and a wider range of attractions than any other Disney World theme park. For first time visitors with kids old enough to enjoy everything, favorites will almost certainly include many of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, evening fireworks show (Disney Enchantment until April 2, Happily Ever After thereafter), Enchanted Tales with Belle (when it re-opens February 19), the afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade, the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and, when it opens April 4, 2023, TRON Lightcycle Run.
All of these rides that are currently open except for the evening fireworks show are accessible via Disney’s new paid systems, “Individual Lightning Lane” (currently Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) or Genie+ (the rest). Among the dozen or so rides not on the list above but also available in Genie+, most notable for kids old enough to enjoy everything are Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, “it’s a small world,” Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Magic Kingdom does Early Entry differently than any other Disney World park. First, only two of its lands are open for Early Entry—Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. Second, almost every ride in these lands is open during Early Entry—in Fantasyland only character meets are not available, and in Tomorrowland only Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is not open. Since Fantasyland has many very short duration rides just a short walk apart, you can knock off several rides there during Early Entry, so long as you avoid Seven Dwarfs.
Given current guest preferences and wait patterns, until Ton opens the most time-efficient way to visit Magic Kingdom is to see Seven Dwarfs Mine Train via Individual Lightning Lane, and Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and Space Mountain during or right after Early Entry. Then use Genie+ for a few other rides, with your highest priorities for Genie+ being first Jungle Cruise, and then the other more popular rides outside of the Early Entry lands—Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion. Genie+ can also save you time at Magic Kingdom on other rides, so long as you pick nearby enough rides that you don’t dissipate the wait saving by extra walking. It can also save time at the Festival of Fantasy parade for those looking for a great viewing spot, as it will permit a good viewing spot without needing to line up along the parade route so early.
Because seeing everything takes two days, and because of the value that comes from avoiding extra walking, it’s best to mostly divide the lands at Magic Kingdom over your two days. In my itinerary, Day 1 is largely focused on an afternoon and evening visit to Adventureland and Frontierland, capped off with the evening fireworks. Day 2 is largely focused on Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Liberty Square, and begins with Early Entry.
MAGIC KINGDOM DAY 1: WEDNESDAY AGENDA
Your visit to Magic Kingdom begins today. Your morning includes logistics tasks but is otherwise free. At the park you will see the attractions in Adventureland and most of those in Frontierland, with a side trip to Fantasyland to see Seven Dwarfs Mine Train via Individual Lightning Lane. Your last scheduled event is the evening fireworks show, Disney Enchantment until April 2, and Happily Ever After beginning April 3. If you are eligible for Extended Evening Hours, you may wish to stay for these as well.
Before 7a, buy Genie+.
Right at 7a, start looking at Genie+ return times for Jungle Cruise, aiming for a return time noon or later. Most days they will be later than noon as soon as you look, and if so, book immediately. Otherwise, book Seven Dwarfs (see below) then check back on Genie+ for Jungle Cruise every few minutes and as soon as return times cross noon, book Jungle Cruise.
Book Seven Dwarfs Mine Train via Individual Lightning Lane for a window of around 2-3p or 3.30-4.30p.
Exactly two hours after official park open (official park open will most likely be 9a or 8a, so two hours after will be 11a or 10a) check the Genie+ return times for each of Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Haunted Mansion. Book whichever of these has the latest return time. (You pick the latest as this is the ride most likely to sell out of Genie+ availability by the time you get to pick your next one.)
AT THE PARK
Eat an early lunch in your hotel, and arrive at the tapstiles at Magic Kingdom by noon. Your plan today is to see almost all the attractions in the west side of Magic Kingdom (Tom Sawyer Island is the exception, reserved for Day 2), and in addition Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland via Individual Lightning Lane. You will complete your visit to Magic Kingdom on another day.
Today’s itinerary has a fixed beginning and end, but is otherwise not much structured, as much will depend on both the timing of your Individual Lightning Lane and Genie+ windows. You should enter the park with ILL for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Genie+ for Jungle Cruise and one other ride. As the day wends on, book Genie+ for whatever is available that you have not already booked among Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Haunted Mansion.
You can book your next Genie+ whenever the first of these two events happens: two hours have passed since you booked your last one, or you have fully tapped in to a ride via Genie+.
In Adventureland, your goal is to see the following:
- Jungle Cruise
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Pirates of the Caribbean*
- Enchanted Tiki Room
- Swiss Family Treehouse
In Frontierland, your goal is to see
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad*
- Country Bears Jamboree
In Liberty Square, your goal is to see
- Haunted Mansion*
Among these, fit in your ILL for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
You should enter the park with Genie+ for Jungle Cruise, and with another Genie+ for one of the three asterisked rides. As soon as you are eligible, add Genie+ for the other two asterisked rides.
Most will end their day with the evening Fireworks show (Disney Enchantment through April 2, Happily Ever After beginning April 3), best seen from the half of Main Street that’s closer to the Castle.
If you are eligible for Extended Evening Hours, you may wish to stay for these as well. Revisit your favorite rides from today, or the rides in other lands.
PREVIEW OF TOMORROW
You have the day off.