Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to the Magic Kingdom in one day. We’ve already experienced one Disney World Magic Kingdom itinerary with Adventureland and Liberty Square. So today’s Magic Kingdom in one day will start in Frontierland. The word Frontierland conjures up the image of making it big in the Wild West.
And sometimes when you head out on your travels, you want to experience unknown frontiers! You fantasize about diving underwater and emerging soaked to the bone, exploring the depths of a hidden mine, or making friends with especially ridiculous bears.
But other times you’d rather play it safe. You want to be pampered and protected by the omnipotent white glove of an ageless cartoon mouse. For those times, there is the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I promise this Magic Kingdom in One Day will be truly magical.
The Magic Kingdom is the most popular and busiest park in Disney World, so I recommend taking two different Magic Kingdom in One Day itineraries to see the whole thing. This itinerary will focus on three different areas of Disney World: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland.
One final tip: I strongly suggest spending the Magic Kingdom in One Day on a weekday during a not-holiday because the lines will be much more manageable. I once visited the Magic Kingdom on a Monday during a hideous rain storm and I basically had the whole park to myself. But those circumstances might be difficult for you to arrange.
Magic Kingdom in One Day
Where Should I Stay?
As a solo-traveling non-driver, I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts for your Magic Kingdom in one day because the transportation to and from the parks to the hotel is so convenient. I like to stay at one of the Port Orleans hotels because I am ride or die for The Princess and the Frog.
In order to get the most out of your Magic Kingdom in One Day, I suggest you get coffee at your hotel, hop on the free shuttle, and arrive at Disney in time to enter the park at 9AM when it opens. If you’re able to get in even earlier for Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests, so much the better.
Magic Kingdom in One Day
Tools For Travel
- A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your Magic Kingdom in one day.
- The best guide to Disney World and the Magic Kingdom in one day.
- My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
- Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
- I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by a giant mouse and his minions during your Magic Kingdom in one day.
Magic Kingdom in One Day
Fantasyland is really the centerpiece of Disney World. It’s where a lot of the most popular rides are. If you have a little princess, are a little princess at heart, or just really like hearing the “It’s a Small World” song over and over, this is where you are going to spend most of your Magic Kingdom in one day.
We’re not hitting up all the Fantasyland rides on this itinerary because we’ll save some for our next Magic Kingdom in One Day.
Don’t miss the attention to detail in the decor of Fantasyland. Even the ladies’ bathroom is decorated with Wanted Posters of characters from the movie Tangled and designs made to look like they were painted by Rapunzel.
We’ll get much more familiar with the hidden Mickeys in Fantasyland. But first: breakfast!
THE APPROXIMATELY TOP FIVE: FANTASYLAND EDITION
24 Hour Treat: Cheshire Cat Tail
You want to jump straight on the lines before they get too long, so I suggest grabbing a quick breakfast at the Cheshire Cafe located near the Mad Tea Party ride in Fantasyland. The specialite de la maison here is the Cheshire Cat Tail. That sounds disgusting, but I promise it’s fur-free.
This treat is basically a chocolate croissant with purple and pink icing on top. Escoffier would scoff, but your belly will smile.
Anyway, take your Cheshire Cat tail in front of Cinderella’s Palace and get your obligatory photo of Walt and Mickey.
Now that you’re full of sugar and wishes, it’s time to really get into Fantasyland!
1) THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH
This is probably my favorite ride in Fantasyland. The lines get long, so start your Magic Kingdom in one day here! But the good news is that even if the line is long, there’s oodles of games for the kids to play as they wait. Or if you don’t have kids, you can watch other people’s children play and mourn your lost childhood.
This ride is the bee’s knees because it feels just like stepping into the movie. There’s a blustery day, lots and lots of hunny, and even Heffalumps and Woozles.
2) MAD TEA PARTY
I do not recommend eating just before going on this ride because the whole point of the ride is that you spin around like a tea cup while sitting inside a giant teacup. The lines here are never very long, unless the Mad Tea Party has recently malfunctioned. (After all, we all go a little mad sometimes, even theme park rides.)
I make a point of doing the Mad Tea Party Ride every time I am at the Magic Kingdom. This is because I went on it when I was four and the ride malfunctioned so I never got to finish it. I was so mad about this that I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Every time I go on the ride now, I consider it man’s victory over teacup.
3) IT’S A SMALL WORLD
Do not take this ride if you hate earworms. The agonizingly catchy tune will definitely be stuck in your head all day. But I enjoy IASW for two reasons. First, as you can see from the Animatronic Taj Mahal above, many of the recreations of scenes from around the world are quite stunning.
Also, at the end, there is a board that will flash your name on the screen and say goodbye. True story: last time I took this ride, there was a little Brazilian girl with my name, Stella, in the same boat and our names flashed on screen at the same time. We squealed and high fived! It really is a small world!
4) DISNEY’S PHILHARMAGIC
No one wants to spend their Magic Kingdom in One Day on line. But even though Disney’s Philharmagic show is always a rollicking good time, there are never any lines here. So step inside this theater for a charming 4D movie about how Donald Duck is the dumbest.
Basically the plot of the film is that Mickey is the conductor of an orchestra, but he steps away briefly and Donald tries to take over. This results in Donald destroying the Space Time Continuum and getting flung about through various Disney movies from Fantasia to Beauty and the Beast, ruining everything as he goes.
In a way, it’s a charming homage to one of Donald’s first appearances in the short film, “The Band Concert”. Also, Donald gets his butt stuck in the wall of the theater at one point and duck butts are always funny.
5) LUNCH AT BE OUR GUEST
Be Our Guest is a restaurant lovingly modeled after the Beast’s Castle from Beauty and the Beast. Make a lunch reservation around noon and you will be able to enjoy a decent sandwich, a really tasty dessert, and all the Beauty and the Beast Easter Eggs your little heart can handle.
My favorite was this replica of a medieval French unicorn tapestry. It added that little touch of realism that I so appreciate in my theme park fairytale castles.
Be Our Guest gets very crowded, so be sure to make a reservation in advance or you won’t get in! You don’t want to feel like this guy:
24 HOUR TIP
You’re going to pay and order upfront and then they bring your food to you. So you find a seat after placing your order. My tip is that you should be sure to not stop in the first dining room. There’s three rooms to choose from!
I recommend the croque monsieur, which was very rich but pretty tasty. It was especially admirable that they used whole-grain bread and real ham. But the true treasure of the meal was the Master’s Cupcake for dessert.
24 HOUR TREAT: THE GRAY STUFF
You may be asking, “Why is that cupcake gray?” Well, you remember how Lumiere tells Belle during the song “Be Our Guest” to “try the gray stuff, it’s delicious”? This is the gray stuff! And it is delicious–just a cookies and cream cupcake. I should listen to the dining recommendations of candlesticks more often!
Magic Kingdom in One Day
Amusingly enough, Tomorrowland is probably the most dated of all the areas of Disney World. (Disney is updating Tomorrowland with a Tron Ride, among other things, but I’m not sure how much that will help. Everything about it gives off a 1960s Space Race vibe, especially the marquee attraction, Space Mountain. But if you can handle a little cheese with your sci-fi, Tomorrowland will be just the ticket.
APPROXIMATELY TOP 5: TOMORROWLAND EDITION
1) MONSTERS INC LAUGH FLOOR
You might have to wait a little bit to get into this show, but it’s worth it because the show is so adorable. Do you remember how the monsters in Monsters Inc decided to harness the power of laughter instead of the power of screams? Well, the premise of this show is that the monsters need to make you laugh in order to get energy.
A lot of the gags in this show work by putting random audience members on screen with silly captions underneath. I got my face onscreen with the caption, “Is Glad We’re Not Making Fun of Her”. Too true, fictitious monsters, too true!
2) CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS
This a 20 minute show performed by Disney robots that was actually created by Walt himself for the 1964 World’s Fair. The first scene takes place in the day in the life of a family in the 1900s, the second in the 1920s, the third in the 1940s, and the last in the present.
Each scene emphasizes how technology affected the lives of the people in the family, so in the 1900s family they talk about Edison’s amaaazing new invention of the lightbulb, and in the present day, the son is teaching the grandmother how to play virtual reality games.
In between each scene is a rousing chorus of the song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow“. I suggest listening to that song before attending the show. If you find the song unbearably cheesy, you won’t like Carousel of Progress, but if you dig the retro vibe, you’ll probably get a kick out of the experience.
3) SPACE MOUNTAIN
Space Mountain is THE reason to go to Tomorrowland. It’s arguably the best roller coaster in the park. It’s one of the very few rides that could be classified as thrilling because you go around loops and whirls mostly in the dark.
If it were not for the hideous lines, I would go on it about fifty times a day. Be sure to use the Fast Pass for this one because I’ve seen lines go up to 90 minutes and I usually visit in January when the lines aren’t so bad.
4) COSMIC RAY’S
If you are looking for a healthy snack, I suggest the seriously tasty green beans at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. You probably won’t be eating a lot of veggies at Disney and these buttery beans are a good way to get your greens. Thanks to the Disney Food Blog for the tip!
5) Tomorrowland PeopleMover
This title is a little vague and confusing. Isn’t every ride at Disney World technically a people over? But this people mover is more than meets the eye.
The tram will take you all over Tomorrowland, even inside the rides like Space Mountain. I’m from New York City, and I only wish our subway worked this efficiently. It’s a great ride when you need a break from the Orlando crowds/sunshine/baby-eating alligators.
Magic Kingdom in One Day
Frontierland is a misnomer; it should really be called Waitingonlineland. There are two major attractions in Frontierland: Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and if you don’t have a Fast Pass, you’re going to have to wait on line for both of them for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Bring a good book!
Fortunately we thought ahead and got our Fast Passes, so we won’t have to wait on line! Instead, we’ll get to dive right into…
approximately top 5: frontierland
1) SPLASH MOUNTAIN
Splash Mountain is a log flume, which means you have a good chance of getting wet. Some people bring a raincoat for this reason. When I took it last, the ride paused under a little waterfall, and the poor kid sitting behind me got absolutely soaked. It was pretty funny.
Splash Mountain is based on Disney’s TOP SECRET BANNED movie Song of the South. Aside from Splash Mountain, Song of the South is known for two things: the song “Zip-a-dee-Doodah” and being considered racist because of its idealized depiction of life in the Reconstruction-era South. (Some people think the main character, Uncle Remus, is an enslaved person, but the movie takes place after the end of the Civil War.)
I happen to have seen Song of the South and I understood all of images of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox we saw while waiting on line for the ride, but I was amused by seeing how many people on line asking things like, “What is a Brer?”
I am glad Disney took my advice to change the ride to The Princess and the Frog, which is actually set in and on the water. Tiana deserves her own ride and if we can’t show Song of the South in theaters, I don’t think there should be a ride based on it either. Also, RIDE OR DIE FOR THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG!
They do take your picture while you’re going down the ride, which is fun to look at when the ride is over. Disney wants you to pay for the photo, but you can cheat them by taking a quick and blurry photo of this image instead. YOU’RE WELCOME!
2) BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a fast and furious train-themed roller coaster, also in Frontierland. After Space Mountain, it’s the closest the Magic Kingdom comes to a real roller coaster. And I remain impressed how Disney imagineering allows you to keep even full-sized purses and backpacks with you on these rides.
As you head down the line towards the ride, keep a look out for the fake ads for saloons and mining equipment. Just don’t think too hard about how many real miners died in mountain related calamities in the Non Disney version of Frontierland. Their pain is forgotten, but the roller coaster will last forever!
3) CLASSIC MICKEY ICE CREAM
Looking for something to eat in Waitingonlineland? Why not a snack you can eat on line? I suggest picking up a Mickey Ice Cream from one of the ice cream carts. The vanilla is creamy and you can have your revenge on Mickey by chomping on one of his ears as a punishment for making you wait on so many lines.
4) Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and cafe
I consider myself something of a Disney food connoisseur, and Pecos Bill is my favorite place to eat in Frontierland. I suggest getting the taco trio, which you can fill with your choice of meats. (I think the pork is the best quality meat, but you can also get chicken and beef.)
But the best thing about Pecos Bill is the unlimited toppings bar. Even the blandest chicken is livened up by salsa, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream, the tears of a grizzled miner, etc. And you can go back for toppings as many times as you want! This is Disney World; no one is judging you.
5) country bear jamboree
And speaking of judgment, here is the Country Bear Jamboree. Sometimes, even in Orlando, it can get chilly at night. So if you forgot your jacket or just need to sit, then set right on down at the Country Bear Jamboree show in Frontierland!
This show is so odd, I hesitate to give any information at all to spoil the first time experience for you. Suffice it to say, if you’ve ever wanted to see a sexy lady bear sing “Tears Will Be The Chaser For Your Wine” in front of a group of small children, this is the show for you!
24 Hour treasure: main street at night
After you’re all frontiered out in Frontierland, Main Street will be all lit up and ready to pose for pictures. This is my favorite time during my Magic Kingdom in One Day itinerary to do a little shopping on Main Street. Normally the fireworks show “Disney Enchantment” is at Cinderella’s Castle around closing time, so you will be able to find a great spot to view them here.
My favorite store on Main Street is Main Street Sweets. You get to watch the cast members (aka Disney employees) make old fashioned candy, everything from candy apples to marshmallows. My favorite is the chocolate peanut butter fudge! You can get just one square–the perfect way to end your Magic Kingdom in One Day.
Now that you have your fudge in hand, take a spot on Main Street and get ready for the actual literal fireworks! My Happily Ever After already came true because I had chocolate for breakfast. Thanks, Disney!
That’s the Magic Kingdom in One Day!
What would you want to do in the Magic Kingdom in One Day? Would you go to Disney World just to eat green beans? And when are they going to give me my Princess and the Frog ride????????? Please email me at [email protected] and let me know!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY see the Magic Kingdom in One Day. If you want to add itineraries for my favorite Disney park, Epcot, I’ve got one here, one here, and another one over here.