24 Hours: Magic Kingdom Itinerary

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Greetings, Internet Stranger and welcome to this Magic Kingdom itinerary! Some of you may be wondering why an adult woman with no children would want to enjoy a Disney World Magic Kingdom itinerary. Thanks for your implicit judgement, Internet Stranger! I can only assume that you a) have never been to Disney World or 2) are not a geek! As for myself, I was raised as a Disney Geek and I am proud to know my Ratigan (evil rodent genius) from my Scar (evil lion genius).

I’ve seen travelers out there who try to shame people who frequent popular or corporate tourist destinations like Disney. But I say, what’s so great about shame? Should you be ashamed of your inner child? Should you be ashamed of your ability to have a rocking good time and not care who knows it? Or should you be ashamed to dress up like a giant mouse and hug a bunch of strange children?

I think you should be shame-free with respect to all of those things, unless you’re hugging those poor children without their consent, and that’s why I Heart Disney World. Join me for a Magic Kingdom itinerary of roller coasters, snacks, watching other people’s children cry and not caring, and crying over robot presidents.

24 hour tip

This is definitely a child-free itinerary. I’m sure there are some very clever children out there who would be able to enjoy this Magic Kingdom itinerary, but I am not an expert on young ones and their ways, and I suspect this itinerary would be overload for them. Also you probably don’t want to give your kids this much sugar. You’ve been warned. We’re eating more sugar than the Orlando city ordinances allow.

24 hours in the Magic Kingdom itinerary

Magic Kingdom Itinerary

Where Should I Stay?

As a solo-traveling non-driver, I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts for your Magic Kingdom itinerary because the transportation to and from the parks to the hotel is so convenient. Plus they offer complimentary transpo to and from the Orlando Airport. Finally, if you stay at a resort, they send you a Magic Band bracelet that makes using the Fast Pass system really convenient. I like to stay at one of the Port Orleans hotels because I am ride or die for The Princess and the Frog.

However, if you’d rather explore over 4000 other great deals on hotels in Orlando, just click here.

In order to get the most out of your Magic Kingdom itinerary, 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.

Magic Kingdom Itinerary

What to Pack?

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today around the Magic Kingdom. It’s very frequently hot in Orlando, though not always, so it’s smart to wear sandals. I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

Also, don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun can get scorching! My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.

Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. You don’t want to sling a heavy bag all around Disney World. It’s tough to squeeze that bag into the rides. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so you’ll never run out of juice!

Disney Magic Kingdom Fantasyland

Magic Kingdom Itinerary

Morning: Fantasyland

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 itinerary. I was especially impressed by 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.

Disney Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Mime
24 Hour Tips

All of my 24 Hour Tips for Disney World and this Magic Kingdom itinerary are going to involve using the Fast Pass system. The Fast Pass system allows you to make up to three reservations on popular rides before you arrive at the park. If you have a Fast Pass for a ride, you get to go on a much shorter ride. Fun for everyone! Well, except the people waiting on a hideously long line.

THE APPROXIMATELY TOP FIVE: fantasyland edition

magic kingdom itinerary
1) Breakfast at Gaston’s Tavern

You might be thinking that a Tavern would be an inappropriate place for a breakfast, but this is Disney, ma cherie. There’s no booze at Gaston’s Tavern, only a dementedly sweet apple juice concoction called LeFou’s Brew and these giant cinnamon rolls that will definitely fill you up until lunch. The frosting is terribly sweet, but the pastry isn’t, so just scrape some of the frosting off if it’s too much for you.

magic kingdom itinerary

The lady who sold this confection to me screamed DELICIOUS! as soon as I placed my order, which definitely made me feel like I had made a right choice. Also there was a poor child in the tavern whose parents wouldn’t let him order this, so he just glared at me viciously while I ate my breakfast. I suspect he might be a Gaston in training.

magic kingdom itinerary
2) Peter Pan’s Flight

Peter Pan’s Flight is an old-school kind of flight simulation, and you definitely need a Fast Pass for it because the lines can get crazy. Basically you get in a little flying boat and fly above typically lovingly recreated scenes from Peter Pan. Spoiler Alert: the scenes with Tiger Lily will make you super uncomfortable. But other than that, this is one of the most successful rides to me because you really do feel like you have entered the movie. As the song says, “You Can Fly!”

Disney Magic Kingdom Fantasyland seven dwarves mine train
3) Seven Dwarves Mine Train

I am a rollercoaster junkie and the rollercoasters at Disney are often somewhat lacking in the thrills department, as they are really designed for children. Yet what they lack in speed, they often make up for in charm. This rollercoaster puts you on a train, much like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and sends you zipping around various scenes of dwarves whistling while they work. The lines for this ride are always scary long, so definitely use a Fast Pass for this one.

magic kingdom itinerary
4) The Barnstormer

The Barnstormer is a short little coaster that simulates the feeling of the early days of aviation without the near certainty that you will crash into a fiery death. It’s located in the Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland that was inspired by the movie Dumbo. I had never tried this ride before since I thought it was strictly FOR SMALL ONES ONLY, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it was enjoyable even for those of us who are aged. I mean, who doesn’t want to channel their inner Wright Brothers?

magic kingdom itinerary
5) Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Another ride I mistakenly thought was FWOO (For Wee Ones Only). But anyone of any size can enjoy flying through the air on the back of a Dumbo, especially since the ride is narrated by Dumbo’s loyal friend Timothy the mouse. And as you fly through the air, you can raise and lower your own seat. It’s just exactly like being on the back of an adorable flying pachyderm. (I assume, having never had the pleasure in real life.)

magic kingdom itinerary
6) Prince Charming Regal Carousel

This is a lovely and relaxing ride that usually has a short line, but why did they name it after Prince Charming, who is easily the most boring character in Cinderella? I think they should have named it after Lucifer, the evil cat, but Lucifer’s Carousel probably wouldn’t attract any kids, just all the Disney fans who like to shop at Hot Topic.

Disney Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland

Magic Kingdom Itinerary

Afternoon: Adventureland

Fantasyland is clearly designed to evoke the magic of the classic Disney animated movies, but it’s a little harder to figure out what Adventureland is modeled on. I mean, “adventure” is a pretty broad category, and the only Disney movies I recognize in this section are Aladdin and Pirates of the Caribbean, and I’m not sure PotC counts because the ride existed before the movie.

Is the theme of Adventureland “Not the USA”“? But that could apply to Fantasyland as well. Is it “places you can get to by boat or flying carpet”? How about “Demented Land of Animatronic birds”? Join me here for the afternoon, and let’s see what we can discover.

Approximately top 5: Adventureland Edition

Disney Magic Kingdom Adventureland
1) the enchanted tiki room

The Enchanted Tiki Room feels like it sprung fully formed from the brain of the 1960s. I feel there is some lost episode of Mad Men that must take place inside an enchanted tiki room. The ETR is another animatronic show, like the Carousel of Progress. The only difference is this time your hosts are talking robot birds. Jose Pajaro is Spanish-speaking, Pierre Oiseau is French, Fritz Vogel is German, and Michael Ean is Irish.

Disney Magic Kingdom Adventureland tiki room

All of these robot birds hang out on the ceiling and sing classic Sherman Brothers Tunes like “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Toom“. There are “sexy” lady robot birds who join them later. At one point the masks on the wall and the plants start singing too. I think bad acid is the only thing that could explain the existence of this spectacle. 

Disney Magic Kingdom Adventureland Pirates of the Caribbean
2) POTC!

Of course, no one comes to Adventureland for the Tiki Room. They come to meet Captain Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride has been around, of course, much longer than the movie. After the film’s success, it was revamped to include some of the film’s elements. You can watch Captain Jack Sparrow cavort around the Isle of Tortuga to your heart’s content, but my favorite part is getting up close and personal to Captain Barbossa’s ship at the beginning. (I took that picture of his pirate ship during the ride.)

My one suggestion is that they should add more of the film’s score to the ride because it really is super rousing. I would wait on the world’s longest line if I got to hear that song. Even better would be if they included Lonely Island and Michael Bolton’s ode to Jack Sparrow! (NSFW! Davy Jones! Giant Squid!)

Disney Magic Kingdom Adventureland Dole Whip
3) Dole Whip

The best snack in all of the Magic Kingdom is the beloved Dole Whip. I know Dole pays a lot for the product placement, and I don’t care. Dole is welcome to pay me to eat this tangy and refreshing treat any time!

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4) Jungle Cruise

The corny and much-beloved Jungle Cruise is getting a revamp to remove offensive ethnic stereotypes, so if you were a big fan of Trader Sam, the creepo who trades in shrunken heads, my condolences. He was still there the last time I rode the Jungle Cruise.

But what won’t go away are the legendarily cheesy jokes or the animatronic elephant squirting itself with water. The jokes literally never stop. Even when the boats all got jogjammed at the end of the ride and our guide had to kill time, he kept cracking wise and showed no signs of slowing down. I personally think if a Jungle Cruise guide stops making terrible jokes, they are instantly eaten by an animatronic hippo.

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5) Carpets of Aladdin

Again, still don’t know what this ride is supposed to have in common with Pirates of the Caribbean, but let’s just go with it. Carpets is one of those rides I had never tried because I thought it was for kids only, but just like Dumbo, it’s actually fun for kids of all ages. The lines usually aren’t long, but the ride is slow loading, so keep that in mind.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to start belting out “A Whole New World” as soon as the carpet lifts off. But don’t do it too loudly, or the Disney Cast Members will assume you are drunk and pull you off the ride. Not that this happened to me or anything.

Disney Magic Kingdom Liberty Square

24 Hours in the Magic Kingdom

Evening: Liberty Square and Main Street

I would be hard pressed to say exactly what the theme of Liberty Square is. Ordinarily I would think it is an attempt to recreate a small town out of Walt Disney’s most feverish dreams of Americana, but why is The Haunted Mansion there? Is the message that a heart of darkness lurks beneath America’s shiny exterior? Very subversive, Disney!

Approximately top 5: liberty square and main street

Disney Magic Kingdom Hall of Presidents
1) hall of presidents

The Hall of Presidents show in Liberty Square plays every half hour, but it stops running at nine, which is before the park closes. So I suggest doing this attraction first. Right now it’s closed because they are getting Animatronic Joe Biden ready to take his place in the hall. Apparently Biden broke with tradition while recording his message and just yelled, “MALARKEY”, so it might take them some time to get his robot set up.

The Hall of Presidents will run you through the history of some of the most important men to hold the office: Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy, FDR, and JFK. At the end, there is a role call of all the Presidents and they have an animatronic of all 45 Chief Executives, which means that it was someone’s job to create a robot Millard Fillmore.

Fun Fact

All the presidents since Clinton have actually recorded the speech that their Animatronic Replicant gives in the Hall of Presidents. Those aren’t actors!

Disney Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion
2) haunted mansion

I’ve saved the best ride for the end of our Magic Kingdom itinerary, so it’s time to hop on the Haunted Mansion. The line might be long, but there’s plenty of creepy Easter Eggs to keep you entertained during the ride. The Haunted Mansion is just like stepping into an Edward Gorey cartoon.

Just be warned that the Haunted Mansion is too scary for some kids. The last time I rode the Haunted Mansion, as soon as the doors closed, shutting you inside the elevator, one little boy smacked his own face and screamed, “NOT AGAIN!” What did you think was going to happen, little boy? It’s called the Haunted Mansion for a reason.

I love the black humor infused all through the ride. My favorite part is that at the end there is a trick mirror that showed me a headstone with MY NAME on it. I’m sure they used the technology of my Magic Band to do that, but I don’t care. I actually screamed when I saw it.

Disney Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion
Fun Fact

The creepy lady voice of the gypsy woman was done by Eleanor Audley, who also voiced Maleficent and Cinderella’s stepmother.

24 Hour Treasure

The gift shop attached to The Haunted Mansion is called Memento Mori. That is truly the greatest pun I have ever seen in my life.

24 Hours: Magic Kingdom Itinerary 4
3) The Liberty Tree Tavern

The Liberty Tree Tavern is my favorite restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. The food is yummy, and it’s actually a really good value for Disney, considering how much food you get. Just keep in mind that you’ll definitely need a reservation to dine here, and they go quickly, so book one as soon as you can.

Just keep in mind that there’s one set menu, so you can’t pick and choose what you want for dinner. But there’s enough food that everyone should feel satisfied. You’ll start with a light salad and bread rolls. I was surprised at how fresh and juicy the tomatoes were. The salad was a little overdressed, but you can just mop it up with the rolls.

24 Hours: Magic Kingdom Itinerary 5

The main course is meant to be like a full Thanksgiving feast with both pot roast and turkey. Both were good and moist, but I give a slight nod to the pot roast because the turkey was a little salty. The sides include a mild mac and cheese, thoroughly potatoey potatoes, and crunchy green beans. But my faves are the cranberry sauce because it’s so fun to eat outside Actual Thanksgiving, and the stuffing because it was the most flavorful.

24 Hours: Magic Kingdom Itinerary 6

Many would say that the highlight of the whole meal is the ooey gooey toffee cake, which tastes more like a warm cookie with toffee in it. I’m not complaining because who doesn’t love a warm cookie? I was also impressed with the fact that you can see real vanilla bean flecks in the vanilla ice cream, which is not something I’d expect to find at the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Magic Kingdom itinerary
4) Main Street lights

After you finish dinner, Main Street will be all lit up and ready to pose for pictures. This is my favorite time during my 24 hours in the Magic Kingdom to do a little shopping on Main Street. Normally the fireworks show “Happily Ever After” is at Cinderella’s Castle around 10, so you will be able to find a great spot to view them here.

Disney Magic Kingdom Main Street
5) Main street sweets

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 24 hours in the Magic Kingdom.

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 a cinnamon roll the size of my head for breakfast. Thanks, Disney!

Related Reading: Magic Kingdom Itinerary

Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Orlando right now? Let me help you get started with some more reading. I like the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. It has information on every Disney park, and because it’s not affiliated with Disney, they always give their honest opinion.

If you want to know more about the man, the myth, the legend, the Walt, my favorite Disney bio is Neal Gabler’s Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. You’ll learn about how Walt Disney rose from humble beginnings and terrible grades to become the master of the known universe. (I may be exaggerating a bit there.)

And if you’re more interested in the Disney animation, I suggest Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil. You’ll learn more about how the Disney artists design these paragons of evil and villainy. My favorite villains are Maleficent and Dr. Facilier. I even have Maleficent Minnie Ears with fake green flames on them. I REGRET NOTHING!

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 spend 24 hours on the Magic Kingdom itinerary. I have another Magic Kingdom itinerary here. If you want to add itineraries for my favorite Disney park, Epcot, I’ve got one here and another one over here.

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