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 ice cream for breakfast.
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!
24 Hour treat: ice cream for breakfast
You’re going to want to eat breakfast, but I don’t suggest that you stop at the Main Street Bakery. It’s always super-crowded in the morning and they just serve the same goods that you get at Starbucks. Instead, head down Main Street and stop at the Ice Cream Parlor. You can get whatever goodie you like, but I always choose the ice cream cookie sandwich with mint chocolate chip as the filling!
It’s definitely the best way to start your Magic Kingdom itinerary. A family on line behind me told me they were super jealous of my order. I grinned that it was my vacation and I was allowed to have ice cream for breakfast. You can too! I think they also have new Donut Sundaes if that strikes you as more of a breakfast food.
24 Hour Treasure
I love this bored looking Gibson Girl on the wall of the Ice Cream Parlor. You’re eating ice cream for breakfast! Why are you sad?
Anyway, take your ice cream 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 for our Magic Kingdom itinerary to really begin!
Magic Kingdom Itinerary
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.
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.
I suggest making Fast Pass reservations for Peter Pan’s Flight around 9:30, the Seven Dwarves Mine Train around 11:30, and Space Mountain around 2. That will optimize your Magic Kingdom itinerary.
THE APPROXIMATELY TOP FIVE: fantasyland edition
1) Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is an old-school kind of flight simulation. 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!”
2) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
This is probably my favorite ride in Fantasyland. The lines get long, so start your Magic Kingdom itinerary here! But the good news is that even if the line is long, there’s lots 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. I love this ride because, even more than Peter Pan, it feels just like stepping into the movie. There’s a blustery day, lots and lots of hunny, and even Heffalumps and Woozles.
3) Mad Tea Party
I do not recommend eating just before going on it because the whole point of the ride is that you spin around like a tea cup while sitting inside a giant teacup. 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. (I was a very intense child.) Every time I go on the ride now, I consider it man’s victory over teacup.
4) 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. 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 in the same boat and our names flashed on screen at the same time. It really is a small world!
5) Disney’s PhilharMagic
No one wants to spend their Magic Kingdom itinerary on line. 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.
6) 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.
7) 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! The best was this room where you could watch Belle and the Beast spin around to their heart’s content for all eternity.
I also like how it’s Belle and the Beast and not Belle and the Boring Blond Prince!
I ordered 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 I ordered 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 Itinerary
Afternoon: Tomorrow, Frontier, and Adventureland
Fantasyland is the only “land” in the Magic Kingdom that requires you to spend so much time. We can fit three lands into our afternoon schedz for our Magic Kingdom itinerary. I’m sure their feelings will not be too hurt.
Amusingly enough, Tomorrowland is probably the most dated of all the areas of Disney World. 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 I think 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 would listen 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. I think it’s 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!
24 Hour Tip
Literally as soon as you are done with Space Mountain, get on your phone and make a Fast Pass reservation for Pirates of the Caribbean between 6:30 and 7. You’ll thank me later!
I tend to think of Frontierland and Adventureland as being connected because there’s less good food and fewer attractions than some of the bigger lands like Fantasyland. I will combine them for…
Approximately top 5: frontierland and adventureland
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 no matter what you do, 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!
24 Hour Tip
If you have the Disney Experience app on your phone, you can check whether Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has a shorter wait time and go to that one first. I like to go to Frontierland around 3 because most people are hanging around Liberty Square or Main Street for the parade and I hate parades.
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 accused of being racist because of its idealized depiction of the Reconstruction-era South. 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 personally think Disney should keep the log flume ride but change it 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 The 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. I’m the girl up front with a big smile on her face. I loooove roller coasters.
2) big thunder mountain
Big Thunder Mountain is a fast and run train-themed rollercoaster, also in Frontierland. I love it, and it’s a classic. However, if you can’t stand waiting on any more lines, I would choose Splash Mountain over Big Thunder Mountain because BTM is kind of similar to Seven Dwarves Mine Train and you did that earlier in the day.
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.
I usually end up spending the least amount of time in Adventureland, not because I don’t like it, but because there are so many different areas I would rather see. Jungle Cruise is cute, but the lines are so long I don’t feel like it’s usually worth the wait. There are just two attractions I make a point of checking out: The Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean.
4) 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.
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.
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!)
6) 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!
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
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. Be warned that the current President is Donald Trump, so seeing his animatronic self make a speech about America might evoke certain feels.
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.
All the presidents since Clinton have actually recorded the speech that their Animatronic Replicant gives in the Hall of Presidents. Those aren’t actors!
2) lobstah at the Columbia Harbour House
At this point in the Magic Kingdom itinerary you are going to be hungry, so I suggest picking up a light meal at the Columbia Harbour House. Their specialty is seafood and I really like their New England Clam Chowder. I think it’s filling enough for dinner since we have been snacking all day. Their lobster roll has much better quality lobster than I was expecting to find at a theme park, only there isn’t quite enough of it for my taste.
3) 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. 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.
This brings me to my next point: don’t take small kids on this ride during your 24 hours in the Magic Kingdom unless they are precocious like Wednesday Addams. Every time I’ve ridden The Haunted Mansion, there’s always a terrified child screaming his head off…and there is no escape for him!
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.
4) Main Street lights
After you get off The Haunted Mansion, 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.
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 ice cream 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.