Of all the Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park is the most easily recognizable. Over 17 million guests visit the Magic Kingdom each year, making it the most visited theme park in the world and for good reason.
With some of the best attractions, dining, and entertainment, the Magic Kingdom truly is a magical experience for guests of all ages.
From the iconic Cinderella’s Castle to their very own Main Street, U.S.A., the Magic Kingdom was able to expand on Walt Disney’s dream of Disneyland and create a larger, improved version of the original park.
Some even say Walt Disney World is actually haunted!
Main Street USA
Divided into six themed “lands,” guests enter the park through Main Street, U.S.A.
Designed to showcase stylistic influences found around the country, the décor is early-20th-century small town America representing everything from New England to Missouri.
From the hub area, guests can notice this the most as the “four corners” area in the middle of Main Street has four different architectural styles.
Here on Main Street, guests can start their adventure by taking a ride on the train or by hopping aboard a horse drawn trolley, fine engine, omnibus or horseless carriage.
Traveling up Main Street in a horse drawn trolley is my favorite, as it saves your feet some walking but you still get to view all of the storefronts that feature names given to those who were important and significant figures of the Disney company.
If it’s your first time to the Magic Kingdom, walking through Main Street, U.S.A. is a great area to explore as it’s home to City Hall where you can get a complimentary birthday or anniversary pin.
The Harmony Barber Shop is a real hair salon and even offers “Baby’s First Haircut” with a certificate to remember the magical moment. You’ll also find hometown staples such as the Main Street Bakery and Main Street Cinema.
During the morning and afternoon, the Town Square Theater offers a meet and greet area for Mickey Mouse and other classic characters while the Crystal Palace provides buffet character dining for all meals.
At the end of Main Street, Tomorrowland is always the first land I head into. While it isn’t the largest of the lands, it’s always great to hit up early in the morning or during a parade as the narrow walkways can get quite crowded during peak hours.
Depending on the wait time, getting a FastPass for Space Mountain can come in handy, as the wait can easily extend to over an hour due to its popularity.
Buzz Lightyear’s Spin is a fun ride that allows guests to work with Buzz Lightyear and Star Command to take down the evil emperor Zurg.
Riding along in XP-37 Space Cruisers you’re literally in the middle of a giant arcade game, shooting lasers at targets and competing for a high score.
Even better, if you don’t want to purchase pictures while on your trip but you want a ride souvenir, in the final battle with Zurg, Star Command takes your picture that you can e-mail to yourself after the ride for free!
Tomorrowland is also home to fun attractions including Carousel of Progress, the Astro Orbiter, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, Stitch’s Great Escape and both the Tomorrowland Speedway and Tomorrowland Transit Authority.
If traveling with children, Stitch’s Great Escape and Space Mountain may be a little scary for younger guests, but overall Tomorrowland offers a lot of attractions to enjoy for guests of all-ages.
A short walk away is Fantasyland, home to attractions based on Disney’s classic animated films where kids of all ages can step into a fairy tale.
Fantasyland hosts rides like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, a Tangled rest area and a variety of classic attractions including Dumbo and It’s a Small World.
Prices and Princesses can visit the royal court at Princess Fairytale Hall to meet their favorite Disney princesses inside a castle courtyard that is beautifully decorated with stone walls, stained glass windows and high ceilings.
For a truly magical experience, the Be Our Guest Restaurant serves guests in the stunning ballroom of the Beast’s castle or the elegant Rose Gallery for a smaller intimate setting and is great for a special treat.
There’s casual dining in the afternoon and fine dining in the evening, with guests suggested to make reservations to secure a dining time.
Crossing a wooden planked bridge is the part jungle, part tropical-island known as Adventureland.
My favorite part of this land is the Aloha Isle where guests can enjoy the very popular Dole Whip soft serve pineapple flavored ice cream.
There are only two locations in all of Walt Disney World where you can purchase a Dole Whip, here and at the Captain Cook’s inside the Polynesian Resort so this location tends to be the more convenient of the two.
The Dole Whips are so popular there tends to be at least a 5-10 minute wait for the snack, with the line even longer on hot Summer days.
For a truly unique Adventureland experience however, it’s worth the wait! If you like, you can recreate the magic at home with this Dole Whip recipe.
Dole Whip Recipe
• 2 cups frozen pineapple
• 1/4 cup milk of choice
• 1/16 tsp salt
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Blend all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth
- Scoop out servings with an ice cream scoop into small cups or bowls
- Freeze for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
If you’re still hungry after the Dole Whip, follow the banjo music and the smell of smoked turkey legs to mosey on into Frontierland.
Adventureland has two of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular attractions; the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean that are both just as much fun for first-time guests as annual passholders.
There’s also the Enchanted Tiki Room, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Tarzan’s Treehouse for guests who enjoy smaller thrills.
Home of the old-time wild west, Frontierland hosts Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer’s Island.
If you’re wondering where to get a hamburger, Frontierland is your place. Full of barbeque, burgers, fries, hot dogs and salads, Frontierland has good old-fashion American dining specialties.
At Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café, guests can reasonably dine on pulled pork sandwiches, onion ring cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries and more, with slightly average portions for the price range.
There’s a lot of unique shops feature in Frontierland, offering western themed souvenirs such as sheriff badges, turquoise jewelry, Native American toys, and leather goods.
If you’re looking to bring home something unique from Disney World, the shops in Frontierland including the Frontier Trading Post, Frontier Wood Carving and Big Al’s offer a great selection.
The last “land” within the Magic Kingdom is Liberty Square, a beautiful but low-key area of the park.
Designed to replicate the colonial era of America, Liberty Square is the home to the Hall of Presidents attraction, the Liberty Belle paddlewheel boat and The Haunted Mansion.
Matching the theme, there is actually a bit of American history found in this land. In 1976, 50 replicas of the Liberty Bell were cast and molded in honor of America’s 200th birthday, making one for each state.
For Pennsylvania however, they didn’t need a replica Liberty Bell as they already have the original. Realizing that Pennsylvania had an extra that they were not using, Disney World asked the state if they could have it for Liberty Square.
Pennsylvania agreed and on July 4th, 1989 it was officially moved into its permanent spot in Liberty Square.
There’s also the Liberty Tree, named after the 1957 movie, “Johnny Tremain” that has 13 lanterns representing the original 13 colonies. Weighing a hefty 38 tons, the Liberty Tree is the largest living thing in the Magic Kingdom.
One of my favorite restaurants within the Magic Kingdom is the Liberty Tree Tavern, an all-you-can-eat restaurant delivering delicious American fare.
Their hot rolls with honey butter are delicious and each meal comes with salad, turkey, roast pork and flank steak along with green beans, seasonal veggies, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and hot turkey gravy along with desert. Their toffee cake is absolutely delicious and is topped with ice cream, hot fudge and caramel.
In all, there’s a reason why the Magic Kingdom Park hosts the most visitors of any theme park in the world. Their ability to transport guests into six unique lands, the incredible dining options, and the delicious food all make the Magic Kingdom worth visiting on any Walt Disney World vacation.
When planning your trip, make sure to save time for some of the live-entertainment shows that are featured on their website for up-to-date times as well as on the brochure upon entering the Magic Kingdom.
Finding a spot about 20 minutes before a show is preferred for the best seats, and be aware that Main Street, U.S.A. becomes hard to navigate during the parades and firework shows if you plan on exiting the park around these times.
All photos from Flickr and used under creative commons license.