Magic Kingdom is the fairytale heart of Disney World in Orlando, Florida. With six magical lands laid out around Cinderella’s Castle, it is the park most likely to appeal to your inner 5 year old.
It is also the park with by far the most rides and attractions, so a bit of planning to snaffle the best Fast Passes for Magic Kingdom will pay off big time here!
Whether the best rides at Magic Kingdom for your family are the three mountains – Space, Splash and Big Thunder – or the ever-popular classic rides like Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World. Choosing your Fast Passes wisely will ensure you have a wonderful time at Magic Kingdom.
For full Disney immersion, find all our Disney posts here. From Disney World character meals and FastPass guides to Disney cruising and Disneyland Paris.
- Magic Kingdom at Disney World
- Best Fast Passes for Magic Kingdom
- Seven best rides at Magic Kingdom
- Our Magic Kingdom itinerary
- FastPass strategy
- Rope drop
- Day 1 at Magic Kingdom – 11.30am-5pm
- Day 2 at Magic Kingdom – 11am-4pm
- Day 3 at Magic Kingdom – 7.45am-3pm
- 7.45am Arrival
- 8am Winnie the Pooh
- 8.15am Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- 8.45am Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- 9am Meet and greet with Elena of Avalor and Cinderella
- 9.30am Splash Mountain
- 10.15am Pirates of the Caribbean
- 10.30am Space Mountain (FastPass) / Mary Poppins meet and greet
- 11am Haunted Mansion (FastPass)
- 11.45am The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History in Liberty Square
- 12pm Lunch with Winnie the Pooh and friends
- 2.30pm Jungle Cruise (FastPass)
Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Magic Kingdom is based on Disneyland in California, but is not identical. They share some rides like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, but many other rides are different. The most obvious visual difference is that Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom is more than double the height of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland.
With four amazing Disney theme parks and two water parks at Disney World, it’s hard to fit everything in. But there’s so many things to do at Magic Kingdom that ideally it needs two full days in your itinerary.
Best Fast Passes for Magic Kingdom
What are FastPasses?
FastPasses let you skip the ride and attractions lines. They are generally super effective, so you will often walk straight onto a ride or only wait a few minutes. Even when the standby line is hours long.
At Disney World FastPasses are electronic and can be booked 30-60 days in advance. If you’re not a planner, then this might be a challenge, but holding FastPasses for key rides will radically improve your park experience, so it’s worth giving them some thought.
When you can book your FastPasses depends on whether you’re staying at a Disney hotel (60 days) or not (30 days).
You can book three FastPasses per person per day and they all need to be at the same park.
You will have an hour from the time you select to use your FastPass and these hour blocks cannot overlap.
To be ready to book your FastPasses, make sure your Disney World entry tickets are linked in My Disney Experience. If you have a Disney hotel booking, make sure that’s there too.
Now put your booking date in your diary. Just type “60 days before 3 April” or whatever your date is into Google. You can book on the My Disney Experience website or app, although the website is easier. And be ready at 7am Eastern (New York) time.
Magic Kingdom FastPass tiers
With popularity spread reasonably evenly over many Magic Kingdom rides and attractions, Disney has not implemented FastPass tiers here. Unlike the other Disney World theme parks – Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios – you can choose three FastPasses from any of the rides and attractions listed below.
Magic Kingdom rides and attractions
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Haunted Mansion
- it’s a small world
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
- Meet Cinderella and Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
- Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Which Magic Kingdom FastPass rides to choose?
If you love rollercoasters and everyone in your party is taller than 112cm (44in), then your three FastPasses are clear – Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
But the three other rides to consider are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight and Enchanted Tales with Belle.
As Seven Dwarfs is the newest ride at Magic Kingdom and is a lovely smooth coaster with great theming it does tend to have long wait times. It’s a good option for rope drop, then you can play the games in the queue, which you miss with a FastPass. Or alternatively rope drop Space Mountain and get a FastPass for Seven Dwarfs.
Peter Pan’s Flight is a mystery to me. We have ridden it once and found it to be a sweet, slow ride best for little kids, similar to Winnie the Pooh or It’s a Small World. Yet it is massively popular with consistently long waits. If you want to ride it then consider getting a FastPass or rope dropping it.
If you’re travelling with kids under 7, then Enchanted Tales is worth a FastPass. Most of the little kid rides at Magic Kingdom don’t have huge queues, but this one can.
And don’t forget the meet and greets if there is a particular character you’re keen to see and can’t do it at a character meal.
Seven best rides at Magic Kingdom
Choosing the best rides at Magic Kingdom is not easy. There are no clear standouts like there are at the other parks.
Everyone has their favourites and it depends on the age of the kids you’re with and which rides tug at your emotional heartstrings the most.
1. Splash Mountain
This is the only easy choice for me in this list. It’s our absolute favourite ride at Magic Kingdom and Hamish must have gone on it at least five times this trip (three was enough for me!).
Located in Frontierland and with a minimum height of 102cm (40in), Splash Mountain is a relaxing boat ride with a lovely story plus a few thrills, culminating in the dramatic splashdown at the end. A bit of everything!
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the Brer Rabbit stories that this ride is based on, but there’s no need to be familiar with them. The adorable animatronic characters on the ride have a similar friendly feel to the Beatrix Potter stories that many grew up with.
Keep in mind that you will get wet. The seats are usually soaked and you will get thoroughly sprayed with water in the splashdown. Some people wear ponchos, but we don’t mind getting a bit wet. Especially on a warm day. It’s all part of the fun.
2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder is a thrilling rollercoaster that takes you racing through an old-time gold mine. Like Splash Mountain it has a minimum height of 102cm (40in) and is located right next door in Frontierland.
As one of the much-loved Magic Kingdom mountains, a FastPass or rope drop for this ride is always a good idea.
Make sure you go on this ride if you ever go to Disneyland Paris – that version is even better! Read about our European Disney adventures here.
3. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
This awesome ride is located in Tomorrowland, so is a good option for Early Magic Hours when only Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are open. With no height restriction it is fun for the whole family. Compete against each other to see who can score the most points.
This is a 3D ride where you use your laser gun to take your best shot at an array of electronic targets as your car spins and slides along. Defeat the Evil Emperor Zurg as you journey through a galactic space battle.
I LOVE this type of ride. It’s similar to Toy Story Mania! at Hollywood Studios – very interactive and super fun.
4. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
This ride was brand new for our 2015 visit and was still the newest ride at Magic Kingdom for our 2019 trip. It is a super fun coaster, but feels tamer than the three big mountains. It’s not as thrilling or scary, but has some lovely Snow White theming.
The minimum height is 97cm (38in), which reflects its suitability for younger children. It is located in Fantasyland, so is a good one for Early Magic Hours if you don’t get a FastPass for this very popular ride.
I’m not sure any entertainment makes waiting in line worthwhile, but we didn’t have a FastPass for this ride last trip and the kids really enjoyed the games and musical instruments that you can play while you wait.
5. Space Mountain
What a classic ride this is. The Magic Kingdom version is the original of the iconic ride that has been replicated in almost every Disney park around the world. You will find it in Tomorrowland.
Opened in 1975, it has a minimum height of 112cm (44in) – one of the tallest minimums in all of Disney World and definitely the tallest at Magic Kingdom.
Space Mountain is a dark rollercoaster through space and is hugely thrilling, although is showing its age slightly as it’s not as smooth as some of the newer rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
6. Enchanted Tales with Belle
I love the uniqueness of this attraction. I’m not sure there’s another like it at any theme park anywhere.
Based on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, people (both adults and children) are chosen to participate in a retelling of the story with Belle. Each group is small, so there’s a good chance someone from your party will be chosen, but it is very disappointing to those not chosen.
I recommend your kids stand at the front and look extremely enthusiastic for their best chance of being chosen for a role in the play.
We were very lucky to have both kids chosen on our 2015 visit when they were 8 and 6 years old. Alannah was the salt shaker and Hamish was the Beast. To be honest I think I was more excited than the kids, but the whole thing is absolutely adorable.
It is located in Fantasyland and has no minimum height.
7. It’s a small world
I’m a huge fan of these classic rides and this one was there way back on opening day in 1971.
Small World is a lovely relaxing ride and for me it’s a Magic Kingdom must do. It’s the one ride that harks right back to the Disneyland origins with its retro vibe and sweet message of love and peace.
There is no minimum height for this slow-moving boat ride, located in Fantasyland.
Our Magic Kingdom itinerary
When our kids were 8 and 6 years old we spent 3 days at Disney World and 2 of them were at Magic Kingdom. Read our full 10 day Orlando itinerary here.
On this trip when they were 11 and 9 years old and we spent 6 days at Disney World, we still spent only 2½ days here. At this age we still loved Magic Kingdom, but had more fun at the other parks, especially Epcot, than last time. Find out the best age for Disney here.
We planned to visit Magic Kingdom on three separate days, one full day and two three-quarter days. The best thing about having multiple days is multiple FastPasses, so our three day FastPass strategy was –
Day 1 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain
Day 2 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Day 3 – Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (which we changed to Jungle Cruise on the day)
The kids were getting a bit big for Enchanted Tales with Belle, although we were very pleased we FastPassed this last trip. We’re not huge fans of Peter Pan’s Flight and had plenty of character meals booked so didn’t FastPass meet and greets.
Rope drop is the term given to when they let people onto the rides. It is typically up to half an hour before official park open time. They let you into the park and close to the rides, but hold a rope up which is dropped at the magic time.
With three days planned at Magic Kingdom we had the luxury of time and lots of FastPasses, so only rope dropped on one day. This is always well worth it though. Even though it feels crowded when you’re going through the gates, by the time people disperse throughout the park, wait times are extremely short for the first hour or two.
Day 1 at Magic Kingdom – 11.30am-5pm
We arrived at Magic Kingdom after enjoying a leisurely breakfast at Ohana with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto. Our full review here.
It was not as insanely busy as I expected it would be for 1 Jan. But it helped that we didn’t have to rush around or queue for ages. We wandered, took photos and stuck mostly to our Fast Passes for the big 3 mountains – Big Thunder, Splash and Space.
12.30pm Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FastPass)
1pm It’s a Small World
The wait time here wasn’t too bad and the queue was undercover – a big plus on this hot January day. For the middle of winter, this was a heatwave at 28˚C (82˚F)!
2pm Splash Mountain (FastPass)
3pm Mickey’s PhilharMagic
This was our first time in this 4D movie musical and we loved it.
4pm Space Mountain (FastPass)
Day 2 at Magic Kingdom – 11am-4pm
Another leisurely start to the day with a character meal booked for lunch and FastPasses to ensure an enjoyable day. By this stage of our trip we had moved to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge which meant a peaceful boat ride to Magic Kingdom.
10.30am Photos on Main Street
We had a gorgeous photographer who spent lots of time with us, putting us in all sorts of positions for photos in front of the castle.
11am Splash Mountain (FastPass)
11.45am Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FastPass)
The kids went on the Carousel and tried to pull the sword out of the stone.
1pm Lunch with the princesses / Splash Mountain
Alannah and I had lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. We all did this last time but the boys opted out of the princesses this visit. See our full write-up here.
Meanwhile Hamish and David had lunch and another ride on Splash Mountain.
Wandered through the picturesque Beauty and the Beast area and came across Gaston hamming it up.
3.30pm Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (FastPass)
Day 3 at Magic Kingdom – 7.45am-3pm
We were staying onsite so made the most of morning Extra Magic Hours today. Although, we discovered that only Main Street, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland open early. The rest opened at the official park opening time. So a quick readjustment to plans and we got quite a few rides done in those early quiet hours.
8am Winnie the Pooh
Such a cute kiddie ride.
8.15am Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
With no queue we went on this two or three times in a row. Such fun!
8.45am Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
This elevated tram is always a relaxing way to get some great views of the park.
9am Meet and greet with Elena of Avalor and Cinderella
Elena of Avalor is a great favourite of Alannah’s and not available at any character meals.
9.30am Splash Mountain
The kids loved it so much (and the wait time was short) they rode it twice!
10.15am Pirates of the Caribbean
A classic ride with Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
10.30am Space Mountain (FastPass) / Mary Poppins meet and greet
We parted ways here – I was keen to meet Mary Poppins while David and the kids went on Space Mountain again.
11am Haunted Mansion (FastPass)
This was the kids’ first time on a spooky ride like this and they quite enjoyed it.
11.45am The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History in Liberty Square
On the way to lunch we came across The Muppets being hilarious in Liberty Square. Such an unexpected bonus!
12pm Lunch with Winnie the Pooh and friends
Character lunch at Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. We did this last visit as well. The (buffet) food is very good, the characters are adorable and you can stay as long as you like. Our full review here.
2.30pm Jungle Cruise (FastPass)
This is a fun retro boat ride that you do for the laughs not the thrills. The guide has an endless supply of puns and corny jokes.
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