If you’re looking for a Magic Kingdom one-day itinerary that doesn’t involve purchasing Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes, then this post is for you!
Below, I’ll walk you through an entire day at Magic Kingdom without paying for Genie+ while still being able to maximize your time and money. From watching the parades and fireworks to eating the best snacks in between rides, this one-day itinerary will be easy on your knees and wallet.
If you’re looking to plan your day with Genie+ then this post probably won’t help you . But if you want to still have a great time at Magic Kingdom without having to run around and feel exhausted, I got you.
Before you even scan into the park, you should first look at all the ride and attraction rides and make a note of which ones you absolutely need to ride followed by the ones that you’re okay with missing.
Personally, if you’re a first time visitor, then you should try to hit the following attractions:
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- It’s a Small World (I know, I know)
- Jungle Cruise
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- TRON Lightcycle Run (opens April 4th)
I think anything other than this will be a bonus.
And as for food, there really aren’t that many worthy table service restaurants that I would recommend spending time or money at besides maybe Be Our Guest, but even that is pushing it. Be Our Guest has a great atmosphere, but I’m not convinced that it’s $67 a person good.
But if you did want to break up your day and eat a restaurant, then your best bet would be Crystal Palace (for a buffet) or Be Our Guest. Jungle Skipper Canteen can also be considered.
You should also make a note of all the snacks that you need to try. These two lists should help:
Magic Kingdom One-Day Itinerary with no Genie+
Here is my one-day itinerary for Magic Kingdom that doesn’t involve paying for Genie+ but is still packed with fun and eats.
Magic Kingdom always opens up at 8:30 am for Early Entry and 9:00 am for all other guests. So if you are okay with 14 hour park days, I recommend getting there early.
Once the rope finally drops, your first ride should be either Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Space Mountain if you want some thrill or Peter Pan’s Flight if you want something more chill. These rides always have the longest and craziest wait times so it’s always best to get these out of the way first. If you don’t, wait times will always exceed 60-70 minutes, guaranteed, and that’s being optimistic.
Tip: If Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is an absolutely necessity, then I recommend you purchase an Individual Lighting Lane to save yourself a lot of time.
In general, you should expect to be off either of those three rides in under 30 minutes. Under an hour if you get there a little bit later.
Next up, it should be time for a light breakfast. I recommend that you go to Sleepy Hollow Inn and grab a Mickey Waffle or a Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich. The sandwich is an absolute game changer.
After eating, I would then head on over to Haunted Mansion which averages around a 60 minute wait time.
Then I would head back into Fantasyland and ride It’s a Small World.
By the time you get off that annoying ride, it should be around 11:30-12 pm, which is a perfect time to grab some lunch.
If you are looking for a table service option, then I recommend you go to Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe only because it has air-conditioned indoor seating and pretty decent food. I mean, you really can’t mess up burgers, chicken tenders, and fries. Another quick-service option is Columbia Harbor House for some seafood and New England inspired food. Worse case, you can always go back to Sleepy Hollow and get the Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Waffle Sandwich which is elite.
But if you want a sit-down restaurant, this would be the best time to dine at Be Our Guest, if you have a reservation. This is also one of the few places that you can enjoy a beer or cocktail in Magic Kingdom.
After eating, it should be around 1 pm, which is the perfect time to experience some other attractions like the Tomorrowland Speedway, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, or even Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
You can easily knock one or two of these out by 2:15 pm which gives you enough time to go find a spot near the Castle or Main Street and watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade, which starts at 3 pm.
If you’re lucky, you can grab a spot on the curb on Main Street USA while enjoying some Starbucks, some mini corn dogs from Casey’s Corner, or a Plaza Sundae.
After the parade, I would then grab another quick snack (I like to eat). I always recommend the cheeseburger spring rolls from the Spring Roll Cart in front of the Adventureland entrance, or a Dole Whip (swirled with vanilla ice cream) from Aloha Isle. Both are fantastic options.
With snack in hand, I would then either wait in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean.
According to Thrill Data, wait times for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad average around 50 minutes, while Pirate of the Caribbean averages around 38-40 minutes.
Tip: If it’s starting to rain around 5 pm, I always recommend that you head on over to Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress or Hall of Presidents. It’s a great way to relax and watch a show, while still experiencing an iconic attraction beloved by so many Disney fans.
After Pirates, it should the perfect time ride Jungle Cruise which typically has a low wait time about an hour before fireworks.
After finally marveling at the backside of water, it would be a great time to head back to the Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle and grab a spot to watch the fireworks, which start at 8:15 pm.
After the fireworks end, you only have one option:
- Sprint to a ride that you absolutely want to ride
It’s so crazy busy, hectic, and annoying once the fireworks end that you need to get out of the main hub area as fast as you can.
Depending on which side you choose to explore in Magic Kingdom, you then have plenty of time to ride a couple of rides. This however, always depends on the park hours. If the park closes at 11 pm, you have at least two and a half hours to ride some rides that you may have missed or hop on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and take it easy. This is also a great time to ride the Mad Tea Party.
But if the park closes at 9 or 10 pm, I would opt for a major ride.
Your final ride should either be a repeat of something you really wanted to ride again or one of the recommended rides from the beginning of the day (Seven Dwarfs, Space Mountain, or Peter Pan’s Flight). As long as you get into the queue before the park closing time, you’ll be able to ride it regardless. But just remember that there will be people with the same idea so the wait won’t be as short as you’d like sometimes.
And once the park is officially closed, I would then use this time to shop of up to an hour after park closing time at the Emporium Shop or Uptown Jewelers.
And just like that, you knocked out most of the important rides and attractions at Magic Kingdom.
Now, this is just how I would attack a full day at Magic Kingdom. As you probably noticed, I excluded any character meet-and-greets only because that’s just not something I prioritize right now.
That said, if character meet and greets are something you care about, you can easily swap out some of the rides and attractions. Or better, skip Enchantment and use that time to meet some of your favorite characters.
Hopefully this Magic Kingdom one-day itinerary has given you some ideas to plan an amazing park day!
Example Itinerary #1 – Half Day
Here’s my favorite half-day Magic Kingdom itinerary which I personally use when I visit in the hotter months:
- 5:00 pm – Scan into Magic Kingdom
- 5:05 pm – Grab a Starbucks
- 5:15 pm – Head to Space Mountain
- 6:00 pm – Hop on PeopleMover
- 6:30 pm – Walk over to Sleepy Hollow and split a Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Waffle Sandwich and a Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich with the wife
- 6:50 pm – Jump on Haunted Mansion
- 7:40 pm – Check wait time for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. If it’s decent, head on over that way.
- 8:30 pm – Hop on either Pirates of the Caribbean or Jungle Cruise
- 9:20 pm – If the park is still open, head over to Space Mountain for one last ride
- 10:00 pm – Head on out
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