Magic Kingdom days are always a marathon. There are so many attractions to fill the day and I got some help this time using a premium Disney touring plan website to precisely plan the day to be smooth and efficient. As always, we got an early start, shooting for arrival well before park opening now that the welcome show was moved from the train station to the castle so Main Street USA and the hub were open early. We parked close, walked into the TTC, and hopped on the ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon since the monorail always seems to be closed when we arrive this early.
Before entering the park, I wanted to recreate a photo from 1984 where my mom, sister, and I posed at the Mickey flower bed in front of the train station during our first trip to Disney World. This area is a standard PhotoPass location now, so we couldn’t sneak in and had to wait in the photographer’s line for the location to be freed up. I shared my vision with the photographer and she took photos of the boys and me both with her camera and mine. We also got a photo of all four of us squinting uncomfortably into the morning sun. We don’t use PhotoPass photographers often but they sure are nice and accommodating when we do!
On Main Street, we stopped in the Main Street Bakery (now Magic Kingdom’s Starbucks – ugh) for pastries to enjoy while waiting for the castle welcome show and the ropes to drop.
The day would begin in Adventureland and then proceed clockwise through the park. While most rope droppers head straight to the Mine Train and the mountains, we would start with a few rides in Adventureland and Frontierland that get busy later in the day but aren’t necessarily the first choice for most at rope drop.
||Main Street Bakery (Starbucks)
||Pirates of the Caribbean
||Peter Pan’s Flight (FP+)
||It’s A Small World
||lunch – Columbia Harbour House
||The Muppets Present … Great Moments in American History
||Tom Sawyer Island
||Country Bear Jamboree
||Swiss Family Treehouse
||snack – Sunshine Tree Terrace
||The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (FP+)
||Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (FP+)
||Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
||snack – Gaston’s Tavern
||The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (FP+)
||Mad Tea Party
||Dumbo the Flying Elephant
||Mad Tea Party (Mom and Gavin)
||Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
||Space Mountain (FP+) (Mom and Jasper, then Mom again)
||dinner – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
||Haunted Mansion (FP+)
||shopping – Memento Mori
||Magic Carpets of Aladdin (FP+)
We started at Jungle Cruise with it’s cleverly-theme, but slow-moving queue. This is definitely one we don’t want to hit later in the day without a FastPass. Well, the skippers were having trouble starting the boats so we decided to bail after the line was a stand-still for ten minutes and head to Pirates of the Caribbean before the very first attraction threw a kink into our entire touring plan. Pirates was practically a walk-on. We always love this classic!
Afterward, we went back to Jungle Cruise which was now running smoothly, but the line had grown much faster than expected. Still, we chose to wait rather than try to get a FastPass later in the day. The 20-minute wait would be the longest of the day.
Jasper and I got in line for Big Thunder Mountain which was already longer than we expected and what the touring plan predicted, but he had an emergency and we bailed on this line as well. When the situation was under control, he decided he didn’t want to ride after all. Additionally, we realized we would miss our first FastPass at Peter Pan’s Flight if we continued on to the next attraction on our itinerary, the Haunted Mansion, so we decided to skip our visit with Master Gracey and made a mental note to visit later that evening instead. Everyone always loves Peter Pan as a Fantasyland classic.
After two line mishaps and completely skipping two attractions, we decided to chuck our touring plan completely. With personal emergencies taken care of and successfully enjoying Peter Pan, we just enjoyed the rest of the day at our own pace, proceeding with roughly the same clockwise touring direction but no longer referring to the official plan throughout the day.
When we exited Peter Pan’s Flight, Jasper saw It’s A Small World across the pathway. The original itinerary had us returning to Fantasyland for this attraction in the evening, but we chose to ride when it was requested. Our new plan was working well already!
Following this brief diversion into the edge of Fantasyland, we returned to Liberty Square to beat the lunch crowds to Columbia Harbour House. This is our favorite Magic Kingdom quick service restaurant, especially the quiet, sun-drenched upstairs room over the walkway between Fantasyland and Liberty Square. This room is one of our favorite quiet escapes at the park. The food isn’t too bad, either!
We didn’t waste much time eating lunch because the new show, Muppets Present … Great Moments in American History, was beginning just outside at noon. The Muppets are always a hit and this show is fantastic!
We still had unfinished business in Frontierland so next on the agenda was Tom Sawyer’s Island. Unsurprisingly for our nature-loving boys, this is one of their favorite attractions at Disney World. They love exploring Fort Langhorn, firing upon unsuspecting Big Thunder train cars, and spelunking in the dark caves.
Back on the mainland of Frontierland, we visited a classic that was new to the boys and one I had not watched since I was their age – Country Bear Jamboree. This was quickly followed by another oldie-but-goodie, the Swiss Family Treehouse. We really love the treehouse and wish it was easier to stop and look in the rooms longer, but the single-file pathway keeps people moving and most just keep walking, perhaps thinking it’s just a long queue to an ultimate destination? In any case, we enjoy looking at all the detail and the view of the castle from the treetop is magnificent!
We had two back-to-back FastPasses in Fantasyland in the early afternoon but couldn’t leave Adventureland without a signature frosty treat. We chose the citrus swirl over a Dole Whip, an easy decision if undecided as the line at Sunshine Tree Terrace was significantly shorter than Aloha Isle! The citrus swirl, a combination of orange and vanilla soft serve, hit the spot. We found an adjacent large veranda to sit and enjoy our dessert.
Despite our touring plan issues, our minimal walking plan was still on track as we had stayed in one half of the park all morning. Now, nearly two o’clock, we were ready to visit the other half. Our FastPass for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was ending at 2:10 with the last of our three original reserved FastPasses for the adjacent Seven Dwarfs Mine Train beginning at 2:10, planned precisely so we could enjoy these two attractions back-to-back. We arrived at Winnie the Pooh with ten minutes remaining in our FastPass window and were out by 2:15 to immediately board our mine train. The boys are still unsure about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but Mom and Dad both love the smoothness and charm of this ride.
While in line for the mine train, having redeemed all three of our initial FastPasses, we were free to begin making FastPass reservations one at a time. I checked availability from the My Disney Experience app and we all agreed to ride Winnie the Pooh again when the next FastPass was available in just an hour. That gave us some time to finish a few more Fantasyland attractions before continuing on towards Tomorrowland.
After the mine train, we walked through the Cinderella Castle. We hadn’t walked through the castle recently so it was an itinerary point on our touring plan despite not being an actual attraction. The castle gates aren’t always open, particularly during forecourt shows and parades, but we caught them open and enjoyed the gorgeously detailed tile mosaics inside depicting scenes from Cinderella.
Behind the castle, we rode the Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel, which never has a long line and is always a favorite. I always end up on a horse next to Jasper and the serene, content look on that boy’s face when riding a Disney carousel horse is an image I never want to forget. That look always makes the entire trip worthwhile for me!
Before heading back to Winnie the Pooh, we stopped in Gaston’s Tavern for a cinnamon roll snack. This is Gavin’s favorite food in the entire resort and it’s my favorite themed eating establishment. Eating at Gaston’s is a Magic Kingdom tradition now!
We got in the FastPass line for Winnie the Pooh again and enjoyed our second ride of the day through the Hundred Acre Wood and Pooh’s dreams. I was disappointed years ago when Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride closed and was replaced by Pooh, but have to admit that it’s one of my favorites now. It’s such a cute ride that feels like a vintage Fantasyland dark ride. While still in line, we scheduled our next Fastpass for Space Mountain, a window opening in less than two hours.
Continuing our clockwise park touring pattern, the Mad Tea Party was up next. This is one of the rides that immediately takes me back to my childhood. It was always a favorite – spinning as fast as possible! Gavin wanted to get right back on twice in a row, but Mama needs a break between her tea parties. We opted for Dumbo the Flying Elephant next to rest up and then Gavin and I returned to the tea cups for one more spin.
Entering Tomorrowland, we bypassed the speedway with its slow-moving, sun-drenched queue, and proceeded all the way to the Carousel of Progress. I’m so happy that the boys enjoy this as much as I do, much to my surprise! On the last scene, the carousel was stuck, we sang It’s A Great Big, Beautiful Tomorrow, but remained stationary and the scene played all over again in its entirety. And again. As it began for the fourth time, we were finally escorted to the exit and handed any-ride FastPasses on our way out as an apology. Considering we got to see the entire show and the last scene multiple times, we had no complaints!
Our Space Mountain FastPasses were now valid, but Gavin didn’t want to ride so Jasper and I rode together. He hadn’t conquered Space Mountain yet so I wondered how he would handle the ride since we usually snuggle up close together on the fast rides that might scare him, so he sat in front of me and I could reassure him if necessary. He definitely didn’t like the ride, but immediately got over his fear afterward and his favorite part of the experience was seeing the space scenes from the long moving sidewalk out of the mountain!
We still had two of our party of four’s Space Mountain FastPasses remaining on Jeff’s and Gavin’s Magicbands, so I swapped with Jeff and rode again while they got dinner from nearby Cosmic Ray’s.
We definitely need a meal alternative in Tomorrowland because we always manage to be in this land at mealtime so we end up at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and it’s always disappointing! Why, oh why, do I continue to get the overly well-done burger? Jeff and the boys enjoyed their meals, though, and we scheduled another FastPass for an attraction we skipped earlier in the day – the Haunted Mansion.
Before leaving Tomorrowland, we HAD to ride the TTA PeopleMover. This is a must-do every day we are ever at the Magic Kingdom. We love the relaxing ride through Tomorrowland, wind in our hair, and facing bench seats so we can all enjoy the experience together. Those PeopleMover cars are just so cozy
Our complete loop of the Kingdom complete, we walked across the park, snapped a few dusk shots of the castle as we passed by, and made our way back to Liberty Square. Through our morning scheduling snafus, we ended up skipping the Haunted Mansion but there was no way we could leave before riding that day! We all LOVE the Haunted Mansion. It’s so expertly themed and is spooky without being too scary. And the doombuggies are, of course, the best ride vehicles!
After our favorite ride, we stopped in the attraction’s dedicated shop, Memento Mori. In particular, I wanted the Haunted Mansion tsum tsum collection and Memento Mori didn’t disappoint. We don’t shop much in the parks, having checked off most of our shopping list several days earlier at Disney Springs and usually opting to do all our Magic Kingdom shopping at the Emporium on our way out of the park at the end of the day, but so many items at Memento Mori aren’t offered anywhere else and it’s the perfect shop! We actually didn’t set foot inside the Emporium during this entire trip which I’m sure is a first.
Our day was coming to an end and after tapping our Magicbands at the Haunted Mansion, I immediately checked for available FastPasses on my phone to see if there were any left between Liberty Square and the park exit as we made our way out. The boys agreed that one last ride on Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Adventureland was a good way to end the day. The carpets aren’t the best spinner, an honor we reserve for Dumbo, but spinners with kids are always fun!
Our day was full and we exited the park around 7:30, a trend we began noting as the boy’s typical stopping point on rope drop days.
Despite our somewhat rocky start, we had an absolutely magical day at the Magic Kingdom!