Magic Kingdom 101 – Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that Magic Kingdom holds the title of the most popular theme park in the world?
From 2015 through 2019, more than 20 million guests visited the park each year, and the only reason it didn’t happen the next two years was the pandemic.
When planning a trip to Magic Kingdom, you should know two things. One is that you’ll have the time of your life. The other is…well, everything else.
So, think of this as Introduction to Magic Kingdom 101, your guide for a 2022 park visit.
About Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World hosts four theme parks, two water parks, and two entertainment districts.
Still, when you hear the phrase “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” fans usually mean Magic Kingdom.
Since 1971, Walt Disney World and this park have remained synonymous.
At Magic Kingdom, you’ll discover some of the greatest theming in Imagineering history. It’s the pinnacle of Disney design.
You’ll find man-made mountains that will make you believe that they’re real! In fact, many fans take the Mountain Challenge during their visit!
When you do, you’ll realize that Disney constructed places like Splash Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from scratch.
Throughout the park, you’ll notice other architectural wonders like Cinderella Castle. This palace stretches 189 feet into the sky and is impossible to miss.
Imagineers planned other parts of the park to provide panoramic views of Cinderella Castle. It’s the central focus of everything.
So, you can stare at the magic from wherever you are in the park!
About the Themed Lands
When Walt Disney planned Disneyland, his vision encompassed something seemingly impossible. He wanted to connect disparate ideas.
In one themed land, fans could travel to the wild frontiers of Americana, the Davy Crockett era at Disney.
Then, after walking a bit, they’d enter Tomorrowland, the future as Disney imagined it.
After Uncle Walt’s death, his older brother took charge of Walt Disney World’s planning.
Roy Disney honored his brother’s idea by building Magic Kingdom with six different themed lands.
Those places are:
- Liberty Square
- Main Street, U.S.A.
You can tell when you’ve left one land and entered another by more than just the theming. Cast members wear outfits appropriate for their given assignments.
Walt Disney famously bristled once when he saw a Cowboy in Tomorrowland…or was it an Astronaut in Frontierland?
Anyway, the point is that since 1955, cast members have learned the boundaries of each themed land. So, you’ll never see someone out of place.
Meanwhile, every shop, restaurant, and attraction in a themed land will reinforce the central premise.
Everything in Tomorrowland will appear quasi-futuristic, while Fantasyland will remind you of your favorite Disney fairytales.
A visit to Walt Disney World entails visits to several faraway lands, some imaginary and some based in reality.
Each one features a distinctive Disney touch that makes it appealing to fans of all ages.
About the Rides
Realistically, most people think about the rides when they daydream about a Disney vacation.
If I’ve just described you, I can assure you that a Disney trip will never disappoint.
At Magic Kingdom, Disney operates 19 different rides, many of which you’ll recognize by name.
I mean, even if you’ve never visited the park before, you’ve heard of Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, right?
Other legendary attractions like Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain all reside at Magic Kingdom.
In fact, a fun game for park guests is to try to ride as many of these attractions as possible during a single visit.
I’ve done this several times and even chronicled a recent experience toward the end of 2020.
Of course, I did during that timeframe when Disney didn’t offer virtual line queuing. However, it’s easier to do this now, thanks to Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane.
Think of these amenities as the next generation of FastPass. They’ll help you skip most of the line at your favorite attractions.
Of course, not all attractions are rides…
About the Other Attractions
You’ve heard of Hall of Presidents, right? How about Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor or Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
Well, I hope you’re familiar with the Carousel of Progress. That “ride” has been around since the 1960s, but I’m listing it here because it’s mainly a show.
Once you sit down, you never move from your seat during the presentation.
Instead, a unique apparatus akin to a gigantic turntable rotates guests through the four scenes.
The show chronicles more than a century of Americana by showing the technological advances we’ve made during that timeframe.
As for the Hall of Presidents, it’s a patriotic presentation about all the Presidents of the United States.
Music fans should catch Country Bear Jamboree as well. It’s a silly hoedown of country music as sung by animatronic bears.
Magic Kingdom is overflowing with such charming presentations, some of which will blow your mind.
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is an interactive show like an improv presentation, only it stars characters you know from the Monsters, Inc. franchise!
You could get roasted by Roz just for having the audacity to attend!
Shows like this do more than entertain at Magic Kingdom. They also help you catch your breath between trips to and from various attractions.
By the way, the show attraction you do NOT want to miss is Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Trust me on this one.
About the Meals
Magic Kingdom probably hosts more restaurants than your local mall food court. It’s stunning how many dining options you’ll have here.
Better yet, Disney has designed the system to fit any budget. You can grab a quick hot dog at Casey’s Corner for just a few dollars.
Also, thanks to the theming, you can hear a pianist sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on your way in/out of the restaurant!
All the eateries at Magic Kingdom come with a theme, although some are more obvious than others.
The places with the strongest themes usually cost the most. For example, Be Our Guest comes with its own structure, Beast’s Castle!
Similarly, Cinderella’s Royal Table resides inside Cinderella Castle. You can enjoy a rare view of the castle while dining here.
Other places like Columbia Harbour House and Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen will dazzle and delight you with their detailed theming.
Then, there are places like Pinocchio Village Haus and The Lunching Pad that will look impressive from the outside but don’t offer much else by way of theming.
Of course, that’s only half the story. I’ve already listed seven different restaurants, and I’m not even halfway done.
Whether you’re in the mood for a snack, a burger, or a plate of spaghetti straight from Lady & the Tramp, you’ll find it at Magic Kingdom.
In fact, that’s true about pretty much everything. Whatever you want during a theme park visit, you WILL find it at Magic Kingdom. This park is aptly named.