Planning Your Disney Itinerary: Magic Kingdom Part 2

And now we return again to the Magic Kingdom! Last time I talked about planning the morning part of your itinerary, and so today I will focus on the afternoon and evening. After lunch guests will undoubtedly notice how much more crowded the park is, and lines will be reaching their peak. For some this would be a great time to head back to the resort for a break, which is what my family did on our last trip, and then come back around dinner time.

If you don’t want to leave the park, you can avoid some of the long lines by using FastPass, but since you already had such a stellar plan for the morning, you can now spend some time visiting lower-wait attractions. If you’re looking for somewhere to take a break without leaving, visit the (air-conditioned) Hall of Presidents, the Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, or Mickey’s Philharmagic 3D show. The Peoplemover in Tomorrowland almost never has a line, and you get a seated tour of Tomorrowland. If the line at Dumbo is too long, go over to the Magic Carpets in Adventureland. You could also take a ride on the Liberty Square Riverboat, or circle around the Magic Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Railroad.

If you want to see the 3:00 daytime parade, grab a spot along the parade route about 30 minutes beforehand. Note that the current Celebrate a Dream Come True parade will be phased out soon (last performance is January 4), to be replaced by the new Festival of Fantasy parade. If you don’t want to see the parade, this is a good time to check the waits for more popular rides.

The Magic Kingdom becomes even more beautiful at night, and offers not-to-be-missed nighttime entertainment. The Main Street Electrical Parade is a favorite of my family. If the parade has two showings, see the second – it will be much less crowded. If you can only see the first showing, try to watch in Frontierland instead of Main Street for a somewhat lighter crowd. Celebrate the Magic, a projection show on Cinderella Castle, and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular are after the parade. Our favorite spots are somewhere between Main Street and the Hub – like the parade, arrive on the early side for your choice of spot. If you have already seen these (because if you haven’t, you should) and don’t mind skipping the fireworks, this is also a good time for rides with lower waits.

After the fireworks many people make for the exit. If you want to have an early night, try to leave before the fireworks end so you don’t get caught in the stampede. If you want to stay and the park doesn’t close right after the fireworks, this is a good time to visit some rides. Some, like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, are a very different experience at night. Even if the park does close, hang around and soak in the nighttime ambience rather than joining the lines for the buses.

To wrap up my Magic Kingdom tips, I would encourage you to plan for more than one day at the Magic Kingdom. This park has so many headliner rides that it’s difficult to do even most of them in one day. You can have a more relaxing itinerary if you spread the park over at least two days.

Are you a parade kind of person, or would you rather hit the rides instead?

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Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful parents and sister. She enjoys long walks, happy thoughts, and Disney magic! Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong. After planning a second trip to Walt Disney World, Elizabeth is now her family’s go-to resource for Disney. She even has her own blog,, with advice on how to plan your next Disney trip. Someday, she even hopes to be an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Elizabeth’s Disney wish list is a mile long, so she’s always ready to plan her next Disney adventure.

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