A trip to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is one of every child’s fantasies. Who wouldn’t want to get up close and personal with some of the most incredible Disney characters or pose in front of the Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle for fabulous photo opportunities?
Getting to the park early enough to take in all the activities is always beneficial when planning your trip to Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Florida. Discover the best strategies to beat the crowds, prioritize your day, and what time you should begin your morning to ensure you have plenty of time to enjoy all that Magic Kingdom offers.
What time you should get to Magic Kingdom depends on your goals for the day, and how much time you would like to spend exploring attractions.
- Magic Kingdom Rope Drop
- The Best Time To Leave Your Hotel
- Magic Kingdom Opening Ceremonies
- Can a Magic Kingdom Genie Pass Help Me Get an Early Start?
- The Longest Waiting Times For Rides at Magic Kingdom
- What Are My Options Without the Genie App?
- Other Tips for Beating the Line-Ups at Magic Kingdom
- So, What’s the Best Time To Get to Magic Kingdom?
Magic Kingdom Rope Drop
Before the big day arrives, one of the best tips we can give you is to get plenty of rest the night before. This way, you can wake up bright and early to begin the adventure of your exciting visit to Magic Kingdom.
The best time to arrive at Magic Kingdom is before they open in the morning. Arriving at the theme park before the rope drop is crucial for avoiding long line-ups of people waiting to enter the park.
If you are unfamilir with the rope drop, here is the scope. Rope Drop happens when there are high volumes of people attempting to enter the park. Staff members hold up a rope as a signal to visitors that the attraction is not yet open but will be shortly.
It is never fun arriving at Magic Kingdom to large crowds behind the morning rope drop, especially on a busy hot day. If you plan to visit the park late, consider wearing loose, cool clothing and a sun hat to stay comfortable. You’ll want to stay well-hydrated to avoid overheating while waiting in the long line-up.
The Best Time To Leave Your Hotel
If you want to arrive at the theme park before the morning rope drop, aim to be there before the gates to the park open at 8 a.m. You should leave your hotel before 7:15 a.m. to give yourself plenty of time for early arrival.
Most hotels in Orlando offer a bus service to and from Magic Kingdom with pick up and drop off at the hotel. Reserve your seats on the earliest bus to ensure you are one of the first in line at Magic Kingdom and avoid getting stuck behind the rope drop.
If you are not an early bird, that is okay too. Leaving your hotel by 8 a.m will still offer plenty of time to enjoy the opening Welcome Show and allow you to hit up some attractions before the larger crowds start rushing in.
Getting to Magic Kingdom early also allows you to browse the Main Street gift stores without fighting large crowds or grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks without waiting in a long line-up of people.
Magic Kingdom Opening Ceremonies
If this is your first trip to Disney World, you should get to the park early enough to witness the opening ceremonies. This year is the 50th anniversary and offers a new opening show to welcome the park guests.
When you arrive at Magic Kingdom, head down Main Street towards the Cinderella Castle, where all the action of the opening ceremonies takes place at 9 a.m. Magic Kingdom ticket holders who wish to experience this fabulous morning show can enter the park one hour early to secure their viewing spot close to the castle.
Guests can gather around the castle to enjoy greetings to the park from Mickey and Minnie Mouse, soon joined by Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and several other dancers who put on an entertaining morning dance show to start your day off right. The show ends with blasts of smoke and large cannon salutes to wish you well in your day at Magic Kingdom.
Perfect for all ages, the Magic Kingdom Opening Ceremony will bring back childhood memories of your favorite Disney characters and make you feel right at home among the other guests of Magic Kingdom.
Can a Magic Kingdom Genie Pass Help Me Get an Early Start?
The easy-to-use Genie app allows you to plan your day at Magic Kingdom when you purchase tickets and download the app. Plan each day of your visit to Magic Kingdom, and get several benefits of the Genie app, such as skipping these wait lines for select attractions.
Genie+ customers can start planning their day at the strike of midnight of their visit date to the park. They have until 7 a.m. to confirm their reservations and hold their spot in the line.
Use this easy-to-install Genie app to help guide your way through Magic Kingdom, and reserve your spot on major attractions, dining, entertainment, and shows throughout the day. Other benefits of the Genie app include the following:
- Reduces wait times standing in lines
- Eliminate the guesswork in your day
- Allows you more time to relax at Magic Kingdom instead of stressing
- Discover the magic of Disney World
The Genie also allows you to rearrange your itinerary if you change your mind throughout the day. Considering there are time slots for an attraction piquing your interest available, click a button, and voila, you are on the waiting list.
The Genie app shows the estimated waiting times for each attraction and guides you through reserving the best times with the shortest wait for rides, entertainment, and dinner reservations. Delete attractions from the app that you are not interested in seeing, so they will not appear on the app again.
Genie features a (DAS) Disability Access Service to help make waiting easier for people with disabilities. Guests can pre-register for the DAS feature from 2 to 30 days before they visit the park.
The Longest Waiting Times For Rides at Magic Kingdom
When you take advantage of the Genie App, you can enjoy line-skipping 22 of the most popular Walt Disney World attractions and rides, shows, and character sightings throughout your visit to the theme park.
Magic Kingdom is a popular tourist attraction with long waiting times for rides and attractions. Some factors affecting the wait times for rides and entertainment may include:
- The weather, cloudy days are quieter
- Time of the year, tourist season
- The popularity of an attraction
If you upgrade to the Genie+ app, you can enjoy the most popular attractions with fewer wait times. Arriving at the park early in the morning will also allow you to experience the attractions that Genie does not include. Here is a list of some of the most popular attractions in Magic Kingdom with long wait times:
- Jungle Cruise
This Magic Kingdom ride that takes you on a boat ride through the jungle has the longest waiting time because of the popularity of the recent 2021 movie with the same title. Shorten your wait time for this ride when you purchase the Genie+.
- Splash Mountain
Set in Frontierland, Splash Mountain is another favorite among guests of Magic Kingdom. Take a ride in the whimsical world of a log-fumed thrilling adventure. Enjoy getting wet with three dips, and a huge five-story drop in over 950 gallons of splish-splashing fun. This ride is a crowd draw for park visitors, so you will stand a while to ride under normal circumstances.
- Space Mountain
Another Magic Kingdom ride that has a long waiting list is Space Mountain. Blast away in a rocket to outer space on this giant-sized roller coaster that will have you screaming at the top of your lungs as you ride off into the dark galaxies. Reservations for Space Mountain fill up fast. There are height restrictions for riders of this popular Magic Kingdom attraction, so check to verify who in your group can and cannot ride before waiting in line.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This thrilling roller-coaster ride through haunted gold mines is another popular attraction with very long wait lines at Magic Kingdom. This fast-paced roller-coaster is ideal for thrill seekers looking for the ultimate ride that includes bumps, rushes, and dark parts where you can’t see what’s coming next.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
This next ride has been popular since it first opened because of the blockbuster Johnny Depp films. Passengers of the Pirates of the Caribbean can enjoy a ride onboard a weather-beaten pirate ship as they plunge through waterfalls, and sail through the high seas on the lookout for Captain Jack Sparrow. This ride is also perfect for all ages and heights and is a favorite among family members.
- Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most popular attractions for Fantasyland fans of dark rides. Join Peter Pan on the ride of your life with a London cruise, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, volcanos, waterfalls, and danger in Pirate Cove. Modeled after the classic California Disneyland ride of 1955, Peter Pan’s Flight does not disappoint. You may wait a while without the genie app, so consider downloading it for a convenient park experience.
- Haunted Mansion
This popular attraction offers a ride you’ll never forget aboard a doom buggy through haunted chambers. Perfect for all ages and passengers of any height, the Haunted Mansion is popular among family members looking to ride together. Glide through this eerie estate filled with ghosts, and goblins. Be careful that one of these tricksters doesn’t follow you home! The Haunted Mansion Dark Ride is undoubtedly one of the most spooktacular attractions at the park.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Toy Story fans are lining up for this next Magic Kingdom ride. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a popular attraction for family members of any age or height looking to go for a slow ride through dark tunnels where they can enjoy zapping targets with their Lazer canons. Wait times for this fan favorite can sometimes exceed 60 minutes, even with a reservation through the Genie app.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Another popular attraction with long wait times is the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Join Winnie, Piglet, and the rest of the Hundred-Acre Woods gang as you take a ride in a giant-sized honeypot and get lost amongst the pages of this classic storybook favorite. This slow-moving ride is perfect for the whole family without height restrictions.
- It’s A Small World
In the number ten spot for Magic Kingdom attractions with the longest lines is It’s a Small World. Riders of all ages and heights can sing along to this class Disney song as they take a slow-moving ride in a whimsical boat visiting children from all over the world and every part of the globe. It’s a Small World is worth the wait and is sure to please the entire family.
What Are My Options Without the Genie App?
Without taking advantage of the Genie+ app for $15.00 per person, expect to wait in long lines for rides on your visit to Magic Kingdom. On cloudy days and during the off-season, wait times for attractions may be shorter. However, you will still have to wait to get on the more popular rides.
If you choose not to purchase Genie+ passes for your family, your next best bet is to arrive at the park early before other people begin flooding in. Being among the first wave of guests to the park can help you get to the busier attractions that often have extremely long lines.
Even when arriving before the park opens, you can still experience long wait times to get on rides if you do not have a Genie+ pass. It just makes sense to invest in the Genie+ pass to save yourself the hassle of waiting in line for hours.
Other Tips for Beating the Line-Ups at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Making sure you plan your visit with the fewest wait lines is beneficial for a more enjoyable visit to the park. Consider these tips to help beat the busy line-ups on your next visit to Magic Kingdom.
- Use a Crowd Calendar To Plan Your Visit To the Park.
A crowd calendar is a research tool that predicts the number of guests visiting Walt Disney on certain days. By using a crowd calendar, you can pick days of the year than are less busy and will ensure fewer wait times for rides and attractions.
- Make an Early Morning Breakfast Reservation
Another way of beating the crowd is by making a breakfast reservation at a restaurant in the park. This way, you can go directly into the theme park area and skip the entrance lines after you finish having breakfast.
- Pick Attractions Near the Rear of the Park
Arrive early at the park and strategically plan to begin your rides with popular attractions located furthest away. Most guests will get in line at rides closest to the gate, meaning wait times will be shorter when you start with the park attractions that are furthest away immediately after the gates open.
Alternatively, you can choose to start with rides to the left of the park. The human brain works in mysterious ways, and most people make right-hand turns. You may find that rides to the left of the park are less busy and have shorter wait times throughout the day.
- Consider Becoming a Club Member at Disney Resorts
Most Disney Resorts offer Genie+ plans to club members. This strategy may cost a little extra in the long run, but it guarantees you to avoid long lines to wait in when you arrive at Magic Kingdom.
- Disney After Hours
Early morning visits to Magic Kingdom are great for people who are early risers looking for shorter wait times. But, some people are not morning people and prefer to sleep late while on vacation.
Disney After Hours is a late-night Magic Kingdom event on select dates that allows ticket holders an extra three hours after closing to enjoy the park. Take advantage of shorter lines, fewer crowds, and several attractions and character greetings.
So, What’s the Best Time To Get to Magic Kingdom?
Magic Kingdom is a magical theme park that hosts thousands of guests year-round. Since Magic Kingdom is such a popular tourist destination, there will usually be relatively long wait times for park attractions.
The best time to arrive at the park depends on whether or not you are a morning person or a night owl and whether or not you take advantage of the Genie+ experience. If you enjoy waking up early, one of the quietest times at the park is during the early morning hours. However, if you are not an early bird, check out Disney After Hours to enjoy a night-time experience in the theme park with fewer crowds.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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