Though there are many parks, resorts, and activities to enjoy, when I think of Walt Disney World, the first thing that springs to mind is the Magic Kingdom. Visions of the spires of Cinderella Castle sparkling in the sunlight dance through my brain and my heart starts racing as I imagine which attraction I want to enjoy first!
I believe that the thing that makes the Magic Kingdom so enchanting is the mix of differently-themed lands found throughout the park! When visiting, you can embark on exciting journeys and experiences that take you through different times and places, through wondrous storytelling that makes your heart and imagination soar.
As there is so much to explore, I’d like to share some of my personal favorite highlights from each land around the Magic Kingdom!
Main Street U.S.A.
Let’s start with the first land we encounter when arriving at the Magic Kingdom – Main Street U.S.A.! Sure, Main Street U.S.A. isn’t known for exciting rides, but there is still a lot to love about this charming nod to the idyllic American small towns at the turn of the 20th century. As you stroll down the path toward Cinderella Castle, Main Street is positively brimming with pretty sights and sounds, but I think my very favorite thing about it is all of the fabulous food and snacks that can be found here!
Just steps past the entryway, you’ll find the mouth-watering aroma of sugary goodness wafting from the Confectionary, where candy creations, baked goods, and loads of other treats are on hand for guests looking to quell the cravings of their sweet tooths! Lady and the Tramp fans will want to arrange a reservation at Tony’s Town Square, where they too can dine on spaghetti and meatballs and other Italian dishes. As you continue on toward the Castle, you’ll find the Plaza Restaurant, the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (hello hot fudge), Casey’s Corner (be sure to try the corn dog nuggets), and The Crystal Palace which is set to reopen on December 13th 2020.
There’s also the Main Street Bakery where you can stock up on Starbucks goodies, and a few kiosks where you can pick up some of Disney’s delicious hot, buttery popcorn!
As soon as you step under the wooden sign welcoming you into Adventureland, extraordinary escapades are around every corner!
Whether you’re exploring the furthest reaches of the jungles or tapping your toes to some tiki-inspired tunes, there is no shortage of thrilling journeys to be found in this land.
As much as I love trekking through the treehouse, flying on magic carpets, seeing the backside of water, and tweeting along with the birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room, there is one attraction here that has always held an extra special place in my heart!
The spectacle of glittering treasure, and brazen buccaneers make Pirates of the Caribbean my favorite thing in Adventureland! I have always loved the upbeat music, silly scallywags, and pillaging antics of Captain Jack Sparrow and the pirate crew as they sail the seas looking for loot in the ports of the Caribbean! From the dueling cannonball splashes to the imprisoned pirates trying to entice the pooch holding the key to their escape, I love everything about this ride, and as it’s one of the first attractions I ever experienced on my very first visit to the Magic Kingdom as a child, it’s always on my must-do list!
As you mosey on around the bend in the pathway, more excitement awaits in Frontierland! The history and pioneering spirit of the old-West and American frontier shine in this land full of down-home country fun!
You can catch a performance from the crooners at the Country Bear Jamboree or even find your laughing place in the watery sprays of Splash Mountain, but my personal favorite has got to be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!
That’s right, if you’re searching for gold, the “wildest ride in the wilderness” is my top pick for frontier-style fun! The runaway trains on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will find you swerving through tunnels, speeding down into canyons, and careening through caves as you race through the haunted gold mine! This coaster is loads of fun at any time of day, but I highly recommend riding at night. I find it adds an extra air of mystery to the experience!
Your steps through the frontier will lead you into Colonial America as you make your way into Liberty Square. Here you can voyage the Rivers of America, visit the Hall of Presidents, and even see a replica of the Liberty Bell.
If you dare, you can also call on Master Gracey and the happy haunts at my personal all-time favorite Disney attraction – The Haunted Mansion!
The 999 grim, grinning ghosts of the Haunted Mansion are happy to come out and socialize while you take a tour of their grounds!
They’ll show you an otherworldly time as you board your “doombuggy” and make your way through the spooky stairwells, creepy crypts, and other bewitching chambers of the eerie old manor. You can even attend a “spirited” séance with Madame Leota! As your tour wraps up, beware of hitchhiking ghosts, and don’t forget to hurry back!
Once you’ve finished your visit with the happy haunts enjoying their afterlife, Fantasyland is just ahead! This land is all about smiles, magic, and finding your happily ever after.
From singing along on It’s a Small World, to flying with Dumbo, or even mining with the Seven Dwarfs, there are many magical characters and stories to experience in this land!
Though it is a challenge to choose my favorite thing in Fantasyland, I think I have to give the top spot to Peter Pan’s Flight.
Fantasyland features numerous rides for kids of all ages to enjoy, yet to me, Peter Pan’s Flight is the perfect example of how the wondrousness of a classic story is brought to life in the Magic Kingdom. I can clearly remember on my first Disney trip as a child, looking down at the shimmering cityscape of London as the pirate ship traveled to Neverland and feeling immersed in one of my favorite tales. I was now in the story, flying alongside Peter, Tink, and the Darling children, and that absolutely amazed me! To me, that feeling is what Fantasyland is all about.
The magic begins even before you take flight on your journey to Neverland; in the queue, you have the chance to visit the Darling’s home nursery for some interactive fun. Your Neverland adventure on this ride also features iconic scenes and characters from Peter Pan, including the Lost Boys, the mermaid lagoon, and even a duel with Captain Hook!
Much like in Fantasyland, I’ve always found my imagination soaring to infinity and beyond in Tomorrowland!
The nostalgia-inspired designs of the way the future was once imagined are so delightful and full of vintage charm. Whether you’re touring the area on the PeopleMover, visiting the family at the Carousel of Progress, or helping Buzz Lightyear battle the Evil Emperor Zurg, there are many different ways to explore the universe in Tomorrowland!
My personal favorite feature of Tomorrowland is Space Mountain! I’ve always loved roller coasters, so speeding through the stars in the darkness of deep space is just so thrilling! From the cosmic-inspired score heard in the queue to careening around the unseen twists and turns of the coaster tracks, Space Mountain is an out of this world ride full of futuristic fun!
No matter which attraction is your favorite, there is no shortage of enchantment and excitement to be found at the Magic Kingdom! With lands full of family-friendly fun, classic characters, and dazzling spectacles of storytelling, this is a park truly designed to warm your heart, make your imagination take flight, and leave you with smiles and memories to cherish!