Updated: Sep 29
The center of the Most Magical Place On Earth just so happens to be a toddler's paradise. It has the most family rides at Walt Disney World, fantastic views, fun character experiences, classic snacks and that extra sprinkle of pixie dust... making it an absolute must-visit for families. Plus, from a less magical and more practical perspective, on rainy or hot days, this park has the most covered areas and air conditioned shops around... definitely a win ;)
Today I'm sharing our tried and true Top 10 Must-Dos at Magic Kingdom if you're visiting the park with a toddler.
10 . Catch a parade... or 7 of them - This is, and probably always will be, one of our absolute favorite things about Disney. Getting to dance, sing and interact with beloved Disney characters is something we all get into, no matter our age. Currently, mini parades come down Main Street (most start in Frontierland) very regularly and make for an extra dose of pixie dust in the park day.
TIP - we like grabbing snacks and hanging around the parade path so when one comes along we can enjoy it right away. The path usually starts by Splash Mountain, goes all the way through Frontierland, through Liberty Square and down Main Street, ending next to the fire station on Main Street.
Right now there are 7 different mini parades that appear multiple times throughout the day... Winnie the Pooh Friends, Princesses, Goofy and Friends, Mickey and Friends, Tinkerbell, the Main Street Philharmonic and the Dapper Dans. There's a pretty good chance you'll run into at least one during your park day :)
9. Snack your way through the park - Magic Kingdom has some of the most iconic snacks, so stopping to enjoy some of the classics as well as new offerings can be a fun break in the day.
Some of our favorite Magic Kingdom Snacks are... Mickey Bars (available at just about every ice cream cart), Mickey Pretzels - Regular and Cream Cheese Filled (The Lunching Pad)
The Grey Stuff Cupcake (Gaston's Tavern), Plaza Ice Cream Sundaes (Plaza Ice Cream Shop), Dole Whip (Aloha Isle - Mobile Ordering), Vanilla Soft Serve (Sunshine Tree Terrace), Mac and Cheese Tots (The Friar's Nook), Cotton Candy and churros (at snack carts throughout the park), Chicken and Waffles/fruit and waffles and funnel cake (Sleepy Hollow), caramel apples and rice crispy treats (The Confectionary), and Disney Popcorn (popcorn carts throughout the park).
TIP - If you're planning to be at the parks for a few days, or if you're an annual passholder, purchasing a popcorn bucket and bringing it for your other park days is an amazing cost effective way to snack at Disney. The refillable buckets are usually $10-20 to start, but you can refill it forever for only $3 a refill. Major win!
TIP - For fresh fruit and some healthier snacks, Liberty Square Market is a great place to stop
8. Explore Tom Sawyer Island - If you and your kids are up for an adventure, and you need to get some of those pent up waiting-in-line wiggles out, taking a raft over to Tom Sawyer Island is a journey you'll want to take. Before Michael and I had kids, we used to go over there and chill on the rocking chairs and take in the sights and sounds of Big Thunder Mountain. It's the perfect break in the otherwise busy day. Now with kids, it's still a welcomed break but definitely more adventure-filled. There's just a different pace on Tom Sawyer Island, and we're here for it.
TIP - Strollers aren't allowed on Tom Sawyer Island, so don't forget your diaper bag before going over.
7. Enjoy easy-to-find quick service dining locations that offer Mobile Ordering, to make dining an easy feat - For more tips and info on mobile ordering, check out this post so you can enjoy as much time as possible at the park without having to wait for food or have a hangry crew to contend with. Below are the largest capacity quick service dining options at Magic Kingdom...
Casey’s Corner (Main Street) - offers hot dogs, fries
TIP - the footlong dog could 100% feed too and it’s not much more than the regular dog.
Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square) - offers Fish, Shrimp, Lobster and Salads
Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland) - offers Hot Dogs, Burgers, Chicken and Salads
Pecos Bill tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Frontierland) - offers Fajitas, Nachos, Burgers, and Mac and Cheese
TIP - I actually prefer the Mini Churros at Pecos more than the ones at the carts (still no WDW churro compares to Disneyland's, but ordering the mini churros at Pecos will not disappoint).
Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland) - offers Flatbreads, Chicken and Salads
TIP - The fries at PVH are always so fresh, not sure why, but we love ordering them here. Plus the ambiance of this quick service is a blast... you can wave at guests in the it's a small world boats from the restaurant... an extra fun toddler activity.
Tomorrowland Terrace (Tomorrowland) - this location isn‘t always open and undergoes frequent menu changes. But even it’s closed, the seating is a great covered spot to rest with your crew. Plus it’s flanked by restrooms, convenient for a potty training toddler.
6. If you see something at a shop you like, don't wait, get it then - Disney really knows how to design some unique and adorable merchandise. Although you can find items like a large Mickey plush or a basic Disney World t-shirt at just about every store on property, the merchandise styles can be very unique and if you find something at one shop, you can't expect to see it everywhere, or really anywhere else.
One of my biggest merchandise tips is, if you see something you love, don't hesitate to get it. You'll regret not getting certain items in the moment, because some new or ultra unique items could even disappear by the end of the park day! I've definitely made purchases at the parks where I ended up buying the item on display because it was the very last one of something and I would have had no idea. Minnie ears can be like this. I'm still bummed I missed out on the Tower of Terror Ears. Not all colors/styles are released everywhere at once. If you see a style you like get it before it's gone.
TIP - A lot of the most unique merchandise can be found at the ride exit shops. Most of the time that merch can only be found in those locations. The Pirates of the Caribbean shop at Magic Kingdom is such a unique vibe and the merch is one of a kind. That's the only location I was able to find Tallulah's Pirate Redd dress, and I'm so glad I got it when I saw it.
5. Meet the characters - We're always down for a character meet and greet. They sadly look a little different right now, but hanging by the Main Street Train Station, you can interact with quite a few characters throughout the day. We love starting the day that way. If you missed the mini parades, you can usually catch the characters waving from the train station as you exit the parks. I can't wait for classic meet and greets to return!
4. Dress up as your favorite character - If you've seen our @bibbidibobbidibatts Instagram page, you know we love to dress up at the park. Tallulah is all about the princesses right now, so we love bringing a princess dress along for our park days.
TIP - I strongly encourage having 2 play outfits (including a change of shoes) for your kiddo in addition to their princess dress or character costume. With how hot it gets here in Orlando for 9ish months of the year wearing a full costume all day is a challenging task, and can overheat your little nugget quickly. We love putting Tallulah in play clothes to start the day and then surprise her with the dress that we packed once we've made it at least partway through the day, but each kiddo is different, and you know what's best for your kids :)
3. Take it slow, if you can - One of the most important elements to having a fun and low stress Disney day is taking your time. It's so hard with all that Magic Kingdom has to offer to take it slow, but just remember it's impossible to do everything, especially in one day, so make the most of what you get to do :) If you only have one day at the park, I recommend making a list of the top 1-2 things every member of the family wants to do and hit those first. Besides that, taking breaks throughout the day are so important, and with the expanded hub area (the grassy section in front of Cinderella Castle), there are lots of fun spots to sit, relax and enjoy the overall ambiance of the park.
TIP - If you're staying at a hotel on property, taking a midday break to rest and enjoy the AC or the pool is so rejuvenating with a toddler. Plus, the parks are less busy and significantly more comfortable later into the day and after sunset.
2. Take a walk through Cinderella Castle - I mean, this castle is such a beauty! Just seeing it from afar brings a smile to my face. Now with the castle stage shows and fireworks temporarily suspended, the castle walkthrough is open more often that ever before. This is the perfect spot to take your little prince or princess, plus it's such a fun shortcut to get to Fantasyland from Main Street!
TIP - the back of the castle is gorgeous for sure, and you can take some amazing pictures there! During the sunniest hours of the day it tends to be less blinding to take photos with the back of the castle as a backdrop than the front of the castle. If you want to get a castle shot with your little one in their outfit, you may be able to snag a better shot from this direction with a kiddo who's significantly more comfortable.
1. Enjoy 24 attractions without a height requirement... which is by far more than any of the other parks - The rides and attractions at Disney are always so much fun to enjoy, and in Magic Kingdom you can enjoy 24 attractions with your kids of any age... all of these rides listed have no height requirements! (That's a far cry from Epcot's 8). To make your Disney planning life a bit easier, I've listed all of the family friendly attractions in order if you start your day in Tomorrowland and circle the park, ending in Adventureland. How many of these attractions have you visited?
Monster's Inc Laugh Floor (currently closed)
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Carousel of Progress
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
Mad Hatter Tea Party
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Ariel's Under the Sea Adventure
Storytime with Belle (currently closed)
Prince Charming's Royal Carousel
Peter Pan's Flight
it's a small world
Hall of Presidents
Liberty Square Riverboat
Country Bear Jamboree
Walt Disney Railroad (currently closed)
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Enchanted Tiki Room
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Swiss Family Treehouse
I hope these tips help you make the most out of your Magic Kingdom day! It's such an amazing place to enjoy with your family. Enjoy your time soaking in the magic as you happen upon incredible experiences that build the memories you and your kids will have forever!
Are there any must-dos that you'd add to this list? I'd love to hear them in the comments section below :)