Of the four main Walt Disney World parks, the Magic Kingdom has always been my favorite. It is the one park that really ‘screams’ Disney to me. It is probably the place you think of when you imagine a trip to Walt Disney World. It’s a necessity during a Walt Disney World Trip. I would even go as far as saying, if you only had time for one park, it needs to be the Magic Kingdom.
Narrowing down my favorite things to do while at the Magic Kingdom is almost as hard as picking my favorite child. It of course depends on the day! In all seriousness, it’s downright difficult to narrow down. There are so many rides I love, foods I must eat and characters I must see. However, for the sake of this post, I’m willing to give it a go and list my 4 must-dos at the Magic Kingdom.
Eat a Dole Whip
I remember the first time I discovered a Dole Whip inside the Magic Kingdom. I was about 17 years old. That’s a pretty late start in the world of Dole Whip. My meeting was accidental as it was hot out and I was searching for a cool treat.
That’s when I found true love. I found Dole Whip! Dole Whip and I were introduced for the first time and I got to enjoy its creamy pineapple goodness. From that moment, I knew I didn’t need any other ice cream treat in the Magic Kingdom for as long as I lived.
Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but it seriously it was so good and became a staple on my visits.
As a matter of fact, I remember going a few years trying to locate a Dole Whip at the food stand across from the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. I read the menu and discovered the pineapple Dole Whip was no longer sold there.
I had a slight freak out.
Recovery came quickly when I realized they had just moved my beloved Dole Whip. Aloha Island, home of the Dole Whip, and Sunshine Tree Terrace had just traded locations! Aloha Island’s new home was behind the Carpets of Aladdin and Sunshine Tree Terrace took over Aloha Island’s post. With increased counter space and a bigger serving area, my Dole Whips were even easier to obtain.
Walk Down Main Street USA with a Starbucks in Hand
A Starbucks drink? Isn’t that something you can get or experience pretty much anywhere? Why does that deserve to be listed in my top 4 Magic Kingdom Must-Dos?
First, let me back-up and say that when Starbucks first moved into the Disney parks, I was a little skeptical. It’s not because I don’t like Starbucks, but more because I just wasn’t sure how Starbucks fit into Walt Disney World. Don’t worry though, it does fit in. Each Starbucks ‘blends’ in as a refreshment station or bakery, basically serving as a spot for guests to get some treats. I was pleasantly surprised and now make visiting the Starbucks in each park part of my vacation rituals. It helps me to really feel like I’m on a vacation!
Of all the Starbucks, my favorite is definitely the one in the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom. Not because it seems to have a line at all hours of the day (No one likes a line, but don’t worry this one moves quickly), but because after I get my beverage of choice, I love to take a stroll down Main Street, U.S.A.
It is not common knowledge, but Main Street, U.S.A. is actually the first themed ‘land’ of the Magic Kingdom. It’s as though you are walking down the street of an early 20th century small-town, complete with essentials, such as a town hall, fire station and barber shop.
The buildings are beautiful and make you feel as though you’ve stepped back into simpler times. I love to walk down Main Street and enjoy the outside facade of the buildings, but I especially love finding hidden details. Little hidden ‘Easter eggs’, if you will. My favorites include the names written on each of the second story windows. Each represents someone who has done something or is related to something Disney. Disney loves to hide features in the details (hidden Mickeys anyone?) and they stick several right on Main Street. If you head down the ‘alley’ by the Crystal Arts shop and are quiet, you can hear singing lessons or tap dancing lessons happening.
Ride Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain is my all-time favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom. It might even be my all-time favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World. I love how you know there is one huge drop at the end of the ride (spoiler alert for those who may have never seen Splash Mountain from the outside) but I also love that there are smaller drops throughout the ride (real spoiler alert). No matter how many times I’ve been on the ride, I somehow seem to forget about the smaller drops until I am back on the ride. And, of course, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah always get stuck in my head at the end of the ride.
Take a Picture with the Castle
Cinderella’s castle: the perfect photo backdrop. There is good reason why it is one of the most photographed places in America. It’s simply an icon. If you see the castle you immediately think of Walt Disney World.
Though the castle hasn’t changed much through the years, I find it hard to go on a visit without taking a picture with it. The routine photograph has become a sort of growth chart for my family as we capture our changing family.
Pictures started with just my immediate family. As the years pass, they have expanded to include my husband, my first son and now my second son. Many of the shots have been taken from the front of the castle while standing on Main Street, U.S.A.. While I usually love all shots of the castle, the front of castle shots often include hundreds of other guests. While I am sure they are all nice people, I don’t really want all those strangers in my family photos. No offense cool lady we met from Jersey!
Instead, of the front, I often opt for a different angle of the castle such as the sides. You are able to get a shot with the castle in the background, but with less random people. You might not get the castle head-on, but the picture is more focused on the true subject of the shot: your family!
There ya go! My four must-dos when I am at the Magic Kingdom. Of course I love to fill the rest of my time with more rides, catching a parade and meeting a few special characters. Yet, if I am able to experience the four items listed above, it has probably been a really good day.
Well, I mean, any day in the Magic Kingdom is a good day, so it would be a REALLY, really good day!