Planning a trip to the Walt Disney World resort without kids? The adventure of a Disney vacation can be just as magical for adults as it is for the 18-and-under crowd. And a day of fun in the Magic Kingdom will keep you feeling young and inspire your sense of wonder.
What sets the Magic Kingdom apart from the other parks is the very balanced ratio of attractions to live entertainment. The circular layout of the park certainly keeps you moving, as thrill rides and themed, story-based rides encourage you to venture through each of the “lands” surrounding the focal point that is Cinderella’s Castle.
But, beyond these classic Disney attractions, the Magic Kingdom offers a consistent stream of live entertainment throughout the park. It’s a lot to take in! If you have a kids with you, the Magic Kingdom really should be a two-day adventure to let you soak everything in at a toddler’s pace. Even then, be flexible on how much you plan to do in a day. But, if you are planning an adults-only Disney Vacation, enjoying a one-day adventure in the Magic Kingdom is a walk in the park.
Plan Your Day Around Fun
From the opening moments of “Let the Magic Begin” with Mickey and his crew, to the mind-blowing, beautiful nighttime spectaculars, entertainment experiences and Character Meet-And-Greet opportunities will be happening all around you. So plan ahead and check out times and locations to help you map out your tour of this iconic Disney park.
While catching these magical performances with kids is a memorable experience, there is no doubt about it – seeing them without kids can be just as fun. Not to mention you will get to see a whole lot more because of how much faster you can move from place to place. To get the most out of your day (and avoid the frustration of swimming upstream in a grid-locked crowd) plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early for shows and parades you really want to see. The crowds start forming early for shows like the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade.
And everyone starts flocking to the center of the park several times throughout the day for performances of the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party on Main Street, U.S.A. and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire in front of Cinderella’s Castle. If you plan to see any of these extravaganzas, grab refreshments before you find a viewing spot, then get comfortable, and plan for a few minutes afterwards to enjoy the nearby shops or look for Hidden Mickeys as you wait for the crowd to disperse. Cast-members will be present to help streamline movement, so don’t hesitate to ask if they can point out the easiest route to your next attraction.
Start Your Day Early
If you are more interested in catching the side performances, take note of the times online. Plan to work your way around the park, starting on Main Street, U.S.A. right after park opening at 8:55AM. Guests visiting for the first time as senior citizens will fall in love the vintage atmosphere and Town’s Square performances, such as:
- the Citizens of Main Street performers
- the Philharmonic marching band
- Magic Kingdom’s very own barbershop quartet, the Dapper Dans.
- The Street Trolley show
- Casey’s Corner Pianist (who takes requests starting at 12:10, so when lunchtime rolls around grab a bite from this “days gone by” themed quick-service location).
Navigating around each segment will offer the opportunity to enjoy a number of character encounters and whimsical performances, like “Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial,” in Adventureland and “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History” in Liberty Square. Move from one land to the next and enjoy the different atmospheres in each location.
With all the excitement (and walking!) be sure to plan a short breather in the middle of the afternoon to recharge, perhaps in Gaston’s Tavern (or even back in then room if the Florida heat is getting to you). You won’t regret the down time, because there is so much to see and do – and the highlight of your day may very well come after dark. Stick around for “Once Upon A Time” and the brand-new Happily Ever After nighttime fireworks spectaculars! These are unbelievable displays of Disney magic you will not want to miss.
Once you have your list of must-see performances, parades, and pyrotechnics, it’s time to check out the rides!
Reserve Your FastPasses
FastPasses are available on a first come, first serve basis, letting you schedule a one-hour window in which to catch your top 3 attractions – with a shorter wait time! These are available at no extra cost when you purchase your tickets to the park.
Reserve FastPasses online up to 30 days before your visit to Disney World. But be warned – they go quickly! Each attraction has a stand-by line as well, so don’t despair if something is unavailable when you are making your reservations.
Plan ahead and purchase your ticket early for better selection. If you plan to stay in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, this option is available up to 60 days in advance, so your chances of reserving your top picks are that much better when you book your stay on-property.
Whether you enjoy roller coasters or slower-paced attractions, the Magic Kingdom boasts some of the top Disney World attractions for adults. Download the MyDisneyExperience app and select attractions in the Magic Kingdom based on your thrill preference and interests, then reserve your FastPasses to fill in times between entertainment experiences.
Can’t get your top 3 reserved? Go ahead and reserve other attractions: once your first reserved FastPasses are used on the day of your visit, you have the option of reserving more. And keep your eyes peeled for “walk-ons” – anything with a standby line of 5-10 minutes is worth catching, even if it’s geared towards kids.
With your live entertainment choices and FastPasses lined up, you can chart your course through Adventureland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland with a plan for making the most of the magic, jumping in a short standby line or two as the opportunities present themselves.
Eat Great Food
Visiting the Magic Kingdom without kids means you literally go at your own pace – full-speed ahead and planned to the minute, or spontaneously making your way through the park to see what surprises you encounter. This goes for your dining experience as well!
Quick-service options are available in multiple locations, offering a variety of fare for under $15 per meal. For finer dining experiences, look online to see the choices for cuisine, atmosphere and even Character dining experiences before you make your Disney World dinner reservations. Especially when considering your dining options, a Disney trip without children means the higher-priced options are easier on the wallet.
So go for the royal treatment! Hot-ticket items like Fantasyland’s “Be Our Guest” restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table can be booked up months in advance, so plan ahead to get a better selection of available reservation times. Keep in mind, prices are subject to change during peak seasons and holidays.
Live in the Moment
Take advantage of Disney’s free PhotoPass photography services! Cast-members are scattered through the park, ready to help capture moments. Cinderella’s Castle is a fairytale backdrop, but that’s not the only selfie-worthy location. Sometimes vacationers discover unique new backdrops for their photos, and a PhotoPass Photographer may arrive to suggest it to others, offering to snap the shot.
Getting in line for a picture with a childhood hero or villain from your favorite stories may not seem like a very grown-up thing to do. But if you grew up living Disney you may find it just as fun as younger guests do. PhotoPass will be available, and photos taken by these photographers are saved for later viewing. There is no obligation to purchase them, but they can be purchased individually or collectively as a package.
Despite the many possibilities for making sure your itinerary is full of must-see shows, delectable dining, and memorable rides (with the least possible waiting), the most important part of the plan is to have fun. Stop and be delighted by the cast-members; if you are celebrating something special like a honeymoon or birthday, be sure to let them know when you arrive.
Even a first visit is something to celebrate—so celebrate being a grown-up at the Magic Kingdom. No kids means that you can customize your day at the Happiest place on Earth. Disney’s attention to detail is world renown, so no matter how thrilling or relaxing you choose to plan your day, you will be charmed by the ornate vintage shops, awed by the pristine flowering gardens, invigorated by the lively music, and captivated by the aromas that will surround you and engage all your senses.
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