Magic KingdomPlanningThe ParksTips

Morning Madness at Magic Kingdom

I have taken time to break down our days at EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom during our most recent trip to Walt Disney World.  Today, I wanted to share how we toured Magic Kingdom one morning during our vacation.

I hope by sharing our plans with you, it will help you make a plan for your day at Magic Kingdom as well as any other Theme Park you might visit while at the Walt Disney World Resort!

The Plan

Our rope drop day for Magic Kingdom morning was on Wednesday, March 15th.  The park hours for this day was 9 am to 11 pm with early entry starting at 8:30 am for those staying at a Disney Resort.

Our goal for the day was to get a Splash Mountain Genie+ return time for the morning and skip purchasing a lightning lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

We wanted to try to rope drop Space Mountain and then head to Big Thunder Mountain when the rest of the Park opened at 9:00 am.

Here is how our morning went in Magic Kingdom that day.


Getting Going

We were blessed to be staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort which meant that we had a very short commute to Magic Kingdom.  The alarm went off prior to 7:00 am (have I mentioned no sleeping in during a Disney vacation) so I could snag our Genie+ for Splash Mountain.  This was easy to do and I got an early morning return time 9:30-10:30 am.

We headed to the monorail station at Disney’s Polynesian at 8:00 am and went through security (a huge bonus) and arrived at Magic Kingdom by 8:12 heading down Main Street U.S.A.

After being checked by a cast member at the hub to prove we were staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, we were helped on the bridge to Tomorrowland until 8:25 (scheduled early entry was 8:30).

Credit: Space Mountain
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff

Rushing to Space Mountain was our plan and that is exactly what we did.  The chaos was real as everyone had to funnel into the ropes for the outdoor queue, but we made it and even though the line looked long, our wait was only 25 minutes.

When we got off, the line stretched almost past Launching Pad and towards Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor.  I am not sure why Disney was not filling the indoor queue to help move these Guests out of the walkway, but I am sure they had a reason.

Park Opening

At this point, it was close to Park opening (9:00 am) so we headed through Fantasyland towards what we all call Tangled bathrooms.   We were stopped here until slightly before 9:00 am and then walked to Frontierland where we once again were held.

This would be what I would call complete chaos as the line for Big Thunder Mountain was starting outside of Country Bear Jamboree.  Even with this long line, we only waited 33 minutes to ride.  Once we were inside the ropes for the queue, basically didn’t stop moving.

Again, I question why Disney is pushing these lines into the walkways as it caused confusion and frustration for Guests.

Splash Mountain
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff


We were lucky that after riding Big Thunder Mountain, we were able to jump right over to Splash Mountain and use our Genie+.  We walked right onto this ride and managed to stay somewhat dry as well.

As soon as we tapped into Splash Mountain, I snagged another Genie+ this time for Haunted Mansion.

We enjoyed a snack at Friar’s Nook- check out their breakfast options as they are fantastic, but make sure to mobile order!

Haunted Mansion
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff

Once we finished with our breakfast/snack, we headed to Haunted Mansion where the wait time was already 60 minute, but we were able to walk right into the stretching room.  Although our son isn’t a fan of the ride still, we had a nice time and always enjoy this classic.

When we used our Genie+ reservation at Haunted I quickly booked a Barnstormer return time.  Although this isn’t a favorite (my husband and I think the seats are terrible) our son really wanted to do it one time so why not.

From Barnstormer, I booked Philharmagic which wasn’t really needed, but we walked right in.  The addition of Coco was fun to see and I always love the classics from my childhood as well.

Pluto and Grand Floridian
Credit: Disney

Heading Out

Since we were heading to the extended evening hours at Magic Kingdom this evening from 11 to 1 am, I wanted to make sure we took time to step away from the Park.  After Philharmagic, we took the walking path to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  It took around 12 minutes to arrive at the Grand Floridian Cafe where we had a lunch reservation.

During our meal and time at the pool, I took time to stack Genie+ return times for our evening.  After enjoying the show at Philharmagic, I grabbed a Pirates of the Caribbean Genie+ for the evening. From there I set my alarm for every two hours and was able to get Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain.

By doing this, I was able to set up our evening for success as we knew right away that we had four rides that we wouldn’t have to wait in the standby lines and thus saving time and allowing us to enjoy other aspects of Magic Kingdom.

There is no denying that Magic Kingdom is seeing some of the biggest crowds it has in years.  Because of this Guests will want to be prepared and have a plan in order to beat those crowds.

We have suggestions HERE on how to avoid crowds that can be helpful as well as specific ways to hit those big rides in Magic Kingdom HERE with low wait times.

By having a plan and getting Magic Kingdom early, we were able to have a magical morning in Magic Kingdom.  The lines are overwhelming and the crowds can be a lot, but knowing our plan helped us!

I hope that this will help you as you plan a magical morning in Magic Kingdom.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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