The Magic Kingdom still attracts millions from around the world, drawn here by the opportunity to experience the fun and fantasy that only Disney can deliver. Attendance, at slightly more than 17 million, makes this America's most popular theme park. The 107-acre Magic Kingdom is filled with more than 40 attractions, unique shops, and themed restaurants. Its most recognizable feature is Cinderella Castle, the park's icon and centerpiece. And surrounding the castle are the park's six themed lands, stretching out like the spokes of a wheel.
Arriving -- The parking lot here is huge -- so big, in fact, that it's necessary to take a tram just to get to the Transportation and Ticket Center (more commonly known as the TTC), where you can buy your park tickets. Each of the parking lot's sections is named for Disney characters (Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, and so on), and aisles are numbered. I can't stress enough just how important it is to write down where you left your vehicle -- you would be amazed at how many rental cars look just like yours. Once you have your tickets in hand (or if you've arrived with them -- the best route), you'll need to make your first decision of the day -- do you take the ferry or the monorail to the park from the TTC? The ferry offers a more leisurely (and windy) ride, while the monorail is air conditioned.
Upon arriving at the park entrance, you must pass through security and have your bags inspected. All told, the time it takes to get from your car to Main Street, U.S.A., is somewhere around 35 to 45 minutes, sometimes longer. And that total doesn't include the time spent in lines if you have to stop at Guest Relations or rent a stroller. You'll face the same agony (complicated by escaping crowds) on the way out, so relax. This is one of the most crowded parks, so plan to arrive an hour before the opening bell or an hour or two after.
The most important thing you can do upon arriving at the park is to pick up a copy (or two) of the Magic Kingdom guide map (if you can't find one at the turnstiles, stop at City Hall or the nearest shop). It provides an array of detailed information about available services, restaurants, and attractions. The Times Guide (separate from the guide map) will be your key to the daily schedules for showtimes, parades, fireworks, character meet-and-greets, and park and restaurant hours.
If you have questions, all park employees are very knowledgeable, and City Hall, on your left as you enter, is the park's main information center. To the right is a center of a different sort, the Town Square Theater -- now the place to meet and greet Disney's favorite costumed characters. Character greeting places are also featured on the guide map.
Hours -- The park is usually open from at least 9am to 9pm, sometimes later -- as late as midnight during major holidays and summer.
Ticket Prices -- Ticket prices are Magic Kingdom adult: $124 (Peak days)/$110 (Regular days)/ $105 (Value days), Magic Kingdom child: $118 (Peak)/$104 (Regular)/$99 (Value). Kids younger than 3 get in free.
Services & Facilities in the Magic Kingdom
Most of the following are noted on the handout guide maps in the park.
ATMs -- Machines inside the park honor cards from banks using the Cirrus, Honor, and PLUS systems. They're located near the main entrance; in Frontierland, near the Shootin' Gallery; and in Tomorrowland, next to Space Mountain.
Baby Care -- Located next to the Crystal Palace at the end of Main Street, the Baby Care Center is furnished with a nursing room with rocking chairs and toddler-size toilets. Disposable diapers, formula, baby food, and pacifiers are sold at a premium (bring your own or pay the price). There are changing tables here as well as in all women's restrooms and some men's.
Cameras & Film -- Film and Kodak disposable cameras are available throughout the park, but digital camera equipment is in far shorter supply. Services, which vary from location to location, include CD burning, film developing, and minor repairs.
First Aid -- It's located beside the Crystal Palace next to the Baby Care Center and staffed by registered nurses.
Lockers -- Lockers are located in the arcade below the Main Street Railroad Station. The cost is $7 to $9 (depending on size), plus a $5 refundable deposit.
Lost Children -- Lost children in the Magic Kingdom are usually taken to City Hall or the Baby Care Center. Children younger than 7 should wear name-tags inside their clothing.
Package Pickup -- Any package can be sent by a shop clerk to Guest Relations in the Entrance Plaza; allow at least 3 hours for delivery. If you're staying overnight at a Disney resort, you can also have all packages purchased by 7pm sent to your hotel (they will be delivered by noon the next day).
Pet Care -- Boarding is available at the Best Friends Pet Care Center, located on the Bonnet Creek Parkway (tel. 407/824-6568), for $10 to $76 per day. Proof of vaccination is required.
Strollers -- They can be rented at the Stroller Shop near the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. The cost is $15 for a single and $31 for a double, with length-of-stay rentals available for $13 per day for a single and $27 per day for a double. Full payment is required upfront for a length-of-stay rental.
Wheelchair Rental -- For wheelchairs, go to the gift shop to the left of the ticket booths at the Transportation and Ticket Center, or to the Stroller and Wheelchair Shop inside the main entrance to your right. The cost is $12 for a regular wheelchair, or $50, plus a $20 refundable deposit, for electric convenience vehicles.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.