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Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Categories: Attraction, Tourist attraction, Theme parks

Payment options: Credit cards accepted

Alcohol: Full bar

Admission: $105-$124, $99-$118 ages 3-9 (price based by season).

Magic Kingdom is the park you come to when you want to feel like a kid again. With relatively tame rides, nightly fireworks and colorful parades, Disney’s first Florida park is for children of all ages, from screaming toddlers to grown adults. If you have time for just one Disney park, make it this one. Start the day off with a stroll along Main Street U.S.A., which Walt Disney himself modeled after his hometown. Then take your pick from five other lands: Adventureland, home to the popular Pirates of the Caribbean ride starring Jack Sparrow; Frontierland, where you can ride Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain; Fantasyland, where you can find the Storybook Circus and characters and rides based on classic Disney movies; Liberty Square, modeled after an American Revolutionary colonial town; and Tomorrowland, the “future” world that’s in desperate need of a contemporary update.

The newest part of the park is the remodeled Fantasyland, one of the largest expansions in Magic Kingdom history and home to the family-friendly Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rollercoaster, Be Our Guest restaurant (order the potato soup!) and the slow-moving Journey of the Little Mermaid (good luck getting Under the Sea out of your head). It joins the older part of Fantasyland, with classic like It’s a Small World and Peter Pan’s Flight, and the newer Storybook Circus area.

The food at Magic Kingdom leaves a lot to be desired; it’s mostly typical fast food fare: pizza, chicken nuggets, burgers, fries. You can bring packed lunches into any Disney park, so it’s a good idea to come prepared if you want something healthy. This park gets crowded fast, so shoot for less-busy times to attend, like early December, January-February and September-early November. You’ll likely need more than one day to see everything here.

Disney recently made big changes to its FastPass program, which allows you to get through lines faster. The new FastPass+ service is far easier to use if you select your desired rides weeks in advance of your trip. Gone are the kiosks in front of rides that would spit out FastPass tickets right away; now, guests must book FastPass+ reservations via the My Disney Experience smartphone app or at kiosks throughout the four parks. Here's how the free service works: Visitors can make three reservations — either in advance via the app or day-of at the park — for select rides, parades and even fireworks shows at the same park. After you use those up, you can make three more reservations (these can be at a different park from your first three). But you can't make the additional round of reservations via the app, you have to do it at a kiosk in the park. FastPass+ availability for more popular attractions is severely limited toward the end of the day.

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