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Magic Kingdom Must-Do’s

Once the gates are open again, these are the attractions we’re heading to first.

By Heather Malo

I don’t know about you but once I know I CAN’T do something; I spend a lot of time thinking about DOING the thing that’s off limits.

Like when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. All I could think about was the bread I would never eat again: the pies, the pizza, buttery croissants, Ritz crackers! Thanksgiving would never be the same and Christmas morning cinnamon rolls would exit my life forever.

Since we’ve been told we must stay home, all I can think about is LEAVING home. I’m currently planning two separate Disney trips for my family. So, my mind is swirling with park options and Magical Extras, dining reservations and Fireworks Desert Parties.

As I hone my list of To-Do’s, I have become more and more certain of the Must-Do’s. That small and select list encompassing my own special version of Disney Magic:

Early Arrival at Magic Kingdom

Technically, not an attraction, I know. But if you get to the Magic Kingdom early enough, there’s a small window of time when you walk in the park and it feels like it’s all there just for you. You stand at the beginning of Main Street and look out over the shops, see the castle the in background and you’re washed anew with the excitement of a five-year-old. This is when you get those great pictures, when you can walk at a leisurely pace, grab a cup of coffee, sit on a park bench and just generally admire your surroundings.

Peter Pan’s Flight

To me, nothing is more iconic that Peter Pan’s Flight. Sure, the line is usually pretty long, and the payoff is undeniably short. But this is one I don’t mind waiting for. I find the weaving line through the Darlings’ nursery one of the most enchanting parts of the Magic Kingdom. I love watching Tink dance around the room and cause trouble, the oversized furniture and brightly colored walls, the game of shadows on the wall and feeling like I’ve stepped into a childhood movie come to life.

Pirates of the Caribbean

I fell in love with Pirates when I was ten years old. It’s the first ride I really and truly remember at Disney World. I was in awe of the tall pirate ships and cannon balls landing in the water, the animatronics (which were pretty amazing 35 years ago and still are today) and the well-told story of those lovable rascals. I still get excited when the tunnel turns dark and you feel that cold air hit your face.

Dinner and Fireworks at California Grill

OK, so this really isn’t in Magic Kingdom, but it’s about Magic Kingdom. And sitting high above, with the castle lit up in the dark and a great glass of wine, watching the fireworks really is magical. This dinner time attraction is proof that Disney does Magic for all ages. And, you never know who you’ll run in to… California Grill is popular with Disney execs.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain is my childhood version of what space exploration was meant to be like. It’s vintage space. While lots of folks think it needs a good upgrade, I’m perfectly content to think of myself as a Buck Rogers sidekick making my way to Ranger III. The dark coaster can still inspire the right combination of thrill and fear and is the perfect way to round out my Must-Do List.

When I sit back and look these attractions over, I realize this is a Feel-Good list. These experiences give me the warm fuzzies; and they remind me why people of all ages love Disney: it’s the nostalgia, the emotional ties and their unique ability to create the perfect mix of comfort, joy and happiness.

Need help coming up with your next Must-Do List for Disney? Contact me at

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