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Magic Kingdom

What to Expect at Magic Kingdom This Summer

April 8, 2022

Walt Disney World hasn’t changed so much as it has evolved during the pandemic. 

Some longstanding park behaviors have gone away as new trends emerge. 

The end result is that your previous park visit experience may not prove as informative now. 

Here’s what you should expect when you visit Magic Kingdom this summer.

Let’s Talk Wait Times

The arrival of Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane has impacted the time you’ll spend in line for the park’s most popular attractions.

If you buy these premium add-ons, you’ll skip the longer lines on up to nine attractions, eight via Disney Genie+ and one through Lightning Lane.

I should note that Disney only guarantees “two or three” Disney Genie+ experiences per day. 

However, longtime DVC guests familiar with FastPasses should fare much better and possibly max out the eight possible Disney Genie+ bookings.

Disney Genie
Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

The thing you should understand about Magic Kingdom is that the depth of attractions keeps many wait times in check. 

To wit, over the past month, half the attractions at the park averaged wait times of 30 minutes or less. 

Obviously, there’s a Haves/Have Nots aspect to this discussion, though. 

Sure, you can hop on Dumbo the Flying Elephant quickly. However, it’s not the ride that will make your park visit.

For the past month, these Magic Kingdom attractions averaged a wait of 45 minutes or more (in descending order of wait time):

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 
Magic Kingdom Fantasyland
Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

I’m not trying to make up your mind for you, but all these attractions are also available via either Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train). 

So, you can avoid prolonged waits by purchasing the upsells. By taking this step, you ensure that you spend more park time staring at your phone, though. 

More about Crowd Behavior

Here are attractions in the 30-45-minute range on waits:

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Astro Orbiter
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Everything else at the park comes with a shorter wait. But, alas, these park experiences are also slightly less appealing to the average fan.

As a general rule, attractions have longer waits because they’re better. 

Having tracked the data, I can say that Disney Genie+ skews the data some, but the general rule still applies. 

Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland
Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

Presuming that Magic Kingdom operates for 13-14 hours per day, you can estimate how much you’ll accomplish with this data. 

I suspect that you’ll conclude that Disney Genie+ is worth the money. 

The one word of warning I’ll give you is that you must start your day at 6:50 a.m. to maximize its benefits. This is because the booking window begins at 7 a.m.

By 7:10 a.m., several popular attractions will show booking windows in the afternoon. 

So, if you’re not trying at the start of the day, you won’t maximize the benefit of the service and thereby might not find it worth the money.

About the Restaurants

The most dramatic changes at Walt Disney World have involved restaurants. If you haven’t visited during the pandemic, you should know a few things.

One: Disney has shortened the Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) window from 180 days to 60 days. 

That’s a terrific benefit for quick, primarily unplanned trips. On the other hand, those who book at the 11-month window or any time before the 7-month window will find it frustrating.

Steakhouse 71
Steakhouse 71 (Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog)

One benefit remains, though. You can book for all the days of your trip when your window opens. 

So, if you’re staying for a week or more, you’re likely to find available reservations on those final nights of your trip. 

Something else to know is that Disney has finally added a waiting list for Table Service restaurants. 

As such, when you don’t manage an ADR at a place you like, you can check Mobile Dine Walk-up Availability instead.

Honestly, this service isn’t as valuable at Magic Kingdom as some other parks, though. This is because the only participating restaurants are at DVC resorts instead.

You’ll find them at:

  • Kona Café
  • Narcoossee’s 
  • Steakhouse 71
  • Trail’s End
  • Whispering Canyon Café
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Whispering Canyon Cafe (Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog)

The other thing to know is that Mobile Ordering represents the default setting at Quick Service restaurants these days. 

You should expect to use it and grow familiar with the process. In doing so, you’ll skip the line at the cash register and guarantee yourself a table.

Start planning your next Disney vacation TODAY! Book your next Disney vacation visit by browsing our current DVC Confirmed Reservation Specials, or use our DVC availability tool to see if the dates for your vacation are available. From there, you can start the booking process and one of our team members will reach out to assist!

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