Why Going to Magic Kingdom is Pointless

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is said to be the Most Magical Place on Earth. And it IS amazing. Who wouldn’t want to battle pirates with Peter Pan, soar with Dumbo, and gaze longingly at the windows in Cinderella Castle KNOWING there’s a whole gold-encrusted bathtub in that dream suite that we’ll never soak in? (OK just me on that last one? Really?)

Cinderella Castle

But here’s the thing. Magic Kingdom can be extremely expensive and difficult to get to — especially if you’re not staying at one of the monorail resorts. It gets crowded and crazy during the busy seasons. And sometimes it’s good to remember that you can find a LOT of Magical Disney fun in places that aren’t so expensive and difficult to get to.

Truth be told, you can get just as magical experiences elsewhere on Disney World property without ever setting foot in the Magic Kingdom!

Caribbean Beach Resort Pool

SpinrSo what can you do without a ticket to the Magic Kingdom? Where do you go? Follow along while we tell you why going to Magic Kingdom is practically pointless when you look at the fun you can have without admission to the parks.


Did you know Disney Springs has a whole handful of things you can do and ride without a ticket to the theme parks? Another bonus to this awesome news is that you can park there for free. Or take Disney transportation by bus or boat, or, depending on where you’re staying, even walk to get there.

Train at Disney Springs

The current list of attractions over at Disney Springs includes: Aerophile – The World Leader in Balloon Flight, the Marketplace Carousel, and the Marketplace Train Express.


Looking for something a bit different? You can try bowling a few frames over at Splitsville, where you can also enjoy some sushi and other fine eats. Or check out the Vintage Amphicar & Italian Water Taxi Tours at the Boathouse.

Boat Cars at Disney Springs

Who knew you could get such thrills outside Disney’s theme parks?


Did you know there are more than 100 different restaurants in the resorts on Disney World property? A variety of styles in a wide price range can be found almost anywhere you go.

Topolino’s Terrace

And the best part about these locations is that you don’t have to be a resort guest to eat there. Anyone can make a reservation at any of the table service locations or pull up a chair to the counter service spots.


A few of our favorites to try out are the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, California Grill, Sanaa, and Victoria & Albert’s.

Character Meals

How could we talk about dining options without covering character meals?! You don’t have to head into the Magic Kingdom (or any other park for that matter) to eat with Disney pals.

Hugging Minnie at Chef Mickey’s!

There are several locations where you can dine with characters at Disney Resorts. Just make sure you get a reservation well in advance. Fan-favorites include: Chef Mickey’s, ‘Ohana, and Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White.

Live Entertainment

Magic Kingdom isn’t the only place with great shows! While there are so many fun options there and at the other Disney World theme parks, we think you can have just as much fun at other places on property.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Check out some great restaurants with live performers, like over at Disney Springs (Raglan Road comes to mind!).

Raglan Road has musicians and dancers!

Looking for dinner and a show? There’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at the Fort Wilderness Resort which is a rootin’ tootin’ good time! This show is sure to get your toes tapping while you fill up your belly.

Other Recreation

We can’t even begin to list all the things you can do at the Disney World resorts. Each location has its own list of activities to keep you busy.

Fort Wilderness

You can choose something athletic, like swimming, basketball, or even a hike. Or, you can experience the thrill of archery or horseback riding for something even more exciting.

Archery Experience at Fort Wilderness

For fun on the water, try renting a boat, canoe, or kayak, and you can even try your hand at some fishing.

Guided Fishing at Port Orleans Riverside

Young guests can have fun at an arcade or burn off some energy at a playground.

Pop Century Resort Arcade

If you just need to relax a bit, try out one of several pools your resort may have to offer.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Pool

But, do note that not all recreational activities are permitted to guests who are not staying at that specific resort, so call ahead to be sure!

Stormalong Bay Slide at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club

Did we leave out your favorite thing to do outside of the parks while you’re still on Disney property? Make sure you share it in the comments below!

We are always adding fun things to do to our ever-growing Disney World bucket list — check out our Accommodations In and Around Walt Disney World page to find out more. You can find full lists of attractions, dining, and more available at each location in the tabs on the left. Stay tuned to All Ears for more Disney World tips, tricks, and info!

The Best and Worst Disney World Resorts at Every Price Point

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What is your favorite thing to do on Disney property that isn’t inside the theme parks? Tell us in the comments!

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Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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30 Replies to “Why Going to Magic Kingdom is Pointless”

  1. I think the whole point of the article is to showcase some of the other things you can do at WDW. Many people think that the parks are all that are there. The title is just to grab your attention & shouldn’t be taken literally. The opening paragraph about why you shouldn’t go to MK is meant to be read in a jokey manner. It’s meant to be an ironic nod to all those who do have a whinge (but probably go back year after year)!

    1. Louise, you get it, I get it, and few others get it. Problem is, a lot of the target audience doesn’t have a sense of humor. Not about WDW anyway. It’s all serious, all the time.

  2. Having lived in Florida and SE Georgia for decades, I encounter people all the time who visit WDW. Her is how a lot of those conversations go;

    Me: “How was your trip to WDW?” Them: “Holy cow. The crowds were insane, the cost was outrageous, what a nightmare.” Me: “so, I assume you won’t be going back?” Them: “Are you kidding me? We’ve already booked our next trip. Can’t wait. It’s in 113 days, 11 hours, 27 minutes, and 43 seconds.” Almost like a religious pilgrimage, they return year after year. It is a vacation phenomenon I have seen only associated with WDW. And yes, I have made this pilgrimage myself many times. I returned to WDW for many years long after the initial thrill had worn off. Long after burn out set in. Long after I’d spent way more money than any one place should ever get from me. I have my theories as to why people, including me, do this. But I’m curious what others have to say causes this seemingly irrational behavior.

  3. We have made trips before and not gone to the parks but it has been rare. It has usually been when we are just passing through and don’t have passes or it’s a second trip not far removed from a park filled trip. My question though is why choose Disney World for a vacation spot if you don’t want to deal with crowds or spend money? There are a lot of vacation spots that don’t cost as much and aren’t as crowded, so if you are trying to dodge the MK because of crowds and money, maybe Disney World isn’t the ideal spot for you. Most things cost more at Disney than they do other places; that’s not a surprise. Sure there are things to do without going to the MK, and those things are good to know when you want to spend less days at the parks at a vacation. But to suggest skipping MK makes for an odd article IMO.

  4. You can easily have a week where you go to Disney and not even go to a park. Personally I would never be able to stay away from The parks if I was that close but to each their own.

    1. Are you kidding me? For years I took my kids to Disney Springs and had them convinced that they were at “the” WDW. Saved me a fortune. Isn’t it great that kids are so gullible!

  5. I think this article has some great points. MK is my husbands least favorite park. On any given trip we’ll spend a few hours doing some favorites but we spend most of our time at the other parks. There are so many fun things to do all over property that I wouldn’t drive myself crazy trying to do everything at MK. That being said, my kids and I did spend a 14 hour day at MK in 2017 while my husband was working. It was all you would imagine a 14 hour day at MK to be, laughter & tears, exhaustion & elation!

  6. Bravo Steve. logic and facts prevail, as they always do.

    Yes Disney Springs does have a lot of neat stuff to do. But, just as with the parks, it is ridiculously expensive, the crowds can be just as crazy, and the experience can leave you asking, “Why didn’t I just go to GatorLand”? Of course, before you take my advise and speed on down there, I recommend you first read this same authors recent article titled, “Why Going To GatorLand Is Pointless.”

  7. Okay, so I go to Disney Springs and do some of the things you mention. The Areophile is $20, the VOID experience is $33 and the amphibian car are $75. So I just spent$128 for three experiences. For a one day pass for $109 and parking $20 (I think) gets you to $129 with all day to do Fastpass rides. Seems like the Magic Kingdom is a very good value compared to Disney Springs.

  8. There’s a better way to push things that are outside Magic Kingdom without whining about the crowds. There are plenty to do in the park that are not outside the park! That’s like saying going to a lake and saying it’s the same as going to the ocean—it’s just not the same.

    1. Yeah, if you’re going to spend the money on going to Disney, I can’t imagine actually not going to Disney. The other things are nice, but no replacement. And this is coming from a 50 year old who has gone since a child. Sorry, just don’t agree.

  9. Initially, I looked at this headline and thought, “How dare they say that!” but then saw what the article is really about. It’s been something I have been preaching/bragging about for a long time. How many things are outside the parks and are a great experience, many completely free.

    Here are a few you missed.

    – Several of the resorts have movies under the stars. No admission, no checking if you are hotel guest, nothing. I know Boardwalk and Grand Floridian for sure.
    – Rent a pontoon boat w/ driver to see world showcase fireworks.
    – Dessert Cruise to see MK fireworks
    – Lots of musical entertainment on the “streets” of Disney Springs, mostly around the springs.
    – Art of Animation has fun evening experience, designed more for Kids, one is a Karaoke night (i think on Thursday, not sure)
    – Animal Kingdom Lodge has nighttime animal viewing with infrared Binoculars at the viewing area.
    – Animal Kingdom and Wilderness Lodge both have story time by the campfire outside
    – Wide world of Sports have many of their events that are completely free to spectators.
    – Superbowl, World Series, NBA, NHL and other major sporting events usually have watch parties at both ESPN locations that usually include professional athletes from the sport as celebrity guests.
    – I won’t even get into all the extra things during the holidays. But most all of them are free included life-size gingerbread houses, Christmas tree trails, and tons more

    1. This past December, the guard wouldn’t let us in to park and tour the Grand Floridian to see said Gingerbread house because he was terrified that we may be going to the Christmas party and wanting to park our car there and ride the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom to avoid the outrageous parking fee. We were treated like idiots and he pretended not to know which gingerbread house I was referring to saying that, “there are a lot of resorts that have gingerbread houses.” When I told him we were looking for the one that was big enough to walk in, he told me they didn’t have one like that. It’s common knowledge that the cast members sell cookies from INSIDE that house. In a nutshell, God forbid they lose that parking money, so we were turned away from touring the resort and enjoying one of those “free” experiences at WDW. I could care less if I ever went back at this point.

      1. If the parking fee was too much for you, you could have parked for free at Disney Springs, then caught the bus to the Grand Floridian! Takes more time, but would have cost you nothing!

  10. I’m guessing that the author is skillfully using hyperbole to make the larger point that the lines, the crowds, the cost, the required insane level of planning are all pushing people to say “hey, I can still enjoy myself at WDW without ever stepping into a park.” Like Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, some people take everything way too literally. Bazinga!

  11. The writer is clearly disenchanted with the whismical fairytale aspects of Magic Kingdom If you wany to do horseback riding, bowling, to see a theater production or have fine dining, simply don’t go to Disney. You can do any of those things anywhere else without paying for a fairytale theme park ticket.

    1. The point the author is making is that you can also do a boat load of fun and exciting things right here at WDW without ever having to buy a “fairytale theme Park ticket.” Was their reason a little negative. It sure was. SO WHAT. Am always amazed at how uptight, ultra-sensitive, and completely lacking of any sense of humor Disney addicts are. Say one negative thing about their all mighty precious paradise and they melt down like a snowflake.

  12. What a joyless article. Whaaaahhh, the Magic Kingdom is crowded and busy – it’s a suitable alternative to ride a lame carousel or lick the windows at the California Grille.

    1. Are you serious? No way. It is a must. Just sitting on a bench at Magic Kingdom while drinking coffee and admiring the landscaping is better than anything at Disney Springs.

      1. Well except for the people who paid hundreds of dollars for tickets specifically to go to the MK on January 31, 2018 and couldn’t get in after 11:36 A.M.

        1. Should always plan to do New years on New years eve eve (Dec 30) same fireworks with a countdown but half the crowd. Then just enjoy the real new years at the hotel watching online:)

    2. Hey, I’ve licked the windows at the California Grill. It was awesome! Tastes kinda like chicken. I recommend you bring your own hot sauce though.

  13. Games on the Boardwalk or a Surrey bike rental. Boat rides to Disney Springs. Resort campfires/smores/outdoor movies. Golf cart rentals at the campgrounds(especially at Halloween to check out the camp decorations). Minigolfs.