Unlike the other three parks, Magic Kingdom does not have a tiered FP+ system. EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios break the rides into FP+ tiers. You choose one ride from tier 1, and two from tier 2. Because the other parks have far less rides than Magic Kingdom, the tiered system gives guests a fair opportunity to secure their favorite FP+.
While Magic Kingdom doesn’t have a tiered system intact, I do believe the demand for rides are tiered based on popularity. Here’s how they break down…
The New Favorite(s)
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the newest ride at Magic Kingdom. It’ll have an astronomical wait time at any given time during Christmas week, even after Rope Drop. We ran to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during the morning Extra Magic Hours on Christmas morning and it was already at 100 minutes. As you may expect, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is an extremely difficult FP+ to secure. For this reason, I recommend making this your main priority.
The Popular Attractions
These are the rides that will see at least 90 to 120-minute or longer waits. These aren’t just the most popular rides at Magic Kingdom, but some of the most popular at all of Disney. These should be your next target:
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen
*I never reserve a FP+ for Splash Mountain during Christmas. The weather is very inconsistent in December. It can be 80 degrees and sunny, or 50 and cloudy. We always plan for the worst case scenario – and there’s no way we’re going on Splash Mountain if it’s cold out! Because of the inconsistent weather, I don’t recommend booking a FP+ for Splash Mountain.
The Cult Favorites
These are the rides that you probably wouldn’t expect to be popular, but are. They’re the head scratchers – you pass them and say “how does (insert ride name) have a 90-minute wait?!” They’re fan favorite and big family rides, so guests tend to gravitate toward them.
The Haunted Mansion
Jingle (Jungle) Cruise
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Pirates of the Caribbean
What to Avoid
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of using a FP+ for fireworks, shows or parades. We might try to get a FP+ for Wishes this year, but we won’t be disappointed if we don’t. If you plan correctly, you should be able to find a solid spot for the fireworks or a parade. Fitting all the rides into one day is a bit more difficult, however.
I also don’t believe in using a FP+ for continuous-load rides. Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Small World and Jungle Cruise usually take a lot of guests at one time and at a continuous rate. While these rides are pretty popular and can see a 90-minute wait, the standby time rarely goes over 60 minutes.
What to Book
I’d make Seven Dwarfs Mine Train your number one priority. As I mentioned in a previous post, try and secure the reservation later in your trip – it gives you a better chance of getting the FP+. If I had only one day at Magic Kingdom, I’d reserve Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Thunder Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I would plan my FP+ for the afternoon and head to the park for rope drop or morning EMH and head directly to Space Mountain first. After riding Space Mountain, I’d go to the Jungle Cruise. The wait time should be between 30-40 minutes. After Jungle Cruise, I’d go to Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by Small World and then Haunted Mansion. That should take us to the afternoon, when I’d redeem my three FP+. Throughout the rest of the day I’d go on the teacups, Dumbo and yes – the Goofy coaster.
If I have another day at the park, I’d plan Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and a second FP+ for Thunder Mountain. If not, I’d catch the first showing of Wishes and the parade and then target Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh during the encores or evening Extra Magic Hours.