1 day Disney World itinerary plan school age kids

Heading to Disney World with a school age kid (also known as school kids or elementary schoolers)?

This is our 1 day Disney World itinerary and comprehensive plan for school age kids. Actually, it’s two different 1 day plans, so you can choose the one that’s best for your child.

This plan will help you get the most out of a short stay at Disney World.

How to read this plan

We approach all of our comprehensive Disney World plans with 4 steps:

1. Pick parks
2. Make ADRs
3. Make FastPasses
4. Execute schedule

We have a Disney World base planning process here, that ties into this plan.

This plan is designed to be layered on top of that foundation, to customize it for school age kids and a 1 day trip length.

Step 1 of this plan ties into step 3 of the base process (pick your park).  This will be self-explanatory after looking at both.

One Day Disney World plan for school age kids: some options

You can’t do all of Disney World, or even all of Magic Kingdom, in 1 day.  That’s why we’ve actually created 2 touring plans:

  1. Thrill seeker version (Hit all the rollercoasters)
  2. No rollercoasters version

You’ll see options for each plan in each of the steps below. You can pick the one that fits your family the best.

We’ve included dinner and evening options as well, so that you can get the most our of your 1 day.

We recommend getting into the park early, preferably by using a breakfast Advance Dining Reservation. If you can’t get an early morning ADR, then we recommend arriving at rope drop.

We also start off at the back of the park in Fantasyland, where lines tend to be shorter as crowds trickle in.

Ok, on to the plan!

Step 1: Pick your park

[Note: this step ties into step 3 of our base planning process.]

Use our Park Selector table for school age kids to chose your park.

1 Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary for School Age Kids - Park Selector Table

As you can see, for this one day plan for school age kids, we will be at Magic Kingdom.

Step 2: Make your Advance Dining Reservations ADRs

Make an early morning 8:00 am ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character dining meal in Cinderella’s iconic castle in the middle of Magic Kingdom.  You will meet Cinderella and a rotating cast of princesses.  We met Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White.

Be Our Guest is not a character meal, and thus will be faster.  This will get you out sooner to get on rides early before lines form.

Magic Kingdom doesn’t hit peak crowds until 10-11 am. By getting into the park early, you can get onto several rides with little to no wait, before you even have to use a FastPass+.

Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest are both notoriously hard-to-get ADRs, so use our instructions to get it.

Make a 12:00 pm ADR at Crystal Palace for lunch.

This will give you a chance to take a break, cool off, and reenergize over lunch. And you’ll meet Winnie the Pooh and friends from the 100 acre woods.

Make a 5:30 pm dinner ADR at Chef Mickey’s in the contemporary.

Or choose from any of the following monorail restaurants:

Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s (table service, character dining, ADR required) [editor’s choice]
The Wave…of American Flavors (table service)
Contempo Cafe (quick service)
California Grill (table service, ADR required)

Disney’s Polynesian Resort
‘Ohana (not a character meal, ADR required) [editor’s choice]
Captain Cook’s (quick service)

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
1900 Park Fare (table service, character meal, ADR required) [editor’s choice]
Grand Floridian Cafe (table service, ADR required)
Narcoossees (table service, ADR required)
Gasparilla Island Grill (quick service)
Cítricos (table service, ADR required)

Step 3: Make your FastPasses

We cover FastPasses here.  This is how you will select your rides and attractions for the day.

We recommend making your FastPasses between 10am and 3pm.  You won’t need them any earlier because crowd levels will still be low.

As we mentioned, we are presenting 2 itineraries: one for thrill seekers, and one without rollercoasters.  Make your FastPasses accordingly:

Itinerary for thrill seekers

Make these FastPasses:

  1. 11:00am – 12:00pm FastPass Space Mountain
  2. 1:00pm – 2:00pm FastPass Big Thunder Mountain (40 inch height requirement)
  3. 2:00pm – 3:00pm FastPass Splash Mountain (40 inch height requirement)
Itinerary without coasters

Make these FastPasses:

  1. 11:00am – 12:00pm Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  2. 1:00pm – 2:00pm FastPass Tomorrow Land Speedway
  3. 2:00pm – 3:00pm FastPass Pirates of the Caribbean

Step 4: Execute the schedule!

Itinerary for thrill seekers
7:00 am - Head to Magic Kingdom 

7:20 am - Go through the Early Advanced Dining Reservation Line (usually to the far left)

7:30 am - Get photos taken on empty Main Street on the way to breakfast

7:45 am - Early Morning Advanced Dining Reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant or Cinderella's Royal Table. If you eat relatively quickly, you should be able to get to your first ride with very little wait.

8:50 am -  Finish breakfast and Walk to the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train Ride (Fantasyland) 38 Inch Height Requirement

9:00 am - Ride 7 Dwarfs Mine Train Ride as it opens (this would usually require a FastPass, but you should be able to get on quickly if you head there directly from breakfast.

9:20 am - Peter Pan's Flight (Fantasyland)

9:40 am - Barnstormer with the Great Goofini (Fantasyland)

9:50 am - Head over to Tomorrowland. 

10:00 am - Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

10:30 am - Tomorrowland Speedway (54 inch height requirement for drivers, 32 inches for riders)

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - First FastPass - Space Mountain. Arrive towards the end of your reservation period

12:00 PM - Lunch ADR at Crystal Palace (or wherever you like)

1:00 - 2:00 pm - Second FastPass - Big Thunder Mountain (40 inch height requirement)

2:00 - 3:00 pm - Third FastPass - Splash Mountain (40 inch height requirement)

Get More FastPasses - As soon as you activate your 3rd FastPass, you may schedule a 4th, but options are usually limited. If you are coming back for the after dinner option, you will probably be able to find something you want. You make these in your app or at a FastPass kiosk. There is a kiosk between Liberty Square and Frontierland, between the Frontier Trading Post and the Diamond Horseshoe.

If staying on property, consider heading back for a rest or swim.

More Recommended Rides for the afternoon: 
     Haunted Mansion 
     Pirates of the Caribbean 

5:00 pm - Head to the monorail to your dinner ADR.

5:30 pm - Dinner ADR at Chef Mickey's or other restaurant of your choice.

See below for evening option.

Itinerary without rollercoasters
7:00 am - Head to Magic Kingdom 

7:20 am - Go through the Early Advanced Dining Reservation Line (usually to the far left)

7:30 am - Get photos taken on empty Main Street on the way to breakfast

7:45 am - Early Morning Advanced Dining Reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant or Cinderella's Royal Table. If you eat relatively quickly, you should be able to get to your first ride with very little wait.

8:50 am - Ride Haunted Mansion

9:20 am - Ride Peter Pan's Flight

9:40 am - Ride Barnstormer with the Great Goofing (this is a rollercoaster, but it's very mild for young kids)

10:00 am - Ride Astro Orbiter

10:30 am - Ride Stitch's Great Escape

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - First FastPass - Ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Read tips on how to win here!)

12:00 pm - Lunch ADR at Crystal Palace

1:00 - 2:00 pm - Second FastPass - Tomorrowland Speedway (54 inch height requirement for drivers, 32 inch height requirement for riders) 

2:00 - 3:00 pm - Third FastPass - Pirates of the Caribbean

Get More FastPasses - As soon as you activate your 3rd FastPass, you may schedule a 4th, but options are usually limited. If you are coming back after dinner, you will probably be able to find something you want in the evening. You can make these in your app or at a FastPass kiosk. There is a FastPass kiosk next to Jungle Cruise in Adventureland.

If staying on property, consider heading back for a rest or swim.
More Recommended Rides for the afternoon:
     Jungle Cruise
     Fairytale Hall (meet princesses)
     Hall of Presidents
     Swiss Family Treehouse
     
4:30 pm - Stroll through the shops on main street

5:00 pm - Head to the monorail to your dinner ADR.

5:30 pm - Dinner ADR at Chef Mickey's or other restaurant of your choice.
After dinner option
6:30 pm - Finish Dinner and take monorail back to Magic Kingdom (or walk if you ate at Chef Mickey's)

7:00 pm - Ride anything you missed during the day. Night time favorites:
          Jungle Cruise
          Haunted Mansion
          7 Dwarfs Mine Train
          Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

9:00 pm - Watch the Fireworks - Prime viewing spots:
          FastPass area (make a FastPass for the fireworks)
          Main Street, U.S.A
          On Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Other Notes about Magic Kingdom

  • Check out our tips on staying cool at Disney World here.
  • Check out our best rides and attractions for school kids at Magic Kingdom here.
  • Park hours often change from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Check the day before to ensure you know what time the park is opening.
  • If you don’t have an early ADR, being at Magic Kingdom for Rope Drop is important in order to get a head start on the crowds.
  • Magic Kingdom generally lets guests through the turnstiles, but not all the way into the park, 15 minutes before park opening (usually 8:45 am). If early crowds are large enough, Disney may let people in early or open the park early.

We really hope this helps you make the most out of your day in Magic Kingdom with your school age kids. Please let us know in the comments what you think of the itinerary. And if you put it in to action, definitely let us know!

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