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A New Way to Start Your Day at Magic Kingdom Park Begins January 9

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Are you planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in 2017? New enhancements are coming to the way guests will experience the opening of Magic Kingdom Park – starting on January 9!

If you’ve experienced the park’s “opening moment” during previous vacations, you may recall waiting at the front of the park to kick off the day.

Beginning January 9, guests will be allowed to enter the Main Street, U.S.A. area of the park even earlier than the park’s scheduled opening time. This will allow guests time to savor the charm of Main Street, U.S.A., enjoy breakfast or a warm drink at the Main Street Bakery featuring Starbucks. Then promptly at opening, a new welcome show will officially open the park for the day on the Castle Forecourt Stage. A Royal Herald will appear to deliver a proclamation and welcome a few familiar characters to the stage, officially opening the park so “the magic can begin!”


  • This is a great change. I don’t get the love for the train show, personally. We saw it a couple times over the last two trips last year and it wasn’t all that. This is such a great idea. It allows you into the park to take advantage of some open space, shop or grab breakfast/coffee. One has to imagine that food sales and merchandise sales are booming as a result of this change.

  • No! Waiting for the train and the Good Morning song are so much a part of our family tradition. Counting down and singing along are such a great way to start our day of magic. Not to mention that my girls will be crushed that they no longer have a chance to be the first family! This makes me really sad. ?

  • So no more train arrival with characters?? This is so sad. One of my favorite things at Disney. My son loves the video of the train and Mickey and was looking forward to seeing it. (He was one when we went last). Glad I have the video I guess. ☹️

  • Will they still sing “Good morning, Good morning”?

  • Will they still pick an opening Family?

  • This reminds me of the way “rope drop” was years ago, before the train opening ceremony. We always planned going to the MK on EMH days; after leisurely walking along Main Street, we’d head to Fantasyland for some pixie dust and magic. As the time got closer to “rope drop”, we’d find a place to sit and relax and watch everyone rushing to their first attraction of the day. I actually think the new (actually older) way of opening the park is really a return to nostalgia. So, if you’re at the MK on 3 February, look for me; I’ll be sitting somewhere the Castle, relaxing and enjoying being back at my home-away-from home.

  • This is a good idea but what effect will it have on morning Extra Magic Hours?

  • So read through all of the comments..seems almost 50/50 on understanding how to take advantage of current necessary change vs those who don’t want any change to last more than necessary…

    Seems like whatever happens anywhere in WDW we see the same response..

    In the end we are still enjoying this small piece of magic in greater perspective of our (week-long) family vacations..hope we can take advantage of whatever temporary change this is…

  • I think this is a great change for safety reasons, I hope it stays, I wonder though , will this be the end of the vehicles that drove us up Main Street?

  • I am planning to experience the old ceremony on December 31, 2016 and plan to be back sometime the next trimester to experience the new opening ceremony and be able to compare them and provide my feedback. In the meantime, I am overwhelmed with joy to spend my first New Year’s Eve at the absolutely most wonderful place in the entire ?: Magic Kingdom!!!????????✨?

  • Love this! Can’t wait to take some photos, grab a cup of joe, and relax for a few minutes before the fun starts. Thanks Disney!

  • Will we access to the whole park before 9am or will they somehow close off everything but main street? The reason I ask is if the park is open, people will skip the opening show at the castle and go straight to rides to wait in line for 9am opening.
    We always arrive at the park early, have breakfast waiting for the opening show, then get in the park right as it opens. We set our first fast pass for 9:45 and are able to get in two popular rides before the lines get long and without using a fast pass. If the lines will now be starting early, like 8:30, I will have to re think this strategy.

  • Will there still be a special family chosen to open the park?

  • I wonder how they will manage this on the days with extra magic hours in the morning

  • Normally I’m not a fan of change, but I love this idea! In an action-packed park day, I often wish I had more time to peruse the shops and try the themed treats, but that gets cast aside in the rush to ride rides. Now, we can do both! Plus, it clears the backlog and eases the crowd-crunch of everyone trying to get through the entryway at the same time. If it pans out as planned, it could be great. Count me in!

  • That will pretty much make it impossible to enjoy early morning ADR’s before the park opens. Never was a fan of the Welcome show, but I loved being able to enter the park early for breakfast and get castle pics with no one in them. Hope this isn’t a permanent thing.

  • I personally like the change. The opening show was fun, but it really gets crowded.
    I’m sure Disney sees it as a way to get guests to spend more since they will be already “in the park,” but it is a plus for guests. Shopping, dining, bathrooms… there are none between the “turnstile” and Main St. I would hope Disney has some food kiosks for quick service breakfasts too.

  • Great news! We’ve never been able to get it together early enough to make it to the welcome show anyway.

  • I love this! I was just at WDW in April, and while the show was lovely, it meant that you rushed through Main Street to get to the land & ride we wanted to start with. This is often the way that it’s done at Disneyland & California Adventure, and I much prefer that. There isn’t a show in CA, but a lovely announcement at the “rope drop” when you are free to move into the other lands, and it’s great to be able to get breakfast, a cup of tea, or whatever while you wait inside with space & atmosphere surrounding you, rather than a bunch of people squeezed into a small space, followed by a mad rush through Main Street. I think this is an excellent idea. And I’m sure the opening ceremony they do at the Castle Forecourt Stage will be similar to what used to be done at the front entrance. Great decision!

  • I, like many others, do hope this is only temporary while they work on the railroad. It was one of my favourite things when I was there in December 2015. For our little group of three who traveled from Australia the old show was the “magic” that kicked off out day at the Magic Kingdom. I’m going back in September 2017 and I hope the old show will be back.

  • No where in the article does it say that this temporary.

  • This is being billed as temporary while the railroad undergoes a lengthy refurbishment fur the next few months. They are not doing away with the old ceremony.

  • Keep in mind, guys, this is just to tide us over while the railroad gets its refurbishment. Who knows, it might not be as bad as you think.

    Btw, do you think it’ll be possible to try something like this in Disneyland?

  • I’m looking forward to this – much more room for people to actually enjoy Main Street, rather than sprinting toward whatever headliner they want to ride before the rest of the crowd. This could be a great way to be able to slow down and take in the experience of Main Street – just as it was intended. We’ll be there right around that time, too – will be interesting to see how it works out.

  • Sad to hear this change, like others commented I hope this change is only temporary. I have always loved the music of the welcome show, and the build up and anticipation is a big part of what made the show special. Everyone was building up to that big moment when they would be allowed in the park. How will the welcome show be as exciting and full of anticipation if guests are **ALREADY** in the park??? The train and the Main Street characters in the welcome show built up the anticipation and excitement as everyone eagerly awaited entering the park. I also thought they were a beautiful homage to Walt, especially having the train so prominently featured in the show. Just allowing guests to proceed directly to Main Street is not going to have nearly the amount of excitement and magic and anticipation – I think the castle welcome will be pretty anticlimactic after guests have already seen the castle and spent time on Main Street.

    Will a family still be selected each morning to help open the park? Will the characters and the Main Street citizens still be part of the show? I hope this change is temporary.

  • While I am sad to hear that the opening show we have all loved is being replaced, we must remember that Walt himself always felt that change- “we keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”

  • We were just there the first week of December. With the crowds waiting for the opening show, we were stopped probably 20 deep waiting for the entrance posts to resume because of no more room! I also tried to make my way from the middle of Main Street to go into the bakery. I couldn’t for the crowd just pushing me ahead! I think it’s a great idea for a welcome show at the castle, even though I will miss Casey, jr!

  • I remember doing this as a child. We would have breakfast by the flower cart. There was not the mad dash and mega crowd that there is today. Hopefully this will allow families to enjoy the park at their own pace!

  • How much earlier on the 9th?

  • I am hoping this is temporary. I love the train opening and look forward to it. My son loves trains and in a mostly female oriented location the trains, cars, and planes help boys feel the magic as well.

  • So, no more opening ceremonies with the mayor and all the characters on the train?☹️️???????????

  • Agree with Justin Scire. There is something special about seeing the cast arrive by train (a symbol of Walt to me), and line up along the guard rail where everyone can see them open Magic Kingdom. I can only hope this is temporary.

  • How much earlier before official opening will guests be allowed to enter Main Street?

  • I am so sad the morning train show will be going away. I loved it. Will they still be having the same songs ? I hope so ?

  • I for one am not a fan of this change. I understand the reason for doing this in terms of alleviating the congestion in between the train station and entry point, but they are taking away cool factor of waiting to be welcomed into the park.

    Will the Characters of Main Street like the Mayor be incorporated in this or are we seeing a change that will further limit the role of people like the Mayor?

  • Will this be for guests staying onsite only?

  • I love that you’re going back to doing this! It was this way for many years and worked very well at dispersing crowds.

  • Very, VERY bummed that you are doing away with the current, “Welcome Show”. The current show promotes the “old timey” feel that Main Street is supposed to represent. It appealed to all ages. Moving it to the castle will make it just another show in Fantasy Land that appeals only to those who are interested in Princesses. Sad day.

  • This sounds wonderful, however, I will miss the Opening Ceremony. We always try to catch the opening on our Magic Kingdom Days. It would be incredible to have both. The Opening Ceremony is always one of my favorite things at any park.

  • I think this is great. A little more flexibility to enter the park in the early morning but still “see everything with every minute available.”

  • Really sad to lose the train show. Will there be all the characters parading on to the stage for the opening? Also where will people be allowed to wait for the lands to open?

  • Bittersweet for our family. We always love new Disney experiences, but sad to see some of our traditions go. The Welcome Show was always a highlight for us. Hopefully they will stay true to elements from the current production, such as the “Good Morning” song, official countdown and including a guest family.

  • Disney stands to make a lot more money from this decision and we will not have to stand in a large group huddle for extended time. I welcome the idea of grabbing something to eat and drink before the “official” opening. Normally, I would move quickly past Main St. to get to a popular ride and skip the charm of Main St. Very pleased with this announcement. ??

  • Does that mean that the actual morning show will be discontinued??

  • Will this change be for only while the railroad is down for refurbishment and then go back to the train show when the railroad reopens? Or is this a permanent change for the future and no more train show?

  • I absolutely love the way the Magic Kingdom opens now. The anticipation of the reveal of the Castle – looking down Main Street, once Mickey and his friends have arrived is such an impressive moment. Walt designed the entrance that way- so the guests feel as if the curtain has been raised and the red carpet rolled out. Now just going in will be no different than any other time of day. I truly hope that this will change back at some point.

  • Will there still be an opportunity for guests with “pre-park opening” ADRs to get in before the regular crowds or will that opportunity for pictures of an “empty” Main St no longer exist?

  • will this be for guest staying on property, or for anyone visiting the park that day?

  • January 9th? We leave January 8th. I’m going to need you guys to start this early ;).

  • Kind of takes away from the excitement if it all and the nostalgia of the welcome show and the train and the whole opening ceremony. 🙁

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