Six-year-old Moonee lives with her young mother Halley in the Magic Castle, a motel in Kissimmee, Florida near Walt Disney World. She spends most of her summer days unsupervised with her motel-resident friends Scooty and Dicky, engaging in mischief, mooching from tourists, stealing, and other misbehavior. After the three children are caught spitting on a guest's car, Dicky's father restricts him from playing with Moonee and Scooty. While cleaning up the guest's car they had spat on, Moonee meets Jancey, a child living at the Futureland motel next door, and invites her to hang out with them. Later on, Dicky's family relocates to New Orleans, which saddens the group. Bobby, the manager of Magic Castle, is protective of the children.