The Mad Tea Party is a classic spinning tea cup ride located in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park. This attraction, which opened on July 17, 1955 as part of the park’s grand opening, brings to life the madcap and chaotic spirit of the Unbirthday Party scene from Walt Disney’s 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland. In this review, we’ll go over the general ride information, history, and ride experience.
Average Wait Times: Wait times for the Mad Tea Party can vary depending on the season, day of the week, and time of day. On average, visitors can expect to wait anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes during peak times.
Height Requirements: The Mad Tea Party is a family-friendly ride with no height requirement, making it suitable for guests of all ages. This inclusivity adds to its popularity, as families can enjoy the whimsical experience together.
Single Rider: There is no single rider for this ride.
Ride Duration: Once the teacups begin to spin, the Mad Tea Party takes guests on a two-minute whirlwind of laughter and delight.
Rider Switch: For families with young children who may not meet the height requirement, the Rider Switch service allows one adult to wait with the non-riding child while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. Once the first group has finished, the waiting adult and up to two additional guests can use the Rider Switch pass to skip the regular line.
Disability Access Service (DAS): The Disability Access Service (DAS) is available for individuals whose disabilities prevent them from waiting in a conventional queue. Guests can request DAS at Guest Relations, allowing them to enjoy other areas of the park while waiting for their turn to experience the Mad Tea Party.
Best Times To Ride: Choosing the right time to experience the Mad Tea Party can significantly impact the overall enjoyment of the ride. While wait times can fluctuate, generally, the best times to ride are during non-peak hours, such as early in the morning or later in the evening. Weekdays, especially Tuesday through Thursday, tend to be less crowded than weekends.
History of the Attraction
The Mad Tea Party opened with Disneyland on July 17, 1955 as one of several opening day attractions. It was originally located in the Fantasyland courtyard where King Arthur’s Carousel currently sits before being relocated to its present site in 1983. Early concepts envisioned a more elaborate experience featuring animated versions of Alice in Wonderland characters like the Mad Hatter and March Hare presiding over the ride.
The final simplified design provided by Arrow Development still focused on the chaotic spirit of the film’s Unbirthday Party scene. In 2004, the spinning mechanism was adjusted to prevent teacups from reaching dangerously high speeds after an incident where a rider was injured. When Disneyland celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005, the attraction received a temporary gold-leafed teacup among other enhancements.
Design and Architecture
The Mad Tea Party’s design evokes the whimsical world of Wonderland with its giant pastel-colored teacups decorated with polka dots, stripes, hearts, and other motifs inspired by Mary Blair’s art for the film. The teacups spin around a central teapot, brought to life through warm lighting and charming details like its mouse-eared spout and lid.
The ride platform itself resembles a patchwork quilt, with 18 teacups sitting atop turntables of varying sizes. This unique configuration, with teacups spinning on both revolving and stationary discs, provides each ride experience with an element of unpredictability. Above the ride, decorative streamers and lanterns hang from a vine-covered trellis overhead.
At night, the strings of lights lend a dreamlike ambiance as the teacups whirl beneath them. The surrounding topiaries, stepping-stone path, and storybook-style fencing reinforce the whimsical fantasy world.
The queue for the Mad Tea Party winds through a pleasant garden area filled with visual interest like flower beds, decorative mirrors, and giant teapots. Whimsical music from the film including the Unbirthday Song sets the mood. Once aboard an oversized teacup, up to 4 riders can comfortably enjoy the experience together. The ride lasts about 90 seconds, during which guests can control their teacup’s speed by turning the wheel in the center.
As the ride operator activates the turntables, each teacup begins slowly revolving in place. Faster spins can be achieved by turning the wheel, resulting in a delightfully dizzying experience! As teacups rotate around the platform, riders whirl past the other spinning teacups and the giant teapot centerpiece. Periodically, the Dormouse pops out of the teapot’s spout, bringing a smile to riders’ faces.
The ride’s upbeat music fills the air, crescendoing in a climax of color, motion, and joyful silliness. Exhilarated and giggling, guests then exit their teacups feeling happily disoriented yet eager to enjoy another magical spin. For those seeking more topsy-turvy fun, the only remedy is to immediately hop in the standby line once again!
The Mad Tea Party at Disneyland remains a timeless attraction that continues to enchant visitors of all ages. From its rich history and whimsical design to the practical considerations of wait times and accessibility services, the ride offers a delightful experience that embodies the magic of Disney. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Disney enthusiast, a spin in the Mad Tea Party teacups is a must for anyone seeking a whimsical journey into the heart of Wonderland.
With no height requirement, interactive spinning controls, and a gentle ride motion, the Mad Tea Party is an iconic Disneyland attraction guests of all ages can enjoy together. On your next visit, don't miss the opportunity to join in the madcap fun at this classic Fantasyland tea party!