The Essential Magic Kingdom Rides Guide

When most people think of Walt Disney World, the first park they think of is the Magic Kingdom. In fact, some people think Disney World is the Magic Kingdom. Imagine their surprise when they show up for their Disney vacation only to discover that they have three bonus theme parks and two bonus water parks to enjoy – talk about Disney magic!

And really, it’s easy to understand why. Not only is Cinderella Castle, the park’s icon, basically synonymous with the Disney brand overall (along with Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle), but also some Magic Kingdom rides are almost as iconic as the park’s icon itself. So iconic, in fact, that some have even inspired an outrageously successful film franchise (Pirates of the Caribbean), with a new film featuring one of Hollywood’s biggest stars on the way (Jungle Cruise). Of course, another one of the rides at Magic Kingdom, the Haunted Mansion, also inspired a much-less successful film starring Eddie Murphy, but we don’t have to think about that. 

Mark Twain Riverboat on river

The point is, Disney’s Magic Kingdom is positively packed with can’t-miss rides that are just as family-friendly and nostalgic as the beloved Disney movies that the brand is known for. Which Magic Kingdom rides, shows, and other attractions should you plan for your next trip to Disney World? Keep reading as we go over all the different attractions available, including the very best rides at Magic Kingdom. 

Visiting Magic Kingdom During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Considering that we’ve now been dealing with this pandemic for over a year, it should come as a surprise to no one that the Magic Kingdom somewhat feels slightly less magical due to COVID-19. As you might expect, several attractions and experiences have been forced to temporarily close to support health and safety measures in the park, plus there are additional guidelines that have been put in place. 

Face masks and temperature checks are required across Disney World property. Specifically, face masks must be worn at all times and can only be removed if you are eating or drinking and standing in one place while socially distanced. This is true for all guests regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not. Fortunately, although face masks had previously been required to be worn during photos, that rule has since been removed, so maskless photos are now allowed, much to the rejoicing of Disney influencers and social media feeds everywhere. 

Gaston statue at night

Social distancing is a must. You’ll find markers placed on the ground at locations across the park to assist with this, namely in ride queues and lines at Magic Kingdom restaurants and merchandise locations. and you must also pass a temperature screening before entering many popular Disney destinations. 

When it comes to Magic Kingdom attractions, most remain open, although capacity has been decreased in both the queues and ride vehicles to accommodate social distancing. FastPass+ is also on hiatus for the foreseeable future, so get used to waiting in line unless you get an early start. As a result of everything, ride queues tend to look longer than they actually are. The only attractions that have closed during the pandemic are:

  • Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Walt Disney World Railroad have also been closed for the duration of the pandemic, however, that is in relation to the construction of the new TRON Lightcycle ride, not COVID-19. 

Tron Attraction Magic Kingdom

Disney characters are a big part of the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, you can’t meet them right now as character meet-and-greets are suspended until further notice. That being said, you can still get your Disney character fix thanks to miniature character parades, what Disney fancifully calls “cavalcades” and “processionals,” and random pop-ups, like Cinderella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella playfully berating and bickering with guests from a castle balcony.

Seriously, if the sisters are out greeting the guests, we highly recommend you sit and watch for a few minutes – they’re a hoot. Overall, we love these character encounters because they’re the perfect bite of character fun without having to deal with the stress of waiting in line or trying to grab a seat for the parade. 

Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland

And speaking of parades, we’re sad to say that those are temporarily canceled too, as are the castle stage and main street trolley shows, nightly fireworks, musical and atmosphere performers (aside from The Dapper Dans), and the nightly Flag Retreat ceremony. However, we are confident that these, as well as the rest of the out-of-service attractions and entertainment, will return as the pandemic continues to recede. As the situation continues to change quite quickly, we highly recommend you refer to the Disney World app, website, and cast members for the most up-to-date information. 

Best Rides at Magic Kingdom

Wondering which are the best rides at Magic Kingdom? Disney World’s most iconic theme park is chock full of family-friendly rides and attractions. Certainly the resort’s most nostalgic park, the vast majority of the rides here feel like the theme park equivalent of a warm, comforting hug – although, there are still a few thrills to be had.

As Disney World’s most character-filled park (and we’re talking about characters of the princess-and-talking-mouse variety, not just an overabundance of charm, although Magic Kingdom has that too), you’ll find that a good chunk of the attractions here are inspired by and feature some of Disney’s most-loved characters.

Exterior view of white building at night
Space Mountain

The rest of the rides, meanwhile, though largely free of Disney characters (or at least currently popular characters, anyway), tend to be excellent examples of what Disney does best: wholesome, immersive experiences that just make people happy. 

So, it’s fitting that our favorite rides are a little bit of both Magic Kingdom mainstays and character-themed fun. Here’s our list of the Magic Kingdom rides that you absolutely shouldn’t miss on your next trip to Disney World:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Frontierland

Don’t be confused by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s tagline as “the wildest ride in the wilderness.” While there are some easy thrills to be had here, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is about as family-friendly as a roller coaster can get. The storyline is simple – a rollicking ride on a rickety, runaway mine train – but the theming is strong with oodles of charm.

Red rock hoodoo's and a pond

Get hands-on with themed activities in the interactive queue, then hold tight as you careen through a dusty, abandoned gold-mining town. And be sure to keep an eye out for fun details like the party that’s raging up on the second floor at the Gold Dust Saloon as you breeze through town. 

Height Requirement: 40” (102cm) or taller

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin | Tomorrowland

Battle it out with your ride mate as you shoot lasers to earn points and ultimately defeat the evil Zurg. Although it lacks the eye-popping technology of Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is another fusion of shooting gallery-style game and dark ride that is a ton of fun. Kids love it, adults love it. It’s a great ride if you like a little friendly competition, no matter what age you are. 

Height Requirement: None

Haunted Mansion | Liberty Square

Haunted Mansion during middle of day

The Haunted Mansion is like no home tour you’ve ever been on before. Hop in your Doom Buggy for this slow-moving and air-conditioned ride around an estate haunted by 999 ghosts. Pepper’s Ghost(s), of course. While the story and the setting are certainly a bit spooky, there are no real chills to be had here, although littler children may be a little frightened by the special effect at the end of the ride that *spoiler alert* makes it look like your ride vehicle has its own haunting. Kids and kids-at-heart alike will especially enjoy the interactive queue.

Height Requirement: None

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh | Fantasyland

Winnie the Pooh eating honey

Of all the best rides at Magic Kingdom on our list, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is the attraction most targeted towards kids of the bunch. However, that doesn’t mean that adults should skip out on this whimsical jaunt through the Hundred Acre Wood. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is easily one of the most creative, character-based rides at Magic Kingdom, if not Disney World overall. It’s a charming ride with tons of clever details plastered from floor to ceiling throughout the attraction, and with an interactive queue to boot. 

Height Requirement: None

Pirates of the Caribbean | Adventureland

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of several iconic Disney rides to land on our best of Magic Kingdom list. This boat ride immerses guests in a slow-moving adventure alongside swashbuckling pirates on the high seas. Even Captain Jack Sparrow, made famous by Johnny Depp in the Disney film franchise of the same name, makes an appearance. With only one small drop at the beginning of the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean is easy-going fun for everyone.  

Height Requirement: None

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train | Fantasyland

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Attraction, brown cottage with greenery
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go!” Join the seven dwarfs as they whistle while they work all day in the diamond mines. While certainly more kid-focused than Magic Kingdom’s other roller coasters, the swaying train cars of this family coaster help to up the excitement for older riders. For the most thrills possible, we highly recommend sitting all the way in the back. Yay, physics! The unique ride vehicle, some truly impressive animatronics, and a generous helping of nostalgia make the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fun for kids and adults alike.  

Height Requirement: 38” (97cm) or taller

Space Mountain | Tomorrowland

Another of Magic Kingdom’s truly iconic rides, Space Mountain blasts guests off into the dark abyss of outer space in a thrillingly dark and twisty roller-coaster ride. Not much has changed about this ride since it first made its debut in 1975, but classics are classic for a reason. Not scary in the traditional roller-coaster sense, the real thrill of this ride comes from not knowing what will come next as you zoom through almost total darkness. 

Height Requirement: 44” (112cm) or taller

Splash Mountain | Frontierland

Red rocks with briar patch

Splash Mountain is another one of Magic Kingdom’s famous mountains. This exhilarating log ride effortlessly combines classic (albeit somewhat controversial) Disney characters from Song of the South with a few breathtaking thrills, including one very big, very wet drop. As Disney is set to retheme Splash Mountain to The Princess and the Frog in the near-ish future, Disney has stopped doing major refurbishments on the ride, so some of the animatronics have been run a bit ragged. However, its charm and excitement still make this current iteration of Splash Mountain one of Magic Kingdom’s can’t-miss rides. 

Height Requirement: 40” (102cm) or taller

Other Magic Kingdom Rides & Attractions

Unlike the other parks at Disney World where attractions are a more diverse mix of rides, shows, films, performing acts, educational exhibits, or wildlife encounters depending on where you go, attractions at Magic Kingdom are decidedly ride-heavy. There are 36 different Magic Kingdom attractions, give or take a couple depending on your definition of the word. Of those, basically 22 are rides while the rest are shows or interactive play areas or activities of some kind. In other words, there’s a lot to do there. 

Wishing well behind a castle

As we mentioned earlier, Magic Kingdom is Disney World’s most classic, quintessentially Disney theme park. This isn’t the place to go if you’re in the mood for edge-of-your-seat thrills. Instead, Walt Disney imagined Disneyland and Magic Kingdom as places where families could go to escape reality and spend time together. It’s all about wholesome, simple, carefree fun. So, if you’re looking for scarier rides, attractions mixed with a bit of education, more experiences free of Disney characters, and eating and drinking around the world, may we suggest Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot

As family-friendly as Magic Kingdom is, you should be aware that there are a fair number of rides with minimum height requirements. However, the height restrictions tend to be in reach for many children, and there are also plenty of other rides and attractions available that don’t have a height limit.

Plus, even if there is a height requirement that one of their little ones can’t quite reach just yet, parents can simply use Disney’s Parent Swap (or Rider Switch) program where each parent is allowed to ride separately while the other waits back with the too-small child. Just tell the cast member you’d like to do a rider switch at the entrance to any ride with a height restriction. 

Brick castle with blue turrets

In addition to character-themed rides and shows, you can also catch find Disney characters at meet-and-greets regularly throughout the park. Princesses like Anna, Elsa, Tiana, and Rapunzel hold court at Princess Fairytale Hall, while you can see some of Mickey’s pals – namely Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy – at Pete’s Silly Sideshow. Down on Main Street, the Town Square Theater plays host to Mickey Mouse as he prepares backstage for his new magic show, as well as Tinkerbell. Other characters also make appearances at other spots in the park throughout the day. 

Astro Orbiter | Tomorrowland

Get a bird’s-eye view of Magic Kingdom as you pilot a rocket up above Tomorrowland. To get to the Astro Orbiter, you’ll need to take an elevator up to the loading area. Similar to a space-themed version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant or The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Astro Orbiter is a simple ride that’s nice to add in if you have the time. We suggest trying to time your flight so it happens during the nightly fireworks for an especially memorable ride.  

Height Restriction: None

The Barnstormer | Fantasyland

Cannon and barn at night time

Fly alongside Goofy as he sits behind the wheel of his homemade stunt airplane. You know that little roller coaster that looks like an alligator or dragon that often pops up at your local carnival or state fair? The Barnstormer is a lot like that, however with much better theming. A can’t-miss Magic Kingdom ride it is not, but the youngest members of your party will definitely appreciate the pint-sized thrills. 

Height Restriction: 35” (89cm) or taller

Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station | Fantasyland

Located back in the Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland, the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station is a small water play area themed after the circus train in the classic Disney movie, Dumbo. Jets of water shoot out from this fanciful steam engine, making it a great place to cool off during hot summer days. 

Height Restriction: None

Country Bear Jamboree | Frontierland

Musical bears on stage

Take a load off your feet and drink in the A/C as you slip back to a simpler time at the Country Bear Jamboree. This classic Magic Kingdom show starring a sleuth of joke-cracking, country-music-singing audio-animatronic bears. While not a must-do, this whimsical show is good, old-fashioned fun, and a great way to take a break from the Florida sun. 

Height Restriction: None

Dumbo the Flying Elephant | Fantasyland

Soar through the sky on the back of everyone’s favorite big-eared pachyderm over at Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Though just a simple, carnival-style ride, kids absolutely love this high-flying flight above the tents of Storybook Circus. Plus, its unique, open queue area inspired by the big top is filled with interactive activities and all the fun of the circus, minus the actual animals, making your wait time fly by.

Height Restriction: None

Enchanted Tales with Belle | Fantasyland

Cozy cottage and firepalce

Say bonjour to Belle and Lumiere in this collaborative storybook experience inspired by Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. Relive the stories from the beloved film as guests take part in an interactive recreation where guests are the stars. This is truly a Disney character experience and show unlike any other. 

Height Restriction: None

Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade | Frontierland

Load up your peashooter and sharpen your eyesight for a few rounds at the ole shooting gallery as you try to hit targets scattered throughout a miniature, wild-west town. The Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade is a fun little detour in Magic Kingdom if you’ve got some time and perhaps a competitive streak. 

Height Restriction: None

The Hall of Presidents | Liberty Square

Colonial building with cobblestone

Originally envisioned by Walt Disney himself, The Hall of Presidents takes the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln stage show that was originally imagined for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York and multiplies it by soon-to-be 46. This patriotic show starring a whole bunch of audio-animatronics as our nation’s presidents replays the greatest hits of United States history. A snoozefest for kids and probably a fair number of adults as well, The Hall of Presidents isn’t for everyone, but it is an excellent place to enjoy some air conditioning and perhaps a nap. 

Height Restriction: None

“it’s a small world” | Fantasyland

Get ready for an earworm, folks! One of Magic Kingdom’s original rides, “it’s a small world” is another classic Disney ride. Are the hordes of perpetually singing children and animals slightly unsettling as you float through the ride? Perhaps. Is hearing the song on repeat a little annoying? Maybe. But we dare you to leave this mellow boat ride without humming along. 

Height Restriction: None

Jungle Cruise | Adventureland

Jungle Cruise signage at night

Ah, the Jungle Cruise. Another Magic Kingdom mainstay, this slow-moving river cruise down far-flung Asian, African, and South American waterways is filled with many puns and cheesy jokes as there are animatronic animals. With the impending release of the Jungle Cruise film starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, the ride is also set to get some updates, so stay tuned. 

Height Restriction: None

Liberty Square Riverboat | Liberty Square

Travel back to yesteryear as you leisurely float down the Rivers of America on the Liberty Belle riverboat. This simple, relaxing ride loops around Tom Sawyer Island is great if you need a break from the crazy Magic Kingdom crowds.  

Height Restriction: None

Mad Tea Party | Fantasyland

Magic Kingdom Empty

Spin yourself silly (or sick) on the Mad Tea Party. Another of the park’s carnival-like rides, this Alice in Wonderland-themed attraction plops you into a candy-colored teacup and whirls you around. Twirl the circle in the center of the teacup to make yourself go faster or sit back and relax for a decidedly more mellow ride. 

Height Restriction: None

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin | Adventureland

Soar above the streets of Agrabah – or, in this case, Adventureland – on a flying carpet in this simple, kid-friendly ride themed after Disney’s Aladdin. Like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, adults will probably want to give The Magic Carpets of Aladdin a pass, but kiddos will love it. If you’re trying to decide between the two, however, go on Dumbo instead for the queue alone. 

Height Restriction: None

Mickey’s PhilharMagic | Fantasyland

Donald Duck Surrounded by Instruments and Mickey Mouse Conducting Mickey's PhilharMagic

Are you the type of person who can’t listen to a Disney song without singing along? Then you won’t want to miss Mickey’s PhilharMagic. This 4D musical movie brings to life all the sights, sounds, and smells from your favorite animated Disney films. Plus, we love any excuse to rest our feet and bask in blissful air conditioning. 

Height Restriction: None

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor | Tomorrowland

It’s laughter they’re after over at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. Ever since the monsters of Monstropolis figured out that they could squeeze more energy out of human’s laughs than screams, they switched up their tactics and never looked back. Join the monsters in this interactive, live comedy show. You can even submit a joke or two for the show. 

Height Restriction: None

Peter Pan’s Flight | Fantasyland

Peter Pan attraction at night

Set a course for the second star to the right as you take off on a pixie dust-fueled flight on a magical pirate ship over London and Never Land. Lines can get ridiculously long for this classic, fanciful dark ride, but a charming, beautifully designed queue themed around the Darling’s house in London helps the wait pass quickly. 

Height Restriction: None

A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas | Adventureland

Whether you’re a pirate or a landlubber, a sense of adventure is all that’s required for this interactive scavenger hunt through Adventureland. Grab your treasure map from the activity kiosk, then keep a weathered eye open as you search for clues before returning for a collectible souvenir card.  

Height Restriction: None

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel | Fantasyland

Decorated White Carousel horse

Saddle up for a nostalgic spin around a classic carousel inspired by Disney’s Cinderella. Although you’ll find horses of all different colors on the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, our favorite mount is Cinderella’s own trusty steed: It’s the only white horse on the carousel with a gold ribbon threaded through its tail. 

Height Restriction: None

Swiss Family Treehouse | Adventureland

There’s no doubt about it that the Swiss Family Robinson knows a thing or two about building an epic treehouse. Weave your way amongst the branches as you explore the Swiss Family Treehouse on this walkthrough attraction inspired by the classic Disney movie. 

Height Restriction: None

Tom Sawyer Island | Frontierland

Mark Twain Riverboat on river

Hop aboard a log raft and cross the Rivers of America to reach Tom Sawyer Island, a rustic retreat from the hustle and bustle of Magic Kingdom. Inspired by the world of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as created by Mark Twain, this island hideaway is filled with caves, an old fort, and more, all waiting to be explored at your leisure. 

Height Restriction: None

Tomorrowland Speedway | Tomorrowland

Jump in the driver’s seat for a relaxing cruise through the edge of Tomorrowland. ‘Relaxing’, being the keyword. Don’t expect your drive around the Tomorrowland Speedway to be anything like a freewheeling go-kart race. With a set track and the speed set low, this raceway is all about the kids. 

Height Restriction: 32” (81cm) or taller

Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover | Tomorrowland

Moving carts on a track

The Monorail and Disney Skyliner aren’t the only forms of public transportation at Walt Disney World. Enter: the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover. Grab a seat on this 10-minute-long, slow-moving grand tour of Tomorrowland as it weaves its way through Space Mountain and past Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  

Height Restriction: None

Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid | Fantasyland

Dive into the fathoms below for this fantastical, underwater adventure inspired by the much-loved animated film, no scuba gear required. Retrace the steps (fin flicks?) of everyone’s favorite mermaid, from her life under the sea to her newfound home on dry land. 

Height Restriction: None

Walt Disney World Railroad | Parkwide

Steam engine train on tracks

Walt Disney loved trains. So much so, that he even decided to build a miniature, rideable version in his own backyard. So, it should come as no surprise that he’d want one to rumble around Magic Kingdom as well. This old-fashioned locomotive encircles the entire park with stops in Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Main Street, U.S.A., making it the perfect way to get around the park if you don’t want to walk. 

Height Restriction: None

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress | Tomorrowland

If you couldn’t already guess from the name, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress was created by the man himself for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. This stage show featuring a cast of audio-animatronics and a revolving theater follows your “average” American family as they experience the highlights of the 1900s, 1920s, 1940s, and the 20th century – all while miraculously never aging. Is the show out-of-date and kind of cheesy? Yup, and that’s a considerable part of its charm. Oh, and there’s air conditioning!

Height Restriction: None

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room | Adventureland

Audio-Animatronic Bird on perch

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is, you guessed it, another creation from the brilliant mind of Walt Disney. This 10-minute musical extravaganza stars a flock of singing birds, some Polynesian Tiki gods, and a whole host of flowers all brought to life as audio-animatronics. 

Height Restriction: None

Well, concludes our guide to all the Magic Kingdom rides, shows, and other attractions. Not sure how you’ll fit everything into a day? Hack your day at Magic Kingdom with our 1-Day Magic Kingdom Plan. And for those of you wondering how to save some cash on your upcoming Disney vacation, you won’t want to miss our discount Disney tickets.

What are your favorite rides at Magic Kingdom? Do you like attractions with Disney characters more, or do you prefer other classic Magic Kingdom rides? What rides would you like to see Disney do at Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments!

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