Plan to visit the best rides at Magic Kingdom based on age and interest to have a custom visit to our favorite Disney theme park.
When planning a family vacation to Disney World, many parents want to know which are the best rides at Magic Kingdom.
When you're figuring out when to arrive at the park, how much time to spend there, and the itinerary for the day, it is helpful to have a list of the best rides you want to experience to make the most out of your Magic Kingdom park pass.
Magic Kingdom is by far my family's favorite of the Disney Parks and during our last visit, we managed to fit in over 20 rides and experiences in just one day.
Riding all the rides in one day, well almost all, allowed us to compare them and we took a vote on which rides were the best for different ages.
We hope this list helps you make your Magic Kingdom visit absolutely magical but try not to let it make you feel pressure.
Remember, some of the best things to do at Magic Kingdom aren't even rides! Don't miss this list of classic Disney experiences you don't want to miss.
Best Ride for Preschoolers
If you're heading to Disney with a toddler or preschooler, you'll definitely want to set your expectations for the day really low.
We always see families with little kids exciting the park around lunch time for a mid-day break.
Get to Magic Kingdom early while your kids are fresh and ready and plan to visit these best rides for preschoolers:
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasyland
Travel through Hundred-Acre Wood in an oversized Hunny Pot and get lost in the pages of A.A. Milne’s classic tales.
This slow and gentle ride has always been a favorite with my kids. The queue line has lots of interactive experiences for little hands to explore which makes your wait time part of the fun.
PRO TIP: The line for this ride gets long quickly, make it one of the first things you try to do during the day.
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid in Fantasyland
Board a clamshell and become part of Ariel’s world on a musical adventure awash with scenes from the animated classic.
This slow ride is perfect for fans of The Little Mermaid movie. There is no real water involved but the ride does have a few darker areas, especially when Ursula arrives.
The queue area for this ride is very shady and the rock formations help to keep things cool. There are lots of interactive things to explore for little ones and this is one of our favorite places to cool off while waiting in line.
PRO TIP: If your little one is excited to meet the real Ariel, she is not part of this ride. You'll find Ariel in Ariel's Grotto just around the corner but expect a separate wait line.
Best Ride for Kids 6 - 12
Mad Tea Party, a.k.a the Tea Cups Ride, in Fantasyland
This will forever be one of our favorite Disney rides. We loved it so much, we dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland for Halloween and got our family photo taken in a tea cup during Mickey's Halloween Party one year!
My girls think this is one of the TOP Disney rides for 6 - 12 year olds, but really there's no age limit.
PRO TIP: If you don't like spinning too fast, don't pull on the wheel in the center of the tea cup!
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland
Fire your laser to earn points and defeat the Evil Emperor Zurg as you journey through a galactic space battle.
My husband had so much fun on this ride when we visited when our girls were in the 6 - 12 age range that we ran around to ride it a second time right away.
If your kids love classic arcade games, this ride will surely be a hit.
PRO TIP: The lines tend to be shorter for this ride than others, you should be able to squeeze it in during your visit easily.
Best Ride for Tweens
Tweens might be harder to impress at home, but there are lots of great things to do with tweens at Magic Kingdom.
As far as the best rides for tweens, these were my daughters' favorites:
The Barnstormer in Fantasyland
Take flight above Storybook Circus with Goofy in a homemade stunt airplane for a thrilling junior roller coaster ride.
When my girls were a bit younger, big rollercoasters were not their cup of tea. Even the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was a bit much. The Barnstormer was the first rollercoaster-like ride that they fell in love with.
It is the perfect big kid action ride that gives a taste of what a rollercoaster is like but is super tame and never goes upside down.
My kids loved it so much, they begged to ride it a second time right away.
PRO TIP: Parents, if rollercoasters are just not your thing or if the first ride was enough for you, let your kids pair up and go together alone on this ride. It's a great way to let younger kids feel grown up during the trip in a safe environment.
Find a spot to sit and relax near the ride exit and watch and wave as they ride past on the coaster.
Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square
Climb aboard a gloomy Doom Buggy for a grave journey through a labyrinth of haunted chambers.
The delicious suspense of waiting to ride this ride was quite a thrill for my tweens. They weren't sure what to expect and the queue and design of the mansion feels quite ominous.
This classic Disney ride is just enough spook to enthrall your tweens without giving them nightmares. And Disney fans will be sure to spot several classic Disney Parks characters including Madam Leota and the hitchhiking ghosts.
PRO TIP: There are several very dark areas on the ride, so be aware for extra sensitive kids or if you are taking younger ones on the ride with your tweens.
Best Ride for Teens
Visiting Magic Kingdom with teens just might be my favorite phase yet.
They have the endurance to last for a long park day from rope drop to fireworks, they can be trusted to ride things alone while you chill out with a beverage in the shade, and they are just pure fun as long as you keep things moving.
The best rides for teens at Magic Kingdom include:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland
Race through a haunted gold mine aboard a speeding train on this thrilling coaster-style ride.
To be honest? I didn't ride this ride because my kids were so excited they wanted to ride it twice.
We got 4 Genie+ reservations for our family of 4. We let the kids ride it once with their magic bands and then we swapped bands and let them ride it a second time with our magic bands to fulfill our reservation slots.
My husband and I waited at the exit of the ride and could see the kids zooming by on the coaster having the time of their lives. It was definitely one of their favorite experiences from the entire day.
If you plan to let your kids swap to ride again, be sure to arrive at the beginning of your reservation window so they have enough time to get through the fast lane twice.
PRO TIP: If you've got a coaster fanatic, this may not be enough thrill for your teen. Be sure to warn them that Disney coasters are not like other theme parks and that they are meant to be more whole-family friendly.
Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
Chart a course for high adventure on a scenic and comedic boat tour of exotic rivers across Asia, Africa and South America.
If your teen loves puns like mine do, you cannot miss this classic Disney ride. When my kids were younger, they didn't catch most of the jokes that the skippers would toss out during the ride, but now that they're older they were finally in on the jokes.
While this is not a thrill ride at all, it is a long 10-minute ride that is perfect for a break.
PRO TIP: If you're visiting with teens, try to schedule your Jungle Cruise visit after the sun sets, riding in the dark on the water gives it a whole new element of fun.
Best Ride for Nostalgic Adults
If you have fond memories of family Disney trips when you were a kid and you're excited to visit Magic Kingdom for the first time as an adult, you're going to love revisiting some of the classic Disney rides that will spark memories:
Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland
Embark on a high-flying adventure over iconic scenes made famous in Disney’s animated film.
This historic Disney ride has the longest wait times because of the antiquated but adorable queue area.
If you want to ride Peter Pan's Flight, be sure to get there first in the morning or plan a reservation time with the Genie system because you'll be battling all the other nostalgic adults, too!
PRO TIP: If it is your first visit to Magic Kingdom with your kids, make time for this precious ride. It is truly a peek into the original world of Disney.
It's a Small World in Fantasyland
Embark on a whimsical boat ride past a jubilant chorus of children from around the globe.
I made my own parents ride this Disney ride over and over again when I was 6 years old.
Even now as an adult, it is my absolute favorite Disney ride because it brings me back to that sense of wonder and awe that I felt when I was small.
The queue for this ride may look long, but it moves quickly and is almost entirely in the shade. It is a must-ride for nostalgic Disney lovers.
PRO TIP: Mary Blair is the artist behind the Small World dolls. Take the time during your vacation to ride the Monorail over to the Contemporary Resort to see The Grand Canyon Concourse mural, a giant tiled stunning piece of art by Mary Blair.
Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland
Set sail on a swashbuckling voyage to a long-forgotten time and place when pirates and privateers ruled the seas.
Nostalgic adults riding Pirates of the Caribbean may feel a little disappointed with the light updates they've done to the classic ride to incorporate the famous movie collection.
Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow makes a cameo in the ride and it definitely gives it a more current feeling than that nostalgia you might be chasing.
Even still, it is a classic ride that many grownups will remember from their youth and is fun to revisit with kids.
PRO TIP: Make your teens sit on the outside of the ride if you want to stay dry! I knew the big splash was coming and my kiddos' bottoms got soaked. They won't let me get away with that a second time. Ha!
Best Ride for the Whole Family
If we had to pick just ONE ride as the best Disney ride for the whole family, it would still be tricky because it depends on whether you're visiting when your kids are small or if they are older.
Best for Visits with Littles:
Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland
Soar high in the sky—and see an elephant fly—on a whimsical flight aboard Dumbo.
The most picturesque Disney ride in the parks, this is the Disney ride you'll see in every brochure and on every travel site and video.
It is also the ride almost everyone imagines when they hear the words "Disney's Magic Kingdom."
This ride is great for all ages and is even better know that they've installed two of them to make the queue go faster.
PRO TIP: You can control how high Dumbo flies from your own seat. Perfect if your kids are still very little and don't like heights.
Best for Visits with Bigs:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland
Race through the diamond mine from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on a swaying family coaster ride.
If you're kids are ready for a bigger thrill than Dumbo, try to nab a seat on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
My daredevil younger daughter loved it at age 8. My more sensitive older daughter loved it at age 15 (but would have probably loved it earlier if we'd visited once she was 12 and up.)
This is a small coaster ride that goes fast and has a big climb and drop. Our entire family loved it during our last visit.
PRO TIP: The line gets long fast. Be sure to have a strategy for working this into your schedule if you want to ride it.
Best Ride for Roller Coaster Fans
Disney's Magic Kingdom is not about big rollercoasters in the same way as other theme parks feature.
The rides there tend to be tamer and smaller but are filled with amazing detail and ambiance.
If you're a big rollercoaster lover and looking for the biggest, fastest rides at Magic Kingdom, you'll be interested in:
Big Thunder Railroad in Frontierland
Race through a haunted gold mine aboard a speeding train on this thrilling coaster-style ride.
You can read my notes about this ride under "Best Rides for Teens" above, but my girls loved it so much they rode it twice.
Space Mountain in Tomorrowland
Blast off on a rip-roaring rocket into the furthest reaches of outer space on this roller-coaster ride in the dark.
What Space Mountain might lack in physical size, it absolutely makes up for in experience.
This pitch black rollercoaster ride is a thrilling whoosh through the stars.
Do not even attempt this ride if your kids are scared of the dark. It is definitely one of the scariest, but most exciting rides at Magic Kingdom.
PRO TIP: Don't plan this ride right after or before you plan to eat. wink-wink.
Most Classic Disney Ride Ever
And the WINNER of the most Classic Disney Ride Ever goes to: It's a Small World.
While other rides have been around since the beginning of the park, It's a Small World is the quintessential Disney ride that you can find at both parks in the US.
Ignore the haters and mockers of the famous tune and get yourself a seat in a Small World boat during your next trip.
More Magic Kingdom Tips
Plan a perfect day at Magic Kingdom with these family vacation tips:
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