What Are The Most Popular Attractions at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?

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At fifty years young, Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney World’s original theme park. It is also the park with the most attractions, offering guests of all ages endless opportunities for a magical visit. So what are the most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom? Take a look at the top picks, which are must-dos for your first trip (or your next).

Space Mountain

Let’s start this list off with a bang. One of Magic Kingdom’s famous “mountains”, Space Mountain is not for the faint of heart. The iconic indoor coaster opened in 1975 and takes guests on a journey into space (where everyone can hear you scream). The ride speed tops out at 27 MPH, which is relatively low for a modern coaster. But what it lacks in speed it makes up for with a seemingly endless string of twists and turns – all in the near-complete omission of light.

Guests heading through the indoor queue may wonder why they have to walk so far to get to the loading area. This is because Space Mountain was added to Tomorrowland several years after the park opened. The Instagram-friendly futuristic show building is actually located outside the original park boundary. The tunnel to the loading zone gently ramps down, then back up, taking guests underneath the Walt Disney World Railroad tracks and outside the “berm.”

Splash Mountain

“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

My, oh, my, what a wonderful day”

Frontierland’s Splash Mountain is a fan favorite flume ride, especially on a hot Florida day. Audio animatronic critters are front and center here as guests tour the deep southern critter country. The story follows the journey of the restless (and reckless) Br’er Rabbit as he gets into trouble with Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. Hold onto your hat and prepare to get wet when you dive into the briar patch!

Ride this attraction while you still can. Walt Disney World’s only flume ride is currently on the endangered species list. For socially sensitive reasons related to the attraction’s inspiration film Song of the South, Disney Imagineers are designing a retheme of this attraction to the animated feature film The Princess and the Frog. Our best guess is that the attraction will close within the next year or two.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Image: Allears.net

Just a few steps away from Splash Mountain is the “wildest ride in the wilderness.” Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – the third of Magic Kingdom’s Mountains – takes guests on a runaway train through the southwestern town of Tumbleweed. This coaster reaches speeds up to 35 MPH, but the sharp curves can make it feel a whole lot quicker. Big Thunder is a family-friendly coaster, as most kids can handle it fairly readily. This is my favorite coaster in Magic Kingdom.

For an extra treat, ride this train at night. The dimly lit town comes to life when the sun goes down.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Half rollercoaster and half dark ride, Magic Kingdom’s newest coaster carries guests through a diamond mine being scoured by Snow White’s friends, the seven dwarfs. The swaying cart speeds into the mine, slows down so guests can greet the dwarfs, then continues to roll on its zig-zag way. This coaster tops out at 34 MPH and will get the most giggles out of its guests, both big and small.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train pays homage to Snow White, Disney’s first princess, who also hosted a dark ride attraction in Magic Kingdom for forty years before it closed in 2012.

Haunted Mansion

“We have 999 happy haunts here, but there’s room for a thousand.”

Haunted Mansion is perhaps the most iconic attraction in all of the Disney Parks. Guests board “Doom Buggies” to experience an unearthly blend of humor and horror that only a Disney haunted house can offer. This attraction is classic Disney storytelling and Imagineering at its best, as many Disney Legends contributed both ideas and mechanical imagination to its creation.

Don’t just race to the attraction. The queue winding through the graveyard is one of the very special things about the Haunted Mansion. Many Disney Legends are cleverly recognized in the tombstones and other memorials on display. After the attraction, you may even notice a pet cemetery, in which resides a certain famous toad in particular.

Pirates of the Caribbean

“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”

Image: Jeff Gritchen

My absolute favorite Disney dark ride is the classic Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests feel the (very refreshing) cool dampness in the air while boarding boats for this dark ride masterpiece. Once the boat departs, guests wade through a series of classic pirate scenes, experiencing the tales of the pirate days of old. A combination of intimate personal moments and larger battle scenes gives guests something new to notice with every ride. Keep an eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow – the rum-swilling buccaneer joined the attraction in 2006.

The Disneyland version of this attraction has the distinction of being the last attraction to which Walt directly contributed, although it opened after his death. 

Jungle Cruise

Once out of the Caribbean, take another boat ride, back in time and along several exotic rivers of the world.  Guests will meet playful elephants, angry lions, and mischievous monkeys while winding through this time-stamped jungle of the early 1900s. The audio-animatronic animals are a blast, but the real stars of the show are the Jungle Cruise skippers. They offer a non-stop barrage of corny one-liners that will have guests chuckling (especially the adults).

Image: Disney

Here are a couple of personal favorite Jungle Cruise Skipper jokes:

“I love my job as a skipper. In fact, my parents are so proud…of…my brother….”

“Everyone watch out for Ginger. Ginger snaps. That’s right, she’s one tough cookie. I know, I know…it’s a crumby joke, but I milk it for all I can!

It’s a small world

Let’s stay in the water for one more top attraction. “The happiest cruise that ever sailed” embodies the essence of Walt Disney like few other attractions can. It’s a small world takes guests on a boat ride around the world, viewing our world through the eyes of a child.

Yes, there is always the matter of that particular earworm (you know how it goes). But if you’re going to have a Disney tune stuck in your head all day, it may as well be one full of inspiration and cheer.

Peter Pan’s Flight

“Come on, everybody, here we gooooo!”

Peter Pan’s Flight is classic Fantasyland dark ride fare at its best. Guests board a small ship and sail the sky – not the water – out over London and on to Neverland. Party with the lost boys and sing with the natives, but watch out for Captain Hook (the world’s most famous crook). Despite a cornucopia of modern rides available in Magic Kingdom, Peter Pan still excels among the young, and the young-at-heart. A recently redesigned interactive line queue helps make the wait feel more bearable.

“You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!”

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

This simplest of carnival-type rides is so popular among guests, Magic Kingdom built a second one! The premise of this flying spinner ride may be exceedingly simple, but the theming is so heartwarming that smiling is a foregone conclusion. Little ones love the ability to use the control joystick to raise Dumbo (and themselves) up and down while they fly.

Fun Fact – Dumbo is the only attraction to be featured in all six Disney Park Resorts around the world!

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

Let’s wrap up where we started, and round out our list back in Tomorrowland. The TTA PeopleMover offers a calm, peaceful, and rejuvenating break in the midst of a hectic and exhausting day in Magic Kingdom. Before even boarding the PeopleMover, guests experience a taste of Tomorrowland by escalating up a moving ramp, to a circulating loading zone. Once on board, guests enjoy a casual cruise above the busy streets of Tomorrowland. This simple experience has developed something of a cult popularity.While passing along the edge of Space Mountain, keep an eye out for the Progress City model, which was inspired by Walt Disney’s vision of EPCOT – the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

Magic Kingdom offers many more attractions, entertainment, and experiences than the ones listed above, including these five often overlooked attractions.

Also, check out our lists of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World’s other theme parks, including Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.