Review: Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Ride and Attractions

Monday, April 27, 2009

My family and I had the wonderful opportunity to take our first trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida last year.

While I spent weeks (more like months) reading all that I could on what or what not to when we reached our vacation destination, there just wasn't enough detail provided.

As a result, my family spent a great deal of time on some rides and attractions we would have been better off to skip.

The following is my reviews on rides and attractions at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. While this is only my opinion, I hope that you will find it helpful when planning your Disney vacation.

The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort is probably the most anticipated park by children. Filled with rides to accommodate all ages and shows that entertain the young and old alike, it is a fun place to be.

  • Splash Mountain: This is a must-do ride for anyone 40" inches or taller. Having taken a lot of "log rides" in my life at various theme parks around the country, Splash Mountain was, by far, the best I have ever ridden.

    Not only are riders of this attraction given the much enjoyed fifty foot plunge into a pool of water, but the extended ride through a story of Brer Rabbit and his adventures makes this ride unique.

    Be sure to use Disney's Fast Pass option on this ride as the wait is very long otherwise.

  • Big Thunder Mountain: While this ride is available to anyone 40" or more in height, those over five feet tall may find it a bit "young" for them; but it is still worth riding.

    Again, be sure to use the Fast Pass option as the wait times on this ride can be rather extensive.

  • Space Mountain: I've ridden a great deal of roller coasters in my lifetime, but this one was by far the best. Space Mountain was the first in a long time that I found myself terrified.

    Space Mountain is an indoor roller coaster that is predominately in the dark. Riders are only given very little light; just enough to make out the track outline and to see how high up you are. Moving at very fast speeds with multiple twist and turns, there are many breath-taking drops.

    This too is a ride that you should use the Fast Pass option because of extremely long wait times. Riders must be 52 inches or taller to ride.

  • The Haunted Mansion: You can't hardly discuss the Magic Kingdom with anyone and not hear about The Haunted Mansion. This slow moving ride with no height restrictions is geared more toward the youngsters but is still fun for the older folks nonetheless.

    In addition, if you are visiting Disney World during the summer months, this is a great ride to take in order to rest and cool off as the entire ride is air conditioned.

    View the wait times before wasting a Fast Pass here. The ride is constantly moving, so the lines move quickly. When we decided to ride The Haunted Mansion, the sign read a 50 minute wait time but we were able to board in less than 30 minutes.

  • It's A Small World: You can't visit Disney World without taking a ride on the timeless classic It's A Small World. With no height restrictions, constantly moving lines, indoors with air conditioning, this is a must for the whole family.

    While geared more toward the tiny tikes, it's nonetheless interesting for even the older Mouseketeers as a slow moving boat ride takes you through amazing mechanical scenes, based on countries, all singing It's A Small World in their native languages.

    As with The Haunted Mansion, the Fast Pass option should be used only when the wait times are extremely excessive as this ride is constantly loading and unloading and the lines move very quickly.

  • Stitch's Great Escape: This attraction was formerly known as Alien Encounters but has been redone to be in line with Disney's Lilo & Stitch.

    There is a height restriction of 40 inches, for which I can't figure out why it's there. This is not a ride, but more of a show.

    Unless you enjoy having the smell of burped chili dog in your face and silly, bordering on stupid, storyline, I would recommend skipping this. Only those between the ages of 6 and 10 might enjoy, and that is a BIG "maybe."

    Definitely don't waste a Fast Pass on this attraction.

  • Astro Orbiter: This adorable, high-flying ride is a big hit with the wee folk! Similar to the ever-circling Dumbo ride, the young and old alike can make several orbits around the planets, high above the Magic Kingdom.

    There are no height restrictions on this ride and, at the time of this writing, no Fast Pass option was available.

  • Tommorrowland Transit Authority: Those under three feet tall may enjoy this mild tram-like ride that circles the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom. Anyone who has been able to ride the "bigger" rides (like my 3 year old) will find this ride extremely mundane.

  • Indy Speedway: It doesn't matter how old you are, it'll be a lot of fun to jump in a tiny race car and drive around the track. The race cars are centered on tracks (versus freestyle driving) and reach speeds of (maybe) approximately ten MPH. Irregardless of slow speeds and controlled tracks, our whole family just enjoyed the trips around the track and trying to dodge all the tiny "future drivers."

    This ride offers a relatively fast moving line. Fast Pass option is available, however you may wish to check wait times before choosing to use the option.

  • The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm: This munchkin sized roller coaster is sure to elicit giggles and squeals from your toddler or preschooler, along with an accompanying parents smile. However, tweens and teens find this ride a bit too mild for their taste.

    Fast Past option is not available on this ride (at the time of this riding) but I'm happy to report that the wait time is relatively short.

  • Tom Sawyer Island: If you're in the mood to tour around a tiny island and take a gander at some old buildings and such, then the short raft ride over to the island will be well worth the wait.

    The wait to get on the raft can be a little long, but the trail around the island is a self-guided tour and can be performed at your own speed.

  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin: This is a wonderfully cool ride for the whole family (literally, it's air conditioned!). Constantly moving, making for super short wait times, riders are invited to play along with Buzz and has friends in an effort to rack up points by laser-shooting the "Zs." Be sure each member of your group gets their own "gun" and compete to see who can get the most points!

  • Cinderella's Golden Carousel: We didn't find very much special about this Carousel, other than it offered a breezy break from the heat.

    Although there is not a Fast Pass option available for this ride, there is no need for it as the lines move quickly. No height restrictions mean everyone can enjoy it!

  • Monster's, Inc. Laugh Floor: We walked into this attraction thinking that it would be only more animated show that only our preschooler would enjoy; however, we left pleasantly surprised.

    This interactive animated show is a hilarious event for the whole family!

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Riders of this adorable, indoor ride are invited to ride through a Winnie the Pooh story in a cozy Honey Pot.

    This is a ride geared toward preschoolers and younger, if you're at the Magic Kingdom in the heat of the day it will be pleasant break for everyone.

    Fast Pass is available, however be sure to check estimated wait times before using the option.

  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant: This Magic Kingdom timeless classic is a circle of fun for the little tikes; however, be prepared for the lengthy wait times and there is no Fast Pass option available.

  • Liberty Square Riverboat: If you've ever been on a riverboat ride before, you'll find this one is not much different. Visitors board an old fashioned riverboat fueled by paddles and take a ride down the river and around Tom Sawyer's Island.

    The pros of this attraction include that the only wait time includes only waiting for the next boarding and it is a great way to rest and cool down for a little while.

  • Swiss Family Treehouse, Ariel's Grotto, and Pooh's Playful Spot: These playground type settings are a great place to take a break and let the little ones free for a while. You may even get the chance to meet with some of your favorite characters at these spots!

While this is not a complete listing of all the attractions at Disney's Magic Kingdom, I do hope that it is a listing that will be helpful in making your vacation plans.

For even more information on rides and attractions at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, please visit The Largest Unofficial Online Guide To Disney World or one of the many other great sites focused on Disney's Magic Kingdom!

1 chatted about this topic:

Martha (FL) April 30, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

This is a great list. Being locals to WDW, we have been there, done that more times than I can count (I actually wished I would have counted!) I can't agree with you more about Stitch, that was a huge disappoinment. We've done it only twice ever!

I do have to say one of our favorite things to do when we want to rest is ride the TTA (or people mover). My 12 yr old and I sit and relax and chat, sometimes riding more than once! It is a great way to cool off. You missed Carousel of Progress... this is classic Disney at it's best. I can sit through that show each and every time, and not get tired of it, and another great place to cool off and get out of the sun!

While our touring plan is different than those on vacation who are trying to get the most bang for their buck, we too love it when the popular attractions have short wait times!

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