Disney’s Magic Kingdom has some of the most popular rides in all of the Walt Disney World Resort. This makes it one of the best Disney parks for families with small children.
It’s also a great park for people who want to spend their theme park day riding a lot of rides.
Fortunately, there are many rides without a height requirement suitable for the whole family. However, there are also several thrill rides that tend to have long lines.
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Prioritizing rides with the Genie+ system
Popular rides often correlate with rides that have a long wait time. With the introduction of the Genie + system, The Walt Disney Company has designated two rides per park that offer an Individual Lightning Lane option.
These are rides that guests can pay to experience without having to wait in the standby line. At each of the four Florida Disney theme parks, the rides eligible for this option are the two most popular in terms of wait time.
At Magic Kingdom, these rides are currently Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain.
Generally speaking, it makes sense to knock out the rides that are your highest priority first thing. The crowds tend to build as the morning goes on.
What time is Magic Kingdom the busiest?
The park is busiest around the middle of the day. Plenty of folks prefer to sleep in on vacation and arrive later in the morning or around noon. In the mid-afternoon, lots of the early risers run out of energy and begin leaving the parks.
It’s been my experience that wait times tend to decrease during evening hours. This is especially the case during and immediately after the fireworks.
If you’re not a morning person, waiting until the sun goes down can be a good strategy for minimizing your time in line for your favorite ride.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into some of the best and most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom.
11. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
The PeopleMover is known as the transit system of the future. It’s an iconic, classic ride that embarks on a 10-minute tour of Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom.
The wait times generally aren’t too bad compared to most other rides on this list, but since it’s so iconic, the ride is a must for some people.
Some other classic Magic Kingdom classic rides in a similar category include Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Tomorrowland Speedway, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Mad Tea Party and the Astro Orbiter.
10. Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
One category of theme park attraction that originated with Walt Disney himself is the dark ride. Dark rides are designed to create an immersive experience for Disney fans that are highly accessible to families with young kids.
Dark rides are housed inside a show building and mostly take place in the dark. They typically feature familiar or catchy music and tell a story.
They’re some of the best Magic Kingdom rides and generally have shorter wait times than roller coasters.
The Journey of the Little Mermaid is one of the more popular rides in this category.
Other rides in this category include Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin andThe Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean
Speaking of dark rides, Pirates of the Caribbean is another popular ride that commonly has a longer wait time compared to its peers.
It’s common to see this classic ride with a wait time of at least 30 minutes. If it’s on your list, try to get in line during a non-peak time.
8. It’s a Small World
Another dark boat ride in Fantasyland, It’s a Small World is a timeless classic, so be prepared to wait at least 30-40 minutes to ride in peak times.
It features a classic and catchy song while riders visit all seven continents. The ride was created for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair and overseen by Walt Disney himself, according to Disney’s website.
In fact, because of its popularity, the ride has been replicated at many Disney parks around the world.
The ride can accommodate riders of all ages.
7. Splash Mountain
While it’s a standard log flume ride, Splash Mountain is a popular choice that is one of the greats for many Disney fans.
Its popularity will likely only increase since it will soon be rethemed.
6. Haunted Mansion
Riders can take a tour of this ghostly house and find spooky surprises around every corner. Disney says the ride is “mildly frightening”, but you can tell that to my 6-year-old self.
The Haunted Mansion ride accommodates all ages.
5. Jungle Cruise
Jungle Cruise is a 10-minute river cruise journey where riders will run into hippos, lions and other wild beasts.
Riders of all heights and ages can ride this slow ride. Average wait times easily reach about an hour or more.
4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Across the park in Frontierland, you’ll find Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This wild ride has a 40-inch height requirement.
Most kids will be tall enough to ride it by the time they are three years old. It’s a longer outdoor roller coaster and it’s western-themed.
It doesn’t have any inversions. It’s a great ride that typically has a shorter wait time compared to some of the other coasters at Magic Kingdom.
3. Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is another ride that consistently maintains high wait times. Some speculate that this is due to its low ride capacity.
It’s also a fun ride that simulates flying, so it’s certainly worth the experience.
2. Space Mountain
In particular, Space Mountain tends to maintain longer wait times. This indoor roller coaster is housed in an enormous white-ride building in Tomorrowland. The outer space-themed coaster runs in the dark.
The track is surrounded by thousands of pinpricks of light that look like stars. This classic ride doesn’t feature any loops or inversions, but the element of surprise makes it extremely thrilling. You can’t see what twists, turns or drops are coming next on the track.
Space Mountain was added to the park in 1975 to increase Disney World’s appeal to teens. The height requirement is 44 inches, but Tomorrowland has plenty to offer little kids who can’t ride yet.
Astro Orbiter, Carousel of Progress and the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor show are all nearby.
1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Most people head to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first on a Magic Kingdom day. This ride typically has a consistently long wait time. We’ve rarely seen it drop below 50-60 minutes even during less busy parts of the calendar year.
My family has several young children and we’ve been to Disney many times. In most cases, we’re not willing to wait in a long line for any ride unless it’s something new to us. That being said, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue is pretty special.
There are several themed interactive elements, including a musical fountain, gems that light up when you touch them, and spinning barrels of freshly-mined jewels.
If you plan to rope drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, your best bet is to arrive early. Keep in mind that Disney resort hotel guests will be admitted to the park 30 minutes early. If you’re staying on-site, this benefit will get you into the queue early.
Your wait time could be minimal, especially if you arrive at the beginning of this 30-minute window. If you’re staying off-site, you’ll still probably experience a moderate wait time at the park opening.
Getting the most out of your day at Disney
Remember, it’s impossible to do everything at a Disney park. In fact, I like to ask the friends and family members I’m traveling with to develop a wish list of their top three rides or experiences ahead of time.
You may find that a super-popular ride like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train isn’t a priority for your group on your Magic Kingdom day.
Rope-dropping this popular ride might be an excellent strategy for a family that really wants to experience it.
However, another family might find that the first hour of their day is better spent walking on to several dark rides in Fantasyland with little to no wait.
No matter what rides you choose, it’s hard not to have a great time at the most magical place on earth.
Do you have tips for riding the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments!