Our Must-Dos for Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort!

Walt Disney World Tickets , Orlando , Expert View Column , Shortlist
Donald Duck walking away from the camera towards Cinderella Castle
By AttractionTickets.com’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
When it comes to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, it’s hard to know where to start. But our Top 10 will show you the way.

We know the feeling. You’re just through the gates at Magic Kingdom Park and you’re confronted by a dazzling – and bewildering – array of attractions, and you’re not sure which way to go first!

We know, because we were equally befuddled for our first visit to Walt Disney World Resort (which admittedly was a long time ago), and we can still remember that feeling of being pulled in a dozen different directions at once. Simon was even featured on the old BBC Holiday programme with Carol Smilie in the early days of the Brit Guide to Orlando dealing with this very issue: How to know what to do.

In all, the Magic Kingdom boasts almost 40 rides and shows, and there’s simply no way to fit them all into the average day, even on a day when the park is open late into the evening. So the trick is to identify the ‘must-try’ attractions, the ones you can’t afford to miss for some element of pure Disney magic. So we have identified our Top 10 of the very best as your bookmark-and-keep guide to getting max value out of a typical Magic Kingdom day.

Get all these under your belt in one visit, and you can congratulate yourself on a day very well spent:


10. Carousel of Progress

This is the one that has the biggest hallmark of Walt Disney himself, a clever animatronic “theatre” that dates back to 1964, when it made its debut at the New York World’s Fair. It charts the story of technology through the 20th century and features a static stage and a revolving platform that takes the audience through four different, elaborate scenes. It also provides a welcome seat indoors for 25 minutes!


9. Peter Pan’s Flight

Here’s another timeless Disney classic, a night-time journey to Neverland in the company of Peter Pan, Wendy and the gang. It’s a highly original setting and ride style – in little sailboats – and it includes a close encounter with the evil Captain Hook before everyone is safe and sound again. A real children’s favourite, too.


A model London at night featuring Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the Thames


8. Tomorrowland Transit Authority

We make no excuses for including this gentle family ride, which glides above most of Tomorrowland, as it affords unique glimpses of the park below and runs entirely on a unique electromagnetic rail system. It covers a full mile circuit at rooftop level and dives inside Space Mountain at one point and, at just over 10 minutes, is the longest ride in the park (which is very welcome when Magic Kingdom is busy and you desperately need to get off your feet for a while).


7. Space Mountain

Roller-coaster fans are well served here with this 1975 original that blasts riders into the “Cosmos” on rocket-shaped vehicles. The fact it is all largely in the dark – apart from brief moments of blast-off and re-entry – makes it feel much faster than it is, while the sudden twists and turns add to the Wow Factor and give it a constant element of surprise.


Three people sat one in front of the other on a rollercoaster vehicle in a tunnel lit blue


6. Jungle Cruise

This is another vintage attraction that bears Walt’s indelible hallmark, a corny, wise-cracking boat ride through various “jungles” of the world to discover famous rivers and their animatronic inhabitants. Get ready for some really bad jokes and all-out comic creations. Or, as Disney itself says: “It’s a 10-minute, 10,000-mile ride that you won’t soon forget!”


5. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

When Disney goes into the roller-coaster business (which isn’t terribly often), they always come up trumps, and this 2014 original set in the world of Snow White is both a big-time thrill for children and a fun experience for grown-ups. As well as an amusing section of animatronics set inside the Dwarfs’ mine, the ride vehicles swing and sway at key moments, making for a distinctive ride experience.


A rollercoaster track designed to look like it is coming out of a mine shaft on a rocky mountain


4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

That whole slick roller-coaster thing? Disney pretty much perfected it back in 1980 when they debuted “The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness” in Frontierland. As much a scenic spectacular as a thrill ride, it still ticks all the boxes and is a great stepping stone for children en route to the genuine adrenaline excitement of….


3. TRON Lightcycle/Run

The fastest ride in the Magic Kingdom at a top speed of 59mph, this is a wonderfully eye-catching attraction that really sets the pulse racing with its fast-launch start and Sci-Fi theming, which makes the ride vehicles look like the speedy lightcycles of the TRON films. It starts indoors, zooms outside and then returns to the cavernous interior for an exciting finish.


Two adults on a motorcycle-shaped ride vehicle on a rollercoaster


2. Haunted Mansion

The classic ghost train ride hits the heights of sheer spectacle here as visitors board the custom “Doom Buggies” for a journey into the mysterious house and grounds of the Gracey Mansion, where the Black Widow has sent many a husband into an early grave. It is wonderfully spooky and atmospheric, but not TOO scary for kids, hence it makes for an all-round success.


1. Pirates of the Caribbean

If there’s one ride that best sums up the Disney imagineering genius it is this brilliant journey into the 18th century Caribbean, where Captain Barbosa’s scurvy crew have laid siege to a hapless island and mayhem ensues. There is so much detail here you can easily ride two or three times and not see it all, hence it gets our No.1 rating for style, content and sheer fun, with the wily Captain Jack Sparrow ready to sneak in and snatch the treasure. There is one brief drop in the dark, but otherwise this should appeal to all the family.


Pirates of the Caribbean ride at night


PS: We can’t currently include Princess Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – the replacement for the old Splash Mountain – until it opens later this year, but we can easily imagine it coming in at number 5, or thereabouts.


What are YOUR favourite rides at the Magic Kingdom? Tell us about them on the friendly AttractionTickets.com Community Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram.

Walt Disney World Tickets , Orlando , Expert View Column , Shortlist