10 Best Rides at Magic Kingdom: Ranking the Top Rides at Disney World

by | Jul 23, 2022 | Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

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Find out our ranking of the very best rides at Magic Kingdom, from Haunted Mansion to Jungle Cruise.

By a landslide, Magic Kingdom has the most rides and attractions of any park at Disney World. But with long lines and limited Genie+ selections, how do you know which rides to prioritize when visiting the OG Walt Disney World park?

On top of that, it’s not just the best rides at Magic Kingdom that you’ve got to plan for; you’ve also got to find time for classic stage shows (PhilharMagic is the top pick, but don’t sleep on Country Bear Jamboree), cavalcades, character greetings, and the fireworks and projection show that closes out the night, Disney Enchantment.

And if you want to sample alcohol at Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to make time for a sit-down meal as well. (Psst …  here’s our list of the best Magic Kingdom restaurants, if you need help.)

Clearly, there is a lot to do at Magic Kingdom. If you’re only there for a day, pick your rides carefully so you soak up as much of the magic as possible. Not sure where to start? Scroll on for our ranking of our top Magic Kingdom rides.

What Are the Best Rides at Magic Kingdom?

  1. Haunted Mansion
  2. Jungle Cruise
  3. Splash Mountain
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean
  5. Space Mountain
  6. Peter Pan’s Flight
  7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  8. “it’s a small world”
  9. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  10. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

NOTE: Cinderella Castle is not considered a ride and thus did not rank on our list of the best rides at Magic Kingdom. However, no trip to Disney World is complete without exploring this modern marvel of engineering. Tap for a complete guide to Disney castles around the world.

1. Haunted Mansion

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Haunted Mansion is the best ride at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Brett Svenson

  • Location: Liberty Square
  • Opening Date: October 1, 1971
  • Ride Duration: About 10 minutes
  • Height Requirement: N/A

Take a random sampling of Disney World fans and ask them their favorite ride at Magic Kingdom, and I’ll bet a majority will say Haunted Mansion. This iconic ride just screams with Disney history. It’s kooky, it’s innovative, and it’s Disney at its finest.

The Imagineering within Haunted Mansion might be decades old, but it still holds up today. With classic characters like the Grim Grinning Ghosts and Madame Leota, and classic ride scenes like the attic and the stretching room, there’s no question why this tops our list of the best rides in Magic Kingdom.

In fact, the ride has inspired spinoffs at other Disney Parks, plus an Eddie Murphy film (love it or hate it) and a Muppets Haunted Mansion special (love it—hate it’s not an option).

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How to Ride Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom: Haunted Mansion is one of the most popular rides at Magic Kingdom, so good luck finding a time when there’s not some kind of line (though it does happen!). If you don’t want to wait in the standby queue, you can use Genie+ to cut the line.

2. Jungle Cruise

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Filled puns of adventure (er, sorry, tons of adventure), Jungle Cruise is one of the best rides at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Laurie Sapp

  • Location: Adventureland
  • Opening Date: October 1, 1971
  • Ride Duration: About 10 minutes
  • Height Requirement: N/A

In that random sample polling of guests for the best Magic Kingdom rides, I would actually break with the majority. While I can acknowledge that for most, Haunted Mansion is top dog at Magic Kingdom, for me, the best ride is Jungle Cruise.

If you love dad jokes, animals, and a leisurely float on the water, Jungle Cruise is right up your alley. The Skippers truly make the experience, with pun after pun. And because each Skipper has their own personality and slew of jokes at the ready, no two rides on Jungle Cruise are truly the same.

Plus, Christmas fans are in for a special treat during the holidays when this ride gets a special Jingle Cruise overlay.

If you love Jungle Cruise as much as I do, check out Jungle Cruise starring on Disney+.

How to Ride Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom: Jungle Cruise has a standby line that can sometimes get long (especially during the holidays with the Jingle Cruise holiday overlay). If you don’t want to wait for Jungle Cruise, try using Genie+ to get a specific ride time for the Lightning Lane.

3. Splash Mountain

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Splash Mountain, due for a retheme in 2024, is one of the most beloved rides at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Brett Svenson

  • Location: Frontierland
  • Opening Date: October 2, 1992
  • Ride Duration: About 11 minutes
  • Height Requirement: 40 inches

NOTE: Splash Mountain will be rethemed to The Princess and the Frog, complete with a new name: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, in late 2024.

Splash Mountain is a beloved Disney World attraction—and the best of the three Magic Kingdom mountains. This is one of the longer rides at Magic Kingdom, meaning more time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the magic of Disney Imagineering.

Oh yeah, and there’s a massive 49-foot drop awaiting you at the end. You’re probably gonna get a little wet.

We’re stoked to see what The Princess and the Frog retheme means for this iconic attraction.

How to Ride Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain often has a long line. If you’re planning to do standby, head to this ride early or near the end of the day (when everyone else is watching the fireworks). Otherwise, it’s wise to use Genie+ on Splash Mountain for minimal wait times.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean

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Pirates of the Caribbean is an iconic Magic Kingdom attraction. Photo by Cliff Wang

  • Location: Adventureland
  • Opening Date: December 15, 1973
  • Ride Duration: Around 8.5 minutes
  • Height Requirement: N/A

Pirates of the Caribbean is a Disney World staple and has several sister attractions at Disney Parks around the world. And, of course, it’s inspired a massive film franchise of the same name. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

From the music to the story to the smell of that water, Pirates stands as a classic Magic Kingdom ride—one that fans return to each time they come back to Magic Kingdom, reexperiencing the magic as if it were the first time.

Check out these Pirates of the Caribbean memes if you’re in need of a laugh.

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How to Ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom: Pirates of the Caribbean is yet another classic Disney World attraction, meaning you can often expect to wait in a long line. Use Genie+ for a quicker experience.

5. Space Mountain

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Space Mountain was a groundbreaking roller coaster in the 1970s⁠—and it still rocks today. Photo by Cliff Wang

  • Location: Tomorrowland
  • Opening Date: January 15, 1975
  • Ride Duration: Around 3 minutes
  • Height Requirement: 44 inches

Space Mountain was the world’s first indoor roller coaster, and it was groundbreaking at the time. While amusement parks like Cedar Point and Six Flags have now built coasters way taller, faster, and more extreme, Space Mountain remains a classic roller coaster with true Disney Imagineering.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT may now own the throne of the best roller coaster at Walt Disney World (and heck, it’s now the best ride in EPCOT), but don’t sleep on Space Mountain. It’s still a thrilling ride with out-of-this-world theming.

And just wait until you ride it with the lights on.

How to Ride Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom: You can use the standby queue for Space Mountain, but you’re better off paying for the Individual Lightning Lane Selection. Sometimes, however, like at the time of publishing, Disney makes this ride unavailable as an Individual Selection and adds it to the Genie+ lineup, to help with heavy crowds.

6. Peter Pan’s Flight

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Wait times tend to be high for this popular Magic Kingdom ride. Photo by Cliff Wang

  • Location: Fantasyland
  • Opening Date: October 3, 1971
  • Ride Duration: Around 3 minutes
  • Height Requirement:  N/A

Peter Pan’s Flight is the best Magic Kingdom dark ride that follows an actual classic Disney movie story. Aboard your rail-suspended galleon, you’ll relive your favorite moments from Disney’s Peter Pan (1953).

This ride famously wasn’t ready on opening day, so it opened two days late. Even so, it’s often considered an opening-day attraction, and it’s remained a fan-favorite (Pan-favorite, anyone?) ever since.

And don’t sweat the long lines; the interactive queue is a great way to pass the time.

How to Ride Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom: Because of a longer load time and lower hourly capacity, the Peter Pan’s Flight line can take forever. Luckily, Disney updated the queue in 2014 so it’s more interactive (and in the air conditioning), but you can skip the long lines with Genie+. Some families make this their Magic Kingdom rope-drop ride (or often their second ride after Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; both are in Fantasyland).

7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

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For roller coaster fans, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a can’t-miss in Frontierland. Photo by Ernie Carr

  • Location: Frontierland
  • Opening Date: November 15, 1980
  • Ride Duration: Around 3 minutes
  • Height Requirement: 40 inches

Inspired by Monument Valley out west, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a masterclass in roller coaster storytelling. Pay attention in the queue to learn the entire ride’s backstory.

Backstory aside, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is just pure fun. And it’s located close to Splash Mountain, so you can knock out two of Magic Kingdom’s mountains one right after the other.

How to Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom: As one of Magic Kingdom’s three mountains, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad commands long lines. You can wait in standby or use Genie+ to access the Big Thunder Lightning Lane.

8. “it’s a small world”

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You either love or hate “it’s a small world,” but there’s no denying that this is a classic Magic Kingdom ride. Photo by Mike Billick

  • Location: Fantasyland
  • Opening Date: October 1, 1971
  • Ride Duration: 10 minutes
  • Height Requirement: N/A

“it’s a small world” may not be appealing to every adult. The ride is slow, the music is repetitive, and there’s not even a connection to Disney IP like there is in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or Peter Pan’s Flight.

But riding “it’s a small world” is an easy way to connect with Walt Disney himself—and to remember how we’re all connected. The ride is like a museum of early Disney Legends’ work, from the music by the Sherman Brothers to the dolls (sculpted by Blaine Gibson and costumed by Alice Davis) to the overall aesthetic (thank you, Mary Blair).

If you get the chance to visit Disneyland at Christmas, you can ride their version of “it’s a small world” with a special holiday overlay.

How to Ride “it’s a small world” at Magic Kingdom: Though “it’s a small world” can be divisive, the standby line for this attraction can get long on busy days. If you don’t want to wait in the traditional standby queue, you can use the Lightning Lane for “it’s a small world” with Genie+.

9. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

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PeopleMover may not have the thrills and spills, but this iconic attraction is still one of the best rides at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Brett Svenson

  • Location: Tomorrowland
  • Opening Date: July 1, 1975 (as the WEDway PeopleMover)
  • Ride Duration: 10 minutes
  • Height Requirement: N/A

Objectively, the PeopleMover might sound like a boring ride. The cars glide around above Tomorrowland at a slow 7 mph, and there aren’t major drops or fast turns.

But PeopleMover is a wonderful way to escape the crowded pavement for a little while and enjoy a nice breeze. It also gives you unique views of Tomorrowland, including a detour inside Space Mountain.

The PeopleMover also has ties to Walt’s original vision for EPCOT; it was meant to be an actual transportation system that people might take to school or work, instead of cars. That historical connection makes this ride extra special; you can even see a model of Walt’s imagined EPCOT while aboard.

How to Ride Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom: Of all the attractions on our list, this is the only one without a Genie+ option. That means that you’ll have to use the old-fashioned standby line for the PeopleMover no matter one. Lines tend to be short, and it’s so worth the wait.

10. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rounds out our list of the best rides at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Cliff Wang

  • Location: Fantasyland
  • Opening Date: May 28, 2014
  • Ride Duration: Around 3 minutes
  • Height Requirement: 38 inches

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train pays homage to the first full-length animated feature film that Disney put out: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But it’s not a dark ride; instead, it’s a thrilling coaster that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

This ride is super popular; expect long lines, and, if you can, make it your rope-drop ride of the day. At least until TRON opens.

How to Ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom: You can use the standby queue for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but you’re better off paying for the Individual Lightning Lane Selection. If you don’t want to pay to use the Lightning Lane, make this your Magic Kingdom rope-drop ride.

Written by Timothy Moore

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Boom baby! Timothy Moore is excited to serve as a WDW Magazine contributor and resident Disney Renaissance expert. When he's not drinking around the world at EPCOT or gobbling down Mickey Waffles for breakfast, he can usually be found with his partner hiking and kayaking the great outdoors, putting off writing his novel by playing Nintendo Switch, or telling his dogs Goomba and Blooper that they're the best boys in the world ad nauseam (because they are).
Timothy Moore

Written by Timothy Moore

Boom baby! Timothy Moore is excited to serve as a WDW Magazine contributor and resident Disney Renaissance expert. When he's not drinking around the world at EPCOT or gobbling down Mickey Waffles for breakfast, he can usually be found with his partner hiking and kayaking the great outdoors, putting off writing his novel by playing Nintendo Switch, or telling his dogs Goomba and Blooper that they're the best boys in the world ad nauseam (because they are).
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