The Rides and Experiences You Won't Want to Miss at Magic Kingdom

by Mommy Frog on May 23, 2024
Orlando

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For many, a visit to Disney World doesn't feel complete without a stop at Magic Kingdom. In fact, it's often the very first stop! This iconic park started it all in 1971 and offers the most classically "Disney" experience of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, complete with that magical view of Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. Many Magic Kingdom rides and experiences have remained mostly the same over its 50 years while also adding fun new options for all ages. Magic Kingdom has the most attractions of the four parks, so there's a lot to pack in, but there are certain things that you won't want to miss!

What Not to Miss at Magic Kingdom - Cinderella Castle

With so much to choose from, it's hard to decide what to do, especially if you only have one day to spend at the park. While each family has its own specific wants, we've created this list of the not-to-be-missed attractions and experiences — and even food and drink! (Like we'd miss the opportunity to talk about Dole Whips.) This should help you get started with some iconic moments and experiences at Magic Kingdom.

We always think it's good to have a flexible plan ahead of time, or at least know what to prioritize and keep on your must-do list. (For a little extra organizational help, don't froget to check out the Undercover Tourist Orlando app — we offer pre-set Park Plans, plus the ability to customize your own plan with YOUR family's must-dos!). Without further ado, here's our Frog Family's list of what not to miss at Magic Kingdom!

Not-to-Miss Magic Kingdom Rides for Older Kids and Adults

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

What Not-to-Miss at Magic Kingdom – Ride photo from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

One of the most popular Magic Kingdom rides, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, takes you on an exciting journey through the dwarfs' mining mountain. Enjoy dives and turns as your mine cart teeters back and forth. Catch characters from "Snow White," and some pretty cool views of Fantasyland. The height requirement for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is 38 inches. This ride is always on our list, especially for first-time visitors! If you're wanting to save time and not wait in a long line, consider purchasing individual Lightning Lane access through Disney Genie.

Haunted Mansion

Located in Liberty Square, this slow-moving omnimover (constantly moving) ride takes you through a spooky mansion where lots of grim-grinning ghosts materialize. The queue and stretching room pre-show help add to the experience. There isn't a height requirement, and while there may be some mildly spooky scenes for little ones (particularly if they don't like the dark), the upbeat music and whimsical ghosts add to the fun. Hurry baaaaaack! 

Space Mountain

Calling all thrill-seekers! One of the iconic "mountains" of Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain zooms you through dark space at high speeds. Located in Tomorrowland, this fast indoor coaster is very dark and has extreme twists and turns. Adventurous teens and tweens will love it! Space Mountain has a height requirement of 44 inches, and those who deal with motion sickness may want to sit this one out (hop on the PeopleMover while you wait for your party and catch a glimpse of the ride in action).

Pirates of the Caribbean

You'll be singing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me" all afternoon after your swashbuckling adventure on Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. This slow-moving boat ride (with one small drop) takes you through a pirate battle and seaside town, all while keeping an eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow. Fun froggy fact: Did you know that the original ride came out 30 years before the hit film series? This ride is perfect for cooling down in the Florida heat. With no height requirement, the whole family can set sail!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

"Hold on to your hats and glasses, 'cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!" This exciting roller coaster winds you through canyons and an abandoned mine shaft. Located in Frontierland, Big Thunder is one of our Frog Family's go-to's when we're at Magic Kingdom. The ride does have a height requirement of 40 inches or taller. It is fast and bumpy, and some parts are in the dark, so keep this in mind for younger tadpoles. For adventurous riders, try riding again at night for a toadally different experience!

TRON Lightcycle / Run 

This newest roller coaster now takes the cake as the most thrilling ride at Magic Kingdom! Prepare to enter the Grid and race against Team Orange. Climb aboard your own Lightcyle, on which you'll be launched at a high speed through an outdoor portion before finishing indoors in the computerized world. Currently, TRON only utilizes a virtual queue (no standby available), or you can opt to purchase individual Lightning Lane access. It has a height requirement of 48 inches. For more info on this brand-new ride, hop over to our TRON post.

Not-to-Miss Magic Kingdom Rides for Younger Kids

Dumbo

Not to Miss Rides at Magic Kingdom – Dumbo

Perfect for the younger tadpoles, Dumbo is a classic ride that truly says "I went to Disney World!" Soar like Dumbo, and as you're flying, you're in control if you want to go up or down. No height requirement means this is perfect for those traveling with little ones. We recommend spending some time in Storybook Circus for other kid-friendly rides and play areas.

The Barnstormer

After riding Dumbo, head next door to The Barnstormer, the perfect mini roller coaster for kiddos! Zoom through Goofy's stunt show and take in the views of Storybook Circus. The shorter height requirement of 35 inches makes this the perfect "thrill" ride for young tadpoles who aren't tall enough (or ready) for the larger Disney coasters.

Peter Pan's Flight

This popular ride takes you through iconic scenes from the beloved "Peter Pan" film. The attraction is another omnimover but with a twist — your ever-moving ride vehicle is a flying ship. Tadpoles and adult frogs alike will delight in how you are able to easily fly over London and Neverland. Keep a close eye after you board, as cast members may just sprinkle some extra pixie dust on your ship to help you fly!

Jungle Cruise

Not to Miss Rides at Disney World -Jungle Cruise

Embark on a comedic boat adventure for the whole family aboard Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. This whimsical journey takes you through the Amazon and other tropical places, all while your skipper keeps the boat entertained with corny jokes your kids will love (and some just for the adult frogs, too). If you're not laughing, you're in de-Nile!

Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

It's time to head under the sea on Journey of The Little Mermaid in Fantasyland! This omnimover lets guests board a large clamshell and cruise through many iconic scenes from "The Little Mermaid." Don't worry — there's no actual water so you won't get wet! The ride and exterior queue create the perfect setting, and it is a must for any Ariel fans (aka me).

Not-to-Miss Experiences at Magic Kingdom

Parades and Cavalcades

Festival of Fantasy parade is the marquee parade at Magic Kingdom. The parade can run either once, or twice a day. Is it a colorful and whimsical parade that features some of everyone's favorite characters like Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Peter Pan, Mickey, Minnie, and so many more! The characters travel from Frontierland, through Liberty Square, past the castle and down Main Street. The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade also makes its way through Magic Kingdom everyday and features friends like Miguel, Bruno, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. This cavalcade typically happens twice every day and follows the same route as Festival of Fantasy. Check the My Disney Experience app for cavalcade and parade showtimes.

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After first debuted in 2017 and has captured our froggy hearts ever since. This show brings something for all ages as projections display on Cinderella Castle from all kinds of Disney movies! Due to recent updates, the projection effects now extend from Cinderella Castle all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. The projections combined with the fireworks make for an awe-dropping show. Plus, did you really even Magic Kingdom, if you did not end your day with fireworks? Looking for the best spots to catch Happily Ever After? Check out our full guide!

Character Sightings

One of the best parts of a trip to Disney World is meeting so many of our favorite characters! Magic Kingdom is home to many opportunities to meet your favorites, including Ariel's Grotto and Enchanted Tales with Belle. Mickey Mouse himself meets at Town Square Theater, which is the perfect way to start your day at Magic Kingdom.  Want to see some of the other princesses? Cinderella, Elena, Tiana and Rapunzel — all meet at Princess Fairytale Hall. (Psst ... meet and greets are now available as Genie+ selections, too!) Plus, you never know who you might see around the Magic Kingdom!

Special Holiday Parties

Not to Miss Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - Hocus Pocus Spelltacular

Every year, Magic Kingdom transforms into a spooky or festive scene for the seasons. In the fall, Main Street turns into a quaint autumn town with pumpkins and orange decor. On select nights, Magic Kingdom becomes a Halloween extravaganza with Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. These separately ticketed events include themed entertainment, special characters, treat stops, themed food and drink and more. And best yet — adults are able to wear full costumes, so the whole family can dress up for the occasion!

For the perfect festive trip in November and December, you won't want to miss Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. These ticketed events offer festive entertainment, characters, themed food and drink and more. Plus, "snow" falls on Main Street! It's a great way to celebrate Christmas at Magic Kingdom without being there on the actual holiday.

If you're traveling between August and December, we highly recommend booking these parties! Though the events require an additional purchase, we think they are toadally worth it.

Not-to-Miss Food and Drink at Magic Kingdom

Dole Whip from Aloha Isle

Our family never leaves Magic Kingdom without enjoying some classic Dole Whip from Adventureland! Pineapple is the original flavor (both vegan and gluten free), though other flavors have emerged as well. This popular treat is offered as a soft-serve or float, like the Tropical Serenade (pictured above), which has the infamous POG juice (pineapple, orange, guava) topped with coconut soft served. If it is available, we highly recommend mobile ordering, as this can help save a lot of time!

Corn Dog Nuggets from Casey's Corner

Casey's Corner on Main Street offers American classics with a baseball theme. This popular quick-service restaurant has lots of options for hot dogs and fries, but our favorite is the corn dog nuggets. Add a side of cheese sauce for $1 for the perfect combo. Mobile ordering is typically required here, though a standby line may be available (since this location is so popular, we recommend mobile ordering either way). Sit back and enjoy the live pianist throughout the day while you enjoy!

Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen

If you are looking to take it easy and enjoy some air conditioning at sit down at a table service restaurant, we highly recommend Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. This restaurant is located in Adventureland. It's theming is based on the Jungle Cruise and the food follows suit with "bold, flavorful cuisine of Asia, South America and Africa." One of our favorite dishes is the "Tastes like Chicken" Because it is! It is "crispy-fried chicken with chili-soy glaze, jasmine rice, and pickled vegetable slaw." The food is fresh and full of flavor. There are also incredible options for children as well like the steak and rice pictured above.

Waffle Sandwiches from Sleepy Hollow

At the bridge to Liberty Square, you'll find a small walk-up, quick-service spot called Sleepy Hollow. You won't want to miss this hidden gem! Breakfast is very popular here with fruit waffle sandwiches and Mickey waffles. For the rest of the day, enjoy frog-favorite items, including the chicken waffle sandwich, turkey leg, funnel cakes and more. Mobile ordering is available and recommended during peak times.

Spring Roll Cart

This fan-favorite cart at the entrance to Adventureland offers a variety of spring rolls. The cart offers fun flavors, including pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger, and sometimes even seasonal items. The cheeseburger spring rolls are iconic and incredibly tasty. There is no mobile order for this spot, so hop in line on your way into Adventureland if these are on your list!

What's on your family's not-to-miss list at Magic Kingdom? Did we miss anything? (With so many amazing things to do at Magic Kingdom, we're sure we did!) Let us know in the comments below!

Related: The Very Best Times to Visit Disney World in 2023 and 2024

Related: Which Disney World Park Should I Choose?

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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