The Best Guide to Enjoying the Rides at Disney Magic Kingdom in One Day
Planning a trip to Disney World? I am sure you must be overwhelmed with everything that encompasses a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth, especially the Magic Kingdom park. See below our lowdown on all the incredible Disney Magic Kingdom rides, rating them to assist you in choosing those to include in your trip, especially if you are intending to enjoy as many as possible in the Magic Kingdom in one day.
Our Disney Magic Kingdom rides list is based on excitement, aesthetic, modernization vs. nostalgia, and overall accuracy to the film adapted. We give each ride a mickey ear rating! 5 ears is a perfect rating 🙂 This evaluation will hopefully assist you in choosing the ones you want to experience at the Magic Kingdom in one day.
Our Disney Magic Kingdom rides list should give you a firsthand reference when planning your day(s). Remember, this is a subjective account of how we felt the rides rate in the park. You may of course think a ride only deserve 3 Mickey ears, or in turn, think it was Disney Perfection. We hope this Disney Magic Kingdom rides guide helps you when you arrive to choose the ones to do at Magic Kingdom in one day as there are so many things to try and discover.
Rides to Do at the Magic Kingdom in one day:
Snow White’s Mine Train (5 Ears!)
This is by far my favourite ride at the Magic Kingdom. I cannot lie that I was very sad about Snow White’s Scary Adventures being removed from the park and being replaced (see our evaluation below!) (RIP Scary adventures in Orlando! I will need to get to Disneyland California to enjoy the Scary Adventures.)
This ride is so popular that wait times can get upward 2+ hours! Try to grab a Fast Pass for this ride, especially if you are doing as much as you can at the Magic Kingdom in one day. They fill up everyday very quickly, but they can be booked up to 180 days before your trip. We loved this ride for several reasons – the amazing and modern animatronics, the exceptional interactive areas throughout the line-up area, and the fast-paced thrilling ride up and down at warp speeds through the Dwarf’s mine.
Don’t forget to have a look at the souvenir photo and video! If you have a Memory Maker, they will be uploaded automatically. I love anything with souvenir photos!
Space Mountain (5 Ears!)
This dark roller coaster is one of the most fun Magic Kingdom rides! Located in Tomorrowland, this ride takes you completely in the dark as if you were in space at thrilling warp speeds. As you wait in line, you are immersed in Space trivia and displays. It really is a nice way to get guests prepared for the upcoming theming they are about to experience. I give this ride five ears as it is exhilarating and is a good length to warrant the wait if you couldn’t use a Fast Pass. Plus you get that ever hilarious and memorable souvenir photo at the end which was taken during the super fast take-off.
Pro-Tips: I highly recommend using a Fast Pass for the Space Mountain as this Magic Kingdom ride can get wait times to over an hour. That is precious time that could be used elsewhere in the park, especially if you are enjoying the Magic Kingdom in one day! If you have a Memory Maker, be sure to add your souvenir photo. They are included with the package.
Jungle Cruise (4 Ears!)
I just love this ride. I remember as a child dreading the long line for this ride, but then once I sat down in my seat on the boat, that long wait impatience just went out the window. This relaxing boat cruise located near the Swiss Family Robinson tree house in Adventureland takes you in the jungle to visit a variety of African animals including elephants, hippos, and lions!
One of the most entertaining parts of this ride are the staff that guide us through the ride. They are funny, tell cheesy jokes for a laugh, and tell you about the various animatronic animals in the attraction. I love that this ride has survived all the changes through the decades. Kids nowadays can still relate to this ride due to the similarities of the Lion King in its featured animals. Kids will thoroughly enjoy seeing this lovely display of all the creatures and tribal peoples as you float by.
I always find the wait times are quite lengthy for this ride. There are mixed opinions on the use of a Fast Pass for this ride, but I am on the side of using one. You can keep using them all day long as long as you schedule them close together. If you can get one close to the other scheduled passes for your day, then save some time and use one here.
Splash Mountain (5 Ears!)
Second only to the Snow White Mine Train to me, as far as Magic Kingdom rides, is Splash Mountain. Perhaps it’s my nostalgic heart, but there is something about seeing Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear in animatronic form that just gets me so giddy when I am on this ride. I was always so sad that “The Song of the South” was never released, but at least the signature song “Zippadee Doo dah” got such acclaim, an academy award, and popularity. Kids nowadays would not know much about these characters so I’m thankful that Disney has not removed it or changed movies featured in this attraction.
This lengthy flume ride is such an impressive display for a ride that was designed over 20 years ago. I love the finale with a drop down a large hill that brings a bit of a splash on to riders. Don’t worry it isn’t a soak fest! You can walk around comfortably after this ride. Should you want to wipe off, check out our Disney Specific Packing Essentials for day bag suggestions on getting dry!
You need to use a Fast Pass for this favourite as the lines do get long! I highly recommend if you are staying for an evening event or have extended hours through your resort to do this ride then. We stayed for the Christmas Party (details coming soon!) and literally waited only 5 minutes to ride. During the day, you are looking at over an hour at the shortest!
Also, don’t forget to grab your souvenir photo when taking these Magic Kingdom rides. I love these and think they are such fun spontaneous memories you don’t control.
Haunted Mansion (4 Ears!)
Another one of the Magic Kingdom rides that has survived the test of time which I seriously would recommend including if you are doing Magic Kingdom in one day is the Haunted Mansion. This dark ride of ghosts, cobwebs, and the incredible Eleanor Audley located in Liberty Square, has me on pins and needles with every visit. As a child, my dad and I loved this ride. We especially loved seeing the ghosts in our cars! The animatronics have withstood the test of time and have needed very few updates. I cannot lie that I have been quite sad at so many of my childhood rides being replaced in the last 15 years, so seeing the gems from an adult eyes vs. my child eyes has been incredibly heartwarming to me.
You won’t need a Fast Pass for these Magic Kingdom rides, but they are available should the line be freakishly long when you arrive. The Memory Maker has a pro photographer waiting for you outside. Make sure you get this pic! You will love the end result from posing in front of the mansion 🙂
Make sure you stop and have a gaze at the cemetery! Mr Toad is buried in there as the ride was replaced not too long ago…I am not happy about that at all as it is a piece of childhood gone to new generations 🙁
Dumbo the Flying Elephant Disney World (4 Ears – Flying Ears 😉
The wait times for this attraction on the Magic Kingdom Rides list have significantly decreased since I was a child that’s for sure. Perhaps due to the fact that the ride is no longer in the front of the park near the carousel, or perhaps because there are now 2 identical Magic Kingdom rides running at the same time!
Everyone young and old will enjoy this ride. Make Dumbo fly higher with your feather control inside. It spins several times as you control the height of your elephant. You can book a fast pass, but it really isn’t needed here. Even if the wait is half hour, it is so worth the wait to relive a childhood memory, or commemorate Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary 🙂
Peter Pan’s Flight (5 Ears!)
I love this ride. The vintage charm being one of the original Magic Kingdom rides, I think I have a soft spot for this attraction. With the characters flying over the London night sky, My English roots and homesickness (it was my second home for a couple of years) certainly had a strong bout.
What I love about this ride is the build up to the flying boat. The bedroom, the decor, the feeling you are part of the movie when Peter enters the window… such a delight. Wait times here get quite extensive as possibly more guests have the same desire to relive this movie. Heck, so many adaptations have been made of this movie! (Hook, Pan, and the Broadway version starring Mary Martin to name a few).
Pro-Tip: Make sure you use a Fast Pass for this one. As nostalgic, heartwarming, and iconic this original ride is, you do not want to wait over two hours to fly over Neverland.
The Pirates of the Caribbean (4 Ears!)
I have loved Johnny Depp since I was a teenager. He was my heartthrob and his face was plastered all over my walls in poster form. Little did I know he would be the symbol of a Disney franchise being depicted as a pirate for more than a decade.
When I was younger this ride brought the pirate life to guests through a boat ride featuring animatronics and classic scenes of the pirate life in the ocean. Nowadays the original Jack Sparrow display has been replaced with the likeness of my teenage love Johnny.
The ride is a nice relaxing journey through several scenes and does remind us of the movies. At some point I kinda wanted the real Jack Sparrow and Davey Jones to pop out from behind the display.
The Fast Pass would be recommended if you are enjoying the Magic Kingdom in one day. If you choose to visit this attraction in the evening, your wait shouldn’t be much more than around 15 minutes which would not warrant using a pass. Plan accordingly and you will have a very enjoyable experience.
The Carousel of Progress (5 Ears!)
Another nostalgic treat for me, this ride spoke to my 8-year old heart remembering all those times this ride was done after lunch to help digest my delicious Mickey-shaped waffles. Walt Disney himself envisioned this beautiful showcase of the evolution of time through the decades. With animatronics acting time-period specific anecdotes and events related to the time, this theatrical ride that rotates an auditorium through 5 different decades, you will be captivated by Walt’s dream combined with timeless morals and philosophy. No need for Fast Passes on this one 🙂
Goofy’s Barnstormer (2 Ears!)
Perhaps when we travel to Disney toting a 6 year-old with us, this one will be more appealing.This ride featuring Goofy and the gang is meant for the children out there who wish to have some adventure, but are too small for such rides as the Space Mountain or Thunder Mountain Railroad. Adults travelling on their own to Disney should not make this one a priority if there is a show or restaurant they wish to include in their day.
Perhaps once we head to Disney with child my rating will increase, but for now, let’s leave it as a 2-ear rating for an adult trip.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (4 Ears!)
I love this ride. I gave it a 4-ear rating as it is very similar to Splash Mountain, but without the fun of a film or character reference. Splash Mountain has the amazing animatronics of “The Song of the South” combined with the excitement of drops and splashes all around.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a delightful mix of drops, warp-speeds and dark tunnels sprinkling the theme of the Old West and giving guests the feeling of being within Yosemite. These are all thrilling and a great ride full of smiles and screams. However, I just miss the characters and the Disney isms I love in the attractions and how they unfold to the riders.
Fast Passes are recommended here as the waits can get pretty lengthy. If you wait until the end of the day, your wait will be minimal and the need of a Fast Pass will be less necessary.
Tomorrowland Speedway (5 Ears!)
I immediately am drawn to this ride due to Cars. All I can think while i’m behind the wheel is that I’m Lightening McQueen zooming around every corner. Zooming may be an exaggeration as you putt putt along as you floor it, but it truly is a relaxing loop that gives you a chance to drive a diesel powered speed car.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (1 Ear 🙁 )
I don’t like giving the lowest rating to anything Disney, but this ride I just don’t find all that appealing. If you would like a spinning ride, this ride puts guests in carpet cars that spin around and around. It is very similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Orbitor. As Dumbo has the nostalgic presence and the adorableness of a baby elephant, I would recommend saving time and energy and overlook this one. Perhaps head here when Aladdin, Jasmine and (if you are lucky!) the Genie are around for photos, and then head off to another attraction.
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (4 Ears!)
Have you ever been to Coney Island in New York? Well, they have teacups where you can spin and spin until you are dizzy and nausous. Well, this is exactly that, but with the charm and magic of Alice in Wonderland. I love this ride. It brings the memories of Wonderland to guests with the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and the Door Mouse within the tent. Control the speeds within the cup by turning the wheel as fast as you want. Don’t do this ride after eating a meal! This ride is okay for older kids who don’t have weak stomachs.
It’s a Small World Ride (4 Ears!)
The song is an ultimate earworm and will have you singing it all day; however, it is such a joy to ride and see the international animatronics. Everywhere from China, Japan, and the Netherlands, to Australia, First Nations, and more. You will be surrounded by global cultures that beautifully capture the adventurous heart and kisses the Disney soul. Disney brings all cultures together in such a happy place. Live a vision and moment that was imagined by Walt Disney himself and created by classic artist Mary Blair. The ride relays this message to all guests. Plus if you are a Fast Pass holder, you will see your name at the end of the ride bidding you farewell. Such a neat extra touch since my childhood riding days.
Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid (3 Ears!)
Reliving my memories of this movie in a dark ride! That’s pretty much the gist of this ride that replaced a childhood icon of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (more on this in our Posthumous Tribute!) I enjoyed seeing the characters from under the sea like Sebastian, Flounder, and the ever regal King Triton 🙂 You don’t need a Fast Pass for this part of the attraction; keep it for meeting Ariel in her Grotto 🙂
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (4 Ears!)
I have a soft spot for the adorable bear addicted to hunny, as well as seeing darling Piglet frolic in the forest, but I don’t think it was the best of all the dark rides out there. I miss the Snow White Scary Adventures and Mr Toad so much when I see the newer rides like this. At least Peter Pan has survived the test of time at the parks. Do make time for this ride. The animatronics make it worth the wait. You can use a Fast Pass, but the wait isn’t that long.
Tom Sawyer Island (5 ears!)
I love everything Mark Twain. His writing and stories are just so heartwarming that anything around his characters gets my heart a flutter. This island is great for the kids as it is fully loaded with activities for them to burn off the sugar from the chocolate covered mickey ears they have consumed all day! Take the raft over to enjoy some quiet time before heading back to line up for more rides and shows 🙂
Prince Charming Regal Carousel (5 Ears!)
I love carousels. I know that carousels are everywhere really, but to ride one in Disney World just adds extra magic. When I think of carousels I visualize one of my favourite movies of all time Mary Poppins. You know, when they pop into the sidewalk painting and take the ride through on the horse race? Yes, that amazing and epic movie. I just love Julie Andrews.
Anyway, do take a ride on this beautiful carousel of gorgeous horses and other majestic animals. Some go up and down while others remain stationery. Feel like royalty with every spin. Every prince and princess needs to ride on a regal carousel 🙂
Swiss Family Robinson Tree house (4 Ears!)
I loved this diversion from the long lines and fast pace of the park. Even though a slower paced ride, I always include it even if I have to fit it all in to do Magic Kingdom in one day. Take a leisurely walk up each level of the tree house and photograph the detailed displays of how the family lived in the film. If you haven’t seen the film, make sure you do! It is fab. Considering this attraction was switched to Tarzan in Disneyland Anaheim make sure to enjoy this nostalgia while it lasts.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (3 Ears!)
This is a fun interactive ride with a video game concept with Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. It is not dissimilar to the Magic Kingdom rides featured in Hollywood Studio’s Pixar Place so I give this one 3 ears due to repetition within parks. I guess if you can only go to Magic Kingdom and don’t have time to get to Hollywood Studios than this would be a good use of time, but as my trips usually include Hollywood Studios, I will save my time and energy for the attraction there and use my time in Magic Kingdom rides for a character encounter or a show I don’t always have time to experience.
Astro Orbitor (2 Ears!)
This Tomorrowland ride brings together the fun of going into orbit mixed with a fun spin a few times in a circle. Quite frankly, Dumbo is still my top choice in the loop rides other than the carousel. Dumbo is definitely a must for time in the park. If you have time, after enjoying Dumbo, fit this one in over Aladdin’s Magic Carpet.
So there is our thorough thoughts on each of the main Magic Kingdom rides in Orlando. I do miss so many of the replaced Magic Kingdom rides, but do love what they have done with newer movies and characters, integrating them with the classics.
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We do not work for and are not affiliated with Disney in any way. All our opinions are our own and based on our own experience and extensive research.