The Top 5 Rides and Attractions at Disney's Magic KingdomBy Nick Sim, Monday, July 1, 2013 10:08
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom has long been established as the world's most popular theme park, pulling in huge numbers of visitors every year. While it is essentially a scaled-up clone of the original Disneyland, the park has taken on its own identity in recent years, with projects such as the expansion of the Fantasyland area.
Since we launched our theme park guides last year, we've been collecting our readers' ratings and reviews of the Magic Kingdom's rides (as well as those of 90+ other parks). We're focusing on Disney's Magic Kingdom as our "Park of the Month" in July, so we thought now would be a great time to look at the top 5 rides and attractions at the park - as rated by Theme Park Tourist readers.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean
A clone of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride was brought to the Magic Kingdom by popular demand in 1973, having been left out of its original line-up. It sees guests boarding 15-person boats before travelling through treacherous waters and a village raided by animatronic pirates, and has now been updated with the addition of characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.
While still a lengthy ride at eight-and-half minutes, the Magic Kingdom version of Pirates of the Caribbean lacks some of the scenes seen in the longer Disneyland original. This includes the "iconic treasure" room scene, which is sorely missed.
Full details: Pirates of the Caribbean guide
4. Haunted Mansion
While it is another clone of a Disneyland classic, no compromises were made in the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion. Indeed, the ride features several additional scenes made possible by a larger show building. Guests board "DoomBuggy" ride vehicles, before being whisked around the interior of an old colonial manor house.
Even four decades after its debut, the Haunted Mansion's special effects are still impressive. The "Pepper's Ghost" effect that is used to create a ballroom packed with dancing ghouls is a particular classic. Even better, the Omnimover ride system keeps the queue moving quickly, though you'll still want to experience the interactive elements that were adding to the waiting area in 2011.
Full details: Haunted Mansion guide
3. Space Mountain
Added to the Magic Kingdom's roster of attractions in 1975, Space Mountain is an indoor, "wild mouse"-style roller coaster that is packed with high-speed turns and sudden dips. Riders board rocket-themed sleds before blasting off an interstellar journey around the white dome of Tomorrowland.
The ride's trains were replaced in 2009, during a major refurbishment that also saw a variety of interactive games added to Space Mountain's queue. This has eased the pain of waiting in line, while the ride itself remains an essential part of any tour of the Magic Kingdom.
Full details: Space Mountain guide
2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Virtually a mirror image of the original Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom's version dominates the Frontierland area. Disney's take on the mine train coaster is far superior to those at other theme parks, based as it is around an enormous mock mountain that looks like it has been transplanted directly from Monument Valley.
The twisting, turning circuit is navigated at a lower speed than many other coasters, making it suitable for all but the youngest riders. That doesn't detract from the thrills on offer, though, which are greatly enhanced by the stunning setting. And Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has become the latest Magic Kingdom ride to receive a queue overhaul, adding a range of entertaining elements.
Full details: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad guide
1. Splash Mountain
It may have been "inspired" by Knott's Berry Farm's Timber Mountain Log Ride, but Splash Mountain takes the concept of a heavily-themed log flume to another level. A combination of a classic Disney dark ride and a thrilling water attraction, it is themed around Disney's hybrid live action-animation movie Song of the South.
Aboard hollowed-out logs, riders pass animatronic scenes depicting scenes from the movie, travelling along with Brer Rabbit as he outwits Brer Fox and Brer Bear. The finale is a thrilling five-story watery drop into a briar patch.
Full details: Splash Mountain guide
What are your favourites?
Disagree with the ranking above? Let us know what your favourite Magic Kingdom rides and attractions are by adding your own ratings and reviews!