If you’re looking for simple descriptions of all Magic Kingdom rides so you can narrow down your list of must-do’s for your upcoming Disney World trip, then this guide is for you!
I’m not going to list the best rides at Magic Kingdom because the “best” is subjective. Instead, this guide provides height requirements, seating arrangements, and brief descriptions to help you decide which ones you’ll want to enjoy and which Magic Kingdom rides might be skippable. Some rides have height restrictions so the little ones won’t be able to enjoy them. Other rides spin and could cause dizziness. You might want to avoid others for height or speed … or add them to your “must ride” list instead!
There are more rides at Magic Kingdom than any other Disney World park, so this ride guide is split in two. Here, we’re covering rides in Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square. Don’t miss the first Magic Kingdom rides guide that covers rides in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Main Street USA.
Note that FastPass+ is mentioned in this post although FastPass+ is temporarily disabled during Disney World’s initial 2020 reopening period. All rides will only have a single standby line.
Looking for a quick Magic Kingdom rides cheat sheet that lists these rides and attractions on one concise, easy-to-read sheet? Download my free One Page Guide to Magic Kingdom Attractions!
[The Basics] Magic Kingdom Rides List
Rides in Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FP+ // 40” minimum height // outdoor roller coaster
The Haunted Mansion FP+ // omnimover dark ride
Jungle Cruise FP+ // slow-moving outdoor boat ride
Liberty Square Riverboat // large outdoor boat ride
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin FP+ // outdoor spinner ride
Pirates of the Caribbean FP+ // slow-moving boat dark ride
Splash Mountain FP+ // 40” minimum height // log flume ride
Tom Sawyer Island // outdoor standing raft ride and free exploration area
[Beyond the Basics] Magic Kingdom Rides in Detail
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This classic outdoor rollercoaster is immersed in a detailed old west gold mining town theme. The old mine trains are a step up on the thrill scale from The Barnstorm, but still far less thrilling than Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest.
Most of the queue and the loading area for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are covered in the themed mining office building, but not air conditioned.
The train cars seat 2 per row with a lap bar. The back rows feel more intense so request the front if you’re unsure about this roller coaster!
The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion is a classic Disney omnimover dark ride that has been operating since Disney World’s opening day in 1971.
The ride vehicles, called doombuggies, allow 3 on a bench seat. The doombuggy moves at a constant slow pace for the entire ride, gently turning from side to side to guide your view of various ghost-filled animatronic scenes.
Your kids may or may not be scared by the Haunted Mansion ride. My boys have never been afraid, even when they first rode as toddlers. However, I recall being rather terrified during my first ride as a 5-year-old! The ride is very dark with loud music, voices, and sound effects, and the creepy voice of the “Ghost Host” narrating the entire ride from a speaker behind your head in the doombuggy. However, unlike a Halloween haunted house, nothing in the ride will jump out at you or touch you.
The ride is entirely indoors while the majority of this queue is located outside, but mostly covered from the sunshine.
slow-moving outdoor boat ride
This slow-moving boat ride travels through the rivers of the world with live narration by your own personal skipper. Yes, a real person, not an animatronic figure, is the skipper of your vessel!
If you love puns, you will love the Jungle Cruise. Be prepared to laugh (or groan!) through this very pun-ny ride!
The Jungle Cruise ride and queue are entirely outside, although the queue is mostly covered. Due to the low ride capacity and time required to load boats, the wait time is often one of the longest at the Magic Kingdom. Hit this one early or late to avoid standing in the longest mid-day lines.
There is bench seating along the sides of the boat with another backless bench down the middle.
Liberty Square Riverboat
The Liberty Belle riverboat is less of a ride and more of a relaxing, moving attraction. This is a large riverboat that floats around Tom Sawyer Island with a dock in Liberty Square.
Expect to stand at the outdoor railings on one of the three levels during your 20-minute journey, although there are bench seats both inside and out.
Don’t expect to wait in a line – you’ll only be waiting for as long as it takes for the boat to return to dock from its current journey.
Riding the Liberty Belle is a great way to relax and spend a little time away from the crowds while enjoying fresh air and an ever-changing view.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Magic Carpets are very similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant with an Aladdin-inspired flying carpet theme. This is an outdoor aerial carousel “spinner” ride.
While the Dumbo elephants have just one bench seat, each flying carpet has two rows that seat two guests per row. Guests in front control the up and down motion of the carpet while those in back only control the tilt. Keep this in mind when loading onto the carpet since the front seat is more fun!
The entire queue and ride are outside in a rather busy market themed area of Adventureland. Only riding Dumbo, with its air conditioned playground queue and single ride vehicle row where everyone gets to control the ride vehicle’s “flight”, will probably be sufficient for your Magic Kingdom day if you’re short on time unless the kids love these spinner rides!
Pirates of the Caribbean
slow-moving indoor boat ride
Think of Pirates of the Caribbean as a more intense version of It’s A Small World … as “intense” as a slow-moving boat ride can be!
Like Small World, guests sit in free-floating boats that slowly through the attraction with an earworm that’ll stick in your head for the rest of the day – Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).
However, the theme is darker and there is one medium drop in complete darkness down a waterfall. You may get wet from both this drop and the subsequent effect of cannonballs landing in the water surrounding the boat.
Unlike many Disney rides which are inspired by movies, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series came after this ride which served as its inspiration. Jack Sparrow and some references to the movies were later added to the ride, but watching the movies is not necessary to understand the ride’s storyline or enjoy it.
Personally, I love the scale of the scenes in this ride. The scenes are grand and you’ll still be discovering new details after many rides through this attraction.
Each boat has 6 rows that seat 3-4 per row. The entire ride and queue are indoors and air conditioned, except for a completely covered and shaded overflow area during peak times when the line gets long. This is a great ride for cooling off from the heat.
This log flume ride may be most notable for its 52-foot drop, but its long duration (nearly 12 minutes long) and varied segments make it one of Magic Kingdom’s most complete storytelling attractions.
Splash Mountain slowly floats both indoors and out, following the adventures of Br’er Rabbit. There are several smaller drops before the final grand drop that is visible from outside the ride. As signs in the queue warn – you WILL get wet!
This is one of the longest rides at Disney World and the duration and variety are a great payoff for a potentially long wait.
Each log seats 2 guests per row in 4 rows. Like the ride itself, the queue is both outside and covered. Family members who do not want to ride can wait on the bridge that crosses the main drop zone. It’s always fun to watch the logs splash down and see the reactions!
Disney recently announced that Splash Mountain will be rethemed and based on The Princess and the Frog, though it remains open and a closing date has not yet been announced.
Tom Sawyer Island
Outdoor raft ride and free exploration area
The only ride portion of this attraction are the standing-only rafts that travel between Tom Sawyer Island and the dock in Frontierland – the only way to get to the island. Unlike many free floating boat rides at Disney World that are guided by a hidden underwater track, the skippers actually steer these completely free-floating vessels.
Tom Sawyer Island is a large play and exploration area with caves, a fort, water wheel mill, and countless bridges and pathways to explore. There is a small playground at the highest point and plenty of seating at Aunt Polly’s for a packed lunch. My boys could literally spend all afternoon on Tom Sawyer Island!
Tom Sawyer Island doesn’t have much to offer adults-only groups, but it’s a fantastic place for the kids to run free while the adults sit and relax.
Which Magic Kingdom ride will you ride first?