All Disney theme parks require some tough decisions. Your visit comes with a timer, and you want to do all the best stuff while you’re there.
Some attractions count as no-brainers, while others depend on your personality.
Today, we’ll evaluate the crown jewel of the Disney empire. Should you prioritize these 12 theme park experiences at Magic Kingdom? Well…
We won’t focus as much on rides as usual because you probably know what’s best at Magic Kingdom.
However, I may follow up later with a ride-exclusive Yes or No debate.
So, only half of today’s topics are ride-based attractions, all of which include some intrigue.
To wit, some people love Astro Orbiter because it’s so darn gorgeous. It lights up the night at Tomorrowland with its unique planetary structure.
No one debates that it features a breathtaking backdrop. But we’re here to talk about the ride, which comes with several flaws.
First, the wait can be aggravating, as it comes in two stages. First, you must stand in line to board an elevator. Then, you exit the elevator and wait again.
Once you board the ride, you realize it’s really not impressive to modern audiences. In fact, it’s a basic spinner attraction…and not even the only one at Magic Kingdom!
As such, you can safely skip this one when the wait times are long. However, if it’s 20 minutes or less, you should do it once to decide for yourself.
Country Bear Jamboree
Can I describe something as hokey and mean it as a solid compliment?
That’s how I feel about Country Bear Jamboree, one of the most ridiculous attractions in Disney history.
Audio-animatronic bears stand on stage and act like the cast of Hee Haw, which isn’t even something you’d know unless you were alive before the turn of the millennium.
Still, I find the silliness of this attraction quite charming. It skews impossibly young, although some of the songs prove shockingly bawdy, at least for Disney.
Each show lasts just 10 minutes, and the only other attraction at the park that requires a shorter wait is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
So, I recommend it as a great way to spend your downtime at the parks.
I’m told some people don’t stop and watch the Dapper Dans during their performances.
I don’t know any of those people, and I’m dubious about wanting to know them.
The Dapper Dans embody the best of Disney. We should all treasure every performance.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Okay, remember what I just said about Astro Orbiter? Here’s one of the other two spinners at Magic Kingdom. Yes, there are three of them.
You could argue that Astro Orbiter works differently than the others. So, you could justify riding it and Dumbo the Flying Elephant as different experiences.
However, what you shouldn’t do is ride both Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Magic Carpets of Aladdin. They’re virtually the same attraction with different themes.
I quite like them and generally ride one while at the park. Honestly, you wouldn’t miss anything if you skipped either/both, though.
“it’s a small world”
I struggled with this decision as much as anyone on the list.
On the one hand, NOTHING is more iconic or recognizable than It’s a Small World.
Even Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain lack its presence in pop culture.
I mean, the Library of Congress (!) just added the song to its National Recording Registry. So they’re saving the music for posterity’s sake!
As for the ride, well, plenty depends on whether you mind hearing 7,000 versions of the same song.
For some people, it’s a joyous experience enhanced by the glorious Mary Blair costuming on display.
For others, it’s a worse nightmare than anything you’ll find at a Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights House.
So, I generally say yes to it, but you know whether it sounds delightful or horrific.
As with the Dapper Dans, I cannot imagine anyone skipping this experience.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic combines some of the best moments of all your favorite Disney animated classics with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck’s shenanigans.
I would rank this among the best overall experiences at Walt Disney World. You’re cheating yourself if you don’t watch this mini movie!
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
I quite like this attraction as a breather when you want to cool off and sit down for a while.
The laugh floor functions as an improv comedy show. It utilizes a general script but often veers wildly depending on the people in the crowd.
So, the quality of each show relies on those whom cast members choose for the various gags.
I love Laugh Floor, but you’ll need to block off roughly 45 minutes of your time to watch it. You may find other stuff in Tomorrowland you prefer.
Peter Pan’s Flight
I adore this attraction, which hearkens back to Disneyland’s opening day in 1955.
Walt Disney himself had a hand in selecting both the theme and the ride experience. So, it’s theme park royalty.
However, people make valid criticisms about bang for the buck here. The ride lasts barely two minutes, but you may wait an hour in line first.
Now, Disney has plussed the line queue to sprinkle a fair amount of Pixie Dust. In fact, Tinkerbell runs amok in the darling children’s bedroom!
Should you spend an hour to ride Peter Pan’s Flight? The answer depends on your timeline for that day.
If you’re staying at Magic Kingdom for 10+ hours, it’s worth the effort.
When you’re under a time crunch, it’s not the best use of your time. So, I’d say skip it unless you’re using Disney Genie+ or have never ridden it before.
Some of you will hate me for this one because I know Space Mountain is iconic.
Still, when I evaluate this roller coaster compared to most other attractions at Walt Disney World, especially thrill rides, it feels outdated and lacking.
So, I’ve reached a point where I no longer consider Space Mountain a must-do ride. Instead, it’s more of a mood thing.
I’d reconsider if Disney added the Star Wars seasonal overlay or even the pitch black one they break out for Halloween.
The answer here is simple.
You absolutely should ride Splash Mountain in all but one instance. If you don’t want to get wet for some reason, you should skip it.
Whenever you’re not worried about your hair or your clothes, this one’s as good a theme park ride as there is on the planet. So savor the euphoria of it.
Tom Sawyer Island
Here’s another straightforward answer on a list of many debatable stances.
Parents with small children should visit Tom Sawyer Island and watch their kids lose their minds with joy.
Everyone else should skip this experience unless you have some Tylenol and hand sanitizer handy.
Town Square Theater
You. Get. to hug Mickey. Mouse!
OF COURSE you should visit Town Square Theater!
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Feature Photo: Disney