There are over thirty rides and attractions at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Each and every one has its own theme and thrill factor. Some rides are suitable for everyone in the family, while others are a bit too exciting for younger children. The most popular rides and attractions can get really crowded shortly after the opening of the Park, so it’s a good idea to make your Fast Pass+ reservations for those first. It is possible, with careful planning, for you to access all your favorites before lunchtime when the Magic Kingdom begins to experience high capacity crowds. In this list, I have highlighted those most popular rides and attractions that should be on your “to do before lunch” list.
1. Jungle Cruise — Adventureland — Board a canopied tram steamer for an adventurous, scenic boat tour of the exotic jungles of Asia, Africa, and South America. Your well trained, and sometimes comical skipper will point out all the wild and unusual inhabitants along the Nile, Amazon, Congo, and Mekong Rivers. As you cruise along, you will get up close and personal with such mammals as elephants, tigers, hippos, gorillas, hyenas, etc. Watch out for that gigantic python hanging from a tree. The flowers, trees, and giant butterflies are all reminiscent of what you would find in a true life jungle. There are times when this attraction is not overly crowded, but early is a better time to take this amazing cruise.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean — Adventureland — While you’re in the area, you might want to stroll over to this popular attraction. Here you step into a small wooden boat for a trip back in time to an age when pirates rules the seas of the Caribbean. “Dead men tell no tales” are the first words you hear as you enter this dark, indoor boat ride. Suddenly, your boat takes a plunge down a waterfall and right into the midst of a raging thunderstorm with thunder and lightning. On both sides of your boat are eerie scenes of wrecked pirate ships and the bones of long lost pirates. This ride is filled with canon battles between a pirate ship and an old fort, pirates pillaging and plundering, then setting fire to a small village, followed by a colorful scene of Capt. Jack Sparrow sitting on a throne among all his treasures, while singing his favorite tune, “Yoho, yoho, a pirate’s life for me”!
3. Splash Mountain — Frontierland — Your ride vehicle on this attraction is a hollowed out log, in which you will take a delightful trip in a log flume through the fantasy world recreating scenes from the Disney classic film, Song of the South. The animated critters, such as Br’er Bear, Br’er Rabbit, and Br’er Fox, and many others, along with the musical tunes make this ride very entertaining. The imaginative scenery, music, and antics of the main characters make this a “laughing place” for the whole family. However, there is a 50-foot drop down a long waterfall toward the end of the ride, so small children may not enjoy this part, and also, there is a height restriction.
4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad —Frontierland — Hold on to your seats for the “wildest ride in the wilderness” on this runaway mine train. This is a roller coaster that takes you on a speeding clickity clacking railroad along a twisting, turning, dipping track, across a desert, and through a mountain where you barely escape an exploding mine. There are two words to describe this attraction—fun and exhilarating! You never know which way the track will turn, and the dips come suddenly and without warning. There are a lot of quick movements, back and forth jerks, so this ride is not for anyone who is prone to motion sickness. It’s an exciting, thunderous ride for those guests who are ready for some thrills!
5. The Haunted Mansion – Liberty Square — You are invited to visit this abandoned, yet haunted mansion for a scary thrill ride like no other. After a crash course in the history of this spooky residence, your ghost host directs you to climb into your doom buggy for a spirit-filled tour of this once elaborate manor house. The haunting music, spine-chilling narration, and the appearance of some 999 menancing ghosts who love to terrorize guests makes this tour a terrifying adventure. This haunted mansion has more visitors in the afternoon and evening, so add this attraction to your “before lunch” list of favorites.
6. Astro-Orbiter — Tomorrowland — Board an elevator to the loading platform of this very popular ride on a rocket-shaped vehicle for an uplifting, revolving bird’s eye view of Tomorrowland. As your rocket ship rises, grasp the lever in front of you, which controls how high or low you fly. While your ascent is exciting, you will find that as you lower your ship, the pull of g’s makes it seem faster and even more invorgating, and with some creative high and low maneuvering, you can create a really amazing experience. The lines for the Astro-Orbiter can build up quickly, so plan on visiting this attraction early in the day, then reserve a Fast Pass+ for later in the evening. This ride at night is a totally different experience.
7. Tomorrowland Speedway — Guests have been speeding around this racetrack in miniature race cars here at Walt Disney World since the Park’s opening in October, 1971. I, myself, can still remember when I was finally old enough to drive one of these special cars by myself. Of course, my experience was at Disneyland in the mid-fifties, but later, my children experienced this same “rite of passage” at Walt Disney World. There is a height restriction for those youngsters wanting to drive without Mom, Dad, or an older sibling, so for those too small to drive alone, rest assured, your day will come. This iconic attraction is still very popular today, and the lines can become very lengthy, so plan on getting to this ride early.
8. Space Mountain – Tomorrowland — Get ready for a dark, indoor, exciting, roller coaster ride with plenty of thrills and chills. Step into a rocket-styled vehicle, then brace yourself for a super sonic ride on a fast track filled with surprising dips and sharp turns, and all in the dark. You can’t see what’s coming, which makes this awesome thrill ride even more thrilling—the unknown. The lines form quickly for this popular ride, so add it to your “do now” list.
9. Peter Pan’s Flight — Fantasyland — This iconic ride whose original version debuted at the opening of Disneyland in 1955, has remained one of the most acclaimed and popular attractions. Climb aboard a flying boat for a high flying trip over the sights and sounds of London and up into the night sky. Your journey, lead by Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and the Darling children, will take you to Neverland, the home of Peter Pan and the lost boys. This is the only ride in Walt Disney World in which the ride vehicle is suspended from a track located on the ceiling. Enjoy this wondrous, colorful flight, with audio-animatronic scenes taken right out of the movie, “Peter Pan”. The whole family will be delighted by this incredibly creative attraction.
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10. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train — Fantasyland — This newest roller coaster attraction is thrilling, but not too intense, and because of innovative technology, the ride is very smooth, and each mine car vehicle sways back and forth, creating a different experience each time you ride it. The audio-animatronics are incredible and will delight and amuse even the youngest passenger. The popularity of this exceptional attraction is the fact that the queue has interactive games along the way, the whole family can ride, and the smoothness of the track which makes it a very unique experience.
In conclusion, the lines for the rides and attractions at Walt Disney World can become a real factor in your experience, so take advantage of your Fast Pass+ options, and for those favorite, must-do rides, get there early, before lunchtime. Then take a break, enjoy your lunch, and get ready for another exciting, thrilling day and night at the Magic Kingdom. The more you visit, the better you become at figuring the best way to plan your rides and attractions. Have a wonderfully happy visit to this most magical place on earth!
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