You’re not supposed to pick a favorite child, and it feels equally wrong to pick a favorite attraction, but this is a place where tough choices are made. Previously, I’ve ranked my top five attractions across ALL parks (which was torture), but I want to spend some time in each park, because there’s no reason to rush. Also, I’m not emotionally ready to re-evaluate my top five attractions across all four parks. It hurt….it really hurt. First stop on this journey — Magic Kingdom!
5. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
It should be without argument, a commonly-known fact that the PeopleMover is a gem in the Magic Kingdom. A friend once claimed that PeopleMover is the perfect attraction and he wasn’t wrong. It’s a good length, never has a long wait, and gives you a chance to relax, cool down, and enjoy the company of your Disney party (or your thoughts if you took a solo trip….or just needed some solo time. I ain’t judging. We all get to that point). PeopleMover has been known to offer a decent power nap and the occasional rare sighting of Space Mountain with the lights on (ooooh….aaaahhhh). All around, it has fantastic views of Magic Kingdom!
4. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
The first time Ben suggested that we go see Mickey’s PhilharMagic, I did some humming and hawing. It sounded like something where I’d be forced to learn about classical music mumbo-jumbo. I love music, classical and otherwise, but I was really not in the mood for some boring, stale video.
OK, GUYS. I admit it. I was WAY off base and completely wrong. I’m sorry!! Mickey’s PhilharMagic is anything but boring. It’s an upbeat, funny adventure. Another attraction with low wait times, this 4-D (pairing a 3-D video with interractive elements such as scents and splashes!) show is fun for all ages. No matter how short my trip to Disney is, I will always make time for Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Usually, right after a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich from the cart outside of Pinocchio Villiage Haus.
3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Ah! The first of the “Mountains” to make my list! I absolutely adore the theming of Thunder Mountain. All the knickknacks in the queue can really help the wait time fly by. Have you taken time to read all their little signs? Do. They’re great!
I also recently (more recently than I really care to admit) learned the story about why the Railroad is abandoned — the mining town flooded and everybody had to leave! I know, I know the whole town is under water and there’s even a goat on a building’s roof to avoid the water. Somehow, I missed all of that. For YEARS. Knowing it now, though, I feel like I see new bits every time I ride!
Fun fact — if you ride the Magic Kingdom Railroad (once it’s back up, since it’s currently parked at the Main Street Train Station while the Tron coaster is being built), you can see the town from a new angle as the Magic Kingdom Railroad loops behind Frontierland!
Beyond the excellent theming and story of this ride, the coaster itself is a blast. It’s exciting without being overwhelming and such a long track! I don’t mind waiting a bit for this one because I know it’s worth it every time. I also especially love this ride at night — everything looks and feels completely different, and the mountain is stunning after dark!
2. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
You may think I’m nuts for putting such a “kiddie” ride all the way up in second, and maybe I am. I’m not here to argue that Dumbo will change your life or that your trip to MK is incomplete without a visit to this flying elephant.
All I can say is that my trip to MK is incomplete without a visit to this flying elephant. Dumbo has been my favorite Disney character for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t tell you what started this affection; I’ve always had a soft spot for our ear-advantaged friend. As a child, I wanted nothing more than to protect him and make sure he knew that I loved him, no matter the size of his ears.
Dumbo is a classic for me. It’s something I have vivid memories of riding as a tiny Kim with both of my parents (my mom isn’t a fan of heights, so there were a number of rides that weren’t really her jam). This attraction’s nostalgia factor is plenty strong enough to earn it this spot on my list. (It also had a spot on my all-time top 5 attractions, to be honest.) I love me some Dumbo.
1. Space Mountain
I absolutely love Space Mountain. Considering how long the wait time is, I know I’m not the only one. I love the element of the unknown that comes with a dark coaster. Plus, the new-for-its-time, indoor dark coaster idea is fascinating! Space Mountain is another classic that really completes a trip to Disney. The unique building is an iconic sight from outside of the parks. It just feels like Disney.
I’ve heard complaints that WDW’s Space Mountain is in desperate need of updates and modifications, but even with its sometimes rickety track, I love it. Something about the sound track and the music gets me every time. I just have an absolute BLAST on this ride. Having seen it (via PeopleMover) with the lights on, I’m even more impressed by the Tetris-like structure, twisting around itself. It’s a thrilling whirlwind of a coaster.