Magic Kingdom is my favorite Disney park. Nothing beats walking down Main Street USA, seeing Cinderella Castle looming before you. Even though Walt never got to see the sister park to Disneyland Park, you can still feel the connection to Mr. Disney in every nook and cranny.
While personally I could do every attraction multiple times, there are five that I recommend to people who have never been there before and have to see the best of the best. Behold, my top five Disney attractions and shows at Magic Kingdom!
**this post contains affiliate links! This means I may receive financial compensation for my recommendations. Please see my disclaimer for more information!**
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
As one of the newest attractions at the Magic Kingdom, the lines for this one can be long, but well worth the wait! While some fans were upset to see the classic attraction The Scary Adventures of Snow White close, many argue that the mildly thrilling roller coaster that replaced it is a definite upgrade. I’m certainly one of those people!
I say this is a must see because the technology in this ride in incredible. The animatronics when you enter the Seven Dwarfs mine are mesmerizing. The LED faces on the dwarfs allow their personalities to shine through, and the details to the mine as you’re riding through make you feel like you’re really there, singing along to Heigh-Ho with the dwarfs!
The coaster itself is very similar to Big Thunder Mountain thrill wise. Younger kids will definitely enjoy it, and I recommend even scared adults give it a shot – you’ll be able to handle it, I promise!
Also, if you’re one of those who miss The Scary Adventures of Snow White, be sure to check out the scene right as you’re pulling in to the station at the end of the ride. They’ve repurposed the old animatronics for the ride in an adorable dancing scene to close out your adventure – and watch out for the Wicked Witch!
The Carousel of Progress
Despite the fact that you’ll probably have the theme song stuck in your head all day, The Carousel of Progress is an attraction you simply can’t miss at the Magic Kingdom. Located in Tomorrowland, this unique show takes place in a rotating building around a circular stage. The audience moves along with the show’s scene changes and follow a typical middle class family from the 1900’s up the 21st century, highlighting all the progress we have made in society along the way. The show is a bit outdated at this point, but nevertheless I can’t help but see it every time we go. It also reminds you be thankful of all the advancements in technology we have as “Father” rattles on about going to the well for water in the 1900’s!
Part of the reason The Carousel of Progress is so popular – and so special – is that Walt design it himself. It was originally an act in the Worlds Fair and debuted in 1964. The theme song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” was written by the Sherman Brothers, and is one of my personal favorite Disney songs. It’s a quick 20 minute show and a nice break from the heat, and very rarely do you have to wait more than a few minutes to board.
The Three Mountains
No, I’m not talking about the Rockies or Mt. Everest. I’m talking about three specific mountains – Space, Big Thunder, and Splash!
The three mountain rides are absolute classics. Space Mountain is the most thrilling, taking place in the dark to give you the sensation of zooming through space. Despite the fact that it is the most “intense” on the list, I wouldn’t really consider it all that terrifying – not seeing anything can be a little unsettling, but it’s not a looping coaster and doesn’t have any huge jumps, just small ones. If you survived Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you can survive this one!
Splash Mountain is a long flume ride that takes you through the story of “Song of the South”. This movie might be out of print and might not be recognizable for many younger generations, but it doesn’t matter – all kids will fall in love with Briar Rabbit and his quest for adventure! Just like many other “thrill” rides in Disney, it’s rather mild and the giant drop at the end of the ride is over in a blink of an eye. Try and enjoy the view of the park at the top before you go plunging into the Briar Patch!
Finally, Big Thunder Mountain is a classic coaster about a runaway mine train zooming through a mining town. It has an adorable wild west theme, making it right at home in Frontierland. With lots of twists and turns, it’s enjoyable for everyone, and makes for a perfect “first coaster” for younger ones as they reach the height limit. It certainly lives up to it’s name as the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!
Festival of Fantasy
“Dreams will come true! Hearts will SOAR!”
I honestly never watched the daytime parades until my last few trips, and I am so glad I did – Festival of Fantasy is one of my FAVORITE parades. The soundtrack is gorgeous and after a few viewings, you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along. This parade features floats inspired by classic Disney films and even some newer ones – floats commemorating Peter Pan, Tangled, Brave, and The Little Mermaid all feature in the parade line up. The crowning jewel of the parade, however, is the giant metal Maleficient dragon near the end of the parade – watch Prince Philip fight the evil sorceress and dodge REAL flames from the dragon!
Unfortunately in May 2018, Maleficient malfunctioned, and the dragon’s head actually burst in to flames! The dragon was replaced with a float of Aurora and Philip and it remains to be seen if she will return. However, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the parade! Even without the special effects, it is truly one of the best parades of the bunch.
If you’re like me and want to get in to Disney photography, this is an excellent “beginner” parade to try and photograph. I highly recommend this lens for your DSLR camera if you’re new to photography – it’s a zoom camera and great for shooting moving targets! Finding a spot doesn’t have to be stressful either if you follow my guide to finding a good parade viewing spot!
Happily Ever After
“Happily Ever After” is Disney’s nighttime fireworks show. Fireworks in general are dazzling, but since this is Disney, you know they’re going to go above and beyond! In addition to a spectacular display of fireworks, projections of Disney films are displayed on Cinderella castle. Everyone will be thrilled to see their favorite films bounce across the castle, which is unlike any screen you’ve ever seen!
Even if you’re not big on fireworks shows, you can see them light up the sky pretty much anywhere in the park. If you want to see the projections, of course, you’ll have to find a spot well before showtime in front of the castle. If you’re ok missing out on the animated bit, try timing a ride on Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain during the show to watch the fireworks from an unforgettable view!
What are some of YOUR favorite Magic Kingdom must dos? I honestly could go on for quite some time. Drop a comment below with your pics!