What’s the Best Ride in Every Magic Kingdom Timeline?
The genius of Walt Disney’s theme park design is how it immerses you in different locales.
You can visit the future, the old west, and 20th century Americana on the same day. You’re a time traveler exploring various worlds.
Since the experience feels so organic, you rarely think of the theme parks in these terms, though. Let’s say that we do, though.
What’s the best attraction in every Magic Kingdom timeline?
Main Street, U.S.A.
Magic Kingdom consists of six divergent themed lands, each telling a detailed, enriching story.
Some of them focus on rides and shows, while others celebrate interactivity.
Main Street, U.S.A., falls into this category, as it’s the first place you visit at Magic Kingdom.
Over the years, Disney has debated side entrances near Frontierland and Tomorrowland, but management has refused for a simple reason.
When you enter Main Street, U.S.A., you immediately sink into the atmosphere, relishing that you’ve escaped the real world for a time.
To reinforce this sensation, Disney stacks the deck by adding its best possible interaction right by the front gate.
At Town Square Theater, you’ll meet Mickey Mouse, and there’s NOTHING more Disney than that!
So, nothing else could top the Mickey Mouse character greeting available at Main Street, U.S.A.
Of course, to be fair, the only other contender here is the Walt Disney World Railroad. And we’d all rather hang out with Mickey!
Some of the choices here are akin to picking your favorite child or pet. You won’t feel good about your answer no matter what.
For example, Adventureland hosts multiple iconic attractions, ones with enough name recognition that Disney has produced movies about them!
Here are the major attractions at Adventureland:
- Jungle Cruise
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
I’m going to throw out Swiss Family Treehouse for the same reason I won’t consider Tom Sawyer Island. They’re not rides or attractions as much as playgrounds.
Similarly, we can quickly rule out The Magic Carpets of Aladdin because it’s one of several variants of the same ride concept at Walt Disney World.
Choosing between the final three attractions…well, therein lies the challenge.
While most would acknowledge that Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room has grown long in the tooth, it’s still an essential part of Disney history.
Walt Disney himself worked on the attraction, as his Imagineers developed unprecedented technology, the Audio-Animatronic.
So, I recognize the theme park impact of the Enchanted Tiki Room. Also, I love the song. Even so, I don’t deem it on a par with the other two rides.
The choice comes down to Pirates of the Caribbean or Jungle Cruise, and I think we all know which one has to win.
Even as a superfan of Jungle Cruise, I cannot in good faith argue that it’s the equivalent of Pirates of the Caribbean, which is arguably the best theme park attraction ever.
The answer is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And I’ll leave it to Homer Simpson to explain why:
This answer will likely change when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in 2024, though.
Here’s another easy call, and it underscores the novelty of Magic Kingdom. Half the themed lands feature clear-cut choices.
The other half could start a flame war anywhere at any time among Disney fans.
At Liberty Square, the choices are:
- The Hall of Presidents
- Haunted Mansion
- Liberty Square Riverboat
One of those names jumps off the page, doesn’t it?
Seriously, I mean no offense to Hall of Presidents, a culturally impactful show.
Similarly, I hate for Liberty Square Riverboat to lose the title of the best attraction in Liberty Square since that’s its name!
Still, nobody should pick against Haunted Mansion. It’s one of the crown jewels of Imagineering and an absolute masterpiece of creativity.
Now, the conversation takes a turn. I suspect that you’ve agreed with at least three of my choices thus far, possibly even all of them.
But which attraction would you favor among this group:
- The Barnstormer
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- It’s a Small World
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Princess Fairytale Hall
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
That’s a stunning list of high-quality attractions, isn’t it? When Disney reinvented Fantasyland a few years ago, it added even more entertainment.
So, guests enjoy their choice of classic rides like It’s a Small World, Mad Tea Party, and Peter Pan’s Flight.
Conversely, Enchanted Tales with Belle and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid are modern classics.
Still, we all know which attraction garners the most attention on a daily basis.
The best attraction at New Fantasyland is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Disney affirms this notion, and it’s the only older attraction at Walt Disney World that remains available via Lightning Lane.
This debate would have been tougher a few months ago. It’s still divisive, though.
Here are the qualifying attractions in Tomorrowland:
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Tron Lightcycle / Run
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Until quite recently, most guests would have answered Space Mountain, the classic roller coaster that triggered the decades-long coaster war arms race.
Personally, I would have ticked those voters off by selecting the PeopleMover instead. You heard me!
Alas, we all know that there’s a new alpha in Tomorrowland.
Tron Lightcycle / Run is arguably the greatest attraction in the south. So, it’s clearly the best option in Tomorrowland.
We should all appreciate Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress more than we do, though. That attraction was a labor of love for Walt Disney himself!
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