Which are the best Magic Kingdom Rides for adults?
We all know that Disney World is a wonderful place to bring the family, but what some people miss is that so many of the attractions are actually targeted towards adults.
From Pleasure Island back in the day to the annual Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, there are plenty of adult-focused forms of entertainment.
Traditionally, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are seen as the more adult parks.
However, there is plenty in Magic Kingdom to keep the grown-ups entertained.
The Magic Kingdom has maintained its family park status for 50 years. In recent years, however, even that has begun to change.
There are plenty of Magic Kingdom rides for adults although not all of them are roller coasters with height requirements.
Once the only dry park at Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom now offers alcohol at multiple locations.
Additionally, though Magic Kingdom has the highest number of rides without a height requirement, it also has a noteworthy selection of rides that cater to the “big kids”.
This change along with the Instagrammable treats are just a couple of reasons adults are flocking to the Magic Kingdom even without children in tow.
When you’re looking for some grown-up fun on your next Disney trip, here are the best Magic Kingdom rides for adults.
It’s a Small World (No, Really)
Let’s start with the least obvious. Most people would never consider It’s a Small World to be an adult ride.
Mostly because it’s not often seen that way.
It has the unenviable reputation of being the song that you will never ever get out of your head.
And I admit over the many times I have experienced this ride, I have used it as a place to take a nap, feed a baby, or just get out of the sun.
However, if you value Disney history this adorable boat ride packs a punch. Over the years I have begun to appreciate it more and more.
Like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Carousel of Progress, It’s a Small World belongs in a special category of Magic Kingdom rides for adults who grew up fans of Walt Disney and enjoy his enduring legacy.
It’s A Small World is one of those original Walt Disney-inspired rides which everyone should experience at Magic Kingdom.
Its history goes back to the 1964 World Fair and it was one of the original Magic Kingdom rides when the park opened on October 1, 1971.
Magic Kingdom Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is another ride which adults must experience at Magic Kingdom. The Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the last projects which Walt worked on.
Sadly, Walt Disney died three months before the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction opened in Disneyland.
Pirates of the Caribbean which almost wasn’t even a ride at Walt Disney World. It is surprising, given the popularity of the Disneyland version, that Pirates of the Caribbean was not one of the opening Magic Kingdom attractions in 1971.
The decision was originally taken that as Florida was so close to the Caribbean, there wouldn’t be any interest in this pirate-themed ride.
Instead, Imagineer Marc Davis was working on a Western River Expedition. Some of the props from that ride went on to be used in various Epcot attractions.
The river expedition was slated for a phase 2 Magic Kingdom opening (Yep, they were doing it then, too).
However, the sheer confusion of guests who were expecting the pirate-themed ride to be there caused the project to halt, and an abridged version of the original Pirates of the Caribbean was quickly made.
Pirates of the Caribbean really should be on your must-do list of rides at Magic Kingdom. It is a classic dark ride that still has a link to Walt Disney.
And of course, we are now all so familiar with the Captain Jack Sparrow character, it adds an extra dimension to this classic Magic Kingdom ride.
But more than that, it’s just a lot of fun for all ages!
The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion is another attraction that had its debut in Disneyland.
The Disney World Haunted Mansion has a much larger exterior than its Disneyland counterpart, and a story-filled queue.
The ride is also longer than it is in California.
Haunted Mansion is unique because there is some version of it in every Disney park and each park has it in a different land.
At Magic Kingdom, it’s in Liberty Square. This attraction is so iconic, it’s a must-do at any age.
This is an attraction that you might want to be careful about taking young children to. My adult son now counts this as one of his favorite rides, but from an early age, he was terrified of it.
Although the adults can see the fun and humor behind the Haunted Mansion, some small children are going to be upset by the darkness and scenes with ghostly figures.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
This rollercoaster may be suitable for children, but it is anything but tame.
Simply put, the mine train is Disney Imagineering at its finest. They don’t make them like this anymore and it’s a shame, too.
The ride is packed with immersion, storytelling, and extra flourishes like swinging mine cars.
Even adults love it and want to ride it again and again. It isn’t about the thrill factor.
However, it does have a very distinct downside. And Disney really shouldn’t still be doing this.
It is a slow-loading ride that is a bit too short. So what does this equal?
Seven Dwarves Mine Train is a great ride, but it really does have the huge disadvantage of the time that you have to wait to actually experience this.
So what does Disney do about this?
Charge guests even more with Lightning Lane.
However, it is still a great ride.
It’s still a kiddie coaster, but with the extraordinary level of theming and just enough excitement, it’s one of the best things in the entire park, no matter what age you are.
The Magic Kingdom Mountains
This group of attractions is some of the best rides for adults at Magic Kingdom.
Most of the Disney Mountains are found inside Magic Kingdom, with the exception of the fabulous Expedition Everest ride, which of course is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom Space Mountain
Although The Magic Kingdom doesn’t have a Matterhorn the spaceport-themed Tomorrowland attraction Space Mountain is pretty similar.
Space Mountain is a thrilling indoor coaster full of surprising twists and turns.
One word of warning. It’s bumpy and rough. If you have a bad back this could be very bad news for you!
My family is equally split on who thinks Space Mountain is fabulous and who simply won’t ride it again until it is refurbished.
To put this in context, we all love Space Mountain in Disneyland. As soon as you reach that 40 ” height requirement go on ahead and this will probably be one of your favorite rides.
However, Space Mountain is very different in Magic Kingdom. It doesn’t have the music, which is a huge part of the enjoyment of the Disneyland version.
And really, if you do have back or neck issues, you can skip this one.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom
Since its 1971 debut at Magic Kingdom, Big Thunder Mountain has consistently rated as one of the best rides for all ages in Disney World.
Whilst this is by no means a white knuckle ride, Big Thunder Mountain is a ride which most ages enjoy at Magic Kingdom.
Big Thunder recently got some backstory added to it which is a nice little detail for adults to discover while waiting for the ride.
The Magic Kingdom version isn’t quite as smooth or enjoyable as the ride at Disneyland, but it is still a definite must-do at Magic Kingdom.
It ties into the larger lore of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers which also has references elsewhere in Magic Kingdom and in parks around the world.
Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom
It is difficult to talk about Splash Mountain these days. As it really desperately needs a makeover and it’s controversial, let’s face it, blatantly inappropriate theme has to go.
However, Splash Mountain isn’t closed yet.
There is no telling when the Princess and the Frog refresh will take place, but for the time being it is still open for a visit.
The popular log flume attraction is based on the thankfully hard-to-find Disney classic Song of the South movie and features “Zip- A-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “How Do You Do?” in the attraction soundtrack.
Thank goodness we are told that the Princess and the Frog redo is coming, but let’s please have a timeline for it.
So, if you can put controversy aside (and I am not sure if we should), it is still a very enjoyable ride. Let’s maybe take a break until the retheme comes to fruition.
The Mad Tea Party
Back to Fantasyland. There is one ride that seems to get better with age.
That’s the Mad Tea Party. The fact that you control the speed of your teacup’s spin makes a world of difference in how you experience the ride.
As you grow up, the ride gets wilder and as an adult, you can take it at any speed you prefer.
It’s loads of fun whether you’re alone, or with friends, or with your kids. It’s a classic and a crowd-pleaser that you never have to wait too long to ride.
This is one of those fun attractions which Disney got just right. It is a lot of fun, fast loading, suitable for all ages, and you are never going to have to wait too long.
So it’s perfect for anybody who wants to add a quick last-minute attraction to their day of Magic Kingdom rides for adults.
The Jungle Cruise
Okay, I’ll say it. The Jungle Cruise is a silly ride. It seems to have only gotten more silly since Disney’s Animal Kingdom made it possible to actually see live animals.
Those animatronics on The Jungle Cruise can look so dated. Because they are!
Walt Disney originally wanted live animals to be part of The Jungle Cruise. Obviously, that was a bit impractical, to say the least.
On the other hand, the Skipper jokes are legendary and this Magic Kingdom ride is always good for a chuckle.
As an adult, you can appreciate the scenic boat ride along the meandering jungle river.
It’s not just a nice rest from the crowds, it’s also a good way to expand on the Adventureland experience rather than just passing through it on the way to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Tron Lightcycle Run At Magic Kingdom
Although it isn’t open yet Tron Lightcycle Run promises to be a highly sought-after attraction in the Magic Kingdom.
Inspired by the 1982 movie TRON this is the most popular attraction in Shanghai Disneyland.
The Tron roller will certainly be one of the best Magic Kingdom rides for adults when it opens in 2022.
It’s going to lead the way among the newest Magic Kingdom rides for adults. The ride is based on the popular lightcycle sequence in Tron Legacy.
Tron Lightcycle is one of the most highly anticipated rides in recent Magic Kingdom and indeed Disney World history.
The Tron Lightcycle is a semi-enclosed roller coaster, with very unique ride vehicles.
Guests will board lightcycles to experience this roller coaster, with speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
This isn’t the first time that Tron has featured in a US Disney park. The original Tron had its theme park debut at Disneyland back in the ’80s. T
That was a 360 view of the light cycle sequence that you could only experience as part of the Peoplemover attraction.
While the original created the illusion of speed, this coaster based on the coaster of the same name at Shanghai Disneyland is going to be the real deal.
This Magic Kingdom roller coaster will be the second attempt at a more adult-targeted Disney attraction in Tomorrowland.
The first was never a success. Does anyone remember The Extra Terror-estrial Alien Encounter?
This was, quite rightly, deemed too scary in its day and eventually became Stitch’s Great Escape.
Even though there were high hopes for the Stich attraction it never took off either.
The now-vacant space may one day become yet another addition among the popular Magic Kingdom rides for adults, but right now it remains unused with no current plans for another attraction to be built there.
Disney’s Carousel of Progress
This is another attraction that traces back to the 1964 World’s Fair. So here you can definitely get your fix of nostalgia.
You can also experience another song that is going to stick in your head forever.
There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. So goes the song which is sung throughout this original and very nostalgic Magic Kingdom attraction which is more appealing to adults than the younger generation.
The Carousel of Progress is set in a huge revolving theater that takes you from the start of the 1900s to what is meant to be the present day.
There are four scenes that represent the different generations of one family and shows how technology has changed their lives.
At the end of each scene, the theater rotates and you move to the next one.
This attraction is 21 minutes long and you cannot exit in the middle of the ride. This is not the time to realize you or your child, need a bathroom break.
Carousel of Progress is one of those thought-provoking attractions which appeals to an older age group. It is certainly in our suggestions for Top Magic Kingdom Rides for Seniors.
The animatronics figures tell the story of how technology has changed their lives, from the invention of electricity to the technology of the present day.
Well, it is supposed to be the present day, but like everything in Tomorrowland, it is well behind the future! This is the future as predicted in the 90s.
Disney’s Carousel of Progress is an attraction that you should experience at least once but probably won’t be on your list of things to do again.
The lines are generally very short and you can just walk on to the next show.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
This ride probably isn’t on most people’s must-do list for Magic Kingdom, but it really should be.
Lines are usually relatively short and due to the continuous loading system, things move quickly.
The Transit Authority is a 10-minute ride where you can just sit back and enjoy the view. And you will have some unique views of the Magic Kingdom park including Cinderella Castle, the Tron construction site, Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin, and even inside Space Mountain.
This Magic Kingdom ride is a great option for adults. It is very relaxing and gives you a great view of some of the iconic Magic Kingdom attractions.
If you have small children who need a nap or are looking for a private place to feed your baby the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a great place to go for a break out of the sun.
Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin
The Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin is such a lot of fun for all ages and is an essential Magic Kingdom ride for adults.
Based on the incredibly popular Toy Story movies, and more specifically on Toy Story 2, here is your chance to get as competitive as you want, whilst trying to defeat Evil Emporer Zurg.
The idea of the ride is essentially a dark ride with target shooting. It brings out the competitive side in all ages.
Board your XP-37 space cruiser and then try to hit as many targets as you possibly can.
Each shape of the target is worth a particular amount, and targets which are lit up are generally worth more. Hint. The round targets are not going to get you the highest score as they are only worth 100 points each.
There used to be a target that gave riders one million points. However, this was changed back to one hundred points as too many people had seen this particular trick on the internet. Just goes to show that you can get too much of a good thing!
Which do you think are the best Magic Kingdom rides for adults?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.