When Walt Disney first envisioned building a theme park, he wanted it to be a place where families of all ages could have fun together. That vision became reality in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, where there are a multitude of classic and innovative attractions for the entire family to enjoy.
Magic Kingdom, in particular, offers something for every preference and age, from slow-moving whimsical excursions to high-speed thrills. To help you plan for your family’s Magic Kingdom experience, read on for our recommendations for the best rides for kids by age.
When looking for rides that are suitable for you to enjoy with your baby, keep an eye out for those with no height requirements. These are typically more slow-moving, relaxing rides that can be enjoyed by anyone.
- “it’s a small world” (any height) – A true classic; your baby will be fascinated by the moving, singing characters throughout this slow and gentle boat ride.
- Jungle Cruise (any height) – Enjoy humorous puns and up-close views of “animals” on this river boat excursion that goes on for “niles and niles!”
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (any height) – The beloved characters from the Hundred Acre Wood are always a favorite among the littlest guests of Magic Kingdom. Board a “hunny” pot for an adventure that turns, bounces and floats through a classic storybook.
- Peter Pan’s Flight (any height) – Make sure to get in line early to enjoy this classic attraction, and hold on tight to your littlest ones for some high-flying hijinks with Peter Pan!
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover (any height) – Rest your feet and relax during this tour of Tomorrowland, but note there are some dark passageways and somewhat speedy turns around the track.
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid (any height) – My little ones have always enjoyed this slow-moving ride featuring lively music and colorful scenery.
As your little one gets a little bit taller, more interactive rides or light thrills might be right up their alley!
- Astro Orbiter (any height) – For a high-flying adventure, you and your little astronaut can head into “outer space” on the Astro Orbiter ride. Little ones love using the lever to raise and lower the spaceship.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (any height) – For any fan of “Toy Story,” Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a must-do. Help Buzz defeat Zurg and save the galaxy!
- The Barnstormer (35” inches or taller) – This junior roller coaster makes for a great introduction to faster-moving thrill rides for young children, if they are feeling up to the challenge. Take flight with Goofy in a twisting, turning stunt airplane.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (any height) – This classic ride is a must-do for many Magic Kingdom guests, and don’t miss out on the fantastic indoor play area through the big-top tent queue! (Sometimes my kids don’t even want to go on the ride, they enjoy the play area so much!)
- Mad Tea Party (any height) – Take a spin on a teacup for a dizzyingly good time. (Not recommended for those prone to motion-sickness!)
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (any height) – Similar to Astro Orbiter and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, this ride allows you to take flight on a Magic Carpet in Adventureland. Tip: sit in the front row of your Magic Carpet to control the height of your flight, or sit in the back row to tip it forward and backward!
- Pirates of the Caribbean (any height) – Arr you and your little one ready for a Caribbean adventure? This classic boat ride attraction features some thematic scenes and one medium drop, so hold on tight to your little buccaneer! You may get splashed!
Grade School Kids
Your grade school-aged kids might enjoy some of the more exciting and thematic rides that Magic Kingdom has to offer.
- Haunted Mansion (any height) – I typically recommend Haunted Mansion for kids who will not be overly scared of the spooky, ghostly elements of this ride. There are some scenes (such as the stretching room) that can prompt some fear from little ones.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38” or taller) – This picturesque roller coaster sways and turns through an exciting rustic mine track. Rope drop or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for this popular ride if you can, as it almost always has a line!
- Tomorrowland Speedway (32” or taller) – Your kids will feel like a real race car driver as they take to the road and cruise around the racetrack. Racers who are 54” or taller can drive on their own, while those 32” and taller may drive if they are accompanied by someone who is at least 54” tall. My youngest was just about 33” at our last visit, and he had some trouble reaching the pedal on his own; so be prepared to “lend a foot” for the littlest driver.
Big Kids to Teens
Once your kids are ready to conquer the “mountains” of Magic Kingdom, get ready for some really exciting thrills!
- Big Thunder Mountain (40” or taller) – The “wildest ride in the wilderness” has some thrilling twists and turns, as well as entertaining theming. It does get bumpy at times with some drops and a sudden stop at the end.
- Space Mountain (44” or taller) – This classic indoor roller coaster features twists, turns and drops–all in the dark! This one feels especially thrilling as you speed through “outer space” to a dramatic soundtrack.
- Splash Mountain (40” or taller) – This thrilling ride features big drops and equally big splashes, perfect for a hot day. You can experience Splash Mountain until January 23, 2023 when it is scheduled to begin its retheming into “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure,” opening sometime in 2024.
Of course, you know your child best: he or she might be ready to try out many of these rides sooner, or later! Every child is different. Just make sure they meet the height requirements before they enjoy the ride. And don’t forget about the many shows across Magic Kingdom, such as The Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, or The Carousel of Progress for some classic and relaxing entertainment during your visit.
Featured Photo: Emily Murray