Keep, Change, Close: Rides at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Oh boy, everyone buckle in! It’s about to get REAL up in here!

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

We thought it would be fun to take a multi-part look at rides, restaurants, and shows around Walt Disney World and break down IF WE HAD TO CHOOSE… which would we keep as long as possible, modify to make better, or close altogether

Listen, we get it. Our opinions are most definitely not everyone’s! One person’s favorite must-do ride is certainly on many other’s least favorite list and vice versa. We’re trying to look at this as objectively as possible, but each person’s tastes will vary.

For our spin through Magic Kingdom, we’re going to choose one ride for each category… plus one honorable mention because we can’t help ourselves.

Let’s see what we’d Keep, Change, or Close in Magic Kingdom!


Haunted Mansion

“Oh, we didn’t mean to frighten you prematurely!” Disneylanders, you got the O.G., and while the New Orleans plantation home setting is lost in Disney World in place of more forgiving theming in Liberty Square, there’s just something about the Walt Disney World mansion.

The Haunted Mansion

Yes, Florida’s version loses the walk-through portrait hallway, and Disney Worlders are STILL holding their breath that we’ll one day see Hatbox Ghost appear in the Disney World mansion. Disneyland gets high marks for being the first and pioneering the attraction, no doubt there.

Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue

But Disney World has a few unique elements that can’t be overlooked! The addition of the walkthrough interactive graveyard to the queue in 2011 was a big hit. Guests old and young enjoy playing with the interactive tombs while they wait to enter the mansion (Haven’t we all wondered what a cat as a musical instrument would sound like?!)

Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue

The original spirit of the Imagineers’ graveyard is kept alive and, arguably, showcased better than at the original in Disneyland. The animatronic Madame Leota gravestone outside the entrance still gives us the creeps. Those eyes!

Dear Sweet Leota, Beloved By All…

Though much of the attraction is nearly identical to the Disneyland setup, Florida takes it a step further with the endless stairway room.  This effect is  eye-catching and plusses the ride to a new level.

Haunted Mansion

Even the mansion itself is given a spookier context — isolated to a corner of the Park, it feels remote and abandoned. Across Frontierland and Liberty Square, guests can look back and see it hovering ominously against the edge of the water. It’s hard to get that same vibe in Disneyland with Splash Mountain just a stone’s throw away! This attraction built on its roots in Disneyland and has become its own entity we wouldn’t dream of changing.

Honorable Mention: Space Mountain

Come on guys — it’s the original. Those iconic white spires started in Disney World. It’s seen changes over the years, but this ride is just as thrilling as it was when it opened in 1975.


Tomorrowland Speedway

This one is a toughie. Sure, it could be argued many rides at Disney World could use a major change. Heck, many of the rides in Disney World like Pirates of the Caribbean and “it’s a small world” pale in comparison to their California counterparts in many guest opinions. But one attraction that just needs to be updated like, yesterday, is the Tomorrowland Speedway.

Tomorrowland Speedway

This ride has always been immensely popular with children since the original Autopia in Disneyland; what child DOESN’T want a chance to get behind the wheel of a car and drive all on their own?! But one quick stroll past this ride makes it clear why it is in need of a change — it’s 2019, but we’re still coughing our way through a cloud of exhaust walking past this ride.

Tomorrowland Speedway

In a time where renewable energy and the environment are on everyone’s minds, it’s almost mind-boggling this attraction still exists in this form. Is it a classic beloved by generations of children? Sure. Anyone who has taken a ride on this attraction likely remembers the sound of those combustible engines chug, chug, chugging down the tracks. But times, they are a-changin’.

Taking a Ride on the Speedway

An unfounded rumor circulated not long ago that Tesla was in talks to sponsor the ride and provide electric-powered cars for the attraction. Disney responded that this was not true, but it certainly would have made sense.

The view from the driver’s seat along the Tomorrowland Speedway in Walt Disney World. [The Walt Disney Company]
It was recently announced that for the first time, the Speedway would be receiving a seasonal overlay for the Holidays this year… so it’s clear Disney still has a lot of love for this classic attraction. While there’s no reason to suspect this ride will undergo much, if any, change in the coming years, it certainly seems due for a big one.

Honorable Mention: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Have you SEEN the original in Disneyland after its 2014 updates?! So. Much. Better. Seriously, once you see the dynamite “explode” on the last lift in Disneyland, it’s hard to go back to the Disney World version, even with their fun interactive queue featuring… dead canaries.


Magic Carpets of Aladdin

If one ride gotsta go, it’s gonna be this guy for us. Disney World has THREE separate Dumbo-esque rides. Dumbo in the Magic Kingdom, Triceratops Spin in Animal Kingdom, and this guy.

Magic Carpets of Aladdin

This ride opened back in 2001 and, at the time, served as a much-needed overflow ride for parents with kids dying to ride Dumbo but not willing to wait in that long line. Problem was, 11 years later Dumbo reopened after its relocation to New Fantasyland with twice the ride capacity.

Picture This…But With Carpets

Sure, the camel is fun. You can sit back and watch it spit on unsuspecting guests. But this ride is otherwise a large eyesore in the middle of heavily themed Adventureland. As you pass the Swiss Family Treehouse and near the Jungle Cruise, you’ll see the exotic Enchanted Tiki Room and the nearby Bazaar. Everything is lush and themed for the area, except for this attraction.

We See You, Camel

We’re not saying the ride is bad — far from it! It’s just not necessary in our eyes. It was a stopgap for Dumbo, and it’s time to move on.

Honorable Mention: Stitch’s Great Escape!

We know — it’s hard to even really count this ride, right? This ride has been rumored permanently closed for the past year, but Disney has never confirmed it. In fact, the Walt Disney World website still shows it as an open attraction in Tomorrowland — though listed as “temporarily closed.”  Open or closed, it was just never very popular. Guests who had a chance to ride its predecessor, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, will remember how truly terrifying that attraction was. So much so that when Stitch was swapped into the existing ride to lighten it up, guests were confused if it was supposed to be scary, funny, or both. Hot dog burps simply couldn’t save this ride.  Now it occupies a large valuable chunk of Tomorrowland real estate that could be put to much much better use.

What do you think? Totally agree with our assessments or totally ready to fight? Let us hear it in the comments!

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Do you agree with any of our choices? Not so much? Let us know in the comments which rides YOU would choose!

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15 Replies to “Keep, Change, Close: Rides at Disney’s Magic Kingdom”

  1. Actually there are 4 Dumboesqe rides as there’s Astro Orbiter too. I’d close that one as there’s always a massive queue that’s boring to wait in for such a short ride.

    Keep…hard as I want to keep everything. You can tell I’m a hoarder. I would say perhaps Tomorrowland Speedway as it isn’t getting much love from the other comments. You may have something similar in every park in the country but I’m not from USA so in my country I haven’t got that option. 🇬🇧

    Change…last scene of Carousel of Progress as we have everything in that scene so it’s not futuristic. Change the Mexico ride to a Coco ride. But keep the Donald, Jose & Panchito audio animatronics & give them a new home somewhere. Change the Yorkshire Fish & Chip into a full chippy with all the proper options like battered sausage, fish cakes, pukka pies, pineapple fitters, curry, gravy & mushy peas. Open a tea shop in the UK pavilion at Epcot too. Afternoon tea is really popular at the Grand Floridian so would go down a bomb here.

  2. I’d actually add a fourth category to the discussion – “revert”…which ride should revert back to a previous format? My vote there is the TTA (PeopleMover). The old soundtrack was so much better, and they need to put cars back on the track to take it up to its previous capacity. A 15 minute wait for this ride on a day with medium sized crowds is ridiculous. Pirates (see below) is another candidate here.

    For the rest…

    Keep…Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain…while small upgrades and fixes are always welcome, the overall tone and spirit of these classics are still perfect.
    Change…Pirates, which has become a politically correct mess instead of the harmless fun from a simpler time that it used to be. Space Mountain also needs a significant scenery update and retheming to bring it up to date technologically.
    Close…others have said it, but the Tomorrowland Speedway is nothing you can’t find in any amusement park in the country, and takes up a huge plot of valuable land that could be home for multiple new attractions. In Adventureland, I’m all for the classics, but it’s time for the Tiki Room to go – it a boring and dated show that’s only good for a nap.

    1. I agree completely with your list and will add the treehouse to the list of things that can go. I would also change the meet and greet garbage from the old Snow White area into another dark ride instead of wasting the space like that. As for revert…bring back the days when the characters roamed freely and do away with the stupid signing autographs thing. Or at the very least give them a stamp. Roaming freely worked very well for all those years, why make them an attraction unto themselves?

  3. I think they should change Tomorrowland Speedway into a state of the art (ecofriendly) Wreck-It Ralph-themed Sugar Rush attraction!

    And speaking of ecofriendly Disney, Stitch’s Great Escape should become a Wall-E attraction – it’s Tomorrowland after all.

  4. Change Carousel of Progress! There is a huge time jump from the 1940s to what is supposed to be the future, and the future presented here looks like something from the Jetsons.

    Close Tomorrowland Speedway! Yes, kids like to drive the cars, but there is a similar driving ride in every regional park in the country. It is simply not an unique experience. It takes up far too much space, and that space could be used for something else and much more modern in an area named Tomorrowland.

  5. This is so inaccurate! We just went to Disneyworld, it’s an entirely different experience from 10 years ago, there are so many new rides and improvements! It’s amazing. Yes, the speedway needs a change, but that’s about the only one. The way they are going and improving, it’s the best park in the world, aside from Universal. Definitely, It’s a small world, has been improved, the author must have missed the ride!

  6. It will be time to change the Speedway to electric when NASCAR gives up gas. It’s a SPEEDWAY, in Florida, not a politically correct roadway in California. The imitation roar of those engines have much more thrill than the light buzz of an electric golf cart. Just pump up the scenery some.

  7. I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said but I’d close tommorowland speedway, it takes up to much space AND I don’t think it’s fun at all! It’s like driving a Tesler while your sleeping! I like Big Thunder Mountain, but I’ve never been on the Disneyland version so I might change my mind if I ever go. I might be a minority here but i never liked the endless stairs, so I could do without them.

    1. We have ridden Big Thunder, Pirates and Small World in the MK well over a dozen times. Last December we finally got to ride all 3 at DisneyLand and liked them better than at the MK. Also found the food much better in DL and we didn’t have to make reservations months a head of time

  8. Keep – Pirates. A classic.

    Change – Space Mountain. It’s time to line the walls up with 4K screens to get an amazing experience of riding in space.

    Close – Philharmonic. It was nice the first 5 times but now the repeat value is over. Still leave saying that the prior Lion King show was better. Plenty of other concepts to add in Fantasyland

  9. I would actually close Tomorrowland Speedway, it takes up a massive footprint that could probably be replaced with two to three attractions and is not environmentally friendly in any manner.

    For change, I would change Pirates of the Caribbean and essentially it would be completely torn down and rebuilt to be similar to the one in Shanghai, but with its own twists and turns.

    On a side note, Disney World has ZERO rides, heck even Disneyland only has one ride and that is Mr. Road’s Wild Ride, all others are attractions.