Three! We only get three choices for our best Magic Kingdom dark rides. Ugh, this will be no easy task. If the Magic Kingdom is known for anything it’s the abundance of dark rides. And, Cinderella’s Castle of course. Oh yeah, Dole Whip too. Ok, let’s all agree the Magic Kingdom is known for many things and dark rides are definitely one of them. It’s fair to say we’ve delayed our list of the best Magic Kingdom dark rides long enough. Let’s make a list!
Or, better known as the rules. Just like our underrated Magic Kingdom attractions list, we need some structure. For our best Magic Kingdom dark rides, we’ll use the following criteria to help build our list. First and foremost, the attraction must be family-friendly and have no height requirements. Secondly, the majority of the ride must be inside, we are talking about dark rides after all. The last piece is the story. What has always made Disney’s dark rides stand apart are the stories the attractions tell.
Passholder Insights: Early in the morning or at the end of the day are when you’ll find the shortest wait times for the popular rides.
You know we’re always good for a surprise! First up, on our best Magic Kingdom dark rides list is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. What can say, Winnie the Pooh is one of our all-time favorite characters. Well, more like Eeyore for Serena and Tigger for Nate. Beyond, the nostalgia for the characters, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has a couple of our favorite pieces of Disney Magic.
In a “how do they do that moment?” is one of the best scenes on a Disney dark ride. What scene? It’s the scene leading into the Heffalumps and Woozles where Pooh falls asleep and you see his spirit drift off. We’ve been wracking our brains for years to figure out Disney Imagineering created this effect.
Our second Disney Magic moment is subtle. Prior to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh moving into the space, it was home to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. To honor the previous attraction Imagineering added an Easter egg to the attraction where Mr. Toad is handing a key to Owl. We always love when Disney adds these nods to the past.
Passholder Insights: Directly next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is Storybook Treats. This is where you’ll find the delicious and Instagram worthy Peter Pan Float.
To where? Adventureland! The next stop on our best Magic Kingdom dark rides journey brings us to a Disney classic, Pirates of the Caribbean. Over the years we’ve seen a variety of iterations of this Disney classic attraction. From the additions of Jack Sparrow and Red to the ever-changing opening scene that’s had everything from Davey Jones to mermaids. For us, what makes Pirates of the Caribbean an all-time great dark ride are the things that have remained the same, the music and the details.
How can you not help but sing a Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me) while sailing through Pirates of the Caribbean? We’re not going to lie, we’re singing it while we write this part of the article. Written by a Disney Legend, Xavier Atencio, or better known as X, the music is what carries you through the attraction. It sets the tone for the fun, light-hearted adventure through the Caribbean and leaves you wondering, is a Pirate’s Life for Me?
Not to be outdone by the music, the details are what keep us coming back. There is no detail too small, from the leg hair on the animatronics to the mythical hidden Mickey in the final scene with Jack. Yes, it is true, from what we understand there is a hidden Mickey tuck-away it all the loot behind Jack. One day we will find, one day! No matter what every time we ride Pirates of the Caribbean we discover something new, and let’s say that’s no easy achievement.
Passholder Insights: Fun fact, the drop on Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is used to go under the Walt Disney World Railroad track.
A Spooktacular Finish
Did you guest it? Here’s one more hint at which attraction tops our best Magic Kingdom dark rides list, “There’s room for 1000”. It’s hard to find a better dark ride than The Haunted Mansion. From the word go, you’re part of the attraction. Stepping into line the story begins from the hidden tale within the busts to the hysterically pun ridden gravestones, this is an attraction where every little detail plays a part. Don’t blink or you may miss something important.
With The Haunted Mansion, it is near impossible to pinpoint an aspect or two that are the best. Yes, it’s that well done. If we had to pick our favorite scene by far is the attic. You were probably thinking we were going to say the ballroom scene right? While that scene is mind-blowing, there is something about the attic scene. Oh, it’s Constance Hatchaway. By far the star of The Haunted Mansion, you’ll find Constance throughout your journey. From the stretch room to the attic scene and final bone-chilling words of “Hurry back”, Constance is constant in the Haunted Mansion.
Beyond Constance, what makes The Haunted Mansion top our list is how timeless of an attraction it is. As an opening day attraction, the ride is still relevant today, which few changes from the original. If anything, Disney has only many enhancements to it. From the addition of the interactive queue to the endless staircase room, and of course Constance Hatchaway in 2006, all “pluses” have been fantastic. Similar to Pirates of the Caribbean, the music is what makes the attraction so timeless. Once again we can thank X. Thank you, X!
Passholder Insights: One of the big differences between The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom is the stretching room and how it works. One version goes down and the other the roof goes up. #NoSpoilers here!
Phew! We did it. We made it through our best Magic Kingdom dark rides list. By no means was this an easy task. If you ask us tomorrow we’re sure our list would be different. Ok, there is only one thing left to do. Volunteer!
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