Spinning Rides at Magic Kingdom: “Here We Go Round in Circles”….

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Astro Orbiter, Mad Tea Party

By Cassie

If you like to ride things that spin, then Magic Kingdom is your park! Typically -spinning amusement park rides have ride vehicles at the end of arms that are connected in the center and the arms revolve around the centerpiece. Walt Disney World has spinning rides that are full of character and some nice variations. Now if you are prone to motion sickness, I can appreciate that, and the rides are posted from least motion-sickness-inducing to the most motion-sickness-inducing. My theory is if I can stand and watch the ride cycle without feeling sick, I can probably ride it. Now that you understand my perception of this stomach-emptying causation, let’s look at these rides. (Please read any attraction signage prior to riding at Walt Disney World.)

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel-This attraction is one of the most beautiful at Walt Disney World. It was originally named Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel and then changed to its present name in 2010. Some mark this change as the beginning of New Fantasyland. The “story” is that Prince Charming is an avid jouster and built his own small carousel with a wooden horse and a ring that he would use to get in some extra practice. The townspeople of his kingdom wanted to ride it as it looked like great fun. Prince, being as charming as he is, decided to build a carousel for the commoners to use so he could continue to practice his jousting privately. He wanted it to be closer to the Castle and for them to have finer steeds to ride than what he was practicing with. Since this is Prince Charming and Cinderella’s kingdom, it brings a nice feel to this area, and ties it in nicely to the film about the royal couple. There are hand-painted scenes of Cinderella’s story around the top of the attraction. The music is presented by a calliope.

The ride is approximately 2- minutes long and can be enjoyed on one of 87 horses or a stationary chariot seat for four riders. Almost any body size can find a comfortable horse to ride on. The largest horses (and fastest ride at around 7mph) are on the outside and they decrease in size as you head toward the center with five steeds in each row (slowest ride on the inside). Even better? Each horse is unique in style, decorations and themes. Many of them are carrying medieval weaponry. One has a golden bow on its tail and it is rumored that this was Cinderella’s horse.

This historic carousel was built in 1917 by a company (Philadelphia Toboggan Company) who was mainly in the business of building roller coasters but made these hand-carved merry-go-rounds as a side business. They have become the most prestigious company for their beautiful detail work on these carousels. There are only three other 5-row carousels ever built by the company. This particular carousel was made for the Detroit Palace Garden Park. It was relocated to Olympic Park in Maplewood, NJ prior to being bought by Disney in 1967. It was originally named Liberty and you will see some theming of this still on the chariot. This ride is especially beautiful at night with its 2,300 small white lights. The queue is outside and covered. I can remember the first time I climbed aboard my horse on this ride and how magical it was. I believe this is a memorable experience for all children.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant-This adorable ride of flying pachyderms has been a rite-of-passage for my little ones so I have been on this more than a few times. This ride is based on the 1941 Disney animated Film Dumbo. I have not been on this yet in its newest form which is a great upscale from the previous Dumbo. The older one was plagued with painfully long lines that were in direct sun during the day and yet it was on our must-do list every time we went to the Magic Kingdom. Dumbo was in its previous location near the Carousel for 40 years. It closed on January 9, 2012.

The New Fantasyland Dumbo has two sets of flying elephants to ride on, scenes depicting the story around the hub, bright red colors that attract guest’s attention, and a beautiful water show going on around the bottom. The water is even more fun at night when different colors light up the fountains. They opened to the public in March, 2012. The area gives a new “story” to this new section of the park. Disney built Storybook Circus based on Dumbo setting this circus tone for the area. (Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station is nearby because Casey is the train that Dumbo’s circus was transported on from town to town.) The outside queue for Standby is covered and there is an air-conditioned inside playground where riders are given a device, similar to the ones you are handed at restaurants, which alert you when it is your time to ride. In the meantime your children can play inside while you relax on a bench nearby. There is a FastPass+ which is a whole circle of Dumbo’s dedicated to it. FastPass+ does not go through the playground section as you are not in line long enough to enjoy it. There are golden storks flying above each baby Dumbo.

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If you just want a really great photo, make sure you check out the Dumbo single that is placed between the two circling rides. It also gives you a chance to see how much room is in the elephant to see how many of you would like to ride together. It is a single bench seat that fits an adult, and one or two small children, or two adults. I did not want Disney to “mess” with Dumbo because it is so loved by my family, but I have to give kudos to them because they did a great job! Dumbo has been a big hit since it first appeared in Disneyland. It has been operating in every other Disney park on opening day.

Your flight lasts 1 ½ minutes and you can regulate the going up and coming down of your flying Dumbo. Each ride has 16 elephants, and they spin in different directions. Guests may fly as high as 17-feet in the air giving them one of the best views of the surrounding sections of New Fantasyland, views of Cinderella Castle, Ariel’s Castle, and Beast’s Castle and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. Just because this is a simple ride, don’t expect the lines to be short because they are not. This, along with Peter Pan’s Flight, seem to have a cult following of every age who are willing to spend a long time in line for. We recommend going early in the day, or get a FP+. Keep in mind that this is an outdoor attraction that closes if weather conditions warrant it, so check out the weather forecast when choosing a FP+ time.

Magic Carpets of Aladdin-this spinning ride is in Adventureland, while the others we have seen so far are in Fantasyland. This is basically the same mechanism as Dumbo the Flying Elephant, replacing the elephants with magic carpets. The Magic Carpets hold more guests, four instead of two, helping to keep the line moving along. It also allows a family of four to ride together in the same vehicle. Guests can determine the height of the flight and the duration is the same at about 1 ½ minutes long. The Genie’s Lamp is at the top of the central hub. The camels actually came from an Aladdin themed parade and Disney never wastes a prop, if something can be reused they do it, so they came here to this attraction. They bring some comedy relief on hot summer days when they randomly “spit” on riders as well as those walking by the attraction. Abu the monkey is also featured in the central hub of the ride. The queue is outside, right next to the meet and greet for Jasmine and Aladdin, and it is shaded. There is a FastPass+ available for this attraction. Use your control stick to make your carpet go up and down in the front row, and the back row controlling the pitch, you can make it feel as if it is really flying. Look in the water feature below to see your carpet reflection. Notice the gems and jewelry in the cement in this area. One of them has a hidden Mickey. The shops surrounding this attraction is to help give the feel of Agrabah so when you are flying on Magic Carpets, like Jasmine and Aladdin, you are also flying over their marketplace too

Astro Orbiter-Tomorrowland’s rocket ride is unmatched in these central hub with ride vehicles that circle it because the speed and height are taking this ride form to new heights. Astro Orbiter is set apart from the beginning as you start by taking a 3-story elevator ride up to the boarding area. So you are already on a third-story level when you board your rocket ship. You have the ability to ride 55-feet in the air taking you 80 feet off the ground! The planets you see as you spin around the center hub add to the feeling that you are speeding through space. The rockets actually move at 20mph. Since this is an outside ride, it will shut down if there is lightning in the area, something to keep in mind. Look for the elevator near the entrance to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.

The attraction was renamed in 1994 when the ride design was changed ditching a NASA Saturn V rocket as the centerpiece for the tower and Planets we see today; and the name was changed from Star Jets to Astro Orbiter. The Buck Rogers style is fun with a green light at night at the front of the rockets and of course a red glow at the back of the rocket. This truly is an amazing 90-second ride into outer space, from which you can see Tomorrowland Speedway and Cinderella Castle, although spinning around that fast makes it very hard to focus on anything specific and know what it is. (Just trying to focus makes me turn green.) In 2014 the ride had a major refurbishment where they actually took the whole ride apart, refurbished it and rebuilt it. It was closed for about four months and when it reopened the planets looked shinier but remained stationary and there were new paint colors for the attraction and a new look for the rockets. Originally the planets would spin around as the rockets did creating more of a feeling of motion and acceleration than it does when it is still. Many fans were hoping the rocket motion would begin again after the refurbishment.

If you have someone in your party who can’t wait to ride some wild rides, but is not tall enough for the thrill rides, make sure you plan for this one. It is the only Walt Disney World thrill ride that has no height requirement making it a perfect first exciting ride. The cage elevator is like the ones used by NASA at Cape Canaveral, Florida for rocket launches when the attraction was built. The ride itself has not changed from its original form. The wait times are almost unbearable for this attraction. You are stuck in a very boring line, waiting for the elevator. There are not that many rockets so it does not take as many riders an hour as other attractions. The best time to go is first thing in the morning. There is no FastPass+ for this attraction.

Mad Tea Party-(We have to go back to Fantasyland for this one)-This is the pinnacle of all spinning rides as it is a spinning tea cup on a spinning circle within a larger spinning circle. The tea cups can seat up to four guests and the ride lasts about two minutes. FastPass+ is available for this attraction. If you have any motion sickness, you will probably need to skip this one. This is based on an Alice in Wonderland (1951) scene known as the Unbirthday Party scene. You will see a topiary of Alice surrounded by small tea cups and tea pots along the outside of the attraction. In the center of the attraction is a tea pot around which circular floors holding four tea cups each spin on the larger floor circle. You can make your tea cups spin by turning a wheel in the center of it. You may stumble off your enlarged tea cup wondering if you did not just encounter a rabbit hole, much like Alice felt in Wonderland. Since this attraction is covered with a canopy, it does operate during rain and thunderstorms.

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.