What Kids Like at the Magic Kingdom

by on July 12, 2016 15 Comments

Filed under: Uncategorized

Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater

Nice outfit, pal!

If you’re trying to decide what to see with your kids at Magic Kingdom, here are two tips:

  • Spend more time on character greetings, interactive games, and fireworks
  • Spend less time in Adventureland and Liberty Square.

That’s our conclusion after analyzing more than 126,000 Magic Kingdom attraction ratings from pre-school, grade school, and teen kids we’ve received over the past year. We’re using this data to update our touring plan and Fastpass+ advice for the 2017 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.

The top attraction for kids – by a wide margin – is the Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet at Town Square Theater on Main Street. Kids give Mickey an average score of 4.7 on our 1-to-5 scale. Following the main mouse are the Celebrate the Magic castle show and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks.

The next tier of popular attractions is topped by character greetings, mostly in Fantasyland:

At the other end of the scale, kids rate Stitch’s Great Escape! in Tomorrowland as the worst attraction in Walt Disney World. In fact, guests of all ages say Stitch is the worst attraction on property.

Other attractions that rate low with kids include four attractions in Adventureland and Liberty Square:

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, in Tomorrowland, also does poorly. Frontierland’s Country Bear Jamboree barely avoids ending up in this group.

I don’t think these ratings are particularly surprising: most young children are unaware of the history of the U.S. presidency, and don’t really care about either the record of technological innovation in the 20th century, or singing South Pacific birds.  I’m a little surprised with Swiss Family Treehouse’s low ratings – maybe it’s the stairs.

You can use these ratings to prioritize the attractions to see on a one-day trip to the Magic Kingdom. The ratings also help when deciding where to use Fastpass+  during your visit. For example, if the waits in line for Jungle Cruise and the Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet are about the same, you’d probably want a Fastpass+ for Mickey. In a worst-case scenario, you could probably skip the Jungle Cruise without affecting your children’s enjoyment of the park.

The chart below shows the distribution of kids’ average attraction ratings across the Magic Kingdom:

KidsSummaryGraph

The average rating for all attractions is 4.1, with a standard deviation of 0.47. Broadly speaking, that means the attractions rated 4.5 are very popular, and attractions rated below 3.5 are really unpopular.

Below is another chart showing which group each Magic Kingdom attraction falls in to. Each column is rated from highest to lowest rating.

As we noted above, the top six attractions in the “4.0 to 4.49” category are character greetings.  Also, kids rate interactive games such as A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasure of the Seven Seas and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom higher than The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, or The Barnstormer.

Kids-Attractions-Chart

 

Posted on July 12, 2016

15 Responses to “What Kids Like at the Magic Kingdom”

  • I think for Swiss Family Treehouse it’s a combination of stairs and payoff. Kids are like, “I just climbed up here for that?” They’re looking for a glitzy, high tech payoff.

  • Len, this is helpful information. I’m imagining, though, that there might be differences in the attraction ratings and distributions between the three age groups you cite (pre-school, grade school, teen) – what would those results look like? My own son may be an outlier, as in 2 visits (age 7/12 and 10) he had basically zero interest in meeting characters (only exception being Lightning McQueen & Mater at Hollywood Studios). He loved the Speedway the first time (rode 3x) and Astro-Orbiter (twice), and most of the thrill rides, though the Haunted Mansion freaked him out (mostly the Stretching Room monologue, but unfortunately he insisted on keeping his eyes closed on the actual ride, which in retrospect probably made it a lot scarier than with eyes open).

  • For Swiss Family Treehouse – my kids were annoyed that they couldn’t run around and PLAY on the treehouse like a play ground. You just walked THROUGH it and they thought that was, and I quote, a “waste of a good tree.”

  • by Ruth Woodhouse on July 12, 2016, at 10:42 am EDT

    I am surprised that the stitch attraction is still there – it’s so bad (yet there always seems to be people waiting there to experience it). Surely Disney can do better and replace it with ANYTHING. So I am all for Disney to Ditch Stitch! The ONLY good thing about it is – if the attraction were to close, those people queuing for that attraction would be in another queue for an attraction I really want to experience!

    • My understanding of the reason for that attraction’s longevity is that plush Stitches sell like crazy, and the post-Great Escape giftshop is the place they sell the best. It’s a horrible reason to keep running a bad attraction, but plausible.

      • My 8 year old daughter has never seen the movie, nor has gone on the Stitch attraction, but on our last visit she talked me into buying the extra large Stitch. I was the idiot sitting on my carry-on trying to fit an oversized Stitch in my bag for the flight home. The only reason I acquiesced on Stitch was because earlier in the day she told me Carousel of Progress was her favorite ride–and I deemed her the most amazing child in the world. You will have ALL THE STITCHES.

  • I would love to see the data by gender as well as age groups. My daughter’s interests were completely different than her brothers, at the same age, even beyond the princesses. I’d love to see how typical that is.

  • I wonder if these results are skewed by the parents. When my kids were preschool and even elementary they could be hesitant about getting too close to characters. And fireworks? Over so many other attractions? Seems a little strange to me but different strokes for different folks I guess.

  • If children are only lukewarm about the Tomorrowland Speedway, I think that’s an argument to replace it with something else.

  • The problem with Swiss Family Tree House is that the movie is hard to see and most kids and adults have not seen this movie. After we watched Swiss Family Movie the tree house made a great deal more sense and was a really nice attraction everyone including our children liked. Maybe they need to have a Disney Channel reboot of this movie or change it to something else. A playground is a really great idea.
    Stitch ride would be so much nicer without the chili dog burps. Same with the skunk smell on Imagination. Stinky Smell Technology is fun only once and even then yuck.