The 3 Best Cheapskate Rides in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom*

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Ask anyone who has been to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom what the three best rides are, and the combination of choices are pretty endless. I’m going to give you my three choices, based on financial and time-saving reasons, and chances are, they will not match your favorite. But hear me out – they should be!

While endless Internet articles and Facebook chats have eagerly followed the building and current status of the new Fantasyland expansion, I am excited about the new building for one simple reason. I am hoping it will shorten the lines for my favorite rides way on the other side of the park.

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Time is money at Disney World. I realized at the ripe old age of six that standing in line at Disney is not a lot of fun. 36 years later, it’s still not fun. I paid a lot of money for my tickets, and I want to be riding rides, not waiting in line for them. Lots of people are at Disney to ride the fast zippy rides. I was born with two curses called  impatience and motion sickness, so I am not racing to get in line for anything fast or popular. I am certainly not hacking on Space Mountain and the new 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, but they didn’t make my list.

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Here are the Top Three Best Cheapskate Rides in the Magic Kingdom, in order of preference, from the Original Cheapskate Princess:

The Peoplemover

You weren’t expecting this as a top three best ride, now were you?! I have loved the Peoplemover since I was six years old. The ride itself hasn’t changed very much through the years, so the feeling of joyful childhood vacation-deja vu is overwhelming. I still love the sound of the cars clicking over the track. I still get goosebumps when I enter Space Mountain for a slow journey in the dark for a close-up view of the ride.

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Here’s why a Cheapskate should love The Peoplemover too.

  • The view you get of Tomorrowland, Cinderella Castle, parts of Main Street, the Disney train, occasionally a parade, two Deluxe Resorts, and multitudes of happy vacationers from a second story view, high above the sidewalk, is unique.
  • You are in the shade during the hot parts of the year,  which seems like 10 of 12 months in our era of global warming, and you cruise through enough air conditioning to feel grateful in the sweltering parts of the summer.

  • Walking up to 10-15 miles a day at Disney, my feet need a break. The bench is great for an adult, perfect for little bodies to take naps on, because without throngs of people clambering to climb aboard this ride, Cast Members will let you ride over and over. I might have snuck in a nap here myself.
  • The best Cheapskate reason? There is almost always no line, which is what I loved about it as a child and still love today. No waiting, which for this Cheapskate Princess, means I am using my tickets to the fullest. This is a ride any of you Disney Moms will appreciate when you and the kids get tired.

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I know you roller coaster junkies will disagree here about what is using your tickets to the fullest, and we can cheerfully agree to disagree!

The Tiki Room

Again, I know you didn’t expect this choice as a best ride. I loved the Tiki Room as a child because it was air-conditioned, dark, full of cool songs and movin’ & singin’ computerized birds. When did I first realize Disney World was magical?  The first time I first saw it rain inside this attraction, I knew logically it was clear as a bell outside, but magic trumps logic at Disney.

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Here’s why you Cheapskates should love The Tiki Room too:

  • Air Conditioning. Summers in the 70’s were brutal, and Orlando is still incredibly hot throughout the summer, unless you get lucky with a late afternoon rain shower that ends without leaving stifling humidity. There is the cold air in The Tiki Room, guaranteed to cool you off on a hot day. In winter, you’ll be warm and toasty.
  • You do have to wait through a pre-show, but this is entertaining enough to justify the time spent on the wait, which is spent not standing in direct sun. The pre-show is a relatively short wait, again, so I feel like I get my money’s worth for my time.

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  • The songs are catchy and pure Disney. Birds are singin’, magic rain’ is fallin, and Tiki Gods are drummin’. I better mention now that small children may hate this ride because it gets pretty dark and loud, but after the age of three, my kids liked it.
  • Without a Fastpass, I can ride Space Mountain once in an hour, maybe once in two hours during peak travel times like Christmas. The Tiki Room? You’ll be in and out in 20 minutes including pre and actual show, morning, noon or early night.
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Pirates of the Caribbean

This is probably the only ride I would choose  as a favorite that might actually qualify as popular with more than 3% of the Disney crowd. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been a personal favorite of mine since I was a child. I wasn’t all that thrilled to see Johnny Depp show up, but it wasn’t a deal breaker either.

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Here’s why Cheapskates should love the Pirates of the Caribbean too:

  • It’s always nice and cool. There is no sun while you wait, and I am a huge fan of the soft mood lighting.
  • This ride involves the most walking to get to the actual ride itself, but the walk there is just fantastic. I still touch the walls, look into all the rooms of the “Fort,” and  breathe deep, all that pirate air. You will do more walking on the way out, right through the middle of the “Target for Pirates” gift shop. I am the one looking at all the Piratey details – the furniture with t-shirts displayed on them, the paintings on the wall, while my sons are probably aiming wooden guns at your boys and talking Pirate in loud voices.

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  • This ride can occasionally have a 20-25 minute wait, but that’s mid-day. I suggest you go late at night when there may not be a wait at all. I have walked right on Pirates many nights an hour before closing. Try that at Space Mountain.

I know it is probably because of some cheap effect, but the “burning room” is one of my favorite spots park-wide. More so than my other two choices, this ride has absolutely amazing theming and details, even after all these years.

Disney pirate ride, Disney pirate boat, pirate boats, theme park pirates
So there you have my choice for the best three rides at Disney’s Magic Kingdom from a Cheapskate point of view. My goal is always to get the most from my time and money, and standing in long lines has never made me feel like I was utilizing either to the fullest.  I have my doubts as to just how many of you would agree, but I hope you’ll give these three attractions a chance to save you time from long lines and make the most of your ticket dollars.

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Thanks for stopping by, and if you see me around the Magic Kingdom, save me a seat in the Tiki Room.


  1. Melanie says:

    I totally agree with you on the pirates, I love that ride! We always make sure to ride it over and over again. I did like the people mover because it was cool and relaxing. We have been 5 times, and still haven’t be into the enchanted tiki room. I am going to make it a point to do it on our next trip after reading this. We also like the carousel of progress and hall of presidents. Helps to cool us down on those hot days.

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