You made it! You’re at Disney World. All the planning and traveling has come to an end and you can finally enjoy your vacation. If you’re the type of family to plan your trip down to the minute, then you probably have your schedule all planned out for each day you’re at Disney. But you’ll still have some moments in the day unoccupied, most likely. These moments are perfect for fitting in a few extra rides. One of the rides you should consider adding to your schedule is the Mad Tea Party ride at Magic Kingdom.
Out of all the rides at Magic Kingdom, this one is probably one of the most iconic—and for good reason. In this article, you learn all the details you need to know about the Mad Tea Party ride and why you should add it to your Disney World schedule.
What is the Mad Tea Party?
One of the most iconic images of Disney World is the eccentrically colored spinning tea cups of the Mad Tea Party. Anyone who has been to Disney knows that the Mad Tea Party is a must-visit for anyone’s vacation. But what exactly is it and how does it work?
Based on the 1951 film Alice in Wonderland, this ride features 18 tea cups that seat up to five riders. The idea is that you are taking part in the Mad Hatter’s tea party by spinning around in tea cups. You truly feel a part of the wonderful world of Wonderland while on this ride. The colors and overall vibe of the attraction sends a message to the rider that this ride focuses its attention on fun, whimsy, and excitement.
If you are unfamiliar with the Alice in Wonderland film, you don’t necessarily need to watch the movie to understand the attraction. However, to really appreciate the beauty and whimsical nature of the ride you should try to watch the film if you can. You will have such a larger appreciation for this ride if you have an understanding of the world of Wonderland.
Like a lot of rides at Disney, the Mad Tea Party relies on the participation of the rider. If you’ve ever been to any of the parks and been on an interactive ride, you know how these work. Similar to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Station Spin or Test Track, what you get out of the Mad Tea Party is what you put into it. If you prefer a slow spin, you’re able to do that.
Or, if you are more of a thrill seeker, you can spin so fast you can’t walk straight when you exit your tea cup. To do this, you control your speed with a circular table-like spinner in the center of your tea cup. You spin your cup based on the speed at which you turn the spinner. You are entirely in control of your experience on this ride. That’s what makes this ride so enjoyable. It’s an entirely individualized experience.
What are the logistics?
The limits for this ride are minimal. All heights and ages are welcome to participate in this ride. Because the experience is so customizable, the thrill level depends entirely on what you and your family are willing to handle. Children love this ride for several reasons, but a big one is that they can control how fast their tea cup goes. Of course, there are some individuals who may not enjoy this type of experience and that is entirely valid.
If you are someone who gets motion sickness easily, or if you are prone to whiplash, it may be best to sit out this one. Even if you are going relatively slow, it can still cause some jarring motions. The platform the cups rest on does move independently from the spinning of your own cup, which adds to the thrill factor slightly. Though, if you are going slow, it doesn’t whip you around too much.
As far as accessibility goes, if you use a wheelchair or ECV, you are able to ride this ride. You do, however, have to transfer from your chair into the tea cup. The only age requirement relates to the general rule of all Disney parks: children under the age of 7 years must be accompanied by someone who is 14 years or older. Other than that, there are no major restrictions to ride this ride. All are welcome to enjoy the whimsical magic of the tea cups.
What’s the wait like?
The lines are relatively short for a Magic Kingdom ride, luckily. This means you can fit a quick tea cup spin easily into your day. At the most, you’ll be waiting for 40 minutes. At the least, however, you’ll only be waiting around 10 minutes. Of course, there are times that are better than others. Here’s a quick guide to figure when to ride this ride:
Early morning: The ride opens at 9:00 a.m. and stays open until 10:00 p.m. Because of this, the early morning (9:00 a.m. to approximately 10:30 a.m.) sees the shortest wait times. If you get to this ride right when it opens, your wait will be around 5 minutes.
Late morning: From 10:30 a.m. to around 11:30, there will be a slight surge in wait times. Instead of 5 minutes, you’ll be waiting roughly 10 minutes. In the grand scheme of the day, this is a wonderful wait time.
Afternoon: For any ride at any park, 12:00 p.m. to around 3:00 p.m. sees the longest lines. That’s the nature of the Disney beast. The afternoon has the biggest crowds hands down. The Mad Tea Party is no exception. The wait time never gets unbearable, but it does see a big jump in minutes around this time.
Evening: The evening mirrors the wait times of the late morning. There’s a dip in wait times from around 30-40 minutes to about 20-10 minutes. If you’ve got a bit of time to spare before a food reservation, you can fit in one more spin on the tea cups.
Night: Like the early morning, the wait time for this ride around closing is about 5 minutes long.
Based on these rough wait times, you should be able to fit a spin or two into your schedule. If you’ve already planned your trip out to the limit, you may want to adjust your schedule to fit this ride into your agenda. It truly is a ride you and your family won’t want to miss out on.
Is there FastPass+?
Yes! The Mad Tea Party ride does have a FastPass+ option. If you’re unsure of what FastPass+ is, it’s essentially Disney’s solution to cut down on wait times. You are given a chance to skip out on lines or extremely reduce your wait time at any of the four parks. You are able to choose three rides to FastPass+ when at each of the parks. You cannot park hop and choose three tickets from different parks, but you are able to use all three at one park any day of the week. This is a great feature for the popular rides at the parks. However, for the Mad Tea Party this is not necessary.
The wait times for this ride are never so severely long that you would need to use a FastPass+ ticket. Disney gives you three FastPass+ tickets to use at one park on any given day. Using that logic, it doesn’t make sense to use a limited ticket supply on a ride that lasts 5 minutes and only requires you to wait for about 10 minutes on average. Save your FastPass+ Magic Kingdom tickets for rides that have over an hour wait times. Of these, the longest wait times are It’s A Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Splash Mountain. You’re better off using your FastPass+ tickets on one of these rides rather than on the Mad Tea Party.
Mad Tea Party: Is it worth it?
Overall, this ride is an essential part of your trip to Disney World. Not only is Magic Kingdom the best Disney park for kids, which is where this ride resides, it is a part of the iconic group of timeless Disney attractions. For years, the Mad Tea Party has been one of Disney’s most cherished rides and that’s for good reason. It’s customizable and it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you and your family will remember for ages.
If you’re worried about the level of thrill involved, you are able to keep the spinning to a minimum. Yes, the whole ride does move a little bit, but nowhere near as much as a typical thrill ride. Because of this, it’s safe and fun for all ages and for everyone who wants to feel young at heart, which is what Disney is all about.
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