This can be a highly debated topic, and since this type of discussion is generally based on opinion, it’s hard to say that anyone is wrong. I know that many of you would argue that Stitch’s Great Escape is the worst attraction, and I don’t necessarily love it, but you can’t deny that there are some good, technological, and theatrical elements that are incorporated. Others may say that it’s the Hall of Presidents, but again, just because you think it’s boring and just a location to take an air-conditioned nap, does not mean that it’s a bad attraction. However, in MY OPINION, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is the worst attraction at the Magic Kingdom for several reasons.
First, a little history. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin opened in 2001, and was the third “spinner” in the Magic Kingdom. Remember, at this time, there was only one Dumbo spinner, and even now that there are Dueling Dumbo’s, you may still just count it as one attraction. The other spinner being the Astro Orbiter. The ride is obviously themed to the movie Disney’s Aladdin, that was released in 1992, so again, this is another example of Disney creating an attraction almost 20 years after the release of a film (another example being Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in DCA and its clone in MK).
Since the theme is the Aladdin movie, you are “Flying” on a magic carpet, presumably high above the streets of Agrabah as in the movie. The carpets themselves move up and down, and tilt forward and back using the levers located in the front and rear seats of the carpets. There are also spitting camels, but those were re-cycled elements from the Aladdin’s Royal Caravan parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that ran from December 1992 to August 1995. After that they spent time at the Soundstage Restaurant, then were moved to this attraction in 2001 when it was built.
Here’s why this attraction is again, in my opinion, the worst attraction in Magic Kingdom:
- It’s an off the shelf spinner gussied up with a little paint and recycled spitting camels. Sure, you can argue that the ride vehicles are different than the other spinners in the park, but all in all it’s the same spinner that you can ride at almost every amusement park anywhere in America, or the world for that matter.
- It’s a terribly low capacity ride. For those of you who don’t know what I mean, let me explain. Ride capacity and throughput have to do with a few factors, the main ones are how fast they can get people on and off the ride, how many people can ride each time, and how long the ride lasts. When we think of high capacity rides, they are typically omnimovers, like the Haunted Mansion. If you have ever ridden the Haunted Mansion, you know that the Doom Buggies (the ride vehicles) keep moving. This is why they have the moving walk way to assist guests in getting on and off. The only time they stop is to help someone get on/off the ride, like a wheelchair or ECV that needs to transfer, or if someone triggers one of the “stops” on the ride by trying to get out or violating some other safety trigger. As long as everything is running smoothly, the ride just keeps going and going; nonstop. Even Pirates of the Caribbean, which is not an omnimover, has a high capacity. The boats hold a good number of people, and continually cycle through the load/unload process. When you start to evaluate hourly ride throughput, there is a number that is theoretical (in a perfect world, with perfect conditions) and there is a number that is realistic. We really only need to talk about the realistic numbers.
- The highest capacity rides in the Magic Kingdom can realistically process 2,500-2,800 people per hour (theoretically, they can process over 3,000 per hour). This means that if there were 100 people in front of you the line, it would take you a little over 2 minutes to get on the ride, and with the length of most cue’s, that’s a walk on.
- Aladdin has a realistic hourly capacity of about 350-400. This means that if there were 100 people in line in front of you, it would take 15-17 minutes to get on the ride. Technically, it’s not the lowest capacity attraction (I believe that title belongs to Enchanted Tales with Belle, but I am not positive.) but it’s very low compared to most others.
- No one is expecting Haunted Mansion type throughput numbers to come out of a carnival ride, but I certainly don’t need to stand in line for 15 minutes to ride essentially the same ride that is already in two other lands where those attractions have greater historical value.
- Aladdin killed the theming of the area. Adventureland was designed and created to be a South Pacific type theme, and the Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Swiss Family Treehouse, shops and restaurants all went along with that theme, even the addition of the Caribbean Plaza, housing Pirates of the Caribbean, that was added in 1973, fit the South Seas theme. With the addition of the flying carpets, part of the area was re-themed to fit the Middle East/Arabian style of the movie. Stores were changed, skylines/roofs were changed, and building fronts were re-themed. They did embed jewels in the walkway, and that’s kind of cool, but definitely not South Pacific style. They did not re-theme the entire land (thank goodness), so the two themes do not really work together. You cross the bridge from the hub, hit the sign, and front of the area that is still south pacific themed, then walk into the Arabia with the spitting camels and carpets, then back to south pacific. It just does not make sense.
- The ride was “shoehorned” into the space it occupies creating traffic flow patterns. They had to pull back some of the store fronts, killing the open air market type feeling, and put that ride right in the middle of the walkway. Look at the picture below. I have actually posted the same picture twice. This picture was taken from Google Earth, and I believe that it was taken on a slower day, early in the day. If you look at the people, you can see that the ride creates two giant bottlenecks on either side of it. You can see that with only a few people, this problem is still happening. The pictures are the same except the circles I have added. The red circles show the bottleneck of people that occur on either side of the ride, the yellow circles, which also look like groups of people is actually stroller parking, but that’s a different issue. I just didn’t want anyone to confuse them with people.
So I can already hear people saying things like, “But my kid loves that ride! We have to ride it every time we are there!” my kid loves that ride too, so I know what you mean. However, to that I say, “Too Bad!” If you want to ride a spinner, go ride Dumbo. The cue is a lot better, and it’s essentially the same ride. Kids are going to love any kind of ride like that, it’s why cheap rides at traveling carnivals exist. Remember, this is the third spinner in the Magic Kingdom, not even counting the one at Animal Kingdom. I think that we could have lived without it. Adventureland would have been a much better place without it for sure.
What are your thoughts? What do you think is the worst attraction in the Magic Kingdom (and we’re only talking about the Magic Kingdom, not any of the other parks). Please feel free to comment below, and as always, you can follow me here, or on Twitter @saddlesoreswnsn or on Facebook or both, if you feel so inclined.
Thanks for Reading!