Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom, Orlando
June 2008 was my first trip to the Magic Kingdom. It was a hot day and we were a bit tired but that didn't stop us from having a fun day. Liz is a self-proclaimed Disney freak and has been many times. She knows the parks like the back of her hand, so I let her show me her world of Disney. We started our adventure by riding the monorail into the park. It was a fun experience and allowed a good view of the surrounding property and resorts. We entered the park and made our way down Main Street USA which is full of shops and people.
We reached the Crystal Palace and our Pooh and Friends breakfast at the end of Main Street. Liz was so looking forward to her character breakfast. She was talking about it for months ahead of time. It's a really good set up here. It's a well organized buffet breakfast with excellent service. The food is really good and I loved watching Liz's face light up whenever a charcter stoped at our table for a picture. I was originally dredding the idea of a "kiddie" breakfast but I really enjoyed myself.
After breakfast we headed for the Pirates of the Caribbean. The wait was barely 10 minutes and it was a nice break from the heat. The gift shop was cool with Pirate Mickeys and other fun pirate gear. We had the Yo Ho Piarates Life song stuck in our head for hours after the ride. The Haunted Mansion was the big ride on Liz's to do list and again there was a brief wait in line. We really had fun on the Tea cups. We both got off the ride stumbling and dizzy...they must have thought we were drunk. She did say to spin as hard as I could.....
My favorite part of the day was the train ride around the park. I love trains and this was a relaxing break from walking in the sumer heat.
Magic Kingdom is the first of the 4 themeparks that was created by Mr. Walter years back. The rides which you can find here are mostly less intense compared to the other parks. There are lots of things to see and do for people of all ages. Seeing Cinderella's castle is really magical. Its huge, flamboyant facade which turns into different colors at night makes it a "must have" photo for every visitor.
The main event when visiting this park is the Fireworks display which is held every 9pm at Cinderella's Castle (time permitted). The streets gets too crowded by 8pm. So, make sure that you pick a good spot to have a nice view of the fireworks and for you to have better photos too!
This was my third visit to the Magic Kingdom part of Disneyworld and I've been to Disneyland in Anaheim, California several times, the first time was when they still had lettered tickets (A through E) that you used to go on the rides.
I always have to go on the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean (updated to include a few Captain Jack Sparrow figures and at least one Captain Barbossa from the movie) and Space Mountain usually more than once. And although some people might find the Mad Hatter's Tea Party a little lame, you wouldn't say that if you had me and Kat spinning the cups ;-) We also had fun on Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the WDW railroad was a nice relaxing ride. And somehow we never did go on It's a Small World, one of the classic Disney rides.
Not worth the wait: Stitch's Great Escape (boring, at least for adults), Jungle Cruise (line way too long without a FastPass, ride pretty boring)
Tickets have climbed a bit since my last visit, it's now $67+ tax for adults, $56 + tax for kids 3-9, under 3 free. The price per day decreases if you buy a multiday ticket. The Magic Kingdom stays open the latest of the four parks at DisneyWorld with even later hours on the weekends. So if you get a late start or you have enough stamina to go all day, schedule the Magic Kingdom for Friday or Saturday.
If you are going with young kids, I'd highly recommend reading up on the rides before you go so you know which ones your kids will and won't go on. When I took my nieces I was unpleasantly surprised when the older one balked at anything that was in the dark, although I did eventually get her on the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean she wouldn't budge on Space Mountain.
"Fast Pass. This ticket is the way to get on the rides and attractions you want to see without waiting 2 hours in line. Just look for the "FP" symbol on the Disney park map, go to the ride then insert your Park ticket into the fast Pass kiosk. A Fast Pass ticket is issued with the return time on the piece of paper. Go out and see other Disney attractions and then you can return to the attraction during the hours stated on the Fast Pass ticket with little to no wait. **NOTE: Don't try to jump the line from the regular waiting time to the Fast Pass line. You will be asked for your ticket and they actually do check to be sure. Some highly popular rides, such as Epcot's "Soarin'" can have waits as long as 4 to 5 hours and some rides will not offer anymore Fast Pass tickets because they have exhausted their supply for Fast Track times.
Make sure you check the bottom of the current Fast Pass to find out when you can get another Fast Pass for another attraction.
Emerging from the tunnel under the railway station at the entrance, the first attraction is Main Street, two carefully constructed blocks of buildings recreating early American circa 1900 with varied architectures from that period. At the main central intersection, each of the four buildings on the corners have a different architectural appearance. The buildings are said to look larger than they really are by use of "forced perspective" - the second stories are shorter than the first, and the third even shorter. Check out the windows on the second levels - the names include individuals important to the development of the complex and names of the bogus companies created by Disney to buy up land covertly, keeping prices low. In picture 1, if one looks at the featured 3 story building, the forced perspective is obvious.
Walt Disney maintained an apartment on Main Street, over the firehouse, which remains fully furnished and unchanged, but it is not open for visitors. More accessible buildings include the City Hall where the information bureau is located, as well as a host of stores featuring Disney merchandise, a working barber shop, and several food places. Main Street ends at the Plaza, the center of the Magic Kingdom, fronting the Cinderella Castle.
Worry not about uncomfortable pavements or litter and insects. The Main Street as well as other paved walkways throughout are of so-called resilient asphalt and are steam cleaned and sprayed every night of the year.
The most iconic structure in Disney World is probably also the most widely known logo for the entire Disney Empire. Located at the apex of the Plaza and Park, it is visible from the entrance on Main Street and most everywhere else including the most upscale hotels along the Monorail. The height is 189 feet but appears even taller through the use of forced perspective. The castle was designed by Herbert Ryman, the chief Disney architect, and took 18 months to construct, opening on October 1, 1971. The design was drawn from castles all over the world ranging from Versailles and Neuschwanstein to the Alcazar. Originally grey, blue and gold, a repainting in 2006 featured off white, brown, and pink, with dark blue turrets.
Had we more time, we might have visited the interior which includes mosaic murals of 14k gold and over 1 million glass tiles in 500 colors. There is also apparently an upscale restaurant and the corridors feature regular visits from Disney characters.
The tallest structure in the Magic Kingdom is built to withstand hurricane force winds. No bricks were used. The inner structure is steel with reinforced concrete in the outer walls covered with fiber-reinforced gypsum plaster and fibreglass. The 27 towers are bolted to the remainder of the building. The castle is surrounded by a moat holding over 3 million gallons of water.
For those flush enough to afford making their little girls into Cinderella, a specialized boutique is the only store inside the castle.
Flagship park for all of Walt Disney World, The Magic Kingdom has a wonderful mix of timeless classics and new thrills. A favorite amongst the youngsters, this park is obligatory for any Disney World neophyte, and is full of traditional Disney rides and landscapes. This home of Cinderella's Castle is picturesque, yet can be placed as second or third to visit for those that are looking for rides with greater thrills.
It's A Small World
Peter Pan's Flight
Legend of the Lion King
Dumbo Flying Elephants
Snow White's Adventures
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger
Carousel of Progress
Big Thunder Railroad
Tom Sawyer Island
Country Bear Jamboree
Swiss Family TreeHouse
Pirates of the Caribbean
Hall of Presidents
Liberty Belle River Boat
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The Magic Kingdom was my favorite of all the Disney parks. Part of the reason is because it had a nice mix of rides, shows, restaurants and activities. The Magic Kingdom like all of the other Disney parks is loaded with stores and places to buy memorabilia. I had a great time in the evening hours before dinner exploring some of the shops. My favorite was a glass shop which had colorful glass dragons in the window and a man doing a glass blowing show in the back. I think the children all liked this park because of the rides. I got Sebastian to ride his very first roller coaster here and Patrick and I coaxed Thaddeus and Sebastian into going on Splash Down Mountain. Patrick really loved the Carousal of Progress and Mike Wazowski's Laugh Floor the most. There's loads of places to eat here, The Crystal Palace is great and so is Cosmic Rays. There's a train that goes around all of Magic Kingdom, a monorail that will take you through Space Mountain, Dumbo, Aladdin's Magic Carpet, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Safari and so much more to do and see.
The Magic Kingdom is probably the best theme park for kids. The rides are not as large as the ones at some of the other parks.
Our favorite rides ( photos below) are : Splash Mountain , the boat ride down the mountain, Thunder Mountain, the rollercoaster through a mine, and Space Mountain, the roller coaster in the dark.
All of those rides are popular so it is best to either go to them directly, first thing in the morning before most people get there, or to get a "fast pass" ticket which gets you ahead of the regular line. Last time we went ( May 2006) , we headed directly for Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain which are next to each other and rode each one three times.
Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open at Walt Disney World in 1971, and today it is the most visited theme park in the world with over 15 million visitors every year. As you enter Magic Kingdom, you find yourself on Main Street, U.S.A., which is mostly filled with souvenir shops and restaurants on both sides. Your eyes are of course immediately drawn to Cinderella's Castle, the well-known symbol of Magic Kingdom. Thanks to one of its 27 towers, the castle reaches a height of 189 feet. It's possible to walk though the castle, though there isn't that much to see besides mosaics depicting some famous scenes from Disney stories. If you're travelling with young children, you might want to stick around the Main Street area in hopes of meeting with Disney characters or catching the "Dream-Along with Mickey" show. If you're travelling with teenagers, you might want to catch a ride on board the steam train and head over to Frontierland to get a fastpass for one of the attractions there.
One thing not to be missed on Main Street, U.S.A. is the daytime parade called "Celebrate a Dream Come True". We were lucky enough to grab frontrow seats for the parade, and the characters interacted with everyone of us - Cinderella's cruel stepmother came over to look down on me (!) while Jafar, the villain from Aladdin, shook my nephew's hand (I guess he figured Kevin was big enough not to cry!). Alex got more lucky and was greeted by a princess :o)
If you're travelling with young children, Fantasyland and Mickey's Toontown Fair are the two areas you won't want to miss at Magic Kingdom; but even for grown-ups they can be a lot of fun! At Fantasyland, you'll find all the classic rides that are oh-so Disney, beginning with the ever popular "It's a small world" and "Peter Pan's Flight" (make sure you get a fastpass for this one because the line can get really long and of all the "kiddie rides", it was our favourite one). We skipped some of the rides at Fantasyland because my niece and nephew were a bit too old to really enjoy them (I'm not sure Dumbo could have lifted Kevin!), but we did very much enjoy "Mickey's Philharmagic", a funny 3D movie with some cool "4D" effects.
At Mickey's Toontown Fair, we all went for a ride on board Goofy's Barnstormer, a rather tame but still fun rollercoaster. We also very much enjoyed walking through Mickey's and Minnie's Country Houses - it was just like stepping into a comic strip and Alexandra was psyched to get her picture taken inside Minnie's house, she's her favourite Disney character!
Adventureland and Tomorrowland are great because they include many rides that are fun for the entire family. Our three favourite attractions at Adventureland were "Pirates of the Caribbean", which has been updated to include some elements from the popular movies it inspired, "Jungle Cruise", which is not as impressive now that you can go on a "real" safari at Animal Kingdom but your tour guide's silly jokes totally make up for it, and "Swiss Family Treehouse", another Disney classic (and there's hardly ever any wait for it).
At Tomorrowland we all loved the "Indy Speedway", especially Alex who got to drive her very own race car (not bad when you're too young to have your driver's license!). The other two rides we went on, "Stitch's Great Escape" and "Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin", weren't quite as fun, but we did have a good laugh when I somehow managed to beat my nephew 232,000 to 27,300 points in the Buzz Lightyear attraction. Don't ask me how I did it, we went on it twice and I still don't understand how it works!
This is the place to go when you're travelling with teenagers: they will love Frontierland's and Liberty Square's attractions, especially Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Haunted Mansion. The very first thing we did when we got to Magic Kingdom was to head over to Frontierland, get a fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then go wait in line for Splash Mountain - and trust me, it was worth the wait! The flume ride through the mountain is a lot of fun, even though it's hard not to think about the 50 foot drop that's coming up! We enjoyed it so much that we managed to do it twice during the day :o) The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is also really cool, it's not hardcore enough to scare children away, but it still goes pretty fast. We were lucky because it started pouring just as we were getting ready to go on it - as a result, most people who were waiting in line disappeared and we were able to ride it 4 times in a row! The other Frontierland attractions, Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer's Island, are pretty tame by comparison but there's hardly ever any wait and both are good spots to cool off when it gets hot during the day.
The Haunted Mansion at Liberty Square is more beautiful and funny than it is scary, which is why we all enjoyed it so much. The ballroom scene in particular looked like something you'd see in a Harry Potter movie! We also went for a boat ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat, which was quite relaxing. It offers great views of Tom Sawyer's Island, and we also enjoyed watching the steam engines work.
If you only have one evening to spend at Walt Disney World, then you should definitely try to catch Magic Kingdom's two night shows: the Spectromagic night parade and "Wishes", the fireworks show. Even though there's not a whole lot I could remember from my first two visits at Walt Disney World (I was only 3 and 6 years old), I still had some memory flashes from the Main Street Electrical Parade. It has now been updated and has a new name, Spectromagic, but some elements from the previous version have not been changed and most importantly, it is still just as magical as it used to be. The same goes for "Wishes", a fantastic fireworks show that uses Cinderella's Castle as a backdrop (it can therefore best be seen from Main Street, U.S.A.). I love fireworks and I love to attend fireworks competition, but nothing quite comes close to those of Magic Kingdom. My cheeks were hurting after the show from smiling so much!!
The first thing you see as you enter Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is Main Street USA with Cinderella's Castle at the top of the street.
The famous site takes your breath away. You feel as though you are in a fairytale.
Main Street USA itself is a street of Disney shops where you can buy everything from Clothing to Jewelry, Ornaments to Kitchenware.
You can even take Horse Drawn Carriage Rides or trips in old fashionned vehicles up Main Street.