1971: Magic Kingdom Park
Editor’s Note: This post is part I in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary. Please welcome to The Window Seat Angelo Alomar, member of Walt Disney World Moms Panel today’s guest author.
On October 1, 1971, Magic Kingdom Park opened the gateway to themed lands and a quaint hometown. Forty years later, learn how to make the most out of your experience at Walt Disney World’s flagship theme park.
My name is Angelo and I’m a 2011 Walt Disney World Moms panelist. Yes, I’m a dad, but it’s an experience and an honor that I will never be able to describe. I’ve visited Walt Disney World more times that I can remember and my favorite theme park has to be Magic Kingdom! Today, as a part of Magic Kingdom’s 40th anniversary celebration, I’ll be sharing my personal touring tips and favorite rides inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park!
It’s essential to arrive at the Magic Kingdom early. If you are one of the first guests of the day, you’ll be greeted by a “special” good morning performance by Magic Kingdom characters and performers!
As you enter the park, you may run into a few popular Disney characters. A great tip: if you have a specific character you’d like to visit, head to Guest Services and ask a Cast Member if they can call the “Character Hotline”. They’ll let you know where your favorite character is located. You can also pick up a Park Map and Times Guide, which has character appearance locations and parade & show times.
As you’re walking down Main Street U.S.A. you’ll notice Magic Kingdom is shaped like a large wagon wheel with “spokes” leading to the five distinct lands and Main Street, U.S.A. At the center of the wheel is the “Hub” situated in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Most of the major shows and parades will take place on the Castle forecourt. The “Hub” is also my favorite place to catch the parades and Wishes Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular. You can also catch “The Magic, The Memories, and You!” projection show, where Cinderella Castle is transformed into a virtual whiteboard- all kinds of artwork, pictures and surprises come to life right before your eyes!
Upon entering, I suggest having one person go to your favorite ride with all of your tickets, get a FASTPASS, then meet the rest of your party. Be sure to check your return time! Let’s take a look at some of my favorite rides in each “land,” working counter-clockwise, as it’s typically the least crowded route.
Adventureland has the Jungle Cruise- one of Magic Kingdom’s original attractions. It is also the home of the very popular Pirates of the Caribbean, which now includes Captain Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard and Captain Barbossa. Make sure to check out the Pirate’s League, which will transform you and your family into one of those very pirates from the movies and ride!
Frontierland boasts two mountains- Big Thunder Mountain, one of the most twisting and winding train rides you will ever take, and Splash Mountain. You may want to bring some towels! As you make your way to Liberty Square, visit our friends from Tennessee at the Country Bear Jamboree! Those wild bears will have you hollerin’ an’ hootin’ for a grand time!
Liberty Square has one of my favorite rides anywhere- The Haunted Mansion! Also in Liberty Square is the Hall of Presidents! This past June, I got to experience this attraction for the first time in years. I was so touched by the performance that I actually was moved to tears. It’s a can’t-miss attraction.
Now off to Fantasyland- my favorite area! Peter Pan’s Flight is a classic and shouldn’t be missed! Another favorite is it’s a small world…the tune is so infectious I’m sure you’re humming it now! Mickey’s PhillharMagic is pretty new compared to the rest of Fantasyland, but it’s a great 3D movie, especially if you want to escape the crowds or heat! If you have small children, Dumbo the Flying Elephant should be on the agenda- great ride!
Heading towards Tomorrowland, we pass the Tomorrowland Speedway! It’s one of the few places in Walt Disney World where I typically fear for my life as I let a crazed 10-year-old drive around like a, well, you know! If you are brave enough, head over to Space Mountain for an epic ride through the galaxy as you hurl through outer space.
So that’s a look at the Magic Kingdom’s attractions. I hope some of the tips included are helpful in planning your next Magic Kingdom visit. I’ll leave you with my favorite tip: utilize the Disney’s PhotoPass service! PhotoPass is a complimentary photography service to take pictures of you and your family. You can then view the photos online and purchase them. The photographers will also take pictures with your own camera as well; it’s a win-win for everyone! I hope you have a wonderful time at the Magic Kingdom, where dreams do come true.
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From time to time, the Window Seat publishes articles and blog posts written by guest authors to give you a fresh perspective on the world of travel.