The Magic Kingdom, Disneyworld
23 reviews from the community
Review of "The Magic Kingdom, Disneyworld"
Journalling more for myself than anything else now, so I don't expect reads or rates!
Disney was actually an add on to our honeymoon as we had the spare budget; originally we had intended to go to Orlando just to spend time at the Universal theme parks. We ended up very grateful that we had taken the additional expense as a vast majority of our honeymoon actually ended up being spent within the Disney parks for a variety of reasons, not least of all the sheer size and scope of the parks.
Magic Kingdom was actually built after Walt Disney’s death and was intended as a larger and improved version of the park in California. The park itself is definitely huge, with 107 acres of land spread out in a wheel ty0pe structure with Cinderella’s Castle in the centre and pathways spiking out to each of the different lands. Dedicated to fairy tales and Disney characters, this is the oldest of the Disney parks at Orlando and Disney have deliberately kept much of the charming and whimsical nature of the nostalgic rides. There are quite a few interesting little facts about this park, one of which is that Walt Disney created the idea for a series of utilidors – utility and corridor – which are tunnels underground for cast members to travel in. This was because he saw a cowboy in Tomorrowland in Florida and felt that this disrupted the futuristic setting, so he wanted a way for cast members to travel unseen by the public around the park. It’s also interesting that these tunnels are not actually underground; Florida’s high water table prevented that. So they are built on ground level and the entire park is therefore actually a storey high!
There are seven main areas within the park; Cinderella’s Castle, Main Street, U.S.A, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and there is a railroad that stops at Main Street, Frontierland and Fantasyland for those who can’t cope with the large amounts of walking… or who simply want to see the park from a new angle.It is worth noting that this is the one Disney Park where alcohol is forbidden except for at a few specific venues. Initially alcohol was completely forbidden, but Be Our Guest opened in 2012 and then in 2016 was joined by Cinderella's Royal Table, Liberty Tree Tavern, Tony's Town Square Restaurant, and the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in serving alcoholic beverages.
What’s On Offer
Main Street, U.S.A
This is an area that is largely food, drink and shopping and as such will be covered slightly later in the review, however there are a few things worth noting. Firstly, there’s no escaping the fact that this is truly impressive and both me and my husband stopped and stared for a few moments when we first entered. We saw the park decorated for both Halloween and Christmas and Disney really did a fantastic job of both; you had pumpkin scarecrows in the main area for Halloween and a gigantic six story Christmas tree that was put up overnight after the Halloween festivities finished!
Within this area you also have the Walt Disney Railroad that takes you to Frontierland and Fantasyland, City Hall which is guest relations, information and lost and found and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom which is a sign up place for an interactive card adventure aimed at the young ones. If you are on honeymoon or it’s your birthday or anything special, pop into City Hall and you’ll get a special badge and cast members congratulate you and give you the occasional freebie as you go around!Cinderella’s Castle
Cinderella Castle stands just beyond the end of Main Street and it is the central figure to the park. It actually looks taller than it is as it is only 189 feet tall, but due to utilising the forced perspective technique they have made it look truly impressive. Rhis is done by having the second stories of the buildings on Main Street smaller than the first and the third stories smaller still; the top windows of the castle are also smaller than they look. This is actually a guest room, however it also seems to be something money can’t buy and you have to win in an exceptionally rare give away.
Within the castle there are five handcrafted mosaic murals containing over one million pieces of glass in 500 colours, telling the story of Cinderella. There is also Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where girls and boys are transformed into princesses and knights.The castle lit up at night is something truly quite special to see but even more impressive were the fireworks that lit up the sky over Cinderella Castle. Disney have released a new fireworks show this year called Happily Ever After and it is nothing short of spectacular. Part musical, part lightshow, part projection masterpiece and part firework extravaganza; it is truly stunning. A fantastic homage to Disney old and new, it uses characters and clips from numerous of the films over the years projected onto the screen in time with the fireworks and the musical overlay. There were thousands of people in the circular area and it was spectacular to watch. Honest to God, I have never been reduced to tears by fireworks before.
You walk into Adventureland and it’s like walking into a land of pirates of old in many ways. This is because Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the main focal points of the area with its own ride through the journey of Pirates of the Caribbean. A slow paced ride that tells a story rather than trying to thrill you, it is cleverly done so that the ceiling looks like a starry night. There is also the Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas which is a map adventure where you follow the map to find key points to put your Magic Band against and then move onto the next clue.
Finally you have the Swiss Family Treehouse which is exactly what it says on the tin, a treehouse and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin which is a children’s ride.Frontierland
Frontierland has a definite cowboy feel to it with mountainous ranges and the soft orange and brown hues. It is also the home to one of the few coasters in the park, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which has you entering a runaway goldmining train and galloping through Thunder Mountain which is great fun. Splash Mountain was out of action when we were there and looked to be having serious work done on it, but that’s a log flume ride. Tom Sawyer Island is also located in Frontierland and you need to take a raft across to it; it’s quite a cool little enclosed island which would certainly have appealed to me as a child.
You then have the Country Bear Jamboree which is one of the earliest attractions, set up in 1971 and with an utterly surreal set of animated bears singing spoof country songs at you. I think we missed many of the internal references, but it was well done even if I didn’t understand half of it. One particular song went as follows:
Mama don’t whip young Buford.
Mama don’t pound on his head.
Mama don’t whip little Buford.
I think you should shoot him instead.
You are never actually told if Buford is a pet or a sibling or a child…
The two main attractions in Liberty Square are the Haunted Mansion and the Liberty Square Riverboat. The boat is a gentle trip around Tom Sawyer’s Island, with some random commentary as you go around. The Haunted Mansion was a bit more interesting and had some interesting effects where you seemed to be trapped in a room with no door for instance along with a mini coaster, but wasn’t something we’d have done twice. In fact I only did it the once because my husband’s sister would have murdered us if we hadn’t…! There is also the Hall of Presidents which was closed for some reason or another when we were there… part of me wonders if they are just hoping Trump goes away so they don’t have to include him!
Fantasyland was one of my favourite areas and it is also one of the largest areas within the park, holding the most rides and attractions. This really is all about the nostalgia and many of the rides are originals which may have been updated but still hold the same whimsical charm. You aren’t going on these for the thrills, but for the story and the memories.
Under the Sea; Journey of the Little Mermaid is another story telling adventure with all of the classic hits from the Little Mermaid to sing along to. I dragged my poor husband onto this multiple times so I could sing along. I’ve got gadgets and gizmo’s a plenty, I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore, you want thingamibobs? I’ve got twenty! But who cares, no big deal, I want moooooooore! The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is another dark ride, based on the film and opened in 1999. This is completely surreal as a ride and yet it is only recently having re-watched Winnie the Pooh, that I realised how surreal the actual show is! I’m sure the characters are all on drugs (Winnie is on weed, Eeyore an alcoholic, Rabbit is on speed, Tigger is on mamba, Roo is on ecstasy, Piglet is on crack cocaine, Robin LSD and Owl is the dealer). It’s a cute ride though.The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a really coolcoaster that takes you racing through a diamond mine; we did this one at night as well and it’s something quite special rocketing around a coaster with the stars and moon out above. You then have a selection of childrens rides including the carrousel, a Dumbo Flying Elephant ride, the Mad Tea Party which is teacups and The Barnstormer which is a junior roller coaster. Finally you have Mickey’s PhilharMagic which is a 3D movie featuring Disney’s greatest musical hits which was really enjoyable and a variety of meet and greet activities with characters that we avoided.
Tomorrowland is perhaps the area of the park that has aged the least well, and rather than being whimsically nostalgic, did seem actively dated and in need of a good level of renervation. Attractions of note would be Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress which dates back to 1975 but has been updated in a few times to keep up with the times. It holds the record of the longest-running stage show, with the most performances, in the history of American theatre and was an attraction Disney was particularly devoted to. It is an exploration of the joys of living through the advent of electricity and other technological advances.
Food and Drink
As you might imagine, there is a wide range of places to eat and drink on park, although alcohol is only served at dedicated restaurants within the park. Main Street holds a large amount of eating places, however there are sit down diners in most areas of the park. Some are more expensive than others; with Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest in Fantasyland and Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square being main sit down areas with high quality food. At Be Our Guest we spent around about $40 I believe for our meal with drinks. There is then a large amount of snack style food around the park and on an average day we would spend between $15 and $30 on food with an additional $5-10 on drink.
As you would also anticipate, there are lots of places within the park for you to part with your hard earned cash. Each ride and area tends to have a shopping space dedicated to it, although exceptions such as the Mine Train do exist. The marketing plan that Disney have come up with is pretty genius in reality as they sell gifts and collectables that appeal to every demographic; there is cheap tat to draw the eye of the average five year old all the way through to collectables costing hundreds of dollars and everything in between. The Pirates of the Carribean stall for example sells both cheap pirate hats to wonderful crystal structures that are stunning but expensive.
One of the other aspects that Disney do very well is the collectable pin badges, because again they have the really basic ones which are designed to be tradable to engage the children… but they also have intricate and beautiful badges of all Disney moments both modern and classic. We spent the first week determined not to get sucked in. We finished the honeymoon with a collection of badges each. Obviously there are also your typical wearables, although these seemed overly priced in comparison with many other items on site. $27 for a headband with Mickey mouse ears for example was a no go as soon as we saw the price.
In Comparison to Universal
Magic Kingdom has a very different feel to it than either of the main Universal parks, and that is perhaps because they haven’t gone for the high technology with 3D and 4D effects and rollercoasters that tip you upside down. They have instead focussed at a slower and more whimsical magic that draws you through the park and into the fairy tales of your childhood. That doesn’t detract from it in the slightest, but it has to be recognised that the demographic they are aiming for is perhaps noticeably different.What we immediately noticed was the size difference between Universal and Disney; it took us two days to get around Magic Kingdom, even with minimal queuing and even then we missed a few less important things or did them on another half day. The site is absolutely huge and you can spend all day walking around it without getting onto everything. There is also a far larger amount of attractions here than at Universal, perhaps due to the age of the park and how many attractions are from the 1960s or 1970s and aiming at nostalgia. Universal however pulls down anything that’s out of season and replaces it.
The other thing we noted was how much more joined up Disney was in its thinking and marketing than Universal. Everything simply seemed to flow so much better and everything ran smoothly. For example, the Magic Bands which we paid $12.99 on entrance were effectively from that point onwards our tickets, used for fast passes and collecting all the photo’s taken in park. None of this cost anymore than the Magic Band itself as it was included in our bundle. Shopping was immediately offered to be taken to your hotel if you were a Disney guest, or to the front of the park if not. You were always met with a smile and cast members went out of their way to greet you and make you feel welcome.I do have to say that despite only booking the Disney tickets as an add-on because we had the money available, Disney ended up being the main attraction of our honeymoon. We also saw a few of their parades and you had to admit that they do everything in style!
It’s worth shopping around as you can get better deals by doing so. On the Disney website a 14 day ticket will set you back £369 ($494). We booked through British Airways and got a fourteen day ticket for £250 ($327) so you can do your own maths on that one!
Do We Recommend?
Most certainly, yes we do. We had a fantastic time at all of the Disney parks and Magic Kingdom was one of our complete favourites.
Product Information : The Magic Kingdom, Disneyworld
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Listed on Ciao since: 25/04/2005