Magic Kingdom


Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Logo.svg
Partners and Cinderella.jpg
The "Partners" Statue and Cinderella Castle, the icon of the Magic Kingdom
Location Florida, U.S.A.
Theme Magic Kingdom
Website Magic Kingdom Homepage
Owner The Walt Disney Company
Operated By Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Opened October 1, 1971; 40 years ago (October 1, 1971)
Walt Disney World Resort
Theme parks

Magic Kingdom
Epcot
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Animal Kingdom

Other attractions

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon
Disney's Blizzard Beach
Downtown Disney
ESPN Wide World of Sports
Disney's BoardWalk

Walt Disney World resorts
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Magic Kingdom Park is one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort located near Orlando, Florida. The first park built at the resort, Magic Kingdom opened Oct. 1, 1971. Designed and built by WED Enterprises, the park's layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. In 2010, the park hosted approximately 17 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the world.[1]

Contents

Dedication

Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney... and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place ... a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn — together.

—Roy Oliver Disney, 25th October 1971

History

Construction

Although Walt Disney himself had been highly involved in planning The Florida Project, The Walt Disney Company began construction on Magic Kingdom and the entire resort in 1967 after his death. The park was built similarly to the existing Disneyland in California but was built in a larger area and improved upon the design of Disneyland in several ways.

There are several anecdotes relating to reasons for some of the features of Walt Disney World, and Magic Kingdom specifically. According to one story, Walt Disney once saw a Frontierland cowboy walking through Tomorrowland at Disneyland. He disliked that the cowboy intruded on the futuristic setting of Tomorrowland and wanted to avoid situations like this in the new park.[2] Therefore, Magic Kingdom was built over a series of tunnels called utilidors, a portmanteau of utility and corridor. These tunnels allow employees (aka cast members) to move through the park out of sight from guests, maintaining the show.

Because of Florida's high water table, the tunnels could not be put underground, so they were built at the existing grade. This means that the park is actually built on the second story, giving Magic Kingdom an elevation of 107 feet (33 m). The area around the utilidors was filled in with dirt removed from the Seven Seas Lagoon, which was being constructed at the same time.

The utilidors were built in the initial construction and were not extended as the park expanded. The tunnels were intended to be designed into in all subsequent Walt Disney World parks, but these plans were mostly set aside because of financial constraints. Future World at Epcot and Pleasure Island each have a smaller network of utilidors.

Opening

Magic Kingdom opened as the first part of Walt Disney's planned Florida Project on Oct. 1, 1971. It was the only theme park on the resort at the time and opened concurrently with two hotels on the property: Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort. The park opened with 23 attractions, three unique to the park and 20 copies of attractions at Disneyland. The Walt Disney Company promised to increase this number with more attractions like those in Disneyland as well as more unique ones. The attractions were split into six themed lands, five copies of those at Disneyland and the unique Liberty Square.

While there is no individual dedication to Magic Kingdom Park, the dedication by Roy O. Disney for the entire Walt Disney World Resort was placed within its gates.

Since opening day, Magic Kingdom has only been closed for five incidents: Hurricane Floyd, the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Charley, and Hurricane Wilma.[3]

Naming confusions

Magic Kingdom had often been used as an unofficial nickname for Disneyland Park before the Walt Disney World Resort was built. The official tagline for Disneyland is The Happiest Place On Earth, while the tagline for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is, The Most Magical Place On Earth. Despite the similarities, the Florida park's tickets have always borne the official name of Magic Kingdom. In 1994, in order to differentiate it from Disneyland, the park was officially renamed to Magic Kingdom Park but is most often simply called Magic Kingdom. Like all of Disney's theme parks it does not take an article ("the"), however it is a common mistake to see it described as such. The sign on the railroad station at the front of the park erroneously states "The Magic Kingdom."

Transportation and Ticket Center

TTC logo

The layout of the resort places Magic Kingdom more than a mile away from its parking lot, on the opposite side of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon. Upon arrival, guests are taken by the parking lot trams to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), which sells tickets to the parks and provides transportation connections throughout the resort complex. It also has a small gift shop and the central lost-and-found facility for all four theme parks.

Entry arch for the Magic Kingdom line from the TTC

To reach Magic Kingdom, guests either use the Walt Disney World Monorail System, the Staten Island-style ferryboats, or Buses depending on the location of their hotel. The three hotels closest to Magic Kingdom, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort, and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa use either the ferry or monorail system to travel to Magic Kingdom. Guests staying at Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground can also ride a dedicated ferry boat to the Magic Kingdom docks. The other hotels take the buses to travel to this specific park. The three ferries are clad in different trim colors and are named for past Disney executives: the General Joe Potter (blue), the Richard F. Irvine (red) and the Admiral Joe Fowler (green).

The main monorail loop has two lanes. The outer lane is a direct nonstop loop between the TTC and Magic Kingdom. The inner loop has additional stops at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Epcot is accessible by a spur monorail line that was added upon that park's opening in 1982.

Lands of the Magic Kingdom

Main Street, U.S.A.
Cinderella Castle at night with Christmas Dream Lights
Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams is the largest fireworks show ever presented at the Magic Kingdom

The park map lists 46 attractions in six themed "lands." Designed like a wheel with the hub in front of Cinderella Castle, pathways spoke out across the 107 acres (0.43 km2) of the park and lead to these six lands. The Walt Disney World Railroad runs along the perimeter of the park and makes stops at Main Street, U.S.A. and Frontierland.

Main Street, U.S.A.

Instead of being a replica of a small Midwestern American town, Main Street at Magic Kingdom features some stylistic influences from around the country. Taking its inspiration from New England to Missouri, this design is most noticeable in the four corners area in the middle of Main Street, where each of the four corner buildings represents a different architectural style. There is also no opera house on Magic Kingdom's Main Street as there is at Disneyland; instead, there is the Town Square Theater.

Main Street is lined with shops selling merchandise and food. The decor is early-20th century small-town America, inspired by Walt Disney's childhood and the film Lady and the Tramp. City Hall contains the Guest Relations lobby, where cast members provide information and assistance. A working barber shop gives haircuts for a fee. The Emporium carries a wide variety of Disney souvenirs such as plush toys, collectible pins and Mickey-ear hats. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and The Plaza Restaurant are table-service locations. Casey's Corner is at the end of Main Street and sells traditional American ballpark fare including hot dogs and fries. The Main Street Confectionary sells sweets priced by their weight, such as candied apples, crisped rice treats, chocolates, cookies and fudge.[4]

Most windows on Main Street bear the name of people who were influential at Walt Disney World or other Disney parks. An example of a classic Main Street, U.S.A. attraction is the Walt Disney World Railroad, which transports guest throughout the park, making stops at Main Street, U.S.A. and Frontierland. The railroad previously made stops at Mickey's Toontown Fair.

In the distance beyond the end of Main Street stands Cinderella Castle. Though only 189 feet (55m) tall, it benefits from a technique known as forced perspective. The second stories of all the buildings along Main Street are shorter than the first stories, and the third stories are even shorter than the second, and the top windows of the castle are much smaller than they appear. The resulting visual effect is that the buildings appear to be larger and taller than they really are.

Symbolically, Main Street, U.S.A. represents the park's "opening credits". Guests pass under the train station (the opening curtain), then view the names of key personnel along the windows of the buildings' upper floors. Many windows bear the name of a fictional business, such as "Seven Summits Expeditions, Frank G. Wells President", with each representing a tribute to significant people connected to the Disney company and the development of the Walt Disney World Resort.

The park contains two additional tributes: the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle and the Sharing the Magic statue of Roy O. Disney sitting with Minnie Mouse in the Town Square section of Main Street, U.S.A. Both were sculpted by veteran Imagineer Blaine Gibson.

Adventureland

Adventureland represents the mystery of exploring foreign lands. It is themed to resemble the remote jungles in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America and the South Pacific, with an extension resembling a Caribbean town square. It contains classic rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise.

Frontierland

Frontierland is where guests can relive the American Old West – from cowboys and Indians, to exploring the mysteries of the Rivers of America. Frontierland contains classic attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and the Country Bear Jamboree.

Liberty Square

This area of the park is based on an American Revolutionary colonial town. The Magic Kingdom's Rivers of America hosts the Liberty Belle riverboat. Liberty Square is home to The Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents.

Fantasyland

In the words of Walt Disney: "Fantasyland is dedicated to the young at heart and to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true." Fantasyland is themed in a medieval-faire/carnival style.

Attractions include "it's a small world", Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, and Mad Tea Party.

Expansion

The land is currently undergoing a large expansion and renovation. "The New Fantasyland will be constructed in phases with most new experiences open by 2013."[5]

Recent conceptual artwork for the expansion shows several new additions and changes.[6] Included is a new dark ride themed to Disney's 1989 film The Little Mermaid (also opening at Disney California Adventure) and an area themed to Disney's 1991 film Beauty and the Beast featuring The Beast's Castle with a new dining experience, Gaston's tavern, and Belle's cottage.[6]

Snow White's Scary Adventures will be removed and an area themed to Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be built. It will feature Snow White's cottage and The Seven Dwarfs mine train roller coaster ride. Princess Fairytale Hall, a new Disney Princess meet and greet will be established where Snow White's Scary Adventures currently exists.[6]

Mickey's Toontown Fair closed permanently in February 2011 in order to make way for the expansion.[7] Some elements of Mickey's Toontown Fair will be demolished and others will be re-themed to a new Storybook Circus area. An expanded Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride will be built with an interactive queue. The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm will be re-themed to The Great Goofini."[6]

Storybook Circus

Storybook Circus, part of the aforementioned Fantasyland expansion currently in progress, is expected to open in early 2012. It will be located at the former site of Mickey's Toontown Fair. Attractions will include The Great Goofini, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, which will be removed from its current location in Fantasyland and an expanded duplication will be built here.

Tomorrowland

In the words of Walt Disney: "Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come. The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future."

Tomorrowland is themed to be an intergalactic city; a concept of the future as seen from around the 1950's: rockets, UFOs and robots, etc. Classic attractions include Space Mountain, The Carousel of Progress, Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Transit Authority and the Tomorrowland Speedway. Other current attractions include Stitch's Great Escape, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.

Former lands

Mickey's Toontown Fair

An expansion of the land created as Mickey's Birthdayland, and later Mickey's Starland, this area was home to attractions such as Mickey's Country House, Minnie's Country House, The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm, and Donald's Boat.

This land closed permanently on February 12, 2011 to make way for the expansion of Fantasyland. The Walt Disney World Railroad station in Mickey's Toontown Fair will be closed for the duration of the construction.[7]

Planned film

Director Jon Favreau and Walt Disney Pictures plan to produce and release a film concerning a family at Disneyland which finds the theme park characters and attractions coming to life.[8]

Favreau, who said "the Disney iconography was probably the first set of archetypes that I was exposed to" and that Disney movies and attractions "made a deep impression on me as a child", noted that, "When I first heard about the ['Magic Kingdom' film] project, I was on my way to visit Disneyland with my family. I took notes and had no problem filling a book with all the ideas that this concept offered, even on first blush."[9]

Marc Abraham and Eric Newman of Strike Entertainment are scheduled to produce the film.[8] Writer-producer Ronald D. Moore had previously written an original script for the project, which the studio eventually declined to use, stating that Favreau and a new screenwriter will develop a new script.[8] On June 20, 2011, Spider-Man 2 story contributor, Michael Chabon signed on to write the film's script.

See also

Similar Parks:

Fiction set in the Magic Kingdom:

Albums:

  • Walt Disney Takes You to Disneyland: A Musical Tour of the Magic Kingdom

References

External links

Coordinates: 28°25′07″N 81°34′52″W / 28.41861°N 81.58111°W / 28.41861; -81.58111


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