In 2004, Mr. Selfish and I moved to Florida and purchased Disney annual passes. I started my law firm job right after Labor Day in September, and that week, the firm closed for a couple of days due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Ivan. Instead of preparing our apartment for the hurricane, we decided to go to Magic Kingdom. It was amazing because there was hardly anyone there. None of the rides had lines (other than Peter Pan, which always inexplicably has a line). We rode everything two or three times each. It was the best day at Magic Kingdom ever.
Mr. Selfish and I always talk about that one amazing hurricane day at Magic Kingdom, because every other time we’ve been, it is crazy crowded. Even though Magic Kingdom is usually packed, it is still a great park. It is what you think of when you think of Disney.
Unlike Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, which are all distinct parks, Magic Kingdom has a counterpart in every other Disney park in the world. Further, most of the rides have similar duplicates elsewhere in the world. Nevertheless, I feel that Magic Kingdom is the best park of its kind.
Magic Kingdom is designed like a hub with Cinderella’s Castle in the middle. Each of the six areas lead to the castle. These areas include: (1) Main Street, U.S.A., (2) Liberty Square, (3) Adventureland, (4) Frontierland, (5) Fantasyland, and (6) Tomorrowland.
Main Street, U.S.A.: Mostly Photo Ops
Similar to Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., Magic Kingdom’s version is lined with shops and restaurants. We don’t usually spend much time – other than photos ops of course.
Liberty Square: Presidents and Ghosts Galore
While Disneyland contains New Orleans Square, Magic Kingdom has Liberty Square, which is an American Revolution-era colonial town. The Imagineers felt that Magic Kingdom in Florida was too close to New Orleans and that a themed area after that city would feel superfluous.
During his life, Walt Disney had wanted to create an attraction with animated figures of all of the Presidents of the United States. Unfortunately, the technology up to his standards did not exist at that time. As a result, when the Imagineers designed Magic Kingdom, they decided to make the Hall of Presidents.
The Hall of Presidents shows a brief history of the United States. It is narrated by Morgan Freeman, who also does a roll call of the Presidents. President Obama was added in 2009 and recorded a speech in the White House for the attraction.
The other main attraction in Liberty Square is the Haunted Mansion, which is quite similar to the Disneyland counterpart. However, the queue for the Magic Kingdom version was updated in 2011 to be entirely interactive. You can play an organ or move books in a library, etc., which is a good thing because the line is usually pretty long.
Adventureland: Missing Indy
Adventureland has an exploration theme. It contains The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, the Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The Magic Carpets is a children that is similar to its counterparts in Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.
I like the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom the best. Not only because the ride operators are especially sassy, but I enjoy the indoor Southeast Asian/Cambodian area.
Finally, Pirates of the Caribbean is also in Adventureland. It was updated to include Johnny Depp, as well as other characters from the films. The only Pirates ride that has not been updated is in Disneyland Paris. Throughout the years, Disney has softened some of the scenes, such as the scene where pirates were chasing women in circles has been changed to show the women chasing the pirates after they have stolen goods. Nevertheless, Disney has kept the auction scene mostly intact.
The only thing missing from Adventureland is an Indiana Jones ride, which they have at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. I certainly wish that Magic Kingdom had an Indiana Jones ride too!
Frontierland: Splash and Big Thunder Mountains
In Magic Kingdom, Frontierland contains both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Splash Mountain does not contain a single rider line unlike its Disneyland counterpart. It is also a little shorter than the Disneyland version.
Although I don’t have a photo of Big Thunder Mountain, it is one of the better coasters at Disney. Moreover, it is still operational unlike the one at Disneyland, which shut down after a man died in 2003.
Fantasyland: Lots of Changes
Like most Fantasylands from the other Disney parks, Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom contains a lot of kids rides.
However, this Fantasyland is currently undergoing a lot of changes. Mr. Selfish and I haven’t actually been back since the changes occurred, but I hear that they are great. Disney has shut down the old Snow White ride and is in the process of building an Aerial ride, similar to the one at California Adventure, and a Snow White mine train coaster. This area will also contain Beast’s Castle, Gaston’s Tavern, and Belle’s cottage. For old time’s sake, here are some photos of the old Snow White ride:
In any case, Mr. Selfish and I love Mickey’s PhiharMagic, which is a 4D film that is 12 minutes long and takes you through the most beloved Disney cartoons. I love PhiharMagic and will watch it virtually every time we are at Magic Kingdom.
Of course, we always ride It’s a Small World in Fantasyland, which unlike the Hong Kong and Disneyland version does not have Disney characters incorporated into the ride. We still enjoy it though.
Tomorrowland: Stitch and the Laugh Floor
Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland has two rides that do not exist in any other Disney park – Stitch’s Great Escape and the Monster, Inc. Laugh Floor. Both rides are just so-so.
Stitch’s Great Escape is basically a circular theatre, in which you sit in the dark while Stitch is escaping. It’s mildly entertaining the first time. Fortunately, there is never a line for the ride.
Monster, Inc. Laugh Floor, of which I have no photos, uses similar technology to Turtle Talk with Crush. The attraction is a theatre in which the monsters on the screen interact with the audience to tell jokes to acquire more energy. It is a cute ride for children.
Otherwise, Tomorrowland has similar rides to the other Disney parks, such as Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain. We enjoy both rides quite a bit although I do like Space Mountain more than Mr. Selfish.
Lastly, here is a photo of the fireworks. Once again, Mr. Selfish and I usually did not stay until the fireworks but every now and then, our friends or family would insist.
That’s it for the Disney World parks. Eventually, I’ll prepare a Selfish Guide to Disney for all of the parks.