Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the Flag ship for the Walt Disney World Resort. For your first visit to Disney World it is the park that encompasses everything that is Disney. It is a park we love and holds a magic feeling whether it is your first or fifth visit. The magic starts the minute you get off the tram from the parking lot (car park to us Brits!) and you have to make the all important decision of how you are going to travel to the Kingdom. You have the choice of the sleek and modern Monorail train that takes you through the Disney Contemporary resort and up to the gates of Magic Kingdom, or you can take the old style ferry boat across the lake to the gates.
Now, if this is your first visit to Magic Kingdom (or Disney World as a whole), you HAVE to take the ferry boat. As you wait at the docs for the ferry, which only takes 10 mins max if you have just missed one, you can see in the distance across the lake, the
iconic Disney Castle. As you board the boat and set sail across the lake, not only do you get some great views of some of the Disney Resort Hotels, but the Disney Castle is there on the horizon getting bigger and grander and it is awe inspiring. i get this feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I see it in this way and it is the feeling of pure excitement and joy. The feeling that we are here and about to enter the most magical place on earth (which you are!).
Once you are actually inside the park, you will find yourself standing at the top of Main Street USA with the castle framed at the end of this street. It is the picture everyone who has been to Magic Kingdom has so whether this is trip 1 or 100 you will feel compelled to take many photos of the castle and yourself. Main Street is where you will find the majority of the shops and certainly the ones stocking the most merchandise. No trip to Magic Kingdom is complete without coming away with at least one cuddly toy! most people tend to save the shopping for when they are on their way out of the park for the obvious reason that you don’t have to carry your purchases round with you but just be aware that the shops are busier towards the end of the day so if you like to shop in peace then it is worth having a look before you carry on into the park. If you are staying at one of the Disney Resorts you can have any purchases sent straight to your room so problem solved!
Once you reach the end of Main Street you then decide which direction you want to take round the park. Most of the times we have been we have gone left over the bridge into Tomorrow Land. Just before you enter Tomorrow Land, there is a great photo opportunity of the castle and there is a Disney photographer at this spot waiting to take your picture. We found that all of these official Disney photographers are more than happy to take pictures with personal cameras as well so make the most of these opportunities to get some group shots.
Heading into Tomorrow Land you will find rides such as Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger (a shooting game in the dark which is great for kids and adults, we love it), Space Mountain (a tamer roller coaster but in near pitch black and very fast. May not be good for young children although our 6 year old loved it!) and Tomorrow Land Speedway (driving cars round a track. A chance for kids to have a go at driving but great fun for adults too).
Magic Kingdom has 6 official ‘Lands’. Tomorrow Land, Frontier Land, Fantasy Land, Adventure Land, Liberty Square and Main Street USA. If you are only planning to spend 1 day at Magic Kingdom, you are unlikely to be able to do everything in every Land. We generally find that we visit Tomorrow Land, Fantasy Land and Frontier Land. Obviously Main Street USA is where you enter and exit the park. We have done bits of Adventure Land before but it isn’t one of the lands that we make a point of going back to just because the attractions there are not quite our cup of tea! obviously it is all personal choice and if you have time you should try out as much as you can.
Frontier Land is like walking into the Wild West and there is a great feeling of fun in this land. It is home to 2 of the bigger rides at Magic Kingdom, Big Thunder Mountain (a run away train ride) and Splash Mountain (a log flume ride). These rides are great fun for families and just adults. When we went to Magic Kingdom recently, we made the most of the fact the the afternoon parade starts it’s procession in Frontier Land just next to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. We stood and watched the parade go past then we quickly went on Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. As a lot of people were still watching the parade, it meant that the ques for both rides were tiny where as these rides normally have some of the longest queue times in the park!
Fantasy Land is home to the rides and attractions targeted more at the younger visitors but it is a land that we still always go to. It has recently been given a huge revamp and it now includes the village from the film ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as well as the tower from ‘Tangled’ and a new themed restaurant. Some of the rides at Fantasy Land include ‘Winnie the Pooh Journey through 100 acre Wood’, Peter Pan’s Flight and of course It’s a Small World! If you have never been to Magic Kingdom before then it is always entertaining going on these younger rides. You really do feel like a little kid and I always end up with a big smile on my face. Fantasy Land is also home to the newest ride at Magic Kingdom, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train’. The queue for this ride was the longest in the park when we were there, of over and hour. We went on this ride and it was entertaining enough but, in my opinion, not one to shout about. Apparently it is the first roller coaster to have a rocking motion to simulate the rocking of mine carts. I have to say that i didn’t notice any rocking motion when we rode it but again that is just my view! At the end of the day, no rides Disney do are bad rides and our kids loved it!
Magic Kingdom is a MUST for your first and, I would say, any visits to Walt Disney World. It is going to sound like a complete cliche but it really is a magical place. Having the Disney Castle visible from almost every part of the park keeps reminding you that you really are in Disney World and you can’t help but smile and get that excited feeling in the pit of your stomach. Seeing the characters you love walking round and, if you are there with kids, hearing them gasp with excitement every three minutes as their eyes light upon the wonders that are around every corner in Magic Kingdom. It is just the best place in the world.