Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom is the first of four Disney theme parks to open in Central Florida. The park opened on October 1, 1971 and is the most visited theme park in the in the world.
The Magic Kingdom, also known as “the most magical place on earth”, is one of four major theme parks at Disney World. It was the first Disney theme park to be built in Florida and was opened on October 1, 1971. This park is known for its attractions, live shows, dining and character meet and greets. Before the park was built, Walt Disney secretly bought land near Orlando, Florida and started the Florida Project. Before the Florida Project was finished, "on December 15, 1966, Walt Disney died following a brief battle with cancer"(Emerson, 2010, pg. 100). After Walt died, his brother, Roy Disney took over the project and wanted it to be what Walt would have wanted. The land that was bought for the amusement park needed to be drained. This was a long process but was eventually finished. With this, the amusement park needed to be raised up. The park actually sits on the second floor. The ground was not even and Walt Disney did not want cast members walking in the wrong section of the park that was not where their clothing was themed to. So, they created a underground system of tunnels that brings cast members to different parts of the park without ever being seen.
With the opening of Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom, there was a noticeable increase in population growth. "In 1980, the United States population growth rate was 11 percent while Florida's rate was 43.55 percent and the three-county area surrounding Disney World was even higher at 54.45 percent" (Emerson, 2010, pg. 150). This also brought in tourists and money to the central Florida area. With the opening of the Magic Kingdom did create some positive aspects, it also created some negative. The project created many problems such as traffic, low-wage economy and creating less affordable houses for people.
The park is designed with six different lands within the park. The lands include, Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Main Street, U.S.A. is located in the front of the park when guests first walk in. The layout is a large circle towards the front of the park then thinning out to a “street”. There is one of the three train stops at the beginning of this land which is right above the tunnel entrance. The train provides other means of transportation in the park other than walking. There are information centers to the left of Main Street and on the right there is The Town Square Theater where there a restaurant and character meet and greets. Further into Main Street, there will be many shops and places to grab a quick bite. At the end, reveals the center hub of the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle.
Cinderella’s Castle is designed after the 1950’s Film Cinderella and is one of the most iconic features of the park. The castle looks very tall when seen in person but is not even two-hundred feet tall. It uses a technique called forced perspective which creates an optical illusion which makes it look much taller and bigger than it actually is. Guests can walk through the castle which leads to Fantasyland. Inside, there is a small shop and a restaurant called Cinderella’s Royal Table. There is also a special hotel room on the top floor of the castle that is given away for special events and can not be booked by anyone.
To the left of Cinderella’s Castle starts Adventureland where there are a few attractions, shops and character meet and greets. Some of the attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the Jungle Cruise, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. This land is themed around the idea of adventure of different Disney movies.
Adventureland blends right into Frontierland, which has a western theme. This land is known for its two iconic attractions, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. Splash Mountain is a water raft ride that takes you through the story of Roger Rabbit. Thunder Mountain is a high speed roller coaster that is made to look like a old western train that goes through caves and mines. There is also an island called Tom Sawyer Island that can be reached by boat. There is a fort that guests can explore, caves with beautiful treasures and many trails with beautiful scenery.
Next to Adventureland is Liberty Square. Liberty Square is themed after colonial towns from the American Revolution. This land includes shops, restaurants and attractions. One of the big attractions is The Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion is themed to look like a old, abandoned and haunted mansion. It tells the story of the ghosts that “haunt” the mansion and has multiple characters throughout it. The characters that are the best known are the hitchhiking ghosts. These three ghosts are the ones that people see at the end of the ride with them in the “doom buggy” and might just follow someone home.
Right off Liberty Square is Fantasyland, which is home to all the Disney characters that have to deal with fantasy. As with all the lands, there are shops, dining, and attractions. Some of the big attractions are The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid, It’s a Small World and Peter Pan's Flight. This is one of the most popular lands in The Magic Kingdom because of its diverse attraction options which makes it easy to find one that suits each guest.
The last land of the park is Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland was Walt Disney’s idea of “The Future of Tomorrow” as said in many of the attractions in this land. Some of the most iconic attractions of this area is Space Mountain, The Tomorrowland Transit, The Tomorrowland Speedway and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Space Mountain is an indoor roller coaster that is to replicate the feeling of being in space. It actual ride is completely in the dark with only the light of the “stars and planets” lighting the space.
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