Magic Kingdom Park is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. It opened on October 1, 1971, and is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Experiences division. The official park name has changed slightly over the years, from Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom (1971–1994) and The Magic Kingdom (1994–2017). The park was initialized by Walt Disney and designed by WED Enterprises. The park layout and attractions were based on Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, and are dedicated to fairy tales and Disney characters.

Magic Kingdom Park
Cinderella Castle, the icon of Magic Kingdom
LocationWalt Disney World Resort, Bay Lake, Florida, United States
Coordinates28°25′07″N 81°34′52″W / 28.41861°N 81.58111°W / 28.41861; -81.58111
StatusOperating
OpenedOctober 1, 1971 (52 years ago) (1971-10-01)
OwnerDisney Experiences
(The Walt Disney Company)
Operated byWalt Disney World
Key People: Sarah Riles (VP)[1]
Perry Crawley (GM-Operations)[2]
Theme
SloganThe Most Magical Place On Earth
Operating seasonYear-Round
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

The park icon is Cinderella Castle, inspired by the fairy tale castle featured in the 1950 animated film. In 2022, the park hosted 17.13 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the world for the sixteenth consecutive year and the most visited theme park in North America for at least the past twenty-two years. The park has become a cultural touchstone and symbol of modern American pop culture.

History edit

Conception edit

 
Magic Kingdom entrance

Although Walt Disney had been highly involved in planning the resort complex and park, he died in 1966, before he could see the vision through. Although Walt Disney did not live to see Walt Disney World, he did come to Florida in person to survey the land, meet with local officials, and announce the project to the media. After Walt's death, his brother Roy Disney took over the project. Walt Disney Productions began construction on Magic Kingdom and the entire resort in 1967. The park was built as a larger, improved version of Disneyland Park in California.

Magic Kingdom was built over a series of tunnels called utilidors, a portmanteau of utility and corridor, allowing employees (called "cast members") or VIP guests to move through the park out of sight.[3]

Because of Florida's high water table, the tunnels could not be put underground, so they were built at the existing grade, meaning the park is built on the second story, giving the Magic Kingdom an elevation of 108 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 all subsequent Walt Disney World parks but were set aside mostly because of financial constraints.

Opening and operation edit

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 O. Disney, October 25, 1971[4]

Magic Kingdom Park opened as the first part of the Walt Disney World Resort on October 1, 1971, commencing concurrently with Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. It opened with twenty-three attractions, three unique to the park and twenty replicas of attractions at Disneyland, split into six themed lands, five copies of those at Disneyland (Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland) and the Magic Kingdom exclusive of Liberty Square, rather than the Disneyland New Orleans Square. The Walt Disney Company promised to increase this number with a combination of replicas and unique attractions. While there is no individual dedication to Magic Kingdom, the dedication by Roy O. Disney for the entire resort was placed within its gates.

The only land added to the original roster of lands in the park was Mickey's Toontown Fair. The land originally opened in 1988 as Mickey's Birthdayland to celebrate Mickey Mouse's 60th birthday. Later the land was renovated as Mickey's Starland and eventually to Mickey's Toontown Fair. The land 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. It closed on February 12, 2011, to make way for the expansion of Fantasyland. The Walt Disney World Railroad station in Mickey's Toontown Fair, which opened with Mickey's Birthdayland in 1988, was closed for the duration of the construction. In 2012, the space where Mickey's Toontown Fair sat reopened as a part of Fantasyland, in a sub-section called the Storybook Circus, where an updated Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction was relocated. The Barnstormer was retained and was re-themed to The Great Goofini.[5]

 
Main Street, U.S.A., with Cinderella Castle in the far distance, circa 2005.

Since opening day, Magic Kingdom has been closed temporarily because of eight hurricanes: Floyd, Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Wilma, Matthew, Irma, and Ian.[6] The first non-hurricane related day the park has closed is on September 11, 2001, due to the terrorist attacks that day.[7] Walt Disney World was closed from March 15, 2020 to July 11, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[8][9][10] In addition, there are four "phases" of park closure when Magic Kingdom exceeds capacity, ranging from restricted access for most guests (Phase 1) to full closure for everyone, even cast-members (Phase 4).[11]

"Magic Kingdom" was often used as an unofficial nickname for Disneyland before Walt Disney World was built. The official tagline for Disneyland is "The Happiest Place On Earth", while the tagline for Magic Kingdom is "The Most Magical Place On Earth". Up until the early 1990s, Magic Kingdom was officially known as Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, and was never printed without the Walt Disney World prefix. This purpose was to differentiate between the park and Disneyland in California. In 1994, to differentiate it from Disneyland, the park was officially renamed Magic Kingdom Park.

Alcoholic beverages had been prohibited from the park since its opening, but this policy has gradually changed. In 2012, the Be Our Guest Restaurant opened selling wine and beer for the first time. This was the only place in the park where alcohol was permitted until December 2014 when four additional restaurants began selling beer and wine including Cinderella's Royal Table, Liberty Tree Tavern, Tony's Town Square Restaurant, and the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen.[12][13] And finally in 2018, the park officially became the second Magic Kingdom-style park to serve alcohol at all table service restaurants, after Disneyland Paris in 1993.[14]

Early in 2024, a Disney executive confirmed that the park will expand with the addition of a 12-to-14-acre (4.9 to 5.7 ha) land located “beyond Big Thunder.”[15]

Park layout and attractions edit

Magic Kingdom is divided into six themed "lands." The center of the park in front of Cinderella Castle is designed like a wheel with a hub and spoke design. Pathways spoke out from the hub across the 107 acres (43 ha) of the park and lead to these six lands.[16] The Walt Disney World Railroad circles around the entire 1.5-mile (2.4 km) perimeter of the park and makes stops at three train stations in Main Street, U.S.A., Frontierland, and Fantasyland.

Main Street, U.S.A. edit

Main Street, U.S.A. is modeled after an idealized early-20th century American town, inspired by Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri. Main Street features a train station, town square, movie theater, city hall, firehouse, restaurants, emporium, shops, arcades, and several varieties of horse-drawn and motor-powered vehicles. Guests enter the park underneath the main station of the Walt Disney World Railroad and into the town square. At the far end of Main Street, U.S.A. is the park's hub, anchored by Cinderella Castle and the Partners statue.

Symbolically, Main Street represents the park's "opening credits", where guests pass under the train station (the opening curtain) at left or right, 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. It features stylistic influences from around the country. Taking its inspiration from New England to Missouri, this design is most noticeable in the four corners in the middle of Main Street, where each of the four corner buildings represents a different architectural style. The second and third stories of all the buildings along Main Street are designed with forced perspective, and are actually shorter than the first stories. The musical soundtrack played at the entrance includes musical selections from the 1943 Broadway musical Oklahoma! and the 1957 Broadway musical The Music Man. [17] The Dapper Dans, a men's acapella singing group, typically perform throughout Main Street.

Adventureland edit

Adventureland represents the mystery of exploring exotic lands and features several attractions themed to resemble the remote landscapes of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Jungle Cruise is a comedic riverboat cruise attraction that travels along wild waterways from around the world. Pirates of the Caribbean is a dark ride depicting the exploits and plundering of a pirate siege on Caribbean island town featuring several characters from the subsequent eponymous film series. Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room is a Polynesian musical Audio-Animatronic show drawing from American tiki culture. Swiss Family Treehouse is an interactive walk-through treehouse attraction based on the 1960 film, Swiss Family Robinson. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is an aerial carousel-style ride based on the 1992 film, Aladdin.

Frontierland edit

Frontierland is a romanticized portrayal of the American frontier, particularly elements from the American Old West, including cowboys, Native Americans and Western saloons.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a mine train roller coaster featuring a runaway mine train through mine shafts and canyons of the American Southwest. Tom Sawyer Island is inspired by the literary characters and stories of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, featuring interactive trails and scenic outlooks. Surrounding Tom Sawyer Island is the Rivers of America, an artificial waterway based on the untamed rivers found across the United States, that flows through Frontierland and Liberty Square. Traversing through the Rivers of America is the Liberty Belle Riverboat, a steam-powered riverboat attraction themed to a 19th century sternwheeler. Within the facade shoppes is the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade, a classic shooting gallery. Forthcoming attractions include the Country Bear Musical Jamboree and Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

Liberty Square edit

Liberty Square is inspired by a colonial American town set during the American Revolutionary War. The land contains recreations and replicas found in Philadelphia and Boston such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Tree, and the Liberty Bell. The Hall of Presidents is a film presentation and stage show themed to the American presidency and featuring all 45 individual American presidents in Audio-Animatronic form. Tucked away in a desolate corner of Liberty Square is The Haunted Mansion, a dark ride omnimover attraction themed to a haunted New England manor. The Liberty Belle Riverboat's dock is located on the shores of Liberty Square.

 
Fantasyland's dark ride The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Fantasyland edit

Fantasyland is themed to Disney's animated fairy tale feature films. Depicted in a medieval-faire style, Fantasyland features multiple attractions featuring various Disney characters and stories, including Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Mad Tea Party, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.

Outside of the castle courtyard is Fantasyland Forest, featuring attractions based on other Disney princesses and heroines: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, is a mine cart roller coaster based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure is a dark ride omnimover attraction based on the The Little Mermaid; Be Our Guest Restaurant is a themed restaurant with character dining themed to Beast's castle in Beauty and the Beast; Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Ariel's Grotto.

Storybook Circus edit

Storybook Circus is a subsection of Fantasyland, themed to a traveling circus stopped along a railroad route just outside of Fantasyland Forest. The land's marquee attractions include Dumbo the Flying Elephant, an aerial carousel-style ride based on the 1941 film Dumbo; The Barnstormer, a family roller coaster featuring Goofy as a daredevil stuntman; and Casey Jr. Splash 'n' Soak Station.

Originally, Storybook Circus was the location of Mickey's Toontown Fair, which closed permanently on February 11, 2011. Some elements of Mickey's Toontown Fair were demolished, and others were re-themed to fit the circus concept. An expanded Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride was built, with an interactive queue, and a second Dumbo ride was built next to it, in order to increase capacity. The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm was re-themed to "The Great Goofini". A big top area was built for meet-and-greets, called Pete's Silly Sideshow. This attraction features Goofy as a stuntman, Daisy Duck as a fortune-teller, Donald Duck as a snake-charmer, Minnie Mouse as a magician, and Pluto as a special performer. Storybook Circus opened with a "streetmosphere" circus act called The Giggle Gang, which had a two-year run from 2012 until 2014.[18]

Tomorrowland edit

Tomorrowland is themed to the concept of the future inspired by the optimism and scientific advancements of the Space Age and Atomic Age.[19][20] Several attractions include Astro Orbiter, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Tomorrowland Speedway, the PeopleMover, and Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. A pair of thrill ride roller coasters are located on the western edge of Tomorrowland: Space Mountain, themed to space exploration through the cosmos; and TRON Lightcycle Run, based on the digital software world of the Grid from Tron.

Transportation and Ticket Center edit

 
The resort's monorail system and ferryboats transport guests to and from the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom lies 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 admission into the parks and provides transportation connections throughout the resort complex. Guests using city buses, non-Disney hotel shuttles or ridesharing services are also dropped off at the TTC.

To travel between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom, guests have their choice of taking a ferry boat or the Walt Disney World Monorail System.

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 tracks. The outer track is used by the Express Line with direct service between the TTC and Magic Kingdom, while the inner track is the Resort Line with additional stops at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village resorts. Epcot is also accessible from the TTC on a spur monorail line that was added upon that park's opening in 1982.

The hotels in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area are connected to the park by walking paths, ferry boats, or the Walt Disney World Monorail System.

Disney-owned hotels in other resort areas have Disney Transport buses to the Magic Kingdom, but these do not serve the TTC. Instead, they operate from three bus loops directly adjacent to the park’s main gate.

Attendance edit

Attendance Worldwide Rank Year
15,400,000[21] 1st 2000
14,700,000[22] 1st 2001
14,000,000[23] 1st 2002
14,040,000[24] 1st 2003
15,100,000[25] 1st 2004
16,100,000[26] 1st 2005
16,640,000[27] 1st 2006
17,060,000[28] 1st 2007
17,063,000[29] 1st 2008
17,233,000[30] 1st 2009
16,972,000[31] 1st 2010
17,142,000[32] 1st 2011
17,536,000[33] 1st 2012
18,588,000[34] 1st 2013
19,332,000[35] 1st 2014
20,492,000[36] 1st 2015
20,395,000[37] 1st 2016
20,450,000[38] 1st 2017
20,859,000[39] 1st 2018
20,963,000[40] 1st 2019
6,941,000[41] 1st 2020
12,691,000[42] 1st 2021
17,133,000[43] 1st 2022

Television adaptation edit

In 2012, Jon Favreau announced he was planning a film called Magic Kingdom.[44] The film was described as “Night at the Museum at Disneyland,” meaning that the film would tell a story where all the characters at Disney come to life at night.[44] Marc Abraham and Eric Newman of Strike Entertainment were scheduled to produce the film.[45] 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 would develop a new script.[45]

In 2021, it was announced that a new project, now developed as a television series for Disney+. Moore was brought back to develop the series which will see that the various lands in the Magic Kingdom are actually gateways to alternate worlds, thus setting up a shared universe. The first in the series will be The Society of Explorers and Adventurers (SEA).[46]

In popular culture edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Meet the Women Behind the Magic Leading and Protecting Walt Disney World Theme Parks". Disney Parks Blog. March 26, 2021.
  2. ^ "Disney Institute". www.disneyinstitute.com.
  3. ^ "Utilidors". D23. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  4. ^ Sklar, Martin (August 13, 2013). Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms. Disney Electronic Content. ISBN 9781423184522. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  5. ^ Smith, Thomas (December 10, 2010). "New Fantasyland Expansion Update". Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Pedicini, Sandra. "Disney World closing early today as Hurricane Matthew approaches". OrlandoSentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Magic Kingdom". Disney Reporter. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Duffy, Clare (March 29, 2020). "Disneyland and Walt Disney World to remain closed because of coronavirus". CNN Business.
  9. ^ Frank Pallotta (March 12, 2020). "Walt Disney World closes, paralyzing the company's tourism empire". CNN. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  10. ^ Laughing Place Staff (May 27, 2020). "Live Blog: Walt Disney World Presents Reopening Plans to Orange County Economic Recovery Taskforce". Laughing Place. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  11. ^ Cassie (January 5, 2014). "What Happens When A Disney Park Is Closed Due to Reaching Capacity?". DisneyDining. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "Disney to serve alcohol at the Magic Kingdom Park". CNN. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "Once alcohol-free, Disney's Magic Kingdom to expand beer, wine sales". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  14. ^ "Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Will Now Serve Alcohol In All Restaurants". Inquisitr. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (April 5, 2024). "Disney: Big Magic Kingdom expansion is in the works". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 9, 2024.
  16. ^ "Magic Kingdom Theme Park - Walt Disney World Resort". Walt Disney World.
  17. ^ "Magic Kingdom AtMousePhere: Main Street, U.S.A. Music". July 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "Storybook Circus Giggle Gang | Magic Kingdom". touringplans.com.
  19. ^ Bevil, Dewayne. "Coming to Disney World: Tron, Guardians of the Galaxy ride, 'Star Wars' hotel". OrlandoSentinel.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
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  34. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2013 Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association/AECOM. 2014. p. 7. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
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  37. ^ Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Bet; Chen, Bryan; Cheu, Linda; Fischer, Lucia; Hoffman, Marina; Kondaurova, Olga; LaClair, Kathleen; Li, Shaojin; Linford, Sarah; Marling, George; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Robinett, John; Rubin, Judith; Sands, Brian; Selby, William; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris (June 1, 2017). "TEA/AECOM 2016 Theme Index & Museum Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). aecom.com. Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  38. ^ Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Bet; Chen, Bryan; Cheu, Linda; Fischer, Lucia; Hoffman, Marina; Kondaurova, Olga; LaClair, Kathleen; Li, Shaojin; Linford, Sarah; Marling, George; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Robinett, John; Rubin, Judith; Sands, Brian; Selby, William; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris (May 17, 2018). "TEA/AECOM 2017 Theme Index & Museum Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). aecom.com. Themed Entertainment Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  39. ^ Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Bet; Chen, Bryan; Cheu, Linda; Fischer, Lucia; Hoffman, Marina; Kondaurova, Olga; LaClair, Kathleen; Li, Shaojin; Linford, Sarah; Marling, George; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Robinett, John; Rubin, Judith; Sands, Brian; Selby, William; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris (May 22, 2019). "TEA/AECOM 2018 Theme Index & Museum Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). aecom.com. Themed Entertainment Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 7, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  40. ^ Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Bet; Chen, Bryan; Cheu, Linda; Fischer, Lucia; Hoffman, Marina; Kondaurova, Olga; LaClair, Kathleen; Li, Shaojin; Linford, Sarah; Marling, George; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Robinett, John; Rubin, Judith; Sands, Brian; Selby, William; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris (July 16, 2020). "TEA/AECOM 2019 Theme Index & Museum Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 17, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  41. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2020 Theme Index and Museum Index" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  42. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2021 Theme Index and Museum Index" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2021. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  43. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2022 Theme Index and Museum Index" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  44. ^ a b Topel, Fred (July 25, 2015). "Pixar is Helping with Jon Favreau's 'Magic Kingdom". Crave Online. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015.
  45. ^ a b Graser, Marc. "Jon Favreau enters Disney's 'Magic Kingdom'", Variety, November 10, 2010. WebCitation archive.
  46. ^ Chang, Tom (February 23, 2021). "Ronald Moore Developing Magic Kingdom TV Universe for Disney+". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved February 23, 2021.

External links edit

Preceding station Walt Disney World Monorail Following station
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
One-way operation
Resort Line Disney's Contemporary Resort
Next clockwise
Transportation and Ticket Center
Next counter-clockwise
Express Line Transportation and Ticket Center
One-way operation