Magic Kingdom is the only of the four Disney World Parks served by all three Disney transportation options: bus, monorail, and boat. These methods of transportation deliver you to the front gates below the Walt Disney World Railroad Station, which alone is majestic and grand. But to walk under the railroad to the top of the Main Street, U.S.A. and gaze past the shops and restaurants, you behold the epitome of magic, Cinderella’s Castle. Magic Kingdom may not hold my interest like Epcot or Animal Kingdom does, but my heart skips a beat every time I first lay eyes on the castle.
Just reading the names of the lands, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland, makes you realize that Magic Kingdom really has something for everyone. For the youngest visitors, Fantasyland probably has the most to offer. Here you will find Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures (really not that scary), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Classic Pooh, not the new stuff), Dumbo the Flying Elephant, “it’s a small world” (if you can stand it!), and one of my favorites Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel. The Mad Tea Party tea cups are here also, but I don’t recommend them right after a meal. Next to Fantasyland is Mickey’s Toontown Fair, with lots of places to climb and explore, The Barnstormer, (Goofy’s “family” rollercoaster) and a character greeting area, it’s a perfect place to let the little ones out of their strollers for awhile.
If you head from Toontown to Tomorrowland, you’ll pass the Indy Speedway. A pretty safe ride for all ages, yet I still see parents grasping for the wheel when their 4 year olds are in the driver’s seat! Tomorrowland is home to Space Mountain, perhaps the most famous Magic Kingdom ride. A few other attractions here are the Astro Orbiter (can be a long wait, but a beautiful view), Stitch’s Great Escape, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and another personal favorite Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a truly funny, audience participation comedy act.
If you continue clockwise around the park, you’ll find your self back at the Main Street area. Here the shops range from The Chapeau, where you can make and buy your own unique mouse ears to the Main Street Gallery for beautiful artwork to always remember your visit by. The food options on Main Street are just as varied. From the Character meals at The Crystal Palace, to Casey’s Corner where you can get a great ballpark dog and fries, to the best place to ruin your diet, Main Street Bake Shop.
Since you now need to walk off that giant piece of carrot cake (which was SO worth it), head on over to Adventureland. A leisurely climb up the Swiss Family Treehouse followed by a Jungle Cruise would be a good start.
Next, before you travel into Frontierland, take a leisurely journey on the famous Pirates of the Caribbean ride…
Thankfully that carrot cake should just be a pleasant memory by the time you get to Splash Mountain. If you are lucky, (or not, depending on your “drip” tolerance) this ride is great for the warm Florida weather. Unfortunately, the song will stick in your head for the rest of the day, (which could be a blessing if you have already been to “it’s a small world”).
Right next to Splash Mountain is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Some might say this is the perfect rollercoaster; not too tame like Goofy’s Barnstormer, but no loops, twists or darkness to frighten the wary.
Also in the back of the park you will find the short raft trip to explore Tom Sawyer Island and the Liberty Square Riverboat. Even if you’re not one for slow, leisurely rides, just touring the beautiful (and impeccably clean) Riverboat is worth it. I’ll end my selective attraction comments with another one of my favorites, The Haunted Mansion. This was one ride that I remembered vividly from my first Disney trip in 1977 and couldn’t wait to share with my own kids.
For some, the varied and colorful parades are the highlight of this park. New this year is Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! that starts at the fire station as a small parade ending in a high energy dance party at “the hub” in front of the castle. There is also the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade, which will give you a better chance to see all your favorite characters. Check the daily schedule for times for both of these events. The summer evenings of 2010 will be extra magical with the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade and the new Summer Nightastic! fireworks show. Of course the best place to view the fireworks is in front of the castle, but there really isn’t bad seat in the house. The lighting projected on the sides of the castle or the fireworks reflecting in the surrounding ponds are just as beautiful as the view from Main Street. Magic Kingdom is definitely a full day, if not a 2-day park, so pace yourself accordingly to be sure you can enjoy every magical minute!