Magic Kingdom

Main Street USA is themed to a small town at the turn of the 20th century. The train station works to block the view of what’s inside as guests pass underneath. Once through, the magnificent Cinderella Castle shines in the distance. To the right in Town Square Theater is a Magician Mickey Mouse meet and greet, and the only location where Mickey may talk to guests. It’s expected that Tinker Bell will move here in late 2014. Next door is Tony’s Town Square Restaurant themed to Lady and the Tramp. The relatively inexpensive lunch is recommended, but the pricier dinner steaks are overpriced when paying out of pocket.

On the left is package pickup and Guest Services. Inside the fire station, guests can sign up to play the interactive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. Five playing cards per person may be picked up daily to help along the game. Next to it is Harmony Barber Shop with surprisingly reasonable prices. Stop in for a fun first haircut or some “pixie dust” for a lot less money than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland. Also on the left, The Emporium stretches for much of Main Street, offering just about every piece of theme park merchandise from toys and plush to Mickey Crocs.

On the right, The Chapeau offers a wide selection of hats and Main Street Confectionery is your best spot for handmade treats and cupcakes. Further up on the right is Main Street Bakery, which now hosts the park’s Starbucks. Past that is Main Street Cinema, Uptown Jewelers, and Crystal Arts, all offering upscale items like Dooney and Bourke bags and Ray-Ban sunglasses.

At the end of Main Street on the left is Casey’s Corner, serving interesting hot dog toppings like barbecue pork and coleslaw or a polish sausage with stone ground mustard and grilled onions. Best are the corn dog nuggets dipped into the gooey hot cheese sauce. Further on the left is Crystal Palace, which hosts a Winnie the Pooh and friends buffet for all three meals. On the right is Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, which is a great spot for a sundae in the afternoon. To the right of it is The Plaza Restaurant, serving the most inexpensive table service sandwich fare on property.

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Walt Disney World Railroad

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: October 1, 1971

Location: Main Street, USA with stops in Frontierland near Splash Mountain and Storybook Circus near Barnstormer

Extra Magic Hours: No

FastPass+: No

Type: Public transportation

Similar To: Unique

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Zero

What to Expect: The Walt Disney World Railroad is a scenic train ride around the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom.  You can get on at any of the three stations and ride for as long as you like around the 1.5 mile track.  It’s an excellent attraction when you need a cool, seated break from the crowds and heat, but don’t want to sit in a theater.  The train travels at about 10 miles per hour and it takes about 20 minutes to make a complete circle, including stops.  Be aware that Disney rental strollers are not allowed on the train.  You will need to remove your belongings, name card, and have your receipt handy to pick up a new stroller at your final destination.

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Adventureland Introduction

by josh on May 15, 2010

Split into two distinct areas – the Arabian Village and Caribbean Plaza – Adventureland is distinctively adventure-y. In the Arabian section, you’ll find the majority of the attractions – Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and Swiss Family Tree House, in addition to the popular Dole Whips at Aloha Isle. Agrabah Bazaar is the primary, smallish store offering wares perfect for the adventurers among us. To the right of the entrance to Pirates is the signup building for the fun Pirate’s Adventure Treasures of Seven Seas interactive game. It includes a high quality map that sends players around Adventureland unlocking secrets and setting off surprises. Visit in the afternoon as a fun diversion when waits peak elsewhere.

Arabian Village opens up to Caribbean Plaza on the Frontierland side, hosting the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction with an expansive store at its exit offering everything pirate. Tortuga Tavern is the land’s quick service, often only open from 11am – 3pm and serving taco and nacho fare across from Pirates. It’s a nice way to mix up the usual burgers and nuggets found elsewhere. Sunshine Tree Terrace behind Aladdin’s Magical Carpets serves soft drinks, ice cream, and the cult favorite Citrus Swirl blend of frozen orange juice and vanilla ice cream.

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Enchanted Tiki Room

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: Originally opened on October 1, 1971, reopened “Under New Management” on April 5, 1998, reopened back to original theme on August 15, 2011

Location: Adventureland to the left of Sunshine Tree Terrace and behind Aladdin’s Magical Carpets

Extra Magic Hours: Evening

FastPass+: No

Type: Animatronic theater show

Similar To: Country Bear Jamboree

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Low.  There is a short scene with lightning, thunder, and momentary darkness near the end of the show, but it shouldn’t overwhelm most kids.  If your child is easily frightened then this may be another to skip, but everyone over the age of six or so should be fine.

What to Expect: The Enchanted Tiki Room is another animatronics theater show.  Luckily, this one is nicely air-conditioned and the seats are mostly comfortable.  José, Michael, Pierre and Fritz serve as your aviary hosts as they introduce the various characters and musical sequences.  The show is lighthearted and intended to be funny, though a lot of the jokes seem to fall flat with contemporary audiences.

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Jungle Cruise

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: October 1, 1971

Location: Down stairs across from Aladdin’s Magical Carpets

Extra Magic Hours: No

FastPass+: Yes – Moderate priority. Consider using as a 4th, 5th, etc. choice later in the afternoon

Type: Boat ride

Similar To: A mashup of Living with the Land and Great Movie Ride

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Very low.  You’ll enter a reasonably dark cave for a few moments, but there’s nothing here that should startle anyone.

What to Expect: The queue for the Jungle Cruise is deceptively long and winding so don’t ignore the posted wait time if the line appears short (or long) at first glance.  The queue is covered and cooler than many other parts of the Park, but it isn’t indoors or air-conditioned.  Once you make it to the front of the line you will board a slow-moving tramp-steamer themed boat that holds about 40 passengers and has a maximum speed of just over two miles per hour.  The boat will travel through several scenes that feature audio-animatronic animals from three continents and lush tropical landscaping.  Each boat features a live cast member that will narrate your voyage and tell a variety of bad jokes and puns.

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Magic Carpets of Aladdin

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: May 24, 2001

Location: In the middle of Adventureland in front of Sunshine Tree Terrace and across from Jungle Cruise

Extra Magic Hours: Evening

FastPass+: Yes – low priority

Type: Carousel

Similar To: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, TriceraTop Spin

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Low.  It does fly fairly high over Adventureland, but it will only upset those severely fearful of heights.

What to Expect: The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is an attraction in the same vein as TriceraTop Spin and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  Riders board magic carpet themed vehicles attached to the middle hub.  The hub spins and the vehicles in turn spin slowly along with it.  Riders in front can move the carpet up or down and riders in the back control whether or not the carpet is slightly tilted forward or backward.  One fun addition is the camel that spits water.  Riders can try to position their carpet to hit or miss the water stream.  The water stream is relatively weak, so don’t expect to get too wet even with multiple direct hits.  In your author’s opinion, the Magic Carpets are deceptively fun.  It’s very cool flying high over Adventureland.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: December 15, 1973

Location: Across from Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland.  As you’re walking to Frontierland from Adventureland, you’ll see it on the left after passing Enchanted Tiki Room.  From Frontierland, it’s located on the right before you arrive at Aladdin’s Magical Carpets or Jungle Cruise.

Extra Magic Hours: Evening

FastPass+: Yes – low priority.

Type: Dark ride

Similar To: Living with the Land, only with pirates.  Or an indoor Jungle Cruise with fewer animals and more pirates.

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Low.  Pirates of the Caribbean shouldn’t scare most kids.  As you might expect, there are about 60 animatronic pirates throughout the ride, so if your tyke has a particular fear of pirates then this ride may present a problem.  There is a short 14 foot drop at the beginning of the ride, but it’s entirely benign and shouldn’t upset anyone.  The rest of the ride is smooth sailing, so to speak.

What to Expect: Most of the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean is inside and air-conditioned, which makes it a great candidate for an afternoon visit.  The queue isn’t among the most interesting, but there are a few things to look at and it generally moves fast.  Once you make it to the front of the line, you will board a boat that slowly meanders through the Pirate infested waters.  Be aware that some of the scenes are violent and do feature gun fire and cannon blasts.  It’s also dark throughout, but the scenes are well-lit and it’s always easy to see where you’re traveling.  In 2006, Disney updated Pirates of the Caribbean with characters from the movie of the same name.  You’ll now see Jack Sparrow throughout the ride as well as a special appearance by Davy Jones.

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Swiss Family Treehouse

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: October 1, 1971

Location: Adventureland across from Aloha Isle.

Extra Magic Hours: Evening

FastPass+: No

Type: A walk-through replica

Similar To: Unique

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Low.  There’s nothing intrinsically scary about the Treehouse, but it is high up at the top. Those with an extreme fear of heights may want to skip it. With the narrow walkways, it’s difficult or impossible to turn around and walk back in the opposite direction.

What to Expect: The Swiss Family Treehouse is modeled to look like the treehouse from the Disney Movie, Swiss Family Robinson and provides great (obstructed) views of the Park. The level of detail is striking, but generally goes under-appreciated because so few people are familiar with the Swiss family or their story.

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Fantasyland Introduction

by josh on May 15, 2010

With the longest list of attractions, this is where most guests will spend the majority of their time. Fortunately, most attractions enjoy short durations and healthy capacities, making it relatively easy to bang out the majority of rides in under an hour first thing in the morning or when crowds ease in the late evening. Mickey’s PhilharMagic is an outstanding 3D anytime attraction and Enchanted Tales with Belle is an afternoon FastPass+ priority.

Be Our Guest Restaurant is a popular quick service lunch option and a nearly-impossible-to-book table service restaurant at dinner. Lunch service typically begins at 10:30am and runs through 4pm. We recommend getting in line at 2pm so as to not waste precious morning touring time in line for lunch. Waits balloon to an hour or more from 11am – 1:30pm. On-site guests may be able to book FastPass+, which doesn’t count against the initial three FP+ limit. FastPass+ users bypass the standby queue and even have the opportunity to pre-order food, bypassing the line entirely. Dinner is table service with above average food and the only Magic Kingdom location that’s serves wine and beer. Cinderella’s Royal Table is the popular princess meal inside the Castle. See the dining chapter for more information.

Pinocchio Village Haus is the primary quick service, located to the left of the entrance to New Fantasyland. The flatbread pizzas and salads are above average and there’s plentiful air-conditioned seating in addition to outdoor patio seating. Gaston’s Tavern in between Be Our Guest Restaurant and Journey of the Little Mermaid serves pork shanks, cinnamon rolls, and snacks. The pork is surprisingly tender and a nice alternative to the more-difficult-to-eat-than-you-might-expect turkey legs. Indoor seating is minimal, but the theming is exquisite throughout. Friar’s Nook to the right of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is only open when crowds are heavy, but it offers several hearty macaroni and cheese dishes, in addition to usually enjoying short waits for snacks and drinks. Storybook Treats is Fantasyland’s version of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, serving decadent sundaes and other ice cream treats. Cheshire Café serves snacks, drinks, and cake cups next to Mad Tea Party, while Prince Eric’s Village Market serves drinks, lemonades, sno-cones, and snacks across from the Journey of the Little Mermaid ride in New Fantasyland. Finally, Big Top Souvenirs across from Dumbo is yet another spot to find freshly made treats, including caramel corn, candied apples, and fudge, in addition to the frozen Goofy’s Glacier drinks.

Shopping is plentiful in and around Fantasyland. Castle Couture to the left of Mickey’s PhilharMagic is one of the best spots for princess merchandise. Across the way is Sir Mickey’s, primarily offering toys and apparel. Two great stores are located back in New Fantasyland. Bonjour Gifts, to the right of Gaston’s Tavern, offers unique glassware, goblets, and other upscale items. Storybook Treats also offers a lot of toys and apparel.

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Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

by josh on May 15, 2010

Opened: October 1, 1971, Renamed Prince Charming Regal Carrousel from Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel on May 25, 2010.

Location: In the middle of Fantasyland

Extra Magic Hours: Morning, Evening

FASTPASS: No

Type: Carousel

Similar To: A carousel

Requirements: None

Scary Factor: Zero

What to Expect: Prince Charming Regal Carousel is a Disney themed carousel, complete with 90 horses that are all uniquely painted.  The horses slowly rotate around in a circle, moving up and down while Disney music plays in the background.  The Philadelphia Toboggan Company built the carousel in 1917 and it originally operated at Electric Park in Detroit.  Walt Disney discovered the carousel in 1967 and restored it for use in the Magic Kingdom.  Make sure to look up at the canopy over the ride and you will see 18 scenes that tell the story of Cinderella.

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