04 November, 2013

Magic Kingdom

In keeping with the Disney Parks theme, I think I will now go with the attractions that I like best. I’ll do one column on each park. I’ll figure in what I like, why I like it, and what (if anything) I would do to make it better.

I’ll start with what most people think of when they say Disney World, the Magic Kingdom.

There is so much to like about the park. So many good rides, classics and new favorites. There are the iconic rides like the Mountains (Splash, Thunder and Space) and Small World, the Disney-ified carnival rides (i.e. Dumbo/Aladdin/AstroOrbiter and the Prince Charming Carousel, etc.. ), and the rides that only Disney would make interesting (i.e. People mover, carousel of progress, etc.. ).

I think my 2 favorite rides at the Magic Kingdom are the Jungle Cruise and the Haunted Mansion. I like to hit both rides multiple times each trip. Both have been there from the beginning, and have counterparts in Anaheim. Both rides have the high level of attention to detail that we have come to expect from Disney. There isn’t much I would do to improve either ride, other than updating the animatronics as technology improves, but be careful to not overdo it. Part of the charm is the corny-ness of them. They recently rehabbed the Jungle Cruise, and they did a good job of keeping the feel of the ride, while smoothing out the movement of the ‘animals’. As I mentioned in my last posting, I would like to see a camera added to the Haunted Mansion in the part where the hitchhiking ghosts are projected into your ‘doom-buggy’, and make it available for purchase or as part of the PhotoPass+ package. A close 3rd on this one is the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Other things that are ‘must dos’ in my book include:
-The Tomorrowland People Mover, it is a nice slow ride through Tomorrowland that goes past or through several of the rides/attractions in that part of the park
-Splash Mountain, a log flume ride themed after Song of the South
-Carrousel of Progress, a look at a family throughout several different eras and how technology has evolved. It is done well and is a nice comfortable air conditioned  break from the heat.

There has been a push to make things more interactive. This includes the rides as well as the queue. I like the Buzz Lightyear ride, which gives you a chance to beat your best score as you shoot your laser gun at targets throughout the ride. There is a picture on this one that is not a particularly intriguing (not like Splash Mountain) picture, that I only got because we had pre-paid for the PhotoPass+ which includes attraction pictures.

I am not usually a fan of the carnival style rides, nothing against them, but my general rule is there isn’t a need to ride a ride that can be done at a carnival or at Darien Lake, just because it has a picture of a Disney icon on it. This includes the flying rides, that are basically the same ride with a different theme (Dumbo, Aladdin and AstroOribiter), the Prince Charming Carrousel, the Tea Cups, etc.. I do have to say, that if the added a large Ferris Wheel in the back of Fantasyland, I would ride that every trip, and would make sure to ride it at night. Another one that I would just as soon skip is the Tiki room. It is a bunch of robot birds doing bad jokes and singing songs.. and the seats aren’t even that comfortable..

Other rides that I could take or leave, some (including my wife) would consider sacrilegious to have on this list would be It’s a Small World and Peter Pan’s flight. I won’t put up a fight, but I won’t ever suggest we go on either of them. The Peter Pan ride isn’t bad, but I just don’t get the lines it has.. It is a decent enough ride for a 15-20 min wait, but this ride often has a wait time well exceeding an hour..

All in all, there is more than enough to justify spending multiple days of your trip at the Magic Kingdom. There are some great snacks (3 words.. dole whip float..), fun restaurants (Liberty Tree Tavern is probably my favorite restaurant on property), and the Wishes fireworks show is always well done. There is enough variety of the rides and attractions that there is more than ‘something for the whole family’. 

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