Disney's Magic Kingdom

The happiest kingdom in the WORLD
In my final Walt Disney World recap, today is all about Disney's Magic Kingdom...


A different take on Disneyland
It's here, my final recap for our Walt Disney World adventures. I purposely kept the Magic Kingdom for last for many reasons. One could be that I just didn't know how to put this park into words or how to go about talking about the "sister" park to my beloved Disneyland in California. You see, I'm a Disneyland girl through and though. I know Disneyland in California like the back of my own hand. Ask me where the closest bathroom is in Frontierland... or where you can find the quietest spot on a busy day... Disneyland has my heart, so to be visiting a park that is very, very much like it, but not... it's been hard to figure out how to describe it all without being too bias to my "home" park.

Familiar Unfamiliarity
So let's just get to it. Disney's Magic Kingdom is the star of Walt Disney World. It's the quintessential place you think of when you picture "Disney". The Magic Kingdom is home to Mickey and all of your beloved pals and is the epitome of the all around Disney magic experience. I do have to say that upon walking in the gates, I was hit was a sense of familiar unfamiliarity. Everything is in place the same way it is at "home", train station up front, main street, a magical castle at the end. But it's also just so different at the same time.
As a little forewarning, when putting together this recap for the Magic Kingdom, I realized that I didn't have a ton of photos from the time we spent at the park. I documented a ton of our day and our time in the park for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party on my Instagram page, so if you're curious to see more head on over to my page HERE.

Main Street USA
The Magic Kingdom is essentially a bigger, more magical sized version of Disneyland at home. Many of the lands, the general layout and attractions are in the same place and even are similar, but everything comes with a *twist*.
For example, Main Street has a similar set up with a confectionary, shops, food places, heck, even the same Starbucks location! But there's a sense of unfamiliar in the fact that the buildings just tower over you unlike Disneyland's cozy Main Street.

Liberty Square
Perhaps in the most unique difference between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom is Liberty Square. On the West coast we have a Bayou and Jazzy New Orleans themed area, but here in the Magic Kingdom is a beautiful take on Colonial America. It really a pretty area and such a fun difference between the two parks In place of New Orleans Square at Disneyland, you have Liberty Square, a take on colonial America. It's a fun difference between the two major U.S parks. This part of the park is beautiful with the details of the buildings and it feels like you've been transported to a different time just by your surroundings. We loved how the thematic difference also extended to the rides here. For example, Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion has a complete different exterior than the Southern Mansion back at Disneyland.

Frontierland & Adventureland
We didn't get to spend too much time in these parts of the park. From the little time we did spend here we were again amazed at the unique differences between here and Disneyland. There's just so much more... space. If you've ever visited Disneyland you know how chaotic a crowded Adventureland corridor can be. Here at the Magic Kingdom there's wide open walk ways and lots of room to just roam around.

Surprisingly, we didn't ride any attractions within these lands on our most recent visit. We just simply ran out of time, but I've heard that there's a few subtle differences between attractions like the Jungle Cruise and Pirates in the Magic Kingdom vs. Disneyland.

We did get to try some fun treats here. I love that the Magic Kingdom offers a bunch of fun specialty items that are exclusive to this park. We tried the "Redd's Revenge Float" which was strawberry Fanta, strawberry soft serve and a chocolate pirate hat topper which ended up being a refreshing snack during a hot and humid Florida day!

Fantasyland
The Magic Kingdom is also home to the "new" Fantasyland, complete with scaled castles from your beloved classics like Beast's Castle, Prince Eric's seaside kingdom, and even a fun nod to Snow White with the famed "Seven Dwarves Mine Train" coaster ride. This is the most princess perfect part of the park. The themes are so on point for Fantasyland and we loved the new additions.
One major plus that the Magic Kingdom has compared to Disneyland is the interactive and themed queues for attractions. Most of the classics got major line upgrades with fun activities for littles and the whole family to enjoy like an interactive touch "honey wall" on Pooh, a whole waiting area for Dumbo and some fun interactive elements line elements on Peter Pan.
One of the only Fantasyland rides we really rode due to wait times... It's a Small World! It's the classic version here without the inclusion of Disney characters.
The one major difference between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom is the missing Toontown at the Magic Kingdom. It was removed to make way for all the enhanced Fantasyland elements. I guess it's a magical trade off: Mickey & pals area for a Disney Princess classic area.

Tomorrowland
There's something quite fun about this land of the park. Here you'll find some classic attractions that have since been removed from Disneyland, like the beloved PeopleMover. You'll also find a classic version of Autopia, called the Tomorrowland Speedway. There's almost a retro Tomorrowland feel here compared to it's west coast counterpart.

The Castle
Yes, the castle gets its own section because I feel like this is the biggest difference between coasts. Instead of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, you have Cinderella's Castle and boy oh boy, does this castle deliver. The sheer size and detailing of this castle will take your breath away. It's simply gorgeous and the beautifully manicured "hub grass" area surrounding it provide the best views to soak in the magic. Whereas Disneyland's castle is smaller, the Magic Kingdom's is large enough fit a shop and restaurant inside which makes it quite unique. What I love about this castle is walking though the arches and the gorgeous mosaic of Cinderella on the inside.
Earlier when I said that the Magic Kingdom is the "star" of the WDW parks and the epitome of the classic Disney experience? This castle has a lot to do with it. It's pretty much the symbol for Disney. Heck, this castle gets referred to as "Disneyland" by many news outlets sometimes because of it's iconic look.

Pros/Cons
While this park packs a punch in aesthetics with its beauty and different take on classics back at Disneyland, theres also some things that definitely made me miss home while being here.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous in every way. This park easily wins hands down for the prettiest photo ops and backdrops
  • SPACE. The major plus of the Magic Kingdom vs Disneyland? the amount of space. There's wider walkways and just more of everything here.
  • PhotoPass. Let me just put it this way, every 10 or so feet down Main Street, you'll find a photo pass waiting to take your photo. As someone who loves Disney PhotoPass, I truly appreciated the numbers of amazing photographers around this park. I also appreciated the fun "Magic Shots" they offer here, like the zoom out shot from the Hub Grass area.
    The Magic Kingdom's "Magic Shot" which takes a fun zoom out video/photo for you. Here's our close up!
    Our "Magic Shot" zoomed out! Can you find us?!
  • Cast Members. There's just something so magical about the Cast Members at the Magic Kingdom, heck, this goes for all of Walt Disney World... everyone here just packs that extra dose of magic. Whether with a little smile, the extra help or friendly greeting. Not to say that Disneyland CM's aren't amazing, because they are, but everyone was just so extra attentive here in a welcoming manner.
Cons
I hate to do this, but there was also a few things that we weren't huge fans of at the Magic Kingdom:
  • Transport. They make your WORK to get to the gates of the Magic Kingdom. If you drive, you'll have to make somewhat of a journey from the parking lot to the main gates. You park in the the main transport lot about a mile away from the entrance. From the lot and depending on how far back you've parked, you'll have to take a tram to get to the next part of your "journey". I say it like this because you next have to ether board a ferry boat to take you across the body of water that separates you from the lot to the Magic Kingdom gates, or the monorail. It's quite the journey and not the easiest when there's a throng of crowds trying to get to the same place at the same time. Also not idea if you're in a rush to get to the park for a dining reservation or other commitment. If you're trying to leave the park during a busy time, you'll also have to deal with the crowds on the way back.
**Magic Kingdom Transport Tips**
If you're staying on property at Walt Disney World and have a day ahead at the Magic Kingdom, it's much easier to take the complimentary shuttle bus from your hotel/resort to the park. The free shuttle buses take you directly to the front gate of the Magic Kingdom so you automatically bypass all the transport mess it takes to get into the park.
  • Crowds. Theres just SO MANY people here. I've been told many times that the main difference between coasts is the fact that Disneyland is geared more towards locals and Annual Pass-holders and WDW is more for tourists and families. You'll definitely feel the level of the crowds on a busy day at the Magic Kingdom. I know I mentioned above that the Magic Kingdom has more space... but that space equates to more people everywhere. There's just longer wait times on average for things here than back at Disneyland. We weren't able to accomplish a ton at the park since lines for everything from rides to food took some time.
  • Food. I love Disneyland food and feel like theres such wide variety of menu options to choose from in California. The Magic Kingdom, definitely lacked in this area in regards to dining options. Most restaurants served the standard theme park food and it just didn't feel as varied as back at home. But I think this might be due to the whole "tourist vs local" theory on the two parks. When a park like the Magic Kingdom needs to cater to a variety of visitors, its probably easier to serve up the basics that are safer than more unique foods. Although I will say that we loved our sit down dining experience at Be Our Guest!

Overall Thoughts
So what are my overall thoughts on the Magic Kingdom? I truly feel that it's not to be missed! Even though it strikes some similarities with Disneyland back home, I felt like it was unique enough to deserve it's own day (or two) for a visit. The Magic Kingdom is simply stunning from an aesthetic viewpoint and just getting that iconic "castle" shot here makes it all worth it. Simply put the Magic Kingdom is the quintessential Disney experience!
A huge thank you for all of my readers that have stuck it out with me during these delayed Walt Disney World recaps! We'll be back to regularly scheduled magic and family fun on here soon! Missed any of my other WDW recaps? CLICK HERE to the main page for all of my previous park recaps! 💜


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