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Magic Kingdom

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Magic Kingdom Logo2008
Fantasy Reigns
―Magic Kingdom Motto

The Magic Kingdom is one of Walt Disney World's six parks and stands as the heart and soul of the resort. The park was the first to be opened and stands as the most visited place in the world.

The layout of the Kingdom is that of the central hub (Cinderella Castle) surrounded by seven "lands" that are based around different themes; Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Mickey's Toontown Fair, Tomorrowland and Liberty Square. Each land is home to different characters who do their best to show guests a good time.

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 Oliver Disney, October 25, 1971

Construction

Although Walt Disney himself had been highly involved in planning The Florida Project, the Walt Disney Company began construction on Magic Kingdom and the entire resort in 1967 following Walt's death in 1966. The Magic Kingdom park was built similarly to the existing Disneyland Park in California. The Florida park, however, was built in a larger area and improved upon Disneyland's design.

There are several anecdotes relating to reasons for some of the features of Walt Disney World, and Magic Kingdom specifically. According to one story, Walt Disney once saw a Frontierland cowboy walking through Tomorrowland at Disneyland. He disliked how the cowboy intruded on the futuristic setting of Tomorrowland and wanted to avoid situations like this in the new park.Therefore, Magic Kingdom was built over a series of tunnels called utilidors, a contraction of the words "utility" and "corridor". These tunnels allow cast members to move through the park out of sight from guests, maintaining the illusion of the show.

Because of Florida's high water table, the tunnels could not be constructed underground, so they were built at the existing grade. This means that the park itself is actually built on the second story, giving Magic Kingdom an elevation of 107 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 only used in Magic Kingdom because of financial constraints, but they were meant to be employed in all subsequent Walt Disney World parks. Epcot's Future World and Pleasure Island each have a smaller network of utilidors.

Opening

Magic Kingdom opened as the first part of Walt Disney's planned Florida Project on October 1, 1971. It was the only theme park on the resort at the time and opened concurrently with two hotels on the property: Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort. The park opened with 23 attractions, three unique to the park and 20, often somewhat different, copies of attractions at Disneyland. The Walt Disney Company promised to increase this number with more attractions like those in Disneyland as well as more unique ones. The attractions were split into six themed lands. Five of these lands were counterparts to those at Disneyland and the sixth is the unique in name, Liberty Square, it is unique because it shares the same attractions as Disneyland's New Orleans Square.

While there is no individual dedication to Magic Kingdom Park, the dedication by Roy O. Disney for the entire Walt Disney World Resort was placed within its gates.

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. Dedicated this 25th day of October, 1971. Roy Oliver Disney

History

From The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness.

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Magic Kingdom's Opening Day
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1971-1972: The Early Days

The Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, to a crowd of 10,000 visitors.

Attractions open that day were:

During the other three months of 1971, other attractions opened, including:

In 1972, the If You Had Wings attraction opened in Tomorrowland. During the park’s first anniversary, 10.7 million guests had passed through its gates.

1973-1974: Something New

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Pirates of the Caribbean
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In 1973, many new attractions opened that later turned into timeless classics:

  • The Walt Disney Story
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
  • Plaza Swan Boats
  • Richard F. Irvine Riverboat
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

In 1974, America the Beautiful closed and reopened the next day with a new film called Magic Carpet ‘Round the World. which closed after a year and America the Beautiful returned. Star Jets opened. By the end of 1974, the park’s popularity was so big that on December 29, a record 74,597 day-guests passed through the gates and, for the first time in the park's history, closed due to over-capacity.

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Space Mountain
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1975: Liftoff to Tomorrowland

In January 1975, the long-awaited Space Mountain attraction opened in Tomorrowland. After some time, when travelling to the Moon lost it’s mystique, Flight to the Moon became Mission to Mars. In June, America on Parade debuted to honor the America's Bicentennial. The classic Carousel of Progress was moved to the Magic Kingdom, after having concluded a seven-year run at Disneyland.

1976-1981: Main Street Milestones

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WDW's 10th Anniversary Special
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Although 1976 was quiet in terms of new attractions, the Magic Kingdom hit a milestone when Susan Brummer passed through the gates as the park’s 50,000,000th visitor. In June 1977, the Main Street Electrical Parade premiered. The period between 1978 and 1981 was quiet at the Magic Kingdom as a second gate, EPCOT Center, broke ground in preparation for its October 1, 1982 opening. The Mickey Mouse Revue closed in September 1980, followed by the retirement of the Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat. But big news came in November of that year with the opening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. A film titled "A Dream Called EPCOT" began playing at the park's EPCOT Preview Center, generating excitement for the new park. 1981 focused on the Magic Kingdom’s 10th Anniversary. The stage show Disney World Is Your World opened and the Tencennial Parade started running. Disney World welcomed its 126,000,000th guest during the tencennial celebrations.

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The Plaza Swan Boats
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1982-1983: The Quiet Years

Most of Walt Disney World’s energy was focused on EPCOT Center through 1982 and 1983. The Plaza Swan Boats no longer swam the park’s island waters as of August 1983.  

1984: A New Boss

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Michael Eisner
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A change of power occurred in 1984, with Michael Eisner becoming the new chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company. In July 1984, the stage show Show Biz opened, only to close two months later. America the Beautiful was replaced by American Journeys and the Frontierland Shooting Gallery reopened as the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade.

1985-1987: More Development, but not at the Magic Kingdom

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After the upheaval of 1984, it would be another four years before any new developments would occur in the Magic Kingdom. Time and money were being used to expand EPCOT Center and develop the resort's third gate—the $300 million “Hollywood that Never Was and Always Will Be” which would open as the Disney MGM Studios on May 1, 1989. Merlin’s Magic Shop was closed and the Diamond Horseshoe Revue was Renamed the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree. If You Had Wings was renamed If You Could Fly. Magic Journeys, the first 3-D attraction in the park, debuted in the former Mickey Mouse Revue theater.

1988-1990: Junior Jamboree

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In honor of Mickey’s 60th anniversary, a temporary land called Mickey’s Birthdayland opened. The area consisted of Mickey’s House, Grandma Duck’s Petting Farm, Mickey’s Playground and three circus-style tents housing character meet-and-greets and two live shows including Minnie’s Surprise Birthday Party. One of the prime attractions was a cow living at the petting farm named Minnie Moo, born with the classic tri-circle Mickey head on her side. In January 1989, If You Could Fly closed and was replaced by Delta Dreamflight. Due to its enormous popularity, Mickey’s Birthdayland was kept and renamed Mickey’s Starland in 1990.

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1991-1993: Parades and a Big Splash

In September 1991, the popular Main Street Electrical Parade ended its run and was replaced by SpectroMagic. The Surprise Celebration Parade ran each afternon, starting in September. It had been 12 years since the Magic Kingdom welcomed a major new attraction. In 1992, Splash Mountain opened. The Walt Disney Story closed in October 1992 followed by Mission to Mars in October 1993. The Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress both underwent huge refurbishments. In December, Magic Journeys closed. A month later American Journeys closed, followed by the Surprise Celebration Parade and Star Jets.

1994: The City of the Future

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In 1994, Tomorrowland received a major refurbishment—it had begun to look dated, so the Imagineers gave it a general design, creating a City of the Future. In the process, the WEDway PeopleMover was renamed the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Later that year, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea closed.

1994-1995: Drama and Comedy

Legend of the Lion King
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In 1994, The Legend of the Lion King opened in the former Mickey Mouse Revue theater. In November, The Timekeeper opened with the movie From Time To Time. Main Street's Penny Arcade and House of Magic closed in 1995. Star Jets reopened as Astro Orbiter. In June 1995, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter opened, adding a slight touch of terror to the Magic Kingdom. Snow White's Adventures underwent an extensive upgrade, toning down its scare factors and adding the character of Snow White herself to the ride.


Mickeys Toontown Fair
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1996-1997: Goofy For More

Mickey’s Starland was transformed into Mickey’s Toontown Fair, enjoying an expansion in June 1996 with the additions of the Toontown Hall of Fame and kiddie coaster The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm, which replaced Grandma Duck’s Petting Farm. The Grand Prix Raceway’s track was shortened to make room for the new Toontown Fair attractions. It was later renamed the Tomorrowland Speedway. The Richard F. Irvine riverboat was renamed the Liberty Belle. In 1997, King Stefan’s Banquet Hall was renamed Cinderella’s Royal Table. Delta Dreamflight was renamed Take Flight. Cinderella Castle was transformed into a giant birthday cake as part of Walt Disney World’s 25th Anniversary celebration.

1998-1999: Silver Anniversary Stunner

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In April 1998, Tropical Serenade reopened as The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management with Aladdin’s Iago and The Lion King’s Zazu as hosts. In October 1998, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin replaced Take Flight. The beloved Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride closed in September 1998, reopening in June 1999 as The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. SpectroMagic went on hiatus in the summer of 1999 and the classic Main Street Electrical Parade returned for a limited engagement.

2000-2002: New Millenium, New Shows

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2001 added new entertainment to the park. This included Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration, the Share a Dream Come True Parade and the return of SpectroMagic. 2001 also saw the opening of The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the departure of the Mike Fink Keelboats. On October 1, 2001, Disney’s 100 Years of Magic

elebration began, honoring the anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth.

2003-2004: More Mickey and Friends

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October 2003 saw another period of great change in the park—the 3-D film Mickey’s PhilharMagic replaced The Legend of the Lion King, an all-new fireworks spectacular called Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams lit up the sky for the first time and The EtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter closed. Alien Encounter's replacement arrived more than a year later with the scary but friendly Stitch’s Great Escape.

2005-PRESENT: Movie Makeovers

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Disney could not ignore the 2003 blockbuster film Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, so in 2006, the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was refurbished to add the characters of Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones to the ride. Also in 2006, The Timekeeper closed and reopened as the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor the following year. It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, The Hall of Presidents and Space Mountain all underwent huge refurbishments. Now, expectations grow over the big expansion of Fantasyland, which will include new attractions, shops, restaurants, experiences and areas based on Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo.

Attractions

Main Street, U.S.A.

Adventureland

Frontierland

Liberty Square

Fantasyland

Tomorrowland

Planned Film

Director Jon Favreau and Walt Disney Pictures plan to produce and release a film concerning a family at Disneyland which finds the theme park characters and attractions coming to life.

Favreau, who said "the Disney iconography was probably the first set of archetypes that I was exposed to" and that Disney movies and attractions "made a deep impression on me as a child", noted that, "When I first heard about the Magic Kingdom film project, I was on my way to visit Disneyland with my family. I took notes and had no problem filling a book with all the ideas that this concept offered, even on first blush."

Marc Abraham and Eric Newman of Strike Entertainment are scheduled to produce the film. 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 will develop a new script. On June 20, 2011, Spider-Man 2 story contributor, Michael Chabon signed on to write the film's script.

Gallery

External links


Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Main Street, U.S.A.: Walt Disney World Railroad| Main Street Vehicles | Disney's Electrical Parade

Adventureland: Swiss Family Treehouse | The Magic Carpets of Aladdin | Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room | Jungle Cruise | Pirates of the Caribbean

Frontierland: Splash Mountain | Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Tom Sawyer Island | Country Bear Jamboree | Frontierland Shootin' Arcade

Liberty Square: The Hall of Presidents | Liberty Square Riverboat | The Haunted Mansion

Fantasyland: Cinderella Castle | It's a Small World | Peter Pan's Flight | Mickey's PhilharMagic | Dream Along With Mickey | Prince Charming Regal Carrouse | Dumbo the Flying Elephant | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh | Mad Tea Party | The Great Goofini | Cinderella's Royal Table

New Fantasyland: | Seven Dwarfs Mine Train | Ariel's Grotto | Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid | Be Our Guest Restaurant | Enchanted Tales with Belle | Princess Fairytale Hall

Tomorrowland: Tomorrowland Speedway | Space Mountain | Astro Orbiter | Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover | Carousel of Progress | Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin | Stitch's Great Escape! | Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

Resorts: Disney's Contemporary Resort | Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa | Disney's Polynesian Resort | Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Former Attractions: The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) | Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes | Mike Fink Keel Boats | Mickey Mouse Revue | Mr. Toad's Wild Ride | Skyway | Snow White's Scary Adventures | 0,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage | If You Had Wings | Delta Dreamflight | The Timekeeper | Magic Journeys

Others: List of Magic Kingdom attractions | Mickey's Toontown Fair | Virtual Magic Kingdom


Kingdom Keepers
Kingdom Keepers I Disney After Dark
Books: Kingdom Keepers | Kingdom Keepers I: Disney After Dark | Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn | Kingdom Keepers III: Disney In Shadow | Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play | Kingdom Keepers V: Shell Game | Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage

Original Characters: Finn Whitman | Charlene Turner | Terrence Maybeck | Dell Philby | Isabella Angelo | Wayne Kresky | Amanda Lockhart | Jessica Lockhart | Mrs. Whitman | Wanda Alcott | Greg Luowski | Storey Ming | Bess Maybeck | Gladis Philby | Sally Ringwald | Dillard Cole | Hugo Montcliff | Mattie Weaver

Disney Characters: Mickey Mouse | Minnie Mouse | Pluto | Ariel | Mulan | King Triton | Megara | Goofy | Stitch | Lilo | Winnie the Pooh | Piglet | Tigger | Chip 'n' Dale

Overtakers: Maleficent | Chernabog | The Queen | Cruella De Vil | Claude Frollo | Ursula | Jafar | Shan Yu | Jack Sparrow | Tia Dalma | Gaston | Prince John | Horned King | Big Bad Wolf | J. Worthington Foulfellow | Gideon | Shenzi, Banzai and Ed | Diablo | Magic Brooms | Green Army Men | Blackbeard

Locations: Magic Kingdom | Epcot | Disney's Hollywood Studios | Disney's Animal Kingdom | Typhoon Lagoon | DisneyQuest | Cinderella Castle | Escher's Keep | It's a Small World | Splash Mountain | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh | Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Expedition Everest | Fantasmic! | Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Disney Dream | Walt Disney: One Man's Dream | Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge | Soarin' | Mission: SPACE | Test Track | Wonders of Life | Morocco Pavilion | China Pavilion | France Pavilion | Norway Pavilion | Mexico Pavilion | Disneyland | Jungle Cruise | Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye | Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

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