May 23, 2013

Overlooked Attractions at the Magic Kingdom

After having so much fun telling you about my favorite Overlooked Attractions at Disneyland, I thought I would move on and share my favorite ways to enjoy the smaller attractions and special experiences in the  Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

By most accounts, the incredible men and women of Imagineering were tasked with designing a different Magic Kingdom than Disneyland, a park for a different audience and for a different purpose. Remember, Walt Disney had his thoughts focused on an EPCOT that truly was an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The theme park was to be the weenie to draw folks to it.

Perhaps its this explanation that answers the question as to why there are fewer smaller, charming attractions at the park versus its older sibling. They are not fully forgotten, just fewer in number and different in nature. Let's look at a few:

1- Tom Sawyer Island. No pirates here, just old fashioned fun with Tom, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher. It's one of the last remaining old school attractions. The only mistake? Removing Aunt Polly's patio- a great place to get a drink and watch the World go by. Or take a long leisurely look at the creepy Haunted Mansion perched high up on that bluff across the river.

2- Liberty Square. This Walt Disney World original still charms me. Even without riding its two landmark attractions, Mansion and Hall of Presidents, the place seems to cry out for exploration. There are sleepy little corners for sitting and watching the world go by. Small discoveries like the Liberty Tree and its thirteen lanterns help ground the Disney fantasy into a bit of history. 

3- Pinocchio Village Haus. Granted, navigating Fantasyland in the afternoon hours when its not a necessity may be crazy. Yet there's something sweet about taking an upstairs table, sipping a Coke, and watching the boats cruise into It's a Small World

4- Walt Disney World Railroad / PeopleMover. Either of these transportation systems provides a welcome relief from the crowds that by nature follow the "E Ticket" attractions. In the Florida heat, a journey on both provide a nice breeze as well as sights not available to those walking the park. This includes a view of the Contemporary Resort outside the Magic Kingdom- reminding guests we are at Walt Disney World, after all.

5- Swiss Family Treehouse. What is there to be said that hasn't already been said? While Disneyland transformed its version into Tarzan's Treehouse, cooler and wiser heads prevailed in its younger sibling. (It does happen!) Jungle sights, jungle sounds, and the iconic Swisskapolka. It doesn't get much better than walking high above it all, listening, dreaming, remembering.

6- The Crystal Palace. Just the sight of this restaurant, and I'm taken back to another time and place. A leisurely meal here is now expensive, but to sit back in the corner and view the building's details reminds me of the care and artwork that went into designing Disney's second kingdom. The glass elements of the atrium domes are gorgeous. Obviously well designed and well loved.

7- Monorails / Ferry Boats. Arriving at the park via one of these systems is a delight! The monorails cruise high above it all, and a trip through the lobby of the Contemporary Resort never fails to impress. On the other hand, a waterborne journey across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom is an attraction in its own right. The mild waves, the boaters enjoying the water, and the ground level view of each resort with the castle up ahead builds anticipation for a great day at Florida's number one park. Which do I prefer? It's a toss up! And something no other Disney resort has!

As you can tell, beyond the headlining attractions, much of my enjoyment of the Magic Kingdom is sightseeing in the truest sense. That's part of the secret of enjoying the whole World- slow down, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the number one attraction in the world.

Maybe I ought to take a look at Epcot next...

(Art copyright Walt Disney Company.)

No comments: