The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, and it was the first of the four parks to open. Unfortunately Walt himself passed away in 1966 before it opened, but his brother Roy O. Disney worked on the resort and dedicated the Magic Kingdom to his brother.
The Magic Kingdom has six lands or areas. There is Main Street U.S.A, Adventureland, Fronteirland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Imagineers have put so much consideration and careful thought into every single detail of Magic Kingdom and its different lands, and the park has such a rich history that it would be impossible to know everything there is know, but that doesn’t stop Disney fans from trying. Here are few fun facts to add to your knowledge of Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
6. Main Street U.S.A
Main Street U.S.A celebrates small town America in the early 20th century. It is widely know that Main Street was heavily influenced by Walt’s hometown Marceline, Missouri, and it is, but it was also heavily influenced by the hometown (Fort Collins, Colorado) of Disney Imagineer and Legend Harper Goff.
Lady and the Tramp also influenced the theming on Main Street. Everyone knows the restaurant Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, but there is another nod to the film nearby and it’s over at The Chapeau. The sign for The Chapeau is a pink hatbox, and it is the same hatbox that Jim Dear brings the little Lady puppy home in and gives to Darling. And it is purposely placed in a spot where guests can see it when dining at Tony’s Town Square.
When Magic Kingdom opened Adventureland had only three attractions, the Jungle Cruise, Tropical Serenade (now The Enchanted Tiki Room) and The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. Pirates of the Caribbean didn’t open in Adventureland until 1973. Believe it or not, there are about 65 pirates and villages in the attraction, and 60 animals. Disney Legend, Imagineer and animator Marc Davis (who designed many Disney ladies, such as Tinker Bell, Maleficent and Snow White among others) was on the creative team for Pirates of Caribbean and there is a tribute to him at the end of the ride in the treasure room. The coat of arms displayed on the wall in the room is Marc Davis’ family crest.
Frontierland is the home of the The Country Bear Jamboree, the second-longest running show at Disney, (the longest being the Carousel of Progress).
Big Thunder Mountain took Imagineers 15 years to plan, and cost as much to build in 1979 as it did for Disneyland to be built in 1955.
Splash Mountain is another wonderfully whimsical attractions in Frontierland. It takes guests along a course that is almost half a mile long, the drop is 52 feet and the flumes can reach a speed of 40 miles per hour. The ride is also filled with 950,000 gallons of water.
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3. Liberty Square
The Liberty Bell in the square was made from the same mold as the actual Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The Liberty Tree is a Southern Life Oak and it is 150 years old.
Next time you pass the graveyard at the Haunted Mansion take note of the names on the headstones, they are tributes to Disney Imaginners. Master Gracey is actually a reference to Yale Gracey, who created the famous dancing ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. Marc Davis and Xavier Atencio are just a couple of the other Imagineers who are referenced on the tombstones.
Fantasyland is home to the oldest ride in the park, The Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, which was built in 1917 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, and each and every horse (all 90 of them) is different from the next. There is one horse that has a gold ribbon around its tail, and that is said to be Cinderella’s favorite horse.
If you’ve been to Be Our Guest, you can’t help but notice the beautiful ceiling that looks just like the one in the film, complete with the cherubs, but there is something special about these cherubs. They are based on the children of the Imagineers who contributed to the project.
One of the newest attractions in Fantasyland is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. As the mine carts climb up the mountain, there are two sinister looking vultures at the top, those vultures are actually props from the now gone Snow White’s Scary Adventure attraction. Bashful, Doc, Grumpy and Happy inside the cottage at the end of the Mine Train ride are also from Snow White’s Scary Adventure. We love that Disney kept something from the old classic attraction and placed it in the new attraction.
When waiting in the queue for Space Mountain, take note of the sign that says “Active Earth Stations” it makes reference to all versions of the attraction in other parks such as Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and California.
The Carousel of Progress was originally called “Progressland” when it was created for the 1964 World’s Fair and its sponsor was General Electric. General Electric no longer is the sponsor for the Carousel of Progress but Disney has purposely left in references to the company throughout the attraction. Next time see if you can spot all the appliances marked with GE in the show.
We can’t forget about Cinderella Castle, the icon of not only Magic Kingdom but of Disney as a whole. The castle is 189 feet tall, but looks much larger. One way Disney achieved this look was to use smaller bricks at the top of the castle, making the top look farther away. Lining the walls of the pathway through the castle are five murals that tell the story of Cinderella. They are made of more than 1 million pieces of glass tiles, including real silver and gold pieces. The murals took 22 months to complete.
There is so much to discover and learn about Magic Kingdom, which is part of the reason guests continue to visit. What are some of your favorite facts or secrets about Magic Kingdom?