3) Tom Sawyer Island – Magic Kingdom
This attraction is perfect for kids of all ages, as well as kids at heart. Guests access Tom Sawyer’s Island in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom by boarding a log raft and sailing across the Rivers of America to the island. Once there, Guests disembark and begin their self-guided journey around the island that draws its inspiration from the stories of Mark Twain. Each time you visit the island, you can expect a different adventure—each one more exciting than the last.
This attraction is not readily noticeable because it sits across the river from the rest of Frontierland. And since it’s only accessible by log raft, it is easy to miss if you don’t already know it’s there. If you’re not sure where to board the rafts, ask a Cast Member to direct you.
2) Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room – Magic Kingdom
The Tiki Room was Walt’s concept from its beginnings at Disneyland. But often, Guests who are new to Disney World, or those who love the parks, but aren’t familiar with Walt’s life and work, skip the Enchanted Tiki Room, under the impression that it’s just a show with robot birds that move their beaks to the lyrics of an outdated playlist. Others miss it as they are racing through Adventureland to get to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in time to use their FastPasses. But there is something truly enchanting about this attraction.
The Enchanted Tiki Room was the first attraction to ever use audio animatronics. Audio animatronics is the registered trademark name given to a type of robotic animation invented and patented by The Walt Disney Company, and inside the Tiki Room, there are 225 of them—robotic birds, tiki gods, totem poles, flowers and plants. Before you pass by the Enchanted Tiki Room on your way to another attraction, stop in for the delightful 10-minute production. You’ll leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of some of Walt’s work. You’ll also come away with a greater appreciation for those other attractions with similar technology. (Photo credit: Disney)
1) Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – Magic Kingdom
The Carousel of Progress is situated just off the main thoroughfare in Tomorrowland. The building in which it is housed has a somewhat dated appearance, so Guests often skip this attraction as well. But as with so many wonderful experiences at Disney World, the Carousel also has a history—a backstory. The attraction was designed by Walt Disney at the request of General Electric, and it was housed inside “Progressland,” General Electric’s pavilion. It was created as a stage show with several acts. Each act is performed on a different part of the stage that is partitioned off from the rest of the stage. The show takes place on a stationary stage, and at the end of an act, the audience seating area rotates around the stage, much like a carousel. (Hence, the name “Carousel” of Progress.) The show made use of animatronic human figures that moved in sync with a recorded script. Each act highlighted electricity and its effects on man’s progress over the years. One act was set in the 1880s, one in the 1920s, one in the 1940s and one in 1964—the year of the New York World’s Fair. It was a hit at the Fair, and after the Fair was closed, the Carousel of Progress was moved to Disneyland, where it opened to Guests in 1967.
The Carousel of Progress wowed Guests at Disneyland until 1973, when it was closed so that it could be moved to Walt Disney World, where it opened in 1975. In 1993, it was renamed “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress” in 1993 to honor Walt. The attraction today is a 21-minute production with the same premise—a look at the role electricity and technology have played in man’s progress.
Whether it’s a trip aboard a time rover headed back 40,000 years, a journey through Walt’s life, an adventure with Tom Sawyer or a look at man’s progress over the last century, the next time you consider skipping an attraction in the parks at Disney World, remember that you might be missing an awesome experience!
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