The 50th Anniversary celebration at the Walt Disney World Resort has many Guests not only celebrating the future, but looking back at the past half-century and seeing how the vacation destination has grown and developed into the place that they love today. Fifty years is a substantial amount of time, and while much has changed over the years, just as much has remained the same.
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Guests who visit the Walt Disney World Resort today can enjoy countless attractions and experiences that have been added in the last fifty years, but there are also plenty of opening day attractions that have withstood the test of time. Here are all of the opening day attractions from October 1, 1971, that still exist today for Guests to enjoy in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney World Railroad
One of the very first things that Guests encounter when entering through the gates of the Magic Kingdom is the Walt Disney World Railroad, which has stations in Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Storybook Circus. The attraction has Guests board one of four beautifully restored steam trains and head off for a round trip tour of the Magic Kingdom with unique views and special scenes along the Rivers of America that can’t be enjoyed otherwise. The Walt Disney World Railroad is a wonderful way to travel around the Magic Kingdom and is also an enjoyable round trip experience for Guests simply looking to soak in beautiful views and relaxing narration.
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Swiss Family Treehouse
Moving into Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, Guests can enjoy the Swiss Family Treehouse, which has been immersing Guests in the story originally written by Johann David Wyss since opening day. The towering tree showcases the innovative home created by the Robinson family after being shipwrecked on a deserted island, and Guests climb six stories above the Magic Kingdom to enjoy stunning panoramic views. While Guests do have to climb up many stairs, the wonderful details found throughout the experience are just as charming today as they were on opening day and shouldn’t be missed!
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Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Another opening day attraction in Adventureland is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, which brings Guests into the Sunshine Pavilion for an unforgettable show. Once settled into their seats in a round theater, hundreds of animatronic birds, flowers, and tikis appear to entertain Guests from above with classic songs like “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” and “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing.” There have been some changes and additions to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room over the years (looking at you, Iago animatronic), but the current version is very similar to the opening day experience from fifty years ago.
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The final opening day attraction in Adventureland that Guests can still enjoy today is the world-famous Jungle Cruise. The Jungle Cruise brings Guests on an unforgettable adventure down some of the most exotic rivers in the world. While certain scenes have been changed over the years to reflect appropriate themes, the Jungle Cruise is still very similar to how it was on opening day. Guests are sure to continue loving the groan-worthy jokes and corny humor proved by the skippers for another fifty years to come.
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Country Bear Jamboree
Rides are not the only original experiences still at Magic Kingdom. A musical experience that was available to Guests on opening day was Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland. Guests can still enter Grizzly Hall today and listen to a medley of catchy songs by favorite characters like Henry, Big Al, Liverlips, Trixie, and more. Country Bear Jamboree features some of the same humorous jokes and bits that it did upon opening fifty years ago, and Guests today still can’t get enough of the unforgettable performance. The Country Bears have even become so popular with Guests that they can often be found out and about in Frontierland causing all sorts of mayhem.
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The Hall of Presidents
One of the most patriotic experiences that Guests can enjoy at the Walt Disney World Resort is The Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Operating since opening day, the attraction celebrates the office of the President of the United States through a historical presentation, short speech by Abraham Lincoln, and dramatic reveal of all presidents standing together as one on the stage. While the core of the story remains the same, The Hall of Presidents has been updated throughout the years, with each new president added and given a short speaking role.
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Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is also home to one of the most beloved attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort that has been scaring Guests since opening day. The Haunted Mansion is home to nine hundred and ninety-nine happy haunts, who materialize in all sorts of eerie and humorous ways throughout the experience. The Haunted Mansion is a classic attraction that Guests have come to love, and it features favorite characters like the Ghost Host, Madame Leota, and the Hitchhiking Ghosts as well as the song “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”
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Peter Pan’s Flight
One attraction in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom has maintained its popularity as a Guest favorite ever since opening day and still boasts some of the lengthiest wait times in the Park. Peter Pan’s Flight brings Guests through the Darling children’s nursery and sprinkles them with pixie dust, allowing them to take to the skies over Neverland and London. Featuring vibrantly lit scenes and favorite characters, Guests are still just as charmed by the classic Peter Pan’s Flight as they were on opening day fifty years ago.
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“it’s a small world”
Directly across from Peter Pans Flight is another classic that was originally created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair and then recreated for opening day at the Walt Disney World Resort. “it’s a small world” brings Guests on the happiest cruise that ever sailed on a journey around the world, celebrating different countries and cultures and sharing a message of unity. Guests absolutely love this quintessential experience with hundreds of singing animatronic dolls, and “it’s a small world” the song is sure to be stuck in their heads for hours after each ride!
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Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
The center of Fantasyland is home to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, a favorite experience of many that has been operating in that very spot since opening day fifty years ago. Originally named Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, the attraction features dozens of unique and beautifully detailed horses that gently glide up and down as the carousel itself spins and plays calliope-style renditions of favorite Disney songs. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is just as much a classic today as it was on opening day, and Guests even have the chance to enjoy a ride on Cinderella’s horse with a golden ribbon on its tail.
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Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is considered by many Guests to be an iconic attraction and one that is a rite of passage for Guests to enjoy on their first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. The attraction invites Guests to fly high above Storybook Circus with Dumbo and enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding areas. While Dumbo the Flying Elephant was an opening day attraction, it was actually moved from the center of Fantasyland and over to Storybook Circus in 2012 and an entire second spinner was added to increase hourly capacity.
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Mad Tea Party
A dizzying experience that has been pleasing Guests since opening day is the Mad Tea Party in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. The attraction brings the Unbirthday scene from Alice in Wonderland to life and has Guests sit inside massive teacups before whirling their way across the floor. The Mad Tea Party is popular with Guests because they can control just how disorienting their experience will be by spinning a wheel in the center of each teacup. No matter how fast Guests choose to spin, the Mad Tea Party will always be a classic attraction that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
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The final attraction in the Magic Kingdom that still exists from opening day in 1971 is the Tomorrowland Speedway in Tomorrowland. The attraction allows Guests of all ages to get behind the wheel and whip down the track in individual racecars, and for many Guests it’s their very first experience driving as a young kid. The attraction is an absolute classic that has seen some minor changes and updates over the years, but it is still very much the same attraction that Guests enjoyed on opening day.
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