Walt Disney World Resort, Florida.
Often referred to as Disney World or Disney, the resort itself is much more than just the theme parks. The 47-square-mile property boasts four theme parks, two water parks, six golf courses a sport complex, a race track, twenty resort hotels, many shopping, dining and entertainment places, and even has it’s own fire department. Construction began almost a year after Walt Disney’s death in 1966. The resort opened in 1971, with the Magic Kingdom, followed by Epcot (1982), Disney’s MGM Studios (1989), and finally Disney’s Animal Kingdom (1998).
The Magic Kingdom. (1971)
The Magic Kingdom is a theme park covering 107 acres (433,000 m²) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company, through its Walt Disney Parks and Resorts unit. Opened on October 1, 1971, it is one of the most famous Florida theme parks and is credited with beginning the Floridian tourism boom. Because Disneyland was still the name of both the park and hotel complex during the planning of the Walt Disney World resort, it was decided that it would be wrong to have a Disneyland Park in the Walt Disney World resort, thus it was settled that the theme park would be called The Magic Kingdom, for the Walt Disney World resort would most certainly expand with both more theme parks and hotels in the years to come, however the Magic Kingdom was also a reference to Disneyland Park, even though it was never officially called that.
Rides and Attractions
The Magic Kingdom is split into 7 ‘zones’. When you enter the park, the first one you come to is Main Street USA. Lined with shops and restaurants, this small part of the park is decked out in a 20th Century, small town America Décor which was inspired by Walt Disneys childhood. It boasts a train station, connecting to most of the other zones in the park, City Hall, where guest relations are stationed, a real working barber shop where you can get your hair done for a small fee, and many more shops selling everything from Disney merchandise, to ice cream.
Known as ‘cast members’, employees at Disney are all dressed up to correspond with the time era. You will find a barber shop quartet dressed in traditional 20th Century clothing, along with many of the women in long, flowing dresses.
At the end of Main Street, you find yourself standing in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle. Surrounded by a moat, the castle stands at a rather small 180 feet. (55m). However, it looks much taller. This is because it was designed with a technique known as forced perspective, meaning that the building slowly gets smaller as you go up. If you were to go and stand next to one of the windows at the top of the castle, you would find it to be rather small. Another interesting fact about Cinderella’s Castle, is that the entire thing is made from fibre glass. This is so, in the event of a hurricane or tornado, the entire castle can be disassembled in around 5 hours.
In front of the castle, stands the ‘Partners’ Statue of Walt Disney and his finest creation, Mickey Mouse. In addition to this statue, there is also a statue of Roy O. Disney (Walt’s brother) sitting with Minnie Mouse close to the park entrance.
Adventure Land represents the mysteries of exploring foreign lands. The zone is based on the out backs of Africa, the Caribbean and other tropic-esque places. Rides and places of interest;
- Swiss Family Treehouse. This attraction is a play on the treehouse featured in the movie, The Swiss Family Robinson. The tree has passages and steps built into it, which enable visitors to walk right to the top of the tree house. It’s literally like a house, including rooms and lots of different props to make it look like a real, live in home.
- The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management). This attraction has been in the Magic Kingdom from the start. It’s hard to explain this attraction; the best I can do is say it’s a Theatre presentation hosted by animatronic birds. Closed in 1997 for renovation, it reopened in 1998 to much controversy as The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) and now included Iago from Aladdin, and Zazu from the Lion King.
- The Jungle Cruise is a humorous boat ride, whereby you sit in a boat (duh) and are taken into the depths of Asian, African and South American jungles. You are taken round by a skipper, who has memorized a spiel as you go round.
- Pirates of the Caribbean. Now, lets get something straight first. The movie is based on the ride. It was first thought of in the late 1950’s, whereby visitors would walk around a waxwork museum depicting various scenes from history. The ride developed, and ended up pretty much as it is today; this is another boat ride. You are taken around several scenes depicting life as a pirate sat in your little 20 man boat (which goes around on a little track hidden under the water). As you go through each section, you are greeted by lots of different animatronic pirates (shown in this link from good old youtube). One of the things that springs to mind about Pirates of the Caribbean is the theme song which all the pirates are singing as you go round. YoHo(a Pirates Life for Me) sets a light hearted tone to what were seen as violent times in history.
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is very much like the Dumbo ride, whereby you sit in a little cabin shaped (somehow) like a carpet, and get spun around at some speed. Like the Dumbo ride, you can also make your carpet go up and down, and it moves forwards and backwards to simulate a ‘real’ flying carpet.
Frontier land is all about exploration, cowboys and the Indians.
Epcot - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
Disney's MGM Studios
Disney's Animal Kingdom