LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Magic Kingdom, the first Walt Disney World Resort theme park, debuted in 1971 – 16 years after Walt Disney’s first park, Disneyland, opened in Anaheim, Calif. Magic Kingdom’s blue- and gold-turreted, 18-tower icon, Cinderella Castle, rises 189 feet above the park’s 142 acres.
Similar to Disneyland, the park is divided into six themed lands:
• Main Street, U.S.A. – City Hall, Main Street Vehicles, Main Street Chamber of Commerce (package pickup), Harmony Barber Shop, Town Square Theater, Main Street Bakery, Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, Walt Disney World Railroad, shops and emporiums.
• Adventureland -Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Swiss Family Treehouse, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, The Pirates League.
• Frontierland -Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Country Bear Jamboree, Tom Sawyer Island, Walt Disney World Railroad.
• Liberty Square -Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square Riverboat, The Hall of Presidents.
• Fantasyland – Cinderella Castle, “it’s a small world,” Peter Pan’s Flight, Mad Tea Party, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Fairytale Garden, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey’s PhilharMagic 3-D movie experience, Walt Disney World Railroad. Opened early-to-mid 2012: Dumbo, the Flying Elephant with double the flying Dumbos in Storybook Circus, Barnstormer Coaster re-themed to the Great Goofini, the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station water play area, and Fantasyland Train Station. New Fantasyland opening December 2012: Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid, Arial’s Grotto, Enchanted Tales with Belle.
• Tomorrowland – Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Stitch’s Great, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
• Town Square Theater — Meet Mickey Mouse and the Disney princesses, and look for dozens of other Disney characters at locations throughout the park.
• “Dream Along with Mickey” — Mickey Mouse and friends show Donald Duck that dreams really do come true in this musical stage show.
• “Celebrate a Dream Come True” — Mickey Mouse leads a daily parade celebrating the history of Disney animation.
• “Main Street Electrical Parade” — Presented on select nights, this energetic parade of Disney characters features floats dotted with millions of twinkling lights.
• “Wishes” — Jiminy Cricket narrates the biggest, boldest fireworks show ever presented at Magic Kingdom, a heart-tugging “story in the sky” about making a wish come true, presented most nights.
Food and Beverage
• Open Dec. 2012: Be Our Guest Restaurant (New Fantasyland) – “great food fast” by day; fine dining table service with French flair for dinner
• Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Main Street, U.S.A.) — salads, pastas, Italian entrees
• Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Frontierland) — burgers, sandwiches, salads
• Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square) — clam chowder, fish, chicken, sandwiches
• Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland) — pizza, pasta, salads and chicken breast nuggets
• Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland) — burgers, chicken, salads, sandwiches
Guests can dine with Disney characters at Cinderella’s Royal Table (Fantasyland – breakfast, lunch and dinner); The Crystal Palace (Main Street, U.S.A. – buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner). For dining reservations, call 407/WDW-DINE.
Night of Joy — Top contemporary Christian music acts present concerts from several stages during this special-ticket evening event in September.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party — Mickey and the gang invite guests to this all-ages celebration of fun frights held on multiple nights each September and October.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party — Each holiday season, Mickey and his friends celebrate the season on several special nights with exclusive entertainment and a holiday-themed parade starring Santa Claus.
Following the success of Disneyland, which opened in 1955, entertainment pioneer Walt Disney (1901-66) set his sights on what he called his company’s “most exciting and challenging assignment” — the creation of a vast vacation paradise known today as Walt Disney World Resort. Walt’s dream was realized when Magic Kingdom, the first of four theme parks at the sprawling Florida site, opened Oct. 1, 1971. Walt’s older brother and lifelong business partner, Roy O. Disney, inaugurated the park. And the magic began.