Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Magic Kingdom - Trip report Part 1

This weekend’s posts will consist of three parts; two parts for an exhaustive Magic Kingdom review with 100 pictures Part 1 today and Part 2 tomorrow. And then for the “Bonus Sunday” post, look for a small review of the “other parks” and the guide maps for all parks.

The Magic Kingdom pictures are a mix from two separate days. The first day (Tuesday) was overcast and did rain pretty well throughout the entire afternoon. The second day (Saturday) was much nicer out, but still had a weird overcast haze that made the whole place look odd, or maybe the place just looks odd?

The Transportation Center! Exciting its not. From here you can buy tickets, and then board a Monorail or Boat to the Magic Kingdom. You can also access the Monorail to EPCOT and the other Disney resorts from here (and ride them all day for free). I don’t recommend getting here just before opening; they hold back the Magic Kingdom transportation and thousands of people are waiting for the gates to open. At 11:00am on Saturday I walked right on the Monorail, no line or waiting.

The ride over to the Magic Kingdom on the Monorail is splendid. First, it’s seriously fast and high up, then going thru the Contemporary Hotel and seeing Mary Blair’s Mural’s was awesome. (Did you know there are two sets of Mural's and each is three sided, coolness).

A mass of humanity exiting the monorail.

This is a bad show. “Guests” from all areas (Monorails, Boats & Buses) all funnel into this small area where the security check point is. This was chaos, I was bad and left the family with the bags and ran thru the “no bags” section, it’s somewhere there in the middle. I don’t mind waiting at Disneyland for the checkpoint, at least you have a distinct line, but this was just a free for all.

Ah thru the main gate at last. The train station is up so high it’s hard to get a good photo, as these two pictures show.

This was taken at 1:16pm on Saturday, notice how few people are hanging around the front? It doesn’t have that same “magic” feel as this area does at Disneyland.

Double tunnels, I seem to recall this in an early concept drawing for Disneyland. It works here with the “bigger is better” theme.

Entering Main Street from the left there is a City Hall just like Disneyland, except, you guessed it, it’s bigger.

The theater building looks interesting. Too bad the Walt Disney Story is no longer playing there; if I was I would have gone in.

Entering Main Street from the right side is the most “similar” feeling to Disneyland I got in the entire park, especially with the Omnibus there.

The back of the train station is neat looking, but something about it just doesn’t work for me. It didn’t need to be this big; it handles less people than the Disneyland Trains.

This is the same area where the Coffee house and “International Street” are located at Disneyland.

Horse and Trolley, with the Dapper Dans as riders!

This was weird. On Tuesday morning there were several costumed cast members out in front of the stores, just standing there saying hello. As you slow down to say hello, you feel the amazing Air Conditioning they have on Main Street, every door is open yet its cool and dry as you cross the threshold, I’m talking sub 70 when it’s 95/90 outside.

This would be West Center Street.

This possibly was East Center Street. I like the lone balloon man!

Looking up towards the hub, it’s pretty hard to miss the Castle.

The center hub and the moat that surround it are of course, big, but also beautiful. It’s not flat at all, and its flows very nicely. I wish they had the Plaza Swan Boats still, how fun would that be to go around the hub AND the Swiss Family Tree House!

The front of the castle is a busy place; it might help traffic patterns if you could actually walk THRU the castle. But some silly show over-rides that thought.

Looking back at Main Street from in front of the castle, you are definitely not in Anaheim anymore Dorothy.

Castle from the Tomorrowland side.

From the Adventureland/Liberty Square side.

Alright, what’s with this, no draw bridge! It’s lame enough you can’t cross it, at least it could be real!

Obviously built to have photos taken of it.

Inside the Castle are these murals that tell the story of Cinderella (I think).

Too bad you can only view one and half of them since, did I mention, you can’t walk thru the castle!

Looking out from the castle (had you just walked thru it) this is the view of Fantasyland, Yawn...

Looking to the left, we see Mickey’s Philarmagic or whatever it’s called. Ok, someone told me not to miss this; you owe me 30 minutes of my life. First and worst, they have about 400 people waiting in this tight “holding area” until a few sets of 6 foot wide doors open and the 400 people crush and smash together to cram thru those few doors. I don’t know how you fix that, but Disney needs to find a way. The show was not that good either, the 3D/splash you with water thing is really getting played out. BRING BACK THE MICKEY MOUSE REVUE.

Fantasyland and the entire park were LESS crowded on Saturday than Tuesday, the complete opposite of Disneyland.


The Tea Cups are covered, it makes them seem much less exciting from the outside.

It’s a small queue area after all…. Weird indoor queue line for It’s a Small World.

The ride itself was very much like Disneyland’s is (or was?). It was refurbished recently and it is all shiny and new looking.

Let’s move over to Tomorrowland. The entrance is just a colossal mess.

The entrance as seen from the WEDway PeopleMover, unfortunately it doesn’t look any better from this angle.

This is the main corridor for Tomorrowland, what a jumbled mess.

Looking back towards the entrance from the Lower lever of the PeopleMover/Rocket Jets building. Navigating this is even harder than it looks.

There is a little more breathing room in the north part of Tomorrowland.

Some structures that got missed in the “New” Tomorrowland update, good.

Autopia. They call it something else; I didn’t even pay attention to the name. Look at it, its AUTOPIA!

Oh boy, these are the great little cars I remember so fondly at Disneyland. The Mini Corvette’s with the worlds sloppiest steering.

The noise, the smell of gas fumes and old engines it’s all intoxicating; I mean that in a good way.

Great views of Space Mountain from Autopia.

Here is the Progress City Model. I posted the video last week (link). These are pretty washed out because of the flash, but you can make out some of the detail so I thought I would go ahead and post them.

And look who I found in Tomorrowland, a blue rodent of some sort?

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 as we visit the west side of the park. And a Bonus mini review of the other parks AND all the maps!


ericpaddon said...

Some great pictures and a great report! I'd differ a bit on Mickey's Philarmagic, because while it is indeed no Mickey Mouse Revue (and the show title is a misnomer since it's really another Donald story with Mickey an incidental figure), it's at least an improvement over what they'd been using the space for ever since the MMR left in 1980. For a decade they just showed movies and then a Lion King show for a decade after that, which I never bothered to see.

We never called it the Autopia. :) It's still the Grand Prix Raceway for me, though they later added theming related to the Indy car circuit (including the scoring pylon that copies the one at the Indianapolis Speedway) in the mid-90s when WDW used to host an Indy Car race on a race track that has now fallen into disuse.

I can not get over how your picture shows what a hideous eyesore Tomorrowland's main corridor is now. Compare that to this view of the same spot in the good old days:

Looking forward to the next installment!

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks for the trip report, this is what I have been waiting for! The Monorail looks like fun, way up high like that. The train station is certainly impressive, very large and grandiose. I wonder if it was based on any actual American train station? Main street is so big and ornate, and yet you DO see echoes of the li'l California original, which is interesting. Obviously they were going for spectacle over a sense of intimacy (Walt went to some pains to keep the Anaheim Main Street from feeling too big). You can see how hot it is in one of the photos, guys have shirts on their heads to keep the blasting sun off of them! The castle is beautiful, I have to admit. But I am shocked that you can't walk through it!! Covered teacups? Meh. The IASW queue is interesting. Tomorrowland - - yeesh. Ours is not much better though. The Autopia looks great!

And the Progressland model, whoo hoo! I thought I read that it is not in fact the entire model? It still looks wonderful though, I'd love to see it for myself.


Westcot2000 said...

Major: The tea party may be covered, but they have the Dormouse!

We were supposed to get a clone of Alien Encounter in the old Mars building, but it was determined that our show building wasn't big enough. Or so said Jeff Kurtii.

Trivia time: Something about the mosaics in the WDW castle were slightly controversial for the same reason the Mary Blair murals in Tomorrowland at Disneyland had controversial four years earlier.

To find out why you'll have to visit my blog when I get around to making another post.

Thanks for sharing the great pictures.

I too found Philharmagic to be a bit of a trainwreck--and not in the good way. Hopefully you don't have any complaints about my tip to visit Islands of Adventure!

Scott said...

Interesting to see a visit to MK from someone who's used to Disneyland. I'm just the opposite; I had only been to WDW until last year.

It's my understanding that you can still walk through Cinderella Castle early in the morning.

Personally, I'm a fan of Mickey's Philharmagic. Best of the 3D movies in WDW (MuppetVision 3D is a close second) IMO. I think the reason they call it Mickey's Philharmagic is because you're supposed to be watching a Mickey-conducted orchestra until Donald messes it up.

The Small World queue was redone a few years ago. Small World was crammed into Fantasyland, unlike the huge amount of space it has in Disneyland. When they redid the queue, they tried to make it more like Disneyland, but it still can't compete with the amount of space Disneyland has.

Tim said...

Fantastic posting! Just came across your blog by accident, but love it, especially since I've never been to Disneyland. Hope you don't mind, but I've linked to your blog from mine, which is