It’s in the name – Magic Kingdom. It’s a place where magic happens every day, and people are willing to pay small fortunes for their fair sprinkling of pixie dust. All too often, in this time of hurry and conquer, we find ourselves overwhelmed with the mangle of Fastpasses, dining reservations and schedules that we fail to even take notice of the magic itself. The Magic Kingdom offers so much more than thrilling “mountains” and Jurassic turkey legs. During your visit, take some time to acknowledge all of the little magic moments taking place around you. These are the things that make your experience unique. These are the moments that make your memories magical!
Some of the Magic Kingdom’s highlights aren’t scheduled or housed in dedicated buildings. Many of the greatest experiences are spontaneous, in fact! I’m often asked for tips and suggestions on the “extras” that Walt Disney World has to offer. There’s so much that doesn’t quite fit into the category of “attractions” per se, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of mention! To round out my review of the Magic Kingdom, I’d like to share some of my favorite magical moments around the Magic Kingdom with you! (As always, click any photo for full-sized image.)
For the most complete and current listing of character greeting locations and schedules at the Magic Kingdom, I highly recommend checking with Kenny the Pirate.
If character interactions suit your fancy, you may want to consider Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial, near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Swashbucklers, wenches and rapscallions of all ages will thoroughly enjoy the Captain’s wit-drenched pearls of wisdom. You may even be chosen for a special pirate demonstration!
What’s that soaring over the Rivers of America?
My personal favorite? The Casey’s Corner Pianist!
But WAIT – that’s not all! Far from it, actually! Although you may not know it, Main Street U.S.A. is more than just a string of repetitive gift shops. If you stick around for just a bit, you’ll see trolley cars, horses, and even dancing dwarfs and light-up caterpillars! Yes, you read that right… you see, Main Street is parade central, both day and night!
The costuming in Festival of Fantasy is fantastic! Original, fun and lively!
The floats are always stunning in a Disney parade. Themed around beloved Disney tales and characters, they boast extravagant detail, color and engineering… along with a few familiar faces.
Not all of the characters are on the floats, however! If you’re at ground level, keep an eye out for strolling and dancing characters! Do keep in mind… guest participation is not an option here. You are not welcome to go hiding under Dopey’s coat or demonstrate your ballroom dancing skills.
Arguably, the main attraction in the Festival of Fantasy Parade is Maleficent. This is the segment that everyone has been buzzing about since its debut. First, the build up… after the three good fairies go fluttering by…
Price Phillip must face down the fierce Maleficent, in dragon form!
Almost anti-climactic once the host and hostess mice make their appearance at parade’s end, eh? And, by the way… see that swarm of people? Thousands of people essentially join in at the end of the parade to herd their way to the exit, so it may be a wise idea to step back and wait for the mob to die down.
And, I’m not kidding!
Let’s put that in panoramic perspective, shall we?
Another reason to love the sanctuary of the train station!
The atmosphere and decor changes seasonally, and this is always fun to watch when Halloween and Christmas roll around, but of course you can enjoy these things even without attending the after-hours shindigs.
Of course, all of this is just the start of the fun you can have at the Magic Kingdom without even getting to the rides. Impromptu performances arise anywhere at a moment’s notice, and many hidden gems await you. Speaking of “hidden”… have you discovered Hidden Mickeys yet? If not, there’s something to add to your list! Find out more about this fanatical Disney obsession in my previous reports here and here. It’s a challenging, free way to enjoy Disney from another angle, and it’s fun for all ages. If you have some time and money to kill (as if!), consider one of the many behind-the-scenes tours available at the Magic Kingdom park as well. And… if you think all of this is impressive… just wait till I start covering the TRULY secret side of Walt Disney World – the resort hotels!
And just one final note on Magic Kingdom magic… call it a tribute, if you will. Up until recently, there was one exceptionally original experience hidden within Tomorrowland… if you can believe it, this remarkable little highlight was a trash can! Yes, you read that right – a trash can. Don’t believe me? Well, how would you explain a child finding a garbage receptacle so irresistible that he had to hug it?
This is no ordinary trash can. PUSH (yes, he had a name) was like the Pied Piper!
You’re waiting for the punchline, aren’t you? Well, this is another one that I can’t describe as well as demonstrate, so…
Get it now? PUSH was a phenomenal little surprise, and you never knew when he’d make an appearance. So, where is PUSH now? Sadly, he is a thing of the past – a shattering recent development that left many WDW loyalists heartbroken. Maybe we’ll let you get away with the removal of Mr. Toad and Snow White, but our trash can? Now, that’s crossing the line. Disney tried to deny PUSH’s “retirement” when the #savePUSH campaign took to Twitter, but alas, as of February 10, 2014, PUSH is no more. For more info on the demise of PUSH, click here.
Stay tuned, readers… Epcot is the next area of our Walt Disney World exploration!
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