The Magic Kingdom is the heart and soul of Walt Disney World. This is where you can rocket through space, hop on the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness and splash 13 stories down into a Briar Patch. You can spin on tea cups, ride a mine train to see the Seven Dwarfs and fire laser guns to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg. As fun as all of that is, there are a few quieter attractions here that you’ll want to be sure not to miss. These may not spin you around, make you lose your stomach or get you wet on a hot summer day but they are Disney icons all to themselves and a trip to the Magic Kingdom wouldn’t be complete without a visit to each.
it’s a small world
The official way to spell this attraction’s name is with all small letters – no capitalization – and it is trademarked as such. This attraction debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York at the UNICEF pavilion. Walt personally oversaw the development of this ride from the music to the dolls’ design (this alone gets this attraction on my list). Each doll is completely identical in shape representing that it is a small world. This attraction was originally known as Children of the World during its development but was renamed after the legendary Sherman Brothers rewrote the theme song and it was titled it’s a small world. It truly is the “happiest cruise that ever sailed”.
The Haunted Mansion is a fun, tongue in cheek look at the spirit world. While there are a few loud noises and dark scenes that may be scary for young children, overall this is a light hearted experience that is one of the most beloved attractions at Walt Disney World. Join your Ghost Host in your Doom Buggy and tour the mansion while meeting 999 happy haunts. It is so detailed that each time you experience the attraction you will see something new. This is Disney Imagineering at its best!
There is a reason that lines for this 3 minute ride reach upward of an hour within minutes after the park opening (I HIGHLY recommend a FastPass for this attraction). This is vintage Disney. The beloved story of Peter Pan is told as you fly above in your pirate ship. This attraction appeals to every age – you are never too young or too told to experience this.
The Jungle Cruise was born from Walt’s love of animals. In fact, he originally wanted to use live animals in the attraction but quickly realized he couldn’t control the “show” when using live animals and they also slept quite a bit during the day. Audio animatronics solved that problem. The skipper’s spiel is meant to be tongue in cheek and corny and many of the lines have remained the same since the script was written in 1962. Many of the scenes in the Jungle Cruise were taken from Walt’s True-Life Adventure films. When visiting during the holidays the Jungle Cruise becomes the Jingle Cruise with a holiday overlay – don’t miss it! After your cruise take in a meal at the Jungle Skipper Canteen where the Jungle Cruise skippers will wine and dine you in their very unique way.
Pirates of the Caribbean
With the popularity of the Johnny Depp movies many of today’s children may think the movies preceded this classic attraction when in fact the original Pirates of the Caribbean opened at Disneyland in 1967 and was the last attraction that was overseen by Walt himself. The Walt Disney World version has been tweaked over the years to accommodate updates and scenes from the movies however the bones still remain true to the Disneyland version. This 8 minute cruise will take you through towns being plundered by those crazy pirates. You’ll find some of the most detailed audio-animatronics here. This is another timeless attraction that will appeal to all ages.
Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth I hope you take the time to enjoy these vintage Disney attractions. The theming, storytelling and music is some of the best you’ll find in all of the Walt Disney World theme parks. Walt’s hand can be seen in each of them and he would be happy to see guests of all ages enjoying these timeless rides.
It’s the stories and imagineering that makes Walt Disney World so special. My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a travel planner with Travel with the Magic. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 20 times and I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. Email me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook for tips, tricks and information on all things Disney!