by Tyler Glover
All my life, I have wished upon a star. I have wanted to ride a magic carpet and swim with mermaids. Furthermore, I have dreamed of riding elephants with big ears, eating a dinner brought to me by a serenading candelabra, and flying thanks to a little bit of pixie dust. Disney has always encouraged me to dream big. It should come as no surprise then that Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., lives up to its name. It truly is the most magical place on Earth.
After you arrive and board the ferry, you begin to feel the cool breeze on a hot Florida day. You sit down on a bench by an opening to see the beautiful blue lake. Music begins to play over the intercom. It is “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin.” The horn blows signaling it is time for departure. The ferry slowly begins to take off. Shortly, a very tall, ash grey castle with shiny gold trimming starts to come into view. You truly are going into a whole new world full of magic. When you see the beautiful Cinderella Castle come into view, you immediately feel a sense of peace. It is like going home. This home being your childhood where Disney dared you to dream.
I have been to Magic Kingdom five times in my lifetime. It was first a band trip, my honeymoon, and then three times with my family. I have gotten to experience every ride and been to almost every shop and now, I am here to tell you what the top 10 things are at Magic Kingdom.
10. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of those rides that as soon as it comes into view, you are amazed at how beautiful it is. You are truly transported into the frontier. It looks just like a mountain that would be in a Wild, Wild West film. This ride is a rollercoaster that is all around a mountain. You are on top of the mountain, you are going through the mountain, and you even begin the ride inside the mountain. The ride goes so fast that it is hard for you to even know where you are. It is a top-notch roller coaster but not the best roller coaster Magic Kingdom has to offer. If this awesome ride is not even the best, imagine how great the roller coasters at Magic Kingdom are!
“Barnstormer” is a rollercoaster that puts the legendary Goofy front and center. “The Great Goofini” has been operating airplanes and it doesn’t seem like it has been very successful. When you are standing in line, you see holes through signs that make it seem Goofy has been thrown from one of these airplanes. On this ride, you are riding on a “stunt plane” all around the barnyard. This ride is one of the few roller coasters that even kids of a younger age can experience. It obviously depends on the child but my youngest really enjoyed this. It was really her only shot at riding a rollercoaster at her age so if this is your circumstance, this ride is 100 percent perfect for you to make sure you storm.
8. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
“Aladdin” holds a special place in my heart. It is the first film that I went to see in movie theaters. Aside from the amazing experience of the film, I also got to experience the big screen for the first time. While the “Magic Carpets of Aladdin” ride is one that goes around in a circle like any kids’ ride at a carnival, this one is top notch. You get to ride on a magic carpet that you can navigate how high you go up. You can pull the lever all the way to the top if you want or even go up and down to truly feel the experience of riding a magic carpet. As you ride, different “Aladdin” songs play every time truly transporting you into Agrabah and elevating the experience. Riding Aladdin’s magic carpet, moving up and down, while listening and of course singing to “A Whole New World,” ranks up there with one of the most magical times of my life.
7. Mad Tea Party
There is no doubt that when you are in Wonderland, you are in a surreal, different, crazy and somewhat mad world. One of the things Alice does while she is in Wonderland is have a tea party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse. This, of course, makes the idea of a Mad Tea Party perfect for Magic Kingdom. This ride is a typical sit down ride where the guests can turn a wheel and spin in circles as much as they want as the ride goes. However, this time, you are sitting in a teacup. As the ride goes, you look around and see tons of teacups all going around in a circle making this experience feel crazy, mad, and wonderful to be a part of the magic of Wonderland.
6. Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
If you are looking for a moment to escape the hot summer sun, “Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid” is a great option. In this indoor and air-conditioned ride, you get to experience the story of “The Little Mermaid” as you sit in a clamshell. The coolest part about this ride is when you are turned backwards and all around you, it looks like you are going underwater to be with the mermaids. As you enter each section, you get to experience not only the story but the Academy Award winning music from Alan Menken: “Part Of Your World,” “Under The Sea,” “Kiss The Girl” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” Disney uses animatronics that represent the characters bringing the experience alive right before your eyes. When you exit this ride, you are not only cooled off but happy to see once again that dreams can come true and happily ever afters do exist.
5. Peter Pan’s Flight
“Peter Pan’s Flight” is also an indoor and air-conditioned ride that tells the story with the use of animatronics. On this ride, you board a ship that will guide you through the story of the Disney film, “Peter Pan.” The ride begins in the Darling kids’ room and then you begin to fly. You are flying into the sky, past Big Ben, over Neverland, into Neverland where you see the mermaids, Captain Hook’s ship, the Lost Boys, and the Indian tribe. It is like a tour of the land that also tells the story at the same time. While “The Little Mermaid” makes you feel under the sea, “Peter Pan” makes us feel that we can fly, we can fly, we can fly!
Philarmagic was truly an awesome experience. This is the kind of ride that just seeing the sign does not really tell you what it is, but you will not regret checking it out. Philarmagic is a 3D concert experience where you put on your “opera glasses” and sit back to enjoy the fun. Donald Duck is here to put on a concert, but mayhem ensues when he puts on Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat. We are transported into the worlds of “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and “Peter Pan.” Of course, it would not be a 3D experience without objects feeling like they are right there for you to touch. There are not many things that are as exhilarating than having dishes singing “Be Our Guest” to you dancing what appears to be literally right before your eyes. Philarmagic is magic at its best.
3. Be Our Guest Restaurant
“Beauty and the Beast” is one of my favorite Disney films of all time. Upon hearing that there was a restaurant named Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom, I knew this was something I HAD to experience. I feel this way for every “Beauty and the Beast” fan out there. This is not an experience to be missed! Outside of the restaurant, you see the beautiful architecture of the Beast’s castle. As you walk in, you are transported into the beautiful ballroom that Beauty and the Beast dance in. You can also be seated to eat in the West Wing where the beautiful, enchanted rose is located, shining brightly for all to see no matter where you are seated. The Beast even comes out and makes appearances welcoming you to his castle. The food is very upscale and first rate but there is something for everyone. I had Filet Mignon and it was delicious. However, the thing I was the most interested in trying was of course, the Grey Stuff. Let me tell you: it is delicious!
2. Seven Dwarves Mine Train
The Seven Dwarves Mine Train would be my favorite roller coaster at Magic Kingdom if it wasn’t for my number one choice. It was hard to pick between these two. Seven Dwarves Mine Train at first glance may appear to be very similar to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad but it has a story to tell on top of it. At the beginning of the ride, you begin slowly but start picking up speed. You feel that the pace of the ride is about to begin picking up but then you are pleasantly surprised to be in the mine with the dwarves. You are looking around at beautiful glistening diamonds and they are singing the “Dig, dig, dig” song. However, the bell rings and it is time to go home. So, they begin singing “Heigh Ho” and let me tell you. “Heigh ho, home from work is where you are going and at a speed that you feel they were just told about the Evil Queen getting to Snow White. From there, it is just pure joy and thrills. This is a can’t-miss attraction at Magic Kingdom!
1. Space Mountain
“Space Mountain” is the coolest ride in Magic Kingdom. If you are someone who loves thrills and rollercoasters, this is the ride for you. “Space Mountain” is an indoor roller coaster that transports you into space. When the ride begins, you are launched up into the stars. Everywhere you look, it is nothing but darkness and stars. It takes a moment to let you view the beauty before taking off spinning you all around the track (a track you cannot see). You cannot tell which direction you will be going next. It could be left, right, up, or down. The only direction it doesn’t take you is upside down. Even though the ride accelerates very quickly, the ride does not end abruptly. You really feel like you are in space, and this just adds to another magical day at Magic Kingdom. At Magic Kingdom, Disney transports you to all kinds of different worlds but space, by far, feels like the coolest place to go.