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WED's Wonderful Kingdom

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Things have changed over time, but some of WED's wonderful design work is still there in Florida's Magic Kingdom:

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lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Not entirely. The park was planned from the beginning. It was actually going to be built before Epcot I think. Anyway, Disney said it so it must be true. The tour guide was credible as his other facts were correct
The park was planed and was shown as an exact copy of Disneyland. Development of the Magic Kingdom is not a mystery, Walt was dead.
 

DisneyExpert

Well-Known Member
Inside of Main Street Station with the murals. It was the last blueprint Walt Disney signed actually (according to The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour).

Development on the Magic Kingdom was after Walt’s death and Walt would never have signed a blueprint.

Not entirely. The park was planned from the beginning. It was actually going to be built before Epcot I think. Anyway, Disney said it so it must be true. The tour guide was credible as his other facts were correct

The park was planed and was shown as an exact copy of Disneyland. Development of the Magic Kingdom is not a mystery, Walt was dead.

@lazyboy97o is correct. Design and development of Main Street Station at Magic Kingdom would have taken place well after Walt's passing.

Tour Guides often give out inaccurate information. Whether this is intentional to make the tour more interesting, or the guide is simply misinformed and repeating a rumor he or she heard somewhere, their information is not always very accurate.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Something that popped into my head while thinking about the Florida Space Mountain...

In a way, it's kind of like an EPCOT pavilion. It has that kind of scale to it, despite just being a "roller coaster", and when RCA sponsored it, there was a real post-show with AAs that was kind of like an attraction of its own. There's also those long hallways, the moving ramp at the end and the way the seperate unload area feels like a lounge or pre-show room on its own. It's still unique in that way. The 1975 and 1983 versions also had a consistent score to them, with '83 having the very EPCOT-like theme song "We've Come So Far".

The California mountain in comparison feels so much smaller, not just because it literally is (and sunk into the ground...and bordered on most sides by other buildings), but because everything from the tighter indoor queue to breaking the chainlift into thirds (and having it seperated from the rest of the track) makes the overall experience a lesser one. There it's just another ride. It's not a defining part of the park's identity or landscape in the way you see it from the monorail or Contemporary parking lot at WDW.

Space [Discovery] Mountain in Paris is way more intense as a coaster, and beautiful in its own way, but I think Florida still has the best designed version of the ride to date. Too bad it's the worst maintained.
 
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Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Additionally, I feel like in general there is a lot of documentation and appreciation online for both EPCOT Center in its heyday, and Disneyland's extensive history (on just about every topic you could think of), but comparetively, there's not much written about what makes The Magic Kingdom specifically so great. Beyond the admiration through association you get when praising attractions that exist at both American castle parks. Passport2Dreams & Widen Your World are among the few places I'm aware of.

The Magic Kingdom was designed by WED at what was pretty close to their peak. They had just done the 1964 World's Fair, New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland '67, and were clearly ready to do a second take on what they had created in California. It shows, even today, in everything from the Utilidors, to the second floor of the Columba Harbour House to everything else I've already posted pictures of in this thread. To just write off the park's glory days and best designs as a poor imitation of the original, really misses the point of what WED was trying to accomplish IMO.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
To just write off the park's glory days and best designs as a poor imitation of the original, really misses the point of what WED was trying to accomplish IMO.
Like the attempts to tie Walt to this era, ignoring the success of Phase 1 helps to reinforce the idea that WED Enterprises, and not the Studio, was responsible for nearly destroying the company in the late 70s and early 80s. Its a narrative that helps to keep themed entertainment in its place, subservient to movies. Disney needed to be saved, and it was saved by reasserting the dominance of the Studio over the theme parks.
 

The Empress Lilly

Well-Known Member
Something that popped into my head while thinking about the Florida Space Mountain...

In a way, it's kind of like an EPCOT pavilion. It has that kind of scale to it, despite just being a "roller coaster", and when RCA sponsored it, there was a real post-show with AAs that was kind of like an attraction of its own. There's also those long hallways, the moving ramp at the end and the way the seperate unload area feels like a lounge or pre-show room on its own. It's still unique in that way. The 1975 and 1983 versions also had a consistent score to them, with '83 having the very EPCOT-like theme song "We've Come So Far".

The California mountain in comparison feels so much smaller, not just because it literally is (and sunk into the ground...and bordered on most sides by other buildings), but because everything from the tighter indoor queue to breaking the chainlift into thirds (and having it seperated from the rest of the track) makes the overall experience a lesser one. There it's just another ride. It's not a defining part of the park's identity or landscape in the way you see it from the monorail or Contemporary parking lot at WDW.

Space [Discovery] Mountain in Paris is way more intense as a coaster, and beautiful in its own way, but I think Florida still has the best designed version of the ride to date. Too bad it's the worst maintained.
For me that is pretty much he standard story of the MK. The MK is the greatest, prettiest, best castle park ever build, but the worst maintained and the most compromised.

Space is also hidden by that awful basketball court giftshop they added later. It diminishes the scale of Space. And bring back the dearly missed space bobsled marquee!
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This picture was posted on Widen Your World's facebook page back in January, but I had to share it in this thread:

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This to me is what WDW is all about. I love how the gaslight era RR station, the futuristic monorail, the tropical beach with swaying palms and the acres of untouched Florida wilderness all come together to form a perfect picture.

There's no Mickey Mouse required, let alone Rocket Raccoon, Olaf or Darth Vader, this is what the real Disney magic is.
 

EricsBiscuit

Well-Known Member
This picture was posted on Widen Your World's facebook page back in January, but I had to share it in this thread:

20525933_396770844079886_7526398868200309956_n.jpg


This to me is what WDW is all about. I love how the gaslight era RR station, the futuristic monorail, the tropical beach with swaying palms and the acres of untouched Florida wilderness all come together to form a perfect picture.

There's no Mickey Mouse required, let alone Rocket Raccoon, Olaf or Darth Vader, this is what the real Disney magic is.
There's something beautiful about the monorails coming in to a Victorian station. They contrast yet complement and are beautiful.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The second episode of The Imagineering Story takes a good back-handed swipe at Magic Kingdom for "playing it safe, at least creatively".

Most of the discussion of Magic Kingdom's merits revolves around the engineering hurdle of turning virgin swamp land into a functioning city and the utilitdors and such, which is significant, but I feel like the creative flourishes and added details get ignored because the park is usually written off as just another Disneyland, even within the company.

The Magic Kingdom was designed by WED's A-team with all the knowledge and skills that had been developed through 10+ years of operation in California and the World's Fair. The goal was to take the premise of "another amusement park in Florida" and make it better, not just in terms of operations, but visually as well. And by 1970s standards, they succeeded beautifully (even if Rolly Crump doesn't agree).

The Magic Kingdom was a great park. It still deserves to be treated as such. This is why I get so grumpy over what I feel has been the mistreatment and indifference towards it by both Disney and its fans. It was never just about characters, stroller parking or rides for little kids, it was about creating a romantic dreamscape on a larger, more beautiful scale than Disneyland could ever be.

The experiences should be for a wide audience, the effects should work, the queues should be clean, the technology should be updated, new additions should truly add, not take away from the land's designs, the restaurants should serve decent food, the entertainment should be as varied as the attractions, the shops should sell more than just junk. I like to think it's the most popular Disney park because there is something of merit inside. Maybe if the company stopped treating it like a tourist trap, so would the customers and employees.
 

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