Four hours in the Magic Kingdom, September 2004

Notes on The Magic Kingdom
Being rather familiar with Disneyland made the Magic Kingdom seem as if I were experiencing a “reality dream”, that is, a type of dream where one visits a familiar place yet everything is different.  Perhaps you’ve experience a dream where you visit an old home where the building is mostly changed but the furniture, drapes, carpet, etc. are wrong and perhaps an occasional wall or structural element is misplaced.  If you have, you know what I mean.

The first thing that threw me was the exterior approach.  There is no parking lot or California Adventure, in front of the Magic Kingdom but in their place is a lake.  The monorail does not enter the park but transports visitors from a central parking and bus drop off area to the front of the Magic Kingdom.  There is also a monorail to EPCOT as well as a water ferry to the Magic Kingdom.

Upon entering the park, there is an eerie feeling that things are just not right.  The tunnel under the train tracks is much longer and there are restrooms to the side.  The first sight of the Main Street buildings present the same feeling of unease.  The layout is basically the same yet things are different.  The bank and Mr. Lincoln are missing.  The buildings are taller and do not seem to have quite the detailed look of Disneyland (a feeling that was often repeated.)  Even the street car tracks weren’t quite right having had a rubber insert added along side the metal rails (perhaps to give visitors a more comfortable ride.

I followed my customary Disneyland route; a stroll down Main Street, veering to the left toward Adventure Land only to find myself presented with a “new” land, Liberty Plaza.  Turns out that not only have the Haunted Mansion and Mr. Lincoln have migrated to this “new” land but the mansion looks nothing like the Disneyland mansion and that Mr. Lincoln has evolved into “The Hall of Presidents” (yep, they’re all there.)  The Harbor Galley has been transformed into The Harbor House and it too has migrated to the new land.  Anticipating a bowl of their wonderful clam chowder in a sourdough bread I was disappointed to learn that while the chowder was still available, it was only served in a black plastic bowl.  (I hope Disneyland does not adopt this “improvement”.

Two other quick notes: McDonalds has a noticeable presence in the park and the “berm” does not totally isolate the park from the outside world.  A hotel and several other buildings are clearly visible from inside the park.