|By Mark Landucci|
”Disneyland is way too small….” “Disney World doesn’t even have the Matterhorn…” “I’d never go to Disney World, it’s way too hot and humid….” “Disneyland doesn’t even have the PeopleMover anymore….”
I’ve never quite understood this division of fans between the parks. I’ve read articles and listened to podcasts where people say something that discredits the other park. I’d like to think that comments like these are good hearted, but I get the impression that hardcore fans of either park are speaking from the heart. If there are sides, then I’m on the Disneyland side. No question. But I don’t think there needs to be sides. I think both parks are important and both have wonderful things to offer. I’m going to discuss a few things about Disney World that intrigue me. Continue after the page break for more…..shall you??
…What’s this you say? A Disneylander who is interested in Disney World? Yes. To set the facts straight, I’ve been Disney World twice, during my visit in 1987, I was 15 then. We had a three-day park hopper ticket for both Disney World and Epcot. Besides a now defunct water park (River Country), that’s all that was out there when I was there. I did buy the large park maps and I did study them. That was that. I had no real interest in Disney World and really didn’t consider going there ever again.
But as of late, I’ve had a change of heart in regards to the Magic Kingdom. To be truthful, the term “Magic Kingdom” has been used for both parks, but in recent years, this term has been more aligned with Walt Disney World. In this article, when referring to the Magic Kingdom, I am referencing Walt Disney World.
So, as a true Disneylander, here are some things that really intrigue me about the Magic Kingdom and what may someday, lead me back there.
I really don’t need the luxuries that the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary offer. I will say that they do look beautiful and enticing, but not really something that would draw me over there. At least to me, we have equal amenities here….. So, I stumble across the place called Fort Wilderness. What’s this all about? I can camp or rent a cabin or stay in a lodge? There’s a hiking trail? I can rent bicycles? A nightly campfire? A hay ride? And what’s this Trails End Restaurant all about? A live musical show called Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue? An all you can eat BBQ? Volleyball? Swimming? Are you kidding me?? Wow. Where do I sign up for this? Where do I pay?? We have nothing like this here. Not even an inkling. Er…we have the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ inside the park, but that’s it.
I would immediately book a cabin and set up my ‘basecamp’ from Fort Wilderness to experience the Magic Kingdom. However, I think I would find myself wanting to explore this part of the property more than I would enjoy exploring other areas. If I went, I would definitely skip the firework show and head back to Fort Wilderness and experience the campfire and other night time activities. I’m not sure if some of these activities are more geared towards children, but I don’t care! I’d happily want to check this out. There’s something that’s pure and organic about this concept that really speaks to me.
While Fantasyland may be the happiest of all the lands and has also been referred to as the heart of the park, I’d want to experience a new version of this. Our Fantasyland was reconstructed in 1983 and for the most part, this version is all I know. And of all the lands at Disneyland, this one seems to generate the most memories and establishes a connection between the young and the old. Our version is the only one that has Storybook Land Canal Boats and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. To me, these are game changers and make our version stand out. Yet, after seeing pictures and videos of the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, I want to go there!! I like the theming and layout of the attractions and I’d want to make mental notes and compare/contrast between the two versions. If I’m to be truthful, I’d love to see all four versions and compare them again each other (what’s the Haunted Mansion doing in Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland???) But back to the Magic Kingdom, I want to see what this Enchanted Forest is all about and why something like that couldn’t exist at Disneyland.
Now, with the addition of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, this only adds to my curiosity. Of course, I’m a bit envious that this attraction isn’t at Disneyland. While I understand that this is a family coaster, I think I’d enjoy the theming and queuing area just as much.
This unique land, while perhaps comparable to our New Orleans Square, offers a glimpse into a historic era of American History. This history is so important that I wish all the parks had this land. I wonder if some of the theming from this land was taken from our proposed Edison Square. Either way, I get the sense that this land would be beautiful during the fall, perhaps even enhanced at night. And the Haunted Mansion feels right at home. Despite some reviews, I’d be curious to try such restaurants like the Liberty Tree Tavern and the Columbia Harbour House. I’m guessing the Liberty Tree Tavern would be more of a formal eating establishment, but I’m not sure. However, I would definitely enjoy experiencing these places. Come to think of it, there are a few restaurants in the Magic Kingdom that I would really enjoy trying.
In closing, I honestly think that both parks offer a unique guest experience and both offer their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps whatever weaknesses each park has, the other has in their strengths. And I know that different aspects of either park will appeal to different people for different reasons. We don’t have all the options that the Magic Kingdom has to offer, but we have other things that cannot be replicated at any of the parks. To that end, I’m definitely a Disneylander but am keeping an open mind…see you soon.