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Two Great Attractions You Can Only Do at the Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom was the follow up from Disneyland, and the last theme park project that Walt himself actually had some input. The Florida Project, as it was known at first was a concept that took what they learned from Disneyland in California and expanded it into something huge. Expanding is really the key word, as the gift that the Florida Project had was the gift of space. This gift allowed Disney to build as much as they wanted, but also build away from the public and create a total immersive experience.

Unfortunately, Walt could not complete this project, and some of his goals were not to be met. The original concept of Epcot for example, as a city of the future where people actually lived and worked was never met. A sister park to Disneyland however was realized, and it was called the Magic Kingdom. Since it was designed as a sister park to Disneyland, many of the attractions from the original park were to be built into this new spacious theme park. The idea was that this new park would have more space and even more immersion.

This also meant that the park would have many copycat rides from Disneyland. The goal of the Magic Kingdom was not to innovate, but allow those on the east coast of the United States an opportunity to enjoy Walt’s park. The hype of Disneyland was huge already, and if they made a park that was too different, people might be disappointed. The idea was that people wanted to experience the great innovation that Walt had created on the west coast, but closer to home.

After Walt’s death Epcot was put on the back burner, and Magic Kingdom as well as a few themed hotel/resorts were opened instead. The park delivered on everything that was promised, and eventually would become the most popular theme park in the world, even though many of the attractions mirrored those at the California park.

Even though many of attractions still match those at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom today does offer two original rides that are only available at this park. It’s a little bit of a cheat however, since both of these attractions didn’t originate at the Magic Kingdom.

The People Mover originally opened in Disneyland and was seen as more than just a ride. The concept was that this attraction represented a prototype for a possible transportation system of the future. Early concepts for Epcot included similar forms of transportation to get people from work to home, and Walt had envisioned this form of transportation being used all over the world to move people around. 

The ride at Disneyland was unfortunately closed down in 1995, after several updates that actually caused more harm than good. In an attempt to make the People Mover a more exciting attraction, and less of a demonstration of future transportation, Disneyland unfortunately caused serious damage to the overhead tracks which proved to be too expensive to repair. To this day the tracks remain, however the People Mover is gone.

At Magic Kingdom the People Mover remains one of the most popular rides among Disney fans. It’s by no means an exciting ride, but it manages to scratch a few different itches for ride fanatics. For the historians, it remains an example of the forethought that Walt had when designing his theme parks. He didn’t just buy all his rides off the shelf (meaning he didn’t just buy basic carnival rides for his parks), instead he would use his parks to innovate new ride and theme park concept. Some of these concepts were designed to not only innovate theme parks as well, the People Mover is an example of using creative innovation to modernize the world.

The People mover also offers something that’s going out of style when it comes to theme park rides, a moment to relax. Many people use this ride as a moment to slow down, rather than gain some white-knuckle thrills. It’s a shaded ride that moves you through Tomorrowland at a pace that lets you see some of the details you might miss walking around. It also gives you a sneak peek behind the scenes of Space Mountain and a glimpse at the original model of Epcot from Walt’s original concept. This is a ride that the whole family can enjoy, and even relax a little from a busy day at the park. Just make sure to be ready for the occasional bump.

The other attractions that’s exclusive to the Magic Kingdom is the Carousel of Progress. This is also a bit of a cheat on this list as this attraction was actually around long before the Magic Kingdom even opened. The Carousel of Progress originally opened in 1964 for the New York World’s Fair. At the time it was called General Electric’s Progressland and was designed to demonstrate how technology (built by General Electric) had changed the way Americans lived. It was a huge success at the World’s Fair, and eventually Disney decided to move it to Disneyland. 

The interesting thing about this attraction is that another attraction was not built in Disneyland, instead the ride was moved to Disneyland. The Carousel of Progress remained at Disneyland until 1973 when it was moved once again, this time to the Magic Kingdom. There were a few updates to the attraction, but the concept and some elements remain the same. This is the only attraction that has never been copied, but instead it’s been moved around from place to place.

The Carousel of Progress is probably one of the more fascinating attractions for adults, but likely pretty dull for kids. It’s a true example of edutainment, trying to teach while entertaining, but by today’s standards it’s not that innovative an attraction. The thing that makes this attraction great however it the history it holds, as well as the example that it shows. If you look at it as a historical object, rather than a modern attraction, it has a lot of interesting layers to see. It also has one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear, and you’ll likely be singing it for days after you visit.

The second theme park that Disney opened was a huge success. It was designed to give people on the East Coast of the United States a chance to visit Walt’s park. It also allowed Disney to build a second park after learning from their mistakes of the first. One could argue that the Magic Kingdom is the new and improved Disneyland, but I don’t think that’s true. I think Magic Kingdom is a different beast altogether. It’s a massive place that immerses you better than just about any other Disney Park, but it might not have the heart that some of the other parks offer. Fortunately, a few spots do, the People Mover and the Carousel of Progress are not only one-of-a-kind attractions, but they really have the heart that Walt put into his original parks.

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