The Walt Disney Company began construction on the Magic Kingdom and the
entire Resort in 1967 after the death of Walt Disney; however, Walt was very
involved in planning "The death. The Magic Kingdom park itself was initially built
similar to the existing Disneyland in California, however the Magic Kingdom was
built in a larger area. The Magic Kingdom also improved upon Disneyland's
design. According to a story, Walt Disney once saw a Frontierland cowboy
walking through Tomorrowland at Disneyland and wanted to eliminate ruining
the illusion like this in the new park. In order to alleviate this, the Magic Kingdom
was built over a series of tunnels, called Utilidors, a portmanteau of utility and
corridor. With these tunnels cast members were able to move through the park
away from the guests and not ruin the illusion of the show.
Because of Florida's high water table, the tunnels could not be put
underground, so they were built at the existing grade. This means that the park
is actually built on the second story, and it gives the Magic Kingdom an
elevation of 107 feet. The area around them was filled in with dirt removed from
the Seven Seas Lagoon which was being constructed at the same time.
The tunnels are only under areas that were built in the initial construction and
were not extended with additions to the park. The tunnels are mostly found in
the Magic Kingdom because of financial constraints, but they were meant to be
employed in all subsequent Walt Disney World parks. Epcot's Future World and
Pleasure Island each have a smaller network of utilidors.
The Magic Kingdom opened as the first part of Walt Disney's planned Florida
Project on October 1, 1971. It was the only theme park on the resort at the time
and opened concurrently with two hotels on the property: Disney's
Contemporary Resort and Disney's Polynesian Resort. The park opened with
twenty-three attractions, three unique to the park and twenty copies of
attractions at Disneyland. The Walt Disney Company promised to increase the
attractions with more attractions similar to Disneyland and other unique
attractions. The attractions were split into six themed lands, five copies of those
at Disneyland and the unique Liberty Square which was planned for
Disneyland, but never built.
Because of the similarity to Disneyland, there was some confusion on the name
of the park. "The Magic Kingdom" was used as an unofficial nickname for
Disneyland before the Walt Disney World Resort was built; however, the official
nickname of Disneyland is "The Happiest Place On Earth." The Magic
Kingdom's nickname is the similar "The Most Magical Place On Earth." Despite
the confusion, the park's tickets have always borne the official name of "The
Magic Kingdom." In 1994, in order to differentiate it from Disneyland, the park
was officially renamed to "Magic Kingdom Park."
Transportation and Ticket Center:
The layout of the resort placed the Magic Kingdom more than a mile away from
its parking lot, on the opposite side of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon.
Upon arriving at the park, guests are taken by the parking lot trams to the
Transportation and Ticket Center. This facility, as its name implies, sells tickets
to the parks and provides transportation connections throughout the resort
complex. It also has a small gift shop, the Magic Kingdom's pet-boarding
kennel, and the central Lost-and-Found facility for all four theme parks.
To reach the Magic Kingdom, visiting guests can choose between the monorails
and the Staten Island-style ferryboats. The three ferries are clad in different
trim colors and are named for past Disney executives: the General Joe Potter
(blue), the Richard F. Irvine (red) and the Admiral Joe Fowler (green).
Epcot is accessible by a spur monorail line that was added upon that park's
opening in 1982. Buses take guests to the other major destinations within the
resort, including Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom.
|History of the