Disney’s second park was the very ambitious “Florida project”. Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 with much fanfare and started what has become the World’s largest resort. Magic Kingdom as a park continues to be the most attended theme park in the World at 20M+ annual visitors (pre-pandemic). Today, let’s see if Magic Kingdom is worth the hype.
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The Coaster Kings Crown Rating currently features five (5) categories. In each category a park can score one (1) thru five (5) possible crowns. The more crowns, the higher the score. The average amount of crowns awarded among the categories creates a final overall rating: the Crown Rating.
Let’s dive right in with the park’s roller coasters! Please note that with TRON: Lightcycle / Run delayed until further notice, the park’s aging coaster collection is not entirely there yet. Space Mountain is showing serious aging and needs all sorts of facelifts, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad needs some love too. Neither are bad rides. Barnstormer is a good kiddie coaster, but the real star is nearby Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Overall a decent few family coasters but nothing standout. Not until TRON anyways.
Let’s talk rides other than coasters! In this category nearly any Disney park will perform pretty well, because well… Disney is sort of a dark ride destination! Magic Kingdom is no exception with classics and favorites such as People Mover, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, it’s a small world, etc. Only downside, some of these classics at Magic Kingdom are the worst versions chainwide, we’re pointing directly at the underwhelming versions of Pirates and small world here.
In the “Other Attractions” categories most parks don’t perform. Magic Kingdom, however, has quite some things to do. Favorites include the Country Bear Jamboree, the Tiki Room, and walkthroughs like Tom Sawyer Island and the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. Of course the park is also home to the resort’s signature nighttime spectaculars and a variety of parades and meet ‘n greets.
For a Disney park, and even on a global scale, Magic Kingdom’s food is anything but magical. While the park offers a few signature, but overpriced, dining experiences, the quick service game for the World’s most attended theme park is weak. Quick service offers basic and relatively low quality dishes and snacks while the resort’s other three parks offer much more exciting cuisine. If it weren’t for a few exclusive dining options and the strong Dole Whip game, Magic Kingdom’s dining wouldn’t even have 3 crowns.
Atmosphere is that one category that’s affected by literally everything, and for that reason Magic Kingdom doesn’t score too high either. While in-park crowd control is fine, dealing with transportation to-and-from the park from your car, or some of the resort hotels, is a complete nightmare. The park’s removed-parking set up was cute a long time ago but now it’s crowds and chaos. In addition, the much wider and larger midways of Magic Kingdom compared to Disneyland make for a brutal afternoon environment in the hot Florida sun. To make things complete, the mismatch of themes is nearly as rough as Tokyo Disneyland with too many clashing themes and aesthetics bleeding. Luckily areas such as New Fantasyland and the polished hub of the park (and the fact that Magic Kingdom is a Disney park after all) still bring the atmosphere to a decent middle ground. Magic Kingdom just… isn’t my fav.
The park is a relatively well-balanced destination, but is it worth the hype and status? Not in my opinion. Walt Disney World has a better theme park experience to offer within its very own bubble. Combining all above scores, Magic Kingdom’s Overall Rating came out to three and a half crowns.
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