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« Vintage Disneyland Home Movies- Meeting Walt Disney Himself | Main | CONCEPT: Carrying the Banner (A Newsies Welcome Show) »
Tuesday
Aug252009

5 Things I'd do with the Magic Kingdom...If only I could.

 

I often ponder what I'd do with the good old Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World if I were calling the shots.  Here are a few of those things:


1]  Mickey’s Toon Town Fair. First things first. Tear it out right away. It’s not very toony, it’s not much of a town, and where's the fair?  Aren’t we supposed to have fun at theme parks? There is one exception to the lack-of-fun, poorly executed, once said to be temporary, pathetic excuse for a Magic Kingdom land: The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm.  It’s fun for anyone who doesn’t mind a mild roller coaster.  But this certainly does not make up for the rest of the mess.  “Toon Town makes lots of money selling autograph books”, you say?  Come on!  Is that enough of a reason to keep this thing going? Nope. Let people buy their autograph books in any of the dozens of other merchandise locations. So yes, on day-one in my little fantasy, we put up an unmarked wall at the narrow entrance near the tea cups, bring in the wrecking crew, and we never look back.  As for this prime park real estate, we’ll absolutely get into that on another occasion.

2]  The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management).  Once remembered as the Tropical Serenade show, this was the crowning jewel of the Sunshine Pavilion.  The what?  Yes, few people know any of this, but don’t worry, everyone is well aware of the plastic flying carpets blocking its view.  The addition of two cartoon birds (may I mention they are from two entirely different cartoons… can we stop the cross-overs already??) would be only semi-sacrilegious if a decent show was written around them.  Wait.  I take that back.  Just keep the near-perfect show like it was.  Not every non-character attraction needs the addition of characters to make it “relatable”.  Not at all.  This should be an easy-ish fix.  Take out what wasn’t there before, restore the old show, done.

3]  Rivers of America. So wonderful. So peaceful. Let’s not screw it up with Mickey and friends driving the Liberty Square Riverboat or some junk like that. For this one, all I’m suggesting is the return of the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and the Mike Fink Keel Boats- a couple of the only Disney attractions not connected to a track, one of which (the canoes) you can take part in powering.  For anyone who uses the excuse of “they just weren’t that popular”, lets remember, not every attraction has to have the draw of the Space and Splash Mountains, nor should they.  We need the E-ticket rides, yes.  We also need these hidden-gem B and A-tickets.  One other thing just for fun… maybe an animatronic Old Yeller with a fish in his mouth, standing in the water somewhere.  Just somthin’ fun to look at as you float on down the river.

4]  Main Street, U.S.A.  I may just have to post an essay I once wrote called, A Few Simple Moves That Would Restore the Forgotten Wonder of Main Street, U.S.A.  The ideas expressed in the essay gained minimal traction with the Magic Kingdom management until they were ultimately… forgotten.  Allow me to quickly sum up the moves.  Take out merchandise in places that are not gift shops- namely The Firehouse and The Cinema.  Restore the unique, tiny experiences that made Main Street fun for more than just mothers shopping for t-shirts.  These experiences should definitely include the Magic Shop, the custom free-hand free embroidery of names on Mickey Mouse ear hats, and The Penny Arcade games (such as the one machine that shocked you more and more the longer your touched it until the timer went out).  Next, only characters that fit the atmosphere of a turn-of-the-century American town should be hanging out in this part of the park. Sorry Timone. One last thought for now (this goes for the entire Magic Kingdom). Certain merchandise should only exist in certain shops. Pirate stuff should not be sold in eight different locations on Main Street. Keep it in Caribbean Plaza.

5]  Nightlife of the Magic Kingdom.  There is something about being in the Magic Kingdom (or Disneyland) and night.  Walt Disney hosted a wonderful TV episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color called Disneyland After Dark in 1962. Watch it on the Disney Treasures: Disneyland DVD. Fantastic in every way. It captures some of the marvel that is Disney at night.  So lets add live music to more places around the park.  Lets bring back the Electrical Parade.  Maybe nighttime dining can be more of an experience than it is now with the hamburgers and such.  Bring back the dancing… perhaps.  Maybe more twinkle lights on selective trees.  There’s always that good idea of encouraging guests to head over to Disney-owned nightclubs. Not.

I love the Magic Kingdom, boy do I ever. But shucks, let’s keep the ol’ list of priorities in the proper order. It’s my belief that with a few small changes in direction, the future of the Disney theme parks is, might I say, magical.

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Reader Comments (11)

Well let's get started! I'll sign the petition! And I would love a little spot for dancing after dark. Classy dancing. To a jazz trio or something.

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Ah yes. Like the good old Carnation Plaza. I remember dancin' at Disneyland as recent as the late 90's. What happened to that?

September 2, 2009 | Registered CommenterAdmin

I am happy to say that when we posted this, the fate of "Mickey's Toon Town Fair" was not know (officially) but now it is. I am not personally too thrilled about the MK Fantasyland expansion, but it's better than MTTF. I wont be lining up with autograph book in-hand to to experience the expansion and I'd trade it all for 20k, but hey, maybe it will look great and hopefully the new ride will be cool.

November 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterAdmin

An article truly after my own heart. I have never gotten over the feeling Main Street used to give me. It was one of the true Disney experiences that reminded me of a much simpler childhood. Now that I no longer get the same enjoyment, I have narrowed it down to the elimination of the penny arcade, which was replaced by the overwhelming feeling of greed-for-profit.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

It's like you read my mind.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchris

I love all of these. Let's not forget a complete overhaul of Tomorrowland to a future on the move!

February 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian WED

You must be so happy about the destruction of Toontown! The one at Disneyland is soooooooooooo much better cause it has more interaction, and it IS toonish! Plus, they DID bring back Main Street Electrical and there is a rumor that they are changing Tiki Room to it's former glory! YAY! :D So excited!

July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Oriotis

Three out of five ain't bad, huh? :)

March 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

The one thing you forgot that needs to come back is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Ariel's grotto was a monumental waste of time and effort. I can only imagine how cool an updated 20k could be.

August 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Does anybody else remember the cast member canoe races on the Rivers of America in the summers before MK opening time? It was too early in the day for me, but I had friends who did participate.

I worked in Main Street Merchandise in 72-74. Among other jobs, I made peanut brittle in the confectionary for a few months. Boy that was fun until the number of cooks was cut in half. Had to find another assignment because of the gas shortage of 1973-74. Came back to WDW in tech jobs 97-04. What a difference 23 years makes!

When I came back, I went through Traditions and we were released in the afternoon at MK on the second day. A guest asked me where the train station was in Frontierland. I told the guest that it was right over.......OH NO IT MOVED! Thank goodness there was a cast member nearby who did know the new location. That was a close one!

April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Does anybody else remember the cast member canoe races on the Rivers of America in the summers before MK opening time? It was too early in the day for me, but I had friends who did participate.

I worked in Main Street Merchandise in 72-74. Among other jobs, I made peanut brittle in the confectionary for a few months. Boy that was fun until the number of cooks was cut in half. Had to find another assignment because of the gas shortage of 1973-74. Came back to WDW in tech jobs 97-04. What a difference 23 years makes!

When I came back, I went through Traditions and we were released in the afternoon at MK on the second day. A guest asked me where the train station was in Frontierland. I told the guest that it was right over.......OH NO IT MOVED! Thank goodness there was a cast member nearby who did know the new location. That was a close one!

April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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