Over the past few weeks we’ve looked ahead at two Walt Disney World theme parks, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, to see what could be added to enhance them. Today, we move along in the series with Magic Kingdom. Unlike our previous two installments, WDW’s castle park does have a big project in the works in Tron Lightcycle Run. That attraction will likely open in 2022. Other than that, and likely some new entertainment for the 50th anniversary, there is nothing on the docket for the park. In this post, we’ll discuss five additions that Magic Kingdom could, and maybe should, make going forward.
This post will probably differ from the previous two because Magic Kingdom is far more established as a theme park and knows its identity well. Opening in 1971, the park has had time to build up a large roster of attractions and the theme is a tried and true method. That said, there are obvious problems. Maybe that’s the west coast bias and my love of Disneyland shining through a little more but Magic Kingdom is just a few puzzle pieces short.
While Magic Kingdom is more of a finished product than anywhere else in Disney World, letting it sit will result in the park going stale. Disney World has plenty of space to work with but since the park has been open for 50 years, it’s hard to make wholesale changes. Instead most of my additions will focus on smaller changes and this might be more personal preference than previous posts. Of course, I’ll try to sneak a big idea in there too! Let’s get to the list!
Improve the Dining!
Maybe I should be ashamed to admit how much food factors into my theme park day but I haven’t reached that point yet. Magic Kingdom’s dining, specifically the counter-service game, is abysmal. Between The Plaza, Skipper Canteen and Be Our Guest, there are some interesting options for a sit down meal. Unfortunately, the counter-service is severely lacking with the highest ranked restaurant (Columbia Harbor House) being 25th. Columbia Harbor House and Pecos Bill, the two best spots, sit close to each other and the rest of the park doesn’t offer anything interesting. This is all assuming Be Our Guest continues to be a table-service only location.
If I had my druthers, Cosmic Ray’s would get a redeveloped menu and ingredients along with Be Our Guest once again offering a counter-service breakfast and lunch. On top of that, adding a brand new intriguing and enveloping restaurant in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland would solve a lot of issues. Something in the style of Tokyo Disneyland’s Queen of Heart’s Banquet Hall would be a hit and an amazing addition to Magic Kingdom. While calling for a complete overhaul of Magic Kingdom is perhaps overboard, the park could really use it. I certainly wouldn’t object to a Tropical Hideaway style restaurant that Disneyland has being added to MK’s Adventureland. Anything new and tasty would be great!
Dark Rides in Fantasyland
One of our biggest critiques of Magic Kingdom in the last few years is the lack of character found in Fantasyland. Compared to castle parks around the world, this version seems to be caught in the middle. There are times when it’s too spread out and other times when it’s too crowded. The architecture ebbs and flows without enough transitioning. More than anything it’s missing the type of attractions that are synonymous with Fantasyland – dark rides. Yes, there are a few but gone are the quirky and silly classics. I’ve tried to narrow it down and pick one old classic Fantasyland ride to bring back but really I’d take any of them or a brand new one that’s a little more zany and fun. All of the current ones are a little too straight forward and I think that’s robbing the land of some natural character.
How About A Stage Show?
Magic Kingdom has some excellent atmospheric entertainment. What it’s missing is a bigger stage show that people can sit down and relax at. This is a little more of a blue sky concept than everything else on the list because there’s not really a theater to do this in. At the last D23 Expo Disney did announce a large theater just off of Main Street but that plan was quickly scrapped for a variety of reasons. A theater somewhere with a larger scale show would help spread people out and offer a nice, air-conditioned building to rest in.
Reinstate the Original Country Bears Show(s)
Yes, this is my personal preference and I know that there are a ton of people who don’t care about Country Bear Jamboree. I could launch into a long diatribe about why those people are wrong but I’ll hold off on that. Instead, hear me out. In 2012, Magic Kingdom the Country Bear Show was shortened by about five minutes for reasons that are unclear. Along with that went the holiday versions of the show. Return the show to its longer glory and bring back the holiday versions. Heck, make the Christmas edition exclusive to Christmas Parties. I don’t see how having a 5 minute shorter show is saving Disney much money. I also think that those who love the bears will love them and those that don’t just won’t, regardless of how long the shows are. All of the other things I’ve mentioned in this post would probably help the park more but this would make me the happiest.
Remove or Improve Tomorrowland Speedway
We’ll save the biggest for last. Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland is in need of some help and that is on the way with Tron Lightcycle Run. That and some of the aesthetic changes have and will help Tomorrowland but that area still feels disjointed and like two or three different lands thrown into one. What would help? Getting rid of Tomorrowland Speedway. This would allow for a new attraction or two and would get rid of the biggest eyesore in an otherwise pretty park. I don’t see Disney doing this for now though so I would settle for some nice aesthetic changes that update the attraction and make it a little more modern.
Magic Kingdom has the bones of the greatest theme park in the world but there’s a few things holding it back. Hopefully the park continues to grow and improve in the future!
What do you think should be done next at Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below! Planning at trip to Disney World? Check out our Disney World Trip Planning Guide. If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog on the right side of this page. That’s where you can find links to our social media accounts, as well. Thank you for reading!
Categories: Rumors and Commentary