01 June 2017

Attractions of the Famous Magic Kingdom

I love this photo for so many reasons. For one thing, when this was taken in 1981, there wouldn’t have been anything where this group is standing for them to be playing on. This is clearly one of the specks of land islands sitting in the middle of the Seven Seas Lagoon. I love the watercraft hanging out in the background, and even the spires of Tomorrowland just visible beyond the monorail and Main Street, U.S.A. rooftops. What piqued my interest most, however, came from the photo blurb that accompanied this photograph.

WATER MAGIC -- With the Florida sun as a bonus attraction, Walt Disney World guests enjoy water fun on the resort’s miles of beaches as well as the 45 attractions of the famous Magic Kingdom.

What this got me thinking about are the 45 attractions that would have been present within the Magic Kingdom the year I was born. So, what would these attractions have been a decade on in the park’s history? I pulled out my faithful Tecennial Guide and started to peruse the map pages to make a list and check it twice. I found a mystery between the photo and the guide, but I think I’ve also solved it. Let’s walk through it together.

On Main Street, U.S.A. guests had a choice between eight attractions in 1981. These included the Walt Disney World Railroad, EPCOT Center Preview, Main Street Cinema, Penny Arcade, Horse Cars, Horseless Carriage, Omnibus, and Fire Engine.

Adventureland adds four more attractions, for a total of 12. These attractions were the Swiss Family Treehouse, Jungle Cruise, Tropical Serenade, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Over in Frontierland we acquire six more attractions, bringing us up to 18. These additions encompassed the Walt Disney World Railroad, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tom Sawyer Island, Country Bear Jamboree, Diamond Horseshoe Revue, and the Frontierland Shootin’ Gallery Arcade. Now, we’ve seen the Walt Disney World Railroad counted twice now, and I’m willing to let that slide for a little while, but we’re definitely going to circle back around to it a little while later. Also, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes would have been out and about as well, but they aren’t listed. Again, we’ll pin this for the time being.

Meanwhile, we’ve moved on to Liberty Square and its four additional attractions, giving us a running total of 22. These attractions were The Hall of Presidents, Liberty Square Riverboat, Mike Fink Keelboats, and The Haunted Mansion.

Turning towards Fantasyland, we find ten attractions that bring our total up to 32. These attractions consisted of the Mad Tea Party, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Adventures, Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, It’s A Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, the Skyway and Fantasy Faire. It’s worth noting that there isn’t an attraction listed here for the building that would become known as the Fantasyland Theater. The Mickey Mouse Revue would have left in 1980, headed for Tokyo Disneyland, leaving the theater empty for several years.

Last, but certainly not least, we look at Tomorrowland, also with an additional ten attractions, to give us a final tally of 42. The attractions found in this land were Mission to Mars, Circle-Vision 360 “Magic Carpet ‘round the World,” “If You Had Wings,” WEDway People-Mover, StarJets, Carousel of Progress, Skyway, Space Mountain, Grand Prix Raceway, and Tomorrowland Stage. Like the Walt Disney World Railroad, we once again see the second station of the Skyway, but we’re again going to let it stand for a few minutes.

Alright, we’ve reached 42 attractions, three shy of the pronounced 45 we saw in our photograph above. It didn’t take long for me to realize that large, spectacular entertainment offerings have always been a part of the attractions catalog for Walt Disney World, and this wouldn’t have been any different. The fireworks extravaganza would have still been Fantasy in the Sky, and it would have been paired with the latest nighttime parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade. During the afternoon hours the parade celebrating the park’s first decade, the Tencennial Parade, would have been present on the parade route. Adding in these three would bring us up to our goal of 45.

I’m not done however, considering that two attractions were double listed for their multiple stations, let’s remove two attractions, one for the Walt Disney World Railroad and one for the Skyway. We could add back in the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, which would be only fair as Mike Fink shouldn’t be allowed to run amok on the Rivers of America all by himself. That brings our total up to 44, still one shy. Again, the math allows for us the say that there were, indeed, 45 attractions present in 1981, but I actually think it would be higher if we include the monorail, ferry boats, and motor launches. Depending on where you decided I took our list and threw it into a bog in Mathmagic Land somewhere, we should end up with a total of 48 or 49.

It isn’t often that Disney is thought about as being humble, but in this case I think they did themselves a disservice. Regardless of what would have made your list or not, it’s clear that there is always something to do around every corner of Walt Disney World, regardless of the year! For me, it’s always fun looking back at the Magic Kingdom of yesteryear.

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