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Magic Kingdom
Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle, the icon of the Magic Kingdom.

Opened

October 1, 1971

Size

107 acres (0.43 square km)

Magic Kingdom is one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort located near Orlando, Florida. The first park built at the resort, Magic Kingdom opened October 1, 1971. Designed and built by WED Enterprises, the park's layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. In 2010, the park hosted approximately 17.0 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the world.

Dedication[]

“Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney...and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place...a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn--together.” --Roy Oliver Disney, 25th October 1971

History[]

Although Walt Disney himself had been highly involved in planning The Florida Project, the Walt Disney Company began construction on Magic Kingdom and the entire resort in 1967 after his death. The Magic Kingdom park was built similarly to the existing Disneyland in California. The Florida park, however, was built in a larger area and improved upon Disneyland's design.

There are several anecdotes relating to reasons for some of the features of Walt Disney World, and Magic Kingdom specifically. According to one story, Walt Disney once saw a Frontierland cowboy walking through Tomorrowland at Disneyland. He disliked how the cowboy intruded on the futuristic setting of Tomorrowland and wanted to avoid situations like this in the new park. Therefore, Magic Kingdom was built over a series of tunnels called utilidors, a portmanteau of utility and corridor. These tunnels allow employees (aka Cast Members) to move through the park out of sight from guests, maintaining 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, giving Magic Kingdom an elevation of 107 feet (33 m). The area around the utilidors was filled in with dirt removed from the Seven Seas Lagoon, which was being constructed at the same time.

The utilidors were built in the initial construction and were not extended as the park expanded. The tunnels were only used in 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.

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 23 attractions, three unique to the park and 20 copies of attractions at Disneyland. The Walt Disney Company promised to increase this number with more attractions like those in Disneyland as well as more unique ones. The attractions were split into six themed lands, five copies of those at Disneyland and the unique Liberty Square.

While there is no individual dedication to Magic Kingdom Park, the dedication by Roy O. Disney for the entire Walt Disney World Resort was placed within its gates.

Since opening day, Magic Kingdom has only been closed for five incidents: Hurricane Floyd, the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Charley, and Hurricane Wilma.

Themed Lands[]

Former Lands[]

Entertainment[]

Former Entertainment[]

Special Events[]

Incidents[]

  • On February 11, 2004, a 38-year-old employee dressed as Pluto died when he was accidentally run over by the Beauty and the Beast parade float in a backstage area. This led OSHA to fine Disney US$6,300 for having employees in restricted areas.
  • On May 20, 2007, five guests from Shirley, New York, ages 14 to 20 years old, were arrested for allegedly attacking a sheriff's deputy. They were accused of spitting on and harassing other guests and were detained by Disney security near Space Mountain. When an Orange County sheriff's deputy arrived, the deputy stated that he was "punched in the face with closed fists...by all the defendants." During the melee, the deputy used a stun gun on an unnamed 17-year-old female guest. The five guests from New York were arrested on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and for resisting arrest with violence. The 17-year-old guest was also cited for battery on a uniformed officer.
  • On May 29, 2007, a 34-year-old Clermont, Florida woman was attacked by a 51-year-old park guest visiting from Anniston, Alabama as they waited in line at the Mad Tea Party attraction. Disney security interviewed witnesses on the day of the attack, but Orange County police did not take any sworn statements. The victim stated that the sworn statements were not taken due to a delay in the arrival of the deputies. On July 17, 2007, an arrest warrant was issued for the alleged attacker. The victim claims that due to the incident, she has been diagnosed with a concussion and a herniated disc in her cervical spine and suffers from post-traumatic seizures. The case went to trial on April 14, 2008. The attacker was convicted on charges of battery and sentenced to 90 days in jail and nine months probation, and will have to take an anger management course. After the trial, the victim's lawyer stated that his client intended to sue Disney to force them to address their security issues. On May 9, 2008, the victim and her husband filed two separate lawsuits against Disney. Her lawsuit claims, among other things, that: Walt Disney World provided inadequate staff and security at the ride; there was a lack of adequate training to recognize security threats; the park did not anticipate the attack and have the attacker removed before anything happened; and the following investigation was mishandled. His lawsuit against Disney is claiming the loss of his wife's support and companionship due to the attack.

Sources & External Links[]

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