From Screen to Park: Magic Kingdom
by James Hall
The second park in our continuing series in movie recommendations to get you ready for your next trip is the Magic Kingdom. There are many films in the Disney catalog to get you excited about this magical land. The park first started as a duplicate to Disneyland with many of the same attractions. Over the years the Magic Kingdom has expanded to input its own themes to many of the movies you know and love.
Main Street USA
Upon first entering the parks is where you come across the famous Main Street USA representing the park's opening credits. It is well-known that Main Street USA is based on Walt Disney’s hometown in Marceline, Missouri. But did you also know that Disney’s animators used Marceline as an inspiration for Lady and the Tramp? When the Magic Kingdom was constructed,
the Imagineers took inspiration from Walt’s hometown, and the styles and colors for this classic film. Further connection to the film is the famous Tony’s Town Square restaurant where the two titular characters not only had their first date but also their first kiss along with some very yummy spaghetti and meatballs. To further remind you of this classic movie there is a fountain upon entering the restaurant with the two titular characters front and center. Also in the lobby music from the film plays in the background welcoming you to a wonderful setting.
Magic Kingdom’s icon is the beautiful Cinderella castle. Another Disney classic to check out is
the film this castle is based upon Cinderella. This landmark is a testimony to Disney magic as it benefits from the technique known as forced perspective. A lot of the buildings on Main Street are proportioned to appear smaller than they are, making the castle larger than it really is. What this film reminds us all is that it’s possible for dreams to become a reality. Disney tries to evoke in us that feeling of magical possibility every time we see the castle, if it’s our first time or 100th. There are multiple versions of Cinderella on Disney+, but the animated film from 1950 is classic and the most important one to watch.
Heading into the future one attraction that is fun for the whole family is Buzz Lightyear’s Space
Ranger Spin. Here you are recruited by the legendary space ranger himself to combat the Evil Emperor Zurg by taking ride vehicles with mounted lasers to equip you with the means to save the galaxy. Any recruit should check out Toy Story 2 to see how the toy himself battles with his long-time foe.
In the Castle Courtyard, you will find The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh based on the 1977
film of the same name. Watching this film is essential because the film has many fun songs that will make your kids want to sing along as you go through the different scenes.
New Fantasyland opened in the winter of 2012. One of the attractions included in this area is Under The Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid which takes guests within the film The Little Mermaid making you part of many of the famous scenes from this beloved film. The attention to detail to match the film is amazing so that you can picture yourself in the movie while on the ride.
Another film to enjoy before your trip is The Beauty and the Beast, to get you ready to experience the one-of-a-kind eating establishments Be Our Guest named after the hit song. This restaurant takes you right into the Beast’s castle with three rooms replicating different sections of the castle. This is also where you can taste the famous Grey Stuff, and believe me it’s delicious. (Read my review of this restaurant; you will find it on our blog: Dine Inside a Movie at Be Our Guest.)
The last movie to check out is Walt’s original full-length animated feature, Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs to prepare you for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. On this ride, you start in the mines where the Dwarfs work and sing until Doc shouts out the famous, “Heigh-Ho!” It’s a fun film that many generations have watched and passed on to their children.
I would encourage everyone to watch these films before their next trip. There are many more movie references in the Magic Kingdom but if you watch these seven, you will have a good foundation to enjoy the Park. If you don’t have a trip planned, I’d love to help you out! Email me at jhall@ConciEARS.com to get started.
Editors’ note: ConciEARS’ blog series Screen to Park is a guide to the essential movies to watch to understand or enjoy Disney Parks attractions. The series is not a comprehensive discussion of all movie references in every attraction. The next blog in the series, Disney California Adventure, will be published next Thursday. You can read the previous entry now: From Screen to Park: Epcot.