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Overlooked Attractions at the Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney World Attraction Review

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 12-07-2012

PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Touring  

It's very easy to head to a Disney park and just ride the "big rides".

But if you look beyond the rides to lesser known attractions, you may be very surprised … and well rewarded!

I have to confess, to a certain extent, that we we mostly just ride the major rides when we visit. A visit to Walt Disney World, for example, wouldn't be the same without going on Test Track or Kilimanjaro Safaris. But there's so much more to discover at the various Disney parks. I'll be taking a look at the often-overlooked attractions in each of the parks at Walt Disney World in this series of articles, hoping to encourage you to try something a little bit different on your next visit. We start, logically enough, with the original park, the Magic Kingdom.

For logical reasons, we'll start with Main Street, U.S.A. Now that Mickey's meet-and-greet is housed in the Town Square Exposition Hall, Main Street has a major attraction to call its own, but there still exist a couple of easily overlooked attractions. I personally love nothing more than to time it right, and get a ride on one of the various Main Street Vehicles. My personal favorite is the horse-drawn trolley. I always feel like a star, with everyone watching us go by.

Another great mode of transportation is the Walt Disney World Railroad. It doesn't provide the glimpse into prehistoric times that's part of the Disneyland version (Primeveal World), but there’s something very fun about getting a glimpse inside Splash Mountain – perfect for those days when it’s too cold to get soaked on the ride itself.

Magic Kingdom - Main Street photo
Magic Kingdom - Main Street

Mike the trolly horse and driver, early morning in the Magic Kingdom before the crowds enter. - photo by Dopey007

Moving into Adventureland, I’ll put my cards on the table now, and say that I loved The Enchanted Tiki Room-Under New Management. I haven’t yet had a chance to see the show since it has reverted to the original version, and I’ll be fascinated to see what I make of it, especially with the new technology, but the Tiki Room is something that a lot of people easily walk past. Another attraction that falls into that category is the Swiss Family Treehouse. After all, it’s a heck of a lot of exertion on those hot, sultry days in the Florida heat. And I dearly wish Disney would do something new with it. I’d love to see the Tarzan’s Treehouse theming that California boasts.

Frontierland has an entire area that’s often overlooked. Tom Sawyer Island is a pleasure to explore (and exploring is one of its principal pleasures), and I was amazed by how much there is to discover there. If you’ve not made it there yet, it’s definitely somewhere worth seeing, and will easily eat up a couple of hours of your time, if you do it justice.

Another Disney classic in this part of the park seems to be similarly unloved. We never have a problem getting into Country Bear Jamboree, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this show packed out, which is a shame. If only they did the holiday version, as they used to, I’m sure that would draw more people in. Yes, I know it’s corny, but it’s fun, and where else but Disney would you find something like this?

Head into Liberty Square, and you can get a good dose of Colonial history. Sadly, far too many people pass by the Hall of Presidents, and we’re guilty of that, too. However, whenever we take the time to see it, we always find it’s more interesting than we remember. I never cease to be amazed by the animatronics that go into this, and any Disney fan will no doubt enjoy that side of the show, regardless of how interested they are in history.

Equally, the Liberty Square Riverboat is something that any Disney fan will love, both for the unusual views you get of previously familiar areas, and the detail on board. It’s something that is all too easy to pass by on your way to more popular haunts (excuse the pun) such as the Haunted Mansion.

Enter Fantasyland, and surely there’s nothing in here that’s overlooked? I think, with the Fantasyland Expansion, that’s probably now true, but let’s hold a nostalgic moment of silence for Snow White’s Scary Adventure, the one attraction in Fantasyland that often had ridiculously short waits. This was often a walk-on, something I never understood the reason for, as I did enjoy this ride. Still, all good things come to an end, and I can’t wait to experience the new, expanded Fantasyland that we've received in return.

In Tomorrowland though, the story is very different. This seems to be a land littered with overlooked attractions, some for fully understandable reasons, others not so much. Stitch’s Great Escape is an attraction that divides Disney fans firmly into two camps, with people either loving it, or hating it. What about us? Well, we enjoy it, but I can definitely see room for improvement, and why it draws so few people. Putting a character so popular with young kids into something so scary just defies belief. No wonder it never has much of a line.

Others that fall into that category include the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and here I’ll admit it’s something we’ve only done once. It just didn’t do much for us, and that’s a great shame, as we usually love interactive shows. We’ll happily see Turtle Talk with Crush on every visit, while Stitch Live! at Disneyland Paris is another favorite with us, but this one just doesn’t have the same appeal for us.

The final two attractions I want you to consider are usually must-dos for die-hard Disney fans, but despite that, neither ever seems to attract much of a wait. They are Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. With the Carousel of Progress, to me, the name says it all. It’s Walt’s. It bears his mark, and that’s why I think so many of us make a pilgrimage to see it on each trip. Long may it remain! As for the Peoplemover, returned to its nostalgic former name, there’s nothing better for me than seeing Tomorrowland from above, all the time with me hoping for a glimpse inside Space Mountain while its work lights are turned on, as I was lucky enough to do many years ago, an image that stays with me a decade later.

So, there are plenty of often overlooked attractions at the Magic Kingdom. What about the other parks? Next we'll head to Epcot to look at some generally undiscovered treasures there.

Tomorrowland - Transit Authority photo
Tomorrowland - Transit Authority

Taking a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. - photo by chezp

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 12-07-2012 - Article #879 

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