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Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 1: The Magic Kingdom

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 01-24-2013

When you think of Walt Disney World, I'm guessing the first thing you think of won't be the views you can enjoy while you're there.

Attractions, and rides, definitely... parades, and fireworks, no doubt... dining, probably... enjoying your Disney resort, maybe... but views, probably not. However, think about for a minute, and there are so many wonderful views to enjoy throughout the World.

In this series of articles, I'll be looking at the best views in each of the four main theme parks, and also outside the theme parks. Perhaps some of yours will be included, or maybe I'll miss your favorite. Either way, I hope it gives you food for thought, the next time you visit. Let’s start with the Magic Kingdom.

Perhaps the most iconic view, and the one that everyone thinks of at Walt Disney World is seeing Cinderella’s Castle as you walk down Main Street. It’s no coincidence that there are always heaps of PhotoPass photographers waiting in this area to grab the perfect shot of you, and your party in front of the castle. You’ll see them the whole way down the street, and wherever you stop, be it right in front at the hub, or near Town Square, you’ll have a great shot.

And, speaking of Town Square itself, there are some fantastic views there to be found. I love nothing more than lingering in this area, taking in all the elements of small town America at the turn of the century. As you walk up Main Street USA, there’s more to be found, and one of my favorite views is looking up one side of the street or the other. It really does transport you to another place and time.

As you round the end of Main Street USA, here's another of my favorite views; and it's not the castle. I'm sure that part of the attraction is the characters who live there, but I also love the building itself, and that's the Crystal Palace. I always marvel at how Disney manages the transitional theming from one land to another, particularly in the Magic Kingdom, where each land is so different from the others, and this is a perfect example of this. I love the way that Crystal Palace is located at the junction of Main Street and Adventureland, and yet somehow the Victorian splendor of the Crystal Palace fits in perfectly with both the well manicured flowerbeds in front, and the palm trees that guide your way into Adventureland.

One of the best views from Adventureland can be found at the top of the Swiss Family Treehouse. It’s been many years since we climbed up there, a combination of heat on previous visits and priorities for other attractions, but as I write this, I’m making a promise to myself that we must get back up there on our next trip. We’ll see how I do with that promise!

In a similar vein, if you can keep your nerves (and your eyes open!) there are some superb views to be had on both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. As well as looking out for all the little touches on the rides, be sure to look all around you as you head for the final plunge on Splash Mountain. I just love the way you see the whole park laid out in front of you, although sadly that’s gone in a split second. If only it could last a bit longer….

I personally think Frontierland is packed with amazing views. The Liberty Belle Riverboat offers a very different perspective of familiar rides, as does Tom Sawyer Island. If you don’t have time to experience boh of these, then take a look at the Haunted Mansion from the Liberty Belle Riverboat. It’s a very unusual view, and that’s what I love about it, as you just wouldn’t see anything like this anywhere else but Disney.

Elsewhere in Liberty Square, take the time to explore, and you’ll find facades of houses that provide some wonderful views that, just like Town Square and Main Street, transport you back in time to another era. Of course don’t forget the fun view of the Liberty Bell here, or Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe. It may seem odd to see a Christmas shop in the steaming summer months, but it’s a fun view – try looking in the shop window for some unusual shots!

So now we arrive in Fantasyland, and I can’t wait to see what wonderful new views are available when we see the expansion of this land for ourselves, but the best one has to be from Dumbo the Flying Elephant. It’ll be interesting to see what you can see from the new Dumbo rides, but from the old ones, it gave you some lovely views across the rest of Fantasyland, and over to the Castle.

One of my other favorites is the view from the back of the Castle, across to the Prince Charming Regal Carousel. There’s something very magical about seeing a ride that’s got so much history to it. I think of carousels and immediately it takes me back to my childhood, with carousels at local fairgrounds, although of course this one has some special Disney magic.

I’ll admit here that the appearance of Tomorrowland really doesn’t do much for me at the Magic Kingdom, and that’s got a lot to do with the fact that I love the Disneyland Paris version so much more. Now there’s a place with some amazing views, with the theme of a Jules Verne-imagined future. However, Tomorrowland, for me, is somewhere that comes alive at night, and I love just walking around it after dark, seeing it all lit up.

During the day, the best views for me are to be had from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, something that thankfully never has long lines. Not only can you see all of Tomorrowland laid out beneath you, with people swarming around like ants on the ground, but with views of Cinderella Castle, there’s plenty to enjoy here. Sadly, we’ve never repeated the joy of seeing Space Mountain all lit up inside thanks to a problem with the ride, but we do keep trying, as trust me, that is a really amazing view to behold!

In the next article of this series, we’ll move across to Epcot to examine the best views to find there.

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 01-24-2013

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