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    That's My Opinion: The Best of Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom

    The Best of Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom by Steve Russo

    Steve offers up his mostly definitive list of the best of Magic Kingdom's attractions, shows, and restaurants.

    Read it here!


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    First off Steve, I always like your Opinion columns- agree or disagree, it's wonderful to have a "conversation" about a mutual passion.

    I think my #1 attraction is Philharmagic, because it does such a wonderful job of reminding us of all of those great emotions we had watching those movies- it's one of the best pure Disney Magic shows in the parks. A lot of the classics follow, but I also want to agree with you on Toy Story- I'm a big fan of interactive experiences and the Space Ranger Spin is a great active experience as opposed to many of the other rides which are more of sit back and enjoy type of rides.

    But what I really want to write is what I think the biggest thing that you're missing here- the monorail. The monorail from the transportation and ticket center around to the gates is as much of an attraction as any ride inside the parks. From the moment the doors close and you hear the spiel welcoming you on board the Walt Disney World express monorail for the first time on a trip is the focal point of all of the excitement you have felt in the months since you booked the trip, that built when you boarded the plane or got in your car to start your trip, when you arrived in Orlando and saw your first Disney billboard, since you passed through the arch over the road and started seeing Disney signs. Like waking up on Christmas morning, you know that you are only minutes away from a wonderful experience. To me that is as much Disney magic as any ride or show in the parks, for as many other places that monorails are- various zoos the Las Vegas Strip, airports- there is none quite like the one in Disney. In many ways up until that point your experiences have been ordinary- driving a car, flying on a plane, riding a bus- but the Monorail is the very first experience that travelers have that is unique to Disney. Our "Highway in the Sky" definitely deserves some love on the best of Disney list.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mkelm44 View Post
    First off Steve, I always like your Opinion columns- agree or disagree, it's wonderful to have a "conversation" about a mutual passion.

    I think my #1 attraction is Philharmagic, because it does such a wonderful job of reminding us of all of those great emotions we had watching those movies- it's one of the best pure Disney Magic shows in the parks. A lot of the classics follow, but I also want to agree with you on Toy Story- I'm a big fan of interactive experiences and the Space Ranger Spin is a great active experience as opposed to many of the other rides which are more of sit back and enjoy type of rides.

    But what I really want to write is what I think the biggest thing that you're missing here- the monorail. The monorail from the transportation and ticket center around to the gates is as much of an attraction as any ride inside the parks. From the moment the doors close and you hear the spiel welcoming you on board the Walt Disney World express monorail for the first time on a trip is the focal point of all of the excitement you have felt in the months since you booked the trip, that built when you boarded the plane or got in your car to start your trip, when you arrived in Orlando and saw your first Disney billboard, since you passed through the arch over the road and started seeing Disney signs. Like waking up on Christmas morning, you know that you are only minutes away from a wonderful experience. To me that is as much Disney magic as any ride or show in the parks, for as many other places that monorails are- various zoos the Las Vegas Strip, airports- there is none quite like the one in Disney. In many ways up until that point your experiences have been ordinary- driving a car, flying on a plane, riding a bus- but the Monorail is the very first experience that travelers have that is unique to Disney. Our "Highway in the Sky" definitely deserves some love on the best of Disney list.
    First, let me say, "Thanks." Then, I'll say, "Dammit! You're jumping ahead!" ;-)

    Actually, I've been toying with an "Outside the Parks" column to finish off this series and the monorail would have been on that list. I couldn't justify it for the MK only because it's such a big part of the MK resorts and Epcot - I love the loop inside the park there.

    At any rate, thanks for endorsing what I'll probably say in a few months... :-)
    Steve

  5. #4

    Hi Steve.
    On the attraction front - I'd put Space Mountain in place of the People Mover. There are so many great attractions at the Magic Kingdom that it's hard to really rate them - for me the list will change depending on my mood. However I am very much in agreement with most of your list.

    On another note, I just got back from a trip to Hong Kong last week. Mystic Manor is a great attraction, but it is not a Haunted Mansion. There are no happy haunts there! There's only inanimate objects coming to life in a very cool and very entertaining way. I rode the Mystic Manor attraction more than any other in Hong Kong Disneyland.

    Thanks for another thought provoking article.

    Tony S.
    "It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney
    www.disneyscavengerhunt.com


  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by srusso100 View Post
    First, let me say, "Thanks." Then, I'll say, "Dammit! You're jumping ahead!" ;-)

    Actually, I've been toying with an "Outside the Parks" column to finish off this series and the monorail would have been on that list. I couldn't justify it for the MK only because it's such a big part of the MK resorts and Epcot - I love the loop inside the park there.

    At any rate, thanks for endorsing what I'll probably say in a few months... :-)
    Okay, I'll wait a few months for the Monorail section. Feel free to give me a co-author credit for it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovethemouse View Post
    There are so many great attractions at the Magic Kingdom that it's hard to really rate them -
    Yep.
    Steve

  8. #7
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    Hey, great article! Being "stuck" going to Disneyland last year and for at least the next two years, it makes me miss MY Magic Kingdom. When I'm at DL, I certainly miss what's probably my #2 at MK as well, Philharmagic. If there's a "Disney" attraction, that is the one. I took my 65yo dad to WDW two years ago and he flew home saying that was his favorite attraction.

    As for food, I've never done Be Our Guest for Table Service, but the lunch there is great as is the theming. But your other two, Liberty Tree and Tony's.... I don't consider it a WDW trip without eating at these places. The eggplant parm at Tony's is probably my favorite dish at WDW.

    As for Space MT not making the list, I certainly get that. The WDW version can be brutal - I can usually ride it once and then no more. The DL version is much faster and smoother that it leaves much to be desired when we make a trip to FL.

    Working for Disney. No, no. Working (in a Modesto office) for (the money to take a trip to) Disney (World/Land)

    WDW Trips: June 2002, Feb 2004, Dec 2006, Dec 2008, Jan 2010, Feb 2011, Dec 2012
    Disneyland Trips: Feb 2006, Nov 2013

  9. #8

    I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series...I usually find myself agreeing with your opinions, and this article was no exception. I could quibble a little bit about the exact ranking order of the attractions, but I generally agree with the list. I was glad to see the People Mover (TTA) get some love...while it certainly isn't the wildest ride in the park, there's something about riding it and being able to relax and just take in the scenery that is probably my favorite part of being at WDW. The fact it never has a line is also great - it was always the perfect ride to relax for a bit while you were waiting for your Fastpass for one of the nearby rides. While that part is gone, the ride is still a simple Disney classic that can be enjoyed by all ages.

    I probably also am a little more positive towards Buzz Lightyear than I sense you are. While a technical upgrade would be nice, the current tech works well, and competing with the family for high score is always one of the high points of the trip. It would definitely be in my top 7.

    I'd probably also add Pecos Bill's to the list instead of Casey's Corner, which dropped off my list for the reasons you mentioned. The loss of the bleachers and cartoons, in the interest of adding more seating, was not a positive change in my mind. Pecos Bill's is very well themed, and the toppings bar (which is also one of the reasons we love Cosmic Ray's) gives a lot of opportunities to build a burger just the way you like it, and cheese fries are always a huge hit for the family. Sure...it's "bulk loader" food, but we're on vacation, right???


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    Great list, but for me I'd put Philharmagic as #1 and add Space Mt instead of the TTA Peoplemover. I'm not a big fan of the Pirates additions but the ride still deserves to be on the list. I love BOG and have enjoyed LTT and Tony's but seeing them as the top 3 TS restaurants only makes it clearer that the MK defintiely needs more TS venues that aren't character meals. BOG was a start in the right direction. Too bad there's no room in the castle (I presume) for a dining experience that would be more upscale, perhaps a French/Continental cuisine place akin to Monsieur Paul or a steakhouse. In my perfect Disney MK, each land would have a nice TS restaurant.

    John

  11. #10

    My top three (in no particular order) are Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Pirates.. On my last trip, the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor jumped up on my list.. not sure it is a top 7.. but it is definitely an honorable mention.. It is up there with the most re-doability (is that a word? ) since much of the material is pulled from the crowd.

    I haven't had a chance to get int BOG for dinner.. but have had lunch there. I love Liberty Tree. The food is great, and I love the decor.

    I look forward to the rest of the parts of this series while I dream about our next trip which is still a ways off..


  12. #11

    Hi Steve,
    Yes, Big Thunder Mountain is such a great ride for the whole family, especially at night when you get a totally different perspective! POtC is a great attraction; the AA’s are just superb not to mention that all of it is in shade/ dark ride which makes it nice and cool during the summer months. My personal favorite is Peter Pan, flying over London is just fantastic! Liberty Tree has one of the best sit down meals however the Crystal Palace is one of my family’s favorites. It’s a tradition on our first day at WDW to have supper here. Also there is a great photo op of the castle without other guests behind you in the shot. We will be dining at Be Our Guest for the first time this August, and can hardly wait! Thanks again for sending some pixie dust our way and I am looking forward to the other articles over the next few months!
    Gail


  13. #12
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    Great article as always. I myself have always like the people Mover from when I was a kid in the 70s to now. It is always a must do for me. But I thought I was one of the few that like Philarmagic. Same reason as you Donald is my favorite Disney Character. I don't know if they still sell the Donald Duck butt hats but I bought one when I was there last with my kids and still wear it sometimes outside of WDW.


  14. #13

    Steve,

    As always a wonderful column you have written! I share many of your favorites. However, I would have to knock Jungle Cruise off the list and add Space Mountain. I do love Jungle Cruise though, especially at night, so I would put that on the Honorable Mention list!

    The TTA will ALWAYS be the Wedway for me too! Our whole family LOVES that ride!

    Sadly, I can't even put Buzz on the Honorable Mention list. I could happily live out the rest of my days never setting foot on that ride again! lol!! If it was set up like the one at Disneyland where you can actually hold the gun in your hand to aim and can tell much easier if you have actually hit a target, then it would make the list for me! I view that ride as a place to sit and rest in the air conditioning and nothing more.

    I have never eaten at Tony's before. Totally agree about the Columbia Harbor House. I love, love, love that!

    Thanks for sharing Steve! I always love to read your opinion pieces.

    Heidi


  15. #14
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    I agree Space Mountain does not rate a best of list until they actually do a decent refurb like they did on DLR's. Even my sons who are 20 years younger agree the MK version beats the crap out of you and where's the fun in that.

    "Although we think it's DOPEY that Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet, which has made some people GRUMPY and others just SLEEPY, we are not BASHFUL in saying we would be HAPPY if Disney's Pluto would join us as an 8th dwarf. We think this is just what the DOC ordered and is nothing to SNEEZE at."

  16. #15

    I tend to agree with the picks from Chris Barry's article from 3 weeks ago, "My Disney Top 5, Things to Love About the Magic Kingdom." I noticed that you both picked Wishes.

    GnP


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