The Legendary Magic Kingdom Touring Plan

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After suggesting at our last meeting that every Touring Plan begin with Country Bear Jamboree or the Universe of Energy (even if you’re planning on spending your day at Animal Kingdom or the Studios!), I think Len has officially banned me from the Touring Plan Creation Task Force. (We don’t really have a task force that does this, per se, but it certainly sounds cool!) Luckily for me (and you!), and much to the chagrin of those concerned with protecting the legitimacy of real Touring Plans, I have this weekly soapbox. I thus present to you the Legendary Magic Kingdom Touring Plan. It’s like an Ultimate Touring Plan, except better!

Big Al
I don’t have kids, so this Touring Plan won’t be starting with Dumbo. Frankly, elephants frighten me, and I question the sanity of anyone who would venture a ride on an elephant that thinks it can fly with its ears. Instead, make a b-line at rope drop to Country Bear Jamboree. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Country Bear Jamboree won’t have a line all day, why waste time hitting it first?!” Well, this Touring Plan isn’t concerned with saving time, it’s concerned with awesome attractions. Who cares if you have to wait in line 4 extra hours because you visited attractions in a haphazard order?

I am at a loss when I hear Country Bears panned. I try not to be too quick to dismiss differing views, but I can’t help but think that some people just don’t, “get it.” It’s edgy and witty, and best of all, features bears playing catchy tunes. The highlight is unquestionably the drunken country drawl of Big Al, with his rendition of “Blood on the Saddle.” This attraction, a Magic Kingdom opening day original, has easily attained “Legendary” status.

Now that you’re fully excited for your day in the Magic Kingdom, head on over to the Frontierland Mountains. Here, hit Splash Mountain first, followed by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Both of these Magic Kingdom Mountains are Legendary, with their details, theming, and story. Big Thunder’s story is a bit on the subtle side, which makes the pay-off all the better when you put the pieces together. Make sure to hit the mountains in the order listed above. To paraphrase Stacey from the “Top 7,” One I like to call the wash cycle, the other the dry cycle. Doing these attractions early is helpful if you didn’t have time to shower before leaving your room!

Walt Disney World - On Stranger Tides
Next, we head to the Hall of Presidents. Another under-appreciated classic, which had a recent refurbishment giving it new life. This will make you proud to be an American, even if you’re from Canada! After that, hit another “edutaining” attraction, the Haunted Mansion. Be sure to walk quickly when you leave the Mansion so you lose the ghost tailing you. Adventureland is the next stop, where you’ll experience Pirates of the Caribbean. Everyone loves pirates. Everyone loves Johnny Depp. This attraction features Johnny Depp as a pirate. It’s a no-brainer Legendary-pick. Unless you like disinterested college kids phoning it in, skip the Jungle Cruise. You may get lucky and have a wonderful skipper, but the likelihood is that you’ll have one who doesn’t care.

Navigate the sea of strollers in Fantasyland to it’s a small world. It may not be the most technically impressive attraction, but the message is great, it’s filled with detail, and its history is second to none. An easy “Legendary” pick. The only other Legendary pick here is Mickey’s PhilharMagic. A veritable mix of classics for anyone who grew up in the 1990s, PhilharMagic is the perfect attraction featuring the new animated classics. Check out Peter Pan’s Flight if the line isn’t too long, but unless your nostalgia pines for it, it’s not worth a 90 minute wait. Snow White’s Scary Adventures should have gone the way of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride long ago; after each ride, I have to look around to make sure I haven’t been teleported to a county fair. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is worth experiencing if the wait is short, but it’s hardly Legendary.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Tomorrowland:  The Neon Jungle

Last, head to my favorite land in the Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland, which is exponentially better at night. As you enter through the “Gateway to the Future” your ears will be enveloped with the best Background Music in WDW; marvel at the ocular delight of the neon lights throughout the futuristic land. Before you hit any attractions here, pour some Nescafe outside of Stitch’s Great Escape in honor of our fallen homie, Alien Encounter. You won’t want to drink all of the stuff, anyway. It’s disgusting.

Every other attraction in Tomorrowland is Legendary. Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor is misplaced in Tomorrowland, but it’s humorous and brings a uniquely interactive experience that doesn’t feel interactive just for the sake of being interactive. Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin is great for the competitive crowd. I actually prefer it to Toy Story Mania, but even if you don’t, the plus side is it won’t have a 2 hour line! Astro Orbitor is a more enjoyable spinner than Dumbo due to its elevation, and at night, it offers a great view.

This brings us to the Tomorrowland big three: Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover, and Carousel of Progress. Some may tell you that the order in which you experience these three doesn’t matter. That’s nonsense! Experience the TTA first, then Space Mountain, then Carousel of Progress. The TTA provides a relaxing ride around Tomorrowland energizes you for a flight through space. Plus, with its views into Space Mountain, it foreshadows your impending space exploration. With suspense built, head  to Space Mountain, which offers an awesome show from start to finish. Pay attention to the post-show for a nod to an extinct Epcot attraction. Once you’ve returned to earth, debrief yourself with the quintessential American family aboard the Carousel of Progress. I’ve already explained why the Carousel of Progress is one of the most Legendary attractions in Walt Disney World.
Another Mundane Shot of the Most Amazing Sight on Earth
The day is not over. Obviously, you’ll be enjoying Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes! Follow them with a relaxing stare at Cinderella Castle. If you’re so inclined, wait around for a bit after Wishes! concludes for the Kiss Goodnight. This park closing ritual is one of the most moving moments of the day for me. To this day, I still get goosebumps every time I experience it. Finally, drag yourself through the turnstiles and pat yourself on the back. You’ve just completed the Legendary Magic Kingdom Touring Plan!

What attractions would you place on the “Legendary” Magic Kingdom Touring Plan? What did I miss? What did I experience that is an absolute “Must-Avoid”? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Posted on April 15, 2011

11 Responses to “The Legendary Magic Kingdom Touring Plan”

  • How did Stitch’s Great Escape not make the list?

    All kidding aside, I love this list. After you have been to Disney World several times, just experiencing the classic rides and getting that “feeling” is the key. While I don’t agree with starting with the Country Bear Jamboree (sorry, just can’t make it my first of the day), I like the purpose of this “plan”, which is to see the classics in a sensible order. Also, I couldn’t agree more that Tomorrowland at night is marvelous.

    The only addition I have is the Walt Disney World Railroad. While right now there’s not much to see with the Fantasyland construction, it’s a classic for us.

    • Admittedly, the “sensible order” is a little tongue in cheek (thus the “Who cares if you have to wait in line 4 extra hours because you visited attractions in a haphazard order?”). I would never actually visit CBJ first, but we do typically end the day in Tomorrowland. However, we’ve already walked through Tomorrowland numerous times by that point, scooping up FastPasses along the way. Not only that, but a lot of time, “end of night” for us is 3 a.m. during Evening EMH, and by that time, Space Mountain is walk-on, regardless the time of year. So, while I probably wouldn’t order visits to attractions based on “awesome level,” I would visit all of these attractions.

      The Railroad is a great addition to the list. All too often we forget to ride it. It seems to be one of those things we always say, “oh, we’ll do later,” but later never comes!

  • Great collection and ordering of attractions! I’d rank Innoventions Background Music above the Tomorrowland’s, but it’s a minor quibble. I also enjoy stopping in at Cosmic Ray’s to catch Sonny Eclipse.

  • I’d suggest looping back into Adventureland to do the Jungle Cruise after dark. During the day? Yawn. After dark? Legendary! Even if you do get a bored college kid.

    • I anticipate some people taking issue with my comments about Jungle Cruise (and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride). I used to really like Jungle Cruise, and I had a couple great rides on the Disneyland version last year. However, the last several years I’ve experienced it at WDW, it has been a letdown. Maybe these 10-15 experiences are a fluke, but it seems the skippers at WDW care less, and deviate from the same standard script less. I have heard of more edgy stuff on late nights, so maybe we should give it a try then!

  • Couldn’t agree more! Tiki Room is also on our legendary list. I prefer the original, but still love it. You can’t help but sing that song the rest of the day.

  • I LOVE this post. Every paragraph made me smile. It really showcases the reasons why WDW is an experience that can be enjoyed again and again.

    I too am conflicted about the Jungle Cruise. If you get a good skipper, this is at the top of my list, but if you’re stuck with a dud (or if the sound system is on the blink) then 10 minutes of tedium are ahead of you.

  • Love this list! My only addition would be a must on Peter Pan. Its my all time favorite (mostly for nostalgic reasons), but I’d definitely Fastpass it. All the others I love!

  • Overall, a great list. However, I would nix the Country Bear Jamboree or put it in the afternoon, when I may need a nap (just kidding-kinda). I would also add Jungle Cruise. I love the ride! I’m a sucker for bad puns, even if they are delivered badly. It is my absolute favorite ride at Magic Kingdom!

  • Great article – I love the bit about the wash and dry cycle! I can’t wait to experience Tomorrowland!! It’s hard to believe but in the relatively few times I’ve been to MK, I have yet to see Tomorrowland! I know, I know, what is wrong with me!! I have no idea, but I’ll tell you now that the next trip will begin with Tomorrowland, for sure!!

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