Ultimate Ranking: Magic Kingdom Lands
Not only are Walt Disney World vets passionate about certain parks, but they are passionate about certain park sections. And no park has more diversity in it than the Magic Kingdom.
While the other parks operate under larger cohesive themes, the Magic Kingdom is broken up into six distinct areas that have nothing to do with one another.
You might be asking yourself; how did Walt keep this park from looking like a thematically confusing mess? Well, Walt was a visionary.
Learning from his mistakes at Disneyland, Walt understood the importance of more real estate, masking sightlines, and strict contained theming. (This is why you’ll never see a Haunted Mansion maid letting guests onto Peter Pan’s Flight.)
The Magic Kingdom is designed like a bicycle wheel. Cinderella Castle acts as the hub and the spokes around it contain different lands.
These lands include Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Liberty Square, and the ever-iconic Main Street U.S.A. Today, I’m going to do my best to rank these lands on theming, attractions, food options, and more.
(Please note that this is a subjective ranking. I mean no offense if my list differs from yours.)
Follow the sounds of banjo music and you’ll end up in Frontierland, an idealized version of the Wild West. This land is a bigger and better version of every frontier-themed section at your local amusement park.
Stroll along the peaceful walk by the Rivers of America. Grab a turkey leg or churro at an outdoor cart. If you’re lucky, you may spot Sheriff Woody or other characters in cowpoke attire.
If you want to sit for a spell, grab lunch at the spacious Pecos Bill Café. The menu is full of delicious tex-mex and again, you’ll never have trouble finding a seat.
Finally, don’t miss out on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This ride is well-themed, long, and surprisingly thrilling for a family coaster.
So, with all these wonderful features, why is this land ranked so low? Well, right now, it’s a little weak in terms of attractions.
Splash Mountain is closed for a retheme. Experiencing Tom Sawyer Island amounts to just a humid, unsteady mini hike. And the Country Bear Jamboree is an always-watch-it or always-skip-it attraction. (I skip it.
Regardless, it’s a fun trip down memory lane for fans of Davey Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier (1955).
Speaking of exploration, Adventureland is full of possibilities. The sounds of drumbeats and exotic birds cawing will transport you to distant lands.
Many guests (including myself) have to visit here to pick up a spring roll or Dole Whip Float.
Best of all, Adventureland houses two amazing Disney World attractions.
Pirates of the Caribbean has kept a devoted fanbase for years, even spawning a popular movie franchise. And the Jungle Cruise is adored for its timeless animatronics and witty skippers.
Honestly, the other attractions are a bit weak. The Swiss Robinson Family Treehouse is a slightly better version of Tom Sawyer Island. The Magic Flying Carpets of Aladdin are straight out of a carnival.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is a classic opening-day attraction, but mostly, it’s an air-conditioned escape for me.
Yet, I’d never skip Adventureland, even if the area isn’t a 10/10.
No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without a visit to Fantasyland. A quick jaunt through Cinderella Castle leads directly to this must-visit section.
Once inside, carousel music twinkles over the sounds of children rushing to meet princesses or grab an ice cream cone.
This land is also home to several of Walt’s original attractions (e.g., It’s a Small World). Just a little further down the way, you’ll run into the gorgeous New Fantasyland.
This popular expansion includes the Be Our Guest restaurant, a recreation of Belle’s village, a full-scale Little Mermaid castle/ride, the Seven Dwarves Mine Train Ride, and an improved version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
Snacks and lunch options are also handy with savory treats from Friar’s Nook, piping hot pizza from Pinocchio Village Haus, and baked goods from Big Top Treats.
So, why isn’t this ranked number one? Well, the crowds can be overwhelming.
The strong association between the Magic Kingdom and Fantasyland means this area gets packed. (Avoid Peter Pan’s Flight at midday at all costs.)
Fantasyland is a great early morning or end-of-day stop. The crowds may erode pixie dust otherwise.
Some say this land looks outdated, but I love the old-fashioned vision of the ‘future’. There’s something oddly cozy about the metallic colors and electronic background music.
While not as aesthetically pleasing as other lands, Tomorrowland (ironically) feels frozen in time. As an admirer of Walt Disney, I love it.
I could easily spend an entire day in this land just re-riding the attractions.
The PeopleMover is an incredibly relaxing way to tour the entire area from the sky. The Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor never fails to amuse me. And Walt Disney’s The Carousel of Progress ride is not only very entertaining but it’s a piece of company history.
Also, Tomorrowland is home to Space Mountain, one of the greatest coasters of all time. In an age where coasters are getting higher, faster, and more death-defying, Space Mountain is still a fan favorite.
The simple effects of darkness, whooshing soundtracks, and floating galaxy lights still impress thrill seekers.
When you need to recharge, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is a solid place for burgers and seasonal menu items.
Granted, this land isn’t perfect. It’s stained by the memory of Stitch’s Great Escape and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin hasn’t aged well over time.
Despite that, I can’t pass up a Tomorrowland adventure.
#2 Liberty Square
I believe Sam Eagle would describe this area as, “A tribute to all nations, but mostly America”. I also adore Liberty Square.
This lovely land is dedicated to America at the peak of its birth. Stroll along this colonial square for sights that will fill you with patriotism.
First, there is a recreation of the famous Liberty Tree, where colonists used to congregate in Boston. This tree is outside The Liberty Tree Tavern, which is arguably the best sit-down meal in the park.
(This Thanksgiving-centric restaurant is all-you-can-eat, but I’d urge you to save room for a dessert waffle or funnel cake from Sleep Hollow Refreshments.)
After stuffing yourself, take in a show at the historic Hall of Presidents. Admire some of Disney’s best animatronics and listen to inspiring messages from our founding fathers.
Then, test your courage by riding the spooktacular Haunted Mansion. Inspired by the Pennsylvania manor of Harry Packer, this foreboding house beckons you on a journey that is both silly and sinister. “Look alive” for it.
And finally, don’t forget to stop in the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, which is open year-round. Bring home beautiful holiday décor or an ornament that can be personalized on-site.
You never know, Liberty Square may inspire you to see more of our great nation!
#1 Main Street U.S.A.
Main Street U.S.A. is not only my favorite land. It’s one of my favorite places in the universe.
I never tire of this idyllic street. The pristine turn-of-the-century of this land lends itself to charming storefronts, nostalgia, and endless magical details. (Plus, it’s the perfect setting for Cinderella Castle.)
Before the days get too packed, I recommend taking a leisurely walk to admire the special touches. Read all the shop windows for Imagineering Easter Eggs. Listen to the jaunty music playing tunes from Broadway classics, like Hello, Dolly! (1964).
(Definitely don’t miss the harmonizing Dapper Dans barbershop quartet.)
Main Street U.S.A. is the pinnacle of shopping with the Main Street Confectionary (for sweets), Uptown Jewelers (for fine jewelry and designer goods), and the Emporium (for everything else). Don’t be fooled though, it’s not only a shopping destination.
Main Street U.S.A. is home to beloved eateries like Casey’s Corner, the Plaza Restaurant, and the Winnie-the-Pooh and friends character meal at the Crystal Palace.
After shopping and filling your belly, don’t rush to leave. Stop and visit Mickey at the Town Square Theater or catch a round-trip ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad.
Main Street U.S.A. is the best of Disney World and the best of America. Technically, its only drawback is its lack of attractions.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with this ranking?
Regardless, I hope you can visit your favorite “land” very soon!
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