Disney World: we always hear that it’s the happiest place on earth, and having visited there about six years ago, I can attest that there really is something to the whole idea of Disney magic.
One of the things I loved about Disney World was the rides. I’m not a thrill ride junkie, but at Disney World, that’s okay. They do have scary rides, but they also have many fun, gentle rides. Rides that take you through a story, and always full of those Disney details that make each attraction a visual delight.
Several of my favorite Disney attractions are having anniversaries in 2014. Let’s look at them.
Carousel of Progress — 50 Years
This was one of my favorite attractions! It’s in the Magic Kingdom, and it debuted at the 1964 world’s fair. If you’ve not been in it — you go into an auditorium and watch a scene from the early 20th century, with talking animatronic figures. After this finishes, the seating area revolves to the right, where another scene later in history is shown. This continues, with history unfolding in front of your eyes.
This attraction was reportedly Walt Disney’s favorite, and I can see why. It’s just nostalgic fun, and it has a great theme song, too, that plays as your seats move to the next vignette.
The Carousel of Progress was the prime feature of the General Electric Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. After the fair, it was moved to Tomorrowland at Disneyland, remaining there from 1967 until 1973. It then opened in Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom in 1975.
It’s a Small World — 50 Years at Disneyland
It seems that people love to hate this attraction, with its admittedly virus-like theme song, but I love it. The adorable little dolls, the kitschy scenes, the boats, yes, even the song!
Like the Carousel of Progress, It’s a Small World was first created for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It was part of the UNICEF pavilion sponsored by Pepsi. It was moved to Disneyland after the fair. The Disney World version was built in 1971. The two attractions are alike except for just a few details — for instance, the “Goodbye Room” at Disneyland shows different postcards and parting phrases from around the world, but at the Disney World version, parting phrases are written on flowers.
Haunted Mansion — 45 Years
I love the Haunted Mansion! It’s scary, but in a good way, not a creepy one. I remember enjoying it when we visited Disney World in the ’70s. The exterior of the mansion (the one at Disneyland) is actually more than 50 years old, but construction was put on hold due to Walt Disney’s involvement with the 1964 World’s Fair mentioned earlier. Disney World’s version opened in 1971.
The attraction was originally intended to be a walk-through, but ended up transporting guests through on an “omnimover” system of “Doom Buggies” that can rotate in any direction, the better to see various scenes with. When the Mansion opened, reviews were quite mixed. Many felt it wasn’t scary enough. But, it remains one of the most popular Disney attractions.
Splash Mountain — 25 Years
Splash Mountain is an attraction I haven’t had the chance to experience, since it was closed for maintenance when we visited. It’s in the Magic Kingdom and near the Haunted Mansion, and I imagine the water spray feels good as a reprieve from the Florida heat.
The attraction is based on the Disney movie “Song of the South” and features the film’s soundtrack which plays during the ride, until the final descent into the Briar Patch. It was one of the most expensive Disney attractions ever built at the time. Disney World’s identical version opened in 1992.
What’s your favorite Disney attraction?