Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary is coming up, with the big day just a few days away on October 1st. To get ready for the event, we at Laughing Place are taking a look at various parts of Walt Disney World, past, present, and future, with today a blast to the past.
Today, I’m taking a look at the early days of Magic Kingdom and taking a brief look back at the opening day of the park and what I consider to be the five best attractions from that wonderful day of October 1, 1971 that we will be celebrating tomorrow. .
To start out, my list begins with the first attraction to ever star Mickey Mouse, the Mickey Mouse Revue. Since then, we’ve seen some other attractions including classics like Fantasmic and soon to be classic Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway that starred the mouse, but even the former couldn’t quite match the sheer number of characters in the Mickey Mouse Revue. It seemed like basically every character who had ever appeared in a Disney film was in this show, all playing some really fun songs to get people in the Disney spirit.
The show was a great diversion and felt very 70s. There was just something about animatronic shows at that time because they were great people eaters and relatively easy to put together. Plus, they were just fun with the next attraction on the list also being an animatronic show.
As cool as the Mickey Mouse Revue was, the top choice for Opening Day Audio-Animatronic show has to go to Country Bear Jamboree. Originally slated to be a part of the cancelled Mineral King resort, the show found life in the Magic Kingdom as a part of a Frontierland that was laid out a bit differently than the one over in the sister park of Disneyland.
What really sets the show apart is how loveable and iconic so many of the characters are. From Liver Lips to Trixie to Big Al, the characters all have their own way about them to truly stand apart from each other in the best way possible. But what really makes the show stand out today is how risque some of the songs and references are. I remember the first time that I revisited the attraction as an adult and truly wondered how some of these parts were still around, but I guess what goes over a kid’s head doesn’t hurt them.
Via All Ears
My next attraction on the list was a true classic in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. While its sister version still exists in Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom one was definitely the superior one, mainly because there were two different tracks you could take with the cars even interacting with each other throughout. It was a true Fantasyland classic and though Snow White’s Scary Adventures almost made its way onto my list for the simple fact that it was truly scary, Mr. Toad’s was the superior ride.
But of course, the attraction’s most important aspect is that it inspired the first Disney movie to be based on an attraction, 1996’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Eric Idle may not remember appearing in Journey into YOUR Imagination, but there’s no way he could forget filming such an iconic film.
Via Disney Wiki
I know it will never become a reality, but I’ve always dreamed of the Skyway returning to the Magic Kingdom. I know that we now have the Skyliner, but that can only fulfill me so much because it’s cool to fly around outside of the park, but it’s nothing compared to actually getting a birds eye view of the park. To be fair, I never got to experience any version of the Skyway myself, so my nostalgia is all based on videos, but I hold it nonetheless.
Anyway, the concept of the Skyway was so simple yet so perfect. It easily fits in with Walt’s fascination with transportation as well as the simple Disney magic of just flying over the theme park. The attraction also made a turn and you could get on in Tomorrowland or Fantasyland, so really is there more to look for?
Finally, we come to Haunted Mansion which pretty much had to be the choice of top opening day attraction. The Imagineers one upped themselves by adding scenes from the queue of Disneyland’s version into the attraction itself adding a good two minutes of sitting in air conditioning.
But I mean come on, it’s the Haunted freaking Mansion. The attraction is just perfectly crafted with gags and scares and everything in between. With a perfect song, story, and decorations, there’s basically just nothing to complain about with the attraction. It’s as perfect as they come.
Thanks for checking out Opening Day attractions from all the Walt Disney World parks this week, and be sure to check back next week when I choose the ideal year to visit each of the parks as the final prep for the 50th.
Cole Geryak is a childless millennial making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.