Looking out the window of the airplane as we landed in Orlando, Florida, I felt anticipation, excitement, and exhaustion. It was July 2003 and we were on a family vacation to Walt Disney World. The plane had departed from Philadelphia International Airport at 8 a.m. My parents slept soundly and my younger brother and sister were so excited because like me, it was their first trip to Disney World as well, that they couldn’t even sit still on the plane. Soon, we would all be experiencing the thrill of the Magic Kingdom.
My siblings could barely contain their enthusiasm as we drove in our rented Ford minivan to the hotel.
After freshening up at the hotel, all five of us climbed into the minivan and headed to Walt Disney World. After maneuvering through a maze of on ramps and off ramps, we were finally at the Magic Kingdom. By the time we were actually inside the theme park, it was lunch time so we decided to eat first before going on our adventures.
We were told there were some very nice restaurants outside the Magic Kingdom, a boat ride away; but since my siblings and I were so eager to go on the rides, my parents decided to go with fast food within the theme park.
The greatest disappointment of the day was the missing rides. Hannah’s favorite ride is Alice in Wonderland; she can and has ridden it ten times in a row at Disneyland. It doesn’t exist at the Magic Kingdom. Megan’s favorite Disneyland ride was also absent, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon spin. After all the anticipation, to have the two rides which mattered most to the twins missing, was quite a let down. We couldn’t find Indiana Jones or Star Tours, either, so Bill asked an employee about the missing rides. It turns out, you can experience those “movie type” rides at Disney’s MGM studios, for a separate admission price. We were stunned.
Bill and I found our mounting discontent compounded by the physical discomfort we felt standing in lines in 90-degree temperatures with 90% humidity. Disneyland with its California location has dry, comfortable weather most of the year. Disneyland is also blessed with a wonderful sea breeze during the hot summers. The Magic Kingdom is located inland with muggy, hot conditions year round.
We felt the Magic Kingdom was a waste of time and money. Disneyland is far superior to the Magic Kingdom. I think it was insulting to the customers to charge more in admission than Disneyland and offer significantly less in the form of entertainment. I felt Disney management was greedy. The kids did enjoy themselves, but we adults left the theme park feeling “ripped off”. As a general rule we never take the kids to Disneyland more than once a year. But so much was missing from the Magic Kingdom Experience; we took them three months later to Disneyland and had a great time.
On the first day in Disney World, my dad and I went on all of the Mountain rides like Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Space Mountain. My favorite was Space Mountain because the ride is inside, and there are no lights so you cannot see at all. I also won a stuffed dog at a game stand.