Walt Disney World is in the middle of its 50th Anniversary celebration. It has been a great celebration with a few new rides, new entertainment, and magical additions all over. If you are looking for a truly authentic way to celebrate try experiencing all the Magic Kingdom Opening Day Attractions and experiences that are still available today.
While not all the attractions or entertainment options are still available, quite a few are. Right now there is actually a special tour offered by Disney that takes you on the opening day attractions and gives you some great insider information. If you are a client of mine, I can help arrange this tour for you.
Magic Kingdom Opening Day Attractions & Experiences that are Still Available Today
While some of the attractions have changed slightly, they are still in alignment with Walt’s vision.
Country Bear Jamboree – Country Bear Jamboree is one of the very last attractions that Walt Disney personally had a hand in developing. Originally planned for a never-built Disney ski resort in Mineral King, California, the show with the singing bears happily moved out to Florida for opening day and has been performing daily at Magic Kingdom park ever since.
What’s different now in the Country Bear Jamboree show? Compared to the original, the show is a bit shorter. The songs “Pretty Little Devilish Mary” and “Fractured Folk Song” were removed and some of the dialogue was taken out. Some of the bear’s appearances have changed with refurbishments.
Dapper Dans – The Dapper Dans are a musical group that performs on Main Street USA daily. They have a comedy and musical act. They sing everything from classics to modern Disney songs. The best time to hear them is when you are waiting for the parade and they are nearby.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Dumbo is the most classic ride of Walt Disney World. Disney World’s Dumbo went through a major move and upgrade a few years ago. Now there are 2 Dumbo rides and a nice air-conditioned play area to wait for your turn.
Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade – I rarely see anyone play this but there is a shootin’ game in Frontierland. Mosey on up to a rustic log cabin and fill yer hands with a replica .54-caliber Hawkins buffalo rifle. Against the southwestern landscape, a familiar sight comes into view: legendary Boot Hill in the famous frontier town of Tombstone, Arizona. There is an additional cost to play this game.
Are you really shooting bullets? No. The activity uses projectile-free infrared technology.
The Hall of Presidents – Originally conceived as animated wax figures, the Presidents didn’t meet Walt Disney’s approval, so he tasked Walt Disney Imagineering to develop the first Audio-Animatronics figure in human form.
The result was the groundbreaking Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, which debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The Hall of Presidents built upon the show’s legacy—expanding it to all Presidents—when it opened in 1971.
While some regard this attraction as a nice place to take a nice air-conditioned 25-minute nap, I enjoy the show and always feel a little bit more patriotic when I leave.
The Haunted Mansion – This ride was a copy from Disneyland but was made to be a bit more elaborate.
What’s different now from Disney World’s opening day? There is a more elaborate transformation of the foyer portrait; new visual and audio effects in the Stretching Room; and a new M.C. Escher-inspired Endless Staircase scene.
An “interactive queue” with new crypts and tombstones honoring Imagineers; a murder mystery for guests to solve featuring the sinister Dread Family; the Composer Crypt, which features musical instruments that play variations of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” when touched; the Mariner’s brine-filled sepulcher, whose ghost sings and sneezes from within, and a crypt for Prudence Pock the poetess, which features haunted moving books & Prudence’s ghostwriting invisibly in her poem book. Guests can solve the unfinished poems by speaking into microphones located on the crypt.
It’s a Small World – The inaugural version premiered at the 1964 New York World’s Fair before its’ move to Disneyland. Artist Mary Blair was responsible for the attraction’s whimsical design and color styling. Under the direction of designer Alice Davis, Disney seamstresses sewed over 300 costumes in all. Authentic materials were used for each region’s traditional attire, from silks for the saris of India to fine wool for the Scottish bagpiper. Walt Disney’s version is not as nice as Disneyland’s but it is still just as iconic.
Jungle Cruise – This ride has really changed and increased in popularity in the last 2 years, especially since the release of the Jungle Cruise movie. The Skipper Cast Members take you along on a pun-filled ride through the jungle rivers. One of my favorite attractions!
Mad Tea Party – Ready to go for a spin? This classic must-do attraction.
Magic Kingdom Fireworks – While the show has changed quite a bit from opening day, nighttime fireworks are a nightly tradition from day 1. Disney had totally transformed the show from its’ humble beginnings. Now the show is matched with amazing castle and Main Street U.S.A. projections.
Main Street Vehicles – While lots of attractions have been changed the Main Street Vehicles have not. They are the same and kept in pristine working condition. A lot of guests walk right past these wonders as they rush to their first attraction or to the castle. You CAN take a ride in these fun vehicles and sometimes if they aren’t running you can just get some fun photo opportunities with them.
Peter Pan’s Flight – While the ride was not technically open on opening day, it opened 2 days later. This ride is an attraction modeled after the original one in Disneyland. The original intent of the attraction was for guests to fly through the ride as if they, themselves, were Peter Pan. Most Disneyland guests did not quite grasp that concept and were wondering where Peter Pan was.
The Walt Disney World version of the ride added scenes with Peter and made use of Audio-Animatronic figures. In 2014, the ride was upgraded to include an updated indoor queue. The new queue starts by entering into a corridor with interactive murals, it then leads guests into the Darling family residence, with a special emphasis on the nursery.
Prince Charming Regal Carousel – On opening day, the carousel was named Cinderella’s Golden Carousel. This Carousel has quite a history I learned during my research and actually caused me to appreciate it even more. The carousel was originally built in 1917! It was originally known as “The Liberty Carousel”, and delivered to Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan. Liberty originally had a 60-foot platform, 72 wooden horses, four chariots and sleighs, and seated 99 passengers, five abreast. It was moved to Olympic Park in Irvington, New Jersey, and in 1967 the Walt Disney Company purchased it.
Disney added a 23 karat gold leaf, silver, and bronze to each of the horses and added scenes from Cinderella’s story. While it was extensively refurbished and repainted in 1967 to match the Cinderella theme, maidens from the original design can still be seen on the top. All ninety horses are painted white because white horses are typically associated with heroes. One chariot that was originally installed on “The Liberty” was lost during the refurbishment but was rediscovered and installed in 1997.
Do you know how Disney pays attention to detail? Well, check out this fun fact! While the carousel was being installed at the Magic Kingdom, Roy Disney noticed that the placement was off-center with the Cinderella Castle breezeway, and it was moved eight inches so it would be center.
Consider planning and booking your next Walt Disney World vacation with a Concierge Vacation Planner like Favorite Grampy’s Travels. I’ll take away the stress of planning a Disney vacation and help you get the best price! Click Here to Get a no-obligation consultation now.
Swiss Family Treehouse – This attraction was another duplicate of Disneyland’s. Did you know the tree for the treehouse isn’t a real tree? The tree, while intended to look real, is actually made up of steel, concrete, and stucco, stretching 60 feet tall and 90 feet wide.
Tomorrowland Speedway – While this ride is part of the opening day attractions, I think we can all agree this attraction needs some improvements. Maybe Disney can spring for some electric vehicles so it doesn’t smell like exhaust fumes all over Tomorrowland.
The Tomorrowland Speedway is themed to resemble the famous Indianapolis Speedway. The cars reach top speeds of 7.5 mph. Famous announcer Tom Carnegie can be heard announcing the “race” as cars travel around the track.
Walt Disney World Railroad – While the Walt Disney World Railroad is closed right now due to Tron construction, there is still a photo opportunity at the Main Street station. You can even ring the bell and the Cast Members are so knowledgeable and can answer any questions about the train’s history or how it works.
The Enchanted Tiki Room – This is another duplicate from the attraction at Disneyland. This version has gone through quite a few changes but is still a cute show that brings smiles to guests who see the whole room come alive. The groundbreaking technology allowed animators to synchronize movement, audio, and visual effects, paving the way for other classic attractions like “it’s a small world, “Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.
Which one of these opening day attractions is your favorite?