Walt Disney World’s doors are closed until July, but if you’re feeling a little squicky about venturing to the Magic Kingdom so soon, there’s good news: If a Disney attraction exists (or existed in the time of YouTube), then chances are a high-definition video ride-through, walk-through, or POV of the attraction exists, ready to be experienced from home.
Disney parks have a lax policy when it comes to bringing cameras on rides to film the experience. As long as filming doesn’t pose a safety hazard (which it would on Hollywood Studios’ Rock ‘N Roller coaster, which goes upside down) or involve using flash on dark rides like Haunted Mansion, cast members permit visitors to use recording devices on most rides. While Disney specifically prohibits selfie sticks at the parks, GoPros, iPhones, and DSLR cameras are all allowed. (Which explains how one mad genius covertly directed an entire black-and-white thriller inside the parks.)
Ride-through and walk-through videos are a big part of theme park culture, showcasing many attractions and interactive areas of the park. The videos are so common that we were able to build an entire virtual ride through and walkthrough of the iconic landmarks at California’s Disneyland. The next logical step was Florida’s Disney World.
Like Walt himself, we never stop dreaming and building. So behold, a virtual exploration of the Magic Kingdom — the bigger, evolved version of Disneyland — broken down by land order. Yes, there is an order in which to “do” Magic Kingdom. Sorry, Dole Whip is not included (but here’s the official Dole DIY recipe if you’d like to complete the Walt Disney World experience).
Main Street U.S.A
In Magic Kingdom, the Main Street area — designed to evoke Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri — is less about the attractions and more about the feel. It’s a quintessential part of the Magic Kingdom experience.
The railroad technically goes around the whole park, but it starts in Main Street so it goes here. Walt loved trains!
The Emily Blunt Dwayne Johnson movie version of the iconic ride got pushed to 2021, but you can experience the full Disney World ride — bad jokes and puns included — through the magic of YouTube. The Florida version of this ride features carefully chosen plants designed to thrive in central Florida’s humid summers and surprisingly cool winters.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Aladdin-themed ride is basically the Dumbo elephant fixture of Fantasyland, but with magic carpets instead. In Magic Kingdom, this space is used for Aladdin character meet-and-greets.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The facade of this version of Pirates of the Caribbean is inspired by Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in the Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. The ride existed before the movie series was even a thing, though recent refurbishments have added some uncanny Jack Sparrow animatronics and rethinking of a scene where women were being auctioned off.
Swiss Family Treehouse
It’s not a ride, but it is a dope treehouse. Take a breather in the middle of your Disney day to explore some trees.
Enchanted Tiki Room
Talking birds, catchy songs — what more could you want? One of the immersive show experiences at Walt Disney World, the Enchanted Tiki room is full of parrots serenading guests.
Big Thunder Mountain
The runaway railroad ride is a staple of Frontierland across Disney parks worldwide. With sharp twists and turns, it’s one of the more thrilling rides at Disney Word. The Florida version is slightly bigger than the California one.
Country Bear Jamboree
Do you remember the Country Bears movie? Well, it exists, and so does this video of the Disney World show.
Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
Check out some rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ action.
The benefits to enjoying Splash Mountain in the comfort of your home: no risk of ruining your custom-made Disney vacation T-shirt with Splash Mountain water! Because, of course you’ll be wearing your Disney vacation T-shirt whilst embarking on this virtual adventure.
Tom Sawyer Island
Like its Disneyland equivalent, the island is Tom Sawyer-themed. The kids still love Tom Sawyer, right?
The Hall of Presidents
Come for the American history lessons, stay for the life-like wax figurines. Here’s the pre-2016 version, by the way, for no particular reason.
Happy haunts await you! Each Haunted Mansion across Disney parks is themed to the area. In this case, the mansion evokes the Gothic Revival architecture of the mid-1700s, perfectly fitting in with the Revolutionary War-themed Liberty Square.
Liberty Square Riverboat
It wouldn’t be a Disney park without a riverboat. Unlike the Disneyland version, the Magic Kingdom isn’t tied to American author Mark Twain, but instead a more generic riverboat experience.
A mild roller coaster tailored for kids, the Barnstormer got a revamp in 2011 after the Toontown area of Magic Kingdom closed down and turned into an expanded area of Fantasyland. Instead of being themed to take place at Goofy’s farm, it now fits more in line with the circus theme of the area (full name: The Great Goofini’s Barnstormer).
Casey Jr. Splash N’ Soak Station
Brush off your portable misting fan in order to fully recreate this experience.
Cinderella’s Castle is over 100 feet taller than the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Anaheim. The castle is an iconic symbol of not just the Magic Kingdom, but Disney parks worldwide. Walking through the Cinderella Castle leads you right to Fantasyland.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
One of the hallmarks of every Disney World vacation commercial, the Dumbo ride takes (virtual) visitors to the skies.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Added to the 2011 expansion of Fantasyland, this interactive experience is part show, part house tour. Walk through Belle’s cottage and recreate the events of the movie with Belle and her friends. The line is always long, but the attraction is really cute, and now you can skip the line and view it via video! Unfortunately, this means no audience participation, but we must all make sacrifices.
It’s A Small World
Will this song get stuck in your head after watching this video? Probably! But it’s a wholesome song, so really, it could be a lot worse.
Mad Tea Party
Take a spin on the teacups! The Mad Tea Party and the Dumbo ride are the quintessential Fantasyland attractions, and they both involve spinning. What does it mean?
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
While the ride itself has remained relatively unchanged since its opening in 1999 (where it replaced Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride), the waiting area got retooled during the 2011 expansion to have a play area for restless little children.
The 4D show explores some iconic moments in Disney music, with Donald Duck commandeering a magical orchestra.
Peter Pan’s Flight
To this day, Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most popular attractions in the Magic Kingdom, a testament to the power of good Imagineering, the legacy of J.M. Barrie’s timeless tale, and the fact that edgy tweens entering their Hot Topic phase are really into it.
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Every Fantasyland has a carousel. This one just happens to be themed to Prince Charming and Cinderella. There is an unverified rumor that one of the horses, specifically one with a golden bow, is “Cinderella’s horse.” The ride was originally called Cinderella’s Carousel, but was re-themed to the less exciting Charming and given a backstory, because why not.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
One of the new attractions to open up in the Fantasyland refurbishment (and also the one ride in Fantasyland I have yet to ride on because the line is always three-hours long), the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train debuted in the second phase of 2014. It’s a fast-paced ride, similar to both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain in how its path winds both inside and outside. The ride reuses some animatronics from the now-defunct Snow White’s Scary Adventure.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
A dark ride that takes guests through Ariel’s adventure, Under the Sea opened up in 2012 following a similar ride’s debut in California Adventure. While the California one’s exterior is stylized like an aquarium (which is, uh, kinda weird but okay), the Magic Kingdom version fits in with the rest of Fantasyland and is stylized like Eric’s castle.
If the Magic Carpets of Aladdin is Adventureland’s version of the Dumbo ride, then the Astro Orbiter is Tomorrowland’s. Soar high above the retro-futuristic land in a wee little rocket.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Unfortunately, a YouTube ride through can’t capture the sheer satisfaction of blasting moving targets, but the video does capture the neon arcade-style decor pretty well. Called “Astro Blasters” in Disneyland, this version of the attraction features less dialogue than its California counterpart.
Carousel of Progress
Naysayers may say that the Carousel of Progress is a boring 20-minute show, but they’re really missing out on a few big things. One, Daddy Progress, the fan name for the father figure in the show. Two, a nice, quiet dark space to sit amidst the Florida heat and rest your Disney trekking feet for 25 minutes. And three, a delightful experience taking guests through four distinct eras of technological progress, full of iconic lines (“Whew, boy, hottest Fourth of July we’ve had in years!”) and an incredibly catchy song. We stan the Carousel of Progress in this house.
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
More of a show than a ride, the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is a unique experience each time you visit, since Mike and the other monsters call out different audience members.
Space Mountain, a roller coaster which hurdles guests almost entirely in the dark, doesn’t seem like it’d make for a fun ride-through video (since it, you know, takes place in the darkness of space), but you can’t have the full Tomorrowland experience without a ride on Space Mountain.
Stitch’s Great Escape!
Ever wonder how Stitch escaped after being taken into custody in the beginning of the movie? Be part of his adventure! Unfortunately, the video doesn’t capture the 4D effects, but given that one of the effects was a gross belch smell, maybe some attractions are better in video form.
Race some cars at Magic Kingdom’s race track. Lots of other Disney parks have a similar attraction under different names, but it’s all about going fast.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
It’s just a track, one might say. But do not underestimate the sure love Disney fans have for the People Mover, which takes guests behind-the-scenes in certain Tomorrowland attractions. One of the staples of the park, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover has been through a few name changes — the most recent one being the readdition of “PeopleMover” to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority in 2010.
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