Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life 


Magic KingdomThis column is typically about finding those little glimpses of Disney magic in daily routines. Whether it’s at work, in our car, or even at the grocery store, sometimes reminders of our favorite place find their way into our day. For the next four weeks, though, we’re taking the phrase “Finding Disney” and turning it on its head by asking this question: How do you find Disney when you’re in Disney? Everything experienced on Walt Disney World® property has ties to Disney in some way, obviously, but some attractions, atmospheres, and elements permeate with a deeper sense of embodiment for what the Disney name truly means to all of us.

So here’s what we’re going to do: we’re traveling through each of the four parks and identifying those experiences, those special things that, in every way, stand testament to the essence of their respective theme park, and, by extension, the Disney name itself. Since magic is measured in different ways, we’ll have three categories: the grand magic (that pull-out-all-the-stops mega-production that Disney knows good and well is going to make you cry), the fun magic (that thrilling, throw-your-hands-up kind), and the simple magic (those overlooked happenstances that, small as they are, might be the best part of your day). They’re all so different, but they each serve their purpose as a beacon of what Disney magic is and the emotions it prompts.

Let’s start with the big ’71: Here are the attractions that embody the Magic Kingdom® Park, the park that I like to call the quintessential Disney experience.

The grand magic: The 3 o’clock parade. I’m a sucker for a good parade. To me, there is nothing more fantastic than seeing every single one of my childhood heroes explode out of the gate and walk by right before my eyes, together, set to enchanting music and bursting with wow-worthy floats. There is something very special about the concept of a parade in general, and as wonderful a show that Disney puts on, it’s always a glorious new memory. As the years go on and the specific program changes, Disney knows the value of parades to guests and delivers every time.

The fun magic: Pirates of the Caribbean®. Does it even need explaining? Pirates is a joy start to finish, and out of all the Audio-Animatronics extravaganzas throughout the park, this one arguably hits all the notes best. If the Magic Kingdom® Park is all about telling timeless stories well, then Pirates is its crown jewel.

Dapper DansThe simple magic: The Dapper Dans. What a class act. These staples of the Magic Kingdom® Park elicit smiles wherever they roam. There’s nothing high-tech or big-budget about four men singing together, but their magic is just as effervescent as anything. Stumbling upon their performances on Main Street U.S.A.® is an unexpected part of many families’ day in the park, but the way The Dapper Dans engage their audience never fails to be charming.


Where do you find Disney most in the Magic Kingdom® Park? What experiences would you classify in grand magic, fun magic, and simple magic? Share your memories below!

 (Images © Disney.)

Blake studies Electronic Media and Film at Appalachian State University. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.



4 thoughts on “Finding Disney: The Essence of the “Magic Kingdom® Park””

  1. Kyle says:

    I schedule my entire day in the Magic Kingdom around the Main Street shows. The 3:00 parade has been a fixture in my Disney Days since I started going in 1985 with “Mickey’s Street Party” and I was really hooked a year later with the “15th Anniversary” Parade. Also enjoy “Movie it, Shake it, Celebrate it” and the “Electric Light Parade” Plus “Wishes” and “Celebrate the Magic”. Main Street alone is worth the price of admission for me. Just find a bench in the hub becuase there is something always going on.

    I can say the same about “Illuminations” at Epcot. I will scoop out a seat hours before the 9 or 9:30 showing. Perfect ways to end an EPCOT day.

  2. Becky Manion says:

    Grand Magic – for me would be the projection show of an evening and Wishes, no matter your gender or age or how many times you’ve seen it – a tear will still come to your eye!

    Fun Magic – would agree with you here, or possibly Splash Mountain

    Simple Magic – possibly Carousel of Progress / TTA / but I thik the background music/sounds make the day, or The Sorcerer’s Game

  3. Tara says:

    Fireworks in front of the castle at night would be my grand magic. And no day at the Magic Kingdom is complete without riding the People Mover or Pirates! For simple magic, it would be the smell of the Grand Emporium (or any of the gift shops)–sounds odd, but they have a distinctive smell that triggers nostalgia of trips past.

  4. DisneyGirlRuby says:

    GEEZ just ONE in each category? I could never pick! First of all GREAT post. Second here are my picks:
    The grand magic: riding the haunted mansion
    Fun magic: Splash mountain
    Simple magic: the smell of main street USA