First Timer’s Corner
Most (but not all!) of the classic attractions at Walt Disney World found their roots in Disneyland, as it was the inspiration for the Magic Kingdom—the first park at WDW and, for more than a decade, the only park there.
Attractions still operating at Walt Disney World that were inspired by Disneyland include:
• Pirates of the Caribbean
• Jungle Cruise
• Swiss Family Treehouse
• The Enchanted Tiki Room
• Tom Sawyer Island
• The WDW Railroad Station (also in Main Street, U.S.A. and Fantasyland)
• Haunted Mansion
• Rivers of America
• Peter Pan’s Flight
• “it’s a small world”
• Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel
• the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
• the Tomorrowland Speedway
• Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
The Carousel of Progress is of special note since it is the only attraction at WDW that was touched by Walt Disney himself. Originally created for General Electric at the 1964 World’s Fair, it moved after the fair to Disneyland, and after that to the Magic Kingdom.
Other classic Magic Kingdom attractions—some of which first opened at Disneyland, then came to WDW, but weren’t part of its initial inspiration—include Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, the Country Bear Jamboree, and Big Thunder Mountain.
The only other park “old” enough to have classic attractions is Epcot, but pretty much all but one have profoundly changed over the years, losing enough of their ties to the past to make it hard to categorize them as classics. The one that has not is the American Adventure Show in World Showcase.
Many of these classic attractions continue to be strong crowd pleasers, with hefty wait times and high Fastpass+ priorities to match—included in this group would be Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain.
Others, however, have as their main audience diehard Disney fans, history buffs, and nostalgia lovers, and have low or non-existent waits. First–timers ought to try them all unless they are on a remarkably short visit, as you never know which of the less popular rides might speak directly to you or to a member of your family!