Magic Kingdom Park is Florida’s version of Disneyland, treating you to all the classics and more. It opened on October 1st, 1971, as the first park of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and has been a number-one holiday destination since. Are you a big fan of Disney films? Do you love fairy tales? Then this is the park for you! Six distinguished themed areas together make up the park: Mainstreet, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and Liberty square. This LGBTQ+ welcoming Disney park has many rides, restaurants, and shops to explore. Join us on our Couple of Men adventure while we tell you all about the Disney Gay Days, Disney Pride Mural, and our other favorite queer things at Magic Kingdom Park!
Magic Kingdom Park: Disney’s East Coast answer to Disneyland
Formerly known as The Magic Kingdom, this park is the most visited theme park in the whole world! Like the original Disneyland in Anaheim, this is the park where you will find all the classic Disney rides. For instance, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, and the Haunted Mansion, but also rides you won’t find in Anaheim like Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Magic Kingdom Park is much bigger than its sister park in the West. That means a lot of walking, but also a lot more space for all those people visiting daily.
One very big difference is Cinderella’s Castle, right in the middle of the park. It has more than twice the height of the original Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. During the Celebration of Disney World’s 50th anniversary, at night, Cinderella Castle became a Beacon of Magic. Illuminating the park with “a dazzling glow that sparkles with pixie dust”.
Pirates of the Caribbean
It can’t get any scruffier than with a pirate! (okay, maybe the Country Bear Jamboree) This classic has been Daans favorite since he was a little boy (the version in Disneyland Paris has multiple drops and a different scene order). Which version is your favorite? In 2018 Disney made their Pirates a bit more inclusive by changing the “Bride auction” scene. Turning the red-headed ‘bride up for sale’ into the pirate Redd gave the scene a new perspective. Redd, who just pillaged the town’s rum supply, is no longer anybody’s bride. Putting aside feelings about romanticizing piracy, we think it is great to see a woman succeeding in a man-dominated field (a field of male pirate animatronics, this is).
Its a small word
This Disney classic made its debut at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, supporting the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The original got shipped to Disneyland after two seasons at the World Fair. When Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, a second west coast version of It’s a Small World was one of the opening-day attractions. For all these years, the ride has inspired humanity to respect and value the diversity of the world around us. And yes, you will NOT get the song out of your head for the rest of the year. But we love the message, and it feels like we all still need to be reminded that it is a small world after all.
Another classic in Magic Kingdom Park that just received a major update is Adventureland’s Jungle Cruise. In this attraction, you board a small riverboat accompanied by a skipper who guides explorers through a pun-fuelled jungle adventure. We were very excited to ride this classic since Disneyland Paris is missing a jungle cruise due to a colder European climate. Yes, the skipper’s puns are extremely bad on purpose. A little luck is inevitable if you have a good ride or a great one because it does depend on the skipper’s sassiness and chemistry with your fellow adventurers.
With the new update, Disney’s Imagineering got rid of some out-of-date scenes and brought a sense of inclusivity into the ride. We also get introduced to a new backstory character in the form of Alberta Falls. She is the granddaughter of world-renowned Dr. Albert Falls and the proprietor of the Jungle Navigation Company Ltd. Personally, we love all the Easter egg details that now tie the Jungle Cruise into the storyline of Disney’s “imaginary” Society of Explorers and Adventurers (in short: S.E.A.) connecting different rides across the Disney parks all over the world.
The Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom Park
When in Adventureland, one must stop by Ahola Isle for Disney’s most tasty and refreshing treat: the Dole whip. This non-dairy vegan soft serve can be enjoyed on its own or as a float when combined with pineapple juice. Over the years, this frozen delight has gathered a cult following, and we completely understand why. It is the perfect treat on a hot Floridian day, and with the sweet/sour taste of pineapple, you can’t go wrong. Nowadays, there is even more choice with different flavors and versions. Our favorite was combining a coconut soft serve with a glass of pineapple juice… delicious!
Talking about delicious things: Who also dreamed of hugging it out with Mister Triton? Well, you can find him on the backside of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, across from the Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid Ride.
Disney Gay Days
Do you need your LGBTQ+ friendly Disney World Celebration to be even more magical and full of rainbows? Then the Gay Days or Red Shirt Pride Days in Orlando are right up your alley! Since the event’s start in 1991, the LGBTQ+ community has been coming to Walt Disney World to celebrate diversity, creating visibility while enjoying the theme parks with (queer) friends and family. By wearing a red shirt on the first Saturday of June, people of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies show that they stand for love, acceptance, and kindness. Over the last thirty years, the event has grown into a week full of events, parties, and theme parks. A part of the separate event’s proceeds will be donated to the KindRED Pride Foundation. Their mission is to support the endeavors of like-minded charities for the education, promotion, and celebration of Diversity, Inclusion, Equality, Safe Expression, and Kindness.
Magic Kingdom’s Pride Mural
We found this Disney Pride Mural in Magic Kingdom Park on the fan-favorite “purple wall” near the entrance to Tomorrow Land. Can you imagine an actual pair of rainbow Mickey Ears like this? We love our black “leather” Mickey Ears (especially combined with our black leather caps), but we would definitely wear this progress pride flag version! Now let’s celebrate love all year round, Disney!
Sleeping at Disney World
To stay in the middle of all the magic, we advise you to book a room at one of the official Walt Disney World Orlando Resort hotels. One of our favorite Disney hotels is Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Enjoy a great pool with a slide and lazy river right next to the side entrance of EPCOT and the Disney Skyline!
TRON Lightcycle / Run coming to Magic Kingdom park in Orlando!
One of the fastest rollercoasters at any Disney theme park in the world is coming to Magic Kingdom Park. Racing around since the opening of the first version at Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, TRON Lightcycle / Run has been a fan favorite to thrill seekers. With reaching speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour (ca. 97 km/h), we cannot wait to climb on one of the Lightcycles and take off. We only wished the massive and very focus-pulling show building and the color-shifting canopy was not directly built next to the beautifully designed Space Mountain… but oh well… Let’s first see and experience it ourselves. TRON Lightcycle / Run is expected to open at Magic Kingdom Park on April 4th, 2023.
Interesting posts for your gay travels:
- Read all about our gay pride trips around the world >
- All about our gay travels around the world as an openly gay couple >
- Reviews of our favorite theme parks around the world >
- Reviews of hotels around the world: Gay-friendly tested Hotels >
- Tips & tricks: Our gay travel guide United States of America >
Our Magic Kingdom Park tips
If you can do so, get Disney Genie+. It will save you a lot of waiting time getting in those Lightning Lanes at several attractions. In 2023, the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is adding free digital downloads of the Disney PhotoPass attraction photos when purchasing Disney Genie+. This way, you can collect all your on-ride photos without paying extra for the Disney PhotoPass.
Talking about Disney photographers, not all of them can take the picture you are looking for. Most of the time, our own pictures turned out way better (using a tripod or asking someone young). So think twice about purchasing the Disney PhotoPass, and if you do, make sure you clearly communicate what you want to see in your picture.
Karl & Daan.
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