X Marks The Spot: 1996 Magic Kingdom Park Map

Written by Frank Fiorinelli. Posted in Disney History, Features, X Marks the Spot

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Published on April 11, 2013 at 2:00 am with 12 Comments

Let’s reach into the magical treasure chest of maps and pull out a real winner. Ah, yes, a classic, a 1996 Magic Kingdom park map. Let’s see what we find when we take a look back in time . . .

This week’s map is special because it was during preparations for the 25th anniversary celebration. I think you’ll find a few special memories.

Stylized castle image on the front, big Kodak sponsorship on the back.

 

We start our journey on the front and back cover of the Magic Kingdom Map. As you can see there is no photograph of a highlighted attraction or of Cinderella’s castle, but a plain yellow silhouette of the Magic Kingdom Icon. The back of the Magic Kingdom map features an advertisement from Kodak like so many other maps did until 2012. Personally, although this is a simple front cover design for a Disney Map, I think it is one of my favorites due to its uniqueness. The other two parks also had similar front cover designs of their park icons.  Let open the map and continue our journey.

We are greeted by a description for the all-new “Mickey’s ToonTown Fair, A place described as a location where we can find all our Disney Pals, while exploring Mickey and Minnie’s house.  The biggest feature of the ToonTown fair was the Hall Of Fame, (Now Pete’s Silly Sideshow Meet and greet) a location where you could meet Mickey and the Fab 5.  This section of the map also features the nightly “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks.  Also featured is the Spectromagic nighttime parade, later replaced by the Main Street Electrical Parade during the Summer Nighttastic promotion. Unfortunately, Spectromagic has never to returned, though I feel its many floats and characters, with updated light effects, was better than those of the Main Street Electrical Parade. It was built to the right scale for the Magic Kingdom and I really miss it.

Before we journey to the map itself, I wanted to share what I think is the most unique page. Yes it is plain, but it included an announcement for the preparations to turn Cinderella’s castle into a Birthday Cake Castle. We all know how well that turned out.

Let’s move along and take a look at the Park in July of 1996.

As you can see, the map was not very detailed or life like, instead breaking up the six themed lands of the Magic Kingdom into six different colors. Blue (Main St. U.S.A.), Purple (Tomorrowland), Yellow (Mickey’s ToonTown Fair), Pink (Fantasyland), Red (Liberty Square), Orange (Frontierland), and lastly Green (Adventureland).   Some of the notable attractions at the time that are now extinct include Mr. Toad’s Wild ride, Legend of the Lion King, The Skyway, and Snow White’s Adventures all in Fantasyland. In Tommorowland, Take Flight, The Timekeeper and Alien Encounter are no longer with us.  Each and every one of these attractions are near to my heart, as I have so many personal memories of experiencing them on every trip to the Magic Kingdom. The skyway, now extinct both in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland was a family favorite, offering unique sky high views of the park.

Legend of the Lion King was replaced by the 3-D show, Phillarmagic, and included a retelling of the Lion King story through puppets and actors. Alien Encounter was a thrilling sensory experience like no other, putting you up close and personal with a dangerous Alien and his escape. The opening of Stitch’s Great Escape was a sad day for me personally. The waits for Alien Encounter were always a minimum of 30 minutes, because it was a real crowd pleaser. Stitch is a tame attraction with waits between 0 and 5 minutes. Perhaps a park map in the not too distant future will show a replacement for Stitch’s Great Escape.

(A list of all the 1996 attractions featured on the Magic Kingdom Map)

Well, that will do it for July of 1996. I hope you enjoyed this unique look at vintage Magic Kingdom. I leave you with a picture of a Vintage Walt Disney World Ticket from the early 1990’s before the days of Park Hoppers and soon to be Magic Bands.

Are there attractions from 1996 which have gone away that you wish were still around? Changes for the better than you are glad to see off the map?

About Frank Fiorinelli

Frank Fiorinelli is from New York, but that has not held him back from his love of the Disney Parks. Frank has been visiting the parks since the age of 2 and has not looked back. His passion is collecting Theme Park Maps, since he is able to look them over when returning home. X Marks the Spot, Frank's biweekly Column for Micechat, unfolds from those very maps. A two time Disney College Program Alumni, Frank is currently in the midst of Graduating with a Business Management Degree.

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12 Comments

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  1. 1996 was the first year I ever went to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. I remember this map well! I also remember being really disappointed with this maps artwork because at the time Disneyland’s map was so much more detailed, and prettier.

    Thank you again for this cool article!

  2. Without a doubt, I miss Alien Encounter the most out of any attraction from the Magic Kingdom. No matter how many times I rode it, I was convinced the alien would get me. I know it has been discussed over and over, but if it was over at Hollywood Studios, I’m sure it will thrive and still be open today. I also remember being there in 1997 for the horrific looking birthday cake castle. Let’s hope they don’t bring that back for the 50th anniversary.

  3. I thought Alien Encounter was inappropriate for the Magic Kingdom. I would have enjoyed it at a non-Disney Halloween Haunt event if it were even scarier. I thought that it and Stitch were too cheap for a Disney park. Turn out the lights, keep the guests in their seats and play scary sounds. Wow. I miss an even cheaper attractions: If You Had Wings. :)

    • And I miss the Circle-vision tours of America and the World. I want those to return (especially to Disneyland) updated and in 3D.

      • I seem to remember some of the original projectors were still in place at Disneyland for the 360 Circle Vision Theater. Yes lets get those reels running again in Tomorrowland. Would be great to make new films giving tours of the other Disney Parks for those who are unable to visit them. PD

  4. Take Flight was another great Attraction, although I Love Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Take Flight which was sponsored by Delta really was a childhood favorite of mine. I love going through the Delta Airplane within the queue line.

  5. I really miss the Skyway. And oh how I hate Stitch’s Great Escape. One of the worst Disney attractions ever.

    There is an ominous feeling to this map: “Cinderella is joining in the fun with a makeover of her castle. . .” We all know how that turned out ;-)

    Keep the maps coming.

  6. You can’t beat a Disney Legend Sam McKim Disney map. I have a few of them from over the years and love his Tom Sawyer Island Maps, and along with Disney Legend Herb Ryman’s. Toshi Motto’s Tokyo Disneyland Opening Day Map is also a fun approach and great to look into.

  7. I miss the Alien Encounter also. To me growing up at Disneyland, Tomorrowland was more of the area that was for the older kids and teens. So, it made sense that a and attraction like Alien Encounter was in tomorrowland. Stich just doesn’t fit.

    What is also remarkable is how little the Magic Kingdom has not changed. Until the Fantasyland expansion, Disney was not willing to invest in its most attractive property in Orlando. Sadly I think that Fantasyland expansion will do little to attract people to the park.

    • I agree I think a re-do of Tomorrowland and the addition of an e-ticket to Adventureland would really make Magic Kingdom a wonderful Theme Park.

  8. I always thought Alien Encounter was a perfect candidate for DCA in Anaheim especially since it was originally designed for this resort. I know that when it opened in Florida first that it gave managementconcerns about the reception of the attraction here in Disneyland because of its scare factor but i think it was an over reaction and that TDO handled the opening incorrrectly.

    The attraction would have been a simple and maybe even inexpensive addition for DCA since the R and D was already done. An attraction like this would ave helped the dead section of Hollywood Picture Hollywood and i think it could still work.

    If there is one attraction that i would not mind see being ressurected is Alien Encounter

  9. Wow, what a great little article!
    Out of any past extinct attractions, I think I really wish I’d had the chance to have experience Alien Encounter the most.

    And don’t forget it wasn’t WDW Magic Kingdom that endured the hideous Castle Cake transformation first. Disneyland Paris stunning Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant haspd to endure a similar (thankfully temporary) fate first for its First Anniversary.

    Thanks for this Map article, it had a lot of great information for us!