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.
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.
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?