Category Rank: 1
Park: Magic Kingdom
Park Rank: 3
The castle in the center of Magic Kingdom is the most famous icon from Disney World. In fact, the only thing that can compare are the Mickey Ears (or the Mickey shape). The castle appears at the beginning of every Disney movie and is synonymous with the Disney brand. And, it dominates the views within Magic Kingdom. It is easily the most photographed place in all of WDW, and depending on the ranks, it rates up there with Niagara Falls, the NY skyline, the Las Vegas strip, and the Lincoln Memorial for the most photographed places in the USA. It is, at this point, the time to ask the question "Why isn't this #1?"
First, I'm going to wax poetic about it a bit more. It is the best landmark, and the ultimate thing to see. Excitement builds, first from the Orlando airport, then to the Magic Express, then to the resort, then to the main gates of Magic Kingdom, and finally seeing the castle at the end of Main Street. It is at this point that you finally utter your biggest "Wow".
And, it doesn't matter how many times you visit WDW. It still is a Wow every time. The castle, despite not being taller than 200 feet, soars over everything else in the park, as there is a large expansive area around it to aid for the viewing. Plus, the "forced perspective" makes the castle look much taller than it is. The detail on the castle is pretty amazing as well (I must be used to cheap knock-off theming at parks, but this and Hogwarts at Universal are really amazing).
That's just the start. Those that have been to WDW know that the castle is an amazing backdrop as well. All the picturesque scenes of the parades have the castle in the background, and there are shows constantly at the park on its steps. There is the iconic Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant inside (which, was ok) as well as a Bibbidy Bobbity Boutique. And then there is the Castle show, where they use the castle as a huge projection screen to show a nighttime spectacular (followed up by fireworks). This castle show is amazing, as the video below doesn't do it justice... it is much better live. In fact, if the Castle shows could count as part of this attraction, I'd have to rank it #1.
But they don't, since the are thrills. The fact this is not #1 has more to do with the other two attractions, and how special they are to me personally. Nostalgia is a personal thing, of course, and the other two have a more special place for me.
Of course, your list will be different, and while the castle may not be #1 on your list either, you will surely have it on there. You have to. You cannot think of Disney without it.
So, what is #2? It is a slow ride from Magic Kingdom, and it is questionable for even being on the list. Let's explain, shall we?