Friday, January 9, 2015

#41 - Frontierland

Category: Park Ambience
Category Rank: 6

Park: Magic Kingdom
Park Rank: 18

We are finishing up our second set of ten (and our first third, for those who love fractions).  We are heading to Magic Kingdom, which will be a common occurrence.  Over the next 25 or so items, half of them will be in Magic Kingdom (!).  During this time, we will also be hitting many of the common staples of Disney World nostalgia--the slow rides that have been around for decades.

First, though, we return to our park ambience category.  The Magic Kingdom features seven lands that sit around the central hub castle.  Each park has its own ambience of course, featuring architecture, music, foliage, shopping experiences, attractions and even roaming characters all in period costumes.  This is, of course, one of the neatest things about the Magic Kingdom experience--walk into a new land and get a whole new world.

Frontierland is one of my favorite lands in the park... perhaps my second favorite.  The land is an L-shaped area that goes primarily along the riverboat waterway, before the shorter leg goes alongside the two mountain rides.  For being a long area, it is fairly devoid of attractions.  After you leave the twin mountain rides, the only thing along the path is the Country Bear Jamboree (which is easy to miss, both accidentally and intentionally).  There are some venues for special events, as well as a few western-themed shops and the Pecos Bill restaurant.  Also, there is the Westward Ho food cart, which always is pumping out great aromas.  The end of the land butts into Liberty Square and the Haunted Mansion.

WDW's lands are more than just period pieces.  Each helps reinforce those common themes that Disney attempts to portray.  Frontierland hearkens back to America's love of the Wild West, including the 50s when cowboys were the popular cultural item (to be replaced by astronauts in the 60s, as seen in Tomorrowland).  Again, the land takes the patron back to a simpler time, one where Mark Twain characters would be comfortable.

One thought that runs through my mind as I walk through this area is that people are a lot more relaxed over here.  I feel like Tomorrowland is a high hustle and bustle area (though nothing compares to the castle area during peak times), while Fantasyland is chock full of stroller carts and whiny kids.  Perhaps it is the lack of attractions, but this is one of the two places in the park where I feel you can get a nice leisurely stroll.

The other thing that really relaxes you is the waterway.  There isn't much water in the park other than the waterway here.  While it is tempting to credit the boat ride as being the nostalgic attraction here, the reality is that the boat ride is a major disappointment.  It is only the boat being part of the water and the surrounding view that makes one reminisce, and I credit that to Fantasyland.

Our next stop is a seasonal activity in Epcot, one that lasts seven weeks in the fall, and one we experienced for the first time on our last trip.

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