Cinderella Castle concept art

All of Disney's theme parks start life as sketches and concept artwork. In a new series of articles on Theme Park Tourist, we'll take a look at how the company's Imagineers envisioned the lands, rides and attractions that make up its parks.

We'll start with the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, which opened in 1971 and is now the most popular theme park in the world. While its design was closely based on that of the original Disneyland, it was on a much larger scale.

Guests would enter the park via Main Street USA, passing underneath the station:

City Hall

Image © Disney

Main Street USA

Image © Disney

Here's an early sketch by Herb Ryman of Cinderella Castle, which would become the centerpiece of the park:

Cinderella Castle (2)
Image © Disney

And here's a more detailed piece of artwork:

Cinderella Castle (3)
Image © Disney

Over in Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise was the main attraction when the Magic Kingdom opened:

Jungle Cruise

Image © Disney

It was eventually joined by Pirates of the Caribbean following guest demands. Here's a sketch of the "wench auction" scene:

Pirates of the Caribbean

Image © Disney

A later addition was the Magic Carpets of Aladdin:

Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Image © Disney

Here's a close-up look at Liberty Square, which celebrates America's past:

Liberty Square

Image © Disney


Pretty sure that Frontierland picture with the Haunted Mansion in the background is Disneyland Paris, not the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

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