works in perfect harmony. Now that’s Imagineering at work!
“To the north are colorful shops and refreshment areas... and throughout is a feeling of the old
Caribbean– the rich red tile roofs, the textures of stucco and stone, the lush tropical plantings, the decorative ironwork. [...] And there are the fountains – half a dozen, lined with tile imported from distant ports-of-call. And the colors – pinks and blues and yellows and whites, suitably aged to recall another time [...] This is yesterday, today... the delightful .” Caribbean Plaza
~Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean
At The Magic Kingdom the biggest compromise was space, space for all those hundreds of thousands of tourists who have scrambled through the turnstiles since 1971. What makes The Magic Kingdom so profoundly “not
Adventureland, a swooning swansong to distant cultures and outdated ideas of exoticism, has perhaps suffered the least damage to its’ essential thematic makeup over the years, despite plopping a spinning attraction into the center of the area, adding a cynical new show to the Sunshine Pavillion, and significantly redressing Caribbean Plaza for a movie tie in. This is, in some ways, the strongest testament to the strength of it’s’ design on all levels. Adventureland is still an exotic heartbeat and perhaps the only area of the Magic Kingdom which captures some of the elusive fragrance of
The Plaza is the height of Walt Disney World romanticism. It even has tiny little painted tile signs designating each area as something unique: Fuente Cielo Azul, Plaza Del Sol, Torre del Caribe Sol. Castillo
Another design feature fairly unique to The Magic Kingdom is an exaggerated sense of depth. The viewer must constantly look beyond the images in his immediate view to see the rest of the plaza; rooflines and ornate features stack up one behind the next. This effect is used extensively in
Extensive use of arches increases the sense of depth throughout by closing off the viewer’s frame of reference for each arch’s relative distance.
The forced perspective fortress beyond
This is not really the fault of the designers; if the area had been built as nearly full-size then it would be visible from Frontierland. Rather, this is a design choice imposed on the entire
Note the recessed balcony. The staircase and potted plants make it difficult to gauge the actual size of the set dressing.
Interestingly enough, not even a movie overlay could diminish these charms. The stain wash applied to practically everything in sight is actually in keeping with the history of the plaza: although it’s hard to tell in older photographs, the area always was aged slightly. It’s now aged even heavier, but this only somehow adds to the charm.
The classic “
The 1998 area music loop of steel drums has been replaced by bombastic film soundtrack music, which combines with the whimsical new attraction sign to energize the area with a flavor of adventure and excitement. It may not be old school
Most remarkable of all is that none of this gets lost in the mix:
Return next week for more photos!