EDITORIAL: How a Curb at The Magic Kingdom Keeps Me Coming Back For More Despite Changes in the Parks

Editorial: There's A Curb At Magic Kingdom That Keeps Me Coming Back For More
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A week ago, my dad was in Walt Disney World and sent me a text with the following picture:

Editorial: There's A Curb At Magic Kingdom That Keeps Me Coming Back For More

He followed with, “Where’s Whity?” My backstory with this particular curb is a short one, and probably not of much interest to the average person. When I was seven (7?!) years old, and nighttime parades still existed, my mother would make us wait an hour for the parade to start. As a seven year old, she could not ask me to do a less fun thing. I did not want to sit there for an hour when there were rides to be ridden and princesses to meet. I wanted to play. But, I sat, because I was a kid and didn’t have any power. Of course, I did what any other child would do when asked to do something they didn’t want to do, I pouted. For a long time. I curled up in a defiant ball and refused to look at anyone as I buried my face down into my arms. My bangs covered my face, so you couldn’t even see the true look of contempt describing how I felt. Behind me, my mother giggled. 

People walking by would have no idea the significant moment this would become in my life. Over two decades later, every time we walk past this spot, my dad will say, “there’s Whity’s curb.” If you think about it on the surface, this is a spot that gets walked over, sat on, trash gets thrown, kids throw fits, someone steps on this exact spot when leaving the Magic Kingdom, or a million scenarios later, and it’s still just a curb and it obviously still remains in the same exact spot.

But in my family, this is not just a curb and it won’t be ever again. I’m 28 years old now, and when I close my eyes and picture this exact place, I can feel myself going back. I can see daylight leaving the park as they light Main Street up. I can hear noises around me of shuffling feet and other kids joyously giggling as they skip, their parents trying to wrestle them into doing the exact same thing I am. The smells of Main Street fill my senses, because even after all this time and all the changes that have occurred, it’s still familiar. 

There’s been an awakening of quick evolution throughout the parks in the last few years. Change has always come, but it never seemed drastic, and it was never for the wrong reasons. It was always to enhance the experience, not take away and try and replace. Things like a simple curb on Main Street hold significant value, especially now, when the experiences that diehard Disney Parks fans were raised with are being stripped away one by one.

As fans of the parks for decades, we’re asked to accept the new changes as they come along, letting go of historical value that certain rides or memories may hold and adjust without argument. Meanwhile, the visitors with no emotional attachment to the things leaving can’t understand why this is such a big deal and why there are some of us have good reason to be unhappy.

For the ones who grew up in the parks, like I did, it’s the place we fell in love with. It remained the same for a long time, so any time we’d revisit and come back, the memories of all the magic still existed and gave you the feeling that you were coming home. You felt a deep connection to being in the park, because you knew it so well. You learned the ins and outs of it quickly. When the time came to leave your “real life” behind, you stepped foot onto Main Street and it felt like you had never left. And that’s why we hold on.

There’s an entire list of things I could talk about that’s been unfairly kicked out or replaced, but I won’t. Here’s my point, many paragraphs later: for those of us who were raised in the parks, changes such as scenes being altered in a ride and experiences like The Magic of Disney Animation leaving, matter. Little things like places you always sit for parades on Main Street and exciting adventures when you could once walk through Mickey and Minnie’s houses are pieces of our history. For a lot of us, they shaped us and blossomed our appreciation for the historical aspects and original visions of this place we like to call ours. Change isn’t always bad, but when you start eliminating everything that made the parks what they are today, it’s difficult to not feel left behind in the dust as they evolve without you.

Something small and insignificant to the vast majority like a curb ushers me into Magic Kingdom every time I’m back and despite everything that has left or is on its way to being replaced, this one spot takes me back to a time when creating magic was the top priority and I wasn’t another number on a visitor count. I see the place that I once sat so defiantly and I picture a little girl with awe and wonder in her eyes as Ariel waves from her float during SpectroMagic. For just a moment, time stands still, and I’m welcomed home.

Do you have any special places in the parks?

About the author

Whitney

I have been visiting Walt Disney World annually since I was 7 years old and haven't mentally left it since. Living in Arkansas, but dreaming of Orlando. You can find me at [email protected] and @whitydarling on any social media channel.

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Emily
Guest
Emily

For us, it’s one of the low walls outside of Pecos Bill’s on the Splash Mountain side. I would leave my family sitting there while I went and got us food to eat while waiting on the nighttime parade.

Outside of the parks, the pure joy we feel when we walk through the doors of Pop Century is what we think about the most. It’s the first sign that we’re finally “home”.

Barbara Hile
Guest
Barbara Hile

Omg. We are the same way. Love it on the bus and you’re pulling in to pop and the greeting on the bus says Welcome Home. I even recorded it on my phone and had that as a notification

Luke
Guest
Luke

It’s so funny that you posted this article because I to have a curb that is so special to my wife and I. Even though it has changed to a slight degree over the years it is truly a wonderful spot inside the Magic Kingdom for us. Thanks for posting this. It’s great to read articles that truly speak to the true Disney fan in all of us.

J. Eddis-Koch
Guest
J. Eddis-Koch

Such a fantastic article. Thank you for writing it. Now my story…. There is a a path between Liberty Square and the hub where Princess Tianna meets. My 4 year old son was on his 1st trip to Disney and did not understand what Disney was all about. Moments after arriving in the park we happened to encountered Snow White on this path, sans handler, as she was rushing off to the 3 O’Clock parade. Upon seeing my son, Snow White couldn’t resist and she stopped to gush over my little boy as he was wearing his Nemo Shirt and… Read more »

Michael F
Guest
Michael F

On one hand, I agree and understand how you feel. I grew up (and have recently returned to) Central Florida and my first job in high school was at Casey’s Corner in MK. I sorely miss SpectroMagic and the Remember the Magic parades, and those are obviously the best ones (to me) because they’re my nostalgia. However, I think it’s important to remember that we are, in fact, talking about nostalgia. Younger kids today are making memories in the parks now and will lament future changes. Do you miss Mission to Mars? I’m sure you don’t because you are too… Read more »

Randyland
Guest
Randyland

Dear Whitney, I read your article here with great interest. I relate to it in every aspect. Every word of it is heart felt and the TRUTH. I will not try to out line the many parts of the Parks which hold such meanings to me, as there would simply not be enough space hereto list them… And it hurts me to the deepest part of my core, to see things be so change and taken away as if they have no meaning at all…. It gives us who love, a feeling of betrayal, as something which we hold so… Read more »

Sharon Gentile
Guest
Sharon Gentile

Just got home from Disney and I was very sad with the chanfes. We were in the park for 7 hours and didnt see one character greeting or walking around. There was the dance party and it was fun however i miss the days and excitement of turning a corner hopfully to see a friend. My grandchildren will never feel that wonderment of disney. So sad

Ryan from PA
Guest
Ryan from PA

Go to Disneyland. Characters walk around constantly.

It’s such a better overall experience in CA than FL. Better rides, better shows/parades and most importantly better guests.

This was a great articles though!

Aaron G.
Guest
Aaron G.

Walt Disney’s core value on the parks was to continuously change, expand, and evolve the parks and attractions. So as I see it, the core value is the same. The lands will not ve going anywhere soon, if they ever even tear down those lands in the parks.
They have to keep them up to date so people continuously come back.
Most importantly, look forward to new memories on the new rides and attractions and cherish the old memories.

Randyland
Guest
Randyland

Dear Whitney, I read your article here with great interest. I relate to it in every aspect. Every word of it is heart felt and the TRUTH. I will not try to out line the many parts of the Parks which hold such meanings to me, as there would simply not be enough space hereto list them… And it hurts me to the deepest part of my core, to see things be so change and taken away as if they have no meaning at all…. It gives us who love, a feeling of betrayal, as something which we hold so… Read more »

SJames
Guest
SJames

I understand your points and agree with most of what you say. Growing up we went to WDW every 3 years, it was a (expensive) treat of a vacation for my brothers and me. We knew it would be something special. When you lined up for the nighttime parades, you were excited to see something you couldn’t see at home. Of course it was Main Street Electrical in the early 90s but fast forward a decade and I was thrilled, no honored, to be a Cast Member in the Spectromagic parade! One of the highlights of my time there and… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

Can you be any more yikes? If you hate Disney World so much get off a news site dedicated to it.

Randyland
Guest
Randyland

Heather, can you be anymore without feeling or understanding? What you label as hate, is called LOVE. When someone feels something they LOVE is being destroyed, it hurts them because they CARE. Clearly, the heart that has no feeling sees nothing wrong with destroying that which holds such special meaning… the care that loves however, feels the most pain.

David
Guest
David

My wife and I have been regulars since our 1991 honeymoon. So many favorites are gone. Even things like the selection of merchandise being simplified makes us sad at times. Food, however, has gotten much better!

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

While heartfelt, change is the only constant…

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

While this article is heartfelt, you cannot live in the past. Change is the only constant.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

That is a great story. I didn’t start going to the parks until the ripe old age of 27 so I don’t have those type of memories. But here I am now at the age of 44 about to my 4 year old down for the first time in August to start her memories for the first time there.

dave
Guest
dave

I miss the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, too. But you know what? WDW circa 2018 has vastly more to offer than those halcyon days of yore. My first visit was over 40 years ago as a kid, and the place only amazes me more every time I go. I love that they’re always trying something new.

Brittany Wilton
Guest
Brittany Wilton

20,000 Leagues is still at Disneyland in CA. It’s still a submarine ride, but it’s changed to a Finding Nemo theme.

Ken Mock
Guest
Ken Mock

Right on!

John Y
Guest
John Y

Great article, growing up we’d go down to Florida every year, on our way to my grandmother’s in Fort Lauderdale. We loved the parades and Spectromagic was the highlight of the trip. We didn’t go for a few years, after my Dad passed, also had two kids. We started going last year and went this year, to share the joy with the kids and will still go for years to come, it was great and the kids love it,I feel like I might love it even more than them lol! When we learned that Spectromagic was cancelled it put a… Read more »

Rebekah Salter
Guest
Rebekah Salter

For me, it’s a character… Figment. I grew up in Orlando (don’t hate me). When Epcot opened in 1982 we fell in love. The educational theme, along with being less crowded was great for us. That was our park. Once it was open, Epcot was our first choice. We’d ride Imagination. My dad would sing along with Figment and Dreamfinder. It was beautiful. Six years later, when I was 12, my dad was taking from us during a robbery at work. Now, Figment and the cheesy song offer a connection to him that takes me back to childhood. I can… Read more »

Meghan Meehan
Guest
Meghan Meehan

The original Imagination pavilion with Dreamfinder and Figment was leagues better than the current one, the original Imagination ride and play area (ImageWorks) were filled with creativity, originality, and magic. Current pavilion is a disappointment (especially the Pixar film theatre what???, please bring back Captain EO or Magic Journeys).

Victoria Matthews
Guest
Victoria Matthews

Vickie. Been to Disney World only twice. First time with some family members. My son at the time was 11 and my niece was 5. Had a great time and really 8 enjoyed and remembered Its a small world boat ride fantastic. The night parade was unforgettable. The second time my daughter was 14 in 2008. Same reaction had more time and enjoyed. More characters. We are planning another trip in 2 more yrs. When my niece daughter turns 5. The most enjoyable is the parade because you get this feeling that you just can’t explain.. The memory is unforgettable.… Read more »

Luke O'Connell
Guest
Luke O'Connell

There are too many special places in the parks for me to even count, but if I get the same feeling you describe here when I visit certain attractions. Mostly the slow, underappreciated rides are the ones that get me. The Peoplemover, the Carousel of Progress, and Spaceship Earth are my must visits for every trip. My mother and I made them our tradition, and they, more than any other part of the parks, developed my obsessive loving relationship with WDW.

Kerri
Guest
Kerri

Man this one got me in the feels. My siblings are all 10 to 20 years younger than me and my Dad relocated after my parents divorced so I’m the only one who grew up in the parks with my dad. Our spot to watch the night parades was on the platform in Frontier Land in front of the gift shop near the shooting gallery. There is a raised tree planting bed that for some reason was always empty. Maybe bc most kids wanted to be near the rope to see everything whereas I was only interested in seeing things… Read more »

Ellie R.
Guest
Ellie R.

I have a picture of my kids sitting on a cute white bench that was around Main Street. Now those benches are upstairs on balcony. I really would like to have them back where we could get a photo. Every time we go I look around to check if they are back down.

Aaron G.
Guest
Aaron G.

Although many attractions are important and hold emotional value to people, it is important that they continue to evolve the parks. Walt said it himself. I embrace the changes. For example, when the tower of terror at DCA changed, I didn’t complain. I saw the plans and the sketches for the guardians of the galaxy ride, and I was excited. Turns out, in my opinion, the guardians ride was better. I did truly enjoy the original tower of terror, but I also truly enjoy the guardians of the galaxy ride. Take a look at Universal studios Hollywood, it was a… Read more »

Diane Banks
Guest
Diane Banks

Great article! While I agree with a lot of posts that change is inevitable, it’s the WAY that many of the changes are occurring that doesn’t feel very – Disney. Many of the locations for new rides seem haphazard, whereas great thought used to be put into a rides fit and theming within the park it was placed. The focus on Walt is so downplayed now, you might forget who started it all. As others have noted, characters used to roam the parks, and theming and detail used to be so important, even down to the napkins! Some ride replacements… Read more »