In this third installment of my Lamppost blog series I’m going to discuss the Magic Kingdom. This first of the Disney World parks has a lot of diversity with its many lands and adventures so let’s get started.
Out in the parking lot we find extremely tall light towers. They’re not particularly attractive, but they do their job.
The Transportation and Ticket Center has similar, yet slightly different light fixtures than the parking lot. Take a look at the actual lights and you can see the difference. Thank goodness the lighting options within the Magic Kingdom show more imagination than these peripheral fixtures.
The lampposts around the monorail station and adjacent area has a simplified “Main Street” look about them. This helps set the mood for your adventure to come.
A description often used when describing the era of Main Street is, “It’s a time when gas lamps were giving way to the electric light bulb.” How fitting since street lighting is the subject of this blog. The first fixtures we come to on Main Street are on Town Square and the Train Station. Here, multi-globed electric lights sit atop ornate poles. The lamps at street level are painted in a drab shade of green whereas the fixtures located on the upper levels of the Train Station have a bronze texture.
As we leave Town Square and walk down Main Street, we find that gas lamps are still king.
As I’ve done in the two previous Lamppost blogs, I’ve included a few non-lights simply because they cry out to be a part of this article. In this next picture we see a stately clock proudly displaying the current time. And in a way, it is a lamp as it does light up.
On The Hub, we find the same glass globes that are used in Town Square, but here the posts take on a simpler, less ornate design. In the second picture the light fixture sits atop a speaker.
Let’s turn our attention next to Tomorrowland. Although there is lighting between The Hub and the entrance of this futuristic land, none of it is in the form of lampposts. The first such fixtures don’t show up until you reach Rockettower Plaza and you find them encircling this structure. It would be difficult to find a more simplified design than this.
I applaud the Imagineer that thought up the idea of metal palm trees. These offer a whimsical touch to this concrete expanse and provide accent lighting when “up lights” illuminate the fronds in the evening. .
Along the route of the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, lighting typical of any highway can be found.
The rest of the lamppost lighting in Tomorrowland is uninspired. The poles look like the type you might find in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I think this is a throwback to the early visions of Tomorrowland when everything was designed to look stark and sterile.
Let’s move next to Mickey’s Toontown Fair. But first, let’s take a look at the lampposts positioned just outside this land’s entrance (located in Fantasyland).
Now let’s look at the lamps within Mickey’s Toontown Fair. Notice how similar, yet slightly different they are. This similarity helps create a smooth transition between the two lands.
Next to The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm, the lamps are utilitarian, as might be found on a rural structure, and attach to no-nonsense 4x4s. And at Donald’s Boat, nautical lanterns sit atop similar posts.
There is a walkway that connects Mickey’s Toontown Fare with Tomorrowland. The first picture shows the lamps lining the initial half of the path, while the second photo displays the lights closer to Tomorrowland. Notice again how similar, yet different they are, providing a smooth transition between lands. Also notice that the Tomorrowland globes have a ring around them, suggesting the planet Saturn.
My final mention in Mickey’s Toontown Fair is not a lamppost, but I felt it qualified for an honorable mention since it’s tall, slender, and lights up at the top.
In Fantasyland there are a number of lovely lanterns located in and around Cinderella Castle. The colored glass used in these fixtures provides atmospheric enhancement more than useful lighting
Playful lampposts surround Dumbo. Pay special attention to the decorative tops. A scene from the movie is recreated here.
One of the most unusual lighting creations was designed for Ariel’s Grotto. This seaweed and shell lamp fits right in “under the sea.”
Another bit of unusual lamppost design can be found near the Mad Tea Party. In this case, fanciful leaves and flowers create whimsical illumination for the area.
The lampposts near Pooh’s Playful Spot are rustic and are just what you’d expect to find in the 100 Acre Wood.
The majority of the lampposts scattered around Fantasyland are black wrought iron and typical of what might have been found in a European village of long ago.
As we travel into Liberty Square, we see lighting fixtures lining the bridge. These posts are actually part of the structure’s design.
There are two lampposts in front of Hall of Presidents. These simple, colonial fixtures would be inconsequential if not for the eagles perched on the top of each.
As you might expect, the Haunted Mansion has its own unique lampposts. Years of neglect have allowed a green patina to form on the metal’s surface and the lamps themselves have a spooky look about them.
The rest of the lighting in Liberty Square fits right in with the Federal and Georgian architecture of the area. These lanterns, in days gone by, would have been lit each evening by a lamplighter.
My final non-light for this blog is one of the birdhouses found near Hall of Presidents. In reality, no birds live here as this is just a hiding place for a speaker.
Now let’s jump over to the entrance of Adventureland. Several years ago, a bridge was built linking this area with Liberty Square. The lamppost that guards this passageway is another good example of transition. The ropes binding the beams together have more of an Adventureland feel while the lanterns would be more at home in Liberty Square.
This next photo is of the lamppost that illuminates the entrance walkway into Adventureland.
The basic lamppost used in the first half of Adventureland has a colonial feel about it — as if it was transported here by Europeans as they discovered new territories.
Near Swiss Family Treehouse, the lampposts are makeshift. The family used salvaged goods from the shipwreck to fashion lighting fixtures.
The lampposts that surround Magic Carpets of Aladdin are ornate and suggest a locale somewhere in the Middle East. Once again, the colored glass allows these lights to function more as a decorative enhancement than a functional bit of lighting.
In Caribbean Plaza, the lampposts are very elaborate and fit nicely with the Spanish colonial architecture.
The final section of the Magic Kingdom I’ll be discussing is Frontierland. Here, almost all of the lighting is in the form of kerosene lanterns (electrified) hung or mounted on a rustic pole.
It’s interesting to note that the wooden walkway that skirts the Rivers of America has two different lanterns. The first picture shows the lights closer to Liberty Square and the second displays the fixtures closer to Splash Mountain. Once again, the use of different light helps with the transition between the two lands.
Well that’s it for the Magic Kingdom. Tomorrow I’ll post the final blog in this series all about Disney’s Animal Kingdom.