Liberty Square is the most unique land in the Magic Kingdom. There is no other land quite like it in any other Magic Kingdom park in the world. Walt Disney had considered a project with similar elements, but it never came to be. Disneyland has a New Orleans Square, which is approached as one travels through Frontierland along the Rivers of America. Here the opposite is the case. Liberty Square falls immediately off of the hub of the park. Frontierland then extends beyond this.
A bridge connects you to Liberty Square from the hub. Approaching this land you can see a quaint colonial town. unfold before you. At the opposite end, is a river landing, where the Liberty Square Riverboat docks. A civil war style steamboat seems a little out of context here. Certainly Disneyland’s Columbia would have made better sense. But steam powered shipping did begin in the late 1700s, so despite the stretch, it still works, especially as it circles around Frontierland. Definitely an enjoyable trip when the whether is not too muggy.
With the river landing on one end, and the bridge/hub is on the other, what is the centerpiece? It’s really two things. The first is a stately federal-style building, home to The Hall of Presidents. The second is a beautiful oak tree, referred to as The Liberty Tree. Here 13 lanterns hang from its limbs, reminding all in the plaza that either the colonies hang together, or they hang separately. Those same colonies receive tribute throughout a nearby flag display. It surrounds a replica of the Liberty Bell.
The Hall of Presidents is a personal project of Walt Disney. His intention was to build this initially for Disneyland, along with a Liberty Square. Other projects got priority and he passed away before the project was created. Still, he was able to create Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and his brother Roy, saw the merit of building this entire experience.
Those who initially rejects the idea of visiting this attraction because it sounds too “educational” would be right. But it is more than that, and it really is one of the signature attractions of the Magic Kingdom. The film is well done, thoughtful, respectful of the office, and is impressive on its own merits. When the curtain raises and you see all of the 45 presidents of the United States, it is a wow moment.
One’s political identify may call in question whether you care for the remarks made by the current president, but as an attraction, it is still worthy of your time. If I haven’t appealed to your sense of patriotism, did we mention that you’re in air conditioning? That alone should make it a definite stop on any hot, muggy day.
Here is the full show of the attraction, taken when it first opened to the public after Donald Trump’s election.
If you are not ready for a show whose intro uses words like respect and dignity, you may want to just settle for Great Moments in American History with the Muppets. These short, playful presentations offer a humorous take on the American legacy, and crowds often gather to simply enjoy.
You exit these experiences to a number of shops and food & beverage experiences. There is a guest relations location just outside the exit of the attraction. Beyond is Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, one of the most popular snack locations in the park. Waffle sandwiches, funnel cakes and corndogs are just a sampling. New items are continually brought in like a Vanilla Ice Cream Churro Sandwich. Small wonder there’s a large line.
Heartier, American-style fare can be found at Liberty Tree Tavern. This is the land’s main table service restaurant, though Diamond Horseshoe also currently fills that bill. Each dining room commemorates a pivotal figure in U.S. history from Betsy Ross to Benjamin Franklin.
Across the square lies Liberty Square Market with healthy snacks, hot dogs, and grab-to-go beverages. Further up the street toward Fantasyland is The Columbia Harbor House. This is a major counter-service restaurant that offers fried fish, shrimp, or chicken meals. It’s views upstairs offers a respite from the busy streets of the Magic Kingdom.
Shops are found among the square as well. Ye Olde Christmas Shopppe is Disney’s biggest holiday store in the park. Memento Mori offers gifts from another world, made famous by The Haunted Mansion. It sits adjacent to the entrance to this famed attraction.
The Haunted Mansion is a favorite of guests since opening day. It’s spooky yet silly attraction hosts 999 happy haunts, but there’s always room for one more when you visit. The attention to details, special effects, music, and to the total experience makes it easy for you to visit 999 times and still see something new. It’s exterior takes its architectural queues from 19th Century Hudson River Dutch Gothic architecture.
In some ways one can see the evolution of that architecture starting from the mansion, and working south than west along the Rivers of America. It’s moving in that direction that Frontierland and Liberty Square merge together as you meander down the waterfront of the Rivers of America. The Rivers of America is a thread that joins together both of these lands with all of its attractions, restaurants and retail.