Magic Kingdom amusement park – southwest Sydney’s forgotten playground

Following recent rumours that Magic Kingdom was dead to the developers and had now been destroyed, of course I had to head out to Lansvale and investigate things for myself. Luckily, apart from one mysteriously missing slide, can confirm everything else seems to be there, albeit partly underwater!

Magic Kingdom amusement park opened in the 70s and was in operation until the early 90s, closing a few years after Wonderland opened. Since then, it’s been known one of Sydney’s most infamous abandoned amusement parks. This original ad from 1987 shows footage of the park during its heyday – it’s almost entirely unrecognisable from the wild marshland and dilapidated ruins that remain today.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Magic Kingdom twice now. My first visit in mid-2013 was on a warm winter day, when the threat of snakes seemed less of a concern. When I recently returned in summer 2016, the weather was humid and stormy but the patchy rain was light enough to still explore.

Unluckily though, I lost all but one of my photos from my original 2013 adventure due to an iPhone-related mishap. The silver lining to this sad tale is that the single photo I still have left is of the Giant Slide – the park’s hero attraction, which was sadly stolen recently. Plus on my 2nd trip in 2016, I was also lucky enough to personally meet the owners and get the inside scoop on the site development plans 😉

Magic Kingdom was actually the first place I ever officially explored and documented, before starting ShhSydney. While other thrill seekers were known to climb right this rusty 70s era ride and slide down as an exploring rite of passage, vertigo kept me strictly on the ground! As the only surviving photo, this image holds particular sentimental significance to me…

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As soon as I pulled up the Alfa, could tell that some small changes were about – A sign at the front gate said cleaning was in progress and can confirm the new owners done a fine job of clearing pathways obstructed by branches and removing all that lame witchy/ satan worshipping graffiti that was on the ground in 2013. Sure it’s fun to play silly buggers in abandoned amusement parks, but don’t blame them for scrubbing that lot off!

Piles of new looking building supplies were stacked up near the far end of the block, making it seem like the redevelopment was about to kick off soon. However, the owner’s son said there’s no set plans as yet and his old man bought the place on a whim when driving past one day. They’re still weighing up their options, but say the site is still zoned as an amusement park – so it’s not impossible to hope that they might consider incorporating a playground into the new development.

I didn’t get to explore the toilet block the first time, because I was too apprehensive to enter. Exploring was new to me and was paranoid about spiders and other creepy crawlies lurking in the dark.

This time, I made sure to head there immediately. Much of the block was trashed, but thankfully no spiders about so managed to get a few shots of the inside. The girls was filled with rubble and old tables, but the boys was in much better condition in comparison.

Around the perimeter there was a wasps nest to be wary of, but still managed to walk around the outside. Some good art pieces here and grass growing out of the tree stumps, which was a nice touch.

The highlight of my 1st expedition was of course the golden Giant Slide, plus the adjacent stage. The mural of quintessentially Aussie cartoon Ginger Meggs with the faded Pepsi ad was such an awesome backdrop against the long wavy slippery dip.

It felt so odd walking around the spot where the Giant Slide once stood so proudly above the flat plain. The rusted scaffolding that once supported the towering structure was completely gone, you’d never know it was there except for a few concrete markings on the ground. The adjacent stage still remained, albeit looking worse for wear. Large pieces of broken mural were now propped up against the side of the stage and spotting small pieces of the backdrop scattered around the area was a bittersweet game to play – I made it my mission to find every piece possible.

The owners say the Giant Slide strangely vanished awhile back, so they had absolutely nothing to do with its disappearance. In fact, they didn’t mind one bit as it saved them the job of having to pull it apart themselves! So looks like Magic Kingdom’s biggest attraction has been nicked and its current location unknown. How these thieves were actually able to dismantle that massive thing and transport it out of there remains the biggest mystery…

Back in 2013, I was seriously spooked by the old waterslides – the twin half pipes were becoming covered by encroaching grass and vines, which had grown over most of the faded blue half tube pipes. Only the end section of the slide were visible from where I stood, at a safe distance from the murky rectangular shaped pool at the bottom. Tall reeds poked out of the dark, uninviting water and I wasn’t at all keen to get any closer.

The 1st exploration also way too frightened to cross the rickety wooden bridge over the swamp, so never got a decent shot of that other iconic Magic Kingdom attraction – the Big Boot. The Big Boot is a throwback to that nursery rhyme ‘There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.’ It sat large, yet stout on a small island surrounded by palm trees and a rickety wooden bridge. I steered well clear of the tropical themed island and stuck to safe distance shots from the other side of the swamp.

This year, I couldn’t get anywhere near the waterslides due to flooding. Can’t say I was too disappointed not to see those up close again. I managed to get a zoomed shot from across the new lake, which was enough for water-phobic lil’ old me!

The old bridge was now completely underwater, so still no access to the infamous Big Boot – I don’t see how this could be accessed without a boat or raft, really… The land would have to dry up before I ever get up close to it.  The large palm trees were still clustered on the tiny island, giving the horizon an exotic flavour.

The canteen and ticket booth block were still as trashed as I remember, but got some better shots of them now. Looks like a few more wall pieces and cheeky tags have gone up since 2013 too, which just adds to the grungy effect.

Parts of this building still show evidence of fire damage, from a small blaze that occurred prior to 2013. Next door to the decaying canteen/ticket book is an area which looks like was part of the race car track, with overgrown weeds growing through the side walls and bursting out of the cracked cement.

The new family owners actually had no idea about Magic Kingdom or its legacy until I told them about it –  they thought it was just ‘some kind of playground’ and were pretty puzzled about the occasional explorers they catch trekking out around the property. They’d been wondering why anyone would bother coming here in the first place, so at least now they’re aware why others have an interest in their recent purchase.

While the future of Magic Kingdom still remains uncertain, a development proposal is not yet confirmed. Until new plans are approved, I’ll keep on hoping that this offbeat adventure destination could one day return to an enchanted oasis for everyone to enjoy once again.

XO Gia

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11 comments

  1. Darren · February 1, 2016

    I am a signwriter that painted all the signs & murals at magic kingdom including the big boot & concrete mushrooms! must be 30 years ago now! funny to see your photos i still remember a lot of that stuff sadly i no longer have any photos of it in its hey day

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gia · February 3, 2016

      that’s an awesome claim to fame Darren! The boot is still there and the owners don’t want it, so you could claim it back now 😉 it could use a new coat of paint…

      Like

  2. Les Eldridge · February 7, 2016

    I remember the original Hollywood Picnic Grounds in the 60s. I think this is where the Wonderland ended up.? Theer was also the Hollywood Country Music Club during the 80s – 90s…I have old b/w pics somewhere of the wooden building where the jazz picnic use dto be held – a hall upstairs and under was kiosk / latticework/ the bands also played there. In big rains the park would flood – hence I think thats why it hasnt been built on with homes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gia · February 7, 2016

      It’s very prone to flooding…what lovely memories Les! Hope you manage to find those old B&W photos.

      Like

  3. formalfun · October 4, 2016

    I was wondering if you think it’s still safe to visit. I really want to capture some shots and film before the whole park is renovated.

    Like

    • Gia · October 16, 2016

      Part of exploring is not knowing if it’s safe. You should go find out & report back with an update !

      Like

  4. Lee · November 5, 2016

    Is it ok for anyone to visit, or is permission needed? It looks so interesting, and would be so fun to go and explore during the holidays.
    Also, did you get the feeling of being watched? Wonder if there’s any ghosts around. Place looks creepy even during the day.

    Like

  5. Brea · December 11, 2016

    I’m also a fan of capturing pictures of abandoned fun places, will be exploring this place completely!! Hopefully I don’t get to muddy, no adventure to big for this girl to get the perfect picture 😇👌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bethany · January 7

    Most of this is now gone or overgrown. My tip is to visit on a day where it hasn’t been raining because it is very prone to flooding which makes accessing the overgrown areas very difficult (unless you’re not afraid of getting your feet wet). Still an amazing place to get great photos however I doubt it will be there much longer as there is now Lots of construction materials scattered along the edge of the fence

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mandy · March 26

    Great story, thanks for taking the time to make it.
    Anyone know it’s current state? Developed yet?
    And is it easy to find? Easy to get in?
    Ta

    Like

    • Brett · April 28

      It’s easy to find and easy to get into (near the toilet block anyway). I went there a year or so ago and couldn’t really access much as it was so flooded, not sure if it dries out much. Sounds like the new owners are about often, so not sure if they like visitors turning up.

      Like

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