Sunday, November 21, 2010

Magic Kingdom

On our first park day, we decided to hit up the Magic Kingdom.  This first Disney World park has been bringing happiness to millions and millions of children ever since it first opened its doors in October 1971.  In fact, in 2009, 17.2 million people visited the Magic Kingdom, making it the most visited theme park in the world.

To give those of you who may not be familiar with Disney and its parks, the Magic Kingdom has just under 50 attractions and features seven "lands".  The center of the park is home to Cinderella's castle.
Source: Kingdom Travel
As we walked through the front gates and up Main Street USA, we of course recognized the importance of the castle photo op and snapped a few pictures.

First up for our crew was Tomorrowland, whose headline attraction is Space Mountain.  We were pleased to see that the wait was only 30 minutes.  As a parkgoer, it's good to know your options when it comes to waiting in line at attractions.  The first is to just suck it up and wait and, second, you can use a Fast Pass.  If you decide to use your Fast Pass, you go to the Distribution podiums and you receive a paper ticket that tells you a time that you can return (usually 45 minutes - 3 hours later).  Upon your return, you can enter the Fast Pass Return line which pretty much guarantees you minimal wait time.  I know you must be thinking why wouldn't you use your Fast Pass every time.  Unfortunately, it isn't that simple....if you have one Fast Pass outstanding you typically cannot get another one until after you redeem your current pass or the time expires.  If you happen to get a Fast Pass that has you waiting over a number of hours before you can return to your ride, there is a time printed at the bottom which tells you when you can get another pass.  With all that said, we decided to just wait out the 30 minutes and save our Fast Pass for later.  It ended up being a good choice because we definitely didn't have to wait the full 30 minutes.  We were all so excited to be there anyway, that we found ourselves taking pictures to pass the time.

Case in point....pure Space Mountain excitement:
Now, Space Mountain isn't exactly a new roller coaster. There are definitely other coasters around the world that have surely eclipsed Space Mountain in terms of thrill worthy moments, but that doesn't really matter much to me.  This is a classic ride.  I remember being a mere 39" tall and standing slightly on the balls of my feet just ITCHING to pass the height test to get on this ride.  It has never disappointed me since.  Being in the dark definitely adds to the thrill and I think that it's also a good length of time.  Some new coasters are awesome but they only last 30 seconds. Not cool.  We ended up riding Space Mountain three times this day.  Cant wait until next time!
Before we left Tomorrowland, we hit up a few more rides.  Next up was Buzz Lightyear.  It is an attraction that pairs you up and sends you through a series of rooms with aliens and other Toy Story paraphernalia.  The object is to use your "laser gun" to shoot the Emperor Zurg symbols ("Z") that are fixed to various moving targets.  You tally up points as you go, which makes for a bit of competition between you and your "partner" that is sharing your cart.  I was paired with Daisy, who kicked my butt. 
Next up in Tomorrowland was grub.  We were hungry.  We hit up the "Lunching Pad" for specialty hot dogs.  I got the Taco Dog and Dave got the Philly Cheesesteak Dog.  Sorry, but the wind was whipping about and it was still freezing at this point so I never got the camera out to take a picture.  After lunch, we decided to hit up the Wedway People Mover, which really isn't a ride per se but rather a way to relax and "rest your dogs" in a moving cart.  It takes you through various parts of Tomorrowland (some inside and some outside).  Before moving on, we went to Stitch's Great Escape but it was so underwhelming that I won't even bother reviewing it.  

From Tomorrowland, we wandered over to Fantasyland.  Adam was about to jump out of his shoes from excitement at the thought of reliving his childhood favorites, namely Peter Pan and Snow White, but the little kids outnumber all in this land causing ridiculous wait times.  I wasn't about to wait 70 minutes for the silly Peter Pan "baby ride" (as I so jokingly teased him), so we decided to wait until later.  Little kids have to go to bed sometime right?  We can outlast them.

We wandered over to Liberty Square next and decided to wait in line for the Haunted Mansion.  Definitely a classic, I remember being terrified of this ride when I was young.  
We left the ghosts and goblins behind and headed for Frontierland.  Despite the strange chilly weather, we couldn't pass up Splash Mountain.  Water didn't scare us, or at least not Adam.
In the end, the water did get the best of us, as many of left soaked or at least pretty damp.  Always fun though regardless!  Still in Frontierland, we checked out the wait at Big Thunder Mountain.  It was 50 minutes so that seemed like a Fast Pass opportunity.  We passed the time, by wandering over to Adventureland.  
Best attraction here is Pirates of the Caribbean.  It has been Captain Jack Sparrow-ized, but I think it's a welcomed addition.  Who doesn't like those movies even if only just a little?  Here we are waiting to catch our ship...argh!
Through the course of the next few hours, we hit up pretty much every ride at the park, with the exception of Mickey's Toontown Fair.  By the way, this will be demolished to make room for a Fantasyland expansion in 2013.  From the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square, to Big Thunder Mountain, to Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse, to Fantasyland yet again -- we pretty much did it all.  

At 9pm, we lined up to see the Electrical Parade.  This parade was a favorite of mine as a kid but it had been in a hiatus for a long while.  It was so pleased to see that they brought it back.  The whole parade takes about 20 minutes, as characters ride along in brightly lit floats. 
Once the parade wrapped up, it was almost time for the nightly fireworks show over the castle.  Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, which first debuted in 2003, is "hosted" by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy.  By "hosted", I mean you hear their voices only.  Right in the beginning, a women dressed as Tinker Bell zip lines all the way from the highest point of the castle to some point way off to the right of Main Street.  Talk about the best ride in Magic Kingdom!! I want to try!  Anyway, back to the review....the castle changes colors throughout which is incredibly visually pleasing.
Throughout the show, various Disney characters talk about their wishes.  The characters typically are speaking over some of the most memorable Disney songs. Featured prominently are Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Aladdin, Peter Pan and Ariel.  At some point, the show turns to the infamous Disney villains.  By the end, the good characters "defeat" the evil and Wishes turns to more joyous instrumentals and big firework displays.  The show ends with "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinnochio.  It really is so well done.  I wish I could watch Wishes every night from my joke ;)
We had the luxury of having Extra Magic Hours this night.  In other words, the park closed to non-resort guests at 11pm, but we had the option of running about until 2am.  Some of us were too beat or too cold to take advantage, but a few of us stayed.  It is a nice option to have because the park really clears out.  After about 1am, we all decided to call it quits.  Between waking up at 5:30am in Sanibel, driving to Orlando and then carousing the park all day, I was done for.  

All in all, I enjoyed my time at good ol' MK.  It is really nostalgic for most people since they remember being so in love with all the rides as kids.  It is only fair to point out that this is the only "dry" park at Disney.  I guess that comes with the territory when you're trying specifically to appeal to the youngin's.  It looks like we still had fun though sans booze right?


  1. Aww yay! I have been working on my MK post this weekend but didnt quite finish. lovely job. so much fun to re-live!

  2. SO much fun! I have to get there! Three times on space mountain?! eeee, record??