Friday, December 12, 2014

Disney Full Park Day #1: Magic Kingdom!

Disclaimer: I have written this blog post 3 times and something happens to the last half of it each time. #smh

I have a rule tradition for our first day at Walt Disney World. I always want to have a pre-park opening reservation at Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom. That way, there's hardly anyone in the parks and we can walk right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A. almost completely alone. The first impression we have of our vacation is of that glorious castle in all it's uncrowded, view-unimpeded glory. 

But, as you already know, my plans were a little different this year. C'est la vie. 

I wasn't able to get a pre-park opening Crystal Palace reservation, but ours was at 8:30. What I forgot, though, was that Magic Kingdom had extra magic hours that morning, and the park was already filling up by the time we got there. My Disney OCD was raging, but I let it go and tried to stay focused on the magic.

And there was plenty of magic to go around!

My Magic Kingdom touring plan is to divide and conquer. We do Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Storybook Circus one day, and Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland the next day. Splitting Magic Kingdom into two days is pretty much essential in order to save your sanity. Breaking it down even further isn't a bad idea if you have the time. 

Our first day was Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Storybook Circus day, so we headed to Storybook Circus (formerly Mickey's Toontown Fair) to ride Barnstormer and Dumbo. My girls are a wee skittish when it comes to roller coasters, so I wanted to break them in gently with the Barnstormer. 

It worked! I could barely get them off the "fast rides" the rest of the trip! Frankly, if it was a slow boat ride, my girls weren't interested at all.  

We noticed on that the wait time for Voyage of the Little Mermaid was fairly low, so we decided to run on over there. The wait for it can get out of control (though not as much now that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is open), so we wanted to take advantage of the low wait while we could. 

Disney Imagineers really hit this ride out of the park, in my opinion. Of course, The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie, so maybe I'm a little biased. 

Even her hair moves as if she's underwater! 

After the ride, we checked the wait for the Ariel Meet and Greet. The line was longer than I will normally do, especially since we had a FastPass for later in the day. But we were right there and in the mood, so we waited. Luckily, the wait wasn't as bad as was posted, and we were in and out in about 10 minutes. 

Ariel! Ariel! I know her!

I was able to get a FastPass for lunch at Be Our Guest this year. I'm so glad I did! It was phenomenal! I HAVE to get a dinner reservation for next year's trip. 

 These knights in shining armor were "alive"! They sniffed and sneezed and spoke with French accents! 

We ate in the library which was decorated beautifully, and even had snow falling in the windows, just like in the movie!

I wish I could've gotten pictures of the other rooms, but I felt weird taking pictures when people were just eating their meals and not wanting me hovering over them with my camera and phone. #stalker

I did snap these two as we walked out...

These pictures DO NOT do this restaurant justice. You just have to go there. And the food is amazing, and all I got was a ham and cheese sandwich! How do you make a ham and cheese so durn tasty?? Disney magic, that's how! 

And try the gray stuff! It's delicious!

No biggie, but after lunch we hung out with some royalty...

At this point, the wheels were coming off our magical day at the Magic Kingdom. Our late night and early morning were catching up to us, and naps were becoming a necessity. We had tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party that night, and I didn't want a grumpy family for that, so we headed back to rest before the party. 

We headed back to the Magic Kingdom about 6:30, and the crowds were in full force. It was more than I expected, I'll be honest. I'll probably try to schedule party nights on weeknights from now on. It might not make a huge difference, but I'd like to find out. 

Another mistake I made was not eating dinner before the party. We were all hungry when we got there, but we knew we needed to get in line early for the parade and Frozen stage show. We luckily found a spot near an ice cream cart, so we snacked on some Mickey bars. 

See what I mean about some grumpiness? Not a smile to be seen....

Since the Mickey bars didn't exactly fill us all up (the four of us split two bars), we decided our empty tummies were more important than good parade viewing. We walked back toward the entrance and decided to try Casey's Corner for the first time. Luckily for us, they had outdoor seating that had emptied out, and we were able to grab a table and food and watch the parade while eating our dinner. It wasn't prime seating (or eating), but we were all happy with it and the girls were thrilled to see parade floats from just about any vantage point. 

After dinner and the parade, we headed to Tomorrowland to get in the attractions we had missed earlier in the day. First up: the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. Ella Kate had been asking to do it all day, and I honestly don't know why we didn't earlier. Ran out of time, I guess. They loved it since they were up on the screen at one point, for quite a while. They really got into it! 

From there we went to the Astro Orbiter, where I could see a stage set up advertising the "Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Dance Party." The girls wanted to go to Space Mountain, but I convinced them to check out the show first. I'm so glad I did! It was a really good show, and the girls got to participate! 

This show featured Tomorrowland stars, including Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch. 

I have to say, it was a well put on show. The girls really enjoyed it, and so did I!

Next we headed to Space Mountain. I felt sure that Ella Kate would be too short to ride with us, but she was dying to try. Imagine my surprise when she was tall enough with a smidge to spare! 

The whole walk up to the entrance, I was shakin' in my boots! I just knew my girls were going to have some sort of epic meltdown once this rocket took off into space. Boy, was I wrong! Ella Kate giggled the ENTIRE time! I was sitting right behind her, and I giggled because she was giggling! I laughed till I cried! 

After that we rode a couple more times and called it a night. I wish we could've done more of the party-exclusive things, but we had so much fun that it's hard to have regrets about it. 

Next up: EPCOT Day #1!

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