“This is a very big day, Pascal!”
So on Tuesday, it was time for the Magic Kingdom. I don’t care how old you are, being in the Magic Kingdom puts goofy smiles on a lot of faces, including mine. The whole walk up Main Street USA for me is just one big grin.
Part of the perks of having a conference at Disney is that you get discounted park tickets. They’re not full day tickets; they start at 2 PM and 4 PM, respectively, and since I had a 4:40 reservation at Be Our Guest, we decided to go for the 2 PM ticket. (We had 2 PM tickets for every park visit, it turned out.) This meant that I had my morning swim, lunch, and then I couldn’t handle it anymore and got on the bus to the Magic Kingdom. 🙂
I got there around 1:30, which meant I had to wait right outside the entrances (but past the bag check) for it to be about 5 to 2–the Magic Band would let you in a few minutes early, but not thirty. When you pressed the Mickey face of the band against the Mickey faced readers, it would turn one of three colors: White, green, or blue. Blue meant you had a ticket (or Fast Pass), but were too early; green meant you were good to go; white meant it was searching. At park admission, it will turn a sort of yellow-gold, and then you put your finger in the biometric scanner (this is so if you lose your card or band, no one can steal it and try to use your admission tickets. There’s also a PIN number required to make any charges to the band, as the same sort of safeguard.). Once that’s done, you’re in.
The weather on this day was great–about 80 degrees, with a breeze, almost no humidity, and partly cloudy. Basically perfect Magic Kingdom touring weather. I don’t know if that was the reason why, but I saw tons of characters out and about during the day, which made me happy, because they definitely add to “the magic.” The first ones I saw were Marie (from The Aristocats) and Pluto, followed by Princess Aurora and Prince Philip, Snow White and Prince Charming, Mickey and Minnie, and Cinderella and her prince performing on the castle stage. (later, I would see Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s step mother), Gaston, the Beast, and Tiana and Naveen.)
With that, it was time for Adventureland and some rides. Last year I went straight to Fantasyland, since the new expansion had opened, but this year I decided to be more democratic in my MK tour. 🙂 Also, Extra Magic Hours (meaning the park would be open later, and resort guests could ride the rides until it closed) went from 10-Midnight that night, so I felt very expansive with my time.
First stop: The Enchanted Tiki Room. This was my fourth trip to the Magic Kingdom but I’d never experienced this show. (It’s not a ride–you don’t go anywhere–it’s a show). I knew the song, of course, but wanted to experience the “experience”? 🙂 So this was my first “ride.” I was pleasantly surprised at how cute and clever it was, and even though those birds have done a lot of shows, they were still in good condition and didn’t seem dated (at least not to me).
I wanted to ride Jungle Cruise, but I didn’t have a Fast Pass for that, and the wait was 65 minutes, so….onward!
I made my way through Frontierland pretty quickly, since they were setting up for the 3:00 Parade, and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere, and went through Liberty Square to Fantasyland. Here, I rode the Carousel and Mickey’s Philharmagic (one of my favorites from last year) before I headed for a quick walk-about of the entire area. I wanted to see the line for the Seven Dwarves’ Mine Ride, and saw it was over an hour. The only Fast Pass time I’d seen the night before was at 11:00 PM, so I hadn’t gotten one. The ride looked fun, however. Ariel’s ride was inexplicably closed, so I missed riding that, but I did have a quick pick-me-up snack in Gaston’s Tavern (LeFou’s brew and chocolate croissant, bien sur!)
After a bit more wandering (and Carousel riding), it was time for dinner at Be Our Guest. I do love this place. Dad had a fancy dinner so it was just me, but that was fine. This year I had the French Onion Soup and the Shrimp and Scallops in puff pastry. The entree seemed a bit salty to me but you really can’t be the atmosphere of Be Our Guest, and there was, of course, grey stuff.
After dinner, it was time for….the Princess Meet and Greet.
The “standby” (that’s what they call it now, instead of “regular line”) line was many hours long. It was like people were camping out for Black Friday deals. Fortunately I had to wait about 20 minutes, and I was by no means, the oldest person in line. I was behind two high school girls, but in front of me was a woman in her 40s, and behind me was a family with a boy and a girl, and the boy was wearing an Olaf shirt, so I’m guessing he was pretty excited.
The way this works is that you get time for a brief chat, a photo, and (if you want) an autograph. My conversation with Anna and Elsa centered around their outfits and chocolate; with Princess Aurora is was about the blue versus pink dress. (She was wearing the pink.)
The detailing in this place is incredible. I didn’t have time to take photos, but the Internet has one, thank goodness:
They’re sort of hard to see here, but trust me: they are the EXACT SAME bookends from the scene with the King and the Duke, when the King is saying, “Just a boy meeting a girl under the right conditions….so, we arrange the conditions.” My Disney geek side was GEEKING OUT. (The girl is by the vase of flowers)
After meeting Anna, Elsa, and Aurora, I decided to ride Small World and The Haunted Mansion (I love the Haunted Mansion). There were some freaked out kids in the queue for Haunted Mansion (once we got inside the “stretch rooms” and the house proper–no one was freaking out in the outside queue).
Generally, I don’t approve of “forcing” kids to go on a ride they don’t want to go on, especially when they’re little, and there were some toddlers who were clearly being forced to ride. Parents, not the best idea, y’all.
After this, it was time for more pin trading in Frontierland. By this time, it was getting toward twilight, and my feet were talking. While I love the Magic Kingdom, it’s still a lot of walking–I’m guessing I did about six miles that day–and I didn’t think I’d make it until midnight. So I decided to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, which I love, and then head out before the parade started (I’d seen the Main Street Electrical Parade several times).
This photo is probably my favorite of the trip. I took it while in line for Peter Pan’s Flight, so it’s blurrier than I’d like, but I love how the lanterns are glowing in the twilight, just like in the movie. 🙂 Little Disney magic, here.
I made my way out the park and was on the bus back to the Yacht Club around nine, so I was back in my room at 9:30. It was a “most gratifying day”, indeed!