Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Part I

We began our trip to the Magic Kingdom much like any other day, getting up too early because the kids wake up too early. For once, it worked in our favor. We were able to eat breakfast and be on our way from the Fort Wilderness Resort cabin long before 8 a.m. Grandpa offered to drive us to the entrance, which turned out to be much more of a drive than we expected. After about twenty minutes, we made it to the drop off point for cars and buses, which led us to a ferry over to the Magic Kingdom entrance. Probably the ferry from Fort Wilderness would have been just as fast. Even so, we arrived at the gates of the Magic Kingdom around 7:45 a.m. Our MagicBands (wristbands that let us into our cabin and into the park and kept track of our FastPass+ rides).

Entrance before 8 a.m.--not too many people

Main Street U.S.A. was a little more crowded

My daughter wanted to walk through Cinderella's castle but it looked like it was blocked off. I offered to take her picture with the castle in the background. She politely declined.

She turned on me!

Castle viewed from one of the sides

Back of the castle looks less blocked

We headed for the new, hot ride--the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland. The queue said 15 minutes for people without Fastpasses, so we were happy to walk almost right onto the ride. Walking through the line took a good eight or nine minutes, thanks to the interactive displays along the way (and the Disney hidden line system).

Gem sorting!

Spinnable barrels make images on the ceiling!

Pretty soon we got into the mine carts and went for a fabulous ride that even my less adventurous daughter loved.

The mine cart boarding area

At the end of the ride we saw Snow White dancing with the dwarfs in their house. A sinister presence was lurking outside!

End of the line

We had a great time. Since we were already in Fantasyland, we tried to become the English monarch.

My son tugs on Excalibur

My daughter pulls with all her might

I try one-handed...might as well be lifting Thor's hammer

Grandpa had warned us about the brainwashing effect of "It's a Small World." He said the ride would get its iconic tune trapped in our heads and we'd be pestered by it for the rest of the day, if not for weeks on end. We tried it and our children loved it.

"It's a Small World" entrance

Irish part of the small world

Asian part of the small world

Carousel part of, well, you know

We were surprised at the end to see our names on the "goodbye" screen. Somehow the ride must have detected our MagicBands!

A personal goodbye

The song was not as intrusive as Grandpa claimed, maybe because it only had intelligible lyrics at the end. The music played throughout the ride and without the lyrics it was less hypnotic or drilled into our heads.

We crossed the street and rode the Peter Pan ride. It also was fun but slightly scarier than "It's a Small World." Of course anything is scarier than that. My son was fascinated that we went through the ride without any tracks under our car. I explained that the car was attached to a track on the roof. He thought it was cool.

Peter Pan's Flight ride

On the much scarier side of things, we went to the Haunted Mansion next. Since it was still only about 8:20, the line was quite short. In line, we saw a haunted hearse without a horse and someone giving a lecture.

Haunted Hearse

I think she's talking about the history of the mansion

The exterior, under restoration

The ride was fun, with only a few changes that I remember from my last visit over 15 years ago. I was surprised that Orson Welles narrated the ride. He hammed it up nicely. You can't go wrong with the classics.

We headed over to Frontierland. We had a Fastpass+ scheduled for 1 o'clock on Thunder Mountain but wanted to ride it early. The line was again very short so we got through the queue quickly, barely with time to photograph the entertaining bits of the line.


Shipping the old-fashioned way

The safe

The ride

The rollercoaster was fast and fun. Even my daughter liked it. Right next door is Splash Mountain, a log flume ride. The wait was a little longer but mostly shady. We were surprised how long the actual ride was. In addition to the usual ups, downs, and splashes, we went through a bunch of animatronic displays. The ride was themed on Br'er Rabbit and Disney's classic animated film Song of the South. We enjoyed everything about it, even the final five-story drop. We didn't get too wet.

Our next stop was back in Fantasyland, so we took the railroad from Frontierland around the back of the park. The displays along the way were fun and frontier-themed.

Entrance to the railroad

Thunder Mountain seen from the railroad

An old village along the railroad

A native American village

Once in Fantasyland, my daughter saw a camel spitting water on guests. She wanted to cool off some more, so she ran over where everyone else was. She took a few tries to stand in just the right spot to get hit.

Camel-spitting fun!

I think the giraffe almost visible in this picture was spitting too

We were right by the Barnstormer, featuring Goofy. We rode it and had fun.

A fun, kid-friendly roller coaster

My son was starting to feel poorly by this point (turns out he had strep throat!). He mustered on for a few more rides.

More in the next post...

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