Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Part II

Continuing our Walt Disney World adventure from the last post...

We used a FastPass+ to get into Enchanted Tales with Belle, an interactive experience that started with a visit to Maurice's (that's Belle's dad) workshop. A Disney host welcomed us and explained the basics of Belle's story.

Inside Maurice's workshop

The lady explains the mirror is a gift from Beast to Maurice

We then met Madame, the wardrobe, who picked out audience members for the interactive part of the show which would happen in the next room. The animatronics on her face was amazing.

Madame helps get us ready

The final room was Beast's library at his castle, where we met Belle. Those selected as characters (none from my family) told the story of how Beast and Belle met, then she took pictures with the characters and any audience members. My daughter was too shy to go up for a picture, alas.

Getting ready for Belle to appear

Belle talks to Lumiere

Closeup of Lumiere and Belle

Again, the animatronic Lumiere was quite amazing. His "arms" moved quite fluidly and his face looked much like his animated version.

Next we visited Mickey's Philharmagic, a 4D film experience. In it, Mickey is about to conduct a magical orchestra. He leaves Donald Duck with the instruments and with instructions not to use his magic hat from The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Fantasia. Of course Donald can't resist, which leads into a hilarious adventure through various songs and scores from many Disney movies. It was a lot of fun and more sitting down than the Enchanted Tales experience.

At this point, my son said he felt too sick to stay at the park, so he and my wife headed home while my daughter and I stayed. We had reservations at the Be Our Guest restaurant (which requires reservations way in advance). We still had twenty minutes before our time, so my daughter asked to walk through Cinderella's Castle at the heart of the Magic Kingdom.

We walked back to the front of the castle only to discover a musical revue going on. We couldn't get through. This was 11:30 a.m. on a hot July day (high of 97 Fahrenheit). I felt worst for the dancers who were in the character costumes. It's one thing to be Rapunzel in sunny heat, another whole level of no fun to be Minnie Mouse. We watched two numbers and then had to head to our meal.

No walking through here

Goofy with Minne and Mickey and the Princess and the Frog gang

Donald Duck and some ruffians from Tangled

Going for lunch wasn't as easy as it looked online. We used our Fastpasses to get into the restaurant. Then we had to wait in line to submit our orders.

Inside Beast's castle, waiting in line to order food

After ordering, things were much nicer. We had the choice of sitting in the ballroom or the Beast's room. We opted for the ballroom. The food had a French theme. I ordered Croque Monsieur with pomme frites (French for french fries!). My daughter had a grilled cheese sandwich with soup and pomme frites. We thought we'd live it up and order desserts--a cream puff with lemon curd filling and a cupcake with strawberry filling and cream cheese icing. At first, I thought my daughter wanted the cream puff and suggested I get the cupcake, but after the food came she took the cupcake! Both were fabulous, so I can't complain. Even more amazing was the cart on which the food came!

Beast's ballroom

Food cart fit for a castle

Croque Monsieur with pomme frites and desserts

My daughter enjoys her very French french fries

A last view of the ballroom

On the way out we saw the stained glass window from the movie. Again, my daughter was too shy to pose for a picture, so here it is by itself.

For once, the camera flash hits a perfect spot

After lunch we used our second Fastpass+ to ride Thunder Mountain again. The plan to switch to two children so the lap bar would be low enough to keep my daughter from flying out of her seat didn't come to fruition. She had to put up with sitting next to me. We still had fun.

Once we finished that ride, my daughter said she was tired and wanted to go back. We rode the train around the park to the main entrance where we took one of the boats back to our resort. It was around 2:30, so I think she got a good day's worth of park in.

After a rest and dinner, the kids decided to stay with Granny and Grandpa at the cabin. My wife and I headed back to the Magic Kingdom. She was interested in trying out a new interactive collectible card game offered by Disney. Visiting the Firehouse on Main Street, we registered with their system and received a map and some playing cards, along with instructions on how to play.

Main gate in early evening

Firehouse/magic training center

Map of secret locations

A sampling of cards

The cards have magic spells that are used to defeat various villains throughout the park. The map shows locations where the villains are hiding. Once at a location, players hold their MagicBands by a keyhole to activate the portal and fight a villain. We came up against Cruella deVille and used Pongo's Soot Bucket against her. It worked like a charm.

Symbol on the ground showing the right spot

The key on the bottom and Cruella in the display

We hadn't ridden anything in Tomorrowland and I wanted to go on Space Mountain, so we left off villain conquering for another visit. We had our last Fastpass+ for Space Mountain in half an hour, so we rode the Peoplemover to fill the time.

Entrance to Tomorrowland

View of Tomorrowland from the Peoplemover

More of Tomorrowland

The ride didn't take very long, so we thought we try out something with a short line. The Laugh Floor was a five minute wait, so we went to that.

Tomorrowland's Laugh Floor

Inside was a theater where Mike from Monsters, Inc., was host to a standup comedy show for monster trainees. It was an impressive blend of animation and improv comedy, using cameras to select various audience members to be part of the show. One woman in the back was texting on her phone, so one of the animated comedians kept making fun of here. Then they started making jokes about characters from Monsters, Inc. When they started talking about furry Sully, the camera came on me! I had fun playing along but was glad none of my children were there to witness it.

When the show was over, we headed over to Space Mountain, which had a 70 minute wait without a Fastpass+. We walked through quickly and rode this amazing coaster through the darkness of space. I loved this ride as a child and still do!

Terrible inside picture

Space Mountain seen from one of the ferry boats

We peeked in at Merchant of Venus, a store which really should be called Merchant of Tatooine. All the merchandise inside was Star Wars themed (or so it looked from outside). We headed over to Adventure Land.

The Swiss Family Robinson House was closed for refurbishing (we had watched the movie in preparation for coming) so we went straight to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The wait was longer than advertised but it was a lot of fun. I thought it might be overhauled after the blockbuster movies came out but it was mostly the way I remembered. They did have animatronic Johnny Depps Captain Jack Sparrows at several points, but otherwise it was just like I remembered it from twenty or thirty years ago.

Pirates of the Caribbean entrance

We wanted some ice cream at a sit-down place to cool off but had waited too long. Most of the restaurants in the park were full and Main Street was starting to get packed with squatters for the evening parade. We realized the parade wouldn't start for another hour and we were tired from a long day, so we rode the ferry back to our resort and bought Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream bars as our treat from one of the trading posts.

It was a great finish to our day visiting the Magic Kingdom.

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