Wednesday, October 3, 2012

{ The Magic Kingdom Tips & Walk Through Guide }



{This post is about the place I never knew I wanted to visit...
until I was there}


Like my Wizarding World post, this not food, but travel related.

I mention in that post that the most helpful advice & tips I got before leaving were from personal friends, a site called Orlando Informer, and, yes, blogs.

So, here we go.

I wasn't the typical "PLEASE TAKE ME TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!!" kind of kid. Neither was the Bean. In fact, I don't think he EVER mentioned it. He wasn't into Disney that much. He loved Thomas the Tank Engine (which we DID take two vacations to see). When he was 2, however, Dumbo was his favorite movie on planet Earth. He actually watched it so much that the tape broke! Tragedy!!!!!!!!!!! My mom spliced it back together for him, however, and peace reigned.

Lets be honest here. The entire reason our Orlando trip came into being revolved around two words: Harry Potter. Not much else mattered to us. Our trip started out with us doing 2 days at Universal (one at Islands of Adventure, one at Universal Studios), and one day at the beach. Then we talked about Epcot. Then I showed my friend Steph a video of a parade from The Magic Kingdom.

Stephanie is a Disney person. Do you know what I mean by a Disney person? She has a sunny personality, she's sweet, and kind, and yes, in fact, she randomly breaks out into song. So, basically her eyes glazed over a bit and she said, "This makes me want to go to the Magic Kingdom!". And so we did.

I was excited by the prospect. More than I thought I would be. I did have people, lots and lots of people, try to talk me out of taking a 15 year old boy to The Magic Kingdom though. The Bean, being, well, himself, had watched documentaries on The Magic Kingdom, and also, a few years back, had read a book series called "Kingdom Keepers" which take place within the Disney parks. Basically, he was keen to see all the places he'd read about & see all of the amazing things the Imagineers had done. Besides, it's DISNEY, how can you go and not see the quintessential flagship park?

As we walked through the gates, about 50 steps into the park, there was suddenly singing and dancing. I actually said aloud, "WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL PLACE?!!!!!!". From the architecture of Main Street, to Cinderella's castle rising above it, to the twirling dancers, it was truly like stepping into another world. And I LOVED it.

What about the 15 year old boy? Well, he LOVED it too! 

While I had the naysayers, I did actually have a few friends that were sure we'd enjoy it. My friend, Lori, who I often mention in recipes- either being her recipe, or the two of us baking together, my friend Darla, of Bakingdom, and my friend Robby, all said that we'd have a great time at Magic Kingdom. Lori reassured me that The Bean would enjoy himself, Darla said OF COURSE YOU'LL LOVE IT, and Robby said that he and his wife had done a 1/2 day at Magic Kingdom & a 1/2 day at Epcot on their Honeymoon, and wished they'd stayed at MK all day instead!

With that in mind, I was looking forward to it.



Some Tips

 Tickets:
You all may or may not know this, but Walmart in Orlando... sells tickets to the theme parks! WHAT? True. They are actually a few bucks cheaper. Not a lot, just a few. We'd tried to purchase our tickets online, but our credit card companies didn't like all the online purchases in one day. Stephanie and I both were successful with buying Medieval Times tickets, she was able to purchase Islands of Adventure tickets, but not Disney, I was able to purchase Disney and not Islands. SIGH. So, we planned to buy at the gate- however, when we stopped at Walmart we saw they sold them there. At the jewelery counter no less. The price was $90.95/each for Disney after tax. I believe Universal was slightly higher. So, maybe check into that. Call down to the Walmart in Orlando before you leave.

Fast Pass: 
Fast Pass is a system to help you get through the rides without the long wait time when the park is busy. They are free. You just look for the Fast Pass kiosk in front of the rides, then scan your ticket (that you got when you entered the park). It will spit out Fast Passes for you. On the Fast Pass a window of time will be listed. Simply return to the ride (with your Fast Pass slip) during this window and you get to skip most of the line. 
We waited about 5-10 minutes with our Fast Pass for Peter Pan's Flight.

*Edited Sept 2013. I recently read they are going to be doing away with Fast Passes unless you stay in one of the Disney hotels.



I recommend taking a backpack. This one that the Bean is wearing is actually my friend Lori's. It's excellent. I'd recommend finding something like this one. Since it's a sling, it just slides around you when you need access. Much easier than a standard backpack.



Do the People Mover at night, when it's dark. It's cool to look out over the park then! 

Standard Mickey Ears run $13.95. It's $3 to personalize them in the standard font. More for fancier fonts.

 We watched both the Electrical Parade and the Fireworks from the bridge that links Tomorrowland and Main Street. It was a good location. No, we weren't RIGHT up front for the parade, but we saw it well enough. It was WAY less crowded than Main Street.

Magic Kingdom is ALWAYS crowded. There were masses of people, as you can tell by this photo, but the lines were so short. After the Electrical Parade Bobby said to a lady in a shop how she must hate this time of night because it was so busy. She laughed and said that that was nothing. It's usually much, MUCH busier.



Also, there is a dining plan. Both Universal and Disney offer them. They are available for only certain restaurants though, but you may want to check into those.

As I said, as soon as we walked through the gates there was singing and dancing, and it was our first taste into the wonder that was about to unfold in front of us.

Main Street, USA


As we traveled down Main Street, I was just taken by it all. 

We were there Sept. 6, but they already had their Fall Decorations up! Awesome.

There were amazing smells wafting out of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.

They serve Edy's Ice Cream, but all of the waffle cones are made right there in the shop.

The prices are a little spendy, of course. A double scoop was $4.29, while the Mickey Mouse Kid's cone (one scoop of vanilla with chocolate mouse ears) was $2.99. They also have floats and sundaes for around the $5 mark.

These were the sweet ladies making the cones.



The shops are all so quaint and filled to the brim with awesome stuff. The main even though? 

Cinderella's Castle of course!

Just as we got to the castle, there was music again, and what do you know? A parade started up & we had primo seating (well, standing). It felt like the parade was just for us (even though we were surrounded). More about the parades below.


It was so much fun! (<---Prepare yourself for overuse of that word in this post!

FANTASYLAND: 
(attractions include: It's a Small World ride, Peter Pan's Flight ride, Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D movie, Dream Along with Mickey stage show, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride, Mad Tea Party ride, Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, The Barnstomer ride, Walt Disney Railroad, Casey Jr. Splash n Soak Station)

Our first ride of the day, was the classic Disney ride... The Teacups (aka Mad Tea Party- but really, who calls them that??).

Then I spied Dumbo's Flight & it all went pear shaped, as I said, Dumbo was his favorite Disney movie.

So. I made him ride it. Yes. I. Did.

He's a good lad though, and didn't complain. Much.


From there, we walked on to find "It's A Small World"

We saw the gates (behind walls) New Fantasyland, which will be open by the end of the year. Dumbo was an improvement that opened earlier this year. The main parts though, are Belle's Village, The Beast's Castle, Prince Eric's Castle, and Ariel's Grotto, which, so sadly, are still to open.


here's the rendering of the new area. You can see Ariel's Grotto on the right, Beast's Castle on the left with Belle's village, and the gates from the photo above at the front of the painting.

Far left, you will see the Dumbo/Casey Jr attractions with the big tops.

Cannot wait to see all of it finished!


So, It's A Small World




It's a relaxing little boat ride through the world, of course. It's air conditioned, not only the ride, but the wait. I love that nearly all of the Disney queues were inside and cool. YAY Disney.

I also noted that most all Disney rides are quite long. Makes your wait in line worth it.

That said, we barely waited all day. As I mentioned, September is the slow season for the parks. I don't think there's ever a truly SLOW day, but our wait times were 15 minutes and under. Some rides we walked right on.

The longest wait of the day was Peter Pan's Flight. The wait time as 45 minutes. We used a Fast Pass for this, but it was the only ride we needed it for all day.


 Peter Pan's Flight, in my opinion, is worth getting the Fast Pass for. I loved it. You start out in little pirate ship cars, go through the Darling children's bedroom, then fly out the window, over London to Neverland. It's so cute.





 
Lunch In Fantasyland:

When it was time for lunch we stayed in Fantasyland and ate at Pinocchio Village Haus. It is attached to It's A Small World (though they have individual entrances). There is a large window in the Village Haus and you can watch people getting on and off the ride.

The food, much like Universal was OK. Not fantastic, but good. And, once, again, being theme park food, it was a bit high.

The Bean got Chicken Nuggets. It was 8 pieces and served with apple slices or french fries for $8.19.
I wasn't very hungry, so I just got fries, which were $2.49. Drinks ran $2.59. Our friends got the Pepperoni Flatbread, which ran $8.59. Bobby also got the Tomato Basil Soup ($2.99), which he said was good, but a little cold. Other options were BBQ Chicken Flatbread or Caprese Flatbread running close to $10, and a Cheese Flatbread for $8.  They had a few salads including Chicken Caesar for about $7.99, Mediterranean for around $8.49, a Side Salad for $2.99, and a Meatball Sub for $9.


Tomorrowland:
( attractions include: Tomorrowland Speedway ride, Space Mountain roller coaster, Astro Orbiter ride, Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover ride, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Stitch's Great Escape ride, Monster's Inc Laugh Floor show)

The first thing we did in Tomorrowland was the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover . I really enjoyed it. You ride above all of Tomorrowland, and THROUGH some of the Tomorrowland rides including Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain. It's quite long though, so figure that into your schedule. I'd say it's at least a 15 minute ride.

Photo taken from the People Mover:


Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin  was a lot of fun. It's part ride, part video game. You try to shoot things and your car keeps score. I got a really bad score, because, A. I sucked at it, and B. I was taking photos, and C. I sucked at it.



Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor was funny. It's a live show with the monsters appearing on screen, but they interact with the audience. No photos allowed, but it was nice to get in out of the Florida heat and sit for a while.

We LOVED Space Mountain. As I mentioned in my Wizarding World post, the Bean is not a huge roller coaster fan. Space Mountain is not a huge thrill seeker coaster though. Yes, it's fast, and it turns you and things (no totally upside down loops though), but it's a good medium coaster. The 'set' of the ride is really awesome too!

Dinner in Tomorrowland:
 We went about the park, but at dinnertime, we were back in Tomorrowland, so that is where we ate. We ate at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. Once again, it was good,  not great, and once again, it was overpriced, of course ;)

There's an automaton in the cafe who puts on a show for you. I don't know why I didn't take any photos, I guess I was hungry! Anyway, he's an alien and he tells lame jokes and sings. As for the food, it has three bays. Chicken, Burgers, and Sandwiches. The Bean wanted a burger, so he got the 1/3 pound Angus Cheeseburger with Fries for $9.19. I got the Chili Cheese Dog with Fries. It ran $8.59. The sandwiches (chicken, turkey, burgers) seemed to hover around the $9 price. They also had BBQ Ribs ($14+)  or 1/2 Roasted Chicken ($10+). The drinks were $2.59.
 
What I liked most about Cosmic Rays was the topping bar. They had tomatoes,  lettuce,  onions, green peppers, grilled onions, mushrooms, relish, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup,  lettuce, and melted cheese sauce so you could dress up your sandwiches however you pleased.

 Frontierland:
(attractions include: Walt Disney World Railroad, Splash Mountain water flume, Big Thunder Railroad roller coaster, Tom Sawyer Island, Country Bear Jamboree show).

We honestly did nothing in Frontierland except go in a couple shops and take a few pictures. I didn't realize (bad on me for not reading my map) that Big Thunder Railway was a coaster. I thought it was a... well, train. Country Bear Jamboree was closed, and I HATE. HATE. HATE. walking around in wet clothes, so no Splash Mountain for me.





  Liberty Square:
(attractions include: The Hall of Presidents show, Liberty Square Riverboat ride, The Haunted Mansion ride)




I don't know if I've mentioned this here in the past, but the Bean is huge, massive, huge, uh.. massive history buff. There was no way we weren't doing The Hall of Presidents. It was actually pretty dang cool. Once again, nice to go in, out of the heat, sit and relax. The automatons were so cool. They made the most infinitesimal movements. They looked so real. So much so, that after the show, Bobby commented on the actors!



The Haunted Mansion, of course, is a Disney mainstay. It turned out to be one of my favorite rides.
It's a dark ride, as are so many at Disney. You start inside a room at the mansion, then they lead you through to the ride. You sit in carts (also known as "Doom Buggies"), and whisk through the mansion. You see lots of rooms, lots of creepy stuff, very cool projected images that do, in fact, look very ghostlike.





Adventureland: 
(attractions include: Tinkerbell's Magic Nook, Swiss Family Treehouse, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride, Enchanted Tiki Room show, Jungle Cruise ride, Pirates of the Caribbean ride).


The Bean and I decided to do the Jungle Cruise. It was cheesy and fun! Our captain (a young girl) was also cheesy and fun! It was dark at the time, so no photos :(
 
My favorite ride in the park? Pirates of the Caribbean. 

It was just so much fun to see. I just can't explain it. It made me happy inside. The end.

Sadly, I have no photos inside of the ride either. At one point a canon ball 'splashes' and though you don't get REALLY wet or anything, I didn't want to risk damage to my camera.

Here are some of Tortuga though. 




Also, the wait times that they post are a little iffy. The wait time for this said 15 minutes. It takes about 3 minutes to walk the queue line, and then... ya know what? We walked right on! awesome! 
I love how detailed the Disney Imagineers were with EVERYTHING. The whole park is so detailed and beautiful.

In Adventureland, be sure to stop by Ahola Isle and get my favorite treat in the park. The Dole Whip. We had a bit of a calamity there when the Bean spilled my Dole Whip Float that I'd never even taken a sip of. Sticky shoes. Upset kid. Annoyed mom. It's bound to happen sometime during the blazing hot, summer sun, right? Eventually, I got a new Dole Whip, the Bean cheered up, and my shoes were rinsed. Peace restored.

So, again, I have to say, I took no photo of the Dole Whip. This photo is from Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dole_Whip
Steph got just the pineapple ice cream, but she had some of Bobby's float and declared it AMAZING. So, try the float. It is $4.49. Just the ice cream is $3.49. You can get a vanilla, orange, or pineapple ice cream or a swirl of 2 flavors. You can get your float with vanilla, orange, or pineapple ice cream with pineapple juice. Delicious. I'll probably have to try and make it here at home!



Parades:

Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade

This is the parade we happened into at the castle.






Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade

We waited for this parade for a while, but... this happened. It was eventually moved from delayed to cancelled because of  lightening, which happily didn't last long. But still... sad panda.

The Main Street Electrical Parade

I was just glad THIS one wasn't cancelled because it was so cool!







  
FIREWORKS!
Wishes Nighttime Spectacular 

Not long after the Electrical parade concludes, it's time for Wishes! It's so special with Tink flying over head, music playing, voice overs, and of course, fireworks!

I'll get to that in a sec, but first, here is the castle. At night it keeps changing colors. PRETTY.




  
My favorite was when it was yellow or just plain light.

Now for the fireworks!







As I said at the beginning, this is the place I never knew I wanted to visit. Now I'm infected. Maybe they pump something into the air, but I'm a convert. Chuck me into the Disney Crazy Bin. I'm there. I've got the ears to prove it!


We were only in Florida for a full 3 days. It's just not enough time. We spent 13+ hours and missed so many things in Magic Kingdom alone. When we go back, we will stay longer, and get park hopper passes.


They weren't kidding when they said 'let the memories begin'. 

It's magic... and I can't wait to go back!





Tina

9 comments:

  1. aw this makes me want to go back so badly, it is a fun place isn't it?

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    Replies
    1. I loooooved it, Sue!!! Cannot wait to go back!

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  2. No I NEED to go back again!
    I LOVE Disneyland! (I even went there for my Honeymoon 15 yrs. ago!)
    I Now Run in the Disneyland Half Marathon each year, that gives me the excuse to go "Play" too! :)

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  3. You do really fantastic travel posts! This was so desriptive and even though I've been there before, the post would be great refrence for a return trip. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. AWESOME post, Tina!!! Fantastic photos!!! I love it!! :D

    So glad you had a great time, and that you're now in the "Disney Crazy Bin!" It's a great place to be! ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle! And I agree! Disney crazy is good :D

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  5. thanks for this post it was very helpful!! found on pinterest..

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