The fire has been consuming my thoughts, but I'm back in vacation report mode, at least for the next several minutes. On day three, we had Magic Kingdom on our to-do list. I have a tiny stack of sticky notes and a Pass Porter in front of me. That's how I'm generating my report, and of course, my memories. I'll import photos, too, but I can't jack with iPhoto right now . . . I'm working on my dad's stuff & Big is mid-way through the Level 5 Aerials book. No. More. Photos. Until those projects are complete.
We were up late the night before and feeling zapped by heat and humidity, so I opted to axe the alarm clock. At the risk of "running late", I figured, "ah, screw it" and I let the natives sleep until they were done sleeping. After coffee, breakfast in the suite and packing, we headed out to have a magical day.
I'm glad I remembered to take: the squirtee water-fan bottle, plenty of icy water in our camelbacks, a sharpie, a lanyard, the confirmation number for will call tickets, lots of sets of 51 cents for quarter press machines, extra socks, camera, cash, credit & sunscreen.
The weather was killer hot and brutally humid. Humidity, I've found, sucks the very life out of my children. I was very impressed with the little city that DisneyWorld IS. From traffic control to parking order and monorails, ferry boats and buses, I was absolutely wow-ed at the pure system and the magnitude of what goes on there. I saw and heard dollar signs everywhere I turned. Talk about a profit. Wowie-wow-wow. And jobs. Wow. I was very amazed that with the American economy like it is that there were that many people willing to spend that much money on . . . nothing, really.
The nitty gritty . . . . . wait, I have to interject this important note. One of my girlfriends let me borrow this book. It was so, so, so good that I went and bought my own. If you are a mom-type planning Disney, don't do it without this book. It was worth its weight in gold!
Okay, back to the nitty gritty. So, at the PassPorter's recommendation, I found the attractions and miscellaneous things that I thought were "must-do" things. I married that list with a few recommendations from Disney World Veterans who are also mom-friends. With that, we were off. It helped me out a TON, a TON, a TON to have access to the map and see where things were before we really got there.
Actually setting foot inside the park takes about an hour from when you actually depart, so be ready for that. You can't just pull up to the gates, park and hop out. If I could give anyone a significant piece of advice, it would be to that effect. We folk from small towns that are used to being able to pull up to the second parking place at Target struggle with that. We feel lost in the mosh-pit of just getting there and we feel completely insecure and out of control . . . . that tends to start the day off on the wrong foot. So, if you are planning Disney, be ready to move in packs of hundreds. It feels like a mass cattle migration. You are all going the same direction and you'll get there . . . eventually, so be patient and don't be an asshole to the people who are waiting around you in lines.
Okay, so we officially entered the park. We have our First Time Visitor buttons. Incidentally, that didn't DO anything for us or GET anything for us. It's just a free souvenir. Free is good. We did or set foot in all of the "lands" that make up the Magic Kingdom. We did Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Dumbo, The Carousel, Magic Carpets, Swiss Family, The Riverboat, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Railroad. We didn't REALLY hit our groove until about 5:30 at night, so that was kind of a bummer, but we did end up getting a long day out of the Magic Kingdom. We ate at some little joint in Frontierland where we paid way too much theme park food, but we were ready for that, so it's no biggie. We had dinner at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland, where everyone had a really good dinner & a much needed rest. Like I've mentioned a hundred times, it was hotter than hell, so we spent money on cherry slushies and sipped them under a tree during the Dreams Parade. By the way, I had a personal Magical Moment when Belle waved AT ME. At ME . . . Only me during that parade. Unfortunately, the Magic Kingdom isn't swelling with shady spots for sipping, so our family of six huddled under the same tree as the rest of the population of North America (and half of Europe) to sip our $20 slushies.
The best things today were: The whole concept of Fast Passes, a tiny patch of shade, the threat of an afternoon thundershower and the water-squirtee fan bottle. Big Thunder -- we rode three times because it was Middle's favorite. Little was the only one brave enough to do Splash Mountain with me, so his chest was swollen with pride and he really loves his 51 cent smashed penny that is his badge of courage for Splash Mountain. Big loved the Swiss Family Treehouse (and I did, too). Mimi loved Aladdin's magic carpets, the spitting camels and the carousel. We let her drive the carpets and she had us rolling with laughter. MOTH loved the fireworks at the end, over Cinderella's castle. I did, too, however, it was both the best and worst part of the day for me. Because . . .
The worst things today were: . . . the crowd at the end for fireworks & Cinderella's castle. The scheduling is kinda wonky. Folks from the 9 pm Light Parade are trying to get out at the same time that fireworks people are trying to move through and people who want to see the 11 pm Light Parade are trying to find a spot. It's a bottleneck of bodies, and in my opinion, the only thing that was poorly planned, on the part of Disney. On the flip side, I'm not sure what could be done about it. The crowd was absolutely insane. I could feel parental anxiety over losing a kid in that kind of crowd. All in all, the kids (mine and everyone else's) were fabulous. But, I was really disappointed in the other adults. There was lots of pushing and shoving, too much foul language from adults, especially considering the number of young-ins about. I have bruises on the backs of my ankles from this jack-whacker that was shoving his wife's wheelchair into me. Splash Mountain was closed for a huge chunk of the day, and there was an all-ride closure in the afternoon for weather. That kinda stunk, but the thundershower that came with it was so, very needed that we were willing to risk not riding fun things.
The funniest things today were: Little laughing, Mimi driving the carpets, me scaring the heck out of Little on Big Thunder.
Today we tried: Roller coasters and the result was AWESOME!! We love Fast Passes.
The most magical moment was: when Belle waved at me, fireworks, Splash Mountain, penny machines, the little lizards & Big Thunder.
Park passes (which I had purchased online beforehand. Do that. Don't wait in the ticket line!) + lunch + dinner + slurpees under the shady tree + a Christmas Ornament + parking + a stroller rental
The kids were not interested, nor was I, in any souvenir shopping in The Magic Kingdom. I could not have paid one of my kids to wear sequined Mickey ears. We bought no shirts, no buttons, no keychains . . nothing. I was mildly surprised by that, because we did look for souvenirs. Big and Middle both were looking for a bumper sticker (they collect them and put them on their laundry baskets) -- but we couldn't find a single one.
I was . . . .
impressed with the systems that Disney has in place. I was impressed with the cleanliness. I was impressed with the caliber of the experience and by that I mean the costumes, the lights, the staff, the decor and the details. I WOULD do DisneyWorld again. I would do it again with kids, but they all need to be at least 48 inches tall. It was a bummer for a small fry. I would NEVER to Disney World again in June. I would NEVER to Disney World with a toddler or infant. I would NEVER do Disney World if I didn't have kids. For me, it was one of the many selfless acts of parenting and I had a great time BECAUSE the kids were with me and BECAUSE they had a great time. It would be a different ball game without the kids and I would opt for a day at the pool or something else entirely.