Park: Magic Kingdom
at: Disney World
In 2010, with Terry, Ellen, Richard, Mike and Louise, we
decided to visit Epcot during an Orlando trip.
It was our only Disney park on that adventure. Other than that,
I cannot think of a trip that involved Disney World but did not
involve the Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom theme park was the first Disney World park I ever
visited. That was back in 1979, when it also was the only
Disney World theme park.
1997, it was while above the park, on the Skyway between Tomorrowland
and Fantasyland, that Terry and I officially became engaged.
thing though… since 2010, we have been able to visit every Disney
park except the Animal Kingdom. Last time we were there was 2005.
We had also set foot in the Magic Kingdom twice in 2011, in January
And so, while mapping out the possibility of including two or
three nights at Disney World along with a theme park day during
this Florida trip, our original thought was for seeing the Animal
Kingdom. Until… Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party… the Headless
Horseman… and an opportunity to catch up with Donna and Joe began
gaining some traction.
yup… back to the Magic Kingdom.
story… we are planning a trip to Florida soon that will include
Justin and a friend of his. Since she has never been to Disney
World at all, it looks like the Magic Kingdom is up again. (Plus…
new Fantasyland is mostly open now.) We are thinking about adding
a second and possibly even a third park to that visit, but will
be mapping out a true schedule once we arrive and see things like
the weather and park hours as well as working out the schedules
of our friends. And, as much as the Animal Kingdom is calling
-- and Expedition Everest -- things like Fantasmic! and
a stroll around Epcot are getting serious consideration.)
we went on:
of the Caribbean
“it’s a small world”
Stitch’s Great Escape!
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
goal of the night was not to get on every ride. Having been there
recently, we had seen the Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain
Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, The Many Adventures of Winnie
the Pooh, and Peter Pan’s Flight one or two times in the past
twenty-two months. So the idea here was based on three things:
(1) Being Halloween, there were certain rides (specifically the
Haunted Mansion) that would have must-do status. (2) Capturing
the special events such as the Boo-to-You parade, the trick-or-treating,
and the ride of the Headless Horseman. And, (3) just enjoying
the park, and if Terry, Donna, Joe or I wanted to stop in a shop
or see an attraction, then that would be just fine.
we ate: Our main stop was at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.
It’s not a brilliant place as far as a diverse menu… this is kid-friendly
and all-around food of burgers, chicken and general items. But…
it does feature performances from Sonny Eclipse… and the food
here is decent and made for sharing. Terry and I like it as a
stop because the location just works (pretty much bordering the
edges of Tommorowland and Fantasyland while adjacent to Cinderella’s
Castle). So… convenience, in a place where sitting for a few minutes
works… food that’s good and easy enough to share… and in general
it’s usually quick service. (I often find Pecos Bill Tall Tale
Inn and Café to fit the same concept on the other side
of the park. Usually Epcot and Hollywood Studios are the parks
where Terry and I begin getting excited about the restaurants
as a significant part of the experience.)
best of the best: The Haunted Mansion was awesome… and
we stopped by on two occasions. The first was before the Halloween
events had begun. The second trip though… the makeup had been
amped up… cobwebs seemed to be significantly increased and utilized…
and quite often, while not jump-out-at-you scary, it seemed like
cast members would just-so-happen to be around corners, off to
the side in doorways, and more or less suddenly appearing in places
where you didn’t expect them. In short… oh yeah… the group working
in the Haunted Mansion see the Not-So-Scary events as their party.
(And embrace it they do.)
and Richard stopped at the Dole stand -- Aloha Isle -- during
our Christmas visit. Honestly, though I am sure I had tried it
in the past, the Dole Whip is now a tradition thanks to that stop.
(Yeah… yeah… this is just our second official stop for the tradition…
but it is just that good.)
Disney World takes up a good chunk of the Volume
One, Florida edition of Strange
and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road.
Can’t hide it… I love the place. It has an incredible sense of
tradition and comfort (the rides you love, the things to do that
not only cross from trip to trip but also generation to generation,
and the familiarity created after multiple visits), and yet is
almost constantly expanding or updating portions. Sure… not perfect…
but as I mentioned earlier, the new Fantasyland, and introducing
someone that has never been while bringing Justin back for his
first visit since 1999, already has Terry and I excited about
the possibility of our fourth visit in what would be about twenty-eight
trip, we used the property transportation more than ever. We stayed
in the Art of Animation resort area, and during
the day had been on a bus, ferry and the monorail.
Worth noting that while it did involve timing things properly
to account for moving a bit slower on these options, the ability
to get around while not having a car is pretty cool.
praise (or complaints): Once again, a special event delivers.
Our tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween were less per
person than a one-day theme park pass. And that’s about $25 per
person less. And yet…
the event begins, the crowds tend to thin out. So the ride
lines and wait times are greatly reduced. Said it before…
always worth noting… if your goal is getting on the rides,
you could likely cruise through virtually the entire park
in the eight hours.
special event setting is incredible. On this visit it was
trick-or-treating. Last December it was free snacks (apple
slices, cookies, hot cocoa, etc.). You also don’t get to see
the Headless Horseman or some of the characters that these
parades feature during regular visits.