Our first day at the Magic Kingdom was on Zoe's ninth birthday! Of course, we made sure to stop at City Hall for a birthday button and she felt special the entire day. We visited the Magic Kingdom three times during our Florida vacation, doing half-days each visit. and like my other trip reports, this is a combination of all of those visits.
We stayed off-site and had to drive to the Magic Kingdom. I did a major, theme park fail on the first day and did not note where we parked our car. We ended up wandering around for about an hour in the midday heat trying to find our vehicle. Not fun. Always take note of where you park.
After parking, you have your first Magic Kingdom ride choice: Ferry or Monorail?
We took the Monorail on the first day and the Ferry on subsequent visits. You can't go wrong with either.
The Magic Kingdom Train Station, taken just outside of the park entrance.
Zoe and Felix met a friend from across the pond on Main Street.
The obligatory "family in front of Cinderella's Castle" shot.
Zoe in front of the "Partners" statue in the hub.
We caught part of a show in front of the castle. I remember feeling nearly knocked over by the extreme heat. I can't imagine dancing around in a furry costume.
First stop, Fantasyland.
We had a Fast Pass for the Seven Dwarf Mine Train. This new-ish attraction was a big hit with our whole family. The roller coaster element is thrilling enough to give your tummy butterflies, but not too scary for little kids. It's a fun coaster, but also one with a long queue. It's definitely one of the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom. We also did Peter Pan's Flight with a Fast Pass, which also always has a long queue. It's a Small World had a short queue, so we hopped on it.
The Mad Tea Party also had a short wait. The kids love anything that makes them dizzy. I skipped it and went to find the nearby tribute to Randy Pausch. If you haven't read it, his book, The Last Lecture, will change your life. He's an inspiration!
Next up, Liberty Square, where we rode the Haunted Mansion. We had a Fast Pass and we really were not too sure how the kids were going to handle this attraction. They showed hesitation and had built it up in their heads that it was going to be a scary experience. We were ready to bail, should it prove to be too intense. We walked straight up to the front, missing the graveyard and before anyone could over-think it, we were inside. The big test is in the stretching portrait room. I held my breath, but as soon as the room went dark and everyone started screaming, Felix busted out laughing. He thought the whole thing was hilarious and Zoe wasn't scared at all. They both loved the Haunted Mansion and we rode it a second time without a Fast Pass.
It's so much better without a Fast Pass, because you get to see the cemetery. They cemetery is funny and filled with interactive elements, like the tomb of a captain that leaks water. It really is part of the overall experience and shouldn't be missed.
Next to Adventureland for a few Disney classic attractions. I love corny jokes and animals: The Jungle Cruise is one of my all-time favorite attractions. I think the version at Magic Kingdom is actually better than the original at Disneyland, probably because you get to go inside of a cave.
We did Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, where my abundance of enthusiasm and terrible singing garnered a side-eye from the kids. The tiki gods would not be pleased.
Cooling off at the Adventureland misters were a necessity. I usually handle heat very well, but I was defeated on this trip. It was so hot, especially that first day at Magic Kingdom.
Felix was going through a pirate phase: a perfect time to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. I don't think the Magic Kingdom version is as good as the original at Disneyland, but it was still a hit with the family.
Giant Disney lollipops for a treat!
After all of this excitement, we headed over to Tomorrowland for a break on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, aka Peoplemovers. I don't know what it is about this particular attraction, but I loved it as a kid and it's the former Disneyland attraction that I most wish would return. Zoe and Felix loved it too. It doesn't move fast, but it's just fun.
They enjoyed driving their own cars at Autopia, another timeless attraction.
At the Monsters Inc, Laugh Floor ( a comedy club with characters from Monsters Inc with a lot of audience participation), Dan was chosen to be "That Guy" and constantly picked on throughout the show. It was hilarious and he was rewarded with a special sticker for being a good sport. This attraction is a lot of fun for the whole family and gives you about thirty minutes in air-conditioning.
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin was a huge hit and so was Space Mountain. I tried to talk the family out of doing "The Worst Disney Attraction Ever" = Stitch's Great Escape!, but they had to experience it for themselves. This ride is just gross and uncomfortable. It also made the kids nervous, since a lot of it takes place in the dark and you really don't know what to anticipate. Kids were crying coming out of this attraction, luckily not Zoe and Felix.
We did Carousel of Progress, which I love, but primarily we did it to beat the heat. It's a classic! It just didn't resonate with the kids and they were bored. Plus, we experienced technical difficulties and got stuck for a bit.
We rode the Astro Orbiter at night, giving us beautiful views of the park all lit up. It was magical.
Speaking of magical, there is nothing more magical than a Disney fireworks display! We debated splurging on the premium viewing with dessert package, but scraped it due to the overall cost of the vacation. To do it over, I would have splurged. That said, even though we didn't bother camping out to secure a great spot, as soon as the show started we were so wrapped up in the spectacle, that the crowds didn't matter. It was stunning.
Cinderella's Castle at night.
I don't often do the parades, but the Main Street Electrical Parade was on our to-do list. I've only seen this parade one other time and it happened to be at Magic Kingdom. Like the fireworks, we didn't take the time to stake out a great spot, but we got lucky. A kind family even let Zoe sit in front with their kids and Felix sat on Dan's shoulders. The Main Street Electrical Parade is delightful and whimsical. I can't believe I've skipped it so many times, especially when it was at Disneyland and I was an Annual Pass Holder.
I wish we had spent more time at Magic Kingdom. The heat and crowds did us in. Also, we spent more of our holiday relaxing by the pool, than we did in the parks. There are so many things that I wish we had not skipped - Tom Sawyer's Island, Swiss Family Treehouse, Mickey's Philharmagic, Country Bear Jamboree, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I wish we had spent more time simply enjoying the ambiance of the park. We raced through with our Fast Passes and didn't take the time to just soak up the atmosphere. We should have booked breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table.
Hopefully we will return soon and have more time to explore the Magic Kingdom!