Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Magic Kingdom

This is the Mac Daddy of all theme parks! Magic Kingdom has something for EVERYONE! Young, old, young at heart, it doesn't matter.  You want adventure? It's here. You want fantasy? It's here. You want romance? It's here. A fan of whimsy? You will feel right at home. Let's get started.


As soon as you walk in the park, you know you are somewhere special. If you can contain yourself (I never can!), hop on the train and take a little ride all around the park. Walt Disney had a great love affair with trains, even having a small one at his home. These steam engines are quite lovely and old timey. The trip around the park is not only relaxing but helps to give you a little perspective of the layout and the massiveness of the park. You may choose to get off at any of the stops around the park but I always suggest entering the park right down Main Street so just stay on that train till you get back to the entrance.

Main Street USA
This area was designed by Walt himself and modeled after his hometown of Marceline, MO. This is where you will find wonderful shops, a barbershop that specializes in giving little boys their first haircut, an ice cream parlor and sweet shop and Exhibition Hall where you can meet Mickey and various Princesses. This is a wonderful place to start your time at Magic Kingdom.

As you enter this "land", stop at Aloha Isle and grab a Dole Whip. A Dole Whip is softserve pineapple ice cream and it is just divine! And you have just enough time to eat it as you stroll over to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This boat ride was modified once the movies came out to include Capt. Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard. My 2 year old granddaughter was not afraid at all even through the "scary" skeleton scene!
While you are in this section, don't miss the Jungle Cruise, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin (watch out, the camels spit at you!), or the Swiss Family Tree House.

Two of the most popular rides here are Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. I, myself, love Splash Mountain. If the line is kinda long, go ahead and grab a FastPass. You'll be glad you did and aren't stuck sweating in a line with many people (some with an aversion to deodorant!). Remember, you will most likely get wet, maybe extremely wet, on this ride. But isn't that why you're going on it?!
This area is where you will find Country Bears Jamboree. We have never seen this one for some weird reason. We don't really spend a whole lotta time in Frontierland because we are always in a hurry to get over to the Haunted Mansion which is in nearby Liberty Square.
If you are feeling adventurous, head out to Tom Sawyer Island.

Liberty Square
By far, the favorite here is Haunted Mansion! It isn't terribly scary so younger kids (6-8) wouldn't be too frightened. However, the first time my son went on it (he was 6), the ride got stuck in the graveyard and this ghoul head get popping up right next to us and screaming! Yeah, he was a bit freaked out but he wasn't too scared to ride it again!
I am a little nerdy so I love the Hall of Presidents. I always get goosebumps when I see American history come alive before my eyes (hey, I told you I was a nerd). Here you get to see all the presidents to date in animatronic form. It is very cool to say the least.

This area has recently been refurbished and added on to so I can't tell you about the additions but this is the place you want to spend most of your time if you have littles with you. Here is where you get to ride It's a Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie The Pooh, Dumbo and Mickey's Philharmagic. They have added a lot to this area and I cannot wait to check it out. This is also where Cinderella's Carousel is. This is a must do for us! If you can handle the "mad" spinning, may I suggest the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups? My kids never want to go on this with me because I won't let them spin me like crazy. I end up being the strange lady on the ride who is NOT spinning! Sorry, I paid lots of money to eat in the park and I don't want to lose my investment on a ride!

Hands down, this is my favorite part of the park. My all time favorite ride is the Carousel of Progress. We go on this every.single.time. This attraction was created for the 1964 World's Fair and spent quite a bit of time at Disneyland before making the trip to Disney World. It is a theater-in-the-round (the theater revolves around the stage) type of attraction showing the evolution of the American family from the turn of the century to the future. The ride needs to be updated again because the "future" family stuff is already here! But I love this ride and it's theme song, "There's a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day..." Yes, I am the lady who is singing it out loud everytime it plays!
Another must do is the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. This show is HILARIOUS!!!! You have all the characters from Monsters, Inc. doing a comedy show that involves members of the audience. You have to see it for yourself. Helpful Hint: Pee first. You will laugh A LOT during the show!
Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blaster is super fun as a family competition. You see who can get the highest score blasting the aliens. Last year, my son took away my title and I will have to get it back!
Stitch's Great Escape is a lot of fun but not for the very little ones. A lot of it is in total darkness so use caution when you take your kids on it.
Looking for a thrill? Space Mountain never fails to deliver a good time. They have added some games to the line cue because, let's face it, you are going to wait in line awhile for this one! I remember when this ride first opened at Disney. It was much faster then and they actually slowed it down! I am usually good for one ride before my stomach starts to regret it.
Here is another little tip for Tomorrowland: Need a little break but don't feel like sitting on a bench outside? Here's what we do-we grab a cream cheese pretzel (Oh my gosh, these are good!) from The Lunching Pad and head up to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. We snack on the pretzel while this ride goes all over Tomorrowland. It goes inside and outside but you are always undercover so it is a good one to go one during one of the MANY rain showers Florida is famous for. It is relaxing and there is never a line to get on as the ride is constantly moving.


If you only eat one meal here, let it be at Cinderella's Castle. Let me state for the record that it is pricey! BUT, the food is really good, the atmosphere is great and you get to spend one on one time with some characters. Last time we went it was the Princesses. They come to each and every table and let you take pictures, sign autographs and ask questions. It is a great thing to do for the kids!
On my 40th birthday, we ate dinner here. At that time, the characters put on a little show for you during dinner featuring Fairy Godmother and the mice. When dinner was over, we asked the waiter for the check and he told me that Fairy Godmother had already taken care of it and to have a Happy Birthday! Our bill was well over $100 and they took care of every last penny! What a wonderful memory for my birthday!
Other good eats can be found at Tony's Town Square (Lady and the Tramp restaurant). If you time your reservation right, you can sit on the patio while the parade is going on and have a great view of everything!
For lunches, we like to go to Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. They have 3 seperate stations serving different types of food and "entertainment" provided by Cosmic Ray. He is an alf-looking creature from Yew Nork (yes a little cheesy but cute). He plays music and tells jokes and keeps the kids entertained.
Columbia Harbour House is good too. Hello, Lobster Rolls!!!!!
I have a friend who insists on having breakfast at the Crystal Palace everytime she takes her family to Disney. This is a  buffet character meal and I think the characters are usually Winnie the Pooh and friends although we have never been here.


I always suggest catching at least one parade here at the Magic Kingdom. The earlier you snag your spot, they better view you have! Disney changes their parades periodically so if it has been awhile since you saw the parade, make time to catch it on your next visit!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
My twins were born the day after Halloween so we like to do something special for Halloween and work a birthday celebration into it. Beginning in September, Disney has a special Halloween party on select nights after the Magic Kingdom closes to the general public. You need to purchase a ticket for this event and they only sell so many tickets so the park is much less crowded. Since we have been to MK so many times, we usually don't use a full day on our passes to visit this park. We buy a Halloween party ticket and use that as our MK visit. The party is usually from 7 pm to midnight and the entire park is open (except the Carousel of Progress) so you can ride all the rides you want, eat where you want to eat and shop where you want to shop for less money and with less crowds. We found that we can ride all the Fantasyland rides with no wait during the Halloween party but there are long lines and lots of people when we go during the day during general admission. Since we always buy a multi day pass, we use the day we would have spent at MK visiting another park or visiting a park twice.  The Halloween party is a lot of fun. The kids (and adults!) dress up in their costumes and the cast members hand out candy all over the park. Their are musical shows and a special parade featuring the Headless Horseman and all the characters dressed up for Halloween. The park is decorated to the hilt for Halloween and a good time is had by all!
Another must see along these lines is the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Again, you buy a special ticket for admission after the park closes to the general public. The park is turned into a winter wonderland with "snow" falling on Main Street! Hot chocolate and cookies are handed out throughout the park and there is a special parade with all things Christmas.

Well, there you have it. A VERY brief look at all that awaits you at Magic Kingdom. For a better and more thorough look at this park check this out.

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