20th August 2011
Magic Kingdom & Golden Corral
Many do Magic Kingdom first. We chose to do it last…and you know what? We saved the best for last – this really is where the magic happens!! **warning…longest post ever!**
We got to MK at about 9am after farting about trying to find stuff we had misplaced…like the car key -___-
Parked in Pluto and caught the tram to the Ticketing and Transportation Centre.
I could see that castle in the distance, and could feel myself welling up (even now I do, just thinking about it!). I stated quite clearly to my boys that today would be the day that I will be blubbering like a baby. Even though we had been in Orlando for 17 days, this was the big one for me. What coming here for the first time was all about. Seeing Cinderella’s Castle, feeling the magic, seeing Mickey and pals and feeling like I was a little girl all over again! One, Two, Three….ahhh!! *cries*
Anyway…! The ferry wasn’t due to depart for a few minutes, so the CM invited us to write in chalk on the floor…
And then we climbed aboard and floated over to the Magic Kingdom. I was just in awe – how silly – a castle! A castle had me in tears!
I think it was a culmination of just being here, knowing that this had so far been a wonderful holiday, and it had been so many years in the making for me back in 2003 as a single mum, when I had to cancel it, to now being here with Steve and Liam and my life feeling complete…just couldn’t believe we were really here! I know it’s a bit of a gushy pass the sick bucket moment, but I have to describe how it felt for me seeing Magic Kingdom for the first time!!
Okaay…back to this report!
Into Main Street USA…
… before queuing to see Pinocchio (Pluto was the other character here, but we’d met him already at Epcot). As I’ve mentioned on a previous days, it seems to always be us next in the queue and time for the character to go and have their break! But, I always thought how we would get them back all refreshed and ready to meet and greet again ^_^
We had a quick breakfast in Main Street Bakery with some fruit and pastries. A bit of a wait to get to the counter and there wasn’t much seating either, but we lucked out and got a table as a family just left as we paid. We spent about $20 in here, all very nice – especially the cherry danish!
We dashed out to see an old timey song and dance performance on Main Street which was all very charming!
We then walked up to the castle for photos…(well done my Liam for taking a fab photo of Steve and me!)
…and for me to get even more emotional as the ‘Dream Along With Mickey’ show was performed on the stage in front of the castle. This was just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. (Well, I thought so!)
I cry at most musical numbers, but well, this was just something else for me lol. I was so emotional (I’m going to blame hormones at this point, because that volume of tears is just not normal for a grown woman!!). I even commented to Steve that I couldn’t understand why I was crying bucketloads!
It had all the pizzazz that you would expect from the Americans and all the magic you would expect from Disney and was a wonderful show to watch. Such a lovely story as well, had me gushing! I’ve uploaded video to my YouTube channel here and here.
One of my favourite photos, simply because Donald Duck looks so baked!
After pulling my act together, we started our tour of the park, going first into Adventureland and joining the ten minute queue to Pirates of the Caribbean. We rode this in Paris and Steve and I agreed that the Parisian version was a lot better. Liam was of no opinion since he wasn’t with us for that anniversary trip!
We then went into the Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management. Initially we thought all the show was going to be, was these two animatronic birds telling lames jokes in a non-air-conned area, but after that pre-show, we went into a theatre (air-conned!) where we were treated to an audio-visual performance by animatronic parrots, cockatoos, plants and alligators. I enjoyed it and we nearly missed it after reading somewhere that it wasn’t air-conned! Glad we didn’t!
The Jungle Cruise was a 30 minute wait, so made a mental note to come back later when there was less of a queue and walked up and down the Swiss Family Tree House. I think this film is great, and always wanted to live in a tree house lol, so it was fun to walk through – high up though!!
*disclaimer…things reported in today’s trippie seem to be out of sync with my photo records! So, not necessarily in the correct order…but they all happened, promise! I have the photo proof :P Wanting to see the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, we made our way back to the castle to get a spot (in the blazing sunshine..wow, it was sooo hot!) in front of the castle. We were coping well with the heat by now, and one thing I missed the most after arriving back in dreary cold, grey, rainy Britain. You’ll soon realise the irony of this photo as you read on!
Eventually the party started to rock up…
Video can be found on my YouTube channel, here, here and here!) and the performers were really struggling with the heat (and I don’t blame them, as I said, it was scorching!) Both my hand fan and our spray bottle were borrowed to help them cool off when they stopped in front of us. Liam was delighted when Chip ‘n’ Dale were the characters closest to us when the party stopped for a boogie with the guests. So we joined in and all shook our tail feather!
Waving goodbye to the parade of floats, stilt-walkers and dancers, we moved into Frontierland. Having already grabbed fastpasses for Splash Mountain, we joined the queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And a long queue this was – about 40 minutes, which is twisty turny, but you get some great views of the ride as you line up. From a plus size point of view I was fine with the lap bar, but the double dips where you get a bit of airtime (at least I did!) did give me a bit of a knock about. However, having missed this at DLP last year for fear of not fitting, and having lost 5 stone, I was more than happy to ride this and fit ^_^ So a few knocks didn’t matter to me! Fun coaster and would have done it again had it not been such a long wait.
It wasn’t quite time for our Splash Mountain FP, so we wandered back to Main Street to get a good spot for the Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade. Having been up front for the earlier street party, I insisted we wait it out in the sun ^_^ So we took up a spot pretty much in the same place as earlier and baked…couldn’t sit down because the pavement literally burned our butts lol. Dream Along With Mickey was on again, so we watched that whilst waiting. In the distance, I could see big black clouds, and I asked a CM about this affecting the parade, having already missed the one at AK, I really hoped we wouldn’t be missing another. He told us that they were rolling the parade out early to avoid any rain – yay!
Eventually the music started up and the floats rolled down the road…and the clouds also continued to roll in…and then I felt a splash of rain on my face and though uh-oh! People were suddenly throwing on ponchos and Liam and I followed suit. Steve (who had the foresight to film on our waterproof camera) said he would be fine – oh how wrong he was! You have to see the video to believe it – I’ve never seen so much rain in my life! It was insane…be warned that I do swear at the end of this video, dropping an f-bomb ^_^ Shame on me for swearing in the Magic Kingdom! But seriously I just couldn’t believe that rain and the raging torrent that was flowing down Main Street! To think a few hours before it was glorious sunshine!
The people in the parade were starting to pick up the pace, and from under my poncho I was able to grab a few pics – didn’t want my precious to get wet and eventually I had to admit defeat and stow it away in its case. I yanked a poncho out of the back pack for Steve, as the rain was getting heavier and heavier – this is on the video before me swearing (chuckle) – he thought he’d turned it off…you can see people in the video getting up off the floor and making a break for cover, but we stayed and soldiered through…and then, as if it couldn’t rain any more, it did. It’s like someone put a tap on full whack up there!! You can hear people’s shrieks as the deluge came down, and I felt so sorry for all those performing. Some characters did have umbrellas, and it’s quite amusing because a CM shouts out ‘there’s more coming’ and Steve said – does he mean floats or rain?! O_o By now it felt like we were the only people still watching (oh, so British!)
The video is pretty funny to watch back, not for the performers of course, as I said, I felt really bad for them, but to everyone’s reaction to the rain. The water was rushing by on the road like a river, which is when I swore ‘look at the bleeping floor!” After the AK parade wash-out-no-show, I wasn’t going to let a few drops of rain spoil it, and I’m still waving and having a head bop as you’ll see in this vid!
Now, stupid me, cancelled an ADR we had at Crystal Palace as we felt we couldn’t justify the cost – our bad experience at Hollywood and Vine really marred others, regrets, regrets…but oh wow, how I wish we had kept that ADR now as it would have been nice to find some dry and get out of the rain. By now, most sane people had taken shelter under anything that they could, whilst a few nutjobs (us) ploughed onwards to Adventureland/Frontierland to find somewhere to have lunch. I wasn’t going to let the rain stop this chick having fun!…
…but with the rain continuing to fall, we had to surrender. We were all sopping wet, despite our ponchos and made the executive decision to go back to the villa, dry off, change and return later for the Main Street Electrical Parade. I hoped that with all this afternoon rain it would remain dry for this and the Wishes fireworks.
We took the ferry boat back to the car as the monorail was temporarily out of service and was back to the villa in next to no time. Dried, showered, re-dried and dressed we decided to go back to Golden Corral for a cheap dinner. Steve did suggest that we just eat in the park as time was pressing on, and he knew I wanted to get a good spot for parade. I was all “we’ll be fine” and “we’ve got loads of time” and pulled up outside Golden Corral. A nice long queue greeted us and it didn’t bode well. We finally sat down and went up to the buffet. Pretty much the same as when we came here for lunch, but with added steak (which I had and tasted great), and also shrimps and scallop which I thought looked suspect the way they were cooking so many in a pan, so I avoided them. The total bill was $45. There was an English family on the table next to us and I asked if they knew what should be done about tipping – they said they normally leave a few dollars on the table. I thought “phew, that’s what we did before”, and we left our tip and started the drive back to Magic Kingdom.
Not sure what the time was by now, but knowing I wanted to get a good spot we agreed to get the monorail over instead…but it was still out. A wait for the ferry boat and when you want to get somewhere everything seems slower…we hightailed it off the ferry, through the gates and into a mob of people! Woweee…considering we’ve not really experience crowds, this was something else – you could barely move!
Knowing we’d be stuck for several hours for the parade/fireworks/getting out of the park, I made everyone have a bathroom break before battling through Main Street towards the castle. I was desperately looking for a gap in the crowd to watch the parade from and I wanted to cry as the place was rammed. I even said to Steve “I should have listened to youuuuu!” *whimpers* So I grabbed both Liam and Steve by the hand and like a woman on a mission fought the crowd down Main Street towards the castle…
Now, whenever I go out to a busy shopping centre and I know parking is going to be a problem I always mutter to myself “there will be a car parking space for me” and as if by magic, there always is lol. So I started my mantra…”there will be a space for us to watch the parade in front of the castle, there WILL be a space for us to watch the parade in front of the castle!!” As we neared Cinderella’s crib it was like the movies, when you hear a pipe organ and see a ray of sun shining on a spot…there was a gap in the crowd! OMG, outta this chick’s way!! I did, what can only be described, as a flying leap into the gap and thanked the stars for giving us spot ^_^ We were in the same place as our two earlier parade adventures, and the pavement was a lot cooler now, so we plonked our buttskis down and waited.
An American lady next to us with two small kids (who were cranky and wanting to sleep) argued with her husband who wanted to go on walkabout because he was bored with waiting. She said, I’m not going anywhere, have you seen the amount of people?! She told him to eff off and we never saw him for the rest of the night O_o I gave her a sympathetic shrug and smile…felt bad for her – as she obviously was so excited to be there, yet tense with these tired kids and a husband that couldn’t be bothered…
Then a Spanish family next to us suddenly acquired five more family members…I stood my ground – you ain’t taken my spot mister! This happened to us in Paris and I wasn’t going to let that happen again!! I heard another family ask a CM the best place for the parade who told them it would be down the road that leads into Frontierland as it’s the least crowded, but it’s a surge as people go back to the castle to watch the fireworks, so the best place really is to stay by the castle…*wipes brow and says phew* We got a good spot lol! This Disney lark can be stressful!!!
Without further ado, we were warned that the lights would be dimmed and that we should stay in our spaces for our safety. Duly noted – I wasn’t going anywhere until I saw it ALL! Then, this electronic voice began, informing us of the arrival of the Main Street Electrical Parade – woohoo! In the distance you could see the lights on the floats and we waited for them to twinkle past us.
I knew I should have read up more on photography for this parade as it was pretty tricky, so these photos aren’t the best I’m afraid…it was such a great parade (although the music is a little repetitive!), very twinkly and bright ^_^ SO glad that we were able to see this – I would have been gutted had it rained. Here’s the video in all its sparkly goodness. There’s a second part too!
As the final float went by, our attention turned to the castle behind us. We sat down and waited for ‘The Magic, The Memories and You!’ which turned out to be images projected onto the castle and was very impressive as they used light effects to make the castle look like it was on fire, or crumbling. I filmed some on my iPhone and as with all our other vids, is on my YouTube channel here. Apologies for the shaky hands – I’m rubbish at filming! Plus there are people chatting away (including, I think us *embarrassing*) I didn’t film it all – it went on for a long time from what I remember. It was lovely and well worth seeing. It was repeated again after the fireworks.
And then, the grand finale – Wishes Nighttime Spectacular! We oohed as Tink flew down from the castle…oh Tinkerbell, you were too fast for me!
We aahed and wowed as the fireworks went up and burst in the air. I’m not actually sure if some of them were from another show at another park as they seemed quite hidden behind the castle. Of course, there is also a video of the fireworks here!
The fireworks were awesome – all fireworks to me are – I love them! People say the ones at Epcot are better, and I’m torn – I don’t think you can compare the two. Illuminations are impressive, but Wishes is more magical, if that even makes any sense!
Once the fireworks were over, we started to walk (battle our way) towards the exit. It was very crowded and I told Liam where to meet us should we get separated, deciding the loos next to City Hall was the place we’d all remember.
As we walked along, we popped into Casey’s Corner to buy some drinks. The soda machine was broken, so we could only buy bottles (fine with us, it’s still wet!) and Steve clocked the chilli dogs on the menu and said he wanted to come back another day to sample one. In and out of the shops we continued down Main Street and made the decision to get the monorail back to the car…only to find the monorail was still down and likely to be that way all weekend -___-
We were told by a CM that we could get a bus (number 18) or the ferry boat. We thought to try for the bus as there was HUUUUUUUUGE line for the ferry. We found the bus station – couldn’t see anything for the sea of people…and realised this was probably a futile decision. So, we sat down for about 15 minutes and watched as the water pageant went by, naively thinking the queues would get more manageable…
…however, we knew realistically this wasn’t likely as more and more people poured out of the now closed park. I said we might as well be waiting in with the rest of the mob for the ferry rather than sitting here, so we joined the heaving masses and waited… We could hear a lot of people around us complaining about the lack of monorail and the shambles at the bus stands *sad face*
I’m sure it’s very busy normally when leaving MK due to the fact that you have to get back across the lake, but without a monorail it must have been so much worse. I felt really sorry for people with young kids who were crying and cranky because they were tired…if you have young kids, encourage them to have a siesta in the day so that they’re not too tired – I saw so many kids falling asleep in buggies and slumped over parent’s shoulders. I remember our dad forcing us to have a kip when we were kids on hols in Cyprus, knowing we’d be up late visiting relatives out there, and it made a difference, both to us and my parents! I’d also say, if you have young kids to split this park up for the rides/attractions and the evening festivities – it’s such a long day for them.
We had to wait for 6 or 7 boats to dock and load before we got to the front of the line and the relief when we finally did…! We got home well after midnight, maybe 1:30am…what a long day. I’m not sure how long you can hang around in the park after it is shut, but with hindsight, I would rather have been waiting in Magic Kingdom rather than looking at the backs of people’s heads for an hour waiting for the ferry! Despite the rain, and the crowds in the evening, and the broken monorail and the mahoosive queue to get back to the car and not really seeing much, or doing many rides – we never did make it back to Splash Mountain, I wouldn’t change our first visit to the Magic Kingdom for anything in the world, nothing will ever take that first visit away from us. ♥
So with all the rude interruptions (I’m looking at you, Mr. Rain) we knew it was the one we’d be coming back to on our last full day in Orlando.
All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!
Read the next day:
Day 18 – When Otters Meet: Bahama Breeze
Read the previous day:
Day 16 – Another Adventure: Golden Corral & Islands of Adventure
Read ALL the days:
Orlando, Florida Vacation, Flashback Friday Series Index