Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Disney World - Magic Kingdom

Our third day at Disney World was spent at the Magic Kingdom. This was Leland's favorite day for two reasons - she got to see the princesses and it was familiar to her because it is very similar to Disneyland.

Before I report on our day, I want to put out a good word for the Unofficial Guide to Disney World. My mother, the world's greatest tourist and tour guide, purchased the book before coming and she read up on all the secrets of having a great trip (even during my law school graduation as documented in this picture). The best part of the book is their "patented, field-tested touring plans that save as much as four hours of standing in line in a single day." Each night, I would get online, put in which park we wanted to visit and the date and it would generate touring plans with instructions of what rides to do and when. We would print them out and and carry them with us each day. Thanks to these guides we hardly ever spent more than 10 minutes in any line all week long. If you are going to Disney, you need to buy this book.

For the Magic Kingdom, the Unofficial Guide has a touring plan entitled "Dumbo-or-Die," which is described as follows: "The Dumbo-or-Die Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children is an (in)famous single-day plan designed for parents who will withhold no sacrifice for the children. On the Dumbo-or-Die plans, adults generally stand around, sweat, wipe noses, pay for stuff, and watch the children enjoy themselves. It's great." Because we were going to spend two days in the Magic Kingdom, we were able to take the Dumbo-or-Die plan, add in some adult fun, and do it all in a more relaxed "southern style" as I like to describe it.

In the morning, we finished all of the children attractions in Fantasyland, including Dumbo, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella's Carousel, Peter Pan (Lucy's favorite), It's a Small World, and Snow White's Scary Adventures. The favorite to most of us was Mickey's PhilharMagic, a 12-minute 4D movie starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. 4D means the movie is in 3D, but then their are different entertaining gags, such as actual water shooting out from the seat in front of you when it happens on the screen.

Then we headed to Mickey's Toontown Fair where we saw Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle together. In the last few years, Disney has really figured out how to maximize these character experiences. Our family was part of a group of about 25 that was ushered into a room (come to find out there are three identical rooms) with all three princesses and the door was shut for us to each have time with the princesses.

After finishing the kids' adventures, we headed over to Adventureland. We stopped at one of my usual favorites, The Enchanted Tiki Room. WRONG! In one of Disney's poorer decisions, they have revised the classic great into a excruciating annoyance by giving "control" to Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King who "are trying to spruce up the show." The result is poor songs that don't have any resemblance to the traditional perfection I used to love. Tiki Room was Leland's favorite at Disneyland and I think she was even disappointed. (These pictures are from Small World which both the girls loved.)

We then headed on to Splash Mountain. Leland was very excited that she was tall enough to do the big rides. At the very beginning of the ride, your log/boat rides past the big drop to get a good view of what is about to come. When one of the logs come down, Disney adds in some fake splashing for everybody to see. The splashes are completely random and aim in different ways. Well, the first log we saw resulted in a fake splash that got us fairly wet. After we all laughed for 10 seconds saying it was refreshing, the next log came down and their fake splash sent a tidal wave that completely soaked us. Not an inch of my or Leland's clothing was dry. Later, we watched and most logs don't get hit by any of the splashes and some get one splash, but we had two! The splashes prepared Leland and she loved the ride. I had prepared her for the drops throughout, but she was still nervous for the big final one. But she absolutely loved it afterwards. Getting wet was great because it seemed to re-energize Leland, who had been pretty worn out by then.

Next we rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I was amazed at how much Leland loved this one. I started a bit nervous because the lap bar didn't even come close to hitting her legs since she was sitting right next to me, her 260 lb. father. I held one arm around her waist the whole ride. Even though she was loving it and laughing so hard, when I took my arm off her waist at the end, when we were not quite to the station, she said, "Dad, don't let go okay?"

Out last ride before nap time was Pirates of the Caribbean.

That evening, when we came back we rode both Splash and Thunder twice before hitting the Haunted Mansion. We finished the day sitting in front of Cinderella's Castle to watch the fireworks. (Ashley took this picture with her cell phone. It ended up being the best picture we had of the fireworks.)

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