Ride All of the Magic Kingdom Rides Challenge

Earlier in the week we had the great idea to go to Magic Kingdom and see if we could hit EVERY ride in the park. We would get there at the elusive rope drop and run through the park with the sun shining and the children being happy and agreeable the whole way!

And then reality hit.

We had also realized that Kid #2 was tall enough for Space Mountain and told her that we had a surprise for her on our trip because surprises are fun. I should know better that to tell this child that there is a surprise coming because she is just like me and cannot sleep when she knows something is coming. Proof РShe woke my husband up at midnight and 1am for a drink of water. Then woke me up at 3am for a drink and 4:15 because she had woken up Kid #3 and they were yapping away. What the heck! My alarm was already set for 5:45 (8am park openings are rough).

Through blurry eyes and loud children yielding frozen waffles and bananas we made it out the door on time to stop for gas and coffee. For once we were going to make it to rope drop…but then the gas pump wasn’t working, they didn’t have breakfast sandwiches, and the attendant was less than pleasant so we had to go to a second gas station before hitting the highway.

We didn’t make it. ūüė¶

We were on Disney property when the Opening Show was going on, but we just couldn’t get there in time…however, we walked through the gate at roughly 8:05am and bolted straight to Seven Dwarfs.

Seven Dwarfs 1

The posted wait time was 30 minutes, but I am pretty sure that they list that at park open. It took us no more than 15 minutes from the time we stepped in line to getting off the ride. What a great way to start the day.

Seven Dwarfs 2

Then we headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but were distracted by a 15 minute wait for Peter Pan. We hopped in line. This was our first time ever going through the line because we usually grab a FP+. The line is ADORABLE and is the perfect set up to the ride. In fact, I think I appreciate the ride more after waiting in the line. I wish I would have been able to get some pictures, but we were really only in line 5 minutes.

Peter Pan

After our ride to Neverland and back we made it to Big Thunder and were able to ride it twice because the wait was only 5 minutes! We were going to jump on Splash Mountain since we were there, but it wasn’t open. I’m not sure if it was because it was early, or something was going on, but the big drop didn’t have water on it and there were some alarms going off. We decided to come back later.

Space Mountain (and Kid #2’s surprise) was next up on our list. Hubs took the big kids while Kid #3 treated me to my first ever trip on the Astro Orbiter. I am NOT a fan. I don’t to heights well and I kept feeling like I was going to slip out of my rocket…not cool. The view, however, was pretty cool.

Astro Orbiter

We decided to do a switch since the Space Mountain wait was still only 10 minutes and I took the big kids and Hubs took the little guy on the Tomorrowland Speedway.

Space Mountain

I know it is cliche, but I love Space Mountain! I am well aware that it isn’t actually an impressive ride with the lights on, but when you don’t know what’s coming it’s awesome.

Now, friends, this is about where we started to loose traction for our “Ride Every Ride” Challenge. We decided that we needed to pick a spot and just circle the park to be more efficient so we started with the Circus.

Barnstormer

Our family loves the quick and easy Barnstormer. I don’t know why, but we do. The ride is no longer than 30 seconds, but sometimes that’s all you need. We got in the 20 minute wait line knowing it would only be about 10, but then the line stopped moving…and the ride stopped running. Soon they made the announcement that the ride was down and they did not know how long it would be until it came back up. We gave the kids a snack, but after a few minutes decided to get out of line and head over to Dumbo.

Insert meltdown here.

I won’t get into the gory details of the meltdowns that occurred (ain’t nobody got time for that) but just know that this was about where we gave up on hitting every ride in the park. We decided to hit the rides we had FP+ reservations for (Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise) plus a few more, have a little snack, and play a round of Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom and then after dinner we would decide whether to go home, or try to stick it out for a few more rides.

forgot ADR

Ahhh dinner. Earlier in the week when we decided to go to the park I was supposed to make a ADR (advanced dining reservation) for dinner. I was having trouble with my phone when the decision was made so I planned to do it later. I forgot. We got to dinner time and had no dinner reservation. BOOOO. You can’t walk in anywhere at Magic Kingdom. There are just too many people vying for those reservations…so we monorailed over to Epcot. I love dinner at Epcot.

The longer you read this blog, the more you will notice a pattern…we almost always go to Epcot for dinner. The food is just fricking amazing that we just can’t help ourselves. Oh, and you can almost always walk in and get a table. We have only been turned down once, and that was on date night at Le Cellier during Food and Wine so we were silly to think we would get in. I digress.

We bolted straight to dinner at Nine Dragons and were not disappointed.

dinner

dinner 2

After dinner¬†I completed a Agent P mission with the big kids while hubs took Kid #3 on the Grand Fiesta Tour (a MUST in the Mexico Pavillion). We then we went to Spaceship Earth were I sat through the entire ride in a language I did not understand compliments of my daughter’s pinkie brushing the screen.

Once we returned to the present day I insisted on a park departure treat of ice cream. It had been years since I had a Mickey ice cream bar…it was time. This also helped quiet everyone since we were leaving relatively early and still had to monorail over to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).

So there you have it. We attempted to do all of Magic Kingdom, only to be thwarted by our own planning. Whoops! Have you ever ridden every ride at Magic Kingdom, or any other amusement park, all in one day? How do you deal with meltdowns (from kids or adults) while at the park? Tell us below, and make sure to check out our NEW weekly podcast!

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Thanksgiving Break!

Are you thinking about going to Disney for Thanksgiving?

DON’T DO IT!

Especially if you are a passholder. You have options! Take advantage of them and don’t even think of setting foot in the park. We almost learned this the hard way.

This weekend we made Sunday a 3 park day by hitting Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom before wrapping things up at the crazy McDonald’s near International Drive. The lines weren’t terrible (spoiler, we rode Star Tours 3 times). Then yesterday, Monday November 23, I saw posts on social media of the lines at Magic Kingdom and was sick. MASSIVE CROWDS. Huge lines for everything.

 

So here is what we did on our 3 park day.

Hollywood Studios

The park opened at 8am and we arrived around 7:40 so that we could make a beeline to Toy Story Midway Mania because it is humanly impossible to get FP+ for it as a passholder. This is because guests staying on site can make their reservations 60 days in advance and passholders only get 30 days. I’ll offer some tips on this another time.

So we made it to Midway Mania BEFORE the park technically opened and there was already a 20-30 minute wait. BOO! However this is better than the 70 minutes that we have waited before and got in line. I think that the problem with this line is it is SO DECORATED that people are constantly stopping to take pictures and holding up the line. I get it. You’re on vacation. That picture with the life size Barrel of Monkeys will not make your memories better. At least the talking Potato Head was blocked off (presumably because of construction to add the third track) because he REALLY holds up the line.

On this particular trip I was wearing a Greetings from Storybrooke t-shirt and one of the Cast Members commented about Mr. Gold’s shop in Streets of America. This is a common tidbit that they like to share. However this CM told us that the shop will not be there too much longer ūüė¶ It seems that since this is the last year for the Osborne Lights and there is SO MUCH CONSTRUCTION coming to Hollywood Studios that the Streets of America might be going away. So, of course, we had to walk by and tip our theoretical hats.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsNext up was an overdose of Star Tours. Since they have added scenes from the new movie and there are over 50 different combos that you can get we always got a new adventure. On our second trip Kid #2 got to be the Rebel Spy. You should ask her about it. She has been reminding us of it FOR DAYS. The only downside (IMHO) is that all three trips had the same middle and a transmission from BB8.

After hitting a few more rides including our favorite The Great Movie Ride and not-so-favorite Voyage of the Little Mermaid we headed off to Epcot. We probably would have stuck around a little longer, but the lines for Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster were just this side of too long because I would have to entertain the little kids for too long.

Epcot

Stitch at Epcot

Kid #1 went to a birthday party not long ago and they were talking about the World of Coke and Epcot’s Club Cool¬†and he got obsessed! He wouldn’t stop talking about it. So we promised that we would take him this trip EVEN THOUGH we went to World of Coke when we lived in Atlanta and it is essentially the same thing. I think they were just excited to drink pop because we only allow it on special occasions. So we all OD’d on samples before heading off to the World Showcase for adult lunch and a Perry Mission.

Club Cool

Since Food and Wine is over the Showcase is MUCH calmer and it doesn’t make me twitchy to go there anymore. It was also not too busy for a Perry mission through Germany. There seemed to be a lot of people who had the same idea because there were kids with phones all over and Agent P and Doffensmirtz popping up all over the place. The kids had a blast!

We also did some things that we had never done before! We finally made it to the O, Canada! and Reflections of China movies, as well as catching part of the Lumberjacks show. My kids were unimpressed by having to stand for the Circlevision movies, but I thought they were beautiful. I want to take a vacation to Canada now!

I also learned, after our visit, that the Lumberjack show has ended! We caught one of the last shows ūüė¶ If I would have known I would have gotten more pictures/video.

Mid-afternoon we were met with tantrums, a freak rainstorm, and wait times in excess of 2 hours on Soarin’ and Test Track. This is when we decided to grab the kids a snack (low blood sugar?) and head off to Magic Kingdom to round out a 3 park day.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Tram

This was before round 2 of tantrums started.

“I want to go on this ride.”

“I don’t like that ride.”

“Noooooooooooo!”

*Throws self on ground.

Becomes a limp noodle.

We were those people. I HATE being those people.

So we plopped them all on a wall and gave them a Wasa cracker and a timeout. Mommy and Daddy would be dictating what rides we went on. Kind requests would be taken, but no promises that we would do them.

We made it on Big Thunder Mountain and Buzz Lightyear before giving up and heading home.

In Conclusion…

I fully blame myself for many of these tantrums. I did not bring enough food with us to keep bellies full and blood sugars evened out. However, I am so grateful that we went when we did. We had been planning on making a few trips over the Thanksgiving week and we have cancelled those plans to do other things, like go see Pan!

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My Disney Bucket List

 

So having an Annual Pass for Walt Disney World is fantastic, but it has only wet my appetite for everything Disney. This has left me wanting more and more of the extras! Here is some of my Disney Bucket List as of October 2015.

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Roomafternoon-tea-at-garden-view-tea-room-00-full

When I was in college a group of my friends starting going to High Tea at the Ritz-Carlton. It gave us a chance to dress up and be fancy vs. covered in paint and learning lines as theatre students. I guess that is the definition of a theatre kid ūüôā This is an experience I would love to share with my almost 6 year old daughter because who doesn’t want to dress up and be fancy?

Complete the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge¬†–¬†Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 2.36.08 PM

I am not a runner by any means, but I have read such amazing things about competing in the runDisney events that I am chomping at the bit to compete! I am hoping to start doing some training in the next few months so that I can get signed up when 2017 signups open. Want to join me?

Be the family in the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show –¬†Welcome Show - Magic Kingdom

I’m sorry, but how fun would it be to be apart of the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show!?! Until this past year I didn’t realize that they chose a family to be IN the show and now I am dying to get picked!

Meet ALL of the princesses in one (two) days! – character-meet-anna-elsa-with-visiting-princess-fairytale-hall-00

Yes, I am that girl! I would love to challenge myself (and maybe drag my little diva along) to park hop and meet all of the princesses in one day! It would take a ton of planning, but I think it could be done.

Stay in one of the nice Suite/Villa/Bungalow¬†–¬†Jambo House

People ask me all the time about the hotels, and I honestly can’t answer a single question about them! The only one I have ever been in (except while on the Monorail) is the Grand Floridian for a late dinner and fireworks viewing. This has only perked my interest over and over again and I cannot wait until I am independently wealthy and can spend a week in a fancy suite/bungalow/villa.

Do a solo trip –

Anne Marie

I love my family and all of their craziness, but I think it would be super fun to do a solo trip to Disney…any of the parks! Single rider lanes, quick service meals that are actually quick, not having to listen to someone ramble on about the Country Bear Jamboree. The possibilities are endless.

Do some serious Disneybounding –

Snow White and the 2 Dwarfs

For their school’s Storybook Parade to celebrate their annual bookfair my kids dressed like a Disneybound version of Snow White, Doc, and Doopy. I have never, and will never love a costume as much as this, but I am totally jealous!! I want to put together some adult versions of characters and go Disneybounding!

Go on a Disney Cruise –

G01-DDDF-deluxe-oceanview-verandah-stateroom-cat5ABCD-01

I have never been on a cruise, so why not make my first one a Disney cruise?  I have been working on hubby for a few months to get him to agree to one and I am pretty sure I can do it sometime in the next year. Fingers crossed!


 

I know that there are A LOT more things that I could (and will) add to my Disney Bucket List, but they escape me at the moment. What is on your Disney Bucket List? Have you ever done anything on my list?

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Tomorrowland vs. Epcot: Which Future is Better?

On last night’s episode of Universe Box we talked about all things Retro Futurism. From a “Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow” to Captain EO and Spaceship Earth we compared the Disney futures and pasts.

You can catch the full episode below, but be sure to join us each week at 8:30pm EST at live.universebox.com  where we talk about topics such as chocolate, Harry Potter, family, Disney Renaissance, and many more.

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Epcot – Not Just for Adults

For some reason I am struggling to write the posts recapping our trips lately. It’s not like nothing happened!

  • We celebrated our anniversary and my birthday.
  • We park hopped for the first time.
  • We got rained on BOTH days.
  • We went to Epcot for the first time.

We have been¬†super busy and have¬†the sore feet to prove it, but for some reason the motivation wasn’t coming for a basic post.

I took to social media and asked our Facebook fans what they wanted to know about. I thought that would help…and it has! Today I am going to address Nicole’s question about whether Epcot is more adult-centric and if the kids seemed to enjoy themselves.

The quick answer is…both!

Here is why I think that Epcot is a great park for the entire family. I think that the reason everyone thinks that Epcot is just for adults is because you can drink your way around the world. I get that. I cannot wait to get to do that (hello, Uber!). But there is SO MUCH MORE to Epcot!

Spaceship Earth - Epcot

Rides

First there are the amazing rides like¬†Spaceship Earth,¬†Mission: SPACE,¬†Chevy Test Track,¬†Soarin’,¬†The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and¬†Journey into Imagination with Figment. There are some height restrictions for the more popular rides, but there are a lot of extra activities after the rides (you walk out into games and then¬†the gift shop) which apply to everyone. Mission: SPACE even has an inside playground to help pass the time while you wait for the rest of your group. It’s a pretty long ride so they¬†will need the entertainment.

On the first day that we went the forecast was calling for rain all day so the park was pretty slow. This made for some pretty short wait times throughout the park. I think that around 10:30 the longest wait time was under 1/2 hour.¬†We rode Spaceship Earth right away and headed to Test Track because we had FP+’s.

Mission SPACE - Epcot

We soon learned that it was down thanks to some AMAZING wait time signage around the park. (Seriously, Disney, put this in every park) When the time came for our FP+ I received an email telling me that the ride was down and to go ahead to one of the other attractions listed and we would be able to use a freebie FP+ there. Awesome! I was wondering what would happen with that.

Not even half an hour later (still within our FP+ window) Test Track was back up so we made a beeline for it…along with everyone in the park! All three lines were long (Standby, FP+, and Single Rider) but we went with it. This ride was so much fun! I’m not sure it is 100% worth the long wait that it usually has, but if you can get a FP+ do it! All 3 kids loved it!

On our second trip it was Labor Day weekend and there was substantially more people in the park, but still not outrageous. We knew to head straight to Test Track to make sure that we got that in because our FP+ was for Soarin’ for this trip. We actually waited less time in the Standby line this trip vs the FP+ line on our last trip, but I blame the fact that the ride had been down before.

Some rides that you might glance over and skip are Living with the Land and the Gran Fiesta Tour¬†Starring The Three Caballeros. DON’T! Living with the Land is awesome and takes you back through some of the research parts of Epcot. It is really neat to see some modern farming techniques, as well as where some of the food for the park is grown. Gran Fiesta is hidden inside the Mexico pavilion¬†in the Worlds Showcase. We almost missed it behind the various merchandise carts and restaurant but had so much fun on it. These are both slow boat rides which are one of my favorites. As much as I love the rides that get your heart pumping, sometimes it is awesome to take it slow.

Living with the Land - Epcot

Shows

Then there are the shows. Captain EO for those of you who haven’t left the 80’s and Turtle Talk with Crush if you wanna talk like a turtle, DUDE! Heck, there was even Circle of Life if you feel like being preached to by adult Simba.

While I cannot get behind Captain EO (sorry, guys, I’m not a Michael Jackson fan!) everyone else in my family loved this 3D adventure. It was kind of cool watching the pre-show behind the scenes stuff. Theatre nerd for life!

I really liked Turtle Talk! I took the little kids on this while Hubs took Kid #1 on Soarin’. We figured a show would be a perfect way to entertain them while they had to wait in a 50 minute ride! It was so cool! The lobby had trivia set up, as well as a few fish displays where they played hide and seek with Nemo and his dad. On our second visit to Epcot Kid #1 got picked to talk to Crush…there was a LOT of “Duuuuuuude” and then Hubs had a little chat with the turtle. It is pretty cool how they make these shows highly interactive.

Then there was the Circle of Life. While we knew going in this was a Save the Earth kind of show we thought it was going to be a bit more enjoyable. The theatre looked like they were going to have some live performers or something in addition to the video, but no such luck.

Characters

Minnie - Epcot

And if you are there strictly at Disney for a character experience, you can meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy at the Epcot Character Spot with Chip and Dale nearby! However, there are also a TON of characters spread throughout the World Showcase AND most of them have fairly short waits!! My theory behind this is that since most people who are on their Disney vacations almost exclusively for the kids will skip Epcot and even if they do hit it, they may not be in character meeting mode. But Epcot is a great option for maximizing your character meeting. I walked by all of these princesses and there was maybe five people in line to meet them.

  • Mulan
  • Belle
  • Alice
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mexican Daffy
  • Duffy the Bear
  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends
  • Princess Aurora
  • Aladdin and Jasmine
  • Snow White

Snow White - Epcot

Those are just the ones with set meeting spots! If you are looking for the FULL princess experience, book a meal at¬†Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This is basically the Epcot version of eating at Cinderella’s¬†Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom…and from what I hear just as hard to get in to.

With the announcement of the Frozen ride at the Norway pavilion you can almost guarantee that Anna and Elsa will be making an appearance somewhere. I’ll update you when I know something for sure.

World Showcase

Now this is what everyone thinks of when they think of Epcot. This is the easiest (and cheapest) way to explore the world without actually having to travel the world.

The World Showcase is why there is the common misconception that Epcot is just for adults. You can eat and drink different things that you wouldn’t normally have the chance to try. There are so many fun shops to explore (I am going to be doing A LOT of Christmas shopping in Japan because, Pokemon and Hello Kitty). But that isn’t everything.

British Revolution - Epcot

The entertainment is also spot on. We have wandered past a Mariachi band in Mexico, sat and ate dinner to a set by British Revolution,¬†and almost ran into Sergio the street performer in Italy. My kids absolutely loved playing in Italy. There is a tower that they all insist on knocking on. The door doesn’t open. Nothing happens. They just LOVE knocking on it.

Italy - Epcot

Kids Stuff at World Showcase

Disney has also made sure that there are some activities specifically designed for kids to do while the parents explore the showcase.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure¬†to stop Doofenschmirtz is very fun, but may be difficult if you have a group of kids (ahem). You pick up a smart phone interface at the Recruitment Centers and choose a country to explore then you follow the clues to get you around that country’s pavilion to solve the mission. There are about four things that you need to find and interact with before completing your mission. We completed China and all of the kids really liked it. It made you look a lot closer at the whole pavilion.

Agent P - Epcot

Another mostly kid-centric activity is the World Showcase passports. You can buy these in a gift shop and then take them to the Kidcot areas in each country to be signed in the native language. We haven’t tried doing this yet, but it is on my to-do list. Maybe

Kidcot - Epcot

Illuminations

Last, but certainly not least is the nighttime spectacular Illuminations. This is a much lower fireworks show than Wishes, but it is amazing! I would advise finding your spot at least 15 minutes before the show is set to begin otherwise there might be some tipsy adults who don’t want to let your kids have a closer view. Not that that happened to us or anything. ūüôā

This show encompasses the entire World Showcase with fire, fireworks, lasers, and music. Even my husband who is not a big fan of fireworks displays said that this was amazing. Do not leave before seeing this show is you can help it.

Wrap Up

Well, that is a pretty good wrap up of the Epcot experience. I hope that this was helpful and will help you plan your next trip to Epcot. Please let me know if you have any questions that you would like me to answer either in the comments, or Twitter (@DisneyPassProj) or by sending an email to disneypassholderproject@gmail.com.

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