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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Disney Passholder Project Podcast #02 – Best in Show

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This week we discuss the live shows throughout Disney World. Which park has the best? Which ones need an update? The curtain rises on our showy debate. We also discuss the upcoming Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and attempt to go on every ride in Magic Kingdom in the Memory Shaker.


Show Notes

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Garden Rocks Lineup

The Boneyard closed for refurbishment

Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60

Yesterland

 

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Fantastic Fantasmic!

Fantasmic! takes the cake when it comes to Disney Magic!

While Disney stage shows and spectaculars are almost always spectacular, there is just something about Fantasmic! that just leaves me in awe…yes, even more than Wishes.

On Black Friday (yes, I know I just talked about NOT going to the parks during Thanksgiving) we decided to have a 3 park day (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom) and made sure to hit Fantasmic! because it has been months since we last sat in the Hollywood Hills’ Theatre.

We arrived about 1/2 hour before the show was set to begin and the theatre was already very full, but mainly of FP+ seating. By a stroke of luck, we managed to get prime seating at stage left.

Fantasmic rock

 

 

We were in the 2nd row back which is apparently the “Splash Zone” and busted our our kid snacks. We had grabbed some Gingerbread Popcorn earlier and hubs went to grab a beer and a snack for the adults. Yay stadium nachos!

I tend not to buy seasonal snacks because they are even more overpriced than regular snacks, but this was phenomenal. Gingerbread syrup and white chocolate covered popcorn…I must figure out how to do this.

Popcorn Smiles

 

 

 

 

I always try to post a lot on social media when we are in the parks and this was no exception.

Shout out to Simon who was seeing the same show as me!

 

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I also Periscoped a good bit of the show for you guys to enjoy!

 

I hope you guys liked this little glimpse into Fantasmic! Are there other shows/rides you would like me to do this for? Let me know in the comments!

Until then, let’s connect¬†on social media for live updates from my park trips and occasional WDW news.

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Twitter

Periscope

Instagram

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The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

We are all saddened that this is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For us it is especially sad since this is our first time seeing them. I have a feeling that we will be making quite a few trips back to see the lights before they are gone.

Here is a periscoped walk through the Streets of America and the Osborne Family Lights in November 2015.

I Need More!

Animal Kingdom has the absolute BEST shows in all of the parks and I had NO IDEA! No one talks about it. No one gives any inclination that there is anything worth seeing at Animal Kingdom. It wasn’t until I started this blog and started paying attention that I began to realize the wonder that is Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

I mean, we didn’t rush to Animal Kingdom when we got our passes for the same reasons as many people:

  • Not too many rides
  • Isn’t it just a zoo?
  • They close so early
  • It’s under as much construction as Hollywood Studios (well, it feels like it)

Now feel like I was missing out.

The shows were absolutely amazing and I didn’t even know most of them existed!

Festival of the Lion King 

All we really knew about this show was that the people who worked on the Broadway production also worked on this. We had high hopes because that (and as theatre geeks we always go into a show with high hopes) and were not disappointed.

Festival of the Lion King - Animal Kingdom

While this show doesn’t tell an amazing story, it’s basically a party to celebrate The Lion King, it exposes you to some phenomenal artists. Two thirds of the kids had no interest in going to see this show because they were never really big fans of The Lion King, but Kid #2 leaned over twice to tell me that it was SO MUCH BETTER than she expected.

The performance is done in the round with colors, lights, sounds, and spectacle surrounding you. With talents spanning from amazing song and dance to gymnast monkeys to costumed characters and floats to fire twirlers and beyond this show has something for everyone.

The crowd interaction is also wonderful. Each section of bleachers is assigned an animal to perform and a handful of kids are brought on stage for a parade (I believe you have to FP+ for this).

One of the wonderful things about live theatre is that every performance is just a little different. This is one I will now look forward to every time we go to Animal Kingdom.

Finding Nemo: The Musical

When presented with the option of going to a 40 minute long production of Finding Nemo while at the park I was not so thrilled. Neither was my husband who hasn’t even watched the entire movie (he tends to zone out on kids movies). However, in the middle of the day when it was hot as blazes sometimes you just have to go for it. 40 minutes sitting in air conditioning…who cares if the show stinks!?

Finding Nemo: The Musical - Animal Kingdom

Um, it was amazing!

Finding Nemo: The Musical (2) - Animal Kingdom

Like, these pictures are doing it ZERO justice!

The actors were so amazing that you barely saw they running around attached to puppets. Their bodies and faces expressed everything that their character was vocalizing, but couldn’t physically do because it was a puppet.

I don’t know how else to describe this, except that yes, I know it sucks to basically take an hour out of your day at a park that closes early, BUT you have to go see this!

It’s Tough Being a Bug

So this may sounds silly, but this show is pretty dark and scary! I know, right. Who would expect a show based on A Bugs’ Life to be scary?

Granted, I think that only 1/5 of our family has ever even seen this movie, but we decided that since the other shows were so good that we had to give this one a try. We were happily entertained…even when it was a little stinky and bumpy!

More Please!

I would love for the other parks to take this approach to some of their shows!

Hollywood Studios would be the perfect place to put on an elaborate show (or three) like this, but they don’t. Well, except for Beauty and the Beast…which I hear rumor is in danger of being closed…surely to be replaced by something Star Wars. *pout*

And Epcot! Can we PLEASE get rid of Captain EO and do something a little more fun and exciting?

Then there is the Magic Kingdom. My family are huge fans of the Enchanted Tiki Room, Carousel of Progress, and the Country Bear Jamboree (well, my husband loves this one), but it would be nice to have something a little more modern to sit and watch. As theatre nerds we love the singing and the dancing…bonus points for audience participation!

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A Tour of Mr. Gold’s Storefront

Are you a fan of ABC’s Once Upon a Time?

I am so much that I co-host a weekly fancast (podcast) about the series called Greetings from Storybrooke. On a recent trip to Hollywood Studios my co-host (husband) periscoped a tour of the Mr. Gold’s Storefront. There are some awesome hidden gems in like Stealthy’s ax and Emma’s unicorn mobile.

Have you ever investigated some of the storefronts around the parks? Did you find anything fun?

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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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Farewell Summer

Monday was the first day of school for all 3 kids, and like proper Disney addicts and passholders we celebrated the last day of summer in the Magic Kingdom! This was also our first time using our MagicBands and taking all three kids. There was a lot of excitement in the air!

MagicBands

Sunday August 23, 2015

We got a late start for our adventure because we had an overnight guest, but we hit the ground running from the minute we hit the boat. We had planned to take the monorail, but it was down…booooo. It was pretty darn warm (in the mid-90s with a heat index over 100) and we could not wait to make our first stop…lunch!

We had a  FP+ for Buzz Lightyear right after lunch so we knew we wanted to hit Tomorrowland to eat. Our Quick Service restaurants are pretty limited there so we went to Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe.

Never. Again. While the food was tasty and filling (there was even a veggie sandwich option), this restaurant gives me hives with how busy AND¬†slow they are. I’m also not a fan of the fact that you must have your food before you can be guided to your seat by a castmember with a lightsaber.

We spent a lot of this day split up based on what rides the kids did or did not want to go on. My husband took Kid #1 on Space Mountain, while I took the other two on the Mad Tea Party and Under the Sea. I tried to Periscope from MTP, but was having connectivity issues, however I did get a little clip from Under the Sea.

I LOVE this Ursula! The combination of animatronics and the video in the globe are so cool.

While we were split up the little kids and I had a few different character meet-ups and THEY DIDN’T WANT TO DO ANY OF THEM! I was so sad! We were *right there* to meet the White Rabbit, Merida, and Gaston. *sigh* The only character s that they seemed excited to try to meet was Winnie the Pooh and Tigger…who had a LONG line and both kids had already met them.

Its a Small World - Magic Kingdom

Next we met back up with the rest of our family and headed to Splash Mountain by way of the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. Last week on his birthday trip Kid #3 loved this Splash Mountain, however on this particular trip he was kicking, screaming, and begging not to ride. What!? It was so hot and sticky that the rest of us were craving a water ride. We got all the way up to our turn and he still wasn’t having it. I decided to not torture him and we didn’t ride. The very nice castmember gave me a Kid Swap ticket so that I could take the older kids¬†back on the ride while the kiddo hung out with Daddy.

Rider Switch - Magic Kingdom

I was so grateful for this because I really wanted to go on Splash Mountain. While the little guy and I were waiting at the exit another castmember (more manager-y because they weren’t in costume) came up and started talking to us. She was so nice asking about his birthday the previous week and really trying to connect with him. Before she left she actually gave him a special ticket to get a free ice cream from any of the carts while I took the big kids back on Splash Mountain. She did this so that he would have a positive association with the ride in the future and it apparently worked. My husband said that as soon as he finished his ice cream he said he was ready to go on the ride.

Kid #3 Ice Cream - Magic Kingdom

The other kids were a little sad that they didn’t get ice cream (okay, the whined and shed a tear or two) but quickly rebounded and talked about how the ride was cooler than ice cream anyway. Good job big kids.

After our next FP+ (Peter Pan) we split up again because Kid #1 wanted nothing to do with Storytime with Belle, so my husband took him to find a rollarcoaster to ride. I took the little kids on Winnie the Pooh and to see Belle.

Pooh, as always, was amazing. I love how excited the kids get for this ride…it’s really nothing special, but their reactions are. Then we headed over to Belle with our final FP+ of the day. I was a little upset using our FP+ because there was only ¬†a 10 minute wait, BUT I knew that we were leaving shortly after so we went with it. Kid #2 was all about being in the show. For her 3rd birthday trip she was a teeny tiny Beast and really wanted to do that again, but we were with some bigger kids and they chose a boy to be the Beast, however, she was Maurice and had an amazing hug with Belle at the end. Kid #3 was completely attached to me with glue and wanted NOTHING to do with the show or meeting Belle.

Belle - Magic Kingdom

Last on our agenda was a quick zip around the People Mover and then Monorail to the car. What a perfectly exhausting day, but a great way to end the summer.

Monorail - Magic Kingdom

Our Experiences – not necessarily in this order

  • Buzz’s Star Command
  • Space Mountain
  • People Mover
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • It’s a Small World
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Incredibles Dance Party
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle

Sidenote: Are my daughter and I the only ones who HATE that there isn’t a Tangled attraction other than a tower and themed bathrooms? We LOVE Rapunzel and think she deserves more than she gets…but then again…so does Merida!

Floating Lanterns - Magic Kingdom

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Kid #3’s Magic Kingdom Birthday

Q: What is more magical than celebrating your birthday at Disney?
A: Watching a small child celebrate their birthday at Disney!

This is exactly what happened this past weekend.

On Saturday we made plans for family to watch Kids #1 and #2 for the day (THANK YOU!!) so that my husband and I could take Kid #3 to the Magic Kingdom for the first time to celebrate his birthday. This is the BEST tradition ever!

Apparently no one in our house could handle the excitement and we all woke up about 45 minutes – 1 hour earlier than we needed…for those playing along that means I was up before 5am. Insert coffee here. So we all load into the car with backpacks of essentials (snacks and sunblock for us and devices and swim gear for the big kids) and away we go.

After ditching the big kids we arrived at the Ticket Center so early that we were parked close enough that we don’t get a tram…score! Now on to the boat and over to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Good morning, Birthday Boy! - Magic Kingdom

I Spy - Magic Kingdom

There is nothing better than that view! I love watching Cinderella’s Castle get bigger and bigger.

As you may have guessed by our crazy wake up time and insanely good parking spot we got to the park in time for rope drop. This was our first time doing this, and from now on will be standard.

Welcome Show - Magic Kingdom

The show is cute and all, but we were most excited about getting right in. The opening show wasn’t too busy and we went straight to Tomorrowland. Hubs was able to walk onto Space Mountain and Kid #3 and I rode Buzz Lightyear three times back to back. It was awesome and it let me change out the FP+ I had for this ride.¬†As awesome as this was, I wish we would have gone straight to the Seven Dwarves Mine Train because the wait was ALWAYS 80min+. Now I know for next time!

On our way out of Tommorrowland we road the Tommorrowland Speedway. This was a first for us because on our other trips the kids were not quite tall enough to ride and/or weren’t interested, but we couldn’t walk by a 10 minute wait. Not terribly impressed, but I’m sure that the big kids will want to do it soon.

Next we hit Dumbo and The Barnstormer (another ride that we had a FP+ for for in the afternoon). We probably waited less than 15 minutes for both rides. These are the type of wait times we had all day. I’ve never really understood the big hoopla over Dumbo, but we always ride it. I think this is because it is a classic. This was our first time on The Barnstormer and we loved it! This was also Kid #3’s first rollercoaster. It was perfect for easing him into them (even though he was ALL ABOUT the Tower of Terror 2 days earlier).

By this time our banana and granola bar breakfast in the car was wearing off, so we decided to hit one of our favorite spots, Gaston’s. How can you turn down a cinnamon roll the size of your head and some milk?

Gaston's - Magic Kingdom Gaston's - Magic KingdomOnce we were rejuvenated we made our way to Frontierland by way of It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion (FP+). Once there, we wandered around Tom Sawyer Island and waited in a LONG line to meet Woody and Jessie. ¬†Seriously, I think that this was the longest line that we waited in all day. Kid #3 was speechless while meeting them. It was ADORABLE! They kept asking how old he was (thanks to his birthday button) and he just couldn’t spit it out. Just tons and tons of smiles…and an obsession with getting his autograph book signed.

Tom Sawyer Island - Magic KingdomWoody and Jessie - Magic KingdomFinally it was time for our super awesome lunch. We are big fans of hitting the Crystal Palace for lunch because A) buffet and B) character experience. Sure, it is expensive ($35 for adults and $20 for kids) but there is plenty of variety for food and you get to meet four characters. Bonus: we learned when we took Kid #2 for her birthday trip that if you ask they do a little something for birthdays (cupcake and a card) you just have to ask.

Crystal Palace - Magic Kingdom

Crystal Palace - Magic Kingdom

Birthday at Crystal Palace - Magic Kingdom

After lunch it was steamy hot so we decided to give Splash Mountain a try. This was another ride that we had never done because of height restraints (and the fact that our other trips had been in winter). Such an awesome ride!! I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the big drop awesome, but the story and animatronics throughout were absolutely on point.

Later the skies started to get a little scary so we decided to duck into Casey’s Corner for a quick dinner. This is another one of our favorite Quick Service restaurants because hot dogs and fries…duh! Oh course, just as we finished up a huge mob of people started coming in…the sky had finally decided to open up. We had arranged a 4th FP+* for Buzz Lightyear so we needed to trek through the rain. We weren’t 100% prepared for that (aka I only brought Kid #3’s raincoat) so we bought ourself some $10 Disney ponchos and headed out. Now you may recall Kid #3 and I had already ridden the Buzz ride THREE TIMES in the morning, but he wanted to ride with Daddy. By the time we got in line the rain had stopped.

* FP+: Okay, so we all know that you can schedule 3 FP+’s before your trip, BUT I had just learned through WDW Prepschool¬†that after you complete your third pass you can go to the FP+ kiosks (castmembers with iPads) and schedule a fourth and after you use that one you can go back again and schedule a FIFTH! How awesome is that!??! I also read somewhere that pretty soon this functionality will be coming to the My Disney Experience app, but for now you have to go to the kiosks.¬†¬†

By this point the little man was getting tired and wanted to skip the parade and fireworks, but we couldn’t resist walking by to see if the wait for the Mine Train had gone down (obsessed much?) and we were thrilled to see that it was only 30 minutes! I may have shrieked at the Castmember…oops. We didn’t even think twice before hopping in line.

The wait experience for this ride is awesome! Disney is getting better and better at making the rides with crazy waits less painful with games and toys built in. I think you miss all of this with the FP+ and I almost feel bad for you because they are pretty cool. Kid #3 wanted to ride with Daddy which left me as a solo rider (common theme for the day). There was a mom and 2 younger boys paired with us. When the Castmember had to split the boys so that the younger could ride with mom I got to ride with her son. He seemed a little nervous, so I told him that he was totally allowed to scream and I wouldn’t tell anyone. At the end we high-fived and talked about how awesome the ride was. His mom thanked me, but really I just did what I would want someone to do for my kids.

Kindness, people, kindness.

Our Experiences – not necessarily in this order

  • Magic Kingdom Welcome Show
  • Breakfast at Gaston’s
  • Lunch at the Crystal Palace
  • Dinner at Casey’s Corner
  • Buzz’s Star Command
  • Stitch
  • Monsters Inc
  • Space Mountain
  • People Mover
  • Tomorrowland Raceway
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Dumbo
  • Barnstormer
  • Splash Mountain
  • Meet and Greet with Woody and Jessie
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Philharmagic
  • It’s a Small World
  • Seven Dwarves Mine Train
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Incredibles Dance Party
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle

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