Saturday, April 23, 2011

Orlando trip - February 13, 2011 - Magic Kingdom

Four days into our trip and we finally made it into the Magic Kingdom. We'd thought about dropping in for a quick hour or two on one of our other days, but our schedule just never really worked out that way.

The weather was still a bit iffy. No rain, but I'd brought a jacket because I knew we'd be there for the entire day, and it was going to get cold at night, but then it got to be fairly warm even before noon. So I looked for a locker to rent to put away my jacket.

I had remembered there being lockers on Main Street, right underneath the train station. Nope, no more real lockers there just fake ones. I looked on the map, and it appeared that the only lockers were outside the main gate. Well, that didn't seem to make much sense. I asked a CM at the info booth at the end of Main Street, and she confirmed that the lockers were indeed outside the park. OK, seriously inconvenient, so I decided to not get a locker after all. I ended up discovering at the end of the day that the lockers were in fact INSIDE the park, just inside the turnstiles to the right, before the train tracks. I must have misread the park map, but having the CM give me the wrong information didn't really hope. Oh well, at least I'll know for next time.

We'd grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich in the morning from the bakery on Main Street, and then it was on to the rest of the park.



Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.





We headed to Splash Mountain so that if we did get wet at all, at least we'd have time to dry in the sunny warm air. I'd recently read about the new lap bars on Splash Mountain but had forgotten until we'd gotten close enough to see them. I didn't find them intrusive or bothersome. I do like the Magic Kingdom's version of this ride better than Disneyland's because it's brighter and prettier inside.

After we got off the ride, we saw Mickey and Minnie at their photo op nearby.







We then went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. From our last visit, we'd thought that it was an identical track to Disneyland's but just a mirror image, but after riding it again, we realized it wasn't exactly the same. As we were half-way through the line, the right side loading station closed for some reason, so only the left side one (which we were in) was loading. That meant that people after us would have a much longer wait.

Afterward, we took a raft to Tom Sawyer Island to do some exploring, as we'd not been to their island before. There are some really nice views from the island.



View of Big Thunder Mountain from Tom Sawyer Island.




View of the Haunted Mansion from Tom Sawyer Island.




The Liberty Belle passing in front of the Haunted Mansion.




Some of the walkways on the island are a bit convoluted and result in dead-ends, which was a little annoying since you had to then backtrack. We wandered everywhere we could to at least have a look.

And then we arrived at the fort. And I was confused when I saw this sign.







Is "scavage" really a word? Or maybe it was just a word that Tom Sawyer made up? I mulled over that question for a while thereafter. And then on the way back to the dock to return to the mainland, I saw a map that showed where everything was on the island.



Sure enough, a map by the dock says it's "scavenger's fort". Is this another Disney sign error?




Next, we headed to the Haunted Mansion.



The view of the Haunted Mansion from the front.




The view of the Haunted Mansion from in line, through the trees.




I hadn't noticed from our previous visits that the Ghost Host in the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion circles and moves around while talking in the stretch room. That was a really cool effect, even when standing on the side. I'll have to try it sometime while standing in the middle. However, it was still weird to not feel movement in the stretch room since the room does actually stretch upwards. I'm too used to feeling the rumbling under my feet at Disneyland's stretch room since it's actually an elevator that descends.

In comparing the two, I like the exterior of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion better because you get a great view of the majestic mansion as you walk up the garden path. At the Magic Kingdom's, most of your view is shrouded by the many trees, and you're also entering in the sort of basement part of the mansion. However, I do like the interior of the Magic Kingdom's version better since they pretty much have everything Disneyland's does and then more. I love the library and the sitting room and especially the upside-down stairs room.


It was then time for lunch. We decided to try Harbour House. I had the Garden Harvest Salad, which sounds like it should be completely vegetarian but actually comes with chicken. I enjoyed the salad very much. It had a lot of ingredients in it, especially more than the lettuce and carrot shavings that you normally get. I was very pleasantly surprised at what a great meal this was, especially for theme park food. Big thumbs up!



Garden Harvest Salad (which comes with chicken) at Harbour House.




After lunch, we went to wait for the Celebrate parade. The Magic Kingdom had several parades running that day, but it was the only one we were really interested in seeing. It was a very nice parade. There were some very cool floats with nice details and lots of characters. It's definitely something worth catching.



Mickey and Minnie on the lead float.




Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket.




Snow White, her Prince and Dopey.




Peter Pan, Wendy, Alice and Mad Hatter.




Cinderella and her Prince and her fairy godmother.




A better picture of Cinderella.




Ariel and Prince Eric at the front of the last float.




Belle and the Beast on the last float.




After the parade, we headed to Country Bear Jamboree, which is still at the Magic Kingdom. The Disneyland version was replaced several years ago by a Winnie the Pooh ride.







The Magic Kingdom has the original version of the show, which I like ok, though I do prefer the Vacation Hoedown version or the Christmas show, but neither of those is an option for me to see anymore.


After that, we headed to Tomorrowland and rode the PeopleMover, otherwise known as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I love that ride and miss having it at Disneyland. And people must cringe every time we go on the PeopleMover because between our February trip and our August 2010 trip, Space Mountain has been down 3 of the 4 times that we've ridden the PeopleMover, which goes through Space Mountain at one point in the ride.



Space Mountain with the lights on because the ride is down.




Another view of Space Mountain with the lights on inside.




Space Mountain with the lights on from our August 2010 trip.




The Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor was open when we were there in August but we didn't have a chance to visit, so we wanted to try it this time. While you're in the queue, there are signs about being able to submit jokes for the show. I was amused that there was also a sign as a release for the submitted jokes.



The lawyer-influenced side of me found this to be very funny.




I enjoyed the Laugh Floor, which is basically Turtle Talk for adults since it uses the same technology as they do for that show. I can't say it's something I'd do on every visit, but it was a lot of fun.

We then headed over to it's a small world, which in the case of the Magic Kingdom version, is entirely properly named because it's a much more regular sized ride and facade than the Disneyland version. It unexpectedly became a longer ride when in the middle of our journey, our boat stopped as the boats in front of us had also stopped. After sitting there for a few minutes, the work lights came on, though the music stayed on. Our boat was stopped right before the Mexico/South Pole section, and an emergency exit was directly to my right. Soon, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that said "a cast member will be with you shortly", so I took that to mean that we were going to be walked off the ride instead of the boats momentarily starting up again. Shortly thereafter, the music was turned off, but the animatronics were still moving, which was a little weird. Some time after that, a cast member in hip waders did come through the emergency exit and was conversing with another cast member.

And I thought, great, we've been repeatedly breaking Space Mountain. Now we've broken another ride.

Now, mind you, our boat had stopped at about 7:20pm. We had planned to see the 8pm Wishes fireworks show. At this point, it was 7:40pm, and I really just wanted to get off the boat. This was the only time in our schedule when we could watch Wishes on this trip, and I really didn't want to miss it. And yes, I was very much conscious the entire time of the emergency exit that was RIGHT THERE.



Go towards the light - the emergency exit beckons.




One puzzling thing was happening during this time. I was tweeting about being stuck on it's a small world, and a few of my friends were answering with responses that I thought were odd. I felt like I was missing something so asked. Turns out that earlier that day, it had been reported that Disneyland was being sued by a man who had been stuck on it's a small world several years prior, and he was claiming various damages and distresses from being stuck on the ride. In reading the details later, I thought his claim was completely idiotic, but it was funny that we were stuck on the same ride (albeit in a different park) on the same day his lawsuit story hit the news.



After some discussion among the cast members, they started helping people out of the boats, and since we were right by the exit, we were luckily among the first. With about 10 minutes to go before the fireworks, we were helped off the boat and led through backstage (including the area where they fix the boats from it's a small world) and into the back part of Fantasyland. Everyone also received a re-entry pass good for any one Magic Kingdom attraction that was good for the next 2 days. We didn't end up being able to use the pass, but it was nice of them to give them out.

We quickly headed to Main Street to find a decent place to watch Wishes. We made it with only minutes to spare. There would have been many others who unloaded after us who would have missed the fireworks.

After the fireworks, we made our way down Main Street to Tony's Town Square Restaurant, where we had a dinner reservation. We'd only eaten there once before, breakfast during our 1999 trip, and we'd enjoyed it. We had a lovely dinner at Tony's. The food was wonderful (the husband had lasagna, and I had the lamb shank and polenta, which were yummy), and our server was spectacular. He was from Morocco, so we ended up talking to him about the restaurants in the Morocco section of Epcot (which we like a lot) as well as other Moroccan restaurants and other subjects. He was very nice and friendly and personable and also took very good care of us.

We were seated in the middle of the main dining room, right next to/in front of the Lady and the Tramp sculpture in the restaurant, so during the course of dinner, there were a lot of people coming to take a picture in front of the sculpture, so it was fun to watch them. All in all, we had a lovely dining experience at Tony's.

After we were done with dinner, the extra magic hours (which ran from 9pm to midnight that night) were already in full swing, so we went to enjoy the rest of the time in the park. We went on a number of rides, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Philharmagic. We did find an odd souvenir item in the gift shop at the exit of Philharmagic.



Is it supposed to be a Donald pinata or a decoration? It felt paper-mache but there didn't seem to be room to insert candy/toys.




A friend responded that she didn't know what it was supposed to be either, but she'd remembered seeing them at the Mexico pavilion gift shop in Epcot. We saw them there on a later day as well, but I still don't know what it was.


The end of a lovely (and long) day at the Magic Kingdom.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I love the outfit on Country Minnie!

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