Park March Through Magic Kingdom: The Future Kingdom

One of the best things about Disney Imagineers is that they never stop dreaming. Right now they are dreaming up so much more for the future of Magic Kingdom, and I can’t wait to share it with you in today’s Parch March Through Magic Kingdom: The Future Kingdom.

To the delight of park guests, one of the many things Disney Imagineers have been improving are the queues, or the areas where you wait in line, of your favorite attractions! Recently, they have completely re-done the queues for It’s a Small World, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Space Mountain, and The Haunted Mansion, with more in the works, like Peter Pan’s Flight. The goal is to make waiting in line more fun than frustrating, and they’ve done this by adding interactive elements, like the wall of honey in the line of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Comprised of four large video touch-screens, guests walking (or waiting) beside them can use their hands and fingers to draw and play in the honey! The queues look like so much fun! It may sound silly, but I can’t wait to stand in line when we go back in September. Check out the Imagineer-guided video of the Haunted Mansion queue on the the WDW News Today blog. So cool!

With big changes come small growing pains, and the loss of ToonTown was just that. Mickey and Minnie’s houses are no more, but you will still be able visit the famous mice and get a picture with them near the entrance to the park at the Town Square Theater. In addition to meeting Mickey, you will also be able to meet ‘n greet your favorite Disney princesses! FASTPASS services will be available, which is a first for meet ‘n greets.

The growing pains of losing ToonTown, I assure you, will be well worth it because at this very moment, production on one the biggest expansions Magic Kingdom has ever seen is taking place! Set to open sometime late 2012, Fantasyland is in the process of doubling in size with lots of new and amazing attractions, restaurants, and shops. Here’s a little sneak peak into what you will see. All of the artwork in this post is actual Disney concept-art of what these attractions and restaurants may look like.

Bird's-eye view of what Fantasyland will look like.

Also doubling in it’s size is Dumbo the Flying Elephant! This popular attraction will have a twin right beside it, so more guests can ride at once, and an interactive queue to boot!

Have any of you Little Mermaid fans been feeling a bit left out? Well turn that frown upside down and get ready for Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid! This is an identical replica of the Little Mermaid attraction in Disney California Adventures. It’s an indoor, singing animatronic ride that is sure make you feel like part of Ariel’s world.

For all of you coaster-lovers, Goofy’s Barnstormer from the late ToonTown will be getting a face-lift and will be re-named The Great Goofini. Also, hop on board the rickety track of The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! This new one-of-a-kind coaster will twist and turn inside of a mine, while the cars sway back and forth! This one will be more intense than The Great Goofini, and is sure to swing some fun your way.

If all of the excitement is working up a hunger within, stop in Gaston’s Tavern for a bite to eat. You may even spot Belle for a meet ‘n greet!

One of the most exciting, however, and one of the new expansion plans that I am most looking forward to, is the Be Our Guest restaurant! Seating over five hundred guests, this elaborate Beauty and the Beast restaurant set inside of the Beast’s castle will be a counter-service by day and table-service by night! Oh boy, if it is open by next September, you can bet we will be making reservations! I really want to know for myself if the grey-stuff is delicious!

If all of that wasn’t enough, there will be new shops such as Bonjour! Village Gifts, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures is set to become a new meet ‘n greet spot for some wonderful Disney heroines like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. So many terrific changes are happening inside of Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom and I can’t wait to see the finished product!

Thank you so much for voting and joining me every week during the month of March for my Park March Through Magic Kingdom. I have enjoyed every step of the way and I am kind of sad it is over. I have so enjoyed bringing you all of the fun and information I could muster without [hopefully] making it too drawn-out or boring to endure. Maybe one day we can go to Magic Kingdom together, you and I, dear Reader, and enjoy all that Magic Kingdom is and will be.

[Sigh.]

 

 

 

Park March Through Magic Kingdom: Parades, Shows, and Shopping!

Welcome back to our Park March through Magic Kingdom! Can you believe the month of March is almost over?

Yeah…me neither.

But I’m excited about today, because we are going to experience all of the parades, shows, and shopping we can handle inside of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! First up, parades!

When it comes to parades, Disney isn’t satisfied with your hometown, five-“floats”-pulled-by-trucks, throwing out candy parade. Not that there is anything wrong with those, just expect to be a little more impressed, especially when you come to Magic Kingdom. Right now, Magic Kingdom has three parades; Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Celebrate a Dream Come True, and the return of the much beloved Main Street Electrical Parade.

Celebrate a Dream Come True is a daily parade that features all of your favorite Disney characters! Making it’s way through Frontierland and right down Main Street U.S.A., this is a fun, colorful, and upbeat parade that is sure to bring a smile to guests of all ages. The link above is a great video I found. Notice how characters in the parade keep wishing someone nearby a Happy Birthday! I love how cast and characters always keep an eye out for the buttons guests wear. Speaking from experience, because Tim and I always go on our anniversary, it truly makes your day to hear your favorite Disney character say “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary”!

To the delight of regular Disney goers is the return The Main Street Electrical Parade! This spectacular light-filled dazzler only happens after sundown. Tinker Bell leads the way with her wand, spreading pixie dust over each float, making them and the accompanying characters light up with a mesmerizing glow! With every inch of the parade draped in thousands of LED lights and special effects, set to toe-tapping music and fun, The Main Street Electrical Parade is an instant family favorite. I didn’t attach a video of this one, because no video camera could ever do it justice…you just have to see it for yourself!

Lastly, is the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party. This is a shorter parade that is very interactive with guests. It’s a lot of fun, but maybe not worth hopping out of line at your favorite attraction, or holding down a spot for an hour for. But if you happen to be walking by, take a moment and dance along and snap a picture or two of your favorite Disney characters!

For parade times, pick up a showtimes guide brochure on your way in the park that has the lists of all parades, shows, and their times. For a good view, it is best to get to your spot forty-five minutes to an hour before the parade starts. I know…that sounds like a waste of time, but it is usually nice to take a break for a while. My family will usually pick out a spot and then take turns saving it. A couple of people will sit there, perhaps enjoying a tasty Disney treat, while the others shop or hop on a ride. Then we will switch out. It works great and we still get a good view of the parade. Another tip is to pick out a spot over in Frontierland instead of on Main Street. The parade passes right through there, but it is usually less crowded. We’ve had great views from right in front of the Hall of Presidents before. Just know that Main Street U.S.A. is the most popular place to watch the parades, so if you don’t want to steak out your spot so far in advance, consider seeing it elsewhere.

If you are looking for some great entertainment for you and especially your kiddos, you have got to see the Castle-front show, Dream-Along with Mickey! Show times will be listed on the showtimes guide brochure at the front of the park, and usually run several times a day. In this twenty-minute performance, Mickey inspires us all to believe in our dreams. Look for appearances from Mickey, Minnie and the rest of your Disney Clubhouse friends, your favorite Disney princesses and their dashing princes, and even an adventure or two from my favorite Disney character, Peter Pan! Watch out for the evil Maleficent, though, because if she had it her way, she would put a stop to dreaming altogether! Your whole family will enjoy singing and dancing along, and with a raised stage, everyone is sure to find a great spot to watch.

For a little pirating fun, check out Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial in Adventureland! Get up-close and personal, and learn how to be a pirate from Captain Jack, himself, in this small audience participation-driven show. It’s sure to please the young boys in your group, and you will all leave happy and thinking, “A pirate’s life for me.”

Check your showtimes guide brochure for all of the other small shows that go on throughout the day, like the Dapper Dans Barbershop Quartet, The Main Street Philharmonic, or a performance from a Ragtime piano player at Casey’s Corner. There is never a dull moment at Magic Kingdom!

In between all the attraction-riding, parade-viewing, and show-watching, I’m sure you are going to want to stop and do some shopping inside one of the many gift shops! You have to brows through the seemingly endless Emporium that stretches the whole length of Main Street U.S.A.! Each land has it’s own themed shops with everything you could ever wish to find in Disney. One of our favorites to stop in is the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe over in Liberty Square. It has tons of Disney Chrismas decor and ornaments year-round, to get you in the spirit.

Also, remember those makeovers I mentioned? If you are traveling with any little princess or pirate wannabe’s, you have to stop by the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle and The Pirate League in Adventureland. At the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, little girls will be pampered and treated like princesses while getting the hair-style and outfit to turn them into one. Boys get a chance to become as gruesomely pirate as they like, with their own choice of get-ups and pirate face-paintings.

After a long, but fun, day in the park, and the sun is starting to set, go ahead and steak out your spot for the must-see Wishes Nighttime Spectacular! Watch the amazing display of fireworks and special effects, set to music from your favorite Disney classics, with Jiminy Cricket as your host. If you are sitting close to the Castle, watch for Tinker Bell as she flies out of the top window of Cinderella’s Castel towards the beginning of the show! Yes, that is the real Tinker Bell flying over your head, with her dress glowing in lights…not some animatronic! This firework spectacular really portrays what Walt Disney World is all about, and it is hard to watch without a lump rising in your throat. Oh how I wish I were there now!

You can now also view twice nightly The Magic, The Memories, and You!, a new projection show of photos and videos projected right onto Cinderella’s Castle of memories sent in to Disney by guests just like you! (Have you seen the new Disney Memories commercials on TV of families telling their kids that they are going to Disney? Those are a part of this year’s theme as well, and I am such a sap when I see them. I tear up almost everytime! Sigh…)

My advice for the fireworks is the same as the parade. To get a good spot, get there early! Although, your best views are going to be at the top of Main Street right in front of the Castle, we have also had great views from Liberty Square and the entrance to Tomorrowland. One of our favorite spots is at the bottom of Main Street, near the entrance to the park, right in front of the Castle. It’s a decently good view, and an easy exit once they are over, so you can beat the crowds out of the park, and if you are staying on property, not wait in super long lines for a bus back to your hotel.

Well, that is it for today. What a great way to end. Thanks for coming along with me on our Park March today! See you next week for the last Park March Through Magic Kingdom, where we will be taking a peak into the future to see what is in store for Magic Kingdom in the next few years! It’s going to be fun, and I think you will be surprised by all that Disney is dreaming up right now!

So in the words of Tigger, “T.T.F.N! Ta-ta for now!”

Fun Facts ‘n Trivia: High-Flying Helper

Here is another trivia fun fact that goes along with our Park March this month!

If you have been to Magic Kingdom and are pretty observant, you will probably get this right. If you have never been to Magic Kingdom and/or are not observant at all, you may still get it right! Lets just use our deductive reasoning and context clues, shall we?

Here’s the question:

Which Disney character stands on the very tip-top of the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction in Fantsyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?

Do you know?

Hint: The character is actually in the Dumbo movie.

If you guessed Timothy Q. Mouse, you are absolutely right!

Timothy stands up above all that high-flying action as park guests whirl around in one of the sixteen flying Dumbos below. And it’s a good thing too, because he is the one who convinced Dumbo he could really fly, remember?

What a pal! Sometimes all you need is a “magic” feather and a little encouragement from a good friend like Timothy Q. Mouse.

 

 

Park March Through Magic Kingdom: Dining

Hungry?

I hope so! Because today I’m going to tell you about anywhere and everywhere you can rustle up some grub in our Park March Through Magic Kingdom. There are so many great places to dine in this iconic park, it will leave you amazed. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes!

Lets dig right in and start with the restaurants and good eats you will find on Main Street U.S.A.!

The first restaurant you come to in Magic Kingdom is definitely a great one. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. This Lady and the Tramp themed, sit down restaurant serves up great Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner. Get your fill of salads, pastas, pizzas, and more, and don’t forget to save room for dessert. Take your pick of tiramisu, crème brûlée, or their delicious spumoni. The spumoni was definitely a family favorite dessert when we ate there last September, and my dad raved about his steak he ordered for dinner. This is a more expensive Magic Kingdom option, pricing around $15.00-$35.99 per person, or one table service credit if you are using the Disney Dining Plan, but you won’t leave disappointed.

A picture my mom took of the Menu.

The Plaza Restaurant is another sit down stop if you are looking for something yummy for lunch or dinner. Choose from burgers, deli-sandwiches, and salads, and top it off with a hand-dipped milkshake or float! The Plaza Restaurant fits right in with that Main Street U.S.A feel with it’s Victorian American and turn-of-the-20th-century decor. Prices here range from the same $15.00-$35.99 or one table service credit on Disney Dining.

If a snack or tasty treat is more of what you are looking for, peak inside of The Main Street Bakery. (Psst! The cinnamon rolls and ice cream cookie sandwiches are the best!) Or tempt your sweet tooth in the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Most items from both of these yummy spots count as a snack on the Dining Plan.

 

My cinnamon roll from Main Street Bakery.

Check out how huge that ice cream cookie sandwich is!

Next up is Casey’s Corner. Grab a ballpark hot dog and fries, or an order of corn dog nuggets. (Which are a lot better than they sound. They are actually really good, and kids tend to love them!) Don’t forget to grab a cup of hot cheese from the condiment bar, because fries always taste better dipped in cheese, right? Casey’s Corner is also budget friendly with all menu items running $14.99 or lower, and some of the items can be obtained with a snack credit on the Dining Plan.

Last, but definitely not least in the Main Street category is The Crystal Palace! Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Crystal Palace gives you the ultimate Disney dining experience because not only is every meal an all-you-can-eat buffet, but you get a personal table-side visit from all of your friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, including Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger! Prices range from $15.00-$59.99, but are still only one table service credit on the Dining Plan.

 

Celebrating our two year anniversary at the Crystal Palace.

Piglet paying with us and acting silly at our table!

My sister, Hannah.

Lets take a left and follow along the same path that we traveled in our attraction tour and head into Adventureland. Here you will find some great snack options at Aloha Isle, and the Sunshine Tree Terrace. Grab a soda to quench your thirst, or one of the commonly-raved-about Dole Whips! Or if you want something a little different, track down the Egg Roll Wagon! Also, when asked what their favorite grub is, turkey legs are always atop the lists of Magic Kingdom park guests! So try one of those huge, juicy, cooked-to-perfection gobblers for yourself at the Turkey Leg Cart, all found in Adventureland.

 

Eating a Dole Whip!

 

Turkey leg!

The only other place to eat in Adventureland is at Tortuga Tavern, which is only opened seasonally. My husband likes to eat at this quick service counter. It serves up tacos and burritos with prices under $15.00, or one counter service credit.

Lets keep truckin’ on this food crawl, and head over into Frontierland where we will stumble upon Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. For $14.99 and under, or one counter service credit, you can fill that void in your belly with some good ol’ American burgers, sandwich wraps and salads. You could also tie up the horses and mosey into Golden Oak Outpost for a fried chicken sandwich or flatbread. The Outpost also has some nice sweet options as well. If it’s something simple that you seek, try Western Ho Refreshments for a corn dog, drink, or frozen lemonade. This one is also easy on the pocketbook.

Opened seasonally is the Diamond Horseshoe. At lunch it is a quick service restaurant with turkey or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and then at night it turns into an all-you-can-eat family-style restaurant with a Saloon Salad and a Ranchhand’s Feast. So eat up, Cowboy, ‘cuz there’s more a-comin’. Prices $15.00-$35.00.

Throw a stone and it’ll land right in the heart of Liberty Square, just be careful not to hit a tourist. Liberty Square is home to my favorite Magic Kingdom table service restaurant, Liberty Tree Tavern!

You see, I love Thanksgiving, and Liberty Tree Tavern serves up delicious patriotic platters full of Thanksgiving-reminiscent foods for lunch and dinner like roasted turkey, pot roast, pot pie and more, with a mouthwatering cobbler finish. At lunch, order your favorite item off the menu. At dinner, it’s an all-you-can-eat family-style feast, where the serving bowls are never empty. Prices range from $15.00-$35.99 per person, or one table service credit on the Dining Plan.

 

Pilgrims Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern.

If you are not looking for a sit-down meal, there is still plenty to nosh on in Liberty Square. Like the Columbia Harbour House. My husband likes their fried fish, while I tend to stay on shore in my meat eating preferences. Stop by Sleepy Hallow for one of those ever tempting funnel cakes. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach when it come to funnel cakes, but boy are the good!

Feeling fruity? Snag an apple, orange, or banana (oh my!) at the Liberty Square Market.

Next, lets head back to Fantasyland! You will not go hungry here, with the countless snack stops such as Enchanted Grove, Maurice’s Cart, and Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard. But, if you are fantasizing about something a little more satisfying, try Pinocchio Villiage Haus with prices under $15.00. We like the personal pizzas from there. We have also heard terrific things about the homemade potato chips from Friar’s Nook. We will definitely be trying some of those when we go this September! Disney Dining Plan is accepted at these places as well.

Alrighty! We are nearing the end of our eat-all food crawl! Heading into Tomorrowland you will find almost anything your taste buds desire inside of Cosmic Ray’s. We have grabbed a bite from Cosmis Ray’s almost every time we go to Magic Kingdom. It’s that one stop shop to make every one in the family agree. From the burgers, nuggets, soups, salads, barbecue, and more, even picky kiddos can find something they like…and I have vivid memories of being entertained by the animatronic D.J. at the front of the restaurant. One counter service credit will get you a meal here, where prices run from $14.99 and under.

 

I thought he was so cool...

Looking for a fast snack in the future? Hover over to the Lunching Pad. Isn’t Disney just so clever in their naming? Here, you can bite into a Philly cheese steak hot dog, or slurp down a frozen coke. (Don’t tell Tim. He loves frozen cokes.) For a float or sundae, try Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies! (Say that three times fast…)

The last stop in Tomorrowland is going to be the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station. Opened seasonally, it is never up and running when we are down there in September. With chicken noodle bowls, orange chicken and steamed rice at $14.99 and lower, it looks as though we are missing out!

Welp, we have made it through all of the lands. With the exception of all of the random ice cream and treat carts that you can find piratically throughout the park, we have visited all Magic Kingdom has to offer in dining…

…except for one.

The most magical and special of the them all..

…Cinderella’s Royal Table!

Yes, you can actually eat in Cinderella’s Castle!! Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you will truly dine like royalty. Breakfast is an all-you-can-eat buffet, while at lunch you order off of the menu while getting a special mystery appetizer ordered especially for you by Cinderella herself. Dinner is just as wonderful with tummy pleasing eats for everyone in your royal party. Have your camera ready for all of the table-side visits you will receive from all of your favorite Disney Princesses! Souvenir photos are available, along with specialty celebration packages at an additional fee. Prices here run a hefty $36.00-$56.99 per person, or two table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan. But I say it’s worth it for the experience…even if it’s just once. My family has done it twice…thus far.

With all of that fanfare and fun, I hope you have enjoyed eating your way through Magic Kingdom with me. Last minute advice and tips are to make reservations for all of the table service restaurants in advance! Disney accepts reservations 180 days prior to your visit, so take advantage of that because these amazing restaurants tend to fill up fast. We actually made all of our dining reservations this past Sunday for our trip in September! I will have to tell you about them later.

Thank you for joining me on our Park March Through Magic Kingdom: Dining! Are you hungry yet?

 

 

 

Fun Facts ‘n Trivia: Liberty Lanterns

Here’s some trivia for you observant Disney goers that goes along with our Park March through Magic Kingdom!

How many lanterns hang from the Liberty Tree on Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom?

Lucky number thirteen!

Thirteen lanterns hang in the gorgeous tree that makes it’s home right outside of the Liberty Tavern in Liberty Square, one for each of the thirteen original American colonies.

Bravo, Liberty Tree. I feel so patriotic right now.

And I might be craving a yummy feast from the Liberty Tavern right now too. Mmmmm…

Park March Through Magic Kingdom: Attractions

Magic Kingdom is my favorite park to go to at Walt Disney World. There is so much to do there, that it is borderline impossible to do it all in one day! (Which is why we suggest going to Disney during the “off season” because if you are there in a busy season, like the heat of the summer, there is no way you will be able to do everything Magic Kingdom has to offer in one day.)

Every single attraction at Magic Kingdom is fun and family friendly. Though some of the younger crew may not enjoy the drops of Splash Mountain, or the thrills of Thunder and Space Mountain, pretty much every ride in the park is accessible to visitors of all ages. My family and I have been on every ride there is, and today I would like to take a stroll through each land of Magic Kingdom and give you a summary of the attractions you’ll find there!

Buckle up and please keep all hands, feet, and Mickey Mouse balloons inside the vehicle at all times, because it’s going to be a wild ride as we tour all of the attractions in one post!

First up, The Walt Disney World Railroad. As soon as you enter the park, you will cross under the train tracks to this timeless locomotive. For some reason my family usually skips a ride on the Disney World choo-choo, but when we do ride, it is never a disappointment. Kick up your feet and relax as you circle the entire Magic Kingdom park, passing Indian encampments and Tom Sawyer Island, getting a backstage and close up view of rides like Splash and Thunder Mountain, all while listening to the commentary of a railroad tour guide. If you don’t want to stay aboard until you reach the front of the park again, you can hop off at the Frontierland station, right behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. For our purposes, though, lets keep on chugga-luggin’ back around to the front of the park.

2009

Once you exit the Walt Disney World Railroad, head straight for Cinderella’s Castle and take a hard left before you get there. First bridge to the left and straight on ’til Swiss Family Robinson will bring you right into Adventureland! Here’s what you can expect to find:

First up on the left, The Swiss Family Treehouse. Climb through and take a tour of the tree that the Swiss Family called home! It’s a fair amount of walking for just a lot of looking, but you gotta do it at least once…just to say you did it!

Keep walking and you will run smack into The Magic Carpets of Aladdin! What a fun ride. This Dumbo-type ride makes room for four passengers per carpet! And don’t think the guys in back are just along for the ride. Both front and back riders get a chance to control the carpet. One gets to control how high and low you ride, while the other controls a back and forth rocking motion. With the breeze in your face you can’t help but love this ride, and maybe break out into a chorus of “A Whole New World”. Okay, or maybe that’s just me.

2009

Right behind The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is none other than the Tiki Room, officially titled The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management. The past few times we have gone, it has been closed, to my husbands delight, due to construction. My mom, sister, and I, however, have been devastated, because though it can be a bit cheesey, we love this sing-song animatronic bird show, led by rivaling Iago and Zazu. We always leave with the theme song in our head…“Iiin the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room, In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room…” We definitely consider it a must do.

Next up, right across the way is the Jungle Cruise. Sit back, relax, and get a giggle from your [Ba-doom-chi!] silly ship captain as you set sail on a jungle safari boat tour. The animals are not real, but the good times are, if you get a good guide. And don’t worry…you won’t get wet in that threatening waterfall. I always worry about that for some reason…

As you exit the Jungle Cruise take another left and you’ll stumble upon a slightly unhinged, but dashingly good-looking, pirate named Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. This old-time favorite has actually been updated in recent years, so keep an eye out for Captain Jack in a couple of the scenes (ie. hiding behind some dress forms, popping out of a barrel, and drunkenly singing amidst his treasure right before you exit your boat). Also, brace yourselves for a deceivingly short drop in the dark!

Give a hearty wave goodbye to those swashbucklers, and get ready to say “Yeeehaw!” as you take a short walk and set foot inside of Frontierland!

Put your brave face on and get ready for the five story drop into the Laughin’ Place on Br’er Rabbit’s Splash Mountain. But there are more drops than one on this thrill seeker’s ride. Actually three previous and smaller dips prepare you for the big plunge you will take, and you just may be squealing right along with Br’er Rabbit, “Nooo! Pleease don’t throw me in the Briar Patch!” But if you are not worried, take a peak at the Castle from the top of the hill…what a view! Beware, front riders do get wet! And don’t forget to look for a picture of your big splash experience on the way out. It’s available for purchase and really does make for a great, memory prodding souvenir.

2009

If your legs aren’t wobblin’ yet, head right next door to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, more commonly called Thunder Mountain. Hop aboard a rickety and speedy runaway mine-train that is sure to please the coaster-lovers in your family.

To your left, you can take a trip over to Tom Sawyer Island and explore the world of an adventurous and often trouble-prone boy.

Next take a stroll across the long bridge and maybe stop and watch a few folks take their own plunge down Splash Mountain. It’s fun to see their faces and you can always tell first time riders because they always look surprised and are usually laughing hysterically.

If your feet need a rest, you can stop by the Country Bear Jamboree. It is another silly animatronic sing-song show. Honestly, your younger kiddos may love it, but we feel that it could use some updating and skip it. Yikes! Did I just say that? The show we actually prefer, is just down the street a bit as you enter into Liberty Square.

It may sound boring, but we find it very interesting, and the animatronics here are up-to-date and borderline unbelievable! Don’t miss a viewing of the Hall of Presidents! Watch a short video on a huge screen of our emotional U.S. history, and then be amazed as the curtain rises on all forty-four of our U.S. presidents standing before you. They really look like they are living and breathing as they take turns giving soul-stirring speeches about our country. I love to pay attention to the presidents that are not speaking. They occasionally nod their heads, tap their toe, or look around the room, using body languages true to their personalities! You have got to see it for yourself!

Take a right out of the theater and step into line at The Haunted Mansion. [Imagine my best spooky voice: “Oooooooo!”] I love to watch and talk to the scary cast members that lurk around this ride, uttering life-threatening orders like, “Move to the dead center of the room!” First get shoved into a seemingly exit-less room with spooky paintings of unlucky mortals, and then settle into a dark “Doom Buggy” and experience a smooth-riding tour of the Mansion, including the attic and graveyard grounds, all the while, being invited to make your stay more permanent… If you do so choose to stay mortal for another day, be on the look out for hitch-hiking ghosts to follow you home. Although this ride is dark and sinister, young kids can still ride without the fear of scary figures jumping out at them, or crazed corpses chasing them with chainsaws. This is Disney we are talking about, after all. It’s a tamed scary.

Take a left out of the exit cue of The Haunted Mansion and pass under an overhang, and you will be entering into the most Magic Kingdomy of all Magic Kingdom lands. Fantasyland! Fantasyland will undoubtedly be all of the youngsters favorite place to spend the day, possessing the most attractions, all of them kid friendly, but you may be surprised just how much you enjoy it as well!

Making our entrance from Liberty Square, the first attractions you will meet, one in front of the other, are It’s a Small World and Peter Pan’s Flight. Both of them must dos for Magic Kingdom first timers.

Take a boast cruise all around the world in It’s a Small World. Be amazed at the countless amount of animatronic dolls singing and dancing in their own country’s version of the head-sticking self-titled song, It’s a Small World. It’s already getting stuck in my head as I write this post. [Humming: Hmmm Hm-Hm-Hm Hmmmmm Hm-Hm!]

Grab a fist full of Pixie Dust and take flight with Peter Pan aboard an enchanted two to three seater pirate ship. You will literally fly high above London to the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning, where you will arrive in Neverland to watch Peter battle his nemesis, Capt. Jas. Hook!

Take a right out of Peter Pan’s Flight and take a spin on Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel, then fly with Dumbo on Dumbo the Flying Elephant!

2008

If you are not a sit-and-watch-a-show type person, and have skipped all of the previous shows, do not skip Mickey’s PhilharMagic located right behind Cinderella’s Castle! It is an amazing 3-D show where Donald gets himself into a little more trouble than he can handle when he swipes Mickey’s sorcerer’s hat before a PhilharMagic concert. Get swept away into one Disney movie classic after another, experiencing them larger than life! Please, please, please do not skip it. It is truly Disney magic at it’s finest!

Next, stroll along the string of attractions to your right, starting with Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Take heed, this one is a bit of a fright for the very young, since that ugly and evil Queen keeps popping out at you! Next up is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, where you will live out Christopher Robin’s storybook ventures inside of your own honey pot. Get blown away on a blustery day with Piglet, literally bounce around with Tigger, and float away in your honey pot during a big rain storm. This ride is so much fun.

Last but not least, before making your way out of Fantasyland into the world of the future, you have to take a spin on the teacups at the Mad Tea Party. The fun part for us is always choosing our favorite color cup to climb in to. I usually ride with my dad or brother-in-law, Zack, because the three of us love to spin, spin, spin, using the wheel in the center of the cup. The faster you turn the wheel, the faster you spin! Motion sickness prone people, such as my mom and husband, prefer to just enjoy the breeze and light, easy, and natural spin of the cup if you choose to ignore the wheel all together. Just know if you ever ride with me, wooziness may occur!

My bother-in-law, Zack.

2009

Take a left and it’s back to the future! I say that because Disney knows that Tomorrowland isn’t exactly the land of the future. No, we are not wearing spacesuits and riding in self-flying cars like the Jetsons. So they have put a retro spin on this fun and funky land and it has some pretty great attractions to boot.

First up as we enter through the backside, is the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway where you can drive your own racecar around the track. Straight ahead and to the left is the ever popular Space Mountain! Recently updated, this race through space rollercoaster is darker than ever as you speed through the stars and galaxies through twists and turns and dips. I have ridden it several times, and I still get a nervous stomach right before take-off. Eek!

Next, keep right and grab a seat inside the round theater of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress! This is such a cool attraction. Walt Disney himself, dreamed up and created this attraction and it premiered at the World Fair in New York City in 1964! People came from all around to see this animatronic time-line of technological progress in America. It now sits in Tomorrowland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and to this date has had more performances than any other stage show in the history of American theatre! So even if this doesn’t turn out to be your favorite attraction at Disney, you should definitely give it a chance…because “there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day!”

Right across the way from the Carousel of Progress, take a ride in an elevator up to the Astro Orbiter. Take flight in a spaceship on another Dumbo-type ride high above Tomorrowland. It will give you great views of the park and the Castle! But hold on tight! It seems to go a little bit faster than Dumbo the Flying Elephant and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

Alright all of you gamers, you gotta check out Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin! Get in a two seater space car and use your laser gun to shoot at targets and rack up points to beat your opponent beside you. There is a joy stick in the center of the dashboard that will spin your car three hundred and sixty degrees so you can aim at as many targets as you can as you glide from room to room. Hint: shoot at the targets farther away to get a higher score. This is another ride that will take a picture of you in the heat of your eye-on-the-prize moment. These pictures are also available for purchase at the end of the ride. It is really funny to see how serious people look when they get competitive.

My high score. That's right, 999,999.

Come out of Buzz Lightyear’s Sapce Ranger Spin and prop your feet up for some laughs at Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. This is a really cool attraction for any techie nerds out there like my hubby. Watch Mike Wazowski, along with several other giggle-worthy monsters, on a screen as they interact with you live! That is one thing I will never understand. How do they get cartoon characters to talk live to people sitting in the audience? Their mouths line up with what they are saying, and it is truly different every time! There are no secretly planted cast members in the audience playing a roll in the show. They interview and lovingly poke fun at guest in the audience to get you laughing so that you can help Mike meet his laugh quota for the city of Monstropolis before Roz gets a hold of him! It really is a funny show, but bring your sense of humor incase you are the lucky one to get made fun of!

Just across the walk way is Stitch’s Great Escape. This ride used to be Alien Encounter, which was a very scary experience! In it’s place is a very similar attraction, where Stitch breaks loose inside of a pitch black spaceship-esk room where you are sitting strapped in to your seat. Listen as he runs about the room causing ruckus and even rudely burping a taco burp in your face. Ugh!

Last but not least, make your way back to where the entrance of the Astro Orbiter was, but instead of getting on the elevator, glide up the moving sidewalk and hop in one of the always moving cars on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. This is my mom’s favorite ride. Each car seats four people, two sitting forward, two sitting backward, and coasts along a track that goes all throughout Tomorrowland. Sit back and relax and reminisce on the fun you had on each Tomorrowland attraction as you pass through, listening to the commentary as you go. Ahhh…makes me wanna take a deep breath and feel the breeze in my face now. You can also get some great views of the Castle as you ride along. It’s a nice breather after a long day.

Well, believe it or not, we are at the end of our journey! Wow, what a day! I told you it was hard to fit it all in. There is just so much to do at Magic Kingdom, and we haven’t even gone shopping, eaten a meal, or gotten a makeover!

Makover, you say?

Yup, a Magic Kingdom makeover, for boys and girls, alike! But more on all of that later this month!

Kick your sneakers off and put your feet up, it’s been a long, but fun, day in our Park March through Magic Kingdom!

 

 

 

The Park March Winner!

It’s Blogday Tuesday, and as promised last week, today marks the first post in The Park March!

I’ve been pretty impressed by the amount of views and votes I’ve received, but the park that won by a whopping 45% was…

[trumpet flare]

Whoo hoo! I had kind of suspected that Magic Kingdom would win, but hey, you never know, right? Either way, I am super excited to spend the month of March talking about everything from the history of Magic Kingdom, to the low down on all of the attractions, restaurants, shops, and more!

So let’s jump right in, shall we?

Magic Kingdom is pretty much considered the staple and icon park of Walt Disney World. Most non-Disney goers that talk to me about Walt Disney World usually confuse the park as “Disney World”.

“So which park is your favorite? Disney World?”

It’s an easy mistake to make! With Cinderella’s Castle standing at a stunning 189 feet right in the center of the attraction-driven, whimsical wonderland, it’s obvious that this is the park that Walt Disney wanted his whole “world” built around. Magic Kingdom was the first park to be built and opened on the massive piece of land that was first purchased by Walt Disney throughout the early 1960’s. It was to be a larger replica of his Disneyland park in California. Sadly, Walt died on December 15, 1966 and never saw the completed product of his dreaming, whose construction was then take over by his brother Roy O. Disney.

Magic Kingdom had it’s grand opening on October 1, 1971 with immediate success. By Thanksgiving of that year, they were already reaching full capacity during park hours! At that time, I believe admission was a pocket-breaking $3.50 for adults and $1.00 for children. However, park admission did not give you access to all of the rides and attractions like it does today. Only some of the attractions were included in that price and the others you had to pay anywhere from ten to ninety cents to ride, based on the category, or rating, of that ride. Admission to these rides were sold in booklets that contained seven to eleven ticket vouchers of various categories. Now, however, ticket prices are a bit more. Adults are charged $87.33 and children (ages 3-9) $78.81. I promise, though, the experience is worth the price!

 

Attraction ticket booklets.

Admission tickets today.

Magic Kingdom is accessible by car or by the Disney Transportation System, if you are staying at a Disney property hotel. If you use Disney transportation, you will be dropped off by bus right at the front gates of the park. If you choose to drive, parking is $14.00 per day.

There is a parking lot tram that you can ride if you are trying to spare your feet for all the walking you will do once inside the gates. The tram will drop you off at the Transportation Center, where you can take a cruise on a ferry boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the entrance of Magic Kingdom,

or you can hop a monorail to the gates. (The Transportation Center also offers monorail transportation to EPCOT.)

Once you reach the front of the park, you will be required to have any bags or coolers you have with you checked, and then you can present your ticket and pass through the turnstile into the world where dreams come true.

Want to know one of the best kept Disney secrets? Magic Kingdom actually sits fourteen feet above the original ground level. What’s underneath? Something that Walt Disney liked to call the Utilidors, or utility corridors. See, Walt thought that seeing Cast Members walk to and from their job positions ruined part of the magical experience that he was trying to set. His solution was to build an underground space where employees could get from one side of the park to the other without being seen by guests. Food service and garbage disposal all happen underground and out of sight, in addition to the attractions’ operating systems, and offices and cafeterias for the Cast Members. It’s really great. I have actually had the privileged to see it for myself, since I was once a Cast Member. But being an employee is not the only way to lay eyes on this astonishing secret. You too can venture below when you take the cast-guided Key’s to the Kingdom Tour.

Up above, Magic Kingdom is broken up into six lands: Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomrrowland. Each land offers an atmosphere worthy of it’s name with appropriately themed buildings, shops, rides, shows, and music. As you stroll through each land you can learn how to be a pirate, take a ride on a run-away train, hear a speech from our Founding Fathers, take a trip through outer space, and fly over London with Peter Pan all in one day!

Now that’s what Disney magic is all about!

Well, I could go on and on, but I think I need to save some surprises for later. 🙂

See you next Tuesday for more Magic Kingdom Park March fun!

 

 

The Park March: You Choose!

So I have kind of a crazy/fun idea.

This just so happens to be the last Tuesday in February. That is just insane to me. We are already almost three months into year 2011 and that means in three more months I will be planning a one-year Birthday Bash for my bubs. Wow.

Anyhoo, with March quickly approaching, I was thinking of having a running blog theme throughout the entire month. I’ll call it, The Park March! All month long, take a stroll with me through one of the four main Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and I will stuff you full of all of the history, information, facts, and tips I can muster.

Here’s the crazy/fun part.

YOU get to choose which park you would like that to be!

You can choose your favorite park! You can choose the park you have never set foot in! You can choose the park that you know nothing about! The point is YOU get to choose! So take a minute and vote for the park you would like me to blog about every Tuesday in the month of March!

Thank you so much for your vote!

Tell all of your friends to vote, as well! The poll will end one week from today. I look forward to bringing you tons of up-to-date information on the park that gets the most votes. Come back next Tuesday to see which park won and for my first post of The Park March!