Friday, June 14, 2013

Florida Day 2: Magic Kingdom-FantasyLand

Note: I decided to put the photos into collages in anticipation of making an album, so you might need to click to enlarge to really see the photos. I'm also planning to sprinkle in some TIPS, so if you're just interested in our family, you can skip the Tips and if you came here just to plan your own trip, you can just read the Tips! 
Ready to tackle Magic Kingdom
Friday morning, we got up early so we could be at Magic Kingdom before 9:00am.

TIP: Riding the Disney bus lets you forget the stress of driving, parking, riding the parking lot tram, and then taking a ferry or monorail into the park. It was pretty hassle-free, even considering you have to fold up your stroller and they can get crowded at popular times.

As you can see, the boys were ready to go in the double stroller we rented for the week.

TIP: After much research, I rented the City Mini Double Stroller from Kingdom Strollers. We picked it up from our hotel on the first day and could leave it there when we left. It was a very nice stroller--easy to push and navigate and the large canopies providing shade were awesome. It was also nice that Ryan could hop out himself instead of us lifting a tray every time. It came with a free cooler and rain cover as well. I paid $63 for 7 days (without insurance) and considering it was over $30/day at the parks, this was a great deal. I would definitely recommend!

Once inside, we stopped to get photos in front of the castle before everyone was hot and tired. We were surprised that it didn't seem that crowded and were glad we had arrived on time for the day.

TIP: If there are "must-have" photos, I recommend doing it at the start of the day when everyone is fresh and theoretically not sick of pictures yet, and there aren't as many people around to get in your picture.
Cinderella's Castle

We headed straight back to FantasyLand, grabbed a Fast-Pass for The Little Mermaid, and then got in line for Peter Pan's Flight, our first "must-see" ride.  Ryan loves Peter Pan and he got to ride in a "flying ship" with Grandpa and Grandma. He loved the ride and the rest of us were impressed as well with all the scenes and the smooth feeling of flying.

TIP: Pick your top ride (one that is very popular with others too) and go to it first thing in the day before the lines get too long.

From there, we could see that there was absolutely no line for It's a Small World. Since it was Verlyn and Sue's first Disney experience, we thought they should just be able to say they saw it. It ended up being a great ride for Ryan too because there was a lot to see yet it was very mild with nothing scary. Cohen ended up loving it too! He stood up on my lap and looked around the whole time!

It's a Small World

Next, we walked into the newly-opened section of FantasyLand and used our Fast Pass to get on Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid. I'm not sure Ryan has ever seen that movie before, but it was still a neat ride, especially when you seem to be under water with all the fish singing. I fed Cohen a bottle during this smooth ride and he even fell asleep for a bit.

The Little Mermaid
We couldn't skip the huge carrousel...that's always been a hit with Ryan, whether it's at the Tulip Festival or the zoo. He had a great time on this one and waved enthusiastically as he went around.


Next, we lucked out and happened to walk up to The Many Adventures of Winner the Pooh right as it was re-opening after being closed for most of the morning. This meant we had a minimal wait time and Ryan had fun going through Pooh's house, playing the honey pot drums, and touching the virtual honey wall. Cohen also hung out in the baby carrier during this time.

TIP: I borrowed a really nice Ergo baby carrier from a co-worker for this trip. You have to park your strollers outside the queue for many of the rides and this allowed me to carry Cohen much more comfortably and also made it safer and easier to get on and off rides.

This ride was a little more "active" than the others with some bumping, moving up and down, shaking of the car, etc. but it wasn't anything my motion-sickness prone self or my scared-of-escalators 3-year-old couldn't handle.

Winnie the Pooh
After this ride, we decided to head inside to an air-conditioned show of Mickey's PhilharMagic. It's a 12-minute 3D movie featuring many Disney character favorites. This was nicely done and the 3D part was pretty realistic as long as you had your glasses on straight. At the end, Donald Duck "flies" over the audience and when the lights come one, you can see his animatronic legs sticking out of the back wall. Ryan thought this was hilarious and yelled "Hey Donald! Need some help?"  It was a cute movie and a good chance to cool off.

TIP: FantasyLand has quite a few indoor/air-conditioned rides with queues in the shade, but if you're doing a lot outdoors, take a break by scheduling in an air conditioned show.
Ryan's 3D glasses

We completed our tour of Fantasyland by going to the classic Dumbo ride. Sue volunteered to go on this ride with Ryan and unfortunately, we didn't realize that the line actually went into the giant circus tent where there were some play activities and the short line we saw outside was just the people whose "buzzer" had just indicated it was their turn. The 35 minutes they waited in line was the longest line we waited in the whole trip, though, so it wasn't so bad! After the ride, there was a stationary Dumbo to take pictures in as well.

We decided to head back to the resort for lunch and a nap, which turned out to be a great plan. Ryan had been on 6 rides and seen a show by 12:30 and we wanted to quit before everyone was too overwhelmed. We snapped a few more pictures of the castle from different angles on the way out and caught the start of a street performance.

We caught a bus back to the resort and had a nice lunch of sandwiches, fruit, carrots, chips and milk from our grocery stock. Then, the boys all took naps while I started editing photos. We were all refreshed and ready to go back later at night.

Picnic on the bed
Midday nap
Waking up from nap (nice hair)
TIP: I can't recommend enough the midday break. First off, the lines are much shorter in the morning and evening.  Also, in the morning, the Fast Pass times aren't too far ahead that you have to trek back much later to use them (and sometimes they're gone by evening). Leaving the park at 12:30 and coming back at 5:30 also allowed us to skip the hottest part of the day and were also able to save a lot of money by not buying lunch in the park (we packed a few snacks, water, and juice boxes in a soft cooler that we kept in the stroller). If you have kids, I would NOT suggest trying to do Magic Kingdom all in one shot or you're just going to burn out and give up around 2:00 with hot, hungry, and tired kids. Also, we concentrated on one area of the park for the morning so we didn't have to do too much walking. Efficiency is key!

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