Thursday, September 17, 2015

Disney 2015 - Part Three!

Somehow we managed to pry ourselves out of bed for the very last park day of our trip. I'm thinking our strategy to save the best for last totally worked, because only the land of fantasy, rides, and dole whips could have motivated us to be up BEFORE the sunrise on this day!

One of the things I always try to do on a Magic Kingdom day is to book a pre-park opening breakfast at one of the restaurants. That allows us to walk down Main Street and see the castle (and take pictures, of course!) before the throngs of people come parading in. When we went last year there were only two options at which to do this: The Crystal Palace (which we did) or Cinderella's Royal Table. Thankfully this year they added a non table service option. The Be Our Guest Restaurant now serves breakfast, and that is amazing, because we are now able to get into the park early and only use a quick service credit on our dining plan, saving the precious table service credits for a more substantial meal later in the day.

We arrived at the ticket and transportation center so early this morning to make it to our reservation that the ferry wasn't even operating for the day yet. So we hopped aboard the monorail for the first time ever!

When we arrived at the gates of the Magic Kingdom we veered left to find the people with the clipboards who would allow us to enter the parks early. I really recommend doing this! If you are able to be a morning person for ONE day in your life...a day in the Magic Kingdom is a great day to do it. :)

We walked into the town square and down Main Street while the morning mist still settled on the freshly placed pumpkins and scarecrows that had only just been displayed days before to herald the start of the Fall season. The only downside was that our camera lens was still foggy when our first castle pictures were snapped! (This is a chronic problem for us in the Florida mornings. Pro-tip: Get out your camera several minutes before you want to take your first picture to make sure the lens has time to clear!)

Thankfully, just a little further up the street we were able to get some great photos.

I was really excited to try breakfast at Be Our Guest. I love the atmosphere here! It's fantastic theming for a quick service spot. When you realize that this is Disney's equivalent to say...Wendy's in the real world...that's pretty spectacular, haha. (Be Our Guest does turn into a table service spot for dinner, where the Beast greets guests! One of these days we will have to try it out.)

If I'm being honest, the food for both breakfast and lunch here doesn't get more than about a B- from me. It's really nothing special, even if it does sound fancy in the menu. It's the ambiance that keeps us coming back!

After we finished oohing over the falling snow in the windows and taking pictures with gargoyles, we immediately made a beeline for the first ride of the day, and that's gotta be Peter Pan! It's a tradition now, and for good reason. Peter Pan is a super popular ride and the line builds fast!

We continued our morning by making our way around Fantasyland. We met Ariel in her grotto, which is so much fun, because she is in her fins!

We rode the Little Mermaid ride next before heading over to Dumbo. Once again our kids loved the play area and could have spent all morning here. It's kind of funny, actually. We take them all the way to Disney to ride the rides, see the shows, meet the characters...and they really get the biggest kick out of the pools and playgrounds. :)

I was tickled pink that Charlotte was going to get her first ride on Dumbo. What is it about that flying elephant that makes it so iconic Disney? But seriously, what a charmed life this baby lives! Riding Dumbo at six months old...and she rode it at negative six months old, too, when she was in my belly. Haha.

I can hear the music in my head right now. :)

All three of our oldest kids tested their bravery on this trip by riding a rollercoaster...two of them for the first time.  Last year Gracie chickened out at the last minute when it was time to ride Goofy's Barnstormer. Evelyn LOVED it, but Grace wasn't quite ready yet. I was proud of all three of them for giving it a shot this time! Eric took Reagan first (Reagan just met the height requirement) and he...didn't like it. Haha. Then I went with Gracie. She...didn't like it. :D Neither one of them are fans of fast curves and dips! Evelyn, however, loved it once again! She is our thrill seeking child.

We had a fast pass for the Jungle Cruise, so soon we found ourselves hiking over to Adventureland. We didn't get to ride this last year, and I was happy that we were able to do something the whole family could enjoy together for the first time. The Jungle Cruise is such a classic to the parks, and we totally cracked up at the cheesy jokes and storyline as we rode through the jungles of Disney World. Thank goodness we had a fast pass for this ride. Even with the low crowds of September, there was already a 40 minute wait by the time we got there. It's a popular one!

The only random picture I seem to have from the Jungle Cruise. Pro-tip #2 - Don't ever leave picture taking responsibilities to the man in your group. :)

It's amazing how quickly a day can go by here! By the time we were done cruising we were ready for lunch. We made a stop at our favorite quick service lunch spot in the MK, the Columbia Harbor House. After filling our bellies we checked out Mickey's PhilharMagic attraction, which is a 3-D show that our kids LOVE. Okay, Eric and I really like it, too. :) At some point we threw in a ride on It's a Small World. And we made our way down the street we noticed there was a party happening on Main Street. What was going on??

Turns out there was a parade that I knew nothing about, haha!  This wasn't the usual afternoon parade, but a smaller one...I believe it was a Disney Junior parade, and even when I try to google it I don't find much. Was this just a random thing they did? I don't know! Maybe someone smarter than me can fill me in. :) Anyway, we hurried over and caught the end of the fun!

By now we were starting to grow a bit weary, but we didn't want the fun to end. We headed over to Tomorrowland to ride the People Mover and relax a bit. Just as we were getting off, Eric spotted something across the way that he knew Reagan would get a big kick out of! (Thank goodness for the aerial view we had on the People Mover, or we would have missed it!) We scurried to get in line, and the whole time we were standing there Reagan had no idea what was going on.

It wasn't until we were only minutes from our turn that he saw what we were doing!

We had a great meet before calling it an afternoon and heading back to the resort for a refreshing break for our night ahead.

By now the ferries were up and running, and we enjoyed the cool breeze as we made our way over the water and to the parking lot. The ferry is just another ride to our kids!

That evening we had a reservation at Chef Mickey's for dinner. This was a very specific request of our children, and it was the very first reservation I secured when I knew we were bringing them along.

The character interaction is great here, the kids love waving their napkins over their heads when the music starts up...but the real reason why Evie wanted to come....

The Mickey truffles. :)

Chef Mickey's is the perfect place to visit on a Magic Kingdom day, because it's right across the way at the Contemporary Resort...within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom. A godsend about the resort restaurants with a young baby is that you can much more easily bring a pumpkin seat along. (Particularly if you are traveling with your own car.) The characters had fun pointing out our sleeping little one! I was relieved to have someplace to put our child who is still too little for a restaurant high chair. Gave mom and dad's arms a break! :)

Donald says, "Shhh." :)

After this it was time to hop back to the Magic Kingdom for our last evening. Eric took the girls on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with a fast pass, first thing.  We could have done a rider swap here, but with our experience the day before in Epcot I said, "Forget it!" I was totally fine with letting Eric do the honors while I waited with a sleepy Reagan and Charlotte. Once again, I was totally proud of Grace for trying out this ride...even after she knew she didn't like the Barnstormer. And once again....

Ahahaha. Poor thing! I swiped these pictures from the photo pass site. :D

We definitely toned it down after this with nice evening rides on the teacups and then on Cinderella's Carousel.

Charlotte loved the teacups! She was laughing and making her cute baby growly noises as we got off. Reagan didn't want the fun to end, so we turned around and got right back on with no wait. I'm telling you...September is the time to go!

By now the Main Street Electrical parade was starting, but we had other plans! We made our way through the giant crowds who were enjoying the evening festivities to make it to Adventureland. It was here that we discovered an amazing secret!

Our mission: DOLE WHIPS!

This year everyone got their OWN. ;)


But the secret was what was going on near us as we were waiting for our treats. Right next to Aloha Isle is a seating area, which was completely empty. And what went right by that seating area? The Main Street Electrical parade. The same parade that literally thousands of people were cramming onto Main Street to see went right by this nearly deserted spot in Adventureland. So! Next time, we are going to go a bit earlier, get our snacks, and take a seat to enjoy the show!

Just like last year, we slowly navigated back through the Magic Kingdom with our yummy treats as the rest of the world was lining up for fireworks. Since we have one child who HATES fireworks (Reagan), one small baby that was sleeping, and one child who desperately wanted to see them (Grace), we made a compromise. We made our way through the gates, and just outside of the MK we turned around and watched the show. It was enough of a distance that Reagan wasn't as bothered, but Grace got to see all of the pretty explosions. :)

They even pipe in the music out here!

As we rode the ferry back on this late evening, I couldn't help but sigh in complete contentment. Yes, it was almost time to say goodbye to this happy place. But since we hadn't anticipated being back this year at all, all I could feel was so grateful for where I was and for the time I was having with my family! We'd had one heckuva trip.

But it wasn't quite over yet. There were still a few more plans for our next day! Stay tuned....


Heather said...

Man, you make me want to go now!

Cassie said...

i just love this place. so so so much!!

Adrien said...

Oh, Heather. Don't tempt me to talk you into it. Haha. I mean...I don't want to talk you into something before you're could seriously do Disney so inexpensively before Kinley turns 3! ;) If you stayed at a Value resort during free dining...holy cow. You'd be paying under $100 a night for your room and then for park tickets just for you. Food and snacks are free and so is everything Kinley does. Of course, the Disney portion would be super affordable, but then there's always the fact that you have to GET there, haha. So yeah, next should go. :D


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