On Saturday, May 28, after a long, tiring day of traveling the day before, we set our alarm for 6:45 a.m. to be at the bus stop by 7:15 headed for the Magic Kingdom. My family was up and out and headed to the bus stop at that time but we had planned to see Dan and Katrina’s family at the bus stop as well. By the time we boarded the bus at 7:19, it was obvious we wouldn’t be on the same schedule today. Andy knocked on Dan & Katrina’s door to check on them and they were still asleep. They hadn’t set an alarm because they were exhausted and needed the rest so we were off to begin our Magic Kingdom day without them. Although I’m fine touring with just my family, I regretted that their family wouldn’t get to benefit from empty-ish parks this morning, especially since we were starting in Fantasyland and they have a 2-year-old that would love it.
So after arriving at the Magic Kingdom and watching the rope drop ceremony (probably the best of any of the parks), we were headed into the parks for the first time during our trip. We walked straight to the back to begin the Fantasyland rides and for the first hour, this section was almost empty.
We skipped Dumbo (should ride it first since the lines build up fast but my kids didn’t want to ride it) and got started on Peter Pan, Pooh, Snow White, Mad Tea Party (tea cups) and It’s a Small World. By 8:45, we had finished up Fantasyland which was still mostly empty.
Then we headed to Haunted Mansion and chose the line with the scenic route which contains lots of really cool interactive activities. We proceeded to the ride which had almost no wait. I was excited to see the updates and other than getting stuck for several minutes, this became a fave of our family.
If we’d been with Dan and Katrina at this point, we would have ridden some coasters while Payton watched their 2-year-old but we adjusted that plan and headed for Pirates of the Caribbean instead. This is Blake and my favorite ride at Disneyland and since Payton is a huge POTC movie fan, I thought this could be a family favorite as well.
Notsomuch. Surprisingly. Payton just didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped and Blake (and I) really like the Disneyland one better.
Then it was a ride on the corny, corny Jungle Cruise. I’m always amazed at the new ways to be corny the skippers come up with on this ride.
At this point, Dan and Katrina were in the parks and had been to Fantasyland for a bit so we made plans to meet by Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.
One little issue today: Splash was closed. We got FASTPASSes for Big Thunder Mountain and then went with their family to ride Haunted Mansion. When it was finally time to use our Big Thunder Mountain FASTPASSes, Payton took 2-year-old William to go play while the rest of us rode the coaster (much more fun that I’d remembered).
Side note: you may notice that I sound like a first time visitor when I talk about riding some of the bigger rides. Although I’m a huge fan of thrill rides, the last couple of trips I’ve just done whatever Blake wanted to do which meant no thrill rides. Now that he’s older and willing to ride them, I get to ride them too. No regrets doing what he wanted to do – he was only little for such a short time.
We headed for lunch at Columbia Harbor House which I’d never had but only heard good things about. Having the option to eat some great fish isn’t all that common at these quick service Disney restaurants. The tip to sit upstairs was a good one. It’s really quiet and spacious up there. After lunch, our 2 families split off to do our own things.
My family headed to Hall of Presidents – something I hadn’t done since I was a kid and was super excited to see again because 1.) our kids were excited and 2.) animatronic technology has improved with each new president they’ve added.
We really liked seeing this show. Very moving to see all of our “presidents” speaking about our country. Blake didn’t think the Pres. Obama animatronic was that much improved over the previous ones though.
At this point, it was probably around 1:00 or 1:30 and theoretically the time that we were going to leave for an afternoon break, especially after last night’s late night and today’s early start buuuut…
We headed to Tomorrowland instead. We rode Buzz and Carousel of Progress (thanks to this attraction, Blake routinely sings “It’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow..” now) and saw Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor for the first time which was probably 1 of our fam’s top 5 fave things of the week. We finished up with an easy ride on the Peoplemover and then decided to head out for a break.
At this point I considered the day to be a success. We’d ridden way more than I ever expected and had so much fun doing it. But that was all about to change….
I love the idea of afternoon breaks and we’ve always done them but it was obvious that was not what was going to make my family happy on this trip. Although Andy and Payton and I all snoozed for various lengths in our hotel room, Blake was antsy and irritated that we were there and then when Andy and Payton woke up, they were groggy and tired from their afternoon nap. All 4 of us headed out for a dinner reservation in the Mexico section of the World Showcase at EPCOT.
This planning was not smart on my part. I was asking my family to go past the Future World section of EPCOT and head to Mexico for dinner. Although the kids had known this plan for months, psychologically it was just too much, particularly because Future World is 1 of Blake’s favorite things in all of Disney World.
We irritatingly made our way to our restaurant and managed to have some really great food at La Hacienda de San Angel. After having the great food and a great waitress (time to break out the thesaurus – just said great 3 times in 2 sentences), we all seemed to be in a better mood and we headed out to explore the Mexico, Norway and China pavilions of the World Showcase.
We rode the rides in Mexico and Norway (our first time! almost everything in the World Showcase was our first time) and explored China. The kids looooved China. We saw the Reflections of China Circlevision movie and the kids became obsessed with some marionettes they had spotted for sale. They made a note of this (literally, Blake wrote it in a notepad) so they could decide if this is how they wanted to spend their Disney gift card money.
It was almost 9:00 at this point and I knew the Illuminations show was about to begin. We weren’t planning to stay for it and compete with the crowds afterward so we headed out of EPCOT but with one stop before we go: Spaceship Earth (the golf ball).
We’d never been in it and there was no line so we got on for a ride. Blake and I sat together and Andy and Payton were in the car in front of us. When the screen in our ride vehicle asked what language we wanted to use, Payton chose French because she speaks a bit of French and thought it would be fun to hear the ride in a language she’s trying to learn. After this looonnggg but interesting ride, I heard the finale of Illuminations (didn’t know Spaceship Earth would be the same length as Illuminations) so we scurried quickly to the bus stop and we were finally headed back to our hotel.
Our next day was at Animal Kingdom and the plan was to meet at 8:00 for the bus. A misstep in the morning lead to a day that didn’t exactly go as planned.