Friday, October 3, 2014

Disney 2014: Magic Kingdom Day 1 (Part 1)

Here we go!  Now it is time for the fun to really begin!

We spent our first day at Magic Kingdom.  I followed our touring plan for this day almost exactly, and it worked beautifully.  I would highly, highly recommend making a plan before your trip.  We would see people standing at the front of the park (or in line at Starbucks) wasting valuable rope drop hours leisurely looking at their maps and discussing what they wanted to do first, as if this was the first time they had even thought about it.  I figure that you spend a lot of money to go to Disney World, so you might as well make the most of every minute that you have!  For me, that means avoiding standing in line as much as possible!

According to Touring Plans, the Magic Kingdom crowds were predicted to be a level 4 on a scale of 1 to 10.  After each day is over, Touring Plans posts a new number: the observed crowd level.  For this day, the observed crowd level ended up being a 3.  So that is a pretty light crowd level.  However, it still felt plenty crowded!  Oh, how I would hate to be there when it is actually crowded.

Waiting for the bus.  They were more excited than they look, I promise!!

We got to our bus stop at the resort just before 8:00 am.  A bus picked us up right away, and we were into the Magic Kingdom by 8:20 am.  This was the crowd in front of us at the right entrance at 8:20.  There was a similar crowd at the left entrance.

By 8:40, we were completely surrounded by people all around, and the area in front of the train station as completely filled.  At about 8:40ish, there is a brief welcome show in front of the train station.  The train comes in with a bunch of characters, and it is a fun way to start the day.

And at 8:45 they let us into the park!  Here's my attempt at taking a picture of the castle while walking with the crowd down Main Street.

Disney cast members direct traffic, so that everyone has to go the same way through Fantasyland.  If you go through the castle, then you have to walk all the way around the carousel to turn right and go to Princess Fairytale Hall, Mine Train, Winnie the Pooh, etc.  Almost everyone (except us) was trying to go to Seven Dwarves Mine Train or Anna/Elsa.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the Mine Train ride.  At 9:15 when we walked past, the wait time was posted at 60 minutes already.

With Anna/Elsa they were running a test with passing out Fastpass return times at the door.  So if you went first thing in the morning, they would let you get in line until it was full.  Once full, they would give you a ticket with a time telling you to return.  Once they ran out of tickets, they did not let anyone else get in line all day.  The line didn't look TOO crazy when we walked by at 8:45 (see picture below), but I know we walked by later in the morning, and there was a sign saying that Anna/Elsa were full for the day.  I'm not sure if this is going to be a permanent change or just something they were testing while we were there.  If you can't get a Fastpass for Anna/Elsa, I would recommend getting there first thing either to get in line or get a return time if you want to see them!
The line at 8:45 to meet/get tickets for Anna/Elsa.

We skipped over all these crowds of people and headed to the Winnie the Pooh ride first. I thought this would be a good tame way to introduce the girls to Disney's rides.  I was wrong.  Neither of the girls liked the Winnie the Pooh ride; they thought it was too scary.  They didn't cry or scream or anything, but both adamantly stated that they did not like it.  At this point, I was thinking we were going to be in trouble on this trip!  How much tamer does it get than Winnie the Pooh???

After Winnie the Pooh, it was just after 9:00.  We walked around the corner to get in line to meet Merida, who was schedule to start meeting at 9:15.  There were about five families in line in front of us.  And after we got in line, it seemed that the line grew really quickly!  Merida came out right at 9:15, and we were able to get her autograph, a picture and a hug.  (Note:  Audrey is the only one pictured with all the characters we met.  Isla enjoyed seeing them, but she did not want to personally interact with them or get her picture taken.  So when you see all these pictures of Audrey, just picture Isla smiling shyly behind the camera!)

Meeting characters was a big priority for us on this trip, as both of the girls really enjoyed seeing them.  And they loved getting their autographs! I  was impressed with the autographs, and how each character did a great job of signing their name in character.  So we headed up to Ariel's Grotto to meet Ariel next.  There was no line, and we only had to wait for one other family before it was our turn to meet Ariel.

Then we rode the Little Mermaid ride (officially called Under the Sea:  Journey of the Little Mermaid).  There was no wait here either, so we were able to just walk right on the ride.  Audrey loved this ride!  Isla liked it until we got to the Urusla part, and then she decided it was too scary, at least for that part of the ride.

After Little Mermaid,we walked over to Pete's Silly Sideshow to meet Minnie and Daisy.  Goofy and Donald also meet here, but we didn't go see them.  We got there right as they were opening up at 9:45, which was perfect.  We waited about 5 minutes, then it was our turn to see Daisy and Minnie.

After meeting them, we walked over to Dumbo.  This was our first time to try the Dumbo ride since it was moved and expanded.  They now have a playground waiting area, so you can play until it is your turn to ride.  Like a restaurant, they have a buzzer that buzzes when it is your turn.  However, with the low crowds, they weren't using the playground as a waiting area.  You could either go play for fun or go straight to the ride.  We opted to play first, and this was Isla's happy place!  She just loved this little slide and play area, and we returned here multiple times throughout our trip.

Then it was time to ride Dumbo!

We had a Fastpass to meet Rapunzel and Cinderella, so around 10:30 we walked over to Princess Fairytale Hall.  We had a very brief wait before it was our turn to see the princesses.

Then we took a quick ride on the carousel, but I don't think I ever took any pictures on the carousel. But it was a carousel, and pretty much just like every other carousel in the world!

At 11:00, it was time for our Fastpass for lunch at Be Our Guest.  Be Our Guest is a restaurant inspired by the Beast's castle in Beauty and the Beast.  It is the top place to eat at Magic Kingdom right now, and getting a reservation there is not easy!  For lunch it is quick service.  You used to be able to walk in and eat there, but the lines were so long that they have now changed it.  Right now, you can get a Fastpass for lunch if you have a resort reservation.  This is the easiest option, and it is what we did.  Otherwise, at 10:30 when you are at Magic Kingdom, you can go to the Be Our Guest restaurant and get a return time to come back and eat lunch.  By 11:00 on the day we were there, there were no more available times for the day.  So if you want to do this, I would get in line by 10:15 or so.  For dinner, it is table service.  You really have to have a reservation to get in here for dinner, and you need to make that reservation six months in advance!

We walked right into the restaurant with our Fastpass.  We had ordered our food in advance with the Fastpass, but they have some problems with the system right now, and our order was not there.  Not a big deal, someone helped us to reorder our food, and then they gave us a magical rose and told us to sit anywhere that we wanted.  The magical rose has a GPS system in it, so that the servers can find us in the restaurant and bring us our food.  Our MagicBands also have the same system, so they can find us that way too.    It is pretty cool!

There are three rooms where you can sit.  The ballroom:

The West Wing:

Or the Rose Gallery, which is where the girls wanted to sit.  I failed to get a picture of the whole room, but this is the centerpiece of the room.

Here comes our food!  They found us quickly and wheeled the food out in this fun cart.

Our food was pretty good.  The girls both had grilled cheese.  Daniel had the carved roast beef sandwich, and I had the carved turkey sandwich.  We both enjoyed our sandwiches, and they were huge!  I only made it through half of mine.

With the dining plan, adult meals always come with a dessert in addition to the meal and drinks.  So we got the Master's Cupcake and the Strawberry Cream cheese cupcake to share.

The Master's Cupcake is a chocolate cupcake filled and topped with "the grey stuff" which is from the song in the movie.  We tried the grey stuff, and it was delicious!

The Strawberry Cream Cheese cupcake was a little too sweet for my taste, but I think Daniel liked it.  The girls and I preferred the chocolate!

Our bill for our quick service lunch at Be Our Guest was $58.  This was our first meal on the free Disney dining plan, and it was a great feeling to not have to pay anything at all!  I'm sure I will talk much more about free dining, but I will start by saying:  I loved it!!

This brings us to the end of the first morning of our first day at Disney.  We packed a lot in to just one morning!  Next up:  the rest of our afternoon at Magic Kingdom and dinner at 1900 Park Fare.


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