Sunday, March 10, 2013

The House of Mouse, continued

Cinderella's Castle
On Day 3, we'd originally planned to go to Hollywood Studios. However, we noticed that there was a high chance of rain in the forecast on the two later days of our trip that we'd planned to spend at the Magic Kingdom. Since the Magic Kingdom was probably the best fit for little man's age, and since we'd heard that there were many things to do at Hollywood Studios indoors, we decided to switch days. We were able to move our dinner reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern (albeit at a slightly later time) to Monday, so after a quiet breakfast in the club lounge, we were off.

I cannot emphasize to you enough the importance of getting to the park before it opens. We showed up about 20 minutes before opening, and we were able to get our bag checked, scan our park tickets and be in place for the short show they perform just outside the gate right before opening.

Plus, there is nothing like being one of the first people to walk into the Magic Kingdom on a gorgeous day. Music is playing, all of the staff are on the sidewalks, waving to you, and you really do feel as though you're in the happiest place in the world. In addition, you can head straight to your favorite rides and hop right on.

Up, up, and away!
We went directly back to New Fantasyland, taking time to admire the gorgeous mosaics in Cinderella's Castle along the way. We rode the Dumbo ride twice with no waiting, and then did the same with the Barnstormer roller coaster. What a thrill! Little man loved them both. Since the opening of New Fantasyland, there are two Dumbo rides, plus a circus-themed waiting area where you can play games and an adorable little splash pad which I imagine will be quite popular on steamy summer days. After that, we got a FastPass for the Winnie the Pooh ride and then stood in a 15-minute line for Peter Pan's Flight. (This was probably the longest line we stood in during the entire trip.) Both of these rides are indoor continuous motion rides, and they used some really cool effects. Clay loved sailing above the darkened city of London in our hot air balloon! After that, it was no waiting for It's a Small World (which, incidentally, I think is still completely wonderful, despite its age).

We rode Prince Charming's Regal Carousel and tried to pull the sword from the stone (right beside the carousel) before using our FastPass for Winnie the Pooh. Now that we'd used our outstanding FastPass, we could get another. We decided to swing by Tomorrowland and pick up a FastPass for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, one of the most popular rides in the park. And while we were already over there, we yukked it up at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. (This was a show very similar to Turtle Talk with Crush, where animated characters on stage actually interact with you in the audience. You could even text suggested jokes to a certain number and watch as they were used in the show. We sat right on the front row and had a marvelous time!)
A Disney classic

By this time, we were feeling our tummies rumble for lunch. We took a break at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, where we chowed down on burgers with all of the fixings while we listened to the musical stylings of an animatronic alien. Plenty of food here, and the burgers were yummy. I also really appreciated that Disney World offered fruit and carrot sticks as sides with kids' entrees. It kept everything from being fries and nuggets constantly.

Once we'd enjoyed lunch, it was time to cash in our FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear. What fun! The ride puts you in a moving car with two guns and a control that swivels the car. Hubs and Clay used the guns to shoot at alien targets as we whizzed through space, and I helped out by turning the car in the direction necessary to maximize our alien casualties. Once we finished up at Buzz Lightyear, we couldn't resist riding the tea cups! We loved them, then hit the carousel one more time, then headed in to catch the Mickey's Philharmagic show. This was one of my favorite 3D shows in Disney World, and Clay really loved it, too.
Making friends with Mickey and Minnie

After all that activity, we were POOPED! We headed back to the hotel for a rest before our dinner reservations.

After we'd relaxed a bit, we knew it was time to get back to the Magic Kingdom. On our way in, we stopped at the Town Square Theatre to meet Mickey Mouse. (Clay had been wanting to thank him for his ears!) There was almost zero wait, and Minnie happened to be there, too! We had a quick meet and greet and a photo op before moving on.

Our dinner reservations were for 7:30 at Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square. We hadn't been to that part of the park yet, so it was fun to explore. We had some time before dinner, so we took the time to see The Hall of Presidents Show. (I thought the animatronic presidents were positively uncanny. I can't imagine the time and effort it took to create an animatronic likeness of EVERY. SINGLE. President.) When the show was over, we still had a half hour or so before dinner, so we decided to take a ride on the Liberty Belle riverboat. The ride was short (about 20 minutes), pleasant, and gave us a quick preview of a part of the park we hadn't been to yet - Frontierland. The riverboat lets you out right near the entrance to the Haunted Mansion ride. Since we had a little time, we filed right in. Clay was a little bit scared at first (which probably wasn't helped by the fact that, by now, it was dark outside.). We assured him that the ghosts he was seeing weren't real, and by the end of the ride, he was enjoying everything.

Afterwards, we saw the very end of the Electrical Parade before being able to cross the street and sit down to a delicious dinner. While we ate, we could hear the fireworks going off (probably the only reason we were able to get a reservation at such short notice), but we didn't mind. We had another 5 days to catch the night show.

Bright lights!
Hubs thought that dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern was one of the best meals we had at Disney World, and I'm inclined to agree with him. First of all, the portions are generous. The meal is served table side, but family style. Big bowls of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, dressing, and more are served alongside a platter of meats (turkey, beef, pork, etc.) and a big basket of bread. For dessert, we had a delicious spiced cake with dried fruit topped with ice cream. Our server was a complete delight.

After dinner, we headed for the park exit. Just as we were getting towards the end of Main Street, though, the Electrical Parade came by for a second showing. We had a prime seat for the event, took tons of great pictures, and breezed out of the park and onto the shuttle when it was over.

No comments: