Florida Vacation Day 6: Magic Kingdom, Part 1

Well, as it often does, life got in the way of me finishing the entire week of my Disney memories posts quickly. But I'm back! So here we go again down (not-so-distant) Memory Lane!

 I think it’s safe to say that everyone was really excited about our first day at the Magic Kingdom. We were up and out the door early again, everyone in Mickey Mouse apparel. We parked right around the time it opened, but we didn’t realize or remember that we’d have to take either a Monorail or Ferry over to the actual park. We had no idea which would be faster, but it looked like the Ferry was loading and we didn’t know if the Monorail would be as easy with all of our strollers, so off to the Ferry we went. It was a nice quick trip, and we were able to start the sunscreen process there, so that was a little timesaver. Blog01 Blog02 Once we were in the park, we headed down Main Street toward Fantasyland. It was so cool to see Cinderella’s Castle right up close as we walked by! As we rounded the corner to the back of the castle, WHO did we see but Cinderella's Fairy Godmother herself, with basically no line at all! Mollie was not too sure about her, but Natalie went right up when it was her turn. Mollie will still tell you that she DID see the Fairy Godmother, that she waved to her from the stroller - all true, just funny! Blog03 Once we were in Fantasyland, we tried to come up with a better game plan than we had at Epcot. The guys headed over to get Fast Passes for Peter Pan’s Flight, and ended up with bonus FPs for Mickey’s PhilharMagic. At that point, we didn’t realize that you could only have one FP out at a time (although the PhilharMagic was a legit bonus FP), so the guys went to get Fast Passes for the Winnie the Pooh Ride too. They asked a technician who was there about why they couldn’t get another FP, and he explained it, but then printed FPs for them anyway! Score! Blog04 So with three FPs waiting to be used, we got in line for the Teacups! That kind of tilt-a-whirl type ride has always been my favorite, plus, it’s such an iconic Disney ride, so it was a perfect place to begin! Blog05 Next up was another iconic ride – Dumbo! I was not at all sure if Mollie would be ok with it since it’s basically the same ride as the Dr. Seuss One Fish Two Fish ride, but she said she wanted to ride it and Brad went with her this time, so I think she felt more secure with Daddy. Natalie had more fun on each ride that we went on, although she’s not quite as adventurous as she would like you to think! It’s very cute though.Blog06 After that, we were off to use our Fast Passes. First up was the Peter Pan ride. I loved it so much! I am really leery of most rides – I hated rides when I was younger and I certainly hated people trying to force or trick me onto going on them, thinking they knew better than I did (which happened PLENTY). Now I still don’t like them much, but I was so pleasantly surprised at Disney because they were all about a FUN experience instead of a thrilling or scary one! Anyway, I think that’s why I have a special place in my heart for Mollie’s unease with rides. I skipped as many Six Flags & Frontier City rides as I could, and I think I turned out JUST FINE. ;) So, I have vowed since I was little that I’d never even slightly attempt to make my kids ride a single ride in their lives if they didn’t want to! But – back to Disney! Hahah I loved the feeling of floating around in a sailboat over the Peter Pan story, and the girls loved it too! After Peter Pan, we headed over to wait in line for Winnie the Pooh. Even the Fast Pass line was rather long, and everyone was so drained. It was nice to get into the main part of the wait where it was dark and cool. The ride was cute – we rode through as families in cars that looked like pots of honey. However, it had to do with the “Blustery Day” story, and it was actually a little unnerving for our girls at a few points. They did totally fine with it, and definitely had fun when it was over. The ride let out into a gift shop, and they wanted to get Pooh stuff, but we (quite easily) convinced them that they might want to wait until later in the week and maybe get something somewhere that they had more selection. Our next attraction was Mickey’s PhilharMagic. We didn’t expect much, or at least I didn’t, but we were looking forward to getting to sit down in a comfy seat indoors with air conditioning. The 3D show was a lot cuter than any of us expected, I think! There were also a few (not scary) surprises that made it even more fun.

We brought sandwiches into the park for lunch that day – we got really great premade subs at the SuperTarget the night before and had those – MUCH cheaper than the park and still really good! After lunch, we headed over to Tomorrowland. We intended to go to the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, but decided to give the Stitch's Great Escape ride a try first since the boys were sleeping. Matt and I waited with the sleeping boys and Mollie since she wasn't tall enough to go. Mollie was in a bad mood and wasn't minding very well. I was really hoping that the ride would be done soon (they'd been gone a while and it was supposed to only have a 5 minute wait). All of a sudden, Brad and Natalie were back. He said that Natalie was just getting too anxious and upset by the videos that they play while you wait in line for the ride. Well, not too much longer, and here comes Sheila with Kara and Elizabeth. Sheila said that Kara was screaming like she had never heard her scream before, and Elizabeth was bawling. She had to ask someone who worked there to let them out of the ride. We expected to see Lisa, Eric, & Aubrey come out any second, but they actually stayed for the whole ride. Aubrey didn't like it at all, but Lisa was able to keep her calm. I can't believe that a ride for kids would be so scary! Definitely the worst part of our trip!

After that crazy experience, we decided to leave Tomorrowland and try to find Rapunzel to get her autograph. We went to the location the app on my phone listed, and found nothing. One of the Disney Cast Members told us that as of that week, Rapunzel was only doing her Meet & Greet at the front of the park and that she would actually be in the parade now, starting in a little less than an hour. We were heading toward the front, when we ran right into a show going on at the Castle! We were off to the side of the show, not directly in front, but the kids still had so much fun watching Minnie, Mickey, their friends and some of the princes and princesses dancing!Blog07
When the show was getting close to being over, we decided to go a little further toward the front and get a good seat for the parade. We were so hot, and Brad suggested getting ice cream, so the guys walked down to the ice cream shop and brought back cool treats. The girls and I got cups of ice cream, but theirs had a small waffle cone and two chocolate cookies that made it look like Mickey. So cute! I wasn’t sure what to expect from the parade, but it was GREAT! The girls got to sit on the curb, and so many characters came right up to them for high fives or hugs or shaking hands! Unfortunately, after Natalie’s experience at the Stitch ride, she was scared by Stitch coming up and wouldn’t agree to sit at the curb any more. :-/Blog08 After the Parade, it was time for the BIG kids to ride Space Mountain. We went back and forth about whether Natalie & Kara would be ok on it and eventually decided not to chance it. That proved to be a good decision! Lisa and I waited with all of the kids while Brad, Eric, Matt, & Sheila rode the ride. They enjoyed it, but definitely thought it would have been too much for any of the girls. During the wait, Mollie told me she had to go potty, so I took her into the restroom that was really close by. She had the third of her insane meltdowns in there. She was the one who told me that she had to go, but then she didn’t want to and then she wouldn’t say she was done (or not done, she was just ignoring me). Then she started screaming and crying and it was like I couldn’t get her to snap out of it. It had happened to me a couple times before over the week, and that’s one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever dealt with (second ONLY to Natalie’s one horrible, terrible, awful, no-good, very bad fit in Target last summer). I finally had to carry Mollie out screaming. Good times. Anyway, when I got back to the bench where Lisa and the kids were waiting, I saw my sweet Natalie, cowering behind our stroller, hunched down as much as she could. I looked at Lisa, then followed her eyes to see what Natalie was hiding from. Who else but Stitch?! I have to say, again, I’m so frustrated with Disney for attempting to kid-ify a scary ride!!

We decided to head back home since we located Deb (who had taken Al to dialysis and her cell phone was not working). On the way out, we saw that Mickey was there at the front signing autographs in his Dressing Room, and the wait was estimated to be only 10 minutes. The wait was indoors and the cool felt wonderful! The Cast Member in charge of the line was entertaining and loved our big family of girls with our two little guys added in. They definitely make you feel like you’re backstage waiting to see a BIG STAR for this experience. We got into Mickey’s Dressing Room which the kids thought was SO cool – Natalie and Mollie still talk about it and describe it. Mickey started signing autographs and we gathered in and out of groups for lots of photos with the Mouse himself. We so hoped that Minnie would be with Mickey, but we weren’t sure what to expect. To our disappointment, she wasn’t. At one point, Mollie somberly said something that sounded very much like, “We LOVE Mickey,” to which Brad replied, “Yes, we love Mickey, don’t we?” Then she repeated what she said, as if she were gently correcting him and I realized what she really said was, “Only ONE Mickey.” I almost laughed out loud. When she sees Mickey & Minnie together, she always gets excited and says, “TWO Mickeys!!” So she was disappointed that she wasn’t meeting Minnie. I just let Mickey think Mollie loved him though. No use in disappointing the guy, right?Blog09 After one of our longest park days, we headed back to the vacation house. We thought surely the girls would nap, but they didn’t. They all wanted to play and swim, so we obliged them. After having so much fun at the afternoon parade, we started thinking about the night parade and the fireworks and how awesome it must be. Since the kiddos didn’t nap, we asked Al & Deb if it would be ok if we put them all to bed and then left them with the sleeping grandkids while we all went back to the park for the nighttime festivities. They were quick to agree and said we didn’t even need to put them to bed, but we knew that would be easiest, so we got them cleaned up, pajama-ed, and in bed and raced to the park.

It was a pretty weird feeling being just the six of us with no kids. None of us could remember the last time that happened! Actually, I’m wondering if that has ever happened before since Kara was born before Lisa & Eric’s wedding! We decided to give the monorail a try, and were glad to learn for the future that we could push strollers on. So the six of us were off for a kid-free adventure! We go places without the girls from time to time, but it was an incredibly strange feeling for me, anyway, being there with no stroller, no bag, no cooler, no kids to keep an eye on, and heck, I didn't even bring my purse! Crazy! We raced into the park and managed to find a spot right close to the entrance where we had an almost completely unobstructed view of the parade - which hadn't even started yet! It was so much fun! Disney just seriously knows how to do everything perfectly! We'd been there a couple minutes when one of us mentioned that the girls would probably enjoy it. After about 10 minutes, Sheila and I looked at each other with the same thought: We HAD to bring the girls back the next night!

Once we decided to bring the girls back the following night, the decision was made to take advantage of the lack of lines in the rest of the park and ride some rides that the kids wouldn't like. We had fun almost running through the park to try to get to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. So, full disclosure here: I am not big on thrill rides. Like, not.at.all. But I tried to just not think about it and know that this is not real, it's just a ride, etc. Except the problem isn't really that I'm easily scared. It's that I'm easily startled...and I'm always afraid that I'm going to scream out and embarrass myself. So I was pretty sure that there was going to be a high chance of that happening on this ride. So I snuggled up close to Brad in our boat, grabbed his hand (probably cut off his circulation, too, sorry about that, hubby!) and we set off. Brad kept saying that he didn't think I had to worry until the end, but I was ON GUARD for the entire ride. It was so incredibly well-done and interesting, but in the back of my mind, I totally expected something to startle me. We loved how Capt. Jack Sparrow was part of the scenery - they did an amazing job of making him look completely lifelike as well as exactly like Johnny Depp! It was fun trying to see where he'd pop up next. And before you knew it, the ride was over - and there wasn't anything to scare or startle us! The part that Brad remembered had apparently been changed at some point along the way, even! I still don't think that the girls would have enjoyed it - it's so creepy and ominous and there are some things being shot at your boat in some parts. But I'm so glad that I rode it! Wish I could do it again and relax!

The next stop on our adults-only Disney night was The Haunted Mansion. Now here, I thought - Disney is not going to fool me! This place MUST have scary things that jump out at you! So again, I was ON GUARD, cutting off Brad's circulation again. The ride was cute and interesting, but mainly silly and definitely not scary at all for adults. Again, I wished I could have ridden it another time so that I could relax and enjoy it more.

When we exited the Haunted Mansion, the fireworks were just beginning, so we stood there in Liberty Square, watching them. Again, I'm sure the girls would not have enjoyed it, but we sure did! I love fireworks, and as usual, Disney does not disappoint! When the fireworks were over, we made our biggest mistake. We didn't weave back through the "lands" to get back to the front, we followed like sheep along Main Street. DOH! It took us forever and ever and ever and everandeverandEVER to get out of the park. Totally ridiculous! We kept weaving in and out of people, and I feel certain that helped, but still: FOREVER. THAT was definitely not something we could risk doing with the girls, but thankfully, we were FREE of kids, strollers, bags, and all of the usual trappings of parenthood, so we made it out as quickly as we could while forming the perfect plan for the next night. We were in line for another eternity waiting on a monorail, and then had to crowd on like sardines - but at least it was cool, and even though the end was sort of miserable, it was all worth it! :)

Instagram Wrap-Up: RoadTrip4 Next On Deck: Another Day at Magic Kingdom & breakfast with the princesses!

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