Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 4 - we visit the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT

8/25/11

Well, the wedding is over, and we have just two more days to do the parks, or so we think. Today we are heading over to the Magic Kingdom in the morning and then over to EPCOT later in the day. The EPCOT trip today is so that my son and daughter-in-law can have a nice dinner by themselves in France. We will watch my grandtwins so they can do that.

Usually we don't get an early start on park days since we are here often enough to not need to do it all every day in a park, but we get a mid-morning start today, which is early for us now. When we arrive in the lobby and head out to get the bus to the Magic Kingdom, it starts to rain very heavily, so we head back into the lobby to wait it out. We look at the time and see that it is 10:00 AM. Had this been one day earlier the wedding would have had to been moved indoors. Happily it is not, and also happily after about 10 minutes the rain stops and we continue our trip to the Magic Kingdom.

Once inside, my wife wants to get fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear so we head into Tomorrowland and do just that. Once done, we head over to my all time favorite attraction, The Haunted Mansion. This is almost always what we do first when we arrive here, but today there is even more of a reason. Since the last time I was here, they updated the queue area and there is now an interactive queue in the graveyard as well as a more direct queue. Naturally I wanted to see the new area. While I usually am a bit of a traditionalist, I liked this new area ... especially since the original gravestones are all still there, albeit some not in the same place. Since my grandtwins have been here and will be here many times in the future (my son having spent time in Master Gracey's employ as a butler in his youth), how can this be anything but my favorite tombstone? It's true that it honors Marc Davis, one of Disney's Nine Old Men (and Imagineer), and he does spell his name differently from mine, but I am honored to share it with him. We also get to see the new version of the hitchhiking ghosts in the mansion itself, and thought it was quite well done. Haunted Mansion upgrades have all been done well in my opinion, and have been respectful of its tradition and history.

The rain may have passed through the area again while we were in the Haunted Mansion.As we exit, it seems to be just stopping, and is once again very hot and very humid, as will be the story of this trip from beginning to end. Yes, this is August in Walt Disney World, and is to be expected, but this may be worse than any August we have ever been here. But, we are here and that is good. The only other "must see" left for this trip is the new/old Tiki Room. But before we get there, it is definitely time for a Dole Whip first! As you may notice, I like mine as a Dole Whip/vanilla swirl ... my wife gets a rootbeer float.

Then it is off to the Tiki Room. I enjoy the old-school pre-show (minus the mention of the attraction's original sponsor, the Florida Orange Growers Association) and then we head into the theater. The show has, unfortunately been cut by about 2 minutes from the original, and some great pieces are missing. I do have to admit that it feels as if it has been shortened when the end of the show happens. However, I will state that I enjoyed seeing/hearing the original again and will not terribly miss "Under New Management."

From here we head to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and then back through Fantasyland to Tomorrowland to use our Buzz Lightyear fastpasses. Once done, a trip on the People-Mover is in order after which we start to head down Main Street to do one trip around the park on the Walt Disney World Railroad and the head off to take the monorail to EPCOT. When we get off the train the 3:00 parade is about to begin, and we find an empty spot on the curb to watch it, so we wind up doing just that.

Finally we decide it's time for us to head over to EPCOT so we exit the Magic Kingdom and head for the monorail. We arrive in EPCOT and realize that we just have enough time to do one (long) attraction before it is time to meet up with our son, so we decide to spend the next 40 minutes or so taking a cool break in the Universe of Energy. (We do both believe, however, that it is time to update the attraction as Ellen's Energy Adventure has gotten old.) Once done, we get a text message from our son that they are on their way into the park and to meet them at Mousegears. We meet them, along with my daughter and then head to the Electric Umbrella to get the boys some dinner. Their parents leave, and when dinner is over, they boys sit down at the Kidcot table to do some serious coloring.

We take the boys over to Kodak and ride the attraction there, and then to The Seas with Nemo and Friends where they ride the clamshells and enjoy seeing all of the marine life exhibits. This may be their favorite spot as they really don't want to leave. They are loving all of the fish and other sea creatures on display.

Finally we walk back to the room where we once again meet up with my son and his wife, and return the grandtwins. My son then asks if we can watch the boys tomorrow while they return to his wife's parents' house (where they had spent part of the trip) to get their remaining things, as they had decided to stay in Disney World until they begin the trip back home. We of course agree. They will be dropped off in the morning, and we will take them to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Once everyone heads off, my wife and I settle in to relax and listen to the weather reports about Hurricane Irene which will be making landfall soon and is expected to hit back home on Sunday - the day after we are scheduled to come back.

(More pictures from today can be seen here.)