Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Trip - Day 4 - Magic Kingdom

April 10, 2012

Believe it or not, the last park that we will get to is the Magic Kingdom. Certainly not because we like it least, but sometimes it just works out that way and this is one of those times.

After the usual morning routine of a late wake-up and breakfast, we head to the bus to The Magic Kingdom. It's another beautiful day, though a bit on the warm side as we approach the park.

After we go through security and the turnstile, my wife wants to do a little souvenir hunting (yeah, like that surprised you!), so I find myself a chair on the train station and take some shots around the entrance area and down Main Street towards the Castle ... reputed to be the most photographed structure in the world! I might have contributed to that number considering how many pictures I have taken of it since 1971! (Lots of pictures today. You can see the pictures of the Magic Kingdom by clicking here.) While waiting, I decide to check my Disney app and see if there are any dining reservations to be had. The original plan called for a counter service dinner, but since it is so hot, I wanted to see if we could get something where we could sit down in air conditioning and be served. The only places still available were Crystal Palace and Liberty Tree Tavern. Both are all you can eat dinners, but Crystal Palace is a buffet with Pooh and Friends, while Liberty Tree Tavern is all sit down and be served, and no characters. I reserve a table at Liberty Tree Tavern.

When my wife returns, we decide to alter our usual start to a day at the Magic Kingdom, and take the train directly to the new Fantasyland station and see some of the new area. With the Fantasyland expansion which has been going on for quite some time now, the station had been closed and remodeled. It is now open and some of the expansion (The Barnstormer and one of the Dumbo rides) is now operating. (See the pictures.) In the distance you can see the Beast's Castle.

As we head into the original Fantasyland, we decide to ride Snow White's ride (a classic) for the final time ever, as it is slated to be closed and replaced in the Fantasyland expansion with a new Snow White attraction.

From  here we head to Liberty Square to go through the Haunted Mansion - always my favorite attraction - but the line is a bit long so we decide to have some lunch at Columbia Harbour House and then head over to the Hall of Presidents before rechecking back at the Haunted Mansion.

When we return, the line is a bit shorter, but since it always moves rather quickly, we decide it is not bad and get into the queue.

Since we are not in a hurry, we opt to go through the graveyard. As always, I love all of the headstones, the names which come from the original Imagineers who designed and built the original Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. However, since the first time my son (a former Haunted Mansion butler himself) brought the grandtwins here for the first time, this has been my favorite of the tombstones, for obvious reasons. Of course it is spelled differently, but I am happy to share it with Disney legend Marc Davis anyway. (And yes, lots of pictures of the interactive graveyard can be see among all of the rest of the photos from today.) While we are on line, however, it seems to stand still for quite a while. A cast member comes by and informs us that they are having some technical difficulties and for a long time no one is admitted to the attraction. However, before long the problem is solved and we continue along until we are finally in the foyer listening to those familiar words, "Welcome foolish mortal ... "

From the Haunted Mansion we turn back into the "old" Fantasyland and It's a Small World.

When we emerge from our cruise, and a quick trip to Adventurland for a Dole Whip, we head back to Liberty Square where we sit down for a while until it is time for our dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern. It is still a while so we sit and enjoy the now cooling early evening and take in the atmosphere and do a bit of people watching until it is time to check in.

After a very enjoyable dinner, it is now about 2 hours before the Electrical Parade and 3 hours before Wishes (fireworks) and I head back to the trains station where I find a chair and a spot to set up my tripod for pictures of both the parade and fireworks. During the wait, I take some pictures of the park as the sun goes down. Also, as I sit and relax waiting for the events, a British family takes a spot right next to me and we spend the evening talking and socializing, making the wait time much more pleasant - and seem quicker. That is one of my favorite things to do in the quiet times at any of the parks - meet and talk with people. Tonight was memorable thanks to some time spent with some nice folks.

Eventually it is time for the Electrical Parade (formerly the Walt Disney World Main Street Electrical Parade). Originally running in the Magic Kingdom in 1972, it is still so popular that many times it has been brought back to replace SpectroMagic, the night time electrical parade which originally replaced it. It returned 2 years ago for what was supposed to be a short run, but here it still is. Tonight, as the opening chords of Baroque Hoedown, the parade's theme song, come over the speakers, I still get goosebumps. (Pictures of tonight's parade can be seen here.)

Now it is time to wait for Wishes.  The fireworks are preceded by The Music, The Memories and You, a multimedia show presented on the castle itself showing guests enjoying their day in the park. Then the main event, Wishes! (And of course the photos of Wishes can be seen here.)

With the end of Wishes, our day is over, and we head back to Pop Century. Tomorrow we will do a second day at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and it will be an unusual one in at least one regard. Stop by and find out why.

(And don't forget that there are three photo sets for today's trip report; the day at the park, the electrical parade, and wishes fireworks.)