Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Trip - Day 7 - Magic Kingdom


April 13, 2012

We have reached the next to last day of this trip, and another visit to the Magic Kingdom. Our daughter is working in her office today, and will meet us after work. I remember to pack my tripod since I plan on photographing Wishes again from a different spot. The last 2 times (this trip and last) I photographed the fireworks from the porch of the train station. This time I hope to set up about three quarters of the way down Main Street. While the spot on the porch was convenient, the flagpole - which is always there - and the temporary covered scaffolding on some of the stores down Main Street add unwanted and blocking elements to the shots.

As we arrive at the Magic Kingdom, I take some photos of the train and the train station before heading in the park itself. As we enter, there is some entertainment going on in front of the train station, and we stop to watch. (For those of you keeping score, and I know you are, the photos from today can be seen here.)

When we were here a few days ago, we didn't make it into Tomorrowland at all, and that is where we head first today. My wife runs (in a manner of speaking) ahead to obtain fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear while I stop for a few more photos along the way. We have a little time to kill, so we take a spin on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. (So happy that they officially added "Peoplemover" back into the name - that's what most people still called it anyway.) We followed that with another Magic Kingdom classic, the Carrousel of Progress - a favorite of mine since I rode it many times at the 1964-65 NY World's Fair (and in Disneyland before it was moved here when WDW first opened in 1971.)

Now it was time to use our fastpasses and help Buzz Lightyear rid the galaxy of the scourge of the evil Zurg. (Wait a moment here ... didn't we find out that Zurg is in actuality Buzz's father?)

Time now for a little laughter, so we get on line for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and the comic stylings of Mike Wazowski (That's Wazowski with one eye. Ba dum bum!) As always, though the format is the same each time, you never know what is going to happen here and it is always funny.

Following a bite of lunch at Tomorrowland Terrace (no longer the Noodle Station), we find a spot to watch the afternoon parade. I don't care how old or young you are, watching a Magic Kingdom parade is fun. We find a great spot just as the parade is getting ready to start, and it rolls by in front of us. I am enjoying watching the people (not just the children) as I always do. There is a lot of interaction between the characters and the guests as always, and the adults are as excited about it as the children are.

During the parade I get a text message that my daughter has just parked in the Magic Kingdom parking lot (she still needs to take a tram to the monorail, the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, go through security and enter the park), so I decide that while my wife does her thing (look out Emporium, here she comes!), I will find a seat back on the train station porch, take some photos, and wait for her. I text her back and let her know. This is where I am when she shows up - having made the trip here rather quickly. I send my wife a text message, and she meets us.

We decide that Dole Whips are in order, so we head into Adventureland and make the purchase. From there we head to the Tiki Room, no longer under new management, but back to the classic show.

A look at the Pirates of the Caribbean shows us a line longer than we care to wait on right now, and since Iris has not had lunch we stop for her to get something to eat. While sitting there, my wife realizes that she has reached the end of her strength for the day and it is decided that she will head back to Pop Century while our daughter and I continue. I am still feeling good and of course, plan on photographing Wishes tonight.

We head over to the Frontierland train station. My wife will continue on to Main Street and head back from there, while my daughter and I will get off at the New Fantasyland station. She has not seen it before, and while most of the new area - which will double the size of Fantasyland when it is complete - is still under construction, the re-themed Barnstormer is open, as is the relocated Dumbo spinner ride (one of 2 planned once the second one is installed). But the station itself is also new and well designed. I had not noticed the new cast member costume for this circus themed area, and my daughter points it out to me now. (You can see it in today's photo set.)

Since there really is very little going on here - except construction walls, we decide to head back to Tomorrowland where we begin with another trip on the Peoplemover. Then, since every show is different, we return to Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor. (No, I will not use the obvious acronym - though Disney prefers using my initials for it ... MLF!)

One thing that we very rarely do, is ride the riverboat, and we decide to do that now. As we approach the landing, we see that we have just missed it, so sit down and wait for its return. While sitting I decide to see if there are any dining reservations available for this evening where we can sit and be served rather than a counter service meal. I check my iPhone app (Mobile Magic) and find that Crystal Palace and Plaza Restaurant both are available, so we decide on Plaza Restaurant. Though the 3G is painfully slow, we eventually get the reservation through. Turns out we got the last reservation available for Plaza, as we check and the app now shows that none are left.

The Liberty Belle comes back after its latest trip around the Rivers of America and we board and make the voyage ourselves. We attempt to see the Country Bear Jamboree when we are off the ship, but it is not running at the moment, so we sit for a while as my daughter calls her husband and makes arrangements for him to come to the park to meet us.

We have a nice relaxing (and enjoyable) dinner at Plaza Restaurant, and then head towards the front of the park to wait for my son-in-law. While waiting we get to see the Electrical Parade. He shows up and we head down Main Street as I look for a spot to set up my tripod for Wishes. I find what appears to be a good vantage point, and set up. Though people walk around my setup prior to Wishes starting, once it actually starts, I am happily surprised that everyone gives the front of my set up a wide berth, and no one even comes close to blocking my view. This position was successful, and next time I want to try moving even closer to the hub and seeing if that works as well. (My photos of tonight's Wishes fireworks can be seen here.)

The final thing I want to do this evening is take some reflection shots of the castle all lit up, and once that is done we are ready to head back. Tomorrow morning my son-in-law's mother is coming to spend the day with all of us, and we are meeting off property for breakfast. My daughter realizes that it would be easier if she went home with her husband (who is parked at the Contemporary Resort and can walk to his car) and I take her car back to Pop Century. It makes perfect sense to me as well, so we do that.

I leave the park and head towards the monorail station, only to find the queue coming down the ramp from the station and wrapping around many times at the bottom of the ramp. I decide to take the ferry which holds many times the number of people the monorails hold. The crowd by the ferry is huge, but I get on the second boat and am soon in the parking lot. This is the first time I have been here since they renamed the sections as Disney heroes and villains, and have separate trams for each.

The wait for the tram is quite long as well, but I eventually get on, find my daughter's car and drive back to Pop Century.

Tomorrow, our last day before flying home, we are back at EPCOT and the International Flower and Garden Festival.

(Don't forget to have a look at photos of today's Magic Kingdom visit and the photos of Wishes.)