Disney Day 1 – Magic Kingdom


We went to Walt Disney World in Orlando along with Mom, Randi, Scott, and five-year-old Julia. Some recaps and thoughts for posterity to follow. (Pictures to follow at a later date.)

It was freezing cold. When we set out to take advantage of the extra morning hour allocated to Disney resort guests, the ambient air temperature was an absurd 32 degree Fahrenheit, with wind chills another five to ten degrees colder than that. Add to this the boat ride which was the sole transportation option from the Wilderness Lodge over to the Magic Kingdom, and the day got off to a chilly start, to say the least.

But we quickly learned that touring Magic Kingdom on such a freakishly cold day was not without its benefits, as the early-morning competition to tour Fantasyland was practically non-existent. Without needing to run, elbow small children out of the way, or break a sweat we walked right onto all the headliner Fantasyland attractions:

  1. Dumbo. I didn’t realize adults can ride on this. It was a tiny bit better than I expected, but then again I didn’t expect much out of it and it was over before I knew it. Good to get it done with first.
  2. Peter Pan. Love the faux-flying and love Captain Hook in a state of being perpetually almost eaten by the croc. Just like I remembered it.
  3. Winnie the Pooh. Pretty good tale of Pooh and friends, though I didn’t really understand the trippy acid-inspired scenes in the middle. I am a big Tigger fan though, and he made plenty of appearances.
  4. It’s a Small World. Still a classic, still love the individually singing dolls, still a dramatic oversimplification of the world, and still a tune that gets stuck in your head for hours after.
  5. Carousel. I skipped this and took a few pictures. I’d already done flying elephants that go up and down, so I opted out of the horse equivalent.

At which point it was 8:40—only 40 minutes since we entered the park—and we were done with (round 1 of) Fantasyland! Remarkable. So on my insistence we headed over to Tomorrowland to see if we’d blown our chance to experience crowd-pleaser Buzz Lightyear without much wait. We took a brief detour so that Julia could take a spin on the tea cups, and then meandered over to Tomorrowland.

  1. Buzz Lightyear. No wait whatsoever. We rode it twice now, and once at the end of the day. Wonder why it took Disney so long to marry their unique ride designs with competitive video games? The formula works well, even if I was consistently outscored by tens of thousands of points by the rest of my family.
  2. People Mover (aborted). We got to the loading platform for the People Mover (Tomorrowland Transit Authority) only to have the ride break. Came back later.
  3. Carousel of Progress. No longer the GE Carousel of Progress, I was surprised to see this one open. Having both fond and maddening memories—we were once stuck on the 3rd scene for four or five consecutive tellings of it—we jumped at the chance to walk right in. The Carousel is still using the original theme song (A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow) rather than the 80s version (Now is the Time). It’s also a bit of a leap to go straight from the 1940s to today. Still, the animatronic family is entertaining as always.
  4. Space Mountain. Well, we hadn’t had a single line yet, so why not check out the real superstar in the area? Mom and I walked right onto Space Mountain without pausing for a second. This was my first time on Space Mountain, and I have to say, while it was fast and dark and fun, I don’t see what the big deal is. I definitely don’t see why people wait upwards of an hour at busy times to ride it. It was just ok. But quite passable for zero wait!
  5. Stitch’s Great Escape. Lynn, Mom, and I went on this without knowing what it was. In the end, what it was was silly. Cute story, dramatic atmosphere, and silly sensory execution. Glad we experienced it, but it wouldn’t make the top of my list on another visit.

At which point it was approaching 11, and we caught the tail end of a singing/dancing/fireworks show at Cinderella’s Castle. The girls then went off for a couple of hours of makeup and princesses, and Scott and I leisurely killed a couple of hours with:

  1. Haunted Mansion. The jokes are great, the ride is decent but not as amusing as I remembered, the ambiance is great. This was the first ride we had any sort of wait on whatsoever—about 10 minutes.
  2. Lunch at Liberty Square Tavern. Nothing to write home about. I had pot roast, and it was uneventful.
  3. WDW Railroad. Rode two-thirds of the railroad circuit, from Frontierland over to Main Street. The narration is entertaining, and the “behind the scenes” feel, such as Pocahontas’s camp site, make it worth the time.

We rejoined the rest of our group, spent some time browsing through Tinkerbell’s souvenir shop, and then Lynn and I walked over to Frontierland.

  1. Splash Mountain. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it’s not peak season. Still, I thought it was a travesty that there was no line for Splash Mountain at 1:45pm at Magic Kingdom. No line! Lynn waited outside with the camera while I walked right on and shortly thereafter remembered why this is by far the best ride at MK. Great story, great setup, great music, great head fakes, great climax, great end.
  2. Splash Mountain. Mom joined us, and I convinced her to go with me for a second round on Splash Mountain. Got a bit wetter the second time, but nothing too serious.

They had to close Thunder Mountain for one reason or another, so we met up again with the Marshalls and headed to Adventureland:

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean. I was expecting this to disappoint me, since I thought it had been completely neutered by the movies. It actually lived up to my memories of it almost exactly. Pleasant, amusing, but not spectacular. Still, it was peak time in the park and we walked right onto the ride. Still incredible.
  2. Jungle Cruise. Loved every second as our guide—Tre—regaled us with pun after pun after corny joke after corny joke. And all the computerized wildlife was as entertaining as ever.
  3. Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride. I sat this one out, as the Disney folk can’t quite fool me by taking Dumbo, moving it across the park, and changing the elephants into magic carpets.

We headed back to Fantasyland, where Julia and folks used their Fastpass for a second go-round of Pooh while we snacked on some pretzels. Randi, Mom, and Julia then headed off to storytime with Belle while Lynn, Scott, and I went back to Tomorrowland.

  1. People Mover. Oh man, still one of the best rides in the park. And when we went through Space Mountain, something was wrong and all of the lights were on, giving us a rare glimpse into the cavernous room and elaborate setup that makes the dark roller coaster go.
  2. People Mover. We declined the attempt by the Disney employee to solicit a bribe for us, yet he let us stay on the People Mover for a second time around nonetheless. This time it was properly dark when we traveled through Space Mountain.
  3. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. The rest of the group joined us for this as the afternoon waned. Wow did this blow away my expectations. What a hoot. And they used the joke that I text-messaged during the pre-show. Woo.
  4. Buzz Lightyear. Just for the heck of it. I got my butt kicked one more time.

At which point there were still a couple of hours left in the MK’s day, but it was dark and freezing and we had seen just about everything we wanted to see. We skipped the parade and the fireworks and headed back to the hotel. Need to rest up for Epcot tomorrow.


Wow! You are fast with the posts. Now I'm totally interested in the Monster's Inc. attraction!

Things brings back a lot of good memories. Of course, mine were at Disneyland. No Matterhorn? Captain EO?

[They've never had the Matterhorn in Florida, AFAIK. And I think they did have Captain EO at one point, but no longer. I can't do 3D movies anyway :-) --Lee]

Funny, We love the people mover too. For years we thought it was just an entrance having to do with space mountain but a few years ago we took the kids on it and they loved it! We ended up going on a bunch of times with no line; and yes we had the same experience as you with the lights being on for space mountain.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lee Feigenbaum published on February 5, 2009 11:52 PM.

Lynn @ 29 was the previous entry in this blog.

Disney Day 2 - Epcot is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.