Places to Go (Vacation) - Disney World 2012 - Part IV - The Magic Kingdom (Finally), Including the New Fantasyland


Finally, for our third day at the parks we made it to the Magic Kingdom, which THRILLED the kids. Up until this point I pretty much loved staying outside of Disney, as sometimes it's nice to take a break from park overkill. But when you arrive at the Magic Kingdom via the parking lot, first you have to take a shuttle to the gates. And then from the gates you have to ride either a ferry or the monorail to the park. On our first visit, this took about an hour, which (in my mind) is a decently long travel time for theme park arrival.


Once we entered the kingdom we meandered somewhat - checking out the Xmas decorations, watching a performance on Main Street, and stopping so that Dan and T could swordfight every few yards (we bought T a new sword and he decided to give his old one to Dan, as a fellow musketeer).

Eventually we headed over to Futureworld for Buzz Lightyear fast passes. Luckily, again, lines were non-existent. So we kept circling back and riding again and again until T finally said "time for a new ride."

After days of debate the girls decided to tackle their first "real" roller coaster, Space Mountain. Luckily, the ride requires sitting in a single file arrangement, so I could enjoy the twists and turns without worrying about the girls' reactions. I learned that things went badly when the woman who helped us exit the car turned to F and said "oh honey, it's okay. it's all over now." Tears. Lots of tears.


Deciding we needed to exit Fantasyland, we headed over to the Pirate Show in Adventureland, where two of my three children (F hid behind me, terrified of going on stage) received apprentice pirate certificates from a Johnny Depp look-a-like (is this really a good thing? Somalia isn't kidding around). Then we boarded a ship in Pirates of the Caribbean, which has been (somewhat) remade so that the ride now centers (loosely) around Jack Sparrow's character. Although this is an improvement, I felt nostalgic for the complete randomness of the old ride. Oh well, the pirates still refuse to become PC. P asked about the women for sale (which F remembered in detail from our last trip) and T wondered why we had to go on the "mean" pirate ride.

Everyone seemed somewhat exhausted, so we decided to break for the afternoon and return at night for fireworks and the new Fantasyland.


One of the ducks had an injured leg, so much sadness. I kept hoping some magical Disney veterinarian would fix everything, but no such luck. Though the duck's mom did slow down quite a bit so the he/she could catch up.


The boat ride to the park was crowded and slow, but I rather enjoyed the return trip. It felt nice to have a little time to decompress and enjoy the views.


Cinderella's Castle at night is always rather breathtaking, but this trip it seemed especially so.


After reentering the park, we decided to check out the brand-new Fantasyland (as most of the rides are for little kids, I hoped that crowds would be less prevalent after dark). After a quick ride on Winne the Pooh (always a fave), we headed towards the new princess corner of the park and boarded a clamshell to enter Ariel's world (the ride basically retells the movie's story). I'm not a huge Ariel fan (why would any woman ever give up her VOICE for a chance with some guy she barely knows? plus, don't two people need to talk to fall in love?), so I can't say I loved the ride, but it's mild and easy for little kids (i.e. T did not cry), so that's a plus.

After Ariel, we grabbed a table outside at Gaston's Tavern and waited for the fireworks to begin, while we drank random non-alcoholic drinks with whipped cream (yum) and ate giant turkey legs. Finally the lights in the sky appeared, absolutely beautiful.


For our last stop of the (very) late night, we attended the new storytime with Belle, which was nothing short of amazing (F and P said it was their favorite part of the whole trip). After watching a magical mirror turn into a door (awesomeness), a surprisingly life-like talking wardrobe informed the audience that we will be reenacting the story of how Belle and the Beast met (which, I must note, is NOT the world's most romantic story, as he did keep her locked in a dungeon). Every child who wanted one was guaranteed a "part" in the production. Finally, the doors opened into the library, where Belle waited, eager to hear her story. After the performance, Belle posed for pictures with her very happy fans and gave everyone a bookmark. The girls could not stop smiling. A total win.


And this is when I realized that the night had definitely come to an end.

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