- Mickey Mouse is a legend
- Some rides differ from park to park
- There’s special magic for teenagers
- Disney Springs is awesome!
Today was another fairly chilled day compared to the early ones. We decided to spend it in Magic Kingdom and I’d hoped to hang on til it got dark so I could finally get my Tangled ‘lantern shot’ but as I was planning last night I discovered that they were closing early today. It might be the one day of the year they do (LUCK!) and from what I’ve read it’s part staff party, part filming of their Christmas special (as we left we saw rather glammed up looking guests arriving and being given name badges) but don’t quote me on that.
Whatever the reason, the park shut at 4.30 and so that shifted our plans slightly. I rebooked some fast passes and moved Epcot to our last morning (sob) so today we did a very leisurely 10 am start to conserve our energy for the remaining few. We rode Jungle Cruise first up, good job we had a fast pass because the queue was 90 minutes when we got off. What madness is that?? I mean, it was a fun ride but it had the longest queue in the entire park?!
Next pass was Buzz Lightyear. Historically this is a fam favourite but we all agreed it wasn’t quite as good as the Paris version. Not as immersive and the guns weren’t as easy to use. Bit of a disappointment but another ticked off the list. With a break in our schedule we decided to watch the Carousel Of Progress (I liked this but it wasn’t a hit with Lee/Ella) and walk over to Thunder Mountain. This is my absolute favourite and has been for as long as I can remember. Just enough speed and thrill (originally) but they closed the Paris ride for over a year and when it reopened it was longer and considerably faster. I assumed this was a change they’d made across all parks and so I didn’t want to take Milo on (Ella had already said no) which meant we got to test out the rider switch facility.
This was cool. Effectively, one of you waits in line and the other(s) get fast passes. Given my irritation with the Fast Pass system (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned?) this is a great way to get on more rides if you can organise yourselves. You just need one child who doesn’t want (or isn’t tall enough) to ride and they will scan everyone elses magic band and give them a pass for later that day. The window is short so you can’t just come back whenever but when Lee got off I got straight on so it worked perfectly for us. If the line had been longer I could have taken the kids on something else or to see a show.. I can see this working really well if you have a mix of ages in your group.
As it happens, I think he’d have been fine. The ride was the classic Thunder Mountain I knew and loved, not a speedy re-tooled version so my fear was unwarranted but I’m hoping we can all do 7 Dwarfs Mine train (everyone cross their fingers for a wait time under 75mins, please) tomorrow night when we go back to make up for it.
We caught the 2pm Festival Of Fantasy parade, with an awesome rope-side seat from Frontierland, just by chance as we were walking towards Fantasyland. I forgot how much Milo loved this stuff, he was so excited! I mean, I’m a fan too (I always enjoy the parade music) but he truly believes in these characters. He said it had to be the real Rapunzel because nobody else could possibly grow all that hair. I MEAN!
We managed to squeeze in a quick Haunted Mansion ride before making our Peter Pan fast pass. This was Milo’s only request and (although we don’t get it) he was more than happy with the experience. Again, he couldn’t believe we were really flying. He’ll be 7 next week so I’m really clinging to these last moments of magic with him.
One thing I have noticed this trip is that Ella has had a lot of attention from the characters and staff. Whereas elsewhere the sullen teen trailing behind would go unnoticed, she’s had little jokes and extra questions here and there that (I’m sure she’s hated but) I’ve really appreciated. After Peter Pan we (definitely just me and Milo) decided to queue to meet Mickey in Town Square before we left and (after almost an hour – ouch!) we met the mouse himself. He made a fuss of Lee and Ella, even though they didn’t want to be photographed. It was really sweet. The photographer captured some sweet memories that I wouldn’t have had and these are the little extras that make Disney magic.
We spent the rest of out afternoon/evening in Disney Springs. This place is amazing! We went for dinner at the best Planet Hollywood we’ve ever been to, I had lasagne (as always) and a cameras followed diners around on a big screen looking for whoops and waves. When it settled on us, again Ella got extra attention. There’s definitely a theme of trying to wrangle a smile from the least smiley. That wont be for everyone but I think it’s nice that the older kids (who may want to hug Mickey but think it’s not ‘cool’) have the spotlight thrust upon them a little.
We walked around the shops, I may have dropped a little cash in Sephora (I was so good, I swear!) and now we’re back in the apartment, soaking our (my) feet and planning an early night ahead of our first (and only) attempt at rope drop for Animal Kingdom tomorrow. There is a lot riding on this. Lee told me (halfway through our fast pass booking week) that the only ride he really wanted to go on was Flight Of Passage. Needless to say, it was an impossible task 30 days out and so we resigned ourselves to a crazy queue but I just can’t stand for 3 hours so we’re hoping we can shave off at least a little time by getting their early.
Send us all the good vibes and I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know how it went!