Walt Disney World Trip Report: The Magic Kingdom

To continue the rundown of our holiday trip to Disney World, here's what we got up to on our first day at the Magic Kingdom.

Matt was wide awake around 5:30, and we wanted to get to the park in time for the opening ceremony, so we had breakfast in the room, achieved a reasonable level of caffeination, then headed to the bus stop.  It was 7am.

At this point, I wasn't sure about the timing of Disney transportation, so the goal was to have plenty of cushion.  The bus arrived at 7:23, and we pulled up at the Magic Kingdom at 7:30.  The park opened at 9.  Needless to say, we had cushion to spare.  The good news is that there was plenty of people watching to do before park opening, including some awesome DisneyBounding.

One of the things I was looking most forward to was the Magic Kingdom opening.  In the months that led up to our trip, I couldn't manage to watch it on YouTube without crying.  You know how emotional reactions often diminish with repeated exposure?  Not so for me and Disney, it seems.

Here are a couple of clips from the show.  You'll notice that the crowd MOVES pretty much as soon as Mickey stops talking.

And we were off, heading into the park, down Main Street, and into Fantasyland.  We started at Peter Pan's Flight and walked right on.  The interactive queue was fun - Matt recognized characters from the movie and chatted about them the entire way through, and Erik's shadow experienced some trouble with a lantern.  When it was our turn, Matt was nervous about the flying boats, but he felt secure knowing that we were all able to sit in a boat together.  The ride tells the story of the animated movie.  It's super quick, but I love how the boats fly you over both London and Neverland.

Next up was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  There was a short, quick-moving line here that didn't feel at all like a wait.  My favorite bit was that the queue showcases one of the best parts of the Winnie the Pooh movies - the interaction within the pages of the stories themselves.  Into a hunny pot we went and through the story of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.  Matt wasn't wild about the heffalumps and woozles dream sequence, but he loved the part where the track is designed so you feel like you're bouncing along with Tigger.

Back from the Hundred Acre Wood, we strolled over to Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.  The best part here was the way the cars and visuals create the feeling of going under the water; you ramp down and backwards as sea foam is projected onto the ceiling.  Scuttle's commentary bookends were cute, too.

Even though we had a FastPass for Enchanted Tales with Belle for later in the day, there was no wait time when we walked by.  It felt as though we were making really good progress, so we decided change our FastPass and  visit Belle while we were right there.  Belle has always been my favorite Disney princess.  She's odd and always has her nose stuck in a book; that's pretty much my jam.  So I got a little dust in my eye when the mirror transported our group to the day Belle and the Beast fell in love.  Anyone who wants one gets a part in the show, and all three of us ended up participating.  Matt volunteered to be Philippe the horse, Erik got picked to be a suit of armor, and I was picked to be the wardrobe.

I was thrilled that all the planning with the intention of avoiding lines and long waits was actually all working.  But my enthusiasm was starting to read like "LET'S CHECK ALL THE THINGS OFF THE LIST!"  so we stopped in at Gaston's Tavern for a little break.  We ordered a LeFou's Brew and a cinnamon roll the size of my head to share and found a cozy spot amid the antler decor.  LeFou's Brew is slushy apple juice with toasted marshmallow flavoring and passion fruit-mango foam on top.  The drink was intensely sweet.  I'm glad we gave it a shot, but I'm certain it won't become a must-have for us on future trips.

Attitude adjusted, we headed to Storybook Circus.  However, after a brief inspection, Matt was decidedly not down for Dumbo, so we skipped it.  He expressed interest in meeting characters, so we walked a few steps over to Pete's Silly Sideshow and hopped in the line for Minnie and Daisy.  The wait was long, though, so Matt decided fairly quickly that he wanted to do something else.

After a chat outside, we decided to  do the Barnstormer.  I'm still trying to understand the logic that went into Matt's giving Dumbo a thumbs down and yet being cool with the Barnstormer, but I was super proud of him for giving it a try.  It was the little dude's first roller coaster! Super cool!

On our way to Columbia Harbor House for lunch, we stopped in at Mickey's Philharmagic.  It wasn't on our list, but it was a fun little show, and I'm very glad we did it.  Matt developed an immediate interest in the sorceror's hat, and when he got one with mouse ears later he took great pleasure in pretending that it was mischievous and in need of a proper chase.

Lunch was yummy.  I was excited to try the lobster roll because I'd never had one before.  I still feel like I really haven't, but it was a pretty tasty seafood salad sandwich.  If you visit, definitely find a table upstairs away from the hustle and bustle.

We made our way to Adventureland after lunch.  By this time, lines were starting to get long, so I was really happy to have our 12:15 FastPass for Pirates of the Caribbean.  I'd made a note not to sit in the first two rows since people have been getting soaked on the ride since the refurb, but we ended up being put in row 2.  Fortunately, there was just a little splash, and we were in good shape.

The afternoon's plans, it seems, led us to do a bit more crisscrossing than I'd recommend.  Our next FastPass was Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, so we headed over to Tomorrowland.  We had lots of time to spare before our FastPass window opened up, so we did Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor.  Erik was onscreen a lot as Sully, and he played the part very well.  Very funny and unexpected - another one I'm definitely glad we did.  By the time we were done, we could head over to Buzz Lightyear.  Although Matt didn't seem wild about it at all, he repeatedly said later that Buzz was his favorite part of the day. 

We decided that our FastPass for the Jungle Cruise would be our last thing in the park for the day, so we walked back over to Adventureland with lots of time to kill.  We stopped by the hub briefly to take a few pictures of the castle and the Partners statue, then decided to get a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle.  This treat has a cult following, and, like the LeFou's Brew, I'm glad we tried it, but I don't know that I'll need to grab one again.

Since we still had time to spare, we checked out the Enchanted Tiki Room.  I'm honestly not sure what to say about it.  We all sort of wandered out of there with "what just happened?" expressions.  Birds, man.  It was so weird, I think we're going to have to do it every trip.

Tiki shenanigans complete, we took a trip through the Swiss Family Treehouse, and then it was time for the Jungle Cruise, or Jingle Cruise since it was wearing its holiday gear.  Our skipper was funny and punny, and I'm so glad that's how we ended our day in the park.  I can't wait to go back to try out the Skipper Canteen restaurant, which opened shortly after our trip.

We walked back through the park to the Wilderness Lodge boat, catching a bit of  a parade on our way down Main Street, and ended the day with a reservation at Whispering Canyon Cafe.  Matt still occasionally bellows for the ketchup at dinnertime.

Next up: Epcot!
In case you missed it: Planning and Arrival Day