Tuesday, May 31, 2016
This was it. The day Mom got to see Disney. Yeah, she technically saw it the day before when we drove under the big sign, when we got to the resort, and when we got to Hollywood Studios. But this was the day when she first got to see the Castle - the image, the symbol, the icon, that in my mind, makes Disney Disney. There's just something about seeing it in person... I can't put it into words, but other Disney fans know what I mean.
I didn't want this trip to be about rushing around, so we took our time getting ready in the morning, and headed out to catch the bus around 9:30. As usual for the Magic Kingdom, there were a lot of people heading there so the bus stop was crowded. We took a seat on a bench to wait for the next bus. We weren't in a hurry and didn't want to be all crowded or have to stand. Not long after the first full bus left, another came along and we began our adventure.
Upon arrival at the park, we joined the swarm of people heading toward bag check and the entrance. I think Mom panicked a bit when she saw all the people. I promised her it would thin out a bit once we actually got in the park. (Not sure she believed me.) We got through the line, only having a bit of trouble when Mom's magic band didn't turn the lights green (she didn't quite get her band in the right place), but a little twist of her wrist to get the Mickey heads to touch, and we were on our way.
As we came out from under the train station, I noticed a short line off on one of the side streets to the right. Knowing that was where I had met Mary Poppins on a previous trip, I figured there was a character there, and I was right. Daisy Duck was hanging out, so we headed over for our first Magic Kingdom character interaction. We got hugs, instructions to take off our sunglasses, and posed for some pictures, and then headed off to Main Street.
The First Glimpse
As we turned the corner of the little side street, I had recollections of the Princess Half Marathons and the other times I've come around that corner and looked down Main Street. Gives me shivers every time. At each step, I asked Mom, are you ready? are you ready? And then we were there. On Main Street. I wish I had thought to take a pic of Mom's face, but you'll just have to imagine the "Wow! That's so cool!" look she had.
Although, looking back, I'm not sure if the look of wonder was for the castle or for the big, beautiful draft horse pulling the trolley for the Trolley Show that was just ending. Which was a distinct possibility, considering Mom's love for horses. We attempted to get a Photo Pass pic with the horse/trolley and the castle, but we were too late. The horse had other plans, so we had to settle for just the castle.
After taking a few pics of the castle and the bronze character statues (why have I never noticed them before?? Proof that no matter how many times you go to Disney, you always find something new to see), we headed off to Adventureland for our Jungle Cruise.
I warned Mom ahead of time that we'd be subject to a bunch of corny, bad jokes, but again, I'm not sure she entirely believed me. But, since it's all part of the Jungle Cruise experience, our skipper did not disappoint. His headhunter jokes at the end by Trader Sam (or whatever his name is) were particularly groan worthy (and we got extra, because we had to wait a bit to get to the dock).
A Little Bit of Pineapple Heaven
After our cruise, we went straight for Aloha Isle for the yummiest snack in the World - a Dole Whip. I feel kind of bad; I didn't even offer Mom a choice - I just ordered 2 floats. (I will admit, I'm still a bit disappointed that you can't get the vanilla with the pineapple juice anymore.) We headed through the tunnel/shortcut, bathroom corridor into Frontierland to find some shade to enjoy our pineapple-y goodness. Unfortunately, I was still feeling a bit on the yucky side, so I didn't finish mine, but Mom enjoyed every last drop of hers.
I noticed Woody and Jessie were holding a meet and greet near the Shooting Gallery (instead of back by Splash Mountain), but there was a long line in the sun, and it was too hot to stand in it. So we wandered back around to the hub so Mom could have her first experience of walking through the castle.
Second Star to the Right
We had a fast pass for Peter Pan's Flight, so that's where we headed next. After a short wait in line, we boarded our Jolly Roger and were off to Neverland. We can fly! We can fly! We can fly! Mom was fairly quiet on the ride; I think it's because she was trying to take it all in. Peter Pan was a movie from her childhood, so she was reminiscing a bit, I imagine. Something she did quite a bit of on this visit.
We had some time to kill before our Small World fast pass, but weren't really in the mood to wait in lines. (It was miserable hot.) Even the Philharmagic line was too long; I know it moves fast because it's a big theater, but Mom wasn't too keen on the 3-D factor, so we skipped it.
So we decided to ride the train. It was fairly shady, we could sit down, there was a bit of a breeze, we could visit a good bit of the park without having to walk, we didn't have to get off until we were ready to, and there was hardly any line. It was a win all around. As we traveled through Frontierland (twice), we noticed the ridiculously long line for Splash Mountain; people must have really wanted to get wet to wait for that long (although, I can't say I blame them - it was really hot.)
Making Progress - Sort of
We got off the train after 2 laps around the park and headed back through Fantasy Land toward Small World (seriously considering walking through the kids' splash area by Dumbo, but decided squishy wet shoes weren't worth it, no matter how hot it might be).
We got to the ride to find it was down for an undetermined amount of time. So we went to sit down in the shade at the Tangled/Rapunzel's Tower area to figure out a new plan and have a drink. We had caved and bought one of the misting spray fans from the vendor in the middle of the street; best purchase of the day to help us cool down a smidge. I had a frogg togg cooling towel too, which also helped some, but with the temperature in the 90's, there wasn't much relief.
We stopped for some pics by Eric's castle. And then headed to Tomorrowland for my next beat the heat idea, the People Mover. But it had a long line, so that didn't pan out either. Then I remembered the Carousel of Progress - indoors, dark, cool, long enough to let us rest a bit, and best of all, no line.
There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
And we had another ride/attraction that Mom really enjoyed. The scene were the house just got electricity and had cords running every which way reminded her (and me) of her grandmother's house in Pennsylvania - when it was wired for electricity, the wires were outside the walls, running along the baseboards and ceilings. They were that way throughout her childhood and mine as well. (We both wonder if they still are or if the house has been rewired.) There was more reminiscing as the carousel turned and brought more memories to mind for her. Good stuff.
And with the tune to "there's a great big beautiful tomorrow" echoing through our heads, we took the less crowded, "back way" back into Fantasy Land. We were trying to figure out what to use our Small World fast pass on when we realized it was back up and running. So that's what we did.
It's a World of Laughter
In line in front of us was an adorable family - the little boy had an awesome Buzz Lightyear backpack and the little girl was singing. She sang the whole ride. And me being me, I did too. Come on now, you know you do too. "It's a world of laughter, a world of tears / It's a world of hopes and a world of fears / There's much that we share that it's time were aware / It's a small world after all. / It's a small world after all / It's a small world after all / It's a small world after all /
By this point, we were tired, hot and ready to go back to the resort. But we had a few stops to make first. We wanted to check out the shopping in the Emporium and the jewelry store (remember that watch Mom fell in love with at Hollywood Studios?) But as we came back through the castle and the hub, we heard music and saw some floats heading in. We were just in time to see the Move It! Shake It! Parade.
We took some pics, danced a bit, and then headed for Uptown Jewelry so Mom could buy that watch. We were in and out of there pretty fast - she knew what she wanted and went for it.
We left the store to head across the street to the Emporium, but we had to wait for the parade again before we could get there. We browsed around a bit, but didn't find exactly what we were looking for (a grown-up Ariel t-shirt and a Jessie baby outfit), so we ended up not buying anything.
The Wheels on the Bus
Our day in the Magic Kingdom over, was over so we found our bus. We were joined at the back of the bus by a fun little family - one couple from England, one who lived in Italy. I'm guessing the women were sisters. However they were related, they had two adorable, delightful little girls. Polly and Emily, who are 6 and almost 4, kept us entertained the whole ride back to the lodge. They sang, they showed us their autograph books, they showed us their souvenirs, and they sang some more (including a very original version of "The Wheels on the Bus," with little Polly making up verses as she went along). I love hearing the sophisticated sounding British accent in little girl voices - so cute and unexpected. It was just a bus ride, but I think it was one of the highlights of the week.
Sorry for the Inconvenience?
We got back to the room and found a note under the door, apologizing for the inconvenience of having our plans changed. Considering we were enjoying an awesome trip and staying in a resort that, under normal circumstances, we would only be able to dream about, I don't think they had anything to apologize for. But it's Disney, and that's what they do.
And that was our day. Hot, but fun. Simply magical.
(and, if you're keeping track, I did eventually eat my dinner)
Next up - Day 3 and Animal Kingdom...