Thursday, July 24, 2008

Disney day 3: Magic Kingdom

After a day like day 2, our third day at Disney was destined to be better, and there was no better way to start in out than breakfast with all the Disney princesses inside Cinderella's castle, the icon of not only the Magic Kingdom, but of everything Disney. After helping to open the park, along with the other 2 thousand people crowding at the opening gates watching the elaborate show that officially opens the park each morning, my my daughter donning her beautiful "Belle" gown and the rest of us a great big smile (none bigger than mine), we were treated to an all-you-can eat gourmet breakfast fit for a king, queen, prince, and princess.

Me enjoying the food and the princesses

During the meal, I took just as many bites of the eggs, sausage, bacon, and pastries as I took photographs of all the beautiful women all around me. Not only did we get to personally spend time talking and taking photos with Cinderella herself, but Snow White, Belle, Jasmine, and Princess Aurora (the wide-awake name of Sleeping Beauty) each came by our table and chatted it up with us. Each of the princesses practiced professional self-restraint in paying little attention to me and more on our children, but Princess mom being there, it was probably for the best. Just between you and me, though, Snow White was the least amicable of the bunch. I guess Grumpy is beginning to rub off on her a bit.

Belle, Prince Charming, and Grumpy

After making a special wish with the magic sword and wand given to the kids, the royal servants delicately encouraged us to finish up and leave so that the next group of families could experience what we just had. I thought about hiding behind the draperies thinking the castle could use another servant, but that would just make the rest of our family trip rather awkward, with me being thrown into the local dungeon.

After changing Jenna into more park-friendly clothes, we hit all the children's rides immediately around the castle in "Fantasyland." Because the lines weren't very long yet, we were able to get on several rides, including Cinderella's Golden Carrousel, Peter Pan's Flight, Cinderella's Golden Carrousel (again), Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Cinderella's Golden Carrousel (yet again), Winnie the Pooh, the Carrousel thing again, and perhaps the main reason my kids wanted to come to Disney to begin with . . . The Tea Cups, properly known as the Mad Tea Party. After another go on that damned Carrousel, we did the Tea Cups a few more times. I think it's safe to say that my kids enjoy things that spin, including watching mine spin in frustration . . ."you want to ride THAT again?!"

A giant, spinning, sweet tea

At this point I had to get out of this dated, spinning part of the park, so we decided to head over to Tomorrowland where we rode the Indy Speedway race cars, you know the ones . . . the ones that reach a top speed of 5.3 mph while straddling a guide track so that the kids can drive it left and right and left and right while giving their parents whiplash. We next skipped all the rides I actually might have enjoyed, including the Astro Orbiter, Stitch's Escape, and Space Mountain, opting instead to mount the Transit Authority "ride" which is really a slow-moving cart that travels a long loop along a very flat, elevated surface that gives you a nice, slow view of the grandeur of Tommorowland. All the old people on the thing were giving us mean looks like we were commandeering THEIR ride, but at least the kid's liked it, and it didn't jostle like those Speedway cars, so I didn't complain too much.

Riding the Transit Autho . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Getting off the Transit Authority ride, we spied Buzz Lightyear and promptly lined up for a picture and autograph, then we ducked into a small cove that looked like an outdoor theater. The sign said, "Belle's Story Time." We took a seat near the front of the stage and waited in the hot humidity to see Belle for the second time that day. Having performed with Tate in the local theater production of "Beauty and the Beast" a few years ago, we were excited to hear Belle's story of her entire ordeal with the Beast. Her first volunteer to help her tell her story was plucked right out of the audience, someone to play her father, the inventor. She chose Tate. I was so hoping he wouldn't tell Belle in front of the live theater how sick he was. Luckily, she did all of the talking, and Tate just quietly acted out the role of Maurice. Jenna shyly turned down the chance to be "Chip" the broken tea cup, but she applauded her brother confidently from the safety of her seat on my lap. Tate being chose to work with Belle (oddly enough, a different, taller, prettier Belle than the "breakfast" Belle) more than compensated for the rough afternoon we had the previous day.

Maurice and what I guess would be my granddaughter Belle

Then it was off to Toontown, where we went inside Mickey and Minnie's house. They weren't home, but the doors were open and the air conditioning was running, so we went in with the hundreds of other "criminals." We then did a little shopping in a giant store. Several stuffed dolls (including a Baby Belle doll), collectible pins, and miscellaneous things later, we moved onward to the long line to see Pluto, Donald, and Goofy. Getting pictures with and autographs from as many characters as possible was a high priority for me, almost as important with buying too many expensive collectible pins for my kids' lanyards (which quickly became too heavy and uncomfortable for them to wear.) If mom's mission was to make sure we had dinner reservations at mealtime and that we didn't get dehydrated, MY mission was to get enough photographic evidence that we were actually AT DisneyWorld and not some cheap, Knock-Off park down the street from our house.

At this point, Tate was starting to lose his endurance in the hot son. His eye was now redder and more swollen shut than ever before. He still smiled for the camera, though. Since it was getting close to lunch time, and the grand parade down Main Street was about 1.5 hours away on the other side of the park, we rode the Disney Railroad Express back to the main entrance. While Shealynn went to get food for us, Tate, J, and I found ourselves a great spot to catch the parade. It was elevated and under cover, but unfortunately NOT air-conditioned. The parade was still almost an hour away.

All Aboard

We passed the time until the parade eating, watching the other tourists below, talking with each other, and trying to justify if it was worth sitting there that long just to watch the parade. Tate began to act like a pat of butter on a hot summer sidewalk. His face was beet red, he was moaning constantly, and his head was usually in his mother's lap. The throngs of people crowding in around us began to trap the heat in our area, and I began to get a little irritated myself. "This had better be a damned good parade," I said.

I hope Tate makes it. He doesn't look good.

What seemed like an hour later, the first two cars of the parade drove by, then nothing else behind them for almost another 30 minutes!!! You'd think Disney would have that whole spacing-between-floats down by now. Once the next float finally arrived, the show turned immediately spectacular. From our high vantage point, we were practically eye to synthetic eye with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and all the others as they drove by, waving at us and us at them.

When the parade was over, we got the heck out of the park and headed back to the room at our resort for some much needed recovery time. While Shealynn and Tate rested in the room, Jenna and I went swimming at the totally huge, totally awesome Spanish-themed swimming pool, complete with giant Mayan pyramid and body slide. The water felt so good.

Later that evening, we went to the "Downtown Disney" area to get a cheap bite to eat at the McDonald's there and to do some more Disney shopping. Tate had found his second wind as the sun set and day became night. He even started acting a little bit like . . .his Dad . . . Goofy.

Goof, Goofy and Goofyer

We didn't get back to the room until very late that night, but Tate was still awake when we arrived. I had been holding a sleeping Jenna for quite a while by then. It was the end of a very eventful, very busy day. We knew it would have to be a very special day at Animal Kingdom tomorrow to top the day we had today. We had no doubt it would be.


Anonymous said...

No Space Mountain????? That was my favorite ride !!

When Sydnie went to Disney Land with her grandparents, they rode "It's a Small World" ride many, many times.

Anonymous said...

Caredec: Come on ,Caredec! Jaynou (Jenna) and I would get scared on SPACE MOUNTAIN! Oh Please! By the way , The it's A "SMALL"(yeah right!) World at Disney World has a very creepy entrance! We might even move to Orlando!

Kevin: I loved this issue!