Although we visited the Magic Kingdom multiple times over the course of this trip, it seems easier and more logical to take y’all through this park-by-park, rather than day-by-day (not to mention that GP and I can’t remember exactly everything that we did, despite our notes).
Before I talk about the centerpiece park of the whole WDW complex, I feel like I have to mention my perception of the differences between my “home park” of Disneyland and the immense Walt Disney World (and not just because I got a mean Flickr comment this morning, basically saying that I am mean and hateful and unappreciative of all the work that goes into designing guest experiences at WDW…just partially because of that). Anyway. I grew up going to Disneyland, and it is probably the reason that I am still so infatuated with the whole Disney experience. Going there as an adult, I am in awe for different reasons: the sense of history, the fact that it is such an intense experience despite being situated in what has become a relatively good-sized Orange County city, and knowing that it is the only park that Walt stepped foot into (in its finished state– he passed away before WDW opened). Asking me to pick a favorite park, however, would be silly: at the very best, it is an apples-and-oranges scenario. I appreciate that WDW is so much larger, that it is more immersive because the Disney folks own so much land in central Florida, and that it is the realization of many of Walt’s ideas that were not executed in his original park. Of course, I have certain preferences for various rides or attractions that exist in the respective parks, but in the end…don’t make me choose. I don’t have to, and you can’t make me! [end pout]
Of course, our first day in the parks began with an opening at the Magic Kingdom– on every day that we spent in the parks (except our Backstage Magic tour day), we got to whatever park we were visiting in time for opening. Especially in the case of Magic Kingdom, I think this really pays off: we can get through Fantasyland in under an hour (certainly at WDW, where Fantasyland has fewer rides), and grab a couple FastPasses. In case there was any doubt…we heart Disney. Look how excited GP is for the opening!
Because Disney likes to get people super amped-up, there was a song-and-dance before people were allowed to “walk slowly” (riiiight) into Main Street and to the MK destination of their choosing. The first day of our vacation was so warm that we were able to get away with shorts and t-shirts (note to self: capris and Chuck Taylors? Not a good look…but at least it wasn’t a fanny pack). Here’s the obligatory castle shot:
Our only character picture, Frontier Donald!
Frontierland was so empty at this early hour that Donald came over and recruited us for this picture, and I realized that this would be my first character picture in a long time. It was a little weird, because Donald is not a “face” character and can’t speak, so he just had to pantomime that he wanted me to link arms with him. Probably our most-visited ride in the Magic Kingdom was Thunder Mountain, “the wildest ride in the wilderness!” (inside joke, but trust me, it is completely hilarious)
GP was bummed that his favorite (and my least-favorite) MK ride, Splash Mountain, was down for annual rehab.
Something that I love about Disney is that it is able to evoke a feeling in me that I remember from when I was a kid– and can’t wait to see in the faces of my kids. Imagine all the words we use to describe trite things like “magic” and “dreams,” and that is basically the sum of my feelings toward Disney. GP and I usually engage in a similar exercise whenever we are at a Disney park: is Disney an “evil” company? (Short answer: no, not really.) Is it fair to say that Disney is an artificial, cheesy experience? (Short answer: it’s all about suspension of disbelief, friends!) Besides, what’s not to love about a fireworks spectacular called WISHES!!!!1!, right?
Sigh. Can’t we just live at Disney? I wouldn’t be picky– I’d even agree to live somewhere lame, like the bastardized WDW Tiki Room! Tomorrow: a bit of Hollywood Studios, why not?