Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day #2 - Magic Kingdom

On our first, FULL day in Orlando, Florida our agenda was to tour the Magic Kingdom.  I set my alarm EVERY DAY, on vacation, for 5:50 am and I asked for a wake up call, from Mickey Mouse, at 6:00 am. I never slept a moment past 6:00 am.  I felt it was my duty to rise, before my family and be fully ready, before I could properly tend to them.  I didn't want them waiting on me, me delaying anything, rushing out feeling unprepared for the day and/or looking like I just rolled out of the gym or worse... the bed. So, although some days I would have preferred to sleep in, it was a GIFT to my family and really to myself to be an early riser.  

On Day #2, in Orlando, Florida, I took over 180 pictures.  Eeeeeekkkkkk!  Talk about preserving memories.  Again, I will not BORE you with ALL 180 photos, in this post, but I will share our day with you by posting some of my favorites. Feel free to view the entire photo album below by clicking on it.  The captions are always great for a reference.  If you are using your iPad or iPod to view this post the photo album will NOT appear.  You must view this post from your computer to see all 180 + photos.  

For our very first breakfast and character dining experience, we ate at "Ohana's". This restaurant is located at the Polynesian Resort.  It was delicious and it's where we ate our FIRST round, but certainly NOT our last round, of Mickey Mouse waffles. We also met Lilo & Stitch there, along with a few other characters (Mickey and Pluto). For ambiance and food, I rate it a 10.  You really can't mess up breakfast.
These characters were fresh in the kids' minds because we introduced the movie to the kids a few days before leaving, since we knew we were going to eat with them. This movie is now one of their favorites.
We were entitled to (3) fast passes each day.  The fast passes allow you to skip the entire line and provide you the opportunity to ride the ride immediately.  Our 1st day's fast passes were:  

Space Mountain - I rate it a 10 (although I can't deny I'm not a fan of pitch dark roller coasters). When all systems were a "go", we glided through an energy tunnel, pulsating with blinking lights, and ascended up a 180 foot high mountain.  At the top, we launched into the remote blackness of the dark universe, and "enjoyed" a roller coaster in the pitch dark.  
Elsa and Anna Experience - I rate it a 9.  The royal sisters from Frozen have journeyed from afar to meet new friends at the Magic Kingdom park.  Given it's a new release movie and the line, to all other guests, was, that day, 5 hours long, we really lucked out getting a fast pass.  Again, thanks to my wonderful travel agent and friend Tabitha. Some people think there are some things were "melting" for, but it's truly not worth more than a one hour wait.  The characters say hello, interact with your children for 2 minutes, sign your book, and send you on your merry way. Waiting five minutes was worth it, but waiting in line for over 60 minutes, to me, would not be.

Enchanted Tales With Belle: I rate it a 8. We were magically transported from Maurice's cottage to the Beast's library for a delightful storytelling experience. We were able to spend some time with princess Belle.  It was a great experience for Lilah, but just okay for the boys. I rated this experience higher than I would have because Ty was asked to be a part of the show. His personal experience, as he pretended to be Philippe, the horse, made it all worth it and much more exciting.
NOT EVERYONE was allowed to have their photo taken with Belle.  We were specifically picked out of the audience.  It made us feel a little special :)
For lunch, we received an extra fast pass to "Be Our Guest".  This fast pass was NOT included into our (3) allocated fast passes for that day.  It's sort of a hidden, free fast pass, that most people don't know about... UNLESS you use an amazing travel agent, such as mine.  
The entire restaurant is centered around the movie "Beauty & The Beast".  I enjoyed the ambiance, but the food was definitely NOT up to par, to me. Our food was fancifully delivered, however, in these carts.  Made you feel like you were being treated like royalty.  LOL! Ambiance in true comparison to the movie, I'd rate it a 7.5.  Food rating 5, if that.
After a long day at the Magic Kingdom (about 7.5 hours), we let the kids cool off in the pool, before dinner. This is how our kids took their second shower each day.  LOL!
Here they are sporting their Mickey and Minnie Mouse swims suites!
Our resort's pool had a water slide!!! Can you spot Jax?
Lilah enjoyed the hot tub!
Florida palm trees are the best!
Our resort had a beach. This cute little bird was hanging out, eating muscles, that it found in the water.  
For dinner, we ate at "Chef Mickey's".  Chef Mickey's is located in our resort, The Contemporary.  This restaurant was also a character dining experience.  Each character was dressed in a cute, chef uniform.  We met Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto. The character dining was the best way to interact and meet the characters, otherwise you had to wait in in line, in the hot sun.  Depending on who the character is or how crowded the park is, you could wait in line for well over an hour too! We gave up meeting Merida because the line was 1.5 hours long.  No thank you!  Ambiance 8/Food 5, if that.
Let me say something about the food... IF you eat at a location that has the character dining experience, you are paying for the characters NOT the food.  The food is just plain average. Breakfast was always great, but dinner was never better than average and sometimes it was just plain gross. I am NOT a huge fan of buffets anyway, so maybe it's just ME! Both my husband and my brother agree with me completely.  The best meals were NON-CHARACTER dining experiences, BUT like I said before, this trip is NOT about the grown-ups, unless you are one of those weird, non-parent type adults that enjoy Disney, but hate kids.  I don't get those types of people.  Darren and I were quite irritated entertained by them all week.  

We accomplished a ton that day: 3 meals (2 of them being character dining, which takes about 1.5 hours from start to finish), 3 fast passes, plus other rides and shows, swimming, and some fun gift shop shopping! We skipped the parades offered so we could take advantage of the short lines and ride more rides. We knew we would be visiting the Magic Kingdom at least one more time, if not two, before leaving, so we didn't feel the need to get everything done in one day!