Day 2; Waking Up To The Magic Kingdom
From the outset Donna and I both agreed that the first park of the trip had to be The Magic Kingdom; and because everything read before the trip stated that we would be up early, we wanted to make the most by having breakfast in the park.
As predicted I woke up at 3am local time; this is far too early to be up by any stretch of the imagination. Trying again I slept for a further 90 minutes; this time on waking up, Donna also woke up. Concluding that further sleep was out of reach we got up and started the day.
Making the most of the early rise we unpacked our luggage and set up our ear collection; clearly the most important part of setting up any room on a Disney holiday 🙂
Things of note from the photo; yes I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan; the ice bucket got no use where the coffee machine received a lot; and my sister a total star crafted all the ears on show.
Showered, dressed and packed we left our room Magic Kingdom bound at about 7:30am; making use of the Disney Transportation System we caught the bus from the South Depot.
A small side note here; Port Orleans Riverside operates four bus stops. West Depot; North Depot; East Depot and South Depot. Being our first morning at the resort we used the South Depot as we knew where it was. We soon learned that our room lay the same walking distance between the East and South Depots; as the South Depot is by the main resort building, this became our stop of choice.
The bus arrived just after we did and we were soon on our way to the Happiest Place on Earth.
Arrival at The Magic Kingdom
With efficiency unheard of in the UK they whisked us to the Magic Kingdom, arriving at around 8am.
Since 9/11 before you enter the parks you have to go through airport style security. People have mixed feelings on this; especially those desperate to get into the parks. I am myself in favour of it; anything that can make a holiday safe is worth a few minutes of inconvenience.
I last visited before the Magic Bands and electronic turnstiles got rolled out; I like the new system a lot. Your ticket is your Magic Band and finger print; two things impossible not to have when staying on site.
Going through security and the turnstiles got us into the park about 8:05am; nothing like good organisation to start a day well.
Our breakfast reservation at Crystal Palace was for 8:20am, allowing me time to pick up an autograph book from the first cart vendor spotted. Just through the entrance tunnel on the right by the stairs leading to Main Street Station.
The plan had been to buy an autograph book from our resort’s shop on arrival yesterday; knowing we had an early character breakfast today. Exhaustion prevented that, and the resort store opens at 8am preventing us from getting it there this morning.
The cast member working the stand was very cheerful and apologetic for the family she served ahead of us. I think the parents had let their children have too much sugar as they were far more energetic compared with other children.
Autograph book purchased and unwrapped from its cellophane by the cast member we started down Main Street USA towards Cinderella Castle; the first view of it is a lifetime memory. All the sacrifices made to get us here were worth it in that one moment.
The advantage of a breakfast reservation this early is how quiet Main Street USA is; allowing us to savour the experience of the unveiling of Cinderella Castle.
Arriving at the Crystal Palace we found a short queue for check-in; the line progressed quickly and we were soon directed to the veranda to be called into the Friendship Celebration.
Making the most of this waiting period I got my first photo of the castle from there:
With the park opening ceremony now taking place in front of the castle its impossible to get a photo without other guests in.
Barely having enough time to take the above photograph our table was ready, and they called us in. Our Table was on the left-hand wing of the Crystal Palace underneath the Friendship Day Celebration banner:
No sooner than we sat at our table than our waiter for the morning appeared; freshly squeezed orange juice and a pot of filter coffee in hand. Our waiter was very chatty and left the pot of coffee with us after finding out that both Donna and myself are coffee fiends; especially when the coffee is good.
We were initially lucky with meeting the inhabitants of the 100 Acre Woods; They started their rounds just as our waiter was caffeinating us so while we missed Winnie; Tigger came by quickly and I did some bouncing with him.
Before leaving us Tigger signed our new autograph book; so nice to have such an energetic character as the first autograph we collected on the holiday!
Next up after Tigger we had Piglet stop by for a chat. We both checked to make sure that his anxiety wasn’t causing him any issues today as there were many people in the restaurant. He assured us that everything was ok, and that he was enjoying meeting everyone. Just as Piglet was signing his autograph Eeyore was making his way around so saying goodbye to Piglet we met Eeyore.
Eeyore is my most relatable character having been through depression myself. Eeyore was having a good day today though, and he was happy that he could spend the day with his friends meeting lots of new people. Photos and autograph done with Eeyore we now had time to get food with fear of missing characters.
Breakfast round 1
Breakfast at the Crystal Palace is an all you can eat self-service buffet; with a lot of choice for even the most picky of eaters. Or so I had thought; for this was not the only buffet were we had heard that the selection wasn’t great, and the plate sizes meant that you couldn’t get a proper portion. Choices included cereals; warm mini pastries; Mickey waffles both large and mini; pancake’s with various toppings; fresh fruit; and a full cooked section.
After my first visit to the buffet I came back to our table with a plate containing a full-sized Mickey waffle, cheesy potatoes, spiced sausage, crispy bacon (just the way I like it) and scrambled eggs.
The scrambled eggs are closer to what I would call folded eggs, but still nicely done with good flavour and no rubberiness that you can get from buffet eggs that have been out a little too long.
The spicy sausage reminded me a lot of a chorizo sausage, and a nice quality one at that. It wasn’t too spicy but you could definitely taste the pepper and paprika in it.
Cheesy potatoes are something a little weird; and even now I am still not sure how I feel about these as a breakfast item. They tasted good, but I’d probably miss them out next time and try something else.
The Mickey waffle was as good as every report that I had read before our trip, nice and dense with a good malty flavour.
Breakfast round 2
Just as we had finished our first plate the friendship parade started; though Pooh had wondered off behind scenes and ended up being lead by Tigger with Piglet and Eeyore in the procession. Tigger did his best to cheer up the children that were disappointed that they weren’t parading with Pooh.
With the parade past Donna and I went for our second trip to the buffet. Though actually was feeling remarkably full from visit one this was only a small plate.
I’d head a lot about the breakfast lasagna that they serve here; the only place in Walt Disney World. It’s an interesting concoction, using sponge layers as lasagna sheets, fruit as the filling and custard as the white sauce. Very tasty but also very messy and not overly photogenic.
I also had two mini cinnamon rolls; that were thankfully very light. By this point I was very full and wondering how people were saying they couldn’t get full from the food here.
The eternal wait
Though we had finished our breakfast by 9:15, we still hadn’t seen Pooh come around again and wanted to get his autograph before we left.
After many reassurances from our waiter that there was no pressure to leave, we both felt bad for holding a table up for another 25 minutes for our chance to meet Winnie the Pooh.
This was unfortunately not a good interaction and felt rushed, Pooh clearly wanted to spend more time with children than two adults.
All in all though I highly recommend Crystal Palace for breakfast in the Magic Kingdom; because you get into the park really early, the crowds around Cinderella Castle are at their lowest. The breakfast lasagna was a surprisingly light and pleasant dish and I can’t wait until I get to have it again.
However there is nearly always going to be a disappointment; and in this case it was Pooh who I felt didn’t really want to be there that morning.
Finally from the Crystal Palace, there is a flower display as you enter that include flower representations of the characters you are going to meet.
To the rides
Because 7 Dwarfs Mine Train is a hard ride to get a fastpass for we had hoped to have finished breakfast after about an hour and get on it early. However because of waiting for Pooh by the time we got to the standby line queue it was showing a 90 minute wait, meaning that we would have missed our Big Thunder Mountain Railroad fastpass.
Walking around the Magic Kingdom from Fantasyland to Liberty Square we passed the Haunted Mansion, which showed a 35 minute wait time. I love this ride so so much, that Donna went on it initially for my benefit as she was thinking it would be something like we get in the UK as a haunted house.
The ride turned out to be walk on, by the time we had walked through the queuing area we were led straight into the stretching room pre-ride show.
For me this ride is about as good an example of Disney doing what they do best, the theming is impeccable; while some of the illusions use very well established principles they are carried out in such an exacting fashion that you don’t notice how its done.
I had also forgotten how much fun it was riding in the doom buggies, and that they have speakers in. I’d also forgotten that you descend into the graveyard.
Leaving the Haunted Mansion Donna expressed that she’d enjoyed it very much and was now a fan of the ride herself. And with convenient timing our fastpass window for Big Thunder Mountain had opened; so we made our way over there to experience the wildest ride in the wilderness!
Big Thunder Mountain
Using the fastpass for this ride made it a walk on, something that was very much appreciated as the temperature had climbed and we were now roasting outside.
Looking back at the holiday now I have mixed feelings regarding fastpass, while it means you get on to several rides quickly you miss out on the theming within the queue lines.
Needless to say this ride lived up to my childhood memories of it as well, and I really enjoyed the views over the Magic Kingdom from it. One great advantage of riding coasters in America is that I can keep my glasses on so I can see things! something I cannot do in the UK as they make me take my glasses off on every ride.
Leaving Big Thunder Mountain we came across our first Photopass photographer of the holiday and got some photos taken with her; including this magic shot.
This is the only Mickey Premium Bar that either of us held over the holiday. There quickly turned out to be far too much eating with the portion sizes in America.
Pirates of the Caribbean
We had some time to kill before our lunch reservation at Be Our Guest; a quick check of the My Disney Experience app showed that Pirates of the Caribbean was showing a 15 minute wait time so we made our way over there. We stopped off in the Frontier Trading Post on our way over and got a quick drink; Atomic Orange Fanta, such a beautiful colour.
Again the wait time posted for a ride was basically the time you take to walk the queue and get to the ride vehicle. I remember this ride before Disney made the movies from it and definitely remember the “wench” auction.
Changing the We Wants The Redhead scene while nostalgic to me; makes sense to do, as really it isn’t acceptable anymore; though these auctions are part of history there were also female pirates so changing her to that role makes sense.
The other major change in the ride was the addition of Jack Sparrow; again I can understand this change as a lot of people now riding the ride won’t have known the movies came from the ride instead of the ride being made because of the movies.
At the end of this ride we were still a little early for our reservation so wondered to the front of Cinderella Castle and caught the end of Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.
Be Our Guest
With the castle show finished we strolled to Be Our Guest for our lunchtime reservation. This is a meal that we had looked forward to a lot during our planning of the holiday.
Check in again was efficient, and we were soon inside the Beasts castle. The queue for the registers moved at a speed, that could only be described as glacial. Thankfully, the Imagineers had done a great job of keeping guests in the queue entertained with the talking suits of armour.
Once we had passed the registers, we went in search of somewhere to sit. The West Wing was quiet but dark, so we chose not to sit there. After all it is nice to see what you are eating. You do get to see the enchanted rose in this wing though.
The Rose Gallery was full, so we resigned ourselves to sitting in the middle of the ballroom. Something we were trying to avoid as that area is full of tables for 4 and there’s only 2 of us.
However, as we made our way around the outside of the ballroom a table for two became free near the “windows” so we sat there.
The decor in Be Our Guest is amazing; it really does feel like your in the Beasts castle rather than in a theme park. I just wish that the ballroom wasn’t so echoey as it makes it a very noisy place to eat.
Time for food
For lunch I chose a French Dip sandwich with a fountain drink.
The sandwich and dipping gravy was amazing, and if it is still on the menu when we go back I’ll have it again. Though the portion of fries unfortunately went to waste as I just couldn’t eat them.
Donna’s choice for lunch was the Croque Monsieur, again with a fountain drink. Donna also had the same problem as I did, the sandwich was enough on its own and she didn’t touch her fries either.
Because the dining plan meals come with desert we both had cupcakes as well; Donna choosing the Masters Cupcake and myself the Lemon Meringue Cupcake.
I can confirm that Donna did not find the grey stuff delicious in fact she found that it had no discernible flavour at all. And after trying some I would agree.
The Lemon Meringue was pretty and the meringue was good; but I found the cupcake wasn’t lemony enough for myself though it was a nice light and moist cake.
All in all a good meal, though I think we would both try a different desert next time.
On leaving Be Out Guest you have a photo opportunity with a mosaic of the stained glass window from Beauty and the Beast.
Leaving Be Our Guest and heading back into the Magic Kingdom we made our way over to Space Mountain. I cannot lie this is my favourite ride in the whole of the Magic Kingdom and something I was really looking forward to getting on again.
Again Fastpass proved to be a godsend, and we avoided the 60 minute queue. While we were waiting to board our train though a cast member working on the ride spotted my Chip ‘n’ Dale ear hat and gave use a paper fastpass because she loved them so much. The fastpass was good for any ride except 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. This was our first piece of pixie dust today, but not our last.
I love this ride more than I can probably explain so while everyone else in the carriage was screaming I wooped my way around with great big grins on my face.
After getting off and selecting the ride photo to add to our Memory Maker; the cast member who gave us the paper fastpass; approached us and asked if we’d like to skip the line and ride again. Pixie dust working well for us today. With Donna’s ok I said yes please with an even bigger grin on my face. I had a decision to make though. Ride the same track or ride the mirror.
Really it was not a hard decision to make and we rode the mirror this time with me in the front.
I love this ride I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that?
Donna enjoyed it though found it to be very bumpy. I can agree it isn’t the smoothest ride around but that for me doesn’t detract from the fun of it.
With the unbelievable luck of the back-to-back Space Mountain rides our fastpass window for Splash Mountain had opened so we made our way over there.
This was a good ride to end our trip to the Magic Kingdom with most of the fastpass queue being inside, and cool and the ride itself being water making that cool.
Though I wish we had gotten a little wetter than we did as it was still very hot outside.
Of course Zip a dee doo dah got stuck in both of our heads as we left the ride. Again this ride is a prime example of Disney telling a story through a ride rather than creating a ride and then thinking up a story to go around it.
With all three Magic Kingdom mountains conquered we started to head out of the park. Making a quick stop at Aloha Island to pick up a Dole Whip Float. The only time on this trip trying mobile ordering; which was good in this case as the queues otherwise were astronomical.
Dole Whip in hand we made our way to out of the Magic Kingdom to get the bus back to our hotel; in order to get ready for the nights entertainment at Fort Wilderness.
After getting ready for the night we realised that we’d be struggling to get to Fort Wilderness on time using the Disney Transport network so decided to try taking a Minnie Van. We had wanted to do one of these this holiday, and it made sense to do it now.
But I needed some help to get the Lyft app to recognise Minnie Van rather than general Lyft cars, a quick trip to the concierge sorted that.
5 minutes after ordering Minnie Van number 36 pulled into the porch of the hotel.
Just look how cute the cars are in their polka dot paint scheme.
The driver saw us taking photos of him pulling up and offered to take a photo of us by the car.
How could we say no?
Our driver was very chatty on the journey asking us how we were enjoying our vacation so far. And after finding out it was only our first day he then went into asking us what we had planned. As soon as we entered the Fort Wilderness grounds however he became a tour guide for the resort; pointing out various things as we drove to the drop off point.
At the drop off point he then gave us directions to Pioneer Hall, where we could get the buses back to Disney Springs from or where the Minnie van pickup point was.
This ride cost $22.71 – was it worth it, I think so. Minnie Vans are dearer than Ubers or normal Lyft cars; But you know the vehicles are very well maintained and the drivers are chatty and helpful.
Because we had arrived a little ahead of schedule due to taking the Minnie Van we were able to get some photographs of the venue
As well as find that there was a photopass photographer there to take a photo of us with a washboard.
After a short time hanging around and watching the horse drawn carriages we were called to enter the hall. From memory they even rang a bell to let everyone know that the hall was open.
As we were doing this on the dining plan we only had access to tier two seating. I think though we got lucky with out seating and managed to get a great table that wasn’t far off the view of some of the tier ones.
The table was already set with our cornbread and salad when we were seated though I didn’t take a photo of the salad (I’d already started it before taking photos) but I remembered to get photos of the cornbread and menu, before destroying them as well.
A nice surprise was that we were allowed to take the menu away with us. Its made for a nice souvenir for the night.
Knowing that the dinning packages now included one drink per meal, I opted to have a Bud Light while Donna opted for Fanta. Surprisingly though my beer kept being refilled through the night. I had expected to have to pay for additional alcoholic beverages or go to soft drinks.
Easier to share all the food photos in one go here as they complete the meal.
On the left-hand side we have the cornbread with whipped butter. No idea what they did to the butter, but it tasted like cupcake frosting. Thankfully the cornbread was warm and very nice to eat with nothing else added.
The middle had the selection of barbecue items and fried chicken. Coming from the UK the standard of fried chicken we have here is not good, so this was out of this world good for me to try, as were the ribs that fell off the bone. The corn was flavourful to it, though a little over cooked for my personal tastes, and the baked beans were also beautiful. I didn’t try the mashed potatoes but Donna did and she said they were the best she’s had before.
And on the right the Strawberry Shortcake, a menu item that I had missed; and surprised to find out it was coming as I had tried my best to eat all the chicken and ribs. Even after they had gotten refilled (I hate food waste). Despite being full from the salad and main course I tried the shortcake, and it was wonderful.
The only real downside to the food was the quantity of it; the serving size is just too large for 2 people
When Donna mentioned doing this show meal to me I was a little hesitant after watching some YouTube videos on it. It had seemed overly cheesy and not something that I would really enjoy. However, it was between this and Spirit of Aloha. Hoop-Dee-Doo being the longest running dinner show at Walt Disney World I agreed to this over Spirit.
And I was glad I did.
Yes, the show is horribly cheesy and cringe worthy in places; but with the audience and cast members they reduce those factors in person where they aren’t in videos.
The troop doing the show obviously enjoyed their roles and embarrassing members of the tier one seating; some of whom end up on stage at the end of the night.
For me the nicest thing of the whole show is seeing them pay tribute to service personal; and not just American but all nations as we had some members of the British and Canadian army’s in the audience and they had as much recognition from all there.
I even took part in the last song of the night as they had given me a washboard to play. And with the napkin twirling done earlier in the evening the audience gets really into the show.
When we were planning this holiday, we both thought this would be a onetime meal; we could say that we had done it but not want to repeat it.
Coming away though this evening is now on our list to do any time we go to Walt Disney World.
Wrapping up the day
Finishing Hoop-Dee-Doo we headed out to the bus stops our Minnie Van driver showed us. At this point in the evening though full of food we weren’t too tired so headed to Disney Springs and World of Disney to get our $200 gift card.
After getting a little lost on leaving the bus; Disney Springs is much larger than the Downtown Disney it replaced we got our gift card with no trouble.
Tonight would not be a shopping night though so after we picked up our card we tried to locate the water ferry back to Riverside and failed. Giving up on finding the boat to our resort we headed back to the bus depot and thankfully didn’t have to wait long for a bus home to arrive.
Now the length of the day we had just done on the broken night sleep because of time zone changes had hit us. Upon getting back to the room we both showered and went straight to bed being unconscious quickly.
And that concludes our first full day in Walt Disney World.
Until next time; Just because you grow old doesn’t mean you have to grow up
To learn more about FastPass+ please click here
To learn more about Memory Maker and Photopass please click here
To learn more about The Crystal Palace please click here
To learn more about Be Our Guest please click here
To learn more about Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue please click here