For me, "Disney World" is the Magic Kingdom. It's the Dumbo ride, and Alice's Tea Cups, and Main St USA, and Cinderella's Castle, and the parades and fireworks, and everything that you see in brochures and the TV adverts. I actually forgot that there were three other Disney parks, until I was reminded on Monday night.
I shouldn't need to say it with these trip reports, but I will, as this one is the first one to contain actual park stuff:
Here Be Spoilers!
I'll try not to blow any major secrets, obviously, but if I found out something interesting about the parks and I can remember it, I will be adding it in at the appropriate moment. Hopefully this will make for a more interesting read than just looking at thousands of my holiday snaps!!
Sunday was always going to be Magic Kingdom Day. Sustenance for Magic Kingdom Day was a mahoosive breakfast at Denny's. Denny's is AWESOME. Their food is huge, they serve it all 24hrs a day, and you get dessert with breakfast (if you're English. If you're American presumably you just get a regular fry-up with pancakes). Win-win all around, I think.
First shot of Disney World!!!!
Yes, I really actually do photograph EVERYTHING...
Parking for Disney is SO organised. We never once had to queue to get into or out of the car park, which is pretty impressive considering the fact that each park's car park only has one entrance and exit each. From your car, you get on a little golfcart train that takes you to the entrance of the park or, for MK, to the Ticket and Transportation Center. What I didn't know about Magic Kingdom is that you park anywhere within 3 miles away from the actual park. Then when you get to the T&TC, you are still 1.5 miles away from the park entrance. From the T&TC, you can take the ferry across Seven Seas Lagoon (which was built because earth was needed to raise up Magic Kingdom to build the staff area underneath...When you are on Main St. USA you are actually already one story up!), or hop on the Monorail.
For the first trip, we chose the ferry, because of the amazing views you get of the castle as you sail towards the park.
First view of the castle from the T&TC, at the ferry terminal. The badges are the ones we were given when we bought our tickets! I have one that says "1st Visit" and my name (with Mickey faces in the "a"s ♥), and one that says "Happy 5th Anniversary!" which J also had. When you get your tickets, they ask if you are visiting the park for the first time, or to celebrate something special, and you get a badge for whatever it is! All day long people were wishing us a happy anniversary. :) (We decided to bring our anniversary celebrations forward, because then I had an excuse to go to Cinderella's Royal Table :).
Main St Station. Let The Memories Begin!
I LOVE this sign. It's probably (if I have one) my favourite sign in Disney World. You pass under it (and the railway station) as you enter the park.
Puppies riding crystal carousel unicorns? WDW really IS little girl paradise.
Our first photograph in front of the castle!
If you are going alone (or in a pair) I would definitely recommend the PhotoPass service. Even if you take your own camera, PhotoPass photographers are happy to take your picture. We got a PP card too, so we also have some of the special effect photographs (more about them another day). Basically you get a plastic credit-sized-card, and the photographers scan it when they take your picture. Then when you get home you log onto the website, register your card number, and you can see all of the pictures. Of course, if you actually want to use the photos, there is a price to pay (that price being $169.99...meep), but screen-capping works if you just want small versions.
On the first day, we planned to start at Tomorrowland, and work our way around to Fantasyland. We rode the Tomorrowland People Mover (nice shady ride!), Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (cool, but more for kids), Stitch's Great Escape (awesome!), Carousel of Progress (cheesy but fun), and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (awesome!).
Getting my ass kicked on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. No, I was not paying out for ride photographs! You will make do with the redneck "photo of preview screen" versions and be grateful. ;)
We ate lunch at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. Unfortunately we forgot to go and see Cosmic Ray in his dinner show (check it out if you do go), but we ate looking out over Tomorrowland. I recommend the BBQ pork sandwich and skin-on fries.
I should point out here that I recommend a LOT of BBQ food this trip. That would be because there were only about 3 days that I didn't eat something BBQ'd (though on one of the other days I did have two BBQ'd meals, which I think goes some way to cover the oversight on the other three days). What can I say, I like BBQ, and Americans do BBQ well. Vegetarians need not apply for this trip, food-wise. I don't think we saw a vegetable until Tuesday, and that was just a fleeting glance.
We didn't rush ANYTHING, so we did most of the rides at some stage in our trip. If there was a queue for something, we left it for another day. Really, we only queued for a long time for Soarin' (which is well worth the queue) and Peter Pan's Flight (because it was raining, and we figured we might as well queue!). One thing we noticed is that the parks tend to over-estimate the wait times that you see at the entrance to the ride. Very often one that said 15 minute wait would be five minutes or less. Obviously this might not always be the case! But that's what we found.
I don't really have many photographs of Tomorrowland from that first day, I'm guessing I was saving my camera battery (hah! More on that saga another day) for later on in the evening. I did get a couple of shots from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover though. TTTAPT is a slow ride, kind of like a mini-monorail that takes you around Tomorrowland and tells you about (and takes you through some of!) the rides. It goes around the Tomorrowland area, and through Space Mountain, you can see people riding Space Mountain pass you by!
I think I have more shots of the castle than anything else!
We also went on Stitch's Great Escape, which is AWESOME though it did hurt my shoulder slightly! Carousel of Progress was fun, the dog is cute and the announcement "Rotation will commence in three minutes" is not one you get in any other theatre! We also went into the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor show, which is amazing. During the queue you can text in jokes to a number given on the TV screens, and then the monsters on screen tell your jokes. Most amazing of all is that the animated monsters actually converse in real-time with the audience! I was amazed! They never picked me to talk to, though. :(
From Tomorrowland we walked up behind the castle, to Fantasyland.
We did ALL the shops, rode on Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel...
I think on that first night we ate at Pinocchio's Village Haus in Fantasyland. Pinocchio's was one of my favourite places, their Chicken Parmesan was delicious (not so much the iced tea, which was vile!) and the atmosphere is SO cute, all of the chairs and tables are carved wood with little hearts carved into them, it's beautiful.
After dinner we walked through to Liberty Square to watch the Electric Light Parade and the Wishes firework display.
You get a great view of the parades from Liberty Square! Unfortunately (as we confirmed the next day) you don't get so good a view of the Wishes fireworks. You can see all of the fireworks, obviously, but the music and vocals don't make sense if you can't see the front of Cinderella's Castle. All of the fireworks are positioned to look AMAZING from Main St USA. From the rest of the park, they just look like awesome fireworks.
We wandered around to Main St USA after Wishes to see "The Magic, The Memories, And You", which is a cute show projected onto the Castle, where they turn it into all different things/different looks.
Well, that was our first day at the Magic Kingdom!
That journey back to the car park is a LOT longer on the way home...It took an age to get back to the car, or it felt that way with jet lag and VERY tired feet! Thank goodness Disney are so competent when it comes to parking arrangements!