Another great update! Sorry about the weather there -- that's Florida in the summer for you.
I never cared to spend that much time at Epcot when I was younger, but the last time I was at Disney World (2012), I realized I was actually kind of interested in the "other half" of the park (World Showcase). It's definitely worth budgeting extra time for . Glad you got to see most of Illuminations too -- probably my favorite night show at any park.
Awesome report. I really like Epcot, especially during the Food and Wine festival. Also the shops at the World Show Case are really great. I could spend a whole day at those shops. I also liked the Ellen ride. I was fascinated by the ride system and during the complete ride I too was trying to figure out how it works.
Next up on our Florida sojourn was the one and only Magic Kingdom, the world's most visited theme park. After a mistimed trip to Epcot, we were determined to do the Magic Kingdom right, and arrived before opening, ran straight to Space Mountain, immediately re-rode, then fast passed our way around the park.
It made all the difference. Our day was very full...but relaxing. Once we knew we'd grabbed our fast passes for the next ride we could wander around and enjoy the park, just thinking slightly ahead about what we wanted to fast pass next. Simple really, but you DO have to think about it and hustle if you've only got a one-day visit planned.
I was last at the Magic Kingdom in 2008 and could detect quite a few improvements. Fantasyland, which seemed a bit disjointed then, has expanded and I look forward to seeing how New Fantasyland continues to unfold. We rode Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and ate at the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which was 'quick service' but pretty good. I also thought Storybook Circus was a good improvement over Mickey's Toontown Fair - it really seemed a better fit for the park.
We enjoyed other perennial favourites like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, and so on. Some of these rides are just ageless. Take Splash Mountain for example, based on Song of the South. Disney won't even release the film, but the ride brings the characters to life, fuses it with memorable tunes and a really fun and inventive flume layout. It makes for an awesome overall family experience and reminds me why Disney are so successful with their theme parks.
As with Epcot (and every day in Florida!) there were thunderstorms around 3-4pm, but we took shelter and rode a few indoor rides before heading back outside.
Quick question about Space Mountain: Apparently both sides of the ride have the same top speed (27 mph) but I felt one (Omega) was a bit more intense than the other. Have I just been fooled by the Imagineers?
Anyway, onto the photos, and thanks for following along our journeys. I'll try to do the next update a little quicker!
Day 2 at Walt Disney World Resort was the Magic Kingdom, accessible by a quick monorail ride from our hotel, Disney's fabulous Polynesian Resort.
This really is a great way to travel. Why haven't monorails caught on?!
Looking over to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
It's great to be back at the Magic Kingdom. My last - and only visit - was in 2008.
Main Street, U.S.A. really is quite beautiful.
The postcard shot.
I think Cinderella Castle is my favourite Disney castle. It's certainly the most iconic.
Space Mountain is still the Magic Kingdom's most popular attraction, so we raced over there first.
It's a still a great ride. And two credits are always a bonus. But is one side more intense than the other?
The Tomorrowland Speedway...we didn't take a spin today.
Most popular ride conquered, twice! It's going to be a great day.
I always thought this corner of the park was quite pretty and peaceful.
We were on a mission to conquer another popular attraction...
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!
View from the queue, which was already pretty full.
Big Thunder is a really fun coaster, showcasing what good themeing can do for a ride.
There are so many details that are easy to miss!
We wandered through Liberty Square, a themed area unique to the Magic Kingdom.
I experienced the Hall of Presidents during the Bush era, so this was a "no thanks" from me!
When I was last here, the Rapunzel/Tangled Tower was the old Fantasyland Skyway station.
I have to say, I do prefer the Disneyland It's a Small World facade.
But the rest of 'old' Fantasyland still looks fantastic.
This view is a little different now. I'm intrigued by Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!
We decided to have an early lunch and try out the Be Our Guest Restaurant, themed to Beauty and the Beast. I liked how they handed out umbrellas to people queueing in the heat.
The interior was gorgeous.
The food was pretty good too. I tried the nicoise salad (mostly for the sake of having something healthy at a theme park for once!).
The interior of the Be Our Guest Restaurant consists of a ballroom...
...with a slightly nicer decor than a Cedar Fair/Six Flags Johnny Rockets...
The West Wing where the rose is kept...
And the gallery with the music box featuring Belle and Beast.
Nearby is Gaston's Tavern.
We queued for Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.
I thought it was a particularly good queue, and I hate queues!
Lots of details to enjoy while you wait.
The ride featured Disney's Omnimover vehicles.
It was a colourful dark ride...
In the original Hans Christian Andersen story, the Little Mermaid goes through excruciating pain in order to become a human...
The original tale also has a tragic ending, but all of that is absent here!
Moving on, we had lots more to see...
I love how to get to Tom Sawyer Island, you have travel by raft.
We came back to Frontierland to ride Splash Mountain!
It was a great ride, as in all its incarnations.
The themeing inside is second to none. And who doesn't love Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah? (Well, maybe except when the logs get delayed at the station and you have to hear it over and over again!)
We got a little wet!
This corner of the park does get rather bottlenecked...
We decided to watch the Country Bear Jamboree, a show I had never seen.
I enjoy anything with singing audio-animatronics!
Definitely a classic attraction.
We rode the Haunted Mansion next. I prefer Disneyland's New Orleans/old plantation mansion, but the Magic Kingdom's Dutch Gothic style makes for an amazing show building too.
Again, the queue is just awesome.
There is lots to see and interact with.
The stretching room...
The great thing about the Haunted Mansion is that even with an enormous queue, you will likely get on in short order, due to Disney's amazing Omnimover system. Also, it's a really fun ride!
Next up was Adventureland, where I paid my respects to the Enchanted Tiki Room.
I LOVE Tiki Modern! Walt was a man of good taste!
Pirates of the Caribbean is another Disney ride that can handle even enormous queues.
Ahh! Stroller overload!!
Pirates was as good as ever.
Can I just say though: F**k all those complainers who made Disney censor the ride and modify their overweight wenches.
The truly classic moment remains unchanged.
I will say I think Disney have done a good job incorporating the Pirates of the Caribbean feature films.
Around the corner from Pirates is another favourite where we bumped into Gary aka TPR's own carolinacaniac turned Jungle Cruise skipper! Hi Gary!
Our skipper was a particularly funny girl who was also quite bitchy. We got bossed good!
I love inanimate animals.
Another classic Disney scene.
The Jungle Cruise is a nice diversion.
Silly but fun.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin looks nice, but I've always thought it's a bit 'Dumbo, mark 2'.
One thing I had never done was the Swiss Family Treehouse.
I hadn't seen Swiss Family Robinson either until quite recently. There was a lot of very inappropriate animal racing going on - elephants, ostriches, zebras, you name it!
The 'ride' was hilarious. It was basically a very long queue.
But the themeing, as always, was great.
I thought this was a nice, unique attraction.
Beautiful building back over on Main Street.
Main Street is definitely worth exploring.
We sampled some food.
The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor had some nice offerings.
Gorgeous structures everywhere you turn.
We decided to wander back to the front of the park to ride the train...
It passed right by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Again, the details in the themeing are just amazing.
The train takes you through various scenes...
Some of a cultural nature...
When our train arrived in the Storybook Circus area, Florida decided to pour down upon us once more, so we looked for some indoor attractions.
Getting to them was a bit of a challenge.
Wet and a little tired, we had to give Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress a spin.
Personally, I enjoy this attraction, mostly because of the retro value.
I also enjoyed the PeopleMover ride, but I'm still not quite sure why?
The rain subsided enough for us to look around the Storybook Circus.
I preferred this over Mickey's Toontown Fair.
The credit is still here.
And I didn't get it last time!
Our Kiwi friends Kevin and Craig went for a ride on Dumbo.
Another iconic Disney attraction, much replicated around the world.
The man and the mouse.
What a day.
Thanks for reading. Next up: Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios in One Day.
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