Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day Three: The Kingdom of Magic

Itinerary for the day

Park:  Magic Kingdom
ADR:  Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table, 3:50 PM
Must do:  Merida meet and greet


We all slept in (no phone alarm clocks were set) and then ate breakfast (cereal and donuts) in our rooms.  When you stay on Disney property, you can utilize the free bus service to and from the parks.  Our preferred method of travel happens to be our very own vehicle for several reasons.  We don't have to wait for a bus.  We don't need to load three small kids and two strollers on and off of a bus.  We booked our vacation through AAA so that we could receive a Diamond parking pass, which allows us to park close enough to walk (versus taking a tram) to the park entrance.  These preferred parking lots are also next to the handicap parking lots.  (Throwing this information out there as I'm always thinking of other families with kids with spina bifida.  You don't have to worry about taking a tram from the back of the parking lot.)

In researching our Disney vacation, I had read that the busiest days of the week for Magic Kingdom are Saturday and Monday.  I also utilized the free crowd calendar at easyWDW, which listed Magic Kingdom as the 2nd preferred park for Tuesday, August 28th.

Magic Kingdom is a bit different from the other parks in that you need to take another form of transportation (boat or monorail) from the parking lot.  If you take a bus from your resort, you are dropped off at the main entrance and not the parking lot.  We rode the boat back in 2010 as it was easy on/easy off with the strollers so that is where we headed on this particular morning.

I could not believe the hordes of people streaming down to the boat dock.  The park had opened at 9:00 and now it was after well after 10:00.  We could immediately see that it was going to be a crowded day and we were correct.  With information we gathered during the day, it appears that many of those who had planned to visit Magic Kingdom on Monday had not because of Isaac.  And now they were here with us.

The town square area when you first enter the park was jam packed and all of the character meet lines were out of control.  I knew that the girls were going to want to do the princess meet and greet, which was being held at the Town Square Theater.  The stand-by wait time was 60 minutes.  What the...  I went over and grabbed fast passes instead of waiting in that line.  Our fast pass return time was 11:45-12:45.  In addition, we received bonus fast passes to ride Dumbo.  The return time for those was 11:40-12:40.

Rich checked the wait time for It's a Small World on his phone (love living in 2012 these days) and because it was only 10 minutes, we decided to head back there.  Along the way, we stopped for water and the girls watched a bit of a small morning parade.

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Emily's been doing this biting her lip thing so if she looks weird in photos, she just biting her lip.    

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We quickly formulated a morning game plan:
  • Ride Small World
  • Return for princess meet
  • Use freebie Dumbo fast passes
  • Join line for Merida meet - someone can go grab food
We were about 5 minutes into the Small World line when the ride experienced some technical difficulties.  From what we could see, the gates where guests step into the boats closed too soon so only half of the people were able to board.   I don't know if that was the primary issue or as a result of another problem but it took a long time to correct.

After Small World, which took so much longer than we expected it to, we returned to the front of the park for the princess meet and greet.  I should mention that walking through the park was a bit frustrating due to the high crowds.  (I absolutely love when people just stop walking in the middle of a walkway.)  It was after 12:00 by the time we entered the fast pass line for the princess greet.  I wasn't completely bummed out just yet as it looked like we would still have time to use our Dumbo fast passes.

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Terrible lighting.  Just terrible.


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I finally gave it and used fill-in flash.

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YAY!!! We finally got to meet Rapunzel!

The princess meet and greet exits into a gift shop.  As we made our way back outside, we discovered that the skies had opened and it was pouring rain.  Sob.  We hadn't brought our rain ponchos with us so we needed to wait for the rain to slow down.  Bye-bye Dumbo fast passes.

(Here's a planning tip.  When you enter the park in the morning, go to the back.  Most people will stop inside the entrance and do what they see.  This was obvious when we returned for the princess meet and greet and found that the stand-by wait time was down to 30 minutes from 60 minutes.)

We were starting to get hungry now so we walked up to the Main Street Bakery and shared a few sandwiches.  And a big cinnamon roll.  Those things are so freaking good.  Oh, and there were also sugar cookies.  All of the food there was very, very yummy.

The rain ended while we were eating so we headed over the Merida meet and greet line.  I knew that she took a half an hour break around 2:30 and I was really hoping that we could get in before that break.  The line was fairly long and about five minutes into joining it, a CM walked up and stood behind us.  He told us that we would be the last group to meet Merida before her break.  Finally, something had worked out.

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Merida's brothers are also identical triplets so there was talk of switching kids.  That's Allie on the far right.  She was hanging in there but definitely not herself.

The girls were wearing dresses (made by Grammy) with Merida on them.  We had left their princess dresses in the van so that we wouldn't have to worry about them.  The reservation time for our early dinner in the castle was approaching so Rich headed out to the parking lot to retrieve the dresses.  While we waited, we rode the carousel.  Twice.  It had no wait time at all.  We also checked out a gift shop and then found a bench in the shade of the castle.

And we waited.  And waited.  Rich and I were staying in contact via text messages so that he would know where to find us.  The last I had heard, he was on the monorail on his way back.  What was taking so long?

~ To be continued.

8 comments:

Stacey L. said...

It's nice you can get a fastpass to do the character meet & greet. Disneyland doesn't have that.It's only for a few rides here. You just have to wait in line. Last year I waited in line with my girls for about 75 minutes to see Rapunzel or "Tangled" as my daughter still calls her. I wish Disneyland would do the fastpass.

Sarah said...

I can't wait to hear if they get their princess dresses or if you get to the castle on time. What happened to Daddy? LOVE your writing!

Kristen Chambers said...

At Dianeyland you can still use the fast pass after the time expires just not before. I'm not sure if this true at Disney World though. It's not advertised at Disneyland but it is true! :)

Anonymous said...

Poor little Allie. Her face in all of these pictures makes it evident that she just wasn't feelin' good. :(

-Erin

Erin said...

Sarah,

Love the Disney updates. Just curious though, why did you spend time doing the Princess meet n greets when you had dinner reservations for CRT? When we did CRT there were 5 princesses in there which saved a ton of time standing in lines.

Sarah said...

Disney World has FP time reinforcement now. If we were only going to be a few minutes late, i would have gone but at that point, we needed food.

Anon - Erin - I know. And Allie is doing pretty good compared to how the rest of the week goes.

Erin - The princess M&G is the only place to meet Rapunzel and the girls HAD to meet Rapunzel. I wish they would add her to CRT.

Erin said...

Ah, yes, Rapunzel. When we went to MK in May, Rapunzel had her own individual line (which took a while). We saw Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and Ariel at CRT. Belle was by far the most adorable of the princesses in how she treated my daughter- absolutely precious. We also stood in line to see Jasmine who was amazing as well. The only one we really missed was Tiana (she was on a break when we tried to see her unfortunately). This was right before Brave came out so Merida wasn't at the park yet.

Cannot wait for New Fantasyland to open up- next year the princess meet & greets should be far more organized with the space they are making for them there. I think the idea is to have them all in one place or something.

Angela Bailey said...

It is SO smart to have FP for some of the characters! When I went when I was 9 (when I cared about seeing the characters, still) it was a free for all, with no "set" character meet and greets. It was much better when I was 16 and went back with my 7 year old sister, and even better when I went at 22 back in 2008 with the family I nannied for. WDW is getting better and better!

xo,
A