Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World 2012

We finally visited the famous Magic Kingdom on day 4. 

As usual, we arrived early in the morning. We didn't have an exact itinerary, but we had a list of attractions that we wanted to visit. My husband was not as excited as I was about Magic Kingdom (MK). He thought that MK would be the exact same park as Disneyland. Well, I think those two parks have around 70% similar rides. Anyway, when we visited Disneyland back in 2010, there are several attractions that we missed. So this time I was planning to visit those attractions plus some attractions that are unique to MK. 

From touring plans we knew that this park crowd level was pretty low for that day. What we didn't know ... even a low crowd level for MK was still much crowded if compared to the other Walt Disney World (WDW) parks. Seems like MK is the most popular park in WDW. In addition, we weren't aware of the different parking arrangement in MK. Unlike Epcot, we had to take transportation (either Monorail or Ferry) from parking lot to the MK gate. 

That day we chose to take Ferry. However, turned out the Ferry was much slower than Monorail. I was anxious because I could see that a lot of people took the monorail while we were waiting for our Ferry. I though we would lose the benefit of coming early just because we chose the wrong transportation =(

Waiting for the very slow Ferry boat =P
Our Ferry Boat - finally almost ready for boarding
When we arrived at the gate, I was relieved. The waiting area behind the turnstiles was quite big. A lot of people had already lined up behind the turnstiles, but we're not at the end of the line. I could see more and more people coming behind us. As usual, while waiting we studied the park map and wore sunblock. We also went to restroom =p

Before the park officially opened, we had to wait for Mickey to arrive in Main Street U.S.A station, by riding the WDW Railroad. I felt the same way like when I was waiting at Epcot. Disney had already orchestrating their magic for us. When Mickey finally arrived, the crowd cheered loudly. I could feel intense excitement of the crowd.

This was what it looked like when the park officially opened. People poured into Main Street U.S.A. Everyone was rushing to their favorite attraction. 

Btw, do you know that the Castle in Disneyland and the Castle in MK are different? I read somewhere in guide book that Disneyland's castle is a little bit taller than MK's castle. During my Orlando trip, I learned that they were two different castles indeed. The castle in Disneyland is Sleeping Beauty's Castle while the castle in MK is Cinderella's Castle. I also heard that WDW is building more castles in MK =D 

MK is divided into 6 areas: Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. First, we went straight to Tomorrowland for Space Mountain. A lot of people were heading there too. When we arrived, Fastpass for 10.30AM was already being distributed. The normal waiting line was only around 10 minutes. We decided to ride it now instead of taking Fastpass. It was a right decision. There were almost no line. We waited for less than 10 minutes. I heard that the Space Mountain in MK is way bigger than the one in Disneyland. It was true indeed. I could feel that the ride was longer. Since we were in such a rush, we totally forgot to take picture of Space Mountain =P

Next, we wanted to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We knew that to avoid lines we need to come as early as possible to this ride. However, the ride was located at the opposite side of the park. Instead of walking, we decided to take WDW Railroad. The closest station was at Fantasyland, a little bit north from Space Mountain. We waited for a little bit at the station.

waiting at the station
WDW Railroad
The train was an antique steam engine train. Before the train departed, we watched cast members filled the train's engine with water. It was quite an entertaining ride. We heard stories about the old train and some of the attractions that we passed throughout the journey. We stopped at the Frontierland's station.

Then we headed straight to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Again we opted to wait in line instead of taking Fastpass. We waited for around 15 minutes for the ride. I heard that there are a lot of pretty details throughout this ride; for example, the big Dinosaur's skeleton. It was a very fun roller coaster!

Can you spot the dinosaur's skeleton?
Next to this ride was another famous attraction: Splash Mountain. We decided that we didn't want to get wet so early in the morning, so we skipped. 

Across Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is Tom Sawyer Island. That attraction opened later around 11AM if I remember correctly =P

We decided to go to Fantasyland. On our way, we saw this parade in front of Country Bear Jamboree (a singing audio-animatronic show). 

Country Bear Jamboree Parade

People were dancing
Just across Country Bear Jamboree, we spotted Donald Duck! Since we missed him last time at Epcot, this time we took our time to take picture with him. 

Donald Duck
We continued on and saw Haunted Mansion on the edge of Liberty Square area. The Haunted Mansion in MK looked very different from the one in Disneyland. We decided to pay a quick visit to the friendly ghosts =P

Again, there was no line. Surprisingly, when we were there, the ride stopped for around 3 minutes. I was getting anxious. Sure, the ghosts seemed friendly, but I did not want to stay for long =P

After we were done with Haunted Mansion, we continued on to Fantasyland and rode It's a Small World. I missed this classic Disney attraction when we visited Disneyland back in 2010. The ride was pretty crowded, we have to wait for a while. Before we lined up for It's a Small World, we took Fastpass for Winnie the Pooh. In addition, we got a surprised Fastpass for Dumbo. 

The happiest cruise that ever sailed =)
Next, we headed to Mickey PhilharMagic. Both of us have never been on this attraction. I learned that this attraction is pretty popular. Several guide books give high rating for this 3D show. As expected, the attraction was also crowded. Mickey PhilharMagic was really fun! I love all the Disney songs that they played during the show.

The mischievous Donald Duck
We pay a quick visit to the store in front of Mickey's PhilharMagic and accidentally saw this ultra-cute Minnie Mouse hat.

Then we headed to Winnie the Pooh. This attraction was also super crowded. We still had to wait for a while although we were using Fastpass. The normal line (NOT Fastpass) was unbelievable long. The decoration inside the attraction was really pretty.

The front view of the attraction
The vehicle
Too bad the vehicle was moving rather quick. We couldn't take any decent picture of the ride. In front of Winnie the Pooh was an area that was being developed by WDW as the extension of Fantasyland. Later this year, I believe, there will be some new attractions like Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid and the Seven Dwarf Mine Train Roller Coaster. I am super excited for the new roller coaster! 

We used our next Fastpass and rode Dumbo. I noticed that for this new ride, parents with small kids can wait inside the small play zone while in line for Dumbo. 

Locared next to Dumbo, there were two new additional attractions. The first one was Casey Jr. Splash N' Soak Station. It was a circus-themed waterplay area for kids.

The second one was a kids Roller Coaster, the Barnstormer. We waited in line for a while for the Barnstormer. It was just OK. The decoration was rather cute tho'.

Goofy's Barnstormer
Then, we grabbed Fastpass for Peter Pan's Flight before heading to the Main Street U.S.A area for parade.

I also took a picture with the back of Cinderella's castle

Since we still had time before we could use our Fastpass for Peter Pan, we decided to rest and have lunch. I was craving fish so we chose to eat at the Columbia Harbour House. We ordered clam chowder, fish and chips, and popcorn shrimp. Turned out we ordered too much food. The clam chowder alone was enough for me. I love the clam chowder, it was super delicious!

When we finished with our meal, we rode the Liberty Square Riverboat. I also missed this attraction when we visited Disneyland. We sailed around the river and saw Tom Sawyer's Island. 
Chillin' at the Liberty Square Riverboat =D
Watching people riding the raft from Tom Sawyer's Island
The Raft Station with its WindMill
Deserted boat
Liberty Square Riverboat
We went to The Hall of Presidents at Liberty Square. Just across from the Liberty Square Riverboat. 

However, we were told that the next show will still be 20 minutes away! Not to mention that the show itself was also around 25 mins. If we waited, we would not be able to watch Dream Along with Mickey show. So we decided to head to the front of Cinderella's Castle and watched Dream Along with Mickey show instead. 

Too bad the show ended abruptly because of rain. We hurried to Town Square Theater and took picture with Disney's Princess while waiting for the rain to end. 

Again, the princesses were so into their character. Belle kept asking me if I have read stories together with my prince. Rapunzel on the other hand, asked me whether this was my first time going out from my tower. She also told me to bring a pan to defend myself! LOL

Since it was still raining after we took picture with the princess, we decided to head for other indoor attractions. We went back to Tomorrowland and rode Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. I love the concept of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. We watched an Audio-Animatronics show that tells a story on how American family evolved through time. This attraction was very interesting for me since I love history. My husband on the other hand, fell asleep instantly since the theater was cool and dark *sigh* =P

Tomorrowland Speedway as seen from the People Mover
A scene of modern American family at Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
Another modern family scene
Finally we could use our Fastpass for Peter Pan. On the way we passed through the Alice's Mad Tea Party. We didn't ride the attraction tho'. When we took this ride on our Disneyland trip, my husband felt a little bit sick. Too bad. I like this attraction. However, the one at Disneyland was far more colorful and pretty =)

I also stopped to take picture with this green Mickey and Minnie!

Even though we had Fastpass, we still had to wait for Peter Pan's Flight. It wasn't a pleasant wait since we had to stand in the rain with our ponchos. To make it worse, the ride was broken down for a while too. 

We're riding Captain Hook's ship!
When we were finally on the vehicle, I was praying so that the ride will not stop in the middle =P Especially not when we were flying above London! The Peter Pan's Flight in MK was prettier than the one in Disneyland (IMHO). 

Next we went to Adventureland. To my disappointment, the Adventureland in MK doesn't have Indiana Jones ride =P However, this time we visited the Swiss Family Treehouse.

Next we saw Agrabah Bazaar and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. We skipped this because it was basically the same ride with Dumbo.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Agrabah's Bazaar
Golden Camel that spits water to unaware guests
Instead we went to Jungle Cruise. After a brief wait, we were on board with the funny Skipper. I enjoyed this Jungle Cruise more than my first Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.

The Skipper was teasing this poor kid
Some animals that we saw
The lion and her little family
Since we still had time before the night-time spectacular show, we decided to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. I wasn't excited at first because I didn't like the one at Disneyland. However, I was surprised because the Pirates of the Caribbean in MK was much better. In particular, I love the sea battle scene. It looked real.

Done with pirates, we went straight back to Cinderella's Castle. Since it was dusk, the beautiful Castle was lighted. 

We waited for more than 30 minutes, trying to secure a strategic position. At 8.45PM we watched as the Castle was transformed into pictures of visitors in The Magic, The Memories, and You! show. At precisely 9PM, we watched Wishes nighttime spectacular which was a combination of Laser and Fireworks show. It was such an awesome show! I love Disney's nighttime spectacular shows!
Once the show finished, we walked along with the wave of crowd to exit the park. I stopped and took picture with the pretty Main Street U.S.A.

Look at that crowd!
Cinderella's Castle in the background
The crowd was amazing. It took a while for us to get back to the parking lot because we have to wait for the Monorail. 

Overall all it was a very fun day. I can hardly wait for the Fantasyland expansion to be done. I am super excited for the Seven Dwarf Mine Train Roller Coaster. I definitely agree that MK needs more roller coasters. The wait in this park wasn't so bad except for rides that were in Fantasyland. I noticed that we waited in line longer for Fantasyland attractions like Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan's Flight. Even with Fastpasses, we still had to wait for those attractions. 

Coming Next is my favorite park: Disney Hollywood Studio! Stay tuned!

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