An Expensive Day at Magic Kingdom

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August 11th 2019
Published: August 14th 2019
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We had an early morning planned today. Disney currently offers a special ticket called "Early Morning Magic." With this ticket, you get let into the park at 7:45am (before the 9am opening), and you can ride a selection of attractions in Fantasyland: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World, Princess Fairytale Hall, Prince Charming's Carousel, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mad Tea Party, and Under the Sea. The ticket cost was pretty expensive at $79/adult and $69/child. You need an admission ticket to the park as well, so the $79 cost is on top of the regular ticket price. However, it also includes a breakfast that you can enjoy any time before 10am, so that made the ticket price slightly more palatable.

I bought these tickets months ago when I was planning our trip. Magic Kingdom is a big place, and it can get busy in the summer. When planning, I thought we could do Adventureland and Frontierland when we went to Magic Kingdom on Thursday, and then I thought we could do Fantasyland for Early Morning Magic this morning. Finally, we could do Tomorrowland after Early Morning Magic was over. Thus, by getting these tickets, I thought it would help us get to experience most of Magic Kingdom.

Was it worth it? I'm still not sure! While we were there and experiencing Fantasyland without crowds, seeing all the details, and riding the rides without wait, I would have said yes. However, the crowds were still low at 9am. We probably could have gotten almost the same experience without paying such a high extra cost. So, in the end, I'll say I was glad we did it, but I wouldn't do it again.

We got up at 6am for Early Morning Magic, and we just barely caught a bus at 6:20am. We were the only ones on the bus, and, when we arrived, there was only one other group of people there. At 7am, there were more people. They let us through security, and they split us into different groups. People who had Early Morning Magic went way over to the left to get their MagicBands scanned and to receive special event bracelets. You are only allowed on rides before 9am if you have a bracelet, and they check repeatedly! Other people were there early for their breakfast reservations. Some restaurants in Magic Kingdom open at 8am. These people with reservations are allowed into the park early for their breakfast, but they can't go on rides. After we were all checked in, we stood near the entrance until they finally let us in at 7:43am. Everyone with wrist bands hustled to Fantasyland. I can't tell you how many people were part of Early Morning Magic since we were all mixed with people who had early breakfast reservations. If I had to take a wild guess, I would say there was about 150 guests for Early Morning Magic. The number was small enough that we had no wait at any ride except to wait for, say, the carousel or mine cart to finish a cycle before our turn.

We thought everyone would rush to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first, since that's the newest ride at Magic Kingdom. It typically has a 60-90 minute wait. We thought we'd skip that ride first and go back to it. However, we somehow ended up near the front of the pack of people, so we changed our plan when we got closer. We hopped on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with no wait. Joanna and I loved it! Andrew actually really liked it a lot, too. Oliver had a smile on his face when we went through the mine with the dwarfs, but, afterwards, he insisted he didn't like it and didn't want to ride it again. Oh well! From there, we went on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It was super cute, although it was probably just a little too young for my kids. Actually, I think they rather enjoyed it, but it wouldn't be worth standing in a long line for at this age. If my kids were under 6, I think it would be perfect!

We then went to Peter Pan's Flight. This is another ride that typically has long wait times of an hour or more. I've read that it has long wait times because the capacity for the ride is so low. Anyway, we had no wait at all to get on this ride, and it was the first time I got to ride it since I was 4 years old. Perhaps it was the nostalgia, but I loved it! Andrew thought it was kind of lame.

We had to use the restrooms after Peter Pan's Flight. I thought we'd go to the Tangled restrooms at the Rapunzel tower, but that area of the park was closed off. So, we used the regular restrooms, and then we made our way to Under the Sea. There was not one other person in this area of the park. At first, I thought we'd made a mistake and misunderstood that this ride was open, but we went through the line and emerged in the loading area where there were cast members. They joked about how busy they were. Andrew and I took a photo to show off how the other clam shells in the ride were completely empty. It felt kind of exclusive, weird, and fun. When we got off, another family was just entering the queue. We made our way back down to the rest of Fantasyland, stopping for a picture in front of Gaston's where there was one other family. It was so quiet! I don't think this type of quiet is really authentic Disney, but, on the other hand, it was really cool to get to see all the design of buildings. As a short person, I don't usually get to see this stuff when I'm part of a crowd!

Joanna asked to go on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train again. Oliver refused, so Andrew stayed back with him. Jo and I rode it two more times in a row, both times without a wait. She smiled, laughed, and kept her arms up the whole ride! We then went to It's a Small World. There were more people on that ride, but we still got on right away. After that, it was just turning 9 o'clock. Joanna wanted to ride the carousel, and I'd read that Cinderella's wicked stepsisters sometimes ride the carousel at opening time. I hoped to catch them, but they weren't there.

So, in sum, we were able to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train three times as well as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan's Flight, Under the Sea, It's a Small World, and the carousel, all before 9am (and that includes a bathroom break!).

We rode the carousel, and I got a text from my parents that they got in the park at 9am and went straight to the Hall of Presidents. Last time they were at Magic Kingdom in January 2009, Hall of Presidents was closed as they were adding President Obama to the attraction. My dad was thrilled he didn't have to miss it this time! Andrew, the kids, and I went to grab our included breakfast, and then we met up with my parents in Tomorrowland. My mom, Jo, and I rode Space Mountain with our FastPass, and then we went to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, where we all used a FastPass. This was really the only ride where the cast members messed up with my mom. We told them she couldn't walk at all, so they'd stopped the ride so she could load in. However, when it was time to exit, they didn't stop the ride. They just slowed it down, and the cast member told my mom her scooter was at the gate for her. My mom being my mom, she thought she could make it on one foot. She hopped out of the ride on one foot, landed on the moving platform, and fell. Andrew and my dad were there immediately and caught her as she was going down and held her up. She didn't get hurt, but we told her later that if a cast member ever does that again, she should just stay on the ride and ride it again and again until they stop it for her! For every other ride, the cast members were great. They stopped the rides when needed, moved boats over to special loading areas when needed, and moved her kick scooter to her for when she got off. I don't know if there was a miscommunication at this ride or what, but I'm glad my mom didn't get hurt!

After Buzz, my parents treated Jo to a Bo Peep doll she'd had her eyes on. She was beyond thrilled. Oliver still hadn't decided what he wanted for his souvenir. We then decided to check out Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which was silly and funny. It was especially nice to be in an air conditioned show in the heat! Afterwards, we got ice cream. Mine was called a 2319, which is an error code in the Monsters Inc. movie. In the movie, one furry, orange monster had a child's sock stuck to him when he got back from scaring her. When he came back, alarm bells went off for the 2319 code, and he had to be decontaminated. My 2319 cone was orange colored with orange sprinkles to make it look fuzzy, and a sock cookie was stuck on the side. The ice cream tasted tropical, perhaps mango and pineapple. It was good but sweet. I couldn't finish the whole thing and felt bad wasting it (no one else wanted it). I wish the serving size was smaller, but, otherwise, it was a refreshing treat.

At this point, it was after 11am. Andrew, the kids, and I had been at the park for about 5 hours. We decided to all go back to our resorts to rest and rehydrate. We'd go back to Magic Kingdom around 5pm for a dinner reservation and fireworks.

I napped when we got back to our resort. The kids did not. At 5pm, we met my parents at the Boardwalk and took the bus back to Magic Kingdom together, and the kids looked a little glossy-eyed. When we arrived, we went to The Chapeau for my parents to get Frankie some embroidered mouse ears. They also treated Oliver to embroidery on the mouse ears we'd gotten him. The wait would be about half an hour on the embroidery, so we told them we'd be back that evening after fireworks. We made our way to our dinner reservation at Be Our Guest. The menu changed, and not for the better. At least, not for vegetarians! Last time we were here in 2016, we were told how their French onion soup is vegetarian. They explained how it's an easier method to use beef stock to make the soup, but they make theirs the traditional French way, slow cooking onions all day for maximum flavor that doesn't require adding beef stock. We were thrilled with our French onion soup! Now, it seems, they no longer make their soup this way. It's made with beef stock. The only vegetarian appetizer was a simple salad. For the entree, the only vegetarian option was corn tortellini. We got 6 pieces of tortellini, and it was flavorless. It tasted like water. It was just so bad. For dessert, they brought us out a tray of 3 items, and they told us the gray stuff is not vegetarian, so we could only eat the single macaron and a little ball of chocolate that didn't taste good. The cost for this "meal" was $60. It was the only time I thought Disney should be ashamed. For $60 each, my husband and I each got a small salad, 6 pieces of tortellini, a taste of bad chocolate, and a macaron cookie. $60!

My parents fared much better. My mom got a cheese tray for an appetizer that she didn't like (the cheeses were too fancy), but she enjoyed her fillet mignon. My dad loved his French onion soup and his fillet mignon. Joanna got macaroni and cheese but wouldn't eat it because of the strong cheeses they used. Andrew ate hers. Oliver ordered plain pasta with no sauce and ate his. My parents paid with their meal plan. Our bill for our family of four was over $250, which is shameful when you consider how bad the food was. Thankfully, I'd planned ahead and had a rewards gift card to cover the balance, but I will never eat here again. If you are vegetarian, don't waste your time with this meal! The only redeeming part of the meal was meeting Beast (but that's not worth $250). We left hungry and $250 poorer.

Afterwards, we were going to watch the fireworks, but Oliver was disappointed we didn't get to ride Haunted Mansion again. So, we did that instead. It was 8:40pm when we got to Haunted Mansion, and the wait was posted as 25 minutes. I thought there was a chance we might get out to see the fireworks, which begin at 9am in the summer. Unfortunately, they have to wait for a certain accessible doom buggy to come around to load my mom into, so we had a very long wait to get on the ride. We were OK with that, obviously. We were happy they were being safe! We were just also disappointed it took so long. We could hear the fireworks start to go off outside as we waited for the special car to arrive so my mom could be loaded. By the time we got off the ride, the fireworks were over...

...or so we thought! A finale started as we were making our way back to Main Street. We stopped in Liberty Square and watched the end of the show. I was so glad we got to catch some of the fireworks! I think my mom was, too.

Making her way down Main Street after the fireworks was probably the toughest part of Disney World for my mom. We should have stopped somewhere, gone on another ride, or browsed shops or something. We were exhausted, though, and eager to get back. It was just so, so, so busy on Main Street. I tried to walk in front of her with my elbows out to prevent people from pushing into her, but she still got pushed a couple times. We eventually made it through without a major incident. We picked up our hats, used the restroom, and headed out.

This is where one more incident happened. The bus back to the Boardwalk was #14, and the bus back to the Swan and Dolphin was #13. We decided to make sure my mom got loaded on the bus before we left. After just a minute, at 9:50pm, the bus pulled up. The driver didn't get out and didn't lower the ramp. She just started letting people on. My dad and I ran over to ask her to lower the ramp. She told us she couldn't do it now because she'd already let some people on. There were only 3 people on the bus! She then asked us, "Have you been waiting long?" We said no, we'd only been there about a minute. She told us that we should just wait for the next bus then. She was able to fit every single person waiting in line on the bus, and there was still room on the bus. My parents couldn't get on, though, since the ramp was never lowered. My mom said it was no big deal. They didn't mind waiting for the next bus. However, I kid you not, the next two groups who arrived had a person in a wheel chair with them! One of the wheel chair passengers was elderly. Neither of these women could transfer, either. I didn't think they'd be able to fit all of the people with disabilities on the next bus. We decided to stay with my parents and ride the bus back to the Boardwalk. From there, we'd just walk to our resort and the Swan and Dolphin, but I wanted to make sure there were no more problems. Thankfully, there weren't. The next driver was amazing. My mom could sit in a regular seat that was at the end of the row so that way she didn't have to take up space for the wheel chairs (where her kick scooter normally goes). So, the other two women in wheel chairs could fit. The driver helped get them set up, and he buckled them up. He buckled in their wheel chairs and buckled them in. He was stellar. I'm still mad at the last driver who wouldn't lower the ramp for my mom, but I try to remember these are the exceptions at Disney World, and most of the cast members are very helpful and kind.

I was relieved when we finally made it back to our room. I was so exhausted and fell asleep almost immediately when my head hit the pillow. For the first time all vacation, I slept past 8am.


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