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Published: November 6th 2011
The usual castle in the Magic Kingdom
We decided that we would get to the park early as it is a good chance to get on some of the most popular rides before the masses arrive and the queues start to get to long, and grab some fast passes while we were at it. Once we got into the park that proved to be remarkably successful.
It took a while to get in however. Even though we were staying just outside of the park, the sheer scale of the place meant that it was still quite a long drive to the car-park. We had to pay to park, which we were not impressed about, given how much we had spent on park tickets.
We then found out that that car-park was not a walking distance from the Magic Kingdom (although we should have realised as no-one walks in Florida anyway) and it was necessary to get either a monorail or a ferry. We chose the ferry.
Despite all that, we still managed to get there before the park itself opened, so we got to see the welcome parade at the entrance. Lots of waving, singing and dosing-up on the pixie dust to get the day
Snow White and the seven dwarfs
started. Once all that was out of the way, it was then a matter of getting to the best rides before the queues got too long. The fast passes are also a great idea as they allow you to reserve a time on a ride without having to queue. Getting their early meant that we didn’t have to wait very long for our slot, which also meant we didn’t have to wait very long before we could get some more.
This is almost an exact copy of Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Hong Kong, which we have visited previously, or, more accurately, they are a copy of the Florida Magic Kingdom . The layout, with the various themed areas and the train going all the way around, is the same and many of the main rides have the same names - Space Mountain , Splash Mountain , Thunder Mountain , It's a Small World and the like.
As well as the pixie-dust dealers, there were lots of Disney characters walking around all the parks. Either that or we were tripping-out on a pixie-dust induced narcotic hallucination. They gave us something else to queue up for as all the children
What a good idea - a coat made of Dalmations
wanted photographs with them and for them to sign a signatures book. Yes, you queue up for someone dressed-up as Mickey Mouse to write “Mickey” in a book. It seemed logical at the time, as it had done previously in Disneyland Paris when we went there.
We also found out that they don’t sell alcohol in the Magic Kingdom as, apparently, it’s not in keeping with the family character of this park.
We couldn’t imagine what kind of nightmare it would be if we tried to get back to the car-park with everyone else when the parked closed, so we decided to watch the end-of-day fireworks from the other side of the lake having got the ferry over and done with.
There were two parades – a daytime one and a night time one. Both were the usual assortment of over-glitzy, over-joyful twaddle, with lots of characters getting seriously carried away with the cheerfulness of their roles. At least the children liked them.
Finally, here are some general observations about the Disney parks, which may interest you:
• Definitely follow our example and get there early to get on some of the most popular rides and
Donald Duck in the afternoon parade
grab some fast passes.
• Although it was not as bad as Hong Kong , it does get very, very hot as you would expect. Something that was very much appreciated is that a lot of the queues are air-conditioned which makes them a lot more bearable, although I’m sure the environmental mafia wouldn’t like the place.
• Try hiring a mobility scooter, whether you are disabled or not, as it allows you to skip the queues. I don’t have a problem with that, however there were a number of occasions when someone in a mobility scooter had 15 of their family and friends with them who all skipped the queue as well. We were convinced that some of them were using it as queue-jumping scam.
• Whilst all the girls went on some tedious, sugar-coated ride in the Magic Kingdom , we checked out something called One Man’s Dream. This told the story of how Walt Disney got started and how the idea for Disneyland took shape. It was very interesting and surprised us as to what a hard slog it was, with bankruptcy coming close on a couple of occasions. If you’ve got time, it was worth checking, but it is more of a history lesson than a thrill. Consequently, it wasn’t very busy.
• One Disney policy that really impressed us was the Customer Recovery Programme. One of the children managed to break one of their shoes so we went to get a new pair. Under this programme, she got a new pair of shoes for free. They wouldn’t do that in England as people would be taking old shoes with them.
• What ever you do, don't queue up for Snitch's Great Escape as it’s easily the worst ride we had ever been on in our entire lives by a considerable margin. I can only think that the queue was so long as no one else knew how bad it was either.
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