A Half Day at Magic Kingdom

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November 17th 2016
Published: November 21st 2016
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A little magicA little magicA little magic

This is an example of a "magic shot" that you can get at Disney World. The kids held out their hands for this picture, and, later, it appeared on our Disney app with Tinkerbell in the photo!
Let me start off by saying, this wasn't a typical half day at Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom was set to close at 4:30pm on Thursday for a private event. This rarely happens. I wondered if the park would be a lot less crowded because most people wouldn't want to waste a ticket on a day the park closed so early. On the other hand, I wondered if thousands of other people would have the same idea, and so maybe there wouldn't be a big drop in crowds.

We decided to take the gamble, and it paid off! We got to do so much during our Magic Kingdom half day. We arrived just before the 8am opening, and it took a bit of time to get through the main gates. Once we did, we booked it straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Well, not "straight." We took a crooked path so we could walk through Cinderella's castle, which was open to people passing through!

Everyone else had the same idea to go to the Mine Train first. When we got there, there was already a 35 minute wait. I wondered if we should go ride something else first and then come back after the initial crowd went through the line, but we decided 35 minutes isn't too terrible. It really wasn't. There was a lot for the kids to do in the queue, like spin barrels full of jewels and play a touch screen game. Now, Oliver decided before this trip that he doesn't like roller coasters, even though he's never been on one. I am usually super honest with the kids, but I knew if I was honest in this situation, he wouldn't give the ride a try. And Oliver LOVES mining stuff, thanks to Minecraft. So, I decided to just describe the ride as a mine cart that goes down to a mine. He was super stoked to check it out! We got on the ride, and it went much faster than I'd thought. Jo was definitely scared and upset. She kept yelling, "Help!" Oliver rode with his Grandma Colleen, so I didn't know how it went for him. When we got off, I fibbed a little and said, "Wow, that was like a roller coaster! I'd never ridden that before." He told me he loved it! Imagine my surprise when I pulled up the ride photos
Seven Dwarfs Mine TrainSeven Dwarfs Mine TrainSeven Dwarfs Mine Train

The kids' expressions are priceless.
and saw him looking pretty displeased. He still swears he liked it, though.

After our mine train adventure, we walked by Peter Pan's flight to see what the wait times were. It was 8:35, and our first FastPass (for Enchanted Tales with Belle) expired at 9am. The wait time for Peter Pan was 35 minutes. We decided to skip so we wouldn't miss our FastPass. For those who don't know, FastPass+ is a free option Disney offers to park goers. Before you go to the parks, you can reserve 3 rides to basically skip the line (or have a drastically reduced wait time). After you use your first three, you can then add another. After you use that one, you can add another! It keeps going. However, they only give out a certain number for each ride during each hour of the day, and some FastPasses go quickly. Options are more limited as the day goes on.

Skipping Peter Pan's Flight was really the only mistake we made. We shouldn't have skipped that line! Oh well. We went to Enchanted Tales with Belle for the FastPass, and there was literally no line at all. Actually, there
They've been cast.They've been cast.They've been cast.

Andrew was given the role of a knight, and Oliver (laying on the ground) is Maurice.
was one other family in the FastPass line, but that was it! Eventually, a few more families showed up, and we were let in. I don't want to ruin everything about the experience, but let me just say the opening to the event was incredible! And then we were led to a room with the talking chest of drawers. Different people were cast in various roles from the film. Andrew got cast as a knight ("If it's not Baroque, don't fix it!"), and Oliver got cast as Maurice! I was so excited for him because he genuinely likes the Beauty & the Beast movie. He practiced his part of shaking behind the prison bars and seemed really into it. That is, until we got into the main room and Belle came out. Oliver refused to play his part. Jo then also refused to have anything to do with it. We finally got them to agree to a picture with Belle when we pointed out that Lumiere would be in the photo, too. This was such a cute attraction. I loved the experience and only wish the kids had been a little less cranky.

We wandered over to
Belle with her knights.Belle with her knights.Belle with her knights.

Andrew was cast as one of the knights.
Gaston's Tavern to find a bathroom, and we found Gaston! He was fun to interact with. When Oliver gave him a high five, Gaston said, "Well, you tried." They all flexed their muscles for a picture. We wandered into the tavern, which was set up like the movie. The kids each got a LeFou's Brew, which looks like beer in a stein but is really frozen apple juice with marshmallow topping. When we finished, we wandered over to "It's a Small World." We passed the carousel and saw Anastasia and Drizella (Cinderella's stepsisters) riding two of the horses. Oliver announced he wanted to ride it, too, after It's a Small World. We had a FastPass+ for that ride, but the wait time was only 5 minutes! So, our first two FastPasses were pretty pointless. We went on It's a Small World, and then we rode the carousel. After that, we decided to go on Jungle Cruise with our FastPass, which is changed to "Jingle Cruise" for the holidays. I'm not really a big fan of the ride itself, but the people who pilot or sail or drive the boat make it a fun experience. Seriously, is it sail a boat when there are no sails? I have no idea. Anyway, Jungle Cruise often has a very long line, but it was just 20 minutes. Our FastPass saved a little bit of time, I guess. As soon as we redeemed that FastPass, we reserved another for Haunted Mansion for after lunch.

For lunch, we had reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern. I ate there once years ago, and they had a delicious vegetarian sandwich. They recently changed their menu (October 2016), and they eliminated the vegetarian sandwich. Andrew and I decided to grab a vegetarian sandwich and vegetarian chili from Columbia Harbor House, and then we went over to Liberty Tree Tavern with the rest of the family. We ordered dessert with them, and that was a smart move because the ooey gooey toffee cake was seriously amazing. I'd go there for dessert again!

We used our fourth FastPass+ at the Haunted Mansion after lunch. The wait time was only 10 minutes, so the FastPass wasn't really necessary there, either. Seriously, the lines were so short for most of the rides! Jo was pretty scared in there, so I didn't have as much fun as I remember having in the
Look Who We Ran Into!Look Who We Ran Into!Look Who We Ran Into!

On our way to the restrooms, we ran into Gaston.
past. That's OK, though. We spent some time at the Rapunzel or "Tangled" rest area, and Oliver asked to go on Pirates of the Caribbean again (we went on that ride on Tuesday, when we were there for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party). Along the way, we passed through a FastPass+ kiosk area and decided to see if there were any more FastPasses available. We snagged one for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which we'd already ridden twice on Tuesday but loved it! And, so, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean again and then walked to Tomorrowland to ride on the Buzz Lightyear ride before leaving the park. Both of those rides were a lot of fun! On the way, I stopped to try a Dole Whip, which I've heard so much about. They're pretty famous among Disney goers, I guess. Maybe it's because I had high expectations, but I didn't think it was all that good. Mostly, it was just sweet--very sweet. I love desserts, don't get me wrong, but I seriously would have enjoyed just a bowl of pineapple much more than the Dole Whip. Sorry to all of the Dole Whip fans out there.

The wait time at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin was posted as 25 minutes. I'm glad we had our FastPass. Colleen wondered why everyone wasn't just adding on more FastPasses like we were. I'm not really sure why they weren't, except maybe the lines were so short for almost all of the rides that people didn't want to bother. Still, I know I appreciate not standing in line for even 20 minutes if we can easily skip it with a FastPass. So, we did! After we went on the Buzz Lightyear ride, Paul hoped to ride the train that runs around the Magic Kingdom. We decided to walk to Fantasyland and ride the train to the main entrance to end the day. It was 2pm at that point, and so we spent 6 hours at the Magic Kingdom. In six hours, we got to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Enchanted Tales with Bell, It's a Small World, Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel, Jingle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and the Walt Disney World Railroad. We also got to spend time at Gaston's Tavern and had time for a table service lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. Seriously,
LeFou's BrewLeFou's BrewLeFou's Brew

It's frozen apple juice with a fluffy marshmallow topping.
that is a lot for such a short time! I do kind of wish we decided to do Hall of Presidents and stay for the Festival of Fantasy parade, but we were tired and ready for a break. We had a magical time at Magic Kingdom, and I felt like we could have easily spent another day there!

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Dole WhipDole Whip
Dole Whip

I wasn't very impressed.
On the Buzz Lightyear RideOn the Buzz Lightyear Ride
On the Buzz Lightyear Ride

Jo loved spinning our cart around in circles, making it difficult for me to blast the aliens. She thought that was hilarious!

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