We got a decent night’s sleep before waking up the offsprings, then packed them up for the drive up to Magic Kingdom. Before we left, Aly arranged all her Duffy bears for the day:
We parked, walked to the TTC, and hopped on the monorail for the quick trip to the main MK entrance. We breezed through security and then took the traditional pictures of being scanned in for the first time on every trip.
And then we made a Disney World rookie mistake
The last time we were here three years ago, they were just finishing up a new ride in Fantasyland, the Seven Dwarves Mine Train – so we headed right over to it and got in a very long line, even though the park had literally just opened. The line was far outside the queue area, but we felt like we had to hit this ride right away, because there had been no Fastpass+ availability for the whole upcoming week.
And here was the real problem: the only Be Our Guest reservation we could get all week was at 9:50am – we were in line for 30 minutes already at 9:45 and were nowhere near the ride. Since we travel shoulder seasons, our spoiled kids are not used to lines at all, so they were complaining and we seriously considered leaving the line and going to breakfast, so we wouldn’t have to pay the $40 fee for no-showing at the restaurant. Also, both kids got very anxious during the wait, worrying about the ride. But we decided to stick with it, waiting until about 10:30 to get on the ride.
Like most of the newer rides, the queue was interactive, with a digital gem sorting table, a musical water organ, and spinning barrels of gems. Once we got up to those areas, they were much happier.
But the pre-ride anxiety returned in full force once we got close to boarding, as you can see in Aly’s extremely nervous smile, which looks a bit like terror:
As far as the ride itself, well, we all loved it. Leah alternated between serious enjoyment and hands-up screaming, while Aly alternated between one hand up and burying her head under my arm. The PhotoPass photos show both quite clearly, lol.
As does the ride video lol (our parts are in here – be patient):
We then zipped over to Be Our Guest and begged them to let us in, even though we were super late. Being Disney World, they said sure and we headed in, ordered breakfast, and found a table in front of the snowy window. Aly’s croissant/donut was picture-worthy, though she didn’t think it tasted as good as it looked, or sounded. Anyway, we shared across our plates and all found something we liked, then grabbed some pictures of Aly outside the restaurant.
We bypassed the carousel because there were people everywhere by this time, but lucked into walking right into Philharmagic, which was awesome. It’s always awesome, but this time was great because it’s the first time that Leah has worn the 3D glasses, and she was a riot to watch. She was so into the 3D that I had to pull her back into our row at one point, because her hands were way in front of someone’s face in the next row!
Following that, we used Fastpass+ to ride its a small world (lol, but it had a 35-minute wait at the time!), and in classic tradition, sent my brother a whole bunch of video of the ride, since he hates it.
We then headed to Haunted Mansion, but we saw a bunch of cast members outside and knew that would mean it was closed, so we instead headed over for a FP+ ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, then rafted over to Tom Sawyer Island for all sorts of run-and-fun.
We rode Aladin’s carpets, then bought some ice cream to cool off. Leah of course got some in her hair, but didn’t bother to slow down while Rachel cleaned it out, then tried to steal some.
After that, we bought a few toys on the way out of the park and headed to
Downtown Disney Disney Springs for a bit more shopping, and dinner at Raglan Road, which has become one of our favorite restaurants in all of WDW.
Aly, predictably, had a great steak with mashed potatoes and onion rings, I had an incredible cup of apple+celery soup followed by an equally good green risotto, and Rachel had a very tasty pot of beef stew. Leah, predictably, had french fries and plain noodles.
The food was amazing. We all loved what we had, and what we tried of each others’ plates. But the highlight, of course, was the crazy Irish dancing and music. When we dined here three years ago, Aly had gotten up on stage with the dancers, but she declined to participate this time. Leah, however, would not pass up such an opportunity, and had an absolute blast:
Shortly after she rejoined us at the table, the dancers started putting on a show on the small platform in the middle of the dining area, and Leah was completely captivated watching them:
As we walked back to the parking structure after dinner, we came across a guy juggling LED bowling pins. He would toss one pin out to a kid, and then count to three to have them throw it back and into his juggling. After watching this a few times, Leah did a classic “hold my beer” and passed her new Duffy to Rachel – which caused Aly to call it a “hold my bear” move. The guy tossed a pin to Leah, which she caught, and, unlike some of the other kids, she waited until three before throwing it back. She did, however, chuck it at his face with a mighty force, which we all thought was hilarious (including Leah).
We swam for a while, freezing our butts off, then hit the sack for the end of Day One.