After circling the lagoon on the monorail, we finally arrived at Magic Kingdom, three days after we arrived at DisneyWorld. It was Leah’s first monorail ride of this trip, though she had seen them several times over the last few days and kept asking to ride them. She held onto the pole all by herself and was pleased.
The park is decorated with extensive Halloween decorations, which makes it extra fun to be at MK this time of year. We headed right over to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, because the lines can be long there, and it’s a Leah favorite. Many of the rides are starting to get facelifts in the queues, giving kids something to do while they wait for the ride. Pooh has several such things, with hands-on activities and tv screens covered with digital honey that kids can wipe away to reveal characters beneath. We only had a short wait on this morning, though, and Leah loved sitting on the seat by herself and holding the lap bar. She shouted out the character names as we went through the ride, calling out “Hi” to them as we passed.
From there, we got some frozen lemonade and headed over to the newly-relocated and substantially improved Dumbo ride. Dumbo is now actually double Dumbo, with two entire rides like the old one. The real improvement is in the queue, though. We got in line and were directed inside a big tent (well, actually, a building that looks like a tent, but who cares – it was air-conditioned. When you enter the tent, you’re given a pager like at a restaurant, and the tent is filled with equipment and activities for kids of all ages. There are tunnels up high for bigger kids like Aly, and fire trucks for smaller kids like Leah. We spent twenty minutes or so letting the kids play there before turning in our pager and getting back in the line for Dumbo. Aly wanted a “turquoise” Dumbo to ride in with me, and we got lucky because we were at the front of the line for our group of riders, so she got the color she wanted. The ride is essentially unchanged, but it did give us a new overhead perspective of the new Fantasyland currently under construction. Leah loved riding Dumbo as well, matching Aly shout for shout as we whirled.
We wandered out to a new splash area where kids can cool off, or get completely drenched. Aly picked the latter, which is why she suddenly has a different shirt on in the middle of the day – more dollars for Disney! Over the last few weeks, I had convinced Aly to ride Splash Mountain with me – she wanted to ride it when she was three, but she was too short and was sad when they turned her away. Some awesome cast member saw her sad face back then and gave us a special card that allowed her to ride without waiting once she grew tall enough, but when she was tall enough last trip, she was too scared to ride. We headed back to ride Splash Mountain, only to discover that it was closed for a mechanical issue (We didn’t receive and ISOC notification, though), but we got fastpasses for later in the day just in case it reopened.
At this point, we had to decide whether to head back to the hotel for a Leah nap or try to get her to nap in the park, which is always a difficult decision and we always make the wrong decision somehow. Rachel took Leah to put her to sleep in the park, while Aly and I took a raft over to Tom Sawyer Island, which is something we’ve never done at MK. We had fun exploring the caves and the fort, and Aly loved the barrel bridge. As we rafted back to the mainland, Rachel texted and said that Leah was being difficult and was not sleeping, so they’d meet us at Pirates of the Caribbean. Aly and I grabbed a Mickey Bar to eat along the way, and then we all rode Pirates together, thankful for the air conditioning on what was becoming a hot, sunny day.
So hot and sunny that we decided we could not live without Dole Whips, which are pineapple soft serve ice cream floated in pineapple juice – nothing tastier on a hot day. The line was very long with no shade, so I waited in line while the girls found a shadier spot to wait. It took about twenty minutes in line, but it was completely worth it for the Dole Whips (and a Coke float) that were quickly consumed by our group. We spotted Princess Tiana nearby, and Aly went to get in line to see her while we finished up the ice cream. Leah spotted a small puddle (of something! which will become more important in a moment) and was being very cute stomping her feet in it. She then laid down on her belly and splashed her hands in it, and a Disney photographer came along who thought it was so adorable that he started taking pictures. That is, until she started trying to drink (!) the puddle, which caused both Rachel and the photographer to dive for Leah and stop her from doing that. I was already over in line with Aly at this point, so I missed the commotion, but I suppose it was most hilarious.
While we waited in line for Tiana, Aly asked if she could see Tiana by herself before Leah went up to see her. We said sure, but once Leah spotted Tiana, it was a difficult task to keep her back – check out the picture below where you can tell that Rachel is restraining Leah by her dress. She escaped anyway and gazed longingly at Tiana as she hugged Aly. When Aly was done, Tiana invited Leah to come over, and Leah carried her own book and pen over to Tiana for signing – a big step for a girl who is shy around strangers. She plopped down on the ground while Tiana was signing and looked adorable. Until, that is, Tiana started to scoot over to Leah. Once she broke the personal space barrier, Leah gave her a strong rebuff, but they got a good picture together anyway.
We walked over to Tomorrowland for Aly to ride her favorite attraction in all of WDW – the Astro Orbiter. I took Leah for a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority while Aly piloted her rocket ship, then we met up to say hello to Buzz Lightyear. After a quick spin on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, we strolled over to the Crystal Palace to have dinner with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger. Leah spotted Piglet and Tigger on the way, but did not see the others right away. We got her some grapes and mac n cheese to get some carbs into her since she’d skipped her usual 1.5-2 hour nap. When she finally spotted Pooh, she let out a joyful shriek that had our entire half of the restaurant laughing – followed of course by a vigorous wave and “Hi!”. We had good visits with all the characters (though Leah gave Eeyore a forearm shiver to the nose when he came in too close), and Aly had three plates of mac n cheese before putting half the soft serve ice cream machine into a tiny bowl and burying it in sprinkles. As you can see in the picture near the end, Aly was pretty darn full. The food was okay overall, not as good as it was in past years, though I loved the Mediterranean Chicken.
At this point, Leah was so tired that she was an emotional wreck. She had bypassed the stroller most of the day in favor of running through the park – I’m sure she walked at least a couple miles on a hot & sunny Florida day. Sitting on the booth’s bench seat, Leah was chewing on her shoe (yes, I know) when the man at the next table smiled at her and shook his head like “Don’t eat your shoe, crazy baby” (completely reasonable) and she absolutely melted down. We felt bad for the guy, because he had been smiling and laughing with her the whole meal and then she blew a gasket when he smiled at her, lol. I had promised Aly one balloon on this trip, so we let her pick her out after dinner as we made our way out of the park. Being fairness-obsessed parents, we also bought one for Leah, and plopped them both in the stroller with their massive Mickey head balloons. We wandered through the large store along Main Street as we made our way out of the park. Aly saw something she wanted, and I said in typically cranky fashion “I just bought you a $10 balloon two minutes ago and now you want that?” Aly replied “You didn’t buy that balloon, it was free!” so apparently Aly doesn’t completely understand WDW despite visiting so many times.
We walked back to our car at the Contemporary, strapped the kids in, and watched Leah go to sleep in two minutes as I drove us back to Art of Animation. Even though it was just 6pm when we got back to the hotel, we quick set up the room for nighttime and put Leah to bed, since she’d skipped the nap and been so active. Thankfully, she actually went to sleep and got a decent night’s sleep despite being so overtired.
Aly and I went out to the main pool for an evening swim, which made me realize even more why I like Deluxe resorts here – this pool is cold!