Best Day Ever! Seriously, let’s say that again … Best. Day. Ever!!
There is no feeling like returning ‘home’ again and walking into the Magic Kingdom. My husband even turned to me as we walked through the gate and said, “Welcome home!” Let’s face it, the Magic Kingdom has that effect on most of us. Home. Finally. After 19 years of being away, I was back. Best Day Ever!
We were, once again, up early and out the door! I didn’t think I could get there fast enough! I had waited all week for this and I was going to make sure we all enjoyed every single second of the day. This was my boys’ very first visit to the Magic Kingdom; it had to be special in every way. My husband had been there when he was a teenager and it didn’t have quite the same magical effect on him as it had me. I felt the need to make sure he left that park feeling differently then he had so many years ago. Looking back on our time at the park, I can definitively say, “Mission accomplished!”
To be honest, I couldn’t even remember the entrance or the way to get in the park. I had forgotten all about having the choice of the monorail or ferry. We decided to take the ferry and it was my first time doing so. I loved it. There was a nice breeze, everyone was smiling and there were ears everywhere! We did have to wait to get on the ferry, but it wasn’t too bad. I could tell the moment we got outside it was going to be a hot one! I think it was the only day we had that was really hot and humid.
As we made our way off the ferry and into the park, I was tearing up. Seriously, I’m tearing up writing this! LOL! I tried to take as many pictures as I could. I obviously failed. LOL! I thought I was taking enough but I think I was so distracted that, at times, I just forgot. I also knew we had the memory maker and there would be a great selection of photos from that too.
The park was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Hearing the holiday music in the background made it even more magical. As we made our way down Main Street, taking in the sights, I looked up and there she was – the beautiful Cinderella Castle! Just breathtaking! We were able to get in line for our castle pictures right away and the wait wasn’t long at all. The only complaint I had (and heard from the peanut gallery) was the sun glare! It was difficult to smile and keep your eyes open, but we did the best we could. It was still a great picture and now I have it as my wallpaper on my phone. It’s a great reminder of the best day ever.
We headed over to Adventureland and made our way towards the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. I remembered loving this as a kid and I was pretty sure my boys were going to feel the same way. Seriously, how much fun is walking up 116 steps to peek into the best tree house ever?! I know it’s not the most exciting attraction in the Magic Kingdom but, for me, it’s one of my “must do” attractions. It brings back memories of my mom and the first time we visited the Treehouse. She loved it and so did I.
From there we headed to one of my favorite rides, Pirates of the Caribbean. The very first time I went on this ride, I was 14 years old. I had no idea what to expect and, after that first dip, I was nervous. I turned to my dad and said, “Is this a log flume ride?” LOL, he said, “Calm down and enjoy the ride!” I did and I’m happy to report that I now love that dip in the ride!
One of the best things after getting off a ride is how it leads you right into the gift shop. Okay, parents. Don’t come after me! I know it could be a disaster too. I get we don’t want to spend millions of dollars on the merchandise, but I love the merchandise! Apparently, so does my son Alex. He immediately made his way over to the swords and had to have one. I was more than happy to let him take a piece of my favorite ride home with him. I had no idea that in the next half hour, I would have to be in a picture staged to look like I was in a sword fight! He had to get the perfect picture so, while we were waiting for our lunch, Alex coordinated these fight scenes with the sword!
After lunch at Tortuga Tavern, we made our way over to Frontierland. My dad and his girlfriend, Cheryl, had a fastpass for Splash Mountain, but the standby line was so long. We decided to jump on the raft over to Tom Sawyer’s Island. It’s another favorite and probably one of my favorite kids’ books ever. It was a nice ride over to the other side. The sun was shining and it was perfect for exploring. We went through all the caves and the boys really enjoyed it. Alex asked if we could stay there for awhile or come back at night and “hang out.”
As we returned to Frontierland, everyone except me and my sister wanted to take on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I know, no surprise there. I wasn’t sure about the boys but, considering this was the last park of the week and they enjoyed all the other roller coasters, Gabe and Teddy grabbed the boys and waited in line. Patty and I walked around and did a little shopping before heading back. We got there just in time to watch them go by! They loved it! Who knows, maybe next time I’ll join them!
I’ve always loved Liberty Square! It’s very reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Because that is where I spent my childhood summer vacations, it brings back warm feelings. However, as much as I would have loved to see the Hall of Presidents, it just wasn’t going to happen this trip. It’s ok because Liberty Square has the Haunted Mansion! The best! If you remember me explaining how I was deathly afraid of this attraction on my first visit back in 1980, it is now my #1 favorite attraction at the Magic Kingdom. If you missed it, I’ll link it here. The funniest thing about returning is being in the position to help someone in our party who was a little scared as well. I was more than happy to tell him the story of my fears and how he could easily relax. Happy to say, he enjoyed it too!
Next stop, Fantasyland. I’m sorry to repeat myself, but I love Fantasyland! I noticed so many changes right away. That, or I just don’t remember, but the entrance from Frontierland into Fantasyland – with the castle walls along the side are just beautiful. It’s so pretty!
Okay, confession time. I’m not a fan of Alice in Wonderland. I find it strange, but it won’t stop me from enjoying the Mad Tea Party ride! We waited in line but, luckily, it was moving quickly. My sister and I hopped in one together as the rest of my family members found their own teacups to ride in. It was so much fun!
Our next ride was It’s A Small World. We didn’t have a fastpass for this, but I have to say that using Michael’s DAS pass really helped with the wait. When it came to working with guests with disabilities, Disney did not disappoint. They really made it very accommodating for Michael. We all enjoyed a nice cool ride through It’s a Small World. The music, air conditioning and all the smiles were priceless.
Somewhere around this time, the discussion of everyone returning to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train came up, including my sister and I getting on the ride as well! I don’t know what happened, maybe it was the heat or maybe the magic of Disney, but I decided that I was going for it! We made our Fastpass and I bit all my nails off waiting for our time.
While we waited, we continued our way through Fantasyland riding Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight and Winnie the Pooh. Every ride was so much fun, but the best thing was being able to see how much my boys really enjoyed it. Michael smiled at everything and laughed. You could tell he enjoyed everything we did. Alex was having a blast spending time with his family, experiencing the rides and picking out all kinds of souvenirs to take home!
It was time for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I nearly peed on myself! I’ll admit it; I was so scared! But, I was determined to get on it! And I did! I did it! I was crying, laughing and shaking by the time the ride ended but it was so worth it. I took a picture of me and my sister right after and you can tell I was excited. Everyone was smiling and laughing but I did it! I can’t wait to go back and get on it again! I can’t wait to try Space Mountain next! Well, maybe. LOL! I wanted to remember this moment forever, so I made sure I picked up a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Christmas ornament. I love it!
It was getting late in the day and finally starting to cool off. It was a welcome relief. My dad and his girlfriend were going to head back over to Epcot to meet some friends for dinner. Before they left, I knew I had to get a group picture of all of us together. I only wish that I had thought of getting a picture of my boys with my dad in front of the castle. Before they took off, we all got together and squeezed in everyone for our picture. It’s the only group picture I was able to get with all of us in our Disney Family t-shirts. It’s one of my favorites!
As we made our way back to Fantasyland, it was starting to get dark. That only meant one thing to me. It was time to head over to the Rapunzel restroom area for the Memory Maker’s Tangled Lantern photo. I had already told everyone, ‘I’m not leaving this park until we have those photos taken!’ It’s my absolute favorite! We waited almost an hour and it was worth every minute! Thankfully, the boys were patient and we took turns getting in and out of the line for breaks.
After finishing up with our pictures, it was time to head over to Tomorrowland. We had a fastpass for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. That was so much fun and (Surprise! Surprise!) I had the best score! Believe me, no one was more surprised than me! I can’t believe I hit that many targets!
As soon as we finished, we headed over to the People Mover! What a great way to experience all the lights and Cinderella’s Castle all lit up! It was the perfect last real ride of the night and I took as much video footage as I could. It was always my mom’s favorite thing to do at the Magic Kingdom. I imagined her sitting next to me, smiling and pointing to everything along the way. How I wish my mom could have been there with us.
We spent the rest of the night working our way towards Main Street, shopping along the way. I’m not kidding, but I went in every single shop. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I didn’t go crazy buying Disney souvenirs; although, I did have some regret about certain items I didn’t purchase after returning home. The good thing is I can always return!
As the best day ever was winding down, we found a good spot to wait for the Happily Ever After Fireworks show! To be honest, everyone was tired and getting a little cranky. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it through, but I’m happy that we did. It was breathtaking! To me, it was almost like watching the Electric Light Parade when I first visited in 1980. It was amazing! The colors, lights and the music! It was the perfect way to end a very Magical day!
It was difficult to leave. After a year and half of planning, it was time to say goodbye to my ‘home’ – the home that took me so long to return to. After almost two years of planning, our first family trip to Walt Disney World had come to an end. Believe me when I say I was holding back the tears as I left the park. I kept looking back trying to take everything in.
There was one last thing I wanted my boys to experience before leaving – the monorail. From the first time I stepped on that monorail in 1980, I became obsessed with it. I remember passing through the middle of the Contemporary Resort in amazement! At 14 years old, it’s a memory that has stayed with me. I remember my dad saying to my sister and me, “Watch girls. We are going right through the hotel!” I thought to myself, ‘One day I will stay in that resort!’ Today, I want to stay in every resort! LOL! The boys loved the monorail but, between you and me, I think they liked the ferry better. Oh well.
Although we had finished visiting all the parks, our vacation was not over. We still had one more day to enjoy and I’ll tell you all about it in my next Disney Blog post!