strange enough, even though we bought the park hopper option, we only visited the Magic Kingdom twice (one evening and then one full day), spending more time in Epcot. while chaeli enjoyed going on all the rides in The Magic Kingdom, she was much more interested in the more interactive, high-tech attractions. plus, i find she’s starting to seek that adrenaline rush for speed.
the Magic Kingdom, however, will forever remain my favourite. while i have key favourite elements from the other theme parks, the Magic Kingdom holds the most disney magic, so to speak. i always suggest 2 full days here and then 1.5 days for Hollywood Studios and Epcot. the park hopper option was a good choice, though – it allowed us to return to some of the theme parks that had extended hours (attractions were only opened, during this time, to those staying at a disney resort – we were actually carded for each ride during these hours).
one of our first stop the first night in the Magic Kingdom was the new Journey of the Little Mermaid ride. similar to the classic animatronics style, like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan in the newly (and beautifully) renovated Fantasyland, it was great for little ones as well as all other ages who enjoy the whimsical delight of what disney’s foundation truly is – to capture the child in all of us.
it was interesting reading some of the reviews before trying the ride myself. people either hated it or loved it. those who felt it was only so-so admitted that they went on it mainly for their children’s sake but that had they been there without kids, they would not have bothered. the ride, however, was geared to follow the traditions of Fantasyland and meant as a family-friendly ride for those that have young children.
the design of the castle encompassing the ride was gorgeous. there was plenty to see and marvel at during the line-up (which was a short line-up for us since we got fast passes).
chaeli celebrated her 9th birthday morning at The Crystal Palace – another character dining experience with Winnie the Pooh and Friends. She got another autographed birthday card with all the characters from the 100 Acre Woods posing in front of the castle.
in fact, from the moment we arrived to our resort, chaeli was adorned with mardi gras beads, disney stickers and a birthday button. doug and i were given celebration buttons to wear to in order to support chaeli’s birthday week. so long as we wore those buttons, we got little surprises here and there. i know no other place that does it like disney.
anyway, the resaurant was also buffet style but as usual, the food was freshly made. all week, none of the buffets disappointed us – not at all like some buffets where you can really tell that the food was sitting there for awhile under heat lamps. i noticed that all the food trays were actually small for the magnitude of the crowd. i assume it was because they were on heavy rotation from the kitchen where everything was being constantly made, fresh from the stoves and ovens. the highlight was the puffed french toasts.
the characters were amazing. as usual, they played their roles very well but this set of characters looked extra soft that i had to really control myself! i almost ran up to give each one a hug!
now that chaeli is older, i was able to convince her to go on The Haunted Mansion ride. i do remember being deathly afraid when i was really young (5 years old) but as i grew up, i started to appreciate the humour of The Haunted Mansion as only disney can pull off. chaeli was apprehensive at the beginning, when they cattled us in this dark room and closed the door on us – an introductory part before the actual ride began. but once we got going, she was captivated by all the ghostly, special effects.
as we were leaving the park, we were just in time to catch the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade. it’s one parade we missed the last couple of times so i’m glad we were able to see it. chaeli got a prime spot right at the edge of Main Street just as all the prince, princesses and their friends passed by. she also got a chance to see mickey and minnie at the start of the parade.