I'll do a few park recaps and end with my top tips later on. We'll start today with the Magic Kingdom, which is my favorite. I hope you like lots of photos....
We opted to drive from Virginia to Florida, which made for a long day drive...but as a flagrant overpacker, I very much enjoyed being able to cram the swagger wagon as full of
junk stuff as I wanted. We surprised the girls with the news very early on a Friday morning (you can see the video here) and immediately loaded the van up and hit the road.
I ought to have known that our trip would have some drama when T got a speeding ticket less than two hours from home. And when our (perfectly fine) mini van wouldn't start when we went to leave for the park on our first morning in Florida. At any rate, everything worked out fine...it just goes to show that no trip is ever perfect.
We met my sister, brother-in-law, and niece in Florida, and the girls were overjoyed to spend time with their cousin. They wore my Minnie Mouse Silhouette T-Shirts the first day:
For the most part, the girls were too hot and unwilling to stand in line to meet characters, but we happened upon the stepmother and stepsisters from Cinderella early and they played their roles to perfection. Natalie and Michaela Byrd were thrilled to use the Disney autograph books I made for them:
Because it was the girls' first Disney trip, we scheduled a "character dining" experience at the Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh). It was pricey and noisy, but the kids were enthralled by seeing the characters. It was quite a different experience for me going with children versus dining with other adults. This spot is a buffet...perfect for picky eaters!
Our second day at the Magic Kingdom was just as magical as the first. Lots of rides, some meet and greets...and the amazing, spectacular Electrical Parade at night.
They already loved The Swiss Family Robinson from seeing the movie 547 times, but a performance by Jack Sparrow and a ride on The Pirates of the Caribbean had them shouting "yo ho" and longing to be pirates. I was shocked that they enjoyed it as much as they did.
If you are planning on attending one of the evening parades, I highly recommend arriving around 2 hours early (yes, 2 hours) and staking out your spot. And I will tell you why.
Not knowing any better, we arrived back at the Magic Kingdom a little over 2 hours before the Electrical Parade (lighted parade) was due to begin. I noticed that lots of people were staking spots on the sidewalk, so I told T to take Natalie to ride some rides while Michaela Byrd and I hung out. I would recommend trading off at some point, because sitting on the sidewalk for two hours sucked, but we had the best seats in the house. Right on the street, where the "circle" opens in front of the castle, at the end of the sidewalk...perfect view of the parade and the fireworks over the castle that followed.
I was skeptical about sitting for two hours, but a nice family settled in next to us, and the dad assured me that if we wanted to hold onto our awesome spot we should stick around...and don't let anyone weasel in and try to steal it. This turned out to be timely advice, because as the rain poured and I tried to keep my four year old occupied, I became desperate to prove that all that time sitting soaked on the sidewalk was worth something. And just like the dad said, people tried to walk up and squeeze into our parade spot five minutes before the show was due to start. After I had been sitting there soaking wet for two hours. I. don't. think. so.
Let's just say that I may have been a little bit of a grumpy pants to the spot poachers.
In the end, it was worth it, because the Electrical Parade was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Imagine a parade of Disney floats and characters, all lit up with Christmas lights. And because I turned into an obsessive compulsive spot hoarder, we were close enough for the characters to interact with my kids. And don't even get me started on the amazingness of the fireworks!
The Magic Kingdom is my favorite Disney park, and I think it's safe to say it's also the girls' favorite.
Do you have a favorite Disney park?
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