Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom with Kids

As I was rounding up about eleventy billion photos to upload and print, it dawned on me that although I've shared some Disney posts with you all, I never did share an actual recap of our May Family Disney Trip. I've posted crafts, and even a room review, but no posts about our time in the parks. I decided that rather than overload you all with a week of Disney stuff, I'd share some pics from our time in Florida and spread them out some. Lots of families plan Fall vacations to Disney, so I hope this is timely for some of you.

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....

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom with Kids, Serenity Now blog

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.
Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom with Kids, Serenity Now blog

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:
Magic Kingdom with Kids (Travel), Serenity Now blog

Magic Kingdom Travel Tips, from Serenity Now

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:
Autograph with Characters at Magic Kingdom, Serenity Now blog

Disney's Winnie the Pooh Ride, Serenity Now blog
Disney's Spinning Teacup Ride, from Serenity Now blog
On the Teacup Ride at Disney, Serenity Now blog
On the Teacup Ride at Disney, Serenity Now blog
Family Photo at Disney's Dumbo Ride, Serenity Now blog
Family Picture at Magic Kingdom Castle, Serenity Now blog

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!

Magic Kingdom Character Dining, The Crystal Palace, via Serenity Now blog

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.
Meeting Snow White in the Magic Kingdom, Serenity Now blog

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.
Magic Kingdom, Swiss Family Robinson Tree House, Serenity Now blog
Magic Kingdom, Jack Sparrow, Serenity Now blog

Magic Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean, Serenity Now blog

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!
Picture in front of Magic Kingdom Castle, Serenity Now blog
Magic Kingdom Castle at Sunset, Serenity Now blog

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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  1. I LOVE your You've Got Mail quote in the last post, so darling and that is my all time favorite movie!!!

    We're trying the Animal Kingdom when we go, but I have a house full of boys!

    Loved your cute outfits for the girls!

  2. These pictures are great! I cannot wait to take my munchkins there, I'm sure they will love it as much as your girls.

  3. This makes me miss living in Florida. We used to live only an hour and a half from Disney and go all the time because they have much more affordable rates for Florida residents. Glad you had a great time! Magic Kingdom is my favorite too. A hint if you plan to go again, try to plan your trip around the special Magic Kingdom events like the Not So Scary Halloween Party or Christmas party. The tickets are cheaper, they only let a certain amount of people in, so there are no lines, and there are a lot of special events and parades just for those events. :)

  4. we live in florida and LOVE disney world! your photos just make me smile :) and your pink castle picture if wonderful!!! you didn't mention it - did tinkerbell fly the night you watched the fireworks? it's an awesome sight to behold. she flies from near the top of the castle, down past the entrance to fantasyland - all lit up with twinkle lights so you can see her - oh, wait, it was raining - if the weather is bad she doesn't always fly because it's a real lady doing the stunt. i have a 24 second video on my facebook page of her. looks like your girls had a blast! thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  5. What an amazing trip for your entire family! I agree, the Electrical Light Parade is a MUST see and worth the spot holding time... Definitely one of my favorite things about Disney World. It looks like the girls had a blast! :)

  6. What an amazing trip for your entire family! I agree, the Electrical Light Parade is a MUST see and worth the spot holding time... Definitely one of my favorite things about Disney World. It looks like the girls had a blast! :)

  7. What a magical trip. The girls look so excited in all the pictures, I love it! And good tip on the parade. It sounds like it's worth the wait to get a good spot.

  8. Magic Kingdom is our favorite for sure too! I love all your great pictures, especially the ones of your girlies in the teacups:) We tried to see all the parades at least once, but you are right about waiting that long on the sidewalk...it sucks!

  9. What a great trip! The electric light parade sounds awesome and well worth the two hour wait for prime seats.

  10. I absolutely adore their matching outfits! I love seeing your pictures, what wonderful memories you have made!

  11. Oh this has me itching to go back to Disney! It truly is the happiest place on earth! :)

  12. I hope I could also bring my little girl to Disneyland someday!

  13. Such a cool sharing! These pictures are great and reminded me my recent tour of Walt Disney World! I went there last year and had a great fun with my wife and son. We used to visit Epcot theme park, Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom. My son was very excited when we went to Disney Magic Kingdom because it’s really magical. I was one of the remarkable tour experiences of my life that I never forget. Next I am going to 6 day hawaii tour; can you recommend me about such kind of fun and adventure attractions there.


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