We arrived at the front gate about five minutes before opening, so we got to watch the train arrive to the Main Street train station and then listen to Mickey Mouse and everyone else countdown to the opening of the park. The Little Man was fascinated by the monorail, and made it his business to let me know every time a train zipped by on those futuristic tracks.
Once the part was officially open, we flooded in with the rest of the crowds. The weather was perfect, sunny, blue skies, and the air was rapidly warming up. We had a character breakfast scheduled for 8:40, so we decided to see if we could get on at least one ride before breakfast. We made our way along a crowded Main Street and into Adventureland, and there the crowds began to thin out. We headed for Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of my favorite rides, and which we thought both kids would enjoy.
There was no line for the ride and we climbed into the boat and went through it and the Little Man seemed delighted. He asked all kinds of questions about the pirate throughout the ride. Neither kid seemed bothered by the small, dark drop of the ride. But I have to say I was a little disappointed. It seems to me that (a) the Pirates ride at Disneyland was better arranged; and (b) the ride has lost something with the introduction of Jack Sparrow. Perhaps that is simply because I have never seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but give me back the old ride. I liked it better.
After Pirates, we made our way back toward Main Street and decided we had time for one more ride, so we took the kids on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. That was a mildly amusing ride for them. I think the Little Man was already overwhelmed and it was a good think we were pausing for breakfast next. Just outside the ride was a anamatronic camel that would spit water on passersby. I don’t recall that from the last time I was here, but watching people’s reaction to that juicy beast was pretty funny.
Our breakfast took place at the Crystal Palace, just off the main circle to one side of the castle. While we waited for our buzzer to buzz, I captured this picture, which pretty much describes the quality of the day:
Breakfast was another buffet, but once again the food was quite good. The characters were Winnie the Pooh and friends. Our server told us that it takes about 90 minutes for all four characters to circulate to each table. In truth, it took about 30 minutes. The Little Man loved it, and posed with each of the characters for pictures. The Little Miss was a different story. She admired them from afar. She especially liked Piglet. She’d point to him whenever she saw him, saying, “Pig!” But she grew nervous as they drew near, and when Eyore put out a paw to give her five, her smile melted into a shriek that nearly cracked all the crystal in that palace. I’d never seen anything quite like that from her–or anyone else, for that matter–before.
Eyore walked away with his head and in hands. Par for the course, I suppose.
After breakfast, we headed to Fantasyland, where we thought there’d be a lot for the kids to do. We took them on Peter Pan’s Flight and waited in the first real line that we stood in at any of the parks. I think we waited about 20 minutes. The Little Man was a little impatient and kept wondering aloud why we couldn’t skip ahead of all of the people in front of us. Next, we split up briefly and I took the Little Man to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups. He liked that a lot and the faster we spun, the harder he laughed. I was getting a little dizzy and I thought he might, too, but he was just fine when we walked off the ride.
It had been my plan to take him on the Barnstormer roller-coaster, one of the few he was big enough to go on. But he saw the cars of the Tomorrowland Speedway and that’s what he wanted to do. So we got in line for that. Once again, we had to wait and once again, the Little Man was impatient. But when we finally got into our car and he learned that he could drive it, he was thrilled. That thrill lasted only the first minute or two. It wasn’t easy for him to steer and after a few minutes, he asked me to take over and drive. I still think he enjoyed the ride. Plus, he received his Disney Driver’s License.
We rejoined with Kelly and the Little Miss and hit two more rides in rapid succession: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, followed by Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid. It was our idea to go to the haunted house next, but they were experiencing some kind of technical difficulty and it was closed for the moment. Instead, we split up once again and I took the Little Man on the Barnstormer roller-coaster. It was his first roller-coaster ride ever. He seemed excited as the cars climbed up the steep hill. I tried to explain to him that when you reach the top, you put your hands in the air, but he wanted to hold on. As we created the hill and started down, his face looked suddenly strained. But as we zipped down that first curving drop, that strained look turned to laughter. Still, I held onto him just so that he’d feel extra safe. It was a very quick ride, over before you knew it. And the reason I knew the Little Man enjoyed it was because when it was all over, he was disappointed. He wanted more!
By this time, it was nearly noon. The kids were dragging and so were we. The Barnstormer was right next to the Disney Railroad station for Fantasyland, so I suggested a train ride as a way to take a break. There are three stops and a complete loop around the park takes 20 minutes. We actually sat for a loop and a half, giving us about half an hour to relax and take a load off. We finally disembarked from the train in the Frontierland station. Kelly and the Little Miss sat in the shade for a while, while I climbed up into the Swiss Family Treehouse with the Little Man. I think he enjoyed climbing up into those branches, but was disappointed by the fact that he couldn’t actually go into the rooms up there.
Around this time, the Little Man started telling us he was tired. We’d heard that the Haunted House was open again, and told him to hang in there. We walked over and indeed, it was open, so we went for a ride. This is Kelly’s favorite ride. I think the Little Man enjoyed it, once he realized the ghosts were mostly funny ghosts. The ride stalled once while we were on it, right near the very end, but it quickly returned to service and we were on our way. We thought that some food might energize the Little Man and keep him going, so we stopped for lunch at the Columbia Harbour House. We all ate, but the Little Man just grew more weary. For the first time in his life, I think, he asked to go back on the bus and take a nap. We’d worn him out.
We caught a bus back to the hotel at just about 2pm and were back in our hotel room 45 minutes later. The Little Man had collapsed on the bus and I got him into bed so that he could sleep more comfortably. Kelly was going to nap too, so I took the Little Miss out with me and we walked over the main resort area and sat at the Banana Cabana bar. I had a mai-tai and a beer, and the Little Miss has some juice. We tried to give Kelly and the Little Man as much time as we could manage so that they could get some well-needed rest.
We decided to return to the Magic Kingdom the next day. In the evening, we made for Hollywood Studios, arriving there just before 5:30pm. We discovered that there really wasn’t a lot to do there for little kids, but we made the best of it anyway. We wandered around quite a bit. Kelly and the Little Man got in line for Team McQueen so that he could get his picture taken with Lightning McQueen and Mater. I took the Little Miss shopping. Across the street from Team McQueen was a muppet store. The Little Miss had seen it from afar and said, “Elmo!” almost certainly because it looked as if Elmo was one of the muppets. Inside, I looked around for an Elmo doll to buy her but couldn’t find one. Finally I asked, “Where are the Elmo dolls?”
“I’m sorry, we don’t have them,” the cashier told me.
“Don’t tell me that! It will break her little heart!”
The cashier looked at the Little Miss and made a mock-pouted lip.
“We saw Elmo on the building outside,” I said, “I’m surprised you don’t have him.”
“That’s not Elmo,” the cashier told us, “that’s Animal.”
Well, it didn’t look like Animal to me, and when I tried to give an Animal doll to the Little Miss she smiled politely, pushed it away and said, “No. Elmo!”
We all wandered around a bit more before finally grabbing some dinner at the Backlot Express Diner. After that we headed onto the Great Movie Ride, which was both relaxing and amusing–and thought I’d been on it before, it was not at all what I remembered.
By this time, everyone was pretty tired. But Kelly wanted to see the Christmas lights so we trekked over to where the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights was taking place. It was very crowded, but all of the lights were actually pretty cool.
We were back at the bus stop by 7:40 and back to our hotel just after 8pm. The Little Man was still wired, so I took him over to the arcade at the resort to burn off a little more energy. Then it was time for bed. The Little Man and I watched the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol before finally dozing off to sleep.
- According to my Foursquare check-in. ↩