Florida 18 - T2 - Day 19 - Magic Kingdom
The last of our theme park days for this trip and the year.
First of all I swapped messages with Neil who had arrived back in the UK safely and was making his way straight to Carrow Road for the match.
Today we were going to Magic Kingdom with just Barry. We were all in the car and driving to the park at 7.45am.
Parking was a doddle, well it was was eventually. At the last moment at the parking booths I decided to switch lanes and accidentally and very slightly clipped one of the bollards. The attendant from the adjoining booth shouted and ran across with a hand across his mouth as though I had run over a small child. Barry who was in the front passenger seat, nor I could really work out what the fuss was about. Indeed nor could the attendant we were paying. Never mind, it make us smile afterwards. Because we were early we secured a spot close enough to the Ticketing & Transportation Centre that meant we didn't need to wait for a tram. Barry's choice was that we then took the monorail to the actual park entrance and we were fortunate to get onto the next available one.
We were soon through the gates. I still love the use of the magic bands and think we have them for everything in life.
Main Street was open for people to wander and gather but none of the lands/rides.
We had chosen today to visit as not only did it fit in with the rest of our schedule but was scheduled to be the least busy of the days we had available. However it was still set to be a 6/10 day which is not good. This was because it was a Saturday and just two days before Veterans Day meaning many people had a long weekend off. Already the park felt busy. It was due to be open from 9am - 11pm with then a further 2 hours exclusive for hotel guests until 1am.
At 8.55am the lands opened. We were waiting at the nearest point to Fantasyland to get straight in the queue for the Mine Train. We joined the hundreds of other people waiting with the same plan. It was about a 50 minute wait before we rode it. The queue however was more than double that though for the rest of the day. We all enjoyed the ride and were glad we had done it.
Our fast pass on Splash Mountain was then available so we walked across the park to ride it. As there were 3 of us, Barry rode alone at the front of the vehicle. Karen & I cowered behind to hopefully avoid too much of the 'splash'. It was as ever really good fun and we only got splashed and not drenched.
Barry decided we should ride Jungle Cruise next, renamed as Jingle Cruise for the Holiday season. However by now the whole park was rammed full of people and the queue for this and other rides were getting ridiculous. However the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean wasn't so bad at 25 minutes so we double backed to that. It also had the advantage of all the queuing area being undercover.
Whilst in the queue I checked my phone and to my delight found not only was the Wifi working in the 'caverns' of the queue but it was only strong enough to Live Stream the match from Carrow Road. So the wait time passed very quickly as we watched the action. It did seem surreal being able to do that and I mused how many other people had watched Norwich play live whilst waiting for this ride. The score at this point was still 0 - 0.
This is another magical ride and is so well done. Nevertheless we didn't hang around when we had finished and went off to watch the showing of Hall of Presidents.
As usual lots of people ignored the instruction of moving all the way to the end of the row to take their seats and instead plonked themselves down in the middle. This happened on the row we selected. So rather than leave a gap, Barry led the way in pushing our way past them. I have trained my family well. When we got to the vacant seats we compared the number of feet we had 'deliberately' stood on to make our point. Karen also kept repeating to people as she walked through ' Sorry - but it would have been easier if you had done what was asked and moved along'. My personal victory was with one ladies flip flop that she had taken off. I may have accidentally kicked it first along our row and then forward another the one in front. Petty, I know, but quite satisfying. As Disney does repeatedly tell you, all the seats have great views and we were very happy at the very end of the row. People think they know better and don't care how it impacts others trying to get in.
The show was an updated one and we were treated to a double thumbs up at the end from the robotic Donald, which amused Barry & I immensely.
We then went and used our fast pass for Space Mountain. This ride always fills me with some apprehension as much for the hassle of getting in/out of the ride as much as anything. Today I had no problem and enjoyed the ride which seemed much longer and more twisty than I recalled.
Barry & I then decided to ride the Carousel of Progress which is always a welcome break from the blistering heat. Karen decided to sit it this one out and went to purchase a coffee. This ride needs updating, in particular the 'now' scene. We had reached the second scene when some parents allowed their 2 children to climb and sit on the edge of the stage. This caused the theatre to break down. We then had to wait whilst they reset it all and we had to sit through the whole scene again from the beginning. During this time we tried on our phones to get the score updates from Carrow Road, but the Wifi didn't stretch into the actual ride itself.
As we were about to exit the ride, Barry tried again and got the score flashes. It had been 1-1 as we had entered. We cheered when the message came through we were winning 2-1. Immediately we got the update that it was now 2-2, followed by 2-3, 3-3, and finally 4-3. It must have been thrilling to have been at the match but it was also very exciting getting all those updates one by one in order within a few seconds. Cheered enormously by this we walked out to find Karen. Top of the League at the Magic Kingdom! - Fancy that.
It was then Dole Whip time which Barry queued up for whilst Karen opted for the pineapple upside down cake with Dole Whip.
The time for the fast pass for the ride that Karen & I enjoy the most then arrived. Big Thunder Mountain. It was a hooting hollering ride of fun. At the highest point of the ride we even stopped for a moment which gave us lovely views over the park.
By now it was very hot and the walkways were so full it was difficult to walk anywhere. It also didn't help that they were filming all day a TV Christmas show in front of the castle with some 'big' stars. The only person we saw as we walked by all day that we had actually heard of was Meghan Trainor, but we may have missed others. Anyhow we then decided to return to the Villa for some respite from the heat and crowds.
It was a lovely chilled time sitting outside. Karen & I decided we didn't fancy Theme Park food again tonight, so we thought we would try a Takeaway from Outback. I had the usual Steak whilst Karen had chicken. They were both delicious and it was wonderful eating it by the pool.
At 6pm we headed back to MK. This time our allocated spot was almost at the back of the parking lot so we had no option but to get the tram. Once again we rode the monorail and once again we were amazed by the number of people still going into the park.
The park look lovely with all the Christmas Decorations switched on and twinkling in the dark. We were horrified by the wait times for rides though. Barry had been keen to ride the Peoplemover and fortunately there was only a 20 minute wait until we rode it. We then went to Cosmic Rays for Barry to have a meal which he seemed to enjoy. We had managed to book another fast pass for Jingle Cruise and so went to ride that next. It was good, much better than when we rode it as plain Jungle Cruise in May but I still think they could have made much more of the Christmas theme. I think Barry would make a good skipper of one of these boats if he ever wanted a career change.
It was then almost time for the Happy Ever After firework show, but there was never a chance for us to watch it from Main Street as it was absolutely crammed full of people some of whom had been in position for 2 hours beforehand. Instead we decided to watch it from Fantasyland. This would not have met with Neils approval as we could not see the light show. However the position more than made up for it by allowing us to be right in the middle of the firework display. They were going up from both sides right over our heads. It was amazing and so so loud. I know Karen would have preferred to see the light show but I think this was a good compromise.
The queue for The Haunted Mansion had by now come down to 15 minutes and as it was the last on Barrys must do list we walked off to do that. I must admit I really enjoyed it again. Each time I seem to notice details that I have never seen before.
It was now getting late and both Karen & I were getting weary so we agreed to do one more ride. We chose the one with the shortest queue which was The Little Mermaid which was fun but whimsical. I know Barry would have been happy to carry on longer but at that point we made our way out of the park with the masses. We had a queue for the Ferryboat and then another for the parking tram. It was just before midnight that we got back to the villa.
Another tiring but really good day.