Started off the morning bright and early and was on a bus heading to the Magic Kingdom by 7:30am for the 8:00am park opening. Arrived and made it to the area in front of the Train Station just as the opening celebration was about to start. Watched that and then joined the mass heading down Main Street. Walked through the Castle and out to Fantasyland. First stop Enchanted Tales with Belle. Then stopped for some photos at Be Our Guest. It was almost 9am at this point and I was to meet a friend at the front of the park so reversed course and made my way to the Emporium to find them. Stopped by the Firehouse for some Sorcerers cards and then made our way to Adventureland. Wanted to see if they were soft opening/testing the Pirates Adventure game, they were not, so took part in the Limited Time Magic Fairy Meet and Greet, it was about 45 minutes in line. Then roamed Adventureland and made our way out toward the Train Station with the plan to go for a ride. No such luck it was closed today. So walked along the Rivers of America and stopped to check out the new Tangled Restrooms. It was pushing 11am and the Be Our Guest line was not too bad so got in line. It was about 20 minutes. Had a great lunch at Be Our Guest and took way too many pictures, then continued to roam around the New Fantasyland checking out Gastons, the gift shop and then the Little Mermaid. It had a posted 40 minute wait so I passed this time by. Circled back around through Fantasyland and out toward Storybook Circus. Then through Tomorrowland. Went for a ride on the People Mover then made my way to the Hall of Presidents. Worked our way through the gift shops in Liberty Square and along Main Street. Found a place for the parade on the Train Station a few minutes to 3. After the parade hopped on a Monorail to the Contemporary and then walked around the Grand Canyon Concourse for a while before boarding a bus to Downtown Disney. Ate dinner at Fultons Crabhouse and then took a bus to the Grand Floridian. Hung around the lobby for a while and then took the Monorail back to the Magic Kingdom. Walked down Main Street and veered into Liberty Square. Just missed the riverboat so walked by the Tangled Restrooms and into Fantasyland. Grabbed a Fastpass for the Little Mermaid and walked out that way. Decided to try the Standby line even though it said 20 minutes. Turned out it lied.. it was a walk on. Went on twice then hung around taking some pictures of the area as the sun set and night arrived. Roamed back through Fantasyland and by the Tangled Restrooms. It was approaching 9pm so made my way to a spot to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade then a place to view Celebrate!. After the show headed to Town Square to watch Wishes! Had an obstructed view so ended up out front by the Train Station for the finale. Caught a bus back to Pop Century to wrap up my day.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Started the morning out relatively early and was on a bus to the Magic Kingdom by 7:30am for the 8:00am opening. Arrived a couple minutes before the opening ceremony. Interesting note, not steam train in it today. Later in the day we found out the trains were not in operation. The cast member was unable or unwilling to share any additional information as to why.
- I made my way up Main Street USA with the entering mass and I headed for the new portion of Fantasyland. Speaking of which calling it New Fantasyland like all the ads and promotions do really bothers me. Since it is really a two new sections (and some bathrooms) to Fantasyland not not an entire makeover of the land like Disneyland received in the 80s. But since that is what Disney calls it guess I will stick with calling it such.
- I entered the queue for Enchanted Tales with Belle and waited about 10 minutes from when I entered the queue till I was in the room with the magic mirror/gateway to the Castle. I could see how this line would move extremely slowly later in the day. The queue itself was extremely well done, as was the rest of the new sections. All the trees, rock work, stones, streams, etc.. look great! I would have liked to have been able to move around the workshop a bit more. It turned out to be more of a queue than a room to explore so taking pictures without annoying those around me was a bit of a challenge.
- The effect of the magic mirror/portal to the castle was great! The video and pictures and I have seen showcase it well but being there and watching it happen was very well done. I found the experience to be a little hard to classify. It is more involved than your classic meet and greet but not quite a full fledged show either due to how brief it is. I thought it worked really well and the children in the session I attended all seemed to be having a great time as were their parents watching them interact with Belle and play their parts.
- As I was roaming around taking pictures outside Be Our Guest I noticed the door was open and turns out they were allowing you into the entrance area to take pictures of the Ball Room. So I was able to get some pictures with no one inside. So keep that in mind if you are interested in seeing what is inside without eating, check by early in the morning. They start serving lunch at 10:30am. As I was leaving the area around 9:00am the first guest was asking to line up for lunch already! She said she had tried to get in the past several days and it was her last day so she was getting in line early.
- We stopped by later in the morning around 11:00am and waited about 20 minutes to enter and order our lunch. Around our table we ended up sampling most of the entrees on the menu. The general consensus was the food was good. Some of the dishes were a little on the salty side, but that could be our California taste buds too. The touch screen ordering process went very smoothly and there were enough options to get food plain, etc.. The food arrived at our table about 10 minutes after ordering so it was fairly efficient too. For those not familiar with how it works. For lunch Be Our Guest is quick service dinning. You enter and go to a touch screen kiosk to order your food and pay. You are issued a red RFID puck that is used by the wait staff to locate you and bring your food to you in the dining room of your choice. You can choose to eat in the main Ball Room, the dark West Wing, or a room I called the Music Box room (think it may be referred to as the Library by Disney).
- This week the Limited Time Magic Event was Fairies week. Which translated to a couple extra Fairies out in the meet and greet area in Adventureland. I had never visited them so I bit the bullet and waited in line to see what if anything they did for the Limited Time Magic. Turned out you got a card with all the Fairies signatures on it and then had your chance to get a picture with four of them. All in all a very weak Limited Time Magic event. There was very little promotion for it and I would venture to guess most if not all of the guests in line would have been there if it was the event or not.. since their kids wanted to meet Tinkerbell.
- Heard a rumor they were going to play testing the A Pirates Adventure Treasures of the Seven Seas this week so stopped by Adventureland to see. No such luck today (nor all the other times/days I checked until the very last day I managed to participate in one adventure! Check out Day 7 for my thoughts and pictures.
- Walked by the new Tangled restroom area in Fantasyland. I know many have made fun of how the opening of this area was covered by the Orlando websites.. more pictures, video, etc.. of a bathroom than ever before... but it is impressive. The area is very very well done and works nicely to bookend Fantasyland. Now the question is when are they going to get the budget to update the rest of Fantasyland to match this and the new sections? It really shows you how poor the rest of it is.
- I returned to the new portion of Fantasyland after lunch and walked through Gastons and out by the Little Mermaid attraction to finish my tour of the new area. I thought everything was great even with the center section being an active construction site (for the Dwarfs Mine Coaster that opens next year). The amount of detail that is present as you walk around and explore Gastons, the restrooms, and Village gifts is great. The area is small but it seemed to work and not feel over crowded.
- Stopped by the Hall of Presidents and found the audience to be quite respectful and quiet today. On my past several visits they have cheered/booed several of the recent presidents.
- Watched the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade and all commented on how it is well past its prime. Seems Disney agrees and a new parade will be winding through the Magic Kingdom come 2014.
- Outside the Magic Kingdom gates some work is underway. They have cleared land for an expansion of the Magic Kingdom bus stops. This will add more stops and larger stops to accommodate newer, larger busses.
- We were heading to Downtown Disney so took the Monorail to the Contemporary and walked through it then hopped on a bus to Downtown Disney. No problems at all getting there.
- Dinner this evening was at Fulton's Crabhouse. The last several meals we have had there were great. This time not so good. The quality, preparation, and service were all sub-par and we walked away disappointed this trip. For example the server did not listen to me when I asked for the butter/sauce to be on the side for my steak. And my fries were luke warm as were others sides and main entrees. The restaurant itself was nearly empty so it was not due to being rushed. Guess we may not be visiting here for a while.
- We decided to return to the Magic Kingdom after dinner. We opted to do this by way of the Grand Floridian. This seemed like a good idea since the bus was there waiting. But of course they switched drivers then the bus route goes to the Wilderness Lodge first then over to the Grand Floridian, so it took forever.
- Once we made it to the Grand Floridian it was pleasant as always to spend some time in the lobby listening to the live music and just relaxing a bit before returning to the parks.
- Made our way back out to Fantasyland and grabbed Fastpasses for the Little Mermaid. First it is really awkward to have them by Philharmagic. Secondly thought it was a little poor they are generic tickets. And lastly still do not see the need for it. The line moves rather quickly at DCA with no Fastpass.
- We walked out to the attraction and wait time was posted at 20 min, but it turned out to be a walk on. The queue itself is very impressive with the rock work and waterfalls. Also the interactive Scuttles Scavenger Hunt in the queue was fun to play. I actually went around twice just so I could try it out a little more.
- The attraction itself is the same as its Anaheim cousin. I thought the clams rotated a bit more at the end to make Ursula a little more visible in the next to last scene.. I need to re-ride Anaheim to confirm... Also there is no Mr. Limpet here.
- After dark I roamed around the new area and thought it looked ok. Nothing jumped out at me as too amazing.. but then again maybe I was just tired by this point.
- I found a spot to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade go by Cinderella Castle, always a favorite!
- A new castle projection show called Celebrate the Magic! is running since my last trip. The premise of guest photos from the day is gone and now it is just straight Disney video/animations. I thought this worked well and I enjoyed it but due to the awkward running times I only managed to see it once this trip.
- Since I was in the park I stuck around for Wishes! Still not sure what it is but something about this show bugs me and I really do not enjoy it. Was kind of hoping they would announce a new show for 2014, but no such luck so far.
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