Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our Disney World Adventure Part 2: The Magic Kingdom 1

On our first full day in Florida, we woke up bright and early (to a character-themed wake up call from Lightning McQueen) to get ready and arrive on the first bus from our resort to the Magic Kingdom.  We had about a half hour to wait after we scanned our Magic Bands at the gate (which, btw, worked wonderfully throughout our enter the parks you tap your band on the Mickey head, and then scan your fingerprint on the touch pad until both glow green.) before we could walk through the entry tunnels into the park.  But it was fun to look around and see the decor.

 The second day, since we were meeting Merida, I wore my Brave shirt along with a pair of shorts I think I will now burn.  Ugh...unflattering.  Oh well.  Look at the pumpkins!

Our first stop when the park opened was to Le Chapeau, which I had read online offered customizable Mickey ear can choose your dome/base color, your ears, and add patches you might want.  Sadly the information must be outdated because they no longer offered this service.

What my plan was...was to get a pair of light colored Mickey ears and have the princesses and favorite face characters sign it with a fine tip black Sharpie, inspired by this hat I found a picture of on Flickr, where the autographs are printed on:

But since no light colored Mickey hats were available, I went for the classic, got my name embroidered on the back.  And thank goodness I had also thought to bring the white oil paint Sharpie I  had used for Tom's anniversary present, just in case I had to get a dark-colored hat.  Because of that, my plan still worked!

From there, we were off to meet one of my favorite princesses, Merida! 

I was giddy and nervous waiting in line, but we wound up being in line right in front of a mother and daughter who were actually from Scotland, so we enjoyed some conversation with them.  It was hot as torture waiting in that line...for some reason even though it was still morning, the sun was blazing down on us, and I honestly don't think I was that hot again for the rest of the trip. 

Yay Merida!!  I loooove the movie Brave. 

When Merida arrived, we were happy to see that it was the woman we'd seen video of online who was extremely charismatic and has Merida's movements and gestures down PAT.  We didn't take video, but I highly encourage you to watch this for a taste of how fun this Merida is:

As we waited in the line, we saw her occasionally peek out from the doorway in which she was meeting people (I suspect she moves to different areas in her little set-up throughout the day as the sun moves, since there's no roof above her) and roar to surprise the kids or just be silly and fun.

When it was our turn to meet her, she exclaimed over my Merida-like hair, and Tom told her that he was just telling me that if SHE wasn't allowed to put her hair in a braid because of the heat, then *I* wasn't allowed to either.  Merida joked about how Rapunzel had tried to teach her how to braid her hair, but there was just plain too much of it to properly work.  She misspoke at one point and said "braid my ear" and then laughed at herself and said "what am I sayin?  Braid my ear.."  As we took our pictures, I wanted to be sure we got one with our camera, and I was so giddy I forgot what it looked like so I asked the photographer if he was going to take one with our camera, as he was taking one with our camera.  Merida teased me that we were a fine pair, with her braiding ears and me not knowing my own camera.  She was utterly charming and fun and a PERFECT Merida. 

Arrrgh, darn sun in my eyes!

Good thing Tom suggested we get a picture of just us two as well.  Yay!
Next we made a beeline for New Fantasyland, which Tom would later tease me we spent about 70% of our time in the Magic Kingdom exploring.  Yeah...he's probably right.  We got in line for what we thought was going to be the Little Mermaid ride, but instead a cast member told us it was the line to meet Ariel.  Perfect!

Ariel was flipping beautiful, and when she saw Merida's name on the hat, and I told her the story about the hair braiding, she quipped that she had thought about letting Merida borrow her Dinglehopper, but she was afraid she might break it, and they're ever so hard to come by in the ocean. 

Let me tell you...that hat was the best idea I've had in a long time.  Not only did the cast members and characters love it, but the princesses would easily be able to see who else had signed in and joke about their fellow princesses in a good-natured, ongoing joke sort of way (like Merida's hair).  Several of them exclaimed at how unique it was and they had never signed with a pen like that. 

We then went on the Ariel dark ride we *thought* we were going on when we met Ariel.  It was fun and the animatronics were incredible.  We broke down a couple of times for short periods on the ride (Sebastian would come on and tell us to stay in our clam shells, we'd be moving in a moment) but that just gave us time to enjoy the vignettes a bit more.  It was very creative the way they made it seem like you traveled under and above the sea for different portions of the ride through angling your clamshell seats up and down with holographic water above or below you.

Then we were off to the Beauty and the Beast village area of New Fantasyland.  Tom stopped to pose for a shot with Gaston's fountain (note: the plaque says "Tribute to Gaston, an Extravagantly Generous Gift to the Humble People of My Village From Me, Gaston"). 

Now here you'll have to indulge my wifey gushing for a moment, but many people who mime Gaston's pose for a picture at this fountain every day do you think *actually* have biceps to rival his??

Ahem.  Moving on. 

Tom caught a glimpse of Gaston himself doing a meet and greet in the shade behind one of the buildings in the town square.  So we quickly got in line to meet him.  And it's a good thing we did too...the poor guy had foam arms and was already sweating, and that was the last time we saw him during our trip.

Gaston was pretty hilarious too.  A mom in front of us kept asking him for things and he finally said "any more demands, lady?  Sheesh." in his signature baritone.  When it was our turn and Gaston was signing my hat (the only non-princess to have done so thus far), Tom told him "thanks for keeping the village safe from that big walking rug while we're here."  Gaston immediately caught on and replied "Ah, a man after my own heart.  He's more of a furball than anything."  We then asked for a specific pose, which the other people in line got a kick out of, as did we.

We stopped into Gaston's Tavern, and ordered up a couple of LeFou's Brews, which we had heard were definitely recommended from blog posts online.  It was indeed delicious, a frozen slushie of apple juice and marshmallow flavors with a foam topping that tastes like exotic fruit.  Sounds like a bit much, but the flavoring of everything but the apple was quite subtle.  Nom!

While in Gaston's tavern, we both had to pose in his chair.  We just had to!

We walked over to Tomorrowland and went to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor show, which was pretty awesome and fun...we loved how personalized it was, and how they got the audience in on the show.

Then it was time for our first Fast Pass of the day for Enchanted Tales with Belle.  The unique experience (not quite an attraction, not quite a meet and greet) takes you inside Maurice's cottage:

...where you stand in a room with Maurice's tools and projects:

and gaze into a magic mirror on the wall, which then reflects scenes from the courtship of Beast and Beauty.  You are so busy watching, you don't realize at first that the mirror is getting taller and taller, until it turns into an enchanted doorway, through which you walk into Beast's castle. 

This was one of the more magical special effects in anything we did at the parks, and we were most impressed. 

In Beast's castle, you file into a room with the Wardrobe, an excellent animatronic who then proceeds, with help from a cast member, to dole out the main parts of the story of Beast and Belle's courtship to lucky audience members.  Two adult males are cast as the knights, a little girl cast as Beast, more kids cast as Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip, and finally, according to the Wardrobe, the most important role is cast...her own.  All audience members are instructed to sing an operatic note.  And much to my surprise, the cast member gestured to me to take the Wardrobe's role for the show.  Huzzah!!!

Yes, these are very unposed and genuine grins of elation on my face in these pictures.  Here's the thing: Disney World is what you make of it.  If you go into it thinking "yeah these are just random people in furry costumes and princess dresses, whatever..." then the enchantment won't necessarily reach you.  But Tom and I are both big kids, and fans of make-believe.  And so to us, these types of encounters were pure magic and filled with childlike wonder.  And you know what?  I think that after millions of people walk past them, the cast members and costumed characters can tell the difference.  I think they know those of us who believe, in that moment, that they are truly performing a silly little show for Belle before her evening meet with Beast. 

Belle then had a bit of dialogue with Lumiere, another phenomenal animatronic above the fireplace:

and then the cast members of the play were invited to pose with Belle and receive a souvenir bookmark as a memento of their experience. 

When it was my turn to meet her, the cast member told her I had played the wardrobe, and she kindly thanked me for making her gown she was wearing.

How perfect is that?  The costume-making librarian played a gown-making wardrobe and then got a bookmark as a memento.

Ahh, Disney magic.  I love it so much.

Okay...our second day at Disney World was incredibly epic, and my personal favorite from the trip, although we had magical experiences every day.  We are only about halfway through the write up of this day, but I'm going to end it here for now, because this post is already epic. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the Magic Kingdom day, and the rest of our vacation write-up coming soon!

I'll close this post with a favorite image of Cinderella's castle I took:


  1. can't wait for the next make it all come alive, through your diary!!!...thank you*+*+**+*+**+
    Sheila Wolk :-)

  2. Aaw, you are so cute in the picture pointing at the tapestry! I really enjoy these blogposts about your Disney adventures! Going to Disneyland / Disneyworld would be a dream come true to me! :D

  3. Hi! I found your blog while planning my Disney trip! I loved your posts! I am 27 and going to DISNEYWORLD for the first time! I'm going with my husband so I really did love and appreciate hearing about y'all's trip! I was hoping you could tell me about your shoes! The sandals that you have on in most pictures. What brand are they and would you recommend them for the amount of walking Disney requires! Thank you again for these awesome posts!

  4. Hi Paige! I'm so glad you enjoyed the blog posts. I did some research before we left, and people recommended Tevas. That's what those are. I got them on Amazon, but honestly I wouldn't recommend this particular pair. They supported my feet and knees ok, but they didn't breathe well in the hot Florida air. Next year I'll get something that breathes better. :)