Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day Ten - Magic Kingdom (again!)

As we hoped, the sun was back out in force this morning and it was already pretty hot.
Rosie and Charlie wanted to go to Denny's again (and I wasn't averse to a bit more of their fabulous French toast!) so we had a leisurely breakfast, with lots of coffee, before we drove back to the hotel late morning and jumped onto one of the Disney buses to the Magic Kingdom.
I have to say, although the Magic Kingdom is probably Disney's figurehead park, I think it's our least favourite - not because of the park itself, but just because it feels so manic all the time.
Every time we've visited, it has felt busier than anywhere else. The sheer number of people crammed into the park left me feeling a bit stressed out before we even started queueing for rides, and it felt like we had to keep the kids glued to our sides for fear of losing them in the crowds.
Charlie's accessibility pass doesn't seem to work as smoothly there, and the queues to meet the characters and for the rides were crazily long - at one point the queue for Splash Mountain was well over two hours. Needless to say we decided we could live without it!! Even the little rides, like the spinning teacups or Dumbo, which had 10-minute queues in the other parks, had lines of 70-90 minutes.
So we decided to just take it easy and not worry about what we rode on. (Thunder Mountain - Charlie's favourite - was out of service, much to his disappointment, but at least that was one we didn't have to queue for!)
We bumped into Buzz Lightyear, and although Rosie hasn't seen Toy Story yet, she was very taken with him, and the photographer took some brilliant pictures of her hugging and kissing him. (I'm going to make a slideshow of all the pics from the Disney photographers once we're home, so watch this space!!)
Despite the crowds we managed some fun rides - Toy Story, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Barnstormer rollercoaster, and It's a Small World.
The staff were pretty overwhelmed by the numbers of people - some were saying that the rainy day yesterday meant that lots of people had postponed their visits to today, so there were way more people than anyone had expected.
We'd sneaked sandwiches in for the kids for lunch (you're not supposed to take any of your own food or drink in with you, but the bag inspectors at the entrance seem to turn a blind eye unless you turn up with a massive cool box full of picnic stuff...) so after they'd eaten we settled Rosie down for her sleep, which was ultra-important today because we knew we were staying until very late for the fireworks.
As you can see in the pic, her 'heart tissues' (as described in yesterday's post!!) worked their magic again, and she was swiftly out for the count!
While she was snoozing, Charlie and I nosed round some of the gift shops.
While we were wandering, I realised that we'd found a shop that both sold AND personalised the iconic mouse ear hats...
Well, it had to be done!!
I doubt they'll ever be worn again once we're home, but I absolutely couldn't resist!
As you can see, the kids thought they were very cool, particularly because their names were embroidered on the back!
It started getting dark, and it was truly magical to see the iconic Disney castle illuminated against the darkening sky.
We decided to have our tea in the Peter Pan restaurant, before heading back to the castle to find a spot for the parade and the fireworks.
Well, goodness me, but I have NEVER seen crowds like it.
The reserved section for people with accessibility passes was rammed, so we were advised to go up a walkway to get a view from a bridge a bit further up. We started walking up, but people had just stopped in the middle of the path and sat down on the floor to watch the show, so there was total logjam.
The Disney staff were screaming at people to keep moving, but there were people sitting/standing all the way up, and there was a lady in the middle with a double buggy who had been jammed in and literally had nowhere to go, so it was just a mad crush, and nobody with a pushchair could possibly get in or out.
Charlie and I forced our way back to the entrance of the walkway to let the staff know that everybody was stuck, but they were as helpless as we were. Then the parade started - Charlie and I couldn't get back to Pete and Rosie, and as they had the buggy, they couldn't force their way back to us. Charlie actually got a really good spot, sitting on the floor right at the front by the rope barrier, but poor old Pete ended up with Rosie on his shoulders, jammed in a throng of people for the whole parade.
Having said that though, the light parade was fantastic. Charlie was sitting next to a couple of kids and they were chatting and laughing at the amazing display all the way through. He's so chatty - it's impossible for him not to make new friends wherever he goes!
Fortunately once the parade was over, a lot of people moved off, so we managed to get back together and find a spot in front of the castle for the light show and fireworks.
One real highlight was when they projected various pictures and moving images onto the castle itself. It's hard to describe really, but it made it look like the castle was changing and morphing before our eyes. It really was spectacular, and unlike anything I've seen before.
It goes without saying that the firework display was amazing too - all set to music. It was actually quite moving to see a single firework shooting in an arc over the castle turrets, while listening to 'When you Wish Upon a Star'.
The kids were also amazed to see Tinkerbell, all covered in lights 'flying' (on a zipwire!) out of the castle tower and over all our heads.
It was a most fantastic display and we were so glad we'd made the effort to stay late to see it.
Rosie was dozing in the buggy as we made our way through the crowds back to the buses, and I was hanging onto Charlie and Pete with a death grip, making sure we didn't get separated.
We were really lucky that our bus was there waiting for us, AND there were seats on it.
Rosie snuggled on my knee all the way back to the hotel, which was lovely because she doesn't usually sit still for long!
We were all pretty tired, so pretty much fell into bed as soon as we got back.
Tomorrow is going to be another exciting day - instead of heading for the parks, we'll be heading east, towards Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Centre. Both Pete and I have vivid memories of the space shuttle programme as we were growing up, particularly the Challenger disaster, so it will definitely be an interesting day.

No comments: