“Have a magical day.” You hear this every morning at Disney as the tram drivers take you to the park, or the employees scan your ticket. Today we obliged.
We arrived at the gates at 7:30 this morning. We weren’t first in line, but no big deal. Plenty early to guarantee access to the park, on what is sure to be one of their busiest days of the year.
Today we took the bus to the park from the gate instead of the monorail. The Disney staff says the buses will get you their quickest, and we’ve never ridden them before.
Once inside the park, we made a beeline for the Meet and Greet with Mickey. We walked directly up and got to meet him within minutes. We checked that off the list before most folks have even unfolded their map.
While Mickey didn’t interact Stephanie, Marissa and I, he had a great time with Grandma Mary. Mickey did several card tricks with Mary as well as took photos. Guess she caught Mickey at a good time!
After Mickey, our teams split up and hit the attractions before the lines got insane. Steph, Marissa and I nailed Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain in quick order.
Throughout our visits to the parks on this trip, there are folks who want to wear ponchos on the water rides. Do these people also close their eyes on the roller coasters? We don’t associate with people like that.
The rest of our gang, Scott, Erin, Grandma Mary, PK and KK had their own hit list. They enjoyed It’s A Small World and Mickey’s Philharmagic. In line for one ride, PK was in line next to a little girl in a princess dress. PK told her that she liked her outfit. The little girl replied with excitement, “You can dress up here!”
Our party of 8 met up at this time and went to the Hall of Presidents Show. From there, we made a beeline for Main Street to get into position for the parade. Of course, the sole reason we are in Orlando is for two parades that Miles, Mallory and the Union Band will perform in. We got our spaces staked out at 10:45 for the 11:30 parade.
While spending our time waiting, one of the Disney photographers made friends with Stephanie. He pulled her out into the street and took some shadow pictures with her. It was quite entertaining and appreciated. What is very cool about all the photographers is that they don’t bat an eye when you ask them to take pictures with your own camera. In fact, this photographer just took the camera out of Stephanie’s hands without asking. Thanks Disney!
This particular photographer was amazing. He came around several times. But when we would ask him a question, he would say “I don’t know how to do that. It’s just my second day.” Ha!
During the last 15 minutes or so up to parade time, the Disney staff in red vests were working hard to get people out of the street. I overheard one gentleman say, “Please use the sidewalks. Marching bands are coming!”
We sat through two very small high school marching bands before the Renegade Regiment came through as the third and final marching band. The high school bands were marching in a prelude parade at 11:30, before the Disney parade started at 11:45.
About this time, a couple of Asian women snaked their way to the street in front of us and were pointing at the curb asking to sit down. Stephanie would have none of that. “We sit down on curb?” “No, we are standing right here.” “You stand up, and we sit down?” “No, we have kids in this parade. You are not sitting here!” I think the point was communicated.
Finally, here comes the Renegade Regiment!
Once our parade was over, most of us bailed and found a table and we had a picnic lunch while we waited for Miles and Mallory. We had a plan worked out where they would come find us as soon as they were excused for the day so we could take a full family photo.
Once they joined us, they go to hear all of us tell them how great they looked and sounded. “Miles, did you have fun?” “It was hot!”
On Christmas Day, KK received a Renegade Regiment hat. He was adamant that Miles and Mallory autograph it so that people would know when they see him that he has clout with the band. Once Miles and Mallory joined us after the parade, KK asked for (and received) his picture with each of them and their autograph.
While waiting at our table in the outdoor seating just off Main Street, we had some excitement. An older lady came flying into the tables on her scooter and couldn’t get it to stop. Chairs were flying everywhere and people were jumping out of the way. At last, another tourist made it to her scooter and figured out how to stop it. Nobody was hurt, but the lady seemed pretty shaken up about it afterwards. Thanks random tourist!
Once the band members departed our group, we once again divided and conquered. Since there seems to be a song and dance number at the castle about every 20 minutes, we did stop and watch a few minutes of it.
On many of the sidewalks and bridges, Disney provides crowd control by using masking tape on the ground to draw arrows. Not everything about Disney is high-tech.
Our family reunited at Space Mountain at 3:00 for some fastpass action. Scott, Marissa and I rode it with KK and PK. Yes, PK rode Space Mountain! She was not to be denied this adventure.
We immediately went over to the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, which was surprisingly hilarious. This was our last event as a group activity before KK, PK and Grandma Mary had seen enough of Magic Kingdom for one day. They found a steakhouse and made sure to taunt us with pictures throughout the afternoon.
The evening was filled with more rides thanks to fastpasses for Space Mountain (again), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Peter Pan. And thanks to a ten minute stand-by wait, Stephanie even got to ride the teacups at the end of the night. (She could only convince Marissa and I to ride it if we didn’t spin it.)
We just happened to run into Miles at the end of the evening near Space Mountain. He had lost his wallet and was retracing his steps trying to locate it. Not the thing that parents want to hear at the end of the evening. To his credit, he had already checked with the park’s lost & found, as well as with each of the rides he had been at.
We did stay for the 8pm fireworks tonight. Scott & Erin got a perfect vantage point right next to the Walt and Mickey statue in front of the castle, while we were on the bridge to Tomorrowland behind a tree. But is there every a bad place to watch fireworks?
We rode the buses back to the parking lot, and our tram driver to the car was simply the best. He not only informed us that the Walt Disney World parking lot, which holds 60,000 vehicles, is one of the largest parking lots in the world, but he was also very humorous. He advised us not to cry if we can’t find our car and wander around the lot for four hours. He said it happens every day. He also added that if you can’t find your car, maybe you parked at EPCOT. That also happens every day.
What doesn’t happen every day is getting to watch two of your children march in a parade at Magic Kingdom. Grateful that they attend a high school that provides opportunities such as these, and for a family that never turns down a chance to travel and support us.
It was a magical day.