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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Most Magical Day of Our 5th Visit to Walt Disney World

Our 5th visit to the Walt Disney World Resort was in November of 2009. We flew in early on a Friday afternoon and flew home on Tuesday, so it was somewhat of a short stay, but long enough to give us a fix of the magic. Since we arrived mid-day on Friday, we had tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party that evening, spent Saturday at Hollywood Studios (extra AM magic hours!), so Sunday was dedicated to EPCOT. We had a lunch ADR at Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion, and ADR for Chef Mickey's for dinner, and then a reservation for the new Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage at the Contemporary.

We arrived at EPCOT before rope drop and began our usual conversations with folks at the gate. The husband noticed a couple who were pin traders and had several large books of pins and started conversing with them. Soon a cast member asked us to join her. We were taken inside the turnstiles and told that we were going to be the "Family of the Day" and do the countdown to open the park. COOL!

While we waited inside the gates, we snapped a few photos and soon a PHOTOPASS photographer was on hand to snap a few, too. (Click here to read more about Disney's PHOTOPASS service.) We were given a yellow piece of paper, about the size of a 5 X 7 index card, which was a FASTPASS for any attraction today. (Click here to read more about FASTPASS.)

We counted down from 10 to 1, cheered when the park opened and guests came streaming through the turnstiles. We made our way towards Space Ship Earth (the ball) and stopped to greet Daisy and Stitch who were off to the right. We knew there was another rope just beyond Space Ship Earth, so no need to hurry.

We finally made our way to the rope and stood there for just a minute when we were approached by a cast member and asked how many in our party. I replied, "3." He said, "Come with me." We were taken under the rope and in a whirlwind were told that we were the "Family of the Day." OK, picked again! We had photos with the fab 5, escorted to Test Track ahead of the crowd, went in the back door, rode twice in our own car, and given 3 yellow sheets of paper as FASTPASSes for the day for any attraction at any time. WOW! We were also told we had VIP seating for Illuminations that evening. Since we knew we weren't going to be in the park, we asked them to give that to another family.

Here we are with the fab 5!

Ride #1.

Ride #2.
We very much enjoyed the rest of our day in EPCOT and we used our special FASTPASSes to ride Soarin' multiple times. Lunch at Le Cellier was great and we took in the Canada Circle Vision movie while we were in the pavilion.
By early evening, we had circled back around World Showcase, exited the park, and took the monorail to the TTC, changed to the resort monorail and rode to the Contemporary to have dinner at Chef Mickey's.

After dinner, we checked in on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary for the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage; I would call it a party! This used to be for grand gathering groups only, but is now open to anyone who would like to make a reservation.
The party begins in a room on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary with drinks and snacks (all of which are in small portable containers if you want to take some with you), characters, and music.
After dancing and festivities, the group heads down the escalator and out the back of the Contemporary to the dock on Bay Lake. We loaded the boat, all the while, our host is introducing folks, telling jokes and stories, and we saiedl to the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom. On cue, the fireworks begin--it was Holiday Wishes--over the Magic Kingdom and we could hear the music as it was piped into the boat. We also got to see the Electric Water Pageant, and then headed back to the Contemporary. We were greeted by two more characters before leaving the party. My expectations for this event were blown away!
What a day! What a magical day! Disney keeps us coming back!


  1. We had the exact same experience in August of 2011. After Test Track we were given a tour of Mission Space and a ride there as well. We also had lunch at LeCellier and wore matching shirts :-) It really was the best day ever! I thought we were super lucky just to be picked at the turnstiles, but then at the internal rope too....It was truly the most perfect Disney day!!

  2. My family and I also booked PPFV at the Contemporary in September 2010. I loved this extra bit of Magic we added to our trip but have heard that since then, Disney has drastically changed the event. It's been reported back to me that You can no longer get Autographs from Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, just the photos. Also that the snack reception choices and amounts have been reduced b/c of people taking advantage and stuffing pockets all in a mad rush once they enter. I did notice a bit of that but wasn't too bad for our specific crowd. Also I remember getting a cup of hot chocolate and the kids got Sprite or Coke, and now I have also been told that there is no more hot chocolate. Hopefully this experience hasn't gone too far from our experience. I loved it! Glad we got in when we did.

    I would love to know some of your tips for 'proactively seeking out' these extra magical moments for your family. Is it just watching out for a DCM and showing up early? Do you just know what to look for? Trying to get in a few "extra magic moments" for the next planned trip. Thanks.

  3. adding to my post above I would specifically like to have tips for being in one of the parades... where do you look for the cast members and what time is best to start??? Say Animal Kingdoms MJJP. I read the post you shared, but there is no mention of time and where to look. Thanks. BTW my name is Brittney, I am a Travel Agent and would like to not only share these experiences with my family, but suggest for my clients on how to add this magic to their stay! Thanks.

    1. Brittney,
      Thanks for reading the Williams Family Blog. You are welcome to refer clients to our site. . . our travel agent does!
      As far as specifics to making magic happen, there really aren't any. We have found that when our family is making magic of its own, Disney steps in and adds to it. We do not go into a day seeking magical experiences, they just happen. We have found some ways to increase our odds and this post will tell you more: http://toddjodybrent.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-most-magical-place-on-earth-can-be.html
      Thanks for commenting!

    2. There are lots of inside tips on how Disney chooses their family of the day. One is you will never see a large family chosen. Or a family with small children. Congrats on your magical experiences.

    3. Interesting. . . thanks for sharing.