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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Most Magical Day of our 6th Visit to Walt Disney World

Yesterday I was visiting with a fellow Disneyphile about people not "getting it," meaning not understanding how magical the happiest place on earth can be and why we keep going back. She and her husband are retired and travel each year or every other year to Walt Disney World. When their children were little, they traveled to Walt Disney World yearly and she confessed that she and her husband visited even before they had children. She "gets it." Our conversation prompted me to share the most magical day of our 6th visit to the Walt Disney World Resort which happened less than a month ago.

Our most magical day happened to be the last day of our vacation. Maybe we were more relaxed, more into the vacation groove, more open to the magic. Anyway, we were headed to Hollywood Studios and planned to take the boat to EPCOT's International Gateway sometime mid-afternoon, as we had an ADR at the Biergarten for dinner. We had some goals/plans for the day. . . ride Toy Story Mania twice, check out the characters at the "hat" that we missed the other day at Hollywood Studios, check out the Power Rangers, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, and the boy wanted to see Lights, Motors, Action. All doable within our time frame.

We were at Studios at rope drop and visited with a lovely family from Illinois at the gate. This was their first time so we had a few hints and suggestions, like how to make sure their young boy got to Jedi training and that Toy Story FASTPASSes needed to be first on the list. (Click here to read more about Jedi training and click here to read more about FASTPASS.) Our families had much in common. . . age of children, careers, living in the Midwest, etc. So if was fun to visit with them. Our boys even exchanged DS games while we waited. Seems as if we always visit with folks at the Studios gate. . . I wonder why? Anyway, back to our day. . .

At rope drop we headed to Toy Story Mania, got FASTPASSes and rode going through the Standby queue, saving the FASTPASSes for later. We then headed to the hub of sorts in front of the hat to check our the character selection. Pluto and Goofy were our first stop, followed by Chip and Dale who made us take a photo with our backsides to the camera as we had a funny picture on the back of our shirts. The characters then went in as High School Musical 3 was on its way for a performance. We stepped aside and got a snack so we would be first in line for Donald and Daisy after High School Musical.

After eating our snack and watching High School Musical from a distance, we moved closer. The boy sat on the ground to watch the performance, the husband moved to where the queue would begin for Donald and Daisy (we wanted to be in the front of the line as Power Rangers started at the same time), and took a book from his bag to read while he saved our spot. Within moments, I was whisked away to join the dancers and given a feather boa to strike a pose like a star. The husband was oblivious until my name was said over speakers. He then looked up, so we have no photos to commemorate the event. Just the button below. Magical!

When High School Musical 3 was over, the performance float moved away and Donald and Daisy appeared. After smiling for several photos we headed off and around the corner to the Streets of New York to spy the Power Rangers. They were just pulling into view with their car.

The 5 Power Rangers ride into view on their car, get announced with a pre-recorded sound track and then make their way to five separate areas for photos and autographs. The "show" lasts for about 30 minutes or the length of the music. There are even warnings in the music like "five more minutes Power Rangers before you have to report back. . ." So, if you want to see all 5, it is important to move quickly from area to area.

Now, knowing that this was the first Power Ranger "show" of the day, I knew the crowds would be lighter. So, we sort of hung around a bit after visiting all 5 of the rangers separately. You see, the Power Rangers join each other for more action when there are no more quests in their area. Soon we had a photo with 2 Power Rangers, then 3 Power Rangers, and then 4 Power Rangers, as you can see in the photo below. This almost never happens---magical!

At this point I needed to use the restroom, so I told the boy and husband to wait here, I would be right back and we would head to Indiana Jones. When I returned, we began to walk back down the Streets of America when the guy dressed in all black--he was in charge of the Power Ranger show--ran up behind us and said, "There you are. Come with me, I have a surprise." Of course, we were game. We followed him and when the Power Ranger "show" was about to end, he placed the boy in the Power Ranger car and had us stand in front for a MAGICAL photo of us with the car and all 5 of the Power Rangers as you can see in the photo below. What a magical day!

Still high from that experience, we headed to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular--for the 11:30 show. Ah, there's that family from this morning just across the aisle. They were waving and giving a thumbs up that both of their children were in Jedi Training and they had FASTPASSes for Toy Story Mania. Good for them!
When the show started, guess what? The husband was AGAIN (3rd time) picked as an extra for the show. As you can see in the photo below. And, since he was wearing his Birthday Button, the entire stadium wished him a "Happy Birthday" in unison. The husband from the family across the aisle that we had met that morning was also picked as an extra.

At lunch, we ended up with extra and free drinks and desserts due to an error in our order. DARN! And the boy played in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground before we went to Lights, Motors, Action. We had great seats for that show!
Thinking that they day could not get any better we rode Toy Story Mania one more time using the FASTPASSes we got earlier in the day, and then headed to the exit saying good-bye to Hollywood Studios until next time. We made our way to the boat that transports guests from Studios to the Swan/Dolphin Resort, then the Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Clubs, then on to the International Gateway at EPCOT. The boat was there as if waiting for us and soon we were off.
When we arrived at EPCOT our first stop was the United Kingdom Pavilion where we were pleasantly surprised to find Mary Poppins, Alice, a Thomas the Train table, and Pooh Characters inside. I will have to write more just about this Pavilion as it has quickly become one of our favorites.
We made our way around World Showcase stopping at the American Pavilion to catch the 4:15 Voices of Liberty Singers followed by the 4:30 American Adventure Show. Much to our surprise, while waiting for the Voices of Liberty to begin, we were approached and asked if we would like to be the First Family. "Sure," we replied.
We were presented with the certificate you see below, escorted upstairs to reserved chairs for the Voices of Liberty performance and then got to be first in for the American Adventure Show and then recognized before the performance with an announcement and waving.
We then made our way to the Germany Pavilion for some train viewing and dinner at the Biergarten where the husband's name was called out by the band playing and wished a "Happy Birthday" while he lifted his liter of beverage.
After dinner and more train viewing, we rode Spaceship Earth and played in the exit area with all the high tech games before heading to our bus and our resort.
What a day! What a magical day! We'll be back!

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