The big 5-0 birthday trip to Walt Disney World included four full days in the parks. Our last day was reserved for Magic Kingdom. We would stay from rope drop to Wishes and had the Fastpass + and ADR’s to make it through the day.
We arrived at the Magic Kingdom about 8:00 am ish for a 9:00 am opening and found ourselves the first guests standing between two Mickey circle entry points. David was the Cast Member “manning” that part of the park entry and we quickly made ourselves at home for the wait. The boy got out his game and took a seat on the elevated part of the entry, I brought out my breakfast that I had in my bag, and the husband and I struck up a conversation with David, a retired FedEx employee now on his 9th year of working for Disney. Our conversation confirmed our retirement plans, but that is a story for another time.
I could tell something was happening, when David’s conversation waned. His glance moved in another direction. We were being approached from behind. Not by other guests, but by another Cast Member. She asked us to come with her. We complied.
We touched our MagicBands to the lighted Mickey circles being used for guests with early reservations and proceeded through a roped off area to a bench right outside the tunnel that leads to the Magic Kingdom. We were asked our last name and the state we were from. I was even given a new Birthday Button—the new design! Something was in the works. . .
About 8:35 am, another Cast Member came to get us and brought us around the corner, through the tunnel, and up the stairs to the train station. This is when we were introduced to the Fire Chief of the Magic Kingdom and told what was going to happen. We were going to countdown the opening of the park on the platform of the train station.
The next few minutes were a whirlwind. We were quickly given directions and then when we turned around, several characters had appeared and there was just enough time to capture some photos.
The music started to blare, the dancers and fire chief headed out to the platform and before we knew it, we crossed the train tracks with Cast Members on each side making sure we were safe, and arrived on the platform to hear our family being introduced.
We waved, smiled, and counted down the opening of the park which was signaled with fireworks. What a thrill!
Once the opening show was complete, we came back inside the train station. The Fire Chief then walked with us down the ramp, while a Photopass Photographer greeted us and began to take photos.
At the bottom of the ramp and just outside the train station, we were escorted into a fire truck. More photos were taken.
At this point, we were given 3 Fastpasses by the Fire Chief along with a certificate for a free photo and Photopass card to link to our account that contained our photos.
The fire truck went through Town Square and down Main Street U.S.A. around the Hub and stopped right in front of Cinderella’s Castle. We waved and rang the bell on the fire truck during the ride.
Once we got off the fire truck, there was a feeling that we might just need to go back to our resort right then, as the day most likely won’t get any better. We didn’t leave the Magic Kingdom and enjoyed the rest of our day. We were recognized by several other guests throughout the day as the “Family of the Day.”
A funny thing happened as we were exiting Big Thunder Mountain, a woman approached me. She asked, “Weren’t you the ones that opened the park four years ago?” I did the math quickly in my head and answered her affirmatively. She said, “I told my friend that was you as I remember talking to you when we waited in line to meet Rapunzel. You had a pillow case for autographs that I thought was so smart.” It really is a small world! Yes, it was four years ago—well mid-March 2012—when we experienced our first time opening Magic Kingdom. Click here to read more.
What we didn’t know was that another guest was video taping the opening show and one of our Facebook followers caught it live and then posted a link on our Facebook page. If you want to watch it, click here.
The question we get asked the most is “How do you get to do that?” There isn’t a pat answer. And the “that” is more than just opening Magic Kingdom, but also being picked to participate in other shows and attractions. The best answer I can give is be in the right place at the right time, smile, be friendly (we were completely immersed in our conversation with David), come with a ready to play attitude, and say “yes” anytime a Cast Member asks you to do anything; do not hesitate—just say “yes.”
As always, we are grateful for the experience. . . and the magic!