Friday, January 12, 2018

Christmas trip 2017, Day 3, Magic Kingdom & Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Yay! We've made it to Christmas party day.  Our plan today was to go to the park early in hopes that Littlecjc would fall asleep in the afternoon and take a nap.  Our last attempt at an after hours party was at Halloween and we actually left the park and went back to the hotel to rest up (and get dressed) before returning to the party.  This worked, I guess, but Littlecjc didn't take a nap until we were on the bus on our way back to the park.  With this fresh in our minds, we didn't see the point in going to the room to rest, but instead we planned on renting a stroller again today and just wearing the girl out until she crashed.  (If you're wondering about us renting the stroller, check out my post about Day 2.)  The park was open from 8-6 today with the party running from 7-12, so as usual we were early and in our first line by the time the park opened at 8.  Our pre-planned fastpasses today were Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (9:35-1035) Big Thunder Mountain (10:35-11:35) and Splash Mountain (11:45-12:45).  Since our first fp was in an hour and a half for the main rope drop attraction, we changed our normal morning routine.

When they first opened the park, we stopped to rent our stroller and decided to visit Pixie Hallow.  We asked Littlecjc many times who she wanted to see first, in fact, Patrick tried to sway her to choose Mickey since we knew that line would grow faster, but she was determined to meet Tink, character #1.

As expected, by the time we finished meeting with her, Mickey's line was longer than we were willing to wait this early in the day.  So, we headed up Main St and stopped for a castle picture.

We then made our way to Tomorrowland.  We decided to split up (after procuring a rider swap pass) and I rode Space Mountain, attraction #1

while Patrick and Littlecjc rode Astro Orbitor, attraction #2.

We decided to hold on to our rider swap to use later and decided to all ride Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, attraction #3.

Here is where we made our first mistake of the day.  We thought we would knock out the speedway while we over here and the line didn't look too long, so we jumped in.  It was only after we were committed that we realized they were only loading one side of the track, so it seemed to take forever.

Eventually, we got on and Tomorrowland Speedway became attraction #4.

My little stinker didn't want to drive, but she loved it when I drove all crazy.  We still had a little time before our first fp at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so we decided to knock out Storybook Circus.  This area is usually pretty empty early in the morning, or late at night for that matter.  This may be due to Pete's Silly Sideshow having a little more limited hours.  For example, most days, if not all, it does not open until 10:00.  We walked on Dumbo, attraction #5 first.

Per the new usual, Littlecjc decided to stop for a photo after our flight.

We then moved over to Barnstormer, attraction #6 and walked on there as well.

By the time we had finished both these rides, the rotation of castmembers had shifted and our dear friend was working out front of the fp line back at Dumbo.  This was the first time we had spotted any of our friends, so we took a little time to catch up and visit.

After a while, we decided we probably needed to move on and headed toward our first fp, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, attraction #7.

I guess the fact that the first two hours today were different than normal didn't bother Littlecjc, because as soon as we got off Seven Dwarfs, she followed our traditional path and walked straight to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, attraction #8.

Check out that empty line, two hours after park opening!  I think a lot of people missed the memo that the park opened at 8 instead of 9.  I should really look up when they made that change, but that just proves that you should always double check your park hours after your arrival.

Our next fastpass was for Big Thunder Mountain, so we decided to leave Fantasyland and start moving that way.  En route, we noticed that the Haunted Mansion line was really short, so we took advantage, making The Haunted Mansion, attraction #9.

In fact, we kept telling other guest to pass us in line, as Littlecjc wanted to play with all the interactions along the queue line.  We eventually made it over to Big Thunder Mountain and as our luck usually runs, the fp line was really backed up.  With no alternative choice, we went ahead and got in line.

As always, they kept this line moving so it really wasn't that bad and before long, we were on Big Thunder Mountain, attraction #10.

Our next fp was next door at Splash Mountain in 20 minutes, so it seemed silly to leave the area.  Instead, we decided to take advantage of a photo op and get a little snack.

I'm pretty sure this was Littlecjc's first time enjoying this iconic Disney snack, and she was not very excited about sharing.  After our ice cream, it was time for us to use our next fastpass at Splash Mountain, attraction #11.

Since this ride was closed for refurbishment the last time we were here, this was the first time Littlecjc was tall enough to ride this.  Look how excited she was even at the end! 

After leaving Frontierland, we decided to walk through Adventureland, eventually stopping at Pirates of the Caribbean, attraction #12.

We had lunch reservations at 1:20, so we didn't have enough time to ride Jingle Cruise, but we did get in The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, attraction #13.

After our spin around Agrabah, we made our way to Cinderella's Royal Table.  I was always under the impression that you were to arrive early for a dining reservation, and if you were late, you were at the mercy of the restaurants castmembers and availability.  However, CRT seemed to be having some problems this day.  When we arrived, there was a long line at check-in, so even though we were early, we went ahead and started standing in line.  By the time we reached the front of the line, we were maybe only 5 minutes early.  However, the castmember working here said that there were people in line with earlier reservations that hadn't checked in yet so I needed to stand to the side.  The lady behind me in line was also a 1:20 reservation, so the castmember told her to stand to the side next to me, and we started forming a line for 1:20 check-ins.  Maybe one other family actually had a earlier reservation, but most everyone else in line switched over to the second line we had started forming.  Well after 1:20, the castmember announced that she would start accepting 1:20 reservations.  Okay, we were on our way.  So, we checked in and then stood around a little longer waiting to be invited inside.  They shortly called our name and we entered and were greeted by Cinderella, character #2.

We then stood around this crowded room for probably 15 more minutes before we were guided upstairs and to our table.  Previously, we've only had breakfast here where we were the first to be seated, so I'm really hoping this was a one off and not the norm.  Although I also have to admit that my only other character dining lunch experience at Magic Kingdom (at The Crystal Palace) also had a crazy delay in actually getting inside, so who knows.

So, yay, we were finally seated and still excited about our lunch in the castle.  Littlecjc was given a coloring page/menu that she worked hard at while waiting for her food and the princesses.

The meals here all come with appetizers, so I chose the salad.

Patrick chose the tomato soup.

And Littlecjc got fruit and cheese.

The princesses then started arriving, and before our main courses came out, we met Snow White, character #3

Aurora, character #4

Jasmine, character #5

and Ariel, character #6.

We were excited to see our food arrive and it looked delicious.  I went with the braised pork shank with creamy polenta.

Littlecjc of course chose the macaroni and cheese.

Patrick decided to try the fish of the day that came with shrimp risotto.

For dessert, Littlecjc got to build her own cupcake.  She thought this was great.  She also thought she had to use all the provided toppings.

Patrick decided on Lady Teralyn's Citrus Chiffon Cake.

I was really torn between chocolate mousse and chessecake, but ultimately decided on Jaq and Gus, the cheesecake.

Here's Littlecjc's finished cupcake.

With Littlecjc's belly full of food, we thought we would try to get her to fall asleep.  We put her in the stroller and started making our way to the front of the park and the train station.  She was still awake by the time we reached the end of Main St. so we were able to get this quick tree picture.

After a quick restroom break, we were ready to board the Walt Disney World Railroad, attraction #14.

We completed the entire loop, and unfortunately Littlecjc was still awake.  However, when we got off the train and put her back in the stroller she quickly went out.  We just had to walk around aimlessly for a little bit.  Since we needed to keep moving to get her asleep, we headed toward Tomorrowland.  

By the time we got there it was just after 4:00 and we were able to pick up our wristbands for the party.  I know they sell party merchandise in Tomorrowland, but for some reason we always seem to go to Storybook Circus for this, and that is what we did next.  With our shopping done, we circled back around to the front of the park to walk through the party entrance for some photo ops and our first cookies.

With Littlecjc still asleep, we headed back to Tomorrowland so Patrick could use the rider swap we accumulated earlier in the day at Space Mountain, attraction #15.

We tend to waste a lot of time when Littlecjc is asleep, because we don't ever want her to miss something.  If we had been thinking, we would have come to this idea earlier, and maybe even still done everything we had the past hour, but we would have done so a lot faster.  We decided to head to Adventureland and find the line that we were sure was already forming to meet Moana.  Of course the line was really long already.  Since Moana had not started meeting yet, the castmember informed us that it would probably be 1.5 - 2 hours before we reached the front of the line.  Since Littlecjc was asleep, we decided to wait it out.  At this time, Moana only meets during these special parties, and we missed her at Halloween so we had never met her and decided we were okay with this wait.

As expected, Littlecjc woke up while we were standing here.  As I'm sure is the case with most toddlers, she was not in the best mood when she woke up.  Especially when she realized we were just standing still in a line that didn't seem to be moving, even though Moana had already appeared.  In order to calm her down, we started to walk a bit and she quickly spotted the carpet ride.  I figured we had plenty of time still, so I agreed and the two of us rode The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, attraction #16.  I did start to panic a bit, when I realized I left my phone back with Patrick and the stroller.  Especially after we were boarded onto a carpet and they stopped those boarding the carpet in front of us because a little kid lost his shoe down in the water.  It was kind of entertaining as they used a big hook and net to try to get the shoe out.  Ultimately, they were unsuccessful and decided to run the ride once to see if the water would move somehow move it.  As we were sitting in our carpet, I could see Patrick starting to look worried as the line moved really quickly once we left, so as soon as our carpet landed, I didn't hang around to see what became of the shoe, but instead we hurried back to Daddy and the Moana line.  Of course, almost as soon as we got there, Moana went on a break.  The good news was that as soon as she got back there were only about two groups infront of us.  So, Littlecjc used the time to color, while Daddy used his phone to provide a light.

When Moana came back out, it was quickly our turn and we were excited to finally meet Moana, character #7.

By now, the party had officially started and all the special characters were beginning to come out.  Jack still had a pretty short line, and we figured we'd be in his first set as soon as he came out, so we decided to wait, making Jack Sparrow, character #8.

We've met him before and the interaction was fun, but I think it was even better this time around.  He also learned a valuable lesson from us, in that you never tell a little one to stand on your trap door.  He instead decided to stand there himself.

We then stopped in at Toratuga for the special party treat here.  Snowmen pretzels and snow cones.

As expected, Patrick and I preferred the pretzel and Littlecjc preferred the snow cone.  This was probably around the busiest time for this stop, but we were here and weren't in a hurry at the moment.  Why wouldn't we be in a hurry at a party?  Well, the parade was going to step off here in Frontierland in about an hour, and we've previously had good luck watching it from here.  So, we scoped out the castmembers laying down the tape and found our prime spot.  Once we were secure with our choice, Littlecjc and I left Patrick with the stroller to hold down the fort and made way for Splash Mountain, attraction #17.


Although we walked right on the ride, it's still a long attraction and by the time we got off Patrick was in need of reinforcements.  Apparently, a few other families thought our spot was ideal too, and they were heavily encroaching upon our space.  We held firm, we were here first after all, but they were extremely rude, especially after the parade had started.  I was trying desperately to be nice and remained sitting so that their kids could see over me, but I probably should have stood up because these kids were falling over the top of me the entire time and the grown male with them was encouraging them to continually yell at the characters, which happened to be right in my ear.  Regardless, we watched the parade and then moved on around the back side of Fantasyland as soon as the parade passed.

Littlecjc really wanted to ride Mine Train again, but the line was still pretty long, so we said maybe later and eventually ended up in the Storybook Circus area where we got cookies, chocolate milk, and this magic shot.

I love how the photographer said we had to stand still while the light passed behind us, so this is how Littlecjc froze.  After a little back and forth trying to decide what we were doing, we ended up in front of the castle where we saw the end of the Mickey's Merriest Celebration show.  This wasn't our intent, but it was nice in keeping us entertained and Littlecjc enjoyed all the characters.  What we were really after were the fireworks.

At 10:00 the Holiday Wishes Spectacular began.  I miss the old Wishes fireworks, but I really love this holiday version and I'm so happy that it didn't get changed this year.  As soon as the fireworks ended, we raced around the castle to the mine train.  We figured this was our best bet, and it seemed to be the only thing Littlecjc wanted to do right now.  So, we waited it out.  It really didn't take that long, since the fastpass line is shut down, the standby line continually moves, so before long, we were aboard the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, attraction #18.


 We kind of turned our evening over to Littlecjc by this point, and she decided that she wanted to ride the Mad Tea Party, attraction #19.

We had spotted the seven dwarfs earlier when we were in Storybook Circus, and I guess that was still on Littlecjc's mind, because she decided that this was what she wanted to do next.  We walked that way and their line was still open, but we warned her that this would be the only other thing we would get done this evening.  I was kind of impressed that she chose to wait it out.  However, being the end of the party, everyone was really laid back and besides the line for the dwarfs there weren't many people back here so we figured it wouldn't be that bad if I stayed in line and Patrick took Littlecjc over to see Minnie and Daisy, characters #9 & 10 who were meeting close by in their Christmas attire.

This time, I was the one to start worrying, as they took a lot longer than I thought they would.  They did make it back though, and we were able to meet The Seven Dwarfs, character #11-18.  

Since my Littlecjc loves chocolate milk, I thought to stop back by the treat station here before leaving.  Since it was the end of the party, the castmembers literally filled my arms with cookies and chocolate milk.

As the party was officially over, we made our way to the front of the park.  We did stop for a few pictures before heading out though.  First, on Main St. where Littlecjc loved playing in the snow while we waited for our turn.

And then out front at the park entrance, where we got this magic shot.

This was a great day, and we really loved our time at the party.  Overall, we saw 18 characters, (of course we caught 7 at one time and we met 5 at lunch) rode 19 rides, saw 1 parade, 1 stage show, and 1 firework display.  I call that a successful day!