Friday, April 14, 2017

Magic Kingdom bonus, October 2016

Originally we had planned this day to be a rest day, but late the night we decided to add another day.  It wasn't going to be much more for us to add another day in the park to our tickets, but while waiting in line at the concierge, we talked with a friend who is a castmember who offered to get us into the park.  Castmemebers have a set amount of days that they are able to get three people into the park as long as they enter the park with them.  Our friend agreed to meet us at the park entrance early enough to watch the welcome show since we missed it the first day due to our early breakfast reservation.  Keep in mind though, that by using these passes we were unable to get fastpasses until the park opened and we made it to a kiosk.  This applies to every fastpass after your initial three as well.  However, these gate passes are hoppers and once you've entered the park in the morning with the castmember, they do not need to be with you the rest of the day even if you do decide to go to a different park.  Since this was truly a bonus day, we tried to still make it more of a restful day and just go with flow more than the determined park goers we normally are.

We opted to stop in at Town Square Theater as soon as we entered the park, so Mickey Mouse became character #1.

After visiting with Mickey, we took our time up Main Street, again stopping in front of the castle to take another one of those iconic pictures.

Our next step was the fastpass kiosk in Fantasyland to get our three initial fastpasses.  We ended up with Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Barnstormer.  Our friend had a long day of work still ahead of her, so she did not stay with us in the park so we also spent a few minutes catching up and making plans to meet up again later in the week before we left town.  Once she left, we headed to Peter Pan's Flight, attraction #1.  This is another example of the fun, interactive lines that Disney has to help pass the time.  Here's Littlecjc's shadow trying to catch some butterflies.

We left our pirate ship and went next door for another boat ride.  It's a Small World, attraction #2 is a classic and little ones love that there is so much going on all around them.

Since we bypassed the Carousel so many times the first day in the park, we gave in today and let Littlecjc ride her horse.  Carousel, attraction #3.

When we dismounted our horses, we headed to the Mad Tea Party, attraction #4, for a spin in a teacup.

We seem to have good timing with this ride, as we have been able to catch a few somewhat rare characters at it's exit.  This time, we met Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, characters #2 and 3.

After this fun interaction, it was time for our first fastpass.  We made our way to Winnie the Pooh, attraction #5.

We had spent 2 hours in Fantasyland and decided it was time to move on to Tomorrowland.  Astro Orbitor always has a line unless the park has just opened or is closing.  The line itself never seems that long, but it moves slowly.  Littlecjc really likes this ride, so we decided to wait it out.  We were even chosen to monitor the time.

If you've been to Disney before, you've probably seen these red cards either being held by someone in line or maybe even a casstmember has given you one before.  These help monitor the wait times.  Castmembers scan these at the start of the line and then hand them off to a guest entering the line.  When that guest gets to the attraction they hand them off to another castmember who scans the card again.  I don't know the specifics of how these work, but by the castmembers doing this so many times each hour, they are able to keep the wait times listed pretty accurate to the actual wait time.  So, Littlecjc held onto her red card while waiting in line for Astro Orbitor, attraction #6.

When we made it back to ground level, it was time for our second fastpass at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, attraction #7.

By the time we finished defending the galaxy, it was almost 11:00 and we decided to stop at Cosmic Ray's for a quick service lunch.

Littlecjc really enjoyed watching Sunny Eclipse perform.

When we were done eating, we made our way back to the Storybook Circus at the back of Fantasyland.  We started at Dumbo, which has a great play area for kids to have fun while waiting in line while parents can rest inside the AC.  You are actually given a buzzer like you would get at a restaurant that holds your place in line. Littlecjc was playing in the toddler area when we ran into a friend.

Remember the friend that got us into the park today?  This is her husband.  It was fun being able to see him in action since he is a newer castmember.

Once our buzzer went off we got back in line and headed back outside to ride Dumbo, attraction #8.

Inside Storybook Circus, there is a big circus tent set up in the back called Pete's Silly Side Show where you can meet Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Minnie.  We've met all these characters before in other locations, but this was the first time meeting them here which is so fun since they are themed for the area.  The boys are on one side while the girls are on the other.  The boys had a shorter line at the time, so we jumped in their line and met the Great Goofini, character #4 and the Astounding Donaldo Snake Charmer, character #5.

Before just stepping next door and visiting with the girls, we needed to head to the Barnstormer, attraction #9  and use our fastpasses.

After riding the plane as Littlecjc calls it, we went back to the big top to meet Daisy Fortuna, character #6 and Minnie Magnigique, the poodle trainer, character #7.

We decided to leave Storybook Circus by taking the train.  Poor littlecjc was so excited to ride the train, but she didn't even make it to the front of the park.  Regardless, the Walt Disney World Railroad was attraction #10.

Since she crashed, we decided to continue to ride until we got to Frontierland.

After disembarking in Frontierland, we casually strolled through the park making our way to the front of the park and guest relations.  We knew that Magic Kingdom was closing at 7 due to a Mickey's not So Scary Halloween party.  We also knew that Epcot had evening extra magic hours, so we were debating hopping over there.  However, we wanted to verify whether or not we would be able to take advantage of the extra hours since yes we were staying in a Disney hotel, but we had used a castmember pass to get in the park on this specific day.  Guest relations was pretty busy at this time since I think many park goers were getting information and possibly tickets for the party that evening and I'm not sure the cm completely understood my question, but he did say that as long as we had hotel reservations synced to our magic bands we should be fine regardless of how we entered the park.  (In all honesty, we didn't end up testing this answer.)  With this info we decided that we would go ahead and hop over to Epcot after the Festival of Fantasy parade.  We did still have some time before the parade began, but Littlcjc was still sleeping so we casually strolled through the Emporium taking some time to check out all the new inventory and in particular deciding if we would be interested in any of the Halloween items.  We left the Emporium about 2:00 and crossed the street for some Starbucks (also a good place to buy juice in the park for Little ones.)  With drinks in hand, we picked a curb spot along Main Street and took a seat.  Although those with tickets to the party that evening couldn't enter until 4:00 without a park ticket, there were still many people walking up Main Street in costume, so we enjoyed watching the people, castmembers selling balloons, and made some phone calls back home.  At about 2:50 the Main Street Philharmonic Band came marching down the street.

Littlecjc started to wake with the help of the band which worked out well as she was able to drink her juice while we waited for the Festival of Fantasy parade to begin.  After waiting so long to watch this parade, we were super excited to see it and I'm counting it as attraction #11, Festival of Fantasy Parade.

As stated earlier, we decided to leave with the masses after the parade and we headed towards Epcot.  We rode the monorail for an easy and fun transfer.

We arrived at Epcot with one goal in mind, to ride Frozen Ever After.  We had been watching the app, and knew that the ride had been down for a while, but we figured worse case scenario we would just get dinner somewhere and head back to the hotel.  We made our way to Norway and discovered a line behind a rope stating that the ride was currently down.  We explored the new pavilion and discussed our options.  By 5:30 we had decided to sit in the line for a while and see what happened.  

During the 6:00 hour we continued to sit in this line.  There were only 2 groups ahead of us and an extremely nice family behind us.  We took turns exploring with Charlie and had some great snacks from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe.

Littlecjc remained well behaved and had a lot of fun playing with the girl in line behind us, so we stayed in line.  

During this hour, the two groups in front of us gave up and we became the first group in line.  As long as Littlecjc continued to behave, we knew there was no way we could leave now that we were at the front unless they told us it wasn't going to open again that evening.  Eventually, probably about 7:45 we found out that it was going to open again, even though it wasn't entirely fixed, but first for those that had fastpasses at any time that the ride was down or for the current hour.  We were a little bummed but hadn't totally given up and some people behind us started asking more questions.  A few minutes later, they opened the gate saying we would be stopped further up but that we could enter.  We rushed through, while taking in the decor the best we could while not getting ran over and continued to walk right on to the ride.  No one ever stopped us and we rode in the very first row, completing our day with attraction #12, Frozen Ever After.

When we got off the ride, we noticed that they had closed off the standby line like we were originally told, and only those with fastpasses were able to enter.  My guess is they closed the line once off once everyone entered that had been waiting while it was down.  Either that or someone messed up and wasn't suppose to let us enter, but either way it worked out in our advantage.  We debated staying for Illuminations and the extra magic hours, but the ride lines were all long and knowing that we would be returning the next day we opted to just beat the crowd out of the park to return to our hotel.  We maybe didn't get as much in today as we only got in 12 attractions (including 1 parade) and 7 character meet and greets, but it was extremely successful as we rode the new Frozen ride and had a blast at Magic Kingdom.  We originally planned on this being a rest day, so we said from the beginning that we didn't want to rush around wearing ourselves out like normal.  We were very happy with our decisions this day and didn't feel like we had missed out by not staying at Epcot until close.

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