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Disney World Trip Report 2012 Part 6

When we left off, the girls cooled off in the Big Blue Pool while Mom and Mindy napped in the suite.  After a little rest and relaxation, we were headed back to the Magic Kingdom for a few more attractions before dinner.

Dinner was a little late, so we decided to grab a snack to tide us over.  Over the summer, Josie had become a big fan of funnel cakes at Kings Island.  So, we made our way to Sleepy Hollow for some fried dough and powdered sugar.

When I placed my order, the girl asked me if I wanted “a lot of powdered sugar”.  The girls actually don’t like too much powdered sugar, so I told her “medium”.  She started piling up the sugar to the point where I actually had to stop her.  I can’t imagine what “a lot of powdered sugar” would have looked like.

There was ample seating and the weather was gorgeous.  So we grabbed a table and leisurely enjoyed a couple of funnel cakes.  Then, just as we were wrapping up, Kara noticed the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It parade nearby.  Kara loves Disney parades.  We actually watch parade videos on YouTube more often than I care to admit.  So, there was no doubt about what to do next.

I pushed the girls’ stroller as close to the parade as I could manage.  Being late comers, we didn’t have the best vantage point.  When the show stopped for the dance party segment, I asked the girls if they wanted to participate.  They declined in spite of the fact Kara had to boogie by the pool just a couple hours ago.

As the parade ended, we headed to Fantasyland.  We had planned to ride the Tea Cups that morning, but veered off into Frontierland instead.  So the plan was to finish out the smaller Fantasyland attractions until it was time for dinner.

When we got there, my eye went immediately to the castle walls that opened to the Fantasyland expansion.  We had been turned away that morning.  But the cast member told me that the expansion might be open to the public during the Halloween party.

There were still a couple of hours before the Halloween party started.  But Disney was admitting party goers to the park.  So I figured there was a decent chance that the Fantasyland Expansion would be open as well.  I saw a couple of people making their way in and no one was stopping them.  I decided to make a break for it.

We just started walking.  I didn’t make eye contact with anyone.  If we weren’t supposed to be entering the gates, someone was going to have to get my attention to stop me.  No one did.  We were in!

By this point, it was 6:00.  We only had an hour before we would have to leave for dinner.  I had heard that the expansion had some pretty long lines during these soft openings.  So I figured we had time for one attraction at most.

I asked the girls.  What do you want to see?  The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast?  They didn’t hesitate for a moment.  They wanted to see Ariel.  I was pretty sure that would be the case.  As I have mentioned before, Ariel is a favorite of both of the girls.

Look, I’m not going to lie.  I was beyond excited by this development.  Over a year ago, I had promised Josie that on our next trip she could ride the Little Mermaid ride.  Disney’s original time tables for the expansion were Fall 2012, so I figured it would definitely be open in November.

But then the time tables got pushed back.  The official opening became “holidays 2012”.  There still seemed like a chance the expansion would be open.  And then the date was announced.  It was after our trip.  Soft openings were our only hope.  I had to tell Josie that I couldn’t guarantee we would get in.

Josie took the news well.  Frankly, the expansion meant more to me than it did to the kids.  She told me she was sure when the cast members saw the girls’ smiling faces, they would let us in.  Well, I don’t think their smiles had anything to do with it, but we were in.

Better still, the line was moving fast!  I barely had time to take in the time-wasting game that was spread throughout the queue.  The posted wait time was 15 minutes.  But our actual wait was approximately 5 minutes.

The ride is what it is.  It’s a relatively modest little dark ride.  Josie enjoyed it.  But Kara was pretty shaken by the Ursula animatronic.  I couldn’t have gotten her on the ride again if I had wanted to.

Since the wait was so short, we still had some time before we had to leave for dinner.  I dragged the girls to Ariel’s Grotto.  Kara liked meeting Ariel, but really wanted to see her in her mermaid form.  So, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass.

The wait to meet Ariel was longer than the wait for the ride.  I was starting to wonder if we would have time.  We would almost certainly be late for our dinner reservations.  But I hoped not by much.

The wait was worth it.  Kara was in awe to see the Little Mermaid in all her glory.  Since Josie was wearing her Merida nightgown, Ariel told her that Merida was trying to teach her archery.  Only, since she isn’t familiar with human terms, she didn’t remember what to call a bow and arrow.  So she called it a “wisha-ma-bob”.

On our way to and from the Little Mermaid section of the expansion, we saw the Beauty and the Beast areas.  Gaston was standing in front of his tavern, but we didn’t have time to visit.  Beast’s castle looked great off in the distance.

As we left, the expansion was empty.  Gaston was no longer greeting guests.  But there were no guests left to greet.  Castmembers were turning folks away.  It appeared as though we made it in during a relatively narrow window.

We made our way to the park entrance as quickly as possible.  As it turns out, the Halloween Party was getting ready to start and cast members were ushering regular guests out of the park.

It was actually kind of cool.  We got to see the lights change on Main Street for the Halloween party.  But Kara didn’t like the booming introduction by Ooogie Boogie.  This confirmed for me that we had made the right choice skipping the party this year.

Dinner was at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort which was a short monorail ride away.  However, since the park was emptying out, the monorails were a madhouse.  In the confusion, we somehow ended up on the wrong side of the monorails.  A castmember helped us walk through a stopped monorail to the correct side.

Once we got on the right side, the Avengerail pulled up.  Pretty cool!  We took the Avengers-wrapped monorail to the Contemporary.  When we got there, we were fashionably late.

Once we were seated, our waiter explained the set-up.  It’s a standard Disney buffet, but he explained how the characters made their rounds from table to table.  The room we were being seated in was already full of characters.  But they had all passed our table.

According to our waiter, we had about 10 minutes until Pluto showed up at our table.  But someone made a special stop at our table before leaving the room.

Since I wasn’t expecting him to stop by our table, I was completely unprepared for Donald Duck.  So I scambled to get the autograph books ready, grab my camera, remove the lens cap, find the pens, etc.

You have to open the books to the next blank page and have the pen ready to go.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re not ready it can take some time to get organized.  Donald leaned on our table and started tapping his fingers impatiently.  The girls thought this was hysterical.

After Donald left our table, we had just enough time to grab some food before Pluto arrived.  Josie has a Pluto pen which always gets a big reaction out of the big yellow dog.  But this time, Pluto launched into a very excited dance when he saw his face on the pen.

After Pluto came Minnie Mouse who made a small fuss over Kara’s Minnie Mouse dress.

After Minnie, we saw Chef Mickey himself.  He was cracking the girls up.  He kept getting their noses.  Since they were tired and slap happy, they laughed their heads off every time.

Mickey seemed to be loving the response because he just kept getting them over and over.

And last but not least, Goofy stopped by our table.  Having met the Fab 5, we started to settle into our meals.  I put away the autograh books and focused on eating.  The girls were having fun making their own sundaes and I had a little sampler plate of desserts.  The clear winner in my opinion was the carrot cake.  Yum!

Then who should come back to our table but Donald Duck.  This was totally unexpected.  I had packed everything up!  I scrambled to pull out my camera for some more pictures.  But once again, the duck had caught me unprepared.

donald pointing

I apologized to Donald for keeping him waiting a second time.  He pointed to his eyes and then to me.  He was keeping an eye on me!  Donald Duck had put me on notice.

We had a lot of meet and greets this trip.  But Donald was the star.  He had us rolling at Chef Mickey’s.

My original plan had been to return to our room after dinner.  But my mom wanted to get to Downtown Disney for some shopping.  And since the park closed early, this would be one of our best opportunities to do so.  Also, Josie still hadn’t found anything she liked at any of the gift shops.  So we caught a bus to Downtown Disney.

In 2010, Josie had a great time “playing in the laundry” as she called it.  So we had to stop and take a few pictures here.

It was a little funny because the Magic Kingdom was still decorated for Halloween but Downtown Disney was made up for Christmas.  How often do you see Halloween and Christmas decorations in the same night?

Mom wanted to go into the Christmas store to buy an ornament.  The girls were getting tired and I was exhausted from lugging Kara around.  So we decided to wrap things up quickly.

I asked Josie what she wanted from the gift shop.  She decided on a Duffy bear.  So, we went to Once Upon a Toy.  I bought Josie a Duffy.  Kara picked out a Tinkerbell.  My mom bought Josie an outfit for her Duffy since she had already bought Kara a Rapunzel crown earlier that morning.

With all our shopping done (for now), we headed back to our resort.  The first full day of our trip was over.

Next up, morning at Hollywood Studios.

More Disney World

More Magic Kingdom

More Trip Report

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Posted on November 14, 2012, in Magic Kingdom, theme parks, Trip Report, Walt Disney World and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I got so caught up in this trip report that I almost burned my lunch!

    How would you rank the Little Mermaid ride vs other cartoon dark rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, the now closed Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Winnie the Pooh, etc?

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    • I’m glad lunch was salvaged and that you enjoyed this installment of the TR.

      The animatronics are more advanced than they are in any of the other FL dark rides (at MK). But it lacks some of the charm of Peter Pan. If it had just another show scene or two… It ends rather anti-climatically. I think it is about on par with Pooh. It may have a little more broad appeal given that Pooh skews so young.

      It’s definitely an upgrade over the old Snow White ride. And the queue and show building are excellent. But the ride itself is lacking something. It’s not going to wow anybody.

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  2. What a beautiful pictures! We just came back from Disney with my husband.

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