Walt Disney World, Part 4 Magic Kingdom 12/26/06

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Day 5, 12/26/06

Finally it was time to go to the park I was looking forward to the most, The Magic Kingdom. This had always been my favorite theme park and was looking forward to going on some of my favorite rides. We got to the Ticket and Transportation Center and had to wait about 5 minutes to board the monorail. They had rope switchbacks out to prepare for the crowds later in the day waiting to board the monorail but since it was still early, they luckily were not being used as it was not that crowded.

After getting into the park and walking through Mainstreet USA, we decided to start with Adventureland. After getting Jungle Cruise fastpasses, the first ride of the day was the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. It was a 5 minute wait and it’s a fun ride for what it is but I wish Disney would have built an Aladdin dark ride or done something more than just another spinner ride (and 3 spinners in the MK seems excessive).

We went to Pirates of the Caribbean next since we figured it would be very popular with how popular the movies are. When entering the building, I noticed the bird outside the entrance was gone which was disappointing as I always liked to look for it when we got to the ride. The wait was posted at 15 minutes but was closer to 10. I’m going to post some spoilers about the ride so skip the next 4 paragraphs if you haven’t been on the refurbished ride and don’t want anything spoiled.

After boarding the boat the ride seemed the same as normal until we got to the Davy Jones projection on the fog. This was a really cool effect and reminded me of the projections on the water in Fantasmic. After going on the short drop, we were right at the large pirate ship and I noticed the dialog had changed as he was talking about Captain Jack Sparrow.

I can’t remember if there were more pirates on the ship in the past or not but I only saw 1. The next room had the first new audioanimatronic of Captain Jack Sparrow. He looked amazingly real but I thought it looked kind of out of place because the older audioanimatronics look non realistic so he really stands out. In the next room, I saw the 2nd Captain Jack Sparrow audioanimatronic which I remember used to be a girl hiding in the barrel away from the pirate. These characters also had their dialogue changed to be discussing Captain Jack Sparrow.

In the last room, I thought the fire effects looked new but again I don’t remember for sure and the final scene before the unload area had the 3rd Captain Jack Sparrow, in a treasure room. I remember two people used to be tied up to a chair in this room.

Overall, the changes weren’t as bad as I thought they would be but I am still not happy about the updates since it seems like a large part of the ride is focused on the characters in the ride discussing Captain Jack Sparrow and it’s just another example of another classic Disney ride updated because of a movie.

It was time to go on the Jungle Cruise as our fastpasses were ready. The Jungle Cruise is always a fun ride and can be even better depending on how much the cast member is into the act. Luckily, the one on our boat tried to tell as many jokes as possible and overall did a great job getting into the role. With the Jungle Cruise movie coming out, I hope they leave the ride the way it is and don’t take away anything to replace it with movie references/characters.

It was starting to rain so we went into the Enchanted Tiki Room, Under New Management. I have seen this show a few times before so knew what to expect. I don’t like how they don’t even get to finish singing the entire Tiki Room theme song before it’s cut off and Iago and Zazu. It’s not a bad show but I still prefer the original. Since we were now done with Adventureland, we headed into Frontierland.

The first thing was to grab fastpasses for both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain (since there were 4 of us and only 2 were going on Splash Mountain and I was going on Big Thunder Mountain alone). The return times were within a half hour of each other which worked well. While waiting for the fast pass return time we went to Pecos Bill’s Cafe for lunch. Even though it was only 11:30 a.m. which seemed a little early for lunch, the place was jammed. There were literally no empty tables and we ended up waiting for people to leave a table and then grabbing it before anyone else could as that is the only way to get a table once it’s peak season and it was like that the rest of the trip.

After lunch Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade was starting soon so we decided to watch the parade right near the restaurant. I’m not a fan of parades but this one seems to be very popular and is longer than the Share A Dream Come True Parade. I would have liked to see them show both parades each day instead of having Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade twice a day but I understand why they run the parade schedule the way they do.

By this time the Splash Mountain fastpasses were ready. Standby was only 20 minutes so the fastpass line was only a little over 5 minutes. Because I was not a single rider this time, rather than being paired up with another single rider or sitting wherever there was an empty row, we got the front row. Splash Mountain is my favorite log flume because I really like how it’s part dark ride and part log flume and I like how it has multiple drops especially the drop in the dark that has a small uphill section after the drop.

I noticed that the scene where Brer Rabbit is supposed to be hopping behind some plants was not working but it wasn’t a big deal. On past trips, when there are so many logs on the track, there is sometimes a delay at the bottom of the lift hill for the big drop to space out the distance going up the hill and down the drop so I wasn’t surprised when we stopped for a few moments. I was however, surprised when the lights came on and they turned off the ride dialogue. A speaker came on telling everyone to remain seated and a few minutes later a cast member entered the area and walked around. I though they were going to evacuate us from the ride.

They started talking about zones on the speaker and resetting or restarting the zones. After about 10 minutes the first log started to move up the lift hill (we were the 3rd log out of 5 stuck at the bottom of the lift) and everyone started to cheer and clap. Then it turned to disappointment after the log stopped a few feet later. About 5 minutes after that, the ride finally restarted and we finished the ride. That was the longest I have ever been stuck on a ride at Disney and although it wasn’t a big deal, I wish they would have told everyone what was going on rather than just telling everyone to remain seated when we stopped and when the ride started up again.

After Splash Mountain I went to Big Thunder Mountain while everyone else did some shopping at the Briar Patch store. The wait time was posted at 50 minutes and since I had not been on this ride in close to 7 years, I couldn’t estimate how long the fast pass line would be.

The entire queue building was full with both fastpass and standby. The difference being that the fastpass line just wraps around the building once while standby is full of switchbacks and had to be at least 2 – 3 times as long as fastpass. Fastpass was also moving much faster than standby (as it should).

The wait was almost 20 minutes and I am guessing the standby line had to be about 90 minutes based on how slow it was moving and how long the line was. After being assigned to a row in the middle of the train, I boarded my car. They were assigning rows to the next train and two teenage girls thought the cast member told them to board the train in the station and they started to sit down next to me. Before I had a chance to say anything another cast member told them to wait for the next train. Since there was no seat divider or seat belt I decided to sit in the middle of the car just because it was something different.

I had remembered not thinking this coaster was that great in the past but was willing to give it another chance. The themeing was excellent and the ride was a little more intense than I remembered. The multiple lift hills really kill the momentum of the ride as it seems like anytime the ride gets going, you slow down for the approaching lift hill. There is a lot to see on the ride but you are moving so fast, it’s difficult to take in everything. I liked that the ride itself was much longer than the Arrow mine trains which seem to end too quickly (especially Trailblazer at Hersheypark). I ended up enjoying the coaster more than I expected to and will definitely try to ride it once a trip from now on.

Going in order, Liberty Square was next and we were going to get fastpasses for the Haunted Mansion but since my last trip, Disney got rid of fastpass for the ride so we went into Fantasyland to get fastpasses for Peter Pan’s Flight. Standby was 90 minutes and the fastpass return time was over 3 hours away.

We got the fastpasses anyway since the line for this ride almost always is 90 – 100 minutes and even later at night it’s still over an hour wait. We went back into Liberty Square and went to the Hall of Presidents which was starting in about 2 minutes. I really don’t like this attraction especially because the majority of it is a film rather than seeing the presidents and it just isn’t that fun to watch in my opinion.

After the 30 minute show was over, we decided to go to the Haunted Mansion. The wait was 45 minutes and at this point there was really no way to avoid lines since the park was supposedly filled to capacity. After getting out of the elevator, there was a lot of congestion in the next room because everyone has to merge into a single file short set of switchbacks which caused another 7 or 8 minute wait.

We boarded the Doom Buggies and began the tour of the mansion. There is so much to see and despite being on the ride many times in the past, I always seem to forget what’s in the ride. I spotted the hidden Mickey plate setup in the dining room but didn’t see the one near the bride with the glowing heart. I thought the ride was shorter than I remembered but it was still a great ride.

It was back to Fantasyland at this point and we went to It’s A Small World. This ride was being refurbished on both my trips in 2004 and I was curious to see what changes were made since this used to be my favorite ride when I was younger. The wait was about 35 minutes and they were using an overflow queue it was so crowded.

The first change I noticed was the boarding room was very different with the figures against the wall with lights around them and pictures of kids on the wall at the exit ramp were all replaced with what looks like the outside of the ride at Disneyland.

I also think the fountains that had lights under them that changed color were also gone. Once inside the ride, I only noticed minor changes such everything looking more vibrant with it being freshly painted and the kangaroo in the second to last room had new fabric. The boats also looked new as well as the plastic of the boat seemed more hollow as the older boats looked like they used thicker plastic. It’s still a fun ride and it brings back a lot of memories of past trips to WDW in the 80’s and 90’s.

It still wasn’t time for our Peter Pan fastpasses so we went to Mickey’s PhilharMagic. The wait time was posted at 45 minutes but we found out they were having technical difficulties which caused many people to leave the line. The line didn’t move for about 15 minutes but because so many people left, once it re-opened we got into the first show so it was only about a 25 minute wait.

I think this is a really great show and much better than Legend of the Lion King even though the shows are completely different (I can’t compare it to Magic Journeys as I really don’t remember much about it). I like how it features characters from a lot of classic Disney films and the effects are really great.

By the time we got out of PhilharMagic it was time for our Peter Pan’s Flight Fastpasses. The fastpass return line was about 10 minutes, not bad especially since it was still a 90 minute standby wait. This has always been one of my favorite dark rides because Peter Pan is one of my favorite Disney movies and I like how it’s suspended and that makes it different because you are looking down at everything.

After boarding the pirate ship we entered the first room of the ride which is the kids’ bedroom. The part where you fly over London is amazing with the town lit up and all the little cars on the streets. There is so much to see in this ride but you move somewhat too fast to see everything. We then entered the Mermaid Lagoon and saw Skull Rock and soon after that we were “flying” right over Captain Hook’s ship where you see Peter Pan and Captain Hook sword fighting. Of course Peter Pan wins and they sail home and the ride is over but not before you see the crocodile one last time and a lit up mural of the ship sailing in the sky.

We went to Pinocchio Village Haus for dinner where I noticed they changed the menu around somewhat offering pizza now instead of burgers. We got a table at a window that overlooks the loading area of It’s A Small World and a lot of kids in the boats were waving up to us in the restaurant.

After dinner, we headed into Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin. Ever since I first rode this in 1998, it’s become my favorite dark ride since I love video games and this was a combination of my 2 favorite hobbies, rides and videogames. I did like If You Had Wings and later on, Dreamflight but this is the one instance where I think the new attraction that replaced the old one was an improvement as this ride is an overall just fun ride. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone get of the ride and not enjoyed it. I got an ok score of 325,000 but know I could have done better.

It was around 45 minutes before Spectromagic so we decided to wait to see the parade. It’s an amazing parade but I think the best time watching the parade is the first time since when you first see all those lights on the floats and characters, it’s awe inspiring. I also like how the parade has a lot of characters and floats in it and how the lights on some floats change from all white to different colors every 30 seconds or so.

After Spectromagic we stayed were we were for Wishes. I have seen the regular Wishes before and it’s the best fireworks display I have ever seen. Holiday Wishes was good but I thought the regular Wishes was better.

It was getting late so we along with everyone else who had stayed for Wishes left the park. It took a while to walk down Mainstreet USA as so many people were leaving at once. Once we were out of the gates, I knew to go right to the resort monorail as it stops at the Ticket and Transportation Center and always has a shorter line because people don’t realize non hotel guests can use it to get to the Ticket and Transportation Center.

The regular monorail had rope switchbacks set up and it looked to be about a 15 minute wait. Tonight, a director was waving people towards the resort monorail as well telling people it went to the Ticket and Transportation Center. This made the line longer than usual for that monorail but it still was only halfway down the ramp and had about 1/3 the line the other monorail had. After getting back to our car, we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep for the next day.

In case anyone is wondering why I didn’t go on Space Mountain, we spent another full day at the Magic Kingdom (I’ll be writing a trip report on that day as well).

*** Edited 1/23/2007 3:32:02 AM UTC by YoshiFan*** *** Edited 1/23/2007 3:34:42 AM UTC by YoshiFan***

What are the four spinners at the park? I know of Dumbo, and Aladdin. Is the fourth one in the kids section?
Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland is the 3rd one in the MK, the other one is Triceratops Spin at AK

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