Well, I don’t know if it is the relaxing vibe of the Wilderness Lodge or my husband being there- but I slept like a baby and woke up ready to start our day bright and early! I needed to get the 6 of us at the Magic Kingdom at opening because we were meeting the Belfonti family for breakfast at 9:30am at the Crystal Palace.
Hint one: The Magic Kingdom is the only theme park that has an “opening ceremony” each day. This features the characters and escorts guests in at the posted opening time. If you want to enter the park before then, the only way you can is by having a breakfast reservation before the park opens in either Crystal Palace (with Pooh and friends) or Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Well, we got to the bus stop at Wilderness Lodge by 8:30am. Especially at the villas section of the Wilderness Lodge, the buses are closer than taking the boat. Plus…
Hint two: All buses are scooter/wheelchair accessible. Unlike the boats (please refer to Day Four of this series).
We waited a good 20-30 minutes for a bus to arrive to take us to the Magic Kingdom. Again, longer than we waited previously at the Art of Animation Resort. This was getting frustrating. We were hoping to have Mikey’s hair cut at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street (he really needed one too!) but getting there after the gates are open was going to cut it far to close because we still had to pass through security before we even got to the gates. Oh well, it is what it is.
We made our way through the gates and up Main Street for family pictures in front of the castle before meeting the Belfonti’s at Crystal Palace. Both my Mom and Tricia’s youngest daughter have a love for Piglet, so this was going to be cute. Here we were visited by Pooh, Piglet, Eyeore, and Tigger during a buffet breakfast. Here (like Chef Mikey’s) the food is OK- you are here for the characters, not the food. We had a great time, as always visiting and chatting and before we knew it we were all stuffed and it was time to say goodbye for now.
Hint three: When traveling with friends and family, don’t be afraid to split up. This allows everyone to enjoy what they want when they want. In my experience, sharing meals together is the best way to meet back up and touch base rather than trying to maneuver the parks trying to please a large group of people.
Mike headed to Space Mountain to grab fast passes for later in the day while we headed into Adventureland- which we never seem to find crowded.
We went right over to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the kids walked right on the next spin!
From there, Mike met us and we all rode the Pirates of the Caribbean together!
Then on to the Enchanted Tiki Room!
Then we ventured in to Frontierland and caught a showing of the Country Bear Jamboree.
Then we made our way into Liberty Square and visited the Haunted Mansion.
Next, Mom wanted to see the Hall of Presidents and (after checking out My Disney Experience App) the 5 of us headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (YES! Mikey wanted to ride!). Mikey enjoyed the interactive “toys” along the stand by line here too!
We met Mom after the ride and picked up Splash Mountain fast passes as well. We decided to meet Mike’s family for lunch now at Columbia Harbour House. Here you an order fish, salads, chicken, and sandwiches plus they have 2 floors of air conditioned seating including a roped off handicapped area (now my Mother in Law was also using a scooter in the park). Lunch, again, was OK. The kids gobbled up their chicken and but I wasn’t as fond of my salad. We wound up giving our desserts away to a nearby family as we were stuffed (the desserts were included in our meal plan).
Next we split up. The girls, Mike and I went to use our fast passes for Space Mountain. Mikey went with his Aunt Melissa and his cousins to ride the Haunted Mansion again. The grandparents decided to head to the shops. Everyone was happy and we would meet the larger group at Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid at 4:30. The kids and their parents would meet back at Splash Mountain to use our fast passes (Melissa picked them up too as she was heading to lunch). Space Mountain is so much fun, totally in the dark and you sit in a “ship” with only 3 other people in a row. So, the girls and I rode together- screaming the entire time while Mike rode with another couple. We had a ton of fun and couldn’t wait to try and ride it again later! We grabbed fast passes for our family and Melissa’s before heading to Splash Mountain.
We all met out by the entrance and Mikey decided he didn’t want to ride and neither did Melissa. So, they went over to Fantasyland to ride Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel. Mike and I took the 4 girls with us. Apparently none of the girls remembered riding this ride before so they were always on the lookout for the drop, screaming at every little bump that could be it. Mike and I remembered though…
Next we strolled into New Fantasyland to meet Mikey and Melissa. We lingered a bit stopping into Gaston’s Tavern just to check out his decorating…
We headed over to Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid, met my mom there and saw the wait time was too late to be able to ride before dinner- so we lingered a bit and headed over to Be Our Guest for our dinner reservations with the Belfonti family. Mike ran to the area where the fast passes were for at Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid over by Mickey’s Philharmagic so we could ride after dinner. We couldn’t find Mike’s parents and it turned out they got there before us and headed on to the ride and met us at Be Our Guest after the ride was over. Once everyone was there, we were able to be checked in and there was a short wait until our tables were ready.
Hint four: Keep in mind, when dining with a large group, you cannot be checked in for your reservation time until everyone is there and would be ready to be seated. They will not accept a check in unless everyone is counted for at the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant is breath taking. It truly is like walking in to the film, “Beauty and the Beast”. We are seated in the ballroom and are just amazed.
Hint five: When dining in the Ballroom inside Be Our Guest Restaurant, look up. The angels in the mural are actually the artists themselves or one of their children!
We are promptly given menus and Mom and I order a glass of wine, just because we can. The other table in our group (Mike, his parents, sister, our nieces, and Mikey) actually ordered an entire bottle- because they could.
Hint six: Be Our Guest is the only restaurant in the Magic Kingdom where you can order wine or beer with dinner. Some say this is against Walt’s wishes, other say Walt would have evolved. I am hoping he would have evolved since I thoroughly enjoyed my wine!
I really enjoyed dinner, my steak dinner was fabulous and the dessert cart was the hit of the night! My favorite was the chocolate cupcake – which was just rich enough but not too rich to be too heavy. It was a bit tougher for my super picky son who ordered pasta with butter and it came with melted cheese on top. It was returned and brought back corrected plus with an order of French fires. Not the healthiest dinner, but we are on vacation and he was happy.
Triple Chocolate Cupcake – chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse filling, and choclate ganacheStrawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake – vanilla sponge cake, strawberry mousse filling, and cream cheese icinngChocolate Cream Puff – filled with chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream
We were also treated to “the grey stuff” as we were celebrating being Ear Marked on our table, and our other table had my Mother in Law’s birthday celebration grey stuff!
After dinner guests are treated to pictures with the Beast.
After dinner, we strolled over to Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid and all rode together with our fast passes. GREAT ride, love the new animatronics!
From there we split up again. Mike, Melissa and I headed to Space Mountain with our daughters, nieces, and Tricia’s oldest daughter . Tricia and her husband, Arnie, took Mikey and their youngest daughter on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. We would meet back at Space Mountain then meet the grandparents back in New Fantasyland for Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s A Small World. From there we headed into the new Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland where we rode Barnstormer a few times and Dumbo.
Next it was time to take night time pictures in front of the castle which always look spectacular. After pictures, Mike’s parents, sister, and older niece headed back to Wilderness Lodge after watching the fireworks show Wishes to meet my brother in law who was arriving tonight. The rest of us stayed to ride Buzz Lightyear, the tea cups twice, and watch the Electrical Light Parade. While we were waiting for the parade to start I ran over to the Main Street Bakery for some Starbucks treats for the kids as my mom scored us a perfect viewing spot in the handicapped section area for parade viewing. An ideal spot right in front of the statue of Walt and Mickey!
From there we walked right down the middle of Main Street USA and out the gates. Mike took the kids on the boat and I took Mom on the bus. A much shorter wait time, this was ideal after being in the park 14 hours! Once settled in our room, Mike went to the bar to grab us a glass of wine that we enjoyed on our patio while Mikey snoozed away on the other side of our glass door. A perfect ending to a perfectly magical day!