Last time, I shared my tales from Celebration and Disney Springs (you can read that post HERE), today I want to spread a little fairy dust and invite you to visit Cinderella’s castle as we head to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Yes, this is the portion of my trip that was full on Brit-Abroad-Disney-Tastic! Today’s outing was extra special as it was also my cousin’s birthday. After retrieving Becky’s ‘It’s My Birthday’ and my ‘1st Visit’ badges, we were ready to go.
Animal Kingdom was already buzzing when we arrived, swarming with excited children and steadfast park regulars looking to enjoy a day in the Florida sunshine. We rushed off to our first point of call which was the Safari. The queue was averaging at a fifty-minute wait but as we talked, laughed, and jumped into any shade we could find it went reasonably quickly. We finally boarded our rickety windowless wagon and were jostled off onto the trail on the hunt for the park’s inhabitants. We were lucky as all the animals made an appearance for us, from the water wallowing hippos to the king of the jungle. Despite the 92 degrees heat, it seems no-one was camera shy.
Once we disembarked from the Safari bus, we made our way across the park to a brand new attraction. Pandora is based on the world building from the film Avatar and has two new rides and a stunning Valley of Mo’ara setting. It was the middle of the day when we visited, but if you were to pop along at night, then you’d see all the foliage glowing just like in the movie. I have no idea how they made the hanging mountains, but they looked incredible.
From Pandora, we moved to The Pride Lands to watch the Lion King show which was absolutely stunning. The singers were hugely talented, and there was plenty of audience participation involved, so I got to warble out a few Hakuna Matata’s before the end.
Leaving the wild life behind us, we headed off to the second park of the day, Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
I’ve seen thousands of photographs and videos from Disney World, but standing on Main Street in front of the iconic castle is mind blowing and needs to be experienced to understand the magic of it fully. It’s also true that Disney isn’t only for the kids. I was totally spellbound by everything I saw, and although I was wilting under the midday sun, I couldn’t resist waving and yelling to Tinkerbell, Ariel, and Mickey Mouse as the parade rolled past us.
The park was bustling and so the wait times for many of the rides were high. However, this didn’t stop us from joining in. Obviously, I had to pay a visit to Adventureland, home of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and the Tortuga Inn. Johnny Depp didn’t pay us a visit this time, but that didn’t stop me studying anyone in a hat – just in case!
My favourite part of the day had to be going on Splash Mountain in Frontierland. I’m a huge fan of the log flume, and as the temperature soared, it seemed like a great idea to jump on a water ride. I now believe that the phrase ‘soaked to the skin’ came about after being on Splash Mountain. I haven’t laughed that hard in years.
As it was Becky’s birthday, it seemed quite fitting to stop for an early dinner to celebrate. So, we headed to Crystal Palace, home of the character dining experience. The food was exceptional with a varied choice for both adults and kids (although the kids’ sticky ribs were way better than the adult chicken legs!) The meal is a buffet where you can go back as many times as you like (eek!) with table service for drinks and birthday buns! As you sit in the open plan conservatory, you are joined by the characters from the hundred acre wood. We got to snuggle with Eeyore, Piglet, and Pooh but we had to watch Tigger as he was a bit frisky!
As the day drew to a close, we made our way back to Main Street in time for the fireworks at 9 pm. This is something they do every single night, and it is worth staying to witness. The firework displays were incredible, but there was also the bonus of a new feature. The fireworks are now coordinated with a projected show onto the Disney Castle. It gave me goose bumps to watch the show and see the awestruck faces of the children around me. It all ends with Tinkerbell whooshing from the highest turret in a blaze of fairy dust (via a zip wire I was informed!).
Once the show is over, you get caught up in the swell of thousands of people as they exit the park. It was incredible to see so many people in one place, but the thing I loved the most was the fact everyone was smiling!
A busy day but full of magic, laughter, and fun. Whether you’ve got kids or not, Magic Kingdom is worth a visit.
Next time, I’ll be sharing the next leg of our tour when we flew up to Arkansas.
I hope you’ve enjoyed part II of the Magical Mystery Tour.
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