22 June 2015
I recently went with my mom and two younger brothers to Walt Disney World! These trip report posts may be slow in coming, since I've barely scratched the surface of editing the 2000+ pictures I took, but I have edited enough to at least put up the very first one, so here we go!
On the 3rd, my mom and Jackson, the elder of my brothers, came to pick me up. Neither of the boys knew what was happening at this point - I'm not actually sure what excuse my mom told the boys to explain my presence - but Mom decided we should tell Jackson before we left my apartment to head to their home. Jackson was surprised but low-key about it. Mom was filming and got the split-second of actual surprise on his face before he said, "Oh, that's- that's great, yeah." Jackson is 13 and too cool for emotions.
So we drove the 2 and a half hours from my apartment to my mom's house, where we told Liam, the 12 year-old. Liam's reaction was more what you'd expect from being surprised with a trip to WDW; he was so excited he fell on the floor. Unfortunately, Liam had one more half-day of school to get through before we left. I spent the night there, and we spent the morning of the 4th getting ready to go. When Liam got out of school, we drove straight through the night to Orlando, arriving at our hotel, Old Key West, super early in the morning. Of course, our room wasn't ready yet (check-in isn't until 4 PM), so we decided to go to the Ticket and Transportation Center to get things sorted out.
I'm sure you've all heard my MagicBand griping before so I won't rehash the issues I had before. This time we did have some new issues, however. For one, two of our tickets were actually in the form of vouchers, which they have no way of linking to a MagicBand until you get them converted to actual tickets, which you cannot do anywhere but the TTC. So we couldn't pre-reserve FastPass+ because only two of us had our tickets linked. Super annoying. At the TTC, we were initially told that even once converted we wouldn't be able to link the tickets to the MagicBand, but eventually got that straightened out. And while we were sorting that out, the lovely Cast Member told us that for $10 extra per ticket we could add another day to our passes, so even though we hadn't initially intended to, we immediately got on the ferry to Magic Kingdom.
We arrived not very long before opening, so we decided to go directly to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at rope-drop. None of us had yet ridden it; on my last visit, I saw them over the construction walls running empty trains, but no soft-openings then. It was really great, but certainly not worth upwards of a 20-minute wait, which, as I'm sure everyone knows, is not something that happens. I'd say either rope-drop it or FastPass+ it, but certainly don't get in that 90+ minute line that seems to happen within the first 20 minutes of the park opening. Anyway, the queue is nice - the mine is so nice and cool, which is definitely a bonus in Florida in June. I loved the mechanic of the swinging mine cars. I didn't think it would be terribly noticeable but it is and it's great. The main show scene is really spectacular. In every YouTube video I'd watched beforehand, at least one of the animatronics was non-functional, but every time we rode it, all of them were working and the effect was fantastic. The timing of the scene coming up to Doc as he signals them to go home is really cool. And of course, the end scene with the witch looking through the window was a nice nod to Snow White's Scary Adventures. I never managed to get a non-blurry picture of the witch, sadly, but she is my favourite part of the ride.
After Mine Train we stopped by Sleepy Hollow for breakfast. Traditionally we always get funnel cake for breakfast, which the boys got, but I wanted to try one of the waffle sandwiches. My mom and I split the waffle sandwich with fruit and Nutella, and it was delicious. After breakfast we stopped into Memento Mori, which was also new to all of us. I am proud of myself for only buying two things because I easily could've bought half the store if money were no object. I love the nods to Leota in the decor, too. And as soon as the Leota pins that are part of the CMs' costumes are up for sale, please alert me.
We went to Ariel's Undersea Adventure for everyone's first time but mine, and they were as underwhelmed as I was. The queue is beautiful, the ride is just a jumbled nonsensical mess. But I think I've gone over that before so I won't repeat it. After that, we headed to Pirates of the Caribbean to get a ride in before it closed for its lengthy rehab. Nothing looked immediately wrong with it so I'm worried that the rehab is to pre-emptively introduce elements of the upcoming Pirates movie(s). Please stop. :(
After that we took a ride on the Haunted Mansion, followed by the Peoplemover and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, on which I beat Jackson soundly, much to his displeasure. On our way out, we stopped by the fire station because my brothers wanted to start a Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. Everything I had heard about the game beforehand led me to believe it was pretty casual and easy, but the process turned out to be pretty complicated. The game itself is easy, you just hold cards up to a portal, but the mechanics of getting the MagicBands linked (I still don't think I understand the whole "key holder" thing, can any of us play the game or do we always have to have the "key holder" with us? Don't even answer because I truly do not care) and running all over the place to every portal that you have to do in order is such a pain and a hassle, especially with all the summer crowds and summer heat. Not only that, but everyone I had heard talk about it said you can just drop in and pick up new cards. This is not the case. You have to unlock at least one portal a day before you can go pick up new cards, which means yet MORE running back and forth between the fire station and whichever portals you were at, and it's just so irritating. I'm sure with better weather and smaller crowds it's fine, but I would rather do pretty much everything else at the Magic Kingdom than run around holding cards in windows.
We headed back to Old Key West and went to Olivia's for lunch. The last time I went to Olivia's both the service and food were terrible, and I'm glad to say both were completely reversed this time. I had a delicious French dip sandwich and my mom had a gorgeous plate of mozzarella and tomatoes, and our waitress was so friendly and nice. Unfortunately, our room was still not ready, so we looked around the shop for a bit and then decided to take the boat over to Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. We got a good look at a lot of the construction going on over there and even saw one of The Boathouse's Amphibicars out on the water. The moment we docked, we got the text that our room was ready, so we just stayed on the boat and went back. At this point we were all so exhausted that we just stayed in the room watching Mickey cartoons for the rest of the day.
Up next: Star Wars Weekends and a late night at the Magic Kingdom!