Sunday, February 12, 2017

Our Doodle's First Disney Adventure: Day Two

Day two of our Disney Vacation was spent at the Magical Kingdom, which is the park that you think of when you think Disney. It's the one with the castle. If you're taking a small child to Disney World, you have to spend time at the Magic Kingdom. And our doodle has already come to associate Cinderella's Castle with Mickey Mouse. For him, it's real name is Mickey's Castle. This was Disney for him.

For those of you who aren't into Disney, they have a system called Fast Pass, which lets you make reservations for rides, helping you skip the long lines at least occasionally. And our first Fast Pass was for the Peter Pan's Flight, which is infamous for long lines due to low capacity.

You board a boat that has a track on top, so you fly over London and Never Never Land. The doodle continued to have fun on the rides, enjoying the experience of being on a flying boat in the darkness. We had fun looking at the ancient animatronics and wondering how much they'd look like a room in House on the Rock in bright lighting.

After we got off, the doodle saw the Cinderella-themed carousal. Now, that is a kind of ride that he has had experience with and likes so he wanted to go immediately. Fortunately, there was no line so we were able to get on almost immediately and he said later that was his favorite ride of the day.

Our next Fast Pass was for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Despite this being our third trip, we had never been on that ride despite it being one of the icons of the park. So I was surprised by how nice it was, particularly the fountains at the base that I had no idea existed. It was a good balance of being slow enough for him and fun enough for us.

While our last scheduled Fast Pass was for the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, we got on the People Mover before then, again since the doodle was interested. It's a slow elevated tram around that part of the park. It's not an exciting ride but it is nice to get off your feet and get a tour of Tomorrow Land.

Buzz Lightyear combines a dark ride of science fiction images with an infra-red shooting gallery. As usual, my wife got a much higher score than that and we still hadn't found a ride that scared our toddler.

Our big meal for the day was going to the Contemporary Resort for brunch at Chef Mickey. Since this is the first time we've taken a small child to Disney World, we'd never even considered Chef Mickey's before. Actually, I don't think I knew it existed.

So, here's what it is. It is a brunch buffet that has Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Minnie and Pluto periodically parade around in aprons and chef hats. It also the meal that made us switch to the meal plan (and add a bunch of table services)

The doodle has been kind of cranky by the time we got seated. Then Donald Duck banged out of the kitchen and his face lit up. After that, things went well. He was a little shy around the big headed costumes but he was cute shy, not scared shy. We got to take pictures of him with all the characters.

The food wasn't bad. I'd compare it to your average Vegas buffet. The only surprise item was caviare, which the doodle tried and liked. Without the dining plan, I'd consider it pricy but you're playing for a lot of costumed characters, not food.

We took the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom and the doodle started to crash. He took a nap in his stroller while his parents watched the Flights of Fantasy parade. Disney has regular parades and this is apparently the current big one. The best part, by far, was the Sleeping Beauty Float which was a fire-breathing dragon (yup, real fire) made of thorns and spinning wheels. It was cool looking and so thematic.

The last thing we did before a groggy doodle made us decide to make it an early day was start playing the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card game. My wife described it as a cross between a Disney LARP and Magic the Gathering. Each day you play, you can get cards showing Disney-themed spells that you can use at different locations throughout the Magic Kingdom, fighting the minions of Hades from the Hercules movie. Each location has a movie screen and cameras so the show can react appropriately to the cards.

We went back to our resort, where the doodle got his second wind. So I decided that I would take the doodle to the playground I knew was at the resort. Which was small and unlit so plan B was doing a walking tour of the Pop Century Resort.

Which was well worth doing. The resort has a lot of giant statues of either cultural icons like eight track cassettes or Disney properties like Lady and the Tramp or combinations of the two, like a giant Mickey Mouse phone.

There is also a bridge across a lake to the Art of Animation resort, which we went across just because it was there, only to find a Finding Nemo-themed playground that was far superior to the one we didn't bother with and the doodle spent a lot of time playing with other kids there.

At that point, we had a late dinner of pizza at the resort cafeteria and called it a day.

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