“They see me ridin’/my Buggy/Magic Kingdom ’cause I’m just a nerdy girl at Disney/just a nerdy girl at Disney/look at me, I’m a nerd at Disney!” No, not how that song goes? Huh, strange. 😉
Welcome, friends, to the third and penultimate installment of my is-it-ever-going-to-end? series on our recent anniversary trip to Disney World. Today we finally get down to the good stuff, the rides! If you’re at all interested in hearing me blather on about our stupendously gorgeous accommodations and the tasty nibbles we picked up whilst running the theme park gauntlet, you can find those posts here and here.
First, as detailed in this post, we rode the Haunted Mansion 13 times on our 13th wedding anniversary, which falls on Halloween. HUGE, crazy accomplishment, this – a lifetime bucket list item nicely checked off (one that’s been cooling its heels on my list since I was a wee, weird little lass of just two years old.) We actually rode the Mansion 16 times over two days. It’s my favourite spot on the planet; sounds
a bit a lot strange, but nestled in the dark in a jittering little Doom Buggy, passing the hall of endless staircases as the Ghost Host intones not-so-dire warnings about the restless spooks who inhabit the Mansion, I am complete. Giant goober alert here, but our last ride, I cried. It all felt very overwhelming. See, Disney nerd!
That was our second day at the Magic Kingdom. Thirteen runs through the Haunted Mansion ate up the majority of the day, but we did find time to squeeze in a couple of non-Mansion rides, in addition to a mid-day repast at Gaston’s Tavern. I wish the big tool himself had made an appearance; Gaston’s just the worst, and I love him for it. But this lady waits for no man, not even the super bulgy, dim bulb variety, and I had places to be, bucket lists to conquer! Next time, Gaston, next time. Maybe we’ll even sit in your chair together.
But our first day at the Magic Kingdom, we hit it HARD – 8 am to 11 pm, TAKE! NO! PRISONERS! You know, except for the 40 minutes or so we were held hostage on a broken-down Pirates of the Caribbean, but more on that (surprisingly fun adventure) in the next, final installment!
Our first day at the Magic Kingdom we banged out 17 rides. We also dropped in on a couple of stage shows, caught the midday parade, watched most of the evening’s fireworks display, shopped up and down Main Street, got stuck on Pirates for the better part of an hour AND made our inaugural visit to Gaston’s. So how did we cram all that fun into one day? Well, here’s a few tips:
1: Be as serious about your footwear AND care as Lieutenant Dan screaming into Forrest’s face about fresh socks. You won’t get anywhere if you’re hobbling around with sweaty, blistered tootsies, so plan ahead and pre-game your feet – comfy shoes (Vans for me, Chucks for the Mr.) and adhesive callous pads applied to known trouble areas kept us up and comfortably pounding the pavement from rope drop to park close.
2: Abandon any notion of sleep or peace or rest. That goes double for you lazy sods all crashed out in the middle of the day on the Hub grass. You’re at Disney – why are you napping?! Just come to terms with the fact that to experience all that Disney has to offer, you’re going to have to temporarily sacrifice the routines and comforts of home. We certainly did – I don’t know what else you call being up and on your feet from park open (8 am!) to close (11 pm the first day) each day. Bonkers? Yeah, that works!
3: Work those FastPasses. Disney hands out a large – but limited – number of jump-the-line passes every day for nearly every attraction in the park. You can book three FastPasses per attraction, per guest, per day; a particularly useful little perk for those rides with stubbornly long wait times (Peter Pan’s Flight, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) that hold fast throughout the day. And not everyone knows this, but after you’ve used your third and final FastPass of the day, you can then begin booking additional FastPasses, one at a time. And once you’ve used up that fourth FastPass, you can then book a fifth, and so on, until they’re shooing you out the front gates with brooms!
4: Most importantly, stay flexible. If you roll up to the Mine Train at 9 am to find it offline, with a two-plus hour lineup already snaking around the entirety of the ride, say, “Oh, bugger this, we’re not starting our first day in a friggin’ two-hour lineup!” (actual quote) and move on. With the exception of one 30-minute wait for the Mansion on Halloween, we never waited any longer than 15 or 20 minutes for any ride, and many of them were virtual walk-ons. But we maximized our ride time precisely because we were willing to move – as in move on to something with a slightly more manageable wait time. And invariably, we’d come back a short while later to find the wait time halved or better. This is also how we wound up walking at least seven miles our first day; we crisscrossed the park more times than I can count!
5: Also, in as much as you can, stay out of the sun, particularly if you are of pasty, Celtic-Canadian descent. I ended our first day at the Magic Kingdom with a chest redder than Sebastian the crab and Merida’s hair combined. Wear sunscreen. Buy some dorky matching hats, if you must (and we really did!)
Okay, so it would seem I didn’t actually get around to really talking about any of the rides this time, but I think I’ve given you a good overview of how we accomplished so very much in such a short amount of time (“Really dragging this out, ain’t you?” some of you may be thinking. And the answer is yes, YES, I AM! I had the very best time on this impromptu little trip, and I’m going to storytell it into the ground, yo.) Next time – the last time, though definitely not the last Disney time – we finally go ridin’!