Thursday, September 20, 2012

Magic Kingdom Celebrates a Birthday

Well look who turned 40!! Today we return to our 2011 Disney World adventure. One of the reasons Eric made the suggestion for our visit was because he felt it would be great to be apart of this day. He was correct! It would be awesome to think we were the only ones who had the idea, but that wasn't the case. And to be honest, the fact that so many other guests were excited made it that more special.

Approaching from the shuttles.

Taking in the crowd's size!

We were anticipating a big crowd at the main gate. Eric and I took our resort shuttle early, but we should have left 20 minutes sooner. Still, we were very patient and did I mention excited? The anticipation grew when we were able to see the grand crowd at the front of the Magic Kingdom! And, it was touching to see the groups of Cast Members that returned to celebrate. Some of them had shirts stating their years of service and where they worked. 

After the daily welcome show, we headed to grab our free birthday button, and get a spot for the show at the castle. We heard there would be a small re-dedication. There wasn't a lot planned for the festivities, but we wanted to be there for what we could see. We met up with our fellow SoCal friends Josh and Daniel, and found a spot on the "Liberty Square" side of the Partners Statue.
Self Guest Control with a little walkway?? 

In a crowd, I tend to listen into the surrounding conversations. Some were chatting about old times and where they use to work. Others spoke about the fact they were back after many years of not visiting. Everyone was just so happy! People even kept a walkway?? These were definitely Cast Members! Despite the "self guest control", a tall man managed to block Eric's view. However; we had a perfect spot for the cavalcade.

After a few words from a former Cast Member and executive the crowd was blanketed in steamers. It became a free for all as everyone began filtering out through the park. I had never seen the park this busy before. I was sure that prior to the end of the ceremony, the various attraction operators had an easy morning because all guests had to have been there with us. We made a quick plan with our friends to meet up again for the evening entertainment. Since we were on the Liberty Square side of the hub, Eric and I headed to the West end of the park.

Two of our favorite attractions are right near each other, Haunted Mansion and "it's a small world". Although the originals are at Disneyland, they are important in the Disney parks heritage. Eric and I were also curious about the new interactive  queue for Mansion. It was fun to set off the different gags and get photographed with the new busts. It can be bypassed, but it's cute enough to check out. If the queue was full to capacity I'm not sure how one would filter back to the normal queue. We were still one of the few that ran to this attraction. It seemed that a good amount of people were lining up for the special merchandise at the Golden Horseshoe. 

"it's a small world" is starting to need a rehab again. The first time I rode the Disney World version (2003) I was horrified! Then in the middle of the last decade, the attraction had a facelift that really bumped up the quality. Well it seems to be slipping again. While most people our age would skip this attraction, it's a must do for Eric and I. We met at the Disneyland version of "it's a small world", so riding the little cruise is special for us. 

We were about to board Peter Pan's Flight

Eric and I really enjoy the Fantasyland area. I will say that an odd aspect I do like is the whole 1970s look it has. I don't think people who have only ever visited Magic Kingdom would know what I mean because they are use to this look only. I could also say the aesthetic reminds me of the former look of Fantasyland in Disneyland. We all know that will change once the New Fantasyland opens this year at Magic Kingdom. Again most adults may skip this area, but we never could do that. In case you didn't figure it out, we don't skip areas because "that's kid stuff". We even had to say our last Good-Bye to the attraction, Snow White's Scary Adventure. That location will be a princess meet n greet in the near future.

All while sporting our 40th Birthday buttons, we pressed on through the various lands in the park. Jungle Cruise always seems to have a lengthy queue but the fast passes available were during parade time. Maybe next time Eric and I will grab a fast pass earlier in the day. Luckily after the wait, we had a Cast Member who gave us a few laughs. It's also fun to ride with groups that have no clue what's going on. For fun with those non-english groups, the skipper will go off script a bit, but not always. 

As twilight set in we started thinking of the night time entertainment. I may get made fun of, but I always enjoy the Electrical Parade. Does it need to be even more updated? Yes it sure does need more than a new soundtrack and one new float. But, I enjoy the parade for what it is and I do love the new music. We also met up with our friends Josh and Daniel! They too were enjoying their day and were ready for the Wishes fireworks and Electrical Parade. No matter if I've seen a Disney show before, I take more photos. I always try and get better shots than what I have. The one showing here isn't too bad.

Again, there was a crowd I had never seen before. Just as the fireworks ended, we stood up, walked two steps to the curb, and that became our parade spot. We couldn't move and had to stay there for two of the Magic, Memories, and You projection shows. Eric and I can't stand those projection shows, but obviously other guests enjoy it. We lucked out because our seats faced away from the castle. I caved and still took a few shots to pass time before the parade. Did I mention it was REALLY crowded?

One has to keep in mind that most guests visiting are in the park for "the long haul". These people leave when they are close to kicked out! As the park finally cleared out we took in the various shops on Main St by looking at everything. We don't really buy a lot of merchandise, but one shouldn't overlook the possibilities. Somewhere in all that could be a great find! Eric did buy a 40th Anniversay Duffy and we had some camera fun with him. 


All in all it was a normal day at Magic Kingdom but with a bigger crowd. If it hadn't been for the ceremony and cavalcade, an unsuspecting guest would never know the difference. At least Disney did do something. We have our buttons, our Duffy, and our photos to remember the day.

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