Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom
- Rode a shuttle bus from the resort to the Magic Kingdom about 8am. The driver told us we would be able to watch the fireworks shuttle and could be back in plenty of time for the return bus at 9:30. Remember this instruction, it comes back into play later.
- While waiting in line at the front entrance, near the front of the line, a nice young Disney Cast Member asked us if we'd like to come take a quick survey - we'd finish quickly and actually get to enter the park before the rest of the crowd. Well, duh, no brainer. We followed her through the gates and took the survey in a small building just inside. After we finished it was still a few minutes till 9 (rope drop) so we just walked on down Main Street USA. It's a surreal sight to see the street mostly deserted, only some welcoming cast members waving a friendly hello. Cinderella's castle loomed in the distance.
- We headed straight to the newly refurbished Haunted Mansion and rode it twice in a row, no wait. The new enhancements are amazing. We then rode Pirates of the Caribbean twice, again no waiting. This coming in right after opening is amazing - 4 rides in less than an hour.
- Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain (first time) and It's a Small World rounded out our morning at the Magic Kingdom. It was just after noon and time to head out of the park.
- We'd noticed several couples wearing "Happy Anniversary" Disney buttons, so just before we left the Magic Kingdom we stopped in Guest Relations and asked for some. Received them with no questions asked, and a congratulations. From then on the rest of the day many cast members we encountered congratulated us on our anniversary. You could tell pretty soon the management had mandated all cast members encountering someone wearing the buttons do so, but it was still thoughtful.
- We caught a Disney shuttle bus to Animal Kingdom and headed straight to Dinosaur - The Ride. We got caught in a downpour but made it there anyway, soaking. Again, no wait. Some late lunch and over to Expedition Everest. The wait there was actually 30 minutes, but a kindly soul gave me a FastPass and I got in right away. Very nice ride - I liked this one.
- We then saw the new Finding Nemo: The Musical show (quickie review: songs and voices somewhat lacking; energy, puppetry and spectacle fantastic) and headed back out of the park, and back to the Magic Kingdom.
- This time we took the Ferry boat back to the Magic Kingdom, and spent the evening in Tomorrowland. Stitch's Great Escape, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, one of personal favorites the Tommorowland Transit Authority, and Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor. In the Laugh Floor, certain audience members are put up on the big screen and interact with the computer generated monster on the screen. Well, yours truly found himself on the big screen making a fool of himself in front of about 300 people.
- We found a prime spot to have some dinner, watch the Spectromagic parade and watch the fireworks show "Wishes" with a full view of Cinderella's Castle. In honor of our Tink, the live Tinkerbell that flies down a wire from the top of the castle passed right over our heads.
- Tired and sore, we exited the park and tried to make it back to the bus. When we got there at 9:36 pm - no bus. They had waiting only 5 minutes or less, and left. We ended up making a visual circuit of Epcot on the monorail and finally caught the 11pm bus back to the resort.
Except for the trouble with the bus at the end of the day, it was absolutely perfect. I made a schedule and plan before we started, and was able to hit everything we wanted to in the time we had. I love it when a plan comes together.
As much as we enjoy having the kids with us at Disney, there's something really special about spending time there with the one you love. Something very special, indeed.
TOMORROW: A LITTLE R&R, AND UNIVERSAL STUDIOS