With our first character greeting at Animal Kingdom a complete success, I hoped our scheduled meet and greets in the Magic Kingdom would go equally well. I knew Miss O loved Minnie and Mickey, but I wasn’t sure she was over her uneasiness around costumed characters. I had FastPasses for both days in the park at Fairytale Hall and a park plan that included as many characters as I thought she’d want to see. What I wasn’t sure of were the lines, the weather and our patience holding out.
Here at the Jackpot, we get to do some very special things every now and again. This Christmas season we were given one of those magical opportunities that make you pause and realize how lucky you are, even when it seems like things aren’t as great as they could be. This time, we were invited to see one of our friends perform in New York City and that friend just happens to be a Rockette.
For our first family trip to Disney, we were lucky to get non-stop flights from Boston to Orlando at pretty reasonable times. That meant we could have breakfast and surprise Miss O with the trip in the morning and be on Disney property by that afternoon. It also meant we could spend most of Saturday doing Disney things before our flight left. It did not mean we would have enough time or energy for a park on either day and didn’t want to waste a park ticket on a partial day. This is where Disney Springs, a big open-air mall area with dining, shopping and entertainment becomes and excellent, ticket-free place to spend time.
I was worried the fifth day of our trip would be a struggle. After four full days, with one each at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, I was concerned we’d be too tired for another day at Magic Kingdom, especially since we had tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that night, too. We only visited one half of the Magic Kingdom on our first day, and I couldn’t leave without Miss O experiencing the other half. I knew she was having fun, but our tired was starting to show and I wasn’t sure she’d make it.
I’ll admit when we first decided to include a day at Hollywood Studios in our park plans, I wasn’t convinced we needed an entire day for it. In the past, MGM, as it used to be called, really seemed more like a half-day park. There have been quite a few changes since those days and I wasn’t sure if those changes, and the addition of Toy Story Land, would make that much of a difference.
I have been looking forward to Miss O’s first visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for ages. It’s my absolute favorite park. I hadn’t been since senior year of college, way before the new Fantasyland expansion (yes, that’s a long time ago, kids) and I could not wait share it with Miss O. I knew our day at Animal Kingdom would be a success because ANIMALS, but I worried Miss O may have grown tired of princesses. I knew Mr. A could care less about them and I worried about his influence on her. There’s a lot more to the Magic Kingdom than princesses, but is there enough? Did we wait too long to share this part of the magic?
At first, I felt a little silly referring to a 76-passenger motor coach as anything remotely “magical.” I knew it eliminated one part of the thing I hate most about travel – waiting at baggage claim. Honestly, there’s nothing worse than standing around for what feels like an eternity, whilst watching every bag that is not yours go by and realizing you still aren’t on vacation. Now imagine you’re standing there with an extremely excited 6-year-old and an already impatient 40ish-year-old.