Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ethan's First Trip to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom Transportation Nightmare

Today we headed over to the Magic Kingdom!  I was super excited about taking Ethan to Fantasyland for all the fun rides there.  It was a hot day but we did pretty good getting lots out of the way.  Unfortunately, this day was the worst Disney transportation day ever.  Our bus to the park was packed (I was lucky enough to get a seat and hold Ethan but everyone else had to stand) -- not a big deal but it all went downhill (transportation-wise) from here.

When we got to the park, we made a beeline for Fantasyland...though we did stop for some pictures in front of the castle.  It was cute to see the Main Street cast members waving a people with their mouse gloves as we walked down the street.  We went through the castle and into Fantasyland, stopping to ride "Snow White's Scary Adventures" first because there wasn't any wait.  Ethan liked it, but he did suck his thumb a little through the scarier parts.  Next up was "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" where again there wasn't a line to wait in but we stopped anyway just to play with the cute interactive exhibits.  We also rode "Dumbo" and by then, Ethan was sleepy so we took him to some air conditioning to nap with his Grandma while the rest of us went on some non-baby-friendly rides.  Splash Mountain was closed so we rode "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad", "Space Mountain", and "Tomorrowland Speedway".  After that, it was lunchtime and Ethan had woken up so we had a quick-service meal at Pecos Bill's Cafe (yummy burgers).
In Pooh's house

Ethan loved the interactive honey drips!

He's pooped!

On Jungle Cruise

Ethan really liked the Jungle Cruise

After lunch, we took Ethan on "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Jungle Cruise" before deciding we would head back to the hotel for a swim before our early dinner at Narcoossee's. We hopped on our Beach Club bus but before we could leave a bus caught on fire coming into the bus loading zone.  We were told that we'd have to wait a little while before our bus could pull out.  A little while later, we were told we had to take the monorail or ferry to the Ticket and Transportation Center and catch a bus to our hotel from there because no buses could get in or out of the Magic Kingdom loading zone.  We were all exhausted but braved the intense mid-day heat to get to the ferry, wait for the ferry, and then walk to the resort buses at the TTC.  The TTC was a madhouse by the time we arrived and lots of buses were going to the Value Resorts and other resorts but eventually a bus was designated for the Epcot resorts.  We hopped on as fast as we could but it was crammed full of people and worst of all, the air conditioning wasn't working!  I didn't realize that until we were on our way or I would have hopped right off.  The "sauna bus" stopped at the Swan, Dolphin, and then Yacht Club before we got to the Beach Club and the 93-degree outside temperature was a welcome relief from the "sauna bus" actually felt nice and cool outside!  Ethan was bright red after the bus ride (very scary) so we sprinkled some water on him and headed straight for our room.  Total time from leaving the Magic Kingdom until getting off the bus at the Beach Club was over 1.5 hours!  After that, we didn't want to take Ethan back into the heat at the swimming pool and we only had about an hour and a half before we needed to leave for dinner anyway, so our afternoon was swimming was cancelled.

Bus Fire!

On the ferry...trying to get back to our hotel.
Dad drove us to the Grand Floridian for dinner and it was absolutely fabulous.  Since we were in the first seating group Narcoosee's wasn't open yet when we got there but we got to see Sarah and Nathaniel driving a water sprite while we waited.  Unfortunately, we didn't get a window-side seat (we were right by the bar) but we had a great server and Cayne and I both had amazing scallops for dinner.  We let the grandparents take Ethan back to the room after dinner while Cayne and I went to the Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks and take advantage of the evening extra magic hours.  Since we were right by the boat dock, we hopped on the boat to the Magic Kingdom.  I have always loved the boats that take you to the Magic Kingdom -- I think they are so cute and fun!  Well, this one started off was there when we got to the dock so we got to hop on and then we went to the Polynesian before heading over to the Magic Kingdom.  When we were close to the Magic Kingdom, the boat stopped and we waited for over 20 minutes in the water for another boat to leave the dock.  At first it was funny but then the mosquitoes started coming out over the water and it was just annoying.  Finally the other boat left the dock and we were able to get off our boat -- about 40 minutes after getting on!

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting...still waiting to dock
When we got to the park we rode the train to Frontierland and hopped on Splash Mountain, which was now up and running.  Sadly, they were still having problems because lots of the audio-animatronics looked "dead" because they weren't working and all the announcements about ride issues kept Cayne from being able to catch the "story".  We also rode Thunder Mountain again (it's fun at night!) and then headed to Main Street to watch the fireworks.  The Wishes Fireworks show was really neat with awesome choreography and we dashed to the ice cream parlor for ice cream as soon as the show was over.  Then we met up with Sarah and Nathaniel and headed to the Haunted Mansion to ride.  It was, as always, a fun ride and I really liked the updates they gave to the "hitchhiking ghosts" at the end.   It was a little after 10 at that point and even though we could have stayed in the park until midnight, we decided to head back to our hotel after our long and tiring day.

In line at the Haunted Mansion

This time, it took over 45 minutes to get home.  We finally walked in our hotel room door at 11:50 that night. We must have waited almost 30 minutes just for the bus to arrive (and we weren't even the first ones waiting in line)!  It was disheartening to see 2-3 buses for every other resort pass us by while we waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, a Beach Club bus showed up and we packed in like sardines. I am so glad we didn't wait to leave until the park closed at midnight...we might not have made it back to our room until 2 am!

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