Here is where my reading and planning REALLY paid off. We did what everyone told me could NOT be done - we did The Magic Kingdom. In. One. Day. :o) One WDW veteran told me she sets aside 3 days to do TMK. I was pretty scared, especially when people told me I have no idea how big that park is. I did not think it was very convenient to maneuver around Animal Kingdom b/c of the way it was laid out. After we left AK, another guest told us that TMK is set up the same way but is 4x larger. I honestly did not feel like it was any bigger than Kings Dominion in Virginia, but maybe that is my perception b/c we did not hit everything.
I don't know if I can describe how I felt when we walked through the entrance and saw Cinderella's Castle. TMK is the most exciting place I have been as an adult. I don't think any 5 year old girl walking in there with her princess dress on and getting a hug from Belle herself could have been happier than me. The extra wrinkles/cracks I caused on my face from the ear-to-ear grinning that day was totally worth it. I am tearing up right now, just thinking about it. The memory of that feeling will always be with me and will be pulled out and relived on bad days and during discouraging moments.
I realized that I had taken the same detached attitude towards this trip as I did with my pregnancy. We had tried to get pregnant for 6 years. We had been to many specialists who tried to help, but couldn't and to some who flat out told us there was nothing that could be done and we should adopt. So when I finally got pregnant, although I seemed reservedly happy to others, I was unemotional about it on the inside. I stayed detached but went through most of the motions and did most of the right things you are supposed to do as a pregnant woman. But I would not get excited; I would not hope. I knew in my bones that this baby was not going to come out alive. I could not survive the loss if I had thrown myself whole heart and soul into that baby. A friend of mine had to register for me b/c I refused to do it. Paul kept pushing me to to the nursery and I refused. What was the point in picking things out and getting a room ready for a child that is not going to live there? Finally, 2 weeks before my due date, Paul pulled out the "Obey" and told me, "If you don't start on that nursery TODAY, I am going to tell your mom to do it and I don't think you'll like what she does!"
I've always wanted to take a vacation to WDW, but never thought I'd actually go. Whenever we've gotten a little set aside some car or medical or house emergency would come up. So, when the hubs told us in October that we were going in January, I was reservedly excited. He would not, and still hasn't, told me how he managed this trip. But I figured something would come up during those 3 months that would cancel out the trip. The hubs and I have been together for 16 years and have only take 3 weeks off in that time. We took the week after our wedding off, but never took a honeymoon. We visited people during that week. Then 4 years later, a family friend let us stay at her house on the Eastern shore for a week for our anniversary. The hubs had to go back to work halfway through the week. 10 years after that, this past September, we went back to that beach house for a week and we all stayed the week. So, I objectively did my research and planning without any heart in it, b/c I didn't think a "real" family vacation was in the cards for us.
Even though we had been in WDW for 3 days, it wasn't until I walked into TMK and saw Cinderella's Castle that I got that really-here-alive-and-breathing-my-own-baby-placed-in-my-arms feeling.
It was the perfect day to go. I did not think it was crowded. The Birmbaum book had said that Mondays and Saturdays are the busiest days in this park and I get that. So many people, like us, arrive in the beginning of the week and of course you want to go to TMK first! By Wednesday, when we went, I think a lot of people had moved on to the other parks. We got Fast Passes for every ride on my list that offered them and there were little to no lines for the rides that did not offer FPs. Ben got to ride lots of rides here, which made us both happy. Although he enjoyed the other 2 parks we had been to, he hadn't gotten on too many rides. It was cool in the morning, but our sweatshirts were enough, then warmed up beautifully. The evening, however, was cold, and I wished we had brought our coats. The temps did not, however, make us leave the park and miss the show at the end of the night. No one puts on a show like Disney!
Something occurred frequently in this park that we had not seen on the 3 previous days - meltdowns. There were a lot of those in TMK. Screaming, crying, kids throwing themselves down in the middle of the streets. Those poor kids. It can be overwhelming and exhausting for us adults, too.
We had been in the park about an hour and the hubs, my brother and I were waiting while B and my folks went on a ride in Tomorrowland. We were amazed at the number of birds in this park! There was one of those stroller parking lots outside this ride and we were marveling at the bold birds that were all over them and in them, eating the crumbs and crackers left by the children, when a bird pooped in my hair! That had never happened to me before, but it's alright - it was a Disney bird and I made Paul wipe it all out with pride! ;o)
My brother and I were the only ones brave enough to ride Space Mountain. B wanted to ride, but we said, "No", after what happened in AK. I'm glad I went on it so I have no regrets. I wish we had gone back and rode it again. Now that I know what to expect, I think I would enjoy it. The Hall of Presidents was amazing (I know I keep using that word, I'm sorry)! My mom and I cried. Ben wanted to argue with me for half an hour after we left the Hall that those were NOT robots, they HAD to be REAL people! Another iconic ride I'm glad we hit was the tea cups.
The 2nd shop in WDW in which you can make your own Mickey ears hats was in TMK and B made another one. He had $72 of his own to spend on this trip between Disney GCs he received from relatives at Christmas and his piggy bank money. He even came home with $6. This hat is navy blue with a red mohawk down the middle, 2 black ears covered with fireworks and the words, "Mickey Rocks" embroidered on the front.
The nighttime show at TMK was the best, in my opinion. Unbelievable how the colors change on the castle, how the bricks appear to fall off and over 200 pictures of us tourists taken by cast members throughout the day appeared on the front. Tinkerbell flying by and the fireworks coordinated with the music brought back the feeling of walking into the park that morning. Again, the best and most exciting place I have been as an adult.
- I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?