Magic Kingdom Here We Come!

One thing we found as we approached out trip was that park hours were extending, so our wake-ups in most cases were a bit earlier than initially planned.  So after a long travel day and a late night at Disney Springs there was a couple of groans and sighs, but once we were dressed and fed (or at least had coffee on board) we were feeling a bit more motivated.  I set up our Lyft pick-up and we were soon on the road.

And as far as ye ole cliffhanger from the last chapter there was really only once choice to start our adventure, the Magic Kingdom of course!  I had the Lyft driver drop us off outside the lobby of the Contemporary.

As you can see from my beard there was a bit of a brisk morning breeze.

We were planning on just taking the walking path over to the MK Entrance and my flannel soon found its way to PumpkinGirl to cut down on the wind.

Taking this path made security a non-issue and with MK officially opening at 9am we were passing thru the gates at 8:30am!

We stopped for the obligatory shots in front of the Mickey-head topiary and train station.

Onward thru the arches!

I always stop and take a moment to re-read and embrace this message from Walt…

I am a big train buff and more specifically a Disney train buff so I was pretty let down that the TRON construction still had the railroad shut down for our trip.  But you can’t have everything, right? 

The square looked beautiful and full of Christmas cheer – and look at that sky!

I took a moment to say good morning to Roy and Minnie

We went into the Emporium to pick up Jinx’s Birthday button and looked at some of the holiday offerings the shops had before heading to the hub where Roxy took a shot of the kiddos and I, then grabbed a selfie, then took a shot of me with the Partners and the castle.

We decided to hit Fantasyland first and start out with a flight to Neverland which only had a 20 minute wait.

We headed towards the carousel and found our first PhotoPass photographer set up at Cinderella’s carriage.

Our next stop had been planned to be the Mine Train but it was having technical difficulties and was down for the moment.  So where to next?

For those of you who know the lay of the land, Winnie the Pooh was close at hand.  Hey, I made a rhyme!  The wait time was posted at 10 minutes but turned out to only take about 5 to make it on the ride.

Coming out the other side the Dwarves were still on a coffee break so we ambled onto Gaston’s Tavern so I had to strike a pose.  It hadn’t been built our last time there so I had been looking forward to seeing it.

And I had to get a pic of some antlers and was a bit let down that you couldn’t get anything but sweets in there.

Ariel was walk-on so it was an easy choice for our next stop.

Onward from there past a sleeping Casey Jr.

…and on to Goofy’s Barnstormer

While walking thru the queue I took a quick snap of the TRON construction.

We had never road the Barnstormer before, it was a fun little coaster.  We skipped Dumbo, it has never been a family favorite.  And we could see empty mine carts running and a line quickly forming so we jumped in. 

Bummer that the interactive stuff has to be turned off but it’s a small price to pay, aye?

PumpkinGirl got a good before and after shot of our inaugural ride on the mine train.

And our first ride photos of the day!

And as a bonus the wait time sign had said 45 minutes but we were thru the ride within 25!  And here’s a vid that MemoryMaker made for us from the ride:

The sunrise was starting to get a bit warmer as it came over the castle.

For our next bit of entertainment we decided to enjoy a performance of Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

You can’t tell, but there are some wonderful smiles under those masks.

We were done in Fantasyland and needed a pit stop, so we headed towards the Tangled restroom, which were also under construction our last time around.  And the lurking danger was of course these incorrigible miscreants.

Love those lanterns and the view of Rapunzel’s tower – such great theming!

More danger lurked down the path with a drop-off into mysteriously missing waters.

We were relieved that Zero showed up to protect us.

But then we were back in the danger zone with a certain ghostly manor looming behind us!

We steeled ourselves and got in the queue

I think I heard the horse neigh ;D

We were of course sad that the extended interactive queue and the stretching room were not working, but still such a grand classic. We survived the ordeal with a couple of hitchhikers and a hatbox ghost attempting to come along.

We stopped in to Memento Mori and found a couple of cool items.  I was more interested in the apothecary.

Down the road a couple of the Country Bears were out saying hi to everyone.

It was 11:30am and we were starting to get hungry.  We weighed our options based on online ordering thru the Disney World app.  We had planned on something quick service but after some debate decided to try and get on the walk-up list for the Skipper Canteen.

Roxy focused on that while our meandering walk back into Adventureland brought us to Pirates!  It was showing a 45 minute wait, which we hoped would coincide with an opening at the canteen.

The queue is so different from the one at DLR – I like them both but I gotta say I like Disneyland’s better.

PumpkinGirl took a pic of me with the rum.

And another on the boat as we headed out – actual wait time around 30 minutes, much better than 45!

As we all know it is hard to capture anything on the ride – I didn’t even bother but PumpkinGirl managed one :-]

Cool to have a ride photo for this one though as overall it is still my favorite ride in the Disney parks.

After our epic adventure we made out way to the Canteen entrance and took a rest at the benches near there. 

Within 30 minutes we were walking thru the main dining or “Mess Hall” area.

…and past the “secret” bookcase entrance to the Sea Room and were seated before 1pm.

The seating was great with a good view of the room – and it was great to be able to take off our masks for a bit!

I didn’t keep track of what we ordered, but we took pics and it was all really good!

Once my belly was full I put my mask back on and took a few pics in the Sea Room.

And a quick look into the Jungle Room

We packed up and headed out – guess where to? Well the establishment had the answer for us!

This was to be our longest ride wait of the day – but it hadn’t been getting shorter all day – everyone wants that Jingle Cruise fun!

Some random cannon theming near the Swiss Family Treehouse entrance.

And the obligatory shot of the Treehouse itself.  With all the walking we were doing we decided not to tour it this time around.

Yes indeed, a long wait for this one.  Posted at 60 minutes and social distancing had the line zig-zagging from in front of the Canteen, past the treehouse, and back and forth in front of the entrance.  The sky was still looking pretty cool as we waited.

Thar she blows!

Cute Christmas tree in the queue.

After a lot of meandering we made it to the river!

Cute little critter

45 minutes from start of queue to launching on our intrepid journey – still better than the posted 60 minutes.

Our skipper was a good one – nice dry humor and a couple of jokes we hadn’t heard before.

I’ll leave the rest of the journey to your imagination as I roll thru the hitlist of pictures.

Since we were right there, we headed straight for the queue for the Enchanted Tiki Room – only a 20 minute wait for that one.

We had been monitoring the wait for Splash and Big Thunder all afternoon, but both were staying around an hour.  Still we meandered back over to Frontierland and checked out shops and such along with lamenting that the shooting gallery was closed.  The Country Bears were back out and I got a complement from one of them on my beard – lol

We kept talking about Big Thunder and I took a quick shot at the “OG” Splash façade.

We looked at the queue for Big Thunder and decided that we would just start in Frontierland on our last park day, which was also planned as an MK day.  So we doubled back with Tomorrowland as our destination.  On the way I took shots of this side of the Rivers of America refurb work.

We made it to the Liberty Tree Tavern, a past family favorite that we had decided to forego this trip in favor of Be Our Guest and the Plaza on that last MK day.  We decided to stop as we could hear the sounds of a cavalcade approaching.  And it turned out to be Santa and his reindeer and elves!

We followed in the wake of the cavalcade and as the hub was pretty packed, just strolled back thru Fantasyland past Pooh and onto Cosmic Rays for a late afternoon snack.  Specially I wanted to try the Cheshire Cat Tail, which was very good.  After we all had some snacks we decided to split up.  Jinx and PumpkinGirl wanted to ride Space Mountain and Roxy and I wanted to relax a bit so we were heading to the Carousel of Progress.

On the way I had to snap a pic of the re-themed ship from Flight of the Navigator.

We didn’t have a long wait and were soon on the platform outside the loading doors listening to Walt and the Sherman Brothers talk about the theme song.

Here come the doors!

We got seats right up front – I took one pic at the start and then we sat back and enjoyed the show.  It was good to see all of the animatronics working properly.

Meanwhile the kiddos were on their way to their space adventure!

We then met back up in the queue for Buzz Blasters.  While waiting I caught a good shot of the Orbiter.

Then on to Buzz!

The ride broke down at the photo spot, which lead to PumpkinGirl and I getting our PhotoPass pic and Roxy and Jinx not.

…but Jinx was in a spot that allowed him to get this score!

When we had been in the queue the sky had been drifting into sunset – when we came out of the ride it was just after 6pm and it was full dark and the hub and castle had come alive!

We queued up for some PhotoPass pics.

We then went in search for a Mickey pretzel.  We found a stand to the left of the hub and I was able to catch a bit of the fireworks transition on the castle.

While over there I ran into a Bearded Villain Brother named James from the Louisiana Chapter – cool dude for sure!

Love those wreaths

It was coming up on 7pm and we decided we were pretty much done in the park.  We had dinner reservations coming up at the Contemporary so we started moving away from the hub and towards Main Street.

Then down Main Street for the obligatory balloon and tree shot.

We worked our way down to the majestic tree.

Things were pretty quiet at this end but very pretty.

We were going to get in line for the PhotoPass at the tree when characters came out at the railway station.

Roxy stayed in line for PhotoPass while we said “Hi” and soon it was our turn at the tree.

By now it was 10 till 8pm, which was the end of the park day at MK.  We headed out and towards the monorail station.  On the way we saw something in the sky.

After a zoom in it looked to be a floating Mickey head!

We weren’t following the crowds to the TTC monorail, we were heading to the resort loop monorail.  And by 8:05pm we were disembarking at the Contemporary.

We had 8:50pm reservations at The Wave so we had some time to kill and checked out the gift shops.  This turned out to be a good thing in that I had been looking for some of the Wishes Come True gear, specifically the large masks to wear to Night of a Million Wishes at Give Kids the world.  And we found them!

After we finished shopping we headed down the escalator to our destination.

We checked in and after a few were lead back – Jinx and I took a quick moment to get a shot of him in one of the cool alcoves.

We were then taken to our table, cool wave theming in the dining area itself.


Our server was amazing, very upbeat and interactive.  I asked him if the chef could make their signature Reuben even though we were there at the end of dinner service and it was a lunch item.  He made it happen!

It was great and the rest of the food was just amazing, as were the drinks and dessert.

It was a wonderful end to our evening – we left full and happy and tipped our server extra generously.  We headed back to the lobby and I requested our Lyft.  While we waited I took a couple of snaps of the Christmas decorations.

And at the last minute I decided to jog down and get a shot of the big tree outside the Contemporary.

We were back at Cypress Pointe by 10:40pm.  No “which park” cliffhanger this time, we were hitting DHS in the morning.  We had alarms set for 6:45am to try for a boarding group and then some more sleep.  But the plan was to get picked up at 9:25am for a drop-off at 9:40am to get us in the park and headed towards Galaxy’s Edge at a good timeframe.

But with all that planning done we noticed something not quite right with the heat in our rooms, specifically in Jinx’s lockout suite.  Up until that point it has been on the warm side in Orlando.  But as you saw from the beginning of the day, it had turned windy and colder.  And the evening was certainly brisk.  We attempted to crank up the heat and it actually went down into the mid-50s!  The main suite was in the high 60s after running the stove burners for a bit and letting the heat waft into the main area.

Maintenance was unavailable that late at night so the front desk sent extra blankets to us and scheduled them to come at 8am.  Jinx got almost all of them and slept in a blanket igloo in his room after finding the couch in the living room to not be very comfortable.

So I guess we still have some cliffhangers.  Would we get heat back?  Would we get a boarding group?  Would my plans for early morning Batuu work out?  What special things would happen?  I guarantee some happy surprises and lots of cool pics in the next chapter!