Magic is the word
After the action packed day at Universal, last day was dedicated to more serene and magical vibrations while visiting Magical Kingdom, one of the four offering from Disney World.
Why Magical kingdom?
Disney castle has been symbolized everywhere representing Disney. Fireworks at the castle can imprint lasting impression on anyone who has witnessed the event for ones’ lifetime. We just want to have that impression. And what other better way to impress (in today’s social upmanship world) others than flaunting photos in front of Disney Castle.
Appreciative management was on show by Disney park management right from the start of parking your vehicle at abundance of parking lots via careful guidance to transport to main entrance via local rail system to ease of entry through plethora of turnstiles and ticketing booths considering mass of other visitors doing the same. Exquisitely maintained.
Things to do: If you can afford to secure the stay at one of the expensive Disney resort then it will be whole different level of magical experience waiting for you. Disney resorts have all Disney-themed restaurants and special digital Disney pass for quick scan. Also try to utilize Disney transport, which is aplenty and matching all your timing needs.
Main Street U.S.A.
Entering to Magical Kingdom had that feeling of experiencing something out of normal reality, something magical, surreal and equally beautiful. We were entertained by frequent ongoing music and dance show by peculiarly attired dance group. Music was soothing to ears and vibration in the air was eclectic and electrifying. Though main Street was bustling with elegantly posing visitors from various countries, you could get fulfilling glimpses of Disney castle standing at the end of the street. My vivid memory of main street still comprises of raised smartphone and DSLRs flashing everywhere around while passing the main thoroughfare, like everyone fighting to take their digital piece of castle. Once we had our own digital thirst quenched satisfactorily, we paid our attention towards massive various sections devoted to various rides.
Magical kingdom is laid out with Disney castle as center of attraction. All other various sections are accessible from circular center as well as interconnected. We first visited Tomorrowland, just because it was first starting from the right (and also boasting futuristic design). Tomorrowland had some nice rides based on, as it’s name suggests, Disney’s idea of tomorrow.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress: Nice sit-back and enjoy kind of carousal theater show. Attention to details was evident. We noticed minor malfunction due to which we need to go through some part of show twice.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: Ride with mounted laser guns (available for each rider) to hit “zerg” targets. It was fun but somehow feedback for laser hit was not proper. I was not sure if hit is encountered or not.
We missed out on couple of good rides in this section due to ignorance to fast pass. And here comes the most important “things to” section.
Things to do: Activate your fast pass as soon as possible. There are kiosks everywhere. Fast pass is nothing but time bound fast access to any fast pass enabled ride throughout the park. Download Disney App and manage fast pass on the go if you don't want any kiosk hunting.
Things to remember: you can only activate 3 concurrent fast passes. So make sure you prioritize your rides well in advance. Fast pass can actually save lot of time considering the "biased" nature of queue moving.
Disney vs. Universal: Universal trumped Disney in aspect of wait time considerably. Might be due to large foot falls at Disney but still if you don't have fast pass at Disney you are doomed to wait more than whatever wait time they displayed. Which was not the case with Universal.
It was huge having most of the Magical kingdom attractions. Though most of rides had mass appeal, we tried to avoid rides specially designed for kids.
“it’s a small world” : Disney rides are more about attention to details. This ride could be the winner when it comes to detailing of all other rides. Slow moving boat won’t do any justice for viewers to observe exquisitely crafted mini worlds. All different parts of world had specific color scheme.
Under the sea- Journey of The Little Mermaid: Fast pass activated ride for us which was not available due to technical glitch at availed time slot (and hence one lost Fastpass option). It might seem nit-picking from me but when you are spending more than $120 per person, these kind of small hindrances add up frustration. Next time, we arrived at the ride and it was working fine so we had our fill of sugar-coated trademark Disney princess moments.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: One of the many good coaster ride. High in demand and even during the evening (we rode it around 10:00 at night), there was 45 minutes waiting time.
Disney vs. Universal: I must say though that all the waiting time in most of the rides had been compensated with mini games or interesting views. At the same time it was not as captivating as Universal.
Haunted Mansion: Only attraction we attended out of three (apart from restaurants and cafés). Not scary but some of the practical special effects of ghosts were really impressive.
Home to the two most satisfying rides in Magical Kingdom.
Splash Mountain: splash was not as steep as we experienced at one of the similar Universal ride but setting again was too good to be true. Nice little touches here and there had some intriguing story weaved through whole ride. With Disney there was never “just the ride” but whole lot of backdrop and storytelling.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Another very best effort at setting up the backdrop of mine town and then rolling via coaster through volcanic mountains. This ride is also very good fast pass candidate.
Where we spent most of our Disney-time.
Swiss Family Treehouse: Visit artificial tree-house with peculiar arrangements of the various rooms. It’s not ride but kind of an attraction.
Jungle Cruise: Based on one of the famous Disney jungle cruise adventures, ride comprises of boat ride passing through dense jungle while you as a spectator witness various deep forest animals and unknown dangers. Our boat guide was superbly witty and had some great sense of humor. All in all, it was fun ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Again attention to detail was exceptional along with underlying story element moving with your carriage ride. Still it was short in duration as well as on expectation.
A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas: One of the most captivating adventure of Magic Kingdom had no boat, ride, coaster or any other moving part except yourself. It was basically well conceived treasure hunt. Small antique shop was issuing atypical parchment with poetic clues which you as a treasure hunter has to identify. Its easy and basically boils down to finding special object embedded into real world of Adventureland and activating the actions by pressing your Disney card. Some of the interactions were cleverly hidden in shops and nearby nooks and cranny. All you need is energy and strength to scamper around all of the Adventureland.
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen: Though named as canteen, restaurant was serving delicious South american, African and Asian flavors of food that is also bit upstate in terms of pricing. It was our lunch choice.
This concludes my long narrative of competitively long travel.
Date of visit: 13-Apr-2019