Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Last Time At Disney

We had one day left on a week-long, no expiration date, ticket at the Disney parks from when we were there 8 years ago. I thought we should probably finally use it up, so I asked the girls which park they wanted to go to. I thought with Sarah being 18 now, it was probably going to be the last time that we all went to a theme park as a family, so I wanted them to be the ones to decide. Both said they wanted to use it up at the Magic Kingdom.

I have heard horror stories about going to the theme parks at certain times of the year; Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving…. the big vacation times. I felt like, big deal, the girls were older, we were in no hurry to go anywhere or get on any rides and we would just ride out the crowds. Was I ever wrong! The crowds at Disney were insane. But more on that later.

As we were walking around going from attraction to attraction, both Sarah and Alison came to the realization that the Magic Kingdom really was for little kids. As we were looking for things to go on (read that as lines to stand in) Sarah was of the opinion that she didn’t want to stand in line for 2 hours to go on a ride that was more or less looking at animatronics. I told her and Ali that I tried to tell them that when they were deciding where to go, but I didn’t want to dictate, it was their decision which park they wanted to go to. I will say that the Magic Kingdom does have some of our favorite attractions, such as The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. But more and more they realized that some of the more popular areas, like around the castle, and walking down Main Street, were more for the children.



I thought it would be nice to compare the girls in the tea cups today vs. when I first took them on the ride almost 10 years ago.  

Note Ali's enthusiasm at "It's A Small World"

Sarah got squirted with a water jet right after I took this. HA!

Awww...  How sweet.

I had Sarah use the actual camera to take our picture, not a phone.  Apparently I need to teach her how to center your subject in the frame.

Sarah always seemed to be on her phone instead of enjoying the sights of Disney. :-(

Another thing that the girls wanted to do was to take their photo together in front of the castle. It was something that didn’t really dawn on me when we first got there, probably should have been done early in the day. Because as the day wore on, more people tend to congregate around the castle for pictures, especially around the times of the parades. Good luck trying to get a shot alone. Or at least alone enough where there aren’t others crowding you. We tried the first time thru (during the first afternoon parade) and weren’t really able to do it. Then as we were coming back thru around dinner time, it had thinned out enough that I was able to take their picture without anyone within five feet of them. Those are the types of little things that you don’t tend to think about when you go to theme parks.

Since the Magic Kingdom was open late I thought we would stay as late as possible for the girls to go on all the rides they wanted one last time. That was easier said than done since we ran into the parades. When we got off the Haunted Mansion, we hit a parade, and had to wait to get to where we wanted to go because the walkways were clogged with people and some were roped off. Then later in the day around dinner time, we ended up hitting another parade. We were going from Tomorrowland to Adventureland, but since the parade was about to begin, we had to wait to go across the main path in front of the castle. It was seriously a pain since we didn’t really care about the parade, so we ended up going into some of the shops on Main Street and loitering inside until we could cross.

Then when we finally did, we had to wait to use a fast pass at the Jungle Cruise so the girls wanted to go on the Aladdin Magic Carpet ride (which incidentally was the very first ride we took the girls on at Disney in 2004). The sign said the wait time was something like 25 minutes, so we figured, sure, Kris and I would just wait. What was supposed to be a 25 minute wait turned into about 45-50 minutes. Obviously the wait time was incorrect. While we were standing around waiting, Kris and I struck up a conversation with a guy who was also waiting. He was from Canada, and was looking frazzled. I forget the actual question he asked, but it had to do with the lines, etc. We told him that typically it isn’t this bad, but because of the holiday, the crowds are insane. We had actually heard that they had closed down admittance to the park early in the afternoon because it was at capacity. He told us he had gotten to the park around noon, and this was the third attraction his children had been on (it was about 6:30 PM), the rest of the time was spent maneuvering thru crowds and standing in lines. Like I said, we felt really bad for him since we know what it was like when the girls were little and how they look forward to being there. Hopefully they had multiple day passes and would be able to come back if they missed anything.

The Jungle Cruise was actually pretty fun, much better than the last couple of times I had been on it. By the time we got on, it was totally dark, so they had to light the scenes, plus, they had it decked out in Christmas lights for the holiday. Something I had never seen before. As anyone who has been on the ride knows, the “guide” spends his time interacting with the guests and making bad puns. This time he was making Christmas jokes, so again, it was something new, which made it a little bit better. 

When it came time to leave, we once again, ran into a parade (the third of the day). It was the nighttime, Main Street Electrical Parade. Then of course, after the parade comes the fireworks. Since most people stay to see the fireworks and then leave right afterward (clogging up the monorails and taking forever to get back to the parking lots) we thought we would get out ahead of the crowds. The girls had been on all the attractions they wanted to do, and we didn’t really care about the parade or the fireworks so it was perfect timing.

It was sad leaving, knowing that the girls will never have that glimmer in their eyes when going to Disney again (at least until they have the joy of seeing it thru their children’s eyes, like we did when the girls were little). But at least they enjoyed themselves. I remember when Sarah and Ali were little thinking that it is all about building memories for them. I think that we were able to do that.