Natasha loves Walt Disney World and yes she renewed her season pass. Seems there is always something new to see so when Rocky asked what I wanted to do to celebrate Mother’s Day…”I’m going to Disney World” was the reply.
So what’s new? The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride opened May 28, completing the renovation and expansion of Fantasyland. We had hoped to catch a soft opening, but only employees were riding on the test runs when we visited earlier this month. You can actually see most of the ride from outside; it literally sits right in the middle of Fantasyland and you can walk 360 degrees around it. The only part you can’t see is the small inside portion of the mine with the dwarfs and jewels. Remember this ride is in Fantasyland, so it is going to be closer to the Barnstormer than Big Thunder Mountain. That said, you can expect big crowds so be prepared to wait in line for the mild ride or use a fastpass.
The first thing we did (after also getting Rocky an annual pass 🙂 ) was to enjoy the brand new afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom. The Festival of Fantasy Parade is a must see if you love the characters and worth the wait to see the fabulous fire-breathing Maleficent (dragon). We liked it so much we arranged our four-day visit to include another viewing. Mid-May it was only performed once a day; perhaps it will be more frequent with the start of summer. As always, there are great costumes and dancing-really liked the lost boys. My only problem with Disney parades is that they tend to change so infrequently that they are really not a draw for regular visitors like us.
If you haven’t seen the new Fantasyland extension, home to new twin Dumbo rides, be sure to check it out. In the back corner is a wonderful tent where you can “meet and greet” some of your Disney favorites in wonderful carnival-themed costumes. The line for the girls-Minnie and Daisy-is always longer, but in my opinion the boys-Goofy and Donald-have better costumes/sets and are more fun. Even if you have to wait, you are inside in air conditioning and you can watch the interaction between the characters and the other guests-always fun. Smart parents split up and one goes in each line (you have to choose the line for Minnie/Daisy OR Goofy/Donald) and pass the child off to get pictures on both sides. Yes, you can go without a child. I don’t know if the Casey Junior design of this area will stand the test of time, but it is new and fun now.
Since we arrived mid afternoon when the crowds are the heaviest, we pre-booked our fastpasses for the mountains-Space and Big Thunder. We waited in line for Splash Mountain since the wait wasn’t too bad. (We hadn’t pre-booked it not knowing how warm it would be.) After dinner at one of our favorite dining spots in the Magic Kingdom, The Liberty Tree Tavern, we used our final fastpass at Enchanted Tales with Belle. I had to talk Rocky into it since it is designed for young children, then he was the first one picked for “the cast”. Relatively new, the attraction includes a tour of Belle’s home and the castle and a chance to participate in storytelling with Belle. I like it. The lines can be long during the day, but in the evening the wait is short and we didn’t even need the fastpass. Rocky (formerly a theater major) was a wonderful marching knight and loved it.
We ended the evening with Wishes, the fireworks show, and Celebrate the Magic, the evening light show on the Castle. Celebrate the Magic is a relatively new addition to the nighttime entertainment that uses the castle as a backdrop for projected images set to music. It is really a highlight of your day at the Magic Kingdom. The show features slight variations depending on the season and the current show features scenes from Frozen. It is usually done twice in the evening, just before and again just after the Wishes fireworks show.
More Disney in my next post and all about those new magic bands.–Natasha