Thursday, January 6, 2011

Magic Kindom -- and a special tour

Magic Kindom -- and a special tour

Some folks think the Magic Kingdom is the best of the Disney theme parks. I tend to agree. I think it is the castle in the middle with all the magic it brings. If you are a baby boomer, you grew up watching Walt Disney on TV and saw the unveiling of Disneyland and then the plans he had for Disneyworld. Hubby and I went to the Magic Kingdom twice for this vacation. The first time we went on the "other" very cold day in central Fla. I'm not kidding we set a record for that day for low temperature of 32. It isn't cold compared to other sections of the country but 32 in Florida is COLD! We got to the park early and it wasn't very crowded, probably because the day before it was cold and folks were waiting a bit for it to warm up. When the park opened we headed immediately to Tomorrowland and had the very first car on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. It is a ride and a game where you try to destroy the evil Emperor Zurg. From there we had a two minute wait to get on Space Mountain and then headed over to Fantasyland to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride. This ride is always crowded so I wanted to go since we've never waited before for it. This was the warm up for our lunch rendezvous with Tigger, Pooh, Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore.

Our second visit was the last day of our stay. By then it was warming up and would get into the 70's. I had scheduled us for the Keys to the Kingdom tour. We began at 9:30 and finished up about 3:30. We had special radio frequency earpieces to wear so we could hear our guide amongst the crowds. We stared by introducing ourselves and then dove in with a bit of history that is displayed on the windows of the shops on Main Street USA. We went towards Adventureland and got a special Kristin Pass ride and were able to cut in front of everyone for a special tour of the Jungle Cruise. Kristin was our guide and she was making a joke about the Fast Pass, a way for customers to sort of save a place in line if it is too crowded and then come back at a designated time. The Kristen Pass was even better since we had no waiting at all. If you've ridden the Jungle Cruise you know all the guides have this list of the corniest jokes in the world. The Kristin ride eliminated just about all of them and gave us a behind the scenes tour instead of the background of the ride and the "hidden" features.

From there we continued through Adventureland to Frontierland and did a bit of behind the scenes touring. Kristen mentioned a special feature of the Enchanted Tike room and recommened the Dole snack hut near the Jungle Cruise as a great place to get some soft serve pineapple ice cream (hubby and I went back after the tour was over and it was great!)  After promising not to take photos or record anything behind the scened we went behind a fence near the railroad crossing in Adventureland to see where some of the floats reside and also viewed the huge holding tank for the water in Splash Mountain. Every night they drain all the water and then find all the things people loose on that ride. From there we went to Liberty Square. Our lunch at the Harbour House was waiting when we arrived. We had a separate eating area and the lunches we ordered at the beginning of the tour were already on tables for us.

After lunch we got a review of some background Kristen had given us on the Haunted Mansion. Again we got a Kristen Pass and entered the ride through the servants quarters near the exit and were instructed to look for "hidden Mickey's and a Donald". I found all but one.

After we gathered our group we exited Liberty Square getting some more background as we walked and then went into a door and down an elevator and entered the tunnels or as they call them in Disney lingo "utilidors" for utility corridors. Since the water table is so high the Magic Kingdom is actually built one story taller than the rest of the surrounding area thus allowing the designers to put utility things out of the view of the public. You don't see garbage being collected. You don't see service trucks or things like that, it is all under you, keeping the magic alive. All the normal things you'd see in a work are are there, forklifts, bulletin boards, safety signs and updates to park happenings so the cast members are all on the same sheet of music. While we were there we saw a short video on how the cast members get their laundry serviced. We left via another elevator and were back to our starting point.

All in all it was a great tour. I don't think it spoiled the magic for me at all but really enhanced my impresssion of the folks that designed this great escape from the daily grind to the most magical place in the world.

Until my next post,

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