Last year we went to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for the first time with the girls. I remembered going as a kid and just doing it, with no major advanced planning or strategizing. I vaguely noted that lots of people nowadays seem to devote a lot of time and energy to mapping out every moment of their visit, but I didn’t think too much about it. I pinned a few things and scheduled a princess lunch for Miss’s birthday. I got a few suggestions from Super Friend who had been there a few months before we were to go. I figured it would be no big deal.
What I didn’t know is that we were going to Disney during one of the busiest weeks of the year. I had no idea that the third week in February is a peak time because some places have their spring break at then (in February people??). So, I got a great big smack in the face of Disney reality last year.
Last year we went on only four rides, Prince Charming’s Carousel, Tea Cups, It’s a Small World, and Dumbo (we only managed this one because some kind people gave us their Fast Passes as I was wandering aimlessly trying to figure out where we could get our own).
I had really wanted to take the girls on the Peter Pan ride, but I couldn’t find it. Seriously. Super Friend had told me to ride it first thing in the morning, because it gets busy fast. She also said that we could go straight there if we went left after walking through Cinderella’s castle. Good tip. I could do that. I was on a mission. As soon as we got to the park, we walked quickly through Main Street, cruised past Cinderella’s castle, and then I confused my right and left and we went the wrong way. Of course we couldn’t find it and but the time we did the wait was ridiculous, so no Peter Pan ride last year.
This year I redeemed myself. This year we went on all the rides we did last year
and we made it on so many more. We even did a few of them twice. The first day alone, even though we didn’t even get there until about 2pm, we made it on all the above rides plus Ariel’s Under the Sea thing and the Winnie the Pooh ride.
The girls loved meeting the princesses last year during the lunch I reserved, so I made sure to schedule lots of princess meet and greets for them this year too. I learned last year that Fast Passes are key. This year Disney has a new system so, since I bought my tickets in advance online, I was able to schedule three Fast Passes for each day ahead of time. I highly recommend doing this.
Unfortunately with the new system you can only get three Fast Passes per day period (I think it used to be unlimited, but you had to find them in the park), but scheduling them in advance at least allows you to pick the best times and make sure you get the ones you want. For the first day, I scheduled Ariel’s Under the Sea ride (which the girls loved so much we went on it again the second day), meeting Ariel in her grotto, and meeting Rapunzel and Snow White. The second day I scheduled the Peter Pan ride (I was not going to miss it again this year!), meeting Cinderella and Aurora, and Enchanted Tales with Belle. I’m so glad I scheduled this last one, because it’s fairly new and very fun and the lines for it were loooong.
The girls really enjoyed meeting the princesses, especially Miss. I thought it was funny that she got so excited, because as we were walking in on day one and I was talking about them being able to meet the Disney ladies, Miss said, “Yeah Mom, but they aren’t really the princesses, they’re just people dressed up like the princesses.” You wouldn’t have known she thought this from her expressions when getting to meet these “people dressed up.”
The girls’ favorite princess was Ariel. They insisted on standing in line to see her a second time on day two, and didn’t even seem to notice that the second Ariel was a different woman.
^^ Ariel #1
^^ Ariel #2
Not all the princesses were equal in their rapport with the girls. The Ariels were fine, but my favorite (and my husband’s) was Merida, for the time she took and attention she paid to the girls.
She especially took some time with Miss who told her about her plans to have a Brave-themed birthday party. I was very glad that I took the few minutes to find out where and when to meet Merida (you can’t schedule a Fast Pass to meet her). We went to her area (which is around the back right side of Cinderella’s castle, she starts meeting and greeting at 9:15 am) first thing on day two and only stood in line for a few minutes. It was so worth it.
My second favorite princess for her ability to connect with the girls was Rapunzel.
The Belle experience was fun.
I thought it was funny that Sis would have nothing to do with Cinderella (we couldn’t even get her in a picture)
but she loved this Aurora:
This Snow White was my least favorite. She didn’t even get down on the level with the girls, and barely even smiled. Maybe she was just having an off day.
On day two during nap time my husband and I took Miss back to the park by herself while her sisters slept and my in-laws stayed with them. This was such a fun experience. She really wanted to go on the magic carpet ride. So we made our first journey into Adventureland, and on our way to that ride we went up in the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, which my husband and I both have fond memories of. She thought it was fantastic to go up so high in what she initially thought was a “real tree.”
Overall, this trip was so much better than last year. It helped that I was able to plan more things in advance and that I figured out where and when to do specific things, like meeting Merida beforehand. The biggest thing in making it better was probably the fact that we went during a slow week. Plus it was cold and rainy, so the crowds were much smaller than last year.
We aren’t planning to go back to Disney again for several years. But I’m so glad we had a great experience this year. I know my girls had fun and made some memories. I did too.
P.S. I am trying out using Pic Monkey and Drop Box for my photos. For some reason some of them have been disappearing even after I’ve saved them in the post, so if they aren’t showing up, sorry, I’m trying to fix it (and probably won’t use this system again).