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A Day at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Even Florida residents love to take a day now and then to go to the Magic Kingdom and escape their day-to-day reality for a while. This particular Saturday, we planned to do just that. Heading west on SR 528 (the Beeline), we intersect with I-4 and head toward Tampa, soon we begin to see the exit signs for Disney’s attractions; we’re looking for Lake Buena Vista and the Magic Kingdom.

Arriving, we appreciate once again that Disney really knows how to handle parking many people at one time. We locate a parking space, note the “Goofy 14” marker indicating our parking lot and row, and within a few minutes, a trolley arrives to carry us right to the gates. Had we been arriving from another part of Disney or one of the Disney hotels, we would simply have taken the monorail trail - something we will take a trip on before our visit is out. We could also arrive by Ferry Boat if we were staying at Disney. We’ll get enough exercise traveling around the Magic Kingdom without having to take a hike to the ticket counter. After buying our tickets, we enter the main gate.

Directly in front of us is Main Street U.S.A, and visible at the end is Cinderella’s Castle sitting inside its moat on a slight incline. The Castle gate is often used as a meeting place if groups get separated or choose to do different activities for a while. Main Street is made up of shops, some selling Disney items, some selling just interesting and unusual items. Along the street, it’s not unusual to spot your first Disney character. Disney characters roam all around the park all day and evening and will stop for photos and hugs anytime you like.

Turning left at the Castle, we head toward the Adventureland section of the park. Our first stop is one of my personal favorites, The Tiki Room, where the bird characters put on a show, singing and talking. I always get a thrill out of the technology and just plain fun that the Tiki Room provides. The Jungle Cruise ride takes us down an Amazon-like river setting, past African grassland, into thick jungle, and many jungle creatures appear. Of course, they are all animated characters, but the realism is uncanny. We skip the Magic Carpets of Aladdin Ride because it is mostly for younger people, but I understand it is a great ride for them. At the back of the Adventureland section, we get in line for Pirates of the Caribbean, a ride that not only cools us off, but teaches a bit about the history of the Caribbean shipping lanes in the pirate days. The Swiss Family Tree House is a self-guided tour of the tree house every adult or child would love to have for a home.

Time to move along to Frontierland. Big Thunder Railroad provides a ride simulating the Gold Rush Days in the old west. It’s exciting, providing thrills and chills, but not like a roller coaster. A simulated mining explosion occurs, river mist blows into your car, and it’s just great fun! Country Bear Jamboree is another show we skip; a 17 minute extravaganza, this show is primarily for children. Splash Mountain represents the main water ride in the Magic Kingdom and is based on Brer Fox and Brer Bear’s attempts to capture Brer Rabbit. It’s a lot of fun! Tom Sawyer’s Island is a walking attraction that you can perform at your own pace. You catch any river raft coming from the main land to the island, and catch any raft going back whenever you wish. It’s a good place to stop for a rest, and we do. With an operational water wheel, a café, and much to look at, we tour the island before heading to the next section of the park.

We stop in Libertyland for lunch at the Liberty Tree Tavern, but limited our exploration of this area on this particular day because we’ve seen the Hall of Presidents, the Liberty Square Riverboat and Haunted Mansion on previous trips. If you haven’t seen these exhibits, you must take the time to learn about the history of America. Mickey’s Toontown is another section of the park we choose to miss. It is THE place for photos with Mickey and his pals, even the Disney villains and is mostly for children.

The Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom is a depiction of the future as viewed by science fiction and technology predictions. One of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular rides is Space Mountain, located here. It is a big, BIG roller coaster through the dark with flashes of light showing sights. I don’t do roller coasters, but my companion does, so I sit this one out resting on a bench. My companion says this ride is a real thrill! Astro Orbiter sits atop the Rockettower Plaza and is primarily for kids, so we look and don’t ride this one. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is a fun-for-any-age spin ride which allows the riders to control both the spin and the ray gun for shooting down enemies. Carousel of Progress is a slow but educational ride depicting the progress technology has made and expects to make in the future. The Time Keeper 360 Theater provides a surround experience based on time travel. Tomorrowland Speedway allows you to drive gas-powered mini race cars for a turn around the speed track. Very realistic ride and you shouldn’t miss it! Tomorrowland Transit Authority allows you a cooling off ride which passes over much of Tomorrowland and provides wonderful views. Stitch’s Great Escape wasn’t opened at the time of my last Magic Kingdom visit, but it is open now and is based on Lilo and Stitch. I’ll have to investigate this ride next visit.

We head back to Main Street U.S.A. and find a place to grab some food. All through our visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, in each and every section of the park, there are plenty of places to stop and eat, grab snacks, drinks, ice cream, or stop and rest. We decide on a hot dog from a vendor cart and sit by the lake to rest and have our dinner. Through the afternoon, there are parades on Main Street but we want to see the main parade and fireworks display at 9 pm. We wander through shops and buy a few things to take home until it is time for the parade. Cinderella in her carriage and the whole Disney crew participates in the parade which goes down Main Street in close proximity to viewers. Then there is an absolutely magnificent fireworks show! Don’t miss this show!

After the fireworks, being tired and ready to head home, we take a quick trip on the monorail to the Polynesian Hotel where we stop for a quick drink and then return via the monorail. Then we get on the trolley and go back to “Goofy 14” where we are dropped very close to our car for our return trip home. What a great day!

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