Walt Disney World

Today we had a day of park hopping at Walt Disney World. This is their 50th Anniversary year, so rather special although they are still not back to full strength after covid. There are still some things not available although we found it just as magical. We had chosen to spend the morning in the Magic Kingdom, the afternoon at Epcot and then back to the Magic Kingdom for the evening, especially to see the firework show. As a plan this worked well for us and we got everything done we had wanted to do. What we hadn’t really expected when we left the UK with this in mind, was that Florida would experience a freezing spell. Yesterday was about 15C max during the day, dropping to about 8C after dark. It actually felt much colder than that apart from a brief spell in the afternoon when the sun came out. Brrrrrrr.. We put on the warmest clothes we had but, frankly, they weren’t enough. Some people were wrapped in blankets! By nightfall we envied them!

And the other unplanned complication was that Bob strained or tore a calf muscle getting out of the car on Saturday. Just….. getting out…… no drama. We got some strapping for it but walking long distances was out of the question. He would have to go in a wheelchair. He hated that idea but there was no choice for moving around the park. It only added to his feeling the cold though.

So…. we arrived at 0800 and in one upside got access to the disabled parking right at the front of the park, and immediately got a complimentary wheelchair there. We were right through the gates by 0830 and got very good pix of the castle and main street without the usual crowds. We couldn’t get further than that till the park officially opened at 9am but we did get hot coffees to pass the time. It felt weird. We are used to WDW in the summer/autumn. When it’s HOT.

We were using an online queue monitoring/planning app to order our day and we also had purchased the Lightning Lanes option that has replaced the line avoiding Fastpass system. It was ok, but I liked Fastpass better, not just because it was free. We went on lots of rides and experiences, saw part of a little parade, all of the opening ceremony with Mickey and Minnie and their friends. Screamed our way round Space Mountain, enjoyed the spooks at the Haunted Mansion etc. Got some fast lunch at Pecos Bills in Frontierland after seeing the Country Bears show, one of my favourites.

At about 130 we headed to the monorail to go to Epcot. It was pretty easy pushing Bob around from ride to ride and on to the monorail. I’m not sure I’d have managed on my own, to be honest, but Stuart was amazing and took it on.

Epcot is having major renovations at the moment building a huge new area for the Avengers attractions coming soon. It’s a bit of a building site on the Future World side of the lagoon. We started by riding the Spaceship Earth, which takes you on a journey through mankind’s struggle to communicate from the cavemen to the present day. I always find it rather moving. Then we visited the Living Seas aquarium, went on the Nemo ride, and then my personal favourite, Soaring. On that one you are suspended in front of a wrap-around screen, and you “fly” around the world visiting Antarctica, Paris, Germany, the Alps and many other places. It’s absolutely amazing. The sun came out for us a bit and it warmed us up a bit. We went on Test Track and enjoyed that, then Mission Mars.

Bob did a bit of walking in Epcot but within 5 minutes his leg was really bad again so it was back to the chair.

We returned back to the Magic Kingdom at around 6:30pm by the monorail and by then the lights were coming on and it began to look even more beautiful. We visited those cheeky Pirates of the Caribbean. We went on the Jungle Cruise – first time I’ve ever done that by night. While we were waiting for that we went to see the Enchanted Tiki house and watched the bird show. It was cute. It was sooooo cold by now. We had a bit of a hot snack and then we got in position for the firework show. Because of the chair, we got into the disabled section which was an amazing view.

I think this firework show was one of the best we have seen there over the years. Really stunning. It’s not just a firework show of course. The whole castle is covered in projections, there are lasers going off as well as a stunning show of fireworks. It’s absolutely beautiful. At one point, of course, Tinkerbell (in reality a young gymnast from a local school) “flies” down from the castle turret across the park. The show lasted about 20 minutes. Brilliant! I’ve got some really nice little video clips at the bottom of the report, including her flight, which are worth a watch to get a taste of it.

After the show, there was a mass exodus towards the gates but we headed back in for a last ride – Big Thunder Railroad – the runaway mining train. It is especially thrilling at night and a fitting end to the day. We were sooo cold by then, we made for the exit.

And….. the monorail was out of action…… so ……. we had a massive line for the ferry boats back to the parking lot. It moved very quickly, but not what we had hoped to see at that point of the evening. Got back to the apartment at around 1030, absolutely exhausted, stiff in the back, cold. Warmed up with a dram and a coffee and a hot shower and turned in. A brilliant day but just wished it had been warmer. And we also realise now what a brilliant boon the 2 weeks for the price of 1 or 3 weeks for the price of 2 special Disney tickets are. It’s been a long long time since we’ve tried to do a full day in the parks. It’s a much more exhausting way of doing it.

the last one has Tinkerbell’s Flight in it.