Saturday plan: RD MK, ride All The Things, mid-day break, return for dinner and fireworks
Theme of the day: Magic is exhausting, yo
6:00 alarm. Boom. We’re up.
Well… I’m up. Takes some prodding to get my wife up. Damn near takes an act of God to get the kids up. But eventually limbs are moving and loins are girded and mouths are forming complete sentences and we’re ready to DO THIS THING.
First stop is the Market at Ale and Compass for a quick breakfast. Got some mickey waffles and, well, it’s a waffle. Shaped like Mickey. I honestly don’t understand why this is A Thing that people go nuts about, but to each their own. We all eat the little mouse faces and by 8:00 we’re out front and calling our first Minnie Van. (Given DS7’s impatience, and my own, and our limited timeframe, I budgeted an obscene amount of money for Minnie Van trips. I didn’t want to rely on Disney bus transport if I didn’t have to)
Quick drive, zip through bag check, and we’re finally into the MK!
And immediately the kids are begging for souvenirs. Holy crap kids, we literally just walked in the front gate, you’re surrounded by all this stuff to look at, and all you want to do is bicker about which trinket you want to buy today so that you can forget it even exists by tomorrow? DD9 gets a lollipop, DS7 gets a pin trading lanyard that (spoiler alert) he’ll never ever wear.
After that we hit City Hall and I get the DAS card for DS7, which will prove to be immensely valuable later on.
We head up, spend about 15 minutes near the front of the Tomorrowland RD line, and then BOOM we’re off to the races.
Walk-on Buzz lightyear. I scored 166,000. No one else in my family did squat. Apparently being the vacation planner alone isn’t enough, I also get to be the sole competent defender of my household if space aliens ever attack. Well, I guess at least we know this now so it won’t come as a surprise later.
Next is a short 5-minute wait for Astro for the kids, while DW and I watch. DS7 loved it.
And next, only 10 minutes past RD, we call our first audible of the day. I originally had Space planned for the evening because I was afraid that, with it being a single-person-per-seat ride AND in the dark, DS7 would freak out. My plan was to ease him into the bigger coasters and come back to Space later. But no, he insists he wants to do Space next, DD9 is also chanting “space space space” and so we do it. We spend more time walking the queue than actually waiting, and in no time at all we’re blasting off on our first inter-planetary trip.
I loved it. DW did not. DD9 called it “the torture machine” and vowed never to ride it again. But the big win was that DS7 loved it, which made the next couple of rides much easier
Took the back path up to Barnstormer and let the kids run ahead a bit to burn off steam. Zipped through BS which was, following Space, immediately forgettable.
But then, CRAP. I’d forgotten to activate my 3 bonus FPs (given to me by guest services when I complained about Rafiki going away) at City Hall! I tell DW to take the kids to the Dumbo play area and get a snack at the Big Top while I haul butt back to the front to fix it. I fly back to City Hall (holy crap is it starting to get crowded!) only to find a long line. I’m directed to Liberty Square instead, so I fly there and after much keyboard clicking, the CM is able to get those bonus FP+s activated. (I suspect the Yacht Club upgrade also messed these up too, hence some additional clicking)
I elbow my way through the throngs of people back to my family and next step is to meet Ariel. Which was… underwhelming. It was the first character meet and I my kids weren’t quite sure what to make of it. DS7 was being very shy (all the strangers looking at him didn’t help) and DD9 was definitely not feeling any magic. Oh well, we’d used a disability check-in to do the FP queue so it only took about 5-10 minutes of our day.
The kids were dying for another ride, so (in accordance with The All-Knowing Touring Plan) we burned our first bonus FP for 7DMT. Finally, a ride we all enjoyed! Personally I thought it was just OK, too short and light on thrills, but everyone liked the themeing and how smooth it was. Everyone wanted to ride again. so we called our 2nd audible on the day. We did a disability check-in and got a return time of 11:49, which is when we were supposed to be eating lunch. But I consulted the All-Knowing Touring Plan and saw that we had some buffer time, and so we did Tea Cups (per the plan), got a picture with Alice (unplanned), and then hit People Mover (unplanned).
Right in the middle of People Mover, immediately after the recording mentions how the ride “never stops”, it stopped. Uhh… that’s weird. We sat on the track for about 5 minutes before it started again, so not a big deal just funny with the timing.
After we were People Moved we high-tailed it back to 7DMT for our disability return time and rode again. Very smooth, just a shame it’s so short and light on thrills.
Next we headed to lunch at Columbia Harbor House. I placed the mobile order en route and my wife went ahead to Haunted Mansion for a disability check-in. Sent the kids upstairs to find a seat and have a little screen time to recharge while I waited in a short line to pick up the mobile order. All in all I thought the food was decent; I have very little experience with theme park seafood, but we all cleared our plates without complaint so that’s a good sign.
Still perfectly on time we exited CHH and went to Haunted Mansion, which I thought was fantastic. DS7 loved it too. The special effects are wonderful and the kids loved the stretching room and the graveyard.
After that we hit BTMRR, Splash, then BTMRR again with a combination of FP+ and DAS. Never waited more than about 10 minutes. Everyone except DW loved BTMRR. Everyone except me hated Splash; I’d forgotten to put the ponchos in the day bag and so everyone got a tiny bit wet, but nothing a little sun wouldn’t fix.
We were starting to run a bit behind schedule at this point and the kids were getting tired, and DS7 was starting to act up. We decided to skip Pirates and head back to the resort for our mid-day break. On the way out we climbed the Treehouse (not as interesting as I’d hoped) and got a DAS return time to meet Mickey after our off-site break.
Minnie Van, cold swim at Yacht Club, and another Minnie Van ate up 3 hours and we’re back at the park. Unfortunately the evening wasn’t as successful as the morning. DS7 wanted to do Space again so we split up, DW and DD9 heading for Carosel and DS7 and I heading to Space. But we get there just as they shut down the line for mechanical issues or something. DS7 is starting to get really tired and has a minor meltdown over Space. We try to do Astro but the line is long. We try to meet Stitch but he’s already gone. Dejected, we walk back and he joins DW and DD9 in line for the Carosel (which took way longer than the posted 10 or 15 minute wait).
We had planned to eat at Cosmic Ray’s but DD9 is whining about eating yet more chicken nuggets, so I call an ill-advised audible and switch dinner plans to Pecos Bills. I go ahead, planning to get nuggets from Golden Oak for DS7 before meeting everyone else at Pecos. But Golden Oak was closed at that point and Pecos didn’t have tacos on kids menu so I got DD9 an adult entree, which she hated so I then got her a hamburger as well. DS7 ate some tortilla chips and a protein bar we’d packed. All in all we walked a long way to spend a ton of money on a bunch of uneaten food.
On the flip side we were close to BTMRR and we had an unused bonus FP+, so we hit that for a 3rd time before wading in the mass of people setting up for fireworks. We had an after-fireworks dessert party so we got to the viewing area around 8:40, grabbed a spot of grass at the very back, and watched HEA. I thought it was amazing but the kids, DS7 especially, were really exhausted at this point.
We thought a Minnie Van would be a good way to get home, rather than standing-room only on a bus, but it took 30 minutes for the van to arrive. That was a rough wait, and a rough van ride back.
Finally, around 1030, everyone is in bed. We had a great day at the Kingdom but may have pushed our luck a bit going from RD to HEA with swimming in the middle. Spent too much on food but generally enjoyed ourselves.
On a closing note, I was really pleased with how all my planning paid off. I never consulted a map once. Was able to navigate the park from memory of the maps, able to recognize all the landmarks, and generally knew enough tips and tricks to give us the smoothest experience possible. So thank you, TP, for all the knowledge you’ve shared on here - I couldn’t have pulled off this day without you!
Up next: RD the AK.