• Casey Leone

"Here, you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy!" Magic Kingdom Day

Today is the day! Mickey Bars, Starbucks on Main Street USA, getting "Yo Ho A Pirates Life for Me" stuck in my head all day, and soaking up the Disney happy with our girls.

This was Cecelia's 6th trip and Ellie's 3rd, so I consider them Disney World veterans and professional Mickey Bar eaters for their age.

My day starts with the sun, about 5:30 to get my run in. At home, I usually run at a way more decent hour, but with Florida humidity and heat, I absolutely can only run in the wee hours of the morning or else I would only make it like 5 minutes before collapsing. Also, I don't want to take any time away from park time! I really enjoy the peace and stillness of the resort with the beautiful views before the hustle and bustle of families and other resort guests eager and excited to start their days. I really only pass a few other runners and some early coffee risers. Each resort has a running trail which is super nice and convenient, some longer than others. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort has a nice short trail around the water that is about a mile.

By the time I finish my run, the girls start to wake up and we get ready for our park day. I grab a ziplock for each girl (see my packing blog here, to explain the ziplock shenanigans) and get them dressed. I get the back packs packed with diapers, wipes, juice, a snack bag or two, an extra change of clothes for each girl and a sweatshirt for each girl (traveling in November could mean a colder morning/evening). I go through my checklist to make sure we have everything important like magic bands (yes we've forgotten them a few times), sunglasses, water bottles (to avoid paying $5 for a bottle) and sunscreen for the girls.

Because we were staying at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, the easiest way to Magic Kingdom is by bus. We opt for Disney's complimentary transportation 95% of the time because it is one less thing you have to think about while trying to make sure you think of everything else. The morning bus rides are always exciting, the kids are wild, hearing the music properly themed to your destination park, and the automated recording on the bus speakers say to you, "Welcome to the Magic Kingdom...".

Getting through security and the turnstile to enter the parks have been greatly improved and are relatively quick. Disney knows that you are eager to enter their world of magic and do the best they can in getting you there.

The view of the castle first thing in the morning on the first day of our trip is more than a breath of fresh air. It gives you that "ah, we made it..." feeling. My Cecelia gets so excited and Ellie is even starting to recognize and familiarize with it. After the crazy and energy draining hustle it took to get to this point, my husband and I immediately opt for the Main Street Bakery featuring Starbucks coffee. Its that extra pump of caffeine and because coffee is my life source.

I like to walk down Main Street USA and take a right before entering the main hub to grab a table in front of the Plaza Restaurant and enjoy my coffee and hit the restrooms before adventuring. If you factor in the time it takes you leave the hotel room, wait for a bus, the actual bus ride, walking through security, the turnstiles, and the amount of time it takes to wait, order, and pick up your coffee, a break is necessary! We take a moment to stare at the castle, listen to the old fashioned music, and feel the happy and the magic that radiates off of the symbol of Magic Kingdom. After we finish our coffees and embed the image of the castle into our brains, we like to get some breakfast. Pre-pandemic, we use to enjoy Breakfast with Winnie and friends at the Crystal Palace for a breakfast buffet, but unfortunately it was not reopened yet.

A great quick service option is Sleepy Hollow located in Liberty Square. It's just to the left of the castle right over the bridge. They have an awesome giant Mickey Waffle (it counts as a snack credit for the dining plan), a waffle sandwich with fruit and chocolate hazelnut spread, and a funnel cake. Its another great place to sit and stare at the castle from a totally different angle!

I prefer a more savory breakfast so I run next door to the Liberty Square Market and grab a much beloved and cherished traditional smoked turkey Leg. Crunchy skin, juicy meat, bigger than my face... I mean, what more could you ask for?

Now that we have rebooted the family with sugar and caffeine, we are ready for some classic Walt Disney World attractions. I could talk all day about each individual attraction and probably write a novel describing each one, but I'll save that for a rainy day. For now, I'll highlight a few favorites to give you a good idea of our Magic Kingdom gems. Our first stop is usually Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1973, after the Disneyland attraction which opened in 1967 where it was originally supposed to be a walkthrough attraction. After some major brainstorming and planning Disney's Imagineers agreed that the pirate adventure would be better perceived as a boat ride and turned out to be an absolute favorite and a staple to the Disney Parks around the globe.

While journeying through this pirate filled adventure, you experience a town under siege by poor mannered loud pirates, with lots of rum, fire, cannons, humor, and singing. There are different scents through out the ride stimulating the senses and helping to tell the story, but lo and behold, my favorite scent in all of WDW is the water that your boat is floating on. If you have ridden this attraction then you totally get it, and if you haven't then you probably think I'm crazy. There is no height restriction for this ride, but I will say that its dark and loud, and has a 14ft drop in the beginning that may startle some little ones, but overall it is a family friendly ride and definitely worth giving it a shot with the kiddies.

Since we are in Adventureland, I must bring up the Enchanted Tiki Room which opened with the park in 1971 as the Tropical Serenade. This attraction brings back so much nostalgia for me. I remember when they reimagined the ride in 1998 as the Enchanted Tiki Room (under new management) featuring Iago from Disney's Aladdin and Zazu from Disney's Lion King. I was only 8 when I saw it and I cried! It took me 13 years to go back through the attraction after they reopened it in 2011, restoring back to the original version, thank goodness. Now my girls LOVE this attraction. The singing, the pretty birds and flowers, and the fun tiki faces covering the pillars and walls make for such a fun and unique experience to WDW.

Moving right along, It's a Small World is another classic attraction and also happens to be a boat ride with that beautiful familiar water smell. This is another Walt Disney original attraction opening with the park in 1971, copied from the Disneyland version which opened in 1966. Mary Blair designed the color scheme for this ride that takes you on "the happiest cruise that ever sailed". Throughout this journey, the familiar Sherman Brothers tune "it's a Small World after all..." is sang in 5 different languages by over 400 animatronics representing 25 countries. This ride was such a hit with both girls with all the bright colors, simple shapes, lights, and tune. I designed my three year old's room around this very ride ( It's a Small World toddler room design blog post coming soon!)

Our usual go-to is of course Casey's Corner on Main Street for a classic foot-long hot dog and french fries. Not all of the restaurants were available just yet though, but we did enjoy our lunch at Pinocchio's Village Haus Restaurant. We love the flatbreads and french fries!

This was a very productive Magic Kingdom day! We were able to ride Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and Prince Charming Regal Carousel. We were there almost completely open to close and had a blast. We went back to the Caribbean Beach Resort for dinner at the Centertown Market. Their Cuban sandwiches are just what we needed and a Bourbon Breeze on the water at Banana Cabana to cap the night off perfectly. Early to bed, early to rise... day 2 is at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow!

See ya real soon!

-Casey, The Travelorian