Sunday morning kicked off early. I think with the whole east coast time change, we were all seriously thinking, "What's so important to wake up with this alarm?".
But, then you look out the window to a view like this (we had screening around our patio, so that's why the pics look grainy) - you quickly remember that sleep can wait!
Look at our kids - down and ready to go before the rest of the family....Riley kids for the win!
There are no words... This kid and his pride over his "guns"....I guess its a 16 year old boy thing....
While the rest of us knew what fun was in store, Whitley had no idea... Consequently, I really do think she would have chosen staying in bed (or in her case, play pen). But, clutching Traig's legs helped...
The rest of the parks are sweet in their own way - and each have special favorite attractions for me. However, there's just no denying that Magic Kingdom has a special feeling all its own that the rest can't even compete with. That's definitely why we kept going back, again and again and again!
One bummer about this park, however, is that you can't just park and enter. You'll need to arrive via either Monorail or Ferry upon parking your car. In our case, the Monorail hadn't yet opened (we arrived nearly an hour before opening) - so the Ferry was our only option.
I love that the kids did this - nice "Titanic" re-enactment.
(The rest of the family were on the lower deck at this point)
Say "Cheese" =)
There it is!!!!
We were let in early, but we had a little bit of waiting around outside the gates....
We all positioned ourselves in the best possible place to take off for the "Seven Dwarves Mine" ride. Even by trying to secure Fast Passes 30 days in advance, we were only able to secure one set of Fast Passes on a Tuesday night for part of our group... so our best option was to make a
And, we did it! We literally walked straight through the line. Nati was my seat buddy on this ride. =)
And, before you knew it - it was over. A nice ride - but not nearly long enough for the wait involved. We were going to hop on again, but by that point, the wait time was at an HOUR, so we went across the way to the "Winnie the Pooh" ride instead.
Next up - OF COURSE...."SPLASH MOUNTAIN"! If only Whitley's height could have reached 40" to be able to join us on this one...but, alas, the Whites had to do "ride swap" on this one where one of them would hang back and then could go into the Fast Pass line with two additional buddies (we DEFINITELY took advantage of that - and the Whites had to do some careful choosing and keeping track of their choices to make sure they didn't accidentally reveal who among the kids was their favorite!!!). ;)
These pics are different because they were "screen-shot" from a video I shot....clearly, we were having a blast!!!!
Another round of "Splash" with the Whites....Steph really was enjoying herself...she just didn't know the selfie was taking place.
Next up - "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad"...
Following a few runs on the railroad - we hopped on the real railroad - to swing around to Main Street - and drop off those who wanted to do "Space Mountain" in Fantasyland to get a head start. John and Michael were more interested in Starbucks than "Space Mountain" - Starbucks is an attraction John can get behind anytime!!!
Whitley appreciated some snuggle time. (Again, she was too short for "Thunder Mountain" so she'd had some extended down time).
But, then, "Uncle Michael" got her a little more perked up and smiley. =)
Traig and I bypassed the first round of "Space" and walked from Main Street to meet them for round two of the ride. As we walked by, the "Wishes" show was going on - such sweet atmosphere every where you turn!!!
Traig and I got to bond as we ventured in to Tomorrowland...
Next up - LUNCH! We all met up at the "Liberty Tree Tavern" (the same place we ate on our first day in MK in 2010). I feel like we were on an "every other" rotation with quality service/servers - and this place was a LOW. Our server did not seem to want to work with us at all - he almost seemed offended by us. "Dude, it's DISNEYWORLD....this is your job....embrace it or find something else to do, because customers being happy is what its all about!" (and just a hint - when you forget to bring out the bacon and cheddar on a burger - it's not okay to just bring a plate out of cold bacon and cheddar slices....).
Mikayla took most of these lunch pics - can you tell?
And, this is a big reason why we chose to return this restaurant...
We thought gathering everyone up for a group picture would be a great idea after lunch. We were hoping to include Chip and Dale behind us, but they closed shop just as we arrived. =(
Our two youngest don't yet have the knack of these group pics yet...but we did our best.
We tried again in front of the castle (well the backside of the castle) - and Whitley wanted NOTHING to do with it.
The Schillings managed a pretty good family shot, though.
The "Wishes" program began again, so Traig and Michael caught some of that in route to "Buzz Lightyear".
Ah "Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger" ride....oh how we loved thee! Next to "Splash" - it was the most rode attraction - perhaps topping "Splash". As you scroll through the pics, you'll note those that were intense:
Those that were cocky (Michael had already maxed out his points at the time the ride took the pic)
Those that posed (No, Brayden was really not that miserable....)
And, best of all - those that were really amused. =)
"It's a Small World" was next - Uncle John was Whit's buddy going through the line on this one.
We took a lot of the Whites - still trying to get that perfect, yet elusive, family pic.
Michele and I tried to take a "twin selfie", but John was not cooperating...
Clearly, Whitley was very enamored by the ride. I've always loved this ride and am not bothered by the repetition - but, even if you were, watching Whitley go through it made it all worthwhile.
This was Mikayla's picture creation - taken during a bit of a break in the action...
Meanwhile, Whitley, Michele, Travis and Stephanie headed to "Dumbo".
Needless to say, it was a hit!
But, by and far, "The Barnstormer" over in Fantasyland....was her hands-down favorite!!!
And, after all that excitement...Whitley got a little worn out.
And literally fell asleep while Aunt Chele was carrying her.
The rest of us took a little break too- in the "Tangled (Rapunzel)" section of the newly designed Fantasyland. It was very impressive with little areas dedicated to each princess' story.
Whitley (now awake) hung out as well...
This was taken en route to "The Haunted Mansion".
A few rides later, we'd worked up an appetite for
John and Michael were interested in something with a little more protein, so we wandered all through Adventure and Frontier Land before finally finding a place that fit the bill. This large bird thought so too, it literally swooped down and sat across the table from another patron - pretty wild!
Prior to dinner the Whites departed, as did Mom and Dad before that. So, it was The Schillings and Rileys loaded up again for another ride on "Splash".
Clearly, it held us very captivated. ;)
The kids (and in the beginning, Michael) kept riding the mountain rides, while Michele, John, and I found a spot along Main Street.
And, we watched the Electrical Parade, having joined up with Mom and Dad.
Eventually, our kids returned to us, and we took some sweet Mommy/daughter pics.
Following the parade, there was a very special nighttime show that displayed images from Disney movies to create a program that appeared on the surface of the castle. It was beautiful, but it was even more spectacular once the fireworks began.
And, then, we called it a wrap for our first day in the Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, we were able to ride the faster form of transportation - the Monorail - back to our vehicle, and then, immediately hit our beds to prepare to start the fun all over again the next morning.
DAY THREE PRICELESS MOMENTS:
- All of us, waiting in anticipation, at the entrance gates - everyone was on a high...
- The first ride of "Splash"...
- Holding my daughter close to my heart during the night time fireworks show.