Since we were already going to be in Orlando to go to Harry Potter World I figured we should also add on some days at Disney. I was around 10 the last time I was at Disney World and I was a sophomore in college the last time I was in DisneyLand, so it had been awhile. We did one day in the Magic Kingdom and one day at Animal Kingdom.
Y’all I have no idea why anyone would ever want to subject themselves to the Magic Kingdom. I have several friends even those without kids who really love Disney and go on a regular basis. Now having gone as an adult I am at a loss as to why. Even with being there on supposedly one of the slowest weeks of the year it seemed really crowded. I felt like all I did all day was stand in lines surrounded by screaming children. Since it’s geared at little kids there were a lot more rides that I could go on than at Universal, which was a plus, but all the animatronics seemed super outdated in this day and age. We also had several rides break down on us. We were in the Aladdin flying carpets and the ride just stopped with us up in the air. Luckily they were able to get it started and bring us back down, but they made us get off and then they ran the ride through once empty to make sure it was working before letting us back on to do the ride. The Buzz Lightyear ride also stopped on us twice while we were riding through. The park in general just seemed old to me. I was particularly annoyed by the lack of food options. Apparently if you haven’t made reservations for one of their insanely expensive experience restaurants you don’t get to eat unless you want a hotdog or hamburger. We finally after much searching around the park found some really mediocre pizza, which they billed as flatbread to make it sound fancy. I’ve had better school cafeteria pizza. While Paul used a Fast Pass to go on Space Mountain, I went to get myself a Dole Whip. Everyone always raves about them, but I didn’t even like that. I thought it was cloyingly sweet. I was also shocked at how poorly the parking lots were signed. I have no idea how I was supposed to know I was parked in the Aladdin parking lot because there certainly weren’t any signs telling me. I just had to figure it out staring at a map at the transit center. My favorite parts of the Magic Kingdom were the shows like the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and Mickey’s Philharmagic.
When we left the Magic Kingdom we actually attempted to go eat somewhere that wasn’t a chain restaurant. We went to some local Italian place where everyone seemed to know everyone. The hostess told us it would be a 15-20 minute wait so we decided to stick around, but it quickly became clear that was a lie. It was super loud and then a live musician started making it even louder. After being overly stimulated by screaming kids all day I told my husband I needed to leave. We wound up getting prepackaged sushi from Whole Foods and eating it in our hotel room.
Animal Kingdom was a good way to the end the trip. It was much more chill than any of the other parks. There are far fewer rides in Animal Kingdom than any of the other parks we were at. That did mean that the lines there were a lot longer. Luckily we had snagged Fast Passes for the Safari and for Dinosaur. We did not wind up going on the Avatar ride that everyone says is amazing because we got there when the park opened and the line was never shorter than two and half hours and most of the time well over three hours. There is nothing I want to stand in line for that long. We did go on the Na’vi River ride first thing and got through really quick. For some reason the sign said it was a 60 minute wait, but we got through in 15. I was not complaining. We went to all the shows. The Lion King one was the best. It featured lots of acrobatics and fire spinning. The UP bird show was okay, but I like the Animal Actors show at Universal better. Finding Nemo the Musical was not great. At least as my husband said its existence is saving us from the much expanded Broadway version of it. There were large parts of the Africa and Asia parts of the park that were like nature trails and you could wander through and look at animals. Those were the best because they seemed more secluded and nature like without the hordes of people that were in the park in general. Plus there was no standing in line to do them. The coolest part of the park was the Safari ride though. I generally don’t like zoos because I always feel sad for the animals, but this seems like a really well put together preserve. Plus viewing the animals by driving through it in a safari truck made it feel more real. It’s the closest I’m ever going to get to a real safari because if I’m paying that kind of money to go see animals in the wild it’s going to be to go see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba.
Animal Kingdom was also way better than Magic Kingdom in the food department. It was the reverse in that there were only a couple of restaurants you had to make a reservation to eat at and most of them were just walk up and order. There were also a lot more food choices including healthy ones. There is also alcohol available in the park including a couple of bars, which I thought was a little weird, but it worked out because we had some time to kill after finishing everything in the park except the Avatar ride before the River Lights show so we hung out at a bar in Africa and had some drinks. Well my husband had a beer and I ate a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream sandwich.
Apparently one of the themes of my vacation was waiting around in theme parks for hours so I could see a 15 minute light show. It was very cool though and I’m glad I did it. Plus waiting around outside was not really a hardship because the weather was great the whole time we were there other than that one quick thunderstorm our first day. It was basically in the low-80s with low humidity. I really did not want to come back to the gross Baltimore winter weather. It made me even more anxious for spring to get here.
All in all I’m not sorry I did this trip, but I have no desire to ever go back to Orlando ever again. Theme parks in general and the Magic Kingdom very specifically are lost on me. I don’t get the attraction. I can’t even imagine doing this trip at a more crowded and hot time of year. I definitely wouldn’t have made it through if we tried this in the summer. The butterbeers and the beautiful weather were really what made the vacation for me. Since those were ultimately the two things that made us book this trip I guess mission accomplished. I’ll leave theme parks for the rest of y’all in the future.