It's easy to get into a routine when you visit an amusement park, and that's what we seem to have done at Disney World. We start by going down Main Street, take a right towards Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and circle around the park. We tend to stop at our favorite things and skip things we've never really tried. On our most recent trip, we decided to be deliberate about stopping to visit those things we usually walk by on a quest to get to the familiar. It was a good decision; adding an element of fresh to a visit we always anticipate.
Our first stop was Mickey's PhilharMagic. We see this name on our fast pass options, but never knew what it was...we'd never stopped in before. This time, we did. Turns out it was an enchanting 3D movie musical on a screen with interactive features (such as air you could feel blowing, a light mist of water, etc.). I loved it because there were songs I had long forgotten about but still loved when I heard them that played on the screen, right along with some of our favorite characters. There were songs we did remember (and still love) too, like those from Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.
We actually have been on the Liberty Square Riverboat before, but it's been awhile, and while it's always something we look at, it's not something we always stop to board. It's really a pleasant ride with lots to see along the way. It's good to sit and rest, and it's always beautiful to see. It's a truly magnificent boat. These type of vessels have such a comfortable feel to them; they just look and feel like a lazy summer vacation day. I love them.
The Hall of President's is a great place to spend some time. It's interesting to see the memorabilia on display, whether it is permanent, or there on a loan (like a famous first lady's bejeweld lil' doggie purse was, that was also shown of her in a photograph holding it, next to her husband), or this portrait of George Washington.
I appreciate that they have The Great Seal of the United States roped off so people cannot step on it (it is a big rug display on the floor).
I am a sucker for a Christmas store, and I always try to get an ornament for our tree whenever we take a trip. Sometimes I pop into the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe but never for too long. I always figure I don't want to carry around delicate items while we're going on rides and such. Little did I know, until this trip, that they will have your purchases sent to your hotel room free of charge. Well, that is a game changer.
We purchased one of these many years ago (because it was not glass so we didn't think it would get broken going around the park...and it didn't), but when we got ours there was only a small selection of colors. Now they have the whole rainbow and more to choose from. This is just a small variety that you see in the photo.
This encased ornament is one I haven't seen before, and I liked it because it protected the fragile figurines inside.
When we were done browsing, we went by the castle. One thing they did this year, that I don't remember seeing ever before, was run film strips across it at the end of the night; you were actually sitting or standing there, watching Disney films play on the surface of the castle. It was cool! I looked it up when I got home and it is called An Evening of Fairytales:
We made it to the water ride: Splash Mountain. Fortunately, we had this as one of our selections for the Fast Pass, so we just got on when we got to the entrance (no long wait for us, which was fortunate because those who did not use their Fast Pass for it were stuck in a very long line). Fast Pass, in case you do not know, is free and you can pick three rides initially to sign up for on an app you put on your phone. Keep your admission ticket because you need the number to sign up on the app, and the pass itself to access entry to the rides. It is so worth the short amount of time it takes to sign up and use the app., and it's free. So many people had on raincoats but no one really got that wet. I was glad because it was actually kind of chilly (a pants-and-light-jacket-required kind of day).
This is the hill you go down on your boat. It seems to be a straight vertical slope which makes it exciting to ride. They take your picture here when you go down the hill and you can purchase it if you like at the end. The pictures are usually pretty funny, especially for those who don't realize one is going to be taken.
Instead of stopping at the same restaurants we always do, we opted to go to all new ones. We got the burger and nachos (seen on the left) and the rice bowl (seen on the right). I was so happy that you could use the salad bar to decorate your rice bowl, and I surely did. It came with black beans and yellow rice, and I added corn, peppers, onions, Jalapenos and cheese. It truly hit the spot!
We also stopped to play a game of checkers on a barrel in the gift shoppe that was right next door to the water ride. I'd like to say I won, but... I didn't. 😄
We headed back to the front of the park because we wanted to ride the Mad Tea Cup Ride. I like to ride this because it makes us laugh so hard, so there's no way we were skipping that; in fact, we didn't skip many of our favorite things, we just did things differently this time around, and added new things to our list. We came across this jazz band that was getting the crowd up and moving.
We stopped at the circus play area where there is a nostalgic circus train replica, which is a nice touch for the themed area. There is a roller coaster there too, a smaller one that adults can ride but kids won't be scared of (or that scared of, if they're small). And while I'm mentioning roller coasters, let me tell you this...when we were on the People Mover, we saw the structure of a big roller coaster being built, so that was exciting. We are coaster lovers from way back...
We did finally make it to the tea cups... and that was a fun way to end the night.
This gift shop was so cute and had such great items. These apples being decorated behind the glass was so appealing to me. I bet one would taste delicious, and they're certainly an adorable item to purchase too. I was treated out by this point though, and didn't get one. Maybe next time. :) They had a great rolling pin I don't need (we have one), that I would love to own too. 😍 Disney has a knack for making things cute.
We then stopped for the obligatory photo next to the lit-up castle (which is always gorgeous) and made our way to the monorail to head home. I honestly like the ferry better, which is another option that takes you to the parking lot, but the line to the monorail seemed shorter. One thing to note, on our drive back to the hotel we saw the new Disney Skyliner that takes guests from certain Disney Hotels to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. I didn't even know that had been built, so that was a surprise to see! We also heard on the news that Disney has purchased quite a few acres (hundreds!) in the area, so maybe more surprises are in store.
If you are a Florida Resident be sure to check out the extra savings (and they are good!) that you can get right now on the 4-day passes. There are payment plans for the annual passes too, if you are interested. Whether you are a resident of the state or not, I recommend a trip to the park. Disney World is always a good idea. :)