Family US Holiday – Day 9 – Time to be a Pirate (or Princess)

Wow! Another huge day – the feet are really starting to hurt. Today we went to Magic Kingdom proper, starting with lunch at Cinderella’s Castle.

Cinderella’s Castle from Main Street

This is available on the Disney Dining Plan I talked about in my last post, so even though in "real" money it would have cost $150+ to do it, for us it was just a couple of dining credits.

In return, we got a professional photo – looks to be 8×10 – in a folder along with 4 copies in a more reasonable 4×6 size of Ashleigh with her favourite princess, Cinderella. In addition, Ashleigh got a wand, and both kids got a few other trinkets. The food was good quality, and there were a number of other princesses trolling around as well as the Fairy Godmother, so Ashleigh got the autograph book out and we took plenty of pics.


A couple of my favourite pics from the lunch

From there, we had to head up to Goofy’s Barnstormer as both kids remembered it from last time. Along the way the kids had a ride on the Dumbo ride while we experienced the start of a thunderstorm. We lined up for the Barnstormer, and got to the "getting on" stage when they shut it down because of the danger from possibly lightning. We were seriously sitting down in the coaster, ready to go next when they closed it down.

So, we headed over to the Toontown houses to wait out the rain. We waited for about 40 minutes, then headed down through Mickey’s house to meet the mouse himself. On the way out, we came across a couple of rascals in the form of Chip and Dale. These two are great as they always muck around no matter where we’ve met them, and today was no exception.


Mickey, and the chipmunks up to their usual tricks

Once the rain had cleared up, we headed back to the Barnstormer and finally got on. The kids both loved it and we decided to go again later if we had time. Next stop was the Indy Speedway where Jacob got to "drive" his first car. The track allows the drivers to steer left and right a total of around a metre, so he had fun trying to stay straight. When he finished he said he didn’t realise driving was so hard.

Next stop was the Jungle Cruise, another ride we had missed out on last time we were here. Along the way we picked up our wristbands for the Pirate and Princess Party later on in the evening. Oh, and we bumped into Rafiki and Timon from Lion King too.

The cruise was great, although Ashleigh freaked out a little when we went into the dark tunnel. I think both of our kids tend to will themselves into fear and if they could lose the expectation that they’ll be scared, they would enjoy things a little better.


Characters and the cruise

The Aladdin flying carpet ride was next, and then dinner. After dinner it was time for the regular park visitors to leave and all the "special" people to stay behind and enjoy the Pirate and Princess Party. This is an extra promotion Disney are doing at the moment on selected nights (as far as I can tell, it was only available on six nights this year). Anyhow, the deal is you pay a little extra, and have an extra party time after the regular park hours are over. It includes treasure hunts to find bead necklaces (princess treasure) and chocolate coins (pirate treasure). A lot of people – and not just kids – got dressed up in the theme and it was a pretty happy time for everyone there. Lots of characters everywhere too.


Characters everywhere…

A lot of the rides stay open too and are easy to get on with the much reduced number of people. A special parade was put on starring the various princesses and pirates, including the only "real" Tinkerbell to be featured in a parade. Also, a special fireworks show is put on, as well as various photo opportunities all over the place. Three separate dance parties were held in different parts of the park as well as activities such as learning to be a guard with Aladdin and pirate training with Captain Jack.


…and dance parties…

The kids did the Aladdin flying carpet ride again, and we all trooped up to the Barnstormer although Glenda decided to give it a miss at the last minute. They also got to do the tea cup ride and both enjoyed the dance parties.


…rides too

The big surprise of the night was getting the whole family on the Big Thunder Railroad rollercoaster. Earlier in the day the kids had announced that they didn’t want to go on it, so I’d given up on being able to experience the bigger coasters with the kids. With pretty much no waiting time, I thought I’d better take advantage and go on it by myself. Then Ashleigh announced she had changed her mind and would go on it with me. Then Glenda decided she would help me with Ashleigh by coming along. Jacob decided he would not change his mind and got lumped with the bags and a seat at the exit to wait for the rest of us.

At the very last minute – as in, we were already walking up the roped path to get on the ride and if he’d waited a second longer he wouldn’t have been able to see us – Jacob DID change his mind and ran up to join us. In the end, the kids both enjoyed most of it except for the initial screeching and clattering ascent in the darkness. It’s pretty silly really – everything else about that rollercoaster is quite reasonable, but having that complete blackness at the very start puts some people off (both of our kids included). Ashleigh screamed most of the way like a little maniac. It wasn’t the scared, "get me off this thing before I throw up", screaming she did at Seaworld on the pirate ship (a whole other story). It was classic "I’m a girl and it’s my duty to scream" screaming – she actually had a ball, and Jacob said he was "OK" with most of it except the aforementioned start.

Both kids said they’d do it again, but would prefer not to. I take that as a win.

Home time was around 11.30pm – a very late one for the kids.

A nice panoramic shot of Tomorrowland

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