Friday, July 27, 2012

Magical World of the Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

There is a reason why is it called the Magic Kingdom - it is filled with magical air which will ensure everyone visiting the kingdom returns merrier and happier. We decided to visit the Walt Disney World for the Memorial Day weekend of May 2012. It was our first major vacation after Bali, Indonesia.
We had planned to visit only Magic Kingdom and EPCOT in the WDW and began the trip with Magic Kingdom.
There are numerous books on how to plan a visit to WDW and all the information is valuable. However, keep in mind the season and time of visit. Summer hours are morning till mid night and hence, we decided to go there only in the noon, so that we still would have about 9+ hours (of extremely humid and hot temperatures) to visit. We rented a hotel room in Kissimmih, FL which is about just 10 minutes away from the WDW (It is very important to stay closer, or else, half the fun will be over in the transportation!!).
After purchasing tickets on the spot, (again, we were saved by less crowd, but try getting tickets earlier if possible!!) we chose to take the ferry to Magic Kingdom. Monorails also serve the purpose, but we chose ferry as EPCOT has to be reached by the Monorail. The view from the ferry shows a little bit of Cinderella's very famous Castle and the welcome centre and the excitement begins! After ticket verification, people are greeted by a Mickey Mouse and a welcome centre.

I am not planning to list down what Magic Kingdom has to offer and how to make the best of the day. Because there are books which specifically do that and a single blog post cannot do justice for the same. Hence, I am going to simply talk about the best of what Magic Kingdom has to offer and what are the events / areas within the kingdom that should not be missed. 

1. The Picturesque Entrance - Entrance of the Magic Kingdom, known as the Main Street, is quiet a magnificent one, in terms of architecture and it's view of the Cinderella's Castle. At any given time, easily the Main Street is the most busiest street in the entire Magic Kingdom. My most favorite spot has to be the ones with the statues of Disney and his creations - Mickey and Minnie!
Scenes from the entrance to the Magic Kingdom

2. Disney Parades - Disney characters parade in utmost jubilation more than 3 times a day (at least in summers).  If you miss one, there is always another one. The ones most famous are the Mickey's Tea Party (at around 5 00 PM in the evening) and the electrical parade at night! People all over Disney accumulate on the roads to see both and what a view it is !!(I had tears of joy in eyes witnessing these parades, never knew there was a child in me who was screaming to come out!!).
Scenes from Mickey's Tea Party

3. Rides - Whether you go to Disney for its fun rides or just to immerse in a world of fantasy, where ever one goes in  Magic Kingdom, it's just otherworldly! (I might not be tired of using Magic, Magical or Fantasy etc, for once, because that's what Magical Kingdom is all anyways!). Elders without kids might have an ease to see it all, as not all the rides will be taken, however, some should not be just missed. For example, rides in the Tomorrow Land, while futuristic are still fun for all ages. And so is the journey in to the jungles and rivers of different continents. The ride may be a small one, but it sure is enchanting! We also took the magic carpet ride, however the best one was the Astro Orbiter in the Tomorrow land, while you cannot customize the speed of the ride, you can atleast decide the height of the orbiter by yourself, adding some more fun

From the top (L-R) - Tomorrow Land and Adventure Land entrance, The Journey through world's rivers in adventure land, A swiss tree house, Aladin's Magic Carpet ride and the carousel near the Cinderella's castle. 

4. Into some peace and quiet - Yes, it is difficult to find either of them in Disney world, esp on a hot summer holiday. However, during evenings around twilight, some streets see lesser crowds than others and also, there are some benches which are located to provide great scenery of the kingdom and can be used for quick relaxation.

5. Disney at night - How can you cheer thousands of people after they spend a whole morning and noon under scorching sun, walking so many miles here and there? Turn on the lights! Yes, magic kingdom becomes a whole new place after the lights are on. Cinderella's castle's sheer beauty has to be seen in the night, Period.

6. Spectacular End of the Day - Fireworks!! - Sadly, the day ends here. However, like the best is always saved for the last, these fireworks, which last only 10 minutes are like something never seen before. There are videos on youtube, recorded by regular people like you and me,which show the whole 10 minutes of WISHES (name of the fireworks), and I also saw those videos. However, witnessing it live was a different experience that I will not be able to describe. Usually, the night starts with an electrical parade, followed by a collage presentation of various people who visit Magic Kingdom each day (you will be very lucky if you can spot yourself!). Finally the fireworks lit up the sky and how! 
Fireworks in Magic Kingdom. The last picture shows the very last moments from the fireworks, that's how grand it gets!

Engineering in Disney is called Imagineering, and rightly so, as this whole concept of theme parks of this scale, involves people whose imagination touches skies and affects lives of million people on a daily basis, whether it's employment related or entertainment related or just making them happy!
If I had to sum up my half a day in Magic Kingdom, it was literally like revisiting a day in my childhood. Can't wait to go back again! And below are two of my most favorite pictures from my trip to Magic Kingdom -