Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Great Escape

by Meghann on May 6, 2014

Oh hey, Magic Kingdom. Fancy seeing you today.

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Sometimes a girl just needs to escape reality for a few hours and that’s where an annual pass to Walt Disney World comes in handy. Especially when I have a random weekday off – I get to break up the work week and sneak a visit to one of my favorite places.

Today’s trip was filled with a lot of firsts. Because, despite being a regular at good ole Magic Kingdom (and the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort), I still have not done it all.

The firsts began yesterday when I scheduled my FastPasses a full 24 hours in advance. I know this is not a new concept at all with FastPass+, but it’s the first time I took advantage of the plan-in-advance feature of scheduling them instead of waiting until day of.

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p.s. Not sure why it says “Meghann’s plans with Catherine” since I did not book the FastPasses with my mom. Random. 

It was also my first time taking advantage of the feature in the My Disney Experience App that allows you to switch out the times for FastPasses after they’re booked. It was taking me longer than expected to get out of the house this morning and I knew there was no way I was going to make my early reservation for Big Thunder Mountain. I just tapped on the reservation and made it for an hour later. Easy peasy.

First time wearing my shiny new pink MagicBand with my passholder charm.

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I felt spiffy.

First time riding Dumbo in it’s new location (also my first time riding it in 10-15 years – maybe more!).

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I’m not sure why it’s been so long since I’ve last ridden it. Dumbo is a great classic ride and it’s easy to see why there’s always an outrageous wait.

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First time eating at Beauty and the Beast!

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One of the advantages to going to Disney by yourself is creating your own schedule. The Beauty and the Beast Restaurant is pretty infamous for their long waits during lunchtime. It’s something that’s turned me away in the past, but I had prepared myself for it this time (even bringing my iPad for line entertainment) and decided to stick it out to see what all the fuss was about.

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The cast members do a great job trying to entertain guests as they wait. I was handed a menu when I got in line, which gave me plenty of time to decide what I wanted to eat and also served as shade/fan in the heat.

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They also distributed umbrellas and had cold water stations on hand.

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I waited for about 30 minutes outside and 10-15 minutes in the AC inside.

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I eventually ended up in a room with digital ordering stations.

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I placed my order at one of the kiosks

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And was given a “rose” to scan to connect me with my order. The roses have radio frequency technology so the servers can locate you via the rose to deliver your food.

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I was worried it would be hard to find a seat after waiting in line for so long, but there were tons of tables available.

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I easily found a seat in the great room and my food was delivered promptly via a cute food trolley.

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I ordered the quinoa salad dish, which was just okay. It was a little bland. Next time I want to try the turkey baguette.

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Was Beauty and the Beast worth the wait for lunch? Eh. It’s up for debate. I mean I would definitely try it again, but I’m not dying to wait in that line again. I REALLY need to try it for dinner. Now, if I could just nail down one of those pesky reservations we’d be in business.

Unfortunately seeing Anna and Elsa was NOT a first today.

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Yeah. No thanks. Not even a little curious for that long.

The best part is, while I was taking the above photo, a family entered the queue and the cast member had to double check with the family to let them know they’d be waiting in line for 5 hours and are they sure they wanted to enter. He seemed pretty shock they were okay with it and had no complaints. He also handed them one of those red cards that tracks time.

I headed to Main Street to grab a great seat for another first – the Festival of Fantasy Parade!

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The Festival of Fantasy Parade debuted last month at Magic Kingdom. I’ve been following the development of the parade from initial mock-ups to rehearsals on the Disney Parks Blog and have been super pumped about it. The parade celebrates New Fantasyland and all of our favorite Disney characters. The initial float mock-ups were gorgeous, but nothing compares to how stunning all of the floats and costumes look in person.

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Sorry to overload with photos, but there were too many I wanted to share! Everything was so vibrant and photogenic. The parade was stunning and I can’t wait to see it again.

By the way, all photos were taken with my new Samsung Galaxy S5! I’m pretty impressed with the camera so far. Definitely worth the upgrade just for the camera.

I left the park after the parade and headed home. Another great day at Disney is in the books – back to reality tomorrow.

Have you seen the new Festival of Fantasy Parade? What did you think?

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