Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12/7/16 Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours

So, if you stay at a Disney Resort, you get access to the parks when other people don't. If it's an extra magic hour in the morning, you get to enter the park ahead of time, usually an hour. 

But if it's extra magic NIGHT hours, it's two and sometimes three hours where, if your Magic Band doesn't scan as a current resort guest, you get turned away from all the rides. If you have the stamina to be there in that last hour, just about everything is a walk-on. 

Wednesday night was the Magic Kingdom Extra Magic night. Tuesday and Thursday and Friday of the week we were visiting, the park closed at 7 unless you'd bought a special "hard ticket" for the Christmas Party event. We'd done the Christmas Party almost every family visit and the price has skyrocketed in recent years, so there was no way we were forking out another $160 to enter the park for one of those evenings. So Wednesday was it. I'd gotten just a taste on our arrival night as the park was closing, but the Magic Kingdom at night is a completely different park and my very favorite, so that afternoon nap was crucial

We boarded the boat for the MK at dusk and the evening color did not disappoint. 

You can see the Contemporary in the distance as well as the newest addition to the Poly, the on-water bungalows. See how all their patios are facing the water? They're also facing the Magic Kingdom. And on those patios, there are hot tubs and a bamboo swing. You can literally sit out there and watch the fireworks from your bungalow. I'm not jealous. Not at all. 

pulling away from the dock and looking to the other side of the resort, that building on the water is Tuvalu, the one we stayed in for free one night in 2014 when we could watch the fireworks from our balcony and the sun rise over the water. Didn't spoil me one bit.

The Grand Floridian from Bay Lake

and ahead of us, with the monorail gliding by, is our destination

our dock awaits!

a dusk stroll down Main Street to start

and there's a castle show going on as we approach and get excited because there is actually going to be some color in the clouds behind the castle when they set off the little fireworks at the end. 



And then I chased the colorful clouds into Liberty Square

and to dinner there! Columbia Harbour House is tied with Pecos Bill's (after those yummy veggie nachos) for my favorite quick service place to dine in the park.

After dinner, a stroll around Frontierland as dark fell

Splash Mountain was not running this week. So odd to see it quiet and dry!

Into Adventureland

Time for Tiki Birds!

at Tiki Birds, this little girl in front of us was there for her birthday in a Mary Poppins lit-up dress handmade by her mom

The Tikiroom Bird Show must've been such a show-stopped when it debuted in Disneyland in the 50s and was on hand for opening day in 1971. But it's showing it's age and kids these days just aren't as impressed by these old animatronics, even if they are built into the walls and posts of the room as well as the birds and plants. It's visited more by older folks who love the nostalgia, but I wonder how much longer it will last. Disney is bulldozing a lot of these older whimsical options for the newest, brightest, cutting-edge technology at a very rapid pace.

the Tiki drummers on the walls all move and play with the birds

the Tiki's in the posts of the room blink at you at the end as you exit

And back through to Liberty Square for a Riverboat ride.

the line of people you see on the left are waiting on the Haunted Mansion. The Riverboat gives you an angle on the Mansion you can't get anywhere else.

To wit:

This is the angle you can get on l

Into the Stretching Room:

pushing the limits of the F2.8 in HM, but I wanted to try. It's almost totally dark in the ride, so getting anything to show up is a real challenge without a tripod and external shutter button.

the ballroom scene comes alive with ghosts dancing on the floor, blowing out candles on a cake at the table, dueling from the picture frames, hanging from the chandeliers, playing on the organ

Off HM and back through Fantasyland, I manage a photo of the ride without a billion people in line. Must've gone down for a bit. 

We cross through the back of the castle from Fantasyland. They typically shut the doors here and make you go around close to a show time, but we hit it just right. 

and get to see what it's like when the crowds are watching the stage shows!

From there, back to Tomorrowland for a ride on the PeopleMover. 

The PeopleMover takes you on a tour of Tomorrowland from above

And through a section of Space Mountain

Post people-mover, we opted for Teacups. I should add Brian had caught up to us after Haunted Mansion for the rest of the night. 

Brian asked if we'd ever done Enchanted Tales with Belle, which we had not. It was part of the Fantasyland expansion that opened in the past couple of years and with our kids being grown, it hadn't been on our radar. It's very cute, with a secret mirror that turns into a door and takes you into the castle with a lot of cutting-edge animatronics.

Kids (and some adults, including Brian) are picked to be a part of the Tale.

This is Belle reacting to "the Beast" roaring

After this, we had fastpasses for Pan, which is always a long wait without them. 

Post-Pan, we headed past Gaston's to ride Little Mermaid

And then Brian made the mistake of telling me he'd never ridden Cinderella's Carousel. So I insisted.

And then we popped in to meet some princesses.

the smolder with Rapunzel

Then back through Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain

And then Pirates. At this point, all walk-on, but with all the walking we'd been doing, we were pooping out quick.

So once more to the castle and back down Main Street. We left the park with about 20 minutes to 1:00, so almost made the whole night. 

Both thinking: my feet are killing me

last time through Main Street, I had to take a Stitch picture to send to Sammi and tell her I missed her. 


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