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WDW - Day 3 - Magic Kingdom

We got up early (6:30am) to get to the bus stop at 7:30am to be at the park at 8am (for the opening at 9am...yes, I'm crazy, but there were plenty of other people there ahead of us, so go figure!).

We waited at the turnstiles, reading our paperback books and eventually the turnstiles opened.

We blasted through Main Street USA, 'cause, really, why waste time there when we can always shop there anytime?

We got to the rope drop at Tomorrowland and for once didn't jump onto Space Mountain first (we skipped it entirely 'cause he's not much for roller coasters anyway and I vowed never to ride this one again until it gets a major rehab (and I mean they have to take out the entire track and completely rebuild it piece by piece to make it smoother) because it hurts my lower back), so we instead jumped onto Buzz Lightyear.

Upon exiting Buzz Lightyear, I noticed that the line for the Astro Orbiters, which usually seems to wrap around the block, so to speak, hadn't yet really formed. I'd never ridden that one, so suggested we hop over there. It's basically the same ride mechanic of Dumbo, only three stories high (above the Tomorrowland Transit Authority). I would say that while the ride itself is tame, the view is spectacular!! If you end up here in Tomorrowland and the wait is under ten minutes indulge your inner child!

We then went into the Carousel of Progress and rode the TTA. Before exiting Tomorrowland, we decided to give Stitch another shot (and I have to say it's "cute" but still not up to the standard that the original Alien Encounter attraction held...but the Stitch animatronic is really one of the best in the parks).

We strolled over to Fantasyland and grabbed fastpasses for Winnie the Pooh and went onto Snow White. While we were in line, we saw a member of the dream team escort a family with a little girl dressed as Snow White to the front of the line so they could ride immediately. The dream team guy gave the little girl a magical moments certificate and stuff. That was nice...but it bit the family in the ass in the end of it all, 'cause the little girl was a little too little and ended up in tears from the many appearances of the Witch throughout the ride.

We then got on It's a Small World...it's beautiful inside. They've really done a good job on this rehab. Now, if only they could just turn off the music or something...

By the time we got out of Small World, we could use our fastpasses for Pooh and could obtain a new one so we grabbed a set of FPs for Peter Pan, rode Pooh and then headed back to TLand for lunch at Cosmic Ray's where we sat and listened to Sonny Eclipse, the resident lounge singer, perform while we ate our bacon double cheeseburgers with fries and carrot cake.

After lunch, we headed back to Fantasyland, rode Peter Pan and then saw Mickey's Philharmagic (which really is more Donald than Mickey...).

From there, it was onto Adventureland, to go ride Pirates. The line posted about 40 minutes or so, but there's no fastpass and the ride would only be more popular throughout the day, so we decided to endure the wait. After about 10 minutes, the line was dispersed when we were told that the ride was experiencing technical difficulties and had shut down. I guess they are learning the lesson not to fix something that isn't broken.

At the very least, this placed us in the perfect spot to be able to watch Captain Jack Sparrow's "How to Be a Pirate" demonstration which Jack performs with kids in the audience. It's very cute and worth seeing at least once.

Well, we decided that the line for Jungle Cruise was a bit too long at that point so we went back to Frontierland, since we knew that we would return later to Adventureland whenever they said that Pirates was operational again.

When we got to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, SM was posting a 30 minute wait and BTMRR was posting a 20 minute wait. We decided to take an FP for SM and ride BTMRR (and just have about 50 minutes to do other things while waiting for our ride...which might have included the riverboat or Country Bears). In the short span of time it took to get the FPs, the wait for SM climbed to 40 minutes and the wait for BTMRR climbed to 30.

We got in line for BTMRR and ended up being in that line for nearly an hour before riding the ride. While we were in line here, Paul realized he no longer had his little bluetooth earpiece thingee for his cellphone and the last time he remembered having it was lunch. He thought that he may have lost it out of his pocket while we were in line for Pirates earlier (when he retrieved his paperback book for the wait).

When we got back to SM, with about five minutes to wait for our FPs to allow us admittance (it was 1:45pm, but Paul's said 1:50pm), the posted standby wait time there was 80 minutes...mind you, this is in 90+ degree weather with humidity making it feel 100+ degrees.

We DID get splashed on Splash Mountain (the last time I rode it in May we barely each got a few drops on us). Not drenched, but fairly wet nonetheless. Paul says this is the moment he caught his cold. I say it was the kid coughing a few people ahead of us in this same line. Either way, he gave it to me a few days later.

We got off the ride and headed up to the railroad platform to head to the front of the park (to Main Street USA) so we weren't blocked off by the parade coming in a half an hour. I looked at the sign while I was passing and saw that the standby line for Splash Mountain was now 110 minutes. Seriously: WHO WOULD DO THAT?

We arrived at Main Street and Paul headed to the barber shop there to get his hair cut (he usually does this whenever we've visited Magic Kingdom). I scoped out a nice spot just in front of the railroad station for watching the parade. A nice family joined me (parents and two little girls). We were standing, but it was shaded and we got a great view of the floats coming straight down the street and around the corner towards us (around the little cul-de-sac at the entrance). We had plenty of characters wave directly at us (including some princesses and Aladdin).

After the parade, I met back up with Paul and we tried heading back into Adventureland again. We checked at the big board that listed wait times throughout the park and the CM there said that Pirates was up and running again.

We grabbed some FPs for Jungle Cruise at that point, since it was on the way, and we got in line for Pirates. Thankfully, because it had problems earlier, a lot of other people must have already passed here when it wasn't operational and hadn't yet come back, so the line went extremely quickly (like it normally did). The new additions are fairly sparce throughout and don't really throw off the whole vibe of the ride for me, which is cool. I did think that the first of the three Johnny Depp animatronics is absolutely incredible...you could easily fool yourself into believing that it is really him.

After that, we went to the Jungle Cruise and then I grabbed myself a Dole Whip (actually the Pineapple Float version) on my snack credit for the day. I don't know what the problem was with the girl who waited on me, but she was only waiting on one customer for about three for each of the two other cast members running that booth (but, the lines were all so big that I didn't want to chance getting into another line). If you haven't had one of these treats, it's pineapple flavored soft serve ice cream served in pineapple juice from Dole. So delicious and it really hit the spot!

We then headed through to Liberty Square and got onto what is probably my all-time favorite attraction in all of MK...the Haunted Mansion. It's such a classic attraction. The technology may be a little out of date, but there are still some spectacular scenes...I still notice a little something new every time I ride. There are so many details just in the graveyard and the ballroom that I'm sure I still haven't seen all of them!

Afterwards, we rode on the Liberty Belle riverboat...my biggest complaint about this is how little seating there is on this BIG boat! However, it does give great views of Tom Sawyer Island...

...by this time, it was time for us to head to our dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern. We were visited by Goofy, Pluto, Minnie and Chip and Dale throughout our meal (Chip and Dale both loved my threadless.com t-shirt that said "Honk If You Are About To Run Me Over" and laughed about it). We were served "family style": a garden salad with a strawberry vinagrette dressing, turkey/roast beef/ham, mashed potatoes and mac/cheese. Dessert was: apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. HUGE PORTIONS! The decor was similar to City Tavern in Philadelphia (which it should since it's themed to be colonial Philadelphia outside) with paintings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other leaders of that time period throughout. Minnie and Goofy both wore colonial outfits.

After dinner, we were both starting to get a bit tired and we knew that if we didn't leave, we'd be stuck when the evening parade started so decided to beat the crowd and head to the bus stop to the hotel.

When we got to the hotel, we both collapsed fairly quickly (well, I passed out almost as soon as my head hit the pillow...Paul stayed up working on his comic strip and reading e-mail).

The next morning we'd start at MGM...

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