Ok so, as is typical for me, it really isn’t an entire day, but rather a day that I go to the parks for a few hours. I do so more weeks then not. Its not beyond me to say “there is nothing on TV, I going to go walk around the Magic Kingdom."
And so I did….. And off I went parking at the Magic Kingdom’s lot. Not parking guides working at 5pm so I just parked anywhere I wanted, which is to say in the Minnie lot in a space that is about as close to the TCC’s Monorail ramps as you can legally get. A short walk later I was on A Monorail. Two family’s in the car with me were clearly on their first trips to the Magic Kingdom. They were not traveling together but the looked in their eyes as the trains glided into the Contemporary was nothing short of total awe. AS the train accelerated out the other side and down to the final approach of the MK station, there anticipation grew. This is what Walt wanted wasn’t it? Give some credit to the man that is can still work as he envisioned even in 2008.
Into the park I go and I wait just inside the turnstiles for my favorite moment within the gates of the MK. A whistle blows in the not to far distance and I know instantly, Roy O. Disney #4 is inbound to Main street USA. There is Roy, then there is all the other engines, and Roy’s whistle must rank as one of life’s most beautiful noises, and one of the loudest as well. As she pulls In, Move it Shake it, Celebrate it steps off and heads way to Town Square. I follow it up.
On my way a group of five or six Emporium cast line the curb shoulder to shoulder and enthusiastically assist the crowds with waving to the passing processional of characters A little ways down more, a group of Casey’s Corner Cast members is doing the same. I have notice the MK cast genuinely enjoys Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it. I hope it, or at lease the concept of it, out lives the “Celebrate You” Campaign. Regardless, I watch the show from the hub. The cast itself seems a bit mismatched today. Some groups are dancing as if there is no tomorrow, while other groups look a bit tired and pretty much just going through the routine. It made a difference to the guests. The enthusiastic groupings hold their guests attention for the entire show stop while I notice the lesser excited group ends the Conga line with literally 3 adults still following. Through it all I buy a Coke and Popcorn and its not until I get home that I realize my “MP Popcorn Cart “receipt says I purchased “Dibs Ice Cream” and “Scoops“. HUH????? I got charge 3.75 and 3.25 respectively. I will have to double check that on my next trip.
Now a walk through the still not under construction Fantasyland. 8 days since the official announcement and still nothingJ Well the back side of Cinderella Castle is under the skirts for routine refurbishment. Yes, you can still walk through the Castle. Off to Mickey’s Towntown I go and do some Train Watching.
Walter E. Disney is in the Station taking on new passengers. The whistle blows a few times and she slowly starts her slightly uphill ascent towards Tomorrowland. Noticing I am watching, the engineer makes of show of it by blasting out steam EVERYWHERE as she beings her chug. Beautiful site, but notice Walter’s second white walled wheel on the lead wheels is absolutely yellow and needs cleaning, as does the piston gear box. But aside from that, she is gorgeous. I wait her for the next train, it is Roy. The leading wheels are clean but the gear box is very dirty. Everything is fine, but its hear, where Walter was only 7 minutes ago, there when the Roy blows her Whistle, I realize…. WOW, that really is louder! I had to laugh because it scared the living daylights out of an unexpecting child walking down the path. Roy leaves and I wait once more, just for the curiosity. Are they running two trains or will Roger Broogie be next. Nope, it’s a two train day and Walter returns.
Off to Tomorrowland to ride the TTA. Its running, it has guests on it, but they have stopped letting guests up the ramps. They closed as they address some “spacing issues”. Interesting they the attraction is still running with guests while at the same time they are stopping other guests from boarding due to the issue. The line begins to grow, and a short while later they start letting guests up the ramp again. I go. It’s nice to have the TTA back.
Space Mountain has the lights on. In the car next to me I hear them converse about how they had to shut it down and rebuild the entire structure because it was falling apart and one night after closing the car derailed. WHERE do people get this information? Oh well. Some just like to sound like they know what is going on I guessJ Back towards Rock it Tower Plaza Station, the worst of the demolition of the old sky way station is over. The clean up is well underway. Its looking better already. On my way out, I notice the noodle station at the Plaza is now a temporary Full Service Buffet Restaurant. The area is sectioned off, but you can see the normal windows are boarded up and not in use. In front of where the registers would be, is a make shift buffet. Its Italian food, clearly not what the noodle stations quick service is. They are taking walk-ins with no wait time. I assume its being done due to the Free Dine plan. Have to create some places for guests with out reservations to be able to use those full service meal coupons right? Ok, that should do it for MK so off I go, back to the car via Ferry Boats this time.
I board the General Joe Potter, its just me and a few had full of guests. One of which asks the cast member about the name of the boat. This cast member happily explains that General Joe Potter was in charge of the Panama Canal zone when it was under construction. He later joined Disney and was tasked with creating the seven Seas Lagoon. The guest is in impressed! I really like the cast members quick and happy response. The only thing I would have done different is point out you could also see a portrait of the man on board near the stairs.
I little more details about this boat…..General Joe Potter was originally named the Kingdom Queen. General Potter joined Disney in 1965 after meeting Walt Disney during the 1964/65 Worlds Fair, where Joe was in charge of the construction of all the Federal and State Attractions at the Fair, including Great moments with Mr. Lincoln, sponsored by the state of Illinois. Prior to this meeting, General Joe Potter had retired from Military service in 1960 which included logistical planning for the WWII invasion of Northern France and being appointed Governor of the Panama Canal Zone by then president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Joe oversaw the construction of the entire infrastructure system for the Magic Kingdom, including its water treatment plants, power, and sewer systems. Most notably He also developed the properties system of drainage canals and the Seven Seas Lagoon. He retired as the Senior Vice President of WDW in 1974.
I REALLY like the name names of the Ferry Boats they were given a while back. They tap into the heritage and roots of WDW very nicely. The man responsible for makes Walt’s vision of having guests transported to the Magic Kingdom via Monorail or Ferry Boat, now has on of those boats named after him. Awesome.
As I step off the General at the TTC, I heard Jimmey Cricket announce Wishes will start in ten minutes. Change of plans…. I wait for the next boat and to be honest, this time I didn’t even notice the name. I bolt upstairs and take my spot to the right of the pilot house. JUST as she starts to leave, Wishes Begins. She our captain inches along so that the entire trip we are on the water watching Wishes. The reflection is wonderful, and the backdrop couldn’t be beat, and from the second deck of this ferry, nor could the view. I don’t know if that was planned that way or just great timing, but what a great experience. I stay on and she takes me back to TCC.
Once at TCC I notice there are A-Frame signs out that state “Bus to Epcot” and leading guest to the bus area. Its only 8:20pm, and as I get in my car I notice Monorail Orange inbound. Odd? Maybe they were closed earlier and they forgot to remove the signs once… OR maybe being down to monorails, they offer back up bus service to supplement the Epcot line when it gets busy. I should have done more investigation, but I didn’t. Off to Epcot I drive. I get another great spot and 22 minutes to walk to the lagoon for the show. The show goes off nicely, all four barges are firing off, and I am bit surprised because the parking lot was REALLY empty. So empty that had ZERO trams running. Typically I have notice that when its that low, one of the four barges is just there for the water works, but doesn’t actually launch anything. Or there are shows where every were there was suppose to be four bursts in the sky, there are only two. Perhaps these adjustments are not done based on crowds, but on supply of the fireworks themselves. Because this show has no noticeable modifications that I can see. The only issue, and boy is this one annoying, is that the back ground music for World Showcase came back on shortly after the first round of fireworks and remained on for the remainder of the entire show. Annoying. Most of the time the show volume overtook the back ground, in parts like the quiet beginnings of the finale song, it was the back ground noise that would trump the show volume. Oh well, mistakes happen. Still a great show.
And that was my day in the Parks.