Sunday and day two of my adventure began with me reprogramming my Garmin to find an alternate route to Walt Disney World that bypassed I-4. If you missed my last installment you can view it here to see why avoiding I-4 was so important.
It had been my intention to make it to the Magic Kingdom for rope drop, but my new route, which coincidentally was a much more relaxing drive without much traffic to speak of, did take about 10 minutes longer for me to arrive. Then there was the long walk from the truck (which I again applied my patented vehicle locator device to) and the ride on the tram to the transportation hub.
I arrived at the transportation center and went straight to the ferry launch. It was my goal on this trip to ride all of the forms of transportation that Disney had to offer with the exception of the bus. Having ridden a bus to school all of my life I felt that I could safely skip that experience. The General Joe Potter was pulling up to the launch just as I arrived and within minutes we were cruising across the lake toward the Magic Kingdom.
I feel obligated to note that approaching the Magic Kingdom by water gives you a sense of approaching Avalon, the magical island of legend. Of course, the Magic Kingdom isn’t an island, but it is certainly magical. One only has to be open-minded to experience it for themselves.
The ferry deposited us at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom where scores of people were streaming into the park. I could see the Walt Disney Railroad train parked at the train station and immediately set out for it. It pulled out of the station before I could actually make it, but I was able to get some great pictures from the vantage point above the crowds while I waited for it to circle back to the station.
The train arrived at the station again and I climbed into the first car. The train had just passed Frontierland when I spied the Liberty Belle steaming by. The train and the ferry boat then engaged in a delightful horn duet until we chugged out of sight. I’d entertained the idea of riding completely around the Magic Kingdom and then getting off, but my curiosity got the better of me by the time we made it to Fantasyland. In retrospect I should’ve skipped Fantasyland because there wasn’t anything there to peak my interest. I got turned around more than once due to construction barricades.
I finally made it to Liberty Square where I just missed the Liberty Belle steamboat. I decided to take a tour of the Haunted Mansion while I waited and was pleasantly surprised. The special effects in the Haunted Mansion are extraordinary considering they were from the early days and not the modern effects that we have access to today. My favorite part was looking down into the ballroom and seeing the waltzing ghosts.
I exited the mansion with my head intact and headed back to the Liberty Belle as it was pulling into the dock. I headed for the top deck to get a birds-eye view of things and off we went on an authentic steam-powered vessel. First we passed Tom Sawyer’s island and then Big Thunder Mountain. Sadly there was no repeat performance of the train and steamboat duet, but the trip was still enjoyable. The boat returned to the dock and I was off to my next adventure, the Jungle Cruise.
The line for the Jungle Cruise was relatively short so I made my way onto the boat. It was a cute, if somewhat hokey, jungle cruise. After returning to shore I contemplated going on Pirates of the Caribbean but the wait was already too long and I wasn’t in the mood for a fast pass for later. Instead I took a seat in the Enchanted Tiki Room and then climbed the Swiss Family Robinson tree. From there I grabbed a Dole Whip and hopped over to future world, pausing just long enough to watch a performance in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
My first impressions of Future World are not what I would call good. It was crawling with people and didn’t strike me as all that futuristic. I circled the area a couple of times while waiting for the People Mover to get back online, which finally happened. I rode it around once and then went into the Carousel of Progress. Afterward, I headed back to Main Street to see if I could catch a horse & carriage ride, but it seems they stop doing those at noon.
Now I was standing there, completely and utterly bored in the Magic Kingdom so I jumped back on the Walt Disney World Railroad for a second and complete ride while I decided what to do next. I decided, having paid for a park-hopper pass, that I would spend the rest of the afternoon in Epcot. Good thinking! I hopped onto a monorail and off I went for even more adventure.
I enjoyed the monorail ride almost as much as if it were its own attraction. Having never ridden a monorail before, I took it all in. Quiet, efficient and smooth, although on occasion I noticed other monorails seemed to stop in odd places as if they were having trouble. Maybe they were just taking in the sights.
I had originally planned to do a full day at Epcot the following day, so for the afternoon I thought I would stroll around and explore the different countries. I made a side-trip to The Land to see if there might be any fast passes left for Soarin, but they were long gone at 2 in the afternoon. I made a mental note to get there first thing in the morning and get my fast pass so I could enjoy the ride. Then I bee-lined it to the world to find something for lunch.
Normally on Sunday I have sushi, but being a picky eater I don’t eat seaweed wrap, but soy wrap. I strolled to Japan to peruse the menus, but they didn’t have anything I eat so I headed back to the UK and had fish and chips for lunch from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. OMG! I love fish on a normal day, but malt vinegar may be my new condiment of choice!
After a late lunch I continued exploring. No offense to the French, but the country of France in the world showcase was b o r i n g. To be fair, I also bypassed the America exhibit because I live in America and I didn’t think it could offer me anything I hadn’t seen before. I enjoyed all of the other countries including Mexico, much to my surprise. The use of color really gave the plaza a life of its own. You can continue the journey of color by taking a relaxing boat ride with the Three Caballeros. I would imagine that in the heat of summer that this would be a very popular escape from the outside temperatures.
I continued onward, taking the time to visit Norway and ride Maelstrom; visiting the Karamell-Küche in Germany; and finally returning to the UK to kick back and enjoy some authentic British rock. I was too tired to consider staying for Illuminations or returning to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks, so around 7 p.m. I headed back to the transportation hub. I paused briefly to take some night portraits of Cinderella’s Castle and then I caught a tram back to my vehicle.
Soon I was on the road, on my alternate route, back to the hotel. The night time drive was almost as easy as the morning drive except for a short section past the convention center on International Drive. I made it back to the hotel and headed back down to the pool for a soak in the hot tub before heading back upstairs to relax and watch some tv. Tomorrow, Epcot again, in depth.