My entire childhood was spent dreaming of one day going to see Disney World. I got close when my family took a vacation to Orlando when I was in high school, but unfortunately we were strapped for time and couldn’t fit it in. Once I had children, I knew that one day I would make it happen. That day came and we made it a trip for the whole family- we even took the in-laws!
Getting there was smooth sailing; a short plane ride away. Once we touched down, we rented a car and set off to find the house we would be staying in for the next few days. We decided for our first trip we would stay off of Disney property for a couple of reasons:
- We had 6 people in our group and Disney was expensive in the rooms that could accommodate that number of people.
- We wanted to do other things besides just Disney World and felt that staying outside of the park would ensure that we wouldn’t be sucked into the bubble that is Disney.
- For a fraction of the price, we found a 3-Bedroom home with a pool, game tables, and an arcade machine for our use.
Next time we visit Disney World/Orlando area we will stay on Disney property so we can see which method we prefer.
We spent the rest of our arrival day settling in. The next morning we fixed breakfast at the house (another perk of staying off property) and made our way to Disney World.
We broke all of the “rules” that people will advise you of such as getting there when the parks open….oops. It ended up being fine because we are not the typical “cram as much in as possible” people. We chose to visit the Magic Kingdom the first day. Despite not having fast passes we were able to ride quite a few things. I should mention that we went at one of the least busy times of the year so this may be why. Some of the rides still had wait times of 2.5 hours. You can bet we skipped those! Here is what we rode and what we thought:
- Astro Orbiter It was cold and lightly raining when we stumbled upon this ride. The elevator ride to the top offered us a reprieve from the elements which was appreciated. Once we got in the rockets the rain had stopped so we were able to enjoy the ride. None of us wanted to do it again though because it really was just flying in a circle. Nothing special here folks- though the younger kids (mine were 5) will probably enjoy it.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin This was an indoor ride that we enjoyed. It was fun because you would score points for things you shot with your laser gun. I can’t remember who won but we did have fun!
- Space Mountain This was one of the rides I was looking most forward to. It had been on my wish list since I was a kid. Maybe that is why I was so underwhelmed. We waited longer for this ride than any other. It started off very neat with the electric blue lights in the tunnel and from there it just got boring. The ride goes downward in a spiral motion in complete darkness and then it is over.
- Stitch’s Great Escape If you have young kids, avoid this! We went into it thinking it would be something for the kids. In reality it was creepy and scary for the kids. They cried through the entire thing- from his evil laugh, to the flashing lights, and the blackout while Stitch flutters behind your head like a mad scientist. To top it off, it wasn’t even fun for the adults. Just forego this ride.
- Tomorrowland Speedway This ride made us laugh. Imagine a 6’3, 230 lb. man in a tiny car puttering around a track at, maybe, 3 mph. I thought it would never end.
While the rides left a lot to be desired, we did enjoy the other parts of Magic Kingdom. We took pictures in front of Cinderella’s castle, admired the “town”, and even came out of it all with some funny stories. My husband and I got schooled by our kindergarten aged son about the differences between Goofy and Pluto (we got them confused) and our 5 yr old daughter informed us while debating over princess dress that she “does not like cheap stuff”.
The end of our day was the most special because we happened to be in the right place at the right time by complete accident. We were headed out of the park when we noticed a crowd forming in front of Cinderella’s castle. We were delighted when we found out that Anna and Elsa from Frozen would be making an appearance at the castle. We had no idea what we were about to witness. Elsa iced over the castle and it was impressive.
All of us considered that to be one of the highlights of the trip. We went back to the house that night excited for what the next day would bring.