Magic Kingdom Day
At 12:57 I started repeatedly refreshing the Disney App, waiting for the “Join Queue” button to activate. This is something the App actually suggests you do. Such bullshit. This is the opposite of fun. But for the next 3 minutes, this is what I do.
When I finally see “Join Queue” light up, I jam my finger down on the button. And we’re in. We are in Boarding Group 126. They are currently boarding group 88 or something. It’s hard to tell how long we have. I discovered later that the App does provide a rough estimate.
Either way, it’s time for Lunch. Back to Fantasyland and Beast’s Castle. Be Our Guest is one of the premium table service restaurants at the park and traditionally, it’s very hard to snag a reservation. But not this time. We walk up to the hostess and she confirms our reservation. She then asks if we understand that this is a 3-course Prix Fixe meal. I can only assume that some guests don’t understand what Prix Fixe means. I assure her we’re good and she escorts us into a waiting area. Everything is impeccably themed. As we walk down a short hallway, the suits of armor sneeze , and say “Gesundheit!” to each other.
We enjoy the air conditioning for a few minutes and then a Castmember is ready to walk us to our table. There are 3 Dining Rooms and I was hoping we would be in the West Wing. This is the more creepily themed room, but we wound up in the Rose Gallery. It’s a large room with paintings on the walls and a statue of Belle and the Beast Dancing.
It’s also more dimly lit than the above pic. The Castmember told us guests are encouraged to walk around the castle and visit all the room. We sit down and enjoy lunch. How’s the menu? You get a choice of app, choice of main, and the “Dessert Trio”. The price is $67. Not cheap, but not the worst.
I ordered a Schofferhofer because it’s low alcohol, and grapefruity.
The menu changes, but for apps you have salad, French onion soup, potato leek soup, escargots, or a Duck and Pork Terrine. I chose the Terrine. Boyfriend asked what a terrine was. I told him and he ordered it as well. Others had salad or one of the soups. The Terrine was very good. Paired with the mustard and jam it was a tasty spread on the crusty bread. Not the best I’ve every had, but I was happy.
For the main you could get a dry-aged pork chop, Trout Amandine, Roasted Zucchini, Poulet Rouge, or Filet Mignon.
I’ve been burned by shitty Filet before, so I went with the Pork Chop. Other’s chose the chop or the chicken. Wife was feeling brave, so she got the filet. The Chop was excellent. Huge. Juicy. Full of flavor. The chicken looked great. And the Filet? Wow. Amazing. Tender. Full of flavor. Just a delight.
While enjoying our mains, Beast made his entrance. He strolled through the room, spending a little time around each table. That was neat. Here’s a pic I took.
I also noticed that the room really wasn’t that full. I was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe the parks would not be so crowded for the duration of our trip.
On to dessert. No choice here. Everyone gets a trio of treats: A macaron, a truffle, and a small tart. Tasty, but we were all so full I only ate a little bit. Overall, this was a very pleasant surprise. The food was far above what I was expecting. But it was expensive. I’m glad we did it, but would probably not do it again.
The midday heat was kicking in so we all decided to head back to the hotel to rest and swim. The Tron Boarding pass was somewhere in the 90s, so we figured we had plenty of time.
Back at the hotel, Son and I donned our swim trunks and headed out to the pool. It’s shaped like a bowling pin to match the 50s motif. We jump in and WOW! it’s warm. Like really warm. At first I thought it was a heated pool. It’s not. Because it’s been so persistently hot, the pool water has not had time to cool down at night. Still felt refreshing. I dunk my head underwater, come back up, and I taste salt. At first I thought this was just the sweat rinsing off my face, but it turns out this is a salt water pool. We swim around. It feels so good to just chill out. We head back to the room and relax for a couple of hours in the air conditioning.
I check the Virtual Queue. They are boarding group 112. I figure it’s time to head back. We are all still full from lunch, so we figure we’d wing it for dinner. On to the Shuttle. Back to the Park. Daughter and Boyfriend will meet us there.
Still time before our group is called so we wander around and end up at Pirates of Caribbean. It’s a 20 minute wait. Boarding group for Tron is in the low 120s. While in line Daughter and Boyfriend announce that they have arrived and will meet us at the entrance to Tron.
We ride Pirates. Love it. Another must-do.
Over to Tron. Our number has been called. We get in line. The exterior queue is beautiful. Wide open space covered by a canopy that follows the coaster. The line moves at a steady pace. There are some sample cycles you can try to see if the ride will be comfortable for you. Here’s a pic from the Internet.
There are a few teenage boys behind us talking about Tron. One of them says it’s based on a movie from the 1980s. They google images from that movie and start laughing at how bad the CGI is. Philistines!
We transition to the inside queue. Down a narrow hall and into a room. There’s a large floor to ceiling screen showing computery images. A voice instructs us to prepare to be digitized. The screen does all kinds of crazy stuff while the room dims. Suddenly the screen goes transparent to reveal the loading area below. Everything is neon blue. It’s really stunning. There are youtube videos showing this (and the rest of the ride) by they do not do it justice.
We progress into another room where the queue snakes around for a bit. Here you learn that you are part of the Blue Team and will be racing against the Orange and Yellow Team in a timed gate challenge. The first team through 5 gates wins the match. It’s here where you are also instructed on how to get onto your cycle and where to store your belongings. There’s only a very small compartment on the cycle for things like phones and glasses, but before you board you enter a locker room with around 700 lockers. Just find an empty one. Tap your magicband to open it. Store your stuff and shut the door. The lockers have a door on the other end so when you exit the ride you can pick up your stuff from an adjacent room. Did I mention everything is blue?
Then on to the boarding area. Pretty excited at the point. The queue is beautiful. We are ready to ride. Since we are a group of 5, I’m paired with a single rider. The gates open and we get on the cycles. This… isn’t exactly intuitive. I can see how someone not paying attention or who doesn’t speak English would be stumped. Once you straddle the cycle, you need to kneel down. This locks your feet into place. Then you pull the handlebars towards you. This pulls a cover over your back and behind. I call this the AssGuard as it prevents you from staring directly at the ass of the person in front of you.
It’s not the most comfortable position to be in, but it works. It feels like you’re on a bike and you don’t really feel strapped in. I glance over at the guy next to me and give him a nod. He asks, “Is this your first time on the ride?” I indicate the affirmative. He simply says, “Hang on.”
The cycles start moving around a corner and into a long hallway. I can see daylight at the far end. There are blue lights everywhere. Mirrors on the walls make the room look way larger than it is. Bright lights start streaking down the hall and suddenly we launch. 0 to 59 mph in just a few seconds. It’s intense. We fly out of the hallway, buzz the outside queue through a steeply banked turn, and then back into the show building where the cycles deliberately slow down for a moment in a dark room.
Then it accelerates again into the main part of the ride. It’s hard to describe. It’s dark, but there are lights and projected video everywhere. You can see rival teams that you almost collide with. You pass through gates. The techno music is pumping. It’s pure adrenaline. It feels like you’re in Tron.
It’s a pretty short ride, but oh so intense. The guy next to me asks, “Well?” All I can muster is, “Holy shit!” He nodes and replies, “Best ride in the park.” I would agree. We got off the ride, the whole family with mouths agape. Even Daughter, who doesn’t really like coasters, thought this was amazing. We all agreed that if were were allowed, we would jump right back in line. It’s that good.
It was starting to rain a bit, but there was more to do. We all head over to Haunted Mansion. The rain picked up even more. We were getting a little wet, but soon got under the canopy in the queue. A short wait and then onto the ride. Yes. It’s another must-do attraction. Probably my favorite in the park.
The rain had let up by the time we exited. Wife, Daughter, and Boyfriend opted to head back to the hotel. Son and I decided to stay on and close out the park. We parted ways and set off in the direction of Big Thunder Mountain. Most guests were headed to Main Street to watch the nighttime show. This made the queue for the ride quite short. We rode it twice. First time we got the very front of the train and honestly, the whole thing kind of sucked. It felt slow and lifeless. Not at all like I remembered. Our next ride we got the back car and it felt like a completely different ride. Very fast and turbulent. While on the ride we could see the fireworks over the Castle. Excellent.
We wandered over to Adventureland again and found that the Jungle Cruise was only a 5 minute wait. I love this ride. So many bad puns and jokes. And it was really cool to ride it at night.
Time to head back to the hotel. We exited the park and found a line of shuttle buses waiting to take guests back to the resort. We did not have to wait long. I stopped at the food court to get a snack. Morning oats with walnuts and blueberries. It was good and filling and healthy.
Long day that started iffy but ended on high note after high note. I did not miss Genie+. Granted, the park was not packed, but it was still busy. We went at our own pace and saw pretty much everything we wanted. I’ll mark this one as a success.