The Close of 2013 Part II: New Year’s at Disney World

3 Jan

We left Keli’s house at 7:30 and after a quick stop to Publix for some breakfast we pulled into Magic Kingdom about 8:15. It took about an hour and a half to get from the parking lot through the front gates but we consider ourselves lucky because rumor has it they closed the park to single-day tickets a few hours into the day due to hitting capacity. Disney added Fantasyland since I last visited (2007) and we wanted to take advantage of eating in Belle’s castle so it was our first stop. Even though it was lunch at 10:30 am it was magical to have our food delivered wherever we were sitting and to even see the rose lose its petals. The castle was beautiful and I highly recommend stopping by for lunch or even making reservations to have dinner there (they say you need to book six months in advance!).

By 1:00 pm we had only seen two attractions and we were starting to regret coming on the busiest day of all of Disney World. We met up with my friend Kristin and her family that were spending a week at Disney and it is actually our second time being at Disney at the same time (the first was a chance meeting at Epcot in 2002). We chatted while waiting in line for her daughter to meet Tiana, her final princess of the trip, and then hit up some of the smaller attractions with shorter lines (Swiss Family Robinson tree house, Tiki room, etc.). Kristin heard they were handing out hats and noise makers at 4:00 so we grabbed those and headed for our dinner (remember, we ate lunch at 10:30!). As it turns out, giving paper horns to maxed-out park full of kids eight hours before midnight is a pretty terrible idea. Kids and adults were honking and blaring those horns and driving everyone crazy. I truly feel bad for the ride attendants and other park workers.

We had a short wait for the MK classic “it’s a small world” and cashed in our fast pass for the new Little Mermaid ride and from then on it was pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the evening. We assume the responsible parents families with kids started to leave the park because we were able to squeeze in a lot more rides and attractions before finally grabbing ice cream and scouting out a place to watch the fireworks. One of the cast members suggested watching from the back of the castle in Fantasyland but we actually found a good bench/seat/ledge in the Storybook Circus (also new) right outside of the Dumbo ride and it ended up being a great spot. It was quiet and empty. Plus, I got to ride the famous flying elephants which I don’t think I have ridden since my first visit to Disney in 1990. In all, Keli and I rode almost every single ride in the park we were interested in except Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain (the lines never got shorter!).

During our day we saw three sets of fireworks; the 8:30 regular show, a quick show at 11:50, and then the countdown. The countdown was amazing. It was hard to hear in the back of the park, but the fireworks started to form numbers and soon it was obvious that it was midnight. The sky lit up and there was 360 degrees of fireworks around us. In that moment I made the annoying sound with my noise maker and didn’t regret being in the busiest happiest place on Earth.

360 degrees of Fireworks at Disney World

360 degrees of Fireworks at Disney World

After the fireworks we popped in Ariel’s Grotto (I always wanted to see what it was like!) and snapped a pic with Cinderella then redeemed our Buzz Lightyear fast passes before heading out. We left the park at 1:20 am and apparently so did the rest of the visitors. It took us over an hour to get to the car and even longer to get off of the Disney property. It was a late night!

Sadly, New Year’s Day was rainy and we stopped at Downtown Disney to see Frozen but apparently everyone had the same idea because it was sold out. We grabbed a drink, shared some appetizers and walked around before it was time for me to head to the airport.

Despite my traveling delays I feel so fortunate to have such a busy, weather-cooperating vacation!

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