Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Disney Vacation: Day 3
Published on April 26, 2005 By Draginol In Vacations

"Why did Obi-Wan grow a beard?" was the first thing our 4-year old uttered when he woke up this morning as we prepared to go to The Magic Kingdom here at Disney World.

The Magic Kingdom is the favorite for most kids. But to get the most out of it, you really have to get there as early as possible. By noon, hour and a half waits for the popular rides are not uncommon. 

For us, that meant that we were basically finished with the park attractions by noon other than ones that allowed Fast Pass.  My threshold of pain for waiting for a ride is about 20 minutes.  Still, by getting in early we got to check out a lot of the rides the kids wanted to see.

I was interested in only one ride at The Magic Kingdom -- Space Mountain.  I'd ridden it 20 years ago and it was the ride I remembered the most from when I was a kid. Unfortunately, while all the other roller coasters here require children to be 40 inches tall, this one required the child to be 44 inches and the 4 year old was just an inch too short.  Since my wife had never ridden Space Mountain, I deferred to her to ride it with the 8 year old while me and the 4 year old found something to do with our unexpected bounty of time.

The Magic Kingdom really is a terrific place for small children. It is truly a "magical" place.  For cynical adults such as myself, it's a mixed bag but today's ideal conditions (72 degrees, sunny and breezy) helped keep the negatives (long lines, overpriced and often bizarre food options, stupid parents) from dominating.

If you have children under 10 and can get them there before 9am, the Magic Kingdom is (not surprisingly) one of the absolute destinations.  But for parents of older children or couples, it's purely a nostalgia run.  The evening's electric light parade is worth seeing and be sure to make heavy use of Fast Pass.

on Apr 26, 2005
I live in So. California near Disneyland. I used to go there a lot but the lines are just too long now. The best time to go is on a rainy day if it's not a heavy rain. We have what they call a "speedpass." It's like a place holder in long lines. It's nice, but it makes things a little more complicated. I feel that the parks should have a capacity limit to make the experience better for those who want to enjoy a perfect day. I know that there are some parks that do this and I think one is Kennywood in Pennsylvania. I know Disneyland charges outrageous prices so, a few less people shouldn't hurt their profits.

on Apr 26, 2005
I finally got a chance to go to Disney World a couple years ago. The Magic Kingdom at night is not a good idea. You're dodging strollers and tired parents the entire way through.

I love Space Mountain, though! Unlike other rollercoasters where you see every twist and curve, you can't at Space Mountain. I'm glad there's a local version at Cedar Point (Disaster Transport).

on Apr 26, 2005

Cedar Point (Disaster Transport).

Do you remember when that was an open roller coaster?  It also used to not be called "Disaster Transport".  I really hope that Space Mountain is better than that, though......

on Apr 26, 2005
Love the one "ride" at Disney World FL that nobody tells you about.
It's NEVER been documented, never mentioned in press releases, and there are no lines! (no actual "ride" either)
Every night at Epcot, after the grand final fireworks show ends, if you position yourself right there at the Epcot Shere, you too can witness the famed "River of People" ride. (or as I call it, "the Zombie/death march to the parking lot")
Have you ever seen over 40-50 thousand people walk past you in less than 60 minutes? NO? Prepare yourself.
I've heard the crowd is even bigger on the holidays.
on Apr 26, 2005
I've been on that ride many times after Phish concerts. Usually with only about 20K people, but depending on the show, considerably more. To make the ride even more fun, sometimes it would be down the side of a mountain. Without lights.
on Apr 26, 2005

You should be able to do a switch-off. In this case all of you wade through the line and when you get to the end you stay with the younger child while your wife rides with the older child. Then when your wife is done riding she walks back through the exit with the older child (telling the cast members that she is doing a switch off). When she gets back to the front, where you will be waiting, you get to ride (usually with the older child again).

I don't have kids (currently) so I really don't know how it works in practice. I can imagine trying to entertain a four year old waiting around for your wife to come back will not be easy.

Space Mountain is a hit it early and get away from it kind of ride.

Better than Space Mountain is Rockin' Roller Coaster in MGM (at least that is my wife and I's opinion).
on Apr 26, 2005

Have to agree with Mark about the Rockin' Roller Coaster. When we went a few years ago it was my family's favorite ride, as a matter of fact we went back to MGM on our last day just to ride it again. While at MGM be sure to catch the Big show at the end of the night (FANTASMIC!), it was the hands down best we saw in our week there. Get there early to get a good seat, it is well worth it. The all day shows at MGM are very good as well, Indiana Jones was well worth it.

on Apr 27, 2005
Is fast pass the way they try to space out how many people can come to the park? I remember that they were trying to figure out how to lower the waiting time by having people go to different rides by schedule and have a specific amount of people in the park at a time.

Is that what fast pass is?

By the way, did you take pictures???
on Apr 27, 2005
No, Fast pass is a way to schedule people for particular attractions. It works basically like this:

Every Fast Pass ride has two lines, one that is in some way shorter than the other (Disney is able to fold space with their queue's, that is why it may look like there is not much of a line but the wait time could be an hour). The fast pass line is like an express lane.

The way it works is there is a terminal outside the line where you insert your ticket and you get a Fast Pass. The terminal is marked with the return time that you will get on your ticket. Let's say it is 8:00 and you get a return time of 9:15-10:15. This means that if you return between 9:15 and 10:15 you can go through the express lane.

Anybody can get a Fast Pass ticket but you can only hold one open ticket at a time. In the above example you could not get another fast pass until 9:15 (when the window of your Fast Pass opens). There are lots of good tricks you can do with this that you can read about on websites or in my favorite Disney book Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.
on Apr 27, 2005
I am a bit of Disney nut (in case you couldn't tell) and Pirates was, is, and always will be my favorite ride. It is actually a better ride in Disneyland.

They used to have a Pirates of the Carribean virtual game at Disney Quest that I can highly recommend. It is some fast paced frantic fun.
on Apr 27, 2005
I've never been to ANYTHING Disney, and while I had the inkling as a child, now I could care less.

And this is also really me, a vacation is something where I don't have to travel or go all over. I can just park my butt, not worry about work, and read a book. Going to a theme park or something is definitely not my piece of cake.

BUT...I'm glad that you're getting some off time from work and time to spend with your family. It's well-deserved!
on Apr 27, 2005
thanks! fast pass it is then