I don't think that I have the writing abilities to record what today was like. And really, you don't have to read through all these details--it's mostly for the benefit for my family, who is checking this. But if you'd like to come along on today's journey, hop on board...
Today was our first day at Magic Kingdom. If you've ever been there, you know there's so much to see and do that it's almost too much to take in. We paced ourselves, getting the lay of the land and hitting a few of the rides we didn't want to miss (the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Goofy's Barnstormer were huge hits). We met Mulan and Belle, despite my boys' insistence that they don't want the autographs of "all those princesses" (I told them they'd thank me someday). But by mid-afternoon, we were all tired, and we came back to our hotel for an afternoon rest. When we headed back to the park at 4:30, we were refreshed and ready for a full evening. And it was a good thing, because the magic was really about to begin...
First we scared the bejeebers out of the oldest two on the Haunted Mansion ride--four-year-old Joseph was the bravest of the bunch. Then we headed to our first character dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern. We ate with Minnie, Pluto, Chip and Dale, and the star of the show--Goofy. The characters were delightful--so interactive with the kids. At one point Pluto chased seven-year-old Stephen around our table, and he sneaked up on Hubs and licked him on the ear (the kids loved that). It was dark by the time we left (and PERFECT weather), and time to cue up for the SpectroMagic parade. The friends we came with, the W family, had secured spots for us directly in front of Cinderella's castle. So we happily sat and waited for the parade with our $42 worth of light-up toys and overly-full tummies.
The parade was phenomenal. Nearly every imaginable Disney character was represented, covered in lights (here's a lousy picture of Cinderella--sorry, I don't do nighttime pictures well):
Then, the fireworks began. OH, the fireworks! In true Disney style, they were breathtaking. The entire castle faded from one color to another as the sky lit up in perfect sync with the best Disney songs ever made. The looks on my boys' faces were of sheer wonder! And I'm not sure there was any less wonder on mine and Hub's faces, as well--as the songs and fireworks crescendoed to Jiminy Cricket's version of "When You Wish Upon A Star" you could practically feel the pixie dust.
When the fireworks ended, the crowds spilled out of the park...but not us! We were too excited to leave, and the park was open for another hour. So we swam upstream to FantasyLand and rode to our hearts' content with hardly any crowds. Disney's Philharmagic was excellent, and of course, we couldn't miss MY favorite...It's a Small World. If you've ever ridden it, you know that the cheese factor is pretty high (eight-year-old Adam remarked, "Sheesh, don't these kids know it's okay to be sad?"). But Joseph and I were equally captivated by the adorable little characters singing in every possible language. (Here's a terrible picture of Hubs and me on the ride--sunburned, tired, but very happy):
The loudspeakers announced it was time to leave, and we grudgingly left amid promises we'd return tomorrow. As we walked down Main Street USA, all five of us hand-in-hand, I have to say that my heart nearly popped right open.