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Monday, December 08, 2014

DisneyWorld Magic Kingdom

From December 4, 2014
Our goal was to visit the BVIs for another sailing trip, but since it was such a long flight, I decided to break it up and visit DisneyWorld with Bowen.

DisneyWorld tickets are expensive, about $90 per day per person. You can opt for more expensive "park hopper" passes, but in practice, the overhead of switching parks is so high that you'd never do it with a toddler, so I opted to visit only one park a day. Given the realities of a 3-year-old, we could only visit the Magic Kingdom as he was unlikely to get much out of the other parks.

We landed in Orlando and got a hotel at the Ramada Inn Suites near the airport, rather than try for one of the park hotels. The park hotels are closer, and you don't have to rent a car, since they'll pick you up from the airport, but on the other hand they're very expensive, and you pretty much have to eat on site if you don't want to drive.

One fairly well known trick is to sign up for the FastPass+ in advance, so you can skip lines. There are books and apps that tell you which rides need Fast Passes and which rides don't, but I figured I'd just wing it. It turned out that we visited on low-crowd days (crowd level 4 on the first day and crowd level 3 on the second), so while the FastPass was good, it wasn't critical.
From December 4, 2014

It turns out that the FastPasses are most useful for kiddie rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Goofy's Barnstormers, Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh, and the Haunted House. The rest of the rides like Pirates of the Carribean or Under The Sea were relatively unimpacted and we didn't need fast passes to see them. One ride that most needed FastPasses was the Astro Orbiter, but didn't offer them
From December 4, 2014

The fun ones for Bowen were the Tomorrow Speedway, where he got to drive his own car, Buzz Lightyear, because he got to rotate the car, and the Barnstormer, the only roller-coaster style ride in the park he was tall enough to do. But true to form, he tried every ride once and didn't actually want to repeat rides. He wasn't scared by Haunted Castle, but didn't find Winnie the Pooh as much fun.

One thing we did was to rent a stroller. That was OK, but it wasn't strictly necessary. I thought it might give him an opportunity to nap, but it turned out he was too wound up to nap anyway.

For me, about 2 days is right for a 3 year old in the Magic Kingdom Park. It's enough that you can do every ride (provided you arrive on a low crowd day), and watch a substantial number of shows, but not so much that you would have to repeat rides. The Orlando Park is a lot bigger than the California Park, so it's nice to see things like the steamer or the Tom Sawyer's island take on a scale that California just can't do.

As a break just before this year's Virgin Islands trip, it was just the thing, but I wouldn't want to do this more than once every few years.

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