Friday, August 3, 2018

Another Happy Place Part 1

 It wouldn't take someone very long to browse through our blog and figure out that our family has a love affair with theme parks. In particular, we are drawn to the "mouse house" more often than I would like to admit. I think the family is going to miss having the ability to visit the theme parks at will as they have become accustomed to over the last two and a half years, but, them's the breaks. 
Yes, the theme parks have helped us pass the time as we've been here in California and I'm sure there is no longer a nook or a cranny that we have not traversed in them. So what do you do when you've seen it all? You head to the east coast to compare their parks to ours. 
 My brother and his wife are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year and they requested the entire family head out to Disney World to party with them which is exactly what we did.
 We've talked about visiting Disney World since Misty and I married nineteen years ago. However, a lot of factors kept us from going. For one, I didn't want to spend the money to travel all the way to Florida for something that I could see in California, a much closer trip from Utah. Second, I wanted the kids to remember the trip because I didn't plan on going a second time (yes, I'm a little bit of a stinker.) 
 This trip would be different. It wasn't a trip for me or my family. It was for my brother and all of the family. Because of this, we decided that the time was right to go. The kids are old enough to remember the trip and I will always cry about giving Disney my money (dag nab you, Mickey!)
 We had a full week in Florida and our main objective was to see as much of the Disney Parks as possible and we had to make a trip to Universal Studios since we were in the area. I really wanted to take a day to visit Daytona International Speedway, something I've always wanted to see being a car guy and race fan but it was not to be this time. Now I will have to go back, ugh!
  Now, in California there are two parks, Disneyland and California Adventure. Each are their own park and require their own tickets or a park hopper to enter. Disney World is much the same except that there are multiple parks to visit, with each one requiring a ticket purchase to enter. Like we do with Disneyland, we chose to buy a park hopper ticket that would allow us to enter any park, as often as we wanted, during our trip. At the same time, we planned to only spend time in one park per day and our first day we chose to visit Magic Kingdom.

The Haunted Mansion
 Magic Kingdom is basically Disneyland. This is where you will find the classic rides that you know and love like, Pirates Of The Caribbean, It's a Small World and Splash Mountain. Of course, each ride has the classic feel but they have changed the scenery just enough to let you know that you are in a different park. The Haunted Mansion is a large brick building rather than the plantation style mansion Disneyland and there are notable differences as soon as you take off in your "doom buggy." Pirates is a little bit shorter and the waterfall drops are a lot shorter than Disneyland's version which, to me, was a bit of a let down. I wanted this park's version to be bigger and better and I don't think this ride delivered. 
Liberty Square
 Magic Kingdom does have one big difference that I enjoyed thoroughly and that was Liberty Square. Here is where you will find a colonial town that has a replica of the Liberty Bell, a beautiful American flag and the Hall of Presidents. Walking through this land, you get the feeling that Ben Franklin or George Washington could walk around any corner and greet you. Speaking of George Washington, you can see his likeness and all of the other U.S. Presidents come to life in the Hall of Presidents. Much like Disneyland's Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, incredibly detailed and life like animatronics bring back historical figures to be honored like nowhere else. A large curved screen highlights some of America's greatest and darkest moments in our history. It's a great presentation that we visited twice during the trip. Plus, it's a nice place to beat the heat or run from the rain as necessary.
The Hall Of Presidents
 A great thing about Magic Kingdom is the elbow room. Let's face it, Disneyland is overcrowded. It wasn't that long ago that you could visit the park in the off season and stand in a line no longer than twenty minutes. Now, there is no such thing as an off season. It's packed every day of the week and the narrow streets and paths are filled with strollers with Mickey ear balloons tied to the handles, aged couples squinting at the park map doing their best to ignore their screaming grand children and massive groups of foreign visitors marching through the crowd with no understanding of American's personal space. In Disney World you still have those same people, but Disney had the room and the forethought to make their streets nice and wide. This gives you the impression that the park isn't as busy as it really is. Make no mistake, the lines are going to be long, but you will be able to get where you want to go without much trouble. 

 So what did I think about the Magic Kingdom? It was a nice change of pace. Like I mentioned, there are enough differences between the parks that it kept me busy spotting them. I like the wide open spaces and the differences in the classic rides between the two parks made me feel like I was seeing something new despite the fact that I wasn't. Having said that, I prefer Disneyland. Maybe it's the nostalgic part of me, I'm not sure. I am a little old fashioned but to me, you can't beat the classics. I'll leave it up to you to decided which is better, though.
 Next time we will be hitting Disney's Hollywood Studios, one of the many parks at Disney World. See you then. 

Brandan