Putting the magic in Magic Kingdom

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Ok, I admit it. I had a blast. Feeling somewhat letdown that I passed up a trip to San Francisco and a bike tour through wine country, Disney World in Orlando, Florida turned out to be a heck of a lot of fun!

As mentioned previously, I don’t really consider myself a theme park kind of guy, but clearly, the Magic Kingdom is no ordinary theme park. The Disney brand, recognized throughout the world as one of the most solid and consistent brands on earth, is evident in every inch of the park. For such a busy attraction, the Magic Kingdom is remarkably clean. And all of the employees, or cast members as they are referred to, really go above and beyond to ensure each and every visitor experiences the “Disney Magic”. So although this very imaginative park caters mostly to children, there are certainly enough activities and attractions to keep the whole family entertained. Here are some of mine and my family’s personal favorites.

1. The shows and Disney characters.  Part of what makes the whole Disney experience magical, especially for kids, is the presence of all the Disney characters and the opportunity to interact with them. I love the dedication of the cast members – always in character, all the time. You have to respect that!

2. The rides. Of course, this is a big one – especially for the big kids in the group. I would imagine visiting the Magic Kingdom on one of their busier times of the year would mean a little frustration with the line-ups, but visiting in late May like we did meant very reasonable wait times. And with their FASTPASS system, you can even get on the most popular rides in 10-15 minutes. Some of our personal favorite rides at the Magic Kingdom include Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and the classic, Haunted Mansion.

3. The resorts and restaurants. Having a daughter fully immersed in the Princess phase of childhood, we just had to book a character dinner. And although we were unable to make reservations for the Princess dinner at the castle (apparently 2 months advanced notice isn’t enough for this popular attraction), we did the next best thing and took the ferry over to the Grand Floridian resort for their character dinner. And I’m glad we did – the resort is beautiful. And although the dinner is buffet style, the food was actually quite delicious. But the big draw was seeing the little ones interact with Cinderella, the evil step sisters and Prince Charming. Lots of great photo ops and I’m sure an experience most children won’t soon forget!

4. The Main Street Electrical Parade. Pretty cool to see so many extravagant floats and characters lit up with hundreds of coloured lights. The music, the pageantry, a great way to start to wrap up your visit to the Magic Kingdom.

5. Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Now, I’ve seen my share of fireworks displays. But nothing really compared to the over-the-top extravaganza put on to close-out another evening at the Magic Kingdom. Seeing the castle lit up in a multitude of colours and images with the fireworks display that seemed like it would never end as the backdrop, is worth the price of admission alone. And seeing your child’s eyes light up with awe and wonder is what makes the whole Disney experience seem magical. They really know how to throw a party. For now, back to the cage.