Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Main Street Electrical Parade

We had a great night's rest.  Really, the resort here has been quiet and comfortable, which can't be said for all hotels of course.  Example, some have uncomfortable beds or noisy neighbors.  This trip, we've been blessed with neither of those, and in fact a pretty solid night's rest.  We slept in today, but there was still some excitement about the day to come.  After all, we were going to the Magic Kingdom again!

Our first stop was an reservation at Tony's Restaurant, and it was one that we didn't plan to go to yet - but they let us in pretty early, and we were thinking, "Why not?"

So we were let out to the atrium area, where the three of us had a tasty - and gluten-free - spaghetti meal.  It was perfect, actually.  Our waitress was not Italian, but she was from Beijing.  This obviously prompted a conversation with and about Madison.  And if you're complaining about a Chinese waitress at an Italian restaurant, please remember that it was the Chinese that came up with spaghetti to begin with.  

Although the Italians make it best…

Anyway, we hopped on the train next, mainly because it was right there, and it offered us a ride over to Frontierland.  We were going to ride further, but there was an approaching storm, and apparently it was going to be a doozy.  The reason for this thinking was that everything started closing:  Tom Sawyer Island, Splash Mountain, and the train itself.  We were sort of thrown off our schedule by that, but not really - because there was a better schedule planned.  

Our first evasive action got us into the Country Bear Jamboree, which was absolutely packed.  It is a much better show when it is packed like that - everyone was whoopin' and hollerin', and having a good time in there.  Jokes always work out better with a crowd like that.

Next, we went over to Mickey's Philharmagic, which is always a magical show.  Love it.  Madison loved it too.  The rain was starting to come down outside, but we were oblivious inside.  And that's the theme of the day, really - we found ourselves inside every time it rained.  Right there at the Philharmagic is a Fast Pass station, so we got ourselves situated for a fun time in Tomorrowland, mostly indoor stuff.  And it was there that we did just about everything, and had a wonderful time doing it.

We started out with Buzz Lightyear on the Fast Pass line, walking past a lot of people there.  One of us got a score of 350,000, a real Space Ace.  It was a lot of fun!  We walked out, and the rain was about to come back on us, so we did something great here:  we rode out the storm inside the Carousel of Progress!  We were wanting to ride this anyway, and it was just great riding a piece of history like that. Even better, Madison enjoyed it as well.  This is one of those timeless rides I'm glad they kept in the park.  

Next, we rode out the weather with a few more indoor rides that were perfectly timed:  Stitch's Escape and the Monster Laugh Floor.  Madison hasn't done either of these, and we enjoyed both of these quite a bit.  Stitch squirted Madison, which got her laughing a lot.  But the highlight of the day for her would have to be the Monster Laugh Floor.  The host there chose Madison as one of the helpers of the day, reading off jokes to her from screen, and of course asking her name and where she was from.  It was just a great moment for Madison to see herself up there on the big screen.  Mommy and Daddy loved it too!

Afterwards, we were able to head over to the raceway, because by this point the rain had stopped.  And it was just in time.  We used our Fast Pass, and got right into our car for another adventure around the track.

She's getting better, although there was quite a bit of overcompensating with the wheel:  bang!  bang!  bang!  bang!  That's the sound of her hitting the guide rail over and over again!  But she started to get the hang of it after the second turn, and the rest of the journey was pretty smooth.  She was really looking forward to the cars this time around, so we're glad the rain let up just in time.

After this, we were determined to do the one thing that we wanted to from the start:  get to Tom Sawyer Island.  Fortunately, it was open again, and so we hopped on a raft to go visit and explore.  Of course, we just read both of Mark Twain's books recently, so there was a little background here.  We explored at least one cave, went across the old rickety bridge, and explored Fort Langhorn.

Here's Mommy and Madison at Fort Langhorn, where Madison was shooting off her rifle left and right at various targets and passengers on the large paddleboat that went by.  Just like Daddy.  This is just a great big playground.  There's rocking chairs, caves, and a game of checkers here - Daddy and Madison had a full game of checkers here at the fort.

Waiting for the boat off the island, we met another family in one of those 'chance' meetings that was really nice.  It was another family that went through Great Wall Adoption, another family that sent out their paperwork just seven months after us - and yet had to wait six and a half years to meet their daughter.  I can't even begin to imagine what that was like.  And yet, here they were together as a family, and it was such a joy to see them together.  Madison and Nicole took a photo together at the Magic Kingdom.  Perhaps someday they will meet again.  

As it was, we spent a good half hour talking there - the parents.  Meanwhile, the girls were playing with the hoops and bubbles nearby, so there was at least something for them to do!

When we finished talking, we next boarded the large paddleboat for a leisurely ride around Tom Sawyer Island, and towards the back parts of the Magic Kingdom.  This was something Madison has never done before, and it was nice and pleasant - not crowded at all.  

It was getting closer to dark by this point, and the big thing we did not want to miss was the Main Street Electrical Parade.  We decided to watch it from Frontierland, which was a great spot to catch everything.  Right there next to us was something irresistible though:  the shooting gallery!

This was one of Daddy's favorite things to do when he was a kid, and I was so happy to see Madison get the hang of it quickly here.  She was rejoicing at getting targets here and there, and so were we, of course.  Look how she holds that gun after a while - the weight was a little more for her than she'd like. Still, she hit the target.  She's not the Annie Oakley that her mom is though!

Mommy was hitting just about everything she aimed at, and the two of us were cheering her on.  It was like our own little Wild West Show!

Anyway, we walked out of there - or moseyed out of there - and found a spot to enjoy the parade.  Mommy and Madison camped out where the rope was so they'd have a perfect view, and Daddy went down to this place way far away to get some food.  Pecos Bill doesn't have the normal fair for kids, nor anything Mommy can eat.  So Daddy had to march down to this place by the Haunted Mansion to get food.  And there was a huge line there that moved so slow, he would have literally missed the parade.  SO, he stopped at the outdoor market place by the hall of Presidents on the way back.  And lo!  There was gluten-free food, fruit, drinks, and basically exactly what we needed to eat.  So it all worked out just fine!

Daddy got back, and soon it was time for the parade!

So we were really going to the Magic Kingdom today (versus the other parks), so we could see the Main Street Electrical Parade.  It is due to retire within a few weeks, after quite a long run.  So we wanted to make sure we saw it in person.  Not that this entire trip was about the parade, but it was hard to resist a return trip to the Magic Kingdom today with this as a bonus at the end of the day.

Anyway, it was quite a long parade, and of course with plenty of lights.  It was like one of those Christmas nights of lights going by you, rather than you driving by it!  Tinkerbell here waved at Madison, and of course she was waving back.  Madison likes the parades as much as Mommy and Daddy.  Oh, here's a guy we loved seeing again:

Captain Hook!  We saw him and started making the hook sign with our fingers, chanting "Hook!  Hook!  Hook!"  This got his attention, and something happened that we didn't expect:  he opened fire on us!

The boat he was on hadn't done this yet, and yet all of the sudden these huge plumes of smoke shot out of the broadsides of the boat.  The Jolly Roger blew us all away at the side of the parade route.  Lots of fun!

There were plenty of floats along the route.  You can see the Wonderland theme here for this one.  We've seen this parade a few times before, of course.  But this one seemed a bit more special for a few reasons, one of them being that Madison was old enough to remember it.  And then of course the second reason is that it will probably be the last time we see it.

Aunt Shain let us borrow the soundtrack to the parade - it was on a record that we played before we left for vacation.  It is so dated the way it sounds, and yet that retro sound is what makes it so charming to us.  And it's catchy too!

Goofy is seen here driving the train to start the parade off.  We'd been seated about an hour before hand, ready to go, eating some snacks and talking with a few others.  When the parade started, the sidelines were crowded with folks wanting to see.  We had front row seats there in Frontierland.

Oh look - it's Pete's Dragon.  Elliot rode on top of the dragon as it came rumbling by.  It towered over the others, breathing smoke and those noises that Pete's Dragon makes.

Sorry for all the pictures, but it was a neat parade.  Mommy taught us to stop and watch the parades, instead of diving for the rides during these times, and it's something we've learned to really appreciate.  They do such a great job with the fireworks and the shows and the parades - we enjoyed it quite a bit.

There were so many dancers too.  This one here was winking and blowing a kiss at Madison, but all of them interacting with the kids of course.  We loved the Main Street Electrical Parade, all the way to the last patriotic float.

While we were in Frontierland, we also saw the fireworks show - it was called "Wishes."  We remember this one from before, and we usually watch it from the front of the castle along Main Street or somewhere like that.  This time around though, we had a pretty cool viewpoint, by the paddleboat.

We were along the river in the back, and the fireworks were all around us, by the castle and also over towards the Haunted Mansion.  The reflection in the water was really nice, as you can see, with the illuminated paddle boat in the foreground.

Madison watches fireworks this way, with fingers in her ears.  She loves the display across the night sky.  But it's a little loud!  But… it's also huge and beautiful!

We were slowing down a bit here as the day was drawing to a close.  We still had a Fast Pass for one very important ride:  Dumbo.  Yes, we had to get there.  But as we passed by the Haunted Mansion, we saw the line was just ten minutes long.  And Madison really wanted to go on that one again.  So that we did, and it was just awesome as always.

And finally after that, we got to go back to Dumbo!

Despite the line, we walked right on thanks to our Fast Pass.  And with that, we were pretty much done for the day.  The Main Street Electrical Light Parade was almost going to start again, and we used that time to sneak down Main Street and out the park for the day.  We rode the boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon in the dark, seeing all the lights and hotels around us, and a little tired.  And there was one final ride we hopped right on:

We were parked in Peter Pan today.  Yesterday we were parked in Hook.  We've been reading Peter Pan before bedtime too - so even where we parked seemed to have a little theme to it.  We got to the car, and to the hotel before long.  Tonight we got to bed quickly, tired and content at an absolutely wonderful day filled with God's favor.

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