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Our First Disney Vacation — Day Three

Day three was once again a park day. We decided to visit Magic Kingdom again in the morning, just to hit any of the attractions we missed the day before (not to mention that with a three year old princess we felt that Magic Kingdom would be her favorite park). Then in the afternoon and night we hit Epcot to see the new Frozen ride and  IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth which is a family favorite (lots of good memories of watching this show when we were kids).

We had a good time at Magic Kingdom. We started with an early breakfast at Crystal Palace. As many Disney savvy moms know if you want any of those “alone in the park” pictures with the beautiful castle in the background and no crowds then the answer used to be to make an early morning reservation at one of the restaurants in the park. Restaurants open at 8 AM, while the park used to open at 9 AM. So if you had a reservation for 8 AM you would be allowed in the park by 7:50 Am in order to make your reservation. Which guaranteed you a crowd free view of the park where you could take all of those magical pictures…

Well this is not the case anymore as of the beginning of 2017 (might have started earlier) the park is “open” up to Cinderella’s Castle since that is where the new rope drop show takes place. This translates to a very full park from a very early time in the morning. While the stores are still closed along Main Street, you will find that there is an immense crowd all in there from very early in the morning. So gone are the opportunities of pictures with no crowds. The best chance for those would be to make a breakfast reservation at Be Our Guest (which is in the closed off section of the park) and get some pictures from the sides or back of the castle. Be warned that as of 2018 there are some early morning ticketed events in the park that allows groups of people to be in those areas enjoying early morning rides (exclusively for the people that have those especial tickets), which has almost gotten rid of that opportunity as well.

But back to our day. When we booked breakfast at the Crystal Palace the new rope drop show was brand new so people did not know how it affected the early morning crowds yet. So we were a little bit disappointed that we were unable to get that empty park picture. Regardless of, the crowd at that time was much more manageable than it gets closer to nine.

The Crystal Palace was a nice breakfast buffet. We had just had dinner there the night before, but this time around since our party was smaller (just the three of us) we were able to snatch a table with a Cinderella Castle view. So while we said hi again to all of our Hundred Acre Wood friends we got to enjoy a beautiful view of the castle. The food itself was ok, a good assortment of breakfast meats, fruits, and breads. Like I mentioned, the food here is not extraordinary but it is good.

sword

We had no FastPass+ planned for this park since we decided to spend them on the Frozen Ride (only way to not do a 3 hour line) so we just went around going on anything that caught our attention. Since we were smart and were at the park very early we did not encounter a line that lasted longer than 15 minutes. We rode Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Ariel’s Grotto, Prince Charming Regal Carousel, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. All in all a very busy morning!

ra

We had lunch at Pecos Bill before we had to head out for the second half of our day which we were going to do at Epcot. Pecos Bill was just OK, what makes this restaurant so popular is the huge toppings bar, which is a great bang for your buck

We took the metro-rail to Epcot and met up with family at the park. We had used our FastPass on the Frozen ride (which was brand new at the time) since that was the only thing we knew we HAD to do with our then 3 year old daughter. Before heading to the ride we walked around and got to see some of the art on display (at the time the Epcot Festival of the Arts was on full swing) then we went and met Ana and Elsa, this was a bit of a wait (about 35 minutes), but totally worth it for my baby.

Anna and Elsa

Then we finally got to go on the Frozen ride. We walked right on to the front and waited less than 15 minutes, however the line for people who did not have a FastPass was ridiculously long (3 or more hours). While we thought the ride was cute and worth it for little ones, it was certainly not worth such a long wait. I don’t know how waits are at this point, but back then we would not have done this without a FastPass.

Frozen

After the ride we had reservations for Akershus, since I did my booking months in advance I was able to get all the highly sought after character dinner reservations. Akershus was great, my little one got to meet several princesses, starting with Belle at the receiving room (the same Belle we had met the day before and who remembered my little one) and then many more who came to our table.

Akher

We did have to wait for a bit before our table was ready, which at that point was a bit annoying since we were cranky and hungry, but the food totally made up for it. We really liked the cheese board and charcuterie bar, the food itself was also good, this one was a big hit with my family.

Pricesses 1

We ended the night by walking to the French Pavilion, getting dessert at the bakery and then securing a spot to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth while we had our desserts. This will turn out to be our final viewing of Illuminations since it will be closing this September.

I have to say I have very fond memories of Illuminations. My parents took us when we were young and I remember feeling in awe of such a beautiful spectacle, all of us watched it together and remember that night as a beautiful family moment. We watched it again together and it was a bittersweet moment. The magnificent spectacle I remembered was no more, now it looked a bit dated, and not as impressive. However I got to see it one last time with the same people I saw it for the first time, now with my own children and husband included in the mix, we decided to look pass the dated bit of it and just remembered our sweet memory and were grateful to be there again.

Epcot

This was the end of our trip, by the end of it we were exhausted and ready to get home. The main lesson we learned was to make sure to include rest days in between park days, otherwise you end up too tired. But all in all this was a wonderful experience we had with all of our family.

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