It was fun being a kid for a day in Disney World Magic Kingdom, especially during Walt Disney World 50, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Resort. It truly felt special being a part of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
Seniorhood second time around
My BFF M and I had made a weekend stopover in Orlando, after our Amtrak Auto Train trip south to Florida, and decided to end 2022 with a Disney vacay in honor of our mutual 65th birthdays. We had visited the Magic Kingdom as high school seniors in 1975 and felt it was worth a repeat since becoming newly-minted Medicare card holders. Unfortunately, our Med benefits didn’t include any Mickey discounts. And while it was a very expensive few days, we created as Disney says, “unforgettable memories to last a lifetime.”
So many lodging choices
When I went on Booking.com there were so many possibilities for a Disney stay. We wanted an hotel that offered a room with two queen beds, was reasonably priced, and that provided complimentary shuttle service to the Disney World parks. Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs Area, an IHG Hotel, fit the bill and had good ratings. (I always read the reviews when selecting an hotel.)
Note: The only negative with this hotel was that there is no longer any sit-down restaurant (likely due to post pandemic changes at least for now). A bar was available that served takeout. Plus, the hotel does charge a resort fee per day — most hotels in the area do too.
Purchasing Disney World Theme Park tickets
With our hotel booked, next we had to purchase Disney World tickets. There are a variety of ticket choices. We chose two days with one Theme Park per day.
Once you purchase tickets, then you must make reservations at each Theme Park. This is a very important step — if you don’t reserve your specific park on a specific day, it could be sold out — which is what happened to us even though I thought we had planned ahead.
Cie-la-vie! We made the best of things – securing a resy for Epcot on Thursday afternoon the day we arrived and saving Magic Kingdom for Friday when we would be more rested. Saturday would be spent at Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) which was within walking distance of our hotel.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, what’s that? You want to know how much our two-day tickets cost. Drum-roll please. Let’s just say I’m glad M and I saved our pennies for retirement because a two-day pass during peak season was $365 each.
Channeling my inner-child at Magic Kingdom
I’m going to skip Epcot and go straight to the Magic Kingdom. OMG despite the long lines and crowds of people, we had a best-ever day! Leaving cares and worries behind, M and I left the hotel bound for Magic Kingdom on the 9:00 am shuttle and didn’t return until almost 12 hours later. My step-counter was off the charts by the time our weary feet hit our beds that evening.
From Fantasyland to Adventureland
In Magic Kingdom everyone gets to play. After all, ticket prices are the same for all over 6 years old. M and I dropped the 5 from our 65 and pretended to be big kids for a day.
Upon arrival, we strolled up Main Street, U.S.A. just in time to see Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire Show at Forecourt Stage at Cinderella Castle.
Next, we walked straight to Fantasyland for our favorite “it’s a small world” attraction. Can you sing the song? The 30-minute wait went by quickly — people-watching is super enjoyable when you’re standing in line. There were all shapes and sizes of humans with Mouse ears, princess costumes and look-a-like family tees that brought lots of laughs. Before we knew it we were in the boat, ready for our tour around the globe. It was exactly as we had remembered. So much fun!
Our second pick was Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. It was a rather long wait before we embarked on our voyage into the deep dark seas. I had forgotten that the waters are rocky and that getting wet is a possibility when sitting on the left-hand side of the boat. Within minutes a huge splash drenched me with water from waist to toe. Luckily it only took a few hours to dry my wet pants and underwear. BIG tip — make sure you’re in an inside seat or wear a bathing suit!
Soggy and soaked, M and I headed back to Fantasyland to try a calmer ship on the Under-the Sea~Journey of The Little Mermaid. We buckled up to descend below the waves for a splashy musical adventure. My daughter A loved Ariel and and all the characters from The Little Mermaid when she was young. What little girl didn’t? I watched the VHS tape with her so many times I could recite the script word for word and knew all the songs too. This time around when I heard the melody I hummed along. So much fun!
Tomorrowland attractions await
“Let’s go see Carousel of Progress,” said M when we arrived in Tomorrowland. There was no wait to travel. Soon we would be going through the 20th century to see how technology has improved our way of life. “They could have updated this Carousel. It’s almost as though it hasn’t changed since we left in the 1970s,” said M. We both felt that Disney needs to add progress to its Carousel of Progress.
On to Buzz Light year’s Space Ranger Spin we went. As we waited to enter, I reflected on my son D’s adoration for Buzz. Buzz was one of his top toys when he was a toddler. I remember when we went as a family to see the first Toy Story movie. It was such a great flim. Now it was ready or not as M and I sat down in our seats holding tight to our fire lasers to defeat Zerg in a shooting gallery-inspired game. So much fun!
Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor was our last stop in Tomorrowland. Named for another animated movie, it’s a live comedy show with audience participation. It was very cute and brought huge smiles to those in attendance including M and me. So much fun!
An enchanting way to end a Disney day
We couldn’t believe it was the dinner hour when we started our hike back to Liberty Square to pick up the meal we had ordered on the Disney World app. Note Disney World app is extremely helpful to download when navigating any of the Disney World Theme Parks. One of our fellow shuttle passengers had advised us to order in the morning for easier acquisition in the evening. With the overwhelming crowds we were glad we did.
When the clock struck six, our salmon and veggie dinners were ready and waiting at Columbia Harbour House. I have to admit that while there weren’t many healthy items for take-out our fish was tasty and well cooked.
With tummies full, our stay in the Magic Kingdom would soon be coming to an end. Being kids, we decided to opt for the early nighttime display at 6:30 pm rather than stay until 11:00 pm. Following others along the path, we tracked down a perfect spot to watch the skies light up.
Projections, EARidescent glow, and pixie dust sparkled atop Cinderella Castle. Spectacular fireworks dazzled the night with special effects that extended all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. It was Disney Enchantment at its best and a great way to close out a magical day.
Had we created unforgettable memories to last a lifetime? You betcha! It was so much fun!
P.S. – The Walt Disney World 50 Anniversary Celebration continues until March 31, 2023. So if you want to participate you still have a few weeks to visit.