There's a reason they call it the "Magic Kingdom." To turn a Disney phrase, Day 3 was easily our most "magical."
The day began as usual at the crack of 7:00 a.m. (remember... it feels like 6:00 a.m. Central) with our jaunt to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Upon arrival, we boarded Monorail Black for our non-stop service to the Magic Kingdom. Through the Contemporary Hotel, first Space Mountain and then Cinderella's castle came into view. I don't think I'll ever be non-plussed at the sight. Even if I get jaded, the sheer psychological engineering of the imagineers - knowing the angles of sight and engineering challenges overcome - will make it worth the trip.
The turnstiles were already churning when we got to the main gates, so we went on and positioned ourselves at the tunnel under the railroad track for the opening celebration. Someday when we have our heads about us, we'll actually stand where we can see the train arrive, and the fab 5 do their big welcoming number. Someday we'll leisurely walk down Main Street and take in all the ambiance instead of racing down it like there's no tomorrow. We should have known that our quest, Space Mountain, would be temporarily blocked by cast members prior to the official 9:00 a.m. park opening. Now, we do.
We walked as quickly as the cast members did to Space Mountain, and rode, and loved it again. At 30 years old, it's very retro-future, but it so evokes memories of Star Wars and Star Trek and all the other spacey things I grew up loving.
From there, Len told us to go to Fantasyland to hit all the super-popular, soon-to-be-hour-long wait rides. From there, we hopped on Big Thunder Mountain and then criss-crossed hitting several things we both enjoy... wrapping up about 11:15.
We boarded Monorail Pink and headed for the Polynesian Hotel for our lunch reservation at Kona Cafe. The "Poly" is one of our favorite places at the World, partially because it's where we splurged last year to celebrate my big career change, and partially because it's just an amazingly well done experience. Our lunch was great, and we skipped dessert, because we knew we could get Dole Whips at Captain Cook's.
After indulging, we walked the grounds and found a lone hammock on the quiet beach... the one nowhere near the "fun" pool, and just laid in it for about half an hour, watching the boats, the birds and the gentle swoosh of the monorail going by. It was restful and wonderful. Highly recommended... just don't go there the day we're there. We want our hammock back. :D
Afterwards, we rented a "SeaRaycer" - a two person mini-boat that's powered like a JetSki and tooled around the lake. That was cool... people on the monorail waved at us and the monorail driver honked his horn. Little known fact: if you return the boat in under 30 minutes, you might get charged the unposted 15-minute rate of $15 instead of the published $25 rate.
That afternoon, we returned to the Magic Kingdom and used some fastpasses we collected. Right before dinner, we parked in Frontierland and called in to our favorite Internet radio show about Walt Disney World. It was pretty cool getting to be the "field correspondants" for a few minutes! Once Mike Newell gets around to posting the show, you should be able to listen to our contribution at their website. We have no idea what we followed or preceeded since we were "offline" at the park.
Dinner was Pecos Bill's. Tip - skip the fries at Pecos, and pick them up at the McDonald's fries kiosk just to the west of the restaurant. The Pecos Bill's burgers and fixins are good, but the fries are just average.
We then situated ourselves for the parade at a location that Len suggested on our phone call. It was great (as evidenced by the pictures... click the picture at the top of this post to see.)
We ended the evening, pretty exhausted, back at the ECP.