Living in a Theme Park Day 9: A Quest for Churros

This morning we got up and there was a more somber mood to the group. Finally, after 8 days of living in a theme park we had reached our last day. We had one more day to spend at Magic Kingdom and then it was back home. Living in a theme park is hard and we were tiring out, but we tried not to let any of that get us down as we prepared for our day. There was still one more day of fun to be had! One more day to be spent at Disney!

Today was Little Mermaid day – our final day of Disneybounds! Kris with her red hair made a perfect Ariel, Justine continued her Prince theme as the dashing Eric and KG completed the trio as an excellent Ursula. You can read more about our outfits in We’re Disney Bound in Disneybound: Mermaid Edition.

We took a little extra time this morning preparing ourselves for our ride home the next day. We had plans to use the handy airport shuttle in the morning, but in doing so we’d have to catch the bus at 3:30 am! Our flight wasn’t till hours later, but the Disney bus wants to make sure you’re there with plenty of time to spare. Knowing we wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight we did our best to organize ourselves for the next morning.

And then we were off for the day! We changed things up a bit on this final day. Instead of our regular breakfast we splurged and got Pop! waffles! In case you’ve forgotten we were staying at the Pop! Century resort. Essentially these were just waffles imprinted with the hotel’s logo but covered with syrup, strawberries and a side of bacon; they were delicious!

Then we grabbed the shuttle and were off to spend one more day at the Magic Kingdom. We didn’t have a lot planned. In the past week we had quite thoroughly covered the park so we took a bit more of a relaxed approach. Upon entering we took a few snapshots of ourselves with the Main Street Station. Just one of the many ‘classic Disney photos’ we’d take today. Another visitor approached us to take a group photo, which is always nice as we probably have 3 group photos that aren’t selfies from the entire trip. However, the photo she took was not centered and barely had the Main Street Station in the background. Why can’t people take as good of photos as we can?!?

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Our first stop of the day was Gaston. We had tried a few days ago but always missed the line cut off. But as this was one of few things we actually wanted to accomplish today, we were going to wait as long as we needed to get close to this hunk. In reality though, we didn’t have to wait that long. As usual we passed the time taking selfies (it was sunny and we wanted to take advantage of the good light!) and then we were at the front. Each of us got an individual photo and snapped a selfie. Finally we got the group shot of us fawning over his muscles. I think the three of us have perfected the proper way to fawn over someone with all the cosplay photoshoots we’ve now been a part of.

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As we left Gaston we were a little at a loss for words. Gaston may be a douche, but he can be quite charming. We didn’t have much of a plan so we stopped in at Mickey’s Philharmagic next. This is one ride we hadn’t made it to yet and we were rather curious as to what it entailed. There was a bit of a wait and then we were given 3D glasses and seated in a room that looked like a legit concert hall. Mickey and Donald appeared on screen and then the music began. It was a fully immersive concert experience with some of our favourite songs and some fun 3D tricks. We were pleasantly surprised and glad we checked it out. It was very different from any of the other attractions.

We had a fastpass to meet Ariel this day, because that’s what was most important to us in our current outfits and because meeting Princesses is awesome. But when we arrived we were far too early. Within the Magic Kingdom, Ariel’s grotto is located in the middle of an excellent Little Mermaid inspired set. It was the perfect backdrop for our daily photoshoot. We posed individually and then took some ridiculous paired shots: Kris fawning over an epically posed Justine, KG sinisterly attempting to steal Kris’s voice and Justine trying to impale a frightened KG with a pretend sword. All good fun! Except for the moment Kris climbed on the rocks to get the perfect Ariel shots and got yelled at…Oops! But the photos were worth it! A number of random visitors commented on our outfits during this time and we chatted with a number of Cast Members about our Disneybounds. The general consensus was that everyone enjoyed the different take we had chosen with the characters. One Cast Member took a great photo of us with King Triton statue. She knew how to take a photo so this was a lovely treat.

By now it was time to meet Ariel, we hurried on into her grotto and there she was perched in a clamshell. Funnily enough, this was the exact same Ariel we saw at our Princess Character dinner a few days before. We loved her then and loved her even more after this. She commented on the starfish is Kris’s hair, asking if she’s found it herself, and together they discussed Flounder & how good he is at spotting potential hair accessories. She also gave us each a starfish hug when we sat down. Ariel just might have been the best princess we met, though there were all quite stellar. As we were leaving she called, ‘Thank you for being part of my world today!’. Totes adorable.

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KG had looked into the Be Our Guest restaurant the night before. The pictures of the inside looked beautiful – we wanted to eat here. However it’s one of the hardest restaurants to get in to. But KG discovered that every day for lunch you don’t need a reservation – all you need to do is wait in line! So that’s exactly what we did. As a collective whole we decided that a) we were hungry, b) wanted to see inside and c) had seen enough of Magic Kingdom already that an hour or so in line here would be worth it. Overall our wait was just over an hour. They served lunch till 2pm and as the clock approached 2 we weren’t sure we’d make it in. However, the line was eventually cut off quite a few people behind us. We made it!

While waiting in line we played a new game. Or not really a game, but we passed the time by discussing where we’d each like to live in Magic Kingdom. KG wanted Rapunzel’s tower, Justine would love to live in Cinderella’s castle and Kris chose the West Wing of the Beast’s castle. And this was before she’d even seen the West Wing…

Finally we made it inside and it did not disappoint! Upon entering, your order is taken and you decide where to sit. There are 3 rooms to choose from: the ballroom, the library and the west wing. Naturally, we chose the west wing. The library was the least exciting, with just a collection of paintings of the Beauty & the Beast characters on the walls. The ballroom was beautiful but there was a dark and sinister ambiance to the West Wing that was exactly what we wanted for our meal. Plus Kris had just said this is where she wants to live! The details in the room were excellent. In the corner there was the enchanted rose and mirror and a portrait of the Beast in Prince form hung on the wall with slashes across it. The lights were also dimmed and there was frightening music playing. It was perfect.

Shortly after we sat our food was delivered (we were very curious as to how they knew where we’d chosen to sit…did they GPS chip us when we weren’t looking?). We each got a bowl of French onion soup and a treat. Kris got a lemon-flavoured cupcake complete with a toasted meringue top, KG a cream puff stuffed with chocolatey goodness and Justine a cupcake with the grey stuff (it’s delicious!). Kris kept a souvenir – ask sometime to see the fork Ariel stole from Belle & Beast’s castle. This has become one of her favourite props when she cosplays Ariel.

Once we were done we took some time to enjoy our surroundings and decided we needed to explore and take more photos. This included the gorgeous rose and mirror in the West Wing and the beautiful stained glass of Belle & Beast at the entrance.

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Upon leaving we headed to Big Thunder Mountain for one final ride. And just like every other time, it was excellent. It may have been this last time that Justine actually stretched her hands up fully and didn’t hold on (for some unknown reason she finds this terrifying).

We took a little shopping break. We hadn’t spent much time exploring shops in our previous days so each of us popped into a couple of the souvenir shops lining Main Street and made a few purchases for ourselves and people back home. Kris & KG bought little stuffed animals to match their Princess Disneybounds from Day 1 (Pascal the chameleon for KG and Kris, a little brother bear from Brave). Justine really wanted a stuffed Berlioz, but was content with the Baymax she bought the other day (Justine now has 6 stuffed animals from Disney theme parks, one for each time she visits). While perusing the shops the parade had started. This was exactly the same parade where we received so much attention during our first day and while we didn’t feel like the stars of the show this time it was still enjoyable. Again the dwarves came up nice and close and we were able to snap some quality photos of hunky Prince Phillip. Oh what the three of us would have done to meet one of the Princes. Seriously Disney, you’re missing out! #FreeThePrinces.

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After the parade finished we wandered up Main Street and took photos with the castle. This has to be the most photographed location in all of Disney World. It was tricky to get a photo that didn’t have other people taking photos in it, but we managed. There was also a crane in the background that slightly ruined the classic photo…but we didn’t mind.

As we hadn’t had a full meal for lunch we were now ready for some more food. Also, we had made a list of everything we wanted to eat on our final day and we needed to get started. Kris & KG wanted a churro. Each of us vividly remembers being able to buy churros at Disney Park’s in the past. However, as soon as we started our search we realized this would be more difficult than expected. None of the snack carts sold churros, not a single one. But we weren’t going to give up that easy. We walked the streets of each Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square and Main Street USA a hundred times to no avail before we took to the internet. A hundred times may seem like an exaggeration but it is probably pretty close to the number of times we walked by the Liberty Square Riverboat. Luckily the internet did not disappoint; Kris is very good at interneting. Apparently there is a little cart in Frontierland that sells churros. But didn’t we just come from Frontierland?!? How did we not see it?!? How many times had we already walked by there?!?! Don’t worry, we returned and searched again. And there, after what must have been an hour (it really was a quest for churros!) we found the one snack cart in the entire park that sells churros. If you’re wondering how we missed it, it was on the boardwalk right next to the water, whereas we had always followed the main pathway on this quest. Kris & KG quickly bought a churro and chowed down. But even after it was bought you weren’t safe. We saw a bird steal a woman’s churro. She immediately burst into tears – despite being a grown woman, having a bird steal a churro out of your hands is terrifying & traumatic. Upon seeing that Kris & KG protected theirs like their lives depended on it. After the time and effort we put into this quest they weren’t loosing to a bird. Justine on the other hand wasn’t feeling the churros, even after the epic quest. Instead she got another Mickey pretzel. It was just as good as the last. Delicious yummy treats!!

It was then time for our final set of rides. We had a fastpass for Space Mountain and quickly headed over there. Then we wandered back to the other side of the park to ride It’s A Small World and the Haunted Mansion one more time. The final ride we wanted was Pirates of the Caribbean, after that we would have squeezed in all our favourites on this final day. The line for Pirates was probably the longest we waited in and unfortunately, it was probably the worst experience we had on a ride the entire trip…

When we got to the front the three of us were squeezed into the back row of a boat. Normally, this would have been fine, except we had to be way over the weight limit. Sure the boat wasn’t overloaded numbers-wise but consideration has to be given to the size of the people. The two middle rows were filled by a family that should have used three rows instead of the two they were. They couldn’t have been comfortable, they were literally sitting on top of each other. (Note from Kris: This is Justine’s uber-poliet way of saying that these people were VERY large. All of them. Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Child.) But the Cast Member working the ride had shoved as many people in as possible and insisted it was ok. For the majority of the ride our boat sat an inch above the water – this was anxiety inducing, but ok. It was close but we never got wet…yet. Then we went down the drops. The front row must have gotten wetter than normal, with all of that weight plowing forward, but those of us in the back row got the aftermath. As the next boat went down the incline their splash came right over and into our boat. After the first drop we all perched on our shoes so we weren’t sitting in puddles. This continued throughout the ride. As we hit the 2/3 point of the ride the back-right corner (where Kris was situated) was literally submerged under the water. It was awful. So not how we wanted to end this trip. We obviously paid very little attention tot he ride when we were busy trying to now become the next sunken ship on display. The worst part is that the family that caused this problem had no idea and were not affected at all. Grrrr. We were not impressed. (Although it is a great story now 😉)

We left the ride (complaining) to find some sun/dryers in the bathroom to fix ourselves up. After a few minutes we were feeling better and headed to get a new fast pass. There wasn’t any rides in particular we wanted to ride still, so we got a fast pass for the Electrical Parade. We didn’t really know this was a thing, but it turned out to be excellent! All we had to do was show up to a blocked off area at a certain time and we were guaranteed an excellent location to watch the parade. Sweet! Not needing to worry about getting in line for another few hours we headed back to the castle.

By this time the sun was beginning to set and things were starting to light up. We took this as a perfect opportunity to take more photos of the castle. First step was recreating the photos in front of the castle we had taken just a couple hours earlier. The lighting this time made it look even more magical. Next we set off to explore the actual castle – we had yet to really explore it in all our time at Magic Kingdom. As we wandered Kris snapped an abundance of photos, she could probably create a full 3D model of the castle with all the details she captured. But it was so easy to get carried away, the castle looked beautiful. We also took this as an opportunity to walk through the castle. Inside there were a number of mosaics depicting the story of Cinderella. They were also beautiful. So many pictures to be taken!

By now it was time for some more food, because seriously we hadn’t already eaten enough today. We had done a little research for this one too and decided upon the Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square. We each had the seafood macaroni, full of shrimp and lobster. Yummy! The décor of the restaurant was very harbor and maritime-esque. We sat upstairs where there were sea creatures and maritime gadgets and maps on the walls. We were rather impressed. It’s not incredibly surprising that we didn’t finish our meals. We had eaten a lot already today. And we still had plans for more this evening.

Kris’s favourite attraction when she was a child was the Hall of President’s, because what Canadian child isn’t obsessed with American presidents?? Justine & KG were less excited about this, but were willing to give it a try – Justine had enjoyed learning about the President’s when she was in DC the year before. But, we were too late. As we walked by they were closing the door to the theatre. We had just missed it! The next showing wasn’t for another 30 minutes. We considered waiting but then we discovered something more exciting than animatronic president’s – we could meet Tinker Bell! Kris was excited enough by this prospect that she wasn’t too disappointed we didn’t get to the see robot Lincoln.

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Tinker Bell is located in one of the first buildings you encounter upon entering the park, which is also where we needed to be for our Electrical Parade fast pass – it was a perfect set up. The wait for Tink wasn’t too long, and before we knew it we were being shrunk down to be the size of a fairy. Tinker Bell’s area has been designed to make you feel like you’re surrounded by giant trees and flowers and are the same size as her. It was pretty magical. Plus Tinker Bell was extremely animated and personable. Her and KG discussed how to get a gift bun on top of their blond heads and Kris was very curious about life with wings. Even after meeting as many characters as we have, we are still amazed at how well each one is at knowing exactly what to say to guests. walt-disney-world-magic-kingdom-tinkerbell

It was almost time to get our spot for the parade but first we needed our final snack. It had previously been decided that we wanted to eat caramel apples during the fireworks. Knowing we wouldn’t have a chance to later, we grabbed them now. We each just wanted a simple caramel apple, not one dipped in nuts or chocolate or made to look like Olaf. We had to personally ask for ours as apparently they don’t display the plain ones.

Next we loitered around where we’d be sitting for the Electrical Parade. We didn’t need to be there early, but even in the fast pass area we wanted good seats. And good seats are what we got, right on the curb near the start of the parade route. There was still some time until the parade started so we passed the time discussing Balloon Man, aka the random Cast Member who was selling helium balloons. We were very impressed with his ability to grab a balloon, tie it to a base and give it to a child without letting go of any of the 30 other Mickey balloons he was holding. Mad skills. We had so many questions for Balloon Man: Is balloons all he does? Is he a performer sometimes? In the end, we decided KG should marry him.

Then it was time for the Electrical Parade. There’s just something magical about parades, not matter how old you are (or at least we felt like this). The giant floats with your favourite characters, plus all of the lights. Top it off with some classic Disney music and it’s always an excellent time. Throughout the entire thing we starred in amazement like the children beside us. On one of our first nights we caught the end of the parade as we followed it down Main Street. We had similar plans tonight: if we followed the parade, we’d end up at the castle with a perfect spot to catch the fireworks. Except we timed it better this time. The final Pride of America float was far enough ahead of us that we didn’t have to listen to the patriotic music every 30 steps and we didn’t have to hear them announce the end of the parade over the speakers every 2 minutes. As we made it to the front of the castle and found our spot we wondered why it was so crazy chaotic the first time we followed the parade down Main Street.

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There was plenty of time before the next event so we enjoyed our caramel apples. Delicious! And then we discussed two things: 1) Justine’s future Disney wedding and 2) a post apocalyptic Disney World. 1) It was decided that when Justine gets married it’s going to be at Disney World and every guest has to cosplay or Disney bound a different character. Naturally Justine wanted her dress to be based off Belle’s yellow dress but she wasn’t picky about who anyone else wanted to be. She just had to approve all members of her wedding party and no two guests could be the same character, which means you had to RSVP quickly! There would be a database to ensure that when we named your character on your confirmation it would be only yours. And 2) we had previously discussed where we wanted to live in the park, and we now took that one step further and discussed what would happen if we were living here and the zombie apocalypse happened. Would the park be infested? Would we be safe? Would anyone know we were here? Are there any crowbars in the park? So many questions!

Just before the fireworks we were treated to the most pleasant of surprises: the Celebrate the Magic show. This was unlike anything we had ever seen before. Using the magic of Disney they projected lights and designs onto the castle. This included scenes from movies and characters and even Walt himself. And of course it was all set to music, including an entire ‘Let it Go’ sequence. This was one of the highlights, as well as watching the lanterns from Tangled rise up from the base of the castle. It was the most magical thing ever. Justine cried.

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We had seen the fireworks while on Big Thunder Mountain during our first day; that was magical but so was just standing there and watching them surround the castle. Afterwards we tried to look up how much Disney spends on fireworks a night, because seriously the show was amazing. Justine cried again. There’s just something about Disney music playing and the castle in the background. Plus it was our final night. She couldn’t stop the tears.

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We knew Celebrate the Magic was happening again right after the fireworks, so as soon as they ended we found a better spot before the next showing. It was late and we wanted to get home to bed, but nothing mattered in this moment except seeing that show one more time . This time we were prepared. Kris filmed the entire thing and Justine and KG took a million photos. Literally, there were over 200 photos taken of this 10-minute show. This time both Justine & KG cried. (Kris has a blackened heart of stone.)

There was little left for us do now but head back to the hotel. It was finally time to say our goodbyes. It was definitely sad, but overall, we had very thoroughly done Disney World over the past nine days. We hopped on the shuttle and got 2 hours of sleep before we were awoken by our alarms. Because of all our nighttime activities we got back later than we had planned but it was worth it. We did consider not sleeping at all, but those 2 hours were sorely needed. It was then off to the airport to begin our journey home. Our days living in a theme park had finally come to an end.

Thanks for reading!
Justine … & Kris … & KG!

(February 21, 2015)

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 7: Frozen at Hollywood Studios! … Literally … | Wonder & Wanderlust

  2. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 0: We’re off to Orlando! | Wonder & Wanderlust

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