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Old 22 Aug 20, 04:38 PM  
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Andy C
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The Quest For Toad - The No Queues Trip 2019 - Day 2: "Magic Kingdom goes swimmingly"

Almost all the party are seasoned hands at this and they all respect the plan (RESPECT THE PLAN).

We’re up early, prepared for rainstorms (a couple of us with actual ponchos, the others with favourite raincoats that are lightweight enough to wrap up. There is a brief discussion over whether the raincoats will be useful enough in the sorts of rain we'll expect to see), coolbags at the ready with frozen water bottles and frozen Capri-Suns, and we’re at Denny’s shortly after 7 am.

We have to do Denny's for breakfast on our first day. From our first trip back in 2006, staggering into Denny's bleary-eyed and jet-lagged early in an attempt to get to the parks at rope-drop to beat the crowds is indelibly associated with Disney World in our minds. And I wonder why some of our friends don't see the relaxation inherent in the holiday.

A lovely waitress takes our order, and multiple Grand Slam Sluggers are soon on the way. Thanks to Orlando Attractions throwing in a free Eat and Dine card, we get 20% off the bill (this card was an afterthought to us before the holiday; it rapidly becomes a valued treasure). The roads are clear and we whisk off to Magic Kingdom to get the monorail over before the Park opens.

We’re there just after the opening of Main Street and we pop in to Guest Services to discuss DS (Xander).

DS, who will henceforth be known as The Lad in these reports, is severely autistic and registered disabled. He has done incredibly well at controlling his meltdowns and frustrations over the past few years - if he hadn't, we wouldn't even be here. The Disability Access Service (DAS) Pass is a wonderful resource.

As The Lad has been doing so well, we want to encourage his ability to wait in line where possible. We do, however, fully understand that it's not just us who would be affected in a meltdown - we could end up damaging other guests' experiences, and we're usually pretty good at reading the precursor signs. Having the resources of the DAS card gives us a 'reserve parachute', and we'd pretty much decided to try to only use it maybe once per day. I've booked plenty of FastPasses, after all, and planned very carefully.

If things look to be going wrong, or the heat and crowds start really getting to The Lad, we'll not hesitate to redo the plans and the DAS card would be a lifesaver in that scenario.

The day was hot and glorious – and it was only 8:45. I briefly wondered just how hot and glorious it could get by 2 or 3 o'clock, before considering how glorious the air-conditioned buildings on Main Street looked to be, and put it out of my mind.

We wandered up Main Street to take in the “Let the Magic Begin” celebration at Cinderellas Castle, and walked out towards Frontierland. We were aiming to rope-drop Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (my Fastpasses were only coming on from shortly before midday, following advice that it’s a waste to use them up when the queues are going to be short, anyway).

And… we found a literal “rope drop!” On our way in to Adventureland! We’ve never actually seen this before; we’re finally on time…

It's not a myth after all! Three earlier trips, with us aiming to hit rope drop every day, and never quite getting there on time. Things never go this well to plan for us. Something has to go wrong, right?

The rope dropped, and we walked briskly towards Big Mountain Railroad. Unfortunately, Splash Mountain was out of operation. This might take a bit of explanation: we weren't actually planning on doing Splash Mountain (to us, it's rather a surreal experience winding through the Brer Rabbit stuff for ages first. While I do like the drop, and the weirdness has grown on me over the years, I'd only really go on it if there was no queue at all (and what are the odds of that?), and I wouldn't use up a FastPass on it.

However - other opinions are very much available, and a lot of other people love it. Not only am I fine with he variety of opinions, I was relying on it: if a whole bunch of people were heading Splash-Mountain-wards, the queue for Big Thunder would be far less.

But it wasn't, so they didn't, so they were here.

I did sadly muse that THE PLAN was looking to have failed already (first ride at first park - record level of plan misfiring there), and we all filed in as it opened.

As it turned out, the queue was only about 20 minutes and it was pretty interesting as well – very nicely themed (in the past, we’ve always Fastpassed in; I really enjoyed the queue experience here. I reckon about 20 minutes might be the ideal queue length to get the benefit of the theming on the queue while getting on the ride in plenty of time).

Then, when we approached the train, The Lad suddenly announced that he wasn’t going on, because it was a roller coaster. Even though it was a slowish childrens coaster, and he'd asked to go on earlier. Rather than argue, we asked to Childswap.

Childswap, however, wasn’t available this far in. Fortunately, DD2 insisted that she was fine on missing it (and wasn't just saying that - she remembered going on it several times before and it wasn't really a thrill ride; she'd actually really enjoyed the queue theming, and look Dad, just get on the ride already, we're fine) and took The Lad out, salvaging THE PLAN.

After a great ride, we met up with The Lad and DD2, just as Splash Mountain opened.

With zero queue.

Remember what I said earlier? Well, DD2 definitely deserved a quick headliner. We got the Childswap sorted out (if The Lad didn't want to go on Big Thunder, there was no way he was going on Splash Mountain)

Five minutes queueing, total.

From there, THE PLAN called for looking at Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. The former had now got long queues; the latter’s were still short, so we went in. We convinced The Lad to join us and went on as a full-sized group. It has really changed a lot since the first time we did it (in 2006); I think it’s far improved.

It was still pretty early, so we wandered through the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse

It's become a favourite of ours. Bizarre, when you think of it: it's exactly like a well-themed queue, but with no actual ride at the other end. But we love it.

I think it's because it underlines the theme AND the park parts of "theme park." These aren't amusement parks, or thrill parks - they're theme parks. Just like when you wander around any park at home - but with themes, characterisation, and story turned up to eleven.

And from then, over towards food. Because it has become a Cooke family tradition to get funnel cakes at Magic Kingdom. Sleepy Hollow beckoned and funnel cake was consumed.

Together with a rather nice ice-cream cake that I thought looked very nice. But someone else got in there when my back was turned...

Coincidentally, as we meandered around Liberty Square, Sam Eagle the Muppet appeared in the Hall of Presidents...

...and there was an entire live Muppet presentation on the American Revolution.

I was asked if this was in THE PLAN - because if so, it was really a superb plan.

"Um. Yeah. Right, yeah. Absolutely."

DW's eyes narrowed. "Are you sure?"

"Um. Actually, yes!" I pointed at the line on my piece of paper: Entertainment as available.

The Lad was absolutely over the Moon from seeing Kermit the Frog and the other Muppets in Real Life.

Buzz Lightyear was calling, and we headed over to Tomorrowland...

... and then to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, where we had a Fastpass window.

From there into Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, which was a first-time visit from us, and thoroughly excellent. Space Mountain was next with our second Fastpass (for all bar The Lad, of course; Child swap worked well here).

Over towards Winnie The Pooh at Fantasyland for our final Fastpass, which I managed to bring forward on the app. I finally pulled out the DAS card to book a return for The Lad and the rest of us on Seven Dwarves Mine Train (we’d got him onto Pirates of the Caribbean and Buzz Lightyear since his refusal first thing in the morning, and we assured him Seven Dwarves was far smoother than Big Thunder).

Into Winnie The Pooh, for a truly surreal experience.

God only knows what's in those 'hunny pots' that Winnie was consuming, but I'm stone cold certain they'd get you 5-10 years at Her Majesty's Pleasure if you were caught with the stuff. Especially as Winnie obviously had much he should be charged with intent to supply.

We did all enjoy it.

I think.

While in the queue, I booked us onto Ariel with another Fastpass – one ride we were stone cold certain Xander would go on. As we came out, I brought it forwards (this "tap, grab, modify trick really works) and in we went.

While we were in there, the heavens opened.
However, we were prepared. Knowing it was coming, we’d all prepared something to survive the rain. And, quite frankly, it was refreshing. It wasn’t as if it was cold!

And we found out that crowds are water-soluble. They dissolve in the rain.

Giving us free rein (or free rain?) to pose for piccies.

We took in the revised parade…

… and went around Main Street, which was fairly popular in the rain. We got Magic Bands for all, and a couple of hats, and went around the confectionery places.

Then on to Seven Dwarves Mine Train afterwards. We then found that getting additional Fastpasses was really quite easy, as long as you kept refreshing the app, and did the grab-and-modify principle.

Over to Jungle Cruise, which is always fun. And, coincidentally, was possibly wetter in the boat than in the water.

Around this time, my earlier statement that we really needed ponchos rather than raincoats was, for some reason, vehemently endorsed by the others.

(I did say to trust THE PLAN...)

Slightly exhausted, and rather stunned that the entire day had gone pretty well according to plan, we headed off to Golden Corral for one of their “All You Can Eat Buffets” to see if we could defeat it. When we had our kitchen put in, the builder, who regularly went out to Orlando, swore by Golden Corral. But would it defeat us?

Golden Corral 1, Us 0.

On to Walmart again, fighting fatigue, and filling up on necessary supplies (such as juice and water to go in the freezer), and an intense search for ponchos for all (successful) and back to the villa to collapse.

We’re going to need a holiday to recover from this holiday if it all keeps going to plan.

[EDIT: Have found more pictures from the day and simply had to edit three photos of The Lad meeting Buzz into the post - it totally made his day]

Edited at 04:12 PM.
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Old 23 Aug 20, 06:25 PM  
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A wonderful first day, so many rides

Grab and modify are my new buzz words
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Old 24 Aug 20, 01:33 PM  
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A good first day well done on not giving up in the rain

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Old 25 Aug 20, 06:43 PM  
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Sounds like you had a fab day.. Rain didn't stop play.
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Old 28 Aug 20, 04:13 PM  
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Andy C
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Thanks, all

Have just had to edit in three more piccies of The Lad meeting Buzz because I found another folder full of photos from the trip.
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Old 2 Sep 20, 03:00 PM  
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Awww after reading your first report I love how he’s gone from the man cub to the lad.

Must read on to see if becki is still super into the fast rollercoasters

And your wife looks like she is dd1 sister in that picture above!

Good report
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Old 7 Sep 20, 09:36 AM  
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What a lovely first day, thanks for sharing.
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Old 15 Sep 20, 09:45 PM  
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Great day 😀
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