Alec and I went to Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom the day after Thanksgiving and boy, was it an amazing time! I will say however, it was flippin’ crowded! That will be my word of caution for this post because if you are worried about crowds, I can warn you that this day felt like a nine out of ten on the crowded scale.
With that being said, the two of us had such an amazing time and we decided to go on this trip because I found a reservation for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. The date and time that they had available when I checked were, yep, you guessed it, the morning after Thanksgiving but I reserved that time as soon as I saw it because until then, I had yet seen an open reservation for the restaurant pop-up on the Disney website. Alec, of course, was on board and the plan to go to Disney the day after Thanksgiving was set! We are very fortunate to live in a place that is only two and a half hours away from Orlando which allows us to make spontaneous plans to the park whenever we have for it. I wish it was whenever we please, but that will come someday. Because I had made the reservation for the Be Our Guest Restaurant, I continued to check the dining website to see what else would pop-up for that day and that’s when I stumbled on the Crystal Palace. Unfortunately, it wasn’t during their breakfast time – which they’re popular for their Mickey shaped waffles – it was for dinner. Crystal Palace has always been a place I’ve wanted to try because of their character dining experience with Winnie the Pooh, Tiger, and Eeyore.
With both restaurants booked, all that was left to do was wait which was the hardest thing to do! When the day finally arrived, we were both excited to get to the park BUT that also meant that we had to wake up early to get to the parks before our 8:15 a.m. reservation.
A lot of the hotels around Disney were pricey because of the holiday, as one would correctly assume, but we were able to find a reasonably priced hotel a mile away from Disney Springs.
We stayed at the Homewood Suites near Disney Springs and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a hotel near Disney or any of the parks. While many hotels could get quite pricey, we found this gem for only $122 a night and it came with free breakfast; seriously cannot beat that! After spending Thanksgiving with my family in Orlando, Alec and I made our way towards our hotel to check-in then went to Disney Springs. I am SO glad we were finally able to see the area because the last time we went it was still called Downtown Disney! Walking through Disney Springs, I was completely in awe of the changes they had made. It’s so grand and extravagant with so many fancy stores that it took a little bit of walking until I found an area that I recognized. I highly suggest visiting Disney Springs if you can fit it into your schedule because if you can practice some self-control like Alec and me, this trip can be a free one.
Let’s continue with the reason why the two of us even went on this trip, to begin with: the Be Our Guest Restaurant! I had visited once before back when Fantasyland first opened, so I noticed some big changes since my first visit. The first time I went it was like any normal sit-down restaurant; a hostess would show you to your table and ours was in the ballroom area near the wall-length windows. This time, the hostess opens the doubles doors and shows you down a hallway where you must wait in line, so you can order your food on an electric station. Thankfully, the line didn’t take terribly long, and the hallway resembled the hallway in the movie where its lined with knights. They hand you a menu so you can know what you want to order when you reach the station so it’s one, two, and out! We both stood for what seemed like FOREVER just watching these huge groups standing around the machines clueless of how to work it or control their family.
Once Alec and I ordered our food, we walked out to the ballroom to a seat. I ordered the assorted cured meats and cheese and Alec got the fest a la Gaston. I would suggest both meals and a nice little touch that they do is provide a small selection of pastries free-of-charge.
Our firsts fast pass of the day was for the Haunted Mansion, which is one of my favorite rides in the entire park! Fun fact: my second favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean! The one con the Haunted Mansion has is it shows a person hanging themselves in the mini-show before getting on the ride. Personally, I think it’s outdated and could be changed. Otherwise, it is a wonderfully creepy ride where I love to rest my head of Alec’s shoulder. AND while I’m thinking of it, another con is if someone is easily scared in your group this ride might not be the best because it has broken down every time I’ve gone on it. I’m speaking from personal experience because my poor cousin who was five didn’t want to go on and we told her it’ll be okay, and we’ll be there, and she didn’t want it to break and we reassured her it wouldn’t. WELL, it did break down and it was in the room with the floating crystal ball with a women’s head chanting spells. Yep, she screamed, and we most likely scarred her. She’s older now and seems to be fine, fingers crossed!
Because I had made a breakfast and dinner reservation, neither of us wanted to pay another Disney priced meal at the parks, so we went back to our car and went to Chick-fil-a drive through that was on the way back to our hotel. Another reason to love that hotel location! We left for lunch at around 2:30 p.m. which was a great time to leave the parks because it’s at the hottest and most crowded point of the day. We took our meal back to the hotel, so we could rest our feet and lay down for a few hours. It was also nice going back to the hotel because both of us could change into outfits that would keep us warmer in the cooler weather at night. I even changed my Minnie Ears into Disney’s holiday edition ears so I could get into the Christmas spirit because I knew they had the lights on Cinderella’s castle already.
When we got back to the Magic Kingdom, we had some time until our second fast pass, which was Peter Pan’s flight, started. It had been YEARS since either of us had been on this ride because, for some reason, this ride is ALWAYS at a 90-minute wait and, honestly, we will not wait that long for a ride that may be 3 minutes. With our fast passes, we were quickly on the ride and I was so glad we went on because it really is a cute ride but would still never wait for 90-minutes.
It was time for our third and final fast pass: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I don’t know about this ride, Alec seemed to know where his laser beam was pointing and was able to rack up some solid points, me, on the other hand, is a completely different story. I couldn’t figure out where my laser was pointing, maybe because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but I haven’t done this poorly before. Whatever the case may be, this was such a bad game for me and I was getting so tired of missing targets that my face looks SO uninterested in our photos. I really like this ride but I’m a sore loser, so I didn’t at the time.
After we used up our three fast passes, we had some time before our Crystal Palace reservation, so we took this prime opportunity to take photos of Cinderella’s castle all lit up. One of my favorite places that I found to take photos of the castle was on the second floor of the entrance, where the train station is. This spot was particularly nice because you also got the Christmas tree in the background as well.
Crystal Palace is a restaurant known for their Mickey shaped waffles during breakfast, however, the only time they had available this day was for dinner, so I booked it because I wanted the character dining experience. Let’s start with the food because we all want to know if the food is worth it and my gut is telling me no. At least for dinner and my reason is that dinner is a whopping $52, and the buffet was nice and had a good selection of food, except their dessert left me disappointed. The food was good, with there being a selection of salads, peel-n-eat shrimp, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and there’s even a meat carving station. Alec enjoyed the food while it sat heavy in my stomach and made me queasy all night, we both agreed it was not worth spending $104 plus tip, that’s just a lot of money for something with the buffet in the title. I honestly did not realize that it was that expensive, last time I remembered looking at prices it was in the ’40s but who knows, maybe I was looking at the lunch prices. I am still going to try booking a breakfast reservation because I REALLY want to try Disney’s Mickey-shaped waffles.
The BEST part of Crystal Palace was their character dining because I got to meet my childhood love: Eeyore! This was one of my mom’s favorite characters growing up and I remember her handing down her childhood toy Eeyore to me and loving him ever since. While we were seated at our table, we were told that it could take up to 90 minutes to meet the characters, and the only one we were able to see was the only one I REALLY wanted to see, EEYORE! I was talking with Alec and Eeyore walks up behind me and puts his hand on my shoulder, I jump and make a screaming noise because I wasn’t expecting someone to come up behind me. Eeyore is so embarrassed that he puts his hands over his eyes and leans on the wall. I was so excited to meet Eeyore that I couldn’t contain my happiness, even in the photos I’m too excited to function.
After dinner, we went back up to the second story train station near the entrance to watch the fireworks show and we thought that was a great place to watch the show. We stayed for 8 minutes of the fireworks shows until we made our way to the monorail and let me tell you that was the PERFECT time to leave because as soon as we got on the monorail we noticed a bigger crowd of people leaving the show and making their way to the monorails and we knew once the show was completely over it would be a madhouse getting out. Every time you leave at night it feels like you are cattle slowly being herded into a cage because you are surrounded by thousands of people going nowhere. If you’ve never seen a Disney’s fireworks show then I suggest staying for most of it (it’s 18 minutes long); however, if you don’t mind leaving the show early then I cannot suggest it enough.
We took the tram to our car and made the 25-minute drive back to the hotel and that was our wonderfully packed day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom!
Now here are more photos of our day 🙂
A Simple Wildflower