It’s happening… it’s happening! The trip is ending! December 30th is usually our last official day at the parks. With one official day left at the parks and three days left at Disney, we began to realize everything we didn’t do. We never saw the Grand Floridian, we never saw the daytime parade at Magic Kingdom, we didn’t really take time to explore Disney Springs and there were a few snacks left on my list that I was yet to check off.
We woke up a bit later. It was one of those days where everyone fends for themselves for breakfast. We were all pretty full and our body was starting to reject Disney food. I was bloated. Seriously. I never thought as a 26-year-old male I’d use that term, but looking back at photos, it’s the best way to explain how I looked and felt. But I’d do it all over again.
We sat in the room and debated the pros and cons of “taking things slow” this trip. My mom sweetly said “well, I think we did plenty.” She was right – we did do a lot. The heat didn’t exactly help and the lack of late-night Extra Magic Hours greatly affected our plans.
We spent the morning at the pool before showering and heading to Magic Kingdom. We arrived at Magic Kingdom around 2pm and waited for what we thought was a 3pm parade. It was 3:30pm. Oh well. After the parade passed, we were feeling pretty hungry. Rather than roam the park until our 8pm Be Our Guest reservation, we decided to kill some time by exploring the Grand Floridian. **checks “see Grand Floridian Lobby” off list.**
We hopped on the monorail and stopped at the Polynesian first. We decided to split some meals at Captain Cooks, as we didn’t wanna spoil our appetite too much and we wanted to grab a Dole Whip (a REAL Dole Whip) from its new location. I really enjoyed Captain Cooks. It continues to impress, but I’ll save that review for a Foodie Friday.
After picking at some food, I ran outside for a Dole Whip. I walked up to the counter with a sense of bravado. “Let me get a vanilla Dole Whip Float, please.” **Proceeds to check Dole Whip off….
“The vanilla machine is broken” the Cast Member replied.
I looked at her dumfounded. “Broken?” I rhetorically asked. “I’m sorry,” she said.
I’m not proud of what I did next, but it shows my love for a Dole Whip. I proceeded to ask if I can find vanilla ice cream nearby and bring it back to her, so that she could make me a Dole Whip. She laughed and further apologized. And so, I went Dole Whip-less this trip.
Next stop, Grand Floridian. We boarded the monorail and made our way to the grand finale of the monorail tour. The lobby was just as gorgeous as I remembered it. The smell really hits you when you walk in. The smell can best be described as a mix between flowers, pauperi, vanilla and money. During the holiday season, though, the smell is replaced by sweet gingerbread from the life-size display.
We grabbed some photos in front of the tree. The Cast Member taking photos was awesome and went above and beyond. She actually showed us how to do a vertical panoramic photo and captured us with the entire tree! You basically go into panoramic mode and flip the phone horizontally. So simple, yet so awesome.
After the Grand Floridian we returned to Magic Kingdom. We watched Elsa light the castle (something we’d never seen) and redeemed our Buzz Lightyear FP+. I booked the FP+ as a security blanket, in case the line was too long on Christmas Day. After Buzz, my sister and I redeemed our FP+ for Thunder Mountain. Our last ride is always the hardest! It was around 7:30pm, so we walked back to Be Our Guest for dinner.
After dinner we redeemed our FP+ for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We were able to experience it twice this trip – once at night and once during the day! The park was getting pretty full. Magic Kingdom usually does a “dress rehearsal” for New Year’s Eve on December 30th. It’s a great opportunity to experience New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom without as large of a crowd. Plus, it allows guests to go elsewhere for New Year’s Eve. Where else can you ring in the New Year twice?
We got through a few rides, like the People Mover (I LOVE the People Mover,) then went to Main Street to secure a spot for the castle show and “New Year” countdown. After the fireworks, the crowds eased up a bit. We used the opportunity to get on a few popular rides, such as Pooh, Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, Dumbo and more. Around 1:30am, my sister and I ran back to Barnstormer. We planned on riding it about 5 times. It’s a personal favorite and running joke. It was “down.” We were really disappointed.
We ended the night with some photos in front of a secluded castle and less crowded Main Street. I took one last look at the castle as we left the park, as I do every year. Until next year, Magic Kingdom.
Some photos from the day and night: