This is the second and final part of my elaborate and detailed dream 48 hours at U.S. Disney Parks (and resorts connected to those parks.) Working with an unlimited budget, teleportation powers, and the elimination of time zones, I’ve already completed my first day in Disneyland. To read about that and a host of other rules that I’m not going to repeat, click here. Let’s get to my second day!
‘Stormalong’ Over to Magic Kingdom
After a well-earned night of sleep at the Beach Club, I wake in a sort of food-induced daze. Before I have time to question whether that last Panko-crusted Chinese Long Bean was worth it, I head out the door around 8. The parks don’t open until 9 but I wanted an early dip in Stormalong Bay, Beach Club’s renowned pool. The pool and location are my main reasons that I’ve decided to stay here. I love a resort that’s right along the water, as I like photographing the water. The pool is incredibly elaborate, with a sand floor and lazy river. I’ve always wanted to swim in the pool but the cost of staying in this resort have stopped me from staying here. That’s why I have to dream!
After a quick swim, I change and head over to Magic Kingdom (via teleportation, of course.) After doing many of the big E-Ticket attractions in Disneyland, there isn’t as much to do here in Magic Kingdom. Not that they’re the same park by any means. I’m inside the park at 9 and head over to the Jungle Cruise. While I don’t have much of a preference either way, I like the temple in WDW’s Jungle Cruise and DL doesn’t have that. That’s why I saved this attraction for this park. After riding the Jungle Cruise, I head over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which I’ve FastPassed (60 days in advance) for a 9-10 window. I was fairly hesitant about doing this attraction. I don’t love it but I do think it’s impressive and have only rode it a few times. Because of the huge crowds it’s still attracting, I thought it’d be more than worth a FastPass. After completing this, it was time to head over to Gaston’s Tavern for my first treat of the day. That treat is, of course, the world-renowned cinnamon roll. It’s world-renowned in my house, at least.
After a quick bite, it’s time to head off to my second FastPass of the day at the Haunted Mansion. While a FastPass isn’t very necessary here, it may save me a few minutes. I definitely prefer Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion to DL’s version and that’s the reason for doing it here even after doing it the previous day. After narrowly escaping becoming the 1,000th ghost, I escape the mansion at about 10:30. Late morning is one of my favorite times to visit my third favorite kind of bears – the country bears. My two favorite kind of bears are Fozzie and Pandas, in that order. Some people may think it’s ridiculous to waste dream time on an attraction that has no line and may be outdated. Those people either have no soul or haven’t sing a giant animatronic bear sing a sad country song. Either way, I’m heartbroken for those people and that giant bear. After exiting the Country Bear Jamboree, I hop aboard the Liberty Square Riverboat for a ride along the Rivers of America. This is one of my favorite things to do in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. I think it’s the most relaxing attraction Disney offers and showcases some wonderful history of both the parks and America.
By the time my cruise is over, we’ll call it 11:30 and I head over to use my last FastPass at Splash Mountain. I’ve done this attraction on both coasts now and that’s because it’s one of the best. I don’t have much of a preference between the two versions of Splash Mountain, for the record. At around noon, I decide it’s time for lunch and teleport my way over to Disney Springs.
Lunch and a Few Shows
A year or two ago, spending any amount of a ‘dream day’ at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) would be laughable to me. But the upgrades that Disney has made here have been really impressive, even if I’d rather them invest more in the parks than here. Once arriving in Disney Springs, I head over to The Boathouse for lunch. I’ll be trying this place on my next trip and am very excited for it. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. After an hour-long lunch, I decide it’s time to get back into the parks.
Wanting a relaxing place to get out of the heat and let my lunch settle, it’s time for a few shows inside of the parks. I think that Disneyland offers just as many great attractions to ride as Walt Disney World, if not more. Where WDW sets itself apart, is the live and longer entertainment. That doesn’t mean I think Walt Disney World is better, just simply that they can offer more due to having 4 parks instead of 2. The shows that would be on the top of my list to see after my lunch are The American Adventure (including the Voices of Liberty in the pre-show) and Festival of the Lion King. I teleport over to Epcot for The American Adventure and then to Animal Kingdom for the Festival of the Lion King.
Some Afternoon Thrills
Once these shows are over, it’s time to face my fears and make my only stop in Hollywood Studios. Tower of Terror scares me to death but it’s one of the most impressive theme park attractions ever created and I’ve gotten to the point that I actually enjoy it despite being scared of it. All that to say, this is the only attraction that I’ll be doing at Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Midway Mania and Star Tours were attractions that I contemplated doing but I decided to leave them off because of Toy Story’s long line and because I don’t love Star Tours. Once I’m off Tower of Terror, it’s around 3:30.
Once done with the Tower of Terror, I’m back to Animal Kingdom for a ride on Expedition Everest. While this attraction could be so much more, I do think it’s a phenomenal coaster that tells a great story. Here’s hoping that the Yeti inside will be restored in the next couple of years. After Everest it’s time for a walk on my favorite path in any Disney Theme Park – the Maharajah Jungle Trek. The animal exhibits are pretty cool on this walk (that takes around 30 minutes) but what really sets this apart is the details and the story it tells. Animal Kingdom, as a whole, tells a great story about the importance of animals and this is perfectly done in the jungle trek. After completing the my walk, I slowly make my way out of the park, going from Asia to Harambe to Discovery Island and then the exit. My favorite part of Animal Kingdom are the details and little trails off the beaten path. I want to experience those, no matter my budget and time.
After exiting the park at around 4:45, I quickly get to Magic Kingdom’s Main Street (teleportation is more effective than Disney World’s busses) to see the Flag Retreat Ceremony at 5. This is another small thing, but the flag retreat on both coasts is done wonderfully done. Disney has somewhat forgotten about the little things in the last few years, instead pushing for profit margins. The little shows and details, like the Flag Retreat, are where the theme parks heart lies and that is why they need to continue. Really, go to the Flag Retreat at some point. It’s heart warming, patriotic, and honoring. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox.
The Fanciest Dinner I’ve Ever Had
After the Flag Retreat, I leave Magic Kingdom and go to the Grand Floridian for my dinner reservation. I’ll be dining at Victoria & Albert’s. Not only that, but I’ll be sitting at the chef’s table. Outside of visiting some foreign parks, this restaurant tops my ‘Disney Bucket List’ and is a place that I can’t wait to try. It’s extremely expensive and very fine dining. At the Chef’s Table I believe you receive (and pay for) a nine-course meal. This meal is the reason I chose to go to Walt Disney World on my second day (that and the pace of my second day is more relaxing.) My wife and I enjoy dinner and then head out. Oh yeah, my wife is obviously with me for this whole trip. I just assumed that you knew. Dinner here did take some time though and I’ll say it’s now 7. That may be generous, but I can dream.
After dinner, I’m probably a little too full to take on moving at extreme speeds son ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset is where I head. I’ve already said a few times how excited I am about Animal Kingdom at night so I won’t repeat it here. But, from 7:00-8:45 I’ll be riding the safari and exploring the park at night while taking photos.
A (Nighttime) Spectacular Finish
At 8:45, I teleport over to Epcot and find a spot for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. My choice here may depend on what I think of Animal Kingdom’s upcoming Nighttime Spectacular but for now it’s Illuminations. I love this show, even though it is somewhat dated. The themes and music move me and the somewhat abstract elements make it my favorite nighttime show. After the show, I find room somewhere in my stomach to pound down a few of my favorite World Showcase snacks. A Macaroon Ice Cream sandwich from France and School Bread from Norway are near the top of my list of snacks. There are always new things to try, as well. More than anything though, I love walking around World Showcase after Illuminations. Exploring Japan’s Gardens and seeing Italy all lit up are some of the highlights. If you’re looking for something unique or romantic to do in Walt Disney World, take a slow stroll around World Showcase after Illuminations or right when the park is closing. This is another thing I try to do on every trip.
After I’m done with a walk, I teleport over to Magic Kingdom around 10:30 to catch the end of the Main Street Electrical Parade. Not making it to this park for Wishes was a little sad but there was only so much time and I already saw the fireworks in Disneyland. If you’ll remember some 5,000 words ago, I said that I’d get 2 extra magic hours in Magic Kingdom after the park closed. This happens once a week in the park so I’m not cheating here. At least, I’m not really cheating.
Once the parade has finished, I ride my favorite attractions at night. These include the Jungle Cruise (yes, I’ve already rode it but it’s a different experience at night with the right skipper), Dumbo, the Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder, and the TTA PeopleMover about 5 times. While none of these attractions are that high on my overall list, they are absolutely ones that everyone should experience at night. Okay, the PeopleMover is pretty high on my list. I was lying before. Once this is all done, I cap off my night with a Dole Whip float and a ride on Space Mountain. I take my time coming out of the park, as I always do, taking photos and such. A slow boat ride over to the Grand Floridian, where I stay the night, caps off my day and dream 48 hours. I could have stayed at the $2,000/night Bungalows at the Polynesian but that felt more like cheating than ignoring time zones, eating what seems like 20 pounds of food and teleporting like crazy on my second day.
My second day totals:
Parks I’d go to: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
Places I ate and drank: Gaston’s, The Boathouse, Victoria & Albert’s, Snacking around World Showcase, Dole Whip in Magic Kingdom
Attractions I rode or saw: Jungle Cruise (x2), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Haunted Mansion, Country Bear Jamboree, Liberty Square River Boat, Splash Mountain, American Adventure, Festival of the Lion King, Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Flag Retreat, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Illumination: Reflections of Earth, Dumbo, Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, TTA PeopleMover, and Space Mountain
All together, that’s 20 shows and attractions that I completed. Some are fairly small (Flag Retreat, Dumbo…) and wouldn’t take any time at all. This was over 16 hours in the parks or resorts, so I don’t think it’s an absurd number due to teleportation. I will admit that it’s probably a little optimistic though. But you know what they call dreams that aren’t optimistic? Nightmares.
What would be at the top of your to-do list for your dream 48 hours? Let me know in the comments! I may do a post in the coming weeks on things that narrowly missed my list. Thank you for reading!