Usually I’m the one that sleeps in each morning; I was up and pestering Derek before our alarms went off. We couldn’t wait to head to our first park, and were extra excited that we would be at the Magic Kingdom! I’ve heard people say that this park is just for kids. Derek and I couldn’t disagree more; the Magic Kingdom was where we felt the most, well… magic! An early Keys to the Kingdom tour was on our agenda for the first half of our day. Disney transportation is pretty spectacular and offers bus, monorail, and boat options. We decided to drive our truck to the park because we were supposed to arrive before rope drop. Parking at each of the four parks is included in the cost of staying on property. A quick monorail ride from the parking lot transported us to the Magic Kingdom, which to our delight was decorated for the holidays!
As the park opened with worked our way through the crowd to the Town Square Theater, right at the start of Main Street, making sure to catch a glimpse of Cinderella Castle before heading inside for our tour. Keys to the Kingdom is a five hour walking tour that allowed Derek and I to see backstage and onstage areas of the park, while getting the inside scoop about hidden Disney secrets, imagineers, and the history of the park from our tour guide Emily. All participants must be 16 or older and absolutely no phones are permitted during the tour, due to the behind-the-scenes nature. The five hours zoomed by and we learned a ton about Disney! Tour guides will answer just about any questions you have and more. During our tour we got to ride both the Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion, and take in insider information about each classic attraction. Getting to skip the long wait time for these attractions was an added bonus that saved us time later in the day! Lunch was provided during our tour from Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. I enjoyed chicken nachos with all the fixings, while Derek munched on a bacon cheeseburger.
We ate quickly knowing another exciting part of the tour was coming, a walk through the Utilidor, or tunnels underneath the park itself! Utilidor is a portmanteau formed from ‘utility’ and ‘corridor’, used to describe Disney’s tunnel solution to transporting cast members, deliveries, and even garbage throughout the park without guests ever knowing it. Our tour guide explained the park is actually more than one story tall. Guests typically are walking on the top floor, the Utilidor is below. At first Derek and I weren’t sure if it was a good idea to attend this tour so close to the beginning of our trip, but I think it worked out well. We both gained a greater appreciation for the passion Walt had for the park, Roy’s dedication to opening Disney World in honor of his brother, and the park’s continued attention to detail when it comes to the guest experience. The Keys to the Kingdom tour is jam packed with information about the 4 keys of the park, opening of the Magic Kingdom, and little tidbits about imagineers, rides, and Walt himself!
Between Main Street and five lands, Magic Kingdom kept us very busy. We wandered around taking in the sights. Derek and I happened upon the Swiss Family tree house along our travels. This was particularly exciting because we had just watched the movie and wanted to take a closer look around. Who doesn’t want to hang out in a giant tree house! I used to dream of an elaborate tree house full of cleverly darling inventions as a kid. Climbing the 116 steps to reach the top of this six-story tree house is worth the burn! We took in an almost 360-degree view of Adventureland and looked down upon the Jungle Cruise. Eventually we made our way to Pirates of the Caribbean and searched for Johnny Depp’s face.
On our way to lunch Derek and I caught the Festival of Fantasy Parade route along Main St. Eager to see the floats in action- it wasn’t the first time we saw these backstage beauties- we found an open spot to watch the beginning of the parade and greet some of our favorite characters of Fantasyland. After humming along with Ariel, Tinkerbell, and Elsa it was time for our lunch reservations at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. We were stunned when our server walked us through the main dining room, out the whitewashed French doors, and onto the restaurant's front porch with a perfect view to finish the parade. As an ode to Lady and the Tramp, Derek and I split a spaghetti and meatball dinner while taking in the classic Italian atmosphere. We dined on a delicious three-course Italian lunch while watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade right on Main St. USA.
Ready to work off all those carbs we roamed through the Magic Kingdom. Our excursion took us high above London during Peter Pan’s Flight, into the abandoned mine shafts of Big Thunder Mining Company, and under the waves in Ariel’s grotto. We took a minute to stop at the manliest spot in the park to rest our feet and grab a snack. I had heard a lot of buzz about the signature drink LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern in Fantasyland. The drink is a concoction of frozen apple juice with notes of toasted marshmallow, and topped with a passion fruit-mango foam. LeFou’s Brew comes with an optional souvenir stein for an additional cost. At first we both found the drink overly sweet. After a taste or two I decided the tart and fizzy foam was Alex approved. Once some of that was devoured the marshmallow apple juice was tasty and a little less sweet. Fueled by sugar we continued on.
One of the attractions we looked forward to most was Space Mountain. Derek remembered it from a previous trip to Disney, where he unfortunately did not get to ride, and it was on our must-do list. We had a blast walking through the futuristic spaceport and being carried away through the dark and echoing tunnels toward other galaxies. After 20 years Derek finally fulfilled his wish to ride Space Mountain. In Tomorrowland we also stopped by a classic Disney attraction.The Carousel of Progress ended up being one of our favorite rides at Magic Kingdom. This attraction is a revolving theater that follows an American family and technological advances over several generations. During our earlier tour, Derek and I learned a lot about the history of this ride, that originally got its start at the World’s Fair in 1964. Disneyland became the Carousel’s home until 1975 when it moved to the Magic Kingdom. Bonus, this ride was around before the opening of the Magic Kingdom and may be one of the only attractions in the park Walt Disney actually rode at the park. For days after this attraction Derek and I both were singing the catchy and classic song “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” repeated throughout the ride.
Dining reservations at Be Our Guest Restaurant was the pinnacle of our evening. I have always wanted to be Belle, or at least have a library as exquisite as hers! Derek and I watched some of the nightly fireworks from the castle bridge before heading inside to meet the Beast. Woven tapestries and elegant suits of armor greeted us as we entered the Beast’s Castle, located in Fantasyland. We were fortunate to meet our host and get a photo or two before dinner. The restaurant offers three dining areas designed to create the feeling of enchanted romance for guests. The Castle Gallery surrounds you in the intimacy of Belle’s private library. In the West Wing thunder and lightning crash while the Beast’s enchanted rose fades. Derek and I were seated near an elegant Christmas tree in the Grand Ballroom, with its high domed ceiling and Gothic arches. The glow from flickering chandeliers and an added touch of snow falling outside, immediately created a romantic and dreamy atmosphere.
This 3-course French inspired dinner required two table-service meals on the dining plan per person.To start off our fancy French dinner the server described a selection of exclusive wines and champagnes served at Be Our Guest Restaurant. For our first course we savored the creamy lobster bisque full of plump pieces of seafood, and a scrumptious charcuterie board with all kinds of goodies like Serrano ham, pate, pickles, and assorted cheeses. Our main courses consisted of classically prepared chicken and beef filet. Finally at dessert we got to see for ourselves if the grey stuff really was delicious! A beautifully decadent trio of desserts was served atop a mosaic rose made out of rice paper. Each tiny creation was handmade with care. The first tasty treat was a macaron filled with lemon jam and fresh raspberries. Following the macaron we sampled a rich dark chocolate truffle filled with Grand Marnier ganache. Last but not least, a Chip cup made from molded white chocolate and filled with “gray stuff”, rounded out the meal. Full and tired from a long day at the park we headed back to Fort Wilderness for yet another Disney movie before bed.
Check out more of our Magical Disney Honeymoon here:
Magic Kingdom is Not Just For Kids // Honeymoon Series Part 3 (Coming Soon!)