Friday, 11 September 2015

Adventures in the USA part 8 - Magic Kingdom, Disney World Florida

On our final day at the parks, we were at the Magic Kingdom.  The Magic Kingdom is usually the first park we visit, but this time, it was the last.  We visited the Magic Kingdom on Friday 17th July 2015, the day of the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Disneyland Resort in California, and also coincidentally my dad's 60th birthday.  Therefore, he was the one who wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom for his birthday.  My favourite of the Disney World theme parks has always been the Magic Kingdom.  There's Cinderella's Castle, so many Disney characters to meet, some of my favourite rides and attractions, and they have the spectacular firework display, Wishes Night-time  Spectacular, every night.  As a result, it's quite difficult to pick top 5s, but after some VERY careful thinking, I think I have my list of my top 5 rides and top 5 attractions at Disney's Magic Kingdom:

Top 5

  • Mickey's Philar Magic - This attraction in the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom is the only thing my family and I did twice (well, my brother didn't, but he was on Space Mountain at that time, and the rest of us don't like Space Mountain), and it's probably been an absolute favourite since we first went to Disney World Florida in August 2004.  Mickey's Philar Magic is a 3D spectacular that follows Donald Duck as he travels through scenes from classic Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast (Be Our Guest), Fantasia (The Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence), The Lion King (I Just Can't Wait to be King), The Little Mermaid (Part Of Your World), Peter Pan (You Can Fly!) and Aladdin (A Whole New World) in pursuit of Maestro Mickey's sorcerer hat after he touches the hat against Mickey's orders.  Expect pies, plates, champagne bottles, Flounder, jewels and flutes to be in very close proximity to your faces as the 3D effect brings everything to life!  Obviously, this isn't anywhere near as good as seeing it in person and isn't of the best quality, but if you want to see Mickey's Philar Magic outside of the park, I found a video of it to watch here!
  • Tomorrowland Speedway - I may not be able to drive on real roads yet (although I am more than old enough, I'm only now about to try to start learning to drive again), I can just about manage a car on the speedway race track.  Well, slightly.  I find it difficult to steer around curves in the track, so it feels a bit bumpy, but it's less stressful than a real road.
  • Splash Mountain - As someone who is definitely scared of heights (amongst many other things), Splash Mountain and its steep 50 foot drop is probably an interesting option to be on my top 5 list.  When I was 11 years old, I had my eyes squeezed shut when it came to the drop, so I look funny in the photograph we have from it.  However, while I'm still scared of heights, I can still tolerate Splash Mountain it has the lighting element that Space Mountain lacks (Space Mountain is very dark and has far too many sudden rises, drops and turns) and it also depicts animated segments from Song of the South, telling the story of Br'er Rabbit.  The drop represents Br'er Rabbit's fall into the Briar Patch.  Also, you'll get wet and also possibly soaked on this ride!
  • Cinderella's Castle
    Cinderella's Castle from a bit closer.
    A statue of Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse.
  • It's A Small World - I think this is another ride to have changed in the past 5 years, and it now includes the famous It's A Small World song being sung in different languages as you see the puppets throughout the boat ride.
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular - Normally, we see this from the actual Magic Kingdom, standing near the Walt Disney Railroad at the entrance to Main Street USA.  This time, we saw my favourite fireworks display ever from behind Cinderella's Castle, from our table at the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort.  Before now, we didn't realise how far behind the castle the fireworks were actually set off, and it was interesting to see it from a new and different angle.  We even had the restaurant lights dimmed and soundtrack to the display playing in the restaurant, so we could hear what viewers in the park itself could hear.  In fact, I stopped eating my starter at the restaurant to grab my camera and take 50 photos of the fireworks, my favourites of which are below!
  • Cinderella's Castle at night from the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort.

    Wishes Night-time Spectacular.

    In case that's difficult to see, it's a golden firework shower.

For my dad's birthday dinner, Mum tried to secretly make a reservation for the California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort, which is only a short monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom.  However, this reservation appeared on the My Disney Experience app that Dad had downloaded onto his smartphone (this app is useful for booking Fast Passes in advance), so it was no longer a secret.  Something I have discovered recently is that I find eating 3 course meals very difficult and I can get bad tummy ache.  Instead of having a heavy starter and a heavy main course, I opted for the House-Made Potato Gnocchi Salad for mains and the Artisan Romaine Salad for starters, for which I have recreated the recipe below!


4 large romaine lettuce hearts per person
sun-dried tomato pieces
roasted garlic dressing (recipe below)


  1. Wash and arrange the four lettuce hearts on each plate.
  2. Scatter the sun-dried tomato pieces and croutons amongst the lettuce.
  3. Drizzle with roasted garlic dressing and serve.

Roasted Garlic Dressing Ingredients (to make 1/2 cup of dressing)

1 large head or 2 small heads of garlic
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic or red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/8th teaspoon salt
freshly-ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rub off the excess papery skin from the garlic without separating the cloves.  Slice the tips of the head (or heads), exposing the ends of the cloves.
  3. Place the garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and wrap into a package.
  4. Put in a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes to 1 hour until the garlic is very soft.  Unwrap and let the garlic cool slightly.
  5. Squeeze the garlic pulp into a blender or food processor (discard the skins).
  6. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper and blend or process until smooth.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Artisan Romaine Salad

This post marks the end of my Adventures in the USA series, so we'll be back to normal in the next few weeks.  This week, I've been volunteering with packing Team Bradford bags in preparation for Freshers week, so there's been a couple of achy arms and trying to avoid papercuts from putting all the paper into bags.  I'll be starting my final year of university on Monday (well, next week is Freshers week and lectures start the Monday after that, but I'm volunteering during Freshers week) and some other very exciting things will be happening this year as well, so stay tuned!

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