After saying goodbye to Mom and Bob early that morning, we headed out for WDW’s 40th Anniversary Celebration that we had been looking forward to since last year. After hearing about all the hoopla that was to happen in the Park, we knew we would have to get there early. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 7:30 a.m. and was parked nice and close in Aladdin, thrilled we wouldn’t have to take a Parking tram. We walked in and headed towards the Ferry, amongst many balloons and pavement covered chalk drawings. We boarded the Ferry with no wait, and we were happy to ride it over- along with many others because the Monorail was not operating yet. They did have Monorail line ropes up in anticipation for the heavy crowds that were to come.
We walked into the Magic Kingdom, hand in hand, looking for all of our friends. Lou Mongello was starting his 40 Hour Show in front of the Train Station, so I knew where to find him and everyone else. It was so exciting to walk into the masses and see so many friendly faces. Hugs, introductions, and miles of smiles- it was an hour of jubilation among the group who was there.
The kids were excited, we were excited, as the morning show started. We had all hoped they would do something different for the 40th Anniversary, but alas, they didn’t – BUT- it was still cool to open the Magic Kingdom with my family and friends around me.
Once the gates opened, it was a mad dash to the Castle. First we had to make sure we all had a button, which they handed out as you walked in. The second freebie of the day was the exclusive guidemap, which we saw many grabbing in handfuls. We grabbed enough for each of us, I especially wanted the kids to have one to hang on their bedroom walls. The word was there would be a Character parade down Main Street then a presentation at 10 a.m. on the Castle Stage. The issue we ran into was, where do we stay put? We thought and hoped there would be Characters out that hadn’t been seen in awhile, so we wanted a great shot of them. But, if you parked it on Main Street, you would have a very difficult time seeing the Castle show. We wound up standing to the right of the Castle, in the hub, and close to the ramp Castle entrance to catch the Characters coming up. We caught glimpses, but the crowds were thick, so we moved up to catch the show.
The Characters came up the ramp, each holding a bunch of balloons, and waved to the crowd. They walked up to the stage, as well as lined the ramps on the side. We heard from several speakers, then the Vice-President of Operations, then we all sang “When You Wish Upon a Star” together where they shot off fireworks at the end. It was very moving, but I still wish they had done something a bit more.
After, we headed to ride some of the nostalgic ones to enjoy the atmosphere of the day. Carousel of Progress was first, and we were honored to ride it with Deanna and her group, along with Ken, Anthony, and Joe. It was fun to hear people clapping and singing along- very in the theme of the day. While walking through Tomorrowland on the way to Cosmic Ray’s, we ran into Candy Selby. I grabbed a picture with her and had a small chat, was great to finally meet her.
We enjoyed an early lunch at Ray’s where I experienced the “Can’t go to your table without food” line. It was only for the dining room area where Ray sings, as the outside patio was very open, along with the backside area near the restrooms. We ordered and then ran into Lou’s group again, chatting with Otis for awhile and saying hello to people I hadn’t met yet. After we got our food they had a remote controlled spaceship flying around the Restaurant, it was pretty cool.
We enjoyed Philharmagic next, followed by what we hoped would be Small World. After we got to the entrance, we saw a 20 minute wait, with a line outside the building- ah, no thanks. Haunted Mansion it was, and thankfully we walked right on. We saw one of our favorite Cast Members, Alicia, who gave the kids honorary Haunted Mansion Caretaker certificates- the kids geeked out at them!
We headed towards Lou’s Meet, where we came across Jerry, Suzannah, Nicole, and other friends we were introduced too. We chatted it up a bit, and it was nice to see their smiling faces on such a special day.
The WDW Radio Meet was in the Rose Garden, which was incredibly gorgeous. The day was full of blue sky, so it enhanced the mood and vibe of the day that much more. Our family was happy to say hello to the “Box” and meet our new honeymooner friends. We came across others from Meets I had been to already, plus we met up with Liz and Kathy once again. It was fun to see so many new faces, and to watch Beci and Lou in action. We even had some light fun with the WDW Radio microphone that was sitting at the kids table. We left the park happy and exhausted.
No, we didn’t stay for the special Wishes. Again, the word was that they were going to have perimeter ones added to the end, like Hallowishes has, but that was all. From what I heard, the place was packed, and several fights almost broke out. Sad that that could even happen in the Magic Kingdom, but so many people in one place works on a nerve I guess.
We enjoyed a belated date night to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for a soda and a stroll. Nothing is more romantic than walking among palm trees swaying in the breeze, past white sand, and just enjoying the sweet night air. Walking around the Resorts is one of our favorite things to do, and we hope to do it a lot more.
We enjoyed the day, meeting and making new friends, and the great weather. Thanks to all those who spent time with us, we hope to see you again next year!