When you visit Disney as often as we have over the years, it is hard to imagine that another trip to the Magic Kingdom could bring a day full of new experiences, but our most recent visit did just that. Maybe it was the magic of the leap year or maybe it was arriving before dawn, whatever the reason we found new magical moments to enjoy.
On February 29, Disney celebrated 2012’s bonus day by staying open for 24 hours for the first time in history. (No, we did not stay for 24 hours.) Not wanting to miss this historical Disney moment, we woke the kids at 4 am and headed out the door. Yawn, it was early.
Arriving at the park before dawn was eerie and exciting. Sure, we’ve been at the park after dark plenty of times, but never before the sun rose. Plus it was a particularly foggy morning, even once the sun rose we couldn’t see the castle from the middle of town square — it was wild.
More than 1,000 people gathered for the special 6 am opening. It looked like a lot of people, but as everyone headed into the park and people dispersed it was like having the park to ourselves, at least for a bit.
In addition to our unusual pre-dawn arrival, we managed to find new and experiences. Whether you have never been to the Magic Kingdom or you are a regular guest, I challenge you to try something new on your next visit. Here are a few of our new experiences:
- Waffle Sandwiches – Sleepy Hollow Refreshments (in Liberty Square) recently added waffle sandwiches to the menu, and they only need one word to describe them – YUM! I went for Nutella and fruit while the hubs went for a chicken sandwich.
- Pixie Dust Sprinkling – Did you know that if you stop by the Bippity Boppity Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle, you can ask to have your princess sprinkled with a little Pixie Dust (no charge).
- Verizon’s Disney Parks Mobile Magic App – I’ve heard about the Disney Parks app before, but this was the first time I had a Verizon phone to test it. Way cool. Not only does it show up-to-date ride times, but it uses GPS to give you recommendations based on where you are in the park. Verizon customers can download the app for free from the Android Market here or the iTunes store here.
- Tom Sawyer’s Island – While a visit to the island isn’t new, I haven’t been since I was a kid so it was new for the girls. It’s a great place to get away from the crowds. It’s shaded too. We saw a number of families having picnics on the island, definitely something we will be doing in the future. Plus the caves were way cool.
- Astro Orbiter – Again, not new, but the line is usually so long we skip it. Not at 7 am! 3-2-1 Blast off!
Of course, there’s always time to have a spin on the Tea Cups too.
I can’t think of a better way to spend the extra day than with my family making memories at Disney. I am already looking forward to February 29, 2016.
Disclosure – I was provided media passes to attend the event, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
What a great idea! I hope they do this every leap year!
Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy says
So fun! I bet it’s great living so close to Disney!
Great pics. We always loved Tom Sawyer’s Island for its tunnels and as an escape from the crowds.
Me too, it was a blast!
Looks like a lot of fun! We’re going in June. Any restaurant suggestions? We’re a little overwhelmed with all of the choices!
It is overwhelming, there are so many options! My #1 suggestion is to make meal reservations NOW. The biggest problem when we go to Disney (because we are local and always go last minute) is that everywhere is already booked up. If your kiddos are into characters, don’t miss breakfast at Chef Mickey’s @ the Contemporary Hotel – from there you can take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. In the parks, we love dinner at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano at Hollywood studios and dinner at the Italian pavilion in Epcot. Yummmy! For more fun, Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom (again characters, this time Pooh and friends). Those are some of our favorites, but there are plenty of others that are also great too. Hope this helps and have a great trip!