W.T.D.W. – Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom

Night CarouselWhen is the last time you rode a carousel? They’re so enchanting. Full of beautifully carved horses trimmed with detail, winding around to tinkling music. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t be awed by their charm.DSC_0200

Carousel horse detailDSC_0205In the heart of New Fantasyland, directly behind Cinderella Castle,¬† is Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. Originally known as Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, the name changed in June of 2010 to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. The name may be new, but this ride is anything but. Originally crafted in 1917 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co., this carousel took residence in Detroit, Michigan until 1928 when it moved to Maplewood, New Jersey. In 1967 Disney purchased it and completely refurbished it – painting each horse by hand. In true Disney fashion, no attention to detail was spared. There are 90 unique horses and one chariot, all trimmed in gold, banners, and flowers. Only one has a gold bow tied on the tail, which some say belongs to Cinderella. Of the 90 horses, 72 are still from the original carousel.

Prince Charming Regal Carousel brings the Cinderella story to life as it turns, with 18 ornate hand-painted vignettes. During the day, bright and vibrant colors give the ride life, but at night, 2,300 lights give the carousel a glimmering magic. The music is a medley of beloved organ tunes that give mix of fun and nostalgia as the horses spin, bringing a cool breeze to your face (and I suspect a smile to your heart).

DSC_0222DSC_0220Prince Charming Regal Carousel is a no-brainer for kids. Young ones love the entire experience, and if they are like me as a child (OK… and probably still as an adult), take special care to select just the right horse. As an adult I will often overlook this experience, making more room in my schedule for more dare-devilish attractions. But I think that is silly of me, and next trip I will be sure to fit in a turn around on the carousel with my prince charming. After all, I love going to WDW so I can let go and be a kid again. I do think that I’ll take a nighttime spin though. How can you resist the lights?

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W. T. D. W – Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom

DSC00988A very merry un-birthday to you! I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say hello. Goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late! Painting the roses red, we’re painting the roses red…

Infectious only begins to describe the playful, dancing music of this week’s WHAT TO DO WEDNESDAY attraction: Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom. I barely have to think about this attraction before I’m whistling some of the tune from this delightfully dizzying ride all day. It’s just so happy and perky, you can’t help but bounce around humming. There is a lot of catchy music at Magic Kingdom, so you usually find yourself with a tune in your head at some point when you’re there – or at home wishing you were there!

DSCF0361DSCF1609Inspired by the 1951 Disney classic film Alice in Wonderland, this attraction is designed to be reminiscent of the tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter and March Hare. While the formal name of this ride is “Mad Tea Party,” amongst my family and friends it’s simply called “the teacups.” (We’re a straightforward bunch I guess.) A giant canopy in Fantasyland is host to this attraction. Hanging from the ceiling of the canopy are whimsical paper lanterns. In the center of the floor is a giant teapot, from which the mouse will periodically peek out. Surrounding the teapot are very large teacups sitting in saucers of various pastel colors. Guests climb aboard a teacup, and when the ride begins the teacups begin to spin and whirl around the teapot in the center. That in itself is delightful, but in my opinion, the real fun lies in the wheel that is in the center of the teacup. The wheel lets you control the speed and direction of your teacup’s spin. My mum, being a sensitive soul, won’t touch this attraction for fear of becoming ill. So that usually left this ride to my Papa Bear and me. Papa Bear would spin the wheel as hard and fast as he could, and I loved every turn. The wilder, the better in my book. And on the few special occasions my extended family was with us at WDW, my cousins and I too would have a good spin around.

Guests of any height may take a spin at the Mad Tea Party, so it’s a great ride for families. This attraction first appeared at Disneyland, and it was one of the original attractions of the Magic Kingdom when it opened in 1971. Each and every Disney theme park across the world has a version of the Mad Tea Party, which I think is kind of neat. It’s a Disney classic.

I was talking last week about the many simple pleasures that make Walt Disney World so delightful, and I think this is one of them. There is nothing overly complicated or mind boggling about this attraction, but the catching music, movement, and charm of the Alice in Wonderland theme makes Mad Tea Party simply delightful.

* Special Tip* – Keep your eye out for favorite Alice in Wonderland characters such as Alice, Mad Hatter, Red Queen, and Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum around Mad Tea Party. You can often find them available for a meet and greet.

W. T. D. W. – It’s A Small World at Magic Kingdom

This week, WHAT TO DO WEDNESDAY is going to one of the Magic Kingdom’s original, classic attractions: It’s a Small World.

Happiest Cruise that Ever SailedThis popular attraction and its accompanying tune are no strangers to most people. However, you may not know the original attraction dates back to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The first version was created by Walt Disney as a kinetic sculpture installment for the UNICEF pavilion of the World’s Fair. An interesting aside, this was also when Disney piloted The Carousel of Progress and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, now known as The Hall of Presidents.

The original installment at the World’s Fair had no trouble gaining regard, leading to Disneyland’s full ride version which opened in 1966. When the Magic Kingdom opened at Walt Disney World in 1971, It’s a Small World found a second home in Fantasyland.

Small WorldAs you enter the queue for the attraction, there is a glittering white scene featuring a large clock tower. The smiling face of the clock sways back and forth. Every fifteen minutes, the clock tower jumps to life and opens up, revealing the time. Not everyone knows this, and I confess that it was years before I saw it for myself. It’s fun to watch while you’re in the queue.

DSC01701DSCF1602For those who aren’t familiar with it, here’s the rundown of the ride: At the end of the queue you board a boat and set sail at a very leisurely pace. The boat makes its way through one large, colorful room at a time. Audio-animatronic dolls of children dance, twirl, skate, and play instruments. They are elaborately garbed in costumes representing various nations of the world. The sets are vibrant and alive with movement. The music makes stylistic changes to showcase the culture on display as the boat progresses and the lyrics are sung in different languages. In the last segment of the ride, all nations are presented together decked out in a monochromatic color palette. Lastly, as your boat heads to offload, you see “goodbye” written in a variety of languages.

Small World HulaDSC00972 DSC00978I love this attraction. My husband doesn’t feel similarly, and I know others who feel as he does. But no offense to them – I just don’t think they get it. This ride is absolutely gorgeous and ornately detailed. The scenery and costumes are elaborate and rich, with bright color everywhere. Everything is in motion, turning and twisting and I find that so visually pleasing. I’m sure part of my love for this attraction comes from my feminine admiration of the dolls. When I was a little girl I used to play a game with myself pretending I could select one doll to take home. I would search for the perfect doll all through the ride, and day dream about the choice throughout the day. But I was never quite able to make a decision from among my favorites, and still can not. I know for my husband, it’s the music that gets on his nerves. The repetition drives him bonkers. I enjoy it. I think it’s charming and joyful, so the repetition doesn’t bother me.

A great perk of this attraction is that even on crowded days the wait time usually isn’t too long. The line always looks worse than it is because of how the queue zig-zags, but it usually moves steadily.

All in all, It’s a Small World is always a must see for me, frequently more than once. (Though my husband vows he’ll no longer go on it. Guess I’ll be a single rider, or looking for a new ride partner!) It’s a classic attraction with an always pertinent message. Kids love it – and so do adults who know how to have fun.

Thanks for checking in. See you next week!

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