Tag Archives: Magic Kingdom

USA ’18 – #RetroDisney

We first came to Florida in 2001 when the boys would have been about six and eight. When we came the first time Helen and I were, shall we say, circumspect about it but did it for the boys. However, we all loved the experience and so since then we have managed to come a further seven times! And I blogged about it in 2009, 2011, 2014 and, of course, 2018.

Inevitably over the years we have taken thousands of pictures of the four of us enjoying the sun and the parks. This year we thought that it would be fun to pick some of our favourites from our first trip and recreate them this year. As it turned out that wasn’t possible for all of them due to the locations no longer being there but as you will see we did do pretty well.

I had expected some push back from the boys on this but they were both incredibly tolerant and indulgent of my quest to get them in the same locations and poses.

The first picture was taken in Magic Kingdom at the Sword in the Stone. When we saw this the first time they ran a shown around it where they would get people (adults) out of the audience and they would try to get the sword out without success. Then they would choose a kid who would manage it straight away of course.

I thought that I knew roughly where this was but in the end after much searching I had to ask someone for directions. I was beginning to get concerned that it had gone but no there it was, tucked away by the carousel.  As you can see since the original was taken the hedge has been removed but apart from that it is much as before.

This was the first we took but I think it is also one of the best.

The Sword in the Stone, Magic Kingdom

One thing I quickly discovered was that a number of things affected whether I could exactly recreate the shot. Firstly it was difficult because the camera was different. Back then I had an early digital camera and now I was using my smartphone, which was vastly superior. Secondly, the lighting conditions made a big difference too, as you can see from this one below. I think that is is probably my least favourite of the lot. Finally, it was very hard to get the picture in exactly the same way and without people but on the whole I think we managed pretty well.

Canada, World Showcase, EPCOT

The next three were all taken in EPCOT and the first one took us ages to locate exactly which position it was taken from. As you can see the sign is no longer there (unless it is under that very nice flowering bush!). Also the wall is no longer tiled but rendered. This all threw us a bit and, in fact, it took two visits to be reasonably certain that we were in the right place. Looking at it now makes me chuckle though.


The next two were both taken inside the Inca temple in the Mexico pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. One thing that hasn’t changed much over the years are how Mat’s eyes respond to a camera’s flash. Red in the first and a ghostly white in the second.

Mexico, World Showcase, EPCOT
Mexico, World Showcase, EPCOT
Winnie the Pooh Seat, Disney Springs (neé Downtown Disney)

Initially I thought that this one had been taken inside Magic Kingdom next to the Winnie the Pooh ride but an intensive search and asking around showed that not to be the case. In the end we did some research on Google and some images came up that showed that it was actually in Disney Springs.

There has been so much work done and change at Disney Springs (including a name change) that I wasn’t hopeful that the bench would still be there so I was delighted to find it, albeit in a new location. It also looks as if it has been faded by the sun over the years.

This is another picture that I think has worked particularly well.

Blizzard Beach/Typhoon Lagoon

This final picture is a bit of a cheat as the original was taken in Blizzard Beach which we didn’t visit this year. While I was keen to recreate them all as closely as I possibly could that wasn’t going to change our plans which, in this case, included a trip to Typhoon Lagoon.

This picture also works well but for the fact that Alex’s has the wrong hand raised. Alex says it was the wrong way round in the first picture which I suppose makes sense given that he is left handed after all.

We had great fun reproducing these and I’m really glad that we put in a bit of effort to get as many as possible. You’ll note that there are none from Hollywood Studios which shows just how much that has changed over the years.

The next time we do these it will be with the grandchildren replacing the boys, assuming of course that we get any and their parents invite us along!

If you are interested I spliced the pictures together using Instagram’s Layout app, which also explains why they are all square!

USA ’18 – Day 10 – Too Hot to Mickey Around

One thing that I really like about the Disney parks is that they each have their own distinct identity and are beautifully executed. Magic Kingdom, where we were today, has a lovely kitschy, 1950’s America feel to it. Nothing shows this off better than Main Street that you encounter right after you enter the parks.

The street is lined with heavily air conditioned shops selling all sorts of Disney paraphernalia. It is possible to walk pretty much the whole length of the street inside the shops thereby avoiding the heat but to do so would also mean you miss the entertainment laid on.

Today we came across this barbershop quartet who were stood outside in the heat singing a selections of songs and cracking (awful) puns.

While I have respect for these four dressed like this in the heat the real kudos has to go to those dancing in Donald, Mickey etc costumes outside the castle. It must have been so hot inside these costumes that they really earned their money today.

For some reason that I haven’t been able to fathom Alex decided that he wanted to go into the Hall of Presidents. If this had been the Hall of Prime Ministers in the UK I might have understood it but this left me scratching my head. Anyway, we went in and discovered that rather than being a hall with a long line of animatronic presidents this was a theatre show of some sort. The next one started in 15 minutes and the show itself lasted 23 minutes. On discovering this information minds were changed and we thankfully made a swift exit!

This evening we went out once more to Cracker Barrel for dinner. The fare they serve here isn’t terribly sophisticated and arrives suspiciously quickly but it has one major redeeming feature which is that it is incredibly cheap. This one cost uas £35 (excluding a 20% tip) which is about a third we could pay elsewhere. Part of this can be attributed to them not serving alcohol but that doesn’t account for it all. It is just very cheap.

USA ’18 – Day 2 – Kerching!

One of the things that irks me somewhat about coming to the parks in Florida is the price of the parking, in fact that they should charge for parking at all. That’s right parking isn’t included in the price! When we first came it was $5 a day and you got a really nice souvenir card to keep. Now the price has leapt up to $22 and all you get is a shitty paper receipt. Still we dutifully paid it like everyone else as we entered Magic Kingdom this morning.

With all other parks your journey to the gate is fairly straightforward. The car parking lot transport dumps you right there and just just need to walk right on in. Not at Magic Kingdom where you get dropped at the transportation centre where you have a choice of either getting the monorail or boat across the lagoon. We elected to take the boat as it is nice to see the park appear before you. Just before we were due to depart I noticed some people chucking money over the edge of the boat. Leaning over I could see that the pontoon was covered in coins that boat goers had thrown over. It seems that even when Disney aren’t asking for payment people still find a way to give more to the corporation!

Given that we have been coming to Disney since the boys were quite young we have a number of pictures of them in various places over the years. This year we thought that it would be nice to try and reproduce some of them and today was our first opportunity at the sword in the stone. Our initial problem was actually finding where it was. There was no guarantee of course that it would even still be there. However, we found a helpful guide who pointed us in the right direction and while the surroundings had changed a little it was basically exactly the same as when the first photo was taken 16 years ago.

I did wonder if the boys might be resistant to reproducing these pictures but to their credit they were both pretty amenable and the resulting shot is great.

We returned home early afternoon still suffering the effects of jet lag but having enjoyed our day in Magic Kingdom.

After a rest we went out in the evening to the family favourite Cracker Barrel which serves simple fare at cheap prices. I had, however, forgotten about how much choice there can be in a simple menu option. Helen had chosen something that allegedly came with scrambled eggs. In the UK if it says scrambled eggs you get scrambled eggs, no questions asked. Here it is like some complicated quiz to find out just how you want your eggs – who knew that there could be some many different options for the humble egg?

We went back home stuffed and jaded.