Aaron in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
Kennon-Green & Co. Global Asset Management, Wealth Management, Investment Advisory, and Value Investing

After dinner at Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Jambo house lodge, we decided to spend our first night in the flagship Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World.  It’s a really brilliant concept -guests who stay in the Disney-owned resorts can stay after the park closes on certain nights; for today, that meant the park remained open to us until 1 a.m., providing shorter lines and more time to enjoy the attractions.  Someone on the marketing or real estate team deserves praise for that stroke of genius.  

Arriving at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

The motor coach from the resort to the Magic Kingdom sped through the entrance gate, announcing that we had arrived.

Train Depot at Walt Disney World

We made our way into the entrance of the Magic Kingdom and were met by the iconic train depot, which is a staple at the Disney parks.

Magic Kingdom with Ian, Ashly, and Aaron at Night

We made our way into the town square and I took a quick picture as Ian, Ashly, and Aaron looked around the park.

Aaron About to Walk Down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

We only had a little bit of time before the extended magic hours closed for guests of the resorts so Aaron was ready to head into the shops and at least a few rides before we had to return to the Animal Kingdom.

Daisy Duck Candy Store

We passed a bakery and candy store on Main Street with Daisy Duck in the window. We headed in to see if they had any baking supplies since my mom would enjoy that.

Main Street Bakery Serving Cupcakes at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

The bakery on Main Street served cupcakes and other treats to the constant stream of guests walking in from the main thoroughfare of the Magic Kingdom.

Closeup of Walt Disney World Cupcakes

The cupcakes looked monstrously large and very good but there was no chance I could have even attempted to try one following dinner.

Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom Night in Purple and White Light

We made our way toward Cinderella's castle ...

Cinderella's Castle at Night in the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

We made our way through Cinderella's castle, which was changing colors from the lights. This particular picture was taken on our way out of the park.

Cinderella Banquet Hall for the Princess Breakfast

On the backside of Cinderella's castle, you can see the banquet hall with the stained glass windows. That is where we will be having breakfast with many of the Disney Princesses so I can take pictures of them for my niece. It's amazing the things that are now a priority at this point in my life ...

Mickey's PhilharMagic

I have no idea what Mickey's PhilharMagic is but I liked the sign. I think it's safe to assume it has something to do with music.

It's a Small World at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

We ran onto the It's a Small World ride because the park was going to close in under half an hour and there was no wait. Aaron said it reminded him of the aesthetic of the 1970's Price is Right television show (that isn't a bad thing).

It's a Small World Interior Ride at Disney Magic Kingdom in Florida

The ride was cool for its time but I can't help wonder - if Walt Disney were alive today, surely he would have torn it down and replaced it with the top-of-the-line animatronics visible in the Jack Sparrow character in the revamped Pirates of the Caribbean ride, wouldn't he? The concept of traveling through the world in a few minutes is compelling - with the changes in technology and knowledge today, it could be amazing. At this point, I think it's a nostalgia ride kept in place for grandparents to remember their first trips to Disneyland as a kid back in the 1950's and 1960's. There is merit in that. But I can't imagine Walt would be satisfied with his technology being out of date and "quaint". I imagine he'd want things that made grown adults gasp or laugh with excitement.

Haunted Mansion at Disney Magic Kingdom Park in Florida

Next, we went on the Haunted Mansion ride, which is different than the one at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The pictures were too dark so I'll use the official Walt Disney promotional image of the Haunted Mansion. The quality of the ghosts was amazing, especially those dancing in the dining room. The technology is definitely newer.

Peter Pan Ride at Walt Disney World

We made our way onto the Peter Pan ride, too, on our way out of the park. They let us go through the line even though everything was shutting down and it would be so cool for a little kid, especially the flying over London part.

Leaving the Park

Finally, everything was closing so we walked toward the entrance to leave the Magic Kingdom park.

The day had some unexpected twists and turns but we improvised.  Aaron and I arrived before everyone else, made our way to Downtown Disney for a few hours of shopping, met up with Karen and hung out for another few hours, finally welcomed Ashly and Ian, went to dinner at Jiko’s, and then over the Magic Kingdom park for the after-hours reserved for resort guests.  Now, I’m going back to the room to take a shower, put on pajamas, and read the news on my iPad.  We’ll be here for a week and it’s going to be a lot of fun.