Journeying Down 95 to Disneyworld and a Glitter-Filled Day in the Magic Kingdom 

The plan this Spring Break was to drive down to Orlando, spend some time on Disney World, and drive back via Asheville, NC. So immediately after school on Friday, we began the drive down. And by “immediately,” I mean “after a two-hour scramble to pack everything we had as if Florida were not part of the continental United States.”  Once we got going, McKenna started asking if we were in South Carolina about the time we reached Petersburg.

No, McKenna, we are still not in South Carolina

Finally, we made it to our Dillon, South Carolina Quality Inn at a little past 9. When we woke up the next day , we grabbed a waffle on the waffle maker and headed to CVS to grab some things we forgot in the rush to pack all that we had on Friday. The CVS disappointingly would not open for another 15 minutes, at 8:00. The same was true of the Walgreens across the street. Meanwhile, every fireworks store was open for 24 hours.

If only Dillon offered an option for people who wanted milk AND to blow stuff up.

Bailing on CVS, we headed south. As always on long trips, our child distributed enough food matter around her seat to create a new biome.

Beneath McKenna, spilled Cheese-Itz, part of a stale sandwich, and an Oreo are about to fuse into a new, sentient life form.

After navigating what seemed to be 15,000 wrecks and an equal number of 24 hour fireworks stores in South Carolina, we finally crossed into Georgia.

Not pictured – the jerks who cut off the people in front of them trying to merge at the very last nanosecond, prompting McKenna to appropriately and unfavorably compare their behavior to that of Cinderella’s stepsisters.

The drive through Georgia and Florida was fairly quick, as both states mercifully have highways that are three lanes on each side. Just before 6, we pulled into Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

McKenna was able to change into her bathing suit about 65,000 times faster than she normally gets dressed to go somewhere.

After a quick swim, we were off to the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort for a late dinner. The Polynesian is much nicer than Pop Century, and the guard at the gate actually checked to see that we indeed did have a reservation. This excursion to the Polynesian gave us useful insight into their security that we would later use to infiltrate their much nicer pool. On this night, though, we were there legitimately. At dinner, we found one negative feature of the resort – the arctic temperatures of its restaurants.

The restaurant was even colder than these smoothies.

The next day, we were ready to head to the Magic Kingdom. We woke up relatively early for McKenna’s hair and nails appointment at Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique. Neither Laura or I had been to Disney World in a long, long time, and, as a result, some mistakes were made.

Here, we are about to make the rookie mistake of driving to the Magic Kingdom instead of taking the resort bus.

After parking, taking a tram to the monorail, waiting in line at the monorail, riding the monorail, and going through security, we were in. We made it to the boutique at the exact time that McKenna’s appointment began.

Don’t be fooled by the benign appearance of Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique; it is actually a giant engine Disney constructed to transform the wealth of parents into glitter and hair extensions.

McKenna exerting superhuman efforts to remain patient and wait her turn.

Finally, McKenna was up. It was time to pick a style.

The Boutique is a magical place for everyone…


It was about this time that I realized we needed cash to tip the hairdresser. In my defense, it has been years since I needed a hair professional of any kind.

Now all we were all offered the famous fairy godmother magic of the Boutique.


Clearly, my wish failed.

Having had her hair and nails done, McKenna was ready for some rides.

Demonstrating none of the patience she showed in waiting for her appointment at the Boutique, McKenna chose the very first ride she saw: the carrousel.

After our fraudulent carrousel “ride,” the next stop was Ariel’s Grotto, where we would meet Ariel. At the entrance, an employee asked us if we wanted to meet Ariel or go on the Little Mermaid ride, which was next door. It was only 10am, and already this guy had that defeated tone of someone who has repeated the same question 12,000 times. After reassuring him that we were indeed here to see Ariel, we went in.

Rookie mistake number 2 – we failed to bring an autograph book for McKenna to collect character “autographs.” Ultimately, this was not a problem as Ariel is omnipresent in several different incarnations throughout Disney World.

Finally, it was time for some real, non-carroussel rides.

It was non-stop excitement as we moved from one ride to the other.


McKenna had a blast. Disney really does theme parks the right way – every Disney employee we passed greeted McKenna as “princess” or “Princess Aurora.”

While McKenna already thought of herself as a princess, she seemed to appreciate having her status confirmed by strangers.


And McKenna’s princessy ego grew five sizes that day.

With her highness’ permission, we rode more rides.

Rookie mistake #3 – early in the trip, we failed to take proper advantage of the meal plan we had purchased. We neglected to identify “snacks” to keep us going between “meals” and ended up eating a late lunch at the first place we could find.

Restaurants that don't use Heinz ketchup: -2 stars on my review.

A place that tried to pass this off as ketchup. My overall review of Magic Kingdom is down two stars as a result of this failure to provide Heinz, as any civilized establishment would.

After eating lunch with Red Gold ketchup like some kind of 19th century Russian peasant, we headed to Pirates of the Carribean and made it halfway there before we were swept up in the 3pm parade.


A few rides later and it was almost time for our dinner reservation at “Be Our Guest.” We then made a discovery that caused us to believe that our fairy godmother wishes were coming true – a vente latte at the Magic Kingdom Starbucks counts as a “snack.” We were so eager to take advantage of this new knowledge and cash in on our snack credits that we almost missed dinner.


But we made it to dinner AND enjoyed a vente latte “snack!” Truly this is the most wonderful place on earth.

“Be Our Guest” was a fine restaurant, but it would definitely be skippable in the future. Dinner was good (and the Grey Stuff was delicious), but eating there was less of an experience than eating at other restaurants would be. IMG_5178


One perk of the restaurant was that it was the only place in the Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol, which explained the friendliness of the Beast.

McKenna’s princess outfit attracted a lot of attention, and one Disney employee actually gave us a card for an additional Fastpass, which was really, really helpful because…


…by 7pm, McKenna was pretty done with walking back and forth across the park.

Having the Fastpass meant we could avoid the 150 minute wait to ride the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train one more time.


2 out of 3 people in this picture LOVE the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train!

When we had used up our 3 regular Fastpasses earlier in the day, we lucked out and got McKenna’s number one request…



This is the face Laura makes when she screams for five minutes without stop.

We began walking to the front of the park just in time to catch the fireworks.


Our late departure from the park meant that, yet again, there would be no trip to CVS. Fireworks – 2, CVS – 0. Fortunately, Amazon’s Prime Now delivered to our resort. Our order was waiting for us in our room when we arrived.


In the near future, a drone will take our things directly to us in the park.

Next up – breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle and another day at the Magic Kingdom.

2 thoughts on “Journeying Down 95 to Disneyworld and a Glitter-Filled Day in the Magic Kingdom 

  1. Pingback: Breakfasting with Princesses and Enduring Crowds at the Most Magical Place on Earth | Endless Odyssey

  2. Pingback: Waterferalls, Mountains, and Drum Circles at the end of Spring Break in Asheville | Endless Odyssey

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