The late-night line at It’s a Small World moved quickly, but slow enough for the boys to spot the thousands of dollars worth of coins patrons have tossed into the water below the gangway. The coins coat the bottom of the Small World queue pool like a freshly minted metal carpet.
And if you throw one in, you can make a wish.
Jay tossed in a penny, closed his sleepy eyes to silently beseech the … I don’t know, the spirit of Disney? To grant his wish. Which was:
“I wished that every day could be just like one,” he said.
We boarded the Small World boat with our friends, waved goodbye to the attendant, and proceeded to join the singing automatomic children of the world as they repeatedly warbled the most powerful ear-worm on the planet.
Friday began our father-son Snowy Holiday, a three-day adventure that came our way at the kind invitation of Experience Kissimmee. There could have been no better way to kick it off than to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.
By the time we walked up the ramp to the monorail late Friday, we already had experienced enough theme park fun to fill a “normal” weekend. But we’re just getting started.
I picked up Jay from school in Lutz Friday afternoon. An hour and 15 minutes later, we arrived at our base of operations for the weekend — our townhome at CLC Encantada Resort. I am always pleasantly surprised by how quickly we can make the trip from Tampa to the theme park area of Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista. It’s great to know we can get here fast — and for just the cost of gas.
Encantada is a hidden gem, and it’s surprisingly affordable. The “rooms” are full-sized town houses. Ours has a hot tub. When we walked in, Jay was amazed.
“This place is HUGE,” he said, then he looked through the blinds at the lanai and spotted the hot tub. This two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath place is fully appointed with the comforts of home. In fact, Jay later said he wanted this to BE his home. Can’t do that, but because we live so near in Tampa, it’s practically in our back yard, anyway. We will be back.
We joined our party at the Encantada clubhouse and headed over to the Magic Kingdom. This was our first time at the Very Merry Christmas Party, and we were blown away immediately when it started to snow on Main Street USA.
We knew that Queen Elsa would soon arrive to transform Cinderella Castle into a Frozen ice palace, so we weaved our way through the Main Street crowd and managed to get right up close to the stage. It wasn’t long before Anna, Kristoff, Elsa and Olaf made the scene for the Frozen Holiday Wish show.
You know, it’s hard to believe Frozen came out less than a year ago (Nov. 27). It seems like it’s been part of our culture for a lot longer than that. Disney has wisely incorporated iconic characters and a themes at the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
I have Let it Go stuck in my head right now.
After the Frozen show, we made our way over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I had ridden it during the day a couple of weeks earlier — on the same day it caught fire because of a fireworks accident, actually. My initial impression was that it’s a nice “kid” coaster, and I knew Jay and his new buddies would love it. The line activities are perfect for boys and girls age seven to about 11, and we’ve found that the wait times are significantly shorter than the time listed at the front of the queue.
But Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at night is a completely different ride. When you can’t see the dips and turns coming, they are much more thrilling than they are during the day. I don’t think I’ve experienced a ride that transforms so substantially — in a good way — at night. Jay loved it, and one of his buddies asked immediately if we could do it again.
From there, it was off for ice cream and a stroll through Frontierland over to Adventureland to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Small World was going to be a quick respite before we hit Space Mountain, but somewhere between Spain and Australia, Jay hit a wall and we decided to head back to our Encantada townhome. We slept like logs.
Holiday Text to Win Sweepstakes
Here’s the part where I tell you that Experience Kissimmee is offering a chance to win a three-day, two-night Snowy Holiday for you and three of your closest friends or family members. That’s right: You can do this, too.
Here’s how to enter:
- Text “snow” to 82257
- Go to the official sweepstakes website, SnowyHoliday.com, and fill out the entry form.
It’s that simple. The prize includes two nights at a Kissimmee destination resort, theme park admission and tickets to local attractions for the winner and three guests. To learn more or to follow the winter fun, follow Experience Kissimmee on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.