Kevin and I weren't really sure what we wanted to do when we arrived, so we wandered around Fantasyland for a while to ponder our plan. We stopped by Mickey's Philharmagic, but sadly it was closed for refurbishments. This might mean they're adding to the show, which is cool, but it sucks that we missed one of the better attractions. My mom called as we were wandering around and let us know she was leaving the hotel. Not having any other plans on what to do, we hopped on Mad Tea Party, which had virtually no line (this would sort of be the standard for the evening). Kevin and I then hit up Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin again, and met up with my mom as we were leaving this ride.
As it was getting to be nighttime and the weather was cooling off, my mom wasn't crazy about going on Splash Mountain, so she waited and watched the evening parade while Kevin and I went on the ride. There was no wait. And I don't mean there was a short wait. There was no wait. We followed the queue right up to the ride boat. And after the ride, we could've just stayed in the boat for another round; there was no one waiting to get in. Apparently the parade is a big hit, but also, the park switched to Extra Magic Hours around this time, so it was clearing out a little bit, too.
One of my mom's favorite rides is the Haunted Mansion, so we headed over there next. We probably waited all of five minutes for this ride, three of which were because the ride stopped briefly and the line didn't move forward. As we were exiting the Haunted Mansion, we heard the booming of fireworks, and tried to find a good spot to watch them. It's a nice show with some Disney music to go along with it, and there's something that gets me about seeing the fireworks with "When You Wish Upon A Star." What can I say, I'm a sap.
After the fireworks, we stayed in Fantasyland and hopped on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the last of our favorites from the 2008 trip that we hadn't ridden yet. At this point, we were once again in a wandering mood, and we headed over to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority for a night ride (separate review below). Kevin and I made the Tomorrowland Speedway our last ride of the trip, while my mom went to the Carousel of Progress, which I've still never been on.
We stopped at Cosmic Ray's, which is a diner, for some horribly unhealthy food (they got burgers, I got a chili cheese hot dog), and set out for home, satisfied that we had a great trip, but a little sad that we'd be flying home the next day. We took a few pictures with a view of Cinderella's castle that came out pretty well, and would be a good Facebook album cover if I ever get around to posting these pictures on Facebook...don't count on it, though.
The next morning was fairly uneventful. We rode Disney's Magical Express back to the airport, and encountered no difficulties at security (it was stunningly fast, actually). We took off from Orlando where it was 78, and landed at Dulles International Airport, where it was 28 degrees and snowing. Welcome home, vacationers. And that was the trip. I'm already organizing our next trip in my mind. More time at the Magic Kingdom seems to be a no-brainer. Oh, and we've got to go back to the Yak & Yeti restaurant at Animal Kingdom! And I'd like to try out Soarin', and eat in Norway, and...
Haunted Mansion (4/5) - The ride itself is more like a 3 star ride, but my mom is such a little kid when it comes to Halloween and ghosts that going on the ride with her was a lot of fun. It's a slow-moving ride through, well, a haunted mansion. There are ghosts and ghoulies at every turn, and I could see little kids either having fun or being terrified...both of which could make the ride more enjoyable.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (5/5) - This is one of the most fun rides in any park if you've got the right group on it. The Pooh theme is one that most people know, and the characters are a little more interesting than those in Peter Pan or Pirates of the Caribbean. Probably the best part of the attraction, though, is how your ride changes in each section. You hop-hop-hop along with Tigger, you float down the river, it adds to the environmental feel of the ride, rather than the unchanging rides of the aforementioned.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority (5/5) - The difference between this ride at night and during the day is like...well, it's like the difference between night and day. The outdoor parts of the ride are the same, but the indoor parts are just great at night. There are shooting stars, and you get to see Space Mountain much better than during the day. It's the same fun ride with noticeably better scenery.
Tomorrowland Speedway (2/5) - I didn't give it a 1 star rating because it was a little fun, but it was generally a bust. The line was among the longest at Magic Kingdom, but I have trouble figuring out why. You drive your car on a track, but you're limited to your lane, which means you don't get to really race anyone, which is good, because your car goes pretty slow. Probably the best part was the trash talk that Kevin and I threw at each other beforehand, even though it was obvious we weren't going to be able to race. Probably would not ride this one again, especially if the line is as long as usual.