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The Most Magical Birthday Ever: An Ultimate TouringPlan Challenge

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Mary Jo Collins is an avid Disney Parks fan who likes to express it in extreme ways. From riding Expedition Everest in the pouring rain seven times in a row to completing the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, she is constantly looking for new exciting ways to have fun in the parks.  Mary Jo is a proud day one member of D23 and attended the first D23 Expo.  She is a contributor to Celebrations magazine and has been a guest on the WDW Radio Show several times. She lives in Lenoir City, Tennessee with her husband, Andy, and their two children and works as a pharmacist.

Emily Collins is a busy sixth grader who loves all things Disney including Radio Disney, Disney Channel and Walt Disney World.  Her favorite attractions are Expedition Everest, Toy Story Midway Mania, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Animation Academy and exploring France in Epcot. She runs track and cross country for her middle school.  Her favorite race was the 2009 Race for the Taste 10K.

First of all, let me explain something.  I had nothing to prove.  Yes, I was turning 40 years old, but I had already proven my worth earlier in the year by successfully completing the Goofy Challenge.  In all honesty, it was my 11 year old daughter Emily’s idea.  She had begged me to try out the Ultimate Touring Plan of the Magic Kingdom ever since I had made my first attempt at it 2 days after completing the 2009 WDW Full Marathon.  Granted, I am always up to a challenge.  So, when I contemplated the fact that it would be Father’s Day and around 100 degrees on the day we would attempt this crazy stunt, it was a perfect expression of my love for Walt Disney World and my sentiments for getting older.  I will always be young at heart and I need to pass this trait down to the next generation.

The Ultimate Touring Plan is an all encompassing tour of all available attractions, show, parades and entertainment in the Magic Kingdom on any given day.  The goal is to enjoy all of these, but quickly and efficiently.  Fast passes are allowed to be used, but you must obtain them yourselves.  By the end of the tour, there is a tally of the total number of visited attractions and shows, as well as the total time it took to do so.  This tour is for those individuals who like a challenge and don’t mind running all over the park many times over.

Our day began beautifully on June 20, 2010 with a very crowded Magic Kingdom welcome at the Train Station.  Being Father’s Day, the Magic Kingdom seemed like the sentimental favorite to a lot of Dads.  Having arrived at 8:30am with a 9:00am opening, I was surprised to see the mass of humanity!  When the rope dropped, I took Emily by the hand and we bolted down Main Street. First up was the beloved Dumbo ride.  So often, this attraction can break the bank in time when trying to ride it mid-day.  Thankfully, we managed to get the last elephant of the first spin of the day.  We were off to a marvelous start and my head was only half wet with sweat.

Confession time… I had written down the Ultimate Touring Plan from my first attempt and later found out to much of our demise that the plan had changed quite a bit since then.  So forgive me if the rest of the plan seems a little disjointed from the current plan.  Obviously, what ended up happening to us with our time misfortunes in our tour has been avoided for others with the current plan.

From Dumbo, we ran over to Astro Orbiter.  There was one cast member on duty downstairs (and apparently upstairs as well).  We would be the next to ride.  Emily began to explain to the cast member what we were up to and he doused us with a heaping load of negativity.  He said it was too hot for attempting it and that there would be a thunderstorm at noon.  Don’t ever tell me what I can’t do, mister, especially on my birthday! Ironically, he turned out to be partially correct on one account.

After Astro Orbiter, we ran over to Space Mountain and got fast passes for later. Then we made our way to Tomorrowland Speedway.  This part has changed since the last plan. Now, you are supposed to ride this last thing in the tour and we found out the hard way that there is good reason for this! Only one side of the track was open at this point in the day (around 9:40am).  While we were in line, they opened up the other side of the track, but we were already in the queue for the first side. In the end, we waited 20 minutes to ride.  It was a hefty cost for so early in the day. Fortunately, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was a walk-on.  We then made our way over to Peter Pan and found that the wait was already at 45 minutes and the park had only been open for little more than an hour.  With the newer plan, Peter Pan is to be ridden immediately following Dumbo.  We were going to have to learn to be flexible and adjust the best way that we could or we were doomed.  There was only 15 minutes until we could get another fast pass. So, we quickly rode It’s a Small World and The Mad Tea Party with nominal waits at each. Finally, we were able to get our fast passes for Peter Pan with a return time of 35 minutes later. Things were looking better. Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Mickey’s PhilharMagic were easily done at this point.  It was then time for Peter Pan and the fast passes made it effortless. By this time (11:00 am), we had almost completed Fantasyland and decided to get back to our original plan.

We hurried over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to find that the wait time was about 40 minutes. Again, we opted to get the fast passes and move on to Toontown via the Walt Disney World Railroad.  Toontown was a breeze with a few big exceptions. We quickly enjoyed Minnie’s Country Home, Toon Park, Donald’s Boat, Mickey’s House and Pete’s Garage.  The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm was next with a 5 minute wait.  The problem in Toontown was the Meet and Greets at The Judge’s Tent and the Toontown Hall of Fame. They all had waits of 45 minutes.  We proceeded to Main Street via the Walt Disney World Railroad again.

Upon arrival at the Main Street Station, we played the Penny Arcade games at the top of the station.  City Hall was next to get my birthday button where I was surprised by some complementary fast passes and free ice cream passes by a delightful cast member, Valerie!  As we stepped outside, the Dapper Dans serenaded us with a few songs from Mary Poppins.  Apparently, the Dapper Dans got me in a Barber Shop kind of mood, so we walked over to the Harmony Barber Shop and I got my hair cut (one inch off).  Emily and I both got sprinkled with pixie dust and we were on our way. We stopped into the Crystal Arts Shop to find a glass blowing demonstration which was very neat.

At Casey’s, we inhaled a hot dog and enjoyed some of the classic cartoons.  By then we were treated to the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade.  We proceeded over to Tomorrowland.  Space Mountain took less than 10 minutes with the fast passes that we had gotten earlier.  Afterwards, we took in a few games at the Tomorrowland Arcade. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority was an easy walk-on.  After we got off, we saw PUSH, the trashcan. After following him around for a while, he finally approached us and we got a picture.

We had time for one more attraction before Storytime with Belle, so we proceed over to the Royal Carrousel.  I coaxed Emily into sitting on Cinderella’s horse and that was a very wise move! When the carrousel starts up, a special cast member comes over to her and announces that she has been chosen as the “Princess of the Day” at the Magic Kingdom.  After the ride is over, he conducts a royal ceremony, complete with royal certificate, pin, sticker and more complementary fast passes.  Emily couldn’t have been more excited. And I was definitely excited. While we were there, we enjoyed the murals of Cinderella’s Castle.

We were right in time for Storytime with Belle. The show was delightful and I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be for Mike Scopa to play the Beast!  As the show was finishing, I noticed the sky getting a little dark.  Remember what the cast member had said at Astro Orbiter? The thunderstorm was indeed going to happen, but he was about 2 hours off.  So, we quickly went back to Big Thunder Mountain and rode it.  When we got off, we grabbed fast passes for Splash Mountain for later. The sky opened up and the lightning ensued.  It was two hours after that point before the outdoor attractions were reopened.

Our magical moments continued despite the weather.  The Country Bear Jamboree seemed like a good place to go next.  Stepping up to the porch, we were greeted by a friendly cast member, Kevin. I asked him how long till the next show.  He sarcastically reminded me of the sign that was right beside me that gave the time until the next show!  Obviously, he gets asked that a lot. We had 5 minutes!  After telling Kevin about our Princess of the Day and how it was my birthday, he said he had a surprise for us. He led us into the show in front of everyone else, sat us front and center, and then declared us the VIPs for that show.  He also gave us fast passes and free complementary ice cream passes. We were racking up and it was fun.

After the Country Bears, we shot a few rounds at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade, rode Haunted Mansion, watched the Hall of Presidents and the Enchanted Tiki Room-Under New Management.  By then the rain had stopped and the outdoor attractions were opening back up.  We then enjoyed the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, the Jungle Cruise, Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Boats, the Swiss Family Treehouse and Pirates of the Caribbean. Of those, we had little to no waits on all but the Jungle Cruise. It had a 15 minute wait.

From there, we went back into Frontierland and encountered the characters around the Diamond Horseshoe.  We saw Horrace, Clairebell, Country Bears, Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear.  The Frontierland Hoedown Celebration began and Brer Rabbit picked me to dance. And on top of everything, the song that we danced to was Rocky Top. I’m from Tennessee, so it couldn’t have been more perfect!  Splash Mountain was our next ride with no wait using our fast passes that we got earlier (not the complementary ones).  Tom Sawyer’s Island was next with a jaunt over to Fort Langhorn.

With it being my birthday, I was ready for something good to eat for dinner.  And I had heard many good reviews of the Angus Burger over at Peco’s Bills.  Emily tried the taco salad.  While we took a moment to savor our much deserved dinner, three cast members with cow bells randomly come over to our table and announced that it was my birthday while jingling the bells. They have the whole room say “Happy Birthday, Mary Jo” and “Yee-Haw.”  It made me laugh so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

We headed back to Main Street where we visited Exposition Hall, watched some cartoons in the Art Gallery (formerly the Cinema) and visited the Firehouse.  From there we rode Buzz Lightyear, watched Monster’s, Inc. Laugh Floor and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Afterwards, we got to meet Tomorrowland Goofy and enjoy the Club 626 Dance Party with D.J. Willis (part of Summer Nightastic). Then finally, we saw Stitch’s Great Escape.

My favorite part of the whole day, the Main Street Electrical Parade, was as amazing as ever and brought back so many memories from my childhood!  By then, my husband and son were there to join us for the Fireworks Dessert Party where we had great viewing of the Summer Nightastic Fireworks from the Tomorrowland Noodle Station.

Overall, it was a busy day, but for me it was a perfect day.  We may have not done it all technically correct with the touring plan, but I promise you that Emily and I will never forget this special day! It all boils down to how priceless it is to create memories with your friends and family at the “most magical place on earth.”  In the end, we visited 60 attractions /shows/ meet n’greets in 13 hours 25 minutes. Have you ever attempted an Ultimate TouringPlan?

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11 thoughts on “The Most Magical Birthday Ever: An Ultimate TouringPlan Challenge

  • You are such a machine!!! Thanks for sharing your birthday with us! Honestly I am tired just thinking about it all! 🙂

  • Great Blog Mary Jo!!! Thanks for the mention. I am so happy to be a part of your ultimate touring plan!!!

  • Now I know what to do for my 40th! I have just 3 years to convince my 2 boys to indulge their mom… sounds like a blast!

  • Sounds like a great and exhauting day. What a wonderful way to spend your very special birthday. Hope to meet up with you again soon.

  • After the tour was over, we ended up staying in the MK till 1am redoing all of our favorites with Andy and my son. Emily and I were in the MK for 16.5 hours straight!!!!! By the time we left, it was no longer my birthday!!!! Now that is how you get your moneys worth.
    Thank you all for taking the time to read about our day.

  • Congratulations, Mary Jo! And thank you for sharing! I was able to visualize your day as I read your post. I really enjoyed that vicarious visit to the happiest place on Earth!

  • WOW! My husband, daughter and I are going down Aug. 16-21 to celebrate my 50th and my daughter’s 21st! You are an inspiration! Do we get a handicap for being 10yrs older than both of you?!! I think if there was a”Food and Drink Ultimate Touring Plan,” we’d definately be up for the challenge!!

  • What a fun day! Would love to do this with my daughter one day.

  • Okay, I took my son and did 4 parks in one day, but I feel inadequate now. LOL.

    Fantastic write up, Mary Jo. Love the fact that you got to spend that quality time with your daughter. That’s what it’s all about.

  • Wow. My feet hurt just reading this. LOL!
    We are waiting till the fall to get our FL passes but I would LOVE to try this. How fun!!
    Happy Belated Birthday!


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