Catching up with the Magic Kingdom: Mine Train for the First Time

As locals twice before, we know to avoid the parks in the summer – not only for the heat but for the crowds – cranky, pushy, annoying crowds! That’s why we almost decided not to get an AP until the Food & Wine Festival. Still, here we were with so much to catch up on with the time/access to do it now.

So far, we’ve caught up on the two easiest parks to get in and out of: Epcot and Studios. We only wanted to brave the MK during the summer if we could get the elusive FP+ for the Mine Train. I know Sue is crazy about it – she rides it on every park trip she takes.

Finding one of those, especially on a summer weekend is like finding gold – eventually I did find one for a weekday just a week or so ago for yesterday. With this unexpected gift, I braved the MK just to ride the Mine Train while Rich was working. 🙂

This is the first I’ve driven to WDW solo this time around – I’d done it plenty of times before, even from Tampa. But I’m not quite as adventurous solo as I used to be. Still, I was determined to peek into the MK and to ride the Mine Train.

I started my day with a cup of coffee but skipped breakfast, thinking I’d get something at the MK, and then I rode with Rich to work, which is about 20-30 minutes north. Then, I headed back south, past our resort on a toll road, and on to the Magic Kingdom. I took a wrong turn around all of that construction on-property. I had to drive way out of my way to find a turn around to head back. I got lucky with my parking space on the end of the row near the Tram stop – usually we’re the first ones in all the way to the farthest end – lol! I made it onto the waiting tram – yay – another win! But by the time I got to bag check, I’d chosen the shortest but slowest line with the biggest bags. Ha! And then I got lucky and had to be scanned. Oh well, I was in no hurry.

A huge crowd was ahead of me in line for the Ferry, and no way was I going to make it on that one, especially with strollers and ECVs running over me. A CM said the next one would arrive in 15-20 minutes – yikes! Thankfully, it was only about 10 minutes. I found my spot near an open “window” and settled in, taking photos. But then a family behind me started crowding me, trying to push me out of the way so they could stand there. This seemed to be a trend on this day – groups bullying me as a solo. Very annoying!

They say that a woman in her 50s becomes invisible and my friends and I found that to be true. But watch out for the next decade – you’re suddenly visible again but visible as an old lady – not fun! More on that later.

I stood my ground, taking video and photos, getting my first look at the Poly bungalows – not a fan of the color – too washed out for me, compared to the traditional rooms. Soon we were off and I entered the Annual Passholder line without a hitch.

The park was very crowded and it was quite hot out. There hadn’t been a storm the day before so the heat was mounting. I headed for Adventureland to take a look around and to take some photos. I saw the new Skipper’s Canteen – we’ve made and broken several ressies for that – hope to eat there sometime, and I thought about riding Pirates – it had always been a walk-on at 10 a.m. even on weekends in the past, but the standby line was 40 minutes. Yikes! I’d read about how WDW seems to always be crowded these days but I had to experience it myself.

I stopped to take some video of Splash Mountain and then walked through Frontierland. By this time I was getting hungry and thirsty – I’d finished the bottle of water I’d brought with me. I took a peek at restaurant availability from my Disney App and noticed that “Be Our Guest” had availability at 11:30. I checked the menu (breakfast) but everything was $25. I decided to pass on that. It was getting close to my FP+ time so I headed for Fantasyland – my first look at the “new” Fantasyland. I got as far as the Mine Train and I was in my window so I got in the FP+ line as a party of one.

I joined another party – grandpa and grandson in the front and mother in the back. When I walked up to join them, she turned around, caught by surprise, and yelled out something that sounded like, “Ewww.” Maybe she expected to ride without a stranger joining in. Maybe she thought I was an old lady but not any older than her dad. Whatever her problem was, she ignored me for the entire ride when I said something. I’m used to Disneyland where everybody treats me like family and we chat about the rides.

I totally disliked this ride – it reminded me of Primeval Whirl, which many, including us, call “Primeval Hurl.” I couldn’t wait for the ride to end. I’d much rather ride Big Thunder Mountain – at least, I think  so – it’s been a year since I last rode it at Disneyland. Maybe I don’t like any of the fast-moving rides anymore. Anyway, the part I did like was the singing of the “Heigh Ho” song by the Dwarves – it’s my ringtone. 🙂

After I escaped the ride, I noticed an ice cream cart so I stopped to get some breakfast – a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich (yum, yum, yum!) and bottle of water for the trip home – $8. It was way too hot and I’d already walked 2.5 miles and couldn’t take the crowds, especially rude crowds, anymore. That’s what summer is like, I know. I won’t be back to the MK until it’s more comfortable and that probably means staying onsite once we’ve moved into our beach house. It’s so hard to do this park as a local.

I finally made it to the Ferry, and while I waited, an older man chatted with me about how he and his wife were there on a family trip with the grand kids and he was way too old for this heat anymore so he told his family he was headed back to the resort. I guess I’m at the age now where the only people who want to talk to me are people my age. The problem is, they all seem to talk about their grand kids. I’ll have to work on finding something to say in return, not having kids or grand kids.

It was an exhausting but fun day, even if it was hot, crowded and the Mine Train wasn’t my thing.  It’s still pretty cool getting to go to WDW whenever the mood strikes.



About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer