Why are we getting up so early?
We're taking the Keys to the Kingdom tour which will take us all around the Magic Kingdom and even into some backstage areas.
We each got these wireless headsets that picked up our host's microphone. We could follow 50 feet behind and still hear what our guide was talking about.
We got to go into all sorts of interesting places.
We took a ride on the Jungle Cruise and instead of the skipper telling jokes, we heard about the history of the Jungle Cruise from our guide.
Unfortunately photos of backstage areas weren't allowed while we got to see the buildings for Splash Mountain and the parade storage area. Luckily I've been here before when I was running marathons here a few years ago. That building in the background is for parade floats.
We see some hippos from the Jungle Cruise.
Then it was time to go back on stage.
All too soon it was time to break for lunch. Ruston is showing off his Keys to the Kingdom pin.
The biggest highlight of the tour was the going through the underground Utilidors. Photos and video were absolutely forbidden, but I've found someone else's video.
After the tour, we met up with Ruston's friend Jim. WDW is redoing Fantasyland, adding new rides and theming. They've expanded the castle with turrets further back to make the whole castle seem bigger. They just removed the walls from this particular section that day. We saw a cast member hanging out and asked if there might happen to be previews of the new Belle Meet and Greet. Sadly she hadn't heard of any.
It's so new that you can still get plaster dust off it.
We were hanging in that area when that cast member who took our photo starts waving her arms at us to come over. Turns out they were doing previews today after all!
Here's Maurice's cottage.
You start out in his workshop.
And instead of a typical queue, you're winding in and around all his stuff.
And here's something I've never seen.
It's Belle with her mother!
Theresa measuring up against Belle.
And here's one of her books, Sleeping Beauty.
So we're at Maurice's cottage, way far away from the Beast's castle. How are we going to get there to visit with Belle? With just a little bit of Disney Magic, we step through a magic mirror and we're in the castle. The whole time we were surrounded by Imagineers watching our reactions. Guess who got chosen to be a suit of armor?
Inside there was a neat little Lumiere animatronic.
We got to meet Belle and re-enact the whole story of how she met the Beast. Sadly my 16GB memory card filled up with 30 seconds to go, so the video ends a little abruptly.
Jacob getting his picture with Belle.
We were all smiles the rest of the afternoon after getting to experience this attraction before almost everyone else.
Photos in front of the castle.
All 5 of us.
Another fun time with the 4 of us. That's 3 parks down. Just Paris and Hong Kong left to visit together now!
Our dinner reservations were over in Epcot so we headed over there. We do love Phineas and Ferb.
Since Theresa and I missed out on one of our dinners earlier in the week, we had extra dining credits. So what does that mean? Lots and lots of food for our final meal. We had 4 pizzas, plus two more entrees. We also had 6 desserts!
As we were leaving dinner totally stuffed, it was getting dark. Time to head to Ruston's native land for a few more shots.
Aside from small bout with food poisoning, it was an awesome vacation!
The next day, we stopped by Earl of Sandwich for lunch. And our favorite Disney cartoon happens to have a photo stop.
Hey Joe, I know what we're going to do today!
Off to the airport to fly home!