One of the best parts of waking up in the morning when you’re at Walt Disney World is the excitement of it. There you are just moments away from the fun. Of course, you’ve got to get up, get dressed, maybe eat. Coffee? And then somehow you make your way to the park. If you’re using a Touring Plan, and it’s not designed for a late arrival, then you’re on your way to the park before it opens.
Now, if that park happens to be the Magic Kingdom, then you’re in for a treat. Every day at the Magic Kingdom is designed around the park’s motto of being “The Most Magical Place On Earth”. And you get that warm (okay I get it, it’s Florida), happy feeling right from the very start of your day there with the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show.
No matter how you get there (boat, bus, walking, monorail), when you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, just proceed right through the turnstiles as soon as possible. The show can be seen anywhere from the boat docs to the train station, but past the turnstiles is prime viewing. It will also allow for you to make your way into the park swiftly after the show is over and “rope drop” occurs. Find a spot you like, but generally I prefer to either be right in front of the train station or off to the right so that the sun is at my back and not dulling my vision.
At about 10 minutes before the park opens (e.g., 8:50 AM on a day when the park opens at 9:00 AM) the festivities will start. The show starts with an introduction to Magic Kingdom by the Citizens of Main Street, U.S.A. My favorite is the Mayor, who is truly one of the most genuine and nice people I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking with. I’ve also seen it introduced by the First Lady of Main Street, as well as other castmembers, and even once by one of the dancing couples.
Oh yes, did I mention there was dancing? Once the introduction is complete, a cadre of the Citizens come out and start singing and dancing to the song “Good Morning” from the 1939 Busby Berkeley film musical Babes in Arms (later revived in 1952 for Singin’ in the Rain). This song is just one of those toe tapping rhythms that you can’t help but hum along and dance to. It really is the perfect way to get you pumped for a day in the Magic Kingdom. (note: independent testers have confirmed that even this number is incapable of overcoming “it’s a small world“)
But, that’s not all. As the song winds down, another one begins with the sound of the Walt Disney World Railroad’s whistle. We’re then regaled with the famous lyrics of the “Casey Junior” from the movie Dumbo as the Railroad pulls into the Main Street U.S.A. Station. On board you’ll find a cast of Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and some of the Princesses, as well as the “Family of the Day”. This is a family that is often hand picked by castmembers from some of the earliest arrivals to the park, but can also be pre-chosen for various reasons.
Once the train has pulled to a halt and everyone has gotten disembarked to the to the tune of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the movie Song of the South. When the music completes, the family is introduced to both Mickey Mouse and the audience. Then it’s time to do what everyone has been waiting for: open Magic Kingdom. The Citizen who introduced the Magic Kingdom to us earlier will, along with Mickey and the “Family of the Day”, lead us in a countdown from 10 down to 0. There will be some brief fireworks and the “Family of the Day” will launch some streamers down into the audience – in the past this was various forms of “Pixie Dust”. The castmembers will then let people enter Main Street and start their day at the Magic Kingdom.
The last time I saw the Welcome Ceremony was with my very good friend Amy and her family. And she summed up why it’s such a great way to start the day over in her blog post about it. It’s a point where everyone is at their best for Magic Kingdom. People’s attitudes are fresh, and folks are generally cheery because they’ve not yet hit the crankiness that tends to creep in in the afternoon. As she put it, “just miles of smiles”. I can’t agree more, the excitement created by this ceremony is palpable and completely enjoyable. And a must see.
What about you? Have you seen the Welcome Ceremony? Do you like it? Hate it? Avoid it? Must see it every day you’re there? Good morning, everybody!