We followed the sound of banjo music and found ourselves back in the days of the Wild West in Frontierland – the Magic Kingdom’s take on a prairie outpost. I loved this area, such great theming and attention to detail, you expect to encounter cowboys and Indians round every corner.
The clapboard buildings look great and apparently are structurally consistent with buildings from the 1800’s. The staff are all clad in gingham and denim and there are mesquite trees and cacti everywhere. Plenty of banjo music in the background and a river flowing beside the “town”, I would have been more than content to chill out here, take a seat and people watch. Son had other ideas.
We headed first for the Country Bear Jamboree – a bit cheesy but fun it was in a large theatre and had animatronic bears playing country music.
Splash Mountain was next, we boarded a log flume and entered the world of Br’er Rabbit and his pals. Lots of cute animatronic scenes from the story and music from Song of the South all interspersed with a series of drops and plunges of varying heights. Some were quite intense, especially the drop in pitch black – that made me catch my breath. At the very end we plunged down 5 storeys, a camera caught our screaming faces and we splashed back down to earth. We rode this twice – first at the back on the left hand side and were barely splashed, next at the front and were completely soaked. Still, we soon dried out and it is actually a bit of relief in the hot Florida sunshine.
Big Thunder Mountain – Son’s all time favourite ride – was tried out numerous times on our visit. It is quite fast and a twisting and turning journey through a gold mine. Some sharp turns and drops but the thrills are mild – that always suits me. We dipped and turned through caves and mountains designed to resemble Monument Valley. Lots of mining equipment and “falling rocks” mean great theming here too. First time we missed the attention to detail, several rides later I think we safely saw everything. We also rode this a couple of times at night, in the dark the thrills are more intense and it is even more fun.
A meeting with some of the Toy Story characters, Son was a little weirded out by the hugging and shows of affection, Husband had no such issues with Jessy!
Last but not least was Tom Sawyer Island. This is a bit of a hidden gem, overlooked by us on previous visits which seemed to be common amongst the visitors on our day there. Not busy at all, in fact almost empty, we took a short raft ride over to the island, explored a series of walking trails and found plenty of shady spots to sit in big rocking chairs and relax. Games of checkers were scattered around and places to explore meant Son was happy too.
We chilled out in the shade of some big pine trees, sat on the rocking chairs and watched the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom across the water. Son found some “caves” and a water wheel then we all crossed the rickety barrel bridge.
A pulled pork sandwich later and we were on our way having had a great time in this pretend prairie outpost.