Admittedly, this review is a bit overdue – CP and I stayed at Old Key West a little over a year ago. That said, Old Key West came back to mind recently on a particularly cold New England day – … Continue reading
In just under a week CP and I are heading to the World for a whirlwind 72 hour trip. If you’ve seen our past trip reports, you’ll notice that most of our trips tend to be much longer; in fact, … Continue reading
I’m a self-avowed nerd who loves charts. I’m a self-avowed Disney nerd who loves eating in WDW. What follows is my combination of these two things: a chart to help you decide where to eat when visiting Walt Disney World. … Continue reading
Monday, May 9
After two days of blissful morning touring, we were officially rope drop converts and thus were up again around 7am. We quickly ate and got ready to drive to the Magic Kingdom, and after a relatively quick drive there, we got a parking spot in the first row of spots that wasn’t reserved for handicap parking. SWEET. I’m not sure if this is a normal thing or not, but the Express monorail wasn’t running, so we hopped on the Resort monorail and ended up in front of the train station at 8:25.
The opening show was cute, but we were both impatient to get a move on, AND I realized while standing there that I had forgotten to put any sunscreen on this morning, save what little was in my foundation. Since my skin has two color options (blindingly pale and blindingly burned), I hid in the shade during the show and hoped for the best.
One the rope was officially dropped, we decided to actually follow a Touring Plan (we usually follow the spirit if not the letter of TPs, but I was game to try something new) and headed off to its first stop, Space Mountain. After a brisk jog up Main Street and through the Tomorrowland Terrace, we turned left toward SM and came to an abrupt halt. We were greeted by a solid human wall of Disney Cast Members, some costumed, others clearly managers, waving their giant stuffed Mickey hands away from Space Mountain – the ride was down, and no time could be estimated for its return. Well, CRAP. If we had known this at the entrance, we could have used the OTHER Touring Plan, which called for us to head directly to Big Thunder/Splash Mountains. In any case, not wanting to waste any more time, we skipped ahead in our current TP, bypassing Winnie the Pooh (just weren’t in the mood) and heading straight for Peter Pan’s Flight, which was an easy walkon. Next stop was the Haunted Mansion, which was also a walkon – not complaining here, but we still haven’t had a chance to really check out the new queue. The next stop was Big Thunder Mountain, which we rode twice, and which was a walkon both times. Have I mentioned yet how I LOVE ROPE DROP?
Our next stop via the TP was Pirates of the Caribbean, a favorite of ours that was sullied horribly by the lady seated in front of us who must have taken a hundred flash pictures throughout the ride. Oh, well. At this point it was getting much hotter and I was growing even more afraid of the sunburn that would await me at the end of the day, so after a fruitless search of sunscreen in Adventureland and on Main Street, we headed out to the monorail to take a quick ride to the Contemporary Resort. There, we both took a bathroom break (love the quiet CR bathrooms) and I stopped into one of the shops to buy a horribly overpriced bottle of sunscreen, but seriously – can you put too high a price on avoiding a nasty sunburn? I can’t.
After resting a bit and checking our e-mail, we headed to the monorail, where we disembarked at the TTC and transferred to the Epcot monorail. Yes, for those of you keeping track at home, we chose to leave our car in the TTC parking lot for two reasons: 1. We LOVE the Epcot monorail ride and 2. we planned to visit the MK later in the day, and figured we’d just monorail ourselves back.
Our main Epcot mission this afternoon was to enjoy and take pictures of the Flower and Garden Festival, which we had really seen only in passing on Saturday and Sunday. We took numerous pictures of the Toy Story 3 topiaries at the entrance, and then made our way back to the World Showcase to take pictures throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, and Morocco, before stopping at the Tangierene Cafe in Morocco to split a vegetarian platter and refill our water bottles. (Note: for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike the Tangeriene Cafe is a fantastic deal AND offers really good food. You are ordered to eat there!) Our appetites satisfied, we continued on through Italy, China, and Germany, and then Norway and Mexico, where on the spur of the moment we decided to do the Mexico boat ride. It was pretty much as terrible as usual, but it offered a nice respite from the beating heat of the day. Now, before we move on, enjoy some lovely Epcot pictures:
Anyway, our next stop was at the Cantina de San Angel for a passionfruit margarita, which CP claimed to have no interest in, but then helped me demolish. We both sipped on it as we walked through the other side of the World Showcase and back toward BWV, where we collapsed on the bed for a much-needed afternoon nap. It should also be mentioned that Monday was the day that both CP and I felt we were beginning a losing battle with sore and blistered feet. More on this later, ha ha!
After our nap, we awoke feeling sad about the fact that we now had less than 24 hours of fun left. We decided to drown our sorrows in ice cream, and walked down to Seashore Sweets on the BoardWalk, where CP had ice cream and I had a delicious Coke float. We watched the people wandering by and the boats honking their horns, and then took a few more pictures before heading back to our room to start packing.
Once sufficient progress had been made on the packing front, we walked back to Epcot, stopping to take more pictures of the Flower and Garden Festival in the late afternoon sunlight, and then headed to Guest Relations at the front of the park to upgrade our current six-day Park Hopper tickets to Annual Passes, as doing so would save us money in the long run given our upcoming 10-day December trip. The upgrade process took a bit of time but was ultimately worth it, and like cats with canaries in our mouths, we headed out of Epcot, onto the monorail, and back to the TTC.
Now, you might reasonably expect that we were headed back to the MK for the evening, but decided instead to head to Downtown Disney to finish our souvenir shopping and grab some dinner before going to the MK for a late evening. This was partly because it was something like 95 degrees at 6pm, and our feet were very sore and torn up, so some time in the car – and in the car’s icy air conditioning, was certainly welcome.
Our first stop was Earl of Sandwich for – can you believe it? – a sandwich. Afterward, we ran over to
Once Upon a Toy to use the hidden bathroom in the back, and then headed over to World of Disney, which was an absolute madhouse. We then checked out the Art of Disney store, before heading to Goofy’s Candy Company and finally the pin store. Soon after, we headed back to the car, drove ourselves back to the TTC, and to be different walked to the Polynesian – one of my favorite places just to visit – to use the bathroom again, watch the Electrical Water Pagaent, and stroll the grounds a bit before monorailing back over to the Magic Kingdom. Once again, my momentary insanity led me to completely forget that we were AGAIN entering during the Electrical Parade.
Somehow – I can’t even really remember because I think I’ve blocked it out – we made it to Frontierland, where we waited out the parade and then headed directly to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which we road twice in succession, the second time during Wishes. Afterward, the wheels of our collective train completely fell off. We were tired. Our feet hurt. It was already late. So…we left. First, though, we headed back to Main Street to finish the shopping we couldn’t do at DTD. Again, temporary insanity must have made me forget what a bad idea this would be, as the stores were mobbed and the lines were long. Somehow we managed to survive it, but then we encountered the next mob at the TTC, where we waited an HOUR to board a tram back to our car.
This was truly the only time during our trip that I wished we had taken a bus instead of a car – while most parks’ parking lots are within walking distance and you can usually get to your car without relying on a tram, at the TTC you’re stuck waiting for a tram with everyone else. Also, CP getting her butt groped by some old lady while waiting in the tram line didn’t exactly improve the experience. Ah, well. Not the magical final evening in the MK we had on our October trip, but still a lovely day nonetheless.
As you can see, I’m catching up on trip reports.
Sunday, May 8 – Mother’s Day.
We slept in this morning until the late hour of 7:15, and like the day before, we ate breakfast in the room (this time accompanied by some Starbucks Double Shots to give us some caffeine), dressed, and were out the door by 8:10am. Unlike yesterday, however, we decided not to drive or take a boat, and instead walked to Hollywood Studios. We waved to the passing Friendship boats, enjoyed watching the ducks with their babies, and raised our eyebrows at the passing joggers who looked far too tired and sweaty to truly be enjoying their hot morning runs.
Before 8:30 we were in line, only the 4th or 5th people deep at the turnstile. We were let through the turnstiles by 8:40, and were at the front of the crowd awaiting the rope drop show. Rope drop happened promptly at 9, and we joined the throngs of people headed to Toy Story Mania! Oddly, for all the horror stories I’ve heard of the TSM dash at rope drop, we both found it to be a more civilized experience than we had the day before at Epcot.
Once arriving at Pixar Place the majority of the crowd headed for the TSM Fast Pass line, so we instead got right into the standby queue and walked right onto the ride, perhaps the 40th and 41st riders of the day. We were both delighted to finally break 100k, and once off the ride we headed to the now clear Fast Pass machines to get a FP for 11:40am-12:40pm. Adrenaline rush of the day over, we both leisurely stroll over to Sunset Boulevard, where CP reads on her iPhone while I ride Tower of Terror alone. The ride was a walkon and deliciously terrifying as usual. Once off I meet up with CP, and we continue our leisurely stroll around the Studios and end up deciding to visit the Muppet dump shop (two things: 1. I hate the term “dump shop”; and 2. what happened to all the Muppets merchandise? The Muppets dump shop (AAAGH) contained mostly the same generic WDW merchandise you can find anywhere else. Sad) and browsing the backlot streets before stopping to grab a snack at Starring Rolls.
Our aimless wandering continues as a grab my zoom lens and start taking pictures of Sunset Boulevard. While sitting down to change my lens I’m approached by a survey taker, and I happily agree to take a survey, this one a fairly general one about the number of times I’ve visited, what kind of tickets I have, and whether I’m doing anything else in Orlando.
Tuesday, October 12.
With CP still feeling under the weather and both of us considerably more tired than at the beginning of our trip, we slept in today until 8:45. After some cereal, yogurt parfait, and hot chocolate/coffee mix we headed to the bus stop around 10am. Our Magic Kingdom bus arrived quickly and took us equally fast to the entrance of the park, so we were on the train to Frontierland in no time.
Our first stop of the day was Splash Mountain, whose wait was only 5 minutes and which in reality was nearly a walk-on. Our fast queue experience was marred only by the presence of the line-cutting grandma in front of us, but we both had forgotten about that after the intense soaking we received at the end of the ride. Naturally, our next stop was Big Thunder, which advertised a wait of 20 minutes and the promise of drying ourselves off in wind. Being wise in the ways of Disney Math™ we figured the line was really much shorter than 20 minutes, and indeed, we waited maybe 5 minutes to board. The kid behind us was apprehensive to ride for the first time, but by the end of her first ride through the wilderness, she was clapping and giddy, thrilled with herself that she had liked it. Next up was a walk through Frontierland and Liberty Square for another ride on Space Mountain, during which we confirmed that the left track is truly much smoother than the right side.
With lunch time approaching and hunger fast settling in, we decided the proper course of action was a tide-me-over snack at the Confectionary before heading to Downtown Disney for a real lunch. While munching on chocolate-covered pretzel rods we watched Pluto interact with children young and old, and then we headed for the exit to grab a boat to the Wilderness Lodge, which CP had never seen, and where we could catch a bus to Downtown Disney. We took a bathroom break in the very peaceful lobby of the Wilderness Lodge villas, wandered the grounds, and then caught a bus to Downtown Disney, where we went to the lovely Earl of Sandwich for a lunch of Caprese sandwiches while watching the day’s parade of crazily adorned BBB girls.