Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
On day 4 we decided to have a sitdown breakfast. We ate at the Grand Floridian Cafe. The food was fine, but the seating was very uncomfortable. I felt as if we were sitting right on top of the tables around us. The waitress (who was a little woman) could hardly squeeze between our table and the one next to us to hand us our drinks. If they change their seating arrangements, this place would probably be a lot more pleasant.
We hopped the monorail and rode on to the Magic Kingdom. We had a great time, walking on every single ride with no wait. We did everything from the Jungle Cruise (one of our favorites though I know it is up for debate by TPI folks), to It's A Small World (made my husband finally ride it for initiation purposes), to Stitch's Great Escape. The last, Chuck wanted to ride or sit on it (I don't count it as a ride). I had "sat" on it when it was Alien Encounter back in 1998. I wasn't that impressed then, and not now. My poor husband thought it was hilarious. I realized then that I had promised in my wedding vows to love him for better or worse. This must be the "worse" part. We had dinner reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern. It was raining steady now and had turned quite cold. The hot pilgrim's feast and hot apple cobbler was perfect for this night. When we arrived at our table they had it decorated with Mickey confetti and again we received chocolate cupcakes with candles to blow out while we were sung to by the waiters. We also got greeted by the characters dressed in colonial wear. Crystal Palace was closed for refurb, so that is why there were characters there. I personally think they should keep them like they used to. I also always thought they should also change it up during the Halloween party to have the headless horseman there for pictures, and have it more like Sleepy Hollow. Oh well.
Our next day we spent at Animal Kingdom. They had extra magic hours for the morning, and we took advantage of it. We arrived and nearly ran the entire way to Expedition Everest. We were able to ride it back to back, due to the lack of people in line. It was awesome, even if the yeti still has his strobe light going strong. My husband had never ridden Dinosaur. I hadn't since 2006. So off we went. No line at all, we truly walked the entire queue and right into a vehicle. I had forgotten how jerky and rough this ride is. Now, I used to have a strong constitution when it came to rides. I could even do the spinning tea cups. I have found that the older I get, the less my stomach can handle. This ride showed me that along with turning 30 in December, I now can not do this ride ever again. Thankfully I didn't lose anything, just needed to sit still with a Sprite.
After I saw that my stomach would not cause any problems we went on to Kilmanjaro Safari. This ride is always great. My husband would next like to try the Animal Kingdom lodge with our boys, and try to get a savannah room. Disney sure knows what to throw our way to get us to spend more money :-) When we got off the KS, is began to rain. It began to rain harder with each step we took. One thing I noticed about this park that really makes it different from the other three: there isn't anywhere to go if it rains. We put our ponchos on and tried to find a place that was dry.
We saw Flights of Wonder, realized it had seats and cover from rain. They informed us before the show began that it would be modified because of the rain. We only got to see the first few minutes of the show. It began to rain even harder and the birds refused to come when called. They were having a diva moment and Disney has pampered them. They asked us to come to the next show if the rain let up. I had made us a late lunch reservation at the Yak and Yeti. It was only 11:30am, but we gave it a shot that they might go ahead and seat us. They did so without delay, and even though there were many people there that were walkins. Our appetizers were our favorite part of our meal. We had seared ahi tuna and pot stickers. For entrees, I had the baby back ribs (very moist and tender, just not the right time for them with my upset stomach), while Chuck tried a seafood curry. He found out that he didn't really care for curry after all. We had warm chocolate cake for dessert. This is a great place to try. We plan on coming back on our next trip, but try different entrees. The rain had lightened up just long for us to see Flights of Wonder. I had never seen this, and I usually stay away from shows. I have to say how wrong I have been to do this. This was a great show! It was interesting, funny, just completely entertaining. We can't wait to bring our boys to see this. By the end of the show the rain began with a vengenance, so we called it a day and headed back to relax at the hotel and order steaks for dinner from room service.
Our last full day began and ended with lots of rain. We headed to Downtown Disney in the rain (don't recommend this). The only reason we headed out here in the morning was because we were on a quest given to us by our five year old son. The only thing he wanted us to bring him from Disney World was a stuffed animal version of the alligator from the Princess and the Frog. He must be persona non grata, because you can't find him anywhere. I searched every single shop, kiosk, asked castmembers, offered a kidney, etc and was unable to find him. Now the irony is, that I was able to locate him online at the Disney Store. GRRRR! But that's ok, it just saved me having to stuff him into a suitcase. We were hungry, because we didn't eat breakfast that morning. We decided and regretted to try T-Rex Cafe. Never again. It is rare that I find something that I just don't like at Disney World. This is one of those rare moments. It is definitely well themed. The animatronics are neat when you first look at them. We were seated in the Ice Caves. If you sit here, take your menu to a different area to read. It is difficult to see when the lights are changing to red, to blue, to purple every five minutes. The metero shower every 20 minutes is loud and booming, mammoths doing whatever mammoths do is also loud. We decided to just order appetizers and a dessert to get out of there as fast as we could. The memu was not that appealing to me, but we were here, seated, why not try something? I ordered some chip and dip, while Chuck ordered some minature hamburgers. It was ok, nothing to write home about. Our dessert was good, it was warm vanilla and chocolate doughnut holes with hot fudge and carmel dipping sauces. Now as much as I enjoyed these, there is no way I will return here for them. Of course, I also am not fond of the food at the Rainforest Cafe, its sister restaurant. To each his own.
As the rain made walking around Downtown unpleasant, we hopped a bus back to our hotel. We had dinner reservations for our last night at Chef Mickey's. We have only eaten breakfast there and really wanted to try dinner. We rested and dried off at our hotel for a few hours, then headed for a some last moments at the Magic Kingdom. We rode Space Mountain one last time, then did something I haven't done since I was a little girl. We rode the Walt Disney Railroad. It was so relaxing and lovely. I had forgotten all the little scenes of animals, Indians, cowboys mining for gold, etc. It was a great way to end our time at the parks. We walked over to the Contemporary Resort and made our way to Chef Mickey's. We had a great dinner, again got special cupcakes for our anniversary, and were hugged and kissed by the characters. We made it back to our room at the Grand Floridian and out to our balcony to see the fireworks over the castle. If you leaned out sideways on our balcony you could see them quite clearly. Our last night was just as it should be. Fireworks, no crowds (since we were in our room), and able to literally fall into bed to get some rest before returning back home.
The rain finally quit, on our way to the airport. I've said it before, but you can definitely feel when you are no longer on Disney property. Once at the airport, we dealt with a rude representative from Delta, then fought the crowds to get to our gate. I guess that is how you really know Disney is magical. They make sure most of their employees do all they can to make everything special and easy. Thus making you hate returning to the real world.
We had a great time and can't wait to return this summer with our sons.
I was going to say DISNEYSTORE when the Louis the Alligator was mentioned.
As for the rest, the Country Fried Steak at T Rex is great, in my opiniion, but then again, our food preferences are not very compatible. To bring it around, I second the brining back of characters to the Liberty Tree Tavern. Personally, I think its one of the best character dinners, for adults. Stangely enough, I do not believe Liberty Tree Tavern is open during the Halloween Parties. Only Pecos Bill's.
I have to say that I always enjoy reading everyone's trip reports. I love writing about mine because it is like reliving it all over again (from the comfort of my recliner). Thanks guys for the recomendations before the trip.
word to you mother!
I look forward to visiting SoAT in May.
Sadly, though, my mother won't be traveling with me, but I will pass along your good wishes, Luis! ;)
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort