Walt Disney World & World Travels

Posts Tagged ‘Extra Magic Hours

Spoodles 12/5

We checked in early for our ADR at Spoodles and were given a beeper. After about 15 minutes we were seated.

DH ordered a pitcher of Sangria for us:

This was really good! Spanish red wine, brandy & triple sec with fruit juice & slices of fruit. FYI, the Allears menu lists the pitcher as $18.75 as of Sep 08, the price 3 months later has jumped substantially to $25.00!!!

For our appetizer we had a goat cheese with marinara served with foccacia toast. We were so hungry, we dove in and had almost finished it before we remembered to take a picture.  So apologies for the half eaten food pic

This was really really good! The cheese was so creamy, and the marinara was wonderful and both on the foccacia toast was a delicious combination.

Our server; Bobby from Hell (Hell Michigan that is) brought out a basket of bread with an olive tapenade dipping oil:

I liked this because it had a really nice combination of olives, not just green olives (which are not my favorite).

For our entrees, DD & I both had the Lemon-Garlic Shrimp Linguine with preserved lemons, shaved garlic, Italian parsley & butter.

It’s amazing how we can have the same dish, at the same table, yet they came out different.  I probably should have switched plates with DD, because she loves pepper and mine had a whole lot of pepper. It was still good, but I could’ve done with less pepper.    The description said it was with preserved lemons, but there weren’t any in my dish.   All in all, this was very good and DD devoured hers. I’m probably just nitpicking because it was the end of the trip and we’d had so many good meals.

DS got the kids cheese pizza (he’s 11, what can I say-he likes pizza)

He liked the pizza and really liked the plate.  If anyone knows where I can get those Mickey shaped plates, let me know please!

DH ordered the Wood Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Homemade Gnocchi, Spinach, Mushrooms, Onions, and Red Wine Sauce:

He really enjoyed this and loved the Gnocchi. The pork was very tender and had a nice smoky/wood flavor.

We were all full and since we were heading back to Epcot for Extra Magic Hours we decided to skip dessert for now.

Spoodles used to be our 1st night tradition but they changed the menu and we had a so-so experience last time, so we hadn’t been there in a couple of years. This was a really good dinner and I’m really glad we decided to try it again.

3 adult entrees
1 kid meal
1 appetizer
2 lemonades
1 pitcher Sangria
Total after DDE/TiW discount with Tax & Tip: $104.88

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Wow, it’s Wednesday allready.  Halfway point of the trip.  Today is our big food day.   After reading a wonderful food review from MickeyNicki on the disboards, we are trying Boma breakfast this morning and then our favorite Brown Derby for dinner tonight.

Since we’re not morning people, we have a 10:45am Advanced Dining Reservation at Boma.  We are going to drive over to make it easy.  My truck (Ford Expedition) acts a little strange when DH starts it, but then seems fine. With DVC member card/Disney Dining Experience card we get free valet parking and were walking into Animal Kingdom Lodge and seated at Boma in no time flat.  DS11 loves  breakfast buffets (so do I )  DD14 is not a breakfast person, does not like most breakfast foods even, but when she read & saw the pics on MickeyNicki’s review she wanted to try Boma.  Wow, this is an amazing breakfast!   DD was all set between the Corned Beef on the carving station and all the wonderful muffins.  The carved meats, mini omelets, muffins, fruits, and the OMG incredible sticky buns won us all over. Then we tried the jungle juice, YUM!  Great coffee, yummy juice, and all that food.  We all could’ve rolled out of there.  We love dinner at Boma and now breakfast is a must do as well! 

We walk outside and and wait for the valet to pull my truck around.  We wait…..and wait some more……I see a management type person run down with what looks like a charger, and we continue to wait. Someone finally asks if we’ve been helped, and we say yes, they were supposed to be pulling a blue expedition up.  The girl has no idea and asks the other valet and he says something about it not starting and they’re trying to jump it now.  Manager comes back and then DH goes down to the valet lot with him.  They get it started and pull up for us.  Our only guess is that the kids left stuff on in the back (I’ve got outlets that DD uses for her laptop and DS uses for his playstation).  All seems fine now, so back to Saratoga Springs Resort we go for a relaxing afternoon.

We spend the afternoon at the Grandstand pool with a couple of those fabulous Mai Tai’s and our books.  It was hot & sunny, perfect pool weather!

After showering and changing, we head to the Studio’s for dinner at the Brown Derby.  This is our 3rd trip in a row eating here, it has become our favorite restaurant.  We got to the Studios and went to check times on Tower of Terror  and Rockin Rollercoaster. Got Fast Passes and then wandered around watching the Streetmosphere.  I love walking and watching at the Studio’s, the atmoshpere is great.

I could do without the blacktop though in June, it really holds the heat in.  We made our way back to Brown Derby and checked in.  A lot of people seemed to be trying to walk in, but they were all being turned away.  We were seated within minutes, taken to what we were told was the “Chefs Table”.  It’s the big table in front of the bar, overlooking the rest of the restaurant. I don’t know if it really is a special table or not, but we felt special.  Our server was fantastic (I feel bad, I didn’t write down his name) he was very helpful with suggestions, refills, etc. He always seemed to be there if we needed anything, but not overbearing/hovering. We (DH & I) started with cocktails and shared the Cobb salad. Yum!  The menu had changed slightly from our last 2 visits.  The filet has been replaced with a NY Strip (our server said that it’s excellent and they were having difficulty getting the filet), the grouper was gone (loved that) and the pork had a different name and slightly different description. DD fell in love  with the Roasted Hatfield Pork Rib Chop in December, she swears it’s the best thing she ever put in her mouth.  So she was a little worried about the changes and also asked about switching the sides, but our server told her that the new one is fantastic and to try the sides that come with it.  He promised that if she didn’t like them, he would get her replacements.  Since she’s trying to “grow” and become a foodie, she agreed to try the new pork dish with the sides. Our server told DH to try the Ahi Tuna, since he’s had several of the other items on the menu previously and I had the Salmon with the marscapone polenta with gorgonzola and balsamic glaze & olive tapenade. DS11 ordered his favorite, the hotdog on the kids menu.  He told our waiter that they have the best hot dogs on property.  Our waiter told DS he would tell the Chef that.  Dinner came out and as always was fantastic! I can only assume that DD’s pork was good, because it was gone before I could even get a taste.  She even liked the sides. DH was glad that he got the Ahi Tuna, and it didn’t take long to clear his plate .  The salmon was perfectly cooked and that polenta is wonderful!  The only thing left on my plate was the Sicilian olive tapenade, which is too salty for me.  DH laughed at me, because I didn’t like it last time either.  I prefer black olives, the green ones just aren’t my thing.  Then there’s DS, who ate his entire hot dog and asked our server if he had told the Chef what he said.  A few minutes later, the Chef comes out to introduce himself to us and said that he was very glad to hear that DS loves the hot dogs so much.  Here we are having a 4/5 star dinner and my son is complimenting the Chef on the Ballparks!!!!   We finished dinner with coffee (good coffee, not Disney coffee) and dessert. DH & DD had their grapefruit cake, DS had the creme brulee and the chocolate lover that I am, had the flourless chocolate cake. Another fantastic meal at Brown Derby.

 

After dinner we walked down to check out TSM. The wait was 120 minutes  I don’t think so! We went and walked around the backlot and Streets of America and finally found:

The Singin in the Rain umbrella!

DD impersonating Mary Tyler Moore on the Streets of America

DS impersonating Darth Vader

The skies started to look a little scary, so we figured it would be a good time to go to Muppet Vision. If you normally go straight in and hurry to get into the next show, don’t. There is sooooo much to look at in this attraction. We’ve seen this sign many times:

We took our time and this is what we found

The show was funny as always and when we came out the sky had cleared. We rode Star Tours real quick and then we went back up to see if there were Fast Passes for EMH at Toy Story Midway Mania. Nope and the wait was 100 minutes. We were starting to walk away when DS saw the single rider line.  We waited about 20 minutes (much better than 100) and had a great time.  I thought it was a lot of fun but DH said he would have been disappointed if he’d waited 2 hours for it.  After that we went and saw Indy and then went to Great Movie Ride.  I wasn’t feeling real well at this point, full tummy and the heat had me feeling a little green.   DD was worn out as well, and she doesn’t like the thrill rides and wanted to leave.  I really didn’t want to miss Rockin Rollercoaster and since we had the Fast Passe I figured I was either going to feel alot better or alot worse.  DD waited while the rest of us rode.  That was the best I had felt in hours!  I thought about trying Tower of Terror, but figured I’d be pushing my luck. Maybe next time,  The “boys” stayed and used their Fast Passes for Tower of Terror and DD & I caught a bus back to SSR.

It was a good night. Got a little frustrating at times with lines and with our dear children who don’t mind waiting for the things they like but want to leave as soon as they get what they want.  If you saw a family having words about kids being selfish on Sunset Blvd, it wasn’t us.

Tomorrow DH & I have a golf date and then we’ll have dinner with the Princesses.

Tuesday is golf day, 1 of 2 actually on this trip.  All of us were going to go to Magnolia today, DD was going to be our photographer and part time cart driver  but she was still really tired and we decided it would be better for her to go back to bed and rest.

DH, DS & I headed up to Artist Palette  for breakfast before the cab picked us up to take us to the golf course. Here’s DS at breakfast–looking like your typical golfer.  He was actually a little nervous about showing up at the golf course with a blue mohawk, thinking they might not let him play. Let me just say that the staff at Magnolia was incredible and they told him he was the coolest, baddest guy out on the course that day!

Usually we drive to the golf courses, but for this trip we decided to drop our clubs at Lake Buena Vista’s club house this time and let them transfer the clubs and take the free taxi to the courses.  Taxi came in no time flat and when we got to Magnolia our clubs were waiting for us, already on the carts.  Just gotta mention how much we love our Disney Vacation Club Golf Membership! We got it last June (where it paid for itself the first day), used it again in December and now on this trip. I can’t play for my home course for $39 after 10am, so to play a resort course as beautiful as Magnolia for that price is just amazing!   It was a very warm round of golf;   Ok, it was darn right hot, but it was a beautiful day.  Just wish I could say the same about my golf game.  DS actually played very well and managed to hit perfectly into the famous Mickey bunker on #6

A beautiful sandshot out of Mickey’s ear

I was surprised that we didn’t see as much wildlife as we usually do. As sunny & hot as it was, we didn’t see a single gator.  Lot’s of wild turkeys roaming around though.  All in all it was a great day out playing golf .   We headed back to the villa to shower & change before our dinner Advanced Dining Reservation at Planet Hollywood.

 
After a great day playing golf we got ready for our dinner at Planet Hollywood, and then we’ll catch a bus to the Beach Club Resort  to walk over to Epcot.   Again, the road to ….is paved with my plans, lol.

Advanced Dining Reservation  is at 4:45, we can catch a bus,  take the boat or walk.  Looking at the sky, we decide the bus is the safest plan.  By the time the bus got to Congress Park it was getting dark, when we got to the Market Place bus stop it was starting to rain. I kept hoping that it wasn’t raining at West Side yet, but no luck with that!  We get off the bus and seek shelter in the bus stop.  It’s not raining, it’s a full out monsoon!  We look at the sky to see if it’s going to stop soon, uh huh, this is one big storm.  Allright, everyone ready set run.  That didn’t work.   To say that we were drenched, would be an understatement. We waited outside under the PH roof, hoping to dry off a little before going inside the freezer known as Planet Hollywood.  The wind was blowing so much that we were still getting wet, so we braved the A/C and went in. We were seated immediately (right on time for our ADR).  We had a pretty good dinner.  DH loves the LA Lasagna, DD decided to try salmon (even though she hasn’t liked salmon any other time she’s had it), so I played safe and got the fettucinne alfredo (that I knew she’d like) DS got the kids pizza.  Meals were pretty good, only issue was the rice with the salmon was waaaay over cooked, dry & crunchy.  Other than that, I enjoyed DD’s salmon very much and she enjoyed “my” fettucine.   The boy’s both got the banana split creme brulee, and DD & I shared the brownie sundae.  Those are good desserts!   By the time we finished dinner, the rain had finally stopped.  We all needed to go back to the room and change before heading to Epcot for Extra Magic Hours. We almost decided to skip the park, but figured after the storm we just had that everyone would’ve left.  Wrong again.

Crowds were pretty heavy when we got to Epcot. We rode Figment, then went to watch Illuminations.  We watched from between the boat dock & Mexico.  As soon as it was over we booked it over to Test Track. WOW the wait was ridiculous and no Fast Passes. We hopped in the single rider line real quick while that wait was still at 20min.  After that we saw Honey I shrunk the Audience and then wandered around World Showcase  for awhile.  We stopped in Norway and I finally got to get schoolbread!  We were still to full to eat so we got 3 schoolbreads and a couple other things to take back to the room. The crowds had not thinned out, and it wasn’t even relaxing to stroll around, so we headed out.  No sense getting frustrated with the waits when everyone is tired and DD was wearing out.

Didn’t get much done, but I did get to see Illuminations (my favorite) and we got school bread!

Plans (here we go again) for tomorrow are Boma breakfast, Brown Derby Dinner and Studios EMH. Wish us luck!

I can’t believe it’s over already.   All that time waiting & planning, and planning and waiting and now it’s over and time to plan the next one.

Cast of Characters for this trip: Dear Husband 39, Me 37, Dear Daughter 14 & Dear Son 11

We left home (Charlotte NC) Saturday June 7th, 2008 and drove down to Altamonte Springs Florida.  We’ve found an Embassy Suites there that is very nice, full hot buffet breakfast and only $115 a night. Plus it’s only a half hour to Disney on Sunday mornings.  We arrived at the Embassy Suites before dinner, allowing us time to relax, eat and play in the pool.

 
We drove over to Disney’s  Saratoga Springs Resort  on Sunday morning and checked in at 9:30am.  We got our request of the Grandstand, but not the building we wanted.  We had wanted the building overlooking the pool and backing up to the golf course. The Cast Member did look to move us,  but  the building by the bus stop was closed because of noise from the road work, so they were full at the other building.  It worked out just fine though.  Our room was ready, a dedicated 2BR, 1st floor with a courtyard and golf course view.  Room 9111.  It was perfectly clean, everything worked, nothing was broken. The only thing missing was the cable for the internet but that was brought down after we called about it.
 
The plan for the day is take it easy and relax. Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours till 2am tonight,and we plan to go in the late evening.
After unpacking and settling in we went to Artist’s Palette for lunch right at noon. No crowds, no line.  Got our food to go and went back to our room to enjoy.  As always, the food was excellent!

A little back story, DD had been fighting an Upper Respiratory Infection for about a week & half.  We’d taken her to the Minute Clinic the night before her final exam in Geometry and on Wednesday before the trip to her regular Dr. “Viral” is what we were told.  She was on cough medicine, an inhaler, zyrtec and motrin/tylenol for fever & throat pain.  She was feeling worse when we got to Florida on Saturday and even worse on Sunday.

After lunch, DD went to take a nap and DH, DS & I went to the main pool for the Welcome Home party.  DH & I had our books and drinks  and DS was off in the pool until the party games started.  They had a Hula Hoop contest (done by age group) DS is really good at hula hooping so he was very excited to join in this.  When they got to several people who were still going, they had them stop and add a 2nd hoop and then there were 3 left who added a third hoop.  Jason from North Carolina was the last one standing and recieved the new Pixar edition of Monopoly.  He was soooo excited! What a great way to start our vacation!

DD was feeling a little better after her nap, so after we all got ready we headed out for Magic Kingdom.  We waited almost 40 minutes for an MK bus, the people already at the bus stop said they had seen 3-4 of all the other busses.  In the end, they waited just over an hour. I might have thought they were exagerating, except that as we went to all the other stops, others were saying the exact same thing. The bus was packed, but we eventually made it to the Magic Kingdom.

We had decided to start the night in the back of the park. Debated getting Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Moutain  fast passes, decided to get BTMR.  Then went and got dinner at Columbia Harbor House.  First time there, thought it was pretty good.  DS said the new chicken nuggets were much better than the old strips, DD said they were fine.  After our dinner we walked on to Haunted Mansion, then made our way thru the Spectro crowds over to Splash Mountain but the wait was up to 50 minutes so we headed over to Adventureland.  Kids hopped on Flying Carpets as Wishes started. That was neat. As soon as they were done we went over to the Jungle Cruise.  I love the Jungle Cruise, I love every single corny joke.   Maybe because I had friends on the College Program that were Jungle Cruise Skippers, but it’s one of my favorites and my dear family only indulges me every couple of trips.  Pirates in undergoing refurb, so I get to go on Jungle Cruise.  nce Wishes is still going we’re able to walk right up and get on the next boat. Captain Sarah is great, and we play along with everything.  Now I have to say, the other group in our boat did not seem to get the jokes (or the point of the ride), that’s ok, I was having fun. Then something that I’ve never seen happen, we come up on another boat who’s captain yells over that there’s a boat in front of her that’s dead in the water. Yep, we got stuck on the Jungle Cruise.  Poor Captain Sarah, she said it was her first night and I’m sure it’s one she’ll never forget/  She went thru every joke she learned, then I tried to help by asking about the “local vegetation” So she was able to show us the “High”biscus and the “low”biscus.  The Captain of the boat in front of us started yelling out knock knock jokes to our boat and then moved on to singing “if you’re happy and you know it”   Boats are now backing up behind us and none of the radios seem to be working. I really wish I could have seen what was happening at the dock when there weren’t any boats showing up.   After a good half hour, they managed to get a boat out there to tow the dead boat back home and then we resumed our three hour tour (oops, sorry wrong story )

Crowds dropped significantly after Extra Magic Hours started and we were able to ride Splash & BTMR a couple of times with practically no wait.  We went over to Fantasy Land and DS & I rode the Tea Cups. DD was starting to crash, and not feel well at all.  She toughed it out, mainly because she’s 14 & stubborn and she was the one talking about staying at Magic Kingdom till 2am since park hours were released.  It was time for a snack so went and had Dole Whips (in honor of  Bawb–for those who listen to the DISunplugged podcast).
We moved over to Tomorrowland, rode the Wedway People Mover, Space Mountaintn & Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. We left the park just before 2am, got a bus no problem and were back to our room in no time flat.

All in all, a very good 1st day, Just wish DD would feel better.

Our last night at the World

All freshened up after our afternoon in the pool, we head over to the Beach Club Resort  for our dinner at Cape May’s Clam Bake.  Our ADR was for 6:50, but we went early and were seated within 15 minutes. While we waited we listened to a choir group perform in the lobby.

They were very good!  I love all the “extra” stuff Disney does during the Holidays!

Our server was Mary. I remember her name only because she has waited on us 3-4 times over the last 6 years. On our very 1st trip she taught DS to color on the mussel shells (after DH was done with them). I do miss the buckets they used to have for the clams & mussels, but they still tasted fantastic!  DD & DS made out just fine with the non-seafood options.  They had ribs, chicken w/pasta -from the adult buffet- and pizza, chicken strips, hot dogs & mac and cheese from the kiddie buffet.  DH & I enjoyed the clams, mussels, clam chowder, peel & eat shrimp and more that I can’t remember.  Of course we also had the oreo bon bons off the dessert buffet  and maybe a few other desserts.  After a very good dinner, we decided to go back to the room & change. The temps were dropping more than we had expected.  By the time we were ready to walk back out the door, DS decided he was just too tired to go anywhere and he just wanted to go to sleep.  We set up the beds (the kids don’t/won’t share a bed, so we had the sleeper sofa & a twin size aerobed in the living room) I gave DS my cell phone and told him to call us if he needed anything, then the 3 of us left to go watch Illuminations one more time, and see what else we were up to doing. It was Extra Magic Hours at Epcot that night.  It was strange having 3 of us, with DD as the 3rd.  Usually she’s the one off on her own, but DS looked like he’d be asleep before we got to the elevator. We made our way to Epcot and found a spot near Canada to watch Ilumminations.

As soon as it was over (so sad) we went to Canada to check out the new movie.  It had been on our “to do” list, but we hadn’t gotten to it until now. While we waited, we talked about calling DS and checking on him, but didn’t want to wake him up, so we head in to watch Martin Short tell us about Canada. Don’t you know that’s when the cell phone rings.  He’s fine, just wants to know what we’re doing.  We’ll call you back after the movie! Gotta say, this was a huge improvement over the old movie.   DD decides she’s just to cold & too tired to stay. She heads back to go “relax” in the hot tub.  Ok, we call DS back and he say’s great, he’ll put his suit on and wait for his sister.  DH & I decide to stay and walk around the World Showcase.  I don’t really know what possesed us, I’m so tired and my legs are killing me, but we go walk. From Canada we head towards Mexico. Stop in Norway to ride Maelstrom, then just wander for awhile. It’s so nice to just be a couple.   DS calls and asks where his sister is.  DH calls her, oh she had her suit on under her clothes and went straight to the hot tub!  Called DS back, he goes to meet her.  DH & I continue to walk (no other choice at this point!)  We get to check out the shops in Germany and Italy.   We slowly make it back to the International Gateway and catch a Friendship home. It’s midnight (somehow we did the whole EMH time we were so tired, we obviously weren’t moving fast)  Got back to the villa, and no children.  Call DD again and watch from our balcony as she got up to check her phone.    She wants to know if we’re gonna join them;  It’s 12:15am are you nuts??!! Oh my aching body. Ok, maybe the hot tub doesn’t sound too bad,  DS really should have gone to sleep hours ago, he’s babbling incoherent statements, but happy as can be.   After soaking for a little bit it’s time to go to bed. Gotta pack in the morning.  

Next up:check out and spend the day

AK & Boma continued

DS looks a little nervous as we get close to the front of the line (ok, I’m a little nervous myself, the backwards bit scares me) DS is my baby, and he usually wants to be with me if anything is wrong, scary, not feeling well…. does he want to ride with me? NO! Mommy is good for snuggling on “nap” rides like Space Ship Earth & Ellen’s Energy Adventure,  Daddy is for “thrill” rides.   Allright, DH & DS are in the row ahead of us, so I can’t see how he’s doing. This is a really cool ride, it starts with a nice train ride and then boom, it’s thrill the rest of the way! It stops and I get a thumbs up from DH, DS loved it!  Now he’s having fun!!

We had agreed to meet Dad & Jackie at the front of the park at 5:15pm, so we had time to go use our fast passes for Dinosaur.  Good thing we didn’t bring Dad on it, it is a lot more wild/bumpy than I remember. It would have really hurt his back. We had fun though! We decide to skip Kali River Rapids. It’s one of our favorites, but the warning “You will get wet, you may get soaked” should read “you will get wet and Chelle will get soaked”  I always end up being the one completely drenched– able to wring water out of my clothes for days drenched– on this ride.  After Splash Mountain the night before, I just didn’t want to do that again, and not before dinner at Boma.  Maybe tonight, if we come back for Extra Magic Hours.

Time to meet Dad & Jackie.  We’re supposed to meet at the front of the park, just before the turnstyles. Don’t see them…. Dad calls DH (not me?), they’re out of the park by the Christmas tree. OK, off to Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This is such a pretty hotel.  Even better, they’re having a wine & food tasting in the lobby.  Ok, I didn’t try the food ( a berry crumble sort of thing, maybe?) but the wine was very good!   A South African Riessling.  Our ADR is for 6:20 and it’s around 5:20 now. Jackie has mentioned that she’d like to see Fantasmic at the Studios, her sister had told her about it. Well, if we can get seated early, they should have time to go over there for it.  DH goes to check us in and ask if we can get in early. DS & I take Dad to see the savanah off the lobby. DH calls and says we’ll have a table in 10-15 minutes. The rest of us make our way downstairs and just as we get there, it’s time to be seated. I really wish I had skipped lunch, because I wasn’t hungry enough to do justice on all that yummy food. Dad stuck to all the “safe, normal” food, Jackie tried a few things. The rest of us found our favorites and tried a few new things as well. DS mostly enjoys the strawberries.  I have to say, those strawberries were huge and delicious!   Time for the dessert table.   So yummy! Love it all, and now I need to roll out of here after eating more than my fair share of Zebra Domes.

We stop in the gift shop on our way out, I look over and see Dad handing the kids money. Their Christmas present apparently.   DD immediately buys a “Green is the new Black” t-shirt that she’s had her eye on since before dinner. DS needs to think about what he wants.  We send Dad & Jackie off on a bus to the studios and now I can relax a little.   What do we want to do?  Extra Magic Hours or head back to Boardwalk Villas?  DD wants to go to the pool, but the main pool closes at 8pm and it’s 7:20pm.  We decide to go back to Animal Kingdom. DH has really been looking forward to riding Expedition Everest at night and DS is now very excited!

The temperature seems to have dropped a bit, and I didn’t think to bring sweatshirts for the evening. DD is wearing her cute strapless Animal Kingdom dress that she bought last summer and is cold.  She decides she wants to go back to the room.  With orders to text when she gets to the busses, to the Boardwalk Villas and again when she gets to the room, we let her go.  Time to have fun in the dark at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom looks so different in the dark, it’s still beautiful, but in a different way. It’s also very peaceful. The only thing we really want to do is Expedition Everest, so we make our way back there. Standby line is 20 minutes posted, only took about 10. Family behind us in line started playing with the bells in the queue, the girl and I decide Expedition Everest  is a Christmas ride — there’s snow, bells, the Yeti is also known as the Abominable (sp?) Snowman & he’s in Rudolph’s Christmas show, so this must be a Christmas ride!  We then decide that we should sing Jingle Bells the whole way through the ride. When we get loaded into the “train”, I’m in the back row with a single rider, DS is riding with DH and the other family is right in front of them.  Off we go “Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh” Let me just say that it gets hard to sing when you start going backwards in the dark!!!! The view is amazing at night, we could see Epcot, and the Swan & Dolphin clear as can be. Absolutely beautiful! That was fun! So much so, that we got right back in line with our singing family This time we were in the front of the train, so 3 rides- front, middle and back. You can see a lot from the front when the train comes to the “broken track”, we even joked about seeing DD walking from the Swan to the BW (she had been texting updates her whole way back) The view from the front row was great, but I liked the last row best for the ride experience. Now I’m tired, heart is pounding, but tired. Kali will have to wait till next trip. It’s time to head “home”.
It’s hard to see in the dark, but Everest is behind DS

Up next: I love DVC

Le Cellier and Dad’s arrival

The plan for today is Epcot in the morning, Le Cellier for lunch and meet Dad & Jackie when they arrive at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort in the afternoon to help them check in and get a feel for Disney transportation. Get Counter Service dinner and head to the Studios for Extra Magic Hours. Dad and Jackie were getting 4 day non-park hopper passes, so EMH would let them get the most park time for the 1st day of the tickets.

We love Epcot and tend to spend most of our time there on trips. So much so, that we tend to wander and I don’t always remember what we did when, because we’ve done it all so many times. I know we went on Soarin, and we asked to wait to ride center, top row. Wow! I love this ride anyways, but it was really cool to be all the way up with no feet above my head. And the oranges, ooh I love the smell of the oranges! I think we went to see Figment that morning too. We like to sing along through the ride, so if you heard us, sorry if we were out of tune.

We had an early lunch at Le Cellier in Canada.  This was one of the reasons we decided to do the Disney Dining Plan.  We almost always have lunch here and always want to get the filet, but then look at the prices and end up having the steak sandwich instead (which is very good, but not a filet) so we were really excited about this lunch. Our waitress was very good, helped DS customize his kids meal so he could have all the things he wanted and feel like he was having as much stuff as we were. DH, DD & I all had the same things until dessert time. Cheddar Cheese soup (YUM!), and the 5oz filet. DH had gone to the restroom and of course that’s when the food arrived. I waited for a minute, then decided I needed to make sure it was cooked right.   DD was again enjoying her fine dining experience and so that DS wouldn’t feel left out, I offered him a bite of mine. I told him to let it sit in his mouth a minute and then I saw that look on his face … My baby is growing up. He’s now decided that he really likes filet and that if his dad isn’t back in a minute, he’s gonna eat his filet!  Thankfully DH got back in time and didn’t lose out on his filet. We decided to all order different desserts so we could try as many as possible. DH had the creme brulee (which DS decided was his new favorite dessert), DD had the chocolate whiskey cake (very good) and even though I’m the chocoholic in the family, I had the apple crumble so we’d have something different to try. It was very good, but I’d have preferred the chocolate. It was a fantastic meal, and when DH saw the bill, he decided he really liked the DDP! 

I don’t remember what we did next, we were waiting to hear from Dad & Jackie. They were flying out of Lansing MI at 10:50am and were supposed to land at 1:15pm in Sanford, unfortunately they got a bunch of snow Saturday night in Lansing so their flight was delayed. They finally landed around 3pm and were taking a shuttle to Saratoga Springs Resort, so we left Epcot and headed over to Saratoga Springs Resort to meet them there. I have to explain here that Dad has only been to Disney twice in his life, one day at Magic Kingdom in 1983 and one day at Epcot in 1987. Same for Jackie, so they have no idea what to expect, I tried to tell them but until you see for yourself….

They made great time from Sanford and just after 4pm we met them in the lobby at Saratoga Springs Resort. I helped them check in, got their tickets put on the room key(they got park hoppers, that’ll come in handy later on), made sure the room request was there (it was), made sure the Disney Dining Plan was set (it was) and the Cast Member gave them 1st Trip buttons. All set, we take them to their room in Congress Park, I think they’re impressed (I hope so!) Now we show them the walk over to Down Town Disney, so they can learn where to catch the resort busses to meet us later in the week. We figured on Counter Service dinner here, we looked at Wolfgang Puck Express, then decided on Earl of Sandwich. Only problem is that my family isn’t hungry yet after that lunch at Le Cellier. So dad & Jackie eat while we watch and tell them about our trip so far and tonights plan. Now we catch a bus to our room at Boardwalk Villas and then a Friendship to the Studios, of course it’s dark now so they’re not really seeing much. It’s time to see the Osborne Lights, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Wow! Dad & Jackie are amazed (ok, good start here) Did I mention Wow! So amazing, if you get the chance, go see this!

Now DS wants to go on one of his favorite rides, Star Tours. We decided that it was just too bumpy for Dad to go on with his back, but Jackie is a trooper and goes with the kids.  Jackie & the kids finish the ride, they had a good time even though Jackie gets motion sickness (I didn’t know! If I had , I would have told the kids to go alone). But she said she really enjoyed it.

It’s really starting to get cold and my family is finally getting hungry, so are Dad & Jackie. We went to the Commissary and all got Counter Service. It was ok, nothing special, not horrible (except for the burgers, they weren’t good).  We went and saw Muppet Vision (love that!) and then we went to the Great Movie Ride. We had heard the wait was an hour earlier, but it was down now. We walked right in, but waited in the movie room for a couple of rotations. This was the first of funny dad moments. After waiting through the pre show, when we were finally going in to the ride he says that the movie clips are good, but he can’t understand a 1 hour wait to see that.  Oh dad, that’s the pre-show, we’re going on the real ride now.   That he really enjoyed and thought was worth a wait, maybe not an hour, but worth a wait. It’s late now, and everyone is tired. We head out and explain where to catch the bus, and a quick explanation of how to catch a bus to the Studios in the morning and take the Friendship boat to Boardwalk Villas to meet us for our breakfast ADR.  Ok, they’re off to catch a bus, and we catch a boat. Not bad for the first day. I think they’re having fun (I tend to worry about things like that, a lot) now it’s time to  relax and go get warm. It’s really getting cold!

Next up:Lot’s of eating scheduled, I hope Dad & Jackie find their way


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