Disney Cousin Fall Trip: “I’m So Glad You’re Here” 9/15/2017

Hey everyone! I was back at Disney World this weekend, and it was (as usual) amazing. I was joined, by my cousin Tom, and we fit in all four parks and a lot of fun. Arrival day, however, proved tricky.

If I’d been by myself, I’d have simply changed, and headed to a park for the evening. But, Tom only had a 2 day park hopper, so it left us trying to figure out other things to do. I’ll get there.

I had a noon flight and left my apartment at quarter to nine, and was settled in with a mimosa and a basket of chips at the airport bar by 10:30. Lovely. I boarded a quick and comfy flight at 11:30 and landed in Orlando at 2:30.

It was, to almost the minute, two hours from touch down to the resort. A record for me on Magical Express. It was an hour and a half from disembarking. My past two experiences have been longer. I got to Port Orleans Riverside, I’d gotten our room notification before even boarding, but I wanted to make sure we were synched in properly, due to the many reservation changes over the week and the hurricane, so I went to the front desk, got directions and made sure I was good to go.

I changed, and decided to head to the bar. I knew Tom was on the bus so I had some waiting. I chatted with my bartended, the lovely Spencer, who also gave us a ton of drinking tips (seriously, she was awesome, if you find yourself at River Roost, tip her big.) When Tom arrived, he also had a beer and then we headed back to the room so he could changed and we discussed our dinner and evening options.

We wound up at Disney Springs for dinner, Tom eager to try Frontera Cucina.

Guys.

Guys.

This food! We skipped drinks, due to neither of us having eaten much and deciding that we wanted to Trader Sam’s later. But we immediately ordered the Queso Fundido. I then went with the Shrimp Mojo and Tom had the chicken tacos. I also ordered the mashed potatoes, because I can’t help myself.

All of it was incredible. Rick Bayless is one of my all time favorite Top Chef judges and when he won Masters my mom and I actually cried. To finally get to eat in his restaurant was very exciting and that it is so good, is just another layer.

Also, even though I’d forgotten my card, the waitress gave us the 10% AP discount, which was very nice of her.

We then walked around Springs a bit, hit World of Disney to get a baseline for shopping and then hopped a bus to the Contemporary, because it was there and that way we could ride the monorail to get to The Polynesian.

Trader Sam’s was full, so we sat on the terrace and ordered drinks. I had the Krakatoa Punch, and Tom had a Dark And Stormy, and we got to watch a bit of The Incredibles playing by the pool and catch all of Hallo-Wishes as it burst over the Magic Kingdom.

After about 40 minutes on the terrace we were welcomed to the main bar where we switched to beer, chanted to appease the Tiki Goddess Uh-Oa, and overall admired the kitch and fun of the place.

We took a Lyft back to our delightful Royal Room, which we have decided is both absurdly tacky, and amazing at the same time. (Tom supports my “Disney as a viable alternative to Vegas for non gamblers” theory, thus, a tacky themed room totally fits.)

Overall, it was nice to not feel like I needed to rush around, and to have someone else to decided where to eat. (I 100% would have wound up eating food court tater tots because I couldn’t decide if Tom hadn’t said that he wanted Mexican.) And Trader Sam’s is always a good time.

We were quite proud to have clocked a boat, bus and monorail before even setting foot in a park too.

We then settled in and I wrote this report and we got ready for our big trek to Pandora in the morning..

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Disney World Weekend Preview!

I was suppose to go to Walt Disney World tonight! However, there’s kind of a huge hurricane heading to Florida, so I’ve rescheduled for next week. I’ll 100% do a trip report. (You guys seem to like those, and they fill up space here, and I love writing them, so WOO!) But I thought it might be fun to talk about the stuff that I’m looking forward to doing.

This trip will be different, (they all are), but also, I’m going with my cousin Tommy! You all know Tommy from our Holiday nerd discussion topics, and this trip is my graduation present to him. (Oh god, I didn’t PAY for the whole thing…but like, planning it, and I paid for parts…)

Animal Kingdom:

PANDORA! The origin of this trip was so that I could see Pandora without being bogged down by the other things that Juli, Dom and I want to do in November. Then Tom decided to tag along and the rest of the trip took shape.

But I’m hugely and unbelievably excited for Pandora. For the rides, for the atmosphere, for the food. Because of how often I’ve gone to Disney in the past few years, I’m psyched for something that’s completely new to me to be on the agenda.

But I’m also excited (as always) to try to convince anyone of the greatness of Animal Kingdom. I lovvvveee it!!!

Epcot:

FOOD AND WINE! It’s food and wine festival, so we’re planning to spend Saturday evening at Epcot. Graze for dinner and we HAD a late reservation at Rose & Crown, that I sadly wasn’t able to duplicate, but I’m goinna try for a table there anyway. If we can’t get one, chances are my old friend Spice Road Table will probably be able to take us.

Since we’re likely to wind up in Epcot at Lunch Time on Sunday too, I’m not too stressed about getting everything I want at Food And Wine.

Hollywood Studios

I’m hoping to Rope Drop Sunday’s EMH so that we can get the rides in early without many lines. Since there are only like 5 rides open over there right now, I don’t see this as a problem area.

Mostly, I’m excited to do Star Wars stuff with Tom. Much how I was excited to do Star Wars stuff with my siblings and Joe in February. Star Wars is important to us, the movies and lore filled our childhood.

Also, I’m going to be wearing my Poe Disneybound…so….I have to take a picture with BB8.

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! This worked out really well. My original plan was to fly home Sunday night so I didn’t have to take a day off work. This would have meant no real Magic Kingdom time. (I probably would have hopped over and ridden Haunted Mansion and Pirates.) BUT once Tom decided to come, and we learned it was a party night, this seemed a no brainer.

When Juli and I went to the Halloween party, we had a great time, but missed a lot of it because of our dinner at Be Our Guest.

While I don’t regret this, I’m excited to actually walk around and see the party this time. Plus the short lines it provides means plenty of rides.

While I had inititally planned on a reservation at Skipper Canteen, due to me really enjoying eating there before, and Tom and I both being affeciandos of pun based humor, but again, I wasn’t able to get a reservation (Bummer) but again, we’ll try for a table.

I’m definitely dressing up. Torn between Party Poe (the difference between Party Poe and Poe Disneybound? Chest piece!) and Dapper Haunted Mansion Outfit…it’s a very difficult call…

Other Things:

We were booked at Port Orleans French Quarter, with a River View Room, when rebooking I wasn’t able to get that, or anything, which was at first a huge bummer. BUT THEN! A second call got me rebooked! And not at French Quarter in a regular old room, but at Riverside, in a ROYAL ROOM!

Ordinarily these cost about $100 more a night, but because of the rebooking, it won’t. Also, it’s princess themed.

I’m kind of freaking out about it.

My plane gets in at 3 on Friday and Tom’s gets in at 4:30. He doesn’t have a park pass for that day, so I have some ideas about how to occupy ourselves that evening that don’t involve the parks. Disney Springs is a possibility, I mean, it always is.

But this is also a prime opportunity to do a low pressure, tons of fun Monorail Bar Crawl.

When I did this before I was on schedule because I wanted to be back in the park, and had a Fast Pass. This time, however, no schedule, which basically means lots and lots of time to hang at Trader Sam’s, and to even try to get up to California Grill to watch the Fireworks. (Which will be Hallo-Wishes, which we will also see on Sunday…but you know, beggars and choosers ETC.)

Overall I’m really excited and while the date change is causing us to fly by the seat of our pants a little more (something I’m not great at.) I’ve planned and gotten to know the resort enough that I’m not overly anxious.

Dapper Day Trip: Hotel & Favorites

So this is the last post about my Dapper Day trip, and I figured I’d go into deeper detail about some of my favorite things on the trip, and talk about Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge


I was really excited to stay here, and when it looked like it was going to be a solo trip, I persisted mainly because the deal I got. (Thanks to Lauren over at DVC Rental store, who has made these last two trips so great) I knew that Animal Kingdom Lodge was beautiful based on the night that Juli and I spent there on our trip, and I was really excited to stay there, and seriously, with the rented points, the whole thing cost me $750. That’s less than I paid when I stayed at the Swan the same time last year. I loved the Swan, and would definitely recommend it to people, especially if you’re looking to be in Epcot a bunch and you’re on a last minute trip.


But if you’ve got some time to plan…I don’t think I can more highly recommend staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, particularly if you want to do the points rental thing. I’ve found most of the times I’ve gone for a quote that AKL is available and the room I was in was huge. And there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of extra space, right?



I was very worried about the bus service, given the trials that we’d had at Saratoga Springs (A resort that I otherwise recommend heartily.) I was super nervous that I’d find myself late to everything and unnecesarily stressed again.

Not the case, except for the first bus to Magic Kingdom, all of them arrived in a timely fashion, and while compared to say, the Boardwalk area or Monorail resorts, yes, AKL is “out of the way,” but it truly took less than 20 minutes to get to the park every morning.

Favorites:

Restaurant:

I was ready to hand this over to Tutto Gusto, which was so exactly what I needed in it’s moment, but then Homecomin’ happened. Maybe it was the timing, but I can’t get over how good that Fried Chicken was.

Ride:

I mean, favorites are favorites, right? Tower of Terror and Haunted Mansion obviously make the list, but Soarin’ really stands out as a favorite this time around. Especially the new film, which has some really remarkable scenes (I particularly liked the Taj Mahal!).

Character Meet:

I hinted at this but Tiana came up the winner this time. We had a lot of fun. There was a dance party. So, you know, winner!

Drinky Drink:

This is a tough call, because, nothing stood out to me the way the Moroccorita or the Blood Orange Margarita did in past trips but despite there being less than usual, there was some damn fine drinkin on this trip. From the Mojito to the Iced Tea Lemonade Moonshine concotion, I didn’t make any missteps, but in the end, I think I have to go with the spiked milkshake I got at Tune In Lounge. Spiked with both Vodka and Bailey’s, it was creamy, refreshing and tipsy making. Plus, the bartender there was really nice.

So that’s the Dapper Day trip!!! I had an amazing time.

Next trip is a quick weekend in September which is going to be mostly Pandora focused! I’ll be staying at Port Orleans: French Quarter, and it looks like I’m going to be joined by some super fun people, which might make it morph a little bit, but for now, it’s going to be 2 days, including a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party,

I’m also full in the the planning stage for the FALL Dapper Day, which I’ll be attending with Juli and Dom. For more about that, check out Juli’s awesome (and detailed) post about our plans so far!

See you real soon Disney Folk! We’re diving full tilt into Movie Season now. (Just in the next two weeks I’m planning to see King Arthur: Legend of The Sword, Alien: Covenant, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and a little indie, I like barely care about, called WONDER WOMAN!!!!)

 

Dapper Day Trip: Day 4: I have a bad feeling about this

I woke up bright and early on Monday morning and packed. The thing about unpacking was that it made packing super easy. Which was why I did it. I showered and got dressed and dropped my big bag off to be checked. (I love this service so much.) I then got on a bus to Studios.


The plan, such as it was, involved fastpasses for Tower of Terror, Star Tours and Rockin Roller Coaster. I rope dropped Toy Story (after a stop at Starbucks) and was on the ride by 9:02. So, I decided to walk over to Star Tours, and rode. (Imperial Droid, Kashyyk, Boba Fett, Death Star, Yavin) and then still had time to get to Tower of Terror with less than a 30 minute wait. So I did that, figuring I would double back and ride again with fastpass. I then did single rider for Rockin Rollercoaster, which means, I got my entire plan done BEFORE 10:30 AM. I was very proud of that. So, I then hopped on Tower of Terror again, and that was a bad idea.

I was feeling a little queasy, having not eaten much, I managed to make it through the ride, and managed to not throw up at all.

I know I look bored, In reality, I am trying not to vomit on that child…


I made my way back to Star Tours, and decided that I’d rather not risk it, so I settled in to watch “Path of The Jedi,” which I really, really enjoyed. Thematically tracing the saga of the Skywalkers (Including that little Punk Kylo Ren) is a different way to look at the story. I mean, not for me, who’s spent a lot of time thinking about the thematic connection between the Skywalker men. (And Rey. WHO IS A KENOBI! I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL!)

I decided to line up and watch The March of The First Order, and while this isn’t a hugely long experience it is an intense one.

It really feels like they’re invading…very cool


My stomach was still not great, so I cancelled my fastpasses and picked up two for Under The Sea & Pirates, and then headed off to Epcot to grab some lunch. I ate lunch in Epcot every day except Friday, and this time I decided to try for Chefs de France. I walked up at 11:45 and asked if I they were taking walk ups and ten minutes later I was settled in.


I ate the lobster bisque, and the goat cheese salad. And I had a glass of champagne, and I felt so much better. It was also all delicious, and effecient. Seriously, I’d read horror stories about this place so was nervous, but overall the whole thing was pleasant. I had a table in the sun room that looked over the showcase and could people watch, etc.

I also stopped by Mexico and picked up an Avocado Margarita, because going to Epcot 3 times is a weekend and NOT having a La Cava margarita should be a crime.

By 1:50 I was at Magic Kingdom, and opted out of Under The Sea, and headed right to Pirates. After that I picked up a Winnie The Pooh fastpass. After Pirates, I headed to Frontierlans to line up for Festival of Fantasy. There were dark clouds hovering over the (closed again) Splash Mountain, so the parade started 15 minutes early. This worked out, because rather than getting started at 3:00, we were done by 3:00. WOOO! I really love Festival of Fantasy and think that everyone should try to watch it.

Jiminy Cricket coming in for a hug!


My Pooh fastpass didn’t kick in until 3:25 and it was about to rain, so I hit Philharmagic, which, I hadn’t done since Juli and my trip two years ago.

I really love this movie, and I think it’s pretty wonderful. Then I rode Winnie The Pooh, which I hadn’t done in at least 10 years, and MY LORD is that ride lame. I mean, not in the “Dark Rides are Tame” kind of way. There’s not much to look at, the animatronics aren’t impressive and I now remembered why I generally skip this ride. Should have done Little Mermaid instead.

It was about 3:45 now, and I wanted to go to Disney Springs to get some early dinner/late lunch, and also, it was really threatening to rain. (It did, but not hard.) As I waited for the Disney Springs bus, I got a notification that my flight (already late, at 10PM) was delayed to midnight.

I recalibrated, decided to blow off Magical Express and still go to Disney Springs. I wandered for a bit, and realized that I was getting cranky, probably because I was hungry and tired. So I decided to eat at Homecomin’, and HOLY CRAP.

I tend to eat very well while I’m on vacation, particularly on my Disney Trips. Life’s too short to eat bad individual pizzas and chicken nuggets when you’re away from home. (Or at home, really…) but Homecomin is SO SO SO SO good. I had the fried chicken, which came with mashed potatoes (AND SAUSAGE GRAVY) and a cheddar biscuit. (AND SAUSAGE GRAVY) as well as a moonshine based iced tea cocktail, which was refreshing, delicious, and DANGEROUS.

I reiterate: SAUSAGE GRAVY


After that I decided to go back to Studios and much like “ALL THE PRINCESSES” do “ALL THE STAR WARS.” Granted, all that was left was the Launch Bay movie (meh) and meeting Kylo Ren and Chewbacca, but still. So I took a bus to the Yacht and Beach Club,  then a boat to Studios, which took a while. Finally, after my encounter with Kylo, I realized that I was definitely done.

He’s asking me to join the Dark Side…I managed to keep from shouting, “YOU MADE LEIA SAD” at him. I think it went well.


(I had also broken out into a rash, so that’s fun.) I got on the bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, changed into my airplane comfy clothes and called a Lyft to get me to airport. While I was getting INTO THE CAR, I got another text, noting that my flight was now delayed to 1:20 AM.

So while “See You Real Soon,” hit, I knew that I needed a back up plan.

So…I decided to get a cheap hotel room by the airport, so that I could sleep a little and take a shower. I wound up in a Spring Hill Suites and showered, watched Veep and Silicon Valley and did indeed nap a little. While I understand some people might baulk at the idea of a $90 shower, it was a necessity. Back at the airport, I glided through security and then onto the plane, where I had a row to myself, and thus was able to sleep the whole plane ride.

And that was the trip! I really enjoyed it, and next week, I’m going to do a round up that includes more details about the hotel, my favorites and the things I think might not be worth your time.

See you real soon!

Dapper Day Trip: Part 3: 4/30/2017: Princess Hunting

Hi everyone! May the 4th Be With You!

My initial plan for this day was to both start and end at Hollywood Studios, since it had a morning Extra Magic Hour…that plan didn’t work out. Despite having had WAY less to drink over the course of the day and night, I was feeling the crash. (Crashing the Mode…)  It was also probably the late nights two in a row, and the barely sleeping on Thursday night, but you know…also alcohol. SO, I decided to sleep in a bit and just Rope Drop Epcot.


I also had to get dressed, and do my hair. I’d gone back and forth on how to do my hair for my Dapper Snow White Disneybound, but I wound up going with my “Leia Hair,” which, I realized was also very German looking. So, that worked. I did run down to the market and grab some hairspray though. That style just doesn’t hold on it’s own.

The outfit? I owned the blue tank top from life, the red belt also just from life, and the yellow skirt is my Betty Cooper (Archie Comics) skirt. The gladiator sandals are my favorite part, because they made the outfit pop and pull together the concept, which was, “Snow White meets Roman Holiday.” I also bought a necklace with a red apple charm.


I made it to Epcot with minutes to spare before opening and then walked quickly onto Soarin. I love this ride. It’s so beautiful and the new movie is even more stunning, I then moved quickly to Norway, as I wanted to continue the ever important Princess mission, and met Elsa and Anna. Elsa winkingly asked me if I liked snow, and she explained that when she and Anna and Kristoff have snowball fights, she’s not allowed to have team mates. Anna and I talked about my braids and how she’s been considering wearing her hair up.

After that, I had a Spaceship Earth fastpass, and I love that ride too, but you all know that. I then debating figuring out breakfast, but really wasn’t that hungry yet, so I did some Photopass stuff, and walked around a bit, before my Character fastpass came up. I then went to Epcot Character spot which I REALLY recommend as you get Mickey, Minnie and Goofy all knocked out in one shot! 


On that line I chatted with a Dapper couple behind me, before heading back to World Showcase for more Princess Hunting!

I went for Jasmine, Mulan and of course, Snow White, before lunch at Tokyo Dining. Part of what I’m trying to do in life these days is eat in a more considered way. So, by having a single spicy tuna roll and one cocktail, rather than a big fatty lunch, I really got to enjoy my food. Also Tokyo Dining is a really lovely setting with delightful views of showcase lagoon.

I ran quickly after lunch to meet Aurora, and decided to skip Belle, which I rationalized by the fact that I’d had 2 encounters with her in February.

It was off to the Living Seas lounge for the Dapper Day party next and um, much like The Boathouse the whole thing was underwhelming. I know I’m meet up spoiled by Comic Con culture, but no one was mingling and no one was dancing. So, I had one drink and left. The lounge itself is cool and I think if I weren’t solo, I’d have enjoyed it.


I went back to the hotel then, to charge my phone, sleep maybe, and figure out my next step. I wound up at heading to Victoria Falls for a glass of wine and the goat cheese appetizer! I chatted with a young dad who also happened to be an early programmer for Facebook. He does live near me, but we otherwise had little in common. Still it was a nice chat, and due to certain family connections/my old job, super rich weirdness doesn’t throw me anymore and I can wait to roll my eyes until they leave.

Then it was off the Studios! I snagged a fastpass for The Great Movie ride and got quite emotional at the narration (RIP Robert Osborne!) it’s such a fun ride and this wound up making my MONDAY way easier…next up I headed to Launch Bay to meet BB8, cursing myself for not packing my Poe Disneybound (I almost did too…) 


then I rode Star Tours, (Vader, Pod Race, Cruiser Battle, Courascant) and met Olaf quickly! It was still a bit before A Galactic Spectacular, my main reason for ending my day here, so I decided to check out Tune In Lounge.


I am so glad I did that! I tried Grannie’s Punch, chatted with the bartenders and then got a spiked milkshake to go with about 10 minutes to spare.

I really enjoyed A Galactic Spectacular and had my usual overly emotional reaction to all things Star Wars during it.

I was holding it together, through “Binary Sunset”, and “The Princess And The Smuggler” and then, well…

“You were the chosen one! You were supposed to end the Sith, not join them. You were my brother Anakin, I loved you!”

Now even under the most banal of circumstances that speech will get me tearing but add in the basically bottle of vodka I’d drank over the course of the day, the fact that I was in Disney and I’m still stomping for “Rey is a Kenobi!” I was sobbing. (My new theory is that they’ll use this fact to add some symmetry to the possible redemption of Kylo Ren. Which without Leia needs grounding, if it’s going to happen at all…a Kenobi redeeming a Skywalker would do it) After that I knew it was time to call it a night and headed back to my room.

The next and final day is epic in scope…and you’ll hear about it next week, because Movie Season begins tonight with Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2

Dapper Day Trip: Part 2: 4/29/2017: Hurry Back…


Day 2 of my trip took me to Magic Kingdom for a day of fun and fantasy and of course, vintage style, as it was officially Dapper Day. I was up early as LIKE HELL was I going to miss Park Opening. I was determined to leave my room for the bus by 7:45 and I did just that, getting to Magic Kingdom and finding myself walking right down the middle of Mainstreet by 8:15. I happily made it to the bakery, where I ordered a venti white mocha (I’m on vacation! I even let myself have regular milk and whipped cream!) and a chocolate croissant.

I’ve read online about the chaos of the mainstreet bakery pre opening and while it certainly isn’t calm, I can’t help but wonder if this is written by people who have never worked in midtown Manhattan and had to get a latte at 8:00 am and then open a store geared towards children…or maybe they have, I don’t really know. Anyway, it wasn’t busier than Starbucks at that time, and I had my latte and made my way to the hub, to watch the opening show.

Uh, new opening show is fine. It’s cute, but lacks the nostalgic memory of Let The Magic Begin, and the Main Street component, which was always wonderful. I definitely would have lined up on one of the bridges earlier if I’d seen it before, anyway, I after that I worked my way over to Peter Pan, and I really do love that line. And I got my first “real person” compliment of my outfit, with some people who would wind up circling back around later in the day.

As for my dapper day outfit…well, I channeled The Haunted Mansion, wearing a green dress that I’d gotten for Christmas a few years ago, and black lace gloves from my “ghost” Halloween costume this year, and my Black Canary choker. I got a bow on Etsy, and I was really excited about it.


Much like many of my cosplays, I was happy to see that I was in the middle of the Dapper Day spectrum, some people were more mellow than I was and a lot of people were MUCH more intense, but in general I was right along with the others I saw.

After Peter Pan I crossed the street to Small World and then The Haunted Mansion, and you want to know what’s really fun? When a Haunted Mansion cast member can’t keep a straight face and bust out, “OMG I LOVE YOUR DRESS!” as your Doom Buggy crosses the threshold.

After Haunted Mansion I headed back to Fantasy Land to redeem my Seven Dwarves fast pass, and then met up with Merida. THE PRINCESS QUEST CONTINUES! She was very excited by my green dress.


Then it was off to Tomorrowland for Space Mountain, over to Adventureland for Pirates and then to Frontierland, for my Splash Mountain fast pass. Splash Mountain was down, and would remain so for most of the day (at one point, Splash, Space and Mine Train were all down…that’s not great). So I held onto the fastpass all day, because I didn’t want to NOT ride Splash Mountain if I could help it and I knew once it got working again the line would be bonkers, but it was also deadly hot and I was getting really hungry, so I opted for to head over to Epcot to get lunch.

While I kind of wanted to go the Flower and Garden Festival booth route, it was nearly 100 degrees out (yes really) so I decided I’d better sit inside. As I sat on the monorail and rode over, I started fantasizing of a light but filling meal, and something sparkly, refreshing and alcoholic. That left me, really, with 2 World Showcase options, Italy and Japan, and Italy won, because the thought of a glass of prosecco was too tempting. I was going back and forth between getting a personal pizza at Via Nappoli or hoping I could get a seat at Tuto Gusto, and a personal pie would have still been nearly $22, I went with Tutto Gusto.

I was taken almost immediately to a table and looked through the menu. I went with the Prosciutto De Parma Panini, which came with a small wedge caesar salad….light, filling, exactly what I wanted. And that bubbly and refreshing alcoholic beverage I was talking about? There was a “All Bubbly, All Day” flight available, which was HEAVEN. It came with three samplings (but Epcot samples are, you know, normal pours at any other place on earth…that’s why I love it.) One light and sweet bubbly white, another drier option and then a sparkling red. (Not Rose Regale, which is my favorite, but still quite good.)


Once I stepped out of Gusto’s cool dark doors back into the 97 degree heat I knew that I wasn’t going to make it much longer without a break, so I walked out to Beach Club and called a Lyft back to the hotel. (This was my only cab of the weekend, I’m very proud of that. I also had EXCELLENT Disney Transportation luck).

You know how sometimes, you’re really tired and hot and all you can do is get a pina coloda at a pool bar and then go back to your hotel room and strip down to your underwear for about an hour? No? Just me? Well, that’s what I did. Frankly, the whole thing felt very Hannah Horvath, except I kept my bra on and I was in Disney World, which I feel like Hannah would never do. (Marnie and Shosh, DEF, but not Hannah.) After charging my phone and a glass of wine, I redressed and headed back over to the park.

Splash was still down and it was still 10 million degrees out, so I decided that it was time for character meet ups, any of which took place inside. I started with Ariel. We chatted about dancing. (Last year, the Princesses were all about my love life, this year they were WAY into the dance parties. I prefer the dance parties…) I then decided to try for Tinkerbell, but quickly realized that there was a Dapper Day special photo shoot in the main square at the double decker bus.


I got in line, and managed to check out the flag retreat right before I took the picture.

Here’s the thing about the flag retreat and patriotism in general, with me, at this particular moment. I really love my country. I love what it stands for theoretically, I love the way that it’s grown in it’s relatively short history. I love it’s capacity for change more than anything. When I hold my hand over my heart and sing “God Bless America,” especially the words, “stand beside her, and guide her,” I mean it. I want my Lord to bless and guide my country. You all know my politics, or, if you’re new, um, you can read, this, or this. I’m not having a great time politically right now, but I still love my country, I just feel like that needs to be justified and I hate that. Anyway, it was really nice, and I was glad I caught it. Also, I don’t think that this particular ritual, in a theme park, is meant to evoke that kind of deep thought, but all my patriotism evokes it in me at the moment.

I moved on and then got my picture taken with Tink, which was very fun. Her meet and greet is delightful and she’s almost more energetic than Rapunzel….


Oh and speaking of. I headed back to Rapunzel and Tiana during this stretch too. Rapunzel was not my favorite this trip, Tiana beat her. Rapunzel and I talked about my purse and hugged a bunch, but Tiana and I had a dance party, because she said my gloves reminded her of having dance parties with Charlotte. So we danced and it was awesome. Rapunzel still has the edge, having been consistently pleasant 4 visits in a row, but LITERAL DANCE PARTY WITH A DISNEY PRINCESS will win the day every time.


After all of this, I decided that I wanted dinner and thought I’d give going to California Grill (lounge) a shot. But even getting to the desk had a line, so I said, “nope,” and hopped on the monorail and headed to Trader Sam’s, which really is just the absolute best. I made friends at the big communal tables, and ate some dumplings, and had a Dark and Stormy. After that, I quickly I hopped back on the monorail and headed back to get into place for Wishes.

I knew this would be the last time I saw this show, which I saw for the first time when I was 11 years old. (Or, that’s the first time I remember it, at least.) And I was ready to cry. As usual “Friend Like Me,” and the final chorus got me, but I didn’t weep. This is probably for the best…

While I was on line for Tinker Bell, I chatted with a couple who’d gotten paper Fastpasses for Splash Mountain but were planning to leave to park, so they gave them to me (WHAT?) I decided to use them post Wishes to visit with Cinderella and Elena. A quick visit got me closer to my ultimate goal. (Upgraded from “visit the Princesses I didn’t see in February” to “ALL THE PRINCESSES!!!!”) Splash Mountain was up again, so after watching Once Upon A Time full through, which I hadn’t done before, I’d seen bits of it in March, but never the whole thing, it’s a very good show. The projections are wonderful and I will seriously never get over the collective Main Street sing-a-long to “Let It Go,” although my guess is when Happily Ever After premieres and “How Far I’ll Go,” is likely included, well, that’ll win. I then went and headed to Splash Mountain. I was joined once I got on the log by the same folks I’d hung out with at Peter Pan. I didn’t recognize them (I’m the WORST!) but they recognized me so it wound up being a very fun ride. We sang, we laughed, we posed for the camera.


I then popped over with my last fastpass to Big Thunder, which, OMG RIDE BIG THUNDER AFTER DARK IF YOU CAN MANAGE IT. I’d never done it before, but it was incredible. Everything feels more intense in with the cool lighting and effects. I then had a choice to make. Ride Pirates again or finish up at Haunted Mansion. I opted for Haunted Mansion.

I was the last person on the ride. Which was both terrifying and really cool. I had a staring contest with the maid running the stretching room, which she won, because I kept laughing.


I haven’t found The Haunted Mansion actually scary in maybe 20 years, but riding it alone, with no one else around is deeply creepy. Fun. but VERY creepy. I then headed back to Mainstreet to head back to the hotel, where I ran into my Peter Pan/Splash Mountain friends again. They’d gone to Pirates. I immediately had regrets, which immediately disapated, when they said my story sounded way more fun. I got back to the hotel, settled in with some more of that wine that I’d brought down and fell asleep watching Nate and Jeremiah: By Design. (My mom had surgery a few weeks ago, I’ve watched a lot of TLC and HGTV, I had 100% seen this episode before, and I was thrilled to watch it again.)

Tomorrow read about my day at Epcot and evening at Hollywood Studios!

Dapper Day Trip: Part 1: 4/28/2017: Jet Set

So because I have apparently lost my mind entirely, (and also…well, it’s kind of a long story…) I headed back to Walt Disney World this past weekend, only 2 months since I left it previously. This wound up being a solo trip, which was great. I’ve now done this twice and I’ll keep doing it occasionally I think. (Not always to Disney, but I have every intention of traveling a bit more next year!) So let’s get started.

I took a 6 AM flight, because it was cheap, and it wound up being a really good call. I got to the airport at 3:45 AM, and napped at the gate and on the plane. Landing at 8:30, I quickly made my way to Magical Express, and settled in to do my makeup while I waited for the bus, as Kristi and I had last trip. Not before I blended my foundation and concealer did my bus show up! YAY!

I finished my makeup while waiting for the bus to fill, and by 10:30 (yup, 2 hours again, I was less stressed about it this time…) I was at Animal Kingdom Lodge and changed, and THEN I got the text that my room was ready. (WHATT?)

My very badass view!

So I found said room, and stored my carry ons, and then headed over to Magic Kingdom. It was a fifteen minute wait for that bus, and I just kept thinking, “here we go again!” When it came to transportation woes, and forsaw many MANY Lyft rides in the future of this trip…


I had a 12:05 reservation at Be Our Guest, and I was excited because, OMG Be Our Guest, and also I’ve now had all three meals at the castle.

So how was it? Well…the food was good. I ate the Croque Monsieur, which came with frites, and had a Diet Coke and The Master’s Cupcake. (Grey Stuff icing on a chocolate cupcake.)

Yummy lunch!

It was great. The sandwhich was well grilled, with more ham than cheese, and on very good whole wheat bread. The Frites, were frites, not American style fries, but thin cut and crispy, which is a nice detail. The cupcake was good. Not my favorite delivery service for Grey Stuff. (That would be the Tart that I had it in at dinner in February, followed by, “alone” and then the brownie and then the cupcake)

I know this makes me both a terrible White Girl (TM) and Disney Fan, but I’m not crazy about cupcakes. Or cake in general.  I like cake, but it’s not by favorite sweet or desert. I prefer a flakier pastry like a croissant or Napolean, or something a little bit thicker, like a pie or tart. Actually I’d always pick pie over cake, given the choice. Which is why I prefer the tart to the cupcake. But, it’s an exceptional cupcake, very moist, chocolately and not only topped by, but filled with grey stuff. Which is, you know, delicious.

But I digress, I ate in The Rose Gallery, which I really love, and I’ve now eaten in all three rooms of Be Our Guest as well as all three meals. Here’s how I rank them:

Meals:

  1. Dinner: There’s just no beating how special dinner at Be Our Guest is. The food is delicious and the whole thing feels magical. Meeting the Beast is always super fun and this meal has wine! (Wine always gets a point in the win column.) Plus it has the Grey Stuff tarte, which I already said was my favorite way I’ve had it…
  2. Breakfast: This is not just because it gets you into Fantasyland early. Although that’s a nice bonus. I still think about the Croque Madame and the INCREDIBLE bechamel, which was why I ordered her husband this time, which was not as good. (A fried egg goes a long way…) and overall the whole experience was dignified and calming.
  3. Lunch: Lunch is chaos. It’s good. But it’s also loud and feels rushed. Also the sandwich is not as good. It lacks the fried egg and the sauce. Which, I mean, is the nature of the Monsieur over the Madame, but seriously, I LOVE that Croque Madame… Madame.

Rooms

  1. The Rose Gallery: It’s so nice in this room. It’s really beautifully designed and feels calmer than the ballroom, which I also love and where I’ve eaten both dinners. But there’s something so creative and lovely about The Rose Gallery, even though I ate my least favorite meal there, I really love the space
  2. The Ballroom: That snow, and The Beast walking through at dinner, and the chandelier, walking in this time, I really wanted Dan Stevens to come up to me and spin me around. (He didn’t) (A girl can dream) (Also, he’d probably not like me very much because I’d just keep asking questions about Downton Abbey, which he doesn’t like talking about apparently…)
  3. The West Wing: The West Wing is cool, but it’s too dark and small to be great for me to eat in. I like the rose, and I bet dinner here is cool, but I really wasn’t nuts about it when I ate breakfast there…

I love the music box so much!

I then headed over to The Haunted Mansion, because, I mean, have we met? I chatted and made friends with a mother and daughter on line, and was thrilled that my first ride was also my favorite. I exited and toyed with going on another ride, but I also really wanted to take a shower, so I decided to head back to the hotel and told myself that if my bags were in my room (A rented studio villa, BTW…this room is HUGE…) I would shower and then head over to Animal Kingdom. If they weren’t I would explore the resort, maybe get a drink or some food and THEN take a shower, assuming my bags would have shown after that. The bags were in the room, so I opened up the bottle of wine that I’d packed…unpacked, and then showered and put on my first Dapper outfit.

What I had planned on wearing, I haven’t quite lost enough weight for yet. (I am down 25 pounds since Christmas and about 35 overall! I’ve done it on Weight Watchers…do I get to talk to Oprah about bread now?) So, Mom and I scrambled on Wednesday night and put together this adorable, Jackie-O on Hyannis type look. The white jeans were actually bought for the last trip, and I wore them on Day 1 then too. The top I’ve had for a while, and you might recognize it from my Maergary Tyrell casual cosplay! I put my hair in a bum and tied a scarf around my head, and wore a pearl statement necklace that Mary gave me for my 26th B-day and some cool funky earrings. I also grabbed the Finding Nemo purse that Julie made for me, and headed right to Animal Kingdom.


I waited a grand total of 3 minutes for a bus. Which was a delight. I got to Animal Kingdom and just WANDERED for about an hour. I also got a mojito. I drank a lot less on this trip than last, because I’m trying to drink less in general these days, but I’m not a pod person. Anyway…Mojitos at Dawa Bar, not quite my friend Cha’s mother’s home made ones good, but REALLY good. I did the Maharajah Jungle trek, because I wanted to see the tigers, but their area is currently under construction, so no tigers, bats and birds galore though.

I am the night…ETC

That was followed by Everest which only had a 30 minute line and no single rider.


I also had a fast pass, but the coaster wound up broken down, so I was very glad I wound up doing it. I then grabbed another drink from Thirsty River, and decided to wander some more, and wound up right at Adventurer’s Outpost where there was only a 10 minute wait, so I decided to say hey to Minnie and Mickey.


There was so more wandering, and eventually, I found my way to Character Landing and said “Wangapo” to Pocahontas, and this round of “Reenie meets Princesses” began. (My objective: Meet all the Princesses I didn’t meet last time…I did it, AND THEN SOME) Both Pocohontas and Minnie loved my outfit.


I was getting pretty hungry so I headed to Nomad Lounge which was HOPPING because it turned out the Disneyland Imagineers had had their tour of Pandora that day. I chatted with the bartender, ate some fish tacos and tried the Night Monkey (delicious, I had two!) (I was pretty drunk by this point…) I headed to redeem my safari fast pass.

It wasn’t the best safari…I miscalculated, thinking sunset was around 7, when it was actually 8…so most of the animals weren’t mobile and it wasn’t yet the cool “Sunset effect” and the nocturnal animals weren’t active yet…there were more deer and antelopes than I’ve noticed before but I think it was just because there were no giraffes or rhinos or whatever to distract me.

Zebra!!!

My next move was to get something more to eat, because while the fish tacos were yummy they were also tiny, and I had had a lot to drink. I wound up grabbing some falafel at Mr. Kamal’s, and a frozen Coke with Rum and decided to check in for Rivers of Life. There was still a good half hour before the show, but I had fried chickpea to eat and wound up chatting with a couple who were up from Jacksonville with their two young kids. We talked about the renting DVC points thing, which they were intrigued by and I heartily recommended. I explained that it could be kind of a pain, but that I was REALLY excited to get to have the rooms that I’ve had for the past two trips.

Rivers of Light itself started at 8:45, and I really enjoyed the show. The projection onto the water is very cool, as are the lotus and animal floats, and well, the whole thing really. It reminds me a lot of Illuminations actually, which, as Illuminations is my favorite show at Disney World…I think speaks very highly of it. It’s a little bit slow and arty, like Illuminations, and ties into themes about shared humanity and our planet. Unlike Illuminations, no fire or fireworks, because you know, you don’t want to scare the animals.

I hoofed it out quickly to the Disney Springs bus, in hopes of going to the Dapper Day meet up at the Boathouse. I did, and did get a beer, but no one was really chatting with people out of their own cliques, and I was pretty drunk and full and had been up since 2 in the morning, so after hitting Market Place Co-Op to see the new Dress Shop (AMAZING) and buying a really cute Tower of Terror Necklace (CUTE) I got lost looking for the bus stop and saw bits of Disney Springs I haven’t yet.

The regular “mall” portion of the area really reminds me of Las Vegas, in a good way. I think it’s going to be a thing going forward that Disney World actually competes with Vegas when it comes to young adults going on vacation. I know I prefer it. I spend the same amount of money on park tickets as I would gambling and have a way better time. (That said I did really like Vegas when I went, and would go again…)

So then it was back to AKL, and while Victoria Springs still had life going on, I knew I needed to crash, and crash I did.

I was up bright and early for my first official Dapper Day at Magic Kingdom…for that read tomorrow!