My Top 10 Random Spots In Disney World

So, I spent this weekend pricing and doing some Disney research. I’m not planning a full on trip in the next year, but I have decided that I’m going to do a weekend, (taking either Friday or Monday off from work) to see Toy Story Land and see Illuminations one last time since it’s likely going away soon.

But I’ve been trying to avoid reading and researching much to try to off set that urge I get to just book a trip and head off. (For one, I can’t afford it, for another I have other travel plans for 2019…)

But during this research I started thinking about the trips I’ve taken in the past few years. (8 in the last five.) (Again, I totally don’t have a problem…) and the park exploration and the random spots that I’ve found and loved in the resort in that time. Some of these are weird out of the way spots, others are really really obvious, and others only make sense if you’re me.

10. The Waiting Areas At The Jungle Cruise: Skipper Canteen

I love the Skipper Canteen, I think it’s a wonderful restaurant with an even more wonderful menu, and fun service filled with puns. But my favorite part of eating here has very little to do with the meal and is actually while you’re waiting for your table. There are two spots that you wind up waiting, the first is the porch, where large rocking chairs sit beneath giant fans. The second is actually inside, where a few tufted chairs and a water cooler, filled with cold h2o and various fruits await you, plus a letter from Henrietta Falls and a portrait of Doctor Albert Falls hang on the wall. Both are quiet and relaxing and phase you into the great themeing of your dinner perfectly.

9. Outside Patio At Backlot Express

I actually love everything about Backlot Express, it’s a big ass quick service restaurant with a basic but well executed menu and  lots of air conditioned seating (as a quick reminder this is where I ate Star Wars themed Chicken and Waffles, and got my BB-8 souvenir cup.)  But I especially love taking some time to eat your lunch on the patio here, in view of the At-At at Star Tours and watching the Jedi Training show. It’s a nice little moment of Star Wars themed joy, which is always appreciated, when you’re me.

8. Any of The Side Gardens In Pandora

Like half this list is going to be spots in Animal Kingdom, just FYI. But wandering around Pandora, at any time of the day, but especially at night, it’s worth wandering into weird corners and seeing the plant life. But be sure to follow the trails, because if you don’t do that, you never find this particular spot.

7. Top of The Stairs In The Canada Pavillion

I think that Canada might be the most underrated of the World Showcase Pavillions, but there’s a spot right up at the top of the stairs, that looks over a waterfall and has some benches and it feels like you’re far away from the chaos of the park below you. It’s also the spot of my favorite picture of Mary, maybe ever?

6. The Rose Gallery At Be Our Guest

To be honest, there are not going to be many Magic Kingdom spots here, because I very very rarely stop to smell the roses in that park. (This is also proof that I rarely spend ENOUGH time in Magic Kingdom), but I love The Rose Gallery, if all of Be Our Guest were just this room, it would still be spectacular. (The West Wing and The Ballroom are also spectular and it makes the whole place magical) I love the music box, and the “paintings” and banquette tables. It’s the only room that really feels like a French bistro. And fun fact, I wrote the scene where Lefty and Marina dance for the first time while eating my Croque Monsieur here.

5. The Patio At Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table is my favorite restaurant at Disney World, and sitting on the patio, drinking Sangria and eating hummus fries while watching Illuminations is probably my favorite thing to do while at Disney World. (Besides ride The Haunted Mansion) It’s a thing I gently manipulate everyone who joins me at Disney into sharing at least one part of this experience. (no one has been disappointed..btw…)

4. The Porch At The Nomad Lounge

Nomad Lounge might be my favorite bar in the parks. (Not on property, we’ll get there) and sitting on the porch, with a beer, (while Mom and Kristi pussied out and drank tea…) is easily one of my favorite moments I’ve ever had. It’s just a solid and beautiful space, with a great view and excellent drinks and a pretty good menu. Although it changes a lot and the fish tacos that I adored are now gone…but still, grab a Night Monkey (this is a rum drink that also has espresso in it!) or a Safari Amber and watch the water good past.

3. The Terrace At California Grill

Watching Wishes at California Grill was one of my top ten favorite moments of my big Disney year, but it’s also a beautiful spot, with an incredible view no matter what, and to quote Gonzo, I’m going to go back there someday.

2. The Aviary On The Mahrajah Jungle Trek

To explain the incredible moment of magic that was walking into this room right after feeding time when Juli, Dom and I were there is impossible. It was so incredible. And the other times I’ve walked the Trek, this is still a beautiful space full of gorgeous creatures.

1. The Fireplace Chairs At River Roost

I’ve now stayed at Port Orleans Riverside twice, which makes it my most stayed at Disney Resort, and I will likely stay there again. I like the rooms, and the food court and the proximity to Disney Springs, but I really really love River Roost lounge and those big leather arm chairs by the fireplace where Tommy and I sat, laughing about our adventures while drinking wine remain my favorite place in the whole resort.

Revenge Of Dapper Day: Favorites

It’s time for favorites! You guys, seriously, I’m so fortunate, but in reality, this one was hard this time. Only because so much has become old hat for me, that the standouts stand out even more than usual! Seriously, I can’t believe that I have “routines” at Disney world now. I’m grateful for it, but it’s weird.

Ride:

I think Frozen gets the cake this time. If only for repitition. That I rode it three times within a day feels completely surreal. Also, I just love it so much. Because I rode it so many times, getting to really focus on Sven, he who is my favorite Animatronic, was a delight. Also, when I went on it with Mike and Megan, we took a really good pic.

Show: 

This was tough. “Happily Ever After” finally left it’s impression. And obviously, I will always and forever love “Illuminations,” but I think I have to give it to the floor show at The Edison. There’s the dancers, and the band and acrobats, and it’s really, really special. If you’re of age, give it a shot.

Meal: 

Biergarten. For sure. While it’s hard to dispute me devouring half a lobster in under 20 minutes due to not eating food on an MK day (not my greatest decision) I can’t get in the way of excellent German food, a liter of Heffewiezen, a baby grabbing at said liters of beer, and children dancing to German music.

Also seriously, the food. The pork schnitzel. HOLY CRAP. The warm potato salad, YES! The spatzel, the best I’ve ever had (sorry Uncle Mark!) and obviously the apple streudel. I mean obviously. 

Drink:

I DRANK A LITER OF HEFFEWEIZEN! Though the Martinis at the Edison are a very close second.

Snack:

This isn’t even mine. I didn’t  even snack much. (#costumeseasoniscoming and all…) But, I have to tell this story and I forgot about it while I was writing up my Animal Kingdom trip report. Mike was basically running a fever the whole time we were there. But this did not stop him from while we were sitting on line for Safari, turning me and saying, “hey is there someplace here that I can get a Dole Whip, or do I have to go to Magic Kingdom?” I replied, “Oh no, you can for sure get one here, you can even get it on a rum float!” He sighed, “I’m not feeling up to that, but that sounds AWESOME for next trip.” Before we left the park, Mike got his Dole Whip and Megan got a Mickey Bar (I’d already had my Mickey Bar at Magic Kingdom on Saturday) So that wins for favorite snack.

So that’s what’s happening there. I’m going again for a weekend this summer (still working on a date and plans! But it’s looking like mid July) I’ll get everything lined up for that soon. As for life here. We’re about to dive into the heart of movie season, with costume season nipping at it’s heels, I’m pushing through the end of Don Quioxote, which means, I’ll be picking up the new Trials of Apollo.

See you real soon!

Revenge Of Dapper Day 4/30: It’s A Jungle Out There

You know you’re getting old when the third day of your long weekend excursion, everyone’s sick and wiped out, but you soldier on and have a good day anyway.

I was feeling a bit hung over, though not too bad, Mike had caught a killer cold, and Megan was in great shape, when Megan and I headed to Animal Kingdom to get on Flight of Passage during Extra Magic Hour.

The ride is great, but because of my hangover, I hadn’t eaten, and you know, I threw up. It was awful, and it took about an hour to recover, but Animal Kingdom has lots to look at and wander and see during that recovery time. We also met Flick!

Then Mike met up with us and we waiting on line for a while for Na’Vi River Journey, but decided to bail and just do other stuff instead. We wound up doing the Safari, Everest and Kali, as well as lunch at Nomad Lounge. So, all in all, a pretty good day before Megan and Mike had to head for their plane.

I picked up a Tower of Terror fast pass and hopped on a bus to Studios, where I happened to arrive just as The March Of The First Order began. This really is such a cool fun experience. Then I headed to meet Star Lord and Groot, because, you know, I needed to know they were OK. (SOB)

I still had some time before the FP came up so I headed to Star Tours and then grabbed an ice cream for my walk over to Tower of Terror, which I rode, and then decided I was done. It was after 4, so I hopped on a bus to Springs, and then went to Homecomin’, didn’t eat nearly enough of that delicious chicken I loved so much last year and then hopped on the boat back to Riverside, before grabbing a Lyft to the airport.

I was completely wiped out you guys, I had no energy, and was deeply frustrated because only 1 security line was operating. But I got to the gate in plenty of time, slept for most of my flight, and then was happily flopped in my bed by 1 AM.

It was a great weekend, but I’ve come to the conclusion that these “Fit it all in” long weekends just aren’t sustainable. I still plan on doing weekend trips, but I think from now on I’ll stick to one park on them (maybe 2) and not do parks on arrival or departure days. (Or fly at 7PM instead of 10, and only do a morning).

Up next, we’ll talk favorites. No hotel review, because I’d stayed in the hotel already. (Update, I still love it. 10 out of 10, will stay again.)

Revenge Of Dapper Day Disney Trip Preview!

Guys! I’m off to Disney World again this week. (SHUT UP! YOU HAVE A PROBLEM! I’m FINE!)

So, as always I thought I’d do a rundown of what I have planned, what I’d like to do and then when I do the trip reports, we can all laugh about the plans going off the rails, sound good?

First of all, named the trip “Revenge Of Dapper Day” since it’s the third one. My third Dapper Day and the third time I’m going this weekend in April.  (It’s a Star Wars joke!)

Anywho, here’s my thoughts:

Friday April 27: Arrival Day

Hooray for arrival day! I’m not taking my customary 5/6 AM flight for a lot of reasons, but mainly it was because I wanted to actually do a Disney Springs night, and that tends to not happen when I arrive in the morning and want to rush right to the parks. SO! My flight is at 2, I get in at 4:30, which means I should be arriving at Port Orleans: Riverside by 6:30 at the latest. I have a reservation at Maria & Enzo’s at 7:45 after which I plan to just wander around a little before going to The Edison for drinking and dancing. That’s also the official Dapper gathering. If I’m not enjoying myself, there’s a NON ZERO shot of me hopping a bus to the Poly and hitting Trader Sam’s.

Saturday April 28: Dapper Day at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom opens at 8, so I plan to be at the turnstiles at 6:30.

I’m kidding. I‘m not doing that again. In REALITY, I’d like to be there by 7:30, that way I can rope drop over to Fantasy Land and get Mine Train and Princess Meets knocked out. (I’ll be dapper bounding as Cinderella so she’s a must, and obviously I have to see my buddy Rapunzel.) I have a bunch of morning fast passes (Space Mountain, Peter Pan & Splash Mountain) plus I’ll hit the other heavy hitters with lighter lines (Pirates, Mansion, Small World, Jungle Cruise) and then I’m thinking I’ll go over and do a brunch type meal at The Grand Floridian, after checking out the Dapper Day pop up shop there. I don’t have a reservation, but I doubt I’ll have trouble getting a table at Grand Floridian Cafe, there seem to ALWAYS be reservations for that day of!

I’ll probably pick up a fast pass and maybe ride the riverboat after that before my afternoon break, where I FULLY PLAN on spending at least an hour sitting by the pool. I never do pool time on these trips and I always regret it. I’m hoping to then either do Riverside Mill quick grab or maybe head to Springs for a late lunch/supper type meal depending on timing, before going back over to MK for the evening (Aiming for around 6).

I love evening at The Kingdom, so I’ll likely wander, do a few rides, maybe character meets, but the one thing I absolutely want to do this trip is head to The Contemporary around 8 and see if I can get to California Grill Lounge for Happily Ever After. Then I’ll head back to the park for my absolute favorite time of day post nighttime show park time. God, I love it, I love the lighting and swimming upstream from the crowds leaving at Main Street (or Hollywood Ave, or The Oasis, Or…I’ve actually never stayed at Epcot post Illuminations…) There are a few things I SPECIFICALLY want to do in these two hours (Dumbo, People Mover & Big Thunder Mountain) but mostly again, I think I’m just gonna grab a Dole Whip and walk about. The park closes at midnight, so I likely won’t go out afterwards, but if I’m SUPER antsy, I MIGHT go to Jellyrolls, (Which stays open until 2) or Sam’s (open until 1 I think?)

Sunday April 29: Epcot Dapper Day and FRIENDS GALORE!

I’m really looking forward to Sunday. I’m hoping to get up and over to Studios for it’s Extra Magic Hour, and hit it’s 4 rides being done by 9:30-ish (this is a truly non difficult thing to do over there at the moment…) I don’t feel the need to over indulge at the Launch Bay or do any of the shows, since I’ve done them all a few times, and I want to get to Epcot for Dapper Day festivities.

I have a 9:30 Frozen fast pass (PSYCHED!) so I don’t have to worry about rope dropping it, and I left my third open, (second was for Spaceship Earth) so that I can hopefully pick up Soarin’ after that. As y’all know, I prefer light scheduling for Epcot days since it’s a wander around and find your fun park (as opposed to Magic Kingdom, where I hyperventilate if my morning isn’t SUPER STRUCTURED because otherwise SO MANY LINES). I haven’t decided on my bound, I’m too fat for the dress I initially wanted to wear, the thing I put together instead looks a bit too casual, though is still very period and I’m waiting on a few pieces I ordered from Amazon as a third alternative, which isn’t a bound at all, just dapper. (I’m hanging out with Juli today, I’m sure she’ll help me decide)

BUT most excited of all for this day, my brother Mike and his girlfriend Megan are going to meet up with me here. They’ll be at a wedding in Sarasota on Saturday and were looking for something to do for the rest of the weekend, and this just sort of worked out. We’re also meeting up with our friend Nick and Jen and their kids (YAY! BABIES!) (Also Nick and Jen!) and Meg’s cousin. We’re doing a late-ish lunch at Biergarten (2PM) and an 8:15 PM drinks/desert/small plates at Spice Road Table (Though I’m continuing to look for Pub reservations throughout the week. MAYBE WE’LL GET LUCKY!) I’m excited for Biergarten, and Mama loves her Hummus fries so woo!

Because we’ll be with Mike, we’ll likely wind up back at Springs for the night festivities, as he feels about Raglan Road how I feel about Trader Sam’s. It’s his all time favorite Disney Spot. I haven’t done the pub properly, so I’m sure this will be super duper fun!

Monday April 30th: ANIMAL KINGDOM HOORAY!

Mike’s dying to go to Pandora and I’m never in a million years going to say no to time at Animal Kingdom, so that’s what we’re doing in the morning. My flight isn’t until 10 PM, where as Mike and Meg head out at 7, so I’ll have the late afternoon/early evening to myself and I’m torn between MORE ANIMAL KINGDOM, and Studios or Epcot or Springs, but I’ll play it by ear…I’ll definitely do a good meal, where to be determined, but hopefully somewhere new, around 6, before getting a Lyft to the airport around 7:30 or 8. (Suggestions welcome, someplace with bar/lounge seating preferred…just because solo dining…)

I’m excited for a lot of things this trip but mostly I’m excited to get bits of a solo trip and hang out and share new memories with people I care about. It’s the best of both worlds! Honestly, if I had one thing I would have changed about my November trip it would have been insisting on splitting off and doing my own thing a bit more (or changing my flights so I had some solo time…) just because I’m so used to doing things on my own in the parks that I bristled a bit at being on someone else’s time table the entire time.

Overall I’m excited to head back, and I love that this has sort of become my little welcome the good weather back tradition. (And that it happens to coincide with Dapper Day now is extra fun.) Seeing Epcot done up for Flower And Garden Festival is sooo lovely, it’s my favorite time of year there, aesthetically. (Though I haven’t done Festival Of The Arts…maybe next year…)

 

My Disney Year: Top 10 Magical Moments

So, I did a tally, and I spent 20 days in Walt Disney World in 2017. 18 of those were in the park.

I had a lot of magical Moments but I thought I’d do my best to pick 10!

10. Mary is amazed by Chewbacca

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There are lots of moments with my family that I’d pick but our visit with Chewie was a HUGE deal and kind of sums up what I was looking forward to with them.

My sister’s face of pure wonder remains one of my favorite pictures ever taken of her.

9. Twirling with Snow White dressed as Snow White

My Snow White Dapper Bound was a true triumph of my cosplaying genius, if I say so myself. But when Snow asked if I would like to twirl upon seeing me I nearly swooned!

8. Truly being the 1,000th Ghost

The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride. I rode it at least 10 times this year. But the last ride on my solo trip was incredible! I was the only one there and it was soooo creepy and fun.

7. “And May All Your Wishes Come True”

will watch “Happily Ever After” from the deck of The California Grill someday, and it will not ever compare with the moment of watching “Wishes” explode over Cinderella Castle with my family (And Meg and Dino) after completing a half marathon earlier during the day. It was such a magical moment I can barely think about it without my heart bursting like those fireworks.

6. “You can tell he’s a male because he’s alone”

Oh really? Is that why you can tell this elephant is male? OK, in reality, this wasn’t so much a magical moment as it summed up so much of what made my quick weekend trip with Tom so much fun, lots of laughing and enjoying the little things…or in the case of this male elephant…not so little.

5. “Let There Be Peace On Earth”

I tried really hard to not spoil any of the holiday entertainment because I really wanted to enjoy all of it fresh. I also don’t have many pictures of a lot of it, because I wanted to just be. And choosing which of the three viewings of “Illuminations” was my favorite was going to be hard, but it came down to hearing that Holiday tag, with my best friends, crying out eyes out. So beautiful.

4. Sometimes  you should meet your heroes.

I don’t really regret anything about my Disney year, except that it prevented me both financially and time wise, from getting to go to many Comic Cons in 2017. Granted, I always joke that with Disney Bounding in the mix, the difference between a con and Disney World is negligible. I spend too much money, wear a crazy outfit, get dehydrated and stand in lots of lines! And, on my November trip, when one of those lines LITERALLY ended with a meet and greet with a nerdy celebrity, that became even more true. Chatting with Ashley Eckstein and Ashley Taylor was so much fun and that Ashley remembered me was one of my most cherished memories. We nerd girls are a tiny corner of the world, but we are mighty when we stand together.

3. 15 Minutes

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It’s hard to pick a moment that I loved more in my trip with Tom than when we walked on to Frozen Ever After. It was amazing. Especially since we’d pretty much decided we weren’t going on that ride, and then poof! No lines.

2. The Wilderness Must Be Explored.

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My whole day at Animal Kingdom in November. THE WHOLE DAY. I loved it so much. It was something that I’d wanted to do for such a long time and I was so grateful to do it with my friends. If you want more details, check out my post about it, and Juli’s.

1. Running Right Down The Middle Of Mainstreet U.S.A.

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Obviously, number 1 was my race. Obviously. But which moment? The start? The finish? Countless little points in between? No it was smack dab in the middle. Running down Main Street USA, hearing my parents and Aunt and Uncle cheering for me, was so incredible I can barely think about it without crying. It was a really great moment.

I had an incredible year, and there’s more to come. (Trust me! I’m not ready to give up on Disney yet. I’m addicted.) But there’ll never be another year like this one and I’m so grateful for it.

Merry Dapper Day: Hotel Review and Favorites

OK, so, the trip went really well, so it’s time, obviously, to talk about staying at Pop Century, and my favorites from the trip.

So, we stayed at Pop Century and it was pretty great. We were in the 80’s section in one of the newly renovated rooms. (We requested it. I also requested a top floor room, this was a mistake that I felt bad about the whole trip.)

The resort is great, huge, and well laid out, with a great food court, and a good gift shop. The new rooms though, are the real reason to stay here. (besides price, the price really is great.)

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The rooms feature a queen bed, and a queen sized murphy bed that when it’s folded into the wall is a small table for two. This allows for extra space when you’re not sleeping and a table is a great way to make that space also functional. The rooms also feature linoleum floors instead of carpet which also allows the room to look sleek and modern.

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Also there’s cool pop art of Mickey and Pluto.

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Given the choice, I’d spend the little bit extra to stay at Riverside, just because having a proper lobby bar rather than just the food court is something that’s important to me. But I was a tag a long this trip, so I happily tagged along and really enjoyed Pop!

Favorites:

Ride:

Fligth Of Passage holds on to the top spot, it’s so special and beautiful and amazing and wonderful. Runner up goes to Dumbo, which after 30 years on this earth I have finally ridden and really is quite magical.

Show:

This was a tough call between The Very Merry Christmas Parade and Festival Of The Lion King, and I think I have to stick with the parade. It’s a beautiful tribute to the Christmas spirit and the costumes are absolutely divine.

Meal:

Tusker House takes the cake, not just because of the characters. I loved the food and atmosphere and service too. Le Cellier was great, really, and I’m glad to have done it, but in the future, if I’m going to spend that money, I’d rather go back to Jiko or California Grill, or try one of the signature restaurants at a resort that I haven’t tried yet. (I still have to do both Narcoosee & Citricois, plus Artist Point and Flying Fish and Yachtsman Steakhouse.)

Drink:

This one does go to Le Cellier, the Coudoulet de Beaucastel Grenache Blend I drank with that dinner was divine. I’ve even passed the label and name on to the wine shop that I go to, so that they can keep an eye out for it and let me know if they order it. I know just enough about wine to know what I like and what pairs well with different meats, and this fit the “good with steak,” and “I like this,” bills quite well.

Snack:

Pongu Lumpia for the win! Sweet, tangy and a cool texture, this was for sure my favorite thing I ate the whole trip.

Special Bonus: Holiday Favorite

It was really cool to see the parks all done up in their Christmas finery, but I have to say that my favorite park Holiday decorations were at Studios. They fit with the Hollywood motif perfectly, and really make it look like something different for, ahem, that time of year.

Merry Dapper Day: 11/21/2017: “The Wilderness Mus Be Explored”

I’ve gone on seven trips to Disney World in the past 2 years, and the one thing that surprises people more than, “and you don’t have children?” is when they ask what my favorite thing to do is, and I say, “Walk around Animal Kingdom.”

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My Disney trips have had me fall head over heels in love with the Animal Kingdom, and this was even before Pandora opened and gilded the lily as it were.

And this day, this magical wonderful day, had us (mostly because Juli is something of a genius.) really diving into exploration of the park.

We started the day in Pandora, at 8 AM sharp. We had a 9:10 fastpass for Flight of Passage, so we started on Na’vi River Cruise, which I really love riding, it’s such a beautiful and peaceful and lovely experience. I also love the woven queue, the explanation of the various animals you’ll see on the cruise, and of course, the incredible Shamaan Audio-Animatronic.

Then we did some running around and exploring, before our fastpass came up, and then we did Flight Of Passage.

I’d wondered if maybe, maybe I’d with the long wait, and hype for it, been overwowed by Flight Of Passage.

I no longer feel that way. This ride is exceptionally wonderful. It’s beautiful, well executed and didn’t even make me queasy this time around. Hooray! Then we stopped by Pongu Pongu, to get some snacks. I was excited to try the Lumpia, and I also grabbed the Mo’Ara High Country Ale, since I’d tried the Grog Ale last time, Dom got the Grog Ale, and Juli got the Night Blossom, for the Insta of the thing, and also, because it did not occur to me when I ordered it, it wasn’t yet 10 AM. (Our early start had my internal clock off by a bit.) Ah, whatever, it was vacation, if you can’t drink at 9:30 in the morning on vacation, when can you?

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Juli with her Night Blossom

The Lumpia is really good and I get why people were freaking out about it back when Pandora first opened. I’m a sucker for anything desert-y with a cream cheese base. I also liked the beer, again, I’m a sucker for an Amber. Though I preferred the Grog Ale. And if I had a choice, I’d go with a Safari Amber instead.

We then decided to begin the “Wilderness Explorers” part of our day, which allowed for much of the exploring that we did. This was something Juli insisted on, and she was absolutely right! We chatted with the Explorerer troop leaders in Pandora and took a boatload of pictures, before making our way to Harambe to check in for our brunch at Tusker House.

Tusker House has a mixed internet reputation but it’s Kristi’s family’s favorite and my friend April also counts it as a stand by for her family. Plus in these seven trips in two years, I hadn’t yet done a character meal.

really loved this restaurant. The layout is a market style for the buffet with lovely thick wood tables where we sat. And of course there’s the characters in their safari finest!

During the meal we met with Goofy, Daisy, Donald and Mickey. This was our third encounter with Goofy and we were thrilled about it. Specifically though, I was psyched to meet with Donald and Daisy, since I was wearing my Webby Vanderquack Disneybound this day.

The food is really interesting and cool, and we specifically book at 10:45 so that we could get a taste of both the breakfast and lunch options. Also, the drink options at Tusker House come from Dawa Bar, which means I got to have a Sugar Cane Mojito, which, as I’ve stated before, is my favorite bar made mojito I’ve ever had. (Disney is one of the few places I let myself have rum, because my opportunities to be ah “friendly,” the way I tend to get when I drink rum, are limited.)

Once we finished there, it became clear that it was about to rain, and we decided to head in to Festival Of The Lion King. Neither Juli nor I had done this show before, and I think that I’m going to fit it in to every itinerary from now on. It’s truly spectacular.

Then it was on to more Wilderness Badges, this time, by going to Gorilla Falls again, then after that, we had Everest Fast Passes, and completed those badges. It was then on to my favorite (very super favorite) thing in Animal Kingdom, The Maharahja Jungle Trek. Unlike Gorilla Falls, the trek is almost never crowded, it’s tucked back in a weird back corner of the Asia section, rather than in a highly trafficked ride exit dump, and it’s residents are a bit more subdued. We talked to a cast member about the tiger cubs. (I was really hoping we’d see them.) He explained that they’re not on display yet, as they want to limit human contact with them. Disappointed but understanding we were happy to at least see their proud papa wandering around.

We had a truly magical moment, however, as we reached the aviary. I’ve walked the Jungle Trek many times and never, have I seen this area so alive. Birds were zipping above our heads, skittering around on the ground and perched happily singing in the trees. It was exceptional.

Post Jungle Trek we headed to Disney Springs where we all did some shopping, and then back to the hotel, where we picked up dinner and relaxed in the room. (And had one of those quiet exhale moments that I’m so crazy about.) We headed back over to the park to experience Pandora at night and Rivers Of Light.

I was head over heals for Pandora having only seen it during the day. Seeing it at night just further cemented my love for Animal Kingdom. Seriously, I’m obsessed. Maybe someday I’ll have an Animal Kingdom trip, where I stay at lodge and only go to Animal Kingdom, except for one night when I go over to the Poly to have drinks at Trader Sam’s. (This is not a logistical reality, just something that I fantasize about.)

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Then it was off to Rivers Of Light. We stopped by the Thirsty River Bar first, where I tried to Himalayan Ghost, which is, I must say, incredible. I really do need to incorporate Guava Juice into my home mixers.

The show was spectacular. I really like it, and I think the only reason that it will never eclipse Illumiations as my favorite is because I don’t have childhood memories of it. (And for the moment, it’s sort of a pain in the butt to see.)  It’s so beautiful and interesting and well done and the song is great.

After that, it was time for our party to part ways. Juli and Dom were getting up super early to begin their drive home, and still had packing to do. The park was still open for about an hour, so I decided rather than be in their way while they packed to further explore at least in some fashion.

I knew I had a few options, but I landed on heading to Nomad Lounge and having a night cap, and then hopping on line to ride Na’Vi River Journey one more time.

Settling in at Nomad I had a Night Monkey and chatted with the bar tender, before settling up and heading over to River Journey, where I talked to a family as we wound through the cue, and then headed out to the bus and back, where I crashed out.

BONUS Departure Day:

I had a 9:42 flight. I didn’t book it that way. I’d booked in the afternoon hoping to get in a morning at Studios to do Star Wars stuff. (Juli and Dom have no care for a galaxy far far away and I wasn’t going to force my super-fandom on them) But, American Airlines changed their flight times, so, here we are. I skipped Magical Express, since it was picking up at 5:35 AM for the Holiday rush, and I knew I didn’t need that much time.

I got up, took some pictures of the room, and grabbed a Lyft to the airport and then it was home, with no hiccups.

Overall, this was an incredible trip. Longer than I usually do, and much more strenuous. Coming up later in the week, we’ll do a hotel review & favorites, and then I’ve got a special, things I’ve learned in my Disney Year post!

But for now, well, as they say, See You Real Soon!

Merry Dapper Day: 11/20/2017: “That Time Of Year”

If there’s one thing that I’ve done in this year of Disney that I do not every feel the need to do again, it is the 4 Park Day.

While very fun, these marathons are exhausting, and made more so by the discontinuing of the Express Bus Service. (Seriously, such a bummer that this isn’t a thing anymore.) If other people I’m with want to do it, I’ll nope out at lunch time and take a nap.

Anyway, all this to say, that I’m glad I did both of my 4 Park Days this year, but I am not doing it again for a very long time.

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So, we got up early, there was a 7 AM extra magic hour at Animal Kingdom, and we drove over. We were through the gates by 7:45 and on Kilamanjaro Safaris by 8. After the safari, (which went well, again, I don’t know that I’ll ever top February’s safari trip, but again, this one was very good.) and then did Gorilla Falls, before grabbing a fastpass picture and then driving to park at the TTC. (We planned on finishing the day at Magic Kingdom, so this made the most sense.) Then we caught the Monorail to Epcot, since we had some Fastpasses (and a burning desire for some Via Nappoli Pizza.) there. We rode Living With Land, then got on The Friendship Boat, and hit Italy, hoping for a walk up to Via Nappoli. We got a table in about 10 minutes (I always forget how fricking HUGE that restaurant is) and a pepperoni pie and a bellini made the whole day a little better. (I was feeling my hangover from the day before, LET ME TELL YOU!) We then backtracked to the Land pavillion again, to ride Soarin’ and followed that up with a ride on Imagination.

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Somewhere in there, we managed to take this picture.

I haven’t done either Living With The Land or Imagination since I was kid and they were fun to revisit. Living With The Land is super relaxing and the tour of the Greenhouses is really cool, and honestly, who doesn’t simply adore Figment?

After that we worked our way to the back exit, took a Friendship Boat to the Yacht and Beach Club to check out the Gingerbread Carousel. Juli’s always said that The Boardwalk is her dream resort, where as I lean more Yacht & Beach, and I think after catching a glimpse of Storm A Long Bay, I’ve brought her over to my point of view. (STEP INTO MY WEB!) We then got back on the boat, and headed to Studios.

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Because of lines, we opted out of any of the rides there, but did catch Muppets 3-D, For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing A Long, (which featured a special ending with “That Time Of Year” and “When We’re Together” from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.) We also hung out on Sunset Boulevard and watched the projection show “Sunset Season’s Greetings” which goes onto the Tower of Terror. It’s a really cute show, and I especially appreciated that one of the segments is based around “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” which has always been my favorite version of that story.

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We settled in for Fantasmic after that, and golly, what a good show that is! I haven’t seen it in a while, but it’s Juli’s favorite, so we were definitely not skipping it. We managed to see the actual fireworks from “Jingle Bell Jingle Bam” while we waited, as well as the finale of Illuminations! (Pretty cool stuff!)

Fantasmic really is great though, it’s sweet, and an excellent use of characters and has some great music in it. The five minute long Pocohontas section is a little bit dated. (I mean, I’m just saying it wouldn’t be hard to say, switch that up to be about a young Polynesian girl wondering how far she’ll go…) But otherwise, this is a stone cold classic.

Our final stop was Magic Kingdom, where we arrived just as the lights were dimming for “Happily Ever After.” Our plans were all Fantasyland based, so we saw the fireworks, but not the projection show. (Still really good.)

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Also, got these cool pics with the fireworks in them!

We rode Under The Sea, and then Dom wanted to check out Winnie The Pooh. I’m not a huge fan of that ride, and was wearing my Rapunzel Disneybound, so I went to meet up with Punzie herself (and my girl Tiana!)

As I talked about my “best day ever” with Rapunzel, I thought about how lucky I’ve been this year, to share my favorite place with so many people I love so much, and how happy I am to have made these little touchstones for myself.

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Chatting with Rapunzel = My favorite thing to do on trips. For serious.

Juli, Dom and I met up altogether at the latern photo spot by Rapunzel’s tower, and then we headed out to get to the TTC and then home.

The lines for both the monorail and the ferry were bonkers, so we walked to the contemporary and took the monorail from there. Once we got back to the hotel, we all quickly crashed out.

Our final day might have been my favorite…I’ll get into why when I talk about it tomorrow! (Yes, I’m burning through these write ups…I had to do something to distract myself during the boring/terrible parts of the prequels…so you know…most of the prequels…)

Merry Dapper Day Disney Trip Preview

Hey all! So, this time next week, I’ll be in the air about half way to Disney World, for what I’ve decided to call the “Merry Dapper Day” trip, as the main focuses of the trip are going to be Christmas celebrations, and Dapper Day.

This is a basic overview of what I think the trip will look like (obviously, I mean, obviously things often take on their own life.) and honestly, I’m going to try, (SO SO HARD) to not get caught up in the details of things and go with the flow. I’m much more of a passenger on this trip. Juli did most of the planning, (with input, of course! She’s a doll!) And if you want more detailed talk about our plans, you should check out her blog. (You should check it out anyway, because Juli is great and her writing is fun!)

Anyway, here’s the broadstrokes, be sure to check out Facebook, for live videos and pictures throughout the week!

Friday 11/17:

I’m on a 10AM flight, expected to land at MCO by 1-ish, which means I’ll be to Pop Century, by 3, hopefully earlier, but you know Magical Express, I’ve literally had 2 hours each time I’ve used it. Juli and Dom will have already arrived, and then we’ll be off to Magic Kingdom, for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

There are Disney Bound and ride plans in place as well as a few Fastpasses for before the party and I’m really excited about this. I’ve wanted to see the snow on Main Street for years, can’t wait to compare notes with the Halloween Party, and of course, to possibly meet a certain Scottish billionaire duck, who’s going to be in attendance. (I’m speaking of Flintheart Glomgold…natch…He has a kilt McDuck! A KILT!) (I’m kidding, I mean Scrooge.)

The party goes until midnight. So that will be that.

Saturday 11/18:

Magic Kingdom Dapper Day! So there are a few things happening here, it’s our Magic Kingdom Dapper Day, and also, Magic Kingdom is open from 8 AM to Midnight….that’s a long day. Obviously, I will attempt to be totally mellow and NOT demand that we arrive to the park by 7:15 so we can enjoy Main Street and line up before opening.

I make no promises that I will succeed in this, but I’m gonna TRY.

I’m really excited to be back in the Kingdom with Juli, and to see Happily Ever After! We have Fastpasses for morning and afternoon, no dining reservations. (I am trying hard to not hyperventilate at this.) And also, the park is open until midnight, so there’s a good hour and half of post fireworks time (my FAVORITE time in the parks).

Sunday 11/19:

Epcot Dapper Day. Plans include, photos in front of colored walls, I bet. Spaceship Earth, drinking around the world, Frozen Ever After, Holidays around the world, and dinner at Le Cellier, before of course, Illuminations.

This is a more normal park houred day of 9-9, which leaves a deep likelyhood of an evening at Jellyrolls…mostly, I’m happy for light scheduling on Epcot days, because World Showcase doesn’t lend itself to tight schedules. For example had I scheduled by last Dapper Epcot Day, I’d never have wound up doing the Great Princess Hunt of 2017, which was a really fun way to spend that day.

This day also includes one of our only two scheduled ADRs, because, it’s Le Cellier. Juli and I skipped it our last trip for a few reasons (Food and Wine, and we ate at 3 other signature restaurants that trip!) and I’m very excited to finally eat there.

Monday 11/20:

FOUR PARK DAY!

We’re starting at Animal Kingdom, Heading to Magic Kingdom, (though now with MK being open to midnight, this may shift!) then Epcot, then finishing out the evening at Studios.

I’m not entirely sure what the plan is for the evening, because we may go over to Magic Kingdom AFTER Studios closes rather than in the morning, but I know early on there was Monorail Bar Crawl talk. (I always stomp for Monorail Bar Crawl!) Or, Disney Springs, where I know Juli and Dom are spending Friday morning, is also always an option.

Tuesday 11/21:

This is our big Animal Kingdom day! I heart Animal Kingdom and I’m SO SO SO SO excited to have a whole planned day there. Since we’ll have already done the Safari, there’s not going to be much difficulty in heading right to Pandora, where we’ve got a Flight Of Passage fastpass for 9:10, so we can rope drop Na’Vi River Journey, and then head right there.

We have a reservation at Tusker House at 10:45, so we’ll get some character fun in, and we’ll try a restaurant we haven’t before. (I haven’t done a character meal since I was 12, so I’m also excited for that!) But our other fastpasses aren’t until way later in the day (one for Everest, and the other for the second show of Rivers of Light), so it gives us lots of time to just BE IN ANIMAL KINGDOM, which, I’ve only really ever done on solo trips.

I’d love to give my Drink Through the Jungle plan a shot, or finally sit down for Festival of The Lion King, or even just chillax at Nomad Lounge for ages. I can’t wait to see Pandora after dark, walk the Maharajah & Gorilla Falls trails, and, like I said, just wander generally.

Wednesday 11/22:

My flight home is at 9:42 in the morning. My ME will likely be sometime around 6 AM. I will probably not us ME for the return trip. A Lyft at 7 AM ought to do the trick. I am anticipating being delayed anywhere from 1 to 6 hours, as it’s not only my luck trying to get home from Disney World, but the day before Thanksgiving. (I’m also using a car service to and from the airport because when I knew better than to ask any of my family to pick me up from JFK on the day before Thanksgiving.)

I’m really excited to get there! I’m really really excited to be there with my friends, especially, to hit some of the stuff that ignited my love of Disney Vacations with Juli. Since we got home 2 years ago I’ve been in a constant state of Disney planning and it’s been incredible. 

 

 

 

Cosplay Corner: Disneybounding Rapunzel

You know how I said that I was done talking about the Disney trip? I LIED! No, honestly, I just forgot this was a post I wanted to do. And since it’s Halloween, it’s actually a very good day to do this one, where I break down the Rapunzel Disneybound I put together.

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Rapunzel is my second favorite princess, after Cinderella. And I’m saving a Cinderella Disneybound for something special. (It involves mash ups…and other people. And the phrase Work!)

Rapunzel, however, can be on her own, or in combination with other people, so, here she is.

The decision to do Rapunzel came first, and then came the ears.

They came from an Etsy store called Cantina Traders, and I love them so much. They also got so many compliments, especially from cast members. (There’s a special point of pride for me when Cast Members compliment specific parts of my outfits.)

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The tee shirt was another Etsy purchase, and the shorts came off of Amazon. (They are HUE brand. I’m a big fan of HUE, they have the best black tights, and I’ve found their leggings great too in the past. These shorts really worked out perfectly.)

I’m planning on wearing this one again while Juli, Dom and I are down there.

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But I did do a fun Photopass shoot in this while we were leaving Animal Kingdom, so I thought I’d share those!

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