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 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…)

 

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: 11/20/2017: “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. 

 

 

 

Disney Cousin Fall Trip 9/17/2017 Part 1: “Brunch!”

Ah, waking up with a hangover in Disney. I’ve done it every trip I’ve taken since Juli and my trip 2 years ago.

This time, while Tom got ready, I trekked down to the food court again, returning with Biscuits and Bacon, and we quietly, but with great speed, found our way to the bus to head to Hollywood Studios.

The plan was to ride the 4 rides there and then head to Epcot for our brilliantly planned Brunch reservation at Spice Road Table.  We did succeed in that.

First we hit Rockin Roller Coaster, which is always a good time.

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It was Walk On (Thanks Extra Magic Hour!)  and rather than jump right over to Tower of Terror (I learned, from the stomach issues of the past) we headed to Toy Story, which again, we walked on to. Next we backtracked to Tower of Terror, which was showing an 85 minute wait time.

The cast member at the front said it was likely to be closer to 40, so we shrugged and headed in to wait in line.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I actually looked at the clock every step of the way. From entering under the gate to watching the video in the library, it was 10 minutes. From exiting the library to entering our elevator, it was 10 minutes. We waited 20 minutes for a ride that was marked with an 85 minute wait time. (I told you this would be a theme.)

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Tom is saying something profound, I’m sure…

Tower of Terror was great, it always is. After that we headed right over to Star Tours, where again, the wait was brief, but I love that queue so I’d wait, like a maximum of 40 minutes for that ride.

Tom nearly got sick so, we opted to skip Muppets, because seriously, nausea + 3-D is rarely a good combo, and we headed to the Launch Bay. The lines for the meets were a little bit on the long side, so we opted to head to Epcot, since Frozen Ever After was showing a 40 minute wait.

At nearly 10:30 AM.

YES REALLY!

We skipped off to the boat and rode over to Epcot, happily discussing our strategy (Tom feeling much better) and wound our way over to Norway, to get in line for Frozen, now showing 35 minutes. (At 11:15! Prime World Showcase arrival time. I was flummoxed). I set a timer, because I was curious. The Ever After line is a good one, once you get inside, full of things to look at and nice music and AC, but we didn’t even have to walk through Kristoff’s Ice House, and only wound around the town square once, and we only caught a glimpse of Oaken, before boarding our boat to the Mountain 15 minutes after getting on line.

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I’m still smiling huge because the line was so short!

I’ve ridden it with a Fastpass and had the line take longer than 15 minutes. I declared after our trip to see the whole gang, (and Tom’s agreement that Sven is a most impressive Animatronic) that I would ALWAYS come this time of year now, Hurricane Season Be Damned, because OMG 15 minutes? We were now late for our reservation, though I doubted it would be a problem, and we headed straight on over to Morocco.

Spice Road Table is on my “favorite restaurants in Disney World” for a reason, you guys. It’s a lovely place, small but not claustrophobic, interesting but accessible food, and never crowded. This was the first time I ate inside the restaurant, which was very different, and the first time I at there during the sunlight.

Tom helped himself to Lamb Sliders, and I went for a combination of hummus fries (BESSTTT) and Rosemary Brie Fondue. Both were excellent, and drinking a Pomegranate Mimosa made it officially Brunch.  (It’s not brunch without champagne drinks!) Post food and ooohing over the view, we headed to the front to get our bus for afternoon nap.

This nap was even more necessesary than the previous, and also featured football watching. I went and grabbed a soda at one point, and I ate the rest of the biscuits, because if I don’t eat every hour or so I get cranky, and also they were there.

The final thing I did during this break, was run down to the store and pick up a Christmas ornament. See, I have my own apartment now, which means that for the first time in my life, I will have my OWN Christmas tree, which means, I need stuff to put on it.

Because I am who I am, I know that there will be a healthy amount of Disney representation on that tree, just generally, but I wanted something to specifically remember the oddness of this year and the four trips that went into it. I came up with the idea of getting an ornament from each resort I stayed in, which can become my tradition, even AFTER this crazy Disney year ends, when I stay in different resorts. (My dad is determined to return, and we’re likely to stay either on the Boardwalk or on the Monorail loop then…) So, I grabbed the Riverside ornament this time. (I also got a Saratoga Springs one, but that’s for the report on Monday of this trip!)

Once all of that was settled in, we headed down to get on our Magic Kingdom bus, for our last park excursion of the trip, and some Halloween time fun! (WEEE!)

Stay tuned for more on that!

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