11:22 p.m. - five year old gets up (after going to sleep about 7:30), says, "I don't think I brushed my teeth very well, so I'm going to brush my teeth", brushes her teeth, and goes back to bed.
Her dentist would be proud.
11:22 p.m. - five year old gets up (after going to sleep about 7:30), says, "I don't think I brushed my teeth very well, so I'm going to brush my teeth", brushes her teeth, and goes back to bed.
Her dentist would be proud.
There's reading, writing, and 'rithmatic.... and then there are the lessons learned from friends. Awesome.
We started our final day at Disney with a send-off breakfast at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort. It was a late reservation which gave us plenty of time to get packed, check out, and get our bags checked. I have to say that one of my favorite perks of Disney resorts is being able to check your bags with the airlines right at the hotel! Cape May was great. The food was good, and I love the beachy attire the characters wear. If you are staying at an Epcot area resort or it happens to work into your travel plans, I definitely recommend it.
We left breakfast and knew we had a choice of walking or taking a boat to Epcot. We didn't know which way to walk, so we opted for the boat. Had we realized how short the walk was and that the boat probably took four times as long, we would have walked! Not a big deal though, we weren't in any hurry anyway.
The Beach Club and Yacht Club resorts are so pretty. I'd love to stay at one of them some time.
When we arrived at Epcot, we picked up a F.O.N.E. (Field Operative Notification Equipment) for Elise and NIna to participate in Agent P's World Showcase Adventure. It is essentially a scavenger hunt through the world showcase where you play the role of a detective trying to solve missions. This was like the definition of fun for Nina. After two pretty rotten days of being sick, this was the perfect way for her to end the trip.
Elise grew tired of it after the first mission, so while Nina happily played detective all afternoon, the rest of us admired the topiaries,
took pictures with Belle,
Posed in front of the Eiffel Tower,
ran through France,
checked out more topiaries (the Flower and Garden Festival is really quite spectacular),
enjoyed a performance by Japanese drummers,
explored Japanese gardens,
continued scouting out the topiaries,
and dropped by the Kidcot stations,
all while Nina stayed completely engrossed in her solving her Agent P missions.
She definitely found her happy place at Epcot in the Agent P Adventure. We decided that on our next Disney trip, we'll need to just dedicate an entire day to one parent wandering around the World Showcase following Nina playing Agent P, while the other parent takes the other two girls to another park. She would have happily played all day long if we hadn't had a flight to catch. Look at that smile!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, so Nina had to turn in her F.O.N.E.. Our flight wasn't going to wait for all her missions to be solved. We did make time for a quick ice cream on the way out.
So long, Epcot!
We got back to our resort and climbed aboard the Magical Express back to the airport.
Good-bye Disney World! Thanks for the fun!
Addison: meeting Goofy at Cape May
Nina: Agent P Adventure
Elise: meeting Belle
Ann: watching Nina have so much fun with the Agent P missions
J.C.: sleeping in his own bed that night
We were really hoping Nina would be completely recovered and ready to take on Disney, but she had a rough morning starting about 5:30 a.m., so we left her to sleep in.
Elise, Addie, and I took off for a second day at Magic Kingdom. We walked straight over to Fantasyland to pick up fastpasses for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Then we hopped in line to meet Ariel. Can you imagine sitting in that mermaid outfit? It looks like it would feel so awkward.
Then we rode the new Little Mermaid ride. It is really nice. It is essentially a clone of the Nemo ride at Epcot, but it tells the story of the Little Mermaid. It is cute and well done. After that, we got a call from J.C. that Nina was feeling better, had kept down some food, and they were on their way to meet us! Yea!
Next we caught up with Gaston. He is absolutely hysterical! By far, he gave the best character interaction of the trip. The pictures with him cracked me up too.
Then we were off to Adventureland to meet up with J.C. and Nina. We were so excited she was able to come. She had to stay off any spinny, fast, or up-and-down rides, but fortunately Magic Kingdom still has lots of options. We picked up fastpasses for Jungle Cruise and then went on Pirates of the Caribbean. With Addie being such a huge fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, she was really excited about going on Pirates of the Caribbean. I wasn't sure how she would like it since the pirates are quite different from the smiling, friendly animated variety, but she had a ball. Toward the end of the ride, we got stuck for about 10 minutes here.
I had never ridden that ride before, so I didn't know if we were supposed to be stuck or not, but I started to wonder if we were going to have to get out and swim. Eventually, they came on with an announcement that we were indeed stuck and would start moving in a few minutes.
As with so many rides, Disney marketing has mastered the art of ending every ride in a gift shop themed to that ride. (This is an awful picture, but it was so great to see a smile on Nina's face!)
Pirates of the Caribbean dumped us out in the pirate themed gift shop, so Addie left there the proud owner of Jake to accompany Izzy who was purchased earlier in the week. As we were walking over to Jungle Cruise, a pirate cast member outside of Pirates of the Caribbean said to Addie, "Yo Ho! You have Jake and Izzy there!" Then he completely mangled the names of two other characters in the show while trying to tell Addie she needed those too. Elise gave him the classic 11 year old rolled eyes look. I think the pirate characters need some Jake and the Neverland Pirates education if they plan to chat with five year olds.
Next up was Jungle Cruise. It was so nice that there were two rides in easy walking distance that were slow, flat, non-nauseating boat rides... just right for poor Nina.
We stopped at Pecos Bill's for an early lunch. That was pretty forgettable. I'm not sure I'd go there again. Then, Elise and J.C. headed off to Big Thunder Mountain which was clearly not an option for Nina, so the little girls and I went over to Tomorrowland for a ride on the People Mover, another slow, mostly flat ride.
Nina needed a little rest, so we sat down with a snack and waited for J.C. and Elise. Then it was off to the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor which I absolutely love. That show ranks up there as one of my favorite attractions at Magic Kingdom.
Elise really wanted to meet the princesses. (Yes, Elise... really, that wasn't a typo... she's the oldest of the three, but the only one who still loves princesses). I walked over to grab fastpasses for the princesses while everybody else watched the parade. Then we all took one more spin on the People Mover.
Nina really truly had no interest in the princesses whatsoever, so she and J.C. stayed out on the porch while I took the other two in.
Next we had to race off for our reservations at the new restaurant in Beast's castle, Be Our Guest. I had promised Addison that she could ride the carousel before dinner, so even though we were tight for time, JC, Elise, and Addison hopped on the carousel for a quick ride while Nina and I checked in for dinner. As Nina and I waited for them, we got a kick out of the people who walked up to the check-in desk every couple of minutes to ask how long the wait was. Then, they seemed completely shocked when they were told that the restaurant was fully booked and couldn't take walk-ins. Do they not realize that all of us dining there that night had made reservations 180 days earlier?
I really hate to even share pictures of this restaurant because my pictures do not do it justice at all. It is gorgeous... like breathtakingly, perfectly, wonderfully gorgeous. You really have to experience it in person.
The food was very good too. J.C. got the pork rack chop which he said was fabulous. Elise and I both ordered the sauteed shrimp and scallops in puff pastry. It was very good, but I think I might try something different another time. It wasn't a must-get. Addison got the awful grilled chicken again. I think Disney needs to take that off their kids' menus. I know they are trying to be healthier, but it just isn't good. Go back to good ol' chicken nuggets. Poor Nina was starting to tank, so she didn't eat any of her pasta. The desserts were gorgeous. Elise and I shared the chocolate cupcake and the lemon cream puff. We both actually preferred the cream puff - shocking!
Elise was the only one brave enough to visit with Beast.
Beast's castle looks really neat lit up at night.
After dinner, we offered Nina the option to stay and watch fireworks since she had missed them the night before. She was wiped out though, so we headed back to the resort for our last night in Florida.
Day 6 Favorites:
Addison: the boat ride (Pirates of the Caribbean) and the other boat ride (Jungle Cruise)
Nina: getting to go to Magic Kingdom
Elise: Big Thunder Mountain
J.C.: Big Thunder Mountain
Ann: Be Our Guest and having Nina with us
Day 5 was a very, very bad day for half of our family. It started out well enough. We decided this day was going to be our one sleep-in day. We weren't in a rush, so we went for a leisurely breakfast at the resort. Nina was complaining of her tummy hurting, but we assumed she was just hungry. We thought breakfast would solve her problem. We all enjoyed our breakfast except for Nina who mostly picked at hers and laid down in the booth.
By the end of breakfast, she was starting to look worse, not better. Our plan had been to spend the morning swimming, but Nina opted for a nap. Anytime your child chooses a nap over swimming at a fun resort pool, you know things are bad. Elise, Addie, and J.C. headed off to the pool. Nina was sound asleep the minute her head hit the pillow.
She slept like a rock for a couple of hours. JC and the girls planned on staying at the pool until she woke up so as not to bother her. She began to stir, so I texted JC that she was waking up. As they started the (long) walk back from the pool, Nina leaped out of bed and ran to the bathroom to throw up. If there was any doubt about her being sick, there were no longer any doubts. J.C. agreed to stay in the room with her while the rest of us grabbed lunch at the resort and headed off to Magic Kingdom. While we felt bad having to leave them there, we were a also bit relieved to get away from Nina's germs.
Note to self: If your child plans to take a picture holding Tinker Bell, make sure she is not wearing a busy shirt with lots of colors on it. Tink disappears in the shirt.
Our first order of business was fastpasses for Dumbo. Besides meeting Jake, Addie's other big goal for this trip was riding Dumbo. The poor child had asked every morning, "Is today the day we get to ride Dumbo?" and got a no response four mornings in a row. We walked directly to the new Fantasy Land and picked up fastpasses for Dumbo and Barnstormer. The machine shot out a free fastpass for Mickey's Philharmagic as well. I didn't like that show last time I saw it, so I didn't intend to use that one. I stuffed it in my pocket anyway. Much to my dismay, Addie wanted to ride the teacups too. She is too young to ride them with just Elise, so I was stuck riding that awful ride. The two of them loved it.
Me? Not so much.
Then it was finally time for the big moment... Dumbo! I'm not sure if this really lived up to Addie's expectations, but she still claims it was her favorite part of the trip. Personally, I think she had much more fun on Test Track and Soarin'.
Next was Barnstormer. Addie liked it. Elise thought it was a bit of a snooze. I think she has finally graduated from the kiddie rides.
After that, we picked up fastpasses for Peter Pan. We needed to kill a little time before our fastpass return time. Since we had the freebie fastpasses for Mickey's Philharmagic, we just went to that. I should have stuck with my gut and skipped it. I really don't like that show. Oh well, live and learn. Peter Pan was, of course, excellent, so we finished our time in Fantasy Land on a high note.
Next, we hopped on the train to Frontier Land. I had seen in the character guide that Jessie was going to be doing a meet and greet soon. She was the character I was most excited to see, so getting to Jessie was our next mission. Her meeting spot is a little hidden. It is by the Splash Mountain queue, but Splash Mountain is undergoing renovations, so there really isn't any traffic over there. That worked to our advantage. Since she wasn't out there yet, there were only a few people in line in front of us.
Woody was a bonus! We didn't know he would be there too.
After our photo op with Jessie, Addison actually gave her a hug. I was so excited she was finally getting comfortable with the characters and even more excited it was with Jessie. Sadly, I didn't pull my camera out quickly enough to snap a picture. It was very sweet though... you'll just have to trust me on that one.
Throughout the day, J.C. had been texting me updates about Nina. The were texts like, "Threw up again", "I'm worried about Nina. Her eyes just rolled back in her head, and she passed out on the bathroom floor.", "Doing a little better. She's watching TV.", and then, "Watched TV for 15 minutes then fell asleep again." Clearly, Nina was having a really horrible day. Considering JC hadn't left the room the entire day, I'm sure his day wasn't much better. I tried to convince him to switch places with me to go to dinner with Addison and Elise, but he refused saying he wanted to let me enjoy the trip. What a great guy!
Next, we walked to Adventure Land in hopes of riding a couple things there. Most had waits that were too long and fastpasses that were too far out, so we treated ourselves to some Mickey ice cream bars and rode The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
Then we did a little shopping and hopped on the monorail to the Polynesian for dinner at 'Ohana. I was so sad that J.C. and Nina couldn't join us. 'Ohana is our family's favorite restaurant in Disney World. As usual, everything was delicious!
Customer service was fantastic too. Remember how Le Cellier wouldn't even switch out a potato side with J.C.'s steak? 'Ohana has a mixed veggie dish which contains baby corn among other things. Addie had eaten all of the baby corn out of the dish that was served family style at our table. She asked the waiter if she could have more baby corn. He brought some out in a little bowl for her. She ate all of those and asked for more. He said,"I'll see if I can get out a few more. I have to dig through the mixed veggies to find them!" So... keeping score... Le Cellier - can't even throw a potato on a plate... 'Ohana - will painstakingly sort through mixed veggies to pull out just the baby corn.
A+ to 'Ohana... love that place!
After dinner, we hopped the monorail back to Magic Kingdom for Wishes. That is such a great show, and we had a really good viewing spot right in the middle of Main Street.
J.C. doesn't care much about fireworks, but we were all feeling sad that Nina couldn't be there with us to enjoy it.
As we were leaving the park, we decided to buy one of the little spinning glow toys that they sell during the fireworks shows for Nina. If she couldn't be there with us, we figured we would bring a tiny bit of the show to her.
It was a late night, and Addie crashed on the bus ride back.
We got back to the room to find Nina looking slightly more human than she had that morning. She had spent the day in one of the queen sized beds, so in order to cut down on germ transfer, we moved her to the murphy bed. We called mousekeeping to bring clean sheets for the queen bed and then put Addie and Elise in there. We went to sleep hoping for a better tomorrow.
Day 5 Favorites:
Addison: Dumbo, Teacups, Barnstormer, parade (I forgot to mention that in the post, but I guess we watched the parade at some point too), baby corn, fireworks, castle changing colors, chicken legs (an appetizer at 'Ohana), and the monorail. (She listed those off in exactly that order!)
Nina: the spinny light-up toy
Elise: fireworks and 'Ohana
Ann: fireworks and 'Ohana
J.C.: catching Addie at the bottom of the slide at the pool - watching her so proud of herself, squealing and laughing
Day 4 was Epcot. Easywdw had predicted really low crowds at Epcot that day. I wasn't too concerned about getting there for rope drop, but we somehow managed to head out from the resort pretty early anyway.
First stop was Soarin'. Addie had cried all the way through this ride the last time we were there, so I was hoping for a better experience this time. We tried to prepare her fully for what it would be like. She ended up loving it! She cracked me up. She was smiling, laughing, and squealing through the entire ride. She would hold her arms out like she was pretending to be an airplane! What a difference two years makes! I love that ride anyway, but it made it even more fun to watch her enjoying it so much.
J.C. went to collect fastpasses for Test Track while I took the girls over to the Character Spot.
From there, we rode Soarin' again and then we were off to Test Track. I wasn't sure how Addie would react to that one either, but after the success at Soarin' we decided to just go for it. She loved it! As soon as we got off she said she was ready to ride it again!
We didn't have a real agenda for the day besides making sure Addie got a nap in the afternoon, so we wandered around a bit checking out the topiaries that are part of the Flower and Garden festival.
Elise and Nina as Phineas and Ferb
Addie as Tinker Bell.
It cracked me up that Mike Wazowski has a retainer! I can't wait for Monsters University to come out.
For lunch, we strolled over to the U.K. in the World Showcase. We got fish and chips from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. That was delicious! The food was excellent, and it was such a pretty day to be sitting outside next to the water and across from Captain Hook and Peter Pan. If you're in need of a good counter service place in Epcot, I highly recommend the Fish Shop.
After lunch, we went back to the resort for some down time. We all needed it. On the way out, Nina spotted Goofy. She had been looking for him ever since she bought the Goofy hat.
When we got back to the resort, JC and Addie crawled in bed, and the girls somehow talked me into taking them to the pool. Of course, finding the pool wasn't easy. We had to ask a couple of gardeners for directions, but we got there eventually.
This was when I finally found my love for Port Orleans Riverside. Riverside and I got off on the wrong foot. The resort is absurdly complicated to navigate, but I finally concluded that if you pay the upgrade for "preferred location", it is really quite a lovely place. The grounds are beautiful. The food is above average. The kids were completely entertained at the pool with a hula hoop contest, a dance party, and some sort of floating Mr. Potato Head game.
The best part of all though? The hammocks. This was my view from the hammock.
My new mandatory criteria for booking travel is that every hotel must have poolside hammocks and a bar that serves frozen margaritas.
I had told the girls I would let them swim for an hour at most. I think we stayed for three. The relaxing break from the parks midweek was so nice. After a delightful afternoon half-snoozing in my hammock, it was time to head back to Epcot for our dinner reservations.
We had reservations in Canada at Le Cellier. JC and I had fond memories from Le Cellier five year ago. We had high expectations for another great meal. Isn't the area outside of Le Cellier beautiful?
We were seated fairly quickly, but our reservations were a bit later than Addie is used to dining. Before we had even placed our order, she began a complete and total meltdown. She threw a crayon at another table. When I tried to drag her out of the restaurant, she pulled the old, "I'm going to dislocate my arms at the shoulder and by manipulating gravity, make my body physically impossible for you to pick up" thing. I hoisted her up by the waist and dragged her butt outside. As I tried to calm her down, she sobbed, "I want my amimal blankie!!!" I frantically texted JC for blanket delivery, but Le Cellier is in a cellar (thus the name), and he wasn't receiving any texts. Where is technology when you need it? She eventually pulled herself together, and we went back inside.
J.C. ordered the pepper-crusted sirloin, and Elise ordered the New York strip. Both were tasty steaks - nothing spectacular, but certainly good. J.C. asked if he could get the potatoes that were normally served with Elise's steak rather than the starch that was supposed to come with his. He was told no. That really irked me. I know it is Disney World, but when you're paying $40 for a steak, is it really asking too much to slap a different sort of potato on the plate? J.C. didn't mind, but it annoyed me to no end.
I ordered the Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon. It was perfection... plain and simple. The wild mushroom risotto would have made a heavenly dish on its own. The steak was so tender I probably could have cut it with a butter knife. My advice for Le Cellier is for every person in your party to order the Le Cellier filet. It was worth every penny and then some. The other steaks were "fine", but the filet is what had stayed in our memories from the trip five years ago. It was divine.
Nina and Addie both ordered the grilled chicken. It was tough and dry, so I wouldn't recommend that either.
Desserts were yummy. Addison got the chocolate moose,
After dinner, J.C. and Nina took off for one last ride on Test Track. Elise, Nina, and I were planning on going straight back to the resort for sleep, but we took a quick detour on the Nemo ride.
Not surprisingly, after getting off the bus, we got lost trying to find our room again. We were completely befuddled by the sign that appeared to say "bldg. 14-18 straight ahead" on one side of the sign and "bldg. 16-17 straight ahead" on the other side of the sign. How is that possible? We needed building 17 and had no clue which directions to believe. Finally, Elise figured out that the "-" between 14 and 18 was actually a dot, not a dash. Apparently a dot (placed exactly where a dash would go) means "and" or "&" or ",". Why couldn't they use "and" or "&" or "," instead of a dot that looks exactly like a very short dash? Sorry... I must get off the rant about the Riverside navigation... it completely ruins my pleasant hammock memories.
When we finally found the room, we arrived at the exact same time as J.C. and Nina. We had ridden Nemo with no line. They had ridden one of the most popular rides in the park. We had taken two different buses. We were lost long enough that they caught up with us. Nice.
We all fell into bed, having no idea what awful turn our vacation would take the next day.
Day 4 Favorites
Addison: Test Track, Soarin'
Nina: Test Track
Elise: Test Track, Soarin'
J.C.: Test Track
Ann: Spending the afternoon lying in the hammock with a margarita
Our Hollywood Studios day was the one day I was absolutely determined to get to the park by rope drop. We were NOT going to have a repeat of the morning before. We set the alarm, got up early, ate cereal in the room, and were at the bus stop right on time. We arrived at Hollywood Studios around 8:25 for an official park opening time of 9:00.
Rope drop happened about 8:35... excellent. I told J.C. he was going to be our runner for Toy Story Mania fastpasses, "As soon as we get through the turnstiles, you run for fastpasses, we'll meet you there." He said, "I don't know where it is though." I just said, "Follow all the other people running who look like they know where they are going, and you'll find it." Those instructions worked quite well... much simpler than pulling out a map. We met him at the stand-by line and walked right in... maybe a 10 minute wait. I love this ride. In fact, I think I may spend tonight playing the Wii game just to reminisce.
We hopped off and got right back in line.
At this point, I think the posted wait time was about 25 minutes. By the time we had ridden it a second time, the posted wait time was closer to an hour... gotta love rope drop happening 25 minutes before the official park opening time. We had already ridden it twice before most people thought the park had even opened!
With slightly sore arms from playing Toy Story Mania twice in a row, JC and Elise headed over to Tower of Terror while I took the younger two to get pictures with Buzz and Woody. Nina had so much fun in the queue.
We actually remembered to bring the autograph books this day too! Score! Is Buzz the only character who rubber stamps his autograph? I've never seen any other character do that.
After that, it was a few more photo ops and then back to Toy Story Mania with our fastpasses!
Then we were off to lunch at Hollywood and Vine. Poor Hollywood and Vine gets a bad rap. No, it isn't 'Ohana or Boma in terms of food quality, but it serves a perfectly tasty buffet lunch. It filled us up, and we had no complaints.
Plus, you aren't there for an extraordinary culinary experience. You are there because your five year old is a HUGE fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. All Addie could talk about in the weeks leading up to our trip was the Dumbo ride and getting to meet Jake. She didn't care about Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Woody, Cinderella, or Mary Poppins. She was all about Jake. Unfortunately, this lunch was scheduled early enough in the week that Addie hadn't quite warmed up to the characters yet. Jake got to the table, and Addie froze. She wasn't about to get in a picture with him. Jake was great though. Addie had her stuffed Izzy (Jake's pal) with her, and Jake played a little hide and seek with Izzy.
Addie laughed hysterically.
That broke the ice, but she was still hesitant about a picture. We knew she would regret it later if she didn't get a picture with Jake though, so JC grabbed her and hopped in the picture.
After lunch, we talked to a few of the "movie stars" who were out and about. They were hysterical!! We've never talked to any of them on previous trips, but they were so much fun! They really cracked me up.
I think characters like these are part of what makes Disney World such a fun, unique, magical place!
We then hit up the Disney Jr. show for a little more time with Jake and Izzy before JC and Addie headed back to the resort for naps.
The rest of the afternoon, Elise, Nina, and I rode Tower of Terror (fun!!),
bumped into Stitch,
watched the Beauty and the Beast show (beautiful),
had a little chat with Chip,
went to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (great show... even Elise thought so after declaring with her tween tone and rolled eyes on the way in, "This is SO not going to be worth it."),
saw the Disney Channel Rocks Show,
and rode Rock n' Rollercoaster. I hated that... shut my eyes through almost the whole thing. I won't be going on that again! Elise didn't like it either. Nina loved it though. She'll have to convince JC to go on it with her for our next trip!
We got back to the room about the time JC and Addie were getting up from their naps. We were treated to a cute towel turtle from mousekeeping sitting on the bed next to Elise's turtle.
For dinner, we just went to the food court at the resort. I have to say that Riverside began to redeem itself at that meal. They have a design-your-own pasta bar that is fantastic. That was probably the best counter service meal of the trip. I got penne pasta with shrimp, fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and pesto, all prepared fresh in front of me. Delish!
Day three was a busy day, but so much fun - Toy Story Mania three times, lots of other new rides and shows, Addie getting to meet Jake, and a great dinner. After such a rough start the day before, it was wonderful to have everything go according to plan!
Day 3 Favorites:
Addie: Disney Jr. Show and buying Izzy
Nina: Rock n' Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror, stunt show
Elise: Tower of Terror, stunt show
Ann: Watching Addie laughing with Jake at lunch, Toy Story Mania
JC: Watching Addie with Jake at lunch, Tower of Terror
Day two of our trip got off to a really rough start. Our plan was to get up early, eat breakfast, and hop on the bus to Animal Kingdom to get there by rope drop or close to it. We did manage the get up early part, but we were slow to get moving and get to breakfast. JC woke up convinced he had strep and started researching urgent care places in Orlando. Addie woke up with one red eye that looked very suspiciously like pink eye. Things were not looking good.
For reasons that are too complicated to bother explaining, we had a reservation for a one night stay and a separate reservation for a five night stay. I had to go by the front desk to check out and check back in again to our same room. That sounded simple enough. We got checked in and ate breakfast. Nina choked on her hashbrowns and threw up on the table. Then as we were leaving, Addison tripped, fell, and skinned her hands. We got back to the room, prepared to grab our backpacks and head to Animal Kingdom. The key didn't work. None of them did. Addie started bawling because her blankie was locked in the room, and JC went back to the front desk (NOT a short walk) to get new keys. When he finally returned, only one of the five new keys worked. I was actively hating Port Orleans Riverside at this point. We went back to the desk to get keys yet AGAIN, and finally got to the bus stop a good hour or so later than planned. Once we got to Animal Kingdom, I realized we had forgotten the autograph books. At this point, that was hardly a surprise. So little had gone right that morning. We were determined to make the best of the day though.
While I jetted off to get fastpasses for Everest, JC took the girls to see some characters (sans autograph books),
and ride Triceratop Spin.
When I returned to Dinoland, we took another ride on Triceratop Spin,
and Primeval Whirl (Addie was not a fan of this one!).
After that, JC and the girls headed off to Everest while Addie and I checked out the Boneyard.
Next up was lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. Our meal was quite good, but it wasn't until halfway through the meal that I realized I hadn't planned our restaurants very well for that day - Flame Tree BBQ (ribs and chicken) for lunch, and Whispering Canyon (ribs and chicken) for dinner. Oops. So much for careful planning! I enjoyed Flame Tree though... good meal. I just wouldn't go there the same day as Whispering Canyon again.
After lunch, we happened to be walking past the Flights of Wonder show as it was about to start. I had remembered that Josh at easywdw.com had called the show, "one of the best shows in all of Disney World and certainly one of the best kept secrets", so we popped in to watch it. I loved it! Who knew that a bird show could be so fun and entertaining! If you haven't seen this show, I highly recommend it. It isn't one I ever would have thought to go to without the advice from easywdw, but it was wonderful.
After that, we caught a glimpse of DeVine.
I find her so intriguing!
After grabbing fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safari, we headed over to the Festival of the Lion King show. There were rumors that this show was going to close permanently in January, so I was thrilled that it was still open in March. It is possible this was the last time we would be able to see it. It is such a great production!
Last on the agenda was Kilimanjaro Safari. I don't love this ride, but the kids think it is wonderful, so it was a must-do on their list.
After the safari, it was time to race over to Wilderness Lodge for dinner. Unfortunately, we were delayed by the parade. Parades are fun when you are in the mood for them, but when they are blocking the path to where you need to be, they aren't quite so entertaining.
Despite the parade, we made it to our reservations on time. Whispering Canyon was one of our favorite places on our last trip to Disney. The wait staff was hilarious, food was great, hijinks were entertaining, and we all enjoyed the meal. I had read reviews that it had declined a bit in the last year or so, but we decided to return to it anyway. I have to say I agree with the more recent reviews. The food was fine, but not as good as I remember. The wait staff didn't do nearly as many funny tricks and taunts with the diners. It seems as though the "ketchup gig" is the only remaining prank. We enjoyed our meal, but I'm not sure I would make a point of going back there again. One thing that hasn't changed there though is the yummy bottomless milkshake! Heaven!
After dinner, we hopped in a cab to head back to Riverside and get sleep for an early, early morning the next day.
Day 2 Favorites
Addison: "Dumbo" ride (Triceratops Spin)
Nina: Primeval Whirl, Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King, Flights of Wonder
Elise: Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King
Ann: Festival of the Lion King, Flights of Wonder
J.C.: Expedition Everest
Day one of our trip was mostly a travel day - car, plane, tram, bus, and boat. The girls were excited all along the way though.
We took the Magical Express to our resort. I love the Magical Express. They make transportation to and from your resort so easy. They deal with your baggage, so you don't even have to stop at baggage claim. You ride along in comfort while watching a video about Disney World and photographing your child squishing her nose against the window.
We got checked in to Port Orleans Riverside. Addison was running along the paths yelling, "Yahoo! Yahoo!!" She was beyond thrilled and just looked so cute. J.C. turned to me and said, "We really need to capture that on video. It is so cute, and she won't do it much longer. It is the kind of thing we don't want to forget." What a sentimental guy! So, with my usual video prowess, I followed her along with my camera while she jumped for joy, ran along the path, and yelled, "Yahoo!" It would have been such a sweet video for posterity. Instead, I got this:
I should never be trusted to capture video.
After we found our room (no small feat... more on that later), we took the boat over to Downtown Disney. I love that the Port Orleans Resorts offer boat transportation to Downtown Disney. It is a nice change from buses. This night was chilly though, and about halfway there we were wishing for the warmth of a crowded, cozy bus. After docking, we headed straight for the Lego store to meet up with my friend Allison Slater Tate, her husband, and their four sweet kids. We figured any table service places probably had ridiculous waits for our group of 11, so we headed to one of my favorite Disney counter service locations, Earl of Sandwich. I love that place! It was so fun to see all our kids together.
Their three boys are almost the exact same ages as our three girls. I loved watching them interact and listening to their conversations about books they love, Disney World favorite rides, games, music, and more. Allison, the hubbies, sweet baby Lucy, and I sat at the adult table where Allison and I gabbed away. It was a fun way to start the trip. Of course, I loved getting some baby snuggle time too!
After dinner, we wisely chose to take the bus back to Riverside to avoid the freezing boat ride. We got off at the bus depot that appeared to be closest to our room on the map. Then we started walking, and walking, and walking, and walking. We consulted the map, consulted directional signs, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. It was ridiculous. We must have walked twenty miles, most of that in circles. It is a HOTEL! By nature of what it is, people are only there for short stays. Finding one's room should not be this complicated. We were cold, tired, and ready for bed. I muttered, "I hate this place. Stupid signs. I'll never stay here again." as we walked. About the time I was ready to give up and sleep on the sidewalk we managed to find our room. Ahh... sleep at last.
Up next... a rough start to our first full day at the parks...