Day 1 - Wednesday, March 4
We had an 11 a.m. flight on AirTran (our first time using this airline) to Orlando. We got in to town on schedule and picked up our rental car. I could barely sleep the night before. I was like the little “I’m too excited to sleep” kid. We drove to ASMo for check-in. Luckily, we made it right before a huge busload of ME riders. Art, the castmember who helped us, was awesome. He was totally talking up the new American Idol attraction at DHS.
We weren’t able to get a room in our first picks – Toy Story or Fantasia – but we were actually really happy with our location in the Mighty Ducks building. For the future, the Mighty Ducks buildings at ASMo are MUCH closer to ASMu’s main building and bus stop.
This was our first time at a value resort and we were very surprised. The rooms weren’t as small and dank as some reviewers have made them out to be. We were able to comfortably fit three adults in our room. The bathroom was a little hard to concentrate with the psychedelic wallpaper with filmstrips and spinning stars. The bedroom was decked out in a Mighty Ducks motif and the bedspreads had crazy and colorful images of everything from Buzz Lightyear to 101 Dalmatians.
We were all starved from the flight and didn’t have reservations for dinner until 7:50 p.m. at Café May Café. So, we got our refillable mugs (love the new designs!) and some quick bites at the food court. We didn’t use the food court that often but it had the necessities. The Mickey waffles were tasty in the morning. The garden salad was freshly made. Brett liked the breakfast sandwich and John liked the burger fix. I actually really enjoyed the kid meal’s quantities. It was more than enough for my appetite, a lot cheaper, and it came with an extra beverage. Otherwise, we stopped at the grocery store (Yay Gooding’s at the Crossroads) for some morning treats.
We relaxed for a bit in the room. There’s just something about turning on your Disney TV and being inundated by Stacy’s Top 7 must-dos at WDW. It’s hokey, but addicting. Really, I could just watch the Disney cartoon channel all day long. I can never get tired of it!
Finally, it was about that time to head over the Beach Club for dinner. We didn’t have to wait at all. It was our first time trying this buffet. It wasn’t a true New England-style clambake, but it was still yummy. All I need to say: Oreo BonBons. (I’ll have more in-depth about the food shortly).
After dinner, we were pooped from a long day. Plus, we have an early day at Animal Kingdom and the Studios on Thursday.
Day 2 – Thursday, March 5
It was up early to make park opening at Animal Kingdom. We wanted to make sure we saw all those great animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
We were on one of the first trucks out for the ride. We got some great shots of giraffes, cheetahs and crocodiles. That pesky lion – why does he have to sleep for 20 hours each day?
Afterwards, we walked through the Maharaja Jungle Trek. The gorillas are just so beautiful in there. We got some amazing shots. It’s like they were almost posing for us.
Then, it was on to Expedition Everest. That ride is still awesome. I prepared myself with the ginger pills for the motion sickness. I was surprised how many little ones were on the ride – like almost to the point that they seemed too small for it. But, that ride just takes my breath away. We requested a front row of the train. (I think it helps with the motion sickness thing.) My eyes and my mouth were so dry after, but it was well worth it. Plus, it was only a 20 minute wait in the standby line.
We hit lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue and then caught the Village Beatniks for a few. Then, Brett and I went to catch Finding Nemo: The Musical. What a great show! I could only imagine how much greater it would be on Broadway. The talent and the puppets were so whimsical and fun. Talk about bringing a movie to life!
After that, we were pooped, but we had to make it to Hollywood Studios tonight. John decided to go back to the hotel, but Brett and I kept going. It was our only chance to catch Fantasmic. We first went to Rock ‘N Roller Coaster so Brett could ride. I got some good pictures (and some free fries at one of the stands – Yay anniversary buttons!). Then, we booked it to the new Toy Story Mania! It was great! The themeing is some of Disney’s best. The ride was even better. I’m so glad we were able to ride twice. I averaged about 113,000 for both attempts.
Fantasmic was a bit of a letdown. The entire time it seemed off. Characters seemed to be missing their cues and showing up early. And then in the finale, Mickey didn’t get to square off against the dragon. It got stuck in the door, so Maleficent had to come back out and Mickey slayed her instead. It was really disappointing since we weren’t going to be able to see it again. But, no one else around us seemed to notice anything was wrong.
Well, Friday is off to Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Plus, we have to pick up race packets at Wide World of Sports.
Day 3 – Friday, March 6
Another early day in the parks. We had ressies at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Boma for breakfast. We loved our dinner there last year on our honeymoon, so we really wanted to try the breakfast. No characters, but lots of great culinary options. We were running a little late and it didn't help that we were being super-checked by security. Turns out Britney Spears and Kevin Federline were on vacay with their kids and staying at the lodge so they were limiting traffic to the resort. I guess that's why Brett saw a huge entourage the night before at MK...
Breakfast was awesome! Lots of African flavors, just like dinner. Plus, they had a special gift for us from all the cast members. They made a card for us signed in all the native African languages and gave us a special dessert. Sure it was only 8 a.m., but Zebra Domes are good at any time of day!
We drove over to Epcot and were able to tackle most of Future World. Of course, we went to Spaceship Earth first. I really do like the changes, especially with Judi Dench as narrator now. Even though, I felt I should see Daniel Craig popping out in one of the Roman scenes, but that’s probably just me.
I hung out and played some games in the post-ride area with John while Brett got Fastpasses for Soarin’. In the meantime, we went to Test Track. The standby line was only 20 minutes. The ladies behind us were hilarious. At one point right before you go on the outside track one of them said “I’m getting too old for this kinda stuff!” So funny. We tried to get some character pictures at the Character Spot near Innoventions but the line was ginormous. So, we went to the Land to hang out before our Fastpass time.
Soarin’ was a 60 minute wait for standby. We went on Livin’ with the Land. There was a cool fish display toward the end. It looked like they were using the water from the fish tank to hydrate the plants. We also saw how they create the Cinderella pumpkins that are shaped like Mickey ears.
We did some people watching outside Soarin’ for a half hour. It’s amazing how busy that pavilion is now with that ride. I remember about 10 years ago when it was empty. No one went near Food Rocks or the Sunshine Seasons Food Fair. What a 180.
We’ve done Soarin’ before in Cali. So, it was nothing new. We weren’t about to wait in line for an hour. We’re OK doing it every five years or so. I wish they would do Soarin’ over Florida or the world…make this one different.
We made our way over to Wide World of Sports to get our registration packets for the Royal Family 5k. I hadn’t been there before and didn’t realize how big Braves spring training was. Tickets were a bit steep (I could see a Brewers regular home game for the same price.) We got stopped and interrogated by a guard for how we met and got married (he saw the anniversary buttons). It was kinda cute. But, there were way too many people for me to want to stay and take a look at any of the vendors. Phew! The patience some of those people must have had. After, we went back to rest at the hotel for an hour.
Then, off to MK. We parked at Grand Floridian and took the Monorail over. When we got to the park, Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! had just started on Main Street, so we went into the shops. We grabbed a light dinner at Cosmic Ray’s. I was really happy with my Chicken Caesar Salad. We only did a few attractions. Mickey’s Philharmagic is so adorable. I had my first Dole Whip. And it was all I could ever hope for! We caught Wishes, although, it was obstructed by a tree. We got back to the resort, grabbed some hot cocoa, and got into bed. Up early for the 5k in the morning.
Day 4 – Saturday, March 7
Up at 5 a.m. for my first 5k! I’ve been training for months. We caught the bus to the Epcot parking lot for the start. So many people dressed as princesses! One guy even dressed as Prince Charming and another as Minnie Mouse! It was a great ambience for my first race. But, the problem was my legs were already gone from being in the parks the past two days.
I tried running at first but my shins were killing me. I wasn’t even to the first mile marker by the time the first runners finished. Brett stuck by me. I finally was getting warmed up as we hit the World Showcase. I started doing some spurts of running. I finally ran from around the fountain to the finish line.
My time was 54:18! Not quite my best but a start. I’m so happy I finished. I’ve never been a runner so this is a huge thing for me. I have my finisher’s medal at my desk now.
At the finish line there’s was sports drinks (thank goodness!) and bananas. We just loaded back into the bus instead of waiting for the kids races to start. I was famished so we grabbed breakfast at the food court. Thanks Mickey Waffles! We then got changed into our swimsuits and hung by the pool. It was soooo nice!
We went to Downtown Disney for the afternoon. Lunch at the Earl of Sandwich. Love that place!! Overwhelmed by shopping at World of Disney. I’m surprised there aren’t more meltdowns by kids there. That is sensory overload for adults even.
It was just so nice enjoying the warm weather. Any place was better than Wisconsin last week!
We had ressies at Narcoosee’s at Grand Floridian but didn’t feel up to it, so we canceled. We ended up trying to find somewhere to eat on I-drive. Not a good idea. Finally, we wound up back at Crossroads eating in the Taco Bell parking lot.
But, was my sleep awesome that night!
Only one day left in the parks…