View Full Version : "We Have Lots of Good Wine at Home, But We Don't Have Giraffes." **COMPLETED**

11-10-2011, 05:30 PM
Welcome, one and all, to my chock-full-of-pictures trip report! I hope you'll enjoy all the stories and pictures. It was a wonderful trip, with lots of new experiences :cool1:

For those of you who are new readers, here is a link to my pre-trip report:

Or a quick synopsis:
There's me, Gigi. I'm 38 and a certified Disney fanatic. This was my 11th trip to the World.
With me was my wonderful boyfriend DJ. He's 33 and this was his first time at WDW! He'd actually never even been to Florida before this trip (though he's been in almost every other state in the country, and had been to Disneyland when he was about 13).

We rented DVC points. Savannah view studio, 4 nights at AKV Jambo House, and 2 nights at AKV Kidani Village. We had the DDP for the first 4 nights, then the DxDDP for the last two.

So now that you're all caught up, here we go!

Twas the night before Disney, and all through my brain
Last minute events were driving me insane!

The storm (Snowtober or whatever silly name they gave it) left my apartment without power. That put a little fly in the ointment. Our plan was to do our final pre-trip running around, then go to my apartment to spend the night before heading to the airport the following morning. We wanted to spend time with my cats, since we'd be away for the week (yes, they have a pet-sitter who came here twice a day, but that's not like having their mom home!). No electricity and no heat changed all that.

We spent the daylight hours at my apartment, all blinds opened and candles lit. DJ even sat in the kitchen while I packed, with all 4 stove burners on, trying to warm up the place.

Back at DJ's apartment, we finished packing and actually got into bed by 10. Alarms were set for 4:30. Our flight was at 7:45, and we had to leave for the airport by 5:15.

Could I sleep? hahaha, no, of course not. My mind was racing -- half-excited, half worried that we'd forget something. I finally drifted off around 11:30... only to wake again at 1:30 :mad: That was my night. I'd say I got a grand total of 3 hours of sleep, waking up on and off until the alarm finally rang. DJ fared a bit better, but didn't get too much more sleep than I did.

We used ABC Airport Parking -- close to the airport with a free shuttle to the terminal, for a fraction of the cost (only $7 per day, as opposed to $18 per day at the economy lot at Newark). We couldn't find the lot at first. We got semi-lost, and I started panicking... and then we found it totally by accident. Relieved, we got on the shuttle and made it to the airport in time.

Once we were through security, we didn't really have much time. We ordered breakfast to go from someplace called Ruby's Diner. Pretty good breakfast sandwiches and potatoes. Way too big for either of us to finish, though. They were like hero rolls. If we'd known that, we'd have only ordered one sandwich. Oh well, next time we'll know better.

The flight was, by far, the smoothest one I'd ever been on. No turbulence at all. I tried to sleep, but I can almost never sleep on planes, so I played Hearts on my netbook and watched Big Bang Theory on the overhead video monitors (I love that show!). Before I knew it, we were on the ground in Orlando! :yay:

Off to Magical Express we went. This was a simple process, but we did not get an official ME bus. It was Mears. Oh well, no Disney propaganda video for us. Here we are, looking crazy and exhausted already and it was only 10:30 :rotfl:

Coming up in the next installment, check-in to AKL Villas at Jambo House, and our first day in the World :woohoo:

11-10-2011, 05:31 PM
* Placeholder for links *

11-10-2011, 06:17 PM
Our Mears bus arrived at AKV Jambo, and we were checked in by noon. And our room was ready!!! 5509 on the Zebra Trail. It was not too far from the lobby, and pretty much directly above The Mara. Pretty good location.

Here are some pics of the room, and our Savanna view:




Our original plan for our first day was to go to the Garden View Tea Room for lunch, then straight to MK for the last Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Well, things don't always go as planned. I was fully exhausted, and knew I needed a nap if we were going to last until midnight at the party. So we decided to grab lunch at the Mara, then relax at the resort until we were ready to head to MK. I was disappointed to have to cancel the Tea Room, but the party was more important to me, and I knew I'd be miserable if I didn't get a few winks in.

DJ got the African Stew:
He really enjoyed this. It reminded him of the 'street meat' he gets for lunch while working in Manhattan.

I got the Pepperoni Flatbread. It tasted better than it looks:

For drinks and dessert, we got a Perrier, a cappuccino soda, Zebra domes, and a cheese coffee cake:

WOW, those Zebra domes were tasty! Never had them before. And the cheese coffee cake was OUTSTANDING. So moist and still warm :cloud9:. Really really good! We couldn't finish dessert, so we brought them up to our room to have later. I was glad we brought ziplock bags -- a tip I got here on the boards. We were able to keep that coffee cake fresh until it was finished.

This meal would've been something like $28. It's the one meal I didn't note the price of (since the receipts they give you on DDP just say 0.00).

After lunch, we headed up to our room and sat on the balcony for a little while... but I was fading fast, so I soon curled up in bed for a snooze. DJ stayed on the balcony, reading something on his Kindle, until I woke up.

Up next -- Boo to You! Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! :hmghost:

11-11-2011, 09:42 AM
Woo Hoo you started....I'm here but I have to go back and read now!!!

Great start...all caught up! Your room is lovely and there is nothing better than a Savannah view is there? Can't wait for more!

11-11-2011, 12:32 PM
:welcome: Queen! Thanks for joining in! :thumbsup2

Anyone else who's reading, I hope you'll say hello! :goodvibes

11-11-2011, 01:22 PM
Around 6pm, we left for MNSSHP :cool1:

Here we are waiting for the bus:

The bus from Jambo to MK took 16 minutes. Not bad at all!


We stopped into the Main Street Bakery so DJ could get a coffee. I got a lemonade. No pics of that ;)

My first order of business when we arrived was to get into the shops and get a Halloween pin. I'd read that they sell out quickly, and since this was the last night of the party, I didn't want to miss out.

There were people hovering everywhere, all waiting for 7pm, when the "exclusive" Halloween party merchandise would be put out. I watched a few CMs check for wristbands, and then tell people they had to leave - even those with arms full of stuff to buy.

The first items they put out were t-shirts. They didn't look all that cool to me, but people descended on them like it was Christmas Eve.

Finally, I saw the pins at a register :banana: So cute!
I only bought one. I'm not a trader, I just collect.

With that behind us, we set off down Main Street. Everything looked so pretty!


DJ's first ride at WDW was The Haunted Mansion :hmghost: I hadn't been on since before they made the changes, so it was somewhat new to me, too. So cool!

Through the course of the night, we walked on to HM, as well as Small World, Peter Pan (my favorite!), Buzz Lightyear, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Space Mountain! Well, DJ walked on... I walked through - and right out the chicken exit :rotfl:

We trick-or-treated as we walked around -- not necessarily on purpose. Just whenever we came across a treat spot, we got our bags ready. By the end of the night, we had a TON of candy. Good stuff, too - actual name-brand chocolates :cool1:

We got popcorn at some point, but that only held us for so long. I knew just where we were going to eat -- Pecos Bill's! Oh yeahhhhh, fixins! ;)

We both got the Angus cheeseburger with fries and iced tea.

DJ got strawberry yogurt as his dessert, and I got carrot cake.

Again, we saved the desserts to take back to the room (we had bags full of chocolate, after all), but the rest was soooo yummy. I love the sauteed onions and mushrooms and cheese on the fixings bar. The OOP cost for this meal would've been $30.61, but we used counter service credits.

We ate outside, as the fireworks were about to start. By the time we finished eating, we kinda raced closer to the castle to get a better view. I only took one pic, because I wanted to enjoy the fireworks.

The castle after fireworks:

Not sure where we are here, but I love this pic :lovestruc

Before we knew it, it was time for the parade. I don't usually stop to watch parades, but I'd heard this one was awesome, so we found front-row spot near the bridge to Tomorrowland.

The Headless Horseman started the parade! Somewhere I have video of his ride, but I'm not sure where it is right now. I'll add it in later. It was very cool!




(I promise, there are better pics coming. I'd only brought my dying point-and-shoot to the party -- didn't feel like lugging my big DSLR around that night.)

The parade did not disappoint at all. It was wonderful!

After more wandering around and going on Space Mountain, we were ready to head back to Jambo House.

A nice girl offered to take a pic of us on our way out, and we graciously accepted :)

The party was definitely worth the money, in my opinion. We had a great time, the park looked amazing, there were virtually no lines for anything... we loved it!

Coming up next -- we head to Animal Kingdom! Breakfast at Rainforest Cafe!

11-11-2011, 03:16 PM
I know a lot of people complain on here about how far AKL is from everything, but I don't find it bad at all! I love it there so the little jaunts to the parks don't bother us at all either:thumbsup2

Looks like a fantastic time was had at MNSSHP! I love that party and agree with you, it's worth the price of the ticket! The line ups alone ... :woohoo:

11-11-2011, 03:37 PM
Diggin' this trip report. Subscribing.

11-11-2011, 04:14 PM
Diggin' this trip report. Subscribing.

Thanks! Welcome aboard! :thumbsup2

11-11-2011, 04:43 PM

This was the best 7 bucks I've ever spent:

I got mine on Amazon, but I've seen them in Target and the supermarket, too. Water bottle with built-in filter -- took away that lovely Florida tap water flavor! We used it at the water fountains in all the parks, and in the sink in our room. It was GREAT! We drink a LOT of water, and would've had to start selling our organs on the black market if we'd had to pay $2.75 for each bottle of Dasani! This worked out so fantastically -- especially when we came across those extra-cold, hidden-in-the-shade fountains. I can't say enough good things about this water bottle :thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

11-11-2011, 07:29 PM
Joining in! We're in the beginning stages of planning a trip for next October where we'll rent points at AKV! Can't wait to hear what you think of the resort!

11-12-2011, 05:04 PM
Joining in! We're in the beginning stages of planning a trip for next October where we'll rent points at AKV! Can't wait to hear what you think of the resort!

Welcome! Thanks for joining. I've got nothing but good things to say about AKV. I will get more detailed in my next updates! :thumbsup2

11-15-2011, 01:42 AM
Day 2 - Animal Kingdom!

Before I get into that, just wanted to share this pic of all the candy we got trick-or-treating at MNSSHP the night before:

It was quite a bit. We brought it to a party this past weekend and "accidentally" left it there :rolleyes1 (yeah, I reallllly don't need 5 pounds of candy in my apartment!).

Anyway, back to Day 2...

We woke up bright and early after finally getting a good night's sleep. DJ had purchased a pound of Kenya AA coffee at Zawadi Marketplace, but his attempt to make coffee was in vain -- since there were no coffee filters in the room OR available to purchase in the store :scared1: The coffee in the room was in pods. DJ tried to use paper towels or something, but it just didn't come out right. At least we were going out for breakfast and could (hopefully) get some good coffee. The bus from Jambo to AK took 5 minutes.

We had breakfast scheduled at Rainforest Cafe. Now, I've been to WDW lots of times, and I read just about everything I can get my hands on. I wouldn't consider myself uninformed when it comes to Disney World... but I had NO idea they even served breakfast at Rainforest Cafe. Not a clue, until about 10 days before our trip :confused3

Since I knew we were going to be at Animal Kingdom on this day, and that we'd be paying OOP for this meal no matter where we went, I booked the ADR.

It was pretty empty when we arrived. There were maybe 10 other tables seated -- but it was around 9:30, so maybe it was full of park commandos/rope droppers earlier. We were seated right away, and our server brought us a pot of coffee (woohoo!) which was pretty good -- definitely not Nescafe!

DJ ordered the Benedict Bamba, which is basically Eggs Benedict, with potatoes. He loved it. He said the eggs were perfectly cooked.
I'm not a big fan of Eggs Benedict, but I did taste it and it was pretty good.

I had the Breakfast Sliders -- bacon, egg, and American cheese on little buns, also served with potatoes.
These were tasty! The bacon was actually good, the eggs were fluffy. I eventually pushed the buns aside, only because they were very filling.

They had some other options on the menu that sounded yummy, but I think we both made the perfect choices. It was a really nice way to start our day at Animal Kingdom :goodvibes

(again, this meal was OOP, and with tax and tip came to $36.34)

With our bellies full, we headed into the park. Our first stop was It's Tough to Be a Bug, which was a walk-on. I love this attraction. DJ did, too. He sometimes gets a headache from 3D movies, but no issue here.

We walked on to the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I actually hadn't done this in probably 10 years. It's usually so damn hot in Animal Kingdom that walking more is the last thing I want to do. But it was gorgeous out on this day. Nice and breezy :thumbsup2

Here are some pics from the Jungle Trek:



These bats were just gigantic! And cute!

After the Jungle Trek, we took the train over to Rafiki's Planet Watch... where we met this little guy:

The petting zoo was less-than-thrilling when we were there. The animals were all pretty busy eating.

We headed back to the main park and DJ got a fastpass for Everest. Then we walked on to Kilimanjaro Safari.

This was one of the best rides I've ever had on KS. So any animals. The only one sleeping was a lion (though we could still see the top of his head).







Kind of off-topic, but before we left, I got my hair cut... and I really hate it. She cut my bangs way too short. I'd been just pushing it back with my sunglasses, but since I was wearing them most of the time at Disney, I decided I needed something else... and I couldn't resist these little beauties:
Me: Do I look stupid with these on?
DJ: You're in Disney, it doesn't matter :)

I got SO MANY compliments on these ears for the rest of our trip! And we didn't see a single person wearing them other than me. Lots of people with zebra striped ones, or black ones... but no one with the pink leopard spots except for me :banana:

But I digress...

DJ went on Everest and I relaxed and waited for him. It occurred to me, though, that I could try to watch him come down the main drop. I walked over just in time, and caught this shot of his descent. He's in the very last car with the turquoise shirt. I thought that was pretty amazing!

After wandering around for a while, meeting Goofy and Pluto (those pics are on our Photopass -- which I will add when I get them), we were both ready for a snack.

We found a cart in Africa and each got a Safari Amber and a hot pretzel. Delicious!

We'd done everything we wanted to do at AK by that point, so we headed back to the resort. It was a really great day!

Up Next -- we hit the pool and hot tub (and pool bar!) at Jambo House before heading to Epcot for the evening. Guess which restaurant in Epcot was by far the most disappointing of our entire trip?

11-15-2011, 07:58 AM
I love AKL it has been my favorite so far. I'll see in January how it measures up to VWL. Love the ears, I'm going to have to look for them.

Where did you find the brita? I've looked around here since reading your report and haven't found it. I don't drink soda or sugar drinks, so that would be great for me. I should float with all the water I drink.

Looking forward to the next installment.

11-15-2011, 01:21 PM
I love AKL it has been my favorite so far. I'll see in January how it measures up to VWL. Love the ears, I'm going to have to look for them.

Where did you find the brita? I've looked around here since reading your report and haven't found it. I don't drink soda or sugar drinks, so that would be great for me. I should float with all the water I drink.

Looking forward to the next installment.

:welcome: and thanks for reading!

I got my Brita on Amazon, but I also saw the same one in Stop & Shop and Shop Rite, as well as Target. It paid for itself within an hour, with how much water we drink.

Here is a link:

In the brick-and-mortar stores, it was in the same aisle as the full-sized Brita pitchers. Good luck!

11-15-2011, 04:25 PM
Back at Jambo House, we changed into our swimsuits and went to the pool.

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of the pool itself. I only had my phone with me and it just didn't seem to do it justice. (In a later installment, I will have several pics of the pool area at Kidani Village. I remembered my camera that time!)

It was probably not ideal swimming weather (about 79 degrees, and the sun was going down), but it was still nice to get in the pool for a while. We spent much more time in one of the two hot tubs, though. That was heavenly :cloud9: Nearby, there was a fire lit, and people were roasting marshmallows. The fire smelled great!

After the hot tub, we went over to the Uzima Springs Pool Bar for a cocktail :goodvibes

DJ ordered a Rum Runner:

I couldn't decide what to have. The bartender told me what types of margaritas she could make, then recommended a Raspberry Mango one. Sounded good to me, so I ordered it.
YUM! Very tasty! And STRONG! I never expect mixed drinks, especially frozen ones, to be strong at all... but this one was. DJ tasted it and agreed.

It was getting late, and we needed to shower and change before heading to Epcot for dinner, so we went back to our room.

The bus from Jambo to Epcot took 14 minutes.

We took some Photopass shots, then walked onto Spaceship Earth. I hadn't been on since they made the changes a couple of years ago. I really liked it!

Here's our goofy pics from the end:



After that, I was STARVING. Seriously, it was probably 8:00, and we hadn't had an actual meal since breakfast! Since we were having a sit-down meal, we kinda ran past all of the Food & Wine kiosks (don't worry, we'll hit them in later installments!) and checked in to the restaurant.

Our title for this review? "A Hearty 'Meh'"

That's right, folks. Les Chefs de France was a HUGE let-down for us.

It took quite a while for us to get seated, first of all. It was very crowded. And it seemed even worse since I was about to eat one of my shoes, I was so hungry...

Finally at our table, we were brought a warm baguette. That was decent, but nothing special.

We both ordered from the Prix Fixe menu, and both started with the French Onion Soup.


This was the best part of the meal. Nice and hot, lots of cheesy, flavorful broth. Definitely a home-run.

Unfortunately, the entrees weren't even a single :sad2:

DJ had salmon. I don't eat seafood, but holy cow, does this look like the blandest plate of food ever?! Is this a French restaurant or a hospital :confused:
He's the one who titled the review, "A hearty 'meh'", so you can imagine his response to this entree. It wasn't inedible or anything, but it was nothing to write home about. It was just 'meh'.

I had the braised short ribs with pasta, mushrooms, and pearl onion
Note that I didn't say pearl onions. I said pearl onion because there was one. One single pearl onion. That may have contributed to the lack of flavor in this dish. It was as if they'd never heard of salt, first of all, and the meat, while fork-tender, was pretty fatty. Just boring. Again, not inedible, but no sparks.

Oh, I should mention, we each had a glass of wine... and even they were not great. Tasted like they needed a LOT more time to breathe before being served.

Okay, so onto dessert. That's gotta be good, right?

I ordered the Profiteroles. The chocolate sauce was FANTASTIC. I could've eaten it with a spoon. The ice cream, also good. But the pastry was yuck. Chewy. Just not very enjoyable. I just ate the ice cream and chocolate sauce.

DJ ordered the vanilla creme brulee. Even that was bland! I couldn't believe it. Definitely not enough brulee and too much creme ;)

I've searched my receipts, but can't seem to find this one. It would've been about $85 (without the lousy wine), but we were on DDP.

Oh, one highlight of this meal was that we could see Illuminations, at least partially, from the restaurant. Would've been even better had we been seated in the sunroom area.

Back at Jambo, we opened a bottle of African wine we'd purchased at The Mara the day before, and sat on the balcony.

And this is what we saw:

He stayed right in front of our balcony for quite a while, almost putting on a show or posing for us. It was awesome!

We tasted the wine, and it was so-so. And that's when DJ commented, "We have lots of good wine at home. But we don't have giraffes."

Indeed :lovestruc

Next up - Hollywood Studios! And JIKO!!!

11-17-2011, 12:13 AM
What a great day! We've done AK once in three trips to Disney, but we're going to give it another shot when we go back in March.

Looks like you had a wonderful afternoon back at the resort. Roasting marshmallows?!?! So cool. Sorry your dinner was a bust at Le Chefs. We had lunch there in 2010 and it garnered a big, fat, "meh" from us. The food was okay, but we're not in any rush to go back. I am totally in love with that photo of the giraffe from your balcony. It makes me so excited to stay in a Savannah View room!

11-19-2011, 04:04 PM
I am totally in love with that photo of the giraffe from your balcony. It makes me so excited to stay in a Savannah View room!

It was so worth it this time around. Our evenings (and some mornings) sitting on the balcony, watching the animals, were incredibly relaxing. It would be difficult to stay in a regular room on future trips.

11-19-2011, 05:50 PM
Before I begin on Day 3, I just remembered something from Day 2 I forgot to mention. We'd gone down to the shop in Jambo House in the hopes of finding coffee filters. No such luck. We were told they're replacing all the coffee makers in AKL and aren't selling coffee filters anymore (oh, how I hope this means there will be Keurigs in the rooms! That would be incredible!). Anyway, a lovely person who shall remain nameless managed to find us a little stack of coffee filters somewhere. We were thrilled! And supremely grateful for this little bit of pixie dust pixiedust:

Okay, on to Day 3...

I went down to The Mara while DJ got the coffee brewing :goodvibes

I brought a Mickey Waffle (yay, finally! First one of the trip!) with sausage back to our room.


We shared that, as well as the yogurt we had leftover from Day 1's dinner, and the cheese coffee cake and zebra domes leftover from Day 1's lunch. We couldn't finish the zebra domes. Delicious, but very rich. So they got thrown away after this meal.

After sitting on our balcony, having a nice and easy morning drinking our yummy Kenya AA coffee and watching the animals on the savanna, we got ready and heading over to Hollywood Studios.

I'm still having a hard time with that name. I have to make a conscious effort to not say MGM.

The bus to DHS took 10 minutes.

The first things I noticed? This, before the gates:

Christmas decorations! I was sooooo excited! I love Christmas to a nearly obsessive degree. The lights, the music, the feeling of good will... it just makes me crazy-happy. Similar to the feeling that Disney gives me, but somehow a little bit different.

Anyway, we worked our way into the park. It was a bit warmer on this day, and the park was pretty crowded. Not like summer-crowded, but just more crowded than MK, Epcot, and AKL had been the previous 2 days.

I'm a little bit fuzzy on the details of this day, but I think the first thing we did was go The Great Movie Ride. I know some people don't like this one, but it's a favorite of mine. DJ enjoyed it, too. Our CM was pretty good -- not monotone like some of them can be.

Next up was Star Tours. I was worried I would get a little nauseated, as I had on the previous version on this ride. DJ was excited -- when he went to Disneyland as a kid, he rode Star Tours repeatedly. It was his favorite.

We walked right on. I enjoyed it, and it didn't make me feel :sick: DJ was a little disappointed. He thinks it's tamer now than the old version... and I think I agree, though I can't be sure. I seem to remember getting tossed around more on the old version... but I could be wrong. It was a cool ride, anyway -- but just didn't live up to our memories, unfortunately.

I believe our next stop was lunch at Sci-Fi.

We checked in. The lobby was a bit crowded, of course, and we waited a bit to get "parked", but not too long. I was thrilled that we got the front seat of the car -- and very close to the screen! Best seats I've ever had there :woohoo:

DJ and I were both torn between the Reuben and the Smoked Turkey Sandwich, so we ordered both and shared them. We each asked for the condiments to be on the side (Thousand Island dressing, and Avocado Mayo, respectively). They both came to the table correctly.

The HUGE turkey sandwich:

And the Reuben:

Both were very tasty, but I think the turkey was better. The fries were nice and hot and crispy, too.

DJ had a cherry Coke, and I had the Glowing Character punch... because I'm five, apparently ;)
The "punch" was just light lemonade with maybe some raspberry in it. It was way too sweet, so I kept mixing in water.

And here we are after we finished lunch:

This was a really great lunch. I'm so glad I added it at the last minute, even though it was OOP (cost about $45 with tax and tip). Everything was tasty, great atmosphere - 2 thumbs up :thumbsup2:thumbsup2

After lunch, we did a LOT of walking back and forth. We walked to Toy Story Midway Mania at least 4 times to see what the wait was (since the fastpasses were all gone since early in the day). It was always at least 60 minutes. I just don't have that kind of patience :sad2:

We walked around the back streets that look like NY and SanFran. The Osbourne lights were up (some of them) but would not be lit until after we came home.

Moi :)

My honey :love:

We watched The Muppets 3D movie, which DJ (surprisingly) thought was better than It's Tough to Be a Bug. I hope that with this new Muppet movie coming out, Disney gets some more/new Muppet things going on. I loved them as a kid -- and still do now.


Over to the other side of the park, we went to Tower of Terror. I knew I wasn't going on, but wanted to walk through the queue with DJ so I could see it. So cool. I'd never seen it before. The detail is amazing. I've always been a huge Twilight Zone fan, so this was pretty awesome for me.

I took the chicken exit -- or as the CM who escorted me out called it, "The Elevator of Shame" :laughing: and waited for DJ where the ride lets out.

He liked it, and of course said it was really tame (my little thrill-seeker).

I believe after this, we got fastpasses for Rock 'n Roller Coaster, probably walked back to look longingly at TSMM, then back over to Anaheim Produce.

We got a pretzel and a Golden Margarita to share:
Mmmm! The margaritas at Disney have improved dramatically, IMO, since my previous trip in 2007.

This guy kept us company while we had our snack:

After this, we took what was left of our margarita and went over to the Disney Animation area and looked around. There were some character meet and greets going on, Sorcerer Mickey, Buzz Lightyear... and Winne the Pooh. I had to say hello to Pooh Bear, so we got in line. Those pics are on the Photopass CD, but it was great as usual. Pooh was making kissy sounds at me, kissed my hand -- very charming hahaha.

Happy and in pleasant mood from our yummy 'rita, we headed over to TSMM one more time. The wait still said 60 minutes, but we decided to wait it out. I was so anxious to try it after hearing so many good things.

(continued in next post due to image limits)

11-19-2011, 05:59 PM

I took some pictures in the queue to pass the time...



As it turned out, it was only 32 minutes from the time we joined the queue until the time we got on the ride. What fun! It was a blast! If there wasn't such a wait, I definitely would've gone on again.

We went back over to RNRC and DJ went on (yeah, no coasters for me). I sat outside and took some pictures while I waited.



DJ liked the roller coaster portion of RNRC, but found the Aerosmith portion unbearable :rotfl: To say he's not a fan is an understatement. We couldn't stop laughing about it.

We were pressed for time and had to run in to Fantasmic! It was standing-room only by the time we got there. We grabbed a popcorn from a walking vendor and took our place in the back of the theater. Some people behind us - who had been expressly told where to go to stand because there were no seats left - tried to run from the standing room into the bleachers and were quickly hurried back to the standing room by CMs.

That was my first 'what is wrong with people?!' moment during the show. I adore Fantasmic! It really wasn't bad at all standing. I don't feel like we missed a thing. There was no one directly in front of us, so we had a great view.

My second 'what is wrong with people!?' moment came when there was about 5 - 8 minutes left in the show, and people started clearing out to beat the rush. I will never understand that. What's the point of going if you're not going to watch the whole show (or hockey game, or baseball game, etc)? I just don't get it.

But the worst part was that they were walking soooo slowly - then blocking my view - as they made their way out. My Brooklyn girl came out a couple of times and I strongly said 'keep moving!' to people slothing by in front of me. If you want to leave and miss the end of the show, that's your choice -- but I'm not gonna let your desire to get out of the amphitheater before the rest of the crowd to ruin my experience and enjoyment! It's common courtesy, isn't it? To walk briskly or at least crouch down if you're walking in someone's line of vision? Grrrrr...

Anyway, Fantasmic made me tear up, which I was a little surprised at. I've always loved it, but it moved me this time more than it had before. Yay :goodvibes

The queue for the next Fantasmic show was horrendous. Gigantic. And it was, when we passed by, at least 45 minutes before they'd let anyone in the theater. I can't do that. I would rather stand during the show for 20 minutes than stand in a massive line of people for an hour so I get a seat on a cold metal bench any day of the week.

We had no desire to join the crowd, zombie-walking their way out of the amphitheater, so we sat down on the standing room steps and finished our popcorn as the theater emptied.

Back on the main street, DJ took some pictures. There were some pretty Christmas decorations up :yay:





We had a dinner ADR at Jiko coming up soon, so we headed back to Jambo after that.

On the way out, the tree we saw on the way in was all lit up, so DJ took some pics. Very pretty, despite the one patch of lights that weren't lit:

The bus stop was a little crowded, but I guess people had been waiting a while because this older woman yelled to one of the security guards, "Excuse me! Sir! When is the bus coming?! This is stupid!". I wish I'd taped that. For some reason it struck us as hilarious. She was clearly more miserable than anyone should ever be at DisneyWorld. When the bus did come, and the driver was helping a woman with a scooter get situated, Yelling Lady stood there with a sourpuss, shaking her head back and forth... ugh!

Okay, this entry is long enough, I think ;) And Jiko deserves not to be rushed through, so...

Coming up next -- Our amazing dinner at Jiko!

11-19-2011, 08:10 PM
Wow! What a jam-packed day at DHS. I'm too chicken to ride ToT, but I finally gave R-N-R a shot on this last trip and I liked it! Don't get me wrong, I HATED the launch, but it helped to count to three and knew it would be over, then I settled in and enjoyed the rest of the ride!

I walked through the ToT queue with DBF one time and you're right, it is an impressively detailed queue. The CM who escorted me to the chicken exit said as I got on the elevator "Are you sure this is the chicken elevator?" And laughed this evil laugh. I knew he was kidding but geez did it scare me for a second. :lmao:

11-20-2011, 09:58 AM

11-20-2011, 01:15 PM
I'm looking forward to this trip report (and I'll be going back to catch up in a minute). My husband is from Philly so he is even reading over my shoulder occasionally like you are going to do some regional secret handshake :rotfl:

11-20-2011, 09:03 PM
:welcome: NMW and adoerr! Thanks for joining! More coming soon :goodvibes

11-22-2011, 08:10 PM
(day 3 continued)

We didn't have much time once we got back to our room. Just enough to change and freshen up before it was time to go to Jiko.

We walked down the stairs from the lobby and checked in. The hostess who escorted us to our table explained how the colors would change on the far wall during our meal.

Our table was right next to the glass wall, looking out on the little waterfall/stream thing. It was lovely. And that color-changing wall was lovely, too. Great atmosphere :thumbsup2

Our server's name was Omar. He was fantastic. Very helpful with wine suggestions, food suggestions, explanations of menu items... everything!

We started with the Cheese Plate. Here is what it included:

And here's what it looked like:

These cheeses and the accompaniments (they were berry jam -- which I could've sucked up with a straw, it was so good, a piece of dark chocolate, another fruit thing, dates, and date toast) were delicious. And that's our bottle of 2008 Stark-Conde Syrah ($53) and yummy bread in the background. I don't care for curry, and could taste it in the butter, so I didn't eat that. But DJ loved it.

Now, there was really no question about which entrees we were going to get. Even DJ, who doesn't read obsessively (or anything for that matter) about Disney, instantly wanted that Filet with the sweet corn risotto.

I had read a million good things about the mac & cheese that used to come with the filet, so I asked our server if I could get that. He offered a side-order of it, so I could still taste the risotto. That was exactly what I wanted to hear :woohoo:

We both ordered our filets medium rare. Mine came out just a little too raw for my taste (DJ has no problem with rare meat, and I really think both of ours came out just a touch over rare). Omar took my filet back with no problem and when it came back, it was perfect :cloud9: The meat was so well-seasoned, so melt-in-your-mouth... just exactly how I like it. Like I said, perfect!

The mac & cheese side:
Very tasty, for sure. But the sweet corn risotto that came with the filet was also delicious. I'd say they were in a dead heat.

It was time for dessert, and we were pretty much stuffed... but we weren't going to pass it up, since we'd already paid for it.

We ordered lemon cheesecake -- which we asked for to-go before it even got to the table:
Here's the cheesecake, in the box:
We brought that back to our room.

...and the One Last Cup to eat at the table.

Oh my! One Last Cup is Tanzanian Chocolate and Kenya Coffee Mousse with cinnamon mascarpone, nutty chocolates and chocolate syrup. Wow... this was outstanding! Every part of it! Mmmmmmm!

Had to take a picture of this menu, since we were blown away by the cost of the Remy Martin Louis XIII :scared1::scared1::scared1:

This was a wonderful meal. We were able to eat slowly and enjoy every course one at a time. Our wine glasses were refilled every time they needed to be. When we needed Omar, he was right there. When we didn't, he was invisible. He was perfect.

We were on DDP, so the cheese plate and obviously the wine were not included. Our total OOP (with tip) was $106.45. DDP took care of the rest ($115.56)

Worth. Every. Penny!

In my next installment, we experience the Food & Wine Festival, a change of dinner plans, and a change in temperature!

Thank you all so much for reading. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family, friends, and loved ones, and an excellent holiday weekend! :goodvibes:yay::goodvibes

12-06-2011, 07:54 PM
Sorry for the long stretch between installments. The holidays are so busy, starting right from the night before Thanksgiving.

Anyway... on to DAY 4

We decided we would take it easy this morning. I woke before DJ, and went down to The Mara to get us some breakfast.

I got us the Bounty Platter to share. Eggs, potatoes, a biscuit, mini-Mickey waffle, sausage, and bacon. It was tasty.

We also nibbled on whatever dessert leftovers we had in the 'fridge.

I decided this would be a good time to do some laundry. It was free, so I couldn't pass it up! Plus I wanted to have as much of our clothes clean as possible before we packed up to move to Kidani Village. I believe the detergent was $1.25 - somewhere around that price.

In between laundry, we sat on our balcony and drank coffee, watching the animals. So very pleasant! :cloud9:

We finally got going in the early afternoon. Our goal today was FOOD & WINE!

Now I'm not 100% clear on all of the details of this part of the day, so here's a bunch of pictures of Food & Wine booth goodies :woohoo:

Lamb Chop from Australia. Holy cow, this was delicious!!!

Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries from Sweden:

Pierogi and Kielbasa from Poland:

Ropa Vieja from the Caribbean:

Calamari Salad, and Linguica Sausage with Onions, Peppers, and Olives from Portugal:
I don't eat seafood, but DJ said the calamari was good. The sausage was HOT! Super-spicy! We happened to be standing by a group who was eating the same thing, and I couldn't help but laugh when the woman said, "I know -- it's them jalapenos!" when describing what made the sausage hot. Oh, and she did pronounce it "jah-la-pee-nose" :rotfl:

The Cheddar soup from Canada:

We had the Chimichurri steak from Argentina, as well, but I forgot to get a picture of that.

Our original plan was to have a very late lunch at Le Cellier, but with all the noshing at F&W, we cancelled it. It would've been to much food. Instead, I looked into what might be open for dinner.

It was Friday, so of course none of the more popular places had availability. I wanted DJ to see the Poly, so I hopped on an opening at Kona. Done!

Still at Epcot, we walked onto Journey Into Imagination and Nemo. Test Track single-rider line was a less than 10 minute wait, so I told DJ to go on himself. It wasn't that big a deal to me. He wasn't greatly impressed or anything, but glad he got to do it.

Oh, in addition to all the food, we definitely had a few beers as we walked around World Showcase :drinking1 Good stuff!

We took the monorail over to the Poly. The lobby was very busy, and there were about a zillion people waiting to eat at Ohana. Kona was pretty busy, too. We checked in and were given a buzzer, then walked around the lobby. I love the Poly, it's just so beautiful!

It felt like forever before we were seated. Maybe I was just hungry ;) Anyway, as soon as we sat down, we ordered drinks.

DJ got a Lapu Lapu:

Mine was a Blue Glowtini or something. It was VERY strong! I had to ask for a glass of pineapple juice to weaken it.
I was so happy to get my glowing ice cube :banana:

Delicious Hawaiian bread and macadamia nut butter. That butter was SO GOOD!

We skipped apps and went right to entrees.

DJ got shrimp and scallops with sticky rice:
He said it was good, but he thought my entree was better.

Here's mine - Kona coffee-rubbed pork chop with mashed potatoes and broccolini. I believe it was supposed to come with mashed sweet potatoes, but I asked for regular.
This was AMAZING! The pork chop was tender and moist, the potatoes were perfectly seasoned. Mmmm, I wish I was eating this right now!

As stuffed as we were, we forced ourselves to get dessert ;) We got the chocolate fondue, and the Kona Cone. Both were good, but that Kona Cone was pretty spectacular. Really good ice cream.


This was a great meal, and totally unplanned until a few hours before it happened. If I were to judge by this meal alone, I'd say Kona Cafe is highly underrated.

Our entrees and desserts, covered by DDP, came to $60.16. Our drinks and tip totalled 38.50. Well worth it!

After dinner, we walked outside so I could show DJ more of the Poly. As we got closer to the beach, I saw this off in the distance:

Seeing my reaction (and hearing me literally squeak in delight), DJ said, "And that's when Gigi exploded." :rotfl2:

Even from that far away, and despite the fact that it was reallllllly cold, this was one of the best moments of our trip, in my opinion. Standing on the beach at the Poly with my :love:, seeing Cinderella's Castle all lit up for Christmas for the very first time ever -- it was a dream come true!

Coming up next - we move from Jambo to Kidani, and head back to Epcot for more Food & Wine & shenanigans :yay:

12-06-2011, 08:03 PM
A Disney day that revolves around eating, my kind of day! Great report from F&W. Your Kona dinner looked yummy too! Coffee-rubbed pork, sounds delicious. :thumbsup2

Can't wait to see your pics from Kidani.

01-09-2012, 07:42 PM
Oh my goodness, it's been forever since I updated my TR! I promise, another entry is coming, either tonight or tomorrow. I want to finish my TR before I forget too many details!

01-09-2012, 08:18 PM
Lovin' your trip report! What a cute couple. Subscribing.

01-10-2012, 03:56 PM
Lovin' your trip report! What a cute couple. Subscribing.

Aw, thank you so much! :welcome:

01-10-2012, 04:33 PM
Okay, here we go with DAY 5.

We woke up very early because we were checking out of Jambo and into Kidani this morning.

I ran down to the Mara to get us some breakfast -- a Mickey Waffle, and the African Breakfast Platter. I didn't get pics of these. DJ thought the African breakfast was so-so. The waffle was good as usual.

Our move was very simple. Bell services moved our bags for us, and we walked from Jambo to Kidani (not bad at all -- only took a few minutes).

We went to our room, and OMG the location could NOT be beat! So close to the lobby, a corner room with incredible views!



Honestly, this is the best view I've ever had at any Disney hotel ever. The animals seemed like they were right in front of us. Just amazing. That's not a zoom lens on those pics, either.

We didn't have a whole lot of time to relax, though, as we had a lunch ADR at Via Napoli.

Let me preface this by saying we are both of Italian descent, and are Italian food snobs (c'mon, we live in northern NJ, and I'm from Brooklyn :lmao:) So we were very pleasantly surprised with the food at Via Napoli.

DJ started with the fried calamari:
I don't eat seafood, but DJ loved the calamari. He said it was perfect.

And I started with the arancini (rice balls):

For our entrees, we each got individual pizzas. According to the receipt, one is called Carciofi, and the other is called Piccante. I don't see with of them on the current menu, though. They were both great, nice and crispy crust.


We could barely finish them, but of course ordered dessert, anyway, since we were on DxDDP at this point.

Zeppole di Ricotta, and Lemon Sorbetto



It was all so fantastic. We will definitely be going back to Via Napoli. Loved it!
DJ had a beer -- Menabrea 1846, at $9.00. Between that and the tip, our OOP cost here was 26.00. The total paid for by DxDDP was $88.39.

Coming up next -- more Epcot, and more Food & Wine... and so much beer hahaha

01-11-2012, 03:19 PM
Oops, totally forgot to put in the pics of our room!





Also forgot -- since we were on DxDDP for this portion of the trip, we got 2 refillable mugs (value was $30.87). I really miss when the mugs were resort-specific. These are just so generic. Glad I still have my CBR, All Star Music, Pop, and AKL mugs from previous trips. Oh, and my YOAMD mug, too.

Okay, just wanted to get those pics in -- more to come!

01-29-2012, 04:00 PM
Just found your trip report and am all caught up. Subbing.

02-27-2012, 06:36 PM
Hey everyone! So sorry it's been long since I've posted! I actually (FINALLY!) got a job and it's been pretty hectic lately. I promise, an update is coming soon! Thank you all for sticking around :cool1::cool1::cool1:

03-09-2012, 11:43 AM

After our very-filling (and delicious!) lunch at Via Napoli, we were ready to do some walking around World Showcase.

It was PACKED. Even when we first arrived for our 12:20 ADR at Via Napoli, we noticed that it was very crowded - and that most everyone seemed pretty hammered already :lmao: Lots of drunken revelers. And a TON of LSU fans, for some reason. Everywhere we went, we saw crowds of them. I kept looking for Corey and Julie from the podcast crew, but no such luck.

Anyway, we decided we wanted to get in on this drunken revelry, too... so the beer drinking began. :drinking1

We tried lots of different kinds, starting at the Sam Adams booth and eventually getting to the UK pavilion. The British Revolution was about to play, so we got a couple of beers from the Rose & Crown and made our way to the courtyard.

There were people waiting already, and we struck up conversations with a few of them. I love that about watching the band back there -- people always seems very willing to be friendly and chat.

We ended up staying for THREE sets of the British Revolution, getting more beers from the pub in between sets. This was the first time ever that I had to stand in line *outside* of the pub (and then wait a little while once I got inside, too). It was just that crowded!

By this time, we were having a blast and feeling no pain :cool1: We decided that we wanted to stick around Epcot a little longer than we'd originally planned, so I cancelled our dinner ADR at Crystal Palace. That was a rough one. I love that place, and I love my Eeyore... but we just weren't that hungry, and didn't want to rush to MK, so... Crystal Palace will have to wait till next time.

Things get a teensy bit fuzzy here. I'm pretty sure we hit a couple more of the festival booths before heading over to MK for Extra Magic Hours.

That just turned out to be a bad idea. We grabbed a very late dinner at Pecos Bill's (again), but that was really the only good thing. It was cold and raining, my legs were killing me, POTC was broken down... so we called it a night.

Here are some pics from the day. I'll add descriptions later when I can look at my receipts -- not sure exactly what everything is.

Here's us :)


This is from the New Zealand booth -- Lamb Slider with Tomato Chutney

Also New Zealand -- Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad

Here we are with the guys from British Revolution. So much fun!

From the France booth -- Escargots Persillade en Brioche. DJ loved these. Me? I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole :P

Also from France -- Coq au Vin sur gratin de macaroni (Red Wine braised Chicken, Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, and Macaroni Gratin)

Cindy's Castle, all decked out for Christmas!

Up next - Day 6, which includes breakast at Boma, pool time at Kidani Village, back to MK, Caliornia Grill, and Epcot again!

03-09-2012, 07:02 PM
Here are some of the cuter pre-loaded PhotoPass photos they included. I'll load the actual Photopass pics of us later. I would definitely get Photopass again, and take greater advantage of it. I was wishing we'd taken more pictures when we got the CD in the mail.







I'll post more of the pre-loaded ones later, too :woohoo:

04-18-2012, 08:32 PM
As soon as we got back to the room on Day 5, I flopped into bed. I was fully exhausted and my legs were in screaming pain (I have bad knees, and on top of that just wasn't used to walking that much every day at the time). I took some ibuprofen and crashed out.

The next morning, we had an ADR at Boma for breakfast. We woke up late, but some managed to get showered and ready, and back over to Jambo, in about 25 minutes flat! Amazing!

Boma was delicious! So many foods to choose from, and everything was hot and fresh.

The only issue we had here was after we got our coffee and juice. We got up to make our first trip to the buffet... and when we got back to our table, it had been cleared! :rotfl: We let a passing server know, and we had coffee and juice again in just a couple of minutes.

Here's a couple of shots of some of the food we ate that morning...



Like I said, it was all super-yummy! Big thumbs up from both of us :thumbsup2

Up next -- Day 6 continues with swimming at Kidani, back to MK, California Grill dinner, and more!

05-28-2012, 01:33 PM

It was time to check out the pool area at Kidani. I brought my point and shoot along to take pictures this time :thumbsup2

It was actually raining on and off while we were at the pool, but we didn't mind at all. I mean, we were already wet, right?

This is a beautiful and almost intimate pool area. Smaller than Jambo, and seems cozier somehow.








The slide at this pool was actually pretty intense! And the hot tub was lovely and relaxing (especially in the rain!).

After our poolside fun, it was time to get ready to head over to MK for the last time this trip (waaaah!), and our dinner at California Grill!

06-12-2012, 04:46 PM
Okay, we continue on with Sunday, heading to MK after our very enjoyable time in the Kidani pool area.

Our goals here were for DJ to get on BTMRR, for both of us to get on POTC (since it was broken down the night before), and to get a Dole Whip. Mission accomplished on all 3 counts! :thumbsup2

We walked on to POTC, then got our Dole Whip (we shared).
Delicious, as always!

It was still rainy/cloudy, and while waiting for DJ to finish with BTMRR, I spied this lovely site:

The photos don't do it justice, but it was so pretty to see a rainbow right over the castle!



I was still waiting for DJ, and feeling a little hungry, so I took off on a mission to find a Mickey pretzel. It felt like I walked all over the place, but I did finally find one (somewhere around Diamond Horseshoe, I think). And it did not disappoint! I saved some for DJ, too.


At this point, we were creeping up on our ADR time for California Grill, so we headed over to the Contemporary.

Our ADR was early, around 5:30 or something, but it was the only time I could get, and I really wanted to try it. I didn't think we'd be there long enough to see Wishes from there, but figured we could go back up later that night to watch.

We went upstairs and took a seat at the bar while they got our table ready. As soon as I looked toward the windows, I was blown away. Every Disney fan needs to experience this view at least once. It was beyond gorgeous.

We got ourselves a pre-dinner drink -- the French Martini. I still think about making this drink at home. It was delicious!


Here's the drink menu:

It wasn't long before we were seated at a table right next to the windows. :cloud9::cloud9::cloud9:

Again, the pictures don't do it justice...




Will continue with dinner in my next post. Stay tuned! :goodvibes

06-16-2012, 04:15 PM
Our table was decorated with Mickey confetti. I'd mentioned on all our ADRs that we were celebrating DJ's first visit, but Cali Grill was the only place that actually recognized that.


I'm a little unsure about the details of our meal. I think DJ started with the Sashimi, and I started with a Triple Cheese flatbread. The menu might've changed since then.



And a bottle of wine, of course! :thumbsup2

Our entrees were the Oak Grilled filet:

And the Grilled Pork tenderloin:

The polenta that came with this was out of this world!!! Both entrees were absolutely delicious and cooked exactly right.

Coffee service (so cute)

Our desserts were Bananas and Caramel (omg this was sooooo good!)

..and the Fall Trio (also good, but not as good as the Bananas!)

We took our time with our dinner, and before long, Wishes was starting.

I didn't take a single picture because I wanted to actually enjoy the moment rather than worrying about my camera. We were out on the observation deck, and it was raining and a little cold, but this was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip, by far. I couldn't help but get misty-eyed! It was just so beautiful. I highly recommend this experience to everyone.

At this point, we decided we'd try to get to Epcot to see Illuminations! We didn't have a lot of time, but we actually made it (with some running)! Another experience I just enjoyed, rather than snapping pictures. I'd never seen it before, believe it or not. Blew me away!

Wishes and Illuminations on the same night, amazing meal at Cali Grill, and we ended the night with a bottle of champagne on our balcony at Kidani... doesn't get much better than that!

Next up - the last day of our trip, where we go back to Epcot for more Food & Wine shenanigans!

08-26-2012, 08:14 PM
Yup, I'm finally going to finish this TR... because I'm very hopefully about to start planning our next trip :cool1:

Since we'd enjoyed it so much the day before, we decided to head back to Boma for breakfast on the morning of our last day. It did not disappoint.

After breakfast, we packed up our things and brought them down to the airline check-in/Magical Express area. Our flight wasn't until somewhere around 6pm, so we had plenty of time to go back to Epcot with just our backpack in tow.

I took this pic of my shadow while we waited for the bus ;)

We had a lunch ADR at Coral Reef, and decided to try to get in early. It was no problem. We were seated right away. I'd never been to Coral Reef before, but DJ LOVES rainbow trout, and when I was doing my planning and saw it on the menu, I decided to go for it (despite some negative reviews of the restaurant I'd read/heard).

Light in the restaurant:

I loved the atmosphere. It wasn't loud at all -- but maybe that was because it was early.

The tank:

We were served nice warm bread, and both ordered the same salad as an appetizer (I believe it was the Mixed Field Greens salad).

Very good, and very fresh.

DJ's Rainbow Trout entree:

I don't eat seafood, so I ordered the seared chicken breast with mashed potatoes:
This was such a surprise! The chicken was juicy and flavorful with a crisp skin, the potatoes were buttery and creamy... just so delicious. I was shocked, as I wasn't expecting much from this restaurant.

I'm not sure what this first dessert is... maybe the Key Lime Mousse?

And for me, the Chocolate Wave. That was yummy!

Since all my notes are currently in storage (we are moving this coming weekend), I don't know how much this meal would've cost. Rough estimate is $80, and we used our last table service credit to cover it.

In my next post, we'll finish out the trip, munching our way through World Showcase once again!

11-16-2012, 05:13 PM
Booked our next trip this morning! My goal is now to finish this TR (whether anyone is reading it or not haha) before the next trip -- a mere 79 days away! Woohooooo! :cool1::woohoo::yay:

11-16-2012, 10:12 PM
Love your review so far!! Joining in!

11-17-2012, 08:27 PM
Love your review so far!! Joining in!

Thanks! Hope you'll follow when I start my new PTR for our next trip :thumbsup2

11-17-2012, 09:10 PM
Alright, let's wrap this baby up. It's been over a year since we got home, after all ;)

After Coral Reef, we went to the Land pavilion. We were able to ride The Land, but Soarin' had a 70 minute wait, and the fastpass return time was between 5 and 6pm. This was disappointing, but not unexpected.

I hadn't ridden The Land since I was probably 13 years old, so it was much more interesting to me this time. I really enjoyed it.

We worked our way over to World Showcase, taking pictures along the way...



Note the Christmas tree :)

Once we arrived at WS, the munching commenced.

I believe this is the Ropa Vieja, but I'm not sure. I didn't taste it (Caribbean).

Another I didn't taste - Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles (China):

Cheese! Mmmmmmm!

So pretty!

Spicy Tuna Roll (Japan):

Since it's been so long, I don't remember all the details. I do remember getting a margarita in Mexico, and getting on line for the Gran fiesta Tour... but then they told me we couldn't have drinks in the line, so - didn't ride that! :rotfl:

We wandered around World Showcase for a while longer, but soon it was time to go :sad1: I was afraid we'd miss our Magical Express time, so we hopped in a cab back to Kidani. It cost $18, but it was worth the peace of mind.

Before the bus came, I was able to run into the store and use up our remaining snack credits (a tub of Micky head-shaped "goldfish" and 2 Rice Crispy treats).

Here we are, heading back to the airport on the ME bus (a real one this time, not Mears!):
We look so sweaty haha -- it was pretty hot that day!

At the airport, I bought even more pins and some new antenna balls at the Disney store. A smooth flight, and we were back in ice-cold New Jersey in no time.

Next post - the wrap up!

11-18-2012, 03:07 PM
The Wrap-Up, and Photopass Pics

This was an incredible trip for a lot of reasons. It was a trip of "firsts":

*DJ's first visit to Disney World, so everything was a "first" for him -- but there were a lot of "firsts" for me, too!

*Our first food & wine festival

*Our first MNSSHP

*Our first time renting DVC points

*Our first time using Magical Express

*Our first time eating at Jiko, California Grill, Boma, Les Chefs de france, Rainforest Cafe (for breakfast)

*Our first split-stay

*Our first use of Photopass

I have to say, all of these "firsts" were great experiences (with the exception of Les Chefs -- just not a good meal).

Some observations:

I'm not sure we'd pay for DxDDP again. The only benefit is more flexibility when it comes to going to Signature restaurants (I can't imagine eating 3 table service meals in one day). The regular DDP is really more than enough. I didn't feel tied to our reservations, and ended up cancelling a few because we ate so much at food & wine.

Renting points/moving from Jambo to Kidani was great - so smooth and easy. Hopefully we will be owners someday, but until then, renting is a good way to go!

Photopass -- LOVED IT. I don't really like asking people to take a picture of us, and you can't get good backgrounds when you do self-taken pics. We got so many great pics of us together thanks to Photopass. Totally worth it.

Magical Express -- fantastic. Couldn't have been easier to use, and since we never leave property, anyway, it makes sense for us.

I kept wondering if DJ would become a Disney freak like me. He had a great time, but I wasn't sure if the bug had bitten him... until a few days ago, when he asked me when we were going back :woohoo:

So, thank you all for reading along! And I hope you'll join me when I start my PTR - probably today! I will add a link as soon as I write the first entry.

Here are some my favorite Photopass pics from the trip. Thanks again for reading! :thumbsup2


I was wishing we could sit in the carriage, but this was good enough :)







Our Christmas card this year :)