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SimplyGoofy
01-14-2013, 07:06 PM
A Savanna, A Wizard, and Oodles of Food
Let the Memories Begin—A Sister Extravaganza

February 4-12, 2012


Welcome! :wave:

What began as a simple and fun sisters-only vacation turned into a deluxe whirlwind—eight nights at a beautiful deluxe resort, loads of delicious food, and an offsite day to my other dream Orlando destination. Let’s also throw in a dazzling evening at Downtown Disney, and unfortunately, a few Brazilian tour groups. (No vacation is perfect, right?)


First, the cast of characters:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/Photo0248FourBySix_zpscdcb30de.jpg

On the left is me, Jenny. I put my theatre degree to good use in the world of banking, love to watch and go to the movies, and have never found a dessert I didn’t like.

On the right is my lovely sister, Anika. She is 16, mildly obsessed with her her iPhone, and is a competitive swimmer. She was excited to go on a parent-free vacation—but was thrilled those same parents got her out of school for a week!

Tinkerbell was nice enough to sneak into our picture. :rotfl:


The background:

About eight months before our trip, I came up with the idea that it may be fun to go on a vacation with ONLY Anika. I considered a few destinations, only to conclude that Disney World would be PERFECT. We had both been to the World and knew we loved it—and eight days of theme park rides would be great! Then I stumbled across the DisBoards and the cost of my sister-venture exploded…

“Wow, maybe we should stay at a deluxe resort—this looks awesome!”

“Wait, they have dining plans?! We could try out all those restaurants!”

“They have restaurants at the resorts, too? Yum, THAT one looks good!”

“Ooo, Cirque du Soleil sounds fun!”

“I COULD VISIT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER!!!”

And so on…


I’m thrilled you’re along for the ride!



Chapter Links:

Pre-Trip
Those Pesky (Awesome!) Details (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47191763&postcount=2)

Day Zero - Friday, February 3rd
And We're Off! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47204525&postcount=3)

Day 1 - Saturday, February 4th
Where did all this snow come from?! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47204794&postcount=4)
Welcome to the Animal Kingdom Lodge! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47235827&postcount=10) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47235881&postcount=11)
Chicken... and More Chicken (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47241044&postcount=12)
An Afternoon in Epcot (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47267760&postcount=23) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47267799&postcount=24)
Chock Full of Cute Italian Waiters (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47277740&postcount=28)

Day 2 - Sunday, February 5th
Those drinks are not included on the dining plan! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47300563&postcount=38)
Fantasyland Rush (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47329627&postcount=45) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47329715&postcount=46)
All Hail the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47351969&postcount=53)
Bring on the Mountains! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47419869&postcount=59) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47419958&postcount=60)
A Hammock at the Poly (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47429246&postcount=63)
Aloha! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47429364&postcount=64)
I didn't wish for rain! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47511632&postcount=74) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47511667&postcount=75)

Day 3 - Monday, February 6th
Breakfast with the Princesses (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47549105&postcount=82) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47549428&postcount=83)
Multiple Soars and Thrills (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47562665&postcount=87)
The Best Waitress of Our Trip (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47610391&postcount=88)
A Tour of the Lodge (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47629386&postcount=98) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47629451&postcount=99)
Let Them Eat Steak! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47651053&postcount=103)
A Fantasmic-less Extra Magic Hours (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47689683&postcount=109) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47689799&postcount=110)

Day 4 - Tuesday, February 7th
Aloha! Part II (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47734305&postcount=120)
This is Why You Get There Early... (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47761555&postcount=135)
An (Un)Hollywood Experience (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47761630&postcount=136)
Nostalgia and a Few Toys (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47780668&postcount=144) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47780947&postcount=145)
Circus Time! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47840552&postcount=157)
No Dancing for You! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47840777&postcount=158)

Day 5 - Wednesday, February 8th
A Very Early Morning (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47899158&postcount=166)
Mount Your Broomsticks! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47921117&postcount=177) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47921269&postcount=178)
A Flight and a Challenge (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48050966&postcount=188) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48051019&postcount=190)
Hello, Hogsmeade! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48184541&postcount=198) (continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48184676&postcount=199)
Three Thumbs Up for Three Broomsticks! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=50447266&postcount=215)

SimplyGoofy
01-14-2013, 07:19 PM
Pre-Trip
Those Pesky (Awesome!) Details


Once we decided Disney World was the place, it was time to pick our dates and make our reservation. Although I’d initially thought to book a moderate resort (Coronado Springs Resort being the frontrunner), I decided to dream big and booked here:

The Animal Kingdom Lodge!
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3312_zpsa59f733c.jpg

I had always wanted to see the resort, and the thought of being able to stay there practically made me giddy. Being in charge of the vacation planning definitely has its perks. ::yes::


My next big decision was food… we had never tried a dining plan nor eaten at a resort restaurant. The more I read (and the more I visited the Disney Food Blog) my list of “must-tries” kept getting bigger. Therefore, I thought we might have a great time trying the Deluxe Dining Plan. That led to me making a few (um, 21?) ADR’s:

Breakfasts
Grand Floridian Café (GF)
Akershus (EP)
‘Ohana (Poly)
Tusker House (AK)
Crystal Palace (MK)
Boma (AKL)

Lunches
Liberty Tree Tavern (MK)
Rose & Crown (EP)
Hollywood Brown Derby (HS)
Yak & Yeti (AK)
Tony’s Town Square (MK)
50’s Prime Time (HS)

Dinners
Via Napoli (EP)
‘Ohana (Poly)
Yachtsman Steakhouse (YC)
Raglan Road (DD)
Jiko (AKL)
California Grill (CR)
Coral Reef (EP)
Teppan Edo (EP)

Other
Garden View Tea Room (GF)

Believe it or not, we actually made it to 19 of the 21 reservations. We also ate many, many snacks. If you love food, you’ve come to the right trip report!


Once I had all the package components in place, it was time to decide on a few fun extra excursions. Anika’s request was an event she watched during her last vacation:

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1115_zps8cc34b29.jpg


As for me, there was one other Orlando destination calling my name…

THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER!
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1366_zps4935c97d.jpg

I am a Harry Potter fanatic, and was SUPER excited about seeing the Wizarding World. I ordered two One-Day/Two Park tickets, and our Universal Day was all set!


We also booked our transport on the Magical Express, reserved a rental car from the Disney Car Care Center (for our Universal Studios day), and pre-ordered our Photopass CD.


With these details confirmed, I needed to find a good way to keep myself organized while I was in the parks. Inspired by many of you on the Dis, I took my detail oriented nature to the next level and created this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DisneySchedule_zpscef18942.jpg

This color-coded beauty was used multiple times a day. I also made a “daily schedule,” which had a more detailed schedule, a few park touring plans, and details for all of our ADR’s. Both folded nicely and fit into the back pocket of my park bag.


We were ready to go! :woohoo:

SimplyGoofy
01-15-2013, 10:24 PM
And We're Off!
Day Zero—Friday, February 3rd

With our bags packed and our Magical Express tags in place, we were off to Omaha to begin our vacation!

Our plan was to leave in the late afternoon and grab dinner along the way. We would then settle in for the night at the Holiday Inn Express—a mere 1.5 miles from the airport. This plan was developed since our flight from Omaha was at eight o'clock in the morning, and I wasn't excited about waking up before five in order to make it on time. More importantly, the forecast called for a rather large winter storm to hit the entire central Midwest… starting tonight. Great. :sad2:

We started off on time and had a very nice (non-snowy) drive. We met a friend for dinner, and then checked into our home for the evening. I had packed an extra overnight bag for us, so all we took into the hotel was the duffle bag and our carry-ons. Our two big, heavy suitcases stayed in the trunk where they belonged, and we would just add a few things to them in the morning. I took a few photos of our room to get my camera warmed up for a week of major picture-taking:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/005.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/001.jpg

Despite our excitement, we managed to get to bed fairly early. Just before turning in, I checked to see if our flight was still on time… it was. So far.

(Do you smell the foreshadowing?) :rolleyes1


Up Next: A Very Snowy Morning

SimplyGoofy
01-15-2013, 11:14 PM
Where did all this snow come from?!
Day 1—Saturday, February 4th

We jumped up when the alarm went off—no need for the snooze button today! Two showers later, we gathered our bags and headed outside to rearrange the suitcase, and found this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/011.jpg

Snow, snow everywhere! I cleared several inches of wet, heavy snow off the car and rearranged the luggage and toiletries as fast as I could. Anika cleared off the car again as I worked, but by the time I finished with the suitcases the car was completely covered again.

We went back into the hotel to warm up and enjoy our complimentary breakfast. It was nothing too exciting—your typical continental breakfast fare, but it was filling (and free!). Anika enjoyed pancakes while I had cereal and yogurt.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/009.jpg

Once breakfast was done and we could again feel our fingers again, we ventured back into the snowy outdoors. After clearing the car a third time we started on our 1.5 mile drive to the airport…

That was the longest "short" trip of my life. I’ve always lived with snow and consider myself a pretty good winter weather driver, but combination of the early hour, unplowed streets, and massive amounts of still-falling snow made it a VERY slow trip. I think it took almost 15 minutes to get into the airport parking area, and I never topped 20 mph. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Thank goodness we’d come the night before—we never would’ve made it this morning!

I chose to pay extra for the covered parking ramp—no lugging suitcases through the snow for me! Check-in was quick and painless and soon we were looking at our very snowy plane:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/013.jpg

I was questioning if we would get out on time (did you see the plane?!), but they actually boarded us early. We taxied from the gate and were informed we were third in line for de-icing (de-snowing?). The process took quite a while, but it was pretty fun to watch!

We had a great view of the de-icing guy:
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/028.jpg

Finally, around 9:30, we were off! The lovely steward came around quickly with drinks and snacks. I almost never buy airline snacks—I had plans for us to grab food once we arrived in Orlando. However, our belated departure meant we would get to MCO closer to two than noon, and we would be hungry. Snacks it is!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/030.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/031.jpg

This was the best six dollars I spent that day. When you’re delayed… buy the snacks!

The rest of the flight was rather uneventful, minus one rather annoying incident. Anika and I were pouring over my new Disney World book discussing attractions we’d like to see again or try for the first time. The next thing I know, a woman got up from across the aisle, walked over, and said:

“I don’t mean to be rude, but you need to stop talking about Disney. This is my son’s first trip, and you’re ruining it for him!”

:confused:

Uh, seriously? As half of our airplane was likely headed to Disney World, I'm sure we weren't the only ones talking about it! Your son learning that Peter Pan’s Flight exists will hardly ruin the magic for him! Good grief.

I shrugged off the crazy lady, and soon we were landing in sunny Florida. We were headed to our first monorail of the vacation!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/041.jpg

Since we had our snacks on the plane, we sped past the food court and headed right for the Magical Express. Anika had never been on the Magical Express before and she was quite excited about it! (I’m sure her knowing about it beforehand probably ruined part of the magic for her, but I digress…) :rotfl:

Here we are! The Magical Express!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/042.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/044.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/045.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/046.jpg

After a very short wait of ten minutes or so, our rope was removed and we were headed for our bus!

Up Next: The Animal Kingdom Lodge

luckylady
01-16-2013, 12:14 AM
Wow a great sister bonding time for you. Flying in snow, ummm can I have a few drinks first please. Great start and better yet blue skies.

blessedmom4
01-16-2013, 05:37 AM
This looks like a fabulous trip, I am so in! Happy you weren't snowed in and what was up with that rude lady. I honestly don't think she would have said that if you both weren't so young looking (hey, old lady here...wish I was young looking. But I am sure she wouldn't have made a comment like that to me; however, possibly would have to my sons). I am GLAD you didn't let it ruin your day! You are a great big sis! :goodvibes

SimplyGoofy
01-16-2013, 10:42 PM
Wow a great sister bonding time for you. Flying in snow, ummm can I have a few drinks first please. Great start and better yet blue skies.

:banana: Thanks for being my first reader! :banana:

I was a little nervous when I saw all that snow... I can't believe we were only delayed two hours!

As for the drinks... the adults in the family next to us did just that! In fact, I believe they each had two! :rotfl:


This looks like a fabulous trip, I am so in! Happy you weren't snowed in and what was up with that rude lady. I honestly don't think she would have said that if you both weren't so young looking (hey, old lady here...wish I was young looking. But I am sure she wouldn't have made a comment like that to me; however, possibly would have to my sons). I am GLAD you didn't let it ruin your day! You are a great big sis! :goodvibes

:welcome: Nothing could ruin my day if I was headed for Disney! I never even thought of the fact that she probably thought we were just annoying kids... I'm actually a lot older than I look! :laughing:

I took a peek at the wonderful stories about your daughter - it just warmed my heart because I actually have congenital heart disease, too! I've had five open heart surgeries and four pulmonary valves due to tetralogy of Fallot. You'll have to look for my scar in upcoming pictures! ;)

(Tell your daughter to be super proud of her scar - it shows how tough we are.) :goodvibes

Marsheliz
01-18-2013, 09:16 AM
Great Start!

UGH, Driving in snow doesnt seem like so much fun. I'm in SC and we hardly ever get it.. LOL

I can't believe the woman on the plane was so rude.. What is there to ruin? :rotfl2:

Can't wait to read more!

SimplyGoofy
01-18-2013, 10:16 PM
Great Start!

UGH, Driving in snow doesnt seem like so much fun. I'm in SC and we hardly ever get it.. LOL

I can't believe the woman on the plane was so rude.. What is there to ruin? :rotfl2:

Can't wait to read more!

:welcome:

Thank goodness we didn't have far to go! In regard to that lady, I know! At first I worried I was overreacting... but, nope! Everyone I've mentioned it to thought she seemed ridiculous! :rolleyes2

A new post is coming up shortly!

SimplyGoofy
01-18-2013, 10:29 PM
Welcome to the Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Day 1—Part II

With the rope out of our way, we walked outside to our glorious Magical Express… er, cruise bus?

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/048.jpg


Oh, well. At least it wasn’t the waterpark bus that was parked next to it! :lmao:

Anika and I got the second seat behind the front door. Someone just beat us to the front seat but we still had a great view. Here we are, excited to be in Florida (and far away from the snow!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/049.jpg


We settled back to watch everyone’s favorite welcome video and we were on our way! Our driver was a very friendly guy, and added a lot of comments about his favorite attractions and restaurants. It wasn’t very long before we saw this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/054.jpg


And this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/056.jpg


WE WERE OFFICIALLY IN DISNEY WORLD!!! Hooray! :dance3:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/057.jpg


After dropping off excited travelers at Caribbean Beach and Pop Century Resorts, we headed to our home for the week:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/067.jpg


Jambo, everyone! We passed through the front overhang and through two sets of doors to enter the resort:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3598.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3594.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3601.jpg


Almost there…

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3609.jpg


Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t think I can possibly explain (and my photography skills sure don’t illustrate!) just how BEAUTIFUL the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge is! Even though I’d seen plenty of pictures online, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped a bit when we walked into this lobby:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3547.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3540.jpg
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3554.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3543.jpg


WOW. And wow some more. This is where we were staying for nine days? :yay:

We headed over to the registration desk to check in, which is on the west side of the lobby:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/069.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3334.jpg


Our CM was a lovely gal who was earning her ears. We had done online check in as I wasn’t too picky about our room selection—I’d booked a pool view room and my only request was for a 3rd or 4th floor. Our folder was ready, and we had our resort information, dining plan booklet, and Key to the World cards in short order.

Although the map didn’t appreciate the re-sizing process (sorry for the blurriness!), you can get a general idea on where we were placed, thanks to the blue dot:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/Animal-Kingdom-Lodge-Room.jpg


We were given Room # 3452, which is a 3rd floor room on an offshoot of the Zebra Trail. It was a straight shot from the lobby (which is also on the “3rd floor”). We headed down a hallway (even the hallways are pretty!) and were soon looking at this adorned door:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3406.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/071.jpg


(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
01-18-2013, 10:38 PM
(continued from previous post)

And, here we are!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/076.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/079.jpg


We each had a bed to ourselves that week. Isn’t the detail on the headboard incredible?

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3589.jpg


The table and chairs were great for arranging park bags and paperwork:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3584.jpg


This cabinet held the refrigerator, along with the coffee pot and assorted accessories. Our park bags and KTTW cards spent a lot of time on this cabinet!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3578.jpg


There was also a nice closet and dresser, which was useful for storing all of our clothes, shoes, and suitcases. There were also several hangers to hang coats and dresses.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3582.jpg


The bathroom area was really nice:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/074.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/075.jpg

This is quite an upgrade from the value and moderate resorts where we’ve previously stayed. We especially loved all of this counter space for our toiletries—it was never this clean again! :lmao:


Disney Mousekeeping had left THREE towel animals for us: pixiedust:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/083.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/601.jpg
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/085.jpg

Anika LOVED that mouse. I think she would’ve put it in her suitcase if I had let her. :rolleyes1


Now it was time to see our balcony and our view! I opened the balcony doors and found this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3042.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3043.jpg


Not bad! Since we were on the corner we had a lot of extra space. Then I turned around to see our view:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/080.jpg

Hmmm… not quite what I’d pictured! :confused: I learned you could see the pool, though, if you squinted through the trees! :lmao:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/081.jpg


As the week went on, I actually grew to love our room location. We were close the lobby and just a floor removed but really close to the Mara and the pool. Our room was also super quiet since we were on the corner—we never heard any other guests the entire week we were there.

Room tour completed, we switched clothes and went to scout out the Mara for something to eat. We were starving!


Up Next: Lunch at the Mara

SimplyGoofy
01-19-2013, 02:42 PM
Chicken... and More Chicken
Day 1—Part III


http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3473.jpg


The Mara is the quick service location at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It has a variety of items, including hot meals and to-go items and treats. This is also where you refill your refillable mug. It has a few options that are unique to the lodge, but they also have the usual favorites of chicken nuggets and Mickey waffles. It’s located right next to the Uzima Pool. Here are a few pictures of the inside of the Mara, including the drink station and the seating area:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3497.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3498.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/3499.jpg


Having read over menus before we left, I knew what I wanted to try! I got the chicken pita, which is roasted chicken, greens, tomatoes, cucumber, hummus, and a yogurt sauce, all wrapped up in a pita:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/093.jpg


Yum! What a delight to eat something this good from a counter service spot! I would highly recommend this choice, but would get it with couscous instead of fries. (I actually ordered couscous as my side but was given the fries by mistake.)

Anika was not feeling too adventurous yet, so she ordered the chicken fingers and fries:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/092.jpg


She thought her meal was just fine. We also picked up these beauties:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/088.jpg


With our stomachs happy, it was time to drop off our mugs and head to our first destination of the vacation!

The bus station at Animal Kingdom Lodge is located in front of the resort on the east side. Here’s the trusty, blurry map again to show our room (blue), the path to the bus stops (green), and the five bus stop locations (red):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/Animal-Kingdom-Lodge-Bus.jpg


That path looks really long, but I promise it seemed quite short! I know we’ve walked longer distances at our other resorts, and those didn’t have the advantage of being indoors or covered the entire way. There are also a few ways to cheat, such as walking through the Zawadi Marketplace gift shop or through the “secret” door to the Giraffe Trail. The only negative is the buses are shared with Kidani Village—they go to Kidani first and Jambo House second. We never found this to be a problem and always had a seat.

Here are a few pictures of the bus stops (taken on the morning of a different day when it was a bit dark, but you get the general idea):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/2847.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/2849.jpg


I know some people hate to “waste” a park visit on their arrival day, but we can’t imagine being in Disney World and not visiting our favorite park!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/094.jpg


Epcot, here we come! :jumping1:

Up Next: Epcot

disneykiwi
01-21-2013, 12:24 AM
Hi there

I have joined in your trip report and loving it so far - the lodge looks wonderful!!

Looking forward to the rest.

Cheers :cool1:

Stringbean&Wingnut
01-21-2013, 05:07 AM
Joining in!!! :goodvibes

Oh boy, you are so lucky that you stayed near the airport the night before your flight! When I saw your picture of the plane, I never thought you were making it out that day! :eek:

(Side note: hugs for being open-heart surgery buddies! (Mitral valve repair here!) :hug: )

Your room at AKL looks awesome! We love visiting there, and I actually sometimes forget that you can actually stay there! :rotfl: And your lunch at the Mara looks really good too!

Oh, Epcot on the first day is pretty much a must-do for us too! :thumbsup2

Aussiesalad
01-21-2013, 06:04 AM
Joining in! Your trip looks so fun!

I can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!!:goodvibes

Marsheliz
01-21-2013, 10:34 AM
The AKL is beautiful.. never stayed there but visited..

How did you guys like the buses there? We had to take a bus there from AK one day to make it to DD and I swear we waited about 30 minutes!

Your food looks wonderful and we always go to Epcot the first night too! We enjoy Epcot but with 2 small kids- they dont like it as much as the others so we always just do it first :)

dawnmichele
01-21-2013, 11:11 AM
Awesome report so far! I'm joining in to read more.

msbiscuit
01-21-2013, 02:52 PM
Enjoying your trip report! The snow on departure morning looks like something that would happen to me (I live in the Midwest, too). So glad it didn't delay your trip for more than an hour or two.
That lady on the plane really needed to take a pill and chill. Wow. Glad she wasn't on your ME bus!

dawnmichele
01-21-2013, 04:54 PM
That lady on the plane really needed to take a pill and chill. Wow. Glad she wasn't on your ME bus!

Hah! I was thinking the same thing! She probably would have shouted out to scold the driver. Just think what she must have thought about Stacey!

msbiscuit
01-21-2013, 07:25 PM
Hah! I was thinking the same thing! She probably would have shouted out to scold the driver. Just think what she must have thought about Stacey!

She should've just put earmuffs on 'Junior' to keep him from hearing anything that would 'ruin' his first trip. :lmao:

SimplyGoofy
01-21-2013, 10:55 PM
Hi there

I have joined in your trip report and loving it so far - the lodge looks wonderful!!

Looking forward to the rest.

Cheers :cool1:

:welcome: I'm thrilled you're here! The lodge was BEAUTIFUL - I'm so glad we had a chance to stay there!


Joining in!!! :goodvibes

Oh boy, you are so lucky that you stayed near the airport the night before your flight! When I saw your picture of the plane, I never thought you were making it out that day! :eek:

(Side note: hugs for being open-heart surgery buddies! (Mitral valve repair here!) :hug: )

Your room at AKL looks awesome! We love visiting there, and I actually sometimes forget that you can actually stay there! :rotfl: And your lunch at the Mara looks really good too!

Oh, Epcot on the first day is pretty much a must-do for us too! :thumbsup2

:welcome: I know, isn't that airplane crazy?! I was glad we had a direct flight!

We loved staying at the lodge! I was rather impressed by the Mara - quite a step up from your average counter service spot!

Ah, Epcot. I :love: Epcot.

(It's always nice to have a heart surgery buddy. :hug:)


Joining in! Your trip looks so fun!

I can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!!:goodvibes

:welcome: We had a fantastic time! I'm glad you're joining us!

SimplyGoofy
01-21-2013, 11:03 PM
The AKL is beautiful.. never stayed there but visited..

How did you guys like the buses there? We had to take a bus there from AK one day to make it to DD and I swear we waited about 30 minutes!

Your food looks wonderful and we always go to Epcot the first night too! We enjoy Epcot but with 2 small kids- they dont like it as much as the others so we always just do it first :)

:welcome: I'm glad there are fellow Epcot lovers! My sister and I have loved Epcot for years - I'm sure it will grow on your kids as they get older (and can go on the really fun rides!).

Despite all the dire warnings I heard about the AKL buses, I didn't think they were too bad. I was only irritated twice that I remember (once trying to get to AK for an early morning breakfast ADR, and another time trying to get to MK for the parade). Other than those two times, I think a bus never took more than 5-10 minutes. ;)


Awesome report so far! I'm joining in to read more.

:welcome: I'm glad you're here!


Enjoying your trip report! The snow on departure morning looks like something that would happen to me (I live in the Midwest, too). So glad it didn't delay your trip for more than an hour or two.
That lady on the plane really needed to take a pill and chill. Wow. Glad she wasn't on your ME bus!

:welcome: I walked rather quickly off the plane in order to leave that lady in the dust... :lmao:



Hah! I was thinking the same thing! She probably would have shouted out to scold the driver. Just think what she must have thought about Stacey!

She should've just put earmuffs on 'Junior' to keep him from hearing anything that would 'ruin' his first trip. :lmao:

You guys are a hoot! I'm glad other people think she was a bit out of line. :rolleyes:

Earmuffs! I love it! :rotfl:

SimplyGoofy
01-21-2013, 11:13 PM
An Afternoon in Epcot
Day 1—Part IV


Ahh, Epcot… the land of numerous countries, excellent attractions, and likely the highest number of restaurants and food stands per capita in the World. How we love you. :love:

After sprinting off the bus (okay, we may not have sprinted—but we would’ve liked to!), we scouted for the first Photopass photographer we could find. I’m very proud that our very first Photopass picture of the vacation was right here:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/Photo0013FourBySix.jpg


As for our first attraction, that was a no-brainer. Test Track it is!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/097.jpg


Now that the ride has been re-vamped, I’m glad I took a few photos of the queue:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/095.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/204.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/206.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/205.jpg


The single-rider line was incredibly short and we were on the ride in less than five minutes. Hooray for the single-rider line! Even better, they seated us in the same car right next to each other. :yay:

A view from the front seat:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/209.jpg


Brrrr!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/212.jpg


There’s nothing like your first attraction of the vacation. :goodvibes

Mission one accomplished, we headed to another mission:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/098.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/099.jpg


We started riding Mission Space when the only choice was the “orange” side. We’ve never thought to switch sides, so Orange Team it is!

Hello, Astronaut Mickey!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/101.jpg


Fueled by two high-octane attractions, we skipped past the Universe of Energy and headed to another favorite attraction in Epcot. Say “hello” to everyone’s favorite golf ball:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/609.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/102.jpg


We had not been on the ride since the changes so we were quite excited to see experience it! It was fun to enter all the information about yourself (and also interesting to try and keep from getting a goofy looking picture on the story of your future! That’s hard, by the way!).

A few views from our journey through this, our Spaceship Earth:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/114.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/120.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/125.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/128.jpg


Also, the beginning of our future!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/141.jpg



How fun! We really liked the updates they made to Spaceship Earth!


(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
01-21-2013, 11:20 PM
(continued from previous post)

Three big rides out of the way, it was time to go to the other side of Future World:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/142.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/143.jpg


Alas (and not surprisingly), all of the Soarin’ fastpasses were gone for the day. :sad1: No matter—there is another excellent attraction in the Land Pavillion:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/144.jpg


(Does anyone else miss the song they used to sing on this ride? It’s still fun and all, but it was much more catchy with the song!)

I was still figuring out the ideal camera setting for all these “moving attractions” but I did get a few pictures! Here are a few plants:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/156.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/162.jpg


And a few more plants (plus a nine pound lemon!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/166.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/164.jpg


And finally, some additional plants (in the form of herbs):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/168.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/169.jpg


One of these days I really need to take the Behind the Seeds tour. Walking around “inside” the attraction would be pretty fun!

We had a little more time before we needed to head into World Showcase, so we walked right next door:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/172.jpg


I LOVE these seagulls! (Doesn’t everyone?)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/174.jpg


Just a few photos from Nemo—if those darn fish wouldn't have listened to Dory and stopped swimming I would have a lot more (less blurry) pictures! :lmao:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/175.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/178.jpg


After our tour of the seas, we had a great time wandering around the remaining tanks.

Some beautiful coral:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/2728.jpg


Hello, (not so hidden) Mickey!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/2726.jpg


We only had one more item on our agenda before dinner—we had to find a use for these fastpasses we’d grabbed on our way in:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/188.jpg


Back to Test Track!

After a wonderful ride in the dark (I think I like that ride even better when you’re zooming around the track at night!), we took a few nightscape shots:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/201.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/198.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/192.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/190.jpg


Unable to spare any more time in Future World, it was time to head into World Showcase for a dinner half-way around the world (almost literally!). It was time to travel to Italy and visit the new(er) restaurant, Via Napoli.

We were just a teensy bit excited. Forget about the food… what would our Italian waiter look like? :laughing: :rolleyes1


Up Next: Dinner at Via Napoli

Tricia's mom
01-21-2013, 11:25 PM
following along.... 60 days til our first stay at AKL. popcorn::

Stringbean&Wingnut
01-22-2013, 05:21 AM
Sounds like you still got a lot done at Epcot, despite the Soarin FP's being gone!!!

SimplyGoofy
01-22-2013, 09:06 PM
following along.... 60 days til our first stay at AKL. popcorn::

:welcome: You'll LOVE the Animal Kingdom Lodge! I hope you built in some time to hang out at the resort, as there's tons of activities and lots to explore. The pool is pretty awesome, too! :thumbsup2


Sounds like you still got a lot done at Epcot, despite the Soarin FP's being gone!!!

Looking back, I can't believe we did all of that in just three hours! Not too bad, even for the off-season! :banana:

SimplyGoofy
01-22-2013, 09:27 PM
Chock Full of Cute Italian Waiters
Day 1—Part V


It was time for our first ADR of the trip! I booked a late evening reservation at Via Napoli after reading so many good things about it. It seemed like a great way to kick-off our reservation lineup!

Upon arriving in Italy and locating Via Napoli, here is what we found:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/217.jpg


Yikes! Where did all these people come from?! :eek:

I stood in this line for a minute or so before thinking, “Wait, this doesn’t make any sense! There’s no way that ALL of these people have a reservation!” So we left the huge long line and walked forward to find this very empty check-in desk for the restaurant:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/219.jpg


Yes! That gigantic line was wrangling for walk-up tables (chances: slim-to-none). The lesson to be learned here is if you have a reservation, it’s pretty darn likely you do not have to wait in the big, long line. Good to know! :thumbsup2

We enjoyed a few details such as this very colorful light fixture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/218.jpg


Only a few minutes later, we were in! I really liked the interior of the restaurant:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/222.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/223.jpg


Don’t forget about the three wood-burning ovens—Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/238.jpg


Much to our delight, we indeed had a cute, male waiter named Michele. Via Napoli, in fact, was CRAWLING with male waitstaff. Yes, there were a few waitresses, but the majority were male. Has anyone else noticed that Italy and France have a lot more male waitstaff while Norway has the opposite? Interesting marketing technique, you sneaky Disney World...

Our drink orders weren’t exciting enough for a photograph, as I ordered iced tea and Anika ordered water. (Anika ordered a lot of water as it’s one of the very few things she drinks. The others include milk, fancy coffee beverages, and Tropicana Orange Juice with no pulp. Period. No tea, no lemonade, no soda. What kind of teenager is she?!)

It’s time to get down to the actual food ordering, complete with pictures!

We started with the Calamari Fritti and the Mozzarella Caprese:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/225.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/226.jpg


The calamari was excellent! Anika tried her very first piece of calamari, and although she enjoyed it, she thought one piece was enough. It would be a great appetizer to share as there is a TON of calamari on that plate! The salad, meanwhile, was just okay. I thought the tomatoes were good but I’ve had much better mozzarella.

As we were in a pizza restaurant, of course we ordered pizza!

I ordered the Quattro Formaggi (mozzarella, parmesean, fontina, and provolone cheeses):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/227.jpg


Anika ordered the Pepperoni (no explanation needed for that one!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/228.jpg


Although both pizzas were good and the crust was great, Anika’s pizza was far superior to mine. If you’re a fan of cheese-only pizzas, you’d love the four cheese. I prefer toppings on my pizza (yet I ordered it anyway? Maybe I was going for variety on the table…). The zest on the pepperoni pie was great, and even Anika couldn’t keep herself from eating three big slices. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her eat so much pizza in one sitting! Next time, pepperoni all around!

Although we were stuffed, dessert is never an “option”! Bring on the dessert menus!

Here is mine, the Gelato Frizzante (an Italian-style ice cream soda with San Pellegrino’s Aranciata and vanilla gelato):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/235.jpg


This was heaven in a glass, I tell you. I didn’t think I could hold any more food, but I couldn’t. stop. eating. I finished the whole darn thing, it was so good. :cloud9:

Anika made a more traditional choice, and ordered the chocolate gelato (complete with brittle cookie):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/233.jpg


She was pretty excited about her gelato: :woohoo:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/234.jpg


At some point during our dessert one of the sous chefs from the restaurant came and sat down at the table next to us. Anika was struggling with her dessert (due to stomach capacity, not tastiness!) and the chef began giving her a bit of a hard time. Well, she didn’t want to disappoint him, so we continued eating with gusto. I believe she felt a little ill afterward. :faint:

Our adorable Michele delivered our bill so we paid and went on our way. I did not get a picture of the waiter (although I should have!), but I figured I didn’t need to totally embarrass Anika on the first night of our vacation. I was embarrassing enough by photographing every dish before I let her eat it! :lmao:


Via Napoli—Final Verdict
The calamari and the pepperoni pizza were excellent, the atmostphere is great, and the desserts were phenomenal! We would absolutely return to Via Napoli! The only change we would make next time is pay without dining credits so we could order a lot less food. Those pizzas are a lot bigger than they look!


We rolled ourselves out of Epcot (a theme on this trip!) and headed for our AKL bus. It had been a very long day and we had a full day planned for tomorrow.


Up Next: Breakfast at Grand Floridian Café

msbiscuit
01-23-2013, 12:10 AM
Okay, it's like 9 degrees here, but that Italian ice cream soda looks soooo good right now.

Stringbean&Wingnut
01-23-2013, 04:59 AM
Your meal at VN looks really good!! We've never tried there (we usually don't like making ADR's at types of restaurants that are pretty much EVERYWHERE at home - Italian is basically #1 on that list!) but I have heard excellent reviews!

Too funny about the chef wanting Anika to finish her dessert!

Marsheliz
01-23-2013, 12:20 PM
Cant wait to try out Test Track next time... YOu know the past three times we have been- we havent done it? I was pregnant 2 of the times and this last time, the day we were at Epcot, it poured and poured and we ended up just leaving.. :( Do you know what the height requirement is on it? My almost 5 year old would die to be able to do it!

Via Napoli looks wonderful too- never ate there- sadly!

SimplyGoofy
01-23-2013, 06:11 PM
Okay, it's like 9 degrees here, but that Italian ice cream soda looks soooo good right now.

It was so good. :worship:


Your meal at VN looks really good!! We've never tried there (we usually don't like making ADR's at types of restaurants that are pretty much EVERYWHERE at home - Italian is basically #1 on that list!) but I have heard excellent reviews!

Too funny about the chef wanting Anika to finish her dessert!

I absolutely understand aiming for the out-of-area choices, but I would definately recommend trying it out sometime!

Anika never wants to make anyone feel bad! :worried: I thought it was very nice that she wanted to impress the chef, but I don't think her stomach appreciated the gesture. :p


Cant wait to try out Test Track next time... YOu know the past three times we have been- we havent done it? I was pregnant 2 of the times and this last time, the day we were at Epcot, it poured and poured and we ended up just leaving.. :( Do you know what the height requirement is on it? My almost 5 year old would die to be able to do it!

Via Napoli looks wonderful too- never ate there- sadly!

Test Track is our favorite ride at Epcot! I'm on the fence on whether or not we'll like the update (we'll see in May!) but I'm sure that won't stop us from riding it. ;)

The height requirement is actually not too bad - only 40 inches! If your son can ride Soarin', he can ride Test Track. I'm sure he'll love it - even when Anika was young and didn't like most thrill rides, she enjoyed Test Track from her first ride! :thumbsup2

blessedmom4
01-23-2013, 11:09 PM
:welcome: Nothing could ruin my day if I was headed for Disney! I never even thought of the fact that she probably thought we were just annoying kids... I'm actually a lot older than I look! :laughing:
It doesn't matter how old you are, she should have been nicer. I KNOW she would not have said something like that to me...and you are adorable! Having adult sons, I see how some people are to nice people that look young....you deserve better
I took a peek at the wonderful stories about your daughter - it just warmed my heart because I actually have congenital heart disease, too! I've had five open heart surgeries and four pulmonary valves due to tetralogy of Fallot. You'll have to look for my scar in upcoming pictures! ;)
I am so sorry for what I know you and your parents have been through, but i am SUPER excited you shared that with me! I read it last week but this is the first time I have had a chance to respond. Lisa turns ten this year and it is just a blessing to see someone as strong as you, who has been through so much, enjoying life! And I DID see your scar...badge of courage!!!
(Tell your daughter to be super proud of her scar - it shows how tough we are.) :goodvibes
She is!!! :thumbsup2
Joining in!!! :goodvibes


(Side note: hugs for being open-heart surgery buddies! (Mitral valve repair here!) :hug: )



My Lisa has had a mitral valve repair (OHS #2) and a Mitral Valve Implant (OHS #3). I do hope you are doing well!


Jenny, I LOVE the foodie pics but have a bone to pick with you...pictures of cute guys MUST be included...always!!! I hope you have some to share soon....and no WONDER my guys love Norway and we spend NO time in Italy! :rotfl2::rotfl2:

emmysmommy
01-24-2013, 12:52 AM
What a GREAT TR/DR!!! I'm so glad that I found you!

First I have to say that you and your sister are so adorable! I'm excited to follow along here! :)

Em and I will be staying at AKL next trip (only 1 nite but at least we get to stay there) so I was excited to see your AK photos.

How exciting that you will be going back to WDW in a few months.

luckylady
01-24-2013, 07:29 AM
Great update. Oh my I so wanted to see a picture of a hot waiter, be still my heart. It's all good tho no drool to mop up. Pizza looked so good and those ovens, I want one. To cute.

SimplyGoofy
01-24-2013, 11:09 PM
Jenny, I LOVE the foodie pics but have a bone to pick with you...pictures of cute guys MUST be included...always!!! I hope you have some to share soon....and no WONDER my guys love Norway and we spend NO time in Italy! :rotfl2::rotfl2:


I will try and do better next time. ;)

I seriously did see a difference in waitstaff ratios among the differrent countries. I'm not a bit surprised that your guys prefer Norway! :laughing:


What a GREAT TR/DR!!! I'm so glad that I found you!

First I have to say that you and your sister are so adorable! I'm excited to follow along here! :)

Em and I will be staying at AKL next trip (only 1 nite but at least we get to stay there) so I was excited to see your AK photos.

How exciting that you will be going back to WDW in a few months.

:welcome: Thank you for all of your wonderful compliments! I've enjoyed reading several of your trip and dining adventures, so I'm thrilled you're along for the ride on mine!

I'm sure you and Em will love the AKL! It's a very beautiful resort and I highly recommend doing some exploring while you're there. (And don't worry, I have many more pictures to share in future updates!)

As I sidenote, I'm not sure if you noticed a very familiar looking Master Schedule in my pre-planning chapter... I may have been slightly influenced by a schedule I ran across in one of your reports. :rolleyes1 Your schedule template was great, and definitely kept us on track and on time all week!


Great update. Oh my I so wanted to see a picture of a hot waiter, be still my heart. It's all good tho no drool to mop up. Pizza looked so good and those ovens, I want one. To cute.

Next time I really next to take a picture of the waiter! :rotfl:

emmysmommy
01-24-2013, 11:45 PM
I did notice the "master schedule" but I have to give credit for the original template I used from someone here on the Disboards. I don't even remember who it was now since it was several years ago.

Glad to see someone else who is a spreadsheet lover and stayes organized by columns and rows of data!!! :rotfl2: Love it!

Reading about how you flew out of Omaha made me feel so nostalgic. My father is from Nebraska and as a child we would go there during the summer so I have a fondness for the area. :goodvibes

Anyhoo... I can't wait to read more.

SimplyGoofy
01-24-2013, 11:56 PM
Those drinks are not included on the dining plan!
Day 2—Sunday, February 5th


We had a wonderful first night at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! The beds were very comfortable and we didn't hear one peep of noise. :cloud9:

Thank goodness your digestive system keeps working throughout the night—by morning we were actually hungry again! This was a good thing as we were headed to our breakfast reservation at the Grand Floridian Café. In order to get to the Grand Floridian without dealing with the multiple transportation switches, we decided to call a taxi to take us straight there. It was very easy—we called the front desk, asked for the taxi, and it was waiting for us by the time we got to the front door of the lodge.

Let me preface this by saying that most of our experiences with taxis in Disney World were excellent. They were prompt and the drivers were pleasant. It was a very relaxing and low-stress way to travel. Then there was the driver we had for this particular taxi ride...

This taxi driver was CRAZY! :crazy: I'm seriously shocked that we didn't get into about four accidents on our way to the Grand Floridian. He swerved in and out of lanes, would speed up and then suddenly brake, and thought cutting off other vehicles was a wonderful game. What made it even worse is he listened to the strangest music I think Ive ever heard at the loudest possible volume. It took every bit of restraint I had to not scream, "STOP! Let me out and I'll WALK to the Grand Floridian!"

After that awful journey we (amazingly) arrived at the Grand Floridian in one piece. Plus, we arrived fast (I guess that's one point for the nutty taxi driver!).

Hello, Grand Floridian. You have NO IDEA how excited we are to see you!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/239.jpg


Anika LOVED the Grand Floridian. She's my history gal and loves the Victorian era, so this resort was right up her alley. It was really fantastic to see that lobby in person—it's even more beautiful than you can imagine.

(And now you're thinking, well, that's very nice... where are the pictures of this so-called beautiful lobby? I actually didn't take any this morning as we were planning to return later in the week. I promise we did return and I did take pictures which I will share in a future update!)

We were even more excited about our calm and relaxing breakfast since our stress levels had already peaked enough this morning. The Grand Floridian Café is located in the back corner on the first floor of the main building. Here is the entrance and a view of the restaurant:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/252.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/243.jpg


It was really quiet in there! If you're looking for a nice sport for a relaxed breakfast this would be a great choice. This was our view from the window behind us—very nice!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/244.jpg


Our waitress recommended we start with the fruit plate. Since I had nearly died that morning I thought a fruit plate was well deserved. It was a very pretty fruit plate:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/247.jpg


Along with our fruit selection, we also ordered our beverages. I knew exactly which beverage I wanted from this restaurant from the first time I saw it on a dining report (Stringbean&Wingnut, I'm looking at you!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/246.jpg

A chocolate frozen cappuccino!

Ahhh... I'm happy to report it was everything I'd dreamed it would be. As fancy coffee beverages are one of the few non-water items Anika will drink, she ordered one too. Definitely a stellar choice. :thumbsup2

With our beverages and fruit underway, we ordered our main dishes.

Anika ordered the Vanilla French Toast with bacon, complete with butter and syrup:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/250.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/251.jpg


I ordered the Smoked Salmon, which comes with tomatoes, red onions, eggs, cheese, and capers, all to be loaded on a bagel with cream cheese:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/248.jpg


Anika thought her French toast was excellent. As she allowed me to try a bite (or two), I would agree that it was very good. My smoked salmon was good as well, but I think I would order something different next time. It may be more fun to try something that is a specialty at that particular restaurant.

When our server came with the bill I explained that were were on the deluxe dining plan. If you are astute readers and noted the title at the beginning of this episode, you know exactly what happened next. Our waitress took one look at our card and immediately exclaimed that our drinks were not included on the dining plan. :confused: I'm sure I must have looked confused, as I know I've seen it on multiple dining reports (from people who had a dining plan!). Well, whatever works. That frozen cappuccino was worth it, even if I had to pay out of pocket.

Our waitress either felt pity for us (or she realized our drinks actually were on the dining plan) as we were not charged for them. :yay: Our first victory of the day! We left around five to nine and headed straight next door to the Magic Kingdom. We'd likely missed our chance to see the opening show (darn that extra time for the fruit plate!), but we would live.


Grand Floridian Café—Final Verdict
If you are looking for a quiet and tasty dining spot right next to a theme park this is an excellent choice. I don't think this will be on the top of our "must do" list every trip, but I think Anika wouldn't mind another order of that Vanilla French Toast. As for me, I would come back for another chocolate frozen cappuccino!


We got to climb the beautiful Grand Floridian staircase in order to reach the monorail on the second floor. Hello, monorail!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/253.jpg


I like that you can see other resort buildings (and palm trees!) from the monorail station:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/254.jpg


And, look! Here comes our monorail!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/255.jpg


It's great that so much magic is just a short ride away...

Up Next: Magic Kingdom

DisneyATlast
01-25-2013, 01:08 AM
Love the report! I'm trying to put together an itinerary for our (me, husband, 2 kids) first trip EVER late in the year, and it's hard since I don't know what's what and have horrible map reading skills! :rotfl:

I've been looking around at trip reports to get some ideas, but it's hard to go through page after page after page....of comments. I caught this one at the perfect time! :thumbsup2

So, do you ride the monorail from the Grand Floridian into the Magic Kingdom? Also, do you have to be staying in a deluxe resort to ride the monorail, and have some sort of pass to board?

We're planning to stay in a value resort and from what I gather, that involves riding a bus. I'm not sure how the transportation works if you eat breakfast at a different resort though. Hmmmm. popcorn::

Stringbean&Wingnut
01-25-2013, 05:00 AM
Yay!!! Glad you enjoyed the Frozen Cappuccino!!! :yay: (And yes, unless something recently changed, that should have been included in your DDxP.)

I've always wanted to try their French Toast, but the Steak and Eggs there keeps drawing me in!

Wow, your cab ride sounds a bit crazy!! Glad you all got there in one piece!

dawnmichele
01-25-2013, 05:43 PM
That frozen cappuccino looks incredible! I am putting it on my list of things to try to try!

debrapagliasotti
01-25-2013, 11:27 PM
Joining in!

We love VN -- delish!!

GFC is one that I have booked and cancelled, but I do ultimately want to end up there one day for bkfst. That french toast always sounds so good. And that fruit plate looked amazing!!

SimplyGoofy
01-26-2013, 09:10 PM
Reading about how you flew out of Omaha made me feel so nostalgic. My father is from Nebraska and as a child we would go there during the summer so I have a fondness for the area. :goodvibes

Anyhoo... I can't wait to read more.

I actually go to Omaha quite a bit as one of my dearest friends lives right next door (in Council Bluffs, Iowa).

Go, Huskers! :teeth:


So, do you ride the monorail from the Grand Floridian into the Magic Kingdom? Also, do you have to be staying in a deluxe resort to ride the monorail, and have some sort of pass to board?

We're planning to stay in a value resort and from what I gather, that involves riding a bus. I'm not sure how the transportation works if you eat breakfast at a different resort though. Hmmmm. popcorn::


:welcome: I'm so excited that you're planning your first trip! :woohoo: Thanks for joining! I hope you're able to pick up a few fun things (and feel free to ask questions)!


The quick and dirty on Disney Transportation: Any Disney guest is allowed to take any Disney transportation they like (bus, boat, or monorail). No tickets or passes of any kind are required. If you're at the bus stop or monorail station, they'll let you on!

As for early breakfast ADR's, you have two options. Option one is to take a bus (in your case) to a theme park and then switch to another bus (or boat, or monorail) to get to your desired resort. You have to switch as buses don't go directly from resort to resort (although sometimes nearby resorts will share a bus or boat). I found it easiest to do option two, which is to call a taxi for an early breakfast or late dinner reservation. This was faster and more direct.

I promise that it's much easier than it sounds. :thumbsup2

SimplyGoofy
01-26-2013, 09:20 PM
Yay!!! Glad you enjoyed the Frozen Cappuccino!!! :yay: (And yes, unless something recently changed, that should have been included in your DDxP.)

I've always wanted to try their French Toast, but the Steak and Eggs there keeps drawing me in!

Wow, your cab ride sounds a bit crazy!! Glad you all got there in one piece!

I thought the waitress didn't make much sense! :rolleyes:

Perhaps the cab driver wanted to make sure we were really awake for our day? If so, he succeeded! :scared1:


That frozen cappuccino looks incredible! I am putting it on my list of things to try to try!

It was very, very good. Highly recommended! :cloud9:


Joining in!

We love VN -- delish!!

GFC is one that I have booked and cancelled, but I do ultimately want to end up there one day for bkfst. That french toast always sounds so good. And that fruit plate looked amazing!!

:welcome: We really enjoyed Via Napoli... so much so that we have an ADR on the first night of our May trip! :banana:

I really wish I had ordered the french toast... my salmon was good, but that french toast was great!

SimplyGoofy
01-27-2013, 09:09 PM
Fantasyland Rush
Day 2—Part II

We arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 9:10 so we definitely missed the welcome show. Maybe next time!

I had to grab a few pictures of our walk into the Magic Kingdom:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/259.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/260.jpg


We bit the bullet and rented a locker that day. Our plans called for a very long day at (and around) Magic Kingdom, so we didn’t want to spend the whole day lugging coats and umbrellas and such. This was a great decision and I highly recommend it!

Our first stop was a Photopass photographer. This one was pretty fabulous and included a magic shot for us!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/Photo0023FourBySix.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/Photo0064FourBySix.jpg


As a side note, I really loved having the Photopass CD. The ability to crop, resize, and border to your heart’s content is pretty darn fun. Plus, we got some really nice pictures with both of us in them:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/Photo0056FourBySix.jpg


A walk down Main Street USA is simply not complete without close-up shot of the castle:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/263.jpg


In order to avoid the crowd gathered in front of the “Partners” statue, I took a different view and got this shot from the back:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/262.jpg


I rather liked it!

Now onto the attractions! Our original plan for the morning was to hit all of the major Fantasyland rides in usual “Touring Plan” order. The fact that we got into the park fifteen minutes late was not to our benefit for this plan of attack. So, we improvised a bit. We grabbed fastpasses for Peter Pan and then chose our first ride in Magic Kingdom:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2452.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/265.jpg


Yes, looking back, I can’t believe it either! :confused3 It’s a Small World is such a classic Disney attraction that I like to experience it at least once each trip, but it certainly isn’t my favorite! Anika is not a fan of the ride (I’d like to think the song is mostly to blame), but she humors me and agrees to go on it for me. What a nice travel companion she is!

Here’s a few photos of the “Happiest Cruise that Ever Sailed”:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/266.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/268.jpg


Look how empty this ride is—there’s absolutely no one on the boat in front of us:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/273.jpg


A few more views of IASM:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/275.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/278.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/280.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/283.jpg


Anika was no less than thrilled to have that particular “must do” was out of the way! We headed for another classic Disney attraction that both of us were more excited about:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2421.jpg


I took just a few shots before we got on our "Happy" cart:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/286.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/287.jpg


We both agreed that this was our favorite among the three MK slow-moving cart story rides. Yes, more than Peter Pan and more than Winnie the Pooh! We’re a bit sad it won’t be here the next time we visit. :sad1:

Next, it was time for a spin on some crazy, wild teacups:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/291.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/292.jpg


Is this a face of joy or what?!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/290.jpg


I’m so glad Anika is as big a fan of all the nutty rides that I am!


(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
01-27-2013, 09:17 PM
(continued from previous post)

We passed by Cinderel, er, I mean, Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel (which I never did ride—I’ll have to make up for that next time!).

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/295.jpg


We were out to try an attraction we’d never experienced before:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2419.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/296.jpg

We’re all ready with our 3-D glasses! :3dglasses

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/305.jpg


And, the verdict? What an awesome attraction! We’ve been missing something that involves The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and a crazed and frantic Donald Duck? Why have we never seen this before?! We both thought it was great. :thumbsup2

After finding a new favorite, it was time to enjoy an old favorite:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/307.jpg


I got a great shot of the horseless carriage:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/308.jpg

We were pretty excited about checking out the new queue. This was an excellent addition to an already excellent attraction!

We had a great time hanging out with these guys:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/309.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/310.jpg


We also really enjoyed the musical instruments and moving books, as well as the headstone that randomly leaked water:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/314.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/312.jpg


Finally, I had to get a shot of my favorite headstone:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/315.jpg


I always think that one is a riot. Don't mess with the wrong woman, buddy! :lmao:

Yo ho, yo ho—it’s time to meet up with our favorite band of pirates!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/321.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/317.jpg


Another Disney classic! I really liked the changes they made to this ride—the new part at the beginning as well as the surprise from the dive into the water… both excellent additions.

We had time for one more attraction before lunch, so we headed here:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/323.jpg


I know Anika had been in the treehouse before, but she didn’t remember it! We both thought it was rather fun and I had a great time getting a few pictures:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/332.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/336.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/346.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/351.jpg


Lunchtime! I was especially excited for this reservation as it was a bit of a “bonus”. Originally we’d planned to arrive on the 5th, but later decided to extend our trip by one day and arrive the day before. That allowed me to make three additional reservations—Via Napoli for dinner, GFC for breakfast, and what was up next… Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch. I was REALLY excited about it. :woohoo:

Up Next: Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern

blessedmom4
01-27-2013, 09:21 PM
Loved the latest update all the pretty smiles and the breakfast at GF looked scrumptious, especially the fruit!

luckylady
01-28-2013, 08:30 AM
Lots of fun before lunch. Wonderful pictures. WHat's the new begining to PoC. Haven't been on that one yet.

wiigirl
01-28-2013, 08:43 AM
Wonderful pictures! :goodvibes

Marsheliz
01-28-2013, 09:34 AM
HMM, I could go for a smoked salmon bagel right about now.. And your drink looked pretty darn great too.... ;)

I can't believe you had never done Mickey's Philharmonic before.. That is seriously one of the best things at MK :)

Can't wait to hear about Liberty Tree.. I remember eating there a super long time ago but would love to try it next time!

glennbo123
01-28-2013, 09:09 PM
Signing on, and I'm all caught up. I know it was a few chapters ago, but what was the deal with that lady on the plane? Talking about DisneyWorld will ruin her kids' trip? Get real, lady!

I'm glad you liked Animal Kingdom Lodge -- it's my favorite resort! :)

I've never had that cappucino-concoction that Stringbean steered you to, but it looks wonderful!

You're doing a great job making the most of your park-time and in looking at your Photopass pictures, it looks like you're having a great time.

Nice job on the TR....looking forward to more.

SimplyGoofy
01-29-2013, 11:43 AM
Loved the latest update all the pretty smiles and the breakfast at GF looked scrumptious, especially the fruit!

Thanks! We had a lot of fun at Magic Kingdom that morning. :)


Lots of fun before lunch. Wonderful pictures. WHat's the new begining to PoC. Haven't been on that one yet.

Watch as I won't quite get it right... the beginning of the ride has a bit more build up than I remember, including drifting by an empty boat and such before reaching the more "active" scenes. Also, (I think near the beginning?) the boat rushes down with a bit of a drop. It's not Spalsh Mountain, by any means, but certainly an unexpected rush. I thought they were great additions! :thumbsup2


Wonderful pictures! :goodvibes

:welcome: Thanks! I had a lot of fun with my camera.


HMM, I could go for a smoked salmon bagel right about now.. And your drink looked pretty darn great too.... ;)

I can't believe you had never done Mickey's Philharmonic before.. That is seriously one of the best things at MK :)

Can't wait to hear about Liberty Tree.. I remember eating there a super long time ago but would love to try it next time!

We loved Philharmagic! I can't believe we never did it either!


Signing on, and I'm all caught up. I know it was a few chapters ago, but what was the deal with that lady on the plane? Talking about DisneyWorld will ruin her kids' trip? Get real, lady!

I'm glad you liked Animal Kingdom Lodge -- it's my favorite resort! :)

I've never had that cappucino-concoction that Stringbean steered you to, but it looks wonderful!

You're doing a great job making the most of your park-time and in looking at your Photopass pictures, it looks like you're having a great time.

Nice job on the TR....looking forward to more.

:welcome: We LOVED AKL, and definitely plan to return there (whether we stay there or not!).

I don't know what was wrong with that lady... perhaps she hated to fly and the stress made her unreasonable? Who knows. :confused3

If you ever visit the GFC for breakfast, I highly recommend their frozen cappuccinos!

SimplyGoofy
01-29-2013, 10:39 PM
All Hail the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake
Day 2—Part III


It was time for our lunch right here:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/367.jpg


YAY!!! Liberty Tree Tavern, home of the OOEY GOOEY TOFFEE CAKE!!! (No, I was not excited AT ALL…) :laughing:

We checked in about fifteen minutes early, but they seated us after just a few minutes. We noticed that happened a lot on our trip, so it never hurts to show up a little early!

Here’s a shot of the lobby of the restaurant:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/355.jpg


We decided we weren’t hungry enough for two appetizers, so we decided to share the fabulous plate of Tavern Fried Cheese:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/361.jpg


I LOVE cheese. If I ever become lactose intolerant I will be a very sad gal.

I also had to take a picture of my Sprite (not so much for the boring beverage, but more so for the fun mug!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/357.jpg


Anika ordered her usual water. Shockingly, no picture.

While we were waiting for our main dishes, I took a few pictures of our seating area of the restaurant, as well as this picture of Anika:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/360.jpg

We’ll refer to this as her, “Really, Jen? You’re taking ANOTHER picture of me?” face. I have an entire collection of increasingly amusing Anika pictures with an increasingly annoyed expression as the week went on. I thought they were hysterical. :rotfl:

Thankfully, our food arrived quickly and Anika was spared from more pictures (for the moment, at least!).

I ordered the Tri-Corner Sandwich (roast beef, swiss, and horseradish on focaccia) with a side of New England Clam Chowder, and most importantly, a pickle:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/362.jpg


I was in no way surprised with Anika’s order—the Angus Chuck (without cheese) Burger with a side of fries and another pickle:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/363.jpg


She ADORED this hamburger and fries. I heard about how good these fries were for the rest of the week! My soup was quite good (it’s hard to beat clam chowder from Quincy Market in Boston, but this was tasty), but… I hated the sandwich. :eek: I have no idea why, as I love roast beef and focaccia and don’t even mind horseradish! Perhaps I caught the chef on a bad day and he decided to take it out on my sandwich? Who knows… next time I’ll try something else. Anika felt bad for me and gave me her pickle.

(I realize I’ve seemed quite ho-hum or disappointed in all of my choices—don’t worry! My ability to pick a suitable entrée improves dramatically in future meals!)

Now, it was time for the BEST PART OF THE MEAL… I hoped. We put our order in for one Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake (extra gooey, please!). Here it was:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/366.jpg


Unfortunately, we were so stuffed from the rest of our lunch that we just couldn’t bring ourselves to make room for it. :sad2:



...



...



...



...



...



Um, yeah, I wouldn’t have believed me either. ;)

Anika and I polished off the whole darn thing. I will joyfully say that this dessert ABSOLUTELY lives up to all of the hype it receives on the DisBoards (and the Disney Food Blog, and about five million other Disney-related websites) because it was AWESOME. We would’ve ordered another one if only we hadn’t thought our eyes would cause our stomachs to explode at the sight of more food.


Final Verdict—Liberty Tree Tavern
Even though Magic Kingdom choices are a little slim to begin with we really loved Liberty Tree Tavern. All of our food was good (mine tasted fine even though I wasn’t in love with it) and Anika couldn’t stop talking about her darn french fries for the rest of the week. I’m STILL hearing about these french fries. Not as much, however, as I’m hearing (and thinking!) about that fabulous, fantastic, phenomenal dessert. Yum, yum, and more yum. :worship:

But no, we’ll never return.

(Kidding. We already booked another ADR for May.) :banana:


Up Next: More fun in the Magic Kingdom

blessedmom4
01-29-2013, 11:17 PM
Thank... you...very...much...Now I must eat at Liberty Tree Tavern...the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake looked delicious! :goodvibes

You two ladies take great pics! :thumbsup2 I look forward to the increasingly annoying ones that Big Sis took though.

Stringbean&Wingnut
01-30-2013, 05:47 AM
Hahahaha DF always does the "increasingly annoyed as the trip progresses" photos too! :rotfl:

Sorry to hear that you weren't a fan of your sandwich. We had the pot roast, and LOVED it! Isn't that cake awesome though???

Aussiesalad
01-30-2013, 06:14 AM
Sounds like such a fantastic morning! I can't believe I have never started my day with a frozen cappuccino!! That must change next trip!!

Those photopass pics are adorable! You guys look great!

Ahhh we love philharmagic so much! I love how good it smells in there!!

The Ooey Gooey toffee cake looks amazing! I'm glad it kind of made up for your mediocre sandwich.

amathieu3
02-05-2013, 02:57 PM
Love the report so far. Going on a trip with my sister in April. Though we are bringing some our kids.

SimplyGoofy
02-05-2013, 10:11 PM
Thank... you...very...much...Now I must eat at Liberty Tree Tavern...the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake looked delicious! :goodvibes

You two ladies take great pics! :thumbsup2 I look forward to the increasingly annoying ones that Big Sis took though.

It WAS delicious!

Thanks for the compliment on the photos! The increasingly annoyed Anika pictures are pretty darn funny... :laughing:


Hahahaha DF always does the "increasingly annoyed as the trip progresses" photos too! :rotfl:

Sorry to hear that you weren't a fan of your sandwich. We had the pot roast, and LOVED it! Isn't that cake awesome though???

I love that other people take those photos, too!

I may have to try the pot roast next time - I love pot roast! And yes, the cake is absolutely awesome!


Sounds like such a fantastic morning! I can't believe I have never started my day with a frozen cappuccino!! That must change next trip!!

Those photopass pics are adorable! You guys look great!

Ahhh we love philharmagic so much! I love how good it smells in there!!

The Ooey Gooey toffee cake looks amazing! I'm glad it kind of made up for your mediocre sandwich.

My cappuccino was fantastic!

We loved PhilharMagic, too! I can't believe we've never done it before.

(In case you couldn't tell from all my previous exclaimations...) that cake WAS amazing! :worship:


Love the report so far. Going on a trip with my sister in April. Though we are bringing some our kids.

:welcome: Thanks! I'm thrilled that you joined in!

SimplyGoofy
02-05-2013, 10:22 PM
Bring on the Mountains!
Day 2—Part IV

Full of Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake, it was time for more fun! We thought it might be a good idea to let our food digest a bit, so we headed over to the calm (and seated!) Hall of Presidents:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/370_zps49e1db93.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/369_zps0b086e82.jpg


Anika LOVES the Hall of Presidents and was pretty excited to experience it again. We took a few photos before the show started, including this nice one of the atrium:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/372_zps96cd4f45.jpg


After our exploration of American presidential history, we headed for another favorite attraction that involved prolonged sitting (that cake takes some time to digest!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/375_zps79a19d83.jpg


I’m sure I’m not in the minority here on the DisBoards, but I LOVE the Carousel of Progress! I’m rather baffled at the folks who don’t “get” it or like it since it’s so fantastic. I’m even more baffled by the people who say their kids won’t like it since my 16 year old sister LOVES it!

When we finished singing along to the Carousel of Progress (please tell me that other people also start singing along!), we took a spin on the TTA:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2500_zps20c06559.jpg


Isn’t the Peoplemover the best? There’s never a wait, you get out of the sun, and there’s so much to see! I love the full, seated tour of Tomorrowland…

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/383_zps94b1bc1e.jpg

This is as close as we’ll be getting to this attraction:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/384_zps827bdb6a.jpg

I know it's popular with young kids, but I think until I come with young kids it's one I can pass by. :rolleyes:

A view more views from our relaxing ride:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/398_zps580e078f.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/402_zps36783230.jpg


Before our trip, my research unfolded the fact that you could collect Fastpasses and use them any time during the day. I’m rather sad that this is no longer the case as I got pretty darn good at collecting them. Here was my Fastpass stash by 2:15 in the afternoon:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/404_zpsc5428d32.jpg

:yay:

I was rather proud. :thumbsup2 It’s too bad I won’t be able to have the same collection next time (and don’t even get me started on this Fastpass Plus business…)

By this point our window was open for Buzz Lightyear!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/407_zps255483bf.jpg


Onward, Space Rangers!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/412_zpsa740f404.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/414_zpscc3f620a.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/415_zps164a76c2.jpg


We had fairly abysmal scores, but still had good time:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/420_zps912b181e.jpg


(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
02-05-2013, 10:37 PM
(continued from previous post)

It was time for to try another new ride (for us)—Splash Mountain!

We were both quite excited for another mountain adventure (as we love Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad). We had never experienced it before since Splash Mountain didn’t exist when I visited as a young child, and our last two trips have been in the winter months when it’s been under refurbishment.

I must have been a little nervous about the water and its possible effects on my camera, as this was my only Splash Mountain picture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2589_zps3710707b.jpg


What did we think? While we thought it was fun (and will certainly do it each trip), we weren’t exactly overwhelmed. The storyline and scenery were interesting but it didn’t upset any of our current favorites. Perhaps I'd built up the idea of it so much since many people seem to love it?

While crossing the park to ride another mountain, we had to stop for a journey through Neverland:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2599_zps91720716.jpg


I love that you ride your own ship through this ride!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2415_zpsbcfc3156.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2418_zps937d6c80.jpg


After the pirate ship, it was onto the spaceship!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2478_zpsa3bce7ba.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2480_zps4c680aa3.jpg


I didn't take any pictures of the ride itself, but did take a few of the line (and a rocket!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2624_zps3538820b.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/2625_zpsa0f8a922.jpg


We haven’t been on Space Mountain since the refurbishment and we LOVED it! I realize Space Mountain is essentially a mad mouse coaster put in the dark, but as it’s now REALLY DARK it was awesome. It’s a pretty exciting ride since you have absolutely no idea where you’re going next. :woohoo:

We had one final ride before we headed across the Seven Seas Lagoon:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/424_zpsc6837b8b.jpg


It was time for a cruise in the jungle!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/425_zps90575c3e.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/426_zps50d3505b.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/433_zps5e404ce9.jpg


I realize the ride is a little hokey (especially when compared with the live versions over at Animal Kingdom) but I can’t imagine a Disney vacation without the Jungle Cruise. :love:

Your skipper can make or break your cruise experience… and ours was FANTASTIC. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t record that entire cruise because she was easily the best skipper we’ve ever had. It included the usual quips, such as the “backside of water”:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/435_zpsa8ec02bf.jpg

A view before the tunnel:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/436_zps99853d1a.jpg


You can't forget about the elephants (or a few elephant butts!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/440_zps9e4c67f5.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/442_zps22cc35f5.jpg


Our great ride and phenomenal skipper was the perfect way to end the afternoon. :thumbsup2

We had dinner plans at the Poly and thought it would be fun to explore the resort before dinner. We also thought it would be a nice break!

It was off to see the Poly! :banana:


Up next: Relaxing at the Polynesian

Marsheliz
02-06-2013, 10:19 AM
Peter Pan is secretly my favorite ride at MK! ;)

It came out on DVD yesterday and I can't wait to get it! :cool1:

SimplyGoofy
02-06-2013, 09:09 PM
Peter Pan is secretly my favorite ride at MK! ;)

It came out on DVD yesterday and I can't wait to get it! :cool1:

I love a ride that gives you your very own pirate ship!

I only wish it wasn't so darn dark in there so I could actually get a decent non-flash picture! :laughing:

SimplyGoofy
02-06-2013, 09:17 PM
A Hammock at the Poly
Day 2—Part V


One very short resort monorail ride later, we had our first look at the Polynesian!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/445_zps4578822d.jpg


WOW. This resort was beautiful! We admired the interior decoration, plants, (and water feature!) of the Great Ceremonial House as we sped past it… but we had a destination in mind.

We did stop (briefly) along the way to grab a picture of the decorative resort map:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/450_zpsec5f61b4.jpg

We then bolted past the pool and onto the beach in order to find… the hammocks.

Here’s me:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/460_zps447d1264.jpg


And here was my view:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/462_zps717645ef.jpg


This. Was. Heaven. I’m telling all of you, after a crazy day of hopping all over Magic Kingdom, kicking back in these hammocks was the best plan ever. :cloud9:

Anika enjoyed it so much she fell asleep!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/463_zpsc68eed34.jpg


After a bit of relaxing, the usual hyper Jenny was ready to do a bit of exploring. I left Anika in her hammock and ventured out to take a few pictures of the beautiful grounds of and around the Polynesian. Here was the view from the beach:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/465_zps991cb4bf.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/455_zps4a939b51.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/456_zpse5e98a4d.jpg


Fabulous, no? I also had to get a few shots of the boat dock and the different Poly longhouses. I’m especially excited that I got a decent picture of the Hawaii longhouse—you can see (what I think is) the Kamehameha Club-Level two-story lounge!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/466_zps5c77c33a.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/470_zps0045dc01.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/476_zps365cbcc8.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/468_zpsf7dc6eb3.jpg


I also had to get a shot of this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/469_zps5ee82e09.jpg


Does anyone else think it’s awesome that Disney even themes their TRASH CANS?!

Once I’d finished wandering, I grabbed Anika from her glorious hammock so we could make our way back to the GCH for dinner. On the way, we grabbed a picture of the famous Poly volcano pool:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/452_zpsa0e32508.jpg


It looked really fun! I can definitely see that this pool would be a major perk of staying here. (Along with close access to those fabulous beach hammocks!)

We made our way back into the GCH, and finally slowed down to take a few pictures:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/479_zpsd7875294.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/446_zpsca2fd357.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/447_zps7d8496bb.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/449_zps88d0b69c.jpg


Yes, it really is as lovely as it looks in everyone’s pictures! One thing you cannot get from other’s trip reports is the smell… it’s HEAVENLY. Disney theming is at its best here because it really feels like they plopped you in the middle of a tropical paradise. (Yes, I may have been rather enamored with the Polynesian…)

I also made Anika try out one of the cool chairs:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/480_zpsca4b6ad8.jpg


After running up and down the stairs a few times for the pictures, it was five o’clock and time for dinner!

Bring on the meat!


Up Next: Dinner at ‘Ohana!

SimplyGoofy
02-06-2013, 09:27 PM
Aloha!
Day 2—Part VI


Here we were, excited for a much-anticipated meal at the famous 'Ohana!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/485_zps7d1b4d8c.jpg


As we had an early reservation, we were seated in a fairly empty restaurant. It was also very nice that they seated us at a table for four—more room for the food!

We started with the pineapple and coconut Welcome Bread:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/486_zpsb0d83103.jpg


It was quite tasty, but we were very good and only had a bit. ;)

Anika ordered her usual water, and I very excitedly ordered a top-rated Disney adult beverage:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/491_zps2f174506.jpg


A PINA COLAVA! :woohoo:

It was glorious! I think mine was a bit heavy on the raspberry (at least as compared to most other pictures I’ve seen of the beverage), but I love raspberry so that wasn’t a problem. It was DELICIOUS and worth every bit of the $8.25 I paid for it!

I believe we got our leis on our way into the restaurant (I think that sounds right, but it’s been so long that I’m not sure!), but we didn’t walk out of there with just one. There was a guy that wandered around covered in them, and he found every opportunity possible to stop by our table and gift us with another one! He even artfully placed one on each of our heads! It was so fun and fabulous that we kept them there through the whole meal. (It’s nice that they spread Disney magic around to the older “kids” as well!)

Now that we were appropriately “lei’ed” and bevereaged, it was time for the food onslaught to begin!

First, the delightful Mixed Greens Salad with Honey Lime Dressing:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/489_zpse38cd43e.jpg


Along with the Pork Fried Dumplings (or, to most people, pot stickers) and the Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/494_zpsa4db847b.jpg


Holy cow! Did you see how many pot stickers and wings they brought for two (fairly tiny) people?! :eek: I don’t know how they expected us to eat even half of those, but we tried our very best. Anika learned that she LOVES pot stickers on this vacation, so she did her part and finished off a good half dozen. I split my appetizer stomach room between the pot stickers and the wings.

Oh, and that salad! I loved it! It’s a very nice, “light” addition to an otherwise heavy meal, so it was quite a treat!

One course down, and still lots of food to come! Here’s the Noodles with Teriyaki Sauce and the Stir-Fried Vegetables (broccoli and snow peas):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/495_zps05d2c4ea.jpg


Anika was pretty excited about both of these, as she loves anything with a noodle, and broccoli is her absolute favorite vegetable. (She’s a weird kid, what can I say?) I’m pretty sure I explained the ‘Ohana menu before we got there, but she was practically beside herself when they set broccoli on the table!

Now, bring on the meat!

First, our fabulous dipping sauces (Pineapple Sweet and Sour, Chimichurri, and Peanut)—I tried and enjoyed all of them!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/490_zpsea334748.jpg


The meat came out fast and furious. In a matter of minutes, my plate went from looking like this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/500_zpsec8b1a99.jpg


To this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/501_zpsf72e7b73.jpg


The meat variety includes Oak Grilled Chicken, Asian Barbequed Pork Loin, Marinated Sirloin Steak, and Spicy Peel-n-Eat Shrimp.

We both enjoyed all four meats, but I think the steak and the shrimp were my favorites. Peeling the shrimp was a bit of a pain the rear end, but it was worth it as they were very good. The shrimp were Anika’s favorite as well.

Here’s Anika enjoying her meat:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/503_zpsfbf86528.jpg


Notice all the leis? :rotfl2:

Finally, it was time for the ‘Ohana Bread Pudding, with bananas, caramel sauce, and ice cream!

I failed on the pre- and post-sauce photos, so all I have is the after:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/505_zps9a994a66.jpg


Yes, it tasted every bit as good as it looked. :cloud9:

We were now three for three on awesome desserts for the day (yes, I’m counting my frozen cappuccino as my breakfast “dessert” because gosh, it practically was a dessert!). Ah, dessert—the best part of any meal. :thumbsup2

Fully stuffed but still mobile (yay, us!) we left ‘Ohana about an hour after we arrived. I grabbed a few photos of the restaurant on our way out:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/508_zps6583f28b.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/509_zps13a2e69f.jpg


(Next time, I’m walking right up to those grills to get a close-up shot of the cooking meat! I don’t even care if they think I’m nuts!)


Final Verdict—‘Ohana
Delicious. Absolutely delicious. Yes, it’s a load and a half of food, but there wasn’t anything we had that wasn’t tasty. Anika adored the pot stickers, I loved the salad, and both of us were crazy for those shrimp. The dessert is an excellent way to top off the meal (even if you’re so full by that point that it’s a little tough to eat it!). It does get a little noisy in there (and a little dark, if you’re not sitting in the middle of the room) but I thought the atmosphere really added to our dining experience rather than take away from it. Even if they keep the new changes, we would still love to come back! I can handle a little fruit in my salad, and as long as they don’t take away the pot stickers, Anika will be happy!


After an excellent dinner, it was time to climb back on the monorail for some Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom!


Up Next: Even More Magic Kingdom (in the dark!)

debrapagliasotti
02-06-2013, 11:42 PM
YUMMMMMMMY ooey gooey toffee cake (the only highlight to our LTT ADR)


And even more yum...Ohana bread pudding!! Oh goodness how I could go for a big bowl of that right now! ;)

Marsheliz
02-07-2013, 09:37 AM
We went to Ohana's for breakfast this past September and I totally agree the Poly is AWESOME! Man wouldnt that be nice to swim in the pool!!

I might have to try the dinner there- I wish it was characters though, with two small kids- we normally just do the sit down character meals.. Maybe when they are older!

emmysmommy
02-08-2013, 12:21 AM
Hi there Jenny I now caught up!

Starting with GFC - we LOVE that place! I'm with your sister in that I'm their french toast lover. I've never ordered anything else there since they are THAT good!

Are you trying to tell us that you are not a huge Peter Pan ride fan?? You would rather ride Snow White's Scary Adventure? Ok, I'll overlook that but at least you love Carousel of Progress!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that attraction!! Everyone should sing along .... it's a big bright beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day...

LTT is another favorite of ours. So glad that you are a fellow ooey gooey toffee cake lover! :thumbsup2 You and your sister were there just a week or two before us in Feb. last year. When we ordered the fried cheese we only got the logs. Boo! You got the last of the cheese nuggets. ;) Sorry you didn't like the tri-corner sandwich. Another menu item that was ushered out the back door when they changed the menu. And those fries... oh my! So good!

We tried Ohana (dinner) for the first time last trip and I LOVE that place! The bread pudding is definitely worthy of all the praise. :worship:

I'm looking forward to reading so much more! :upsidedow

WanderlustNZ
02-08-2013, 01:19 PM
Thanks for a great TR. I'm really enjoying reading along and the food pics are making me drool. :-)

Stringbean&Wingnut
02-08-2013, 01:55 PM
Your dinner at Ohana looks really good! Love all of the leis!! :laughing:

SimplyGoofy
02-14-2013, 11:50 AM
YUMMMMMMMY ooey gooey toffee cake (the only highlight to our LTT ADR)


And even more yum...Ohana bread pudding!! Oh goodness how I could go for a big bowl of that right now! ;)

It was a GREAT day of desserts. :)


We went to Ohana's for breakfast this past September and I totally agree the Poly is AWESOME! Man wouldnt that be nice to swim in the pool!!

I might have to try the dinner there- I wish it was characters though, with two small kids- we normally just do the sit down character meals.. Maybe when they are older!

Even though there aren't characters, there is certainly entertainment (coconut races, parades, etc.), but maybe if they're a bit older they'll love it even more. :lovestruc


Hi there Jenny I now caught up!

Starting with GFC - we LOVE that place! I'm with your sister in that I'm their french toast lover. I've never ordered anything else there since they are THAT good!

Are you trying to tell us that you are not a huge Peter Pan ride fan?? You would rather ride Snow White's Scary Adventure? Ok, I'll overlook that but at least you love Carousel of Progress!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that attraction!! Everyone should sing along .... it's a big bright beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day...

LTT is another favorite of ours. So glad that you are a fellow ooey gooey toffee cake lover! :thumbsup2 You and your sister were there just a week or two before us in Feb. last year. When we ordered the fried cheese we only got the logs. Boo! You got the last of the cheese nuggets. ;) Sorry you didn't like the tri-corner sandwich. Another menu item that was ushered out the back door when they changed the menu. And those fries... oh my! So good!

We tried Ohana (dinner) for the first time last trip and I LOVE that place! The bread pudding is definitely worthy of all the praise. :worship:

I'm looking forward to reading so much more! :upsidedow


Don't get me wrong - I do like Peter Pan! For some reason, though, Anika and I really enjoyed Snow White this time. I know we'd been on it on other trips... perhaps it was the nostalgia factor since the ride was going away? :confused3

As much as I love thrill rides, I adore the Carousel of Progress. :cloud9:

I'm glad you like 'Ohana! I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype, but we really enjoyed it!


Thanks for a great TR. I'm really enjoying reading along and the food pics are making me drool. :-)

:welcome: Thanks for reading! There are many more food pics to come... :banana:


Your dinner at Ohana looks really good! Love all of the leis!! :laughing:

I was pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it!

Weren't the leis a hoot?! :rotfl:

SimplyGoofy
02-14-2013, 11:51 AM
I'm sorry about my long period of time between posts - life has been busy!

I promise to get another segment (maybe two!) up tonight!

Golden Amik
02-14-2013, 07:15 PM
Beautiful recap and pictures! We arrive at AKL March 9. Looking forward to all of it, but will enjoy your TR in the meantime!

SimplyGoofy
02-14-2013, 11:21 PM
Beautiful recap and pictures! We arrive at AKL March 9. Looking forward to all of it, but will enjoy your TR in the meantime!

Thank you! And :welcome:

You will LOVE the Animal Kingdom Lodge - I know we did! I have a collection of AKL pictures coming up on Day 3!

SimplyGoofy
02-14-2013, 11:38 PM
I didn’t wish for rain!
Day 2—Part VII


We arrived at Magic Kingdom and marched straight to a Photopass photographer:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/Photo0073FourBySix_zps93cee4ea.jpg


I love how the main gate looks at night! Isn’t it stunning? I love it so much that I took another picture of it as we passed:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/511_zps57348781.jpg


Now my trip reporting gets a bit fuzzy. I know we walked through here…

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/515_zpsbdaad457.jpg


…and the only reason I know that is because I have a picture of it! My next picture comes about a half an hour later. I have no clue what we did during that half hour (as it was a year ago and I didn’t take very good notes that evening!), but needless to say, I’m sure we did something fun! My best guess is that we went on the Carousel of Progress again (as it is the most fun and entertaining attraction to do while digesting!).

As I have photographic evidence, I do know where we went next! We cashed in our Fastpasses for Winnie the Pooh. This was the only attraction all week where we were warned about being outside of our return time (a bit of foreshadowing for the months to come!).

As it was dark, I only took one picture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/517_zps77b9b3cd.jpg


An odd photo choice, you say? If any of you are familiar with RAGBRAI (an annual bicycle trip across Iowa) it may make more sense… one of my close friends is on a RAGBRAI team called the “Killer Bees.” I took a picture of the sign as a souvenir for him. He loved it!

Winnie the Pooh is another great dark ride… although it’s probably my least favorite of the Fantasyland Three, it’s still a fun and brightly colored ride. I do love the scene where Mr. Toad is handing the deed to Owl. Although I don’t really remember Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, I do know that I really loved it.

After our colorful journey through the hundred acre wood, it was time to stake out a spot for the fireworks.

I’ll let you in on a secret… until this vacation I had never seen the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

:scared1:

I know, right? I love fireworks (and had seen Illuminations several times), but my family was one of “those families” during the evening entertainment who take advantage of the super-short lines rather than watching. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but this time I was determined to see the fireworks!

We picked a spot just outside and over the bridge of Tomorrowland. We got there in time to see The Memories, the Magic and You… and it was ADORABLE. It was totally awesome that they managed to “color” the castle, and the photos that they showed were super cute. My only (minor) gripe is they showed the photos really fast, so by the time you figured out what you were looking at, they’d already moved on to the next one! Despite that, it was a really fun thing to see.

Next up was Wishes! I’m terribly sorry, but I do not have one picture of Wishes (at least not from tonight!). I had totally lost my mind before this vacation and bought an actual video camera. Instead of photographing MM&Y and Wishes, I was determined to videotape them!

My only wrinkle in this plan was an unforeseen circumstance—rain! Just as the show was beginning it began sprinkling. It was pretty minor for me to call it actual rain, but the last thing I wanted to do was damage my brand new video camera! Therefore, I did what any normal person would do—I used my raincoat as an umbrella of sorts in order to cover both me and the camera! Worked like a charm.

One of my favorite moments from the video (other than the fireworks themselves) was Anika’s reaction to seeing Tinkerbell fly:

Anika: “Wait…was that a person?”
Jenny: “Oh yeah, that was a real person!”
Anika: “Wow!”

“Wow” pretty much sums up my entire Wishes experience—I LOVED it. Absolutely and totally loved it. I loved the music, the storyline, and, of course, the fantastic fireworks! Not only had we accomplished a goal of actually viewing the Magic Kingdom fireworks, but they were great!

With Wishes done and the crowd breaking up, we turned and walked back into Tomorrowland and took a spin on the TTA. I was determined to ride it at night in order to see all the fun lights! This was another videotaped attraction, so we are picture-less once again.

We redeemed our second Space Mountain Fastpass of the day:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/520_zps8e883bd4.jpg


It was still fantastic. :thumbsup2

I took a few pictures of Tomorrowland on our walk out:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/523_zpsd5a26ed5.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/524_zpsdaeddfd2.jpg


(No, we did not actually “ride” Stitch’s Great Escape—we did it once, and once was enough!)

We also stopped for a Photopass picture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/Photo0079FourBySix_zpse37070c6.jpg


I also had to stop and take a picture of the Mickey and Minnie topiary:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/528_zpsbd7e8295.jpg


Next we had a bit too much fun in front of the castle! Everyone else was (of course) taking pictures of the castle and the Partners statue. Don’t get me wrong, I took a castle picture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/529_zps54a0c091.jpg


But then we had a great time taking pictures with all the little statues that surround the Partner’s statue!

Here’s me with a certain big-eared guy:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/531_zps47d5d250.jpg


Next was Anika with everyone’s favorite duck!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/534_zps4fab71ef.jpg


We also highlighted the sometimes missed Jiminy Cricket!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/536_zps99344b9b.jpg


Finally, Anika posed with Br’er Rabbit. (That’s Br’er Rabbit, isn’t it?)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/544_zpseb893a87.jpg


We also took a few pictures of the cute statues without us in them:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/532_zps02e88e1b.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/538_zps31529426.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/542_zps0175e32d.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/545_zps8189da35.jpg


We had SO MUCH FUN doing this! Such an activity is certainly not on any published touring plan, but this proves how important it is to do some offbeat and random things during a Disney vacation. They usually end up being really memorable!

(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
02-14-2013, 11:52 PM
(continued from previous post)

Believe it or not, we were hungry! Anika passed by an ice cream cart and just had to have this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/546_zps31d5ccd7.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/549_zpsfd42fe8a.jpg


The Mickey Cookies and Cream Sandwich! This was the first of several she ate during the week—and she vows to get one every single day of our vacation this year! Needless to say, she loved her snack.

I was determined to have a “must-try” snack—a Dole Whip Float! To Adventureland, we go:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/551_zps55eff30b.jpg


Right to Aloha Aisle:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/591_zps97758af5.jpg


Here it is!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/553_zps8e669c0d.jpg


I can certainly see the appeal, but it wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. :eek: I adore pineapple so I expected to love it, but I think it was almost too much pineapple for me. I’ve read that you can get vanilla ice cream with the pineapple juice—now that sounds really good and I’d love to try it!

With our stomachs happy, we walked right on to the Jungle Cruise. It was really fun to ride it in the dark!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/554_zpsdf28ac15.jpg


Next we went on the nearly empty Magic Carpets of Aladdin. It was the closest we could get to having a Dumbo experience as they’d closed and moved the ride just a week or two before we arrived.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/557_zps117ed9f2.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/556_zps93bcffce.jpg


I love all of the water feature camels!

We finished our evening with another climb of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/559_zps91138d77.jpg


It was a peculiar choice, perhaps, but Anika thought it might be fun to do in the dark. She was right! It was really fun to be climbing through a lit treehouse in the dark, and the best part:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/566_zps4a5eda42.jpg


There were almost no people on it!

During the day, you have to walk in a constantly moving line of people through the entire treehouse. There are a few places you can stop, but for the most part, you move with the crowd. I bet we were two of about a dozen people on the entire structure, so it was a lot of fun!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/560_zpsfb91bf83.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/561_zps9d06c862.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/578_zpsb1c72a17.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/573_zpsf18d3a58.jpg


I think next time we’ll just do the Swiss Family Treehouse once it gets dark. ;)

We had been at Magic Kingdom for almost THIRTEEN HOURS at this point (minus our jaunt to the Poly), so we decided to call it a day. We made one pit stop at the Main Street Bakery for Anika to get this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%20Feb%202012%20Day%202/600_zps2cb218d3.jpg


A losing team cupcake. :rotfl:

This particular Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday, but we didn’t watch it as we were playing in Magic Kingdom! We didn’t actually know who had won and lost when we bought the cupcake, but as we didn’t have an affiliation with either team we just told them to give us either one.

Although the cupcake wasn’t a winner (in the technical sense—in the culinary sense Anika thought it was quite tasty!), the day certainly was! We had accomplished a huge amount of things that day… tons of attractions, three table service meals, a few snacks, lounging at the Poly, and our first-ever viewing of Wishes! It had been a great day. :teeth:

In case anyone is ever curious about how much walking you ever do at Disney World… Anika decided to wear a pedometer during our trip. We weren’t as good at remembering it as the week went on, but as it was our first full day we have results! Anika walked 13.9 miles that day—more distance than a half marathon! Yikes! Considering all my Fastpass running and my wandering solo tour of the Poly grounds, I don’t even want to know how many miles I walked that day! :crazy2:

We went right to bed once we got back to the lodge—we had an early breakfast date with royalty!


Up Next: Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Stringbean&Wingnut
02-15-2013, 05:40 AM
I don't blame you for normally choosing rides over the fireworks - the short lines are very tempting!! :thumbsup2

Love your pictures of the little statues! Agreed, some of the best Disney moments aren't a part of park touring plans!

Great idea, the Treehouse at night! :thumbsup2

Marsheliz
02-15-2013, 11:07 AM
I am just now realizing that is was last year .. :)

I am shocked you had never seen Wishes, I love Wishes and dont tell anyone, but sometimes I cry.. :)

ProudMommyof2
02-15-2013, 03:18 PM
I have read everything and what a great trip for sisters! Can't wait to hear more!

emmysmommy
02-16-2013, 03:15 AM
Yay for MM&Y AND Wishes! Honestly, I shed a tear when near the end of MM&Y Walt delivers his "welcome.." speech. And I agree that the photos go wayyy too quickly.

Wow! that's amazing how much walking you do at WDW. I bought a pedometer our first girl trip and promptly lost it by day 4. I think I recall logging nearly 11 miles one day at Epcot so yeah, that's crazy! :eek:

I keep meaning to try a Dole Whip float - it's still on my one day list. Maybe next time.

Sounds like an awesome day at MK. :thumbsup2

blessedmom4
02-18-2013, 05:26 AM
I am (FINALLY) all caught up! Your night pictures are AMAZING and the food pics just make me want breakfast! :lmao:
I SO love the joy between you and your sister...I hope my girls continue that as they grow up. :goodvibes

SimplyGoofy
02-18-2013, 06:24 PM
I don't blame you for normally choosing rides over the fireworks - the short lines are very tempting!! :thumbsup2

Love your pictures of the little statues! Agreed, some of the best Disney moments aren't a part of park touring plans!

Great idea, the Treehouse at night! :thumbsup2

We loved our time with the statues! No one else seemed to be paying attention to them and they seemed a bit lonely. :hug:

The treehouse at night was great! I think we plan to do the same thing next time!


I am just now realizing that is was last year .. :)

I am shocked you had never seen Wishes, I love Wishes and dont tell anyone, but sometimes I cry.. :)

Yes, I wasn't really on the ball with starting this report at a reasonable time... :rotfl:

I won't tell a soul! Don't feel too bad - not only did I cry during the actual show, I even tear up when watching the video!


I have read everything and what a great trip for sisters! Can't wait to hear more!

:welcome: Thanks for joining in!

We had an EXCELLENT time - it was the perfect destination for us!


Yay for MM&Y AND Wishes! Honestly, I shed a tear when near the end of MM&Y Walt delivers his "welcome.." speech. And I agree that the photos go wayyy too quickly.

Wow! that's amazing how much walking you do at WDW. I bought a pedometer our first girl trip and promptly lost it by day 4. I think I recall logging nearly 11 miles one day at Epcot so yeah, that's crazy! :eek:

I keep meaning to try a Dole Whip float - it's still on my one day list. Maybe next time.

Sounds like an awesome day at MK. :thumbsup2

It was a fabulous day! I was disappointed that I didn't love the Dole Whip Float, but I'm sure there's a few "must have" snacks that I loved that other's are ho-hum about.

I couldn't believe how many miles we covered! I know you do a lot of walking at Disney, but it's incredible when you see how many miles you actually cover! :crazy2:


I am (FINALLY) all caught up! Your night pictures are AMAZING and the food pics just make me want breakfast! :lmao:
I SO love the joy between you and your sister...I hope my girls continue that as they grow up. :goodvibes


I'm glad my food photos have that effect - that means I must've picked the right setting for my camera! :laughing:

My sister is pretty awesome. We have our moments, but we really enjoy spending time with one another and had a GREAT time on this trip! I wish everyone had a sister as great as Anika (but I know I'm a pretty lucky gal). ;)

SimplyGoofy
02-18-2013, 07:09 PM
Breakfast with the Princesses
Day 3—Monday, February 6th


Today was a very exciting day—it was our first pre-park opening breakfast! :banana:

I didn't even know such a thing existed before I stumbled upon the DisBoards. What an excellent idea—you can try a bunch of fun places for breakfast, but can eat early enough that it doesnt interfere with your park touring time. A definite win-win!

We arrived at Epcot right at 8:00. The best part about these early breakfasts is the lack of people:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/608_zps4aac7e72.jpg


Look at the turnstiles! Not ONE person! :eek:

The lack of people continued with a great shot of the Epcot ball and the Leave a Legacy statues:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/609_zps416aa85b.jpg


I don't think they had any Photopass folks out early at Epcot (at least none that I remember and I dont have any pictures from them), so I had Anika pose in front of the Epcot ball. I'm pretty sure she was laughing at me in this picture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/611_zpsc272da95.jpg


I had to take advantage of this complete lack of crowds and take a few scenery shots.

Here's the entrance to Spaceship Earth (I know the line can be short, but when do you ever see ABSOLUTELY NO PEOPLE in the entire area?):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/612_zps7ae0ccf9.jpg


Another shot of the ball along with the Fountain of Nations:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/615_zpsb1343cbb.jpg


Here's the walkway to World Showcase with the American Pavilion across the lake:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/616_zps765cfede.jpg


Here's another bit of evidence of the extreme lack of crowds:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/625_zps32e62394.jpg

Not only is there no one on the steps of the Mexico pavilion, but there's not even anyone standing in front of it! When do you ever see that?!

I also had to take a few photos of the countries across the lake. Here's Italy:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/619_zps0c545052.jpg


The American Pavilion:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/627_zps5e189447.jpg

Plus Japan:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/622_zps2755dea6.jpg


Morocco (my photo with the Tower of Terror in the background wouldn't load properly, so I'll try to post it later!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/629_zps90379261.jpg


And finally, France:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/624_zpsb59b582f.jpg


After my picture extravaganza, we finally made it to Norway! It's actually a pretty long walk—Anika and I are pretty speedy walkers, and it took us about ten minutes. If you have an early ADR I recommend getting there with lots of time before your reservation! (It's possible that my picture taking might have slowed us down, but Anika never stopped for my photos after the first one and we still got to Norway at the same time!)

(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
02-18-2013, 07:39 PM
(continued from previous post)

Welcome to Norway!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/630_zps79cd83be.jpg


The only people allowed into the park were folks with an early breakfast reservation, and as you can see, it was was a pretty small group.

Here was our destination:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/633_zpsd47ede60.jpg


This was the character meal that Anika and I were least excited about as we may be a bit old for princesses! princess: However, we were pretty excited about the food line-up (I couldn’t wait to try the lingonberry cream cheese!) and we were both pretty excited about getting into the park early. If we had to dine with princesses in order to do it—so be it! :laughing:

We checked in for breakfast and were called in just a few minutes later. I took a picture of the book before our shot with Belle:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/634_zpsde1157f3.jpg


After our first princess photo we were shown to our table. We were seated in the small room to the left of the main entrance (but right next to the cold buffet!) It was actually a great spot as it was right where the princesses entered the restaurant and started their rounds.

Akershus is a mix of a buffet of cold items and a family style dinner of hot items. We started by going to the cold buffet. It has a great selection of food, from pastries to fruits to meats and cheeses.

Here was my plate (strawberry yogurt with granola, berries, Muenster cheese, salami, and a really tasty bagel with lingonberry cream cheese):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/636_zps28febc42.jpg


And Anika’s plate (an apple pastry, a cinnamon roll, salami, cantaloupe, and grapes):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/638_zps565f496e.jpg


We also immediately received our plate of hot food (eggs, cheesy potato casserole, bacon, and sausage):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/639_zpscf5e02e4.jpg


We also both got orange juice and I had several cups of very tasty coffee. The food was excellent! Everything on the cold buffet was very fresh—Anika loved her pastries and fruit, and I LOVED my bagel with lingonberry cream cheese! I also thought the eggs and bacon (which we had at several places) were some of the best of the week. My coffee was also excellent.

About a minute later we were visited by our first princess! Here’s Aurora (Sleeping Beauty to many of you) with Anika:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/641_zps153e7acc.jpg


She was a very nice character, but didn’t stay to chat for very long.

Next, we were visited by Snow White:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/642_zpsaa2cc782.jpg

I believe someone at the table next to us took this picture (which may account for the blurriness)? She was lovely and spoke for a minute about the dwarfs.

She was followed by our favorite princess of the meal—Ariel. Not only was she super-chatty, she noticed that there was no one to take a picture for us, and she immediately marched away to find a free server to take the picture!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/643_zpsd81652d2.jpg


She was absolutely a delight! (And she had a great idea for the picture!) :lovestruc

Our final princess of the morning was Mulan. Here is Mulan with Anika:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/645_zps07ed5467.jpg


It was too bad that Mulan had to follow Ariel—I remember that I really liked Mulan, but since I had LOVED Ariel it was hard to measure up!

We had requested our check just after we sat down (which I recommend to anyone that does an early breakfast!) so we were paid up and ready to be on our way. We ate between princess stops so we were all set by the time we finished with Mulan. We started our meal about 8:15 and finished around 8:50, so it was really quick! I’m sure the fact that we were only two people and that we were right next to the character entrance helped a lot.

I grabbed a shot of the main dining room (the room we didn’t sit in) on our way out:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/647_zpsb28283c1.jpg


Final Thoughts—Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
I really enjoyed Akershus! I was a little hestitant to go to a “Princess Breakfast”—but the characters are really nice no matter what age you are! Even though we were essentially two “adults,” they were chatty, posed for pictures, and didn’t seem one bit surprised or put off that we were there without children. The other diners didn’t seem to mind, either. I thought the food was very good—I adored my bagel and lingonberry cream cheese (why is that not available anywhere else?!) and the eggs, bacon, and coffee were especially good here. I would highly recommend Akershus—even more highly if you can get a pre-opening slot! Even though the walk is long, it’s quite peaceful and the non-people photos you can get are incredible!


It was time to book it over to Future World to soar over California!

Up Next: Touring Future World in Epcot

Marsheliz
02-19-2013, 08:47 AM
I really wanted to try Askerkus this last time we were there but we have boys.. After thinking about it, I didnt see where it would be a big deal bc what little boys don't like girls giving them attention? ;) My son is most familiar with and really likes Cinderella and bummer she isnt there. :( By the time we go again, he will be 5 and my other one will be almost 2.

Epcot was definitely packed that morning... :) Geez... :rotfl:

SimplyGoofy
02-19-2013, 09:15 PM
I really wanted to try Askerkus this last time we were there but we have boys.. After thinking about it, I didnt see where it would be a big deal bc what little boys don't like girls giving them attention? ;) My son is most familiar with and really likes Cinderella and bummer she isnt there. :( By the time we go again, he will be 5 and my other one will be almost 2.

Epcot was definitely packed that morning... :) Geez... :rotfl:

I would definitely give it a shot even though you have boys! The princesses would probably think it was a nice change of pace to see little boys instead of little girls, and your kids might get quite a kick out of visiting the princesses! Plus, the food it great! :thumbsup2

SimplyGoofy
02-19-2013, 09:18 PM
Here's my picture with the "hidden" Tower of Terror in the background (it wouldn't resize properly last night - darn Photobucket!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/623_zps32509cfe.jpg


I didn't even notice it until I got home and was looking through the pictures!

SimplyGoofy
02-19-2013, 09:45 PM
Multiple Soars and Thrills
Day 3—Part II


We left Norway in the dust and hurried to the Land Pavilion—we wanted to beat the crowds to Soarin’! We probably didn’t need to rush as much as we did as not only did we get some of the first Fastpasses of the day, we were on one of the first few flights!

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These walkways are tough to photograph, but they are really fun to walk down!

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We got seats right in the middle of the second row. Despite all the comments about the dirty screens, spots, etc., I really didn’t notice anything other than the great view. One of these times I’m going to be ballsy enough to take photos during the ride…

After we soared, we trekked across Future World to re-ride two favorites:

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The crowds were incredibly slim as we finished both rides by 10:00. We were excited that our morning was so productive thus far!

Next on the agenda was something we’d never tried before (and perhaps it wasn’t even here the last time?):

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I don’t think Anika and I had even stepped foot in either of the Innoventions buildings before, but I kept reading such great things about the Sum of All Thrills that I wanted to give it a shot!

After watching a short welcome video, you start here in the Design Lab:

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You’re given a card to insert into the computer station and then you start building your own roller coaster! You can use different types of cars, include dives and loops, and even go upside down during your ride. You make sure your coaster works by “testing” in on the design computer before you go to start your ride. You then save your design to the card and head up the steps to the ride module.

Here are the “arms” where you sit for your ride:

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It’s a different experience (as you’re enclosed in a pod and watching your ride on a screen in front of you), but it was fun to try it out! Anika and I agreed that we were glad we tried it, but we probably wouldn’t do it every trip.

Our Fastpass time had opened for Soarin’ so we headed back to The Land for our second soar of the day. Soarin’ is not our favorite ride in Epcot (Test Track wins that prize), but it comes very close as it is such a great and relaxing ride. I love the feeling that you’re flying, and it’s so fun to watch the different scenes (and smell the different smells!) as you float along. :thumbsup2

We decided to head here next:

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It was time for a journey into the imagination!

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I agree with most people that I REALLY enjoyed the original Figment experience—the Dreamfinder was classic. As it is now, I like to ride with Figment once per trip but I feel like that’s enough. I’m photo-free as I videotaped the ride (and Anika would only ride it once!).

After saying hello to Figment we headed next door to say hello to Michael Jackson.

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We learned they’d recently started a show so the next one was in more than fifteen minutes. We were a little nervous that we’d have enough time for the show and our lunch reservation, so we decided to come back another time. Unfortunately, we never found time to return… maybe next time!

We were looking forward to an afternoon covering the countries in World Showcase. We’d certainly been in World Showcase before, but had never taken enough time to fully experience each pavilion. Our first stop was Canada!

The waterfall area really is beautiful:

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For some reason we didn’t walk through the garden? We’ll have to remember to do that next time!

We also wandered through the shops and admired the fun Canadian merchandise like hats and maple syrup.

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I even had Anika pose in front of the totem pole:

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We bypassed the Canadian movie due to time constraints (but don’t worry—we returned later!) and made our way to England.

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It was really fun looking through the toy store and the tea shop. We didn’t stop for pictures with Pooh or Alice (I don’t think they were out quite yet). Soon it was noon and time for lunch!


Up Next: Lunch at the Rose & Crown

SimplyGoofy
02-24-2013, 10:29 AM
The Best Waitress of Our Trip
Day 3—Part III


Lunch time! Here was our lunch plan for the day:

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I had a hard time choosing reservations at Epcot because there are so many good choices! We decided on the Rose and Crown because we’re both fans of British food (fish and chips and the like), plus I thought an outdoor table and the views to go along with it may be nice.

We checked in with the two lovely guys manning the check-in booth (I love British accents!) and we were seated shortly. We got a FANTASTIC table right on the lake! There didn’t appear to be too many of them so we were pretty excited. Here was our table next to the water:

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Plus some addtional views across the lake:

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What a view! :yay: Not only was the view lovely, the weather was also beautiful that day. Who knew we’d be so lucky when we booked it six months before?

In the midst of our relaxation we met our phenomenal waitress, Katie. I remembered her name without even having to look back at my receipt—we loved her that much! She was sweet, laid-back, and absolutely the nicest server we had the entire week! She was efficient without being pushy, and she was happy to explain a menu item or recommend a dish to try. I’ve read a lot of great comments about the service at the Rose and Crown, and I would wholeheartedly agree based on our experience with Katie. She started by explaining the dining plan and took the order for our drinks.

Anika got her water and I got this refreshing beverage:

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A Cider and Black, which is hard cider with a shot of black currant juice. It was very refreshing and I highly recommend it!

Our appetizers were up next. Anika got a cup of the Potato and Leek Soup:

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I ordered the Trio of United Kingdom Cheeses, which is Cotswolds Cheddar, Aged Irish Cheddar, and Stilton Blue Cheeses with other fun accompaniments:

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YUM. :worship: I adored this cheese plate and finished the whole darn thing. I had seriously considered ordering the Scotch Egg as I’d heard so many good things, but I was so enamored with this cheese plate that I’m glad I changed my mind. As for Anika’s soup, she LOVED it. Just as I’m still hearing about the french fries from Liberty Tree Tavern, I’m also hearing about that soup from the Rose and Crown. So far in our meal we had two winners!

While we enjoyed our cheese and soup, we also enjoyed this guy:

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This bird was a riot! He hung around most of our meal and was pretty entertaining. He wasn't as persistant as some birds that scope out the quick service locations, but he was willing to be pretty patient!

Don’t worry, though, we were good little diners and paid attention to the sign!

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Next up were our entrées! Anika went with the classic Fish and Chips:

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She’s never found a french fry she didn’t like, so needless to say, she loved her meal. She even ate quite a bit of the cod, which surprised me as she usually won’t eat fish!

I thought about the fish myself, but I decided to order a different entrée and ordered the Bangers and Mash:

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Another tasty course from the Rose and Crown! It was a deceivingly large dish, as the sausages were stacked on top of a huge mound of mashed potatos. The dish was excellent and I only wish I’d had more stomach space!

A lack of stomach capacity certainly didn’t stop us from ordering dessert! Anika ordered cheesecake, which had a chocolate undertone and some strawberry sauce, I believe?

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I just had to order the Sticky Toffee Pudding:

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And we were three for three, folks! This dessert was incredible and I would recommend it to anyone! It’s not a very light dessert, but it is delicious and a wonderful way to top off a meal.

We gave a huge tip to our delightful Katie and said goodbye to the Rose and Crown and our lovely new bird friend. Don’t worry, Sticky Toffee Pudding, I’ll be back!


Final Thoughts—Rose & Crown
What a fantastic choice in Epcot! There are so many awesome restaurants that it’s hard to choose just a few, but we can’t wait to eat at the Rose and Crown again. Every single dish was delicious and I really enjoyed my fun beverage from the pub. It was so relaxing to sit in the breeze next to the lake and the view was fantastic. I didn’t go on too much, but I just can’t say enough nice things about the service here. The check-in guys were friendly and our waitress was a dream—even if the food wasn’t good (it was!) I would come back for the service alone. This was our favorite lunch of the week! :cloud9:


Our original plan after lunch was to tour World Showcase. Although we’d been to Disney World before we’d never spent nearly enough time there and still had a lot of things to experience. However, Anika had hit a wall and there was no way I was dragging a tired girl through country after country. We decided the best plan in order to allow for our night entertainment was to head back to the room and rest. So, that’s exactly what we did.

Well, that’s what one of us did… :laughing:

Up Next: The Animals of the Animal Kingdom Lodge

ProudMommyof2
02-24-2013, 10:59 AM
Great updates! We have never done Rose & Crown but have done the counter service in England for Fish & Chips-YUM!

There is never enough time to do all I want to do in the World Showcase!

Stringbean&Wingnut
02-24-2013, 01:15 PM
Isn't it fun being in the parks with practically nobody else there?? Great shots of an empty Epcot!

Hahaha the walk to Norway was much farther than I had thought too! Yay for a good breakfast there! :thumbsup2

Mmmmmm sticky toffee pudding!!! Love! :love:

msbiscuit
02-24-2013, 03:30 PM
Oh, my...that Sticky Toffee Pudding is making me awfully hungry! And I didn't realize they serve what we call 'Heart Attack Potatoes' at the Princess Breakfast. lol

I love wandering through an almost empty EPCOT in the early morning, as well! My mom, sister and I would book rooms at the Beach Club just to be able to have that early morning walk on the way to Future World through the International Gateway.

Great photos!

RachelNinja
02-24-2013, 06:09 PM
Just read through all your updates! I love that you were able to go with just your sister. Your food reviews are the greatest! I can't believe you had so many ADRs planned and were able to get to so many of them too! My husband and I plan only a few, and we usually end up keeping 2 of them or so. I'm sure it'll be easier on future trips when we go back to staying off property and having a car.

karen l
02-24-2013, 09:18 PM
Really enjoying your report. Looks like you two had a terrific trip! We love R&C too! It's always one of our ADRs.

jecskc
02-24-2013, 09:44 PM
Just stopping in to say that I love you TR. All of it. Your food photos especially. Oh, and your spreadsheet is pretty awesome, too.

But I just can't get over that lady on the plane telling you to stop talking about Disney because you were ruining it for her son. Really ???

DLFan123
02-24-2013, 11:34 PM
I'm so glad I found this trip report! You are doing such a nice job and your trip looks like it was just fantastic! We are staying in AKL in May so really enjoyed seeing those pictures. I have made a mental note to climb the Swiss Family Treehouse in the dark. What a great idea! :thumbsup2

SimplyGoofy
02-25-2013, 12:15 PM
Great updates! We have never done Rose & Crown but have done the counter service in England for Fish & Chips-YUM!

There is never enough time to do all I want to do in the World Showcase!

Thanks! We just ADORED the Rose and Crown and can't wait to go back!

I absolutely agree about World Showcase. I never understand when people say there isn't enough to do there? :confused3 I'm hoping we'll be able to devote more time to World Showcase next time!


Isn't it fun being in the parks with practically nobody else there?? Great shots of an empty Epcot!

Hahaha the walk to Norway was much farther than I had thought too! Yay for a good breakfast there! :thumbsup2

Mmmmmm sticky toffee pudding!!! Love! :love:

I LOVED being in the parks with so few people! It certainly made up for the fact that we had to get up so darn early for those breakfast reservations. I knew it's a hike to World Showcase, but I was rather stunned when I looked at the timestamps on my camera! :rotfl:

That Sticky Toffee Pudding was AWESOME. :thumbsup2


Oh, my...that Sticky Toffee Pudding is making me awfully hungry! And I didn't realize they serve what we call 'Heart Attack Potatoes' at the Princess Breakfast. lol

I love wandering through an almost empty EPCOT in the early morning, as well! My mom, sister and I would book rooms at the Beach Club just to be able to have that early morning walk on the way to Future World through the International Gateway.

Great photos!

Thanks!

Yes, those are heart attack potatoes! The potatos were okay, but I much preferred the eggs, bacon, and cold buffet items.

It was such a peaceful walk - the most peaceful early ADR of the week. I'm not sure if it was the lake environment, or the long walk, or the pleasant weather... but it was my favorite early morning arrival! :cloud9:

SimplyGoofy
02-25-2013, 12:33 PM
:welcome: everybody! Thanks for joining in!


Just read through all your updates! I love that you were able to go with just your sister. Your food reviews are the greatest! I can't believe you had so many ADRs planned and were able to get to so many of them too! My husband and I plan only a few, and we usually end up keeping 2 of them or so. I'm sure it'll be easier on future trips when we go back to staying off property and having a car.

Anika and I had so much fun on this vacation! It's wonderful to get along so well with your sibling - something I'm very thankful for!

Thanks so much for your comment about my dining reviews! We did SO MUCH EATING on this vacation, but we really enjoyed every minute of it. I found the dining boards and trip reports to be so helpful while I planned our vacation, and I hope my reviews can do the same! :goodvibes


Really enjoying your report. Looks like you two had a terrific trip! We love R&C too! It's always one of our ADRs.

We had a fabulous time!

I was stunned how much we loved the Rose and Crown. I figured we would enjoy it, but I didn't think it would become one of our favorite restaurants of the trip! :laughing:


Just stopping in to say that I love you TR. All of it. Your food photos especially. Oh, and your spreadsheet is pretty awesome, too.

But I just can't get over that lady on the plane telling you to stop talking about Disney because you were ruining it for her son. Really ???

Thank you so much! I drove Anika crazy with all of my photo and video-taking, but I'm really glad that I did it now that we're home! That spreadsheet was AWESOME and very, very useful. I love anything that can be color-coded! :thumbsup2

Wasn't that woman ridiculous?! :headache: I'm almost glad she was so unreasonable as it's turned into one of my most talked-about events of the trip! (I also wonder how their trip turned out... hopefully the poor kid had a good vacation considering how concerned she was!) :rotfl2:


I'm so glad I found this trip report! You are doing such a nice job and your trip looks like it was just fantastic! We are staying in AKL in May so really enjoyed seeing those pictures. I have made a mental note to climb the Swiss Family Treehouse in the dark. What a great idea! :thumbsup2

Thank you! We did have a fantastic time - and there's a lot more to come!

I LOVED the Animal Kingdom Lodge! :love: Even though we're planning to stay at another resort during our next trip, I hope to make it over there at least once to look around and admire the resort. I have a TON more pictures of the resort, including the entire next post!

I never would've thought to do the SFT in the dark, but it was great! There were hardly any other people and the lights on the tree created a really fun experience. I definitely recommend that attraction in the dark! :thumbsup2

SimplyGoofy
02-25-2013, 10:49 PM
A Tour of the Lodge
Day 3—Part IV


We left Epcot and arrived back at the resort around two o’clock. Anika climbed right into bed and was out like a light!

I thought it might be a good idea to rest as well, so I lay down and tried to go to sleep.

And tried.

And tried some more…

:hyper:

Oh, to heck with it! After 20 minutes of lying there (and NOT sleeping!) I gave up. Who can sleep in Disney, anyway?! :confused3

Anika obviously needed the rest, so I decided to take this prime opportunity to explore the resort! This is why I booked the Animal Kingdom Lodge in the first place—the ability to enjoy the resort and see all the animals!

I got up, grabbed my camera, and headed straight to the Arusha Savanna. This is the largest savanna at the lodge and covers the entire back of the resort. There’s an expansive public viewing area where anyone can see views of the animals.

This is not your average chain-link fence barrier:

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One of the things I really liked about the Animal Kingdom Lodge (and Animal Kingdom as well) is all the information they provide about the animals. The resort viewing areas were covered with items like this:

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It was wonderful to not only confirm what you were looking at but get some great information about it, too! As the sign indicates, the first animals I noticed that afternoon were some Ankole Cattle:

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I also wandered next to the water feature that held the pelicans:

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I love watching birds—they do such funny things! :p

Of course, I had to scope out two of most popular animals viewed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge:

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Is there anyone in the world that doesn’t love zebras and giraffes? :lovestruc

The staff in charge of the animals are great at keeping food on the savanna in order to keep the animals active. This giraffe was certainly enjoying himself! (Herself?)

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The animals were awesome, but I was also pretty enamored with the beautiful architecture of the lodge. Yes, all the Disney resorts are well designed, but I thought the Animal Kingdom Lodge was AMAZING. I don't think it's possible to look at the back entrance of the lodge and not think it’s stunning!

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This is the view just inside the back door where you see the swooped staircase up to the main lobby. You can also see the view out back window to the savanna where I just was:

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(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
02-25-2013, 11:03 PM
(continued from previous post)

I wanted to check out more nooks and crannies of the lodge and found my way over to this little lounge:

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This is called the Sunset Overlook and is in the northwest corner just off the main lobby. I wish I'd had an afternoon to read a book in there—it was a beautiful room with all of the artwork and interesting design features, plus it was almost always empty! The lounge has a door out to the Sunset Savanna:

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This savanna features the Impala:

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I watched them for a bit and then headed back into the lodge. I wanted to check out the restaurant areas that were on the east side of the lobby and just down the stairs.

First up was the Victoria Falls Lounge:
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This was such an inviting looking spot. I would’ve come here for a drink or two if only I hadn’t had a young girl with me! It probably would’ve been okay to bring her along (after all, she only drinks water, anyway!) but it just felt awkward to me.

I checked out the two main restaurants, Boma and Jiko, and then headed back outside to explore the Uzima Pool area.

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The pool was awesome! Between the zero-entry area and the slide and the nearby pool bar, it would be a great way to spend an afternoon or two. Anika and I didn’t enjoy the pool as much as I would’ve liked, but that’s one of the downsides of coming in February. The other great thing about the pool is it’s right next to these guys:

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Did I mention that I love watching birds? :laughing: I spent way too much time hanging out with these crazy birds! My favorite thing was watching them do this:

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Love it! :lmao:

I finally checked my watch and realized I’d been wandering around the resort for more than hour! I said goodbye to the flamingos and returned to the room to start waking up Anika for dinner. We were headed to another resort and were about to enjoy our first signature dining experience at Disney World!

As a side note, I loved my afternoon of meandering around the resort. I’m a park commando at heart, but it was really nice to “stop and smell the roses” and just take my time noticing things. Obviously the Animal Kingdom Lodge has a lot to see, but I would recommend that anyone take their time to do the same thing at their own resort. These resorts really are Disney theming at its finest! :thumbsup2

Up Next: Dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Stringbean&Wingnut
02-26-2013, 05:37 AM
AKL really is a gorgeous resort! Great idea to wander around the resort for a bit! :thumbsup2

RachelNinja
02-26-2013, 09:33 PM
AKL is AMAZING! It'll always be special because it was our honeymoon resort and FIRST time on property EVER! But even besides that, the resort itself just has so much to explore. Like you said, there are so many places to just relax and read a book!

SimplyGoofy
02-27-2013, 09:14 PM
AKL really is a gorgeous resort! Great idea to wander around the resort for a bit! :thumbsup2

It was a lovely afternoon and I loved the opportunity to explore more of the resort. :goodvibes

I need to remember to do this on future vacations!


AKL is AMAZING! It'll always be special because it was our honeymoon resort and FIRST time on property EVER! But even besides that, the resort itself just has so much to explore. Like you said, there are so many places to just relax and read a book!

I agree - I adore the AKL! It certainly lived up to my high expectations. I think if I ever stay there again I am blocking out an afternoon to sit in that lounge (and perhaps one of the savanna overlooks) and read. I think it would be lovely. :cloud9:

SimplyGoofy
02-27-2013, 09:52 PM
Let Them Eat Steak!
Day 3—Part V


Once we were all gussied up we called the front desk for another taxi. I’m happy to report that this taxi driver was much better than our last one! He was very pleasant and talkative (and knew how to drive!) so it was a lovely journey to the Yacht Club. He got a much bigger tip than the first taxi driver!

We overestimated our travel time so we had a lot of time to explore the Yacht Club before dinner. Here are a few views of the lobby:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/768_zps7de696d5.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/782_zps79e0122a.jpg


The giant globe in the front of the Yacht Club lobby was pretty neat:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/765_zps2fb3ae77.jpg


I almost thought the Yacht and Beach Club resorts were prettier from the back than they were from the front!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/771_zpsa64fea68.jpg


We also wanted to get a peek at the famous Stormalong Bay:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/772_zps98cd7907.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/773_zpsf5630886.jpg


It looked pretty fun!

I really liked the lighthouse on the boat dock. There was also a pretty fantastic view of the Boardwalk Inn across the way! You can even see the Friendship Boat transportation in the second picture:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/769_zps978621f8.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/770_zps5f2ffcac.jpg


I love that Disney always pays attention to the details, such as this theme-appropriate item found on the back of the outdoor benches:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/780_zpsc0601379.jpg


As we'd seen the highlights and were getting a bit hungry, we decided to check in to dinner and see if they would seat us early.

Here was our dinner destination:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/786_zps8839ab4a.jpg


They had no trouble getting us right in. We were two of the first people in the restaurant! Yachtsman seemed to be a calm and quiet place, although that may be partially explained by the fact that we were in Disney at a low(er) crowd time and it was a Monday night. I would guess that it’s much busier here on the weekends!

I ordered a glass of wine with dinner. I didn’t take any pictures of the wine itself (as it looked like a glass of red wine!), but I did get a picture of it when I snapped a picture of Anika at the restaurant:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/788_zps8a7b32f0.jpg


My wine was a Don Miguel Gascón Malbec and it was a very tasty red wine. I’m usually more of a white wine or cocktail gal so I don’t tend to like many red wines. However, I’ve found if I need to drink red wine I usually aim for a Malbec. Malbec it was as I was definitely ordering steak! ::yes::

Our nice server streak continued with Dave, who was perhaps the most soft-spoken and laid-back server I’ve ever seen. After delivering our beverages, he brought out the famous onion rolls with butter and garlic cloves. (Yes, there was some regular bread as well, but who cares about the regular bread?!)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/791_zpsde5828e0.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/792_zpsdaf99089.jpg


These were every bit as good as they are described! They definitely have a strong onion flavor, but as someone who doesn’t particularly like big onion chunks in her food (on a burger, for instance), I still thought they were phenomenal. It was challenging to only allow myself to eat one! (Oh, okay, I may have had just a small part of another one...) :rotfl:

Our appetizers that evening included my Charcuterie Platter:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/796_zpsfb314238.jpg


As well as Anika’s Caesar Salad:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/797_zpsf173c211.jpg


Anika really loved her salad. She was still a bit full from lunch (!) so she didn’t want a big appetizer. She thought the extra-large crouton crisp was a really fun touch!

My appetizer included smoked duck sausage, venison terrine, black and blue beef tartare, chicken pâté, duck prosciutto, and cheese and accompaniments. I really liked my appetizer but my favorite part was definitely the pâté found in the little eggshell. It was on the salty side but it was the highlight of the plate for me!

The next thing Dave brought were our main dishes. Anika didn’t want to order steak (:confused3) once she saw they had scallops on the menu!

Here are the Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops, with apple-glazed pork belly, lentils, and smoked mushrooms:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/800_zpsc9eb55de.jpg


As indicated by my beverage selection, I ordered steak!

This is my 8 ounce Center Cut Fillet Mignon with mashed potatoes and wine sauce:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/798_zps16624c82.jpg


This steak was incredible. Just incredible. I like my steak medium rare (erring to rare) and it was cooked perfectly. I often find restaurants overcook my steak so it was great to get it perfectly done! My steak was so tender and flavorful, and the mashed potatoes were excellent as well. If I had more than two thumbs I would give it more than two thumbs up! :thumbsup2

If anyone questions if Disney World can expand a child’s palate… not only did Anika enjoy her scallops (which were VERY good—she let me try a bit of one!) but she even loved the PORK BELLY! I was surprised she was even willing to try it, let alone exclaim that it was one of her favorite parts of the meal. Disney is amazing!

As you’ve learned by now, even though we were REALLY full, we would be getting dessert! We decided to get two different desserts and share them.

We ordered their current Crème Brûlée, which came with an apple-pear compote and a toile cookie:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/802_zps81542158.jpg


Our second dessert choice was the Peanut Butter and Pretzel Gianduja Cake which came with caramel gelato and chocolate ganache:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/801_zps14841a0a.jpg


The crème brûlée was good, but that peanut butter cake was knock-your-socks-off good. :worship: It was rich but not overly so, and the varying textures made for a very unique dessert. Stuffed as we were, we couldn’t bear to leave even one crumb on the plate. We would’ve ordered another one if only we didn’t fear exploding!


Final Thoughts—Yachtsman Steakhouse
This is a wonderful choice for a quiet and delicious meal. All of our food was excellent, especially the main dishes and the desserts. They also have an expansive wine list. I also really enjoyed that it was light and bright in the restaurant and it had a very laid-back (almost fancy rustic) décor. I thought the service here was excellent—they took their time, but I had the feeling it was to allow you to enjoy and savor your meal as opposed to being slow. I’m sure had I mentioned we were in a hurry our food would’ve come faster! I would be thrilled to return to Yachtsman. Oh, and if you go… get the peanut butter pretzel cake! :goodvibes


After our glorious meal we headed back to the boat dock to catch the Friendship Boat to Hollywood Studios. We had extra magic hours to enjoy!

Up Next: Late hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Stringbean&Wingnut
02-28-2013, 05:41 AM
http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/782_zps79e0122a.jpg


When we stayed at the Yacht Club, I fell in LOVE with this staircase! I have no idea why I became so attached to stairs, but I just love them! :goodvibes

Glad to hear that your YS meal was great! We're thinking of going there on our next trip, everything looks awesome there! (And I just KNOW DF is going to order that charcuterie plate!) :thumbsup2

RachelNinja
03-01-2013, 10:08 PM
Yum, that looks like a great place to eat! I think the hubby would appreciate a meal like that with a perfectly cooked steak.

SimplyGoofy
03-02-2013, 10:22 AM
When we stayed at the Yacht Club, I fell in LOVE with this staircase! I have no idea why I became so attached to stairs, but I just love them! :goodvibes

Glad to hear that your YS meal was great! We're thinking of going there on our next trip, everything looks awesome there! (And I just KNOW DF is going to order that charcuterie plate!) :thumbsup2

I really liked the Yacht Club - I thought it was a very beautiful resort. I should have taken more time to explore it!

We loved our meal at Yachtsman, and I would definitely recommend giving it a try! Tell Wingnut to enjoy the charcuterie platter - especially the pâté! :goodvibes


Yum, that looks like a great place to eat! I think the hubby would appreciate a meal like that with a perfectly cooked steak.

It was excellent! It was a very relaxed restaurant which was nice after two crazy park days. Our waiter was so nice and I LOVED my steak. I also adored that dessert! :thumbsup2

WDWaddictt
03-02-2013, 04:52 PM
Joining along...I am enjoying your TR.

Thanks for sharing!

SimplyGoofy
03-03-2013, 08:13 PM
Joining along...I am enjoying your TR.

Thanks for sharing!

:welcome: Thanks for joining in!

SimplyGoofy
03-03-2013, 08:23 PM
A Fantasmic-less Extra Magic Hours
Day 3—Part VI

After a quick change in a Yacht Club bathroom, Anika and headed out to the Friendship Boat dock. We enjoyed the beautiful sights of the Yacht and Beach Club and the Boardwalk Inn while we waited for our boat. When our boat arrived we had no problem getting a seat.

Considering the distance doesn’t seem too great, the boat sure takes a long time to get from the resorts to Hollywood Studios. As much as I would love to try one of the Epcot area resorts one day (as I love Epcot and the Studios!) the seemingly slow transportation would drive me batty. :headache:

On our way into the studios we dropped our bag of extra clothes in a locker. One tip I read on the DisBoards (and one I’d highly recommend!) is to try the big lockers located just outside the Hollywood Studios entrance. They’re not a great choice if you need to access the locker during the day (as they’re located outside the entrance and you need to pay again if you open the locker), but for certain circumstances they’re the best! The lockers are HUGE (suitcase-size) and only cost four quarters. I love a deal, and it worked really well for us!

We finally arrived!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/923_zps3696de7d.jpg


We headed straight to our favorite attraction in the park:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/889_zps0480f7dc.jpg


I love that ride! Everything from the story to the detailed theming to the actual drop... it's excellent every time!

This attraction was not a favorite of Anika's until her second trip to the World. She did try the ride during her first trip but had a bit of a run-in with my mom’s purse. My mom didn’t have a good grip on her purse during the ride, and every time the ride would drop the purse would fly up and hit Anika in the face! That doesn’t go over well with an eight-year-old (or anyone, for that matter). If that was my first experience on the Tower of Terror I wouldn’t be excited about riding it again, either!

Thankfully she gave it another shot on our second trip and it was a much better experience. It’s now one of her favorite rides!

The wait time for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was still a little long, so we decided to try other attractions and come back to Sunset Boulevard later. We stopped for a Photopass picture along the way:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/Photo0132FourBySix_zpsbade14fa.jpg


Our next choice was a journey through the movies:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/859_zpsb1a59c53.jpg


I agree with many people that this ride could use an update, but we were still looking forward to our ride!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/809_zps91a49be1.jpg


We had a decent tour guide on our tour. We saw the usual favorites, such as Singin' in the Rain:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/811_zps7615ff22.jpg


Mary Poppins (along with the chimney sweepers!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/814_zps97d9942e.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/815_zps4c1bc60b.jpg


And Mr. James Cagney in The Public Enemy:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/818_zps13f630bd.jpg


Alas, it was a quiet night in the studios so we had your usual, everyday gangster scene. Le sigh. One of these days I need to go during a busier season to have a shot at the cowboy scene! :goodvibes

I did grab a picture of John Wayne along the way:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/828_zps2389a09f.jpg


I find it impossible to grab decent pictures throughout most of the middle of the ride (Alien, Indiana Jones, and Casablanca, all great films!) but do appreciate all of the bright light in the land of Oz:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/850_zpsb72a41d5.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/854_zps19ef03fc.jpg


It was a very pleasant ride through the movies! I think one of my favorite parts of the Great Movie Ride is the stream of movie clips they play at the end. It makes me realize how many good movies I still need to see!

The next item on our list was to try the brand new Star Tours!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/861_zps299a2fca.jpg


We had liked Star Tours during our last trip and were excited to see the changes. I had my usual fun walking through the queue:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/862_zps2d98ead6.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/865_zps10182cb3.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/866_zpsfd138a89.jpg


Anika and I really loved the ride! We decided to turn around and ride it again as the line was nonexistent. The only disappointing thing we found is we had almost exactly the same ride the second time—I was expecting a different experience considering how many “combinations” there are. Perhaps they change the programing only during different time periods? That aside, it was a very fun ride.

(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
03-03-2013, 08:34 PM
(continued from previous post)

We headed back to Sunset Boulevard to ride our beloved tower again. And again, we stopped for Photopass:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/Photo0145FourBySix_zpsdf3ba183.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/Photo0151FourBySix_zpsa05b8400.jpg


After the Tower of Terror, we headed next door:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/895_zpsa655d26f.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/896_zps03a4db13.jpg


The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was under refurbishment during our last trip, so we were pretty excited for the opportunity to ride it again!

We were lucky enough to enter through the "Artist Entrance": :laughing:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/871_zpsb265038c.jpg


We stopped and said hello :wave2: to Aerosmith:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/877_zpse03f8ee4.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/878_zps2dfdafd8.jpg


Our "super stretch" limo was waiting!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/883_zps5e5e9670.jpg


That roller coaster is such an exhilarating ride! I’m sure along with many others; my favorite part is definitely the takeoff. Even though you know it’s coming, it’s quite a moment when they shoot you forward at almost 60 miles per hour!

I really love the courtyard outside this attraction, especially at night!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/892_zpsf136ac1a.jpg


We enjoyed a final drop on our beloved tower (yes, three rides on the Tower of Terror in one night!). I had to get a few fun pictures of the changing sign. It’s really neat at night!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/899_zpse3db3d87.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/900_zps783fbfee.jpg


The last thing I wanted to do that evening was figure out the walk to Pixar Place for the Toy Story Mania rush the next morning. The Toy Story attraction didn’t exist the last time we were in Disney World, and I didn’t want to be confused during our speed walk!

We stopped for another Photopass picture along the way:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/Photo0139FourBySix_zps603f5941.jpg


I really loved the details in Pixar Place!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/913_zpsb7007553.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/916_zps8721ed37.jpg


We chose not to ride Toy Story Mania that night (a decision I’m still kicking myself for! :sad2: ) and we headed for the exit. We did take a final Photopass picture on the way out:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%203/Photo0155FourBySix_zpsd2d1e04b.jpg

Seven (mostly major) attractions in just over two hours… we did very well during extra magic hours! :banana:

We collected our bags from the big locker and grabbed our bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge. Once we arrived home we went right to sleep!


Up Next: Breakfast at ‘Ohana with Lilo and Stitch

Aussiesalad
03-04-2013, 02:15 AM
Ahhh Tower or Terror is THE BEST!!! Seriously such great theming.
Looks so great at night too!

That story about Anika and the purse is hilarious! Not the best first experience...

That is exactly how I feel about Great Movie ride, every time I ride I leave with a mental list of movies I need to watch!

Love the RnR launch! I think the best part is the few moments before the launch, the anticipation is a killer!

billybob069
03-04-2013, 05:15 PM
Thanks for all the pics, looks like you had a great time!

jecskc
03-04-2013, 05:50 PM
I loved your review of Yachtsman. Very nicely done. They would love you over on the Dining thread.

One more question about that lady on the plane that told you to stop talking about Disney .... LOL ... how did you respond?? I am still dumbfounded that she said that to you. I mean, how did YOU know that the world revolved around only her and her son ?? LOL.

Anyhoodle, looking forward to reading more !!

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-04-2013, 06:16 PM
Wow, you guys did a lot that evening!!! Too bad about missing TSM though!

DisneyKid4Life
03-05-2013, 10:21 AM
Hi Jenny, I'm joining in now that I'm actually a DIS member. I've enjoyed reading you adventures up to this point, and look forward to following along "officially", lol.

SimplyGoofy
03-05-2013, 05:10 PM
Ahhh Tower or Terror is THE BEST!!! Seriously such great theming.
Looks so great at night too!

That story about Anika and the purse is hilarious! Not the best first experience...

That is exactly how I feel about Great Movie ride, every time I ride I leave with a mental list of movies I need to watch!

Love the RnR launch! I think the best part is the few moments before the launch, the anticipation is a killer!

We both ADORE the Tower of Terror! I'm glad Anika got over her first tramatic experience and was willing to try it again. A trip to Disney World is not complete without (several) rides on my beloved tower. :cloud9:

I absolutely agree about RnR! You know it's coming... then BAM! Off you go! :banana:


Thanks for all the pics, looks like you had a great time!

:welcome: to both my report and the DIS!

I'm honored to be your first post! :woohoo:


I loved your review of Yachtsman. Very nicely done. They would love you over on the Dining thread.

One more question about that lady on the plane that told you to stop talking about Disney .... LOL ... how did you respond?? I am still dumbfounded that she said that to you. I mean, how did YOU know that the world revolved around only her and her son ?? LOL.

Anyhoodle, looking forward to reading more !!

Thank you so much! Other people's dining reports were so helpful for my planning, and I'm having a great time reliving our meals. I debated writing both a dining and a trip report... but I decided a combined report seemed much easier. Considering how much time it takes to put together posts I think I made the right call!

Oh, that crazy woman from the plane... :rotfl2:

Would you believe it that I was so dumbfounded that I didn't have a response? That seriously never happens to me - I'm never at a loss for words! I'm pretty sure I just gave her a very surprised and slightly annoyed "Are you kidding me, lady?!" look. I can't believe that's all I did. :sad2: Of course, now (and probably a few minutes after the incident) I came up with plenty of good things to say! :laughing:

Oh, well. It's probably best that I was polite considering where we were headed. I'm curious if her fantastic attitude continued all the way through the vacation... ;)

SimplyGoofy
03-05-2013, 05:14 PM
Wow, you guys did a lot that evening!!! Too bad about missing TSM though!

We sure did! The light crowds certainly helped out a lot. :goodvibes

Had we known how much we would love Toy Story Mania, we would've gotten in line. ::yes::


Hi Jenny, I'm joining in now that I'm actually a DIS member. I've enjoyed reading you adventures up to this point, and look forward to following along "officially", lol.

:welcome: I'm thrilled that you came out of lurkdom and officially joined the DIS (and my report!). I remember the days of looking through reports before joining, and I have to say I love to have all my subscriptions tracked and sorted for me! :laughing:

WDWaddictt
03-05-2013, 08:38 PM
What a great night! Tower of Terror is my fav ride...the best! I love DHS!!!

SimplyGoofy
03-07-2013, 08:21 PM
What a great night! Tower of Terror is my fav ride...the best! I love DHS!!!

I was so impressed with how much we got accomplished, especially since we got there about an hour after I was planning!

I LOVE the Tower of Terror! It was no mistake that it was our first and last ride of the evening! It's so tough to choose a "favorite" ride, but it's definitely right up there. :love:

SimplyGoofy
03-07-2013, 08:42 PM
Aloha! Part II
Day 4—Tuesday, February 7th

Another day, another early morning cab ride! This morning was a little different, however, as our destination was the Disney Car Care Center. The Car Care Center is located just past and to the west of the Magic Kindom entrance.

When we decided to give Universal a try, I was a good DISer and researched all of our transportation options (from taxis, to shuttles, to rental cars). Although other options might have been cheaper, I thought a rental car would involve the least amount of hassle. Plus, then we would have easy transporation for our evening in Downtown Disney (no crazy buses and driver changes!) and our dinner at California Grill. This worked out very well!

I believe you can call a shuttle from the Car Care Center to pick you up and take you there, but I decided a taxi ride would be faster. We were in and out with our rental car in probably five minutes—super easy! I’m sure the fact that it was just after 7:00 had nothing to do with the lack of crowds…

We made our short journey to the Polynesian in our spiffy new rental. We were excited to be at the Great Ceremonial House again:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/957_zps954ac8d5.jpg


We enjoyed some tropical atmosphere before we checked in for breakfast:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/950_zps3ee64a92.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/949_zps26a809ac.jpg


Hidden Mickey!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/948_zpsade1fa58.jpg


There was a very short line at 7:30—I don’t think most people are willing to wake up that early! :rotfl:

We were seated right away as we skipped the picture (I didn’t see the point as I didn’t intend to pay for it). They started bringing the food immediately after we sat down.

First we received the coconut pineapple bread and the cinnamon bread:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/927_zps41a7b6c7.jpg


We also received a plate of assorted fruit:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/928_zps328d7d9d.jpg


Both were very nice. I especially enjoyed the pineapple and the cinnamon bread!

I also was very excited to try this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/930_zpse909aff8.jpg


LILIKOI JUICE!!! This passion fruit, orange, and guava juice was very tasty … yum!

As anything outside of “orange” juice is outside of Anika’s range, she wasn’t interested in trying it. :confused3

We also received our big tray of hot food very quickly. It had a selection of scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, sausage, bacon, and biscuits:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/929_zps6c89b084.jpg


Everything on the tray was good, but nothing stood out as spectacular. It was your average Disney breakfast.

The wait staff also began bringing these:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/932_zps5103e86f.jpg


Mickey Waffles! These were delicious and a wonderful addition to our breakfast!

The characters began making the rounds after we’d been there about ten minutes.

First up was Lilo:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/933_zps87d3fe4d.jpg


I’m pretty sure my camera was still on the “food” setting, so neither of our Lilo pictures turned out very well. Her visit was pretty brief.

Next up was my buddy Stitch:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/939_zps784dc458.jpg


I was really excited to see Stitch (in fact, the major drawing point of this reservation was breakfast with Stitch!), but this particular Stitch was a bit lackluster. The character was fine, but I was expecting a bit more comedy from him. He basically walked up to the table, took two pictures, and went on his way. No antics whatsoever.

I think I was a little miffed. :mad:

My annoyance faded away with the final two characters:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/940_zps72bb91d7.jpg


Mickey was very nice! He posed for pictures, of course, but just seemed so much friendlier than Stitch. Go, Mickey!

My favorite character at breakfast, though, was this guy:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/945_zps3e8b842d.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/944_zps8ffc5779.jpg


I LOVED Pluto! I don’t remember exactly what he did, but I know I left the restaurant a lot happier than I was in the middle of our meal. Thank goodness Lilo and Stitch had Mickey and Pluto along to improve their breakfast! They definitely didn’t carry the show on their own.

Here’s a view of the restaurant I grabbed in between characters (look how empty it was in there!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/935_zps172b3f62.jpg


We had plenty of time to eat in between characters, so we took care of our bill and were on our way about forty-five minutes after we sat down. We thought that was pretty good for a character meal!


Final Thoughts—‘Ohana Breakfast
This one was a mixed bag for me. I thought the food was okay—the cinnamon bread was tasty and the juice was awesome, but everything else was average and can be found elsewhere. The characters weren’t my favorite either—Mickey and Pluto were great, but Lilo and Stitch didn’t seem very excited to be at their own breakfast. I would be willing to give it another shot as nothing was bad, but I think we’ll try out a few other places first. At the top of the “other places” list is right next door… Kona Café, I think your Tonga Toast and Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes are calling my name! (And you have Lilikoi juice, too!)


We just had to soak up a little more Poly atmosphere before we left. This is the landscaping outside of the GCH front entrance:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/954_zps8e3f8dcb.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/955_zpsd6eb2a70.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/956_zpsb4b3446c.jpg


Goodbye Polynesian! Until next time…

I was very excited that our breakfast was so speedy because I wanted to get to Hollywood Studios as early as we could. I wanted to be near the beginning of the pack for the Toy Story Mania rush!

That was the plan.

You know what they say about plans…

Up Next: Hollywood Studios?

shan23877
03-07-2013, 11:32 PM
Joining in late, but I'm all caught up and really enjoying your TR. :goodvibes

I can't for the life of me remember everything that I wanted to comment on along the way, but I do remember being even more excited that we booked the Yachtsman for this year.

I felt the same way about the 'Ohana breakfast. The food was pretty good, Mickey and Pluto were awesome, but Lilo was blah. We had a better Stitch than you did, but not a great one. Disappointing. My DD loved it though, so we'll be back! :rotfl:

emmysmommy
03-07-2013, 11:59 PM
Glad to get caught up and see that you enjoyed the amazingness of ToT and RnRC - my favorites at DHS! Your photos are always so awesome - especially the Great Movie Ride. I can't get my photos to turn out due to the low light.

You have some great Photopass photos as well. :)

I thought of you when I started to book a quick trip to NE in May since we are flying into Omaha where your trip started. ;)

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-08-2013, 04:45 AM
Too bad your breakfast at Ohana was a bit lackluster. I agree with you though - Kona is one of the best!! Maybe it makes the eggs and potatoes feel even more "standard" with the knowledge that the Tonga Toast is mere feet away!! :rotfl:

MEK
03-08-2013, 05:10 AM
Subbing to your TR!

Crazy lady on the plane - for sure! :faint:

I like you room location. I know exactly where those rooms are and I am a big fan of quiet and secluded.

Looking forward to catching up.

RachelNinja
03-08-2013, 06:17 AM
Wow, you got a lot of rides done during EMH! I love the nighttime atmosphere of the parks. Staying past the regular close time makes it seem extra magical because I always stayed off property until last year.

I could totally go for some of that 'Ohana breakfast food right now, but for a special breakfast at Disney, I too would've wanted something a bit more spectacular for the price. Kona seems like an excellent place for breakfast!

Marsheliz
03-08-2013, 08:34 AM
The Poly is the most beautiful hotel ever! :)

We enjoyed Ohana breakfast with our kids but I agree about the food.

DisneyKid4Life
03-08-2013, 04:35 PM
You know, I've never even gone in to see the Poly. What is wrong with me? :confused3. Next time I'm in Disney, I am definitely taking some time there.

pascalstongue
03-08-2013, 06:02 PM
I am joining in too. Loving your report so far, especially your food reviews. I am also a huge dessert lover and I am very excited to be at the World in two months to eat so many yummy things!

MEK
03-08-2013, 07:54 PM
I tend to be chaotic when I am behind on a TR, but so far I have day 1 and 2 under my belt.

Via - what a great place for your first ADR. Everything looks amazing. Yum! And having cute waiters only makes it that much better.

That frozen chocolate cappuccino looks so amazing. One of these days I will definitely have breakfast there just so I can try it.

CoP fan here!!!!!!!

SimplyGoofy
03-08-2013, 09:26 PM
Joining in late, but I'm all caught up and really enjoying your TR. :goodvibes

I can't for the life of me remember everything that I wanted to comment on along the way, but I do remember being even more excited that we booked the Yachtsman for this year.

I felt the same way about the 'Ohana breakfast. The food was pretty good, Mickey and Pluto were awesome, but Lilo was blah. We had a better Stitch than you did, but not a great one. Disappointing. My DD loved it though, so we'll be back! :rotfl:

:welcome: You're not late at all!

Yachtsman was GREAT! I think you will really enjoy it! If they still have that fantastic chocolate pretzel cake, I would highly recommend it! :thumbsup2

It was too bad that I didn't love the 'Ohana breakfast - perhaps my expectations were too high? I can see that kids may enjoy it more than adults, but I really liked the rest of our character meals! I'm glad we tried it but I think we'll try different breakfast spots next time.


Glad to get caught up and see that you enjoyed the amazingness of ToT and RnRC - my favorites at DHS! Your photos are always so awesome - especially the Great Movie Ride. I can't get my photos to turn out due to the low light.

You have some great Photopass photos as well. :)

I thought of you when I started to book a quick trip to NE in May since we are flying into Omaha where your trip started. ;)

Welcome back, Brenda! (And Em!)

I ADORE the Tower of Terror and really love the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster as well! We had really good luck with the DHS Photopass photographers - Anika was much happier to stop for pictures at the beginning of the vacation than at the end!

Thank you for the picture compliment! One of these days I will own a fancy camera and will get decent photos of the middle of the GMR - at this point, the pictures from the beginning and the end are the only ones that look decent!

Hooray for Nebraska! Be sure to wave across the boarder to Iowa! ;)


Too bad your breakfast at Ohana was a bit lackluster. I agree with you though - Kona is one of the best!! Maybe it makes the eggs and potatoes feel even more "standard" with the knowledge that the Tonga Toast is mere feet away!! :rotfl:

I MUST TRY KONA on my next trip! I'm DETERMINED. :teeth:


Subbing to your TR!

Crazy lady on the plane - for sure! :faint:

I like you room location. I know exactly where those rooms are and I am a big fan of quiet and secluded.

Looking forward to catching up.

:welcome:

I'm really hoping I don't run into another one just like her on my next trip! I still don't understand what her deal was - it's not as though the entire plane didn't know we were going to Disney World. The first words out of the flight attendant were, "Welcome, everyone, to our flight to Orlando, Florida. Or, as it's known to most children, DISNEY WORLD!"

But, yes, I'm the one that ruined the big surprise. :rotfl2:

I really loved our location, too! I wasn't too thrilled with the view, but the convenience and the quiet were both great.

Thanks for joining in!

SimplyGoofy
03-08-2013, 09:41 PM
Wow, you got a lot of rides done during EMH! I love the nighttime atmosphere of the parks. Staying past the regular close time makes it seem extra magical because I always stayed off property until last year.

I could totally go for some of that 'Ohana breakfast food right now, but for a special breakfast at Disney, I too would've wanted something a bit more spectacular for the price. Kona seems like an excellent place for breakfast!

I really like the parks at night. It's a completely different experience and just as (if not more) beautiful! I also appreciate that the crowds tend to thin out! :thumbsup2

Considering the food was the usual eggs, bacon, sausage, and (some form of) potato platter, I agree that I could find a similar (or better) version for less money. Heck, Akershus cost MORE and I would return there before I would return to the 'Ohana breakfast! I thought both the food and the character interactions were much better at Akershus.

My next Polynesian breakfast will definitely be at Kona! :cool1:


The Poly is the most beautiful hotel ever! :)

We enjoyed Ohana breakfast with our kids but I agree about the food.

I really loved the grounds at the Poly! I'm less enthusiatic about the rooms, so I don't believe I'd ever stay here... but that doesn't mean I don't plan to visit often! :goodvibes

I do think 'Ohana is better choice with kids. Or perhaps the characters at this restaurant are more receptive to kids? Who knows... :confused3


You know, I've never even gone in to see the Poly. What is wrong with me? :confused3. Next time I'm in Disney, I am definitely taking some time there.

This was the first trip that I made an effort to visit other resorts and I'm so glad I did! The Poly is awesome! It's definitely worth a ride on the monorail to wander around. The views and the smells are just incredible there!

I would highly recommend stopping by on a future trip! ::yes::


I am joining in too. Loving your report so far, especially your food reviews. I am also a huge dessert lover and I am very excited to be at the World in two months to eat so many yummy things!

:welcome: Thanks for joining! Thanks, also, for your compliment about the food reviews!

Oh my goodness, I had so many good desserts on this vacation! Anyone that knows me understands that if I'm going out to eat, there's going to be dessert involved! ;)

Now you have me thinking about all the yummy things I'll be eating in just over two months, too! Mmmmm.... popcorn::

SimplyGoofy
03-08-2013, 09:46 PM
I tend to be chaotic when I am behind on a TR, but so far I have day 1 and 2 under my belt.

Via - what a great place for your first ADR. Everything looks amazing. Yum! And having cute waiters only makes it that much better.

That frozen chocolate cappuccino looks so amazing. One of these days I will definitely have breakfast there just so I can try it.

CoP fan here!!!!!!!

Nice work! Feel free to take your time - I'm busy all day tomorrow so I won't have another update until Sunday.

Via Napoli was great! We thought both the food and the waitstaff made it a "must-do"! That frozen cappuccino... oh, yum. It would be worth returning to the GFC just to get that beverage! :thumbsup2

I LOVE the Carousel of Progress. My teenage sister loves the Carousel of Progress. I'm always baffled by people that don't love it... it always makes me think, "What on earth is wrong with you?!" :laughing:

Disneymoon2013
03-09-2013, 12:56 AM
I've enjoyed reading so far!

Some questions... Did you get so much accomplished at Epcot, MK, & DHS because of Fastpasses (past their time limits) or mainly because it wasn't too busy during that time in February?

Do you think it's worth seeing the Swiss Family Robinson house for a first-timer who isn't familiar with the film?

Did you get any more towel animals?! The elephant and mouse are so cute!

BTW, my fav picture so far is of Annika in the tea cups. It makes me want to ride them. Before I wasn't interested in them at all!

SimplyGoofy
03-09-2013, 09:41 AM
I've enjoyed reading so far!

Some questions... Did you get so much accomplished at Epcot, MK, & DHS because of Fastpasses (past their time limits) or mainly because it wasn't too busy during that time in February?

Do you think it's worth seeing the Swiss Family Robinson house for a first-timer who isn't familiar with the film?

Did you get any more towel animals?! The elephant and mouse are so cute!

BTW, my fav picture so far is of Annika in the tea cups. It makes me want to ride them. Before I wasn't interested in them at all!

:welcome:

I think there were a few factors that made us so productive. My Fastpass wrangling helped (as I always grabbed a new FP the minute our window opened), as did the lack of enforced return times. However, I still think you could use FP effectively with the enforced times - you'd just have to be more strategic. I'm not sure how FP+ will affect this. :confused3 The low crowds also helped, but Disney was a lot busier than I remember from previous years in January and February.

We had a few other things on our side. As we're essentially two adults, we didn't have to worry about kid wrangling, potty breaks, and distractions. We also could walk pretty fast, and often passed loads of people that were headed in the same direction. We also were really good at getting to the parks early (at or before opening), and then hit the most popular rides first. We didn't really follow a touring plan after the first few rides, but even Anika was impressed that we seemed to ride nearly everything before a line had built up. :woohoo:

Yes, try the Swiss Robinson Treehouse! It rarely has a line (I wouldn't recommend climbing if it has one) and it's a different kind of attraction. I'd recommend you try it at night - that's our plan for next time!

No more towel animals. :sad1: We kept the original ones all week, though!

We LOVE the teacups! I can't believe we only rode them once! You always have the option to just enjoy the movement of the ride without spinning your cup - but I would recommend spinning it like a crazy person! It's so much fun! :thumbsup2

SimplyGoofy
03-10-2013, 10:38 PM
This is Why You Get There Early…
Day 4—Part II

As we were leaving the Polynesian and heading to Hollywood Studios, Anika mentioned that she was chilly and really needed her coat. Where was her coat?

At the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

:faint:

So much for being early at the park!

We drove back to our resort. Here’s a picture of us heading in around 8:40 (which means we likely could’ve been at the DHS turnstiles at 8:30!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/961_zpsca2fdff0.jpg


Anika retrieved her coat (and I grabbed mine too, just in case) and we were on our way again. It was a very short trip to the studios and I was rather proud that I correctly followed the directional signs to the parking lot! Sometimes driving around Disney World can be confusing!

We arrived a bit after 9:00 and stood in the LONGEST BAG CHECK LINE EVER. Nearly every other line we stood in for park entry was just a few people long, but I’m sure that was because most of our bag-check lines were visited before park opening or at off times. It took almost THIRTY MINUTES to get through the line. As the minutes ticked by, I saw my plans of hitting the headliners in the first hour fade away. I become more and more bugged that Anika didn’t grab her coat this morning, especially since she could’ve kept it in the car!

Finally, finally around 9:30 we were in. The first thing we did was march to Toy Story Mania and grab Fastpasses:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/996_zps1887431d.jpg


Good grief. At 9:35 on a fairly quiet morning our return time was nearly one o'clock! :mad:

Since my original morning plan was a bust, we improvised. Standby on Toy Story Mania was out and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster line was far too long, but the Tower of Terror line was okay. We headed to our favorite tower first.

I must’ve been bugged for most of the morning because I took so few pictures this morning! My first pictures in DHS that day were taken at 11:00 (the Fastpass picture above was taken in the afternoon). Our next attraction was the Great Movie Ride (no pictures) and Muppet 3-D (no pictures). I redeem myself slightly on the Muppets as I videotaped a portion of the best pre-show on Disney property. :goodvibes

My camera finally saw the light of day again in the Muppet store next to the Muppet attraction. It wasn’t possible to walk by these signs and not photograph them:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/962_zps3dd5dcab.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/964_zps9c179cfd.jpg


I also love this setup of the Happiness Hotel from the Great Muppet Caper (my favorite Muppet movie!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/966_zps28d3b773.jpg


I’m nearly positive we went on Star Tours again this morning, but as I was ignoring my camera for most of the morning I can’t be sure. I’m sure the lines there wouldn’t have been too bad.

The next thing I know we did was wander around the Streets of America.

I kept trying to get Anika to pose with random things:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/967_zps31330413.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/968_zps1284cfa0.jpg


Then I would hand her the camera and try to have her take pictures of me:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/972_zpsa270c7aa.jpg


Anika wasn’t having much of it. She was now a little grumpy as she was cold and hungry (which, to be fair, doesn’t make anyone very happy). I was still grumpy from our late start that morning. We were quite a pair! :rotfl2:

We gave up on wandering around the park and headed to our lunch reservation at the Hollywood Brown Derby. I was SUPER excited to eat at the Brown Derby as the menu looked really tasty and the restaurant ambiance looked so fun.

We’ll just say right now that our experience did not live up to our (my) expectations... :(

Up Next: Lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby

SimplyGoofy
03-10-2013, 10:52 PM
An (Un)Hollywood Experience
Day 4—Part III

Here we were at our lunch destination:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/993_zps0143a10d.jpg


We waited only a few minutes before being seated. Here’s a picture of the lobby and the front desk:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/978_zps0cc37e3c.jpg


I really did love the charm and character of the restaurant décor:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/982_zpsf071f027.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/984_zps38e1b70f.jpg


We were seated on an upper level table so we had a great view of the restaurant!

I figured Anika and I would both be pulled out of our funks once we ate a tasty meal. I’ve read nothing but excellent things about the Brown Derby

Then we met Linda.

Linda was our waitress at the Brown Derby. It took me a while to put my finger on why I disliked our experience at the Brown Derby so much, and it really comes back to our waitress. She was snippy when she learned we were on the dining plan (aren’t a lot of people?), she seemed bored when she took our orders, and mostly she just acted like every trip to our table was just a huge waste of her time. Overall, she was just a big grump.

Not exactly the signature dining experience I was expecting. :sad2:

At least Linda did bring us our food!

We started with our usual water and iced tea, as well as a basket of rolls and salted butter:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/986_zps36fd9a36.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/985_zpsebf623c0.jpg


They were tasty, but it was hard to compete with the magnificent onion rolls from the night before!

Anika wasn’t interested in an appetizer but I was super excited to try the Cobb Salad. It included chopped greens, turkey, egg, bacon, tomatoes, bleu cheese, avocado, chives, and Cobb dressing:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/987_zps5d2eea05.jpg


When Linda brought the gigantic bowl to the table, she asked if I would like her to mix the salad for me. When I said that I would (and I’m sure that I included a please!), she gave me a big sigh and then mixed my salad and served a portion on my plate.

Gee thanks, Linda.

I ate as much of the salad as I could as it was DELICIOUS, but I wanted to save some room for my entrée.

I ordered the pork, which at that time was called the Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin. It came with herb and four-cheese spaetzel, smoked bacon, sweet peppers, red cabbage, and an apple cider juice:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/988_zps0ad9ae3f.jpg


Anika ordered the chicken, which was the Roasted Free-Range Ashley Farms Breast of Chicken. The chicken was stuffed with ham, Manchego cheese, and spinach, and was served over a Fabada stew (which usually includes sausages, beans, bacon, onions, and garlic):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/989_zpsa5203486.jpg


Both of our entrées were fantastic! I’m not usually a pork fan (I ordered the dish for the spaetzel!) but I thought the pork was excellent. It was flavorful and juicy and not at all dry. Anika enjoyed her chicken but ignored most of the stew at the bottom of the plate. She thought the chicken dish was very good.

Next up was dessert!

I ordered the Banana White Chocolate Toffee Tower:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/990_zpse644a694.jpg


Anika ordered the Chocolate Three Ways, which included a dark almond buttermilk cake with a milk chocolate truffle cream and white chocolate Chambord:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/991_zpsb1b6f556.jpg


Both of our desserts were delicious! I considered ordering the Grapefruit Cake, but the banana dessert just sounded better to me at the time. I wasn’t disappointed!

Anika also ordered a cappuccino with dessert:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/992_zps4057847f.jpg


She said it was wonderful! I think she was still cold so the hot beverage was a great choice.

I don’t remember seeing much of Linda throughout most of our meal—I know Anika ran out of water at some point and I rationed my iced tea so I didn’t run out. If there’s anything that annoys me at a restaurant it’s not getting beverages refilled. I have sympathy if a restaurant is busy, but as we were one of Linda’s only tables I didn’t understand how she didn’t have time to stop by with a water pitcher. Our meal also took nearly an hour and a half, which seems ridiculous considering how few people were in the restaurant. I know we waited a very long time between courses.

Linda finally came with our bill and we paid and left. Anika and I were both excited to get out of there.


Final Thoughts—Hollywood Brown Derby
I was so disappointed in our experience at the Brown Derby. Our food was WONDERFUL and the restaurant was beautiful, but the interactions with our server were not fun at all. I can’t think of another meal where I felt the server had no interest in serving us. I don’t expect service that poor from a meal at Applebees, let alone from a signature restaurant in Disney World! I can’t figure out if she thought we were just annoying kids (I haven’t been a “kid” for years, thanks) or if she thought we didn’t belong in an upscale restaurant (we’ve both been to much nicer restaurants!), but regardless of the reason her behavior was irritating. I know throughout the meal I attempted to be nicer and nicer to see if it would rub off, but to no avail. Now that I look at our receipt from the meal I realized I gave her FAR too large of a tip. I would love to give the Brown Derby another try as so many people seem to love it, plus I think all of my bad feelings are due to our annoying waitress. Anika has no desire to return.


Although our lunch experience was less than stellar, we were both full and warm and surprisingly, in much better moods. We looked forward to a much sunnier afternoon!

Up Next: A Full Afternoon at Hollywood Studios

shan23877
03-10-2013, 11:40 PM
How disappointing! I'm so sorry that the server at HBD was so rude to you.

I don't claim to know everything about how Disney works, but I can't imagine that the servers there would consider the DDP or DxDP a bad thing. Since most of us probably wouldn't order both appetizer and dessert if it wasn't included in the dining plan, the servers are only reaping the benefit of guests already being "upsold" for them. And, since you tip on what the meal would have cost if you'd paid OOP, the server gets more money from the DDPers. Very strange indeed.

I have worked in restaurants for almost 20 years, and this makes me very, very sad for you. Service can truly make or break an experience for the diner, and most waiters take that responsibility pretty seriously. I'm sorry that Janet didn't.

Sounds like you guys liked the food pretty well though! Maybe after the bad memory has faded you'll try again.:flower3:

Marsheliz
03-11-2013, 08:51 AM
I dont blame you for not being overall thrilled...

That really stinks and you got that right- signature dining at that. UMM, hello, that is really terrible of the waitress to act that way. :( I have wanted to try that out before too but never have. :( It would be hard to do signature with two kids under the age of 5. :(

On another note, in reference to your night at DHS- We have never been at night and I don't know why... LOL

MEK
03-11-2013, 09:21 AM
I honestly hope you get a survey to fill out or have another means for providing feedback on Linda. The impression she left on you obviously ruined your meal. That's unacceptable. The food does look absolutely delicious. Sorry an otherwise enjoyable meal took a turn south.

DisneyKid4Life
03-11-2013, 04:11 PM
So sad to hear about your service at the Derby. I've always thought that one of the things that makes Disney so great is the great CM's and other employees. But when you get a bad one, they can really have an equally negative impact. Glad to hear you didn't let it get you down too much.

SimplyGoofy
03-11-2013, 09:23 PM
How disappointing! I'm so sorry that the server at HBD was so rude to you.

I don't claim to know everything about how Disney works, but I can't imagine that the servers there would consider the DDP or DxDP a bad thing. Since most of us probably wouldn't order both appetizer and dessert if it wasn't included in the dining plan, the servers are only reaping the benefit of guests already being "upsold" for them. And, since you tip on what the meal would have cost if you'd paid OOP, the server gets more money from the DDPers. Very strange indeed.

I have worked in restaurants for almost 20 years, and this makes me very, very sad for you. Service can truly make or break an experience for the diner, and most waiters take that responsibility pretty seriously. I'm sorry that Janet didn't.

Sounds like you guys liked the food pretty well though! Maybe after the bad memory has faded you'll try again.:flower3:

I would love to give it another try as I think (and hope!) our experience was an anomaly.

I couldn't understand the concern regarding the dining plan - we understood how the credits worked so she didn't have to explain anything. Plus, as you mentioned, she already knew she would be getting tipped based on appetizers and desserts, too! I would think she would be excited about a dining plan customer. :confused3

Most servers I come across (both inside and outside of Disney World - I dine out a lot!) are wonderful. It's too bad that a few bad apples have to ruin a guest's experience.

If I can convince Anika I think we may eat here again. :goodvibes


I dont blame you for not being overall thrilled...

That really stinks and you got that right- signature dining at that. UMM, hello, that is really terrible of the waitress to act that way. :( I have wanted to try that out before too but never have. :( It would be hard to do signature with two kids under the age of 5. :(

On another note, in reference to your night at DHS- We have never been at night and I don't know why... LOL

I think my sister was so bothered by her because Anika has been a server - as she says, even if you're personally having a bad day, you shove it aside and greet your guests with a smile! It's pretty sad that our much older waitress could've (and should've) taken advice from a sixteen year old!

It may be tough to get there at night with young kids, but as your boys get older you should definitely go at night! I think Hollywood Studios at night is beautiful! :goodvibes


I honestly hope you get a survey to fill out or have another means for providing feedback on Linda. The impression she left on you obviously ruined your meal. That's unacceptable. The food does look absolutely delicious. Sorry an otherwise enjoyable meal took a turn south.

I really should've said something to a manager or left a comment card of some kind, but at the time I just wanted to get the heck out of there.

I do know that if I ever decide to return to the Brown Derby and discover that Linda is my server again, I will ask to switch tables! :rotfl:


So sad to hear about your service at the Derby. I've always thought that one of the things that makes Disney so great is the great CM's and other employees. But when you get a bad one, they can really have an equally negative impact. Glad to hear you didn't let it get you down too much.

It really was too bad. Thankfully most of the service we received (from resorts to attractions to restaurants) was excellent, so it lessened the impact of this one bad apple. ;)

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-12-2013, 05:46 AM
While your food looks great, I'm sorry to hear your experience at HBD was so lackluster!! That's one restaurant I always go back and forth on whether or not we should visit, maybe it's one of those "you have to visit on a good day" places! :confused3

SimplyGoofy
03-12-2013, 08:10 PM
While your food looks great, I'm sorry to hear your experience at HBD was so lackluster!! That's one restaurant I always go back and forth on whether or not we should visit, maybe it's one of those "you have to visit on a good day" places! :confused3

I was definitely disappointing! I'm sure we would've really enjoyed our time there had we had a better waitress - hopefully my review won't cause people to second-guess this spot! I think the HBD can be an excellent spot (so many people think so!) and I hope our next visit there is much better! :goodvibes

SimplyGoofy
03-12-2013, 08:27 PM
Nostalgia and a Few Toys
Day 4—Part IV

Lunch took such a long time that our Toy Story Mania Fastpass time had begun!

However, we decided to make a quick stop next door to Pixar Place, right here:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1003_zps73a6dddd.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1006_zps8a46efb1.jpg

Our “quick stop” only took half an hour. :lmao:

If any of you have been to Disney World and not been to One Man’s Dream—what have you been doing?! I can pretty much guarantee that any DisBoard fan would absolutely geek out in there. One Man’s Dream is a walk through Walt Disney’s entire life, from his early years through all of his Disney-related milestones. It includes tons of artifacts, memorabilia, and several fantastic scale models of rides, park landmarks, and new things to come!

Don’t worry if you’ve never had the chance to experience this gem of an attraction yet… I have way too many pictures of it, just for you! (I was very good and scaled down my 81 photos to this truncated selection!)

I loved this picture of Walt and Mickey:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1020_zps64e07b71.jpg


I thought this drawing table reproduction was a spectacular thing to see:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1022_zps254db86c.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1021_zps09eb90ad.jpg


They had several collections of early Disney toys, including this Donald Duck assortment:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1030_zps7694e644.jpg


They also had highlight plaques for several of Walt’s movie milestones, including The Band Concert:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1027_zps14e11755.jpg


And Disney’s first full-length feature film, Snow White:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1032_zps753e6684.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1033_zpse5b0ff22.jpg


I thought the peek into Walt’s California office was really fun:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1036_zps75ece9eb.jpg


I LOVED the scale models of the rides, such as Peter Pan’s Flight:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1048_zps0639325f.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1047_zps6aff149f.jpg


They had a scale model for the Jungle Cruise, too!

I also thought the area about animatronics was fascinating. They included commentary about creating Mr. Lincoln, complete with an "inside look" and the control box!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1053_zpsade96332.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1059_zps4defc2db.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1060_zpsacb0f38a.jpg


A tour through One Man’s Dream is not complete without Walt’s introduction to the plans for Disney World:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1056_zpsd1e34244.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1055_zps42686cb4.jpg


They also included plaques about the major park openings, such as Magic Kingdom:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1068_zpsdfdd0370.jpg


As well as my favorite park, Epcot!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1064_zps1b2d4d38.jpg


This was one of my FAVORITE memorabilia cases in the entire exhibit—an array of items from original Epcot attractions! This includes the robot butler from Horizons, some of the stars from Kitchen Kabaret, and best of all, an original Figment with the Dreamfinder’s balloon!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1062_zps29c30378.jpg


Another favorite of mine were the scale models of the key figures from each Walt Disney World park, including Cinderella Castle:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1067_zps485ac87e.jpg


The Epcot ball:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1069_zpsdeca3957.jpg


The Tower of Terror:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1072_zpse6e37fd5.jpg


And the Tree of Life:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1076_zps8d46b590.jpg


Although all of them were amazingly detailed, the Tree of Life was just phenomenal!

(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
03-12-2013, 08:51 PM
(continued from previous post)

My final favorite section of the exhibit highlighted Disney’s connection with Pixar. I couldn’t help but take a picture of my favorite friend duo:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1081_zpsa16d1c2e.jpg


As well as my favorite “I don’t wait to be your friend, but I guess I have no choice” duo: :rotfl:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1080_zps749808ed.jpg


Oh my goodness, I LOVE Up! It’s tough to say with the Toy Story series in the running (not to mention Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo,…) but I think Up might be my favorite Pixar movie. It just warms my heart every time I see it.

There you are—a brief look at One Man’s Dream! There is also an excellent short movie that plays at the end of the exhibit in a (seated!) movie theatre. We didn’t watch it that day, but we came back for another walk-through in order to catch the movie.

I so highly recommend taking a look at this attraction—it’s excellent! Plus, it doesn’t tend to be crowded (many people step in, realize it’s not a ride, and step back out :confused3), so it’s a wonderful pick for the middle of the day!

Now brimming with Disney nostalgia (and digested food!) it was time to see if Toy Story Mania lived up to the hype!

Welcome to Pixar Place!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/998_zpsd3aedc2b.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/999_zps6fdcd8e8.jpg


I thought the detail involved in the entire Pixar Place, as well as the attraction itself, was awesome. :thumbsup2

Here’s the entrance to the ride:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1001_zps7620c4cd.jpg

(I grabbed the picture before our One Man’s Dream walk-through.)

Finally, it was our chance to walk through the queue. I didn't grab too many pictures of the queue itself (on this day, at least), but I did grab a few near the end:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1086_zps0ae7686e.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1087_zps80dc3507.jpg

I thought the ride entrance area was especially neat, with the Tinker Toys, Christmas lights, and views of "Andy's Room":

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1097_zpsdbcb0927.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1089_zpsec92a570.jpg


Here’s Anika (post-ride), showing you how it’s done:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1101_zps35fb9238.jpg


We LOVED Toy Story Mania! We were both kicking ourselves that we didn't hop into line the night before, and were very excited to try it again another day! Here were our scores from our first try on the attraction—not too bad! (I was the winner!)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1099_zps28e478ca.jpg


The next thing I REALLY wanted to do that day was get a picture with Sorcerer Mickey. I’ll let you in on a little secret—I adore and look forward to seeing the characters, but Anika HATES it. Her comment always is, “You never know what creeper is in the costume!” :rotfl2:

However, she is the best travel partner ever and agreed to say hello to Mickey with me. In we trooped to the Magic of Disney Animation building:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1103_zpsbf0a5311.jpg


And here we are with Sorcerer Mickey!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/Photo0159FourBySix_zps4a8de611.jpg


Don’t you love it that Mickey assumes that Anika was the one that wanted to visit him? His hand was on her shoulder instead of mine! This happened nearly every time we saw the characters and it drove Anika nuts!

We also had to stop and pay a visit to Ariel and her friends:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1104_zps0de8489a.jpg


We stopped for a Photopass photographer on our way out of the animation area:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/Photo0174FourBySix_zps06d0eb53.jpg


Our last attraction of the day shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody… one more ride on the Tower of Terror!

On our way out of the park we decided to pick up a few delectable cupcakes from Starring Rolls. We grabbed a chocolate peanut butter cupcake as well as this beauty:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1105_zpsc268b15c.jpg


The much talked about Butterfinger Cupcake!

We took both of them to go as we were still a bit full from lunch. Later in the trip Anika tried both of the cupcakes—she thought both of them were tasty, but the Butterfinger one was her favorite. Would you believe I never tried either of them?! Either I wasn’t hungry (darn that deluxe dining plan!) or I’d completely forget that we had them. Next time I’ll actually have to try one of them!

After purchasing the cupcakes we decided to head back to our resort and prepare for our evening. One of our big “events” of the week was to see Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, and tonight was the big night! We were pretty excited about it!

Up Next: Downtown Disney and Cirque du Soleil

jecskc
03-12-2013, 09:13 PM
Too bad about your waitress at HBD. You would expect service to be good there. The food looked amazing though.

I love One Man's Dream as well and even the movie at the end.

Looking forward to more !!

WDWaddictt
03-13-2013, 02:10 AM
One Man's Dream is something everyone should do at least once. It is great and I really enjoy the short movie at the end! He explains about his first character that he drew "Oswald" which happens to be my son's (7) favorite character.

TSM is one of my fav rides! A must do on every trip, that one and ToT! :)

Great update, thanks for sharing!

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-13-2013, 05:42 AM
One Man's Dream really is a fascinating place to visit, isn't it? I love all of the history there!!

Hahaha too funny about Anika and the character photos!! :rotfl:

MEK
03-13-2013, 08:44 AM
I share your exact feelings on One Man's Dream! Going in there and watching the movie is almost like a rite of passage. How can you NOT? It makes me have eternal respect for the man behind the mouse.

Speaking of respect - that cupcake looks A-MAZING!!!!!!

Marsheliz
03-13-2013, 09:14 AM
I agree about One Man's Dream.. It is a nice place to browse through and it gets you out of the heat! :)

DisneyKid4Life
03-13-2013, 10:40 AM
OMG Jenny, we were just commenting on the greatness that is One Man's Dream. You captured it wonderfully, certainly much better than I did, lol. Thank you for the photos. And yes, EVERYONE needs to see it.

Speaking of photos, I nearly died laughing at
"Anika HATES it. Her comment always is, “You never know what creeper is in the costume!”
I never actually thought of that before... :lmao: Tell her she has a good head on her shoulders. :thumbsup2. That just slayed me... :rotfl2:

Avery&Todd
03-13-2013, 01:15 PM
Ok, I am joining this TR waaay late, but Im here!!!

and I have to go back to your lunch at Rose & Crown....we ate there in June 2012 and we ALSO had Katie as our server!!

She was the best server of our entire trip and my DH was just in love with her - she was SO nice and so sweet - and she was serving us on her LAST DAY at WDW!! She was leaving to go back "home"....:eek:

DH was crushed.....:lmao:

I even embarrassed him by asking her for a pic with DH....he turned so pink..and I just loved it - can you tell we've been married for almost 20 years and we can pick at each other like that!!

Im LOVING your TR and Im all caught up and Im trying to figure out how I can plan a WDW with my 2 sisters!!

:woohoo:

SimplyGoofy
03-17-2013, 09:48 PM
Too bad about your waitress at HBD. You would expect service to be good there. The food looked amazing though.

I love One Man's Dream as well and even the movie at the end.

Looking forward to more !!

Hopefully she was just having a bad day and is usually a wonderful server? :confused3 I'd even settle for passable! However, yes, the food was great so I'd love to give it another try. :flower3:


One Man's Dream is something everyone should do at least once. It is great and I really enjoy the short movie at the end! He explains about his first character that he drew "Oswald" which happens to be my son's (7) favorite character.

TSM is one of my fav rides! A must do on every trip, that one and ToT! :)

Great update, thanks for sharing!

We loved the movie, too! We weren't able to catch it on this day as we had to book it over to TSM, but we just had to come back so we could see it! I know Anika will want to see it again next time!

I can't belive how much we totally LOVED Toy Story Mania! It's too bad the lines are always so insane - we'd love to do it more than a few times! ::yes::


One Man's Dream really is a fascinating place to visit, isn't it? I love all of the history there!!

Hahaha too funny about Anika and the character photos!! :rotfl:

I was interested in seeing One Man's Dream, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it!

Oh, Anika... she was such a good sport about the characters (considering they always seemed so excited to see her!). :rotfl:


I share your exact feelings on One Man's Dream! Going in there and watching the movie is almost like a rite of passage. How can you NOT? It makes me have eternal respect for the man behind the mouse.

Speaking of respect - that cupcake looks A-MAZING!!!!!!

I love that so many people on the Dis understand the amazingness that is One Man's Dream (although that shouldn't be a surprise!).

Anika said it WAS amazing! We plan to share a lot more food this next time and I should therefore have a bit more stomach space - I intend to enjoy the Butterfinger cupcake (and perhaps another one as well!) this next time!

SimplyGoofy
03-17-2013, 09:58 PM
I agree about One Man's Dream.. It is a nice place to browse through and it gets you out of the heat! :)

So true! I love a spot with air conditioning - especially when there's so many fun things to see! :thumbsup2


OMG Jenny, we were just commenting on the greatness that is One Man's Dream. You captured it wonderfully, certainly much better than I did, lol. Thank you for the photos. And yes, EVERYONE needs to see it.

Speaking of photos, I nearly died laughing at
"Anika HATES it. Her comment always is, “You never know what creeper is in the costume!”
I never actually thought of that before... :lmao: Tell her she has a good head on her shoulders. :thumbsup2. That just slayed me... :rotfl2:

Thank you! I enjoyed your photos as well. It's tough to capture the essense of that place in just one (well, just over one!) post.

I passed your wonderful comment along to Anika! She was concerned when she heard that I'd added her remark to my report that readers would be mad... I told her I just had to include it because I think it's pretty funny! :laughing:


Ok, I am joining this TR waaay late, but Im here!!!

and I have to go back to your lunch at Rose & Crown....we ate there in June 2012 and we ALSO had Katie as our server!!

She was the best server of our entire trip and my DH was just in love with her - she was SO nice and so sweet - and she was serving us on her LAST DAY at WDW!! She was leaving to go back "home"....:eek:

DH was crushed.....:lmao:

I even embarrassed him by asking her for a pic with DH....he turned so pink..and I just loved it - can you tell we've been married for almost 20 years and we can pick at each other like that!!

Im LOVING your TR and Im all caught up and Im trying to figure out how I can plan a WDW with my 2 sisters!!

:woohoo:

:welcome: You're not late at all! I'm glad you joined in (and added a comment!).

I love that you had Katie, too! Wasn't she FABULOUS?! We had a lot of great servers on this trip but Katie was a favorite of both Anika and I. I know we enjoyed our food and view as well, but I'm sure the service we had from Katie contributed to the fact that it was our favorite lunch of the vacation. :lovestruc

I also love that you got a picture of her! We should have done that! :p

YouCanFly09
03-18-2013, 01:36 AM
Sorry I'm late to the party!! This is such a fun TR! It must have been so much taking a vacation with only your sister! I think you may be the best big sister ever! Can't wait to read more!

SimplyGoofy
03-18-2013, 08:49 PM
Sorry I'm late to the party!! This is such a fun TR! It must have been so much taking a vacation with only your sister! I think you may be the best big sister ever! Can't wait to read more!

:welcome: Thank you! Anika and I did have quite a spectacular time! She was an excellent travel partner and we experienced a lot of awesome things!

Thanks for (officially) joining in!

SimplyGoofy
03-18-2013, 09:17 PM
Circus Time!
Day 4—Part V

It was time for Cirque du Soleil!

Anika was REALLY excited about seeing La Nouba again—she had seen it with my parents during a previous trip and it was her top request of something “she just had to do again!” I was pretty excited about seeing it myself!

It was an easy drive to Downtown Disney and we got an excellent spot in the West Side parking lot. We were able to soak up a little Downtown Disney atmosphere on our way to the theatre.

Here is the Characters in Flight balloon:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1108_zpsaa0b2a08.jpg


I would really like to do that one day! I think the views would be incredible!

Here’s a view of the shops and buildings in the West Side:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1111_zpsf047fd65.jpg


Here’s the new (now open!) Splitsville and the Wolfgang Puck Café:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1112_zpsa28e53e9.jpg


We also passed the huge blue building that houses Disney Quest:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1114_zps8fe20e17.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1116_zpsbc79ef70.jpg


I know it tends to get somewhat mixed reviews, but I’d still love to try Disney Quest sometime! I’m a sucker for old-school video games (I’m sure my age has nothing to do with that… :rolleyes1) and I’ve even read that they have ski-ball! I love ski-ball!

Finally, we arrived at our destination:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1118_zps6bffbcfe.jpg


The Cirque du Soleil building/tent/theatre was really neat! We spent a little time wandering around in the store which was filled with interesting (and expensive!) things. They had some spectacular masks in there!

We eventually made our way up the stairs in order to find our seats. I just had to grab a view of the path we’d just walked:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1119_zps9efd37ff.jpg


Anika and I found our seats which were in the “front and center” section in row G. I was unable to take any pictures of the show itself (which they have no problem reminding you of a good 150 times!), but I did sneak a picture of Anika and I in the theatre before the show started:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1120_zpsfbd86eac.jpg


Then it was on with the show!

If any of you have seen snippets of the show, you may know that it begins with the two “clowns” that bring a selection of colorful boxes into the audience with them. They pick a poor, unsuspecting audience member on which to stack a huge number of the crazy boxes! We couldn’t believe it when the woman RIGHT BEHIND US was chosen for this hilarious task! It was pretty fun to be up close and personal with the entertainment! :banana:

We then watched a cacophony of awesome acts—there was juggling and trapeze and high wire, along with bike acts and trampolines and comedy acts. Although all of it was INCREDIBLE to watch, I think my absolute favorite was the aerial ballet in silk. Watching those women FLY through the air (and tumble toward the ground!) while hanging on a RIBBON was just breathtaking! :cloud9:

Other than the performances themselves, the costumes, makeup, and music were wonderful compliments to the show. Everything was so colorful and fun to watch—if the performances weren’t enough to draw you in (trust me, they are!) the sights and sounds would do it!

I must admit that although I was looking forward to the show, I was a little pained about dropping several hundred dollars on an hour and a half of entertainment. I know a lot of people mention on these boards that the show is great, not to be missed, and that you won’t regret spending the money… I was a little skeptical that it could be THAT great. Well, let me tell you…

THE SHOW WAS GREAT, IT IS NOT TO BE MISSED, AND YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT REGRET SPENDING THE MONEY!!!
:worship: :worship: :worship:

I don’t think my brief review full of capital letters and bold words can illustrate how incredible Cirque du Soleil La Nouba was. Anika and I would both love to see it again! Do yourself a favor and squeeze it in on an upcoming trip! :thumbsup2

Up Next: Dinner at… Raglan Road?

SimplyGoofy
03-18-2013, 09:38 PM
No Dancing for You!
Day 4—Part VI

Our plan after Cirque was dinner at Raglan Road. I was pretty excited about seeing the dancers and eating the scallop forest and the bread pudding.

Alas, it was not to be. :sad2:

Once we finished the show Anika wanted to eat NOW. She had no interest in waiting for our ADR window.

Okay, new plan! I was familiar with a few quick service choices in Downtown Disney and decided Wolfgang Puck Express was my first choice. As appealing as Earl of Sandwich sounds, I was HUNGRY and wanted more than a sandwich. Since we were already on the West Side we checked out that Wolfgang Puck menu first. The only selections they have on the West Side are salads, sandwiches, and a few other items, none of the pasta or big meat dishes I was looking for! Therefore, I trooped Anika across Downtown Disney to find the other Wolfgang Puck Express location.

I think it says a lot about her character that Anika didn’t kill me on the LONG walk over. (Seriously, Downtown Disney is a lot bigger than it looks!) :crazy2:

Once we reached the Marketplace—victory! We found it!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1128_zps9582f552.jpg


Along with my expanded menu!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1124_zps8a901018.jpg


We placed our orders and found a table. It was pretty crowded but we didn’t have to search too long for a spot. Our food arrived after just a few minutes!

Here was my Spaghetti and Meatballs:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1122_zps321d494f.jpg


Anika ordered a Pepperoni Pizza (baked in a wood oven!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1121_zps63837c7d.jpg


Our food was AWESOME! I had moderate expectations (after all, this was pasta from a quick service restaurant!) but it was REALLY good! I don't tend to like spaghetti that I don't make, but I would order this again in a heartbeat! Anika also adored her food and would be thrilled to order another Wolfgang Puck pizza! This became another meal that I kept hearing about from Anika. She saw me uploading these pictures and said, "My pizza! That pizza was SO GOOD!" :laughing:

For dessert, Anika picked up a chocolate brownie and I ordered this:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1123_zpscfb59567.jpg


Cheesecake! I definitely picked the winner here, as Anika’s brownie was a little dry but this cheesecake was wonderful! The crème brulée-like crust was a great touch on an already tasty cheesecake.

Can you believe it—this was our favorite meal of the day! The food was great and the service was friendly (and speedy!). We would both be very happy to visit here again! :thumbsup2

After dinner we decided to poke around a few of the shops. Our first stop was across the way from our dinner spot:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1132_zps49f640d8.jpg


It was so much fun to wander around in there! We resisted most temptations (thank you, Wolfgang Puck Express and your filling food!) but did buy a thing or two. Anika was very impressed with the make-your-own-treat counter. I think we’ll have to do that next time!

I loved this sign that was made with candy:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1125_zps03bc351b.jpg


We also had to stop by the Christmas store:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1131_zps1a873b34.jpg

I’m sorry that I didn’t take any pictures in there—there were so many fun things to see! It took a lot of restraint to not drop loads of money on multiple ornaments. If you've ever searched for a Christmas-related item for [fill in your favorite character here]—this is the store for you! I did buy a lovely blown glass mickey ornament that I just love. :lovestruc

Next up was the Downtown Disney mega-store called World of Disney:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1136_zpsaa581da1.jpg

That store is HUGE! Anika and I had fun wandering through every section of that store. We admired the princess dresses and the toys and the souvenirs (keychain or mug, anyone?). I even got Anika to try on a pair of Minnie ears:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1138_zps895e4f4c.jpg


Anika made a few purchases, including The Lady and the Tramp (which was released on DVD around the week we were there) and a fantastic, multi-colored Mickey blanket that you could fold up into a pillow. That blanket has gone on many swim team bus rides with her!

I had to get a picture of another entrance on our way out (I love the carriage!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1139_zps9d73e8b2.jpg


Although we didn’t stop in, we did peek at the Lego Store on our walk by:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1144_zpsb57c0317.jpg


I do love several of the displays outside the store, such as the seven dwarfs, mining away:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1145_zpsb14bb18e.jpg


As well as Prince Philip fighting Maleficent the Dragon:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1141_zpse216fb23.jpg

After a few hours of shopping, we were done for the night! We wandered back through the Marketplace and Pleasure Island to get back to our car on the West Side. The walk seems a lot shorter when you're not dying of hunger! :lmao: Since we had the advantage of our car, I just had to drive to the end of the parking lot and take a picture of the back of the Cirque building:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1157_zps1d640714.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%204/1160_zpsd862326c.jpg

Anika did her part by laughing at me for driving across a parking just to get another picture. :rotfl:

What a wonderful evening! We had a fantastic time at La Nouba and would love to go again. We'd love to spend more time in Downtown Disney in order to visit a few more stores, try another entertainment spot, and we'd love to have another meal from Wolfgang Pick Express!

Up Next: Universal and the WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER! :yay:

emmysmommy
03-18-2013, 10:47 PM
Lots of GREAT updates! I would prefer WPE to Raglan Road to be honest so I don't think you missed much. (Except for dessert - NO, and I mean NO dessert compares to their bread pudding!) I had the cheesecake at WPE too and it was pretty tasty! But the pizza was soooo good! I agree with Anika.

Sorry your Brown Derby lunch didn't deliver great service.... I won't even go into our experience last time...but it really is a classy joint - with the vintage decor. :)

The Lego dragon in DTD makes me laugh because they have one in the CA DTD but it is shooting the flame downward at the Lego Prince Philip and it looks like he is barfing. :rotfl:

I'm one of those Disney geeks who loves Walt One Man's Dream. There's so much history there.

WanderlustNZ
03-18-2013, 11:44 PM
I'm trying to remember if I've popped into your TR yet to thank you for such an interesting read. Yours is one of about 4 TR's that I'm following along with, and I look forward to your updates.
It's particularly great hearing about all your dining experiences as my ADRs open up in about 2 weeks and I'm still not 100% decided. I will be at DTD for both a lunch and a dinner and I just can't decide what to eliminate out of Raglan Rd, T-Rex, and WPE. Decisions decisions....

Thanks for the review of La Nouba. I've been sitting on the fence with that one (like you I think the cost is hard to justify), but I think your review might have convinced me.

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-19-2013, 05:26 AM
Yay for a wonderful evening!! I'm glad you had such a great time at La Nouba - we've never been there but it sounds like an incredible show!

Your dinner at WPE looks really good!! :thumbsup2

Marsheliz
03-19-2013, 09:44 AM
Sounds like you guys had a fantastic evening!

I'm the same way about spaghetti- I don't typically order spaghetti out but yours looked good.. That pizza looks heavenly too! :)

DisneyKid4Life
03-19-2013, 12:47 PM
Wonderful update Jenny.

So glad to hear that you enjoyed La Nouba. Seeing as though Cirque is Canadian, I'd like to take a little credit for how good it is. I can't obviously, but I'd like to. :thumbsup2

Can you believe that World of Disney is going to be getting BIGGER??? :faint:
I get lost in there now. I may need to use a GPS there in the future. :worried:
Love the store though...

SimplyGoofy
03-24-2013, 06:58 PM
Lots of GREAT updates! I would prefer WPE to Raglan Road to be honest so I don't think you missed much. (Except for dessert - NO, and I mean NO dessert compares to their bread pudding!) I had the cheesecake at WPE too and it was pretty tasty! But the pizza was soooo good! I agree with Anika.

Sorry your Brown Derby lunch didn't deliver great service.... I won't even go into our experience last time...but it really is a classy joint - with the vintage decor. :)

The Lego dragon in DTD makes me laugh because they have one in the CA DTD but it is shooting the flame downward at the Lego Prince Philip and it looks like he is barfing. :rotfl:

I'm one of those Disney geeks who loves Walt One Man's Dream. There's so much history there.

Anika ADORED that pizza. I'm pretty sure she'll be ordering another one at our next visit to WPE!

It was too bad the Brown Derby was such a bummer - I had higher expectations considering it was a Signature restaurant (not to mention a Disney restaurant, in general). I remember reading about your terrible experience there - maybe they're going through a rough patch? :confused3 I hope that's all it is!

I love your comment about the "barfing" dragon! That would be hilarious! :rotfl:


I'm trying to remember if I've popped into your TR yet to thank you for such an interesting read. Yours is one of about 4 TR's that I'm following along with, and I look forward to your updates.
It's particularly great hearing about all your dining experiences as my ADRs open up in about 2 weeks and I'm still not 100% decided. I will be at DTD for both a lunch and a dinner and I just can't decide what to eliminate out of Raglan Rd, T-Rex, and WPE. Decisions decisions....

Thanks for the review of La Nouba. I've been sitting on the fence with that one (like you I think the cost is hard to justify), but I think your review might have convinced me.

Thank you so much! Yes, I remember you commented after an earlier post (although I don't remember which one!), but feel free to comment any time! I'm sorry I've taken such a long time between updates lately, so if you have any restaurant questions please feel free to ask!

La Nouba was AWESOME! I've since learned that you can join the "Cirque Club" and get Category 2 tickets for about $50 each - quite a savings from the regular price. The theatre is built (and the performance is staged) in such a way that I don't think any seat would be bad. :goodvibes

If you end up giving it a try, enjoy! You will have an incredible time! :yay:

SimplyGoofy
03-24-2013, 07:03 PM
Yay for a wonderful evening!! I'm glad you had such a great time at La Nouba - we've never been there but it sounds like an incredible show!

Your dinner at WPE looks really good!! :thumbsup2

If you have a chance, you should try and give La Nouba a try! Anika and I both thought it was a highlight of our week! :banana:

It was REALLY good! It was a wonderful surprise to have such an excellent dinner from a quick service location!


Sounds like you guys had a fantastic evening!

I'm the same way about spaghetti- I don't typically order spaghetti out but yours looked good.. That pizza looks heavenly too! :)

It was wonderful! I would highly, highly recommend WPE to anyone! :thumbsup2


Wonderful update Jenny.

So glad to hear that you enjoyed La Nouba. Seeing as though Cirque is Canadian, I'd like to take a little credit for how good it is. I can't obviously, but I'd like to. :thumbsup2

Can you believe that World of Disney is going to be getting BIGGER??? :faint:
I get lost in there now. I may need to use a GPS there in the future. :worried:
Love the store though...

Thanks! I won't give you any grief about taking credit for Cirque - if I could think of a way to take credit for how fabulous it was, I would, too! :laughing:

World of Disney is already RIDICULOUS - I can't understand what else they think they need in there?! :confused3 I agree that the store is great! I hope to have more time to wander through additional stores next time! ::yes::

SimplyGoofy
03-24-2013, 08:05 PM
A Very Early Morning
Day 5—Wednesday, February 8th

It was Harry Potter Day!!! :jumping1:

Don’t get me wrong—I ADORE Disney World, but I was EXTREMELY excited about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ve seen every movie and read every book (multiple times!) and was beside myself at the thought of seeing the books come to life in front of me! Although Anika is not nearly as enamored as I am (she’s seen the movies but never read the books), she was excited about trying another theme park, too.

Despite all of our early morning breakfasts this was our earliest morning by far. My original plan was to have an early reservation at Kona Café, but the more I thought about it I decided breakfast in a restaurant might take too much time. Despite the fact that it was a slower season I didn't want to get stuck in a huge line!

We were up very early and made it to the Mara before 7:30. It didn't take us long to order and receive our food.

I ordered the African Breakfast Platter, which included scrambled eggs, pap (porridge), chakalaka (a spicy African vegetable relish), grilled tomatoes, and sausage:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1162_zps5ab06d61.jpg


Anika ordered a large-scale Mickey Waffle with bacon:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1163_zpsd25235f7.jpg


We also grabbed an orange juice for Anika, grapes to share, and I filled my mug with delicious NesCafe coffee. :crazy2:

Anika thought her waffle was quite tasty and I thought certain parts of my breakfast were okay. I’m not a spicy food fan, so the chakalaka was a bit much for me. The eggs and the pap and the sausage, however, were all pretty good. The grapes were pretty tasteless so not many of them were eaten. My coffee was made passable with loads of creamer (and the fact that it had caffeine in it didn’t hurt either!). :laughing:

We ate our breakfast quickly and were on our way to Universal! I was surprised that we didn’t run into any traffic and easily made our way up I-4. Anika held my nifty Orlando map in order to navigate, but we found we didn’t need it for most of the drive due to the excellent road signage. I was very glad, however, that I knew the road to take to get to the enormous Universal parking garage. A word to the wise—most navigation systems seem to have the incorrect address for the actual parking lot and instead send you to some random spot in the Universal complex. I found that Google Maps did the same thing when I tested the drive before we left. (In case you’d like proof of this, take a peek at [Aussiesalad]’s excellent and hilarious trip report, which includes their misadventure with the Universal parking lot.)

I chose to pay the extra five dollars to park in the preferred parking lot. This put us a heck of a lot closer to the Universal entrance—I figured saving the couple hundred steps was worth five bucks.

Here is a view of our LOOOOOONG walk through the Universal parking lot:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1169_zpse6820c8f.jpg


After trips across many moving walkways and ventures on several escalators, we finally made it to City Walk! :yay:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1170_zps7ab80813.jpg


Welcome to Universal Orlando!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1172_zps81dca9ca.jpg


I took a few pictures of City Walk along the way, including a few eating spots (mmmm, Cinnabon!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1173_zps58e3aef6.jpg


Hello, Starbucks! (For some reason I didn’t stop there for REAL coffee… what was I thinking?!)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1174_zpscf9ea056.jpg


Here’s the Hard Rock Café:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1175_zpseccf6d37.jpg


The Universal Studios Store:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1176_zps09fc196a.jpg


And Margaritaville:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1177_zpsfdd6df60.jpg


After trooping through City Walk we reached the bridge to the Islands of Adventure!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1178_zps02821ac8.jpg


Of course, I had to take a picture of the sign:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1180_zps8ce99c6d.jpg


Once we arrived we had to pick up our tickets. I’d purchased the tickets before our trip, but had chosen to pick them up at the gate in order to save the shipping fee. It was actually incredibly easy—I just had to put my credit card into the machine and it found my reservation and printed out my tickets.

Here they are!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1182_zpsc3b4ded8.jpg


Despite the fact I got us there ridiculously early (before 8:30), there were still a decent amount of people ahead of us in line:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/DW%202012%20Day%205/1183_zps6cfc79ce.jpg


This is during the slow season!

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get to Universal early. Between the drive, the hike through the parking lot, the stroll through City Walk, and the walk across the bridge—it takes a long time to get to the entrance! :faint:

Much to our delight they opened the gates early! This is when we realized that the fingerprint scanners did not like Anika and I. At all. We held up our line for at least a full minute when first I, and then Anika, could not get the scanner to read our fingerprint. They had us wiping our hands, re-scanning, wiping our hands again… we were slightly mortified.

After what seemed like WAY too much time, we were finally on our way! Harry Potter, HERE WE COME!!! :dance3:

Up Next: The Wizarding World and WAY too many pictures of the Forbidden Journey

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-25-2013, 05:04 AM
Yay for an easy trip to Universal!! That does seem like a far walk to get to the entrance!!

DisneyKid4Life
03-25-2013, 11:45 AM
So glad to hear you had no issues on the drive.
The parking can definitely be a challenge if you've never been before.

And OH BOY, don't get me started on the Universal scanners. I will have a HUGE rant on these things in a future TR update since their horrible lockers use the finger scan as well. You'd think with how technologically advanced the rides are, they'd figure out how to do a proper finger scan.

That said, totally looking forward to your WWOHP experience.

shan23877
03-25-2013, 02:44 PM
I'm glad that you made it to US without incident. I has Aussiesalad's story in my head the whole time :rotfl:

Can't wait to hear what you thought of it!

YCFAN
03-25-2013, 08:35 PM
This is one of the best trip reports I've read lately. Read the whole thing tonight and can't wait for the rest! I love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter too.

MEK
03-25-2013, 08:59 PM
[FONT="Arial Black"]Circus Time!
Well, let me tell you…

THE SHOW WAS GREAT, IT IS NOT TO BE MISSED, AND YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT REGRET SPENDING THE MONEY!!!
:worship: :worship: :worship:

I don’t think my brief review full of capital letters and bold words can illustrate how incredible Cirque du Soleil La Nouba was. Anika and I would both love to see it again! Do yourself a favor and squeeze it in on an upcoming trip! :thumbsup2

[/SIZE]

I totally agree with this. I saw it a couple years ago and it was awesome. It is the fattest 90 minutes I have ever experienced. I can honestly say I totally lost track of time.

I love WPE. My brother and SIL fell in love with that place last summer and ate there -uhmmmm - three times! :rotfl:

Yeah for Universal Studios. I haven't been there in such a long time, but I really want to get there. Why does it seem like I can never fit it in? Can't wait to see what you thought of HP. Looking forward to your pictures.

Great updates.

WDWaddictt
03-25-2013, 09:31 PM
I am also a big HP geek, love the movies and books! I think they did a great job at US bringing it to life. I can't wait to read how you liked it...

SimplyGoofy
03-26-2013, 05:20 PM
Yay for an easy trip to Universal!! That does seem like a far walk to get to the entrance!!

I was so glad that the traffic (and the road signs!) were on our side that morning! As for the walk, it was insane! I can't imagine how much longer the walk is if you don't park in the preferred section of the parking lot! :faint:


So glad to hear you had no issues on the drive.
The parking can definitely be a challenge if you've never been before.

And OH BOY, don't get me started on the Universal scanners. I will have a HUGE rant on these things in a future TR update since their horrible lockers use the finger scan as well. You'd think with how technologically advanced the rides are, they'd figure out how to do a proper finger scan.

That said, totally looking forward to your WWOHP experience.

I was SO GLAD I'd checked the route in advance. The road signs were actually very good, but any mapped out directions seemed to direct you to the wrong spot!

We actually had a much better time with the locker scanners - I never had an issue with any of the lockers but had issues getting into both parks! :confused3 The lockers were annoying for other reasons, but at least they worked!

Harry Potter, coming right up! ;)


I'm glad that you made it to US without incident. I has Aussiesalad's story in my head the whole time :rotfl:

Can't wait to hear what you thought of it!

Aussiesalad's story was hysterical, but I'm glad I didn't have the same experience! :crazy2:

Checking the route in advance was a good move!

SimplyGoofy
03-26-2013, 05:28 PM
This is one of the best trip reports I've read lately. Read the whole thing tonight and can't wait for the rest! I love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter too.

:welcome:

What a wonderful thing to say! :blush: I'm so glad you've officially joined in - there are many more adventures in store!

The Wizarding World was definitely a highlight of our trip... stay tuned!


I totally agree with this. I saw it a couple years ago and it was awesome. It is the fattest 90 minutes I have ever experienced. I can honestly say I totally lost track of time.

I love WPE. My brother and SIL fell in love with that place last summer and ate there -uhmmmm - three times! :rotfl:

Yeah for Universal Studios. I haven't been there in such a long time, but I really want to get there. Why does it seem like I can never fit it in? Can't wait to see what you thought of HP. Looking forward to your pictures.

Great updates.

Between La Nouba and WPE it was a fantastic evening! I agree that the entire show just flew by - I could've watched much more!

Something had to be pretty incredible to pull me away from Disney World - a certain wizard is one of the only things that could have such an influence. I was interested in visiting the theme park since I heard it was being built! :thumbsup2


I am also a big HP geek, love the movies and books! I think they did a great job at US bringing it to life. I can't wait to read how you liked it...

I had pretty high expectations... my thoughts on their sucess are coming up! :goodvibes

ProudMommyof2
03-26-2013, 05:45 PM
Can't wait to hear all about it! We will be there in 2 1/2 weeks!

SimplyGoofy
03-26-2013, 08:26 PM
Can't wait to hear all about it! We will be there in 2 1/2 weeks!

I'm jealous!!! You'll have a wonderful time! :yay:

SimplyGoofy
03-26-2013, 08:35 PM
Mount Your Broomsticks!
Day 5—Part II

Anika and I zoomed through the entrance and a few lands of Islands of Adventure in order to reach the main entrance of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Due to our misfortune with the fingerprint scanner, I bypassed any photo taking opportunities in order to book it to the premiere attraction of the Wizarding World…

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1366_zps4935c97d.jpg


Although I took the picture of Hogwarts castle after the ride (hence the 10 minute wait time—we walked right on), I will say here that they did an INCREDIBLE job recreating that castle. It looked like a direct replica of the castle from the movie, and I would stare and drool slightly every time I looked at it! :worship:

The initial path from the entrance leads you to the infamous Universal Studios lockers.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1215_zps2ada4d9c.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1212_zpscd6c41f6.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1213_zps80950691.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1214_zpsc895f41f.jpg


Universal is a bit ridiculous about not allowing any articles on their rides (although I can understand this to a point, as they have some attractions that are a bit crazier than Disney). How these lockers work is you go over to a rental kiosk, choose to rent a locker, and then place your finger on the scanner. The trick on getting these to work is gently placing your finger on the scanner—if you press too hard it won’t be able to read your fingerprint and give you an error. Thankfully I’d read this tip before-hand and my fingerprint was recognized (yet this tip didn’t work at the front gate?!).

Once your fingerprint is identified the kiosk will give you a locker number. You find the locker and hit the flashing button. This will unlock the locker and allow you to stow your stuff. Once you’re all set you close the locker and push the button, which will lock your belongings until you return.

When Universal says “no loose articles” they mean it—and that includes cameras! As this girl was not going to miss any photo opportunities of this attraction, I did the unthinkable—I purchased and wore a fanny pack at Universal. This is one of their "exceptions" for stowing articles during the ride as it's kept on your body.

Sure, fanny packs were pretty popular when I was younger (and I owned several of them!), but I’m pretty glad that trend died. To each their own, of course, but it’s not my favorite fashion statement. However, there were pictures on the line here! If I had to momentarily embarrass myself in front of hundreds of strangers in order to get pictures, so be it! :laughing:

Fanny pack on and camera in hand, we started through the ridiculously detailed queue. Seriously, if you think Disney does an incredible job with queues (they do), they don’t even come close for how well this queue was done.

The entire Forbidden Journey queue takes you on a walk through Hogwarts castle. The journey started with a walk through part of the castle where you saw recreations such as the One-Eyed Witch (which guarded the secret passage from Hogwarts to Honeydukes in Hogsmeade):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1217_zpsd11284bb.jpg


I may have geeked out a little when I saw the Mirror of Erised:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1185_zps373fd046.jpg


The next section of the queue is outdoors and leads you into the Herbology Greenhouse:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1187_zps49cc9d07.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1220_zpsde624153.jpg


We didn’t get to walk past them (as the crowds were light and that part of the queue wasn’t open), but they had a selection of plants which I believe included Mandrakes:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1221_zpsa4dd6d4c.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1222_zpse5a4adb1.jpg


After the jaunt outdoors, you went back inside and saw statues of several of the founders of Hogwarts:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1223_zps76e24ddf.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1226_zps7e70a70e.jpg


There is also a very familiar collection of House Jewels (with Gryffindor in the lead!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1193_zps859e89b1.jpg


Next, you are greeted by the gargoyle that guards Dumbledore’s office:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1227_zps1f1ce658.jpg


You also walk into a room full of portraits that really do talk and move around! It was hard to photograph due to the darkness, but this room was incredible!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1197_zps3965abc2.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1231_zps5fa8c345.jpg


(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
03-26-2013, 08:48 PM
(continued from previous post)

Next you see Dumbledore’s office come to life before you (including a greeting from the headmaster himself!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1201_zps64412ec2.jpg


They even included the Pensive (I geeked out on this one, too!):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1235_zpsd7760df5.jpg


The journey continues with a trip into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, where you are greeted by Harry, Ron, and Hermione:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1237_zps60f8523d.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1203_zps896d352b.jpg


Following the request from the famous three to join them in sneaking out of the castle, you stroll by another walking, moving portrait:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1206_zps75e0101c.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1246_zps81e6bff5.jpg


The Fat Lady!

You see a few Gryffindor items on your walk into Gryffindor tower:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1249_zps6f6cbcba.jpg


Here’s an example why this queue is so tough to photograph—you can only see the details if you use a flash, but you can see the moving picture on the newspaper if the flash is off. (These small details were so neat!)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1250_zpse67fbd9e.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1251_zps5cd935cc.jpg


This was so fantastic I HAD to get a picture of it:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1252_zps2f62e19d.jpg


Whoops, I think we're breaking the rules! :rotfl2:

Then you stepped into the Gryffindor common room—it was right out of the movie!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1254_zps4d1a9503.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1255_zpsb6889f3c.jpg


The final walkway to the attraction involved seeing this guy:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1259_zpsa2e75e79.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1261_zps51fd8ff1.jpg


THE SORTING HAT! (This was official geek out number three…) :hyper:

Finally, you arrive at the ride vehicles. It’s really dark where you load onto the ride, but you can slightly see the bench vehicles and the “floating” candles that light up the room. It’s a pretty awesome sight in person.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1262_zpsc5e28073.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1263_zps2689f767.jpg


After you sit on your seat on the bench and strap yourself in, you’re off! You go on a fantastic journey through the world of Harry Potter—you fly through a Quidditch match, encounter a dragon (complete with breathing fire!), have a run-in with Aragog the spider, almost get hit by the Whomping Willow, and even come across the dementors and the much-feared Lord Voldemort! Your journey ends by flying back into the Great Hall and being greeted by many of the Harry Potter movie characters.

It was seriously one of the best attractions I’ve ever been on.

The technology of the ride was PHENOMENAL. The bench moves on a KUKA arm, which will glide and swoop you around so you really feel like you’re flying through the ride. If you could really fly on a broomstick I bet it would feel just like this! They also did a fantastic job of incorporating meaningful elements of the entire series, from those found in the ride and sprinkled throughout the queue. The attention to detail and the authentic recreation will surpass the expectations of any Harry Potter fanatic, plus the ride itself was just so much fun. IT WAS AWESOME.

Did I mention it was one of the best attractions I’ve ever been on?!

:love: :worship: :love:

Anika and I turned right around and rode it again! :thumbsup2


*I will add a small caveat here—I’ve heard from others that this ride can be rough on those with motion sickness issues. Anika and I aren’t great barometers of motion sickness (as we LOVE the Tower of Terror and have no issues with Mission Space: Orange), but we had no problem riding twice in a row. If regular rides make you queasy and you don’t want to give it a try (although you should!), I still HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend walking through the queue and checking out the castle. You can see almost the entire castle (until just before the sorting hat, I believe?) before escaping through the chicken exit. The details from this attraction are not to be missed!

Up Next: More Big Attractions in the Wizarding World

shan23877
03-26-2013, 09:07 PM
Now, don't hate me, but the entire Harry Potter series passed me by. I've never read any of the books or seen more than 30 minutes of the movies.

However--HPland at US seems incredible. I really hope that Disney will move ahead with an expantion geared a little more toward adults (Star Wars would be soooo much better than Avatar) and do it as well as it seems that US did HP.

I appreciate and understand the sacrifice that you made purchasing and wearing the fanny pack. You are a dedicated HP fan and Trip Reporter. Great photos!

Stringbean&Wingnut
03-27-2013, 04:56 AM
I'll admit, while I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan (I've only read the first book, and I think I saw 2 or 3 of the movies) and I don't know all of the details your photos are showing, I do think it's awesome how much a HP fan like you loved the ride!! That really shows how well-done it is!

Hahaha yes, any and all fashion trends can be cast aside in the name of photography!! The fanny pack sounds like it was definitely worth it!! :thumbsup2

Marsheliz
03-27-2013, 09:35 AM
I'm not a huge Harry Potter Fan either but it does seem super cool! I havent been to Universal in years and would love too, but I have a feeling I need to wait until my children are older! I dont think they would be old enough to do much!

DisneyKid4Life
03-27-2013, 10:38 AM
Super glad you really enjoyed Forbidden Journey. It is without question one of the most amazing "journeys" I've seen. They truly hit a home run with this.
That castle is spectacular! (Though I still have more love for Cinderella Castle) ;)

You did exactly like me. Ride it... then jump right back on!

pascalstongue
03-27-2013, 12:59 PM
Your photos and description of the Forbidden Journey makes it sound so amazing. I can't wait to go on this in May!

Lol at having to wear a fanny pack. I will have to ensure that DH is wearing his shorts with the massive pockets the day we go to IOA. I assume that would be ok to keep a camera in there?

YCFAN
03-29-2013, 10:16 AM
Call me a geek but it was fanny pack all the way for me. I didn't even have to worry about the locker line because of it. While everyone else was waiting in line for the lockers, I went straight on the ride. It really is an amazing journey and the attention to detail is phenomenal.:goodvibes

RachelNinja
04-02-2013, 06:49 PM
It stinks that the waitress you had at Brown Derby ruined the experience for you. I understand they can have bad days too, but it bums me out when they don't realize (or don't care) that they can so easily spread their own grumpiness to others and make or break their day!

Oh no! You have to go back and try those cupcakes!

I've watched the Cirque du Soleil show called "Wintuk" in NYC when we took the middle school there for our Christmas field trip. They are definitely very talented, but I have to admit the only reason I was willing to go was because as a teacher, I didn't have to pay! I was interrupted a few times with bathroom breaks because the kids don't all go to the bathroom BEFORE the show when we told them to. Anyway, I'm curious to know what makes the show in DTD so much more special because I've heard it's just much better!

Such a diehard fan to resort to using a fanny pack to take pics of the castle! Haha, I probably would have done the same thing because I'd feel SO weird without a camera! How in the world are we Disney fans supposed to go through a queue or on a ride without a camera?!?

Unfortunately, I'll never be able to actually ride the ride since I do get motion sickness at times, and I wouldn't want to risk feeling sick on vacation. I wish I could experience it though! My cousins who went on it said it was so realistic. One of them said that when the dementors came towards her and were so close, she wanted to shout out expecto patronum, haha.

SimplyGoofy
04-08-2013, 09:50 PM
Now, don't hate me, but the entire Harry Potter series passed me by. I've never read any of the books or seen more than 30 minutes of the movies.

However--HPland at US seems incredible. I really hope that Disney will move ahead with an expantion geared a little more toward adults (Star Wars would be soooo much better than Avatar) and do it as well as it seems that US did HP.

I appreciate and understand the sacrifice that you made purchasing and wearing the fanny pack. You are a dedicated HP fan and Trip Reporter. Great photos!

No hate here! I know not everyone is as big of a Harry Potter nut as I am, but I think even a non-fanatic would appreciate the fantastic detail found in the Wizarding World. I would love an adult-centered attraction at Disney as well!

Thank you for appreciating my sacrifice! :rotfl: There was NO WAY I was going to miss photo opportunities of my Harry Potter experience!


I'll admit, while I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan (I've only read the first book, and I think I saw 2 or 3 of the movies) and I don't know all of the details your photos are showing, I do think it's awesome how much a HP fan like you loved the ride!! That really shows how well-done it is!

Hahaha yes, any and all fashion trends can be cast aside in the name of photography!! The fanny pack sounds like it was definitely worth it!! :thumbsup2

It's always risky to be so excited about an experience before you have it - but I'm thrilled that the Wizarding World lived up to (and often exceeded!) all of my very high expectations. It was SO MUCH FUN to be thrown into that world for a day!

As for the fanny pack, it was definitely worth it! :thumbsup2


I'm not a huge Harry Potter Fan either but it does seem super cool! I havent been to Universal in years and would love too, but I have a feeling I need to wait until my children are older! I dont think they would be old enough to do much!

There are several sections of Universal and Islands of Adventure that are kid-centered (such as Seuss Landing and Toon Lagoon), but there are several big-name rides that involve fairly decent height requirements. Waiting a few years might not be a bad idea - they'd be able to experience many more attractions! :woohoo:


Super glad you really enjoyed Forbidden Journey. It is without question one of the most amazing "journeys" I've seen. They truly hit a home run with this.
That castle is spectacular! (Though I still have more love for Cinderella Castle) ;)

You did exactly like me. Ride it... then jump right back on!

They really did hit a home run! I thought both the queue and the ride itself were incredible! :cheer2:

Considering there was such a short wait, NOT riding it again wasn't even an option! We should have ridden it a third time later in the day... next time we will!

SimplyGoofy
04-08-2013, 10:08 PM
Your photos and description of the Forbidden Journey makes it sound so amazing. I can't wait to go on this in May!

Lol at having to wear a fanny pack. I will have to ensure that DH is wearing his shorts with the massive pockets the day we go to IOA. I assume that would be ok to keep a camera in there?

Both the Forbidden Journey and the rest of the Wizarding World WERE fantastic! I'm so excited for you that you get to go! You'll love it! :banana:

I think the shorts will be okay? I think you can get away with it if they have a button closure on them, but I'm not sure if they don't. I think everything may have to be "sealed" in order to walk through the ride? :confused3 (I'm sure the rules are clarified on Universal's website, or perhaps on the Universal section of the DISboards!)


Call me a geek but it was fanny pack all the way for me. I didn't even have to worry about the locker line because of it. While everyone else was waiting in line for the lockers, I went straight on the ride. It really is an amazing journey and the attention to detail is phenomenal.:goodvibes

I'm glad the fanny pack works for you! It sure was nice to have for our Universal day (and was much nicer for my shoulder than my usual park bag!). Going straight on the rides would be great!

I agree - the detail really is phenomenal! :worship:


It stinks that the waitress you had at Brown Derby ruined the experience for you. I understand they can have bad days too, but it bums me out when they don't realize (or don't care) that they can so easily spread their own grumpiness to others and make or break their day!

Oh no! You have to go back and try those cupcakes!

I've watched the Cirque du Soleil show called "Wintuk" in NYC when we took the middle school there for our Christmas field trip. They are definitely very talented, but I have to admit the only reason I was willing to go was because as a teacher, I didn't have to pay! I was interrupted a few times with bathroom breaks because the kids don't all go to the bathroom BEFORE the show when we told them to. Anyway, I'm curious to know what makes the show in DTD so much more special because I've heard it's just much better!

Such a diehard fan to resort to using a fanny pack to take pics of the castle! Haha, I probably would have done the same thing because I'd feel SO weird without a camera! How in the world are we Disney fans supposed to go through a queue or on a ride without a camera?!?

Unfortunately, I'll never be able to actually ride the ride since I do get motion sickness at times, and I wouldn't want to risk feeling sick on vacation. I wish I could experience it though! My cousins who went on it said it was so realistic. One of them said that when the dementors came towards her and were so close, she wanted to shout out expecto patronum, haha.

It's too bad that our Brown Derby experience was sub-par. I'd love to give it another try sometime. As for the cupcakes... they're on my list for next time!

I have not seen any other Cirque shows (although I'd like to!) but I did think La Nouba was incredible. It was such a FUN show and full of so many interesting acts and such beautiful music and costumes. It was great! :lovestruc

You should definitely still walk through the queue of Forbidden Journey even if you can't ride it. You can see nearly all of the details before you duck out! (It's too bad you can't ride it - it was fantastic!)

Expecto Patronum! I LOVE IT! :thumbsup2

SimplyGoofy
04-08-2013, 10:15 PM
A Flight and a Challenge
Day 5—Part III

With two trips on Forbidden Journey under our belt, we continued on to the other big attractions in the Wizarding World.

We started with Flight of the Hippogriff.

Flight of the Hippogriff isn’t a great ride for thrill seekers—the closest Disney equivalent would probably be The Great Goofini/Barnstormer. However, it’s worth riding once just to see a few of the sights!

While walking through the queue you see one of the Halloween scarecrows:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1268_zps4930a742.jpg


And past one of Hagrid’s cart collections:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1270_zps9f62e66c.jpg


You even walk right past Hagrid’s hut! This was so much fun to see! :yay:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1272_zps07f675ce.jpg


The ride platform also has quite a few fun details, many of which you could envision hanging from the ceiling of Hagrid’s hut!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1273_zps09de9234.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1274_zpsccef9409.jpg


The best part of our ride is that we got lucky… we got the front seat!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1275_zps6cc8cbcf.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1276_zps7dfeeac7.jpg


Yay for the front! :woohoo:

Hello, Buckbeak!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1277_zps2b9d5817.jpg


For those of you not “in the know,” Buckbeak is the well-known Hippogriff in the Harry Potter series. He has to be part of his own attraction, of course!

While enjoying our pleasant ride, I grabbed a few more photos including another view of Hagrid’s hut:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1278_zpsde201d67.jpg


As well as excellent views of Hogwarts castle and Hogsmeade village:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1279_zpsac01bbaa.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1281_zps0d9f64ff.jpg


Flight of the Hippogriff isn’t a terribly exciting ride (especially after experiencing Forbidden Journey!), but I would still recommend trying it if the lines aren’t too long. You get a lot of great views of the Wizarding World and it’s easy to get pictures as it’s a slower moving ride! You don't even have to put anything in a locker!

(continued in next post)

emmysmommy
04-08-2013, 10:18 PM
oh my gosh! I've never been a Harry Potter fan but having raised 4 kids I've seen a few of the movies. :scratchin Your description of the Forbbiden Journey is giving me a craving to ride a really sweet broomstick! :) Love the updates! And we totally understand about the fanny-pack - it's justified for teh photos. ;)

SimplyGoofy
04-08-2013, 10:24 PM
(continued from previous post)

Our next stop was Dragon Challenge, a pretty serious roller coaster.

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1354_zpse0a6da18.jpg


The entire attraction is themed for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (book four of the series). The book features the Triwizard Tournament, a competition among the three wizarding schools of Europe—Hogwarts, Beauxbatons Academy, and Durmstrang Institute. The winner of the tournament becomes the Triwizard Champion.

I really enjoyed the queue for Dragon Challenge:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1291_zps2e557ab8.jpg


It was so nice to wander through!

Throughout the queue are a fantastic collection of support banners (which would have been prevalent during the tournament):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1289_zpscc7cbb6b.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1292_zps5fe6298a.jpg

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1293_zps1572d02a.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1294_zps6cacd843.jpg


You also pass along the back of Hagrid’s hut (as the Dragon Challenge is located next to the Flight of the Hippogriff):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1298_zps79fbc26d.jpg


You even get to see the Weasley’s Ford Anglia:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1300_zps91d3a792.jpg


After you pass the car you enter the interior portion of the queue:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1299_zps1ef48a4d.jpg http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1302_zpsb114c8d9.jpg


Welcome, champions! :wave2:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1303_zps27ae071a.jpg


Once you enter, there are many more artifacts from the Triwizard Tournament, including the Goblet of Fire:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1312_zpse46e0a5b.jpg

The goblet chooses the champion that will represent each school in the tournament.

Here are the Golden Eggs, which play a role in the first and second tasks in the tournament:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1307_zpsebb8329f.jpg


You also see the the Triwizard Cup:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1306_zpsca9f3cb2.jpg


Finally you reach the endpoint of the queue. This is where you decide whether to ride the Hungarian Horntail or the Chinese Fireball (the names of two dragons that were part of task one):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1310_zps65b3bf1c.jpg


Here’s a peek at the ride vehicles:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1311_zps56e4d022.jpg


Anika and I rode both sides of the ride (we had to thoroughly experience the attraction, of course!). I believe the Hungarian Horntail was our favorite, but both sides were worth riding!

The Dragon Challenge is another “put your stuff in a locker” attraction, so my nifty fanny pack kept my camera safe during the ride. :thumbsup2

Although the Forbidden Journey was still our favorite Wizarding World attraction, we really enjoyed the other two attractions as well. They are also very well themed and chock-full of fun Potter details. The Dragon Challenge is also an excellent thrill ride!

With the major attractions completed, it was time to tour Hogsmeade village!

Up Next: The Sights and Shops of Hogsmeade

shan23877
04-09-2013, 12:00 AM
I've read a lot of TRs that include the Wizarding World, but I have to say that yours is the best! Your photos (God bless that fanny pack!) and descriptions make it really easy to picture something that I've never experienced!

I do love a good coaster. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy the rides as US very much.

DisneyKid4Life
04-09-2013, 10:54 AM
The best part of Flight of the Hippogriff is def Buckbeak (other than not having to use a locker, lol).
I hope you bowed!!!

Dragon Challenge (or Duelling Dragons for the old schoolers) is for sure a great ride(s).
I did like it better when they ran simultaneously but I do understand why they changed it.
But it was truly something else to have the other coaster whip by you only separated by, at times, one foot of space.
Regardless, I love inverted coasters so it definitely gets a thumbs up from me! :thumbsup2

You really got some great pictures Jen. Really nice! :goodvibes

Stringbean&Wingnut
04-13-2013, 10:19 AM
There are so many details in the HP area, it's really cool to see all of your pictures!! :goodvibes

SimplyGoofy
04-15-2013, 08:42 PM
oh my gosh! I've never been a Harry Potter fan but having raised 4 kids I've seen a few of the movies. :scratchin Your description of the Forbbiden Journey is giving me a craving to ride a really sweet broomstick! :) Love the updates! And we totally understand about the fanny-pack - it's justified for teh photos. ;)

The Forbidden Journey was excellent! Both the ride itself and the details leading up to it were SO well done!

I'm glad everyone understands about the fanny pack! :laughing:


I've read a lot of TRs that include the Wizarding World, but I have to say that yours is the best! Your photos (God bless that fanny pack!) and descriptions make it really easy to picture something that I've never experienced!

I do love a good coaster. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy the rides as US very much.

Thank you, Shannon! The Wizarding World was pretty darn incredible, and I wanted to make sure to record the memories the best I could! :lovestruc

I'm afraid my attention to detail at Universal dwindles once we leave the Harry Potter section of the park... :rotfl:

The thrill rides at Universal were pretty darn fantastic!


The best part of Flight of the Hippogriff is def Buckbeak (other than not having to use a locker, lol).
I hope you bowed!!!

Dragon Challenge (or Duelling Dragons for the old schoolers) is for sure a great ride(s).
I did like it better when they ran simultaneously but I do understand why they changed it.
But it was truly something else to have the other coaster whip by you only separated by, at times, one foot of space.
Regardless, I love inverted coasters so it definitely gets a thumbs up from me! :thumbsup2

You really got some great pictures Jen. Really nice! :goodvibes

Thanks, Rob! I was pretty proud of the Buckbeak picture - I literally had one shot to get it, and it turned out great! :thumbsup2

I wish we'd been there in time to enjoy the actual "dualing" dragons - as fabulous as the ride was, it would have been cooler to zoom right by the other coaster! :goodvibes


There are so many details in the HP area, it's really cool to see all of your pictures!! :goodvibes

The details were incredible! Universal really knocked it out of the park when they created the Wizarding World. :wizard:

MiaBella05
04-22-2013, 05:51 PM
popcorn:: joining in popcorn::

SimplyGoofy
04-22-2013, 07:17 PM
popcorn:: joining in popcorn::

:welcome: Thanks for joining in!

SimplyGoofy
04-22-2013, 07:23 PM
To my wonderful readers...

I'm sorry that I've been so absent this month! :crazy2: I promise to get back into the posting groove... at least one post (maybe two!) will be coming up tonight!

Stay tuned - more Harry Potter coming up! popcorn::

SimplyGoofy
04-22-2013, 09:19 PM
Hello, Hogsmeade!
Day 5—Part IV

Having already experienced Hogwarts, it was time to venture into Hogsmeade!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1288_zps18ac294f.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1288_zps18ac294f.jpg.html)


Although I wasn't surprised given the detail of the attractions (and queues!) we'd already experienced, Hogsmeade was magnificently done. It really felt like you’d been plopped in the middle of the village!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1286_zps0cd18789.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1286_zps0cd18789.jpg.html)


Here’s a few views from the other direction:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1351_zps3a01b218.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1351_zps3a01b218.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1352_zps1eaa6b38.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1352_zps1eaa6b38.jpg.html)


Butterbeer, anyone?

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1287_zpscbca5521.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1287_zpscbca5521.jpg.html)


The main highlight of Hogsmeade is the collection of “real” shops straight out of the books. These include Zonkos (the joke shop), Honeydukes (the candy shop), and Dervish and Banges (which has a selection of clothing, wands, and other wizard goodies). There are also two eating locations from the books, Three Broomsticks (a quick service location with a selection of British and Americanized food) as well as the Hog’s Head pub. The other highlight is Olivander’s, the wand shop where one lucky visitor has a want “choose” them.

They created fantastic store fronts throughout the rest of Hogsmeade in order to fill in the rest of the village. They included great items like clothing (from the movies!), books, cauldrons, and plants:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1362_zpsdd093b36.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1362_zpsdd093b36.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1364_zps93186624.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1364_zps93186624.jpg.html)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1365_zpsb15a9179.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1365_zpsb15a9179.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1357_zps59852006.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1357_zps59852006.jpg.html)


The plant shop even had a moving mandrake! It was awesome!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1359_zpsa54dd813.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1359_zpsa54dd813.jpg.html)


After our general viewing tour we jumped right into the shops. As everyone loves a good laugh, we started with Zonkos:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1317_zpsf99e7f6b.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1317_zpsf99e7f6b.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1319_zps0e6a0c55.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1319_zps0e6a0c55.jpg.html)


Here are some overall views of the shop:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1331_zps575b06ec.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1331_zps575b06ec.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1326_zpsc631cf85.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1326_zpsc631cf85.jpg.html)


Every section of the shop was filled with fun and funky items, many straight out of the books:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1324_zps53124d88.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1324_zps53124d88.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1327_zps4f725914.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1327_zps4f725914.jpg.html)


They even had U-No-Poo! Hysterical!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1325_zps71383fda.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1325_zps71383fda.jpg.html)


And Anika tried on a hat:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1323_zps5288ffce.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1323_zps5288ffce.jpg.html)


There were also a few fun details in the shop, such as good wizard reminders:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1321_zps99740d31.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1321_zps99740d31.jpg.html)


But, be careful… the walls have ears!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1328_zps19841ea0.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1328_zps19841ea0.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1329_zps17cec17c.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1329_zps17cec17c.jpg.html)


Extendable ears! Love it! :lmao:

(continued in next post)

SimplyGoofy
04-22-2013, 09:33 PM
(continued from previous post)

Honeydukes, the candy shop, was right next door to Zonko’s. All you needed to do was turn around!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1332_zps44ed3993.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1332_zps44ed3993.jpg.html)


Now this is my kind of shop… sugar, sugar everywhere!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1340_zpscf0b7601.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1340_zpscf0b7601.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1347_zpse0b95158.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1347_zpse0b95158.jpg.html)

They had many of the favorite treats from the book available for purchase, such as the Sugar Quills:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1342_zpsb6b1f73c.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1342_zpsb6b1f73c.jpg.html)


Fizzing Whizbees:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1336_zpsdb19662b.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1336_zpsdb19662b.jpg.html)


Tooth Splintering Strong Mints:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1413_zps42df7e78.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1413_zps42df7e78.jpg.html)


and Ton-Tongue Toffee:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1414_zpsd8647c60.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1414_zpsd8647c60.jpg.html)


However, the treats that made me most excited were these:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1346_zpsa0528cbb.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1346_zpsa0528cbb.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1334_zps1d494970.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1334_zps1d494970.jpg.html)

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1338_zps441e316d.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1338_zps441e316d.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1333_zpsc2909672.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1333_zpsc2909672.jpg.html)


CHOCOLATE FROGS and BERTIE BOTTS EVERY-FLAVOUR BEANS! :yay:

Holy cow, I was so excited to see those treats live and in person!

(Of course, Anika and I each left with a Chocolate Frog and a package of Every-Flavour Beans.)

Here’s the outside of the shop, in its pink and green glory:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1316_zps8eb5f238.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1316_zps8eb5f238.jpg.html)


I just loved the windows in this shop:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1348_zps13f8ee13.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1348_zps13f8ee13.jpg.html)


I had to pose with the chocolate frog that came out of the box!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1349_zpsfcb5f3de.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1349_zpsfcb5f3de.jpg.html)


Next up was Dervish and Banges. There was a wonderful sitting area under the overhang. It would be a great place to rest and enjoy the surrounding sites!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1369_zpse9f1311b.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1369_zpse9f1311b.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1370_zps2d177919.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1370_zps2d177919.jpg.html)


I didn’t get too many pictures of the interior of the shop because it was SO CROWDED!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1372_zpsc1b4eb36.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1372_zpsc1b4eb36.jpg.html)


There were SO many fun things in Dervish and Banges! Along with the selection of Harry Potter t-shirts, wizard robes, and wands, there were also fun items straight out of the series. I came very close to buying a Remembrall:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1380_zps578f759d.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1380_zps578f759d.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1373_zpsa4d3904f.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1373_zpsa4d3904f.jpg.html)


It was also delightful to see the Monster Book of Monsters!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1376_zps5079f8d9.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1376_zps5079f8d9.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1375_zps225e55e6.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1375_zps225e55e6.jpg.html)


We did not visit Ollivanders for the wand show but Anika still selected a wand!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1378_zpsae940cae.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1378_zpsae940cae.jpg.html)


There are two different wand options in the Wizarding World… you can pick a wand from a favorite character (Harry’s wand, Hermione’s wand, Draco’s wand, etc.), or you can pick a “unique” wand that’s yours. The employees in the shop ask things like your birthday in order to direct you toward “your” wand. They make a big deal of removing it from the box, having you swish it, and see how it “feels” to you. It’s a pretty fun experience!

Look who snuck in to Dervish and Banges while we were wand-picking… it’s Ollivander! How fabulous is that?!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1381_zps4246eeb1.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1381_zps4246eeb1.jpg.html)


We made our final selections, which included each of us buying a wand. (When in Rome, after all…) I also purchased a Gryffindor t-shirt, a few postcards, and a deathly hallows keychain. I get a lot of comments about that keychain!

Goodbye, Dervish and Banges! You were awesome!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1383_zps7985d02c.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1383_zps7985d02c.jpg.html)


Overall, the shops were excellent. The attention to detail was stunning (no surprise there) and it was fabulous to see live versions of the items from the books and movies. My only gripe (one shared by others as well) is those shops are SMALL. Apparently Jo Rowling wanted them to be authentic and didn't want them to feel like a theme park shop. Although I think that's a nice thought, those shops felt croweded in very off-season early February... I can't imagine trying to shove through them in July! However, even if your trip is during a busy time, put on your big-girl pants and fight the crowds! Exploring the shops is a wonderful experience and is not to be missed!

As we'd eaten so early that morning our stomachs were telling us it was time for lunch! Of course, this Harry Potter fan was certainly not leaving the Wizarding World for lunch. Onto Three Broomsticks!

Up Next: Lunch at Three Broomsticks

shan23877
04-22-2013, 10:57 PM
Even though most of the merchandise went a bit over my head, those shops look amazing. I can see how a HP lover could get lost for hours in there. So many unique things!

pascalstongue
04-23-2013, 04:33 AM
Another great update! I am so excited to go to WWoHP. It looks so amazing. Looking forward to your thoughts on the Three Broomsticks, I really want to go there for lunch. Did you have Butterbeer? Here in the UK they have a Harry Potter studio tour where they filmed the films. It's filled with original sets and props, and they sell Butterbeer. I can't wait to have some more. It is yummers!

MEK
04-23-2013, 07:31 AM
I think I was only two updates behind, so I'm glad you TR was bumped up this morning.

I think the Harry Potter section of IOA looks so amazing. I don't really follow Harry Potter so I'm sure it would be even more impressive if I did. It just looks fascinating.

With my June trip up in the air its certainly fun to entertain the possibility of Universal Studios visit.

Thanks for all the amazing photos!

DisneyKid4Life
04-23-2013, 11:17 AM
Wonderful photos again Jenny. I never seem to take photos inside the shops. I think the best thing about the whole WWOHP is also its worst. Everything is SOOOOO authentic that the shops are so small inside.

Of course as I was writing this comment, I continued to read you saying the EXACT same thing. LOL!

I certainly appreciate the authenticity, but during Spring Break time, you just can't get in them.

I so totally missed the hanging ears. So cool!!!!

And yes, a chocolate frog was a MUST!

Looking forward to Three Broomsticks. I haven't gotten to eat there yet, but have been inside (mostly on the Hogs Head side of course).

WDWaddictt
04-23-2013, 09:44 PM
Oh how I miss HPP. It was awesome! I does get very crowded though. And you are right the shops are hard to get through with big crowds.

They did a great job though!!

Riles_and_Gabe
04-24-2013, 05:54 AM
Excellent Post. Now I wish we were going to Universal during our trip in October.

starousse
04-24-2013, 11:02 AM
Excellent reviews. Did you guys just do Islands of Adventure? or did you do Universal as well?

SimplyGoofy
01-09-2014, 07:59 PM
Holy cow, I haven't edited this in almost NINE MONTHS?! :eek: :sad2: :faint:

Many apologies for my (LONG) absence from the DIS! To make a long story short (well, shorter), the months of my disappearance were crammed with multiple interviews and a fabulous new job, followed by packing, moving, unpacking, and getting used to my new surroundings. The learning curve and my heavy travel schedule kept me away longer than I wished, but it's finally slowed down enough that I can jump back in and finish this report off!

I hope a few of you will come back - I promise my updates will not usually be nine months apart! :rotfl: I'd love new followers as well - feel free to join us! I also look forward to catching up with all of your reports - it appears from the trip report board that I have quite a few new ones to join! :yay:

I will have a brand new, shiny post for all of within a day or two! (Now, what is my photobucket password again? :confused3 ;) )

WDWaddictt
01-09-2014, 08:28 PM
Yahoo you are back!!! Look forward to reading more!

karen l
01-09-2014, 08:51 PM
Glad to hear you're back.

DisneyKid4Life
01-10-2014, 10:42 AM
JENNY!!!! Welcome Back!! I seem to remember you leaving for another sister trip and then poof, gone, so I was definitely concerned. So So So So So glad to hear everything is good AND that you're going to finish this TR!!!!! :hyper:

wiigirl
01-10-2014, 11:53 AM
Great pics! :goodvibes

SimplyGoofy
01-10-2014, 09:29 PM
Even though most of the merchandise went a bit over my head, those shops look amazing. I can see how a HP lover could get lost for hours in there. So many unique things!

Yes, it was fantastic! I think even a non-Harry Potter fan would be impressed by the obvious attention to detail. They also have so many things that are just not available anywhere else! :thumbsup2


Another great update! I am so excited to go to WWoHP. It looks so amazing. Looking forward to your thoughts on the Three Broomsticks, I really want to go there for lunch. Did you have Butterbeer? Here in the UK they have a Harry Potter studio tour where they filmed the films. It's filled with original sets and props, and they sell Butterbeer. I can't wait to have some more. It is yummers!

Thanks! My Three Broomsticks review will be up shortly (as in, this evening! Finally!) and I don't think you'll be surprised by my reaction. You'll especially not be surprised of my reaction to the Butterbeer! :laughing:


I think I was only two updates behind, so I'm glad you TR was bumped up this morning.

I think the Harry Potter section of IOA looks so amazing. I don't really follow Harry Potter so I'm sure it would be even more impressive if I did. It just looks fascinating.

With my June trip up in the air its certainly fun to entertain the possibility of Universal Studios visit.

Thanks for all the amazing photos!

Harry Potter WAS amazing! I was so glad we took a day away from Disney property (the horror!) and had the opportunity to experience it! As I mentioned, Anika has seen the movies (once, I believe?) but not read the books, but she also thought it was pretty spectacular. :goodvibes

SimplyGoofy
01-10-2014, 09:36 PM
Wonderful photos again Jenny. I never seem to take photos inside the shops. I think the best thing about the whole WWOHP is also its worst. Everything is SOOOOO authentic that the shops are so small inside.

Of course as I was writing this comment, I continued to read you saying the EXACT same thing. LOL!

I certainly appreciate the authenticity, but during Spring Break time, you just can't get in them.

I so totally missed the hanging ears. So cool!!!!

And yes, a chocolate frog was a MUST!

Looking forward to Three Broomsticks. I haven't gotten to eat there yet, but have been inside (mostly on the Hogs Head side of course).

I completely agree - those shops are so darn small! I thought they were bad in February - I don't want to think of entering them in March or mid-July! :crazy2:

I loved those ears! And the chocolate frogs! And everything! :laughing:

Three Broomsticks review, coming up!


Oh how I miss HPP. It was awesome! I does get very crowded though. And you are right the shops are hard to get through with big crowds.

They did a great job though!!

They did a fantastic job! I'm glad we had a chance to experience it on a less crowded day. I'm sure it made for a less hectic experience! :thumbsup2


Excellent Post. Now I wish we were going to Universal during our trip in October.

I hope you had a great time on your trip! If you didn't have a chance to experience the Wizarding World, I would highly recommend that you try and fit it in sometime! ::yes::


Excellent reviews. Did you guys just do Islands of Adventure? or did you do Universal as well?

We attempted to squeeze both into one day. We hit the highlights, but we certainly didn't see as much as if we'd had two days. It was still pretty fun, though! :woohoo:

SimplyGoofy
01-10-2014, 09:43 PM
Thank you all for coming back!!! :banana: I've missed you guys!


Yahoo you are back!!! Look forward to reading more!

Next post, coming up! ;)


Glad to hear you're back.

Thanks! Glad to be back! :upsidedow

JENNY!!!! Welcome Back!! I seem to remember you leaving for another sister trip and then poof, gone, so I was definitely concerned. So So So So So glad to hear everything is good AND that you're going to finish this TR!!!!! :hyper:

Thank you! Yes, we had sister trip #2 last May (with hopefully another trip report? However, this one needs to be finished first! :rotfl:)

I can't wait to share more!


Great pics! :goodvibes

Thanks so much! Given how many I have, I think I had far too much fun taking them! :rotfl2:

SimplyGoofy
01-10-2014, 09:59 PM
Three Thumbs Up for Three Broomsticks!
Day 5—Part V

Here we are at Three Broomsticks (with three broomsticks! See above the door?):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1409_zps53261699.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1409_zps53261699.jpg.html)


I was both incredibly excited and a bit hesitant about lunch at Three Broomsticks. Super excited, because seriously, where else would a Harry Potter fan eat?! However, this was a quick service restaurant and I feared the food would be sub-par given how fast they had to feed so many people.

If last night’s dinner should’ve taught me anything, it’s that quick service spots can be full of surprises. :goodvibes

Three Broomsticks gives you plenty of clues about their menu, starting with the sign outside that advertises their most popular items:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1406_zpsc234fa0b.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1406_zpsc234fa0b.jpg.html)


As you walk through the door and through the queue (which was surprisingly empty at 11:15), they also provide another menu that lists all of your options, including their “Great Feast”:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1386_zpsd565e825.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1386_zpsd565e825.jpg.html)


A section of the line also included a line-up of all the actual plates so you get a visual representation of what is available. Not a bad idea with a (likely) large selection of foreign guests! The Great Feast looked pretty neat, but after a bit of deliberation we decided to get two different dishes and share them.

We chose the Chicken and Ribs Platter (with roast potatoes and corn on the cob):

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1391_zpsfb09da5e.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1391_zpsfb09da5e.jpg.html)


As well as the Fish and Chips:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1389_zps8cfbd0b3.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1389_zps8cfbd0b3.jpg.html)


Soda is not available in the Wizarding World (another request of Jo Rowling), but there is selection of water, iced tea, lemonade… and, oh, this…

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1392_zps82c092dc.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1392_zps82c092dc.jpg.html)


BUTTERBEER!!!

Since I couldn’t pass up the second specialty drink in the Wizarding World, I also ordered a Pumpkin Juice:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1393_zps3c88f7cf.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1393_zps3c88f7cf.jpg.html)


I’m sure several of you that have been following along are now thinking, “So, you ordered two drinks for yourself?!” As you may remember (or perhaps not – you would’ve read about it months ago!) my sister drinks a grand total of four things: water, milk, orange juice, and coffee. No other juice and certainly no carbonated beverage of any kind. Period.

Well, not only does Disney have some dining magic, but I believe Harry Potter may have some as well. (Harry Potter? Magic? :laughing:)

Not only did I get her to hold the Butterbeer:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1396_zpscca03468.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1396_zpscca03468.jpg.html)


I got her to DRINK IT!

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1397_zps0ad3b1f4.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1397_zps0ad3b1f4.jpg.html)

THERE REALLY IS SUCH A THING AS MAGIC! :yay:

A bit into our meal she decided that since we were in the Wizarding World she should give it a try! After her first sip I couldn’t pry it out of her hands! My parents could hardly believe it when I told them that Anika drank something other than water. I was glad I had photographic evidence to back me up. (She also had her usual beverage, through – you can see her bottle of water right in front of her!)

I believe quite a few people on these boards have explained their thoughts on what Butterbeer tastes like and I agree with most of them. It reminded me of a form of cream soda – with a bit of a twist that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was excellent! Heck, considering I got the water-only gal not only to drink it but to LOVE it, it was definitely a win!

The Pumpkin Juice? It was okay. Tasty (especially as this girl loves her pumpkin!) but it just didn’t compare with the wonder that was Butterbeer. :cloud9:

As for the food, it was excellent as well! The fish and chips was great competition for the same dish at the Rose & Crown – not a crumb was left. The chicken was also fabulous. It was slightly smoky and roasted perfectly. The potatoes were also very, very good – much better than I was expecting from quick service potatoes! The ribs were good, but not nearly as good as the chicken. I think if we would ever go back we would just get the chicken (to go with our next order of fish and chips!).

I managed to get a few photos of the interior of the restaurant while we were enjoying our meals. It was as spectacularly themed as the rest of the Wizarding World:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1401_zpsf6fc1732.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1401_zpsf6fc1732.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1402_zps0985d51a.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1402_zps0985d51a.jpg.html)


http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1387_zpsa94eac0c.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1387_zpsa94eac0c.jpg.html) http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1394_zpsacd7d096.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1394_zpsacd7d096.jpg.html)


Three Broomsticks also had its share of illusions and surprises – here’s a glimpse of one of the maids cleaning the upstairs “rooms”:

http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s521/jlutefisk/1398_zps6203856d.jpg (http://s1304.photobucket.com/user/jlutefisk/media/1398_zps6203856d.jpg.html)


So fun!

It was a super speedy and tasty lunch. Even with all of my extra picture taking and relaxing with our food and Butterbeer, the whole meal only took thirty minutes. I think it was one of the fastest meals we had all week!


Final Thoughts—Three Broomsticks
What a FANTASTIC edition to the Wizarding World! If you’re in any way a Harry Potter fan (and heck, even if you’re not!) the restaurant and the food are really darn good. We would return again in a heartbeat for the fish and chips, chicken, and roasted potatoes. And seriously, where else can you have BUTTERBEER with your meal?! This is an absolute must-do. If others in your party want to eat elsewhere – send them on their merry way and enjoy your lunch in the world of Harry Potter. :love:


With full stomachs and one souvenir Butterbeer mug down, we were off to explore the rest of the park!

Up Next: Islands of Adventure (the non-Harry Potter sections)

blessedmom4
01-10-2014, 11:08 PM
Holy cow, I haven't edited this in almost NINE MONTHS?! :eek: :sad2: :faint:

Many apologies for my (LONG) absence from the DIS! To make a long story short (well, shorter), the months of my disappearance were crammed with multiple interviews and a fabulous new job, followed by packing, moving, unpacking, and getting used to my new surroundings. The learning curve and my heavy travel schedule kept me away longer than I wished, but it's finally slowed down enough that I can jump back in and finish this report off!

I hope a few of you will come back - I promise my updates will not usually be nine months apart! :rotfl: I'd love new followers as well - feel free to join us! I also look forward to catching up with all of your reports - it appears from the trip report board that I have quite a few new ones to join! :yay:

I will have a brand new, shiny post for all of within a day or two! (Now, what is my photobucket password again? :confused3 ;) )

Oh my gosh, I have wondered what happened to you. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Love your latest update. The butterbeer...frozen or not? My fave was frozen. YUMMY!

DisneyKid4Life
01-11-2014, 07:01 AM
Wow, it feels like I've been waiting for this update for months. :rolleyes1

OMG Jenny, you're a wizard by getting Anika to drink the Butterbeer. That just goes to show how good Butterbeer really is. :drinking1

I don't think I've read a bad review of 3 Broomsticks. For a QS, it all looks fantastic.

MEK
01-11-2014, 08:37 AM
Welcome back to the DIS boards. Glad to see a post! :thumbsup2

Three Broomsticks looks like a cool place to eat. DH and I are definitely heading to Universal next October and we can't wait to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'm still not so sure about the butter beer. :rotfl:

EllinK
01-18-2014, 12:29 PM
We are planning our first trip to WDW and are staying at AKL so I was delighted to find your trip report. It's one of my favorites so far. Thanks for posting it!

I_Luv_Stitch
01-19-2014, 09:44 AM
Joining in really late but all caught up!:goodvibes

You've had such a range of ADR choices, it's a shame you didn't get to try Raglan Road :( I'm looking forward to trying that restaurant in July!
Test Track is a favourite of mine (and my families) too and just like you and your sister can ride it multiple times in a row! :thumbsup2
Your trip to the WWoHP looked lovely and you got your sister to drink the ButterBeer! I can tell your Harry Potter fan with all your detailed photos!

Can't wait to read more popcorn::

Clare
01-21-2014, 12:30 PM
Just LOVING this trip report - your pictures are fantastic and I love all the detail! This spring break will be our first trip to Islands of Adventure since they added the WWOHP, so it's great to have more info.!