They finally let us out of the basement and we went to Florida: Our trip from New York to Clearwater Beach, St. Pete and Walt Disney World

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
After Rise of the Resistance, it was time to check into Animal Kingdom Lodge. We made our way to the resort and found that although it was check-in time, our room was not ready. I waited for about an hour and a half in the lobby while Michael and Jacob went to buy groceries. Everyone at the front desk was delightful and wanted to help, but they said that housekeeping had to inspect our room before it was released and the inspection hadn’t occurred. We had the same delay at Kidani Village in 2018, so there is an inherent flaw in the inspection process, but I don’t know what it is.



Anyway, I didn’t mind hanging out in the lobby that much because it is beautiful. Take a look:


https://flic.kr/p/2nobydx https://flic.kr/p/2nocTCo https://flic.kr/p/2noasnR
 
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toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Morimoto Asia: We had planned another birthday dinner for Jake at Morimoto Asia. (The poor guy had spent his previous two birthdays on lockdown, so we had to compensate.) He is a big fan of Japanese culture and cuisine and sometimes dabbles in Japanese cooking. Morimoto Asia was a restaurant that we all had wanted to try for a while. It exceeded expectations! We had a reservation and were seated promptly. The space is very airy and large. Our waiter, Eric, was attentive, friendly and considerate. He asked about allergies and checked with the chef regarding the ingredients in our orders. He also recommended the Buri Bop which is cooked table side. It is a yellowtail rice bowl served in a clay pot and it is delicious. Our order included the pork lettuce wraps were which were just perfectly seasoned and the portion was generous. The flavor profile of hoisin sauce, pork, lettuce and other spices was fantastic. The sushi we ordered was composed of fish one does not normally see on a typical local sushi joint. For example, we ordered amberjack sashimi. What a treat! As for entrees, the duck ramen Jake ordered was marvelous and is a good value at $19. Mike had the Morimoto buri-bop which is prepared table side and features Korean yellowtail in a clay pot. Both preparation and presentation were outstanding. I had the fried rice which doesn't sound like anything special, but the melange of duck, pork, shrimp and the samba sauce, which added a nice kick but was not uncomfortably spicy, was delicious and extremely filling. The portion was generous and we took some home. Because it was Jake's birthday, he received a complimentary dessert of matcha tiramisu, fruit, and a fudge ball covered in boba. Again, these desserts were unique. Overall, we would absolutely return to this restaurant---we especially want more duck.
https://flic.kr/p/2nnCXuU https://flic.kr/p/2nnD6yX https://flic.kr/p/2nnEb8k https://flic.kr/p/2nnD6zD https://flic.kr/p/2nnEbdA
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Lock off= Lockout?
After dinner, we walked around Disney Springs a bit and then drove back to AKL. When we got to our room, we found that the app wouldn't open our door! We kept swiping and swiping and nothing happened. Mike took the elevator down to the front desk and spoke to someone who said that usually the app works to open resort rooms, but for some reason it doesn't always work with lock-offs. She suggested Mike delete the app and reinstall it. He said that while that was a logical solution to most app issues, since our entire Disney lives were stored in MDE, he was hesitant to delete it. The CM agreed and made us all key cards which worked to open the door, thank goodness, because at this point, Jake and I had been standing in the hall for about 30 minutes and I really had to go to the bathroom. Once inside, we went got ready for bed because we knew we had to be up by 7 a.m. to get to Genie+.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
The Magic Kingdom:


On Friday morning, we woke up at 6:30, ready to do business with Genie+. Even though Michael is an early riser by nature, he didn’t like having to set his alarm on vacation, and I don’t blame him. Our ILL priority this morning was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the one exception to our “No rollercoasters” rule. The Genie+ attraction was Jungle Cruise. Happily, we scored both! We had breakfast and took the bus to the Magic Kingdom. Even the buses were getting in the spirit of the 50th anniversary as you can see here.
https://flic.kr/p/2nnEbeh https://flic.kr/p/2nnFwrk
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Magic Kingdom: The Magic Kingdom was our oyster. It wasn’t very crowded and we were able to knock out Buzz Lightyear (standby) ---interrupted by a malfunction---Haunted Mansion (standby), Pirates of the Caribbean (Genie+ ) and Hall of Presidents (standby) and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (ILL), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Genie+) before lunch. I accidentally left my sunglasses at the Hall of Presidents. Thanks to the person who turned them in to a Hall of Presidents cast member. Last time I lost sunglasses at Walt Disney World, I was not so lucky.



We ordered chicken and waffles from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments for lunch, using the mobile app. We were impressed with the quality of this counter service restaurant and love using the MDE to order food.. As we were finishing up our lunch, the parade marched by. We were ideally positioned to see it and got a lot of photos. Here’s a sampling:


https://flic.kr/p/2nnFwiE https://flic.kr/p/2nnxFWa https://flic.kr/p/2nnD5Br https://flic.kr/p/2nnEahY


After the parade, we continued on to Mickey’s Philharmagic (Genie+) and Jungle Cruise (Genie+). For many of these attractions, the difference between standby and Genie+ was nominal. However, the park was not that crowded, so that contributed to our short wait times. With the exception of Winnie the Pooh, I would say that every standby line was less than 10 minutes. Haunted Mansion showed the wait was 30 minutes and we walked directly into the stretching room. The rumors we’ve been hearing about standby wait times being shorter than posted seem to bear out although later in the day, there were no Genie+ times for Peter Pan and we determined to put that experience on hold until Sunday.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Quick change in dinner plans:
Although we had planned to have dinner at the Grand Floridian Café---we love all things Grand Floridian---but the reservation time wasn’t ideal, so we canceled and had quick service ordered on MDE from The Mara in our resort room. Again, the quick service food was excellent. I had the falafel, Michael had the roasted half-chicken and Jake had the tamarind barbecue pork sandwich.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Interruption: A bit of an intervention/Mom’s First Wheelchair

I didn’t mention this earlier, but about a week before we left for Florida, I found out that I needed foot surgery! Michael and I went for a walk and my right foot hurt so much that I was favoring it. Favoring it caused my gait to change and my back to hurt. I made an appointment with a podiatrist who said I needed an operation and that I should plan it for the fall. He said it would make a big difference in my quality of life and that I should do it while the cartilage in my foot was still flexible. I scheduled the surgery for September. When I told the doctor that I was going to Disney World in a week, he said something non-committal like “You’ll figure it out.”

Our first day at Hollywood Studios, I was in some pain, but trying to tough it out. My toe kept bumping into the toebox of my sneaker. By the end of the day at Magic Kingdom, Jake said he could see pain in my face every time I put weight on my right foot. I kept saying I would power through, but Mike and Jake clearly had their doubts. When we returned to AKL that night Mike got a look at my funky-looking feet made even more weird because my skin had blistered and taken on the pattern of my Naot comfort sandals, and said, “You need a wheelchair.”

WHAAAT? A wheelchair? I’m not even 60 yet. Michael said that I was obviously suffering and that if I continued to be too proud to use a wheelchair, how did I know I wouldn’t do more permanent damage to my feet and back? It was a compelling argument. Michael is a project manager so my feet were a “risk” and the wheelchair was a “mitigation strategy.” He’s sitting here as I write this and said not to post a picture of my foot because “it will scare people.” Don’t worry. I wasn’t going to.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
After dinner, we took the bus to Magic Kingdom. Frankly, the evening sky, although beautiful, didn’t look very promising as far as fireworks go. It was dark and scary. Weather reports had been flirting with rain for that evening all day. As we departed AKL, it was our belief that the storm would miss us, but being theme park veterans with a project manager among us, we mitigated rain risk by bringing our Disney ponchos. The ponchos were a solid decade old at least, but they were still in decent shape, if we needed them.

https://flic.kr/p/2nodzuA https://flic.kr/p/2nodpmc

Michael rented a wheelchair for me and we made our way up Main Street and to the Fireworks party. The CMs were so welcoming and friendly. Who knew being in a wheelchair would get me a prime viewing spot? Also, I felt less self-conscious since everyone around me was also in a wheelchair or using a mobility device.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Michael rented a wheelchair for me and we made our way up Main Street and to the Fireworks party. The CMs were so welcoming and friendly. Who knew being in a wheelchair would get me a prime viewing spot? Also, I felt less self-conscious since everyone around me was also in a wheelchair or using a mobility device.
https://flic.kr/p/2no89s5 https://flic.kr/p/2nodApg https://flic.kr/p/2noeKX8 At about 8:30 p.m., the heavens opened up and it poured! We put on our ponchos and were somewhat protected, but this was a huge thunderstorm with plenty of lightning! Everyone was soaked and continuously checking the weather apps on their phones. Fun fact from a cast member: Disney cancellation decisions are made based on what is predicted on the WeatherBug app. At 9 pm, a recorded announcement stated the fireworks were delayed. That announcement was repeated every 10 minutes until about 9:35 when the storm had subsided. The fireworks were glorious! I didn’t take any pictures because I just wanted to enjoy them. Also, it’s a little tough to photograph the projections on Cinderella’s Castle. But the fireworks were well worth the wait and the rain.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
The After Party: Post Fireworks, we went to the party at Tomorrowland Terrace and dug into the dessert buffet. Alcohol is included in the ticket price, which goes a long way towards justifying the cost, but the fact is that none of us really drinks much. We concentrated on the yummy mousse cakes, puddings, cupcakes and crepes and were very pleased. If you have ever taken a Disney cruise, the offerings are similar to their desserts.

https://flic.kr/p/2nnD5F9
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
End of the evening: After the party, we stopped on Main Street to buy me a hoodie and Jake a T-shirt. The mobile check-out process is a breeze. We got back to AKL and went to bed with the alarm set for 6:30 so we would be up in plenty of time for booking Genie+ LL and ILL at Epcot. However, we were planning to book ILL for the afternoon and spend the morning at the resort to get some rest and enjoy the lovely AKL pool.
 

toodycat

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2008
Saturday: Resort Day/Epcot:
Michael woke up early and booked ILL for Remy's Ratatouille and Genie+ for Frozen Ever After.
After breakfast, Michael and I went to the pool. Disney pools are a favorite of mine and one of the reasons we chose Jambo instead of Kidani is my affection for the AKL feature pool and its mellow slide. I know a lot of people love SAB and I understand that and I've enjoyed it, but I prefer my pools less active. https://flic.kr/p/2nnEaq3 https://flic.kr/p/2nnCWAz https://flic.kr/p/2nnD5Jk
 





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