Monday, December 3, 2012

Disney World Trip recap

So since January of this year, Jennie and I had started talking about a trip to Disney World.  She had planned on going with her mom and brother and I was invited along.  In March, we started to plan things such as what restaurants we wanted to eat at, what parks we wanted to go to.  So it was almost 10 months by the time that we left on a plane heading for Orlando on a cool October Saturday morning.

One of the key items in planning the trip was we wanted to stay onsite.  We looked at our options and chose the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort.  It is the smallest of Disney's Moderate Resorts.  I had stayed at the Riverside resort while I was in college and always wanted to stay at the French Quarter.  Our flight got in early and we hopped onto the Disney Magical Express to the resort.  We arrived at the hotel and checked in.  While its a small resort by Disney standards, they are still pretty large.  Most Disney resorts have a central building, housing the restaurants, bars, gift shop, and registration.  Our room was right on the corner of the closest building to the main building on the second floor.  After dropping the bags, we headed off to Animal Kingdom.

We had lunch scheduled for the Tusker House Restaurant in the park.  We got to the park early and rode the safari ride.  It was still early in the day and the animals were all out.  Then it was lunch time.  We got our picture taken with Donald in his safari gear during our wait.  The meal was a buffet and everything I had there was delicious.  Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Goofy were wandering around and we got pictures with each of them.  After the meal, we walked around the park.  We rode Expedition Everest.  My back and rib cage hurt after the rid as I was holding on for dear life.  I'm not a big roller coaster fan.  After riding Everest we headed back to the rooms and our luggage had arrived.  We unpacked, got a little rest, and then headed to EPCOT for dinner.  We had reservations at La Hacienda de San Angel.  Now that was a meal I won't forget.  The evening ended with the fireworks show after dinner and then back to the room to crash.

The following day we headed down the west coast of Florida to spend the day with Jennie's family.  We got back late and headed to Downtown Disney.  We didn't have a lot of time there before the last boat so we walked around for a bit before heading back to the room.

Monday was EPCOT.  We hit most of the rides in the park.  Lunch was great at Chefs de France.  Chef Remy came by to make sure our food was up to snuff.  Dinner was at the hibachi in the Japan exhibit.  Jennie has wanted to go there on her last trip and she was unable to eat there so that was a priority.  During the afternoon, I had a little stomach bug and had to do the search for some sort of medication.  While searching for Pepto, Jennie's mom and brother met up with some other members of her family.  We eventually caught up with them before dinner.

Tuesday, we went to Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The ride in Hogwarts was... well, I rode it, but I was getting motion sick from the start, so I closed my eyes and hung on.  What parts I did open my eyes for was cool, but I to close my eyes again.  After that ride, we got some Butterbeer... YUM!  Jennie and Damien went to ride the Dueling Dragons Challenge.  They rode both coasters, and Damien was feeling like I did after the first ride.  We walked around Universal and hit the Dr. Seuss rides.  We didn't feel like doing other rides, but just wandered around for a bit.  We headed back in the afternoon and I think I took a well needed nap.  That evening was Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

For MNSSHP, which is a special admission ticket, Disney changes up the Magic Kingdom just a bit.  There is a special villains show and parade.  There is trick-or-treating around the park.   We took the opportunity to ride the rides during the first parade.  Rides that would normally have an hour plus wait we were on in a few minutes.  Then after getting a bite to eat we grabbed a spot in front of Cinderella's Castle to view the parade.  We were in perfect position to view the villains show while waiting.  The parade was cool and we got some treats that they were passing out.  I have video of almost the whole parade.

Wednesday was back to the Magic Kingdom, but first, we had breakfast at the Polynesian Resort, for the O'hana breakfast with Lilo and Stitch.  Just seeing Jennie's smile at seeing a life size Stitch was awesome.  I also made sure to ask Lilo if she had fed Pudge that morning, so we'd have good weather.  Lunch was at Tony's Town Tavern, an Italian Restaurant themed after the restaurant in the Lady and the Tramp.  Lunch was very good.  After touring the park all day, we went back to the room to get off our feet.  We got changed for dinner and then went back to the Magic Kingdom to have dinner in Cinderella's Castle.

Thursday saw us meet back up with Jennie's family at Hollywood Studios.  We rode Star Tours often.  Lunch was at the Sci Fi Dine In Theater.  This was my least favorite meal of the vacation.  The concept was great, the food good, but I just felt very rushed.  After lunch we met up with Jennie's family.  We rode Star Tours again, saw Muppetvision 3-D, and more.  Dinner was at the 50's Prime Time Cafe.  That was the most fun meal of the vacation.  Let me forewarn anyone, if you go there, finish your veggies, and don't put your elbows on the table.  We had a lot of good laughs during this meal.

For Friday, we were back at the Magic Kingdom.  Breakfast was at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and Friends.  Jennie and I share an affinity for Piglet and it was great to walk up Main Street USA with no one in site as we were in the park before opening.  After a long day, dinner was at Artist's Point in the Wilderness Lodge Resort, one of Walt Disney Worlds signature restaurants.  The food there was AMAZING.  After dinner we headed to Downtown Disney.  Traffic was getting backed up all over Walt Disney World, due to VP Biden's arrival.  Our bus driver got us around the jams and at one point we saw the VP's motorcade heading to the Grand Floridian.  If our bus driver had not taken a few detours, we would have been stuck sitting in traffic for a while.  When we got to our destination, everyone on the bus thanked the driver.  We took the ferry ride back to our resort.

Saturday, our last day at Disney World.  We hit 3 parks to catch those things we wanted to see but had missed.  We started at Animal Kingdom, and hit the Finding Nemo musical.  It was so worth going back there just to see that show.  Then it was off to EPCOT for lunch at the Rose and Crown in the UK exhibit.  Then it was a monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom for a last tour up and down Main Street USA.  Dinner was at the Polynesian Resorts, Luau dinner and show.  Let's just say, the show was good, the food.... eh.  But it was a good way to end the vacation.  We took a cab back to our hotel to retrieve the bags and then headed to the airport.  We had an early morning flight, so I booked rooms at the hotel that is right in the airport terminal.  Waking up, we just had to go downstairs and we were in the airport.  It sure beat waking up at 4:00 AM for our flight.

All in all, I had a great time and can't wait to go back again.  If you didn't realize this fact while reading my recap, we had planned our vacation around where we were going to eat.  I was very happy with the food at Disney World.  We had purchased the Deluxe Dining Package, which included three meals per day at almost any restaurant onsite.  While it was not a cheap option, we certainly got our value out of it.

Best Food:

  1. La Hacienda de San Angel (EPCOT)
  2. Artist's Point (Wilderness Lodge)
  3. Chefs de France (EPCOT)
  4. Tusker House (Animal Kingdom)
  5. 50's Prime Time Cafe (Hollywood Studios) *
  6. Teppan Edo (EPCOT)
  7. Tony's Town Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
  8. Cinderella's Royal Table (Magic Kingdom)
  9. Crystal Palace Breakfast (Magic Kingdom)
  10. O'hana Breakfast (Polynesian)
  11. Sci Fi Dine In Theater (Hollywood Studios)
  12. Spirit of Aloha Luau (Polynesian)
It's not fair to list the breakfasts at Crystal Plaza and O'hana and trying to compare then to the other meals since the menus are so different.