Monday, January 20, 2014

Animal Kingdom, a Parade, and a Cruise

Tuesday was our day for Animal Kingdom.  We started the day with an 8:05 breakfast at Tusker House.  This is one of my favorite breakfasts at Disney, it is breakfast with "Character".  You start out with a photo with Donald Duck in his safari clothes.  This was last year's photo, we haven't received the ones from this year yet.  The breakfast has an African theme, and you are visited at your table by Mickey, Goofy, and Daisy in their safari clothes.  The food is really good.  You have your typical breakfast fare, and also some African items.  We finished our breakfast and proceeded to the Kilimanjaro Safari.  I absolutely love this attraction.  The ride is definitely rough - it's been known to nearly bounce me out of my seat, and that's saying something.  We had really good luck this trip and saw nearly every animal imaginable.  We say the baby elephant from last year and were amazed at how much he had grown.

We saw the Festival of the Lion King show, always one of our must-sees.  Some of the group rode Expedition Everest, while others (like me) just killed some time in the gift shops.  Rod and I had pizza and salads at Pizzafari.  We had never eaten here before, and it was really quite good.  Soon it was time to find a good viewing spot for the Jingle Jungle Parade.  A friend of Mary's had made arrangements for Jimmy, Mary and the kids to ride on one of the floats in the parade.  It was really great to see them sitting up there waving to all the crowd.

Rod, the twins and I had reservations for the Cape May "clambake" for 6:30.  In the past we have loved this buffet, but the food was somewhat lacking this time and we probably won't eat here again.  After dinner, we made our way to the dock to await our Illuminations cruise.  It was a beautiful night, and the first time I had seen Illuminations with the Christmas tag, which includes the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth".  The first time I had ever heard this song was when my sister had sung it in concert choir in high school, and it still brings tears to my eyes.  Nancy passed away in 1991 at the age of 37, and there isn't a day that I don't miss her. The fireworks were probably the best I've ever seen.  After the cruise, the captain urged me to disembark before the others because their weight kept the boat closer to the height of the dock.  Rod had gone to retrieve my scooter, and I nearly fell as I stepped onto the dock.  That put me in a bit of a bad mood.  We proceeded into the resort and had started to admire the gingerbread, when I realized that my bag wasn't in the basket of my scooter.  I knew I had it on the boat, and Rod and the twins began to search for it while my mood grew more and more black.  But alas, no bag.  While at Disney, that bag holds most of my life - our daily meds, our gift cards, my pins for trading, a first aid kit, and more.  I was nearly in tears over the $350 in gift cards, Rod was more concerned about the pins I was so excited about.  It was a quiet ride to our room that night.

Notes on the day:  All in all it was a great day, although it ended on a dark note.

Tomorrow:  Lost, found, and good bye to Disney.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 5 - Hollywood Studios

The kids were at the park for opening, but Rod and I were a little slow to get started.  We arrived about a half hour later and began our day by having our picture taken in front of the Hollywood Studios Christmas tree.  We proceeded to move further into the park and had another picture taken in front of the huge sorceror's hat.  Rod was to meet the kids at Rock n Roller Coaster to use a fast pass.  Since I don't ride coasters, I made my way into the gift shop.  Nearly every ride and attraction at Disney exits into a gift shop, which stocks items pertinent to that ride or attraction.  I had never been inside the one at Rock n Roller coaster.  It had an array of items themed toward Aerosmith and rock music.  I bought a hoodie for George here.  Once I was back outside, I purchased a set of beads for Kristin (in blue) and one for Mary (in pink).
The beads are so unique.  They are made from recycled Disney park maps.  The maps are shipped to Uganda where they are rolled into beads and treated to make them water resistant.  They are then shipped back to Disney where they are sold.  I had bought a set last year for my mom, and the girls loved them.    You can see from the photo how beautiful and colorful they are.  Rod and the kids rode some other rides, and we saw the Beauty and the Beast show.  We had reservations for Mama Melrose's at 2:45 as part of the Fantasmic Dining package.  We were late, and had quite a wait to be seated.  I decided to be brave and try calamari for the first time ever.  It was OK, but nothing for me to crow about. Jimmy and Bubby love it, so I passed my plate to them.  Our server was less than friendly, but we learned by observing her in action that the servers were very overworked.  Toward the end of our meal, she warmed up.  I had decided to have a steak, which was served with five cheese baked macaroni and cheese.  It was really good, but I don't think I'd ever been served a steak with no steak knife until then.

After dinner, we did a little more shopping and then got in line for Fantasmic.  It is the story of Mickey battling evil, and of course Mickey wins.  There are images projected onto water, and fireworks.  It wasn't as good as I remembered.  We then proceeded to the Streets of America to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  It was Incredible!!  This is just one of the pictures Rod took.  There is Christmas music playing and the lights dance in time to the music.

By the time we finished enjoying it was getting really cold, so Rod and I left the park to go back to the room. But first we had to stop and have another photo taken.

Notes on today:  It was really a great day.  The weather was wonderful, and quite frankly being a little chilly while enjoying the lights put me so into the Christmas spirit.  

Next:  Animal Kingdom and the Illuminations Cruise.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Magic Kingdom again and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Sunday started with a very early breakfast at 1900 Park Fare.  (whose idea was that??)  This is certainly one of my favorite breakfasts at Walt Disney World.  They have really great food here - the cold strawberry soup and lobster eggs Benedict are to die for.  The characters here are Pooh, Tigger, Mary Poppins, Alice and the Mad Hatter.  I adore the Mad Hatter, he is so into character.  When he first arrived at our table, he sat on Bubby's lap and of course, no one had a camera ready.  He is just so goofy, and when he has his photo taken with guests, he almost always sticks out his tongue.  So, Rod and I decided to do the same.   Here's the result.
Since it was an early morning, and Rod and I are "old" and Magic Kingdom is our least favorite park, we decided to go back to the room for a nap.  But not before we paid the gingerbread house a visit.
 It is a life size gingerbread house in the lobby of the Grand Floridian, and they actually sell gingerbread out of the house.  It wasn't open when we left, but my girls made sure they bought me some while they were there later,

After a nice nap, Rod and I returned to the Magic Kingdom and met up with the kids.  We did the "Jingle Cruise" - the Jungle Cruise with a Christmas twist.  Mary and I love this ride since we are big fans of the pun.  The captain usually tells the corniest jokes, and ours was the best ever.  We left there and Mary said we should do the Enchanted Tiki Room, since I had really wanted to see that show (although now, I wonder why).  What a ridiculous performance this was!  I just kept shaking my head while laughing all the while.

And I was so excited to be able to meet my idol, the Fairy Godmother.  I have a shirt with her picture on it and it declares me to be the "Fairy Grandmother".  I do try to make all the family's dreams come true, after all.

Rod, the twins and I had an early dinner at the Crystal Palace, where you meet the characters from Winnie the Pooh.  It is a buffet with a lot of varied selections to choose from.  We really enjoyed the meal there, and I did manage to get a really picture of myself with Eeyore.

After dinner, we prepared for the Christmas Party.  It was a lot of fun.  Pam found me a great spot for viewing the parade.  I was right in the front line, and got to interact with quite a few of the characters.  We then proceeded to the Castle area, to watch the projection show and finally the fireworks.  If you've never seen Disney fireworks, you don't know what you're missing. They are phenomenal!  The kids decided to stick around for the second parade, but the "old folks" returned to the resort.

Notes on today:  a fun day, but I don't think I will waste my money on the party again.  We have real snow in PA, not the soap snow they have on Main Street.  I wanted a pin from the Christmas Party, but was told that they had been sold out two weeks before.  The free cookies and cocoa were really good.

Tomorrow - Hollywood Studios