Amy Gourley -- November 2004 -- Walt Disney World (WL)
The Cast of Characters
RE TRIP REPORT
With the startup of Independence Air at Dulles, flight costs have been stable and reasonable. Using an online booking discount of 5%, we got seats on United for $168.81 per adult and $97.70 for the guaranteed seat for Malloryís car seat. Florida flights are usually full, so we did not want to risk not having a seat for Mallory, and the price was right for the added convenience.
We checked prices for car rentals weekly and the prices were remarkable stable. We ended up at $173.71 including all taxes, fees and gouges for the week. We used National as we love the quickness and convenience of the Emerald Aisle.
In March we booked rack rate Wilderness Lodge Woods View for 5 nights as a placeholder until a discount code came out. We intended to stay offsite the first and last night to save money and as a protest to the continual cuts in amenities at the Disney resorts eroding the value of staying there. However, a few months later, the stay 7 pay for 5 promotion came along and we added the other two nights. The promotion included admission for the first and last days for free. Flight times made the last day admission useless, but we would be able to go to the parks on the first day starting mid-afternoon. Hotel and admission for Jason, Amy and Malloryís room (Peggy and Grant stayed in a their own connecting room) was $1854.95.
Compared to some of our other trips, we pre-planned this trip somewhat lightly, although we realize we probably still planned more than most. The main concern in the plan was making sure we would get back to the room every day so that Mallory could get a nap. Her nap schedule was one per day in the early afternoon for about two hours and we wanted to maintain that as much as possible. We decided not to be as concerned about bedtime as she has always been adaptable in that regard. But without a good nap, she usually will get downright cranky.
To support afternoon naps we planned each day with a morning and evening park. Mallory likes to get up around 7 AM, so we figured we would try to hit early entry parks a few days Ė especially for Magic Kingdom as we felt we would need the head start for the Fantasyland slow loaders. We planned heavy on Magic Kingdom, medium on Animal Kingdom and Epcot and light on MGM. This was based on the fact that there is not much for a 16 month old to do at MGM, there is nothing new there for adults since our last trip, and the park has had so much of its character removed in the last few years (Disney Feature Animation Florida, all remnants of TV and movie production, back lot sets, the empty former Superstar Television building, etc) that it didnít hold much interest. We also planned a half-day at Typhoon Lagoon as Mallory liked the ocean and a lazy river ride on our previous vacations to other locations.
Priority seatings were a balance of doing some things we had done before and liked and trying new things we have wanted to do. We biased the seatings toward buffets as they are more likely to be kid friendly and to contain a variety of things for Mallory to try. Kid friendliness was not an overriding concern however as Mallory has always been a surprisingly pleasant dinner companion. We also planned a number of meals around the Food and Wine Festival. New to the priority seating list were Boma and Ohanaís (Ohanaís was only new to Peggy and Grant), both as dinners. Long time favorite breakfast character buffets at Crystal Palace and Breakfastosaurus were also planned. And from the favorites but had not been there a while file came Trailís End for dinner and 50s Primetime for lunch. I told you we were biasing toward buffets.
DAY 1, Nov. 6
Peggy drove down from Pennsylvania on Thursday; my brother-in-law Grant would join us the next day. Our neighbor drove us to Washington Dulles Airport at 8:30 AM for our 10:30 flight. Check-in lines and security lines were very short, but I guess one would expect that mid-morning on a Saturday. As we had bought Mallory her own seat, we were carrying her car seat as carry-on luggage. One of the security officers hassled Jason a bit saying that he would have to go back and check Malloryís car seat because it would not fit through the x-ray machine. Jason politely pointed out that we had taken two other trips through Dulles with the car seat and that it had fit through the detector fine. The security guy was not impressed. Jason suggested seeing if it would fit rather than arbitrarily declaring it too big (but he used more diplomatic words). Still not impressed, have to check it. After going back and forth a few times Jason suggested that the car seat could be hand searched. By body language Jason supposed that he hadnít thought of that one and might be willing to give it a try, but before he could verbally respond, another agent volunteered that it would fit fine. The first officer reluctantly let Jason through and we were on our way. Luckily for use the X-ray machine had not shrunk, and a hand search was unnecessary.
We arrived at the gate about 45 minutes early. We like to board last so that we have to ask Mallory to sit for as short a time as possible, and with the under seat storage from Malloryís seat, we do not have to worry about overhead bin space. Our car seat, the Britax Marathon, can be installed in about two minutes.
Jason and Mallory headed off to explore the terminal. Mallory had great fun toddling around look at everything, including a tunnel with pretty colored lights. Because I didnít have time for breakfast, I had a pumpkin spice latte and chocolate chip muffin from Starbucks. As boarding commenced, Jason hung around the gate as he has been known to do so that he can see/hear what is going on. Apparently our flight was overbooked by 6 and the 6 people who lost the seat lottery were not very happy about it. The gate agent offered an explanation that all airlines overbook and it is quite unusual for everyone to show up. The seatless were not impressed. Time for us to board (we managed to be last) came and Jason did not hear the resolution of the overboarding problem.
The flight was uneventful and Mallory fell asleep for the last 20 minutes. We arrived in Orlando at 12:40 or so, about 15 minutes early.
Grantís flight was coming in the next day and Jason was picking him up, so Jason searched for a place to tell Grant to meet him the next day. He decided on the fountain in the side of the terminal with the high number gates just outside security. We picked up our bags without a problem and proceeded to the National Rent a Car Emerald Aisle, bypassing the counter. We had a choice of cars-one Pontiac Grand Am, a Geo Tracker and about 10 Chevy Classics. We had heard sometimes there were PT Cruisers there but there werenít any when we looked. I wanted the Grand Am but someone else got to it first and it probably would have been too small for 4 adults and one baby in a car seat. For the last few vacations, we seem to always get the Classic so this was no different. However, this time we got silver instead of tan.
We had planned on having lunch at Sonic, a fast food chain that Jason and I love but donít have in our part of Virginia. We had the address and map of the area but we could not find it where it was supposed to be (more about this later). I was mildly disappointed and we decided to just head to the Wilderness Lodge and have a quick lunch at Roaring Forks. Following US-192, after what seamed like 5 tollbooths and $3.00 later (but was probably less on both accounts) we arrived at the Lodge.
We arrived at the Wilderness Lodge at 3. For us, check-in was relative uneventful, but for the party checking in next to us, things got exciting when one of their kids (maybe 5 years old) let out a blood curdling scream. We did not witness how it happened, but he managed to open a large gash in his head. The check-in cast member working their reservation immediately offered to call 911, but the parents decided to evaluate the situations first. They left the area, so we do not know how this story ended. As far as our check-in went, the rooms we were originally assigned were not connecting. When we found this out, the cast member went to the back to check. After a few minutes she returned and was able to grant the request. We asked if the fridges that were being installed were in our room yet. She said no but offered to give one for each room. We accepted. No price of lack there of was mentioned, but in the end we were not charged.
Jason, Mallory and I are in one room and Grant and Peggy are in the other. Our connecting rooms were on the 4th floor overlooking the quiet pool. We were surprised how long the walk was from the lobby. Peggyís room had 2 queen beds and our room had a queen and a bunk bed.
We went down to Roaring Forks to check out the selection for lunch. We got two refillable mugs, Peggy-chicken sandwich, Jason-pizza and I got the tuna salad sandwich (Mallory shares with us). We all liked our choices except Jason who didnít like his pizza. Jason had been having minor stomach cramps since he ate the little bag of nuts that you get on the airplane, and the pizza didnít help matters.
Mallory had not been acting herself since she only had a 20-minute nap all day. Jason is the best at getting her to go to sleep, so he ďforced a napĒ and she finally got the sleep she needed. I read and also took a quick nap, Peggy napped and Jason explored the Lodge.
Mallory got up from her nap around 5 in a much better mood. We decided to take the boat over to the Magic Kingdom. The boat was crowded and we had to stand. The boat was delayed because another boat on the route had to make an extra stop at the Contemporary to pickup a disabled passenger. We stopped and waited in the middle of the lake for about 3 or 4 minutes. A kind gentleman let Peggy have his seat. The faint stomach distress that Jason had been feeling for the last few hours was amplified by the motion of the boat. After the boat started moving again to Fort Wilderness after the delay, he felt so bad that he asked Peggy for her seat, which she gave him. After some people got off at FW, we all had seats. On the FW to MK leg Jason started feeling really bad and practiced controlled breathing to keep from losing his lunch. He felt somewhat better once we got off the boat.
By the time we entered the MK, it was already dark and Main Street was lit up. The park was also pretty crowded. We were curious to see Malloryís reactions to everything. Outside the park, she pointed at the monorail and started pointing at things here and there. We headed over towards Tomorrowland to our traditional first ride, Buzz Lightyear. On the way, I was excited to see the new Stitch ride. I am a big Stitch fan. Mallory recognized Stitch since we watch the TV series often. The weekend was AP preview and I couldnít wait to see if I could ride it next week, even though I had been hearing bad reports about the show. There was a 30-minute for Buzz wait so we decided to get a Fastpass for later. I wanted to look at the Stitch merchandise in Merchants of Venus so we headed over there for a while. Mallory loved the giant Stitch plush and we were surprised that it was only $50. It was nice to see so much Stitch merchandise and I started deciding what I wanted to buy later in the trip. Jason was starting to feel sick again and excused himself to the menís room where he took care of business. He felt much better with an empty stomach.
We headed over to the Haunted Mansion where there was a short line. Malloryís first Disney attraction. She didnít have much to say, didnít even point, just stared and everything but nothing scared her except going backwards down to the graveyard scene caused a little fuss.
We next decided to head over to Cosmic Rayís for dinner. Jason was feeling better, but because he was still a little afraid of solid food, he decided to pick up a strawberry swirl from the Enchanted Grove. I got chicken fingers, Peggy got a burger and we both enjoyed our dinners. The restaurant was extremely crowded.
We headed back to Buzz to use the FPs and even the FP line was so long that it stretched outside the building. The line moved quickly though. As we entered the line two people were complaining to the cast member about how long the FP line was. I guess they wanted to just walk right on. As we moved quickly though the short FP queue, Mallory liked the stars on the walls and pointed to them. During the ride, Mallory just stared and looked again only pointing once at Zurg.
As it was getting late and we were still tired, so we decided to leave the park. Mallory loved the Goofy statue on a bench on Main Street and called him a dog.
We waited for the boat for about 15 minutes and all Mallory wanted to do was walk around so we took turns walking with her while waiting for the boat. It was during this time that she really started taking an interest in the monorails.
Mallory laid her head on my chest in the boat and was back in the room asleep by 9:40. The rest of us went to sleep at 10:30.
DAY 2, Sunday, November 7
Proposed trip schedule
Jason was still feeling not so great so I slept in the bunk bed, top bunk. I have never slept in a top bunk before and it wasnít too bad.
Wake up time was 6:45 AM. We drove to the Ticket and Transportation Center to take the monorail to the MK for early entry. Peggy got a diamond parking pass from AAA so we got to park closer than usual. The parking lot was just past the handicap spots and was an easy five-minute walk to the monorail station. No tram ride required.
MK was the extra magic hour park today, so it opened at 8:00. We arrived in at the park around 8:15. We were hoping to do Dumbo with Mallory first but already the line was too long. We opted for Pooh with a shorter line. Mallory loves the Pooh characters and recognized them but again didnít do or say much for the ride and had a little fuss. I checked for Piglet (my favorite) merchandise and found a nice Piglet shirt that I would think about buying.
Adventureland opened at 9 so we headed there to ride Aladdinís Magic Carpets. We were waiting for them to open Adventureland. We got on the first ride of the day. As with the other rides, Mallory just hung out.
We were getting hungry but couldnít think of any place to eat a quick breakfast except for the Main Street Bakery. Peggy sat with Mallory at a table by Caseyís Corner while Jason and I went to the bakery. We started heading down the right side of Main Street to the train station end of the street. About half way down the street we saw what looked like a bakery on the left side. Confused, we quickly realized that we were heading to where the bakery is in Disneyland, which we have been to twice since the last time weíve been to WDW. We went to the bakery and realized that neither of us had been to the WDW one before (at least not to the best of Jasonís memory, but he doesnít remember every detail of his childhood trips). The line was long but moved fast. We got a Mickey bundt cake and apple streudel to share.
We then went on the Jungle Cruise, which had about a 10-minute wait. I liked our Skipper although I knew most of the jokes. Mallory seemed a little more interested in this and liked looking at the animals. We next went on Pirates of the Caribbean, which had no wait. Mallory cried during the drop but we donít know if it was because she didnít like the drop or if it was because the people behind us screamed.
We had lunch at Pecos Bill and all had cheeseburgers with the awesome topping bar -- love the mushrooms! We all had Cokes but Jason received a Diet Coke and went back up the counter to get a new drink. He came back to the table, tasted it, and it was still Diet Coke. Still not feeling well from the day before and with a funny taste in his mouth, Jason was unsure of his own taste buds. He didnít want to go up again so I went up and got a new drink, this time tasting it at the counter to make sure it was Coke, which it was.
We had to pick up Grant at the airport at 1 so we wanted to get out of the park by 12. Halfway down Main Street, Mallory fell asleep in the stroller. Peggy took her back to the hotel via the boat and Jason and I took the car to the airport. We were planning to stop at Orange World, the building in the shape of the worldís largest orange (I love roadside attractions) but ended up a little lost and didnít have the 75 cents in exact change to get off at the exit we needed to so we just headed to the airport. Figuring the logically two major roads like the Florida Turnpike and the Central Florida Greenway must surely have an interchange, we left US-192 to go north on the Turnpike. Of course no such logic is actually required in road construction, the intersection did not exist, and we ended up going all the way to the Beeline Expressway. I donít know how much we ended up paying in tolls on this little escapade but it was around $5.
Driving to the airport, we passed the area we were looking for a Sonic yesterday. There was a big Wal-mart there and I happened to look over at it and noticed a Sonic sign on the side. The Sonic, a chain whose advertising slogan is AMERICAíS DRIVE-IN was INSIDE the Wal-mart. I would have never guessed so thatís why we didnít find it before.
We had a little trouble finding Grant at the airport but through cell phone conversations we eventually found him. The problem was the he decided to wait for us at departures instead of arrivals. We noticed the error when Jason asked Grant if he could see the sky and he answered yes. Remember, sky = departures, roof = arrivals.
We stopped at Publix on the way home to pick up milk for Mallory (the cost of the small milk cartons was already killing us) and some fruit for breakfast and snacks for Mallory when we werenít eating breakfast until later. Total cost was about $20 but the saving over Disney prices were incalculable.
Mallory woke up from her nap around 2:45 and a little while later we headed out to Epcot. The diamond parking there was near the dog kennel and in a really good spot.
We walked onto Spaceship Earth and enjoyed the ride. It was sad to see the after show area gone even if there wasnít much to do. The could maybe do a little better at hiding its absence by decorating the place up a bit instead of presenting guest with a long solid black wall at the bottom of the Space Earth exit ramp. We decided to next head for The Living Seas since Mallory would enjoy looking at the fish. We skipped the film and headed directly for Sea Base Alpha. Mallory liked looking at the fish and generally just walking around the area. Outside the pavilion as we left, we saw what appeared to be a sculpture of sea creatures and coral. We were surprised when it moved and that it was a ďcharacterĒ. We were calling it Coral, although I donít know what it was really called. This was the first thing on the trip that Mallory really got excited about. We went up to it and Mallory could touch all the parts, which she loved. As we heading back towards the LS entrance, a boy came up to it and kicked it! Coral stalked him a bit and then went back to its spot. Another Coral character was near the entrance of LS. This was Malloryís first interaction with a character and she loved it.
We were getting hungry and decided to head to the Food and Wine booths. We started on the Canada side since we wanted to get the yummy cheddar cheese soup. Grant started at Greece, where he got the lamb gyro (said the similar thing in Morocco is better) and baklava. We didnít see much we wanted, but did stop for our soups. Because Grant wanted to eat at the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco, we decided we would too. Jason and I split a lemon chicken (ok) from the Morocco booth and a Mediterranean pizza from the café (yummy!) At this point, Grant left us to do his own thing. At the Piedmont booth, Peggy and I bought the chocolate torte, hazelnut cake and Italian cookies to split between all of us. I loved the torte, thought the cake was very rich and didnít try any cookies. Starting at the U.S., we noticed we should have started the food and wine festival from Mexico since we were more interested in the food from Mexico to the U.S. We saw some Australian aboriginal dancers near the Australian booth. Mallory really liked the rhythm and started dancing to the beat. I saw the rice cream at the Scandinavian booth, $1 for a very small portion and decided to get the full size at the bakery for $2.44 -love the rice cream. Jason tried the whiskey flan from Ireland and thought it was ok; I hate flan.
While Jason was waiting in line to get his flan, a group of about five college-aged people arrived in line behind him. They were obviously drunk, with one man being particularly rowdy. The rowdiness consisted of loud talking and good-natured cursing at each other. Nothing actually threatening to other guests, but certainly not the Disney atmosphere. The cast member manning the booth noticed they were drunk, seemed displeased by it, but served them anyway. About three minutes later, as Jason was eating his flan he noticed a Segway rolling up the promenade at high speed (high speed for a Segway anyway). The rider was a security manager and three other regular security cast members showed up too. They talked with the lead drunk for three or four minutes. Attempts to overhear the conversation were thwarted by the larger crowd, quiet voices and other background noises, but the drunk was obviously very sorry for his behavior. Security let him go and we never saw him again. The for security types then talked over the situation for a few minutes with the Segway guy slowly rocking back and forth as they talked.
After eating our desserts, we went into Mexico to do the Mexico ride. We really wanted to take Mallory on itís a small world but since it was down for rehab, we figured this would be the closest thing. She got into the music a little bit.
After the ride, Jason got a quesedilla from the Mexico booth (he loved it) and I got a watermelon water, which tasted very much like fresh watermelon.
We wanted to show Mallory the fiber optic sidewalk lights in front of Innoventions on our way out, but she fell asleep in the stroller shortly after leaving Mexico around 8:20.
We went back to the room and were asleep at 10.
DAY 3, Monday, November 8
Proposed trip scheduleMonday 11/8
We got up at 6:45 to make it to the Animal Kingdom for 8. Jason was finally feeling fully recovered from his illness on Saturday.
We asked about Diamond parking there but found it was in a sinkhole. We still ended up with a pretty good space and didnít need to use the tram.
Mallory loves animals so we were hoping she would like the park. She liked looking at the birds on the way in. We got FPs for HYPERLINK "http://www.allearsnet.com/tp/ak/ak_kjs.htm" Kilimanjaro Safaris and took the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and then did the safari. We saw lots of animals on the safari, some very close. Mallory didnít say or do much but I think she enjoyed seeing the animals.
We had a 10:10 priority seating for Donaldís Breakfastosaurus which we werenít sure we were going to do or not at the beginning of the day. We went around 9:50 to check in and waited around 15 minutes. Grant decided not to join us, opting for Flame Tree Barbeque instead. We were seated in the right part of the restaurant, which we didnít even know really existed (always seated on the left previously). We got to sit in the back in a part which looked liked an old camper in a cool looking booth. The buffet was good as usual with a good selection of fresh fruit. Mickey, Goofy, Pluto and Donald came around to our table. This was Malloryís first interaction with this characters and she loved them. She wasnít scared at all. She pointed to them when they were at other tables and seemed very interested in what they were doing. We noticed now that we have a baby, the characters donít really spend time with us, just the baby.
Grant met up with us again after breakfast and we went to the Boneyard playground . There wasnít really much for a 15 month old to do but we took her to the dig site for a little while and she enjoyed playing in the pebbles.
After the playground, we went back to the hotel. Mallory and Peggy took naps, Grant and Jason went to the pool and I read by the pool The Wilderness Lodge slide, while not one of the longer was at the resort, was actually very good for the amount of work you put into it. By this a mean that the walk to the top seems very short, but the slide length is good. Jason enjoyed watching the kids play on the slide knowing that he will be playing on it with Mallory in a few years. It was also interesting to see all the kid personalities (the kid that always jumps lines, the kids who help the smaller kids, the kids who a protective of their younger siblings, etc.) Jason and Grant must have gone down it at least 10 times each, and were the only unaccompanied adults.
After we were done at the pool, Mallory was still sleeping so Jason, Grant and I decided to go to the MK while Peggy watched Mallory and we would meet up with them later.
We took the boat to the MK and headed to Space Mountain. I wanted to see if the Stitch ride was operating then and it was so we got in line. We had a short wait of less than 10 minutes. As I said previously, I love Stitch so was excited to be able to see the attraction. Well, as others were, I was disappointed. I thought the Stitch audio-animatronic was good but the lights off part wasnít great and was hard to follow. I was hoping they could have done better than that. Jason thought the story was truly awful as well.
We next did Space Mountain with a stand by line of 20 minutes but we probably waited 10. Good ride as usual. Jason noticed that all the TVs that were in the last part of the queue where you can see the load area had been removed. They used to show some sort of intergalactic news program. I guess no one was watching them as that part of the line gets largely bypassed now that Space Mountain has Fastpass.
After the ride, Grant got a call from Peggy and we decided to meet at The Launching Pad in TL. Grant went to play some games and Jason and I looked at some shops and walked around TL. We met Peggy who told us that they watched the 3 oíclock parade and Mallory enjoyed bee bopping to the music and seeing the characters. She also informed us that Stitch was doing a meet and greet by Timekeeper. I wanted see Stitch when we were in line for his ride earlier so I was glad he was back. We took Mallory and she enjoyed seeing him too.
We took the monorail to the Polynesian for our 5:10 PM PS at Ohana. We got a pager and didnít have to wait too long to be seated. Jason and I had been here a few years ago but this would be the first time for Peggy and Grant. My favorite appetizer was the salad with the honey lime dressing. Mallory enjoyed the fruit dipping sauce and ate it all, I think! We got shrimp, turkey, pork and steak from the skewers. Only Peggy and I got the shrimp and we both were given a lot! The shrimp were spicier than I expected. The pork was ok but I didnít like the turkey that much. My favorite was the beef and I usually donít like beef that much. The pineapple, with caramel dipping sauce, was too hard and we had better fresh pineapple at breakfast that morning.
We headed back to the MK to see SpectroMagic and the fireworks. I made my mandatory stop at the candy store to get fudge. I was surprised the line wasnít too long. I always get the buy 4, get 2 free deal. I got traditional flavors of chocolate and chocolate peanut butter but I also got some flavors I havenít seen before-Butterfingers, lemon meringue, pumpkin and cranberry. We watched the parade on Main Street near the pin station. Good but I still prefer the Main Street Electrical Parade. We explored the Main Street Exposition Hall while waiting for the fireworks-Mallory watched some of the movies, walked around and took some pictures.
We got a spot on the end of Main Street for the fireworks. I really like this fireworks show. Jason was holding Mallory but then she wanted me to hold her. She was resting her head on my shoulder but I was turned sideways so she could still see the fireworks. I thought she had fallen asleep for sure but then when everyone clapped at the end of the show she lifted her head and clapped too. Mallory fell asleep on the boat back to the lodge.
With Peggy watching Mallory, the rest of us headed to Disney Quest. We started off by playing some of the classic games and then Jason and I did the Buzz Lightyear game, which I enjoyed last time we played it. We then played a few more modern games, I enjoyed Crazy Taxi once I got the hang of it but Iím not really into those kind of video games that much. We entered the line to do Pirates virtual reality. I noticed that one of my favorite games, Treasure of the Incas is now gone. Pirates was fun-last time I played I couldnít get the goggles to stay on right and this time I did so I enjoyed the game more. We played some more classic games until they closed. As I donít like the games they have too much at DQ now, I think it would be neat if they got games like Millionaire, Jeopardy or those kinds of games
Went to sleep at 11:30 PM
DAY 4, Tuesday, November 9
After seeing the weather forecast for today we decided to try for Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow. We slept in a little until 7:30 AM and decided to start the day at EPCOT. I got my first of many hot chocolates with our mug once I figured out I could get that in the mug too.
We walked into EPCOT and I wondered aloud when the character busses come around. Well, what do you know, next thing I know, a character bus comes by. Mallory loved it.
Jason, Grant and I first went to Mission: Space. Grant had ridden it last year and got sick, but Jason and I hadnít ridden it yet. There was no line at all for the ride. I was nervous about getting sick but I followed the rules of looking ahead and not closing my eyes. I loved the ride and was glad I didnít get sick at all. Jason survived Mission: Space as well. He thought it was an OK ride, but not something worth doing more than once a trip or so.
We next went to Test Track which had a 20 minute stand by line. We got in line but then it was announced that the ride wasnít working so we decided to get out of line and get a fastpass, which was for 12:00 PM. In the Test Track store, we found Mickey Mouse fuzzy dice which we bought for Malloryís stroller to tell it apart from the other umbrella strollers.
We next went to the Land, which was practically empty. We let Mallory walk around in the open area, which she loved. The line wasnít too long for Living with the Land so we decided to ride it. As Jason was getting in line, a cast member gave him a large token to give to the cast member who assigns us our seating rows. This was to assist them in knowing how long the wait was. Although the line did not have many people in it, we still had to wait about 10 to 15 minutes because they were not running very many boats. Jason thinks they probably try to keep the wait time the same, adding and subtract boats (and boat driver wages) as crowd levels warrant. I enjoyed the ride as I always do. I knew the garden shop wasnít there anymore but I was sad since I liked that shop and it usually had some different stuff in it.
Since we didnít eat breakfast, we opted for an early lunch at the Food and Wine festival. We again went for the cheese soup, this time with plenty for Mallory to share although she really didnít want much this time. We headed to the other side towards Mexico and Jason and I got chicken with purple potato salad from the Peru stand, which was good. Jason got the Mexican quesadilla again and I tried one too, very good. We also shared the chicken from Southeast Asian (we didnít like it but Mallory loved it), beef from Australia (ok) and South African Durban chicken (good). We ate some of our food by the African drums and Mallory liked the drumbeats so we took her over to play them too. Grant and Jason stayed back and Peggy and I moved ahead. Jason got some the delicious Apple Streusel from Germany and the baked ziti from Italy which he liked very much. I got an iced lemonade drink from one of the permanent stands. We reached Japan and saw that the character bus had stopped there for a meet and greet. Jason had the camera with him so Peggy headed back to see if she could find him to get the camera. Mallory and I saw Chip and Dale and I said we were just here to visit with no camera, same with Minnie. They were probably surprised because I donít think they get that often. We found Jason and Grant and got a picture with Terk. Mallory liked Chip and Dale and Minnie but wasnít too sure about Terk.
Grant decided to eat lunch at the Tangerine Café again and we decided to sit with him. I decided to go to the French bakery to get a pastry. I ended up with a peach tart, yummy. By time I got back, it had started to rain a little and we decided to leave EPCOT anyway so Mallory could take a nap. Grant went off on his own. By the time we hit Future World it was really raining, we were soaked without raincoats and Mallory was asleep in the stroller.
Peggy watched Mallory while she napped, Jason went to Disney Quest, and I went to Orange World. It was easy to find. I took a few pictures, went inside to look at the tacky souvenirs and left. Nothing too exciting.
We had all planned to meet at the World of Disney in Downtown Disney at 4 but Mallory was still sleeping. I drove there to meet Jason and we looked around a little and then went back to room.
We had a 6:20 PS at Boma so we decided to go there and spend some time looking at the animals. When we got in the lobby, we saw a lot of important looking Disney officials talking and milling around. Peggy overhead something about Eisnerís limo but we never saw him. When we got back home, we heard that he had been staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
We looked at the animals for a little bit before it got dark and then went to see if we could get in a little early to Boma. We got a buzzer and didnít wait long before it went off. When it buzzed, Peggy asked where Jason was and I told her he was in the restroom, like he told me. Grant went in the restroom and saw feet in a stall and said to come to dinner. Jason met up with us in the restaurant. Later, Jason told us he really wasnít in the restroom, he was checking out the menu for Jiko and looking at the pool. So we donít know who Grant told that to!
We all liked Boma. We went specifically on Tuesday after looking up the menu for the days online. I canít remember everything I had but I really liked the rice and salads. The desserts were good too. The butternut squash soup was really sweet, almost too sweet for my tastes, but Jason really loved it. The rice and carved meats were really good too.
After dinner, minus Grant, we went to Downtown Disney. We took Mallory to the Legoland playground but it was too crowded and all she wanted to do was climb up the slide so we went into the store instead. There was a place with big Lego blocks to stack so Mallory had fun playing with them. She loved to see all the stuffed animals in the World of Disney store. We let her walk around and she starting grabbing all the plushes and handing them to Jason, especially the Pooh characters. Eventually Jason, who was sitting on the floor, was nearly covered in plushes. (Donít worry, we cleaned up afterwards). We also went to Once Upon A Toy (first time weíve been there) and the Pooh store (did they expand? Now thereís a Disney pet type store there too.)
I didnít keep track of what time we went to bed tonight.
DAY 5, Wednesday, November 10
Proposed trip schedulePark 1 - MGM (9 AM)
Today looked like a nicer day than yesterday so we planned on going to Typhoon Lagoon in the afternoon after Malloryís nap.
We started our day off at MGM. Diamond parking was available and in a good location. We were at the park a little bit before it opened. While in the bag check line, I noticed that I didnít have my park ticket with me. Jason told me to go back to the car and drive back to get it. I didnít want to do that so after further thought Jason suggested going to the ticket counter to see what could be done. The ticket counter told me to go the guest relations. I went to guest relations and told them my problem and they asked which resort I was staying at and to see my ID. They made some calls and I had a temporary 1 day pass. I was so glad it all worked out.
I looked at Starring Rolls to see what choices they had for breakfast. I was surprised to see it redesigned so that now you could pick your own pastries and bagels. I was disappointed not to find the grapefruit cake that we had gotten for breakfast before in the past. One time, they had a yummy raspberry cream roll but Iíve only seen that there once.
We started by going to the Rock and Roller Coaster, which had a short wait. Peggy watched Mallory while the three of us rode. It was fun as usual.
We next got into line for Tower of Terror. The cast member gave me a card to give to the cast member at the end of the line to see how long the wait was. The line wasnít moving much and it seemed like the elevators werenít runny from what we saw. We decided to get out of line but didnít want to give the card to the cast member so I hung it on a peg with others by the front of the ride; the CM didnít even notice because she was helping other guests. We decided instead to get fast passes for later in the day.
There were some characters out on Sunset Boulevard so I took Mallory to see them. We started with Frollo since there was no line for him. Mallory was scared of him at first but then started touching his robes. It seemed like most of the kids didnít know who he was until he signed their autograph books. We then saw the cat king from Robin Hood and Mallory liked him because he was a cat. We stood in line for Minnie Mouse and got a picture of her this time.
We then made our way over to the Great Movie Ride where we had about a 20 minute wait. Mallory enjoyed watching the movie clips right before the ride. We got the cowboy side. Mallory mostly just watched but I think she was a little afraid of the fire in the cowboy scene.
We had a PS for the 50s Primetime but decided not to go since we didnít have time if we wanted to go to the water park. We had lunch at Catalina Eddieís where we all got the pizza. I got the BBQ chicken pizza, which I donít remember seeing on the menu last time we were there. This is my favorite place to get pizza in the World. Even though Jason was feeling better than the last time he had a pizza, it still didnít taste as good as he remembers from previous trips. He thinks they lowered the quality of the sauce significantly.
We wanted to get Mallory back to the hotel for a nap so weíd have enough time for Typhoon Lagoon in the afternoon. Jason, Peggy and Mallory went by car and Grant and I set out to explore MGM separately with a plan to meet back in the room at 2.
Grant finished eating before the rest of us and set off to use his FP for Tower of Terror. I went to use mine too. Only half of the elevators were running so it was still about a 20 minute wait even with fastpass. On the elevator, I sat next to two Canadians who asked if Iíve been on the ride before. The lady beside me took my hand after the first drop and didnít let go until the end. She said she didnít even realize she did that, but I didnít mind. She said she loved the ride. This was the first time Iíve been on this version of it and I loved it. Itís one of my favorite rides but is even better in this version.
I decided to head to the MK to see if I had time to ride my favorite, Carousel of Progress. With the longer than expected line at ToT, I didnít know if I would have enough time. I got in line for the bus to the TTC and then took the monorail. I didnít have much time so I decided just to get a Dole Whip (got vanilla/pineapple mix) and walk around a little.
I took the boat back to the WL. It made a stop at FW first so I got back later than I expected. Jason and Peggy got Mallory back the room and she settled right down for a nap. Peggy did too. Jason had heard that it was possible to walk to Fort Wilderness, so he gave it a try.
Past the Wilderness Lodge boat dock there is a dirt trail. He followed it and it led to a paved trail heading towards FW. At one spot a side path led down to towards Bay Lake, so Jason followed it. When he arrived at the lake, he saw a four wheel drive road that followed the lake. He decided to follow it. It offers awesome views of the Contemporary and the Wilderness Lodge through light vegetation. It eventual led to the backside of River Country and to a cast member trailer area. As Jason was walking through a cast member emerged from the trailer and offered a friendly hello. Upon returning to more ďconventionalĒ guest areas Jason noticed a sign pointer the other way that said ďCast Members OnlyĒ.
Jason walked over the entrance to River Country to see what there was to see. Jason had spent many a vacation day there in his youth and has fond memories of it. It was closed of course, but from the gate he could see inside pretty well. It looked to be in good shape, although two or three downed trees from the recent hurricanes could be seen.
Walking back to the WL along the standard exercise trail, Jason noticed some hurricane damage to the trees. At the point where the side path to the lake splits off, Jason followed it again so that he could walk along the shoreline back to the WL. Along the way he saw five deer in the woods and two cast members in a golf cart. As Jason was taking deer pictures when the cast members approached they asked him about them. Apparently they were knowledgeable about them and perhaps had a role in deer management.
We got to Typhoon Lagoon around 3. This was my first visit here but Jason has been here before three or four times.
We started with the lazy river and Jason held Mallory on the tube. Mallory loved the lazy river when we were on a trip in May but didnít seem to like it as much this time. She definitely didnít like when water squirted at her. We took her next to the kids play area and she seemed to warm up more there. She liked just walking around there, stopping every once in a while to sit down or play with the water. She loved the soft alligators and kept climbing on and off them. She wanted to go down the slides in the kidís area but water would squirt periodically and sheíd run away.
We took Mallory to the edge of the wave pool; she loved the waves when we went to the beach in August but hated it now and cried. I think the waves were stronger. She enjoyed the wading pool area nearby and playing in a boat there. I didnít realize there was going to be sand here and would have brought her beach toys if I had known. I could have bought some there but it didnít make sense for the hour or so we had left.
So Peggy watched Mallory play while the rest of us went in the wave pool. I liked the wave pool and liked how deep it went, I havenít been in a pool with a real deep end for a while. Grant and Jason went to do some body slides and I went to play with Mallory.
Later, Jason and I went down two of the raft slides-I liked Keelhaul Falls but Mayday Falls was too rough and bumpy for me.
We left the park at 5:00 and started to discuss dinner. We were talking about going to 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian for Mallory to see the characters. Peggy was saying something and mistakenly said Polynesian instead of Grand Floridian, and I said what about the Kona Café? We all had gone there in the past and enjoyed it. So Kona Café it was.
We drove and parked at the Poly (the guard saw our Wilderness Lodge pass and waved us through without comment) and made a PS for 7:10 although the restaurant didnít look busy at all. We went to the Magic Kingdom via monorail before dinner. Grant, as usual, went off on his own and Peggy said on Main Street that she would catch up to us.
We saw that the line for Dumbo wasnít too long so decided to take Mallory on it. I think she enjoyed pointing and looking at it more than riding it. I rode in one elephant with Mallory while Jason rode in the one in front of us taking pictures. We met up with Peggy, who wasnít feeling too well, and she said she would just meet us at Kona Café.
We next took Mallory to Toon Town for the first time. We are not sure why we didnít take here there sooner. She absolutely loved Minnieís House and just roaming around and touching everything in it. She really loved the living room and the kitchen area. We found a little playground in Toon Town and Mallory had a blast there too, going down the slides, which she loves.
We left the MK right before the fireworks. We met up with Peggy at the Poly and Jason went to watch the fireworks a little. We checked into the Kona Café a little late and got a buzzer. We were surprised how busy that had gotten and were glad we had the PS. Even with the PS, it took a while to get seated and we didnít get in until 7:40.
We started off with 2 orders of potstickers since Grant said he wanted one whole order to himself. He ended up not really liking them and having only 1 of the 4 on the plate. So we had 8 potstickers-Grant had one, the rest of us had 2 each and there was one left. As we were discussing who would eat the last one, I started moving the plate. The plate got close enough to Malloryís reach and as we were talking she grabbed the last one for herself! She had been eating the dough and a little of the filling all along and loving it so we found out she loves potstickers. Peggy and I both got the coconut cashew chicken and Jason and Grant both got the beef teriyaki. The chicken was really delicious. It was such a big piece that I could not eat at all. Jason liked the beef teriyaki too. I would have loved to get the koko puffs for dessert but I was too full. This was my best dinner of the trip.
We went back to the hotel after dinner and talked a little. Jason went down to Roaring Forks and got the chocolate brownie I had been eyeing all week; it was yummy, especially the icing!
DAY 6, Thursday, November 11
We had been noticing Christmas decorations slowly creeping up in the parks each day. Two days ago, Peggy mentioned something about waking up to a Christmas tree in the WL lobby. Well, thatís exactly what happened today! They were setting up the tree when we walked through the lobby this morning! In my opinion, itís still way too early for Christmas decorations.
We were up very early this morning at 6:15 AM to make it to the Magic Kingdom for 8. We decided to drive to the MK, thinking it might be faster than the boat.
We go to the MK a little after 8. We rode Pooh first, which Mallory seemed to like better this time. Jason and I took Mallory on the carousel and I put her on a horse and held her during the ride while Jason took pictures. She seemed to enjoy this. After the carousel, we got FPs for Peter Pan to use after breakfast. We next did Philharmagic, a first for Jason and I. Mallory didnít enjoy it too much at all. Babies, well ours anyways, do not like what Fozzie from Muppetvision 3D calls ďcheap 3-D tricksĒ (water, puffs of air, etc) She did clap at the end though along with everyone else.
We had a 9:20 PS at the Crystal Palace. We did this breakfast for Mallory to see the Pooh characters. Last time we went here for breakfast, I wasnít too thrilled with the food. Piglet was standing by the buffet and Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore were going to the tables. Because there was no line for Piglet, we took Mallory up to see him first. Mallory has lot of Piglet outfits since I love Piglet and today she was wearing her Piglet dress. I decided to let her down and see if she would walk up to him. She did and gave him a big hug. Of course, I am biased, but it was so cute! She had a big smile on her face the whole time and we got some good pictures.
Mallory loved it when the music played the characters dance around and she clapped during it all. She loved Pooh and Tigger coming to the table but wasnít so excited about Eeyore. Pooh didnít stay at our table as long as the other characters did.
Towards the end of our meal, we noticed no line for Piglet again and took Mallory back so this time we could get some video. Again, very cute.
As for the food, I liked it better than last time we were here. I liked the selection of fresh fruit and muffins, and the cheesy potatoes were especially good.
We then FP Peter Pan, nothing much to say.
We decided to take Mallory to play around a little in Toon Town next but before we even got out of Fantasyland, she fell asleep in the stroller. Peggy went back to the hotel with her and Jason and I agreed to meet Grant at the Carousel of Progress (he had left breakfast before we did).
There were a fair number of people in our COP theater, around 40 something. After the 1920s scene and the song came on we didnít move. We sat through the entire 20s scene again. And again. After the music had finished playing for the third time (and the risk of the theater moving had been reduced), some people got up to leave and as soon as they left it was announced on the loudspeaker to please remain in your seats. Finally, after the third time we moved to the next scene.
We had FP for Splash Mountain that Grant had got us earlier, but still had some time. We went to the Sunshine Tree Terrace where Grant and Jason got the orange slush and I got the citrus swirl (orange/vanilla)
Jason and I took the front seat for Splash and luckily didnít get too wet. Jason and I headed back to the hotel after Splash. We looked at the Columbia Harbor House for lunch but the lines were too long. I noticed stairs to an upper level there so we went to explore. We were surprised how big it was up there. Jason said he thought heís never been up there before but Peggy told us later that heís been up there tons of times. We headed back to WL for lunch instead.
We learned that Mallory woke up on the boat ride over and didnít get back to sleep until right before we came back. We got carryout lunch at Roaring Forks-chili dog for Peggy, nachos for Jason, chicken sandwich for me; we shared a maple roll, which turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be.
After Mallory woke up from her nap, we went to meet Grant in EPCOT. We went to Innoventions East first but didnít find much to do there. However, Mallory loved running around by the kidsí computer area. Innoventions West had more to do; Mallory loved the fire engine. I wanted to do the fire house (real name?) but we decided not to do it. Mallory walked around a lot looking at the different areas. Grant, Peggy and I played Who Wants to Be a Millionaire on the computer for a while.
Mallory finally had the chance to see the lit up sidewalks and she loved them. She even decided to lie down and act silly on them!
We next did the Imagination ride; I think we were the only people at the ride. Should have learned after Philharmagic, Mallory didnít like the dark, train sounds and puff of air. Now that it has Figment it is better than what we saw last time but still not as good as the original, which I barely remember but I know I liked it better than this.
Another night at the Food and Wine festival. A few days ago, I saw people carrying around multi-layered and colored frozen drinks. I found out that it was from a margarita stand next to the outdoor Mexican restaurant. I got the Fiesta margarita-kiwi, mango, strawberry and lime; it was pretty good.
From the China booth, we got chicken sha sha with peanut sauce (for us) and the pork and cabbage potstickers (for Mallory) The chicken was ok and Mallory loved the potstickers. Jason got us apple strudels and I got shrimp on the barbie from Australia. I didnít like the shrimp because I didnít like the spices they put on it. I donít know if the shrimp made me sick but I wasnít feeling very well after I ate it.
Peggy and I went off to the American pavilion. We both wanted to try the lobster and corn chowder and the cheddar crab cakes. I wasnít feeling up to either so I just got the honey lemonade. I tried a little of the chowder; I was expecting a white creamy soup, not red broth. I tried a little of the crab cake too and probably would have really liked it if I was feeling better.
Grant had gone to do American Adventure and Jason was still behind us getting food selections that he liked. Jason eventually caught up with us and we all waited at an outdoor table near the American Adventure exit. After eating we decided to wait for the current show to end to see if Grant would come out. He did. We decided to split up with Grant and Jason going one way to see the China movie and get a snack from the Chinese quick service restaurant, and Peggy, Mallory and I going the other way.
I wanted to do a little shopping before we left the park. In Japan, I bought a kimono robe for my mom and in Canada I bought a cloth Anne of Green Gables doll. People were lining up for Illuminations and Mallory had again fallen asleep in the stroller.
Jason and I were going to go to Pleasure Island but decided not too. I decided to go in the hot tub instead. Jason went in the pool. There are two hot tubs so I went in the less crowded one. The water was just a little hotter than luke warm. I finally got out and went to the other hot tub-much better!
A relaxing way to end the day
DAY 7, Friday, November 12
Grant caught the Meares shuttle for the airport at 6:30 AM this morning his flight home.
Our last day was to start at the Animal Kingdom. As we were driving there, Peggy got a call on her cell phone. Grant had forgotten his keys in the safe in the room. He had 1 ½ hrs until his flight and wanted Jason to bring his keys out to him. Jason didnít want to do that though because he wanted to spend as much time on the last day as possible with his family. So we returned to Wilderness Lodge, got the keys, and Peggy took a roundtrip cab ride to the airport to return the keys to him.
So, Jason, Mallory and I headed off to the Animal Kingdom. There was a meet and greet with Pluto outside the gates so we stood in line. We put Mallory down on the ground about five feet from him to see what she would do. She ran up to him and gave him a big hug. I am so glad she likes the characters.
We headed to DinoLand. Mallory pointed at the Triceratops Spin so Jason and Mallory rode that while I rode Primeval Whirl, which Jason doesnít care for much. I ended riding with another mom who wanted to go on something other than kiddie rides. Jason thinks this is odd because he considers Primeval Whirl to be a kiddie ride. Mallory and Jason rode the spin Mallory didnít have much reaction. We think that she likes to watch the rides more than actually ride them.
We explored Dinoland look for the large airplane hanger like structure that contained the replica of Sue the Tyranosaurus on our previous trips. We couldnít find it. A cursory Internet search after returning home revealed that Sue can now be found in front of the Dinsosaur! attraction. We didnít look over there. We donít ride Dinosaur! every year as it seems a waste to have such a cool ride system roam around a dark show building. Maybe if there was more to see on the ride we would like it better.
Coming out of DinoLand, we saw Pooh with no line. We got some good pictures of Mallory with Pooh. A little further up we saw Tigger and Eeyore and waited in line for Tigger. Mallory walked up to Tigger but didnít spend much time with him before trying to walk over to Eeyore. We tried to get in line for Eeyore but the line was already cut off.
After checking out the construction at Expedition Everest, we took the Maharajah jungle trek. The tigers were sleeping. We hadnít been over to Conservation Station (Rafikiís Planet Watch or whatever itís called now) for a few trips so decided to go there so we could take Mallory to the petting zoo. There was a big crowd at the train station for the ride over there and we had to wait for about 15 minutes.
Once there, we skipped over all the places on the path where we could stop and headed straight for the main building. We saw a mini hedgehog and petted a snake. Rafiki was there too so we our picture taken with him. Then we went outside to the petting zoo, which was mainly goats and sheep with larger animals such as llamas in pens. Mallory loved having free range and chasing the animals around. She also liked to play in the dirt with animal droppings-not good!
We headed back on the train which had no line. We are not sure where all the people went because this is the only way back and with so many full trains coming in the place did not seem very crowded. After we got back to the main area of the park we put Mallory in the stroller and she was asleep almost immediately. I was meeting some Internet friends at Downtown Disney at 1 PM and it was 11:15. We decided to do an early lunch in the park and then I was going to stroll around with Mallory hoping she would have a good nap before my meeting. I got cheese pizza and breadsticks. The pizza was ok but not great. Jason didnít want to go to the Internet friends meeting so after getting me settled in with my food he left for Epcot leaving the car with me. He took the bus to the Yacht Club, had a quick F&WF lunch and saw the American Adventure. He also wanted to ride Test Track in the single rider line, but it was broken, which seemed to be a common occurrence on this trip. On the monorail ride back to the TTC he was able to see a lot of hurricane damage that consisted of large sections of trees all knocked down.
As for Mallory and I, Mallory woke up after 45 minutes and was wide awake so so much for the nap theory. She ate some leftovers breadsticks while I got myself a frozen chocolate covered banana.
I decided to take her to Camp Mickey and Minnie to meet the characters since Iíve never been there before. I was surprised at how big it was. We had our pictures taken with Mickey and Goofy. There was almost no line when I got there and as I was leaving a show was letting out so I was glad I got there when I did.
I had seen Lilo and Stitch right outside Camp Mickey and Minnie and they were still there when I got back so we stood in line to see them. It was longer than expected because the characters left and then came back but I really wanted a picture with both of them. Mallory ran up to them and loved them both.
By this time, it was time to head to Downtown Disney. I met my two friends with babies Malloryís age and we let them play in the Legoland play yard. We browsed at the Lego store and World of Disney but Mallory was getting really fussy since she didnít have a real nap so we had to leave early.
I thought sheíd fall asleep for sure on the way back to the hotel but she didnít. Finally, she took a late nap in the room.
While she napped and Peggy watched her, Jason and I headed over to MGM, since he hadnít ridden Tower of Terror yet. I wanted to go to Epcot to ride Test Track but Jason was there earlier and said it had broken down yet again and that they were handing out FPs for 9 PM. So I didnít get to ride Test Track this trip.
Jason was glad he did ToT and liked the new version a lot. We decided to wander around the park a while. I was surprised to see the Osbourne Lights going up already. We saw a large sign for the new stunt show coming. There was a neat cut out of the street scene in San Francisco that we took our pictures by. The weekend was Super Soap weekend and we already saw by one of the stores that a soap star was signing her CD.
We left MGM around 4:40 PM and hoped to make it to the Animal Kingdom by 5. A Disney photographer had taken Malloryís picture with Mickey earlier and I didnít have the 90 minutes to wait there for the picture to become available. I thought the picture might be good so we wanted to check it out. We pulled into the AK parking lot at 4:55 and ran up to the gates. All the gates were shutting down. I asked a CM letting people out if we could get in to look at our picture. He said to wait 3 minutes until the park officially closed. We went to the other end of the turnstiles and asked another CM and told her our situation and she let us right in. The line was long for photos and it turned out that it wasnít that great so we didnít buy it.
We had arranged to meet Peggy and Mallory at the MK. We went to Toontown again to have Mallory play and meet with some characters. We first went to Mickey Mouse and the line wasnít too long. Mallory didnít walk right up to him like the other characters. I think it was because we were in a small room and he was sitting down. She eventually went and sat beside him but she wasnít too sure. We took her to Mickeyís house, which wasnít as interesting as Minnieís house so we went back to Minnieís house again, which she enjoyed. We went back to the 3 lines of characters in the Judgeís Tent. One was Pooh characters, one was Princesses, and the other was Minnie, Donald and Ariel. We chose the latter since we had lots of pictures with Pooh characters and she hasnít been too interested in live face characters. I asked about the line size and was told the Princess line was always longest but our line was the longest. After waiting in the long line outside the character room, we waited in 3 separate short lines for each character. Mallory saw Donald and wanted to go to him right away but he was the third line. We werenít sure how sheíd do with Ariel but she sat on her lap just fine but was glad when I picked her up. She ran up to Minnie but didnít stay with her too long. She liked Donald the best and spent a lot of time hugging him and then tried to go back to Minnie. We looked at the professional pictures here and decided we liked ours better.
We let her play in the playground again and she could have probably been there all night. She loved the slides again but also explored the whole area more, going in the tunnels and houses etc.
We left MK for the final time and drove over to Fort Wilderness. We parked in the main lot and took a bus to the Pioneer Hall area so we could have dinner at Trailís End Buffet. We like going here because the food is the same as the Hoop Dee Doo. As we were waiting to be seated, I noticed cherry coke (my favorite soda) in the dispenser which I havenít seen anywhere else in the World-do they have cherry coke at other places? The buffet was good, especially the chicken and cornbread. Jason really enjoyed the ribs.
It was a late night and Mallory didnít get to sleep until 10.
Peggy stayed with Mallory in the room while Jason and I drove to Downtown Disney to shop and go to Pleasure Island. We went to World of Disney and I got my Stitch and Piglet shirts (so happy to see choices for Piglet shirts this time), a sweatshirt, a few other random things and a Mickey plush for Mallory. We got a certificate from (somewhere?) that was good for $20 off your next purchase if you spend so much money at Downtown Disney. So we made our purchase, got our certificates, picked up a Donald plush and immediately bought him with the certificates. I think it would be simpler if the would just have made it a $20 off coupon.
I had forgot that Pleasure Island closed down the admissions stand and that you could walk right in, since this had all happened since our last visit. We went to the Adventurerís Club (this was at about 11:15 PM) first. There was a CM outside but we werenít sure what to do. She was talking to someone else so we waited. She carded us and stamped us. On the inside, we passed our tickets through the machine. It was semi crowded in the main room but we found seats. I was going to have a drink but the bar was crowded and the one waiter working never came to us. We watched a little show in the main room and left around 11:45 to wait for the midnight Comedy Club show. We tried to go out the exit we usually do on the bottom floor but discovered it was roped off as were other exits because of the new not paying until you go in policy.
I got a Coco Loco (which was ok) and the Comedy Club and Jason got a different drink which I really liked much better. The show was ok but itís been funnier before. Jason was amused by the drunks seated to his left. The apparently were having problems with the concept of money and had managed to get one fewer seat than members of their party.
We went back to the AC to see what was happened and caught the last half of the hoopla show in the library.
We left PI around 1:15 (the latest Iíve stayed up in ages) to go back to the hotel.
DAY 8, Saturday, November 13
We got up at 6 this morning to get packed to leave for the airport. We were hoping Mallory would sleep in a little but she got up the same time we did. She woke up with a cough that we had heard a lot of kids have around the parks. I got a bagel and Jason got the maple roll from Roaring Forks.We hurried to the airport stopping for gas on the way. We managed to burn off our entire tank, so we would have been better off with the prepaid tank option. We thought we might be running behind, but things went smoothly at car return, check-in and security so we were at the gate in plenty of time. Once again we were last on the plane and were able to get everything set up in plenty of time so we could minimize the time we had to ask Mallory to sit in the seat. The flight back was uneventful and Mallory took the whole thing in stride.