Day One, Part One – Airports

Day 1 – January 5th, 2016 – Travel Day Part One!

The day before we left, we woke up extra early to drop our dogs off at the kennel before going to work for the day. We take them to one that is about a half hour drive away, and they are only open during certain hours, so we knew there wouldn’t be time after work while we were trying to finish packing, and our flight left early the next morning so no time then either. I’m always sad saying goodbye to them, but I was just so excited that I was going to be in Disney by the next day!

On our travel day, our alarm went at 4am. I am NOT a morning person, but that morning I had no problem getting out of bed – we were going to WDW! We had most of our packing complete the night before, so we were on the road by 5, and had a very quick and easy drive to the airport. Traveling can sometimes be a bit of a risk in January, but lucky for us there were no storms in the forecast! We checked our car in at our preferred parking lot by 5:30, and waited less than two minutes before a shuttle bus to the terminal had pulled up. We had decided to splurge and reserve valet parking, so it’s the last stop and the bus was full by the time we got on, so we had to stand. We were the only ones on the bus going to the US Terminal of the airport, so we were the last ones off the bus. Luke had checked us in online, so we used the kiosk to print off our baggage tags, went to the desk to get our boarding passes, and off to customs! Security was really quiet, we were the only people in our line. Once we got to customs there was only one other person using the electronic kiosks, so we walked right up to one. Once it printed off our receipt, we took it up to an extremely friendly customs agent who made a few jokes with me about my hair colour, and then we were through! While we were looking around the duty free store, I remembered that I had forgot my headphones at home, boo! So I had to go to the tech store and spend my first $20 of the trip. Oh well, such is life.

We decided to grab some Quiznos for breakfast – turkey, swiss and ranch on white bread for me and a honey chicken club on whole wheat for Luke. Sorry, no pictures of that meal. By the time we finished eating it was still only 6:30 – our flight didn’t leave until 8. We were expecting security and customs to take a bit longer…but better to be early than risk missing the flight. While we were waiting, Luke went to Starbucks with a gift card we had found on the weekend to get himself a coffee and a Very Berry Hibiscus for me.

Our flight to Minneapolis/St.Paul left on time, even with de-icing. The flight offered free Wi-Fi and had a decent selection of free movies to watch, so we watched the original Jurassic Park (which I had never seen…).

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We ended up landing early in Minneapolis, so we had plenty of time to get to our next gate (we were originally worried we might be cutting it close). Our next flight was to Detroit, and it was packed. It left a few minutes late, but made up the time in the air and ended up landing early as well. We had trouble getting the Wi-Fi to work on this plane, so we just played games on Luke’s iPad. I was really impressed by the Delta Terminal at the Detroit airport, I thought it was really nice! I was way too entertained by watching the mini-monorail thing inside the terminal…

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Our flight from there to Orlando was close to full, but not 100%. There were actually less children on it then I thought there would be. The flight left on time, and arrived in Orlando on time. We spent our time on that flight getting into the Disney mood by watching Brave (we’re big Pixar fans).

After our quick ride on the fake monorail, we saw our first sign of Disney – the Disney Store in the airport!

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Sunshine Seasons – Lunch

Sunshine Seasons – January 10th, 2016 – Lunch​

After spending the morning going on a few rides and watching the marathon runners go through Epcot, we decided we were hungry for some lunch. We knew we wanted a quick service option, so we went to Sunshine Seasons. This place is great! The menu was much larger than I thought it was going to be, and we had no trouble finding things that sounded great! It also was not busy at all – and we were there right at lunch time (around 12:30)

I opted for the pork chop, served with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. I also grabbed a bottle of water and a coconut macaroon for dessert. I loved everything about this meal! The BBQ sauce was great, the pork was cooked well (but still juicy!) and the mashed potatoes were fantastic. I didn’t eat all of the corn, I love it but it’s a food that does not love me back (I have trouble digesting it with my Crohn’s disease). And that coconut macaroon – OMG. Amazing. I kind of wish I had have picked up another one to go, just to eat the next morning or something. It was one of my favourite quick service desserts of the entire trip!

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Luke went for some kind of pressed sandwich (a Cuban maybe?), served with potato salad and he also grabbed a bottle of water and a key lime tart. He really enjoyed his meal as well, but didn’t have much detail to say about it. He’s pretty easy to please when it comes to food, and I think he came close to finishing everything.

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We used 2 quick service credits for this meal, and it covered everything pictured. If paying out of pocket, the cost would have been $12.99 (pork), $13.49 (sandwich), $5 (2 water), $3.49 (macaroon), $4.29 (tart) = $39.26 + tax. Once again, I was impressed by the quality of Disney quick service food!

What to Expect?

Prior to leaving for your trip, there is some planning involved. 180 days ahead of time, your window will open to make dining reservations. I strongly suggest making these as close to the 180 day mark as possible – popular restaurants fill up extremely quickly. I’ve heard many people turned away at Disney restaurants for trying to walk up and get a table on the day of.

If you are staying in a Disney owned hotel, your Fastpass window will open at 60 days out. You will be able to select 3 rides for each day that you wish to by-pass the regular stand-by line and get onto quicker. All 3 rides you choose for Fastpass MUST be in the same theme park. On the day of, you are able to get a 4th, 5th, etc once you’ve used up your initial 3 choices.

If staying offsite, your Fastpass window does not open until 30 days out. There will be some rides that have zero FP availability by this date – one of the many perks of staying onsite.

If staying onsite at a Disney-owned hotel, you should receive bright yellow baggage tags in the mail a few weeks before you leave. They look like the normal white baggage tags the airline attaches to your checked baggage. Attach these yellow tags to your checked bag, and say goodbye to it – you won’t see it again until you get to your hotel. If you choose not to use the yellow tags, you will need to collect your own bags upon arrival at the airport in Orlando.

Upon arriving at Orlando International Airport (MCO), make your way to the mini-monorail to get to the main terminal. From there, head to the Disney Magical Express check-in area (located on Level One B of the airport – it’s very well signed). After checking in with a cast member, they will direct you to enter a row based on which resort you will be travelling to. Another cast member will then direct you onto the proper bus. These are large, Greyhound-style buses clearly marked with Disney images. There are TV screens on each one, and they will play classic Disney cartoons while you wait. Once you leave, the bus driver will turn on the Welcome video.

About 25-30 minutes later, you will enter Disney property! Depending on which resort you are staying at, your bus might make a few stops before letting you off (Old Key West was sharing a DME bus with Saratoga Springs and Port Orleans on our last trip, but we lucked out and OKW was the first stop). Collect your bags from under the bus if need be, tip your driver and go check in to your hotel! If you used the yellow tags, your bags will be delivered directly to your room within a few hours by bell services.

US citizens can opt into receiving their room # in a text message, and can skip the normal check-in line. However, Disney is unable to mail out Magicbands to Canadian addresses, so you will need to go to the main lobby. You will receive your Magicband – put it on and don’t take it off. It is a silicon bracelet with an RFID chip in it – it will be used as your room key, your entrance ticket to the parks, your FP+, your dining confirmations, etc. You can link up a credit card to it as well, and avoid carrying a wallet with you – you just need to scan your Magicband and enter your personal pin code (which you set yourself) to make purchases from Disney.

If you are in Disney Springs or one of the theme parks and purchase some souvenirs, you do not need to carry them with you all day! You simply let the cast member ringing you through know that you are staying in a Disney hotel, they will give you a small form to fill out (basically just name, hotel, room number) and it will be delivered to your resort! You will just need to pick it up in the main gift shop of your resort – much easier than trying to figure out what to do with your purchases while riding roller coasters 🙂

 

 

Hoop dee doo Musical Revue

Hoop dee Doo Musical Revue – January 9th, 2016 – Supper​

After spending a few hours with my cousin, she eventually had to get on the road to drive the few hours back to her home. Luke and I spent the next few hours dodging the rain by doing some retail therapy in Disney Springs, and stopping for a snack at Ghiradellii (again, something else I do not have pictures of, sorry). Eventually, it was time for us to start making our way to Fort Wilderness for the Hoop-dee-doo Musical Revue. I recommend giving yourselves a lot of time to get there, that resort is huge! Our bus driver was Disney Springs was so friendly, and she explained exactly which internal bus to get on when she dropped us off.

We made it there with plenty of time to spare. Eventually, we were let inside and led to our seats. It was the 8:30pm show, so it wasn’t even close to being sold out and the majority of people in attendance were adults. We were in category 2, and they were great seats!

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As soon as we walked in, there was already a loaf of corn bread and a tossed salad sitting on our table. Our waiter quickly came over and introduced himself, and asked for our drink order. There was a selection of soft drinks, beer, sangria or wine to choose from. I asked for a glass of white wine, and Luke ordered a beer (a Yuengling I believe). My wine was Chardonnay, and I ended up not liking it at all. The waiter realized this right away, so I asked for a glass of root beer. I guess he didn’t hear me properly, because he brought me a glass of sweet tea – which is so gross! America, you need to learn what proper ice tea is! Our waiter was awesome though, realized his mistake and brought me my root beer without me even mentioning it to him.

The show started soon after, and after the first act they brought out all of the food – chicken, ribs, corn, mashed potatoes and baked beans.

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There was so much food, and it was all so good! I don’t like baked beans, so I didn’t try those, but I had a sample of everything else and it was awesome! We barely put a dent in our food though, there was so much for just the two of us. The show continued on, and then during the next break they brought out the strawberry shortcake. Oh. My. God. You guys. This was incredible. I want their recipe! I didn’t even get a picture of it because I was too busy shoving it into my mouth…

Towards the end of the show, they passed out instruments for audience members to play. Luke took his job of playing washerboard very seriously. Also – you can kind of see the strawberry shortcake in the bottom of that picture…​

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The show itself was really silly, but we had read about it beforehand so we knew what to expect. I enjoyed it, and would definitely go to it again, although I don’t think it’s something I need to go to every year.

We used 2 table service credits each for this, which would have cost $67 each if paying out of pocket. It wasn’t the best use of dining plan credits, but I’m glad we went!​

Morimoto Asia – Lunch

Morimoto Asia – January 9, 2016 – Lunch​

I apologize now, I have no pictures of my own from this meal either :(

After we finished our not-so-great pretzel snack, it was time to head out of the park. We took the boat to the Yacht Club (I just really wanted to go on a Disney boat) and then caught a bus from there to Disney Springs. Once we arrived at Disney Springs we headed straight to Morimoto Asia to meet up with my cousin and her boyfriend, who live in southern Florida. I probably would have never put this restaurant on my must-eat list, but I let my cousin decide since she’s been a strict vegan for almost 20 years and had limited options. There really was not too many items on the menu that appealed to me since I don’t eat fish of any kind, but I decided to go with the orange chicken ($20). It was a huge order, I barely ate half of it. It was pretty good too! It was basically just chicken fingers in a sweet orange sauce, but it is something I would order again (and remember – I’m picky!)

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*Photo credit once again to Disney Food Blog*

Luke went for a bento-box style meal (looking at the menu, I believe it was the “Morimoto Lunch Set”). He seemed to enjoy it, he ate almost all of it. This is the description of it – Morimoto Lunch Set – includes miso soup and house salad. Choice of California Roll with white or brown rice. Choice or orange chicken, kung pao chicken, braised black cod or vegetable tofu medley accompanied by dumplings and pickled seasoned vegetables. $26. I want to say he ordered the cod, but I can’t really remember now…

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*Photo credit to Yelp, found using a google search*

We took our time eating and talking and catching up since I hadn’t seen this cousin in a few years. I had originally invited her to come to Disney with us for a few days, but she wasn’t able to make it work – her and her boyfriend had already planned a night away for the night before somewhere north of Orlando to swim with manatees. She messaged me as soon as she realized how close she was to Orlando, and we made the plans for this lunch meetup. We lucked out and this was meant to be our Disney Springs day anyway, so we didn’t even need to rearrange any of our plans!

I can’t remember exactly what my cousin and her boyfriend ordered – my cousin had something vegan, and I think her boyfriend had a couple different kinds of sushi? My cousin also insisted on paying for our meals, which was so sweet of her!

Would we go back to Morimoto Asia? Maybe, but there is a huge list of other places I’d want to try first.

HS Snacks – Pretzels

Snacks – January 9, 2016 – Hollywood Studios​

We spent the morning back at Hollywood Studios doing a few rides and walking around. After using our last Fastpass of the day, we realized we were starting to get a little hungry, since we had just snacked on the things in our room for breakfast (cookies, muffins, chips, etc – thank you Amazon!).

Luke really wanted to try the jalapeno pretzel, he loves anything spicy, but of course as he gets to the front of the line after 10+ minutes, they announce they are sold out. He opted for the cream cheese ($5.50) one instead, and I went for the classic Mickey pretzel with cheese sauce ($6). We each used one snack credit to pay. I once again failed at taking my own pictures of these…

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*Photo credit to the Disney Food Blog*

Also – the cream cheese pretzel was not Mickey shaped, it just looked like a standard soft pretzel.

We found a little ledge to sit on close to the exit of the Great Movie Ride so we could enjoy our pretzel snack – unfortunately we did not enjoy them. At all. I found my pretzel dry, and I remembered after my first bite that I don’t really like processed cheese. I was hungry, so I did end up finishing almost all of it, but it is definitely something I can live without, and will not be buying another one anytime soon. Luke’s was ok, but neither one of us loved it either.

That said, I would have been sad if we hadn’t tried such a classic snack at Disney!

Intermission Food Court – Late Night

Intermission Food Court – January 8th, 2016 – Late Night Snack​

After watching the Star Wars fireworks and the 2nd showing of Fantasmic, we finally made our way back to our hotel. I realized while sitting on the bus that I was actually hungry, seeing as I had barely ate anything for supper. We stopped in at the trusty food court at All Star Music (we ate here way more often then I thought we would!) so I could grab a snack.

I decided I actually wanted a slice of their greasy pepperoni pizza after seeing a few other people going with it. Luke decided he wanted a salad, so he ate the side salad my pizza came with. I also picked up a muffin to eat in the morning and a bottle of a pre-packaged Strawberry Banana Smoothie (which Luke drank a few days later). Sorry for no pictures, but it looked like a standard greasy slice of pizza (that tasted great).

I used one quick serve credit which covered the $9.69 for the pizza, $2.99 for a muffin and $4.79 for the smoothie.

I ate fairly quickly for me, and then we were asleep before our heads hit the pillow…

Disney Lingo

I use some of these abbreviations a lot, so this should help you understand what I’m actually saying:

  • 7DMT – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a ride in Magic Kingdom
  • ADR – Advance Dining Reservation, can be made 180 days out
  • AK (or sometimes DAK) – Animal Kingdom theme park
  • AP – Annual Pass
  • BOG – Be Our Guest, a Beauty and the Beast themed restuarant located in Magic Kingdom
  • CM – Cast member, an employee at Disney
  • DLR – Disneyland Resort, located in Anaheim California
  • DME – Disney’s Magical Express, the bus that takes you to/from the airport
  • DVC – Disney Vacation Club, the timeshares we rent
  • ECV – Electric Convience Vehicle, a motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • FoTLK – Festival of the Lion King, a stage show at Animal Kingdom Park
  • FP+ – Fastpass +, allows you to enter a shorter line for rides
  • HS (or sometimes DHS) – Hollywood Studios theme park
  • MDE – My Disney Experience, an app that will become your best friend
  • MK – Magic Kingdom theme park
  • OKW – Old Key West resort
  • QS – quick service meal, a take-out counter or cafeteria-style usually
  • ToT – Tower of Terror, a ride at Hollywood Studios
  • TS – Table Service Meal, an actual sit-down restaurant
  • WDW – Walt Disney World Resort, located in Orlando Florida

 

 

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Sci Fi Dine-In Theater – January 8th, 2016 – Supper​

After a busy afternoon at Hollywood Studios, we checked in for our supper reservation. We waited around 15 minutes for our names to be called, and then we were led to our table. We were seated in the back seat of a blue car towards the very back of the room. There was a young man and his son sitting directly in front of us, and the wife was sitting in the front seat.

We had a great location to be able to see the entire room!

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I’ll apologize now – after our crazy early morning, I was so exhausted by this point that I didn’t take any food pictures :( The pictures you’ll see in the rest of this post have been found on a google search, and do not belong to me.

I hadn’t ate much all day but I really wasn’t hungry and up to eating a full meal since I was so tired, so I just ordered the Spinach & Artichoke Dip and a glass of water.

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*Photo credit to www.themouseforless.com*

It was just a standard hot dip covered in melted cheese and served with tri-coloured tortilla chips. It hit the spot though, it was exactly what I wanted at that moment. It wasn’t the best spinach dip I’ve ever had, but it was also nowhere close to being the worst, it was what it was. No complaints, I ate the entire thing.

Luke decided to go with the Sci-Fi Angus Burger – a burger with pulled pork, Sriracha barbecue sauce, swiss cheese, and pickled apple slaw served with fries. He also ordered a coffee (he was starting to fade – which is fair since he’d been up since 2:45am and had run 10km that morning). He really enjoyed his burger, but said the fries were just ok – nothing special. He did finish his entire burger, but not all of the fries.

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*Photo credit to the official Disney website*

I wish the video showing on the screen was a little bit longer. It was really cute, but it only took about 45 minutes before it cycled through and we were seeing the same thing again. Maybe most people don’t pay that close attention to it and don’t notice?

The theming here was great, but overall I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed by the food at Hollywood Studios. Both restaurants had great themes, but the food did not blow us away at all. Our servers were good, the atmosphere was new and exciting for us, but they just were not my favourites. I’d be willing to give both places another chance, but it’s not going to be happening on our next trip.

We paid out of pocket for these meals since I did not want an entree, and Luke did not want dessert. It cost $8.50 for mine, and $19 +$2.79 for Luke’s – so a pretty cheap supper!

50’s Prime Time – Lunch

50’s Prime Time – January 8th, 2016 – Lunch​

It was a very early morning for us this day, as Luke ran in the 10km as part of Marathon Weekend. I ate my chocolate muffin from supper the night before, since I wasn’t running and could get away with chocolate for breakfast. Luke ate his snack credit yogurt he had picked up the night before, as well as a mini box of cereal he had purchased at the food court and some fruit. After his race, we came back to our hotel room so he could shower (and I could change into dry clothes, since it had rained most of the morning and I was soaked from sitting for a few hours). We ate a few of the snacks we had delivered to our room from an Amazon order, and some of the things from the post-run box they gave Luke. After showering/changing/warming up, we headed out to Hollywood Studios for the day.

We had an 11:30 reservation at 50’s Prime Time, and I was really looking forward to it (it came heavily recommended by family/friends). We checked in a few minutes early, and only waited a few minutes before they called for us and led us to a table – one with a TV!

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I had read all about this restaurant, and knew exactly what to expect – and of course our server called me out for having my elbows on the table within the first 5 minutes of being there…

I had also read the menu online, so I knew exactly what I wanted to order. Here is a wonderfully lit picture of the menu for anyone who is interested haha:

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I went for the chicken pot pie with a glass of water and a vanilla coke since it was included on the dining plan. I love vanilla coke, but for some reason it has only recently started being sold in Canada (and only in 500mL bottles – I’d be buying cases of that stuff if I could!)

For some reason I couldn’t get the lighting right for a picture of my food, but the picture of Luke’s food turned out awesome?

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Luke ordered the Peanut butter and jelly milkshake and the sampling of mom’s favourites – fried chicken, pot roast and meatloaf, with mashed potatoes and green beans.

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See what I mean about the lighting for the pictures of our two meals?!

I really would have loved to have a milkshake, but I knew my stomach would not be happy with that – I still wasn’t 100% from the day before – so I just stuck to the vanilla coke.

Luke loved the milkshake, and has already said he wants to stop by 50’s Prime Time on our next trip just to get one. He also really enjoyed his meal a lot. I’m not a meatloaf fan at all, but I did try his pot roast and chicken and they were both great! His potatoes and gravy were also pretty tasty, I might have snuck a taste of those too haha.

My meal ended up being my least favourite of our entire trip. I don’t know if I just didn’t like the chicken pot pie (which is absurd – I love that stuff!) or if I just wasn’t myself that day. As mentioned earlier, I still wasn’t feeling 100%, and we woke up so early my body might have just been angry at me. Don’t get me wrong, the food wasn’t bad, I just thought the flavours were simply ok.

When our server, who was an older man who’s name I can’t remember – but he was awesome – came to take our dessert menu my first thought was “ugh! Dessert again!?”. I rarely, if ever, order dessert at a restaurant, but since it was paid for already and included on the dining plan I felt obligated to order it with every meal.

I decided on the apple crumble a la mode, one of my favourite desserts, but I asked for it with less ice cream than they would normally serve with it. I’m not sure if this request was honored or not, but it didn’t really matter. This was so sweet I could only eat a few bites of it before calling it quits. I was quite sad about that, I hardly ever cook or bake (Luke is the chef in our house) but apple crumble is one of my go-to desserts to make and I’d have to day mine is better than the one at 50’s (which is really saying something – and trust me it’s the only thing we ate on the entire trip that I would say that about).

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Luke went for the cheesecake, which was served with raspberries, whipped cream and a fresh mint leaf. He enjoyed it, and let me try and I agreed it was much better than the dessert I had ordered.

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Overall, the restaurant was a lot of fun! Our server was a lot of fun, he was an older gentleman who kept calling me Peggy Sue. We watched as a person at a nearby table was punished by standing with her nose against the wall, and a group of tables of strangers being led to shout things in unison. We didn’t have to deal with any embarrassing punishments, except our server kept reminding me of how I had my elbows on the table when we first got there.

I really wanted to love this place, and maybe I just ordered the wrong things off the menu? I’d be willing to give it another shot, and probably order the pot roast next time, but you won’t hear me raving about this experience.

We used two table service credits for our meal, and only paid the tip out of pocket. If we were not on the dining plan, it would have cost $21.99 (Luke’s meal) + $5.99 (PB&J shake) + $5.99 (cheesecake) + $19.99 (chicken pot pie) + $3.49 (coke) + $7.99 (apple crumble) = $69.70 after tax. But – if we were not on the dining plan, we definitely wouldn’t have ordered dessert – we didn’t end up finishing either one.