January 6, 2017

We woke up a little later than originally planned (but still pretty early for vacation in my opinion). Luke started his morning with a coffee in the room while I got ready for the day.

We headed out, and caught a bus to Animal Kingdom – my favourite park! By the time we arrived, the park was already open, but the lineup to scan your Magicband was huge – luckily we remembered a tip we had read about going through the Rainforest Cafe! So, we veered hard left, entered the restaurant, walked through the gift shop and came out into a little courtyard with a scanner and a very bored looking cast member. There wasn’t a single other person in line ahead of us, so we quickly scanned our bands/fingerprint, and into the park we went!

I just love the tree of life, but I didn’t get a picture of our first sighting of it since I decided to Facetime my mom, who was still in New Brunswick visiting my grandmother in the hospital. I showed my Nanny the Tree, and then as we walked along towards Africa we came upon the monkeys right across from Creature Comforts (the Starbucks in the park). Luke decided to use that time to run into Starbucks to grab his “You Are Here” mug for his collection, while I let my Nanny watch the monkeys for awhile.

By the time Luke waited in line to buy his mug, and I said my goodbye to my mom and grandmother, we realized our original plan of a ride on the Safari wouldn’t be possible. So, instead we just headed towards our first reservation of the day – Tusker House!

Tusker House is on our must-do every time list, the food is great, the characters are great and I love the look of the restaurant itself. We were a few minutes early for our reservation, but we checked in anyways. We were told to have a seat in the outdoor waiting area, and we only waited about 5-10 minutes before being called and led to our table. The rest of the review can be found here.

After stuffing ourselves full, we decided to do something low impact to let our bellies settle from all that food – so off to It’s Tough to Be a Bug! I just love walking underneath the tree and seeing all the detail they put into it.

The show itself doesn’t change, and we’ve seen it multiple times now, but it’s cute and worth doing at least once. I always lean forward during the poke in the back part though – I honestly don’t even know what that feels like since I can’t bring myself to sit back for it haha.

The park was insanely busy this day – like way busier than I’m used to at Animal Kingdom. We took our time walking around, until we realized we were already in our Fastpass window on Expedition Everest – my favourite ride at WDW!

We stopped for a few Photopass pictures on the bridge since the line was not very long. I also love the shirts we were both wearing that day – people kept stopping to ask Luke where his Flash shirt came from. I don’t think many people understood what mine was…

From this picture, the park doesn’t look too busy, but trust me, it was insane for some reason!

We slowly made our way over to DinoLand, had a pee break and then it was time for our 2nd Fastpass of the day – Dinosaur!

Shortly after we entered the Fastpass line, the line came to a complete stop. So we waited. And waited some more. People around us started checking the app, and we found out the ride was temporarily closed. Since we were already in line, and wait times for everything were much too high for our liking, we decided to just stay put. It ended up not being too terrible, and about 20 minutes later the line began moving again.

I definitely don’t love this ride, but I don’t hate it either. I just think the Indiana Jones ride in California is so much better (and they are similar ride systems). We seem to go on Dinosaur at least once every trip though!

Due to the delay (from the time we entered the Fastpass line until we exited the ride was ~45 minutes), we didn’t have time for any other rides if we wanted to make it to the 5pm Festival of the Lion King show. So, once again we crossed the park to get back to Africa.

We had used our third Fastpass of the day for this show. We had watched it on our trip in 2016, but we were seated in the very back. We were hoping for better seats, since we loved what we had been able to see last time, and it worked out well for us!

I love this show so much! It’s definitely a can’t miss for us on every trip! The singers, the acrobats – everyone in this show is so talented.

Once the show ended, Luke decided he needed to grab a little snack for himself – and stopped for a Dole Whip with coconut rum, one of his favourite WDW treats.

He ate it as we walked out of the park and to the buses – we had a supper reservation to get to!

As we left the park, I had to stop to snap a picture of the Animal Kingdom tree:

We ended up waiting a few minutes for a bus back to Old Key West, which had me quite worried. We had a reservation at Olivia’s, and I just knew we were going to be late. We did end up getting there late, but it ended up being fine, and you can read our review of our supper here.

Originally, we had booked this supper as a way to ensure we were back at Old Key West so Luke could get a good night’s sleep before his half marathon the next morning. While we were eating, we found out the race had been cancelled, so this was no longer a necessity. Once we finished our meal, we caught the internal shuttle bus back to our room, and noticed these signs at all of the bus stops.

It wasn’t very late when we got back to our room, not even 8:30pm. We each showered, I checked the DisBoards, Luke drank some of the beer we had ordered from Garden Grocer, we watched a bit of TV. Eventually we realized we were tired, and called it a night by 10pm. It was also nice falling asleep knowing we had no alarm set for the next day 🙂

 

Naples – Supper – January 29, 2017

We checked in a little early for this reservation, but didn’t have much of a wait before being led to our table. They brought crusty bread and an oil/vinegar over for us right away, along with our drinks of choice – glasses of water for both of us, a glass of root beer for me ($4.25) and a bottle of Shocktop beer for Luke ($8.50).

I hate balsamic vinegar, so I tried to eat this without mixing the two – I do like dipping my bread in the oil!

We decided to order an appetizer, and went for:

Panzerotti – fried pizza dough filled with fresh mozzarella, artisan ricotta and Parmesan, marinara sauce; three for $9, five for $13.00

We ordered 3, since we weren’t fully sure what we were getting haha. These were really awesome though! I would probably order 5 of them the next time we go! It was hot, deep fried goodness wrapped around melty cheese. Yum!

We decided to share a pizza, and kept it safe by ordering a Pepperoni – mozzarella, tomato sauce $21/$35/$47.

This was the $21 size, and it was more than enough food for the two of us! I can’t even imagine the size of the $47 pizza… They were not cheap with the pepperoni, I just wish it was spread out a little better (my OCD kicked in, and I rearranged most of the pepperoni so it was more evenly distributed haha). This was a good pizza though, I do love Neapolitan style pizzerias!

Since we didn’t think that would be enough food, and we wanted the allusion of pretending to eat something healthy, we also ordered a Caesar Salad – romaine lettuce, Parmesan and olive oil croutons, classic dressing; $9/ $14.00.

This was the $9 size, which seemed a little pricey. It was good, nothing really special though.

With my annual pass, we saved 10% off our bill. The total for our bill came to $51.10 after the discount.

Overall, I enjoyed this meal and would not hesitate to return again! Plus, it’s located in Downtown Disney so it allows you to escape the crowds of the parks for a bit.

Earl of Sandwich – Lunch – January 7, 2017

Hi, Luke here. That’s why it’s written in italics. Fallon commissioned me to tackle this blog post because when it comes to eating sandwiches – she’s a novice and I am the Jane Goodall of eating these things. I wish I could go live with sammitches in the wild. Roam free with them in the delis of New York. Become a part of their hoagie tribe. Then when they’re not expecting it – devour every last one of those suckers as they sleep or whatever sandwiches do in this oddball scenario,

What’s important is that you know my answer to what I’d eat if I were marooned on a desert island with only 1 thing to eat for the rest of my life is the humble sandwich. Think about it. If you value variety in your 1 food option for the rest of your life, it’s the only right answer. There’s no such thing as ice cream spaghetti that I know of.

Anyways, for years I’d heard anyone who’d visited Vegas rave about Earl of Sandwich. I hadn’t realized there even was one of these places in Orlando in 2016 so we didn’t go. But we were on the Disney Dining Plan that trip so we wouldn’t have gone to Earl anyhow. It’s a poor value on the DDP for those unbeknownst. That said, as an out of pocket food stop – NOTHING BEATS EARL OF SANDWICH. HEY, CAPS LOCK IS ON. I’LL ALLOW IT.

So when we were laying out our plan for Disney World 2.0, the idea was to head to Earl of Sandwich to consume all of the carbs in celebration of my finishing my first half-marathon since 2013. It was a solid plan. Supple, but apropos. You know what they say about the best laid plans and lightning storms cancelling road races because people working it are averse to lightning strikes. It’s like they don’t even want to see if they’d get super powers…

You know what the next best thing to eating sandwiches of victory after accomplishing your goals? Eating consolation sandwiches cause shit – I can’t help that they cancelled the race. May as well carbo-load. It’s just so comforting.

So we get to Earl of Sandwich on this rainy/gloomy day and it’s lined up out the door. This is not out of the ordinary. Cause hot damn – these sangs you guys. You get to the counter and order your choice(s) and shuffle along for the other stuff (chips/drinks/mac and cheese/salads/a giant vat of horseradish if you’re one of those weirdos who’s into that sort of thing). Fallon orders a holiday turkey with no cranberry sauce. This displeased the clerk who gave her quite the ribbing. I ordered a Hawaiian BBQ. Then I ordered a The Earl’s Club. In case the first one broke down. Hey –  I was coping and these turned out to be super-terrific. I was in the right and a half.

So we move along, make ours a combo with kettle cooked potato chips and fountain pops ($2.99 extra each). Canadians call soda pops because that’s terminology approved by the queen of England so we’re like “k” about it. My point here is whenever there’s Cherry Coke on tap I’m all in.

Fallon grabbed a table because seating here is at a premium. Yeah you can take it out or sit outside if it’s not barely above zero Celsius in the rain. That was not the case that day. So Fallon hovered waiting for a spot to open up while I held the pager thing… eagerly awaiting it’s buzz to alert me that it’s my time to indulge in crispy flavoured deliciousness.

The buzzer sounds. The crowd roars (1 man can be a crowd if he’s hungry enough). I go grab the food and I’m all whisky tango foxtrot?!?!? Fallon ordered a soup. Gimme gimme gimme. Which in Canadian sounds like “Oh excuse me… I believe you forgot our soup. And I didn’t order whatever is in this aluminum tray.” The server was aghast. The politeness was too much. He got the soup, and told me to keep the mystery tray.

I think before Fallon unwrapped her sandwich I’d already polished off half of that Earl’s Club sumbitch. Oh man… so good. There’s not too many ingredients on any of Earl of Sandwich’s offerings and that simplicity is what makes them all work so well. They have 12 options on the menu, with 3-7 ingredients each, on 1 type of amazing delicious bread. It’s sandwiches done right in every sense of the dish. Sandwiches are either $6.99US or $7.45US. Which would be pretty much the best deal anywhere at Disney even if the food wasn’t fantastic.

Hawaiian BBQ – 10/10. I would text back the next day.

The Earl’s Club – 9.75 out of 10. Would inhale again.

Free Mac and Cheese – surprisingly good. I’d recommend as a side item provided you haven’t eaten 2 sandwiches and some chips and a Cherry Coke or three prior.

Holiday Turkey – I don’t know/10 – but Fallon did rave about this and she isn’t the sando aficionado.

Broccoli Cheese Soup – yes. I would taste again. Worthy of the Premium Plus crackers crumbled into it.

Cherry Coke from a fountain – 3 pops out of soft drink deliciousness.

Canada needs an Earl of Sandwich in whatever city I am in at all times. 

Broccoli cheddar soup, $2.99

Holiday Turkey – Turkey, cornbread stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise $6.99 (no cranberry)

Sea Salt and Vinegar Chips – because America doesn’t seem to understand the amazing thing that is flavoured chips, so when you see them you need to grab them. Seriously – try All Dressed or Ketchup chips sometime, and tell me they aren’t life-changing.

Hawaiian BBQ – ham, grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, Swiss and pineapple $6.99

The Earl’s Club – turkey, bacon, Swiss, lettuce, Roma tomato and sandwich sauce $7.45

Original Chips – which are only good when they’re kettle cooked.

Mac N Cheese $4.99

January 28, 2017 – Part One

This was our earliest day of this trip, we had to be out of our hotel room and calling an Uber by about 6:45. Obviously at that time of day, the security lines at the parks were not bad at all, and we were through fairly quickly. We had a bit of confusion trying to actually enter the park – we tried the first line we saw, but turns out that one was for Extra Magic Hours (for the guest staying at one of the three Disney-owned hotels). We needed the line for early morning dining reservations – which we found.

This meal was one of the must-do’s for me on this trip – breakfast at the Plaza Inn! You can read all about that experience over here, in it’s own separate post.

We finished breakfast minutes after the park officially opened for the day, so we saw the mad rush of people entering. Once we left the restaurant, we turned into Tomorrowland. As we were passing Star Tours, the wait time was listed at 5 minutes – yum, yes please! So we walked on to that, I think it takes almost 5 minutes just to simply walk through the queue line to get to the loading zone for the ride anyways. It was awesome, as per usual.

From there, we headed towards our plan all along – grab fastpasses for Hyperspace Mountain! With Fastpasses in hand, we checked the wait times on the app and saw that the Matterhorn Bobsleds were listed as a 20 minute wait (one of the lowest we’d seen) – so we headed off in that direction. The wait was probably closer to 25 minutes by the time we got into line, but since there was no option for Fastpasses for that ride (at the time), we were fine with that and waited.

That is a rough ride! Fun, and the animatronic Yeti is pretty cool, but my poor back! Luke was fine on that ride, he was the perfect size for the seats so he didn’t move around too much, but since I’m smaller I was being tossed around a bit. Still worth it though!

We checked the app again, and Hyperspace Mountain had a 20 minute posted wait time! So, back over there to go through the standby line. The posted time was pretty much exact, and 20 minutes later we had this picture:

I love Hyperspace Mountain so much! The Star Wars theme just works so well for that ride!

From there, we stopped to use the bathrooms before  heading over to Buzz Lightyear to help in the fight against Zurg since the posted wait time was 10 minutes on the app. I believe it ended up being closer to 10 minutes, but still no complaints from us!

We were now finally close to our Fastpass window for Hyperspace Mountain, so back over there to use up our FP’s.

Yes, I am force-choking Luke in this one…

We stopped to grab a Fastpass for Star Tours so we could ride that again, and then headed to the other side of the park – Big Thunder Mountain was listing a 20 minute wait. We arrived just in time, a huge line formed behind shortly after us but we were boarding the very back of the train about 20 minutes later.

We walked over to Splash Mountain, and again – a crazy short posted wait time! So, into another line! We ended up getting soaked on that one, and the storyline really doesn’t flow as well as the Splash Mountain in Florida. I also prefer the side-by-side logs in Florida as opposed to the single-file logs in California.

By this point, we were in the window to grab another Fastpass, so we stopped by Haunted Mansion and picked up a pair for later. We actually couldn’t find the Fastpass kiosk at first, and we had to ask a cast member for directions – it’s kind of tucked out of the way.

If you were keeping track – it was now only a little after 11am, the park had only been open since 8am (so 3 hours), and we had already been on:

  • Hyperspace Mountain (x2)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Star Tours
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain

That is what I call a successful morning! And, we still had 2 Fastpasses in hand! We were now in the window for our Star Tours Fastpass (seeing as we were able to get the Haunted Mansion fastpasses), so we headed once again across the park.

This is where our amazing timing ran out…as we approached Star Tours we saw a giant line of people snaking through Tomorrowland – and it was the Fastpass line for Star Tours! Apparently, two of the simulators for the ride were broken down, so it was only operating at half capacity. I hate waiting in line for rides, even more so when I have a Fastpass for it, but we decided to stick it out. It ended up being over 45 minutes before we boarded the ride!

I was a little bit cranky about it, but we’d already accomplished so much that morning, and the ride is one of my favourites so I quickly got over it.

By the time we got off Star Tours, we were over halfway through our Fastpass time for Haunted Mansion, so once again we crossed to the other side of Disneyland to use that Fastpass.

The park was now crowded, and it was a warm day. It was after 1pm by now, and we were starting to feel a little hungry again. We also realized we did not want to be in the giant crowds, and decided it was time to leave the park, so off we went to Downtown Disney.

Next: Eats & Drinks, and a Break

 

Plaza Inn – Breakfast – January 28, 2017

This was our earliest day of our trip, we had a reservation at the Plaza Inn at 7:10am (so early!).

We checked in and paid for our meal ($32 each, minus the 15% we saved using my annual pass – so $58.62 after tax). We were led to a cute little table beside a window.

We were actually some of the first people in the restaurant that morning, it almost seemed like there were more characters around than people haha. Since the place was practically empty, some of the characters were sitting down at a table waiting for guests to arrive, and they waved us over, so Luke sat down and got this picture.

As people started coming into the restaurant, a few of the characters started moving off to meet them. I still managed to get this picture though 🙂

The food here for breakfast is a buffet, but it wasn’t self serve, the cast members serve you whatever you’d like. Since there was so much going on with the characters, I failed miserably at taking pictures of our food at this meal…

I did have half a slice of french toast and a Mickey waffle, and that little cup to the top right is syrup. I also had a made-to-order omelet which I forgot to take a picture of until I was half finished it. I definitely ate more than that, but I didn’t take pictures – I know I had some fruit at one point.

This is the only picture I have of Luke’s food. Isn’t it a wonderful shot? It looks like he had some eggs, some ham…and some other stuff?

When you check in and pay for your meal, you are given a button that says Plaza Inn. I love that they do this at Disneyland! These came home with us, and are currently living in the memory box I have for this trip.

And now – the main reason anyone goes to the Plaza Inn for breakfast – the characters! We’ve done quite a few character meals now, but this was unlike any other. Most character meals have 4-5 characters present – this one had 10! Yes, 10! And they were quite diverse… I can’t remember the exact order we saw them in, but we did see most of them more than once.

#1. Captain Hook

#2. Winnie-the-Pooh

#3. Fairy Godmother – she was adorable! She noticed my engagement ring and got really excited when she found out we had only been engaged for a few weeks. When we told her we were getting married at Walt Disney World, she told us that we would have to come back and honeymoon with her.

#4. Max

#5. Minnie Mouse

#6. Eeyore – he was actually the last one we saw, he just happened to be passing by us as we were leaving so we stopped for selfies <3

 

#7. Chip (I guess we didn’t get a pic of just him and Luke – only the group shot seen above)

 

#8. Dale – he was awesome! For some reason, he figured he should tie the strings on Luke’s hoody into a knot haha… he was so proud of his work!

 

#9. Tigger

#10. Rafiki – he was comparing beards with Luke haha!

January 5, 2017 – Part Two

Once we finished the 5k and we had race medals and snack boxes in hand, we started heading towards the buses which take you back to your resort. But, our plan all along had been to not return to Old Key West where we were staying right away – we had Fastpasses to use! Originally, the plan was to jump on the bus heading to the Polynesian Resort so we could eat breakfast at Capt’ Cook’s ($8.49 for Tonga Toast there compared to $15 for basically the same thing at Kona Cafe), but once we finished the race we realized we were a little too late for that to work. So, we changed our plan on the fly and hopped on the bus to the Contemporary instead! The RunDisney bus let everyone off right in front of the main doors for the lobby, but that’s not where we were headed! We had a bit of confusion at first about exactly where to go, but before too long we managed to find the walking path that leads to the Magic Kingdom. There were only a few people in line ahead of us at the security check-in point along the walking path, and we entered the park within the first 5 minutes of rope drop. Success!

While I was being cranky about our early morning wakeup, I took a screenshot of our plans for the day and set it as my lock screen on my phone. Seriously – such a great Disney hack!

We followed the rest of the rope drop people down Main Street, but then instead of following the crowd turning right to Tomorrowland or onto the path to Fantasyland, we swung a left into Adventureland. First things first – a visit to the Adventureland bathrooms for a pee break! We were walking past a shop, and I decided to ask if we could have a plastic shopping bag, since we were both carrying our snack boxes from the race, and we both had on little running fanny-pack style things that we did not want to wear anymore. That was no problem, the cast member was really excited to see our medals and talk about the race.

As we continued along our way, we figured it was the perfect time to go on something we’d never done before – the Jungle Cruise! Since it still wasn’t even half an hour into the park opening, the wait time was under 10 minutes. It was still operating as the Jingle Cruise, so we still technically haven’t been on the Jungle Cruise…

Oh the cheese! The terrible puns! I couldn’t hear everything because of our location in the boat, but I laughed like an idiot at the things I could hear.

After our silly cruise, we continued on our journey to the first Fastpass we had made – Splash Mountain! Our reasoning for this was that if we were sweaty from our run, it would be just like a shower as we went over the big drop haha. (Don’t worry, we actually did go for real showers later).

Of course, we got stopped right by the little waterfall at the end and Luke was getting splashed pretty good from it. I just love this picture, he was laughing so hard!

And of course, our on-ride photo:

After Splash, we were close to being within our window for our next FP, so we walked over to Big Thunder and went on the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness! For some reason, I didn’t take a single picture of this – so just believe me when I say we did it.

By this point, we were starting to drag. We’d been up for hours, and we were getting tired and hungry. We checked the app, and saw that Peco’s Bills was opening soon, so we slowly wandered over there. By the time we arrived, it was open and in we went for one of our favourite quick service meals 🙂 The review can be found here.

Once we sat down to eat, we realized how tired we were . We ended up sitting there for almost an hour.

Eventually, we were in the window for the third Fastpass we had made – to meet the Talking Mickey on Main Street. It’s a bit of an unconventional FP to grab, but we wanted a picture with Mickey with our medals and we didn’t want to wait in the standby line.

This was a really cute meet and greet, Mickey did a few magic tricks for us and was very chatty. It was worth the use of a FP, even if we were both exhausted. I just love our expressions in these following pictures haha.

After talking to Mickey for a bit, we headed out of the park and caught a bus back to Old Key West. Once we were back in our room, we showered and changed into clean clothes, and then set out again to catch a bus to Disney Springs. We had a reservation at 2pm for T-Rex, which was probably not the greatest idea looking back. We were both so tired, all we wanted to do was have a nap, but it was too late to cancel and we didn’t want to pay the $10 no-show fee. So, we went, and you can read all about it here.

Once we finished up our meal, we decided to take the boat back to Disney Springs. It’s such a nice, relaxing way to travel around the Disney property 🙂

The boat lets you off by the main building at OKW.

The internal shuttle pulled up almost immediately, and we headed back to our room. It was pushing 4pm by the time we got back to our room, so we both fell asleep almost instantly.

After one of the greatest, much-needed naps ever, we woke up around 8pm. For this trip, we did not purchase Park Hopper tickets, so we knew we were going back to Magic Kingdom. While we were sitting at T-Rex, we had actually managed to grab our fourth Fastpass of the day – for a late-night ride on Space Mountain!

By the time we got up and got ready and actually got to the park, it was well into our Fastpass window. We did stop to take some pictures of the castle, and watch the projection show they were offering at the time (I want to say Celebrate the Magic?).

We checked the time and headed over to Space Mountain, making it before our Fastpass expired. I’m just realizing now that we didn’t get our on-ride photo from that, but that’s ok – I hate that on-ride picture, it’s taken from a really awkward angle.

We headed over for a ride on Winnie-the-Pooh.

I just love the dump shop the ride exits you into. The honey pot cash registers and drink cooler are too cute!

I also had to bring this guy home with me 🙂

It was getting late, but we saw a short wait time for Buzz Lightyear, so of course we had to battle it out there. We’re so serious in our ride photo haha.

Luke somehow managed to get his highest score ever:

By the time we finished our Galactic Battle, the park was closed so we started making our way towards the entrance. I had to take a picture of the pretty castle all lit up

We also stopped for Photopass pictures along Main Street (facing both directions!)

We headed out of the park, caught a bus and went back to OKW to go to bed.

Next: An Animal Kingdom Morning