Today was our one full day in the parks at Walt Disney World, and it was kind of a bummer! (However, if you’ve got a hankerin’ to see 1.7 bazillion photos of New Fantasyland and Storybook Circus, you are totally in luck!)
We woke up early enough to catch the sunrise over Bay Lake, which was nice.
Then we walked over to the Magic Kingdom for rope drop so we would have plenty of time in New Fantasyland before it got crowded.
With nothing in the photo to give you a sense of scale, these look like they could be pins! But they’re really posters in the tunnel to Main Street, U.S.A.
We power-walked our buns off, eager to be among the first to ride the Little Mermaid ride that morning (or, as I call it, “Under the Sea: Ariel’s Undersea Journey to a Voyage of Adventure”).
But when we got there, a pair of cast members stood out front turning people away. The ride was inexplicably closed til 1pm! Suddenly our entire day’s plans—New Fantasyland in the morning, lunch at Epcot, and DHS in the evening—were thrown off course.
We felt completely deflated. We didn’t really even know what to do next, since there’s nothing much else going on in New Fantasyland without the Seven Dwarfs Mine Car ride. We wandered aimlessly, firing the camera practically at random…
We wandered into Gaston’s Tavern and the new gift shop for more photos, but if you just ate breakfast and aren’t in the market for a hideously over-the-top light-up castle goblet, they don’t occupy you for more than a few minutes.
(You’re gonna be able to draw this place from memory by the time Patrick gets done documenting it!)
When we passed back by Enchanted Tales with Belle, the 10-minute wait had jumped to 20 and we were like, “Forget it!”
As we later discovered, this show is just like Ollivander’s wand show at Harry Potterland. You gotta go early when they line’s short, cuz it’s TOTALLY not worth standing in the huge lines that develop later in the day. But we just kept walking…
Eventually we ended up in Storybook Circus, which Patrick hadn’t seen yet. His photos are going to make the ones in my Epcot 30th Anniversary trip report totally redundant when I finally get to posting that part of my trip—d’oh!
For lack of anything better to do, we rode Goofy’s Barnstormer, a.k.a. whatever it’s called now.
Patrick was enthralled by the new Casey, Jr. water-play area.
Patrick adored the illustrations on all the banners in Storybook Circus, which is why you’re getting to see every single one!
Now, you know how I am about character interaction, so I thought we were only going into this tent to grab a couple overview shots. But Goofy and Donald had ZERO lines, so we got suckered in. And that’s how I ended up waiting in a 20-minute line—for the first time EVER—to meet Daisy and Minnie…
We couldn’t get over how well-done the character’s backdrops are—super-detailed, colorful, clever and creative. I always grumble when they put in a big character barn instead of an actual ride, but I gotta admit that it’s pretty much the perfect way to get a character photo if you want it.
You do, of course, exit through the obligatory gift shop. But what a gift shop! Not only is the atmosphere incredibly appealing, they actually have some good-looking, unique merchandise. Amazing!
There’s only one thing that can distract Patrick from taking photos…
What a great idea to make the pin “board” into cartons of popcorn!
Storybook Circus seen and photographed, we wandered aimlessly back in the direction of New-and-Nothing-to-Do Fantasyland…
Thank goodness we’d managed to snag a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant as soon as our plans changed to include Walt Disney World. No way was I waiting in the blazing sun for that!
Patrick hadn’t yet experienced a Citrus Swirl, and remembering that gave us renewed purpose. Off to Adventureland!!!
Once you have a Citrus Swirl in your hand, you pretty much gotta go visit the Tiki Room!
My journal says we walked back to Bay Lake Tower to get our car. This shot was taken from the monorail. What ELSE have I been lying to myself about?!!!
I guess we decided to stick with the MK-to-Epcot portion of the plans ruined by the Little Mermaid ride’s closure. (RUINED, I tells ya! There was no saving the rest of this vacation!!!). I wanted to try the new bakery in France and see if the food was actually good now, so it was bon voyage to the Contemporary!
First Impression: Wow. It’s almost like I’m really standing in a real airport food court! (I know, I know… it’s themed to a train station. I’m from LA… I don’t know what a train station food court looks like!)
Second Impression: Wow. They’ve managed to perfectly re-create the same dry, flavorless sandwich I remember from the old bakery, complete with that veneer of hard cheese shards barely melted by the toasting process.
The quiche was OK, but its primary flavor was “salty.”
There was something unidentifiable lurking under the chocolate mousse in the soggy-crusted tart.
I found this deeply unsettling—what if it was FRUIT?! (Yes, I know, if I can’t taste it as fruit, I shouldn’t have a problem with it, but it’s all mental, you see….) I had to go back and ask one of the girls behind the counter what was in the thing I was eating. She smiled and replied, “Eh… salty… caramel?” in a delightful French accent. After I thanked her and began to walk away, I thought I heard her stage whisper to her co-worker, “‘Salty caramel’ means ‘really disgusting fruit stuff’ in English, right?” (I speak French Stage Whisper).
It says something that even Patrick, who never met a fruit dessert he didn’t like, met a fruit dessert he didn’t like at Les Halles! He couldn’t get past the idea that it was like eating gobs of mango jelly straight from the jar, even if there was coconut pineapple custard under there somewhere. We both ended up throwing our desserts away.
Allow me to translate these signs for you…
Les Halles was a disappointment, but we knew exactly where to go to raise our spirits: Mitsukoshi!
I told Patrick the D23 Epcot 30th story of Imagineer Jason Grandt schlepping this melon box all over Tokyo to the amusement of passersby, to which Patrick replied, “Why didn’t he just break down the box?”
I was sorta glad I’d thrown out my French dessert, because it left room for the S’more Mousse Brownie now served at the counter-service spot in the American Pavilion (what’s that place called… “McDonald’s”?). I had a little better luck with the Disney Food Blog-esque photos here, thanks to the natural light.
As noted in the DFB review, it’s less of a brownie and more of a… cupcake-pie…? It’s got a graham cracker crust, cake in the middle, and then fudgey/ganache-y frosting, plus some melted marshmallow on top that runs all over like an egg yolk when you break it. With higher quality ingredients, this might have become my new favorite, but it was just that gooey, stick-to-your ribs chocolate that’s kinda generic-tasting. Not too shabby, but nothing to write home about (unless you’re writing a trip report, in which case EVERYTHING is something to write home about!).
We decided to take a Friendship boat over to Mexico so Patrick could check out the new art displays, but first he grabbed some daytime photos of the fireworks-viewing areas in Germany for me. If you can wait to book til 2 weeks before you wanna have one, these are great spots for a dessert party!
I was glad to see that the animales fantasticos we like to collect on every trip are still being sold. The press release made it sound like Disney was removing them completely, not just from the lobby.
Huh. All that, and Patrick didn’t even shoot the new displays in the lobby of the Mexico Pavilion. This is his next photo:
OK, I’m gonna pause here for now, but I’ll be back soon with…