Today was the last day our Annual Passes were good – boooooo! Fortunately, we had leftover one-day Magic Your Way tickets from our free dining trip in September that we planned to use the next day, but there’s just something depressing about the end of unlimited admission for a year.
We got to sleep in a little the morning after our anniversary blowout, and when we woke up, we got to have cake for breakfast! Does it get any better than this?!
I give you…
Cake: The Morning After
Ignoring Tour Guide Mike’s well meant and well compensated advice, we set out for the Magic Kingdom on a “red” day. We even DROVE [the horror!].
When we got to the Ticket & Transportation Center we saw that no one was waiting for the boat to the MK and thought it might be a nice change of pace. Until we spent 45 seconds standing around on the breezy dock in 30-degree weather and realized WHY no one was waiting for the boat!
We took the cozy Monorail instead – and even got to ride up front!
Patrick took a picture of me in my fleece and gloves with a scarf wrapped around my head under my hat, but it is simply too unflattering to post! You’ll just have to imagine it here:
How about some fuzzy photos taken through the scuffed-up Monorail windshield taken by a fuzzy iPhone?
And a real photo….
I think maybe the fact that it was 30 degrees out had something to do with the low crowds. Having already spent plenty of time in the MK and with our last day of free admission burning a hole in our pocket, we felt OK about our completely un-commando decision to walk straight to Exposition Hall and sit around watching Silly Symphonies. Hey, it was warm in there!
After that we bummed around Main Street a bit.
One place that never seems to be empty is the Barber Shop. Do they do grown-up lady hair there? I’d love to have a reason to visit.
Patrick loved the store window displays. The ones they’ve had at Disneyland for, like, ever, are looking a little worse for wear.
As you can see in the reflection, while Patrick was snapping this picture…
…I was snapping a picture of a group of dancers who’d leapt off a passing trolley and started caterwauling about dreams wrapped in pixie dust.
At the end of Main Street we discovered they have this big ginormous CASTLE!!!!
Inside the tunnel we took a picture of this:
Not only did Dorothea Redmond design the gorgeous mosaic there, she did tons of beautiful concept art for New Orleans Square in Disneyland, including the art for Walt Disney’s private suite. She’s my all-time favorite Disney artist, and I just found out that she passed away a few weeks ago. Her LA Times obituary has the most info I’ve ever seen about her.
Apparently the princess shop just inside Fantasyland had recently been redone, and the new decor includes this:
We came around the corner of the castle right as the mini stage show was ending and got this shot.
(I apologize that nothing funny has happened so far, but hang in there – there’s a pile of poop jokes on the way!)
Patrick looooves Country Bear Jamboree, and I slept through it on our last visit, so we decided to check it out again.
I found that by actively engaging in the show, I was way more interested. I mean, duh…. but I had fun trying to figure out which country music star each act was based on using my extensive knowledge of the genre (i.e., one viewing of the movie Walk the Line).
From there, it was off to Adventureland and the Tiki Room, which, now that it’s under new management, we don’t so much ride as we do take pictures of the exterior and weep softly to ourselves over the travesty perpetrated on this classic attraction.
At the nearby bazaar…
When we got back to Main Street, we struck blogger’s GOLD – a pile of horse doots in front of the castle!
I immediately hit on the idea of a funny caption contest on my live blog, and as it turned out, I got more responses on that post than I ever had on my endless posts of shots of the “first ride of the day”… But maybe it was because this time there was a prize for replying – a souvenir from Walt Disney World!
The contest entries (in chronological order):
“Patrick, I told you to go *before* we got to the Magic Kingdom!”
We all knew Donald’s pants-free lifestyle was a mistake.
Andrea & Brian said…
Hey, don’t crap on Walt Disney World!
Sh*t happens, even at the Happiest Place on Earth!
Once Mr Ed got to saw the castle, he could no longer contain his excitement!
“Oh God honey, I told you you shouldn’t have had that turkey leg…”
Well crap we missed the castle show!!!!!
Molly Brown said…
Disney World is known for its world famous fudge…
“Hmm… Sorry Carrie, but I *really* don’t see the Hidden Mickey in this one!”
I guess those Brazilians are on their way to the Dream Suite again!
“Oh, good! I thought they only sold (insert your favorite exotic food here) at Epcot!”
Welcome friend, to the Magic Kingdom! Where you’ll find a little bit of pixie dust sprinkled everywhere!
To determine the winner of the contest, we read each gag in front of the Laugh Meter at the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and gauged the reaction of someone who is not me (but might possibly be Patrick).
And the prize went to…
Lacey’s glamorous WDW souvenir prize was…
…a flashing-color bouncy eyeball!!!
Unfortunately, I still hadn’t had the presence of mind to get any of Lacey’s contact info, despite our frequent stalking, so I wasn’t sure how to get the eyeball to her. But I had a feeling we would meet again…
Anyway, all this talk of horse doots had made us start thinking of lunch, so we went to see if we could make a reservation at the Plaza Restaurant. It was the last table-service place in the Magic Kingdom we hadn’t tried, and since it seems to be continually passed over for the Crystal Palace’s character jamboree, we figured it might not be hard to get in. The hostess seemed annoyed at our request but put our names down for later.
Off we went to explore some more.
This place looked interesting, but when we tried to investigate near a Cast Member entrance, a manager-type popped out and started asking what we were doing there!
We also wandered around Pinocchio Village Haus checking out the decor.
Patrick was cracked on the idea of riding Goofy’s Barnstormer because everyone says it’s more than just a kiddie coaster, but it had a 30-minute wait so we decided to do it after lunch.
Then it was back to Main Street, U.S.A.!
Finally it was time to eat, so we ambled back to the Plaza Restaurant, checked in, and waited. And waited. And waited. I think Le Cellier is the only place we’ve ever waited longer to eat – so much for my “passed over for Crystal Palace” theory.
When they finally let us in, we were seated right by the door, which meant that we were blasted with an icy gust every time someone entered or exited the restaurant. However, besides that and the slightly frenetic atmosphere as people were constantly shuffled in and out, we had an surprisingly pleasant experience.
For one thing, the food was really tasty — our burgers and fries were just as good as those at Beaches & Cream. My shake wasn’t as good, but it was the perfect accompaniment to a burger. Plus, the meal was relatively inexpensive for once.
About halfway through our meal, some of the Main Street characters – the mayor and the suffragette – tumbled into the restaurant and gave us a little “streetmosphere.” Patrick was enraptured by the antics of the puffed-up mayor as he made the rounds and got in digs at the suffragette. They asked if anyone was celebrating a birthday and I hollered “No, but we’re celebrating our anniversary!” This wasn’t good enough for the mayor, and he swaggered past us to go see some kid with a birthday. But the suffragette seemed to break character briefly as she passed and congratulated us on our accomplishment.
On their way out, they offered to take a pic with us.
So, um, does this mean I’ve unintentionally participated in character dining? Oh, the ignominy!
After lunch we went back to Toontown (Fair?) and found there was still a 30-minute wait for Goofy’s Barnstormer. D’oh! It turned to be the longest wait we had the whole trip (yes, we are spoiled off-season attendees) – the line just crawled. I entertained the people around us by occasionally blurting out things like “30 minutes?! I might be dead by then!” and “This ride had better be the best 45 seconds of my LIFE!”
Finally, we got to the front of the line and, dweebs that we are, asked to wait for the front of the coaster (I wanted to do everything I could to ensure we had the optimal ride on the vaunted Barnstormer). We squeezed into the same car together, our knees up under our chins, and off we went. The time it takes you to read this sentence is how long the ride lasts.
When our car pulled back into the station 45 seconds later, they had to use Goofy’s Jaws o’ Life to get us out.
We wandered around Toontown a little more taking pictures.
Next stop, Frontierland!
At some point, according to my journal, we rode the Haunted Mansion twice. Let’s pretend it was now!
While we were poking around the totally random gift shop near the Haunted Mansion (you know, the one that’s themed all Liberty Square-y but contains nothing but the same generic junk you find at World of Disney), I got a call from future Disney bride Jenna. She and her fiance were at WDW for their planning session. Thus began our lengthy game of phone and text tag as we tried to figure out a way to meet up without them needing to activate their park admission.
In the meantime, Patrick and I went for our now traditional last MK ride of the trip, Splash Mountain. (Yes, we had one more day, but our passes weren’t hoppers so we were stuck at Epcot tomorrow). It was still freezing cold out, but we thought the idea of doing a bone-soaking water ride was so crazy, it just might work!
Fortunately we made it through the whole ride without any of the other guests leaping out of their logs, so we got to exit the normal way.
We took the train back to Main Street to prolong the magic.
When we got to Main Street Station, we rushed right down the steps to take this photo!
Finally, we left.
Jenna and her fiance were just about to leave WDW, but they agreed to stay a few extra minutes to meet us at Downtown Disney. So we whizzed over there in our trusty Clementine.
We found Jenna and Emmanuel kickin’ it with a pirate in front of World of Disney.
We didn’t have too long to chat, but at least I got to hear some of the juicy details of their site visit (they chose the Attic for their reception – hooray!) and take a picture.
Patrick kept himself occupied…
After we bid them farewell, we poked around Downtown Disney a bit. I bought two more chocolate-covered Oreos at Goofy’s Candy Co. (chocolate cream and peanut butter cream – how could I forget to take pictures?!), and we discovered the color-flashing bouncy eyeball at World o’ Disney. And then we whizzed back to Beach Club Villas to freshen up for dinner at Flying Fish with Nathan & Jensey. I was very excited to learn that they were free to meet us again before we left town!
We had a lovely walk over to the BoardWalk from the Beach Club.
Along the way we passed the wedding location Sea Breeze Point, where we discovered…
As we passed, I spotted something so sad – they’d forgotten the sand ceremony!
(A sand ceremony, for those who don’t know, is a popular wedding ceremony substitute for a unity candle. The bride and groom simultaneously pour two different colors of sand into the jar, which is then sealed up and placed at the back of a curio cabinet until one of their children accidentally breaks it while feeling around for a box of matches.)
So when I saw the Loneliest Sand Ceremony I knew somebody (and by “somebody” I mean “the bride”) would freak out when they discovered it was missing. I wracked my brain for a way to get it back to them, like maybe calling the Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings office or wandering the halls at the BoardWalk Conference Center peeping through keyholes for weddings. Just then the father of the bride came huffing and puffing up to Sea Breeze Point. As he snatched the sand ceremony, he said sheepishly, “And this was my only job!”
We continued on to the BoardWalk and got there a little early, so we snapped some pictures.
When we got to Flying Fish, Nathan & Jensey were already there, as usual – they beat us everywhere! I was hoping we’d be seated in the tent-y part of the restaurant, but no dice. At least we had a view of the tent-y part!
Flying Fish is another restaurant that we tried on our honeymoon and weren’t knocked out by but really want to like it so we tried again. I remember on our first visit, our scallops were burned (they called it “grilled”) – yikes!
This time, Patrick and I played it safe and split the dish everyone raves about :
It was pretty good, but this was the first time on the whole trip that we split a dish and I didn’t feel like I got enough. They didn’t split it for us, either – we had to transfer gloppy leek fondue and red wine sauce to the extra plate they brought.
Nathan & Jensey split the Signature Flying Fish Cafe Char-Crusted New York Strip Steak – Wilted Rhapini, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, rainbow carrots and Classic Sauce Foyot – another dish everyone raves about. I like the idea that a seafood restaurant like Flying Fish serves the best steak on property, but I can never bring myself to not order seafood there!
I don’t know what they thought of their meal, so I will make it up:
It was so much fun to hang out with them again, even though it’d only been about 24 hours since we’d seen them last. It seems like each time we meet, we discover more in common – this time it was our mutual affection for Mystery Science Theater 3000. As it turned out, they’d just watched Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, which features one of my absolute favorite MST3K lines: [Martians capturing Santa] “Santa Claus, you’re coming to town!” Um, OK, you had to be there….
Anyway, I got to brag about the time I met the hosts of MST3K, and then we expounded at length about the their new venture, RiffTrax, which offers HIGH-larious MP3 commentaries of current movies that you play along with the movie as you watch it.
Any dining experience that lets me expound at length is A-OK in my book!
And our server was very nice and eager to please. She even brought us our sixth FREE anniversary dessert.
Guess what it was…. just guess! (No, flatbread doesn’t count as a dessert, even in Orlando)….
After dinner we walked into Epcot to catch IllumiNations, doing a little window shopping along the way. We didn’t have a lot of time to find a good spot for the show, so we lurked at the rope blocking off the upper French terrace, hoping that the corporate event scheduled there would be a no-show cuz of the cold. As it turned out, they never did show up, but the guide still wouldn’t take down the rope – booo!
It turned out to be a pretty crummy place to view the show, but it wasn’t until later that Jensey and I discovered we’d both been kicking ourselves thinking we were the ones who picked it (which means it was obviously Nathan & Patrick’s fault, somehow, and they’d both better make it up to us with cake!)
It was also FREEZING cold again, and the wind was blowing smoke our way. Boo! After the show we hustled back to our room at the Beach Club, cranked up the heat, and cut four more slabs of leftover anniversary cake! We kept Nathan & Jensey there as long as we could (“Um… did we tell you about the time Patrick threw up…?”) but they were eventually able to sneak out when we slipped into a sugar coma.