This is the story of our first trip to Walt Disney World since we were married in Epcot, and how we turned it into a race to ride the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland on the same day! It’s also the story of what happens when two people who greedily snatched up as many free desserts as they could during their honeymoon came to despise the very sight of dessert, thanks to the free Disney Dining Plan.
Our first day, like most people’s first days, was pretty uneventful… til we got to Walt Disney World, and then it was jammy packed!
We left LA on Saturday morning (I’ll spare you dreary shots of the security lines and drab waiting areas of the United Terminal at LAX). One cool thing – we took a shuttle using a service I found on Yelp.com – instead of parking and riding the shuttle from the EasyPark lot. This was mostly to save time when we got back – the idea was that they could shuttle us from LAX to Disneyland before it closed the following Saturday so we could complete our mission to ride both Haunted Mansions in one day. But using the shuttle also saved us a lot of time parking and transferring – cool!
The flight was uneventful, except for the irritating couple who sneaked into the empty seats in front of us so they could sit together and then shoved their seats back as far as they could go (i.e., under our chins!) for the duration of the flight.
We got our rental car using the self-service kiosks at Alamo, a tip we stumbled on last trip, when the line for customer service was about 45 minutes long. This time instead of the rattly Oprah-mobile, we got to pick out a PT Cruiser: cute and compact, with the turning radius of an elderly yak!
Off we went! I figured this rainbow was a good sign…
We got to Pop, and I went to check in while Patrick parked the yak. I did all the things they say you should do to request a certain room – noted it on the reservation, called three days before to reiterate, spoke to someone in the actual room-assigning department, etc. Turns out it doesn’t matter – if everyone who checks in before you requests a King room, the front desk passes ‘em out like candy until they’re gone, and you end up with two teeny tiny double beds. Boooo!
Little did we know how spoiled we’d been the year before when we ended up with a handicapped-accessible king room at Pop. We foolishly thought all the rooms were that spacious and comfy, so imagine our disappointment at the tiny little closet we were assigned this time. We asked about switching rooms, but nothing was available til Tuesday. Bleh…. I decided to pretend that double beds are “cozy” and “romantic,” but the experience has definitely ended our days of staying in Value resorts at WDW.
We set off for Downtown Disney and our 7:15 ADR at Raglan Road (another tip, shared by a kind DISer – you can make ADRs at Raglan Road on Opentable.com even when 407-WDW-DINE is not making reservations for it!).
… they need to give you that sauce in a trough!
We split this and had it without the whiskey sauce… which was prolly a mistake. It was kinda dry.
All through dinner this cute little lady kept making the rounds of the tables and handing out sparkly shamrock headbands in honor of it being halfway to St. Patrick’s Day… to everyone but ME! At the end of the meal I prowled the restaurant until I found her and demanded one. Perhaps this is why mine was missing one of its shamrocks (picture to come…)
After dinner we were supposed to meet Jenn (a.k.a. InkedUpMomma from the DIS Boards) and her fella at Ghirardelli for sundaes! But unbeknownst to us, they were at that moment embroiled in the Dining Experience From Heck — I don’t wanna scoop her trip report, so I’ll leave out the details…
While we waited, we killed a little time in the shops….
Eventually Jenn & John were able to extricate themselves from dinner to meet us at Ghirardelli, but I was sad to hear that the experience had pretty much killed their interest in dessert. However, Patrick and I didn’t let this stop us from getting….
It was really nice to finally meet Jenn in person, and John, and (bonus) their cute kids! John and Patrick took lil’ guy Jack to the Lego store to play while Jenn and her daughter Kayla and I gabbed. I feel like I shouldn’t tell you what we talked about cuz it’ll spoil the surprise for her trippie, but suffice it to say their family got a really cool bit of pixie dust on a trip that was already jammy packed with fun stuff.
Finally, we got kicked outta Downtown Disney (specifically, the Christmas shop) ‘cuz they were closing, so we got as much hyper-excited-I-can’t-believe-we-finally-met-in-person chatter in before we parted at the InkedUpFambly MiniVan. And hopefully the pic Patrick took of them with the character statues outside of the Marketplace makes it on their Christmas cards this year, cuz we could really use the royalites….
After that it was back to Pop for plenty of sleep so we’d be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for…