Disney Vacation 2016 – Day 4

This was our short day.  We had a flight out at around 7, with the bus from the resort leaving at 4:20.  We packed up and checked out, stowing our luggage with the valet.  Breakfast was in the Kona Cafe at our hotel.  Then we headed straight to EPCOT hoping to get there as the park opened.  The Monorail was inexplicably NOT running, so we had to cram into a bus to get there.  We made it, but the reason we made it STILL had a long line.  The Norway ride was closed last year and was being re-tooled t be “Frozen” themed.  It was the most popular ride in all of Disney.  Despite being there early, we walked into a 45 minute wait.  Long, but the shortest we had seen it while we were there.  So we went!  

Disappointingly, the World Showcase portion of EPCOT didn’t open until 11am, so we waited about 20 minutes and took in the Cinema 360 “Reflections of China.”  After that there was no time to see “the rest of the world,” and so we left the park in time to make our lunch reservation.

Lunch was at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort.  We to some great pics with some characters courtesy of our awesome waitress!  After lunch, we went back to take in the Jungle Cruise, which was now running.  After that we had just enough time to catch “It’s A Small World” a second time.  

Then it was back to our resort and on to the airport!  We arrived in Syracuse at midnight with no delays or complications.  We arrived home at 3am and fell quickly asleep.

Disney Vacation 2016 – Day 3

My leg only marginally improved overnight.  I upgraded my self-diagnosis from “dead” to “numb” and resigned myself to having a slower than usual day.  I could now “feel” it and had muscle control, but topical nerve endings didn’t respond or felt like tingles.  I made an appointment to see my chiropractor shortly after we returned home and we headed out for the day.

Breakfast was at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.  Buffet style with Winnie the Pooh characters dropping by for photo ops.  Then it was off to Adventureland and Pirates of the Caribbean.  We had a fastpass, but we cancelled it when we saw there was no wait.  After Pirates we headed over to Splash Mountain where riders are admonished, “You May Get Wet.”  Right.  We took a sun-filled ride on the Liberty Square Riverboat to dry off.  Now very hot, we went through the Haunted Mansion again to enjoy the air conditioning.  

Lunch was at the Liberty Tree Tavern.  Traditional American fare, I had a really good cheeseburger.  After lunch we headed to Tomorrowland to ride on Space Mountain.  On our way there, we noticed that the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor had no waiting was was about to begin, so we went in.  We had never experienced this attraction before and didnt really know what we were in for.  It turned out to be an interactive stand-up comedy show in which I ended up playing a key role!  A hidden camera focused on members of the audience, but there was one recurring role: “That Guy”. I was That Guy–the camera kept coming back to me, at which point I would pose in comical fashion, pointing both my fingers at the camera.  I got a sticker at the end!  The whole thing was hilarious!

On to Space Mountain where Amanda got to be FIRST on the sled!  (Something she has wanted to do for a long time.). When we came out, it was pouring rain.  Being autumn, some of the trees in the park had lost a few of their leaves, which promptly covered over the storm drains resulting in 4-inch mini lakes on the terraces of Tomorrowland.  We slogged our way to the PeopleMover and went around twice (didn’t have to get off!).  By then the rain had subsided.  We headed back to Adventureland hoping to ride the Jungle Cruise, but it was closed because of the rain.  So we walked over to Pirates of the Caribbean which had no waiting, so we went through it again!  After that, my leg was VERY tired and so I suggested we walk over to Frontierland and take the train back to Main Street USA.  When we got there, it, too, was closed.  But Splash Mountain had no wait!  So we went on THAT again.  When we came out, there was a short line for the train, which started back up about 10 minutes later.  We rode the train back to Main Street and caught the boat back to our resort.

Dinner was at ‘Ohana in the Polynesian Resort.  An interesting concept: they ply you with appetizer fare, and eventually start delivering shishkebobs of shrimp, steak, and chicken.  You can eat as much as you want.  Next time I’ll know not to load up on the appetizers.  I was too full to have very much of the yummy steak!  After dinner we returned to our room and bed.

Disney Vacation 2016 – Day 2

On Monday we woke and took the bus from the Polynesian Resort to Animal Kingdom here we had breakfast at Rainforest Cafe.  We then took the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch where the petting area was open and we got to see and pet goats and sheep and a few other exotic, medium size animals.  After returning to the main area of the Animal Kingdom we happened by “Finding Nemo, the Musical” which had no wait, as it was just abut to begin.  We went in and were glad we did!  It was an incredible performance.

Next was lunch at Tiffin’s, a new “upscale” restaurant right there in the Animal Kingdom.  Our dining plan included three meals for each night we stayed.  Given that we were leaving on Wednesday afternoon before dinner, we needed a way to use up an extra meal.  Several of Disney’s dining venues are so “posh” that they take two meal credits when you eat there.  Tiffin’s is one such place.  The lobster/Thai curry bisque I had to an appetizer was worth the price of admission!  Yummy!

After lunch we took the Kilimanjaro Safari.  I applaud Disney’s conservation efforts, but I wish they weren’t so fake about it all.  Don’t point to a cast cement “wall” painted to look like clay and tell us elephants were gouging it with their tusks 5 minute before we drove up.  Even the mud ruts are cement!

Over to “Asia” for the Karl River Rapids.  We used a FastPass for this.  We got to the end of the line and got in our “tube”…and waited.  We could see the escalator/platform that lifted the tubes to the top of the rapids, but it wasn’t moving and neither were we.  We sat there for about 15 minutes.  I returned a phone call.  Our launch attendant hadn’t been informed abut what was going on.  Then we were moving!  The ride continued without interruption, and when we got back to the beginning we were told we could go around again!  Wahoo!

Now soaked, we wandered into “It’s Tough to be a Bug” (No waiting!). It was a fine source of schadenfreude when Hopper came out and several kiddos were frightened out of their wits and had to be removed by their parents.  I don’t like seeing kids cry, but parents should pay more heed to the content warnings!  Still soaked, we returned too our hotel to shower and change before dinner.

Dinner was at EPCOT’s Coral Reef restaurant with windowed views of the massive aquarium Disney has.  Sharks, rays, and sea turtles were among the undersea dwellers to be seen while we dined.  Early for our dinner reservation, we took in the Finding Nemo ride in the same pavilion.  (Also no waiting!). After dinner we went on “Soarin’,” which we were not able to catch last year because it was always a 3 hour wait with no fast passes. WOW!  Part ferris wheel, part IMAX, it really can’t be described.

EPCOT was closing, so we headed back to the Magic Kingdom by Monorail for one of the last performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade before it is packed up and shipped to Disneyland.  As we got to the park, fireworks following the 9:00 performance of the parade were just ending.  Tons of people exited the park.  Amanda and I planted ourselves on the “downstream” side of a trash can just north of the main street buildings on the east side of the street and waited.  About 20 minutes later, the crowd subsided and we waited some more.  In short order, Disney’s salute to animation was portrayed on the front of Cinderella’s Castle, which is “transformed” into a projection screen in a way that only Disney could pull off.  By now we are tired of standing, so we sit on the curb in preparation for the 11:00pm showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade.  (11pm and I couldn’t believe how many strollers were still there.). I live streamed the parade on Facebook, much to the delight of several friends.

Although I didnt feel it, something went wrong while I was sitting on the pavement for those 90 or so minutes.  When the parade was over and I attempted to stand, I had difficulty.  My entire right leg was dead!  I had lost all feeling in it.  It was there, but I only knew that because I could see it.  I figured it had just fallen asleep, so I turned down the offer of a wheelchair by a cast member.  Amanda and I stood there for about 10 minutes waiting for the feeling to come back, but it didnt. We returned to the boat launch, me using Amanda as a crutch the whole way.  I went to bed hoping it just needed a little time.

Disney Vacation 2016 – Day 1

Last Summer Amanda and I took Brady and Kyle (and ourselves) to Walt Disney World as sort of a last Family vacation.  Brady was about to go to grad school, and Kyle had one more year of High School left.  I didn’t expect to be back so soon!  But a few weeeks agao Amanda and I both came to the realization that we needed to get away from, well, everything.  Disney was the first thing that came to mind.  We are back staying on-Disney at the Polynesian Resort this time.  We have no plans part from our arrival and departure.  We are making everything in between up as we go along.

Today was Day 1.  We arrived dry late last night and went straight to bed.  This morning we woke and took the boat transportation from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom where we had breakfast reservations at the Be Our Guest restaurant in FantasyLand.  After that we went to TomorrowLand and enjoyed the PeopleMover and Carousel of Progress.  e then explored Liberty Square and went through the Haunted Mansion.  Then it was time for our scheduled FastPass appointment at It’s A Small World.  

We had lunch reservations at the Sci-Fi Drive In Diner at Hollywood Studios, so we made our way to the bus stands and caught one to Hollywood Studios.  We meandered our way to the diner.  A little early, we decided to just wait about 20 minutes.  After lunch we enjoyed Star Tours and The Great Movie Ride.  We walked down Sunset Boulevard, stopping in a few shops.  By then we were both a little tired.  So we took the boat from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT, walked through the park t the Monorail and caught that back to the Transportation Center, transferring to the Resort Mnorail and back the Polynesian Resort where we each took a shower/bath.

After that rest it was time for dinner.  We decided to g back to EPCOT since it was the park open the latest tonight.  We caught the Monorail from the Polynesian, rode it to the transportation center and caught the EPCOT Monorail.  As we entered the park we noticed almost no line for Spaceship Earth, so we went on that.  We then  headed straight for World Showcase, deciding to dine in the Mexican Pavilion–our favorite restaurant at all of Disney World.  We had about an hour to kill, so we checked out the Norway Pavilion.  The new Frozen ride, despite not having any discernible line extending outside the building, advertised a 2-hour wait!  This was confusing as it was 7:30 or so and the park closed at 9:00.  We left ant went to kill the hour we had in the Mexican Pavilion, taking The 3 Caballeros ride and browsing in the shops.  Dinner finished, we made our way back to the Monorail.  When we got to the Transportation Center there was some technical problem with the Resort Monorail, so on a whim we took the express over to the Magic Kingdom and then rode the boat launch back to the Polynesian Resort.  (Its actually a very short walk from the transportation center to the Polynesian, but we’re on vacation and had walked enough!)

I must say we led the charmed life as far as line lengths.  We waited no more than 10 minutes to get into anything we wanted to do (except Frozen).  Hopefully our luck will continue tomorrow!