Here we go again!
Saturday, August 8
It’s our 11 year anniversary! But there was seriously NO time to do anything special with just us. We sort of considered the whole trip to be doing something special. Besides, how awesome is it to be at Disney World on your anniversary? Kids or not? It was also cool that our actual wedding day had also been on a Saturday so it was fun to think about “11 years ago… did we ever expect to be HERE??”.
We had a reservation at the Crystal Palace for breakfast in the Magic Kingdom shortly after 10am. We slept a little later than we might normally have, to give the boys a chance to catch up after being up SO late the night before! We weren’t entirely sure where the day would lead us, but we knew we wanted to get as much done as possible since we’d be leaving for the cruise tomorrow.
We caught a bus and made it to the Magic Kingdom. It was already pretty hot outside but, dare I say it? We were getting used to it. I definitely wasn’t as affected by the heat as I was the first day. I had gotten USED to the sensation of sweat dripping down my back. Who knew you could get used to such a thing?? We found the Crystal Palace at the end of Main Street, across from the castle. There were a lot of people waiting outside and we checked in with the reservations gal. We only had to wait maybe 10 minutes for them to get our table ready before we were ushered into the cool, air conditioned and beautiful interior!
The staff had taken some Mickey Mouse shaped confetti and decorated our table with a heart, for our anniversary. Isn’t that awesome? The kids were hungry and it was buffet style so we got right to serving them up. It was wonderful to have a “whatever you want to eat” atmosphere after restraining ourselves for several days. And it was good preparation for the cruise! Evie in particular had developed a major fondness for watermelon and little else was more important to her that morning than getting more food to eat!
It was cool to be able to watch all the Winne the Pooh characters traipse around the restaurant. They made an effort to get to every table and let me say, Liam LOVED it!
We actually were visited by Winnie the Pooh too but for some reason, I don’t have any pictures of that. We must have been too concentrated on stuffing our faces. Or maybe it was when I went to get food and Kile didn’t think to grab the camera. It’s all good. Evie could have cared less. These characters were an annoyance to her, as best demonstrated by her photo with poor Eeyore:
Oh well. Someday she’ll be into it, I’m sure. And maybe someday she’ll regret having shoo-ed Eeyore away. I always have liked Eeyore… he’s my favorite.
Before we finished with breakfast, the staff brought us a cupcake and sang to us. We were also presented with a special certificate showing we celebrated our anniversary there that day and was signed by all the characters! I loved these little touches that Disney did. It was hard to celebrate just “us” that day, but they made it special anyhow. That rocks.
After breakfast, we felt full of energy and ready to tackle the day. Turns out, having breakfast before hitting the parks was the best thing we could have done! Who knew? Maybe we wouldn’t have pooped out so soon the other two days had we had breakfast first. Live and learn! We wanted to do a few rides before it got too crowded and hot. So, of course, we did indoor rides! D’oh! We did Mickey’s Philharmagic which was awesome. It’s a show all in 3D and is completely imaginative and amazing. I’m sure it was lost on the little ones, who wouldn’t keep 3D glasses on. But I appreciated it! We were even pelted with drops of water at appropriate times and blasts of air and everything! Definitely, a must-see!
“It’s a Small World” was across from the theater so we did that next. You HAVE to do that one while you’re there. It’s just a RULE.
After that, we headed towards Tomorrowland. Harry wanted to ride the cars at the Speedway again. He’d gone on it last night with Kile and it was quickly one of his favorite rides. This time, he wanted to ride alone. It was starting to get really hot though, as it was now past noon. On the way, we saw a Disney Vacation Club kiosk. We’d seen these all over the place and even saw the little show on the television in our room about the Vacation Club. Kile was intrigued and wanted to learn more. So we stopped and talked to the dude there. He said he could get a van (air conditioned!) to pick us up right then, take us to the Vacation Club center, put the kids in child care, have some refreshments, talk to a gal about the Club, tour some models, get free ice cream, some FastPasses or gift certificates for our time and then get shuttled to anywhere in the park that we wanted to go. I think he had me at “air conditioned van”. We decided to go for it, as it would be a nice break that would take the place of going back to our resort.
We were ushered through a back gate of the park where a van was indeed waiting for us. There were even car seats set up inside! We strapped the kids in and off we went. The center was at the Saratoga Springs resort which is huge and gorgeous. Not that our resort is awful (because I loved it so!), but some of the resorts on the property were just AMAZING.
We dropped the older kids off at the child care where there was plenty to do (including video games, so Harry was happy) and brought Evie with us. We had cookies and lemonade and then talked to a super nice lady who did her spiel for us. I was impressed that it was TRULY a no-pressure deal. They never once asked for money from us. Just showed us the club details, gave us some offers and told us to think about it. If we wanted to do it, we had her number to call her back after we got home. Simple as that. Both Kile and I were pretty impressed. Even moreso after touring the models! OH MY! The “studio” floorplan was much like a regular resort hotel room, except there was the addition of a kitchenette. The one-bedroom floorplan, the next step up, was AMAZING. Suddenly there was tons of room and ammenities and a full kitchen and I think I passed out somewhere while touring the Bay Lake Towers room. Holy cow.
After we mopped up our drool, we picked up the kids from child care and were led to a cozy little ice cream shop, just for Vacation Club peoples. Everyone got a scoop of ice cream to enjoy and we relished that. When we were back outside, it had clouded up substantially and was even spitting rain just a bit. I loved it when it clouded up. I could almost handle the heat and humidity if the sun was out of the picture.
We had chosen the FastPasses, which they had told us there were three but it turns out there were three for each person. Yes, including Evie! We wanted to get to Hollywood Studios so the van took us there and dropped us off right out front. We got there at a great time as there was a parade going on down the street right near the entrance when we got there.
We were on a mission though, and chose not to stop to watch it. We wanted to try out the Toy Story Mania ride we had heard so much about. But, when we finally found it (Hollywood Studios is kind of a confusing place to navigate!), the FastPasses had all been distributed already and the line was an hour long. Ugh. We moved on, and chose to go on the backlot tour. There was no wait, hardly, and we could basically walk right on. Very reminiscent of the Universal Studios Tour but not as long or without as many attractions. Still, it was fun.
And we did get a little wet.
After that, we wandered through an AFI exhibit (that seemed to specialize in Villains, but I never got the whole story). Harry appreciated all the nods towards Star Wars.
While on the tour, we’d seen a car stunt show and went to go check that out. We got there JUST in time, the show was just starting and the place was PACKED. We were up in the nosebleed section but it gave us a good view.
After the show, we wanted to go track down Lightning McQueen and Mater for Liam’s benefit. We had been told they were here… somewhere. Again, it wasn’t the easiest place to navigate. But we eventually found them! And Liam got a picture with his heroes.
After that, we were a little tired and very hungry. We decided we wanted to go back to the Magic Kingdom, use up some of our FastPasses and have dinner there. We checked Toy Story Mania on the way out and the wait time had gone up to 90 minutes! No way! So word to the wise: if you wanna do that ride, get there early for a FastPass. Otherwise you’ll never see the dark side of it, like us.
We caught a bus that would take us to the transportation terminal outside Magic Kingdom. Once there, we hopped on the monorail and got another ride through the Contemporary resort on our way in. The park was MUCH more crowded than it had been Thursday night, but we expected that. I had to use the restroom, so we wasted no time on Main Street and we hustled over to Tomorrowland, where I had a pit stop at the bathroom outside the noodle restaurant. My iPhone fell behind the toilet and I put that in my Facebook status (after a good disinfecting, mind you) because that’s just how I roll. We planned to grab burgers for dinner (at Harry’s request) and get the boy on his Speedway racer. The restaurant across from the Speedway was chaotic, crowded and dark but it served our purposes. We were hungry, so it didn’t take us long at all to eat. I was pretty pleased with the healthy food options for kids at these restaurants. Virtually all their meals came with fresh fruit or veggies and there was very little fries to be had.
Kile took Liam with him when the boys got in line for the Speedway. Evie and I chose to check out a gift shop (that was overrun with Stitch paraphernalia… I learned that Stitch is BIG TIME at Disney World) to kill time, and eventually I sat on a bench, enjoyed the evening air, watched people walk by and caught up on some email on my phone.
The boys weren’t long and eventually they returned and Kile showed me a picture he’d snapped:
Liam had had a GREAT time steering the car, apparently. This is not surprising news to me, by the way.
It was time to get down to business. I wanted to use SOME of these FastPasses, darnit! So we hurried over to Frontierland and I talked Harry into trying Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with me. He’s not a big roller coaster fan but I assured him that it was a fun ride, not at all scary. The FastPasses were truly awesome. I put them in the machine and we got passes to get on the ride RIGHT away! We essentially were able to walk right on the ride. That was awesome. Kile stayed with the little ones while Harry and I had our ride. And I was right, Harry LOVED it. He laughed his fool head off the entire time and my cheeks hurt from smiling. When asked later, he would say that was his favorite ride of them all. High praise indeed!
Next, I convinced him to try Splash Mountain. We found Kile a better spot to wait with the little ones and again, all but walked right on. This ride was a bit more crowded but it was still a MUCH shorter wait than it would have otherwise been. And mostly air conditioned, which was downright sweet.
Harry did enjoy Splash Mountain. That is, up until the big drop at the end. Then he started to tear up. He does not like steep drops, that one. But I praised him thoroughly for giving it a try and he was able to shake it off. The picture that was snapped was classic, because I swear Harry had the same look on his face as he did when we went on the log ride in Santa Cruz when he was three. Poor kid.
After that, Harry kind of wanted to go back to the resort. We headed out but couldn’t resist one last ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. Again, there was NO line (people were lining up for the parade by now… it was dark) and just before we got in our boats, Kile found a family with a young boy and asked if they wanted the rest of our FastPasses. They were very grateful and happy to get them. I hope they were able to put them to good use! We enjoyed what little we were able to do with them and I do kind of wish we had opted for the gift certificates instead. Oh well. Live and learn!
Pirates was fun, as usual. It’s a classic for a reason! Next, we walked by the Jungle Cruise which the boys had done the night before and Kile insisted was AWESOME at night. We decided to make that our LAST ride and hopped on board. It didn’t disappoint. We had a very funny driver and I even remembered parts of the cruise from the last time I had been to Disney World, if you can believe it!
I wanted to try a Dole Whip, but the line was too long and by now Harry was REALLY shot so we just headed out. It was hard to say goodbye to the Magic Kingdom but we vowed to return someday and this time, to do at least a WEEK there. Because three days isn’t NEAR enough for all the parks. Not even close.
We caught our bus and before we knew it, we were back at POFQ. We stumbled up to our room and I think Harry was asleep before his head hit the pillow. We had to pack up our bags some… they had to be ready to be picked up by the staff and put on the bus to the cruise ship by 8 am! Yep, it was going to be yet another BIG day for the Porter family!
Coming up: We meet the Disney Wonder, in person!