Thoughts on a Disney World Vacation: Days 7 & 8: All Good Things Must Come To An End
Has it been nearly 2 months since we left Disney? How the summer flies (and of course time flies when you are at Disney).
Our last full day started out slow (again). It is clear that my son is getting into full "teen" mode a little early. He wants to sleep in. I want to get going. It's a fine balance. Of course the fact that both hubby and I were a bit under the weather kept us slowed down a bit too. We had breakfast (Again, I brought my son breakfast in bed to get things moving) and then headed to MK via monorail. The park was PACKED. (I think it was at level 8 out of 10 on the crowd scale.)
First thing we did was take the train around the park because that's what the kid wanted to do. Nothing wrong with that. It's cool (or cooler) and relatively relaxing. Gives you a nice view of the park too. What he really wanted to do was head over to Tom Sawyer Island. He LOVES it. I'm not a fan (neither is my husband). It is always so HOT over there. (At least that's been my experience). So after riding the train around and a third times; we got off at the Frontierland station. Hubby wanted to head over to Adventureland to see if someone he knew was working there today and the kid and I got on line to take the raft over to Tom Sawyer Island.
Now that he's older, I let him go a bit more on his own and explore. We've discussed that on our next trip (and you know there's going to be one, the question is when it will be), that perhaps we all could go over to TSI and hubby and I could just sit at the dock and play checkers and the boy could explore the whole place on his own. After all he has a phone and when enough time had passed (let's say 45 minutes or so), I could call him to come back. After all there's only one way on and off so it's not like he could really get lost. (Although those caves are pretty tight and dark. Which is one reason why I'd like him to explore on his own.) Hubby joined us after not finding his friend in Adventureland and after wandering around a bit more (in those dark and cramped caves), we took the raft back to Frontierland (covered in sweat).
We had FP+ for the HM(which I think we would have done more times if it had been less crowded) and Pooh (which hubby had not yet had a chance do to). We ventured over to Tomorrowland, and just missed the cut off for CoP. Ok, so we had to wait 5 minutes for the next show. No big deal. Love this attraction, but I do think it's time that they got working on that last scene. We jump from the 1940s/50s to "current time" (with current being 1990s??). Just a little tweaking would make it all the better.
Headed over to the Plaza for our lunch ressie. The one problem with this restaurant is that it is POPULAR. Good food, decent prices and is easily accessible. (Not quite on Main Street, but not far off the beaten path.) Once people get it, they don't rush out. Which means we waited...and waited...and waited. It was hot. We were hungry. We waited. We waited...Not really the restaurant's fault, but oh the wait!
Finally got in (we arrived 10 minutes early and were probably seated about 20 or 30 minutes after our ADR time.) I was thrilled to see that Chef Ken Brown was on duty that day. I've been lucky enough to dine at the Plaza with Ken Brown several times and he is like an extended family member of our family. He cares for me (specifically with my food allergies) and treats us if we were family. He sits with you, talks with you and listens. He carefully plans. He makes a meal happen and he makes it happen quickly. (Because we were really hungry at that point). We did have a server who kept us in drinks (because we were THRISTY), but all of our meals (not just mine) were brought to us by Ken. Meals at the Plaza are not elaborate, but are extremely satisfying. Comfort food all the way and being with Ken is always comforting.
Filled to the gills, we headed to our last FP+ (of the day and of the trip), PotC. How can you tire of the pirate’s life? You can't! From there we made it over to the Hall of Presidents, catching the end of the afternoon parade as we did. (So I can say we did see a parade while we were there!) HoP was the first thing we did in MK back in our 2012 trip and it was the last thing we did on this trip.
We headed out and back to the hotel to rest and decide what to do with the remaining time we had. I was disappointed that we hadn't seen the Star Wars A Galactic Spectacular. The boy wanted more of the Seas. Hubby just wanted to crash. So I let hubby rest and I got an evening snack from the lounge (glass of wine and a beef kabob made for me by Gene). That would be my diner for the night. Tried to get the kid to eat something too, but he wasn't interested.
Eventually, I took the boy and headed over to Epcot. On the monorail over he said he was hungry, so I decided our first stop would be the Electric Umbrella. He had a quick burger and fries and the two of us shared a soda.
Before we hit the Seas again, I checked in to see how bad the wait for Joy and Sadness was. Still really busy. No Joy, no Sadness for us this trip. But Baymax from Big Hero 6 had maybe a 10-minute wait. So we jumped in line.
Spent an hour over at the Seas and then headed out through the International Gateway and took the boat over to DHS. Was a LONG boat ride with lots of people getting on and off. It was an extra magic night at DHS which explains the crowds.
Once there I tried to stake out a viewing spot. It was just over a half an hour to go and it was already pretty full. Still we managed to find a spot not too far back on the right hand side of the street near a railing. The smell of popcorn was in the air and you know the kid wanted some (along with a drink). So I told him to stay put and off I went. The wait was longer than I wanted. I was probably gone for fifteen minutes. (Which could be an eternity to a kid waiting by himself; and his phone was on its last legs from him playing his slither game on it whenever there was a wait.)
I could tell he was relieved to see me when I came back with a bucket of popcorn and a soda with two straws. We made quick work of both as we waited for the show. I have to say it was worth the wait. The show was amazing, even though we had a limited view of the fireworks that went off to the right side of the park. (We were blocked by a speaker). The fireworks, the lasers, the music, the projections...It was amazingly awesome. (Just sorry hubby didn't get to see it, but it is DEFINITELY worth going back for!) This goes on the top of my list.
I made sure we hung back a bit to let the crowds out and then I told my son we could enjoy the park a little bit more. He wanted to do GMR again. So we headed there to find a HUGE line. I was ready to call it quits, but then word came down that the reason the line was so long was that the ride had to be restarted (it is shut during the Star Wars Spectacular) and they had to check magic bands to make sure that we were staying on property. Once that was done, things moved pretty quickly. We moved through the queue effortlessly and were traveling through Hollywood once again.
I was pretty worn by this time, but I told the boy that we could do one more thing and he wanted to do Star Tours again. So we walked that way. He was amazed at how deserted it was. (And this is why I love extra magic hours.) I tried to take some photos as we entered and he complained that I was holding up the line. What line? There was no line. It was a great last ride.
Headed out of the park to go back to the Poly. This was the worst part of the night as we had to wait about 1/2 an hour before a bus showed up. (As usual, there were plenty of other buses coming and going for other resorts, but not for the Poly.) Guess we should have stayed in the park and played a while longer. Again, I wish they had a digital sign at the park bus stops like they do at the resort so you have some idea of how long you'll be waiting.
When we finally got back to the resort (shortly after midnight), we wearily made our way to our longhouse. Hubby was still awake and had packed most everything up. Kid took a shower and climbed into bed and watched cartoons for a bit while I got everything else packed up and ready to go for the morning. Finally, I had a shower and managed to climb into bed. We watched some more Disney cartoons (because why not?) before we finally called it a night just before 1 AM.
The next morning (or later that morning seeing how we went to bed late!), I reluctantly got up, dressed and went to the lounge for breakfast around 7:30. I let the boys sleep, but when I got back hubby was up. Friends of ours were arriving in FL today (not Disney, but spending some time in the area) and we had arranged to meet up for breakfast. They arrived earlier than we expected. The boy was still asleep, so I let him sleep and left a note as to where we were. (I was pretty sure he wouldn't wake up while we were out).
We met our friends outside the Kona. It was great to see them (as always). Hubby joined them for a big breakfast; I just sat and enjoyed the company. We don't get to see each other that often as they live in 4 hours drive away from us so whenever we get together there's always a lot to talk about. (Even though we regularly keep in touch.)
After breakfast, we brought them back with us to the lounge and I went upstairs to get the boy up. He wasn't happy. (Can you blame him?) He had something to eat in the lounge and then we all went back to the Great Ceremonial House. First plan: To monorail around. We did the loop and then returned to the Poly to do some shopping. (Always wait till the last minute to get goodies.) Went back to our room and packed up the remaining items, checked our luggage (except for carry on) and went back and hung for a while longer with friends. Then it was noon and time for us to get on DME and head to the airport. The week had gone to fast. (As it always does when you are in Disney.)
We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. There was quite a crowd at security, but Orlando handles it beautifully. It was well organized and easy to go through. The fact that space is much more open than the area in Newark, makes it feel less congested and stressful. Despite the fact that it was mid-day and there were many more people, we made it through security in the same amount of time (or maybe less) than we did in the early hours of the morning at Newark.
Took the monorail out to our gate and sat down to wait. Hubby went to BK for some burgers (no fries) for "lunch" (I want the $18 hamburger at the Sci Fi Dine In!!) Then just as we were getting about 1/2 hour away from flight time, we got the announcement of a gate change and that our flight would be delayed 2 hours. OUCH! Hubby had packed the phone charger (MISTAKE). My phone was just about dead (managed to get one text message out to our ride on the other end to let him know that we were going to be late). Using the kid's phone (which was also starting to run out of power) we let my parents know that we were going to be late. Then we settled in for a long wait. (Well it did give me a little time to catch up on my notes. I tried to keep track of what we did each day but by Wednesday I'd let things slide.)
I did go to one of the stores and spent $20 on a soda, a magazine (because my son was using my Nook to play games and I wanted to read SOMETHING) and a giant bag of M&Ms. Somehow the time passed. Surprisingly enough it really wasn't that bad. (It WOULD have been bad if it had been in Newark. Orlando's airport just seems cheerier which makes delays more tolerable.)
Our plane showed up 2 hours late and once on board the pilot explained that our original plane had an issue so they'd had to fly another one up for us. No one likes a delay, but better safe than sorry.
Flight home was uneventful. Only problem was as we got close to Newark, there was obviously some sort of air pressure change. My ears really hurt and so did my son's. We were chewing gum trying to alleviate some of the pressure, but to no avail. I could hear some babies crying and let me tell you, I couldn't blame them one bit. I wanted to cry too. Those last 45 minutes or so as we came into Newark really hurt. Once we landed it was better but the two of us still had clogged ears. (Don't know why my hubby had no problem, but he didn't). At least none of us had to use the barf bag.
Did not rush off the plane, so by the time we got downstairs to the baggage carousel, our bags were there. Dragged them outside and managed to call our ride, who was on his way. Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long and within an hour or so we were home again. Vacation over. (At least for hubby and me; our son headed to a week at sleep away camp the next afternoon.)
Some final thoughts:
- Probably would not go back in the summer season again if we could help it.
- Would probably NOT to a split stay if we could help it. While we loved the room at the Poly, we missed the service and the atmosphere of the Contemporary. It is "our" Disney home.
- Worst Meals: Shutters (my fault, but still can't believe they charged me), Mama Melrose and La Hacienda De San Angel.
- Best Meals: Sci Fi Dine In, Grand Floridian Cafe, Garden Grill, Trattoria Al Forno and The Plaza.
- Attractions We Love the Most (as a family):
- Great Movie Ride
- Star Tours
- AK: Safari
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas
- American Adventure
- Haunted Mansion (Hands down THE family favorite)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Monster Laugh Floor
Thank you for taking the time to read this and my previous posts on our Disney vacation. I hope that you will "join us" again when we head to the Happiest Place on Earth. (Even thought I don't know when that will be.)