Yes we did it again! 2 years was the maximum we could wait… (Dreamy harp music)
(Dreamy harp music) Once upon a time (Wednesday January 9th, 2013) I had just got back from a job interview. Mama D said she missed me and was looking at train and plane fares. I told her there wouldn’t be much to do here in the winter so I told her we were better off meeting someplace warm and by the evening we both had our flights booked, a room reserved at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel for 5 nights, and we were leaving Sunday: We don’t mess around in my family!
How I envied Mama D who had a direct flight from Montreal to Orlando. A transfer to either Toronto or Montreal is the price to pay to be able to find a parking spot near the door so transfer for me there was.
We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for the second time and it felt like going back to our own private vacation condo. Crossing the bridge the day of our arrival from the lobby to our building – Acadian House – was such a pleasant feeling. Although, crossing it for the last time on Friday was very sad. We felt at home and so much more relaxed than during our previous stay in 2011. I had been to WDW in 2009 on my own but I was staying at the Marriott’s Residence Inn which could have been a great option but I recalled the shabby shuttle left at fixed hours early in the morning and at night and I wanted us to be able to be flexible.
Day 1 (Epcot, Boardwalk, Hollywood Studios)
We started our vacation off on Monday on a high note with Epcot’s Soarin’, Living With the Land, and then we had lunch at Seasons. We rode the taxi boat to Boardwalk where we did some window shopping, and then we hopped back on the boat taxi heading to Hollywood Studios. We saw the new attraction The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow and were left with mixed feelings. It is one of those presentations where you can’t sit down and you have to be in the middle to be able to see all the details. We had another mini lunch at the All American Café and came back “home”.
Day2 (Magic Kingdom)
We started the day in Tomorrowland with a ride on the Transit Authority People Mover: what a nice ride that is. We did the Carousel of Time with a new theme song much better than the previous one: …It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow… We had a bite to eat at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café and they were so accommodating with food for me: I have a condition called interstitial cystitis also known as painful bladder syndrome and my list of forbidden foods is very long, so long that there is even an app for it! Seriously, Mama D and Dami have it on their phone and it is so useful. My Greek salad was missing the “r”: Lettuce, cucumber, feta cheese and chicken breast with no dressing. The poor cashier felt so sorry for me: sometimes I feel sorry for myself too! Although as I always say, at least I won’t die if I eat something I am not supposed to unlike those with very sensitive allergies.
Our 3rd attraction was Enchanted Tales with Belle where we surprised Belle with afternoon Tea. We have never read or saw any movies about The Little Mermaid so the next attraction, Ariel’s Grotto was a bit of a disappointment for us. It is basically a Meet & Greet attraction where you sit next to the Mermaid to have your picture taken with her. I am not too fond of that, same as I wouldn’t want to have my picture taken with Santa at the mall… We were a little upset that we had waited almost an hour just for that: They should make it clear what kind of attraction it is in the pamphlet’s description. Poor Ariel was offended that we didn’t want our picture taken with her. I wonder if we were the first ones.
A 5 minute wait for Under the Sea was a big consolation for having waited so long for so little at Ariel’s Grotto and we enjoyed the ride. After that we needed an ice cream badly and we had a couple of cups of it at Storybook Treats: I even remember it was marked as W on the map! After the ice cream we hopped on the WDW Railroad and hopped off at Frontierland for a Fast Pass for Jungle Trek. We killed time in the Enchanted Tiki Room (I am still hunted by the melody the birds were singing) and The Swiss Family Tree House. The Jungle Trek tour guide (happens almost every time) was hard to understand because she was talking very fast and had an annoying nasal voice… so did the WDW railroad Train conductor…
We didn’t have to wait long for the bus that night and we stopped at Port Orleans French Quarter side for our supper. We took the boat taxi to return to Riverside.
Day3 (Animal Kingdom)
We arrived at the park at 9:00 and took our time enjoying the Oasis Exhibits. We followed by It’s Tough to be a Bug without having to wait very long. In Africa, we found a nice relaxing table behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments and had delicious French Toasts sticks. We took a Fast Pass for Kilimanjaro Safari and visited the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and rode both ways in the Wildlife Express Train.
Thank goodness the Kilimanjaro Safari tour guide was speaking eloquently! It was a breeze and we saw more animals than in my 2 previous visits and there was no over excited cheerleader sitting next to me sticking her finger out in front of my face every time she pointed something out to her friend. It was the best AK Kilimanjaro Safari of my life! After a long walk to Dinoland USA we got a Fast Pass for Dinosaur and went for a bite to eat at Restaurantosurus. The last attraction of the day was the Maharaja Jungle Trek where we saw the beautiful Tigers and almost all the animals. We were very satisfied with our day and back at Riverside we went to the Arcade before supper with our complimentary ticket that we exchanged in the machine for 100 points. I played a game of Pirates of the Caribbean’s pinball and then we both played a game of Bowling: Thanks WDW! I gave the remaining 15 points on the card to a mother of 2 boys and she was very happy.
Day 4 (Magic Kingdom, Epcot)
We got to Magic Kingdom at 7:50 as it was one of those extra magical mornings with an hour extra for resort guests. It was nice to see the grand opening. We walked to Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s a Small World. We waited in line to be the first to cross into Frontierland and walked straight to Hunted Mansion then we took the WDW Railroad train around the park and got off at the Entrance. We took the Monorail with a transfer to Epcot, grabbed a Fast Pass to Soarin’. In the 2 hours we had before the next presentation, we had lunch at Seasons, watched the movie The Circle of Life and did the Living with the Land attraction. The weather had turned sour so we took the World Showcase boat to Morocco. We did some shopping at the Japan pavilion but didn’t buy anything. The highlight of the visit was the Hearing Working Dog Mica. Once outside, the weather was even worse than before so we took the boat back to the other side and stopped by Spaceship Earth where sadly we weren’t able to retrieve our picture at the end. We were so happy to get back to our warm room that evening. We made tea and by 8:30 we were sleeping.
All in all it was an awesome trip and we had the best weather I have seen for the time period. Every day was sunny with a mix of clouds with a maximum of 28 degrees Celsius. After many visits, I find it best to go without too much planning and leave room to improvise. Don’t forget to take Mickey with you!