Monday, September 16, 2013

Disney Trip Report: Day 2

Thanks for coming back for Day 2 of the trip report of my Disney Trip! If you want to read Day 1, click here. I cant wait to share with you all the pictures and fun from Day 2! *And once again, my tips will be preceded by a *.

Day 2 of our trip was our first day in the parks. We chose Magic Kingdom to start out our trip.

Despite getting in late and having a hard time sleeping (we were excited, y'all!), Ben and I were up early and ready to go. I even woke up in time to catch the sunrise and it was so gorgeous off of our balcony!
Sunset from our balcony. Worth the super early wake-up!
Everyone else wasn't quite up yet, so we decided to walk over to the Jambo House (the other part of our resort) to have breakfast at Mara, the quick service restaurant.

Ready for the day! Gorgeous view off of our balcony!
We decided to go with the Disney Dining Plan (more on that later) and I knew that I wanted to try different things instead of going with the food that I eat at home. So with that in mind, I tried the African Inspired Breakfast Platter. It included things like "Pap" and "Chakalaka," which I had NO CLUE even what it was, but I figured it was my only chance to try something new. And it was GOOD!
My African Inspired Breakfast Platter. Yummy!
Ben's regular breakfast platter, complete with Mickey waffle. Also super yummy!

We also claimed our mugs here that came with our dining plan, and it was so great to be able to grab a drink every morning!
My goob :)

After eating breakfast and doing some sightseeing around our resort, our whole crew loaded on the bus and headed to...MAGIC KINGDOM!! *One tip I have when planning your trip is to consult a crowd calendar in both choosing your time to go to Disney AND in picking which park to go to each day. (Come back to the wrap up post on Saturday to find out which ones I used!). The time that we went was PERFECT. We very rarely waited in line for anything, and when we did, it wasn't much more than 20 minutes. The weather wasn't overly hot and didn't rain too much. I would say these calendars are an invaluable planning resource!*

Our bus!

Logan and Amy on the bus. 

Steve and Caden.

We had a dedicated bus to Magic Kingdom (meaning no other resorts and no other parks) so our ride was relatively quick. We got to the park and went through the bag check. *Don't be the guy that takes forever to get his bags open. Have everything out and open by the time you get to the front of the line. Makes the process easier and faster!*
Magic Kingdom!

Ben and me in front of Magic Kingdom. Excuse the squinty eyes-it was super bright!
We got in the park just in time to see the "Move it, Shake it" Parade. It was such a fun way to start our day and really set the tone for how much fun we would have! After the parade, we hopped on the train (the one at the front of the park) and got off in Fronteirland. *I don't know if this would work for everyone, but it worked for us. Instead of walking down Main Street when we first got there or walking to the next park, hopping on the train got us there faster AND beat most of the crowds!*
Mickey and Minnie in the "Move it, Shake it" parade. 
Woody and Jessie in the "Move it, Shake it" parade. 
View of Cinderella's Castle down Main Street. 

Ben and me from the train station.

View of Main Street from the train station.
Amy and Steve on the train.
We basically walked onto Splash Mountain- I don't think we waited longer than 10 minutes! It was a fun way to start out the day and it really helped the youngest in our group get used to riding rides!
I love these ride photos! Definitely one of the highlights of each day in the parks!
After we rode Splash Mountain we saw a meet and great with Woody and Jessie! The line looked short so we jumped in. Well, it definitely wasn't as short as it looked and we ended up waiting for about 15 minutes, but it still wasn't bad!
Caden meeting and taking pictures with Woody and Jessie. 

This was so cute-Jessie was playing with Caden's mohawk!

After that meet and great we went to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and didn't wait very long for that either!
Such a cool picture!
Then we went to Pecos Bill's for lunch. Pecos Bill's is a counter service restaurant (see the menu here) that I had seen on another blog and decided to check it out. I had the Deluxe Angus Cheeseburger and Ben had the Taco Salad. It was pretty quick and good as far as counter service goes. We got our food and our party somehow got split up. Ben, Chris, Dena, and I found a quiet tucked away spot to eat. *I think this is one of the best tips I have. It may not work as well when the crowds are high, but finding a quiet spot where you can relax, even just for a few minutes, is well worth it. It gives you a chance to get away from the crowds and eat your food without all the noise! I would definitely go back to the quiet spot in the back of the restaurant next time we go!*
The front of the restaurant.  
My burger and Ben's taco salad. Both good!
There was no wait at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride so we walked right in! We couldn't believe how real the pirates looked! We had fun playing in the gift shop at the end of the ride. This is still one of my favorite attractions, but it may not be good for young children.

After Pirates we got back on the train and rode to Fantasyland. None of the adults seemed super interested in this part of the park, so we walked on through and went to Tomorowland. We walked up to the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and it had a FIVE MINUTE WAIT. Apparently this is a big deal, because Chris said the line is always ridiculous here, so it was awesome that we basically didn't have to wait. This ride was AWESOME. It is definitely geared towards kids, but the adults had just as much fun!
Steve, Caden, Amy and Logan. 
Ben, Me, Chris, and Dena. So much concentration! 
There was no wait at the Carousel of Progress, and we were all ready for a sit-down, so we decided to go in and watch. The concept of this attraction is neat, and I love that it was conceived by Walt Disney himself, but this would not be one that I would care to ride again.

When we walked out of the Carousel of Progress, the sky had changed from sunny to super dark and windy. The plus side to this is that the temperature dropped considerably! We decided to hop on the People Mover and see what the weather was going to do. This is one of my favorite things here-it gives you a chance to relax and see some of the different attractions at Magic Kingdom in a fun and new way!

While on the People Mover, the weather continued to decline to the point we knew the sky was about to drop. So we ran to Space Mountain just in time to beat the crowds and waited about 20 minutes because everyone seemed to have the same idea we did- escape the weather! This is one of my favorite rides at Disney World-it is fast and exciting! When we got off the ride and into the gift shop, it was POURING. The lightening and thunder was was pretty scary to be stranded like that!
Our faces are hilarious!

The rain eased up for a minute, so we made a break for it! We headed back to Buzz Lightyear again because it was so much fun! It was still raining when we got out, and the lightening was awful, so we ducked into Stitch's Great Escape. WORST. ATTRACTION. EVER. Disney can get rid of this as far as I'm concerned. It's too scary for kids and the burp smell is just awful. I'm not one to tell you to skip an attraction because all experiences are different, but this was awful. *DON'T GO TO STITCH'S GREAT ESCAPE*

The rain still hadn't stopped, although it was barely sprinkling at this point, and Chris and Dena had seen all they wanted to see, so they headed off to go to Walmart for some groceries. Ben and I were nowhere near ready to leave yet, so we met back up with the Altizers (we had split up with them a little while earlier) and walked towards Adventureland. On the way, we realized that Cinderella's Castle had NO ONE in front of it. So we all hurried to get pictures before the drizzle stopped. And boy am I glad we did-we have pictures with no crowds! It was so awesome and I am so glad we stayed!

After that epic moment in time, we headed to Adventureland for another one-DOLE WHIP. In case you don't know, Dole Whip is a yummy Pineapple soft-serve type treat that you can get in various flavors. At the recommendation of the guy working at the stand, I got the Pineapple and Vanilla swirl Float. And boy was it good! It was by far the best treat I had at Disney, and supposedly one of the most low calorie treats you can get!
Aloha Isle-the only place in Magic Kingdom where you can get Dole Whip.

DOLE WHIP!!! YUMMY!!! And Ben's Coke Float!

Dole Whip Float!

It was still raining at this point so we headed to an arcade to wait it out a little bit more. We played some checkers and Logan got free play at the arcade because his penny hadn't worked in the machine (more on pressed pennies later too!). We hung out here for about 15 minutes and the rain still hadn't stopped. We had just realized the park closed early that day because of an event that night, so we headed out in the rain to see as much as we could. The Altizers rode the Carousel while Ben and I hung out and planned our next move.
My boo playing checkers!

After the Carousel, we all headed to the Little Mermaid Under the Sea. This is a slow moving ride through scenes from the Little Mermaid with the songs playing. This was fun, and the animation was so neat, but it is not something I would do if I had to pass up something else. Does that make sense? I liked it, but not more than I liked other things!

After this, Ben and I tried to go to the Beast's Castle because it is new and I wanted to see what it looked like on the inside, but it was closed due to the park's early closure that night. I was so bummed to not get to see everything I wanted to, but maybe next trip!

At this point Ben and I headed out of the park. We were wet and tired, and decided to get something to eat. So we walked down Main Street and walked out of the park and to our bus. We had an almost empty bus and a relatively short bus ride. We went back to our room, took showers, and got ready for dinner. After we were ready, we met back up with Chris and Dena and took a bus to Epcot and then took the Monorail to the Polynesian Resort. This is one of my only complaints of staying where we stayed. We were probably the furthest resort from the parks (with the exception of Animal Kingdom) and any time we wanted to go to dinner, we had to take a bus to a park then another form of transportation to that resort. It takes a good bit of travel time, and I can only imagine that it is worse when the crowds are higher!

When we got to the Polynesian resort, we set out to eat at Ohanas. I had done a good bit of research and I knew that we wouldn't be able to get in, but Dena thought we could so we tried. We weren't able to (they are reservation only after 5) but we DID get a table at Kona Cafe, another restaurant at the resort. So while the boys reserved our table, Dena and I got drinks. I got the Lapu Lapu, a fruity drink served in a pineapple, while everyone else got the backscratcher, a fruity drink served with-you guessed it- a backscratcher. I thought my drink would be the best thing ever, as it was highly touted on Pinterest, but I didn't care for it. It could have just been my bartender, but it just didn't taste very good!
The Lapu Lapu. It looks prettier than it tastes!

We started off with the Pot Stickers. And boy were they GOOD. Pot stickers/dumplings/gyoza is one of our favorite things, and these did not disappoint! For dinner I had the Teriyaki-style New York Strip, served with sticky rice and broccolini. For the full menu, click here.  My meal was PHENOMENAL. One thing I have learned recently (and I may be the only person on the planet NOT to know this) is that when a dish is served with a garnish, EAT IT. I don't mean a sprig of basil or something lame like that, but like a real food item. This steak had a Pineapple chutney/relish/salsa type thing on top and it just elevated the flavors so much further beyond just the steak itself (which was amazing!). *The best tip I have when eating on the meal plan is to look at the most expensive thing you can get. I know it sounds crazy, but its the best way to maximize those meal credits! I cant say this is what I always did, but it helped with what I chose every night, and I didn't eat anything I didn't like!*
Pot stickers...SO GOOD. 

The steak with rice and broccolini. Probably the best steak I have ever had!

After dinner, we headed back to our resort and IMMEDIATELY crashed!

Overall, it was an amazing first day in the parks. I learned so much for our next trip, and I cant wait to try new things!

Come back tomorrow for pictures, tips, and our trip report from Day 3!

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