February 2017 at Port Orleans French Quarter

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Allie's picture
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February 2017 at Port Orleans French Quarter

Once again, I was totally irresponsible and didn't take any notes, so I only have my memory/photos/schedule to reference so apologies in advance!

If you want to catch up on who we are and what the plan was, check out the Pre Trip Report.

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Saturday, February 4th

Recap of the Day:

We had a 6:25am flight and an hour and a half drive to the airport. We pushed our luck a bit and didn't leave our house until around 3:30/3:45am. Penny did good sleeping in the car but when we pulled up at the airport for my sister to drop us off, Southwest had a crazy long line to print boarding passes and check bags. Once through there, security was longer than I have ever seen at the MSP airport and it went ridiculously slow. I had to rush through taking Penny to the bathroom and then getting her on the flight while Jon begged people at the only open shop to let him jump to the front of the line to purchase a bagel and some fruit for us to share and he still got on the plane just in time. We really need to stop doing that because man do those close calls give me anxiety!

I don't remember if we slept much at all on the flight, but I know Penny at least did well with resting and staying pretty chill. We landed in Orlando around 12pm and hightailed it over to Magical Express where we had probably a 10 min wait before we were on our way to French Quarter. While in line I got a text that our room was ready and, lucky us, it was the exact room I had requested: a 3rd floor corner room in building 3. Once at the resort, we ooohed and ahhhed over the grounds and lobby, dropped off our carry-ons in the room, and hopped on a bus to Epcot.

Bag check lines were long and everyone was being sent through the metal detectors, but soon we were in the park. We snapped a few pictures before putting Penny down for her nap in the stroller. Good thing she was exhausted or this would have been a real struggle getting her to go down after minutes of being in our first park!

Jon and I were starving so we set off to explore the International Festival of the Arts booths. We started at the Odyssey building at the Painter's Palate booth. We got the Trio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts (Whipped Herb Cream Cheese with Sea Salt; Chicken Mousse with Fresh Herbs and Everything Bagel Seasoning; Spicy Tuna with Sriracha Mayonnaise and Sesame Seeds), as well as the Pomegranate Mule. It may have been because we were so hungry, but we thought it was all yummy. Tuna was the best with the cream cheese in second and chicken mousse in third.

We wandered around until we could find the decadent delights booth where we got the Crisp Caramel Chocolate Mousse Bar (Flavored Merengue Kisses, and Passion Fruit Coulis) and the Deconstructed Purple Sweet Potato Pie (Salted Caramel, Bourbon-soaked Cake and Marshmallow Whipped Cream). The mousse bar was good but nothing spectacular and I wasn't a fan of the sweet potato pie. I love sweet potatoes but hate pumpkin and it tasted too much like pumpkin pie for me.

E=AT2 booth is where we finished up the food tour for the day. We got one of each of the main dishes available: Deconstructed Reuben (Classic Reuben with Shredded Corned Beef, Thousand Island Dressing, Pickled Red Cabbage, and a Rye Curl), the Deconstructed BLT (with Crispy Pork Belly, Tomato Jam, and Soft Poached Egg), and the Cobb Salad (with Smoked Duck Breast, Avocado Mousse, Nuske's Applewood Smoked Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Fire-roasted salsa). They were out of the rye curl for the Reuben and we ordered the cobb salad without the blue cheese, but it was all delicious. The BLT was our favorite, obviously.

Penny was already awake by the time we were done eating. She was pretty sleepy the rest of the day from the early morning and only around a 30 min nap, but it is what it is. We used up our FastPass and checked off our first day tradition of riding Under the Seas with Nemo and Friends first. As soon as we got off, Penny was thirsty but wanted to ride it again. Jon headed over to the Land to get in line for Soarin' and I got her a bottle of water and we sat on the wall outside the Seas pavilion while she drank for a bit and then we rode again in the standby line. I checked my messages when we got out and Jon was still pretty far back in line so I moved our FastPass for Living with the Land up and Penny and I rode without him since Jon doesn't like it much anyways. I'm glad we had a FastPass because standby was over 40 minutes and even the FastPass line moved slower than I expected!

By the time we got off, Jon was almost done so we took a bathroom break and watched Disney Jr on my phone until he got off. He had grabbed me a Child Swap pass so they went outside to watch the ducks while I rode. I got moved up quickly since they needed a single rider to fill an empty seat and I was in and out in less than 20 minutes. I liked the new version a lot but I didn't like all the jump scares. If Penny is tall enough to go on next trip, I really don't think she will be a fan of the ride because of how often you get startled at the end of the scenes.

Our Frozen Ever After FastPass was open at this point, but the ride was down and Anna and Elsa's meet and greet line was super high because everyone that was waiting to get on the ride seemed to have gone there in the meantime. We decided to try back later and Jon and Penny went to grab us seats for the Disney on Broadway show. I stopped in Germany to purchase the wine tour where you can get two small glasses of wine at Germany, Italy, and France for around $20. I got my first two samples and then went and met up with Jon and Penny to watch some of the show. Kerry Butler and Kevin Massey were the featured performers and we enjoyed what we saw. Penny liked dancing to the music.

We trekked back over to Norway and Anna and Elsa still had a 40 min listed wait. Luckily Penny talked us into getting into line anyways because we didn't wait any more than 15 min. We really loved this new character spot and the interactions were great. Elsa was easily the best Elsa we have met.

Frozen Ever After was finally back up and running when we got out so we hopped in the FastPass line and rode quickly before our dinner reservation. We all really liked it but Penny was a little weary of the drop (she still hadn't totally gotten over a big log flume ride we took her on at Mall of America).

We all were very tired and hungry so we decided that our 7:00pm dinner reservation at Chefs de France would be our last stop for the day. We were seated within minutes of our reservation and we ordered quickly so that we could get out faster. I ordered a glass of wine (Riesling I think) and then Jon and I each did the prix fixe meal that came with soup or a salad, an entree, and a dessert. I got the French onion soup and the broiled salmon with rice pilaf and a dill beurre blanc sauce. Jon got the lobster bisque and beef short ribs braised in cabernet with baby onions, carrots, and served with polenta. Penny got the kids grilled chicken. The soups both came out quickly (Jon really liked the lobster bisque that I thought was a little too rich, and I was sorely disappointed in the flavorless French onion) but the entrees are where we ran into trouble. Again, we were all extremely tired and TMI, Penny really needed to poop but was refusing to go on the big potty and wanted to wait to go until we were back on the potty chair at the hotel. This caused Jon and I to take turns running into the bathroom with her every 3 to 4 min as she squealed uncomfortably at the table and then cried that she didn't want to go when we were in the stall. So needless to say, we were already miserable and in a rush, but our food would just not come.

Finally at 8:00pm I sent Jon and Penny back to the hotel without me and grabbed the waiter, who we had barely seen at all in the hour we had been there. I told him that Penny wasn't feeling well and they had left. I also told them we had been sitting there for at least 45 minutes and hadn't gotten our entrees and I needed them to be brought out in boxes so that I could take them back to the hotel and I also needed a dessert menu to order the desserts that came with our meal to be taken to go, as well. With no urgency and no apologies, our food finally came out 10 minutes later on scalding hot plates and I was handed boxes to dish the entrees up myself. Why they could not have been plated in the boxes when I had made the request quite a while ago that they be boxed up, I don't know. I was annoyed as I left a lot of the sauce and whatnot behind on the plate because it was so difficult to move everything over, especially when I couldn't touch the plates because they were so hot. 5 minutes later our waiter meandered back over with the dessert menu where I instantly picked two items, the chocolate layer cake and the swan cream puff both without the ice cream, before he could walk away again. Another 5 to 10 minutes and I had my dessert in hand and had paid for our meal with dining credits and then out of pocket for Penny's meal, the wine, and the tip.

On my way out, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut and I stopped at the hostess stand to ask to talk to a manager. I explained the entire situation, that we had been there a ridiculously long time, had our food brought out to box ourselves when I had asked them to be plated to go, and no rush or apology had been offered when I complained about the long wait and told the waiter that our daughter was not feeling well. All the while, our waiter decided it was appropriate to stand just over the manager's shoulder to listen to everything I was saying. The manager apologized profusely, went and talked to the waiter separately, and refunded my card and returned the dining plan credits as he said he didn't want us to pay so much money to eat his food "out of boxes like Chinese takeout". I thanked him and told him I appreciated the gesture and he said he hoped we would give them another chance in the future. Turns out we will because, after a long wait for a bus back to FQ, Jon and I sat in bathroom (him on the toilet and me on the edge of the bathtub) so as not to disturb the already sleeping Penny, and we ate the food cold out of the boxes and by goodness it was still delicious! I wanted to hate it so much after the crappy service and the sad situation we were eating in, but both the short ribs and the salmon were perfection. I just really wish I had had more of the sauce that got left on my plate! So in short, Chefs de France might totally be worth another try.

Before we collapsed in bed, I went and filled up our resort mugs and got our Mama Melrose reservation for Monday upgraded to Hollywood Brown Derby with our extra two dining credits. So it all worked out in the end.

Highs of the day: Getting our room request, LOVING Port Orleans French Quarter, trio of croissant doughnuts, deconstructed BLT, deconstructed Reuben, Soarin', great Anna and Elsa interaction, and a good recovery by the Chefs de France manager

Lows of the day: Another close call on our flight, Soarin' jump scares, an upset toddler tummy, and a really awful Chefs de France waiter

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OK, I can't stop laughing at the way the 2 of you eat. AHHHH the things parents do for the sake of our kiddos!!!

I'm so sorry that happened to you but glad it was good in the end!

Can't wait to hear more, and I hope Penny pooped!! laugh laugh

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Allie's picture
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JMed wrote:
OK, I can't stop laughing at the way the 2 of you eat. AHHHH the things parents do for the sake of our kiddos!!!

I'm so sorry that happened to you but glad it was good in the end!

Can't wait to hear more, and I hope Penny pooped!! laugh laugh

Haha I know right? That really proved to us how good the food actually was, that we still enjoyed it so much when we were exhausted, crabby, and sitting in an empty bathtub eating it cold out of a cardboard box. laugh

She did poop back at the hotel, but unfortunately this became a theme throughout the trip. It happened probably 4 or 5 more times. Sometimes she could handle it and just forgot about it, sometimes we had to stop what we were doing and take her back to the hotel. Needless to say, the potty chair has been totally eliminated as an option now that we're home so that this hopefully isn't a problem on future trips! waiting

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Never underestimate the power of a good poop!! wink laugh

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I'm encouraged that the food was still good after all of that! I'm eating as Chefs de France for the first time next week.

Penny is so cute, while she may have her moments (all little ones do) she seems to have reached that point where she's looking less like a baby and much more like a little girl! Beautiful pictures. muchlove

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oHIo wrote:
Never underestimate the power of a good poop!! wink laugh

awesome

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Kristen K. wrote:
I'm encouraged that the food was still good after all of that! I'm eating as Chefs de France for the first time next week.

Penny is so cute, while she may have her moments (all little ones do) she seems to have reached that point where she's looking less like a baby and much more like a little girl! Beautiful pictures. muchlove

She really has grown up SO much since our last trip in April. Besides the pooping (which really isn't her fault...we should have made sure that she had no potty training issues before we went) and the first couple of days being hesitant of rides (the flume ride at Mall of America freaked her out and set the tone for the beginning of the trip) we really had no issues with her at all. The ride thing she quickly got over, thank goodness, and she had no meltdowns like she had had the previous two trips.

Plus we started working with her on talking to the characters more. We'd help her come up with something she wanted to ask, say, or do with each character before she got up to meet them. Normally because she is shy, the characters sense this and just start rambling and it didn't give her an opportunity to gather her thoughts and get out what she wanted to say. This time I would eventually interrupt with, "What did you want to tell Ariel?" and the character would pause and let her get a word in which made for much better interactions that she was much more excited about afterwards.

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JoAnn C wrote:
oHIo wrote:
Never underestimate the power of a good poop!! wink laugh

awesome

This just made me giggle out loud at work! Penny is adorable!

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Sunday, February 5th

Recap of the Day:

We were up bright and early this morning for our 8:30am Crystal Palace reservation. I was surprised that we got a fairly empty bus at that time and we were in the park by 8:15am, so we paused for some PhotoPass pictures. A photographer down at the end of Main Street took a liking to Penny and took a good deal of time getting a bunch of good pictures of her.

We checked in for Crystal Palace and were seated within probably 10 minutes or so. Jon and Penny killed time by checking out the flowers and dancing to the music over the speakers.

We all really liked Crystal Palace. I wasn't expecting much, but I though the food was really good. There were some cheesy potatoes that were to die for and, honestly, if there is smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, and bagels on a buffet, I'm pretty much a happy camper. Penny ate her weight in bananas and Mickey waffles and got an upset tummy again, but luckily she got distracted enough by the characters that she forgot about it. She was thrilled seeing Pooh and all his friends, bounced with Tigger, and even got to lead the parade around Crystal Palace with Eeyore. Of course they were out of sight through all of it and the parade ended just as they came back around the corner, so that means practically no video sad

When we finished breakfast we hightailed it over to meet Alice, but they had already cut off her line so we went and caught the tail end of our Cinderella and Elena FastPass instead.

Just as we finished there, our Rapunzel and Tiana FastPass on the other side of Fairytale Hall opened, so we went right around the corner and checked in. Penny of course decided she needed to pee just as we got in line, so we had to run out and ask the FastPass cast member to remember us and let us back in. Bathroom break completed, we re-entered Fairytale Hall for the 3rd time and had a quick greet with each of the princesses. Tiana liked her nail polish and Rapunzel was in awe of her twirling skills.

Alice had a new set starting so we went and got in line to get some pictures with her. Penny asked her which way the White Rabbit had gone but Alice couldn't seem to remember.

After Alice, Penny decided she really wanted to ride the tea cups. She had been mentioning it since watching the Disney promotional DVD, but we had hoped she had forgotten about it. Besides Mission Space, it's really the only ride in Disney that Jon and I won't do. She wanted to go on though, so we went. We just didn't teach her that you could spin the center wheel and then it really wasn't that bad.

We rode Under the Sea next and then our FastPass for Seven Dwarfs was open. We had been really hoping Penny would be tall enough for this as she had been so excited to ride "Snow White's rollercoaster" and thankfully the cast member at the front didn't even check her height as she was cutting it pretty close to that 38". Penny was giddy to get on all the way up until we got to the part of the line where FastPass merged with standby. The cast member had us wait while they let some standby people in, and Penny all of a sudden freaked out and decided she didn't want to go on. I'm a horrible mother and tried to calm her down and, despite the tears, made her try it anyways. As soon as the ride started she stopped crying, but when we got off she insisted she hated it and didn't want to ever do it again. We commended her for trying it and I changed our FastPass for Wednesday to Winnie the Pooh.

I believe I snagged us a FastPass for Dumbo next, not knowing that the FastPass line doesn't go through the jungle gym area that is Penny's favorite. We shrugged and convinced her that the area was closed right now and that we'd come back later.

It was almost nap time so we headed back up Main Street and Jon and Penny watched some of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade while I got her some corn dog nuggets at Casey's. It came with a ton of them so she was generous enough to share with us and man were those suckers good! I'll have to come back for my own batch sometime. I got us a Haunted Mansion FastPass as she finished her lunch, so we headed over that way for our last ride before putting her down in the stroller. As we got off the ride, she insisted that she now disliked Haunted Mansion too even though it is normally one of her favorites. I'm telling you, I was getting really discouraged with all the rides she was now becoming afraid of all of a sudden!

We put Penny down for her nap and decided to take the monorail over to the Poly for some sushi at Kona Island. I had checked the hours but we found out when we got into the Poly after a very slow, very crowded monorail ride, that they apparently don't start serving sushi until much later in the afternoon. We couldn't very well take the stroller into Kona, so we went downstairs to Capt. Cook's where there was an insanely long line. By now I was getting quite hangry so we sadly hopped back on the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

The plan was to go get a chicken and waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow, but as we arrived, the Festival of Fantasy parade was just about to appear on Main Street and we were on the right side of the road so, to avoid traffic, we took a long detour back around the castle. The path that normally goes right up behind the castle on the right side (next to Merida's meet and greet) was closed so we had to go all the way around by Mad Tea Party. Thank goodness this had happened though because, as we walked through Fantasyland, I saw that *gasp* Friar's Nook was open and *gasp* it had no line! Now I have been drooling over the thought of the Pot Roast Mac and Cheese pretty much since it was added to the menu, but because Friar's Nook is only open seasonally, it's never been open on any of our trips! I walked right up to the counter and ordered one pot roast mac and cheese and had half of it devoured within about 30 seconds.

We greatly debated ordering a second one, but we knew we had to eat dinner in a couple of hours to make it to fireworks so we decided on a cream cheese pretzel from Lunching Pad instead. I was pretty disappointed with this one though. It was ok but it needed more cream cheese. We got a coffee at the Main Street Bakery to share and spotted a Jesus look-a-like in line.

We drank our coffee, looked at the menu for Hollywood Brown Derby for tomorrow, and decided to go look at the Christmas Shoppe, but instead caught one of the Great Moments in American History with the Muppets shows. This was super cute and I wish we had seen more of them during our trip. Making this a priority for next time!

Penny woke up about half way through the show so we went and rode Jungle Cruise where we had yet another bathroom emergency. Just as the boat took off, she panicked saying she needed to go pee so I spent most of the ride talking her down and trying to keep her calm until Jon could grab her and sprint off to the bathroom when we got back to the dock. Just so you know, I'm not writing about all of the bathroom breaks that we DID take her on during downtime, so I swear we weren't waiting for her to be practically peeing her pants before every time that we took her!

Disaster averted, we rode the Magic Carpets and Penny spotted Jasmine and Aladdin who she insisted she had to meet even though we've met them on every trip so far. I got in line, but they had already cut it off for the pair that were out, so our wait turned into 45 minutes while we waited for the next set. Penny and Jon went off to explore some shops during some of it, where he was almost tempted into buying her a Moana outfit. When Jasmine and Aladdin came back out we were only about 3 families back in line so got through quickly.

We took Penny to her first showing of Enchanted Tiki Room which she greatly enjoyed.

I got us a Pirates of the Caribbean FastPass as our last ride before dinner. We reminded Penny that there would be just a little drop and she again panicked and didn't want to do the ride. There were two women in front of us on the boat that were probably late 20s/early 30s and were clearly dance teachers as they were both wearing "Just for Kix" gear. The one on the left stayed very quiet, but the one on the right turned around and was helping calm down Penny, promising her that she wouldn't get splashed. About half way through the ride, the one on the left leaned over the edge of the boat. I wondered what she was doing and I saw Jon's eyes get really wide. Then the girl on the right tugged her back over and handed her a paper bag and yup, that girl was vomiting hardcore. You could tell the people in front of them could hear it because the kids kept turning around. I felt so bad for her but man does that smell put a damper on the ride yuck The lady on the right then took the paper bag and put it inside her purse! Oh my gosh, like I don't know what I would do in that situation but I'm sure as hell not putting it in my purse. Needless to say, we were all glad to get off at the end of the ride!

Our appetites restored after being away from that scene, we headed into Pecos Bill's and the three of us split two of the fajitas platters. I LIVE for that toppings bar in there! All the guac and jalapenos and salsa that I want!? Yes please!

After dinner, Jon and Penny went and grabbed seats down in front of the castle for the Once Upon a Time projection show while I went in and got us an All-American Sundae from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor to share. I found them just before it started up, and Penny was mesmerized by the show.

We moved further back on Main Street to catch some of Wishes, and Penny talked Jon into getting her one of the glowing Mickey balloons. He regretted that decision later as we then had to keep it tied to the stroller for the rest of the trip which meant we kept getting smacked in the face with it on almost every step laugh

None of us are super into fireworks, Penny especially, so we cut out about half way through to ensure we got on a bus faster. A Port Orleans French Quarter bus pulled up just after the fireworks ended and we thanked our lucky stars as we thought about the crazy amount of people that were about to be heading to the bus stop. As we were about to climb on, Penny frantically exclaimed that she had to pee again and Jon and I made the executive call that she'd have to hold it. We purposely left early from the fireworks to avoid these crowds and we were not about to put ourselves right back in the middle of them! Thankfully she was once again able to hold it and we got back for the night safe and dry! biggrin

Highs of the day: Getting on all the rides we rode with relatively no wait (thanks FastPass), pot roast mac and cheese, corn dog nuggets, and getting to watch Penny's face and hear her reactions to the castle projection show

Lows of the day: Penny being much more resistant to rides this trip, no sushi at Kona, and puking on Pirates

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Dang, that was one bad waiter you had at Les Chefs de France. So glad the manager made it right, and that the food was good cold.

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Monday, February 6th

Recap of the Day:

Another early morning today to rope drop at Hollywood Studios. We got there a few minutes before the park opened so I pushed forward into the Trolley Car Cafe and got Jon and me a Starbucks to share. Once they released everyone, we headed straight back to One Man's Dream to meet Moana. We had a fairly short wait and even got to skip one group ahead of us because one of the two little girls in the family decided she had to go potty right as it was there turn. We chatted with the dad and he told us it was driving him crazy how much that had happened so far on their trip and we shared sob stories. Moana was great, but Penny was still a little sleepy so she doesn't look super thrilled about anything laugh

Next we shot over to meet Minnie and Mickey at Red Carpet Dreams across from ABC Commissary. This interaction was GREAT. So much so, Penny started crying when we left and when we asked her what was wrong she said, "I just miss them SOOOO much!"

We had planned on going to Great Movie Ride next, but decided to sneak in a quick meet with Olaf first since he only had about a 10 minute wait. We were bummed he didn't sign for autographs (I thought I had heard that he did) but we at least got a sticker from him to put in the autograph book instead.

Great Movie Ride was next and Penny and Jon went and played outside the theatre while I got us a Maple Bacon Whoopee Pie. We were pretty underwhelmed by the whoopee pie; it just tasted like a vanilla cupcake with bacon on top.

Great Movie Ride was good. We got the cowboy scene which was fun since we so often get the gangster. They did have a technical issue with one of the doors not opening that leads you out of the cowboy scene, so our car couldn't get through. We had to wait for a maintenance guy to come out from backstage and manually open it for us. Never seen that happen before.

We had a FastPass about to expire for Toy Story Midway Mania so we ran over and took Penny for her first ride on there. She liked it, but it did cause us to miss our FastPass for Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We did a couple of Disney Jr meet and greets while we killed time for the next performance. Penny and Jon went and met Jake since he had a short line and I got in the queue for Doc McStuffins where they joined up with me once they were done.

After Jake and Doc it was about time for another Voyage of the Little Mermaid show, so we caught that before heading to Hollywood Brown Derby for lunch

Hollywood Brown Derby was FANTASTIC. Jon and I have eaten at the lounge before but never in the restaurant, so I seized the opportunity when we had two more meal credits open up from the Chefs de France snafu. I am so glad we did. All the food was excellent, the service was great, even Penny's meal came out beautifully plated. We were on the Fantasmic dinner package so we each got an appetizer with our meal too, but we couldn't narrow down our choices so we ended up ordering three and planned on just paying for the additional one out of pocket. Our waitress, however, told us it was on the house which was a great surprise. I started with the mango Moscato cocktail (can't remember what it was called) which was super yummy and then for appetizers we did the crab cakes, beef carpaccio, and the togarashi-pumkin seed-crusted ahi tuna. All were great but the carpaccio was my favorite followed closely by the tuna. For his entree Jon did the filet of beef with forest mushroom, white truffle oil mashed potatoes, sauteed rainbow carrots, haricot verts, and red wine reduction. I went with the pan-seared black grouper with a half herb-crusted lobster tail, heirloom tomato, baby spinach, orzo salad, and cognac-mushroom blanc. I thought the lobster tail would have been my favorite part but it paled in comparison to the grouper. I've never had a more beautiful piece of fish in my life. We tried each other's entrees and we both enjoyed them but he thought he had ordered the winning dish and I'm very certain that mine was the best. Big smile For dessert we were given a trio of mini desserts: a chocolate mascarpone sphere infused with apricot-orange jam, a double vanilla bean creme brulee, and a mini grapefruit cake. It was the perfect way to end the meal. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Penny had the fried fish. We were pretty happy she didn't eat all of it because we got a to-go box and snacked on it for the rest of the afternoon. It was so yummy!

The meal took longer than expected, so we had to high tail it over to our Frozen Ever After FastPass as soon as we had paid the check. We always like that show and it's such a nice, air conditioned break. We finished up the Disney Jr characters with a quick meet with Sofia and Pluto. Sofia felt the love from Penny as she went in for a super long hug that she just would not let go of. People walking by had time to stop and notice and giggle at how much she was soaking it in, that's how long this hug lasted! It was pretty adorable.

Penny was way past naptime at this point, but we had to try and fit in Character Palooza since we've missed this every other trip. Boy are we glad we kept her up! We met with Mulan, Mushu, Prince Ali, Minnie Mouse, Megra, Pocahontas, and Mary Poppins in the 15 minute time slot. I think Pluto was there too but we had literally just met with him a few minutes before so we skipped him but we would have had time to meet him too had we wanted to. I was in line for Megra while Penny met with Prince Ali and Minnie, but Jon informed me she had a great chat with both of them and you can tell from her pictures that she was having a great time.

We calmed Penny down from all the excitement and put her down in the stroller for a nap while I did the single-rider line for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. I probably could have gotten through faster in standby honestly, but it was worth the wait. I promise I wasn't as horrified as I look in the picture! laugh I had grabbed Jon a child swap pass so he rode next and then I snagged myself a Tower of Terror FastPass which we again child swapped on. Once again, it looks like I'm pooping myself but really I guess I just have an expressive face or something! awesome

I had gotten FastPasses for the Beauty and the Beast show next, so Jon went in and grabbed us good seats while I sat with Penny outside until the last possible second before the show when I then woke her up and brought her in. She once again loved the show and clung to her Chip and Mrs. Potts tsum tsums the whole time, holding them up whenever they would scoot onto stage. It was the best Belle we've had, too.

We grabbed some dinner at PizzeRizzo but none of us were very hungry so Jon and Penny split an individual pizza and I at the Caesar salad that came with it. I tried a bite of the pizza too and none of us were very impressed. There was very little sauce or topping and the crust was super doughy. It was edible though and got the job done, and we liked the updated decor of the new restaurant. We ate up in the wedding reception room where Penny had a dance party.

We stopped for dessert to bring with us to Fantasmic at Oasis Canteen. Did you know you can get an $8.19 funnel cake with strawberry topping and vanilla ice cream here for a snack credit?! That's pretty much the best snack credit value I've seen. Plus it was super yummy.

I was nervous of what Penny would think of Fantasmic as she doesn't love fireworks or loud noises/explosions but she LOVED it! She was totally enamored the entire time...except of course when Jon had to run her up to the bathroom part way through waiting We had great seats, too.

Jon also caved and bought her a Mickey Mouse bubble machine wand thing that we had seen all over the parks and had been annoying the crap out of us because everywhere you walked there was a cloud of bubbles spraying you in the face. Now we would be the ones annoying everyone, especially ourselves as she liked to point the wand directly back at us while we were pushing the stroller sarcastic But all in all it was a great day.

On the way out, we traded out Penny's Mickey balloon that had already gotten a deflated ear. The balloon guy was very thankful as we interrupted a tour group of about a million teenage girls from taking pictures pretending to hold the balloons with him. Here's a shot of Penny with her face pressed up against the balloon on the bus ride back.

Highs of the day: All the character meets (especially Minnie and Mickey and character palooza), an amazing meal at Hollywood Brown Derby, and Penny loving Fantasmic that made her Fantasmic-loving momma oh so happy

Lows of the day: Um...I don't know? A subpar whoopee pie and pizza? Really it was a pretty great day!

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We were there a couple of weeks before you, how were the crowds? I felt like it wasn't really that crowded when we were there. How did you like PO French Quarter? I think it's our favorite (and we've stayed at the Poly, Contemporary & AK Lodge) it is a good location and laid back.

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Wow, what a fantastic character day! Penny looks adorable- the Minnie pictures are just perfect.

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Great day!

I was laughing at Jon's ride picture on the RnRC - that is priceless. I also laughed at your comments about the bubble gun - I was that person complaining about bubbles everywhere during our recent trip. laugh

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I'm really enjoying reading this! it's helping me with the Disney blues.

You have sold me on Hollywood Brown Derby, I need that beef than Jon had. I love all the character photos and videos, Penny is so the cutest! How old is she now ? We're looking at going 2020 when baby will be just under 3. (i'm already planning waiting ) It sucks about the waiter at Le Chefs but glad the food was nice.

I know those bubble machines well! We brought one back for our nieces and they love it!

Looking forward to reading more.

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wdwizbest wrote:
We were there a couple of weeks before you, how were the crowds? I felt like it wasn't really that crowded when we were there. How did you like PO French Quarter? I think it's our favorite (and we've stayed at the Poly, Contemporary & AK Lodge) it is a good location and laid back.

They weren't quite as low as I was expecting but we never felt like they were terrible. Our last Magic Kingdom day (Wednesday, February 8th) it was the least crowded I ever remember seeing Magic Kingdom. It was great!

We LOVED French Quarter. The only deluxe we've ever stayed at is Saratoga Springs and we really liked that resort, but French Quarter is easily our favorite so far. I just loved how small it was. Every other resort we've stayed at has been HUGE!

jtownpluto wrote:
Wow, what a fantastic character day! Penny looks adorable- the Minnie pictures are just perfect.

Thank you! mickey

JanJ wrote:
Great day!

I was laughing at Jon's ride picture on the RnRC - that is priceless. I also laughed at your comments about the bubble gun - I was that person complaining about bubbles everywhere during our recent trip. laugh

Ugh I know! I was so annoyed when he bought it for her! I was like, "Babe! We've literally been complaining about those all day every day! Why would you get one for our own child!?" sarcastic

danijrod wrote:
I'm really enjoying reading this! it's helping me with the Disney blues.

You have sold me on Hollywood Brown Derby, I need that beef than Jon had. I love all the character photos and videos, Penny is so the cutest! How old is she now ? We're looking at going 2020 when baby will be just under 3. (i'm already planning waiting ) It sucks about the waiter at Le Chefs but glad the food was nice.

I know those bubble machines well! We brought one back for our nieces and they love it!

Looking forward to reading more.

She was 3-1/2 on this trip but we took her on her first trip when she was 2-1/2. I liked that age because she wasn't scared of any of the rides yet (and now going back on them it reminded her she's not scared of them even though she had convinced herself that she was) and seeing her with the princesses and everything just melted my heart. But 3-1/2 has been the best age yet as she's starting to grow up more, have less melt downs, have better character interactions, getting to ride more stuff, etc. But I absolutely would not discourage from going at just under 3! I wouldn't trade her first trip for anything!

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Allie wrote:

danijrod wrote:
I'm really enjoying reading this! it's helping me with the Disney blues.

You have sold me on Hollywood Brown Derby, I need that beef than Jon had. I love all the character photos and videos, Penny is so the cutest! How old is she now ? We're looking at going 2020 when baby will be just under 3. (i'm already planning waiting ) It sucks about the waiter at Le Chefs but glad the food was nice.

I know those bubble machines well! We brought one back for our nieces and they love it!

Looking forward to reading more.

She was 3-1/2 on this trip but we took her on her first trip when she was 2-1/2. I liked that age because she wasn't scared of any of the rides yet (and now going back on them it reminded her she's not scared of them even though she had convinced herself that she was) and seeing her with the princesses and everything just melted my heart. But 3-1/2 has been the best age yet as she's starting to grow up more, have less melt downs, have better character interactions, getting to ride more stuff, etc. But I absolutely would not discourage from going at just under 3! I wouldn't trade her first trip for anything!

Aww that sounds amazing I can't wait! Thanks!

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Tuesday, February 7th

Recap of the Day:

Today was our rest/pool/Disney Springs day, so we slept in for a little bit and then I walked over to Sassagoula Floatworks to grab us breakfast. I did a 6-pk of the beignets with raspberry dipping sauce and the Cajun grit bowl with shrimp, vegetables, cream sauce, tasso ham, grits, and soft poached eggs. Both were incredibly delicious but VERY rich.

Our bellies full, we watched TV in the room until we decided that it had warmed up enough outside to go to the pool. Penny had been talking non-stop about the "dragon slide" she had seen in the pamphlet Disney sent us and was super excited to go on it, but once I walked her up to the top and she saw the water spraying at the base to get you moving, she panicked and didn't want to go. I walked her back down and had Jon sit with her and watch me go down to see if that helped. Nope, still didn't want to go. Jon, Penny, and I all walked back up to the top of the slide so she could see me go down from the top. Once she saw that I sat up at the top of the slide and didn't have to put my face down in the spraying water, I think that calmed her fears because soon after I got to the bottom I saw her shooting down the slide. She LOVED it. It wasn't long before she became totally fearless and would go up on her own, wait for the green light, and then come shooting down the slide into the pool where we would be there to catch her. We were there early enough in the morning that there was barely anyone in the pool so she probably went on that slide at least 30 times with little to no waiting, and she would have stayed longer if we would have let her. We also ventured over to the kids splash pad area but she wasn't as into it as it featured a lot of pouring water and she's not a fan of getting water in her eyes if you haven't picked up on that already laugh

Once we got out of the pool and dried off, we gave her a talk about how she had thought the slide was scary but sometimes it is good to be brave and try things that scare us because they might be fun. She took that to heart and wasn't scared of any rides for the rest of the trip which was a huge relief.

We went back to the room and showered (bathed for Penny) and got dressed, went out to play on the playground for a bit, and then hopped on the bus to Disney Springs for lunch.

We got Penny fish from Cookes of Dublin that was DELICIOUS and we brought that over for her to eat at D-Luxe Burger while Jon and I ate there. I went with the Southern Classic Burger and Jon got the Barbecue Classic Burger and then we got a fry (with all the dipping sauces) and a chocolate gelato shake to share. The shake and the fries were both fabulous, but we were both underwhelmed with the burgers. They were HUGE and I'm a toppings girl, I LOVE toppings, but I could barely taste anything but the burger because the patty was so thick. Honestly towards the end I ended up just pulling the patty off and eating the rest as a fried green tomato sandwich. I think if we go there again I'd try the El Diablo Burger as that kick might help me get more flavor, but honestly I think it was a one and done for us with so many other things at Disney Springs we need to try.

We stopped at Uniqlo and spent way too much money and then took a boat back to Port Orleans French Quarter for Penny's nap. I straightened my hair while Penny and Jon both fell asleep and then I had planned on napping too but wasn't really tired so I shook Jon awake and told him I was going to head back over to Disney Springs and that he should call once they were up and heading over. The boat I got on was supposed to be heading straight to Disney Springs but there was a family waiting that needed to go back to Port Orleans Riverside and no one was in a hurry so we all said it was fine to go there first. It was a nice opportunity to see a bit of Riverside and, though it looked very nice, I still think I would prefer French Quarter. The boat ride was nice and relaxing and honestly I think it might be one of the first times in Disney World where I didn't feel in a rush to get anywhere and I just really relaxed and soaked in that vacation feeling.

Back in Disney Springs I went to Uniqlo first to return a shirt I had decided didn't look right on me, and I bought another one for my sister instead to thank her for driving us to the airport. I then went to Jock Lindsey's for some "mommy time". I was super tempted by the small plates and appetizers, but I knew we had dinner soon so I resisted and just went with a Cool Headed Monkey (Starr African Rum, Van Der Hum Tangerine Liqueur, fresh Lime Juice, Watermelon, and Pineapple Juice). It was super yummy and I of course I had to take the mug home with me awesome

I looked around World of Disney for a bit and bought some batteries for our Roku that we had brought with us but hadn't had a functioning remote the entire trip. I wandered around a bit more, honestly I don't really remember where all I ended up (thanks Cool Headed Monkey!) but I know I finished in the Days of Christmas store to meet Jon and Penny so that we could pick out our Ear Hat ornament for the trip. Penny wanted the Dory one so we ended up with that, but I really felt we should have gotten the Pirates of the Caribbean one to commemorate the puking incident from Sunday laugh

Our Homecoming reservation time had come so we went and checked in and I ordered a Fig and Berries (fresh muddled strawberries with Dobel Diamonte Resposado tequila, fig jam, agave, and lime juice) from the Shine Bar while we waited. Soon after I got my drink we were seated and we started off with the Church Lady Deviled Eggs and the Bee Haven Bay Fried Green Tomatoes with shaved ham, remoulade sauce, and dressed local greens. Both were good, but I like my deviled eggs better.

For entrees I did the fried chicken with cheddar drop biscuit and I subbed the creamy mashed potatoes for some hush puppies. Jon got the pork barbecue plate with the momma's mac and cheese and cheddar drop biscuit. Ok, so I'm not a big chicken fan and I usually avoid ordering it at all costs, but holy crap this was the best chicken I've ever had! If it could always taste like that I would order it a lot more often. The chicken was so moist, the coating was perfectly crispy, and the house made hot sauce I poured on it was to die for. If they sold that stuff by the bottle I would buy them up in a heartbeat. I tried a bite or two of Jon's pork which was good (he loved it) and some of the mac and cheese which was amazing. I also had a Moonshine Mash (Watermelon infused moonshine, fresh watermelon, lime juice and simple syrup) with dinner that was very good but very strong.

Penny once again needed to poop so we were only able to eat about half our food before we had to leave. That was hugely disappointing because, though we boxed up the leftovers, it was not nearly as good reheated the next morning. Our service here was definitely better then Le Chefs de France, but our waiter seemed distracted with a larger group next to us and again didn't really seem in a rush to get us boxes or our check when we told him that Penny wasn't feeling well and that we needed to leave. We ordered our desserts to go (chocolate cake and shine cake) and I waited for them while Jon walked Penny around outside to keep her distracted. It was quite a wait for the desserts and it turns out they accidently gave us the Pineapple-Banana cake instead of the chocolate which was a huge bummer for me because I love chocolate and hate bananas so I wouldn't touch that one. We didn't find this out until we were back at the hotel though and Jon thought it was ok so he ate it.

With Penny needing a bathroom we decided to Uber, but I didn't realize we'd have to walk to the completely other side of the Cirque du Soleil building to meet them and it probably would have been faster to just catch a bus. Ah well, we got back, Penny relieved herself and felt much better, and we all fell asleep rather quickly.

Highs of the Day: Playing in the pool, fish at Cookes of Dublin, relaxing boat rides, and chicken at Homecoming. Honestly, this was just a much needed day and I will never again do a trip without a rest day built in. Penny was in such a better mood for the entire duration of the trip with no big meltdowns and while some of this can be contributed to her being a bit older, I think a lot of it has to do with having this day in the middle of our trip. Totally worth it. Plus mom and dad liked the break too and we both felt much more energized for the second half of Disney.

Lows of the Day: Meh burgers at D-Luxe, meh service at Homecoming. Nothing to awful to complain about, though.

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I was thinking of trying D-Lux Burger for my April trip. Nothing really thrilled me on the menu. I would make an ADR at Homecoming just for the deviled eggs.

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Scrappy said the D-Lux Burger was okay, but the fries were the best!

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MrHub wrote:
Scrappy said the D-Lux Burger was okay, but the fries were the best!

100% agree!

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Wednesday, February 8th

Recap of the Day:

We were headed back to Magic Kingdom and it was a GREAT day! Weather was perfect and I don't remember ever seeing crowds at Magic Kingdom so low! Wait times were crazy low for almost the entire day!

Bag check lines were moving slowly this morning, so I stayed with the stroller and the diaper bag and sent Jon in bag-free to get us a Starbucks from Main Street Bakery. We got through faster than I thought we would though since a cast member had me bypass the metal detector, so Penny and I headed straight back to Fantasyland, parked our stroller, took a potty break, and met up with Jon for our Enchanted Tales with Belle FastPass. Penny has been silverware the other two times she's been, but this time she was chosen to play Chip and I was over the moon. She was too cute!

Next we took a ride on Prince Charming's Royal Carousel. Jon actually wanted to take her on this time which I was surprised about since he normally sits off so that he doesn't get sick. I waited in line with them and then hopped out to take pictures. While we were waiting in line, however, Penny looked up at us and said, "I want to ride Snow White's roller coaster! I'm going to be so brave!" Um......so do you recall on Sunday when she hated Seven Dwarfs Mine Train so I cancelled our FastPass for today?! I was super regretting that now. Between taking pictures of Jon and Penny on the carousel, I kept refreshing the app and low and behold, I was able to snag a 12:00pm FastPass! I was so excited because 1) I know those are almost impossible to get day of and 2) I didn't want to tell her she couldn't ride it when she was trying to be brave and overcome her fears.

After the carousel we got some pictures with King Arthur's sword, used our Peter Pan FastPass, then went and got in line to meet Gaston. Penny was a little shy with him but then showed him her muscles and he warmed up to her immediately.

We took a quick ride on Under the Sea and then caught Philharmagic (we LOVE this!) and then our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass had opened up. Penny was a little nervous through the ride, but she liked it enough that she asked to go on it again as soon as we got off. Nope, sorry hun! I didn't think we'd luck out twice in one day with a FastPass and there is no way I was waiting in line even though I think it was only around 45 min. She's also been talking about going back on since we got back home so hopefully she's cured of the "I'm scared of all the rides" thing she went through the first couple of days.

I had gotten us a Haunted Mansion FastPass while we were waiting in line for Seven Dwarfs, so we headed back to ride that and then got lunch at Columbia Harbor House. I got the lobster roll, Jon got the shrimp mac and cheese to share with Penny, and then we also got a side of the clam chowder. The lobster roll and mac and cheese were good and I liked the flavor of the clam chowder but the clams were super chewy.

I had booked us a Winnie the Pooh FastPass but unfortunately Penny had other types of poo on the brain laugh so we decided to detour back to the hotel so she could use the potty chair and take a nap in bed. Jon and I watched Celebrity Apprentice on my phone while she slept. After a couple of hours rest, we were back on a bus to Magic Kingdom. I set us up with a Buzz Lightyear FastPass but Tinkerbell had a short wait so we stopped there first. Penny was super excited for this one and liked playing in the oversized tea cups and playing cards until her turn was up. She asked Tinkerbell to teach her how to fly and Tinkerbell sprinkled her with pixie dust.

We rode Buzz, PeopleMover, and Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor. After our Buzz FastPass had been used, I got us another FastPass for Pooh so we rode that along with Dumbo (yes, we skipped the FastPass this time so that she could play on the jungle gym for a while) and then I FastPassed Barnstormer, as well.

With a ton of rides checked off, we hightailed it over to our Be Our Guest dinner reservation. When we checked in, I requested that we not be seated in the music box room as that was the only place we had ever sat. 45 minutes (and three hangry people) later, we were finally escorted into the castle and sat where else but the music box room. We were so hungry by that point that we just shrugged our shoulders, but it took another 10 minutes for our server to even come over and take our drink orders waiting We placed our food order right away and then, even though we were told to meet with Beast after our meal, we snuck over to do our meet while we waited for our food. Since we had already waited so long to get seated I wanted to get through the meal as quickly as possible to take advantage of some EMH time.

Meeting the Beast made the entire meal 100% worth it. As soon as Penny walked up in her Belle dress, the music changed to "Tale as Old as Time" and they danced together which Penny was ecstatic about because she had been telling me that she was going to ask the Beast to dance with her. It was seriously the cutest thing ever and my heart exploded into a million pieces. muchlove

Dinner was just ok. I got the lamb chops and they were almost inedible they were so fatty, however the potato pave and artichokes served with them were out of this world. Jon got the steak which was alright, but you had to slather it in pounds of the garlic-herb butter for it to have any flavor. The guy that brought us out our food was excellent. He was so friendly and nice and he heard me mention that I liked the potato pave so much, so he brought out an extra side of crispy red potatoes for me to try too which were also very yummy.

For dessert we got the lemon meringue cupcake (my favorite) and the "grey stuff" which we haven't been thrilled with in the past but gave it another go since this time it was served on a little tart instead of on a cupcake. One other thing to note is that we were eating during Wishes and were seated near an emergency exit door and it was quiet loud when the fireworks were going off. Enough so that Penny was starting to get upset by all the noise. Just something to think about if you're eating a late dinner here. This will probably be a one and done for us for dinner, but we still need to try breakfast here and darn it I will eat in a different room if it's the last thing I do! wink

After dinner we took another ride on Under the Sea, met with Ariel, and then rode Pirates before calling it a night. Penny was raring to go on more rides, but we had to tell her the park was closed because Jon and I were too tired to keep going laugh

Highs of the Day: Penny playing Chip at Enchanted Tales with Belle, low crowds, Penny liking Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, hitting tons of attractions, Penny dancing with the Beast

Lows of the Day: Another "I need to poop!" fiasco breaking up the day somewhat (which turned out to be a good rest time, anyway), lots of waiting at Be Our Guest and "meh" food

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FYI, I could not watch Penny with the beast again. I knew I would be sobbing... That has to be the best feeling to see your sweet girl grow up with Disney. I wish we had gone when Blondie was a bit younger but we still have some great memories.

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JMed wrote:
FYI, I could not watch Penny with the beast again. I knew I would be sobbing... That has to be the best feeling to see your sweet girl grow up with Disney. I wish we had gone when Blondie was a bit younger but we still have some great memories.

It really was an amazing moment. We lucked out that she's just as into Disney as us...maybe even more so! She is obsessed and I love it! I'm just crossing my fingers that she doesn't become too cool for it in her angsty teen years.... eek

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You got to meet Moana!!!! Ahhhh!!!!! Sounds like a really great trip (and Penny's dresses are ADORABLE). Sounds like you're at the point where it should get easier to manage Penny's needs with every subsequent trip. That's got to be a good place to be.

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December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco

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alicemouse wrote:
You got to meet Moana!!!! Ahhhh!!!!! Sounds like a really great trip (and Penny's dresses are ADORABLE). Sounds like you're at the point where it should get easier to manage Penny's needs with every subsequent trip. That's got to be a good place to be.

So true. We've gotten a better handle on how she operates while we're there and it makes it so much easier! Don't get me wrong, we loved the trips with her when she was younger, but there were definitely more melt downs to deal with as the week went on. Looking forward to your next trip which will be 10 days, the longest we've ever gone. I'm hoping this causes us to slow down even more then we did on this trip!

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Allie wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
You got to meet Moana!!!! Ahhhh!!!!! Sounds like a really great trip (and Penny's dresses are ADORABLE). Sounds like you're at the point where it should get easier to manage Penny's needs with every subsequent trip. That's got to be a good place to be.

So true. We've gotten a better handle on how she operates while we're there and it makes it so much easier! Don't get me wrong, we loved the trips with her when she was younger, but there were definitely more melt downs to deal with as the week went on. Looking forward to your next trip which will be 10 days, the longest we've ever gone. I'm hoping this causes us to slow down even more then we did on this trip!

Long trips are great. Especially now that you've been so many times. You really get a chance to slow down and take it all in. I'm very excited about the January trip on your ticket because there's a CHANCE that I might be there the week before and we might finally get to meet up!!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco

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alicemouse wrote:
Allie wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
You got to meet Moana!!!! Ahhhh!!!!! Sounds like a really great trip (and Penny's dresses are ADORABLE). Sounds like you're at the point where it should get easier to manage Penny's needs with every subsequent trip. That's got to be a good place to be.

So true. We've gotten a better handle on how she operates while we're there and it makes it so much easier! Don't get me wrong, we loved the trips with her when she was younger, but there were definitely more melt downs to deal with as the week went on. Looking forward to your next trip which will be 10 days, the longest we've ever gone. I'm hoping this causes us to slow down even more then we did on this trip!

Long trips are great. Especially now that you've been so many times. You really get a chance to slow down and take it all in. I'm very excited about the January trip on your ticket because there's a CHANCE that I might be there the week before and we might finally get to meet up!!

YAY! I think we'll be there 7 nights, 8 days that trip! yay

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Thursday, February 9th

Recap of the Day:

We got up and ready to go much earlier than I anticipated this morning, so I had to change our schedule around a little bit on the fly. We arrived at Animal Kingdom and got through security fairly quickly and decided to start our day with a Tarzan meet. As we were about to leave the main entrance area of the park, however, we saw a lot of people gathered over to the right so we went to check out what the fuss was about. It was DiVine! We had been looking and looking and looking for her on all of our past adult trips and we finally saw her. Check off the bucket list!

After DiVine made her exit, we headed back to meet with Tarzan. We staked out a spot as first in line at his meet and greet spot by the primary Pandora entrance, and then I ran to Creature Comforts to get us Starbucks and a cupcake to share. A few people gathered after us and it wasn't long before Tarzan arrived. He didn't have a PhotoPass photographer with him which I was thought was weird, and we were a little bummed he didn't have Terk with him since I had heard Terk had been meeting more lately, but Penny was still thrilled as she's super into Tarzan right now. She showed off her muscles to him, as well.

After Tarzan we started to head back to do the Pangani Exploration Trail to kill time, but on our way back we saw Flik with almost no line. Penny kind of knew who Flik was from her book of characters, but had never seen the movie at this point (we made her watch it when we got back) but she indulged us for a couple of pictures and an autograph signing anyways.

We took a leisurely stroll through Pangani and explored a lot more of this area then we usually do. My favorite part, believe it or not, was the naked mole rats. I normally skip right past that indoor exhibit but we stopped to look around today and while most of the naked mole rats were boring and sleeping there was this one that was totally insane running through the tunnels backwards, forwards, falling down hills, it was hilarious. We also had a great view of a hippo and some of the gorillas.

Baloo and King Louie had a meet and greet coming up in a little while, so we headed over that way and ended up first in line there, as well. Penny was pumped about this one because she loves Jungle Book and Baloo in particular, but it ended up being King Louie that stole her heart. He gave her so much attention, tons of hugs and pretending to get bugs out of her hair, that Baloo barely got any interaction with her at all. It was a great character meet.

Flights of Wonder was about to start when we got out, so Jon and Penny grabbed a seat in the back while I got a frosty, non-alcoholic beverage in an Ocarina mug that Jon wanted so badly at the booth outside. We didn't make it long into the show before Penny got antsy, so we snuck out early and headed toward our early Tusker House lunch.

Tusker House was FANTASTIC. Honestly, this one did not by any means top my list of reservations that I was excited for, but it was my favorite meal of the entire trip other than Hollywood Brown Derby. I don't think I tried anything I didn't like (and I tried a LOT), the cast members were great, and the character interactions were fabulous and fast! I'm a devoted Yak & Yeti girl but I'm going to have to start switching out with Tusker House every other trip or something because I loved this meal.

After lunch we caught the end of our Festival of the Lion King FastPass window, got in line, and were seated quickly. The place was pretty full already when we got in, but we snagged some empty seats only a few rows back in the Lion section. This is always a fantastic show, but you could tell Penny was getting sleepy during it. We had a Kilimanjaro FastPass scheduled for immediately after the performance as a last activity before Penny's nap, but Penny decided she'd rather lay down in the stroller instead. I switched our FastPass to around 5:30pm I think and then Jon and I explored the Oasis trails a bit, sat down for a little while on a bench to rest our feet and charge our phones, and then took turns single rider-ing Expedition Everest. Jon went first and I grabbed my ID from him before he left so that I could grab a drink at Thirsty River Bar. Looking back at the menu, I'm pretty sure I got the Himalayan Ghost (Snow Leopard vodka, guava, and lemonade). Whatever I got, it was super refreshing and would be perfect for a hot day.
We walked by the Smiling Crocodile but, as always for us, it wasn't open. I really need to try those smoky cheddar grits! I'm not giving up on them! Penny woke up soon after and we let her loose to play in the Boneyard and then Jon took her on Triceratop Spin.

While we had been in the Boneyard, I saw on a message board that Terk had been meeting with Tarzan on his last couple of sets that day. I almost grabbed Penny and ran, but then realized his scheduled meets for the day were done sad After Jon and Penny got off Triceratop Spin, I sent them to the front of the park to see if there were any characters hanging out by the entrance while I went and waited for our Finding Nemo FastPass. I was one of the first people in line and, so Penny didn't distract anyone, grabbed a seat on the back bench of the front section on the right hand side of the stage. Penny and Jon got there shortly before the show started and told me they hadn't found any characters up front, but on their walk they ran into Tarzan and Terk!!! What luck! It was the same Tarzan we had met earlier and he remembered her, but Penny pretty much gave all her attention to Terk. I was a little jealous but was super glad Penny had got to meet her.

Finding Nemo was fabulous as always and Penny actually really enjoyed it this time around. Last trip we attempted it with her, she was crawling on the floor and not paying attention at all to the show, but she was pretty enthralled this time. After the show we headed over to Yak & Yeti QS which we'd never tried before. It was pretty empty and we were one of only two groups ordering. We got the honey chicken, teriyaki beef bowl, and a side of fried rice to share. All of it was delicious but I preferred the teriyaki beef bowl while Jon was adamant that the honey chicken was the best.

It was getting pretty dark by this point so we hiked over to Kilimanjaro just in time to make it for the end of our FastPass. We had never done it at night and I hadn't heard great things, so we weren't expecting a lot. This was seriously the best safari we have ever had! We saw so many animals super active and up close and there was a white rhino that was seriously so close to the truck I thought we were going to hit it. I could have easily reached out and touched it. It was amazing. Even the lions were crazy active; the male even stood up and roared at us. One of the only things we didn't see moving around were the hyenas which I thought was funny since they were a nighttime specific addition. Penny normally half sleeps through the safaris but she was thrilled this time around, as were we. No pictures to show unfortunately because it was so dark, but trust me when I say it was great and it is totally worth giving a night safari a chance.

It was getting pretty late so I rode Expedition Everest once as it was nearing park close (OH MY GOSH! I love this attraction so much and I had no idea it could get so much better in the dark!) and then we caught the tail end of the last Tree of Life Awakening which was kind of a bummer as I had wanted to see a full one or two of these. Oh well, next trip. We headed to the bus station ahead of the crowd who had been at the tree of life, and got on a French Quarter bus with very little wait.

Highs of the Day: Spotting DiVine FINALLY, King Louie interaction, Tusker House lunch, Yak & Yeti dinner, nighttime Kilimanjaro, nighttime Expedition Everest, and finding Terk on a whim

Lows of the Day: I really can't think of any! I guess Penny was acting like she had to poop again at dinner and wouldn't go despite us bribing her with getting to pick out a souvenir of her choosing, but she was over it by the time we were on the safari. Other than that it was a pretty rad day.

JMed's picture
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Joined: 02/16/2014
Posts: 3220

AK is an awesome evening park, I can't even imagine how amazing Pandora is going to be. The lions alone have made all of our nite safaris. And OMG the food at Tusker House. I ate soooo much there!!!

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