“And Our Glasses Are Fogging Up Again" August 2019 Trip Report


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This is our first summer trip, necessitated because Big Girl's school breaks and Little Girl's school breaks no longer line up. We're managing the heat, enjoying lower crowds, but the big hit of the trip is my retro limited edition Mickey Instant Hard Copy Memory Maker (*not it's real name).

More to come after we get back and settle in.


That's a nice shot of you and the Mouse! Bummer about the film. I have a polaroid, would love to have those borders for our upcoming trip.


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Just catching up now that I'm back. That's a good find. But people should be aware that since Polaroid itself is our of stock, I'm guessing that the stock available here was produced 6-12 months ago. According to the manufacturer, modern day Polaroid film is best used within 12 months of the production date stamped on the box. Mine were stamped September 2018 and I was happy with the results at the 11 month mark. Also, you can help extend the life by keeping them in the refrigerator (but not freezer)


Finally, I have about 5-6 boxes left over. I'd be willing to part with any portion of them you might want for maybe half-price plus shipping. If not I'll just use them up on whatever. DM me if interested. If you have a trip in the next 6 months and keep them cool and dry I expect they will be fine, though no guarantees.


Also, you can help extend the life by keeping them in the refrigerator (but not freezer)
Woah. That just brought back vivid memories of my childhood from out of nowhere. Thanks for the flashback!

And really cool of you to offer your remaining film. Love this community!

Looking forward to the rest of your report.


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Time to get this report moving.

We, being DW, me, Big Girl (now 19) and Little Girl (weeks away from 15 at trip time), have been going regularly for several years during either Presidents' Day week or Easter week (with a couple of Christmas week trips added in when we had APs). But in September 2018 Big Girl started college,and now her school breaks do not align with Little Girl's breaks, so we were left with a choice of Christmas or summer. Christmas week is great as an extra trip for us, but rather hectic for a once-a-year trip. So we chose summer. Among other things, this meant about 18 months between trips, which seemed really long for us. And we knew we'd be in for some heat, more than we are used to in Disney, but maybe also some smaller crowds.

Because Big Girl also took a summer course to complete her Basic Chem requirement, we decide on mid-August, to give her time to finish that. Which still led to a whole thing because the summer term was later than expected, and at some point we realized there was a chance her final exam could be on Day 2 of the trip, and we couldn't get an answer on that seemingly basic bit of scheduling until 2 weeks before the trip. That's long after we could have held off booking, of course, and also of course the exam was on the last possible day, which led to her missing the first 2 days of the trip a bit and having to rebook her flight down. It also led to some last minute rejiggering of plans, but nothing too extreme.

So on Day 1, the three of us said goodbye to Big Girl and were on our way

Day 1 Sunday

The airport and flight experiences were easy and uneventful. In fact better than that. About 15 minutes before boarding Delta starts asking for volunteers to sit in the exit row seats -- the ones they usually sell at a premium. But I have noticed sometimes on flights to Orlando they have trouble filling those because almost everyone is traveling with small children. In fact on some prior flights they put out the same call and I never responded because I did not feel right leaving DW to deal with the girls. But Little Girl is not so little now, and far beyond needing constant parental attention, so my wife told me I should take it for the extra leg room, which I did. I not only got the additional room this also entailed a full upgrade to Delta Comfort, with bigger a seat, earlier boarding group (later Fam!), and better snack choices. But it gets even better. Eventually DW and LG board and end up in the row right in front of me, because though they weren't told until presenting their boarding pass, they too were upgraded, just because. My theory is (1) Delta overpriced the entire Delta Comfort class for this trip and most of those seats were open, and (2) because I had grabbed the exit seat, some algorithm kicked in and we all ended up with free upgrades, or at least their odds became better being 2 instead of 3.
We arrive, get our bags, and walk to the Hertz area to get our car. We almost always rent a car, even when staying on site. I had received a notification that I could pick any car in a designated row, which I have not always had good experiences with. Sometimes I wish they'd go back to picking a car for me. This one turned out OK, more or less. We want a car with a trunk big enough to hold all our luggage comfortably, but otherwise not too big. We end up picking a Nissan Sentra. I think it was below the class size I paid for, though. We also might have been better advised to spend a little more time checking out the interior, because this car was kind of old, technology-wise. It worked out OK, but only because I remembered to pack a car-lighter-to-USB converter, because the car had no USB ports. It did have an old style earphone jack in the dash, which it proudly labelled an "Ipod Port." Not iPhone, but iPod. Also the vents had a concave sort of design that would have made it hard to use a phone holder that clipped on to the vents, had I remembered to pack one. So that kind of balanced out, I guess.

In any event we drove straight to Animal Kingdom. Previously we would need to stop somewhere to change into warm clothes, but being August we were ready to go. And for the second time (the first was when we walked from the terminal to the rental car area) we were hit with the air you can feel. NY gets muggy. I'm used to humidity. I think the only time I felt it more than I felt it on this trip was the time I flew into Houston in summer. Walking outside was like walking in warm, tepid water. We all wear glasses (only DW has contacts). Almost every time we stepped out of an air conditioned building, or car, our glasses fogged up and we couldn't see for 45 seconds or so.

We just missed a tram, and though we were directed to park pretty far from the gates, we decide to walk. It turns out there is a lot of construction around the entrance area to Animal Kingdom, and it ended up taking us considerably further than expected. But we make it in, and for the first time ever we see DiVine, which was neat. Our first destination is Yak and Yeti. We landed around noon and never stopped to eat lunch. And wow it's hot. We snag a table with some shade, at least, but its kind of oppressive. It never felt it as bad as it did this first day; I guess it just took a little getting used to. I remember when we all went to use the restrooms after lunch before starting on the fun, we each came out and said how refreshing the bathroom AC was.

By then it was about time to use our first FP+ at Kilimanjaro Safari, so we head towards Africa. On the way, we saw Kevin from UP.

I was concerned that a mid-afternoon safari on a very hot day would mean fewer animals, but that was not the case. We saw everything but lions: okapi, wild dogs, ostrich, giraffes, cheetahs, elephants, wildebeests, and more. All of them. So that was very neat. Meanwhile we get a notice that Everest -- our next FP+ is down, so we get anytime FP+ good for anything in the park except the 2 Avatar rides. There's also some threatened rain, but except for some scattered light showers, nothing much develops. Our third FP+ is for Navi River Journey - not a major attraction for us, but we're doing 2 days in AK this trip and FOP was of course not available the day we arrive, so I had grabbed that. We think about using the flexible FP+ on Dinosaur, but we don't want to walk all the way to Dinoland, then back to Pandora, so we opt instead for the Lion King show. We probably didn't even need a FP+ for it, but 40 minutes or so in the AC felt good. Also, before going to the show we had time to stop at Tamu Tamu for refreshments. I got the coconut rum Dole Whip. We had not seen the LK show for 4-5 years at least, so though it hasn't changed it was semi-fresh enough to enjoy. Navi, is well, a dark ride in a boat that doesn't last very long. It nicely filled out an afternoon when we didn't want to work very hard at having fun, but that's about as much as it ever will do for me, I think.

A this point we're done for the afternoon and ready to head to our room at Bay Lake. And it's after 5pm and I haven't gotten a room text yet. This vexes and perplexes me because we also never received a room text on our previous trip. They claimed then that I had never completed the advance check in -- which I never believed -- and for this trip I repeatedly checked and rechecked that I had in fact done the advance check-in. I didn't want to hear that excuse again, even though there's no real downside to not having the text except I have to stop at the front desk.

It turns out the reason on this trip is even dumber, and becomes the first of multiple rough encounters between WDW's tech and IT, and me. Some of those were even my fault, sad to say. But not this one. A few weeks before the trip I posted in the "I'm Just Sayin'" thread about an odd experience I had with the credit card associated with my room. During one of the many times I made sure that I checked in, I decided to check everything closely, and I noticed that under "Hotel Account Charges," it lists a credit card with expiration of 01/19. I was surprised at the time because I was pretty sure I had updated it months earlier. But I hit the Edit button to update it then, and it somehow shows the correct current expiration date of a few years from now. When I revert to the summary page, it again shows the expired date. So I gave up. I figured they had the info but for some reason the summary never updated, and I wasn't going to spend time fixing it. Wrong. The CM at the front desk informs me that I never got a room ready text because there was no valid credit card on the account. I told her about what happened when I tried to update it, and how I had in fact actually updated it months earlier, and she asked where I updated it the first time. Was it in the general account area or the DVC, hotel area? Like I remember. And why aren't all the systems properly integrated? The negative consequences of this were minimal, again, as so many such disappointments at Disney are, but why can't these things just work? It obviously populated to the hotel system for some purposes, because the new correct expiration date was there, sort of, without me typing it in. But the real inexplicable part comes next, when she asks if I want her to update it now. I ask, don't I have to? She says no, it's a DVC stay so it's not required to have a credit card associated with the stay, and I only need to do it if I want the convenience of charging to the room. But if that's the case, I ask, then why would not have a proper card keep me from getting the room ready text and why did I have to visit the front desk? She has no idea, and why would she. None of this is her fault or her department. But I could have been in my room 10-15 minutes sooner if it just worked.

But otherwise, well, the really good news is I had put in a room request through Touring Plans and got the exact one I asked for. I'm very pleased at that, and the room wowed me. We've stayed at Bay Lake before. It's our home resort But previously we were in a studio. I found the Bay Lake 1BR to be enormous. It's not the biggest in the system, but Micah's charts confirm it is about 100 sq ft bigger than any I've been in before.

You can't see the view here, but we had Lake View, and I asked for a room on the side facing south. The foreground is the back of the Contemporary and its pools. Way out, you can see Spaceship Earth, the Epcot fireworks, and Everest. I think it's the best Bay Lake view. I even prefer it to the MK park view, which is dominated by the parking lot asphalt in the foreground. We unpack. Bell services brings our Owners Locker and groceries (for the first time ever they even remembered to bring the dry, the refrigerated, and the frozen in one trip). We relax a bit and decide to monorail around to the Polynesian for dinner at Captain Cooks, and from there take a short visit to the Magic Kingdom for a walk, maybe dessert and an attraction or two. We end up getting ice cream at the parlor on Main Street. There's no available seating outside, so walk thru the Tomorrowland Terrace (closed in prep for the dessert party) all the way to Tomorrowland itself to find a place to sit and eat. Somewhere along the way I had nabbed a 4th FP+ for Jungle Cruise. But when we finish the toll of the ice cream, the day, and the travel, and the heat and the humidity hit us and we decide we're done.

Shame, because it was a gorgeous night, but we know better than to push it. We have almost the entire trip to go. We walk around just a bit of the long way to head out. We did browse our way through the connected shops on Main Street, but that's it. A relaxed walk back to BLT and Day 1 is done.


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Glad to see you getting the report going. WDW was a major factor in my decision to switch from glasses to contacts. Both the fog factor and 3-D glasses tipped the scales for me. At least you are not a minute by minute planner, or you would have to schedule defogging time into your plan.


unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversa
I think we were there around the same time. What were your dates again? We were there the 10th-17th. Looking forward to the rest of your report!


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Glad to see you getting the report going. WDW was a major factor in my decision to switch from glasses to contacts. Both the fog factor and 3-D glasses tipped the scales for me. At least you are not a minute by minute planner, or you would have to schedule defogging time into your plan.
I had contacts from HS to, maybe around 40. It was a surprising development when I dropped them, as I did not realize how much I didn't like wearing them. One year after getting my annual eye checkup, I decided to splurge on a pair of prescription sunglasses which I had never had before. I found myself putting my contacts in less and less often, to the point where I was doing it just once a week so I would no longer be used to them. I realized I had nly been wearing them most of the time so I would have access to sunglasses. I've never regretted it. I think I miss the decreased peripheral vision most, but it's fine. I never had an issue with fogging at WDW until this trip.


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Day 2 Monday

With Big Girl still in NY tasking her chemistry final, DW, Little Girl and I head over to Epcot. The choice of park is less than fortuitous, as it’s Big Girl’s favorite, but the dining and FP+ plans were made weeks and even months before we knew Big Girl would be late, and it’s hard to move everything around. Fortunately we had a flex day scheduled, so we can make up for it later.
On the way in to the park I was left to wonder if I was seeing some cross corporate IP confusion:

Apparently it's an actual local company.

We were there for park open but did not aggressively rope drop. In fact we started with something to drink and I used the down time to test the Polaroid.

Then we started with meeting Baymax then Joy and Sadness, both of which are family favorites. We heard that Baymax might not be meeting much longer, so he especially was a priority.

From there we went to use our FP+ at Spaceship Earth. Both DW and I had real trouble seeing the first scene hunting the mammoths. I don’t know if it’s darker or if our late middle aged eyes just cannot adjust to the dark. Little girl had no trouble, so age is very likely a factor, but it does seem unlikely that DW and I would have both start having trouble on the same trip unless maybe they adjusted the lighting. But the rest of the ride was fine, and we moved through time. One odd thing is the camera didn’t recognize that I was there so Little Girl ended up planning a future with a cartoon companion.

After that, we passed some time in Mouse Gears before walking over to our next FP+ at Soarin’. We ended up sitting on one of the side machines, but in the 3 seats closest to the center. This now matters to me more than whether you are in the top, middle or bottom row. The view we had was decent enough, with noticeable distortion, but not so much that it was ridiculous.
By then it was time to walk over to our first ADR of the trip -- Via Napoli. We’ve never been. We have generally stopped having lunch ADRs, but I figure it’s pizza, which is not really a full heavy meal experience, and it works out. It was a great meal and did not leave us already filed for our dinner later.
One neat thing was that we had 2 servers, one of whom was being trained. I always like eating in the World Showcase and getting to meet the (usually) younger staff who come over here from their birth country. The young woman who was being trained spent some time chatting with us while we waited for the pizza; you could tell it was practice, but it still worked. She had recently visited NYC to visit her sister which gave her an entry into conversation with us.
After lunch we continued around the WS. I’ve never seen it so empty. I’m sure others have, but we have not been to Epcot except during a school holiday since Big Girl was 4. The rest of the week was never quite so empty, though lower than we are used to.Epcot on this day, though, was kind of eerie.
Our last FP+ was for Turtle Talk with Crush. I’m not sure why, except the girls are losing interest in Test Track and Mission Space, and what else you gonna do? We had time to spend, so when we finished the WS walk we walked on to Figment. We toyed with meeting Vanellope and Ralph but the line was not moving fast enough, and it was going to get sketchy if we could fit in what else we needed to do. But we did have time to walk on to Nemo and Friends before hitting Crush. Crush had a somewhat low energy CM host this time, and the show fell just a bit flat for me compared to all the earlier iterations we saw, but it was still fun.
Now I need to circle back to Big Girl. She’s gotten used to travelling alone, but she hates drama and anxiety. So when I had to rebook her flight to this day, and said her options were to leave at 2, 6 or 8 pm, she chose the last flight, which got in close to 11pm. In fact she would almost certainly have been able to make 6pm no matter what and 2 was a possibility, though it made sense not to book the 2 because he never did find out the exact test schedule until very late. Even the previous week it was possible that the professor would start the day with review before administering the test, but thankfully the class decided they didn’t need that. So the test started early and she was done by maybe 11 or so, and there was a good chance she could make the 2pm. Standby ended being its own drama, but to cut the story short she made the 2pm flight. I will add as a tip that now that many airlines sell super budget tickets for which the person cannot choose a seat, you cannot tell how many seats are left on any given flight. You can look at a flight and the airline will offer you 2 dozen seats to pick from, but some number of those, probably 15-20, are spoken for by people with the budget tickets. They just have not been specifically assigned yet. So you might see 25 open seats but there are only maybe 5 or 6 open spots. But it worked out. DW and I wanted to drive to MCO to pick her up, which had us in early rush hour traffic, but the whole round trip was not bad. We spent maybe 3-4 minutes in the cell phone lot before Big Girl texted to tell us she had deplaned, rode the airport monorail, and was heading to passenger pickup and on which side. Little Girl, stayed back at the room, though she did a bit of shopping at the Contemporary shops, buying small gifts for some of her school friends.
We ended up with a decent amount of time to relax back in the room before a 7-something ADR at California Grill. It was fortunate that tonight’s dinner is close to our hotel. We had only been there once previously. Though we liked it, DW was not fond of the dessert options back when and waited a few years before going back. To me, CG stands above the other WDW signature dining experiences, with the disclaimer that I have not done Victoria & Albert’s. Some of the other Signatures stand out for specific cuisine, like Tiffens, but CG just does food well,with great atmosphere and the most professional wait staff on property.
We shared the Cheese and the Charcuterie appetizers, which were great. I had the Filet of Beef for the main course and the Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake for dessert.

It was all delicious and beautiful to look at. I also asked the waiter for a wine recommendation, and he asked me a series of questions before making his recommendation. For all i know he recommends the same 3-4 wines no matter how you answer (though I doubt it), but it is the type of service and attention I don’t quite expect from the other signatures.

And yes, the price is up there. Way up. But, as long as I have the budget, I would rather spend the extra and get a truly wonderful experience than spend a bit less, but still quite a bit, for pretty good. Finally, we were seated in a small room, not the main restaurant space. As you enter the restaurant from the elevator bank you go left, and then that space bends left, and if you keep going you get to this smallish room, probably holds 40 or so people. I do not think it is either the Napa or Sonoma rooms which are available for private events including wedding packages. But it did have a semi-private feel. I enjoyed it more than the main dining area, but I do not know how you could arrange for it. We just lucked into it.

A note on the Polaroids, after today I realized the best way to handle meets was for me to take a Polaroid of the girls with the character, then DW and I could join and let the pros use their own cameras. The photographers seemed way too befuddled with the Polaroid.
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Enjoying your trip report! Would love to read another installment if you have time :RpS_thumbup:


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Day 3 Tuesday

I forgot to mention an issue that first came up on Day 2 Monday and should have been in the previous episode. I became that guy who had trouble scanning his finger and held up the entrance line. I apologize to the world. I don’t know what did it, but I can note that I used the index finger of my left hand and every previous trip I used my right hand. I did this because I have started wearing my magic band on my right wrist to avoid calling 911 by accident. But that isn’t really necessary because you can tap your band on the Mickey and then scan your finger in order. Yet I have no idea if the choice of finger had anything to do with it. I have also noticed that when I scan into the CLEAR lane at an airport or sports stadium, it works better when I use my thumbs than my index fingers.

I can assure one and all that it is as annoying to be that guy as to be behind that guy. For one thing, every cast member, without fail, suggested I try my other hand after 2 attempts failed. That makes total sense, except that was never the correct solution for me, and if I tried it to appease them, it would just take more time on something useless. So I remained obstinate, which they didn’t appreciate, and I insisted I just try, try again, and again, and maybe again, and then it worked. Next year I’ll revert to using my right hand and see what happens. Maybe I’m losing my fingerprints and will become a spy.

Turning to the day at hand, we had the benefit of Early Morning Magic for extra access to 7 Fantasyland rides and attractions. We rode 4 of them: once each on Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea, and multiple rides on Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. DW only did the first 3, while Big Girl, Little Girl and I added the 7DMT rides.

When the rest of the park opened, and non-event guests were allowed in, we waited by the border between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland with a plan to head immediately into Tomorrowland and ride Space Mountain first thing.

But that plan failed when SM ended up down for maintenance at park open. This was a bit of a problem, because we had booked our FP for other rides and never found any Space Mountain availability later (not that we spent hours refreshing) but such is how it goes. So we walked into Cosmic Rays for the EMM breakfast which is -- fine. You don’t book EMM for the food even though they call it a dining experience. You book it to buy the equivalent of a bunch of extra fast passes for the rides it covers. It’s unlikely we ride Pooh, PPF or the Mermaid ride at all without it, and we definitely don’t get multiple trips on 7DMT. So I think it was worth it, though I’m not sure we’ll make it a regular thing.

Our 3 FP+ for the day were Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain. I don’t have records of their specific times, and I have no notes or recollection of where Haunted Mansion fits in with the below. But we did ride HM at some point.

After breakfast we went over to BTMR and used that FP+. Afterwards, we got churros at the cart in Frontierland, found some shade, and ate. At this point we decided to check on Space Mountain and see how bad the wait was. We did not want to rely on the times posted in the app because they were all over the place this day. For example, my notes indicate that Jungle Cruise, in a fairly short period, went from 20 minutes, to 105, then down to 50. During all this time Splash, on a hot sunny day, was showing just a 30 minute wait. I don’t believe any of that, and we never did ride Jungle Cruise. But the wait for Space Mountain was in fact quite long and went far outside the building. So instead we met Stitch.

The girls love meeting Stitch, as you will see as the report continues. He is especially loved by Big Girl. He was in fine form, though I thought he went a bit far with a group ahead of us. A woman had a backpack that Stitch liked, so he asked to hold it. And he put it on. And didn’t let it go, for like 2 more groups afterwards. Of course he eventually gave it back, but I thought it just went a bit beyond, “haha, that’s a bit uncomfortable but funny,” and moved into “I’d really like to go to the next attraction can I have my stuff back already” territory for the party involved. But to be clear, that was how I saw it. For all I know they just loved the whole thing.

Then we rode the People Mover (hey, at least we went inside Space Mountain, right?). At this point we figured we should head over to the other side of the park because we had a lunch reservation for Crystal Palace and I’m always worried we’ll get caught on the other side of the parade. Yes, I know there is a schedule, but I have an aversion to checking the schedule for an event I simply want to avoid. That’s silly I know, but I guess I feel I do enough planning for the stuff we want to do and it’s a step too far to make me plan to avoid the things we don’t. And it always seems the parade it entering the hub just as I’m looking to cross by Caseys’s and the ice cream place and it’s a mad dash. But there were no issues today. I also think this is when we did Haunted Mansion.

And we definitely fit in an Enchanted Tiki Room performance while in that general area..
This is I think our fourth Crystal Palace lunch with Pooh and Friends. DW and Big Girl insist on it every visit now, and it was a great spot for the Polaroid. One of the character wranglers was really interested in it. A number of CMs were intrigued by it and I know that at least as of the time of the trip they were still available for purchase so maybe on eor two had a chance to buy one, though the old polaroid cameras aren’t as cheap now as they were back when.

And Piglet tried to take a selfie.

After lunch we finished up our day by meeting Merida.

Her Polaroid did not come out very well.

But it was a fun meet. Like many characters, at least those who can talk to us, she wanted to see the Polaroid image, but they take a few minutes to develop. It was the one downside of the process. I have so much film left over that in retrospect I should have just offered to take extras and given it to them. The failure to do so wasn’t so much because I was hoarding the fil but it just didn’t register to invert the usual procedure and have me give a picture to them.

We finished up our day at the park using our FP+ for Splash, which was perfect because this was easily the hottest day of the trip with the most sun. We had brought some of those wet cloths to keep cool and I think we only used them on 2 days but this was definitely one of them.

We cooled off and re-energized in the room until it was time for our dinner at Monsieur Paul. This was our first visit. We were seated almost immediately. In fact we rarely waited more than a short, normal restaurant-reservation wait the entire week. We also saw a party of 2 get taken as walk-ups while we were there.

Eating at M. Paul the day after California Grill invites comparisons. I like both cuisines pretty equally, but probably get a chance to taste items similar to what you can get at CG more often than the French fare at MP, which gives MP a slight unearned advantage. With that, I probably enjoyed CG a bit more, though MP was not a disappointment. I had the Oxtail Broth in Puff Pastry to start.

I had the Roasted Duck Magret for a main course. It was excellent, but I hoped it would wow me. I don’t eat a lot of duck, but some of my most memorable meals at great restaurants involve duck. This did not quite reach that level. Big Girl loved shrimp stuffed squid, and Little Girl reported that her strip steak was fine, though she said it was not as good as her tase of my beef dish the previous night at Cali Grill.
The desserts were amazing, though. I had the Milk Chocolate Sphere

We also had the Caramelized Apples

And I forget what else. But the desserts were outstanding. The service was quite good. As had happened at Via Napoli we had a regular and a trainee. But the difference between them and the staff at CG is easy to spot. As good as they were at MP, they are not equal to the true professional wait staff at CG. The other thing I remember is that though we had a different number of courses and sides, and one restaurant was subject to a greater discount than the other (I don’t remember those details), the price all in for both meals was within $10 of each other on a big number each time.
So we had 2 great meals, and I would rank CG as 1 and MP as 1A, just a half notch below
Tomorrow, back to Epcot..
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Day 4 Wednesday- Back to Epcot

As previously mentioned, Big Girl missed Epcot because she joined us a day-and-a-half late. So we went back this day, during what was planned as an off/pool/flex day. We didn’t do much really, as she mostly wanted to hit Spaceship Earth, Mouse Gears, the World Showcase, and see Baymax. Everything else was optional.

But first, breakfast with Stitch at ‘Ohana. We’ve done this character meal 3-4 times on our last few trips, and I’ve covered it in multiple trip reports, so I have little more to say. Go if you want to meet Stitch, and especially Lilo, or for some reason if you’re desperate for Mickey in a Hawaiian shirt. In prior visits we have also met either Minnie and/or Pluto, but Mickey was solo among his friends this time so I don’t think you can count on anything. The photos are fun:

We spent a little time in the shops at the Polynesian, then drove over to Epcot, and started by shopping at the art shop next to Spaceship Earth, and Mouse Gears, which is one of the biggest shops in WDW and usually seems to have some inventory that you don’t get elsewhere.

I think I managed to snag a FP+ for SE even though we did not plan this day in advance. I know we didn’t wait long. Big Girl very much wanted to ride one more time before the announced renovation/refresh, so the rest of us happily rode a second time this trip. Then we went to revisit Baymax, whom Big Girl also wanted to see before his meet shut down (which maybe has happened by now? - I haven’t been keeping up).

From there we started walking through the Future World hub to head over to the World Showcase, but first had a brief extraordinary weather experience. I noticed that though we were in the sun, there was a wall of rain about 150-200 yards away. And then I noticed it was moving closer, and fast, and it was really coming down in sheets. Suddenly we and dozens of other people were scampering to huddle under the roof overhang of the nearest building to wait for this heavy but tiny storm to pass. We have had our share of Florida storms in our Disney history, but this one stands out. Just a few minutes later the sun was back and we resumed our walk to the WS.

We made limited stops around the World depending mostly on Big Girl’s whims. Lunch was had at Tangierine Cafe which we love. The downside was the heat. There is plenty of shade, but no AC, and the restaurant is tucked into a corner with limited ventilation and that was a bit unpleasant. I also remember they messed our orders a bit, and it wasn’t worth getting fixed.

Returning to Future World, we rode both Figment and Living With the Land before leaving the park. First, I dropped off DW and both daughters at DS before I went back to the hotel to relax and cool off.

I met them later for dinner at Art Smith’s Homecoming. While waiting to be seated, rain apared imminent, so we declined the opportunity to be seated more quickly (we did have an ADR) outside. This led me to wonder how they handle their outdoor inventory when scheduling reservations. With the weather so fickle, not just for rain but heat and humidity, demand for the outdoor tables must fluctuate completely from one day to the next (maybe even sometimes on the same day). If they schedule seatings based on those tables they will get way behind in seating people. I suppose there is enough walk up business to let them schedule as if those tables do not exist. We shared a Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer. DW had fried chicken.

I had Shrimp & Grits

Everything was exactly as great as you would expect.

A couple of portraits of the girls while we waited.

I had no idea of Chef Art’s history with both Disney and the governor’s mansion in Florida, so it was fun to learn that through the pictures posted in the restaurant.

That pretty much covers the day. We were all glad to scratch Big Girl’s Epcot itch while still taking it relatively easy.
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Well-known member
Day 5 Thursday - Hollywood Studios

We just missed the opening of Galaxy’s Edge by a 2-3 weeks, and this was also our first trip after Toy Story Land opened. Slinky Dog Dash was a priority, and as is common, I could not get a morning FP+ for it even on the last 2 days of our trip. So we rope dropped, semi-purposefully.

That meant arriving at the park entrance at 8:30 for a 9am open. We ended up back maybe ⅔ of the way down Hollywood Boulevard. They let everyone start walking in at about 8:45. We kept up, but didn’t run or speed walk or try to overtake anyone. I didn’t realize that there was another full crowd on the Echo Lake, so we were effectively twice as far back as I thought we were. It would not have made any different had I known that, but it was a small temporary moment of disappointment as I saw the crowds merge.

In any event we made it as far as the Woody statue before we ended up on line for the ride, and we waited a little less than an hour to get on and boarded at 9:40. The line seemed to move pretty quickly. I don’t know what the ride capacity is or how much is given to FP+, but I thought we were pretty far back and we just kept moving forward at a decent pace.

The ride earned 3 thumbs up from the girls and me, and a “no thanks, one and done” from DW, who found the part where the track banks and you tilt more than halfway upside down a bit much for her preferences.

Flying saucers was right there when we got off and it was our first FP+ so we rode that. Don’t think we’ll ever need to do that again. It was not unpleasant but it does not offer much either.

We walked around TS land for a bit. We’ve never been big fans of the Toy Story Mania ride so we skipped that. On the way our of TSL we found a churro cart and then noticed the Edna meet which we quite enjoyed. The costume displays in the area where she meets are well done.

We finished up the morning with RnRC and Tower of Terror. I skipped the former, so the girls were able to ride twice with both parental FP+. I’m not sure how we killed enough time down at the end of Sunset Boulevard, but somehow we did not have to wait too long for our ToT FP+ to come online.Yes, this was before GE and almost every worthwhile ride in HS being relisted as a Tier 1 FP+.

I tried to do a mobile order at either Backlot Express or the Commissary, and it just wasn’t working. I kept getting an error message on the phone at the end of the process. Hours later, I went through my emails and discovered the order had gone through, and was deemed abandoned when we never picked it up. Fortunately we also were not charged so it worked out to that extent, but it was still less than ideal. We ordered, in person at the Commissary, like savages. The lines weren’t too long and the food came quickly.

Still. Like savages.

When we finished lunch it was pouring rain, and fortunately the wait for Star Tours was short, so DW just remained in the Commissary, while the girls and I dashed through the rain to that ride. We got out, reconnected with DW, and decided to do the Muppets Show. I always appreciate a salute to all the countries of the world, but mostly America. With that, it was mid-afternoon and we were done for the day.

Now a brief note on Catholic Holy Days of Obligations.* There are only 6 of them in the US. Six days every year when you have to attend Mass besides Sunday. Some years there are fewer than 6 because the Holy Day falls on a Sunday anyway, so you get a twofer. Against long odds, my family has managed to be in Disney World for three of those six Holy Days at one time or another, which is crazy as we’ve only visited WDW during 5 weeks out of the 52. We certainly do not schedule our visits to coincide with the Holy Days, yet it keeps happening. Plus we’ve also been on Ash Wednesday which is not a HDoO but almost everyone goes anyway. It’s really uncanny.

* Bit of a curveball, I know.

Six months before the trip I booked the Storybook Dining at Artist Point for tonight, forgetting that it was a HDoO and we would be going to 6pm Mass because this day was the Feast of the Assumption. So about 1-2 months out when I noticed the conflict, I tried to reschedule the ADR for later in the evening but it was booked. I canceled, and set up the ADR finder at Touring Plans, which kept offering me times that were no better than what I had given up (you can’t really fine tune it to say I need something after 7:45 pm). Fortunately something suitable opened up a couple of weeks beforehand. The girls just wanted to meet the evil queen.

Personally, I’d rather be able to eat at the regular Artist Point, which I very much enjoyed during my only visit before it switched over. The limited menu is, limited. You have a choice of 3 or 4 entrees, and everything else including appetizers and desserts is served automatically to the table. I chose the Cottage Beef Stew for my main course. Many of the presentations are visually quite pleasing.

Others not so much.

But you are there to meet the Evil Queen (and Snow White and a couple of Dwarfs I guess).

Or , as it turns out, to witness a marriage proposal.

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