2019 WDW and Universal Trip (and Food!) Report

Day 1: Arrival and Epcot
DH, DMIL, DD10 (newly minted as a Disney adult, ouch :grimacing:), DS7, and I landed at MCO around 9:30am. After what seemed like a million other stops at nearby Disney hotels, we finally arrived at the Yacht Club at 11am. We explored the nautically themed lobby and gift shop while waiting for Ale & Compass to start lunch service at 11:30am. We’ve made it a tradition to launch our Disney vacations with lunch at a table service restaurant in our resort, rather than battling prime lunch crowds at the theme parks.

As I’ve mentioned in my last Trip Report, we love Ale & Compass as it’s quiet and relatively easy to get a walk-in lunch reservation. Even more importantly, it has reasonable prices (for Disney), interesting and tasty food options, and good service. We had the:

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

Parker House Rolls and Spreads (Bacon Jam, Pub Cheese, Citrus Butter)

Applewood-smoked Bacon Flatbread (with Caramelized Onions, Gruyère, and Arugula)

Blackened Fish Tacos (I believe it was Mahi Mahi that day)

Steak Frites (with Caramelized Onion, Fennel, Watercress, and Rebel Tomato Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette)

and our repeat favorites for drinks:
Seaworthy Breeze (Yacht Club Vodka with Grapefruit and Cranberry Juices) and
Maple Old-Fashioned (Jim Beam Black Extra-aged Bourbon, Maple Syrup, Orange Juice, and Angostura Bitters).

After lunch, we were pleasantly surprised by a text informing us that our room was ready, even though it was not quite 1pm. We were happy to discover that we got what we requested- a room on an upper floor and close to the lobby. After a quick check on our room, we walked over to Epcot. Throughout most of our trip, we were pretty lucky with the weather- even though it was, of course, warm, the humidity wasn’t horrible most days. Therefore, our walks to and from Epcot were usually pretty pleasant.

One side note- we ordered a few groceries (i.e. fruits for breakfast, milk boxes for the kids, and a case of water) from Garden Grocer. Disney now tacks on a $6 grocery receiving fee. This is on top of the $15 I already paid Garden Grocer for delivery as we order less than $200 worth of food. Do you guys have any other recommendations for grocery delivery (i.e. Amazon Pantry) that won’t charge a high delivery fee? I once tried diapers.com when we were staying at the Contemporary but they wound up delivering it to the convention center and Disney charged me a whopping $20 service fee for delivery there. Ok, enough boring talk- back to our regular programming of Trip Report.

We rode Figment with a FP and then blanched at the long line for Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope (located at the end of the Figment ride) before deciding to come back another day instead for the Meet and Greet. DH and both kids went to try Mission Space for the first time (I chickened out as I was nervous about even the Green mission making me nauseous). The kids had a fabulous time despite DH jokingly flipping random switches to jeopardize their mission. :laughing: DH told me it was quite cute how seriously they took their roles and duties on MS.

We then rode TT with FP, explored the car showcase and accompanying photo kiosks, and did SE with a FP. After SE, the kids spent about a half hour playing the various games in Project Tomorrow while I ran over to MouseGear to shop. We then headed over to the Japan pavilion to have a pre-dinner treat of Kaki-Gori (Japanese shaved ice) while awaiting our dining reservation at Teppan Edo.

We thought the kids would get a kick out of the hibachi experience and they absolutely did. It was a pretty tasty and filling meal. I had half expected to still be hungry afterwards but the portions were quite large. DH had a sake flight while I had the Nigori Mimosa (Unfiltered Nigori Sake, Orange Juice, Grenadine, and Sparkling Water).

We were each given a basic green salad with a yummy dressing (no iceberg lettuce here!), a very generous portion of udon noodles mixed with vegetables (a little bland unfortunately), rice, and a decent amount of whichever meats we selected. We had the Filet Mignon (very tender), NY Cut Steak, and Asakusa (combination of shrimp and steak).

After dinner, my kids elected to have Funnel Cake from the adjoining US pavilion before we called it a night. It was a great start to our vacation!

Day 2: Typhoon Lagoon and Disney Springs
We started the day with a character breakfast at Cape May in the Beach Club. Very fitting as Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Goofy were all in beachwear and we were all headed to TL! The food options were pretty standard for breakfast (i.e. pancakes, bacon, tator tots, etc.). I sort of missed the more exotic breakfast buffet at Boma but I had wanted to try something new. Plus, the characters were fun.

After breakfast, we decided to cab it to TL as the next bus would’ve reportedly been much later. Although the bus times listed within the MDE app was helpful at times, it sometimes didn’t display bus times even when the bus was actually pulling right in. We almost missed an AK bus later on in our trip because of this. I was about to call yet another cab that morning when my family saw an AK bus pull into the bus stop even though the app did not list it at all. I also found it continually frustrating that there weren’t extra buses on EMH days for the associated park. We would routinely see 2-3 buses for non-EMH parks before our EMH bus would arrive. That was so maddening for rope-drop crazy me.

We arrived at TL a few minutes after opening and rode MAFx2 before doing all 3 Storm Slides and Keelhaul Falls. We then tried Mayday Falls for the first time ever when my kids saw the sign and asked to go on. I hadn’t updated our TP for TL since beginning it 5 years ago! I keep forgetting that my kids are getting older and ready for more adventurous rides. By the same token, this was our first year of bypassing Ketchakiddee Creek entirely as our youngest was finally over 48” tall. :cry: On the upside of their getting older though, they can now carry their own tube up the stairs! Score! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:We then bobbed along in Castaway Creek for a bit before having a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, Orange Creamsicle, and Mini Donuts break. Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel for a quick shower and change before bussing it to DS for a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’! We had:

The Jasper Board (Smoked fish dip, pimento cheese, shaved country ham, bread and butter pickles, candied pecans, and buttermilk crackers) to start.

A Moonshine flight (Watermelon, Buffalo Trace, Tim Smith’s Climax) and
White Peach Sangria (Peach moonshine, La Perlina Moscato and fresh peach puree muddled with orange and mango garnished with a moonshine-soaked peach wedge)

Braised Short Ribs

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Fried Catfish

Summer Farmhouse Salad (House-smoked turkey, grilled peaches, avocado, candied pecans, blueberries, red onion, and feta cheese tossed in green goddess dressing)

DH also ordered the Blue Hooch (Blue Flame moonshine, lemon-infused moonshine, blue curaçao, house-made simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and a splash of Sprite) but we both found it way too sweet. We were more than happy though with the Sweet Tea Shine (Sweet Tea, fresh-squeezed lemon and moonshine) we got to-go in a squeeze bottle! I think soda refills are free and refills of one of their signature moonshine mixes is $13 (a pretty good deal as the bottle is huge)!

For dessert, we tried the famous Hummingbird Cake!

After that huge and delicious lunch, we waddled over to World of Disney and the Marketplace Co-op for some shopping. The D-Tech store is dangerous as you can go nuts designing your own MBs, phone cases, etc. DD10 selected a blue Villains emoji MB while I got a Disney Snacks MB with a red background. I know, you’re shocked I picked a food one, right? :stuck_out_tongue:

My family then went to hang out in the Lego Store while I went to refill the Homecomin’ squeeze bottle with more of that tasty Sweet Tea Shine to keep in the hotel fridge. I also bought a Buttermilk Chess Pie to go from Polite Pig. Super yummy!

Day 3: HS
We started the day with breakfast at the counter service restaurant of our resort- the Market. It’s pretty tiny with only a few tables and chairs and the menu is pretty small. However, I was satisfied with the options for both breakfast and lunch/dinner as they usually had a few unusual but tasty options in addition to the more conventional items. We had the Egg White Breakfast Wrap (Egg Whites, Spinach and Oven-roasted Tomatoes served on a Whole-Wheat Wrap), a Ham and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich, a Sticky Bun (covered with walnuts), and of course, Mickey Waffles.

We headed off to HS even though it wasn’t EMH as we would have limited time on Sunday to fully explore HS before running to a brunch reservation at the Contemporary. Man, what a difference in crowds when rope dropping at normal park opening time vs EMH. While the waits for the headliner rides are crazy at both kinds of rope drop, the waits for the rest of the rides was noticeably lighter during EMH.
I had been unable to secure a morning FP for SDD so DD10 and I hurried onto the standby line as soon as rope drop hit. I would hazard a guess that we were in the front 1/3 of rope drop crowds and were able to ride SDD with a 15-20 min wait. So not bad at all. We then waited about 20 min for ASS (hahaha) while the rest of our family did TSMM twice on standby. We were then all supposed to do TSMM together with our first FP of the day but DS7 had had enough of TSMM. Strange boy, I know. DMIL took him to explore Star Wars Launch Bay while the rest of us did TSMM twice by switching around our MBs.

After TSMM, we headed over to the Neighborhood Bakery in Municiberg to try a few of the Incredibles-themed treats. We had:

The Num-Num Cookie. It was basically a giant thick chocolate chip cookie. It was good, especially since it was warmed up, but still pretty standard for a cookie.

Key Lime Pie (on a stick!) and a Frozone Slush (albeit they were missing the marshmallow topping that day). The Key Lime Pie was covered in, I believe, white chocolate. It was super tasty but we all barely got a taste as DD10 scarfed most of it down. :yum: The Frozone Slush was a pretty standard slushy.

I was also able to finally get an Alien Popcorn Bucket!!! I’ve coveted this bucket ever since it launched and I happily had him touring with us most days.

We then regrouped with DMIL and DS7 and checked in on the lines for Monsters Inc. pals and Edna Mode. They were way too long even at 10:30am so we planned to go back on our second HS day. Sadly, we never returned to HS on this trip so I missed Edna!!! :sob:

Next, we rode ST with FP and saw Muppets 3D on standby. For lunch, we were finally able to try Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge! On previous trips, the lounge was closed due to rainy weather. I was super psyched to try it out AND the humidity was relatively low for the day so sitting outside for lunch wasn’t torture. As an added bonus, we were seated in such a way that my kids could even watch some Star Wars-related clips and parts of a stage show on Center Stage. We greatly enjoyed:

The “Famous Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad”

Andouille-Crusted Shrimp (with Cotswold Cheddar Grits, Micro Salad with Lime, and Piment d’Espelette Oil)

Derby Sliders (Wagyu Beef with Cognac-Mustard Aïoli, Smoked Gouda Cheese, Bacon, and Avocado and Duck Confit, Taleggio Cheese, Chipotle-Vegetable Slaw, Sweet Onion-Orange Conserve, and crispy Leeks)

Pan-Seared New England Scallops (with Sweet-and-Spicy Zellwood Creamed Corn, Salted Cod Fish Fritter)

And Espresso Cheesecake (Espresso-Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Cream, Caramel-Banana Sauce, Espresso Macaron, Hazelnut Powder, Milk Chocolate Twig). I don’t usually like cheesecake but this was delicious!

We also had 2 flights that were tasty and strong:
Margarita Flight (Classic, Blood Orange, and Pomegranate Margarita). My favorite was the Blood Orange.

Martini Flight (Classic Gin, Citrus Vodka, and Pomegranate)

After lunch, we headed over to RnR with our last FP of the day. It would be a first for both DS7 and I. I’m happy to have tried it as I like Aerosmith but this was a one and done for me as it gave me a slight headache. DS7, DD10, and DH loved it and would’ve ridden it again and again if the waits had been shorter. More power to them. :sweat_smile:

After RnR, the kids had some vanilla ice cream and frozen lemonade. We had planned for HS in the morning and then returning to the hotel to enjoy Stormalong Bay for several hours before our ‘Ohana reservation that night. However, we failed to account for the Orlando tendency to storm in the afternoons. We were hoping it would just be a brief passing shower (like most of the days of our vacation) but that afternoon turned out to be our wettest day. We took the boat back to our hotel in the hopes that the rain would stop. As the weather continued to not cooperate with my carefully laid out TPs, I salvaged a last minute FP for Soarin’. In the late afternoon, we began our meandering walk through Epcot to ride Soarin’ before catching various monorails to ultimately wind up at the Polynesian. In retrospect, we should’ve skipped Soarin’ and ridden a bus to MK before using the monorail instead, in order to save DH a lot of walking. By this time in our trip, his feet were already hurting (he has flat feet) and this long walk put him out of commission for most of the following day. :worried:

We arrived at the Polynesian with some time to spare before our reservation so we explored the shops and enjoyed the atmosphere in the lobby. At ‘Ohana, we started off with Pineapple-Coconut Bread and Salad with Lilikoi Dressing along with Pork Dumpling in Garlic-Ginger Sauce, Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings, Teriyaki Noodles, and Mixed Vegetables.

We also had several skewers of Spicy Grilled Peel-N-Eat Shrimp (easily the BEST of the 3 meats offered), Szechuan Sirloin Steak, and Sweet N Sour Chicken. I forgot to take pictures of these meats because I was too busy stuffing my face. :sweat_smile:

We also had the following drinks:
Island Sunset (I think). If so, it had Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Coruba Coconut Rum, and Peach combined with Guava-Passion Fruit Juice. It was very light, almost watery. Definitely not very memorable.

DH enjoyed his Hawaiian Mule (Pau Maui Handmade Vodka, Lychee-Citrus Reduction, and Fever-Tree Ginger Beer)

For dessert, we had the famous ‘Ohana Bread Pudding a la Mode and Rice Krispy Treats for the kids.

We had an ADR for 6:40pm this time around and again, never felt rushed to leave and our server attentively offered us more skewer meats without our having to search for her. I’ve read that some other people have had bad experiences at ‘Ohana with being rushed or not getting enough food. However, that has never been the case for us, thankfully, both times we’ve gone. We love ‘Ohana!

Day 4: MK
To make it to rope drop for EMH at MK, we used the Minnie Van service cuz yet again, there were no MK buses scheduled to arrive any time soon (at least according to the bus times in MDE). We arrived about 30 min before rope drop and did the Pooh ride, PPF, and IaSW within EMH. We were ready at the ropes for Liberty Square when 9am hit. DS7 surprisingly expressed an interest in HM (he had previously been too scared to try) as we walked by so we quickly got in line for it. I think we were in the first group to go down the stretching room. This was also the first time we got to walk through the queue (on our last trip, some friends took us on HM with a VIP tour that skips the queue). So it was fun for the kids to read the various funny tombstones while waiting on line. Sadly, only the pic for DS7’s and my doom buggy went through to Photopass. For some odd reason, the pics for DD10, DH, and DMIL didn’t go through, which was disappointing as the shots for this attraction is one of the most interesting. Some friends of ours also on a Disney trip had even more problems with attraction photos not showing up in their account.

After HM, DD10 and DH were scheduled to use their first FP for Splash Mountain while the rest of us rode JC but the ride was down for half the day. While we were waiting (in vain) for the ride to come back up that morning, we all rode Pirates. This was our first ride on Pirates since our 2014 trip as the prison bars had traumatized my then DD5. She’s made of sterner stuff now :stuck_out_tongue: so it was fun for everyone. At that point, DS7, DMIL, and I used our FP for JC while DH and DD10 browsed the shops. We then had a Dole Whip break before walking over to Fantasyland to do Barnstomer on Standby and play in the Dumbo waiting area (ah, air conditioning and seated comfort).

We had originally planned to eat lunch at our favorite MK counter service, Columbia Harbour House. But DH’s feet were killing him at that point. To avoid making him crisscross the park again (as we were planning on Tomorrowland rides after lunch), we headed over to Cosmic Ray’s instead. They grabbed a few conventional options (chicken nuggets and a burger) along with a Strawberry Lemonade Slush. Meanwhile, I was on a mission to finally try some interesting options at Sleepy Hollow. So while my family was happily ensconced in front of Sonny Eclipse, I ran over to Liberty Square to get the following yummies:

A Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich

A (giant) Mickey Waffle for my waffle-crazed son

And a Vanilla Ice Cream Churro Sandwich

Yes, I must’ve looked pretty insane walking with this tray of food from Liberty Square all the way to Tomorrowland while scarfing down bites of the rapidly melting ice cream sandwich but I was HAPPY, dammit. Nom nom nom!

After this fortifying lunch, we used our FP for BLSRS. The Peoplemover had an insane line but we did it anyway (15-20 min). I’m guessing it built up a long wait because multiple Tomorrowland attractions were down (Stitch’s Escape is closed, Astro Orbiter was closed for refurbishment, and Laugh Floor was strangely down all day, which really sucked as it’s one of my kids’ favorite MK attractions). However, I finally convinced my family to see Carousel of Progress as there was no wait! Even DH had to admit it was interesting. It still didn’t keep him and DMIL from dozing off for the latter part though. :laughing: By this time, Splash Mountain was finally open but even DD10 was feeling too tired to walk all the way back to Frontierland. So we converted DD10’s and DH’s FP from Splash into FPs for the Speedway. It was the first time ever that both kids could ride an attraction by themselves. Yet another first for my rapidly growing kids! :sob:

After Carousel, Cool Ship was finally open so we could get the Super Lemonade (it bubbles around due to dry ice in a bottom compartment). We then headed back to Fantasyland for our last FP of the day- 7DMT. This year, I had a ridiculously hard time getting FPs for the headliners despite crowd levels being about the same or supposedly lower than our previous trips. The earliest I could get the 7DMT FP was for 2:40pm. Is anyone else having a harder than usual time securing FPs?

After 7DMT, we got the Lost Princess Cone (Lemon Soft-serve with Edible Flowers) and a Coke Float from Storybook Treats:

DD10 said the flowers tasted like “really soft spinach”. :laughing: I’m glad she’s an adventurous eater.

While DMIL then took the kids to explore some of the shops on Main Street, DH and I took a mini break from the kids to get an All-American Sundae (Old-fashioned Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream with Hot Fudge, Peanut Butter Drizzle, Whipped Cream and a Cherry) from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. So good and worth the almost 30 minute wait.

We rode the bus back to the Yacht Club to relax a bit before our 6pm ADR for the seafood buffet at Cape May in the adjoining Beach Club. It is a must stop for seafood lovers!!!

After dinner, I went alone to Epcot as I was the only one interested in seeing Illuminations. I was excited as I had never seen it before and the show is ending in about a month. While waiting around for Illuminations to start, I also finally got to see Impressions de France (yet another show I had never been able to convince my family to see) while partaking in a curiously strong Orange Slush (Grand Marnier, Rum and Grey Goose Orange and Orange Juice).

I’ve had it on previous trips but this was the strongest one yet. Getting tipsy while watching Impressions a bit too close to the curved widescreen made for an interesting experience. :crazy_face:

I then walked over to China to check out the Shanghai Disney display in the House of Whispering Willows. Afterwards, I found a good spot by the railing in Germany and waited about half an hour for Illuminations to start. It was pretty but my favorite night show is still Happily Ever After by a mile. After Illuminations ended, I took my time walking back to the International Gateway. That was the loveliest walk around World Showcase yet. And infinitely more relaxing than the post-Happily Ever After exodus out of MK. I took my time walking back to Yacht Club and even relaxed on a recliner on the beach in front of Beach Club. It was super chill and I would have dozed off in contentment if not for the sign in front of me warning about alligators and snakes.

Yep, I got up then and went back to my room.

Day 5: BB and AK
Back to Ale & Compass we go for breakfast! DMIL and DH picked an entrée each to go along with the buffet options. They both had the American Breakfast (standard breakfast fare) while I had my beloved Dark Chocolate Waffles (with Dried Cherry Compote, Espresso-Mascarpone Cream, Chocolate Shavings, and a choice of Bacon or Sausage).

DD10 and DS7 split Mickey Waffles along with the Breakfast Flatbread (with a Sunny–side Egg, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Ham, Provolone, and Arugula). Well, they ate everything up besides the arugula. Infidels. Arugula is awesome.

We then took the bus to BB right at opening. First up was the Chair Lift to ride Teamboat Springs. After that, the kids elected to eschew all other attractions in order to go straight to Ski Patrol Camp. It was perfect as there are plenty of cool water activities for the kids to go on independently (i.e. zip line, mini tube course, slides, trek across floating icebergs while hanging onto an overhead net). While the kids went nuts in that area, DMIL and DH were able to rest their feet while sitting on a bench while I happily went in search of more treats.

DH and I split a Black Cherry Lemonade (Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka, Odwalla® Lemonade, Lime Juice and Grenadine topped with Sprite), which was super refreshing.

I also got a Strawberry Lemonade Slushy and Strawberry Passionfruit Slushy from Joffrey’s for the rest of my family.

An hour or so later, I also got the quintessential Disney treat- the Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich

We hung around BB’s Ski Patrol Camp for about 2-3 hours and then took a bus to AKL before transferring to AK. I had played around with the idea of us eating at the Mara while we were at AKL for the bus transition. I had heard really good things about the Mara and we were right there! However, DD10 would have been devastated to skip her beloved ribs from Flame Tree BBQ so off to AK we went.

On the bus to AK, I started a Mobile Order for Flame Tree BBQ. It definitely saved us some time from waiting on the long line to order but it was still quite a wait for the food to be prepared. Plus, I learned the hard way that MDE was a bit wonky with Mobile Order. It often said “Oops, something went wrong” when I clicked the final submit button. I would therefore think the order didn’t go through so ordered again. A few minutes later, both orders would show up. :roll_eyes: So that was always fun to cancel the second order. Sigh. At Flame Tree BBQ, we had:

The St. Louis Rib Dinner

Pulled Pork Cheese Fries

We also ordered a Chicken Drumstick from the kids’ menu for DS7, cornbread, onion rings, and a Mandarin Orange Lemonade. Everything was, as always, super delicious.

After lunch, we walked to Dinoland for Dinosaur (DS7’s all-time Disney favorite). After Dinosaur, DH and DD10 went (along with our MBs) to ride EEx2 with FP while DS7 got to explore the Boneyard for the very first time. We never tried it on previous trips as it was just too hot and humid to be outside that long. But for this trip and at that time of day (4pm), it was comfortable and DS7 had a blast running around the playground area. And to his serendipitous surprise, he even found the digging site on his own and was in happy digging heaven. Seriously, that boy loves digging around in the dirt so that area was made for him. While DMIL watched him, I went to nearby Restaurantosaurus in search of something interesting and refreshing to drink. I wound up ordering a Margarita. BLECH! That was the most sickly sweet margarita I’ve ever had and I didn’t detect any alcohol cuz of the syrupiness. I even went back to double check that I wasn’t given lemonade by accident. All I tasted was sickly sweet. Gross. I would definitely warn others away from getting a Margarita there. :confounded:

We then all met up in Pandora to ride FOP with a FP. We browsed the shops some more and then exhaustedly headed back to our resort. We ate dinner at our resort in the Market. The kids had a Foot-Long hot dog and a Ham and Cheddar Sandwich while the adults split yet another Sticky Bun, a Grilled Chicken Panini (with Basil Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes on an Olive Oil Ciabatta), and a Cold Vegetable Sandwich from the fridge (filled with an assortment of veggies like zucchini, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, and I think hummus). DMIL had picked the latter and I had been afraid it would be too watery/bland but it turned out to be my favorite of the above!


Day 6: Pool and MK
For our original plan, we were supposed to hit up HS for EMH. However, given that we missed pool time the other day, I was nervous that we’d never get to experience the pool due to unpredictable Orlando thunderstorms. Even though I had found a hotel offer at the Boardwalk for $200 cheaper, I had chosen the Yacht Club purely so that we could try the much lauded Stormalong Bay. Therefore, I was determined that we were going to enjoy the pool!! So we decided to skip HS (goodbye Edna! :sob:) and hang out in the pool for the morning. While my kids ran around Stormalong Bay enjoying the Pirate Ship slide, the lazy river, and the mini beach, I released our HS FPs in search for FPs in the afternoon at MK for after our brunch at California Grill. I have to say, Stormalong Bay is incredible. It’s like a mini water park in itself. I wished that the pool opened earlier though. My kids are naturally early risers but we had to wait for it to open at 9am. I think the pool stayed open till pretty late (10pm?) but that doesn’t really benefit my family as they are wiped by 8pm.

After a quick shower and slightly dressing up (it’s for California Grill after all! :wink:), we took the bus and monorail to the Contemporary. We arrived a bit early so we had time to browse the giftshops and feel nostalgia for our first Disney hotel. Everytime I walk through those doors, I instantly recall my DD5 walking around in her Elsa dress! We truly love that hotel and the ease with which we could travel to good eats all around the monorail line resorts, in addition to partaking in the excellent Contempo Café (reasonable Disney prices and tasty food? I’m there!). However, the Contemporary is so far from all the other parks aside from MK. Plus, we absolutely love being able to leisurely walk to Epcot so I doubt we’ll ever stay in the Contemporary again. But we’ll probably always feel a pang of nostalgia everytime we go there. And why will we always go there? To eat at California Grill cuz I’m addicted to their Sunday brunch!

The Sunday brunch comes with a VERY hefty price tag :sweat_smile: but the food is incredible and the ambience is outstanding. The buffet portion includes a charcuterie of delectable cheeses and cured meats (I think my kids ate their weight in prosciutto), various sushi, deviled eggs, various interesting salads, quiche, pastries (i.e. scones, cheddar biscuits), and a station that doles out these incredible date baba cakes served with orange bourbon ice cream and corn flakes.

And the above is just the self-serve portion! All adults also get a mimosa (on this visit, it included citrus popping bubbles while last year had blueberry popping bubbles).

For our entrees, we selected:

Chicken and Toast (Basically fried chicken on avocado toast made with sourdough and topped with Ají Panca Mayonnaise, Yuzu Pickles, Cilantro, Parsley)

Blackened Gulf Shrimp (with Maque Choux, Neuske’s Bacon, Parmesan Grits)

Peach Pancakes that were Whiskey Marinated and topped with Oat Crumble and Chantilly Cream

Pineapple-Coconut Stuffed French Toast (Cream Cheese Filling, Pineapple Compote)

Eggs Benedict (with Butter-poached Maine Lobster)

We also got a platter of sausages, bacon, and potatoes.

To finish this king’s feast, we had a platter of desserts to share:

After this behemoth of a meal, we took the monorail to MK and used our FP for BLSRS. Our friends had told us various tips on how to score super high points on BLSRS but my aiming skills are atrocious on that ride. I got 14,000 while DH scored a 995,000!!! :crazy_face: I’m hopeless. We also finally got to enjoy Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. DS7 was elated that his submitted joke was used during the show. By that time, the humidity was starting to ramp up so we cooled off with a Frozen Coke Slushy and Space Ranger Slushy (Grape and Sour Apple-layered Slushy), both served with a candy straw. Eek.

We then walked up to Fantasyland. Unfortunately, within a minute of us scanning our FPs to get into Barnstormer (one of my kids’ favorite MK rides), the ride experienced delays. Cast members weren’t sure when it would be up again, DH’s feet were killing him while we were standing around waiting, and the humidity was making the wait unbearable. We decided to leave the line to go to the nearby air conditioned Dumbo play area instead. The kids got to tear around and be kids while DMIL and DH got to rest their feet. I elected to go meet some characters at the nearby Silly Sideshow. Everybody wins! :wink: I got to meet Carnival-Wear Daisy and Pluto! If it weren’t for our upcoming FP for Splash Mountain, I probably would’ve hopped into the other line for Carnival-wear Donald and Goofy, too! On the way out, I grabbed some Goofy’s Glaciers to cool us down as we slowly limped our way to Frontier/Adventurelands. There, DD10 and I rode Splash Mountain while the rest of our party did Jungle Cruise.

After the above rides, we shopped a bit more before DMIL, DH, and DS7 went back to the resort to rest while DD10 and I prepared to gorge ourselves some more at the HEA Dessert Party. But first, DD10 begged for a second time at MILF and I was able to scrounge up a last minute FP for it. So we caught one more show before arriving at the dessert party about 10 minutes after check-in was allowed. We did this dessert party 2 years ago and I feel like I had found more stuff I liked back then. This time around, I found most of the stuff just eh/boring but I was very excited to finally try the cheeseburger spring rolls (miniaturized) and the famous Ooey-Gooey Toffee Cake (usually only found in Liberty Tree Tavern). The latter was overly sweet for me (or maybe I was just too sugar overloaded for the day) but I found myself continually eating those cheeseburger spring rolls! My friends’ kids really enjoyed the decorate your own cookie/cupcake station, too.

After dessert, we hustled over to the Garden Plaza Viewing area. Unfortunately by then, all the spots right at the front railing were taken. I was nervous as DD10 is still understandably short (I’m no giant either) and if someone tall is standing right in front of her, her view will be obstructed. Thankfully, the area wasn’t overly crowded so we were able to leave a bit of space in front of us to allow us a better view. HEA was once again amazing. Even though I don’t ever eat enough to justify the high price tag of the dessert party, I’m still glad we do it to give us a good spot from which to enjoy HEA without having to camp out for 3 hours.

Day 7: AK and Pool
We caught a bus to AK and arrived about 15 minutes before EMH. At rope drop, we went straight to Na’vi River Journey on standby. In fact, the standby line went so quick that it dismayed DS7 as he didn’t have time to read all the plaques about the Pandora animals. Sorry, kid. After NRJ, we walked to Africa and rode KS with a 5-10 minute wait. We saw a wide variety of animals and then browsed Zuri’s Sweets Shop and the adjoining giftshop as it always has an interesting assortment of animal-themed souvenirs.

I was eager to try a bunch of treats in the Africa section but none of those kiosks were open yet! So sad. And hungry. :laughing: But we DID get to buy the incredibly cute Lion King themed popcorn bucket!

We then walked over to Asia. While DH and DD10 rode EE multiple times again while using our MBs, DMIL and I took DS7 to explore the Maharaj Jungle Trek for the very first time so that he could look for tigers and komodo dragons. On our first trip to AK in 2014, we tried one animal trek in Africa and gave up on all the other animal treks that year as well as the following years as it was always too hot and humid to go wandering around outside. This was our first year where being outside in AK didn’t make me run for the air-conditioned hills. The MJT was also nicely uncrowded at that time of day and we got to see all the listed animals. We were lucky enough to see the tiger up close as it went right up to the glass. :open_mouth:

We then all met up in the giftshop at the EE exit and walked together down to Dinoland. On the way, the kids expressed an interest in Face Painting. DD10 had Tigress Eyes while DS7 had a snake coursing around his face. :laughing: We then rode Dinosaur with FP before heading back to Asia to eat at Yak & Yeti where we had:

A South Seas Traveler (Myer’s Original Dark Rum and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Monin Lychee Syrup, and citrus juices)

An Apricot Sour (Cruzan Single Barrel Rum, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, apricot preserves and Fee Brothers Cardamom Bitters)

Firecracker Shrimp (Crispy fried shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce, Asian slaw)

Big Island Tuna Poke Bowl (Sushi grade Ahi Tuna, cucumbers, Maui onions, avocado mousse, wonton crisps). I was a little disappointed in this as the tuna wasn’t as fresh as the tuna I had with the Ahi Tuna Nachos last year.

Surf and Turf Special

DMIL ordered a different special also with steak and shrimp

DH also tried a Kiwi Komodo (Don Q Coconut Rum, Vodka, Midori Melon Liqueur, Fresh Kiwi, and Sweet and Sour), which he regretted as it was sickly sweet.

I eschewed dessert at Yak and Yeti in order to pursue a treat in Africa. While my family went straight down to Pandora, I went through Africa to obtain the “Most Beautiful Cake” from Harambe. Seriously, that’s its name. :stuck_out_tongue: It had a very light and tasty coconut flavor.

We rode FOP and then picked up a Night Blossom (layers of Apple and Desert Pear Limeade topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls) for the kids to share as we walked back to the bus stop.

Back at the resort, DH started packing for our overnight trip to Universal the following day while I took the kids down to the pool. The kids had tons of fun yet again until the typical Orlando thunderstorm rolled in. After they closed the pool, we went over to the counter service option of Beaches N Cream and got ice cream for the kids and an adult S’mores Shake (Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream, Amarula Cream Liqueur, and Bols Creme de Dark Cacao topped with Marshmallow, Chocolate Sauce, and Graham Crackers) and Grasshopper Float (Guinness Stout with Mint Chip Ice Cream) for DH and I.

After a brief rest and change, most of us headed over to Les Halles in France for a light dinner while DH stayed in to rest his feet. At Les Halles, my kids had their usual favorites- Roule Lard and Fromage (Bacon and Cheese Roll) and Croissant Jambon Fromage (Ham and Cheese). Remember to ask for both to be warmed up! DMIL had a Dinde BLT (a BLT with turkey) while I had (I think) a Chocolat (Caramel Cream and Chocolate Mousse)

It was basically a very delicious chocolate mousse in a tart shell. When on vacation, a chocolate tart is a completely acceptable dinner option. :stuck_out_tongue: I also got a Traditional Poutine (French Fries, Beef Gravy and Cheese Curds) from Refreshment Port on our way back to the resort.

We also stopped by Morocco for both kids to get henna tattoos as they had been envious of the one I got several nights ago on my way to watch Illuminations.

The final product after the inks had dried and fallen off.

Once back at the Yacht Club, we bundled the kids to bed as were planning to leave super early in the morning to catch a Lyft to Universal. DH was feeling well enough to walk with me around the lagoon to go to the Boardwalk Bakery for us to pick up some plain croissants for breakfast tomorrow morning. (Yes, I should’ve just got them from Les Halles when I was there for dinner but I was distracted at the time by all the pastries :sweat_smile:). While in the Boardwalk area, DH got a White Pizza from the To-Go window and we got a mini-date night.


Day 8: Universal’s Islands of Adventure
We got up early and took a Lyft at 6:30am to Universal. It only took about a half hour. We first went to check in at the Loews Royal Pacific to both drop off our overnight bag and to pick up our Express Passes. I selected this hotel as it appeared to be closest in walking distance to the Universal parks and was one of the 3 Universal hotels that provided “free” Express Passes for both check in and check out dates. It really is an awesome deal and the hotel was pretty nice. The room was smaller though (as compared to the standard rooms we’ve stayed in at various Disney Deluxe hotels) and had almost no bathroom counter space (and zero bathroom shelves :roll_eyes: ). We also had to request a rolling bed as there wasn’t a fold-out couch (usually found in Disney Deluxe resorts). Can you tell that I’m still a devoted Disney fan? :wink: While at the Royal Pacific, we upgraded 3 of our party members’ tickets from 1-day to 2-day as the extremely helpful woman at the check-in desk advised us that the waits for the in-park tickets office would be much longer. Plus, we had time to kill as IOA wasn’t opening till 9am.

We walked the very short walk to IOA (about 10 min) and were waiting at the gates by 8am (a full hour before opening), which sort of sucked for poor DH, whose feet hurt more if just standing still as opposed to walking around. But he was really nice about it and we all waited in line for the gates to open. I was chafing a bit that I was wasting time, unable to activate my Universal Photos package until I could go to the photo shop that was INSIDE the gates. In my opinion, Disney’s Memory Maker is better as I don’t need to go anywhere to activate it- buy it online, boom, it’s done and I only need my MB. At Universal, I needed to bring my receipt to the photo store to then pick up a photo card. I also had problems with the photo card as it often didn’t work at the self-serve photo kiosks after the attractions. Therefore, I’d have to go to a worker to manually add attraction photos to my package. Thankfully, the lines for these workers at the photo kiosks were never long. Uber Disney fan me missed my MB.

They let us through the gates early and we ran over to the photo store. Nobody else was there so I got my Photo Package within a few minutes. We then rejoined the long procession towards Hogsmeade. We were held up at the entrance to Seuss Landing for 10 minutes more and then allowed to continue. We arrived at Hogsmeade around 8:50am. We bypassed the already looooong line for Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure as we had already agreed as a family to skip it for this trip. We didn’t want to spend our first few hours at Universal for a ride that still experienced frequent delays. Plus, I’d much rather spend 2 hours exploring a relatively uncrowded Hogsmeade as I’m a super HP fan. :smiley:

We first walked through the entire queue for Forbidden Journey as I wanted to see everything in that castle and hardly anybody else was around! Unfortunately, it was so dark in most of the queue that I couldn’t make out most details. Heck, in some parts, it was so dark that I had to run my hands along the railing to prevent myself from walking into furniture! DMIL waited in the nicely air conditioned child swap room (located right next to the loading area) while the 4 of us rode FJ. I’m glad I did it once but I refrained from joining my kids the other 2 times they went that day as the intense moving visuals made me faintly nauseous. I was also surprised to find the graphics not nearly as beautiful as the graphics for FOP in AK.

After riding FJ a second time, my family stood on line for Ollivanders Wand Shop. We had just missed a group going in so we were the first on line and waited about 10 minutes for the next group. Maybe being first in line did it or the witch inside noticed that most of us were in HP paraphernalia, but in either case, DD10 got selected to be the wand tester! It was an awesome experience and I was sad that I wasn’t allowed to videotape any of it. My super nice DMIL indulged our kids and bought both of them their own interactive wands. We then spent the next 2 hours trying out spells and exploring the shops in Hogsmeade. We also rode Flight of the Hippogriff and saw an amazing animatronic Buckbeak.

We ate at the Three Broomsticks around 11:00am (the start of lunch service), intentionally early to avoid lunch crowds of like-minded HP fans. We had, of course, Frozen Butter beer, the Spareribs Platter, Fish and Chips, Cornish Pasties with Garden Salad (the dreaded iceberg lettuce!), some Chicken Fingers for DS7, and Butterbeer Potted Cream. The Frozen Butterbeer was okay- it tasted just like cream soda to me. DMIL and I liked it fine but it was too sweet for DD10 (HUH?). I found the Butterbeer Potted Cream way too sweet but DH enjoyed it. He also tried one of the beers created for HP- Dragon Scale.

After lunch, we headed in a counter clockwise direction. We first explored Jurassic Park. First stop was the Jurassic Discovery Center, which was a big hit for both kids but especially my dinosaur-crazed boy. Since we weren’t rushing to a FP time, we let them explore as long as they wanted. Once they had their fill, we headed to Jurassic Park River Adventure. On our way there, we saw that the wait for the Raptor Encounter was 30min. Surprisingly, my dinosaur boy didn’t want to wait for the raptor so we bypassed it.

DS7 had been adamant about not doing JPRA these past few planning months because he HATES drops. So do I actually but I was willing to do it as I heard that JPRA was amazing. We tried to cajole him with descriptions of the cool realistic dinos he would see and how the drop would be really quick and brief. Nope, he wasn’t having any of it. And truthfully, as we walked closer and closer to the ride, I became more apprehensive about the drop. I hate the drop in Splash Mountain and the drop for JPRA is from an even higher height. So, as we were walking through Jurassic Park, I was telling him that if he still didn’t want to do JPRA, it was fine and I would wait with him outside while DD10 and DH rode it. But as we approached the ride, he changed his mind! DD10 and DH were happy. Me, not so much. Cuz if he was willing to try it, I couldn’t really chicken out, could I? :sweat_smile:

Of course we wound up sitting in the front row of the raft! GAH! I don’t think DS7 even really looked at the dinosaurs on the ride as he was nervously awaiting the drop the entire time. Poor kid asked for the chicken exit just as our raft approached the waterfall. I told him, “Sorry, kid. Too late.” We then clutched the heck out of each other as we went over. Wouldn’t you know it, the drop was way less intense than Splash Mountain’s! I barely felt the drop. I have no idea how that could be since it’s from a higher height. Very confusing. I’m proud of DS7 though. And myself for doing it for him! :sweat_smile: Frustratingly though, the attraction photo cuts him out of the picture (and most of me, too). After all that bravery, we don’t even have a picture to document it! I asked him if he wanted to go again to get the picture redone. Nope, he was done.

We then picked up a Virtual Line Pass for Pteranodon Flyers. While waiting for our return time one hour later, DH, DD10, DS7, and I scooted over to ride Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Pretty amazing special effects! It was probably one of my favorite rides at Universal for the effects alone. Afterwards, we killed some more time in the Jurassic shop before riding the really short Pteranodon Flyers. If you have a Virtual Line Pass, it’s worth a try. Without one, I’d pass since it is a ridiculously short ride for such a wait in the heat.

We then took a short icee break. That was one of my complaints about Universal- most of the treats were pretty standard theme park fare and I missed my novel Disney snacks. The only drinks I liked were the icees and they weren’t as commonly placed around the park as you would think. Every kiosk seemed to have beer or soda but as I’m not a beer or soda drinker usually.

By this time, DH’s feet were DONE and his back was messed up from HP’s FJ. Yes, all the rides blatantly warn people about nausea/back problems/etc but DH’s back had never given him problems from a ride before. First time for everything. We are getting OLD. :roll_eyes::sob: So for the rest of that day and the following day, only I took the kids on the rides.

We next walked through Toon Lagoon, which filled me and DH with nostalgic excitement as it was all the comics we grew up with. The kids were of course unimpressed as they’ve never read any of those comics. All they cared about was doing both water rides but we decided no, we weren’t slogging around the rest of the day in wet clothes and soaked sneakers. No thanks. We hurried over to Marvel Super Hero Island to get them out of sight of the desired water rides and I took both kids on the Spiderman ride. Nice special effects and thankfully, the spinning was pretty mild (180 degrees twice). Afterwards, we spent a fair amount of time in the comic books store. DH was in heaven and even DD10 found some interesting comics to read and purchase. I also took DS7 to meet and take pictures with Spiderman and later, DD10 with Storm and Rogue.

We went next to Seuss Landing, which was pretty uncrowded by that time of day (4pm). I’m assuming the young audience it’s primarily aimed at was tuckered out and had gone home already. I would’ve liked to explore the decorations there more but knew my family was pushing its limit by then. We took a quick churro and pretzel break before I took the kids to ride the Cat in the Hat. I would’ve liked to try the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride to see Seuss Landing from up high but my kids were clamoring to ride FJ one more time and it was too hot and humid to do an outdoor ride. So we walked back to Hogsmeade. I waited for the kids in the Child Swap room while they rode FJ a third time (this time with EP). Afterwards, we spent an obscene amount of money at the HP shop and did a few more spells with our wands before exiting the park.

Our Unlimited Express Passes made touring Universal a breeze. In addition, having both theme parks basically a giant circle made it super easy to find attractions. I also loved that we could walk to BOTH parks AND Citywalk from our hotel. In those respects, touring Universal was way easier than planning FPs and TPs at Disney. On the other hand though, Universal just didn’t feel as family/child friendly as Disney. I’m glad we got to try it but aside from the HP lands (and maybe Simpsons land in USF), DH and I are pretty much one and done for the Universal parks. :sweat_smile:

After leaving IOA, we walked over to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium because there was NO WAY I was skipping out on that dessert mecca.

DH had the Thrilla in Vanilla shake (Vanilla ice cream, vanilla pastry cream, vanilla wafers, vanilla macaron, maraschino cherry, whipped cream)

while I had the Espresso Buzzzz (Coffee ice cream, espresso, chocolate espresso beans, fresh whipped cream, cherry).

I figured I would need the caffeine hit as I was hoping to go back to Hogmeade at night. Nobody else wanted shakes. Strange people.

For dinner, I had Tochos (fried tator tots, spicy green chili, crispy pork belly, andouille sausage cheddar cheese sauce) and Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Charred Brussels sprouts, jalapeño mayo, cotija cheese, ancho chili powder).

DH had the Pub It Up Burger (Half pound housemade patty, colby andouille queso, cheddar cheese, grain mustard and kettle chips on a pretzel bun). That was a REALLY good burger and I kept stealing bites.

DMIL had the Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

DD10 had the Braised Short Rib (with aged cheddar grits, roasted carrots, natural jus, cocoa gremolata)

DS7 had kid-sized waffles and bacon. Sadly, even I was too stuffed for dessert. We then trudged back to our hotel. I helped the kids get ready for bed before I skedaddled back over to IOA for the last hour it was open. I really wanted to see Hogsmeade at night!

I also got to see the castle projections for the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle! They were pretty cool but again, it doesn’t hold a candle to HEA.

Day 9: Universal Studios Florida
We had a quick grab and go breakfast in our hotel room before packing up our bag to leave at the hotel while we toured USF. As we had to pack up, we were a little late to Early Morning Hour and didn’t arrive in USF till about 8:20am. Still, the standby line for Escape from Gringotts was very quick. I also got to see and enjoy the details in the queue as it wasn’t pitch dark like at FJ! Diagon Alley is also AMAZING. It’s even more detailed than Hogsmeade as there are alleyways to explore and more shops you can actually enter. I would’ve loved to ride Escape more than once (it is a much milder ride than FJ) but we skipped additional rides in favor of exploring Diagon Alley while it was still relatively uncrowded. My kids had a blast doing more spells and we adults loved the details in all the shops.

Around mid-morning, we stopped by Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor for a mid-morning snack. The kids had Vanilla and Apple Crumble. I tried the Clotted Cream (weirdly sour) and Sticky Toffee Pudding Ice Cream (eh, just ok). I sort of wished I had stuck with the Butterbeer flavor.

Before leaving Diagon Alley, we went to Shutterbutton’s to buy a DVD of short videos where our family is inserted into a variety of HP scenes. We also wound up buying the photos of ourselves inserted into dueling scenes and in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Expensive souvenirs :sweat_smile: but awesome for an uber HP fan! We then rode the Hogwarts Express to and from Hogsmeade.

We left Diagon Alley for good :sob: around noon to then walk clockwise around USF. We had a ton of fun in Springfield as both DH and I are big Simpsons fans. Due to his back pain though, DH had to unfortunately sit out all rides. I took the kids to the Simpsons Ride before we had lunch at Fast Food Boulevard. That place is hilarious as it includes all the food spots ever mentioned in the Simpsons. They also run continual Simpsons clips poking fun at theme parks and theme park food. Frigging awesome!

Even though it was understandably a madhouse at the counters at that time, we were able to sit in a relatively quiet area reserved for people using Mobile Order. Thankfully, Mobile Order via the Universal app was easy. Waiting for the food though took a loooong time. We got typical theme park fare but it was pretty decent quality. We got the Krusty Burger, Heat Lamp Dog, Chicken Thumbs, Basket O’ Bait (fried cod, coconut-crusted shrimp, and what they say was calamari but did NOT taste like any calamari I’ve ever had!), and a Groovy Grove Juice (OJ, lemonade, and blood orange syrup).

After lunch, we regrettably had to skip Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone entirely as we needed to leave extra time to get back to Disney to pack for our last night :cry:. We went down Hollywood Blvd to look specifically for the Dark Room that DarkMite2 told me about. Thanks again, DarkMite2! It had several awesome green screens for my family to take hilarious movie-themed photos.

We also took a few photos with Marilyn Monroe who was stationed right outside the Dark Room. Afterwards, DD10, DS7, and I rode Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and saw Shrek 4-D. Both are definitely must-dos if you enjoyed either movie. Lastly, we rode the Transformers ride. We left USF and walked back through Citywalk to return to the Royal Pacific to pick up our bag. We returned to the Yacht Club via Lyft and was back in our hotel room by around 5:30pm. We then started the sad chore of packing for our return. We were too exhausted to go beyond our hotel for dinner so we just ate at the Market again. This time, I got to try the Warm Vegetable sandwich (Roasted Broccoli and Garlic, Kale, Almonds, Golden Raisins, and Provolone on a Whole Wheat Baguette). Super tasty!

We finished packing and then I took one last stroll around the lagoon at night to visit the Boardwalk area again and enjoyed my favorite Disney cupcake - the Mickey Oreo Cupcake from Boardwalk Bakery. It’s a good tradition- eating a good Disney cupcake while relaxing in front of water. :stuck_out_tongue:

Day 10: Epcot and Departure
On our last day, we headed back to Epcot. We had breakfast at Les Halles and enjoyed the Croissant Jambon Fromage and Roule Lard Fromage yet again. We also had a Chocolate Croissant and both types of Frangipane (both the regular almond one and one with chocolate).

They had changed the frangipane from the one we’ve had previous years. I don’t like the new version of the regular frangipane as much but the chocolate one is DA BOMB!

After breakfast, I found yet another souvenir collectible to go crazy for- pressed pennies of all the countries. I’ve held off all these years on collecting those pennies but I succumbed on my last day. Well, maybe I started a few days before when I got the idea to get both pins and pennies of every Disney resort I’ve ever stayed at. And now that penny idea has spiraled out of control as my penny book previously looked sad and lonely with only 3 pennies in it. :laughing: Not anymore!!!

I spent the rest of the day collecting pennies for all the World Showcase countries, along with trying my best to eat/drink at least 1 thing from every pavilion. Strangely/irritatingly enough, the machines in China and Japan don’t have the official penny from that country. Instead of the usual 50 cent pressed penny showcasing the country, they have the Fab Five characters in Japanese/Chinese clothing and for $1 each! Grrrrr. I got one each from China and Japan anyway because I wanted a penny from every country but it irritated the heck out of me that these 2 pennies were “different”. Don’t get me wrong, the alternative pennies were cute (and I was way too tempted to buy them all but I cut myself off after buying $10 worth of Chinese Zodiac pennies). :sweat_smile: And of all things, I happened to stumble upon the China pressed penny in the gift shop at International Gateway on my way out! So there IS an official China penny! But just not in China! Makes total sense???!!! So where’s the official Japan penny???

We then walked over to Future World and DD10 reminded me about meeting Wreck It Ralph and Vanellope in the Imagination Pavilion. We waited about 20 minutes for them both, narrowly missing their break time. We then used up our FPs for both Soarin’ and Mission Space. This time, I was willing to try MS, albeit the Green Mission. I wound up really enjoying the theming. My kids were wistful about the Orange Mission but sorry kids, momma is only brave enough to do Green. After that, we got the kids some Mango and Strawberry Smoothies for the walk back to World Showcase. In fact, DH had waited for us in World rather than walk all the way to Future World and back since both his feet and back were hurting. :frowning_face: He had some beer therapy while waiting in Germany. :laughing:

We first hit Mexico where I got the Fiesta from Choza de Margarita. It’s a combo of all three featured frozen margaritas – Classic Lime, Strawberry, and Mango. I actually found my margarita flight from Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge way tastier.

While my kids played with the Coco machine in the pyramid, I got my Mexico pressed penny. Next, we got the famous School Bread (Sweet Roll filled with Custard and dipped in Coconut) from Kringla in Norway along with an Einstök White Ale from Iceland for DH.

Next up was my hunt for a China penny while grabbing a pretty flower cotton candy for DD10. The cotton candy artist is only there certain days and is located in the back of the large giftshop.

In Germany, my kids selected a bunch of Mamba candies from Karamell-Kuche while I got a Milk Chocolate Pecan Caramel.

In Italy, I was starting to feel stuffed so our only family contribution to my goal of eating something from every pavilion was a Vanilla Gelato cone for DS7. Great job taking one for the team, kid! :laughing:

In the American pavilion, I got both a jumbo turkey leg and the American Dream (Frozen Fanta® Strawberry, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Frozen Fanta® Blue Raspberry Slush) for DD10. She LOVED the turkey leg but I wound up liking the American Dream more than she did. It was insane watching her eat a turkey leg practically the size of her face. :laughing: Have I mentioned she’s an ultimate carnivore?

In Japan, both DH and DMIL each got a Kaki-Gori. She had one with Cherry and Melon while DH had one with Melon and Tangerine. Very tasty and light.

In Morocco, I faced a conundrum. On one hand, my favorite food from that pavilion are the hummus fries. However, they only serve them at the table service restaurant, Spice Road Table. And even if I convinced them to make it to-go for me, I now had only about an hour left before we had to be back at the hotel for Magic Express and I still had to go to Canada and the UK for my last few pennies! Plus, I was more than a little overstuffed by this point. So I took the easy way out and ordered an Iced Mint Tea from the Tangierine Café. It was refreshing but if I had had the time/stomach, I would have ordered hummus fries instead.

On my way to the Canada and UK pavilions, I happened across the intermittently opened corridor where a bunch of characters are suddenly available for photos/autographs. I took a few shots of the more rarely seen characters.

In the UK, I was stumped as I did NOT want any fish and chips and my usually beer happy DH did not want any more beer. So what to do? A ha! I found a can of Cadbury Drinking Chocolate! I’m a huge hot chocolate fan and various people I’ve met have sworn to me that Cadbury makes the best hot chocolate ever. So I was triumphant to both find one finally and be able to fulfill my eating around the World goal. Heh. Unfortunately, TSA found the Cadbury chocolate too tempting and confiscated it even though it was a sealed container without any liquids. :frowning_face: So here’s a photo of my brief triumph.

In Canada, I had to throw in the towel and just count my previous snack of Classic Poutine from the other night. I would’ve loved to get Maple popcorn for my Alien bucket but it was still relatively full with the regular popcorn variety my family loves. I’m pretty much the only one who likes the sweet versions of popcorn. And for France, I just counted the breakfast we had that morning.

Back at the resort, I picked up some plain croissants for the kids to snack on at the airport while I selected that awesome Cold Vegetable Sandwich for my dinner later that night. My sandwich passed TSA but not Cadbury. :roll_eyes:

While en route to the airport, we got the dreaded texts that our flight home was delayed. It wound up being pushed back 3 hours due to thunderstorms back home. Still, I couldn’t complain as it had been an awesome trip and I can’t wait to go back to Disney soon!


love your report - such great detail and all the pictures - so awesome!

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I wish I could eat and drink through WDW with you! Glad you had a great trip!


Love all of the food pictures!!!

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Wow! Ya’l know how to eat and drink!

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I’ve absolutely loved your trip report. I chickened out on posting my last report as it was mostly food-centric and though no one other than me would enjoy a report of that variety. Now I know, I should’ve done it! I’m glad you all had a wonderful time and hope DH is recovering!

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