Day 4 – Resort Day: Pirate’s Cruise, Stormalong Bay and Ohana
Finally, a day to “sleep in!” I had signed DS up for the Pirate’s Cruise, so we left the room at 9:10am to go sign him in. While he was gone, DH and I got ready leisurely and went to Boardwalk Bakery for pastries and coffee. A bonus was seeing DS on his cruise while we were eating!
Heading off on the Albatross Treasure Cruise from YC
We were back at 11:25am to watch their return. DS loved the cruise and being able to explore parts of the lake and World Showcase while it was closed! I was really impressed by the planning that went into to cruise and the enthusiasm of the CMs. They were great.
We went straight to SAB for a few hours of pool time. DS and I enjoyed several rides on the water slide, we had lunch at Hurricane Hanna’s, played in the arcade a bit and then did the Mickey tie-dye activity at the pool (very cool, $17). Nice downtime without being on a schedule.
We had a 6:45pm ADR at Ohana and ended up taking a Minnie Van there and back. I couldn’t convince myself to take the bus to MK, go through security and then the monorail or boat over. The Minnie Van worked well for our family once again since we were short on time.
Check-in for Ohana was easy. We headed to the bar to order drinks while waiting and as soon as we went to pay, our buzzer went off. I was nervous about the wait time because I've seen numerous review where people had to wait 30 minutes or more for table, but fortunately, this didn't happen to us. We were seated at a table by the window, but had more of a view of the pool than anything else. I had initially planned to stay to watch the fireworks from the beach, but realized this was the first Halloween party and the Hallowishes fireworks were not scheduled until 10:15pm.
Ohana food was solid. Following the advice of others, we tried not to fill up on the salad and appetizers, so we could enjoy the meats. We liked the chicken the most, found the beef to be a bit dry and the shrimp just ok. There was a guy playing the ukulele and singing on and off during dinner and he called up people celebrating birthdays so everyone could sing, but I was expecting more activities for the kids from the reviews I’ve read. A little disappointing, but not a big deal. After dinner, we walked around the resort grounds a bit. DS watched part of the “Up,” which was playing on the lawn. DH really liked the ambiance at the Poly and it’s high on our list for our next WDW vacation. We ended up taking the Minnie Van back to YC because it was just easier for us.
All in all, it was a good day to recharge and get ready for the rest of our week.
Day 5: Epcot Morning and Animal Kingdom Evening
Our Saturday morning started with another pre-park open ADR at Garden Grill. Our ADR was for 8:05am and we were among the first to arrive. The walk from the IG entrance was nice, but since we’d covered that ground before, I tried to speed DH ad DS along.
View of an empty Epcot
The food at Garden Grill was good. My kids loved the tater tots, in particular. My only complaint for Garden Grill and other “all-you-care-to-eat” family-style restaurants is that SO MUCH food is wasted. I’m sure it happens with buffets too, but you just don’t see it on your table. We left full, but felt bad about all of the food that remained. In fact, this is one of DH’s big complaints for the week – the huge portions and continual waste of food all over Disney World.
After breakfast, we headed downstairs for Soarin’. DS and I were able to ride (B1!) before park open. There were only 6 of us, so we were all in B1. DH and DS jumped right back in line as people were starting to arrive. They had to wait a bit to get B1, but it was worth it. Soarin’ was awesome, but it did lose a lot of its glow because we did FOP later in the day.
Our next stop was supposed to be Test Track without a FP (because we were using them for FOP that night), but I noticed that it was down as we started to head over. We decided to walk that way anyway and as we arrived, they were unloading everyone from the ride. This didn’t look good. DH and DS did MS Orange again using a RS pass from the other day and I waited with DD in the stroller, hoping to have close access when TT reopened. Unfortunately, it didn’t reopen for quite some time, so we went to meet Joy & Sadness and then rode Under the Seas with Nemo, which was a little disappointing.
We were walking over to Mexico when I noticed that TT was finally up. I think it was down for more than two hours. We quickly detoured back to TT and the posted wait time was already 80 minutes, but Lines showed only 35 minutes, so I told DH and DS to jump in line. Normally, I would have just skipped it, but this was one of the rides that DS really wanted to do. I walked around with DD while the boys waited in line and waited and waited. I stopped for a bit inside Colortopia and whatever else is in the same building (snore). I took DD out of the stroller and let her walk/crawl around the benches for a bit and she enjoyed the freedom from the stroller.
I then planned to wait it out at the baby center since it was right by TT, but then I had a revelation: Mexico was also by TT! So, I headed over there and ordered some much needed food and an even more needed margarita from Cantina de San Angel. I managed to find a small table with one seat not in the sun, so I sat there.
My entertainment while waiting!
DH kept sending me photos of DS’s car design. DH said he had no idea what was going on, but that DS had mastered the design and was having a great time.In total, they were gone for 2 ½ hours. This was time waiting in the line, designing the car, riding the ride and then hanging out a bit after the ride. This was our only massive wait of the trip and it was worth it because DS enjoyed it so much. His car did really well too. I think it was 2nd overall and 2nd in performance.
Designing the car at Test Track
Once we reconnected, we went back to Mexico so the boys could also eat at the Cantina. I realized that this was probably going to be our last time in WS, so we walked from Mexico to IG enjoying several snacks along the way. We got pretzels in Germany and shopped at Karamel Kuche and funnel cake from America. Finally, we went back to the room to regroup and get ready for Animal Kingdom.
Oh, at 10:35am, right after finishing up with Joy & Sadness, I sat on a bench outside of the Character Spot trying to modify one of our evening FPs for NRJ to FOP – and it worked! It took no more than 10 minutes and a little patience. I saw a lot of different options pop up and ended up booking an 8:10pm FOP FP for DH and I retained the 7:55pm NRJ FPs for me and DS. The plan was to left DH ride FOP first and then get a RS pass for me and DS.
We spent only about 30 minutes in our room, before heading out for AK. Unfortunately, the skies were threatening and it was definitely about to rain. It was only a sprinkle while we were waiting for the bus, but by the time we arrived at AK, it was a torrential downpour. Under the bus area, we put on our cheap ponchos and covered DD’s stroller and set off. We were met with a HUGE WAVE of people fleeing from the park. Seriously, streams and streams and people. One family even yelled as we walked by, “Why are you going in now? Everything is closed!”
We pressed on even though we were soaking wet. To kill time before our NRJ FP, we watched It’s Tough to be a Bug. It was fun and creepy and gave us a nice break from the rain.
We headed over to Pandora next. The CM at the entrance ended up letting DH in too even though he didn’t have a FP, so we all got to enjoy together. It was pretty, but a bit short and a little disappointing as many others have seen. But since it was pouring rain, it did give us a view of Pandora at night that we would have otherwise missed.
Next, we walked over to the FOP entrance so DH could get his FP ride and pick up the RS pass. As we approached, DS was twirling his umbrella as if he was the only person around and I got extremely frustrated with him. At the height of my frustration, a woman tapped my shoulder and asked if we’d like to ride FOP with her because she had a RS pass and could bring two more people. Of course, we said yes! I thanked her profusely and told her that her timing was perfect because it diffused a heated situation. I was thankful for the pixie dust this evening and happy that this experience made an impression on my son because sprinkled a little pixie dust of his own on our last day.
The FP wait was a bit long, maybe 15-20 minutes, but we were so excited and it was so worth it. The ride was amazing, breath-taking and everything else and may have brought a few tears of joy and awe to my eyes. DH rode next (again with DS – I’m not sure why, but they let him on. DH is very convincing) and he was just as amazed. And we had FPs for the next day too! While each of us was waiting, we had the Mo'ara Margarita with strawberry boba balls from Pongu Pongu. It was tasty, but overpriced. But we were on vacation, so who cares.
After FOP, it was approaching 9pm and we hadn’t eaten yet, so we grabbed dinner in an almost empty Sa’tuli Canteen and it was just as awesome as everyone has described. We tried 3 bowls – chicken, fish and beef with different bases and different sauces, and so everyone’s diet needs would be met. It was super yummy and we loved the seating area where we chatted with two nice women who were finishing their meals. The food tasted really fresh and I dare say, healthy. It was probably the “lightest” meal of our trip. We were really satisfied after eating, but didn’t feel as stuffed as we did with most meals, both TS and Qs. Definitely one of the best QS restaurants of our trip!
As the park was closing, we made our way out in the continuing light rain. We caught the show at the Tree of Life, which was cooler than had expected. And tree was much larger and more impressive than I had expected. I've included a photo for any other newbies like me who didn't understand what this was.
Despite the wet weather, it was a great evening, probably because of the excitement of FOP. If we’d come for anything else, I don’t think we would have been so happy about enduring the rain.
Up Next: AK in the morning including more FOP and MK in the evening.