This past holiday, I got to cross off a Disney Bucket list item- holidays at WDW! It was epic in many ways- Holiday decorations! Epcot Festival of the Holidays goodies! WDW when it isn’t sweltering hot! However, we also learned some hard lessons along the way as WDW at this time of year is a whole other animal than any other time. (Yes, I went in fully aware of the crazy crowds. Still, knowing is different from experiencing. )
DH, DMIL, DD10, DS7, and I took an EARLY flight into MCO on Saturday, 12/21. To make our 6am flight that morning, we planned on all getting up at 3am and leaving the house by 3:30. Unbeknownst to me, DD10 was so excited that she woke up at midnight and couldn’t go back to sleep. I came out of my bedroom at 3am to see DD10 sitting on the couch, happily dressed, and ready to go. Hmm…only a few hours of sleep for my child who regularly gets double the amount…what could go wrong?
We arrived at the Yacht Club at 9:30am via Magical Express. Our usual routine is to start off our Disney trips with a leisurely meal at a resort table service restaurant. Since most people head to the parks by the time we arrive, we never made an ADR. Yes, this was the beginning of Christmas week but STILL- it’s the Ale and Compass, not something highly coveted like Beaches N Cream. We arrived at the A&C podium and heard something I never thought I would hear from A&C: “I’m sorry. But we’re fully booked the entire day.”
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
First Disney Holiday Lesson: You NEED an ADR, even for restaurants that don’t usually require one during in-between meal times.
But hey, I’m in WDW! I’m going to be calm and happy. We’ll just head to Epcot and eat at one of our favorite counter services, Les Halles. No problem!
But first, some snapshots of the beautiful Yacht Club holiday display:
We headed over to Epcot and guess what? The dreaded blue Mickey comes on when we try to scan in with our new MBs. Guest Relations hypothesizes that since we hadn’t technically checked into our hotel room yet (our room wasn’t ready), the MBs weren’t activated. Regardless, we spent a bit of time fixing the problem. While my children were constantly asking why we aren’t going in yet. (We’ve never had a problem scanning in before). And they’re hungry. Starving. Gah. This was the first year I didn’t get actual physical tickets when I ordered them through Undercover Tourist. So we couldn’t even use physical tickets to scan in.
Lesson learned. Always get the physical tickets. Just in case.
We finally head in and have a delicious breakfast/lunch at Les Halles. And what’s breakfast without a special Buche de Noel?
Our first FP wasn’t until 2 hours later so we leisurely browsed World Showcase, checked out the holiday decor (some pavilions were very sparsely decorated since Christmas isn’t celebrated there), did a half-hearted attempt to find Chip and Dale for the Holiday Scavenger Hunt, and window shopped in MouseGear. This was when I learned another Disney lesson- most holiday gear are SOLD OUT way before the holidays actually hit. I had planned on getting the peppermint Minnie Ears. Nope. The Chip and Dale cookie jar. Nada. Holiday Snacks Pin set. HAHAHA…sold out weeks ago. There were a few holiday merchandise scattered here and there but I would say it was only 25% of what I had seen advertised when first released.
Third Disney lesson: Buy your holiday Disney merchandise right after Halloween.
I drowned my shopping woes in food and drinks:
Feast of the Three Kings: Pastelón (Sofrito-marinated Beef with Sweet Plantains and Olives), Coquito (Tropical Eggnog with a Bacardi Gold Dark Rum Floater), and a Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
Bavaria’s Cider Flight: Possmann Pure Hard Apple Cider, Possmann Pure Hard Black Currant Apple Cider, Schöfferhofer Pomegranate Hefeweizen
Onward to our first FP at SE. Problem #299 of the day: Our MBs lit up blue when we tried to scan in. sigh I showed the Cast Members our FP on my phone’s MDE so they nicely let us in. I couldn’t really enjoy the ride as I was worried about what was up with our MBs. After we exited the ride, I left my family to enjoy Project Tomorrow while I scurried over to yet another Guest Relations. Turns out our MBs just weren’t linked properly to our accounts. She said something about us having too many tickets/MBs. I think Disney just forgot to link our MBs before they sent them.
We were able to use our FPs for MS and TT without any further incident. For dinner, we noshed at various Festival of the Holidays kiosks.
DS7 had Bianca Neve (Italian Flatbread, Mozzarella and Parmesan)
DH got Bratwurst from Germany while my carnivorous DD10 had a turkey leg.
DMIL and I split items from the France booth:
Le Marche De Noel’s Rillette de Saumon (Salmon Spread with House-made Bread), Bouchée à la Reine Traditionnelle (Turkey and Mushrooms in a Veloute Cream Sauce served in a Light Puff Pastry), and a Frozen Hot Chocolate Martini (Grey Goose Vanilla Vodka and Chocolate Milk)
By this time, DD10 was almost passed out on the pavement from exhaustion so back to the resort we went to unpack and get ready for GE the next day! I was also hungry again within the hour…should’ve gotten more food.