This was our last day in the parks and I wanted to make it extra special, so we started with lunch at Cindarella's Royal Table. We now compare everything with California Grill and, being another headliner restaurant, our expectations were mixed about CRT. It started well -- great table by the window. (Well, it actually starts with a compulsory photo op with Cinderella, but I'm not really into princesses. Little did I realise there were another five on the way.)
Is it me, or does her expression scream "I'm a prisoner here. Please get help."
The starter was extraordinary. It was literally the worst starter in the history of restaurants. An entirely uninspiring salad with a scary-looking and underdone poached egg, with a tiny clump of fatty bacon on a mound of green leaves. Ugh.
I then had the steak, which was fine. And the dessert was . . . well I can't remember, but I think it was fine, too. Oh yeah, some kind of cake thing. My friend had the cheesecake, which was cheesecake topping attractively iced onto a plate, but with no base to it.
CRT is a factory. It's a production line. We were in and out in under an hour. They gave me a small plastic sword (replica weapons are not allowed in the Magic Kingdom -- they're very clear about that on the tram -- but this rule apparently doesn't apply to their own replica weapons). We also got small plastic stars for wishing purposes. Naturally I found a couple of kids to give these to. Once again, I'm fairly sure the parents thought I was a paedophile. It's slightly sad that this is the world we live in. Maybe I look like one. You decide.
We then split up and toured separately. I started with Small World which, like a lot of rides at Disney World, impressed me with how brand-new it looked. I then caught the parade in Frontierland.
On my way to my FPP at Big Thunder Mountain, I caught sight of Splash Mountain, which is closed for refurbishment.
From here I took the train to Tomorrowland for my appointment with Space Mountain. The train had probably the biggest line I saw all day. I just made it onto the first one that arrived. Others were not so lucky. I enjoyed the ride so much, I actually went to Main Street, where I took the compulsory photo.
I then walked to Tomorrowland, cutting through the shops on the way to avoid the heat. I rode the PeopleMover, which was lovely, and then Space Mountain.
Next up, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which I'd been looking forward to because of the hype. I asked to sit in the front row. It's a fun ride, but short. And the front row is not necessarily the best place to be in terms of speed.
I then started searching for additional Fast Passes. Not much going. I did Mickey's PhilharMagic, which is actually a lot of fun, and then I bagged one to meet Mickey in Town Square. I was very impressed. I showed him my Apple Watch, which has a Mickey Mouse watchface and he was very excited to see it!
Oh. As you can see, by now I had changed into my Hallowe'en outfit as this was a Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowe'en Party day. Note the extra wristband.
As part of making this final day extra special, I had booked Be Our Guest in Beast's Castle. It's an impressive building inside and out. Except maybe for the room we were seated in -- not the Ballroom, not the West Wing, but a room I think is called the Suckfest Room. Ugh. Having been walked through the Ballroom, I felt like you do on an international flight, when you have to walk through business class to get to economy. Unlike the other rooms it was also half-empty and so completely lacking in atmosphere.
I had the French onion soup and, like everyone else (according to our server) basically just ate the delicious cheesiness on top. I then accepted our server's recommendation of the house's signature dish: the shrimp and scallops. I was nervous about this because I've had bad experiences with scallops in the past. But no ill-effects to report thus far. It was not an impressive dish and the sauce was watery and salty. Finally the Grey Stuff which was not as much a life-changing experience as other reviewers had led me to believe.
Non-Brits (and Brits not of a certain age) won't get the following reference. We then took a look at "what we could have won", by properly touring the other rooms. We saw a petal fall from the rose in the West Wing. But a bonus at the end of the meal, we got to meet Beast. Committed readers of my reports will remember that I really enjoyed the film on the way over during the flight, and it was fun to meet him.
To be clear, the Beast is the one on the left.
It was then that things started to go wrong. As I mentioned it was MNSSHP but it was raining. Hard enough to require a poncho and a change of shoes. We dived from BOG to Peter Pan just to escape the rain. From there we made our way to Frontierland to find a spot for the Boo To You parade. It soon became clear that this wasn't happening, at least not at the scheduled time.
Now, I get it. It rains in Florida. And you can't run a parade in the rain. But what annoyed me was (a) the lack of information and (b) the apparent lack of any kind of plan. Disney has been running this park for -- what? -- 45 years? They must know it rains by now. It wasn't until the scheduled time of the parade itself that they announced it was "delayed". And then again. And then again. There were either no cast members in the park, or I couldn't see them (partly because full fancy dress for adults is apparently a thing at MNSSHPs and so half the adults look like cast members). Eventually we found one and received the devastating news: parade after fireworks, but no Headless Horseman. I was genuinely disappointed by this.
We trudged to the bridge between Frontierland and Cindarella's Castle and awaited the fireworks. Again we kept getting announcements of delay. When finally we were told they were about to begin, there was a great cheer from the crowds (which, by the way, were way larger than I was expecting for this event).
I had a side view of the castle, which was fine: the (lame) projections were on that side, too. The view of the fireworks was interesting from here -- we could see them being let off and they were very close. Some were obscured by the trees. Overall, Hallowishes doesn't make my top three. At all. My friend ranked it as the worst night-time show. I put it above Star Wars, but maybe I'm wrong.
At this point (if you hadn't figured this out already), I'd decided MNSSHP was a bust. I know I shouldn't but I kept thinking "I've spent a bundle of money on this and I've basically thrown it down the drain with all the rainwater".
I managed to squeeze in Haunted House, Pirates of the Caribbean and -- my final ride of the trip -- Seven Dwarfs: this time I asked to sit on the back row, which was fast and fun.
I then caught most of the second Boo To You parade. Without Headless Horseman. I will say it had an impressive number of performers, and I do love the tune.
A last stop at Starbucks on Main Street on the way to the monorail and it was goodbye to the Magic Kingdom. Although the queues were huge, things moved fairly quickly though the walk-monorail-walk-tram-walk thing seems like an inefficient process.
Although my flight isn't until this evening, I'm having a calm, lazy day in the house today. It's a beautiful home and I want to make the most of it (i.e. use the pool). Plus, despite my disappointment of MNSSHP, I've really achieved all of my objectives for the trip. I even found some Dole Whip last night!
I'm going to make one last post summarising the good and bad of the trip as a whole.
Thanks for sticking with me and reading. And I love seeing people's comments. I've enjoyed writing these reports -- in part they're for myself, too. I'll have these to look back on to help me remember it all.