The kids are still tucked in their beds- completely exhausted from their adventures and let's face it, miles of walking around the theme parks. Today will also be a split day at AK, so I'm going to cross my fingers that our little one has a good nap this afternoon.
After four days, with four more to go, here's what I've observed/learned:
You can spend a day at Hollywood Studios. You won't be sure what you've actually accomplished during that day (other than to hurry up and wait), but you can put a day in there. It's also not something I'd ever do again with young kids- at least until the new parts of the park open up. Logistically, the park is disjointed and hard to walk around in a way that makes sense. When crowded, it's a particular pain and stressful to navigate.
The vibe at Hollywood and Vine for the character lunch is also chaotic. From the time you check-in, to when you get seated, to queuing for your vittles and then interacting with the characters- there is nothing relaxing about your meal. While I am all for taking one for the team and pleasing my little ones, this just didn't cut it. The day we went, the meal was overlaid by a cacaphony of sound- the most prominent being overwhelmed kids and a few of their parents. The food is okay; not great, not terrible and with a few gems packed in there. However, the price of this privilege makes it hard to recommend this place at all. We're a family of four (parents and two girls, 7 and 3) and this marginal experience cost $185 ($245 CAN). Thank goodness for the dining plan credit, otherwise I would have been cheesed at myself for spending anyrhing remotely close to that kind of money for lunch. For perspective, Boma's excellent dinner offerings are a few dollars less expensive (without alcohol). That blows my mind!
I feel for parents who bring their kids to Disney (and I include myself here). Many of us want to offer our kids an awesome fun-filled experience and make it magical for everyone. When it's stinking hot, the parks are packed with people and your kids have OD'ed on everything Disney, I get that you may still want to get your money's worth and not pack it in. But, do it anyway. Your significant other will thank you and so will your kids when they get over themselves. Swimming at AKL has been our life saver. Making time for R'n'R can help make a good day great!
If you're staying on-property, visit other resorts if you can. This trip, we'll have visited the Poly, the GF, the Yacht and Beach Club, the Boardwalk and Wilderness Lodge. It's enjoyable to spend a little time soaking in the ambiance of another resort. Personally, I find it far more relaxing and the kids have been eager to discover new places, too!
I highly recommend the Cape May Cafe. Despite being a buffet (I am starting to hope I never see one again), the food quality and value is very good. Crab, clams and mussels abound. As do salmon and another fish of the day (cod the day were there). Kids and the pro-meat crowd will do fine there, too! Their house salad with its cranberry pieces, pecans and bleu cheese is a must. A special shout-out to them for their sweet rolls. I think I could have made a meal out of them alone. I didn't though. My dignity is still intact.
The freedom our car rental has provided has been a revelation. Not the car per se, but commuting to the parks from the more distant AKL has been pleasant and fast. Despite additional walks to and from parking lots, we haven't had any waits anywhere. Getting to the parks early is the key- a good parking location and lower crowds at that time of the day, make for a great beginning. I should note that I still don't think I'd rent a car if I was staying at a resort on the Monorail or with a boat connection. The cost of a free car rental (points) is the lone disappointment here. The nickel and diming for extras and taxes/fees is outrageous. But, I digress.
Well, the kids are stirring. My oldest just announced that it was morning and wanted to know why no one was awake. Here we go again...