Day 9 – Our last day – Back to the Magic Kingdom and my struggles with Pandora.
So we are on our last day of vacation (other than fly home day tomorrow), we have had an absolute blast so far. Our to do list has dwindled down to Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Tomorrowland Speedway (which are our three “scheduled” fast passes for today. We also want to do: the carousel of progress, the people mover, the liberty boat, and then anything else that we want to do again, but first things first….we’ve got to have breakfast, and where is the one restaurant that offers a pre-park opening breakfast at the Magic Kingdom, that we have not been to yet? You guessed it Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Now, a lot of people give this place low reviews, saying it is not worth two table credits, the food is too expensive, the food is not very good, blah, blah, blah. Now most of those reviews are somewhat accurate. Is it worth two table credits? No, probably not, I mean why am I spending two meals on one? That makes no sense!! Ok, that part I get, but you are spending it on the atmosphere and the experience of eating IN CINDERELLA’S CASTLE. Is the food too expensive? Well we were on the deluxe dining plan, which gets us three sit down meals, and since we used snack credits at the resort food court we were able to do some two credit meals, like Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Fantasmic Dinner Package at The Hollywood Brown Derby, and now Cinderella’s Royal Table, so it was well worth it for us (not speaking for everyone, just us). Is the food any good? All three of our meals were absolutely delicious!! Cinderella’s Royal Table is definitely at least one of those “Everyone should do at least once” meals, but we are going to definitely do it again when we go back.
Now on to our day, by this time we had seen “ALMOST” every character that we wanted to, The only princesses we haven’t met yet are Jasmine, Mulan, and Elena, (we are hoping they are at Cindy’s Royal Table, (and to our luck Princess Jasmine is), We saw the Fairy Godmother earlier in the week right outside Cinderella’s castle, but the line was ridiculously long, so we were hoping to catch her as well, but no luck, just the step sisters again.
Daughter had no desire to meet Gaston, as she was still upset at him over the way he treated Beast in the movie.
The only place Mulan was going to be that day appeared to be Epcot and we weren’t going to be able to make it back there.
Wife and I discussed taking her to Princess Fairytale Hall to meet Elena, but she was there with Cinderella, and thought it may be a little confusing on how Cinderella got there so fast. LOL!!!
I wish Moana would do more meet and greets, I had heard that she did them outside of One Man’s Dream at Hollywood Studios, but the day we went, no luck.
So our character checklist was going to have to be done, or at least to be continued in 2020.
Now on to the rides
We had a fast pass for Big Thunder Mountain, so we head there and ride it twice, (I think of the three “mountains” this one is probably the most overshadowed, but it may be our favorite). We rode splash mountain again, (still loved it) then we have a fast pass at Tomorrowland Speedway (this one is a tossup for me). My daughter enjoyed this ride, and my wife recorded a video of my daughter, while she was driving and she is constantly looking at me in the car 20 feet behind her, and she thinks I’m the reason that she keeps hitting the guard rail. Soooooooo, I get the fascination with this ride, kids get to drive, (and I understand that the cars aren’t really built for a six foot four man), but you have to slam the gas pedal basically through the floor board to get it to move, and I’m getting steering wheel burn on my leg as I am trying to turn it, the whole queue is in direct sunlight and the exhaust fumes are too much, (I just read online this morning that the Tron Cycle ride will be coming to Tomorrowland to replace the Speedway, Thoughts??)
After the speedway, and on our way to lunch we stop back by the Mad Tea Party Teacups (this one never gets old). We have lunch at the Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen, AMAZING!!! This might just have been our favorite lunch spot. Everything was delicious. WE WILL DEFINITELY EAT HERE EVERY TRIP FROM NOW ON.
After lunch we have a fast pass for Space Mountain, and we decide to wait until this evening for the People Mover, (we’ll regret that decision). So we go back to Tomorrowland for Space Mountain, me and daughter are super excited, my wife is super nervous, saying things like “What if she falls out?” She’s five years old and one of the two tallest kids in her class, and the other is a boy. Daughter is 45 inches tall, I keep trying to reassure my wife that they put height requirements on for a reason, and she is an inch taller than the minimum requirement.
Well we ride Space Mountain and low and behold guess what happened…she did not fall out. In fact she absolutely loved it, and asked could we ride it again, so we agree that we will that evening, but for now we have to head to the Festival of Fantasy parade. We stop and get some treats, a Dole Whip Float, a citrus swirl, and a fresh piece of pineapple, and some bottles of water. I completely understand the mass hysteria surrounding these Dole Whips, they are absolutely amazing!!!
So we find a nice spot on the curb, and we inhale all of this delicious goodness before it melts in the blazing sun, and we do so just in time, because here comes the parade.
Being from Louisiana, we see our fair share of parades every Mardi Gras, and Disney knocked it out of the park. This parade was outstanding, plus it was just nice to sit and watch a parade without having to jump and dive for some cheap beads, or without having to worry about being hit in the head by a plastic cup or coin. (those who have been to Mardi Gras will know what I mean.)
It was also really neat seeing some characters in the parade that you can’t find at a meet and greet, such as Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and ALL Seven Dwarfs.
After the Festival of Fantasy parade, we head for the exit, the girls have a nap in mind, and I am bound and determined to head to Pandora for Avatar Flight of passage. Now today is the opening day of Pandora, and I have been checking in from time to time on My Disney Experience and I have seen the wait times in the four hour range, and we go home tomorrow, so GO BIG OR GO HOME…..RIGHT??
So I arrive at Animal Kingdom armed with 2 EXTRA “ANYWHERE, ANYTIME” Fast Passes, plus my daughter’s “NO STRINGS ATTACHED” Golden Ticket Fast Pass (just in case, I know, I know – terrible.)
Well as soon as I arrive and head back to Pandora, I am greeted by a cast member near the entrance to Pandora, that says that stand by to Avatar Flight of Passage as well as Na’vi River Journey are both currently closed and that they are only accepting fast passes, so I tell him that I do indeed have a fast pass and he lets me through.
So we get further back, but still not in Pandora, and they have areas taped off and people don’t know what they are doing or where they are going, so like the blind leading the blind I just hop into one of these groups. Everything seems to be going fine, after waiting about an hour, we are all starting to line up, I over hear one woman say that she is not a very emotional woman but she cried after riding Flight of passage. Another gentleman who is in a wheel chair, comes wheeling by and he is announcing loudly to the crowd that “the ride is worth the wait”. Well my excitement is building by the second, and here comes a guy who is scanning everyone’s magic band with an ipad, and then he gets to me and well you can imagine. The ANYWHERE / ANYTIME SOME RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY small print comes into play, as these do not work in Pandora.
Well you can only imagine my disappointment, I am literally crushed and heart broken. I figure while I’m here I can go and ride something, but nothing seems to tickle my fancy, so I decide to get a cold drink, sit down in the shade and regroup. Upon doing so I remember the “Golden Ticket”, so I pick myself back up and march back over to Pandora, this time I don’t see the same guy with the ipad, so I find another Cast Member with an ipad, and I just go and ask him, straight up. He is very polite, and apologetic, but again to no avail, he shuts me down, I ask him about the Golden Ticket and I even mention that it says “No Strings Attached”, and he agrees with me that it should work, but it does not, I beg and plea with him that I am only one man and not a family of 6, (not my finest moment) but again he very kindly and sincerely denies me. I thank him for taking the time to talk to me, I tell him that I understand that he is just doing his job, and I commend him for staying firm. He thanks me for understanding and then we part ways.
Again I am frustrated, heart broken, and crushed I decide to hop back to the Magic Kingdom to meet the girls for dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern.
My wife can see it all over my face when I walk up, and I agree that I’m not going to let it get me down, after all we have had a fabulous vacation, plus I mention that Animal Kingdom is having Extra Magic Evening hours and that I would try again that night, (cast member did mention that standby would be available that evening), wife is cool with that so off we went to dinner.
So we went to Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner, and although we were there 15 minutes early for our reservation, they were absolutely packed. We didn’t get seated until over 45 minutes after our reservation. We ate, and the food was good, the wife is not crazy about not getting to order what she wants to eat and instead just having plates and bowls of food being brought out, so we ate and left. Food, Service and Atmosphere were all great, but just not sure we’ll be back to this one. Nothing bad to report, just ordering what you want trumps family style.
After dinner we got our “Ghost Portraits” made at Memento Mori, outside of Haunted Mansion. (They turned out fantastic, and we love looking at them, very creepy.)
So after that we went back to 7DMT (for the 3rd time), Peter Pan’s Flight (for the 2nd time), Space Mountain (for the 2nd time) and then over to Carousel of Progress (I didn’t know what to expect on this one) so we were on it and it was on its second to last scene, and it broke down, so we watched the second to last scene four times, before they opened the doors and let us out.
To make up for it, they gave everyone a free fast pass ticket, (which says to be used on this date, at the Magic Kingdom, not good for 7DMT or Peter Pans Flight...it's nice to be clear on what it will and won't work on...cough cough) so it is about an hour or so until park closing and we still have our “Golden Ticket” and now we have three of these paper tickets, we decide to “pay it forward” and give these paper tickets away, which we just so happen to see a young couple walking with their son who looked to be around our daughters age and we overheard them talking about trying to get a fast pass, so we offered it to them, and i probably had the same look on my face when I found out about our fast passes as they did when we gave it to them. They thanked us over and over, and went on their way.
So with daughter’s “Golden Ticket” in hand we asked her what she wanted to ride, and she said that she wanted to go back Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid.
So we head back over there, and just as we are on our way over the main zipper breaks on my backpack, and everything comes pouring out, so we hold it together, this being our last night we get rid of a lot of the stuff, and then just duck into a gift shop and buy two drawstring backpacks (Well timed, right?)
So we regroup, bag all of the necessities and head to JOTLM, we get to the fast pass entrance and we present our “golden Ticket” to the cast member, and she very sweetly says "oh you can keep it the line is not very long at all", which would have been awesome had this not been our last ride, but my wife kind of whispered to the CM this is our last ride, so the CM understood and she smiled and said go right this way. My daughter smiled back and off we went.
Back to Pandora
Well the Magic kingdom was about a little less than an hour from closing and the girls hopped on the bus back to the resort, and I hopped on a bus back to the Animal Kingdom. After all it would be open for a little less than three hours, and how many people would be doing this?
WELL, Clearly a lot of people had this same thought, so I get back to Animal Kingdom and the line has already formed, and it wraps all of the way back to Africa. But the line moves fast and we are constantly walking, and every so often you will pass a cast member who would say something along the lines of
“At this point of the line we cannot guarantee that you will get on the attraction, but you will get to see the land of Pandora”,
and then again in about 30 yards or so “At this point of the line we cannot guarantee that you will get on the attraction, but you will get to see the land of Pandora”,
and then again…..“At this point of the line we cannot guarantee that you will get on the attraction, but you will get to see ,the land of Pandora”,
and then again……….“At this point of the line we cannot guarantee that you will get on the attraction, but you will get to see the land of Pandora”
AND THEN FINALLY
“At this point of the line we CAN guarantee that you will NOT get on the attraction, but you will get to see the land of Pandora”.
But I did get to see all of the floating rocks and colors and waterfalls, etc. It is all beautiful, I can’t wait til 2020
Things I would and would not do again.
• WOULD NOT rent a stroller again
• When we go back, we are debating on possibly staying at the Contemporary, if we stay there I would not rent a car
• If we stay at Port Orleans Riverside again, I would still rent a car, but also utilize more Disney transportation
• Maybe not pre park opening breakfasts every day
• Would not go back to Universal
Top 9 Restaurants that I would eat at again (in no particular order after the 1st two)
2. Skipper Canteen
3. Be Our Guest
4. Restaurant Marrakesh
5. Hollywood Brown Derby
7. 50’s Prime Time
8. Tusker House
9. Cindy’s Royal Table
We had an absolutely fantastic vacation, thanks to the hundreds of cast members that we came into contact that made our stay even that more special!!!