This was our 45th wedding anniversary trip …. without the kids, of course. Since we’ve been to WDW a few times before, always on the cheap, we decided to splurge this time on things we’ve never done, like staying at a “deluxe” resort, attending shows instead of rides, and touring areas of the WDW complex that we’ve never seen. So, to kick things off we rented points at the Beach Club Villa and made a bunch of reservations at the nicer restaurants, as well as schedule a couple of non-park days. Kind of expensive and for adults only. Despite rain every day, it turned out to be one of our most memorable visits ever at WDW. The last couple of trips we stayed at POR, but staying at BCV's was only slightly more expensive for a “deluxe’ level room. BC resort is everything it’s billed to be: big, spacious, great location, cool pool and great accommodations. But quite honestly, very crowded and noisy too. After checking in the resort in late afternoon, we headed off in the rain to California Grill for our anniversary celebration dinner. The California Grill is sinfully expensive, but it was probably the single, best dining experience my wife and I have ever had, anywhere. Since we’ve been home, it is the first thing my wife brings up when anyone asks about our trip. She even took photos of our dinner. I guess women do that sort of thing. The view from the restaurant was great too, but all that was overshadowed by the outstanding food and service. Plus, we returned later that evening for a roof top view of MK fireworks.
On day 2, we headed to AK. We did the Kilimanjaro Safaris, Flights of Wonder, Festival of the Lion King, and Finding Nemo Musical events, among others. Thoroughly enjoyed every one, especially Festival of the Lion King. We walked thru Pandora, which I thought was a bit on the small side. Our only “ride” at AK was Na’vi River Journey, after which I was left wishing I had FP’ed Flight of Passage instead. Na’vi was okay, but lacked any “wow” factor for me personally. Frankly, it seemed like a rather short ride too. We booked to the River of Lights dinner package at the Tusker house. Again, a great restaurant. And a character dinner to boot. I have no idea what half the stuff was that I ate, but it all tasted so good that I left absolutely gorged. Despite the torrential rain downpour, the River of Lights show went on. The ponchos didn’t keep out much water in the rain storm, but this show proved to be my wife’s favorite.
Day 3 was an Epcot day. We slept in a bit but stopped at Les Halles for a pastry “brunch” before heading to Future World. Our single favorite show of any at WDW is Turtle Talk with Crush. I know it is designed for kids, but at its heart is improv comedy. No matter how many times we see it, it never fails to impress. We departed from our “shows” agenda this day and took in several new rides, the refurbished Soarin’, and the new Frozen. Again, I couldn’t help but notice how short those 2 new rides seemed to be compared to the more traditional Disney rides. In the middle of the afternoon we headed back to BC for a break to take in their fabled sand bottomed swimming pool. Oh, the advantages of staying within walking distance of Epcot! Later that evening we returned to Epcot for the Illuminations show.
Day 4 … hello Hollywood Studios! It was so long since we were there, it was called MGM Studios then. Now just a short boat ride form BC. Again, we focused on the shows … Frozen Sign Along, Little Mermaid, and Indiana Jones Stunt. All great. We accidently stumbled onto the March of the First Order during the afternoon. Online photos don’t do it justice considering the music and sound effects added in at the park. Loved it! Took lots of pics for the grand kids. We opted for the Fantasmic dinner package at the Brown Derby. Again, an outstanding dining experience. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Fantasmic, and IMHO the very best outdoor show Disney puts on. The wife’s favorite is still the River of Lights. Fantasmic is now mine.
Day 5, the very first time we ever visited WDW without spending a day in some park. Like I said earlier, we intended to see areas of Disney never visited before. We took the opportunity to walk thru nearby Yacht Club and Boardwalk Resorts. I really liked the Yacht Club. Much more aesthetically appealing and acoustically quieter (more carpet and wood flooring) than the Beach Club. Then it was off to Kidani Village for lunch at the Sanaa restaurant. The African setting and wildlife view was gorgeous. Nor did the Sanaa restaurant disappoint. All my wife and I ordered for lunch were appetizers: spiced naan bread, a salad sampler and lamb skewers. We left stuffed, and the food was sooo good. Add in gazelles, zebras, giraffes, kudu, and ostriches walking outside the restaurant windows as we ate … memories for a life time! Then it was off to Disney Springs. My wife wanted to eat at one of her favorite Iron Chef restaurants, Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia. Again, a truly wonderful dining experience. The food was every bit as good as any other high-end Disney restaurant, but a little less expensive . As luck would have it, Masaharu Morimoto was actually at the restaurant that night too. You could tell as the staff was nervous and on their best behavior. It was as if my wife met a rock star. The waiter even managed to finagle an autographed menu for her. Then off to La Nouba. Since we heard this show would be discontinued at the end of the year, we did not want to miss it while in Orlando. No one visiting WDW this year should miss that show! Seriously. I’ve never seen anything before with such high energy and so entertaining as La Nouba. Wow.