So we have arrived at the final day of our family's trip, and the final trip report. The objectives were to finish up the MK lands we had yet to visit - Tomorrowland and Adventureland, mostly - then head over to Epcot to see the countries / attractions we couldn't fit in on Friday. Epcot also had Extra Magic Hours till 11 pm that night, so we were planning on putting every last bit of energy into our final moments in Disney World and seeing how far we could push it.
The plan for the MK:
Right away Lines had the waits longer than the TP at the Speedway, Astro Orbiter, the Magic Carpets, and more. Plus, PoC was down, and apparently had been down the whole day yesterday. So this TP was very hard to keep up with, we got behind quickly.
We left our hotel around 8:30, made it to the tapstiles around 8:45, and were at the castle plaza to line up for RD on the Tomorrowland spoke. Most of the crowd in this direction was heading to SM, so we were able to be the first people to walk onto Buzz. On our second trip through Buzz, we didn't do appreciably better on the scores, but it was still fun.
Over to Tomorrowland Speedway. When we arrived, only one track was active, and as we waited the line quadrupled. We only had an 8 min wait or so, so we were fine, but the line builds quickly when there's low capacity. We let the kids slide behind the wheel while the adults controlled the pedals, and they loved their first taste of the open road.
Astro Orbiters - supposedly a 7 min wait, but more like 25. It's a great view, and our kids are still young enough to enjoy a ride like this, but this is in no way worth that kind of wait.
Space Mountain - none of the kids wanted any part of this one. We child swapped it, and again doing that takes WAY longer than TP builds into the plans. It's a good 10 min wait to get through the FPP line, then exiting takes at least 5 min especially if people just stand there on the conveyor. Doing it twice means it was a 40 min investment (a bit off from TP's 13 min total time). I hadn't been on this ride since, oh, 1989? So it was a great flashback to younger days.
While my wife rode SM, I took the kids over to the Castle for a brief part of Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire. While watching, we learned PoC had just reopened. As soon as my wife arrived, we bailed on the rest of the show and high-tailed it right to PoC. This is another movie we had shown our kids in the months leading up to the trip, and they absolutely adore it. The number of swordfights that occur in our basement increased exponentially after they saw this movie. We had about a 10 min standby wait, not too bad, and were in the front row of the boat, which means we actually got a little wet on the drop.
At this point it was 10:50 or so, and we were about 30 min behind the schedule. Our FPP window for JC opened at 10:45, but I wanted to try to fit in Magic Carpets first. This was supposed to be a 12 min wait, and wound up being around 25. Again, the ride is fun for kids, but no real great shakes.
Then we used our JC FPPs. We got an extra helping of corny jokes on our ride, as the boat directly in front of us was the wheelchair boat, which takes 5 minutes to load/unload (the person riding gets a sweet solo ride too). As our boat waited behind the wheelchair boat, our guide launched into 5 straight minutes of terrible puns and bad jokes, barely pausing to breathe. It was pretty awesome, I have to say.
At this point it was just before noon - we were supposed to have eaten lunch around 11:20, as I really hate getting caught in the lunch rush, but we were hungry. So we pushed SFT to later and headed over to Columbia Harbor House. We had had a res at The Plaza, but I canceled it when I had been able to secure the BOG res for our Sunday MK trip. We honestly preferred the menu at QS CHH over the TS Plaza, and I think the results validated this decision. My wife and I both had identical orders - clam chowder and lobster roll. Having vacationed in Maine before, I can't say it was one of the best lobster rolls I've ever had, but it was very good, and one of the few chances I've had to have one in a long while. We also took advantage of the quiet upstairs dining area, getting a nice window view of Liberty Square.
After lunch, it was time for our sole character meet of the trip (besides Kylo Ren) - Town Square Mickey. It was cute as the kids talked to Mickey and got some good pictures. I think it was the perfect amount of character interaction for our tastes.
We headed over to Tomorrowland one last time, my 8 yr old was talking about Monsters Laugh Floor all day, and I was able to grab a FPP as soon as we used our last original FPP at Town Square Mickey. Very funny concept and great off-the-cuff crowd work here, though none of us managed to get on camera.
We're basically just cleaning up loose ends at this point. We went out to Tom Sawyer Island and let the kids explore the caves and the fort. Upon arrival back in Frontierland, it was 2:45 or so, and my brain was whirring - we only had one attraction left that we really wanted to do - SFT - and then we had to scoot out the park before getting caught at the parade. We were able to get over to SFT and get up and down and on the way out of the park right at 3, juuuuust before the parade. As we left the Magic Kingdom for the final time, we paraded right down the middle of Main Street as thousands of people lined the streets cheering us on. Well ok, they weren't so much "cheering" as "completely ignoring us as we strode by", but it was easy to use our imaginations.
We returned to BLT and took a brief rest. My wife took a dip in the pool while I had a Cigar City Invasion on the balcony. The kids rested their feet in front of the TV - this was the first time all week they complained of sore feet - such troopers.
It was time for the final push. At 4:30 we set out once again, riding the monorail to TTC to take the Epcot monorail. Having not been on it since I was a kid, it seemed much shorter this time.
Here was the plan:
On the way, I picked up a FPP at The Seas with Nemo, the one major FW ride our kids really wanted to do we hadn't done yet. So we headed over there directly on arrival and my kids were duly impressed with the dolphins and the mix of animation / real animals. Afterwards we explored the tanks and the kids marveled at the sharks, belugas, rays, and eels. They're so earnest and easy to impress, I'm very happy they aren't the least bit cynical (yet).
I had built in time for gardens. We went over to the Butterflies on the Go tent first to see the monarchs and other butterflies. We stopped briefly at Club Cool as both kids had found new favorite drinks they wanted to have again. Then we went over to the Music Garden Melodies play garden which is really well done, the kids had a great time playing there. While they were there I got a peach sparkling wine for my wife from Urban Farm Eats, then sauntered down to Canada to the Northern Bloom kitchen, which had a beer flight from one of my favorite breweries, Unibroue from Quebec. I had A Tout le Monde (saison), ephemere Pomme (fruit beer), and Maudite (dubbel). The Maudite was definitely my fave of the 3, though not on par with my other Unibroue faves, La Fin du Monde and Trois Pistoles.
The family met me and we went through the Canada pavilion briefly, getting pics in the gardens near the waterfall. We decided against seeing the movie at this time.
Strolling past England, I stopped at the R&C beer cart for an Innis & Gunn original. This was one of the important beers in my craft beer development - I had it when we went to Edinburgh for Hogmanay in 2006, and it made a big impression. So nice to find it on draft again.
Moving straight along to France, we looked around the pavilion and then struck upon a genius idea- the kids weren't old enough to be on their own in Epcot yet, but surely they could handle a 15 minute movie on their own without causing too much castmember alarm. Sure enough, we walked them up to the lobby, they went right in, no one seemed to care, and the wife and I were able to enjoy a 15 minute date in France. We went over to Les Halles and perused the offerings on hand, then to the wine bar for my wife to have a glass of wine, then sat out in the garden enjoying the evening until it was time to go wait at the movie exit. The kids were so excited to have that brief moment of independence.
Heading down to Morocco, it was almost time for our 7:50 res at Spice Road Table. We wandered through the pavilion first, marveling at the cool offerings in the various shops and bazaars.
Arriving at the restaurant, we asked for patio seating with good view of the fireworks. We weren't able to get front row beside the lagoon, but we were next to the front row, with a pretty good view that turned into a great view if we pushed our chairs over towards the neighboring table. It was a gorgeous evening and we enjoyed the patio dining. The food seemed nicely authentic and not an American representation of the country's food as you might find say in Mexico. The Moroccan cast members waiting on us said they were very impressed with the authenticity of the food (if you picked the right dishes) and said some of the dishes were definitely similar to what you would find in Morocco.
We shared several of the tapas to start. We chose the hummus and olives, the moroccan lamb sausage, the dolmades, and the fresh fish croquettes. I was pleasantly surprised that the sausage had a nice heat to it, and the croquettes were just plain delicious. For dinner we shared a plate of the lamb sliders. I had a couple of Estrella Damm's during the evening, which isn't a great beer but it went down smooth.
And this is a truly great place for Illuminations. A table opened up in the front row 5 min before the show started, but we were happy enough to stay where we were and just push our chairs up towards the adjoining table. Great view and a great capper to the trip.
But we weren't done! The kids wanted more, more, more - despite our 3rd RD in a row and two parks in one day. The 6 yr old was begging to go back to Spaceship Earth. As it was EMH, FPPs weren't available, but to be honest, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of people hanging around late. We started at the Pixar short movie festival, where we juuuust missed a show. We asked how long till the next show - 15 min. We asked how long was the Figment ride -- 7 min. So we ran down, hopped right on Figment (no line), and made it back up to the movie with time to spare. There were maybe 15-20 people waiting for the movie, and we all just sprawled out and laid on our backs to watch the preshow. La Luna is the Pixar representative in the show, and it's one of my faves of their shorts.
Afterwards we walked up to Spaceship Earth and the wait here was very minimal. The kids again loved it.
Finally, it was now 10:45 pm, and time was running short. We decided we needed to try for Soarin' again - it was by far our favorite ride in Epcot, and it looked like the line was progressively getting shorter all night. It just seemed karmically important to make it our final ride of the entire trip. Sure enough, the wait was barely 5 minutes, and we soared one last time on a magical journey. On the way out, it was now 11:10 - we had pulled off a 8:30 am - 11:30 pm day on our last day. We stumbled back out to the buses. The trip was over.
Thanks again to all the people here who provided invaluable advice in my planning process. It was a spectacular trip that went as well as could be expected. This site is a great resource that made planning so much easier.
I wish I could say I'll be hanging around planning more trips to Disney, but the honest truth is we have a lot of other trips we're interested in doing too - I'd like to do a few trips to National Parks - the Dakotas, Yellowstone, Glacier National - now that we're living in the Midwest. Also a Colorado trip. Also a West Coast trip. So I'm guessing another Disney trip won't be in the cards till after Star Wars land opens in 3 or 4 years.
But I promise you one thing - when it's time for that trip, I'll be back here eager for your knowledge yet again.