I will preface this with saying that this was my personal worst Disney trip ever - not the worst trip ever. I know that there are much worse stories. Ours wasn't a complete waste; we still had a good time overall. A bad day at WDW is better than a good day at work, right?
About two weeks prior to our check-in date, I got a head cold. While I hated to get a cold, I was glad that I got it two weeks ahead, so this would give me time to recover from it in time for our trip. Wrong! At first I had a sore throat and a slight fever, which both went away after about a day, but I had a horrible cough linger right up to the day we left and that has continued until today - although it is less frequent now. In hindsight I wish I would have seen a doctor after a week with the cough just to be on the safe side, but they've always gone away fairly quickly and I figured this one would too.
Day 1 - AK:
We caught a red-eye to MCO and arrived at about 5:00 am. With about two hours' sleep that night, we got some food at Landscape of Flavors at AoA and then headed to AK. Aside from being a bit tired and having some congestion, we had a good time there. We loved Tusker House and had to go back for seconds on several foods. We also got to enjoy a Dole Whip with rum. Yum! We made sure to wait around to see the projections on the Tree of Life, which were awesome, and we headed back to AoA to get some much needed sleep.
Day 2 - MK:
After a good nine hours' worth of sleep, I felt much better the following morning, and we headed out to MK Disney-bounding as Ariel and Eric. My DW was donned in green jeans, a purple tee, purple shoes, and jewelry we made specifically for this purpose - starfish and seahorse earrings, a necklace with seashell and dinglehopper (fork) pendants, and a bracelet made of various sea items and more dinglehoppers. I wore black shoes, blue jeans, a button-down white shirt, a red belt, and a black Mickey Mouse cap.
We were able to check off another princess from our list, getting our picture taken with Merida; we were second in line, so within five minutes we were all done.
We got to everything in our TPs and also had lunch at Skipper Canteen. We weren't overly impressed with the food at SC, but we loved the CMs and the atmosphere there.
Later that night, we enjoyed the Wishes Dessert Party and the fireworks that followed. Although the park was open until 2:00 am, we headed back to AoA at about 11:00 pm.
So far, so good, but here's where it becomes my worst trip ever.
Day 3 - EP:
Ah! The whole reason we decided to book our trip during this time of year -- to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival at EP. In advance of our trip, we poured over the menu and listened to a couple of podcasts where they reviewed the various items. We created a list of everything that we wanted to try, so we would be sure not to miss anything. Unfortunately, my stupid cold had now affected my sinuses and -- you guessed it -- I completely lost my sense of smell and taste! I was so irritated. The Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese at Farm Fresh, the Croissant aux Escargots in France, the Spanakopita in Greece, the New England Lobster Roll in America -- they all might as well have been rice cakes as far as my taste buds were concerned.
On the positive side, we got to see the new Soarin' and we got to do FEA twice. Both times we arrived to do FEA -- once around opening and once with a FPP -- the attraction had broken down, but they had it back up within about 15 minutes each time. It's short, but it is an amazing dark ride not to be missed. We were also able to get our picture taken with Anna and Elsa, thus checking of two more princesses off of our list. Anna was very talkative, but Elsa -- not so much. The CMs really do seem to capture the personalities of the characters so well. We stayed for IllumiNations and headed back to the resort.
Day 4 - HS:
I know many say that this is a one-day or even a half-day park, but we scheduled two full days here. We did so mainly because we wanted to go to three different restaurants.
On our first day at HS, we had an ADR scheduled for Sci-Fi. We both got the special of the day, which was a bacon cheeseburger with a hunk of fried cream cheese. I was able to get a hint of the flavor -- taste buds were at about 15 percent at this point. It was good, but very rich.
Later that evening, we had made plans for the SWaGS Dessert Party. I have a huge sweet tooth, and everything looked so good. But my taste buds had decided to take the rest of the day off, I couldn't taste a thing. My DW was excited that they had some type of alcoholic beverage that was included with the party. It looked like a fruit-juice-based drink. She went back for a couple more, and I think she was able to get the recipe too.
All week it was predicted that we would get rain this day, so we were really concerned that they would cancel the fireworks, but the weather couldn't have been better. The spot from which to watch SWaGS was perfect. We could see everything really well. It is too bad that we couldn't hear everything so well. I'm not sure if there was an issue with the sound system or if a CM just didn't turn up the volume enough, but the audience could barely hear it. It's the first time at a fireworks show at a Disney park that I heard numerous people in the audience hush others from cheering so that they could hear the music and voices in between the booms of the explosions. With literally about 20 seconds left in the show, the CMs must have figured out the issue and the volume was turned up to the appropriate level. I gathered up the Chewy mug I acquired from the dessert party and my new BB8 ears and headed back to the hotel.
Day 5 - MK:
This was an early day as we had an ADR at CRT for a pre-RD breakfast. I know that the food isn't necessarily the best here, but the Caramel Apple Stuffed French Toast sure looked good. Unfortunately, whether it tasted good I don't know, as my taste buds were still on hiatus for the whole day.
This time we Disney-bounded as Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. My DW wore her purple shoes, some purple jeans, a lilac tee, and more jewelry associated with Tangled. I got her some sun earrings through Etsy, we made her a necklace with a frying pan pendant I got through Amazon, and we made her a braided bracelet with flowers from materials we got at our local Michael's. I wore some brown shoes, light brown jeans, a teal Henley, and topped it off with a my black Mickey cap. I also carried a brown messenger bag, which was practical besides helping my Flynn Rider look. We were able to check off yet another princess, getting our pics taken with Rapunzel, who excitedly noticed what we were wearing.
Day 6 - MK & EP:
It was another early day, as we were scheduled to take the Marceline to MK tour. As I am a huge Disneyphile, most of what the tour guide told us were things that I already knew, but the tour was definitely worth it when we got to go backstage to see how one of the effects in a very popular attraction are done. I won't spoil it in case some who are planning to take the tour want to be surprised. After taking the tour, we hit the monorail and went back to EP.
Usually when I've lost my sense of smell and taste in conjunction with a cold, it only lasts for one to three days, so I was very hopeful that our next day at EP for the F&W would be a good one. Alas, my senses were still not cooperating. So I can't tell you how good the Beer-Braised Beef with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes were, but the texture was nice. We also got a couple plates of nachos at La Cantina, and I ate a lot of jalepenos, but nothing. Grrrr!
We were able to do Soarin' again. This time, though, we were seating pretty close to the middle of the center section. What a difference this made! On the first day, we were seated at the very end of the left section, and many of the images were warped. It was particularly noticeable with the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower. But in the middle section, you don't see any warping at all. If you're only going to get a chance to see this once during your stay, be sure to ask the CM if you can sit in the center section; he/she will be happy to accommodate you.
We also had another FPP for FEA. When we arrived, the ride and broken down yet again. We were told that we could either wait in case they got the ride back up or that we could use our FPPs at any attraction until the end of the day. We opted to leave to do a few other things and try again later. On our way out, a CM handed each of us a paper FP that we could use on any attraction. We did a few other things and came back after about two and a half hours. They must have just got FEA going again, because we got right in using our FPPs and were able to enjoy the ride a third time. After this, we went back to Soarin' and we used our paper FPs there. We decided to forego IllumiNations and go back to the hotel to get some sleep.
Day 7 - HS:
We had our two other HS ADRs scheduled for this day. The first was at 50's PT. Still no smell or taste. I ordered the meatloaf, which I can only imagine must have a really good flavor. I had wanted to get a milkshake too, but I figured why bother. My DW got the pot roast, and she absolutely loved it.
Our second ADR was at HBD for a Fantasmic! Dinner Package. Since it was prix fixe anyway, I opted for the pricy Charred Filet of Beef. The beef was very tender, but, sorry, I can't comment on it's flavor. I gave my DW my Creme Brulee, since I figured one of us should enjoy it. At this meal my irritation had turned into immense frustration.
After watching F!, we immediately booked out of there to see if we might be able to catch SWaGS so that we could actually hear the sound this time. We were able to get there just before it started. We didn't find an ideal spot for viewing it, but we could definitely hear it this time. So we just combine the two memories together for one great fireworks show.
Day 8 - MK:
I always have to schedule MK for our final day. MNSSHP was going on that evening, so I was disappointed that we would need to leave at 7:00 pm on our last day there. We're not at all interested in the Halloween festivities, but we decided to get tickets so that we could simply stay later.
We Disney-bounded this time as Belle and Gaston. My DW was in a blue dress, white sweater, and black shoes. I was in black jeans, black shoes, a yellow tee with a red button-down shirt over it, and my black Mickey cap. We were able to get pics with Gaston, who noticed our attire and commented that he was glad we were dressed that way because he wanted everyone to get used to the idea of seeing him and Belle together. He was hilarious.
One of the first attractions we did was SpaM. We hit a bump on the ride, and my sunglasses that were hanging from my shirt popped right off. (We had gone on ToT several times, and my glasses had stayed put, but one bump on SpaM, and they were gone.) Afterward, I headed over to Mickey's Star Traders to buy new sunglasses. After I paid for them, the CM started removing the tags from the glasses. Just making conversation, I told her that I was going to ask her to do that because SpaM had eaten my sunglasses. She expressed concern over this and asked what she could do for me. I told her it wasn't a big deal, that these things happen, and that it was my fault for not placing them in the pouch as instructed. She immediately gave me a refund for the new glasses and said how sorry she was that this happened. Disney magic!
At the same time, my DW bought a Rice Krispies Treat, and she let me try a bite. I got a hint of a flavor to it and had a few more bites. I was so excited that I could taste something - albeit very slight. For lunch we went to Pinocchio's Village Haus. I ordered one of the flat breads, and I could taste that a bit too. Hooray!
We had one final ADR that evening at BOG. Having had the recent Rice Krispies Treat and flatbread experiences, with keen anticipation I ordered the steak. To my chagrin, my taste buds again pulled a FEA and were down for the duration. Frustration had changed into depression. The CM who was serving us asked how everything was, and I explained my predicament. She offered to bring me some orange juice. She thoughtfully brought me a huge glass of orange juice and a to-go cup in case I wasn't able to finish it before we wanted to leave. We finished our meals. I finished the orange juice. We got pictures with Beast. I was a bit concerned about Beast's reaction since I was dressed as Gaston, but he was a gracious host. We then headed back out to the park.
I am glad we decided to get tickets, because we would have to have left the park right after dinner. We stuck around and basically walked on many different rides all the way up until midnight, at which point we were exhausted. If at all possible, I always like to stay until closing on our last day. The park is so peaceful that late at night. Somehow it seems to assuage the pain of leaving just a little, rather than having to leave while the park is still in full gear.
Day 9 - DS:
Before catching our flight home, we decided to spend a few hours looking around Disney Springs. I wanted to see Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, so we stopped in for a bite and a drink. I still couldn't taste a thing -- not our Lao Che's Revenge (spicy chicken wings) nor my Reggie's Revenge (beverage). It seems my olfactory nerve was the one getting all the revenge. It was nice to be able to see the place, though, as I have always been a huge fan of the IJ movies. I mentioned to the CM serving our table my situation, and she said her boyfriend was going through the same thing. She brought me a cup of hot water with some lemons.
So, we've been back two days now, and I am currently on my ninth day of not being able to smell or taste. I saw the doctor yesterday. He said it seems to be a basic viral infection and that it may be combined with some allergies. He advised me to use a nety pot, and to try Flonase and Zyrtec. He expects my smell and taste will eventually come back with some time. I certainly hope so, as I didn't realize how much one's enjoyment of the parks can be diminished by losing these senses. No aroma of the confections while strolling down Main Street, no smelling the freshly popped popcorn or the churros while walking by the carts, no scents from attractions Mickey's PhilharMagic or Soarin', and, of course, no tasting the many fun foods and snacks that one can take for granted when visiting the parks.
But, as I mentioned at the outset, I know there are much worse experiences that people have had at WDW. Some may have been too sick or for other reasons were not able to go to the parks at all, and my heart goes out to them.
Pros of the trip (the cup-is-half-full part):
- Since I couldn't taste anything, I bought less food than I would have otherwise, and we actually came in under budget, which I can apply toward saving for our next trip.
- I also tend to gain nine or ten pounds on our trips, but I only gained two this time.
- I was able to experience Disney magic from three really great CMs in particular.
Note to Self:
- Don't let what the weather man says concern me too much, as their predictions often fall flat. Plan for sun and rain and just try to enjoy each day as it comes.
- If I am nearing a trip to WDW and feel myself getting sick, rather than figuring it will just go away on its own like I normally do, I will play it safe and see a physician just in case. Maybe he/she can help prevent the sickness from escalating any further, so I can enjoy my trip more fully.