Nov 192014

IMG_4173By the time we hit the halfway mark in our trip, the weather turned from record-breaking cold into something much nicer. The morning started with really appreciating the view from our room (and its small—but existent!—balcony), the blue skies, the sun, and the fact that we no longer had to worry about wearing layers. I’d tweaked our FastPass and dining reservations several times for the first weekday, and while things weren’t exactly ideal, we were happy to at least have a plan in place.

IMG_0950IMG_0951We managed to get an early start on the day… which was good, since we had early-morning FastPasses for Space Mountain. We’ve frequently experienced ride closure for that, even losing FastPasses before, so we were pleased that the ride was open. From there, we walked onto the always-relaxing Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover (seriously, could they get a longer name for that ride?), and managed to capture an interesting photo or two while that was in motion.

IMG_0963There was a bit of time to kill before our next FastPass, so we waited in line for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, took some photos, and such. Then, time for Pirates of the Caribbean (our only ride on that… the WDW version just isn’t worth a long wait). The ride got backed up towards the end (as it often does), which made for a nice photo opportunity of the jail scene, if nothing else. (Actually, it was nice to enjoy the ride without pulling my camera out continually, which I’ve been doing recently. But I couldn’t resist at the end!)

Then it was time for weirdness. We had lunch reservations at the Rose & Crown in Epcot, followed by a return to the Magic Kingdom for the only Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass I could get.

IMG_4175So, we monorailed it to Epcot, headed to Rose & Crown… and started experiencing the same fiasco that we’d had at the Grand Floridian Cafe over the weekend. A 15 minute wait in line to check in, waiting a half hour as the time sailed past our reservation time, checking back in—several times—to find out what was going on, being told they’d be seating us “right away,” waiting another 15 minutes, then eventually being brought back as I was walking back to complain again, before our pager even went off.

We were both really frustrated (and hungry) at that point, so when the waitress asked how we were, I replied “not great, after having to wait 45 minutes to be seated when we had a reservation.”

Unlike the Grad Floridian Cafe, however, the service at Rose & Crown was excellent, and our waitress ensured we experienced Disney Magic™. She comped the Guinnesses we ordered and gave us open-ended FastPasses! We enjoyed a delicious lunch, and needless to say, I tipped well.

IMG_0965IMG_0964Being so close to our resort, we walked back to the room for a quick clean-up, then walked back into the park (so damn convenient). Gina grabbed a quick bite of dessert in the Food & Wine festival, while I got a couple of photos. Then, taking advantage of the FastPasses, we popped onto Soarin’, then rode Living with the Land, which we always enjoy (especially Gina).

IMG_4183Really, our waitress at Rose & Crown turned what could’ve been a bad afternoon into an awesome day. We ended up having a great time in Epcot, and still had more to come back in Magic Kingdom. We monorailed it back over there, did the Mine Train thing (yes, we were there for the fire… no, it didn’t damage the ride), managed to walk into the Enchanted Tiki Room with perfect show-starting timing, made another run through the Haunted Mansion, and even sat through the Country Bear Jamboree again (enjoyable, though generally not one of my favorites).

After a full day, it was time to fill our bellies. We had reservations at Citricos, in the Grand Floridian. It’s right next to what’s arguably supposed to be the best restaurant in WDW, Victoria & Albert’s… and it must get some mojo from that, because it was outstanding. The service wasn’t the best, but everything else was! They started us off with a complimentary champagne toast, gave us keepsake anniversary menus, the food was delicious, the dessert was epic—and followed by a special complimentary anniversary dessert—and the flight of port that I ordered was generous, to say the least. This was an amazing, unforgettable meal. It was a fantastic way to end a fantastic day (and yes, I dozed off on the bus ride back to the resort).

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IMG_0974Our final day was scheduled as all-Epcot, to really take advantage of the Food & Wine Festival. We had fairly early FastPasses, which we were able to make despite boozing it up the night before. The short walk into the park certainly helped! First up was Spaceship Earth (glad we had them, since it had uncharacteristically long lines during this trip), followed shortly thereafter by TestTrack (the redesign was fun, but the ride itself didn’t seem to change much from how it used to be). From there, we dove head first into Food & Wine, broken up just by a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour, my favorite World Showcase ride in Epcot.

IMG_0984IMG_4196As always, the Food & Wine Festival was a joy. Not everything was a winner, but from beer to Berliners to tacos to gyros to wine to sausages to desserts to more Scotch… it was definitely quite the experience. We ate and drank a lot, and just really enjoyed the beautiful weather and beautiful day. It was also great to have a resort so close that we could take 10 minutes to just go use our own private bathroom and refresh when convenient!

IMG_1007We did have dinner reservations to finish things out, at Tokyo Dining. We weren’t too hungry given how much we’d grazed during the day, but we figured a little sushi wouldn’t hurt us. We got some saki, ordered a bit of sushi, ended up with another complimentary dessert (along with a little “happy anniversary” song from the waitstaff), and had what turned out to be a delightful meal to finish up a great trip. As if that and the great (albeit overly apologetic) service, we even had a  nice view of the fireworks show as we left the restaurant! Time will tell whether I regret making my two-year promise to not ask to return, but this was certainly another trip to remember!

IMG_4201The following day was a travel day… though Gina suggested we stop in the lobby to ask about the Disney Vacation Club, which I take as a good sign we’ll be returning eventually. The trip home was uneventful, but one more thing I just have to mention… check out the engineering detail in the resort room’s bathroom. Could that door possibly get any closer to the toilet? Okay, maybe I’m just weird, but I kept marveling at that! (Of course, now I just see that the edge of that door could use a little paint touch up.)

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