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Thread: Hell Comes to Florida - a WDW Trip Report 4/17

  1. #1

    Hell Comes to Florida - a WDW Trip Report 4/17

    Hey there, everybody. I've been back for just over a week, but I was sick with my usual post-vacation cold for most of the week (dang them little snot-nosed kids!). Now it's a quiet day at work, so I have time to post all the fun and not-so-fun of my latest vacation. As you could probably tell by the title, it was freakin' HOT this trip - like record breaking heat, temps in the high-90's. At least the humidity wasn't sky-high, so you could usually jump into a shaded area and cool down a bit. And it cooled down during the evenings, which was nice. But from around 11am to around 6pm, it was just unbearable. And to make matters worse, it was totally cool in Dallas while I was gone, with temps in the low to mid 70's. Ah well, they can't all be perfect trips.

    I've talked before about my problem with increasing age and decreasing energy. I think I've finally found a way around it, although I didn't use this method on this trip. I always start out at Epcot, finishing my first day with some fun time at the Rose & Crown Pub followed by a long walk around the World Showcase. My mistake is always to plan a full MK day for my 2nd day, including going into the MK after dinner to watch fireworks. I'm usually too beat to do this, and end up shuffling back to my room right after dinner. So the fix to all of this is to plan an easy day for my 2nd day, and then doing the MK on the 3rd or 4th day when I'm a bit better rested. I galls me to have to take this into consideration, but I'll give it a try on my next visit and see if it works better.

    Day 1 - Wednesday, April 26th -

    The day started with an early flight out of Dallas on American. I had a window seat, and the guy in the middle seat was just about as big as I was. So it was a bit tight, but liveable. Rental car was a Prius from Advantage. I'd never driven a hybrid before, and didn't really know how to work one. So it took a bit of fumbling just to get it started. Once I got used to it I had a great time with it. It was kinda fun to keep the alarm fob in my pocket and just push the button to start it. I don't closely track mileage on a rental car, but it did seem that my fuel bill at the end of the trip was quite a bit smaller than it usually is.

    My flight was delayed a bit, so I headed right to the Pop Century rather than going into the MK for a few rides and maybe lunch. The Pop had my room ready, with a nice view of the bowling pool -



    It cracked me up that the pool area had this prop -



    Yup - a rack of bowling balls! My room carpet was pretty cool, too -



    My first ride of this trip was a FP ride on Spaceship Earth -



    Apparently I have a black wife, which is kinda cool -



    Things were decked out nicely for the Flower & Garden Festival -



    Next I did a ride on the Test Track, stopping off at the kiosk at the exit to design my own car and then doing the single rider. They had just come back up from a shutdown, and the single rider queue had yet to build up longer than 5 minutes long - very cool! Next was a FP visit to the Frozen sisters - still a very well done attraction. From there it was up to America to catch the last show of the day from the Voices of Liberty -



    ... always excellent.

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


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  3. #2

    Day 1 (continued) -

    After the VoL came the American Adventure show. During the scene at the end with Ben Franklin and Mark Twain, it seemed as if Mark Twain's hand was busted. His ring and little fingers on his right hand were cocked back aways as if they were broken. Never seen that before. Even though it was hot I still enjoyed a leisurely walk down the east side of the World Showcase -







    Since I was on that side of the Lagoon, drinks came from Germany rather than France -



    Dinner was from Via Napoli. This is the third time I've dined there, and it never disappoints -



    Appetizer was the amazing arancini - fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and meat ragu -



    ... followed by a margherita pizza with pepperoni and sausage added -



    Really delicious, and just the right amount of food for how hungry I was! After dinner it was over to the Rose & Crown, where the lovely Hayley took excellent care of me. After this it was off to see IllumiNations, a nice walk around the World Showcase, and back to my room. A very hot but very nice first day.

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  4. #3

    Day 2 - Thursday, April 27th -

    Today was MK day. I didn't have the speed to keep up with the crowds heading for the Mine Train, so I started with a ride on Mermaid -



    ... then a delicious chocolate croissant and a glass of LeFou's Brew from Gaston's -



    Next I headed through Fantasyland, stopping off to see Mickey's Philharmagic before walking up the Tangled walkway. I had seen pictures online recently about a hidden stream, and was excited to find it in the Tangled area -



    I headed up to the Haunted Mansion, as it had a fairly short line. I'd never noticed this sign before -



    Now it was time to head up to Big Thunder Mountain for my first FP of the day. On to Pirates with a fairly short standby queue, and then back to Fantasyland for my FP ride on Pan. Lunch was at the always amazing Be Our Guest, where I had the French Onion soup -



    ... followed by the Braised Pork - slow-cooked pork with vegetables and bacon served with mashed potatoes and green beans jardiniere -



    ... and finished with a Chocolate Cream Puff - filled with chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream -



    An excellent lunch! Now it was time for my FP ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and then back to my hotel during the hot of the afternoon.

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  5. #4

    Day 2 (continued) -

    The plan for tonight was to do a bit more in the MK, then dinner at the California Grill, drinks at Mizner's, and then back into the MK for my last viewing ever of Wishes. We'll see how much of that really got done (hint - not much!).

    Since it was so freakin' HOT, I really didn't want to go into the MK before dinner. So I just lounged around my room till dinner time, then headed right to the Contemporary and up to the California Grill. No surprises here - I started with the Spicy Kazan Roll-



    ... followed by the always perfect filet of beef -



    The beef was good to excellent, but still not as perfect as the previous recipe where it was marinated in a tamarind bbq sauce. Dessert was a brand new item, a raspberry cheesecake -



    I wasn't right by the window, but I still had a pretty good view -



    My waiter, Topher, was excellent and the food was amazing. Maybe not the top of the list of my favorite CG visits, but still a pretty fine meal. After dinner I took a monorail around to the Grand Floridian for a visit to Mizner's. My favorite bartender, Tammy, wasn't working, so I bailed on both the bar visit and the MK and headed back to my room. Kind of a failure, but when you're tired, you're tired.

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  6. #5

    Day 3 - Friday, April 28th -

    Today began at DAK with park open. I had a breakfast rez at Tusker House at 7:25am -





    After an excellent breakfast it was on to Kilimanjaro Safaris and not many animals -



    Not even many good gorilla sightings, but then it was early. I headed over to Everest, but noticed early on that there was no screaming. Yup - closed. So I skipped over to Dinosaur. I wanted to pick up Everest after that, but it was still closed. And since I was still stuffed from a big breakfast, I passed on my usual ribs from Flame Tree. I wanted to do Bug on the way out, but it was closed. Lame morning at DAK! Back to my room for the afternoon.

    The evening was back at DAK for dinner at Tiffins and my first ever viewing of Rivers of Light. I was just in time for a showing of Finding Nemo. Excellent cast - the lady playing Dory was kinda different - shorter and rounder than usual. But she could sure sing, and after a few minutes I had no problem with her in this part. And Crush was one of the best Crushes ever - really strong, high voice with lots of energy. It really made that part of the show.

    Dinner was my 2nd time at Tiffins, starting with the Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup -



    ... followed by the Wagyu Striploin and Braised Short Rib - Rainbow carrots, roasted Peruvian purple potatoes, chimichurri -



    ... and finished off with the Passion Fruit Tapioca Creme -



    The meal was excellent, but I wasn't really fond of the dessert. It seemed more like a frozen fruit cocktail than anything tapioca. Still a great dinner!

    After drinks in the Nomad Lounge it was time for Rivers of Light -



    I didn't take any pics of the show, as I didn't want to disturb the folks around me with my camera screen. But I really loved this show, and it won't be the last time I see it.

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  7. #6

    Day 4 - Saturday, April 30th -

    Today started out in the Hollywood Studios. I knew the crowd was going to rush up to Toy Story Midway Mania, but I had a FP for that, so I could afford to take my time. I started with a run on The Great Movie Ride -



    ... and then over to TSMM -



    ... where I scored 139,000. Not earth-shattering, but pretty good for me! Next it was a showing of The Little Mermaid. Two good things here. First, the water curtain was working again! It's a pretty important show element, judging by the ooh's and aah's of the crowd. And the young lady playing Ariel was one of the best ever. Good actress, excellent singing voice! Time for a FP ride on Star Tours and a showing of the Muppets, and then it was time for an early lunch at PizzeRizzo -



    Lunch was a meat lover's pizza, a small salad and a cannoli -



    The pizza was nothing special, but was fresh and tasty, as was the salad. The cannoli was really sweet - a little too sweet for me. I enjoyed lunch upstairs on the balcony, overlooking the Muppet courtyard. Speaking of which, I really don't understand why they'd change the Piggy fountain to a planter -



    Definitely a step backwards, IMO. After lunch I watched the Frozen sing-a-long show for the first time ever. I really enjoyed this show. The key to it was the two "historians" who were telling the bulk of the story. The guy was totally hilarious - just totally flamboyant, over the top, screaming and yelling - very very funny! And that's all for the Studios for me.

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  8. #7

    Day 4 (continued) -

    Tonight was my last evening in Epcot -



    I started out with a visit to Ellen, followed by a trip to the Mexico pavilion and once around the Gran Fiesta Tour. Time for pre-dinner drinks, but once I made it up to the wine kiosk in France I saw that there were maybe 20 people in line, and I just didn't have the time for it. So I headed on up to the Coral Reef, where I started out with my usual calimari -



    They're plating it a bit differently, but still the same tasty squid. I was in a steak mood, so I did the Grilled New York Strip Steak -



    Still seems strange to get steak from a seafood place, but they do a good job of it. I had a pretty lame waitress here - took way too long between steps, and I spent way too much time with my head on a swivel looking for her. Still, a nice meal in a unique setting. After dinner it was the usual Rose & Crown (Hayley again - yippee!!!), IllumiNations and cigar walk around the World Showcase. A really fine last evening!

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  9. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    East Coast

    I always learn something new from your trip reports! I didn't realize you could make a car in the exit area of Test Track and then do single rider. Thanks for the tip.

    Now I'm questioning our choice not to do dinner at Tiffins, your dinner pictures look pretty good.


  10. #9

    Bummer about the heat! I'm going end of August so I'm sure it's going to be a bit of a beast then as well. I'll be forcing my kids to drink a lot of water on that trip as the humidity will just zap them of energy.

    I always love the pics! Those food photos look so delicious. One of these days I'll have to try the CG and Tiffins. The problem is I don't go to WDW enough and there are so many delicious looking things to eat!

    Agree that changing things up may be worthwhile in the future. Burnout on vacation is all too real and not fun. When is the next trip?


  11. #10

    Dan, we have been needing some new trip reports, thanks for chipping in. Always enjoy reading your stuff. To Quiet Inflammation.


  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rph13 View Post
    I always learn something new from your trip reports! I didn't realize you could make a car in the exit area of Test Track and then do single rider.
    You have to go through the sales area into the Chevy display area. The 3 machines are on the left. Use your MagicBand to start designing, then use the same MagicBand to load the info into your car. It's much cooler than the quickie design that you use when doing Single Rider.
    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by LoveCats View Post
    One of these days I'll have to try the CG and Tiffins. The problem is I don't go to WDW enough and there are so many delicious looking things to eat!
    I have that same problem. I want to visit my favorites, but then I want to try new places as well!
    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    To Quiet Inflammation.
    I don't know what this means.
    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  15. #14

    Day 5 - Sunday, May 1st -

    Time for my last day in the World for this trip. Flight out is at 5:20pm, so I've got some time to spend in Epcot, my favorite park. They're doing a new (to me) opening procedure, letting everyone in through the main gates and then stopping them right at the base of Spaceship Earth. They had the Jammitors performing - at least, I could hear 'em but I couldn't see 'em. Once the rope dropped I headed for The Land and an early ride on Soarin', scoring the center section - top row. Cool! Now that Seasons is doing breakfast again, I enjoyed an adult breakfast -



    ... before a ride on Living With the Land -



    ... and then another FP ride on Soarin', this time scoring the middle section, 2nd row - still pretty cool! I then went over to The Seas and spent a bit of time with Nemo. I had time before lunch to catch Martin Short in Canada and the always beautiful Impressions de France, and then it was time for lunch at the Rose & Crown. It wasn't too awfully hot today, so I sat in the shade out on the patio. Once again, no surprises here, starting with a scotch egg -



    ... and my new(ish) favorite - the Grilled New York Strip Steak and Fried Fish -



    After lunch I still had time to make it up to the American pavilion for one more set from the Voices of Liberty -



    ... this time featuring one of the greatest soprano voices anywhere, the amazing Kate Lott -



    I had scheduled my final FP for the trip at Spaceship Earth. While I still enjoy the ride as a whole, a couple big things were wrong on this visit. First, the green steam engine was out again. They just fixed this after a lengthy down time, and now it's down again. And there's just no excuse for that TV screen in the family watching the moon landing scene to be blank. I realize that the screen they have there is a pretty specialized one. But they could easily put in an old black & white set as a temp fix. Incredibly lame, Disney!

    Off to the airport, an easy flight home (well, another weather delay, but no big deal), and that's all for this trip. It will be interesting to see if I can re-sequence things a bit to not so much kill myself next visit, which'll be at the end of September. We'll see.







    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  16. #15
    Registered User petesimac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Looks like you had a fun, if hot, time at the parks. Makes me really excited for my trip. But I'm going to use one of my wishes for you; I wish you a friend and companion for your trips to Disney. I know you say you like going alone, but I can't imagine having as much fun alone as I do when I'm with family/friends. Too late, Dan, my wish has been used...I'm down to two, but we all know my last one needs to be reserved to wish Genie free, so....

    Come home again soon.

    1999 - Coronado; 2003 - DL's Paradise Pier ; 2005 - All Star Music; 2007 - POP; 2008 - Paradise Pier; 2009 - POP ; 2010 - Dolphin; 2011 - POP; 2012 - POFQ; 2013 - POFQ; 2014 - POFQ; 2015 - Art of Animation; 2016 - Pop; July 2017 - POFQ

    What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens at Disney stays with you a lifetime

  17. #16

    I thank you for your wish, although it's not exactly necessary. I really do enjoy my time as a solo park stormer. But if there was ever someone else to do it with, well, that'd be pretty cool too!

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  18. #17

    We will be trying Tiffins in October. I am looking forward to it; my wife Kelli, not so much. Your picture of the Wagyu Striploin and Braised Short Rib just might change her mind.

    Michael and Kellis August 2016 Trip with 25 Friends and family
    http://mousepad.mouseplanet.com/showthread.php?234828
    Common Walt Disney World Wild Birds http://bochnik.com/disneybirds/disneybirds.htm
    Our other Disney Trips (including our Disneymoon): Kelli and Mike's Adventures http://www.bochnik.com/

  19. #18

    I don't know why anyone would not want to go to Tiffins. Great food, great service, and a beautiful restaurant!

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  20. #19

    Dan, thanks for the report -- such a fun trip! I look forward to the day I can visit the World solo and do what I want, when I want.

    What was your favorite meal of the trip?

    I'll keep an eye out for your September report; I have a habit of tiring out early on, and I'm curious to see whether changing up your touring strategy works.


  21. #20

    Favorite meal is always the amazing California Grill!

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  22. #21
    Waiting impatiently for next trip quackinup's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Ventura County, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    I had scheduled my final FP for the trip at Spaceship Earth. While I still enjoy the ride as a whole, a couple big things were wrong on this visit. First, the green steam engine was out again. They just fixed this after a lengthy down time, and now it's down again. And there's just no excuse for that TV screen in the family watching the moon landing scene to be blank. I realize that the screen they have there is a pretty specialized one. But they could easily put in an old black & white set as a temp fix. Incredibly lame, Disney!
    Rode one week later and while I can't remember the status of the steam engine (heck, I can't remember the steam engine lol), I'm pretty sure the TV screen was working ok.

    Also, noticed your order at Via Napoli was almost identical to mine. Although I believe I added the Salame e Provolone also.
    Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!
    Next trips: Disney World May 5-15 2017 Disney World July 15-20 2017

  23. #22

    You have good taste! And very good to hear that the TV in Spaceship Earth has finally been fixed!!!

    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


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