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Thread: Never Been Hotter - a WDW Trip Report 09/17

  1. #1

    Never Been Hotter - a WDW Trip Report 09/17

    Yup, people have been begging for it, so I've gotta do it - another trip report from Dan. I turned 61 in the World, as I have celebrated my birthday for around 25 years or so. Glad I went, but it wasn't a good trip, for two reasons - weather, and an un-cooperating bod.

    First, most of the time it was just ungodly hot and humid in Florida, with temps in the low 90's and real-feel in the mid-100's. I think I was a little more ready for it this time, having been in Dallas for so long. But I'd much prefer low 80's and low humidity! And it also rained a bunch, too - more on that later. Ah well, what-r-ya gonna do about the weather?

    And now the paragraph that seems to always be in my trip reports - the one you can easily skip under the heading "Too Much Info About Dan". Long time readers know that I broke my right leg when I was 20, and my right foot has never recovered. Well, for whatever reason - lack of pre-exercising, increased weight, or just the luck of the draw - it was really hurting in multiple spots this time. I blew it out pretty badly the first night in Epcot, and had to go off property the next day to purchase a cane. Now, I've never gone this route before, partly from vanity - I didn't want to be seen as the chubby guy with a cane. But now that I'm older, I pictured myself as the OLD chubby guy with a cane, which somehow seemed better to me. I used the cane off and on for the rest of the trip. It helped a bunch, but still slowed me down a bunch. You just don't realize how big a place WDW is until you've got a blown wheel! So most of the trip was hobbling from place to place, trying to get my money's worth till it was time to rest it all back at the hotel. Not a fun mind-set.

    Anyway, to the trip -

    Thursday, 9/28 -

    Decent flight on American. No upgrades available on either flight this time, but I didn't have any big fat guys sitting in the middle seat, either, so it was pretty comfortable. I can't say enough about the new Airbus planes that American is using, with the entertainment center at each seat. You can watch a movie, or TV shows, or listen to music - all free! Really makes the time go by.

    After check-in at All Star Music (never did get my Room Ready email!), it was time to hit the parks, starting with Epcot -

    The line for Spaceship Earth wasn't too long, so I jumped on that -

    I took a couple of pics inside that didn't turn out too bad -

    The Mexico pavilion looks really nice after its recent paint job -

    Time for dinner at the Food & Wine Festival.

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

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    Thursday, 9/28 continued -

    I had planned this evening for the F&WF, as I didn't want to fight through any weekend crowds. I also had a definite plan this time, instead of just wandering from booth to booth. I wanted to start with the Lobster Roll in America, and then hit France for the Escargot Croissant Roll and the Boeuf Bourguignon, then the Cheese Soup and the Filet Mignon from Canada, and finishing up at Earth Eats, mainly for Kurt Russell's Gogi Chardonnay. This all worked out pretty nicely.

    First off was the New England Lobster Roll and the Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay from America's Hops & Barley -

    Next was the Croissant aux Escargots and the Boeuf Bourguignon, and a glass of Bouchard Aine and Fils Chardonnay -

    On to Canada for the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon and a (tiny) glass of Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine -

    Next was up into Futureworld to Active Eats, and the Roasted Verlasso Salmon and the Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling -

    And finally I had the Grilled Beef Skewer and a glass of Gogi Chardonnay "Goldie" -

    All in all a pretty great meal. I didn't have a single item I didn't like, but of course Canada's Filet and Cheese Soup were once again the hit. On to the Rose & Crown for a few tasty martinis mixed by Christopher. Funny story - as soon as I described my somewhat odd drink (a Grey Goose vodka martini with Frangelico instead of vermouth), Chris looked at me kinda funny and said "I think my girlfriend served you a few months ago. Do you remember Haley?" Of course I remembered the lovely Haley, who took care of me on my last visit to the R&C. So I guess I'm kinda famous, even with people I haven't met yet!

    It was now time for IllumiNations, where I was scared that the Earth Globe was gonna be a train wreck (recent internet reports had it not opening, not spinning, no flaming torch rising from the middle, etc.). I was thrilled to see it turning, opening right on time, and the torch lighting up in flame and rising right on queue. The only thing that didn't happen was the fireworks that launch from the middle of the torch didn't go off. But overall it was much better than I'd been expecting, so I was happy.

    And now it was time when I traditionally walk around the World Showcase, letting the crowd rush out and leaving me with a mostly empty WS. But the afore-mentioned foot was really hurting, so I just sat down on a rock wall and let the crowd rush by. It just about crushed me to not do the walk, but I knew I was already going to be in pain the next day, and doing the walk would only make it worse. So it was the right decision, but it still made for a crappy ending to a mostly great 1st day.

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

  4. #3

    Friday, September 29 (MY BIRTHDAY!!!) -

    Today was Animal Kingdom day. I had a FP+ for the Na'vi River Journey at 10am, so I had time to do Everest first thing -

    I did my traditional 3 rides, then over to Avatar, where sadly both rides were down. I hadn't planned on doing Flight of Passage, as I didn't know if I would fit into the seat or not. I did the test seat they have out front, and I was right - I was maybe 4 or 5 inches away from the back restraint closing properly. So I guess I have another good reason to lose weight! I took a few scenic pics of the land -

    ... before wandering out and over to the Theater in the Wild for the first showing of the day of Finding Nemo. Lunch was at the Flame Tree BBQ, where I received another piece of bad news - no more 1/2 rack of ribs! Now you have to buy a full rack, which is way too much for me. So I did the Ribs, Chicken and Pulled Pork Sampler -

    The chicken was way over-done, with mushy meat falling off the bone. The pork was dry, and there were only 3 ribs. So for me it was nowhere near as good as the 1/2 rack of ribs. Perhaps I'll try the full rack next time. A showing of Tough To Be A Bug, and time for a run to CVS for a cane purchase, and then back to my room for a rest.

    I had planned that this evening I was just gonna do dinner and then call it an early night. Dinner was the buffet at Boma. I didn't get any pics of the buffet, but I took one of the desserts -

    The Zebra Domes didn't do anything for me the last time I tried them. For whatever reason they really hit nicely this time, and I enjoyed them greatly. But the meal in general was kind of a bust - just a basic buffet, nothing remarkable. It's possible that my enjoyment was colored by my lousy mood about my foot. But it was nice that I didn't have anything else planned for this evening - back to the hotel and TV for a few restful hours.

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

  5. #4

    Saturday, 9/30 -

    It's finally Magic Kingdom day -

    This was an early entry day, and most of the crowd went right for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, me included (although I couldn't really keep up with the crowd, cane and all). It wasn't yet open, so I did the Little Mermaid instead -

    SDMT still not up, so I ducked into Gaston's for a chocolate croissant and a glass of LeFou's Brew. SDMT still not up, so over to Pooh. SDMT finally opened. I had a FP+ for 9:30am but I got in the relatively short line around 9am. So this time I got 2 back to back rides in - FP+ is much better! I went into Fantasyland, and Mickey's PhilHarmagic. I next wandered into Tomorrowland for once around on the Carousel of Progress. I noticed the doors to Cosmic Ray's were propped open, and Sonny Eclipse was running early, so I stopped for a look. While standing there by the stage doors, I saw that people were getting food early. I went up to the food deck, and they had the sandwich bay (Bay III) open early. So I got a burger and enjoyed another 20 minutes or so with my buddy Sonny. I had a FP+ for Pan, but the FP line was 30 minutes long and not moving much at all, so I blew it off for this trip. Next it was over to the Haunted Mansion and a 45 minute queue (the Mansion is great, but boy was it hot in line!). I had a FP+ for Big Thunder. After riding I went down to Pirates, to another slow moving 45 minute queue. I just didn't want to wait any longer, so I headed out. This was the first time ever that I didn't get to ride 2 of my favorites - Pirates and the PeopleMover. But I really needed to get off my feet (foot!), so it was back to the room.

    I took a few minutes to take some pics of my area at All Star Music -

    I'm slowly getting over my dislike of the All Star resorts. As prices are going up property-wide, and it's getting harder to find decent discounts, the All Star Resorts are turning out to be pretty good options for those of us who don't want to spend north of $200 on a room.

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

  6. #5

    Saturday 9/30 continued -

    After nap time it was back to the MK -

    The line was still ridiculously long for Pirates, so I headed back to the front and dinner at Narcoosee's. I wanted to take a boat over, but one was just leaving when I got to the dock. So I hopped onto the monorail for the trip around to the Grand Floridian. The view is really cool at Narcoosee's -

    Dinner started with the Crispy Rhode Island Calamari -

    The Surf & Turf is back on the menu -

    I didn't want to do dessert here, as I was doing the MK fireworks and dessert party later. I stopped at Mizner's and had a couple of martinis from my friend Tammy, and then back into the MK. The rain was really coming down, and it didn't stop all evening -

    I'm not sure if the new Happily Ever After show was good or not, as I spent the entire time in a rain slicker getting rained on, which kind of colors your view. I do know that the experience of a few desserts followed by a custom viewing location of the show was cool, but in no way worth $59 per person. But it was fun to do one time. Next time I'll do dessert at dinner, and fight my way to a good view of the show.

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

  7. #6

    Thank you Dan for your reports! Appreciate you taking the time for giving me my WDW lunch time reading fix! I am sorry you are not doing well and I can identify with your weight issues. I am going to go on To Quiet Inflammation again and hopefully be ready for my next WDW trip in December.
    I feel so much better when my weight is down and I have found that eating the anti-inflammatory way at WDW is doable and actually delicious.
    Take care. And thank you again for all your trip reports.

  8. #7

    Sunday 10/1 -

    Today I started at the Disney Studios and early entry. I thought I'd better get a few pics of the Chinese Theater, in case they make major facade changes in the near future -

    I started off with the rest of the crowd rushing up to Toy Story Mania. I had a FP+ for 9:30am, but I'm usually only good for once around on this one. Then it was over to Star Tours for an early ride. Dumb thing - it was early, and vehicles were not filling up at all. I rode in the back row, and as I was exiting I saw that absolutely no one was coming in the back row, so I sat down for another ride. I was curtly informed by the CM that if I wanted to ride again I'd have to go around and come in again. Now, if they were busy, or if people were coming in, then I'd understand it. But with no one coming in, it seemed a really stupid execution of a regulation. They had a little tunnel that they sent me through to get to the loading area, and were very nice about it. But still lame. Back to the Little Mermaid show (water curtain wasn't working AGAIN - very bad show!). Over to the other side of the park for a showing of Muppet Vision 3D, and then my FP ride on Star Tours.

    Time for a meat lover's pizza from PizzeRizzo's -

    I had a FP for Indy at 12:45p, but I just didn't have the energy - it was so freakin' HOT! On my way out I saw that Echo Lake was completely drained -

    They say it's to put in a Christmas tree - we'll see how nice it is.

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

  9. #8

    Sunday 10/1 continued -

    It's already my last evening in the World, and I'm spending it in Epcot like usual. I had time to see Oh Canada and then the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico, and then it was time for dinner at the Coral Reef. No big surprises here, starting with the Crispy Rhode Island Calamari (hey, is this the same thing they have at Narcoosee's?) -

    ... followed by the sirloin steak -

    ... and the Turtle Cheesecake for dessert -

    I've had this exact meal more than once, but it's a good-un. I also observed some very odd behavior out in the tank. There was this small ray, swimming in a clockwise motion, for about an hour. He'd drift up a bit, then back down to the rocks, but just doing a tight little spiral. It was odd enough that I went into the main Seas area after dinner, and tracked down a young lady who works there. As soon as I started to tell her the symptoms she started nodding her head. She told me that his name was Cap, and they'd seen this behavior for about a year. They've done radiograms on him, and they even do regular therapy where they make him swim counter-clockwise and even straight. He can do it just fine, but he likes doing that clockwise thing. So it wasn't a big surprise to her, but she still was effusive in her thanks for my concern. I felt like I had accomplished something, even though I hadn't.

    Twilight time in Epcot -

    I had time for a glass of wine from France before settling in for some serious drinking at the Rose & Crown. IllumiNations included the extra tag on it for Epcot's 35th, and was pretty amazing. The globe worked fine again, except for no fire from the torch. This time the fireworks shot out of the torch, but they were about 10 seconds late, like the computers weren't quite sync'd up or something. But it's always a great show to see, my favorite fireworks show in the World. I had my cane with me tonight, so I did a slow and careful walk around the World Showcase at the end of the night. The big setup for The Chew took up a very important piece of real estate, where I look out over the lagoon at the end of the night (and the trip). But I didn't let that get me down - it was a pretty decent day.

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

  10. #9

    Monday, 10/2 -

    My flight out wasn't till 5:30pm, so I had some more time to spend in Epcot. I started with a rope-drop viewing of Soarin', followed by the Adult Breakfast from Sunshine Seasons -

    Once around on Living With the Land and it was over to The Seas with Nemo for a more leisurely visit than the night before. I had a FP for Frozen at 11:20am, and then it was time for lunch on the patio at the Rose & Crown. Again, no surprises, starting with a Scotch Egg -

    ... and then the fish & chips, which sadly I didn't get a picture of. I had already resigned myself to not seeing the Voices of Liberty this trip, as it just never worked out time-wise. But lunch went quicker than expected, so I hoofed it up to the American pavilion just in time for the VoL, and then The American Adventure. And just like that, time was up, and I headed to the airport for a quiet flight home.

    I wanted to mention that security has slacked off a bit. Now they're not sending everyone through the metal detector. In all the times I went through Security, I only had to empty my pockets once, which was nice. This was also one of the rare times when I didn't get to see several attractions that I really love, like Pirates, the PeopleMover and Kilimanjaro Safari, mostly because I was moving so slowly that time got away from me.

    Overall I have to give this trip a thumbs down. The combination of high heat and foot pain made most of the visit pretty unpleasant, to the point that I probably am going to blow off my springtime 2018 trip, and maybe even my next birthday trip. I know I could sure use the money elsewhere, and it makes no sense to spend that much if you're not enjoying it. I wish this trip report had a happier conclusion, but it is what it is. Maybe I'll feel differently when I'm at least 20 pounds lighter!

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

  11. #10
    Registered User
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    Aug 2012
    Drexel Hill, PA

    Sorry you didn't have such a great time. Hope your foot feels better soon. Maybe it will feel better and you can do your birthday trip again after all, I love your reports and appreciate you taking time to post them

  12. #11

    Dan, I'm so sorry about your foot. I pulled all the tendons in my heel just before my trip 9/20-9/24. I rented a scooter but only at Epcot. I would drive it to the country and then park it outside and walk around in the country very gingerly, then drive to the next country. It really saved my trip. I hate to think of you spending your $$ and not having a good time because of your foot.
    You are so right about the heat! I'm born and raised in FL and I kept saying that the heat was crazy. It's not suppose to be in the 90's that close to October! Sure I expect the 80's but it was ridiculously hot during my trip too.


  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodnplenty View Post
    Dan, I'm so sorry about your foot. I pulled all the tendons in my heel just before my trip 9/20-9/24. I rented a scooter but only at Epcot.
    This was the first trip where renting a scooter actually looked good to me. Perhaps I'll have to do that in the future.
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  14. #13
    DVC Member ssmerdel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Greenwood, Indiana

    As always, thanks for sharing. Sorry about your foot. Hope it feels better soon.

    Past Trips: 2006-POR; 2008-POP; 2009-CBR; 2010-VB/AKV Kidani; 2010-BLT; 2011-BWV; 2011-AKV Kidani; 2013-BCV/BLT; 2014-AKL Jambo (Concierge); 2015-SSR/OKW; 2016 BCV/AKV Kidani

  15. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    East Coast

    Thanks for the trip report, always a good read.
    Sorry the foot issue is getting to you. Sounds like maybe it is time to take a short hiatus from visiting the world. We had been going once or twice a year for many years and got to the point that it just was work to go there, so we took a few years off and went other places and I can now say that we are back to loving our WDW trips. We needed the time away to appreciate it again.

  16. #15
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Maryland's Eastern Shore
    Quote Originally Posted by rph13 View Post
    Thanks for the trip report, always a good read.
    Sorry the foot issue is getting to you. Sounds like maybe it is time to take a short hiatus from visiting the world. We had been going once or twice a year for many years and got to the point that it just was work to go there, so we took a few years off and went other places and I can now say that we are back to loving our WDW trips. We needed the time away to appreciate it again.
    Oh excellent point!

    Another great trip report Dan, thanks so much. Hope you are feeling better sooner.
    "The way in which this nation's unctuous elements tend to trickle down as if Florida were the grease trap under America's George Foreman Grill..."
    -Craig Pittman
    Oh, Florida!



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