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Thread: Savvy's Disney Wedding Trip - Yacht Club Resort - 10/31-11/6/18

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    Savvy's Disney Wedding Trip - Yacht Club Resort - 10/31-11/6/18

    Savvy's Disney Wedding Trip - Yacht Club Resort - 10/31-11/6/18

    DATES: 10/31-11/6
    TRAVEL: EWR to MCO
    RESORT: Yacht Club
    PARTY
    Me (30) – 30+ trips
    JF (32) – My fiance, his third trip
    Sis (27) – My sister, also 30+ trips
    ZF (27) – Sis's fiance, a few trips
    Mom & Dad (55) – My parents
    HIGHLIGHTS: Fall Feast 5K, Sis & ZF Wedding, Engagement Photo Shoot

    Hi all! It's been a while since my last report, and as you can see, this one is exceptionally late! I was finishing my master’s this year, so I apologize for the delay.

    So, yes. A lot going on here. First and foremost, Sis and ZF were getting married at the Grand Floridian, and we also had a 5K and my own engagement photos in the mix. It was very cool to see how Disney does weddings, but there was so much going this trip sadly did not feel like a vacation. We regretted not adding a few days to relax after all the craziness.

    My family had embargoed me from doing homework on this trip, which meant I did not have my laptop and was not able to make notes for the report. Not that I had time anyway. But here it goes from the best of my memory!

    DAY 0 & 1 - A POLYNESIAN HALLOWEEN

    The weeks leading up to the trip were busy ones. Between work, school, my maid of honor duties, and planning my own wedding, I was beat. I normally work the full day before Disney, but I took off today and was grateful for it. I stuffed the day with as much as I could: homework, packing, manicure, doctor, and dropping the dogs off at the kennel.

    Normally we stay at my parents' house the night before Disney and are out the door early for a 6 am flight. This year United changed the flight to 9:30 after booking, and there was so much wedding luggage that we had to take separate cars anyway. JF and I therefore decided to spend the night in our own bed and swung around to my parents' house around 6. The other two cars were already waiting for us, so we started our caravan out to Newark.

    I was a little nervous when I realized we were driving into rush hour traffic, but thankfully there were no delays. The guys dropped us off at the terminal with something like 15 suitcases and Sis’s wedding gown. There was much concern over the gown: whether it would fit through security, whether they would hang it on the plane, whether it would fit in the overhead bin. (It made me very glad I'm not planning a destination wedding.) The guys came back, and the gown made it through security no problem. Thanks to TSA Pre, we were through in just a few minutes, where we met up with the first of many relatives/wedding guests we’d see throughout the trip.

    I grabbed coffee and a sandwich from Starbucks and pulled out my textbook, determined to get some reading in before the flight. By this point we had accumulated a few more family members and it was difficult to concentrate with all the chit chatting, so I gave up. The flight itself was fine, and the airline did hang the dress up in a closet. The staff had to restart the entertainment system 30 minutes into the flight, which took another 30 minutes on top of that, so I didn’t get to finish The Incredibles II. The person in front of me was at a full recline, so the screen was titled at an annoying angle anyway.

    We got onto a crowded Magical Express Bus, which made the usual stops at Caribbean Beach, Boardwalk, and Beach Club before bringing us to Yacht Club. Along the way, we got our first glimpse of the new skyliner station at Caribbean Beach. There were also towers visible along our drive and clustered around the Epcot and HS entrances. Blech. Sorry. I am not a fan, particularly the way they cut through the back of World Showcase. No thanks.

    Hotel check in was a little rough, for Dad anyway. Though every single other wedding guest in the room block was upgraded to a water view for free, Dad’s and mine were not. As a financial contributor to the wedding and a long-time customer of the Yacht Club, Dad complained and was only given the upgraded room after coming back to the front desk multiple times. He offered to do the same for me, but I didn’t really mind. This trip was so chaotic we were barely in the room anyway.

    The rooms weren’t ready so we changed, checked our bags, and had a quick lunch at the Market at Ale & Compass. This is the Yacht's relatively new quick service location. I think it is too long and too similar a name compared to the sit down Ale & Compass across the lobby, but nobody asked me. The atmosphere leaves something to be desired, but I like that they strive to offer healthy options. I had the kid’s goldfish turkey sandwich with and an overpriced (but low calorie) vegetable platter. JF and I would typically pick up a refillable mug about now, but I had a feeling we wouldn’t get value for them on this trip. That turned out to be right.

    Welcome bags for the wedding guests were next on the to-do list. Sis and I handed some of them to the desk here at Yacht, then we split up. She and ZF went over to Port Orleans while JF and I brought the remainder to Pop Century. I considered the cost of taking the Minnie Van, which would have been $23 and a 20 minute wait. Regular Lyft service was only $7 and Uber was $6. I decided to go with Uber, which picked us up in less than five minutes and had us to Pop in ten. Other than one taxi ride a few years ago, we’ve only ever used Disney transportation, but I could get used to this. We ended up using Uber or Lyft several times throughout this trip, and they made managing our schedule so much easier.

    The wait in line at Pop's front desk was considerably longer than our ride. After fifteen minutes an astute CM finally recognized that the two people in line holding a dozen party bags had something to do other than check in. She pulled us out of line and promised to distribute the bags as requested. During our equally fast Uber back to Yacht, I got the text that our room was ready, so we retrieved our bags from bell services when we got back and went up to the fourth floor. Though we had the standard view, it was right around the corner from the elevator. Can’t beat that. It also overlooked the park bus stop, and I loved hearing the buses come and go when lying in bed in the morning. Dad would say that it is nicer listening to the boat horns from his water view. (Which he did. Several times.)

    We changed into our swim suits and headed down to Stormalong Bay, where they were giving out Halloween wrist bands and playing Thriller pool-side. I kind of forgot it was Halloween up until this point, so I enjoyed these little touches. After dropping our stuff on lounge chairs by Dad, we got drinks from Hurricane Hanna's: a pina colava for JF and a sangria for me. Though I knew what I was getting, I am always disappointed with the sangria. It’s been watery and bland ever since they switched to the boxed stuff a few years ago. JF, on the other hand, loved his pina colava.

    We spent the next few hours just relaxing. The pool was too chilly for me, but the weather was so nice I enjoyed just being here and reading my book. It’s been a while since we enjoyed Florida without the September humidity. JF dozed for a while, and I returned the bar to try something different, a frose (read: frozen rose). Bingo! New favorite drink!

    Sis and I had snagged two late reservations at 'Ohana tonight for those people who were in town already, mostly close family members. After showering off, a bunch of us met in the lobby so we could head over early for a drink. Sis being the Disney encyclopedia that she is knew that the Tambu Lounge was going to be closed for refurbishment. We knew it was a long shot, but we thought we’d try Trader Sam’s.

    It was around 7:30 when our two Ubers dropped us off. The CMF in Trader Sam’s did indeed agree that a group of nine was a long shot since they can only have so many people inside. He walked around doing a head count and said we could come in as standing room only, but a table opened after only a few minutes and we all squished in.

    Trader Sam's is always a great time. We got to see every effect at least once, except my favorite, the Shrunken Head (where patrons find their bar stools sinking into the ground). Though I hate rum, Sis played the bride card and convinced me to split the Nautilus with her. The Nautilus garners arguably the best show of all the drinks, with cast members donning life preservers and snorkel masks, spraying people with water as they "swim" by. I also bargained to take the souvenir Nautilus home with me, which is now sitting handsomely atop my fireplace in the living room.

    Dinner afterward was upstairs at 'Ohana, which was delicious and plentiful as usual. Dad's stomach was acting up but they're always great about accommodating special requests here and made him plain chicken wings. They also made a big show of Sis and ZF, handing them hand-made fresh flower leis and singing a special song to them in the restaurant. I think ZF died a little bit of embarrassment, but it was a really nice gesture.

    As much as I would have liked to hit Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party, we were wiped and the party was long sold out. We Ubered back to the Yacht Club and hit the hay.

    DAY 2 - EXPO AND WEDDING GUEST ARRIVAL

    We were so excited this summer when Disney announced the Regatta Run, the latest in the resort-series runs in WDW. The Regatta run was "supposedly" held at the Yacht Club marina every Thursday morning and offered some seriously awesome looking Yacht and Beach swag. The course wrapped around the Boardwalk, down toward Hollywood Studios and back. We hadn’t seen signs advertising the run since arriving, but the Internet said to just show up 15 minutes prior to register. So a bunch of us were downstairs at 7:45. The marina, however, was empty. There was no sign of a race at all, which was disappointing.

    Since we were already here, we took a walk around the Boardwalk. Most of us were also running the Fall Feast 5K tomorrow, so we made it a quick lap. After showering and breakfast, we runners met back up in the lobby and walked to the convention center to catch an expo bus. The Mears cast member was so happy to see us because apparently she'd already sent two buses on due to a lack of riders. Yacht is a great Run Disney stop for this reason: little to no wait getting on the bus to or from a race. We picked up a good handful of people at Beach and Boardwalk and were on our way to the Wide World of Sports.

    I feel like the expo setup is always a little different every time we come here. All I remember is that bibs were in one place, shirts and merch were in another. Both places were empty, probably because it was too early for most half marathoners to be in town.

    We split up after getting all our stuff. Sis, JF, and myself went back to the hotel, and she left us soon after to meet some friends who had just arrived. JF and I dropped off our race stuff in the room before walking over to Epcot. I was getting pretty hungry, so we stopped at one of our favorite festival booths first, the Festival of Fire over by Innoventions. JF got the piggy wings and I got the corned beef nachos, which were better this year. I had scored some last minute FP on the bus ride back, so we did Nemo next, then rode the Land standby. We made a few more food stops, including Japan, where I was thrilled to see the spicy roll had returned, and JF got his favorite, the bao bun. We walked a while with one of my cousins who had just arrived as well, passing Sis and some bridesmaids on our way out of the park.

    JF and I walked back to the hotel and changed into our swimsuits. I stood on the top step of the pool for a minute and once again decided it was too cold. Oh shoot. Now I had to go get another frose and relax on a lounge chair.

    JF snoozed. I read. Around 4 o'clock, his parents called to let us know they had just arrived. We packed up and met them upstairs at their room, which was also upgraded to a water view. After taking half an hour to freshen up, we met them and my own parents downstairs at Ale & Compass. They chatted up a storm while we enjoyed our drinks, a prosecco for me and beer flight for JF. I slipped my credit card to JF and had him "go to the bathroom" to take care of the check, which earned us a scolding from all four of them.

    There were considerably more relatives in town tonight, and everyone was meeting up to walk around the Food & Wine Festival. I love my friends and family, but honestly I found the whole huge group thing stressful. As you might expect, Epcot was crowded, and we kept losing each other. A group of twenty five people trying to decide what to do also resulted in several indecisive stand-stills. It was not ideal.

    JF and I shared some goodies from the Mexico and China booths along the way, then split off to use a FP on Frozen. Afterward, we found JF’s parents in their element, watching a country singer in America. I wasn't sure what to do as there were two or three groups of my people floating around at this point.

    We found my sister and her bride tribe in the United Kingdom, which made me feel a little guilty. I felt I had slacked in my Maid of Honor duties here, but as I reminded her, we had to be up in six hours for a run. I therefore left the rest of the bridesmaids on duty for the evening and walked back to the hotel with JF. We were in bed by 9, but I had a lot of trouble falling asleep. The new hard floors make it easier to hear everything your neighbors and passersby are doing. As JF put it, it sounded like someone above us had dropped something on the floor, which spent the next 20 minutes rolling around. Sis pointed out the next day that with the new pet policy, it could have been a dog.

    I’m cool with the dog rule. Just not the new floors.

    DAY 3 - RUN, EAT, DRINK, REPEAT

    It was up and at 'em at 2:30 a.m. I slept so terribly I just got out of bed before my alarm, which was set for 3.

    JF was in a surprisingly good mood given I had him up this early to run three miles. Once I got over my own tiredness, I felt both nervous and excited. It had been two years since my last Run Disney race, so even with minimal sleep, I was so ready for today.

    The five of us met downstairs and walked right onto a waiting bus, which brought us over to Animal Kingdom. As usual, there was a period of waiting around that can be pretty boring, but the weather was comfortable. Sis and I were wearing complimentary outfits with her wedding date written on the back. She was the ghost bride from Haunted Mansion, and I was a "maid" of honor. She was way more committed, with a veil and light up beating heart. I, on the other hand, had ditched the Haunted Mansion maid skirt I had ordered off Etsy because it was too big. This left me with only a striped green tank top and hair bow with a bat. Though the outfits made more sense together, Sis was exhausted from last night and wanted to get more sleep in before the rehearsal this morning. She and my uncle therefore went up to corral A, while Dad, JF, and I went into B.

    I planned to pace myself with JF, but he had been trying to convince me to run by myself so he wouldn’t slow me down. I only gave in when he told me his stomach had been bothering him. Since Dad was dealing with some stomach issues of his own, the two of them decided to walk/run together, leaving me to run myself.

    There were only three corrals today, but each corral was split into four mini waves that were released every few minutes. This went pretty quickly. I was at the front of my wave and felt the excitement bubbling up during those last few minutes with the course ahead of me. I was out like a shot when the announcer let us go, but was surprised to hit a wall of walkers than a minute in. I supposed I wasn’t expecting this since the longer races generally have more runners up front. Without timing chips, it really didn’t matter, but it was difficult to navigate around them on this dark and narrow course. And of course you always have the people who ignore the rule about walking no more than three abreast.

    The course was mostly roads and back scenery, but the middle mile within the park was fantastic. Animal Kingdrom is the only park I've never run in, which made it even better. The first highlight was getting to witness the projections on the tree of life, which I did stop for a minute to enjoy. The second was running through Pandora, which was all lit up. I’ll probably never make it to AK at night so this was pretty cool to see as well.

    The nice thing about the 5K was I got all the excitement of a Run Disney race without hitting the wall I usually hit around mile 8 or 9 of a half. It was just as well run as any other Disney race, and I finished feeling strong and happy. Plus, the Lady and the Tramp medal was SUPER CUTE, and I got my snack box with corn chips and fake cheese. Which any runner will tell you is the best.

    I walked out into the parking lot and met up with my uncle, who confirmed Sis was already on her way back to the hotel. JF and Dad were only 10 minutes behind us. They had both run most of the course without feeling any worse for the wear.

    No wait for the return bus. Yay! It was still completely dark out by the time we made it to Yacht. JF and I showered and hung out for a while as the sun came up. I’m sure he napped, but I was still amped up from the run. Around 7:30 we went downstairs to Ale & Compass (the restaurant, not the quick service), and were able to walk right in without a reservation. It was my first time here since they renovated, and I was pleased with both the redecorating and the food. They still have the breakfast buffet, which they now call "continental," but you can order any of the entrees on the menu along with it. I loved this change! The only things missing were the egg dishes. I thought I was still able to get a Mickey waffle, but according to the menu online, there are no waffles or pancakes. I guess that makes sense since waffles were one of the accompanying entrees you could order. Anyway, I can't remember his name but our server was a really nice guy; I've found that’s trend with the staff in this restaurant. I also saved ten percent with my Disney Visa.

    According to the spiffy digital bulletin board in the lobby, Sis and ZF’s rehearsal was at 11 am in the Convention Center. JF and I decided to kill some time by taking a stroll around the Boardwalk and looking in all the gift shops. I was casually looking through the dresses in the Yacht gift shop when I found a Lily Pulitzer that actually looked like it might fit me. I’ve always loved the selection they have here, but I typically need to shop petite. The CM saw me trying to inspect it in the mirror and opened the dressing room for me. It fit like a glove and stopped about an inch from my knees, which was good enough for me! I bought it.

    JF and I hung around in the room waiting for the rehearsal to roll around. I put on my new dress and pulled my hair up since I hadn’t bothered to dry it before rushing down for breakfast. No one was answering my texts so I walked downstairs to the Convention Center alone. It felt like I was walking forever through that place, which is vast and gorgeous by the way, before I finally found the right room. I was the first one there and chatted with the officiant and wedding planner for a few minutes before my parents arrived. The rest of the troops rolled in at 11 on the dot, and we were done in 15 minutes. I called JF to come downstairs and meet us at the bus stop.

    I can't remember where Sis and her entourage went, but it was just Mom, Dad, JF, and me on the bus to Disney Springs. Rehearsal lunch was at the new Paddlefish restaurant (formerly Fulton's Crabhouse) at 1 pm, so we had some time. JF and I split off on our own to check out the renovated World of Disney. I’m not sure how I feel about the change here. It's a little less "magical" for sure, but the layout is at least less confusing. JF and I picked out a few Christmas ornaments, Avengers and Shield for him, and an Awesome Mix Vol. 2 cassette from Guardians of the Galaxy for me. The cassette earned me several appreciative comments from CMs and fellow shoppers while I was paying. I guess the joke is on me for paying $20 for something I could literally have made myself, but I was so in love it with I didn't really care.

    Though I would have liked to swing by the Co-Op, it was nearly time for lunch, so we walked back to Paddlefish. Lunch was being served in a room on the top deck that also opened to an outdoor balcony. The view was absolutely gorgeous and the food was wonderful, but I was extremely disappointed with the staff.

    The groom's mom had confirmed the final headcount of 29 with the restaurant a few days before. When we first arrived, Sis, JF, and I went up to the bar to order drinks. The attendant looked around the room, then looked back at my sister and pointedly said, "Well it looks like you have more than 20 people here." Whomever had received the final headcount had not relayed it to these two gentlemen, who thought we would only be 20. Rather than pull someone aside to settle this discretely, they launched into a defensive argument about how their colleague "hadn't told them" it was 29. They were pretty much accusing ZF's mom of not relaying the correct number to them.

    Are you kidding me? Besides the fact that the miscommunication was 100 percent on their end, the appropriate response to the bride should have been "We'll take care of it," and then seeking out someone else to resolve the issue. Making a scene in front of all the guests was absurdly inappropriate and unprofessional. I personally will never come back here because of it.

    Anyway. Besides this snafu, which was over after the first ten minutes, the lunch itself was very nice. Sis gave each of us pretty earrings to wear tomorrow, along with personalized Disney quotes. My card of course had a quote from Frozen!

    I made some FP reservations in Hollywood Studios as the lunch wrapped up, but by the time we got on the bus back to Yacht, it was starting to rain. I had, err, had my share of champagne at lunch, so I was all for traipsing out in the rain. JF was more sensible and persuaded me to hang back.

    I am honestly blanking on what we did from here, but it poured all night and I’m pretty sure JF napped while I read and, erm, sobered up a little. In my defense, I knew I was going to have to cut back on the drinks tomorrow until my MOH toast was over. So. I cut a little loose today. And entertained my friends and family on the bus ride back. All good.

    Tonight we had a welcome party for the wedding guests in the hotel. It was originally supposed to be out on Stormalong Beach, but the weather forced us inside at Ariel's in the Beach Club. I spent the first half hour making the rounds to say hello to family and friends and gave JF a grateful look when he handed me a glass of wine during this process. Drinks and desserts were being served, and I have to say the selection was great. Desserts, from what I can remember, included giant carrot cake cookies, mini cupcakes, Mickey premium bars, assorted pastries, and the same amazing bread pudding they served at the Star Wars fireworks dessert party JF and I went to last year. Last time my skin did break out after eating it. Were tomorrow not my sister’s wedding, I would have taken the risk again today. It's just that good.

    The early morning wake up caught up to me halfway into the party. JF and I left at 9 sharp and went straight to bed.

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    DAY 4 – SIS'S FAIRYTALE WEDDING

    There is zero Disney park action today. If you have no interest in pre-wedding antics (which is a lot of sitting around), feel free to skip ahead.

    I slept well except for a 5:30 wakeup call that sounded like a giant cart being whooshed around above our heads. It happened every morning the next few days and lasted a few hours each time. Though I thought perhaps our room was underneath housekeeping, Dad told me he heard the same thing, and that it was construction. There had been a notice about construction in our room when we arrived, but it said to expect construction starting around 9 am, so I’m not sure about that theory. Either way, this hotel now has some serious soundproofing issues and I'm not a fan.

    Despite a 5 pm ceremony, I was up first for hair and makeup at 9 am. I set the alarm for 8 and rinsed off. JF was taking his parents and sister out to the parks this morning, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous. Apparently, you're not allowed to park hop after getting an up-do.

    We headed out separate ways, him to meet his family for breakfast and me to the spa downstairs. The girls in the salon were very nice and did a great job giving my thin hair some volume. Since I had such a long gap before having to be ready, I knew I wanted it up. She played around with it a few times and finally twisted it up into a slightly messy bun that held up all day. I was done in less than an hour when the other girls began filtering in.

    I left to get myself a breakfast sandwich on a pretzel roll and ate it up in Dad's room. He was going to hang out by the pool, which I wasn’t allowed to do with my hair, so I kind of wandered the rest of the morning. After reading in my room for a while, I got bored and went back down to the salon, which was filled with the bridal party now. I ended up going back upstairs to retrieve the bridal emergency kit I bought and helped fixed ZF's mom’s dress, which had snapped in a few places and lost some beads. The beads were gone but I was able to tie off the loose ends to prevent further damage.

    The rest of the afternoon consisted of me running back and forth between my room and Sis's, where everyone was getting dressed. After a few photos in her room, we were downstairs for pick up at 3:30. Our first stop was the main lobby at the Grand Floridian for pictures. We had one awkward moment where the wedding planner placed us in the lobby and told us to wait for her. While waiting, a cast member came and told us we were in Cinderella's way and had to move. There was really nowhere to go, so we all kind of squished up near the elevator as Cinderella and Prince Charming came out to host a dance party. Thankfully the wedding planner saved us after a few minutes, and we were off to the wedding pavilion.

    After a 30 minute wait in the bridal suite, boom, it was go time. The ceremony went off without a hitch. It didn't have some of the frills you see on Disney's Fairytale Weddings show, like Cinderella's carriage and characters, but they didn't need it. The refurbished wedding pavilion was gorgeous, and they got some really nice photos both inside and out. I got a few minutes with JF after the ceremony while they drove Sis and ZF around in some fancy car. The wedding planner asked all the guests to get on the shuttle back to the main building for cocktail hour, while the bridal party and families stayed behind to take more photos. I admit I was getting a little hangry, but they had a shuttle for us just a few minutes after them.

    We were dropped at the GF convention center and made our way to cocktail hour in the back. There was a small room with a bar and a few serving stations, as well as an outdoor patio next to the monorail line; we got some great pictures every time it came around. JF so nicely had a glass of wine waiting for me, so I only had to help myself to food. Options included cheese, crackers, and meats, then a few hot items like a brie apple quesadilla and the legendary Canadian cheddar cheese soup with pretzel roll. It was a much smaller portion than what you get at Food & Wine, but I’m pretty sure I had two.

    On our way to the reception we picked up our seating cards, which were vintage paper Fast Passes for different attractions. My Tower of Terror FP was probably my favorite souvenir of the trip. After the bridal party introduction, there was a little bit of dancing, but salads were being passed around quickly. Though I hadn't been nervous about giving my Maid of Honor toast until now, I was fumbling with my notes while the Best Man gave his. I admit my hands were shaking by the time I got up there, but my family tells me it wasn’t noticeable. I got a respectable number of laughs throughout, including an uproar from the one and only table that understood a reference I made to The Office.

    The first course was being passed around when I got back to my seat. I'd heard about this lobster mac n cheese for the last eight months, but I was confused when some plates, including my own, were served without the lobster on top. We figured out those who ordered the vegetarian entree were not being given lobster. Ok, sure. I get it. But I also ordered the vegetarian meal just because I wanted the fresh pasta. One of our tablemates had been in the hospital earlier and wasn’t going to make it to the wedding, so I swapped my plate with his. A CM saw me and came over immediately. In retrospect he was probably concerned that they had the orders wrong. But the way he said "Didn’t you order the vegetarian meal?" came off a little pushy. I hope I was polite in responding that yes, I ordered the vegetarian meal, but I wanted to lobster in the lobster mac n cheese. I also let him know the guest I stole from was not coming, so he took the extra plate away.

    The vegetarian meal was a butternut squash ravioli, and though it was delicious, I was so stuffed from the mac n' cheese. JF and I spent most of the evening dancing to the live band, stopping only to take some family photos and have a bite of cake.

    The one complaint I have is that they turned the lights on in the ballroom at 11 pm SHARP. I get the party is over, but it was rude and obvious they wanted us out. I want to say it was very un-Disney, but I'm finding every time I return to Disney, this kind of behavior is becoming the norm. You get what you pay for and not a bit more. Oh well.

    The bridal party hopped on a bus to Disney Springs, but this maid of honor was oh so done. JF and I boarded a bus back to the Yacht with our parents, where Dad entertained all the guests and embarrassed my Mom. Turns out one of my cousins showed him how you can order whiskey with ice to get around the "no shots" rule. He had fun.

    We followed them up to their room so I could use Mom’s makeup remover, then went back to our room, where JF went to bed. After removing thirty bobby pins from my head and recognizing my hair was more of a solid mass at this point, I took a quick shower before going to bed myself.

    DAY 5 - RAINLY EVER AFTER

    It was time to salvage what little remained of this Disney trip. I was up at 6 am and made a coffee run downstairs. JF tried to pull the covers back over his head as I turned on the television and started loudly planning our day. We had a tight schedule and a lot of Disneying to make up for.

    After a quick breakfast, it was a bus right to the Magic Kingdom, where we arrived just after rope drop. We met up with my cousin, his fianc, and my uncle at the entrance of the park, since they were trying to also cram in all the magic they could. We waited 20 minutes for Space Mountain together, then split so JF and I could use our Haunted Mansion FP. We hit this FP late, so our Pirates FP was available by the time we got out. After walking to Adventureland however, we saw the crowd of people that means the ride is down. At the same time, I got a text that our FP could now be used on any ride. I texted my cousin and walked back to Frontierland to meet them so they could use our FP on Big Thunder. Because of a technical issue with the way their park tickets were linked up, they had been unable to make any FP reservations while they were here. Since I’m here all the time and JF turned down my idea to use our free FP on Splash Mountain, we let them enjoy Big Thunder without the 90 minute wait.

    We said goodbye after their ride and took a break in the Tiki Room, then made our way out of the park. We caught a monorail over to the TTC and transferred to Epcot, where we walked around getting more Food and Wine noshings for lunch. Unfortunately, I've taken so long to write this report that I can’t remember the specifics. We weren’t here too long because I wanted to do an afternoon at the pool before dinner tonight. After a few successful hours lounging around at the hotel, we showered and met JF’s parents downstairs to catch an Uber for dinner at the California Grill.

    The plan was to enjoy an early dinner and give ourselves plenty of time to get over to MK for fireworks. Last year I planned to see them after a 6 pm dinner, only to realize there were Extra Magic Hours, and the fireworks went off at 8 pm as we were trying board a monorail. I wasn’t making the same mistake tonight.

    Dinner was a nice experience. Though it was probably too early for Christmas decorations, they were up and accompanied by Christmas music as well, which made for a nice atmosphere. JF and I split the cheese plate appetizer, and I had a sushi entree and some delightful chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. While we enjoyed the food and company, it was with some dread that I tracked a large storm rolling into the area. I’m good watching fireworks in the rain, but we all know how Disney can be when lightning is involved. (Particularly those of us who Run Disney.)

    Determined, JF and I set out on foot to the MK. Our walk was fairly pleasant with just a few passing sprinkles. Once inside the park, we made a beeline for the castle, where the lowest part of the courtyard had already filled up with people. We were, however, able to get up against to the rope along the right path of the castle, making for an up close but perfectly unobstructed view. As the hour before the show counted down, the rain and wind began to pick up. By the time we were at the 20 minute mark, JF and I were huddled under the one poncho his mom thought to offer us before we left the restaurant. The rain was a complete downpour, and though some people had bailed, many of us were still waiting.

    The announcements counting down the time to the show continued, and I crossed my fingers they wouldn't cancel at the last minute. Though the rain was on and off throughout the evening, there must not have been enough lightning in the area to warrant a cancellation. At 9 pm sharp the music started and the whole crowd seemed to cheer. I felt like I was 10 years old again watching those fireworks in the pouring rain and left the park soaked from head to toe, but with a huge smile on my face. I thanked JF for braving it out for me. Thankfully we had been able to use the poncho to keep our phones and belongings dry.

    For the first time in a while in Florida, I showered as soon as we got back to warm up. We laid all the wet clothes out on the balcony and watched television for a bit before going to bed.

    DAY 6 - EAT EVERYTHING DAY

    Today was our last day, and it was another busy one. Though I would have liked to hit a park early, JF and I had booked a session to get our Save the Date pictures done here at the Yacht Club. I originally booked a hair appointment as well, but canceled it while I was there getting ready on Saturday. With all the running around we’d done this trip, I couldn’t stand to have one more commitment on my calendar. Instead, I got up early, showered again, and blew my hair as best I could. (I am not gifted with hair and makeup.)

    We dressed and ate a quick breakfast downstairs before meeting our photographer in the lobby. I can’t remember her name, but she was very nice. We started out back on the boardwalk, where she took some shots with the light house in the background. Unfortunately it was too bright this late in the morning, so these shots came out a little dark, and we had to skip shots in the wedding gazebo. Though I wouldn’t have thought to take pictures in the front of the resort, she moved us there and got some much nicer pictures. While we are both dorks in general and did a terrible, awkward job posing and acting for these photos, we got a few nice ones on the main walkway that connects to the convention center. After 20 minutes of shooting, she uploaded everything onto a USB for us and went on her way.

    We dropped the USB back upstairs and set out to Epcot for what Sis and I like to call "Eat Everything Day." Eat Everything Day is a wonderfully disgusting tradition Sis and I started on quick trips, usually after a Run Disney race, where we haven't had enough time to see, do, and eat everything we wanted. We were meeting up with most of my extended family for dinner, so JF and I were taking this morning to ourselves to "eat everything."

    We made it to the Ireland booth just as they were opening up and reordered a favorite from yesterday, a cheddar cheese and stout dip with brown bread. I’m not a fan of beer, but I can tell you this rivaled Canada’s cheddar cheese soup. We also split the Irish sausage and warm chocolate pudding. Yum. Moving on.

    Our next food stop was Kringla bakery in Norway, where I got a sampler of Frozen cupcakes. While the Olaf and troll cupcakes were adorably decorated, they were mass-produced and bland. While we hit a few shops along the way, we next stopped at Via Napoli's pizza window in Italy. All I have to say here is that the pizza is great inside the restaurant, but not so much for takeout. It is not the same wood-fired pizza, but rectangular blocks of the same generic square pizza with different toppings. I ordered a margherita pizza, which in my world would have fresh, stringy mozzarella, but I got something comparable to Ellio's frozen pizza. Blech. JF got a version with hot peppers and seemed to enjoy it.

    We made one last stop in Japan for our favorites, a bao bun and spicy roll, which I’m happy they brought back this year. It was heating up so we said goodbye to Epcot and went back for one last afternoon lounging in Stormalong Bay. This, of course, called for one last frose from Hurricane Hanna’s and an ice cream sundae from Beaches and Cream. We did split the sundae. Eat Everything Day can be pretty intense.

    After showering, we also walked some of it off by hoofing it to Hollywood Studios. I’ve heard they've since restored the regular bus stops, but holy mama, the construction they were doing at this time was rough. What’s normally an 18 minute walk from Yacht Club was over 30, and it didn’t help that I'm not a fan of the new skyline system, which is what the construction was all about. We made it to Rockin Rollercoaster with just 10 minute left in our FP window, but it was worth the walk.

    We had literally just enough time to ride this before heading back to the bus stop and catching a ride to the Grand Floridian for dinner. We were the first to make it to Narcoosee's, a place we've loved for brunch and were eager to try for dinner. Mom, Dad, and my uncle strolled over with drinks they had gotten from Mizner's lounge in the main lobby, but everyone else was running late. MK had closed early at 4 pm for a staff party, which meant the monorails were jammed up with exiting guests. We were seated, and the rest of my family made it 15 minutes later. Everyone seemed pretty beat after a day of park hopping.

    Though I sorely miss Narcoosee's brunch, dinner here was on par with my expectations. I had a truffle gnocchi and scallop dish that was truly scrumptious. Unfortunately it’s been too long to remember what else I picked at, but apps and dessert were good as well. JF and I said goodbye to everyone a few minutes early and ordered an Uber back to Hollywood Studios for one last FP. Again, the construction took our driver through so many twists and turns just to get through the parking lot, and we again had to walk some of the way.

    I thought it was odd that our FP for Star Tours was only goof for half an hour, between 7:30 and 8 pm. I know the park closing time is listed as 8, but fireworks were at 8:30, and I had a hard time imagining they closed the ride line at 8 sharp. We made it there at 7:45 and had a blast riding, seeing places from the latest movie for the first time. Afterward, I hoped to hit Tower of Terror before the fireworks, but they had closed the queue for Star Tours, which meant ToT would likely be shut as well.

    Instead we wandered to the center of the park for the Star Wars fireworks. Though JF and I enjoyed the Galactic Dessert Party here a few years ago, this is definitely not one you need to pay for special viewing. We had good views and plenty of standing room for both the preshow and the fireworks themselves. This was a great way to end our day and our vacation, and I'm glad we decided to hike it back to the park for it.

    Walking back was less glamorous. We again at to battle through the construction, which was now shoulder to shoulder as the narrow walkways were also holding those waiting for buses. I felt especially bad for the value resorts, where the lines were some of the longest I'd ever seen. We made it out and back to the hotel closer to 40 minutes.

    I’ll spare you the details, as the rest of the trip was pretty standard. We simultaneously mourned, packed, and caught the Tragical Express to MCO. I forgot how especially tragic the Tragical Express can be when you don’t have another trip lined up. Still, we put on our brave faces and flew home. My fish looked a little worse for the wear but rebounded quickly, and our dogs had a blast at camp.

    NEXT TRIPS

    So, JF proposed to me last summer, and at the time of actually posting this, we're just a month away from the big day. Our next trip is actually our Aulani and Disneyland combination honeymoon. Aulani will be a first for both of us, and I'm kind of excited that we don't need to micromanage every aspect of the trip like we do in WDW. I can’t even make dining reservations until 10 days out, which is both discomforting and relaxing at the same time. I did make dining for the few days we're stopping in Disneyland, which will both break up the flying back home and hopefully scratch my Disney itch. We are not visiting WDW at all in 2019. I know. It's terrible.

    However, were all doing a Run Disney vacation for marathon weekend in January 2020. That will probably be my next report. And hopefully it will be done on time.

    Thank you for reading!

  4. #3

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip report.


  5. #4

    Thank you for doing another trip report. I've actually wondered about your sis' wedding and hoped there would be a report. Good luck to you too!

    Michelle
    offsite '86, ASMo '01, POR '02, CBR '05, POR '08, POR '10, BCV '10, Pop '11, BC '14, DL offsite '15, POR '16, FQ '17, POR '18, SSR '19

  6. #5

    Great report Savvy! Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!! I hope everything goes smoothly and you both have a long and wonderful life together.

    Ellen


  7. #6

    Thank you all! I'm sorry for the typos, this was not my cleanest report by a long shot. Looking forward to sharing my next report


  8. #7

    I enjoyed your report. I loved the idea of the fastpasses for 'seating cards'. I've shared it with my daughter who is MOH for a friend's wedding next year. Just a look at how things can be done differently, as obviously they won't be able to do that exact thing. Now, I'll be looking forward to your report on your wedding, honeymoon....you are doing one, right? Where to find it....?


  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by HM1 View Post
    I enjoyed your report. I loved the idea of the fastpasses for 'seating cards'. I've shared it with my daughter who is MOH for a friend's wedding next year. Just a look at how things can be done differently, as obviously they won't be able to do that exact thing. Now, I'll be looking forward to your report on your wedding, honeymoon....you are doing one, right? Where to find it....?
    Thank you! I couldn't subject my family and friends to a second destination wedding in less than a year, so my wedding will only have Disney touches. I'm not planning on doing a formal report for my honeymoon, though I may cover the few days ending in DL. Officially, I'll have another report in January after Marathon weekend!

  10. #9

    I don't think I have come across a trip report loaded with so many emotions that I SHARE WITH YOU! Just about everything related to taking a WDW trip! I was laughing so many times! Thank you for the great report! Hope the wedding and DLR/Aulani trip went off without a hitch and I'm looking forward to reading all about it/them.


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