This morning, we headed over to Epcot for the morning Extra Magic Hours! We just love taking advantage of this perk and being at the park before it opens! Megan did her usual trek to Soarin' of running ahead to get some of the first fastpasses of the day! We had a great flight over California! We went to ride the newly redesigned Test Track, which was awesome! We got to design our own cars and see how our design would hold up in different areas! We went back to The Land to use our fastpasses for Soarin'. We had a great breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. We went to Mouse Gear to do some pin trading and window shopping. We came outside and saw Captain Hook waiting for us! We started to head to the World Showcase as it thundered, so we went to the all-indoors Mexico pavilion! We rode the Gran Fiesta Tour and took some pictures in the Mexican village. We had a very special meet and greet with Mexican Donald, who looked adorable in his sombrero and poncho! Then, we went to the China pavilion and saw Mulan. We went to the America pavilion for a Limited Time Magic event. Limited Time Magic is this year's promotion, which hosts a different event every week, whether it's small or big. This week only, Mickey's America Streetbeat was performed at the American Gardens Theatre. We all LOVED this show! It had Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy along with the streetbeat dancers. We loved their costumes! The show consisted of many different elements, including drums, hip hop and tap dance, and acrobatics. We really enjoyed this high-energy show and we're so glad that it was being performed during one of the weeks that we were here!
We had an extra special lunch today at Via Napoli in Italy! When we walked in, the new manager (who was previously the assistant manager) recognized us before we even said our names! He was excited to welcome us back to one of our favorite restaurants! After we were seated, two of the assistant managers came over to say hi to us too. As we were getting ready to order, the chef came out to see us and he was glad that we were back. He told us that he wanted to send over a complimentary appetizer, and gave us a few recommendations. We decided to try the Arancini, which was very good! The sous chef brought it out to us and we enjoyed talking with him too. We had our favorite pizzas, pepperoni and quatro formaggi (four cheese), which were as delicious as always! Just when we thought we were done, Bonnie and Neil received a special song and dessert for their anniversary! Then, we received three more desserts, compliments of the manager! We definitely received the VIP treatment today at Via Napoli, and loved talking to all of the managers and chefs. After lunch, we took one more ride on Soarin'. We had spent 8 hours in the park and decided to head back to Saratoga Springs.
We chilled in the room for a little while before getting ready for Downtown Disney. We stopped in Goofy's Candy Company on the way in. We went to Disney's Pin Traders where we got an awesome University of Texas Mickey pin to add to our huge collection. We did some pin trading and window shopping in the different stores before eating a late dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express. We enjoyed sharing bruschetta, Caesar salad, pasta, and chicken tenders. After dinner, we did some more pin trading and window shopping before going to Ghirardelli's for dessert. We enjoyed our warm brownie sundaes. We called it a night as we were exhausted from a long, but great, day! Check out a few of today's pictures, and email us with any questions, comments, or just to say hi! Tomorrow, we are going to Hollywood Studios and then to the brand new bowling alley, Splitsville.
Today we went to Hollywood Studios for the morning Extra Magic Hours, and we got to the park before it opened! We love taking advantage of this additional hour in the parks!! Neil went to grab fastpasses for Toy Story Mania while Bonnie went to take pictures of Courtney and Megan riding Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. After riding twice, we had breakfast at our favorite place, Starring Rolls Café. We enjoyed our bagels and pastries. It was time to use our Toy Story Mania fastpass, and we all enjoyed the ride. We headed over to the Animation Courtyard where we saw Handy Manny and Jake. Handy Manny loved that his hat matched Neil's and even did a hook 'em! We headed out to the bus stop to take a bus to Pop Century as a transfer. We walked around the resort for a little bit before taking a bus to Downtown Disney.
Splitsville is a new luxury attraction at Downtown Disney, complete with bowling, billiards, dining, and night life. A cousin on Bonnie's side of the family, Kylie, is the Events Manager for Splitsville! We were so excited to finally meet her for the first time! She took us on a tour of both floors of the building, and explained the layout, concept, and history of Splitsville. This is not a Disney bowling alley (there are other locations), but does have touches of Disney on some of the walls and even some of the bowling balls! We enjoyed bowling with Kylie, as well as eating lunch at the lane. Splitsville is set up so that you can order and enjoy your food while you play! The food was delicious! As we were getting ready to leave, Kylie surprised us all with Splitsville bags filled with t-shirts, socks, hats, water bottles, and more! We really enjoyed our visit with Kylie, and getting to hear all about what she does! Kylie is so sweet and we can't thank her enough for the wonderful afternoon! We plan to meet up with her again while we are here. We headed back to Saratoga Springs to relax and get ready for the evening.
Rain doesn't stop the Sucharts! It started to storm while we were in the room, but it had slowed down enough that we decided to just put on our rain jackets, grab our umbrellas, and head to Epcot anyway! The Photopass photographers were standing undercover and taking cute pictures of all the guests with Spaceship Earth, in the rain! We took a boat across the lagoon and headed to the America pavilion for the Sounds Like Summer Concert series. This week was Southbound and Company, a tribute band to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Neil especially loved the concert, and even got to talk with them afterwards! It was definitely one of the best Sounds Like Summer concerts that we have seen! We went to Italy for dinner at Via Napoli (yes, again!). One of the managers was up at the front and had us seated right away, even with a packed lobby! We decided to try some different things this time, including chicken parmesan, veal parmesan, pasta, and a pizza. The meal was absolutely delicious. We really enjoyed talking with our waiter, Domenico. He told us so much information about the history of pizza, the ingredients used in the different dishes, and secrets about Via Napoli. He also told us about a type of accreditation that you can look for in restaurants to see if their pizza is authentic. While we know that nothing will compare to Via Napoli, we will definitely look for some authentic places in Houston! After dinner, we walked around the countries a bit more. Neil, Bonnie, and Megan went back to see the last Southbound and Company show, and Courtney explored some of the countries. We met up afterwards and headed home, exhausted from a long day! Check out today's pictures and come back tomorrow for more updates! Tomorrow is Neil and Bonnie's 23rd wedding anniversary! We are going to the most magical place to celebrate, Magic Kingdom!
Today was Neil and Bonnie's 23rd anniversary! Of course, we had to head to the most magical park to celebrate, Magic Kingdom! When we arrived, we took some pictures in front of the castle in our new Disney shirts, and of Courtney and Megan's Magic Kingdom park map bows that they ordered online. Then, we saw Mary Poppins in Town Square, and she wished us a jolly holiday! We headed back through the park and Neil went to get fastpasses for Space Mountain. We saw Alice and the White Rabbit in Fantasyland. We traveled through the 100 Acre Woods on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We hopped on the train from Fantasyland to Main Street USA, where we had our meet and greet with Mickey!
We had breakfast at the new Starbucks in Main Street Bakery. We watched Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It parade. It was time for our Space Mountain fastpasses, and we had a thrilling adventure through the galaxy. While we were on the ride, Bonnie got fast passes for Peter Pan's Flight. We met the Tremaines, who are Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters. They absolutely loved Courtney and Megan's park map bows, and we even gave them one of the business cards that the company sent us. By then, it was time for our fastpasses for Peter Pan's Flight. After the ride, we went to one of our favorite lunch places, Columbia Harbor House. Bonnie, Neil, and Megan enjoyed fried shrimp and fish, while Courtney had a turkey leg. After lunch, we went to Storybook Circus where we rode Dumbo and Goofy's Barnstormer. We again took the train to Main Street USA and headed home after a fun-filled day! When we returned to the room, Bonnie and Neil had a gift basket waiting for them from Courtney and Megan! It was filled with Disney snacks and a beautiful WDW stained glass suncatcher.
We got all dressed up for Bonnie and Neil's anniversary dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Narcoossee's. We took lots of pictures around the Grand Floridian before heading out to the restaurant, which overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon. We had a perfect waterside table, and could see Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary/Bay Lake Tower. We all had the filet mignon, and Bonnie had hers with the lobster tail. The food was absolutely incredible and we loved every bite! We thought we were finished, but our waitress brought out a surprise anniversary dessert, arranged by Courtney and Megan. It was a beautifully decorated almond cheesecake. We walked around some of the resort's shops and the grounds. We went out to the boat dock to watch the Electrical Light Parade and Wishes fireworks. It was an amazing view and the perfect way to end another wonderful Disney anniversary! Check out today's awesome pictures! Tomorrow, we're off for a wild time at Animal Kingdom!
This morning, we arrived at Animal Kingdom before the park opened for morning Extra Magic Hours. Neil, Courtney, and Megan rode Expedition Everest two times in a row, with no wait! After escaping the yeti, we had breakfast platters and fruit at Pizzafari. Afterwards, we went to the brand new meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie who were dressed in their adorable safari outfits! We had the meet and greet all to ourselves and took lots of great pictures with our favorite mice! When we went outside, we met Dug and Russell from the movie Up. We went to Camp Minnie Mickey and were there when it opened. There were no lines for the greeting trails, and we got to meet Baloo and King Louie, Donald Duck, Chip and Dale, and Pocahontas. We went to watch the Festival of the Lion King, which is our favorite stage show in all of Disney! It was an excellent performance, and the singing was especially wonderful today! After the show, Megan got soft-serve ice cream from her favorite stand. We headed to the front of the park to meet up with our friend, Abraham, who works in merchandise. If you have read our previous blogs, you may remember that we met Abraham in 2011 and his Donald Duck and Goofy impersonations made a huge impression on all of us. Megan learned how to do a Donald Duck impersonation by watching a video of him. Last year, we happened to see Abraham in the shop, moments before he was presented with his 1 year pin. It was great to see him again and catch up. We also got to meet the manager, Darlene, and we enjoyed talking with her as well.
We headed out of the park and went to the newest hotel, Art of Animation, to look around. A cast member gave us an exclusive tour of the resort and one of the fantastic Lion King suites, which is beautiful! The entire resort is gorgeous and we definitely want to stay here on a future trip! We ate lunch at the Landscape of Flavors. Bonnie, Courtney, and Megan had the create your own pasta, and Neil had a sandwich. We looked around the gift shop after lunch. Courtney answered two trivia questions about Donald Duck correctly so we got to see the pin trading board and made some great trades. We headed back to Saratoga Springs to get ready for the evening.
Tonight we went to Old Key West, which was one of the very few resorts we had never visited. We walked around the beautiful property and took lots of pictures, before it started raining. This resort has a great beach theme of Key West, Florida, and was the original Disney Vacation Club resort. Tonight, we went to dinner at Olivia's Café, where we met up with Neil's friend Mitch who was his fraternity brother from UT, and his fiancé, Tina. Mitch and Tina both work on the business side of Disney. It was great to hear about their experiences within the company, as well as get to know them. We really enjoyed the restaurant, too. Bonnie had a shrimp po'boy, Neil and Courtney had the french dip sandwich, and Megan had a hamburger. We had a great time with Mitch and Tina, and hope to see them again soon! After dinner, we went to Downtown Disney where we had ice cream at Ghirardelli's. Check out today's pictures!Tomorrow, we'll be at Magic Kingdom.
Today we arrived at Magic Kingdom well before park opening for a morning full of character -- literally! This week is Long Lost Friends Week, as a part of this year's promotion, Limited Time Magic! There were four different groups of characters to meet all around Town Square. The first of the groups we met was the Robin Hood characters, which included Robin Hood, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Prince John, and Friar Tuck. Then, we met Chicken Little and Abby Mallard. Then we met the Song of the South characters, which included Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, and Br'er Bear. Last but not least were Dr. Facilier and Louis the Alligator from the Princess and the Frog. Afterwards, we went in to Main Street Confectionary, as Megan loves to watch the pastry chefs and would love to work there someday. She was able to meet Dan, the manager of Main Street Confectionary, and the pastry chefs gave us each a Rice Krispie ball that we had just watched them make! They were still warm and extremely delicious! We headed towards Frontierland in hopes of riding Splash Mountain, but it was down. We saw Chip and Dale dressed in their cute western attire! We met Constance and Mayor Weaver on Main Street, before going into Guest Relations to fix up some dining reservations. When we walked out, we saw Snow White with no line, so we met her before heading out. We went back to the resort to change for the water park!
We had a great lunch at Artist's Palette, the restaurant at Saratoga Springs. Afterwards, we headed to Typhoon Lagoon! After putting our stuff in the locker, we saw our favorite little alien, Stitch! We headed to the giant surf pool, that has huge waves which we love! We caught a few waves before heading to the lazy river! We love relaxing in the river as we go around the park. It started to thunder, so the water park closed. We headed back to our resort and the pool was open, so we went swimming at the High Rock Springs Pool. While Courtney and Megan were swimming, Neil and Bonnie did some laundry. We love that we get free laundry as DVC members! It is a nice perk to have when you stay for such a long time!
We got ready for dinner and headed to Epcot! We took some pictures and then rode Spaceship Earth. After our journey through time, we went to Nine Dragons at the China pavilion. We loved what we ordered last year so much, that we had the same dishes! We got the shrimp and chicken egg rolls, canton pepper beef, sweet and sour chicken, and honey sesame chicken. We shared all of the dishes, and they were wonderful! After dinner, we went to the Norway pavilion where we rode Maelstrom. We exited at the perfect time to watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. It was a great show and we all enjoyed it! We headed back to the resort after a busy day! Take a look at our pictures from today! Tomorrow, we're headed to Hollywood Studios!
We headed to Hollywood Studios this morning and arrived right at park opening! Courtney and Megan rode Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster right away. Afterwards, we had a delicious breakfast at Starring Rolls Café. We went to the Magic of Disney Animation where Courtney and Megan learned how to draw Pluto! Neil and Bonnie met the stars from Wreck-It Ralph and The Incredibles. Then, we all met Sorcerer Mickey! After that, we went to Pixar Place to use our fastpasses for Toy Story Mania. We went to see Mike Wazowski and Sulley, dressed in their Monsters University gear. We saw this movie a few weeks before our trip so it was fun to meet them! We had lunch at Backlot Express, where we enjoyed chicken and sandwiches. We took some pictures and then headed out.
We came back to Saratoga Springs and got ready to go shopping! We went off-property, but only because we were going to Disney's Character Warehouse outlet store. We found lots of great Disney shirts there! After dropping off our stuff at Saratoga Springs, we headed back to Hollywood Studios to ride the Friendship Boat to the Beach Club. We went to Beaches and Cream Soda Shop for dinner. We got to sit at the counter where we were able to talk with the cast members and watch them prepare the food. Bonnie and Neil each had a hamburger, and Courtney and Megan got a hamburger and chicken Caesar salad sandwich and split them both. Beaches and Cream is famous for their desserts, and we all enjoyed our ice cream!
We walked around the Beach Club before heading over to the Boardwalk. We always like to stop at the DVC booths to talk to the DVC guides. We were talking to Nichole, and she was telling us about her experiences with the College Program, Professional Internships, and now working for DVC. She was awesome to talk to and we loved meeting her! We went to the gift shops and got some awesome DVC jackets! We love our membership! We walked around the Boardwalk before heading home. Enjoy the pictures and come back tomorrow for another update. Tomorrow, we are going to Blizzard Beach!
This morning we went to Blizzard Beach for some fun on the slopes!! We started by taking the chairlift up to the top of Mount Gushmore, which is where some of the attractions begin. We went on Teamboat Springs, the longest family raft ride in the world! It was a blast, and we even saw the cute Mickey inner tube at the end. We hopped in the Cross Country Creek lazy river and rode it halfway around the park. We went to the purple slopes, where we rode the Toboggan racers down to the bottom. We got in Meltaway Bay, a wave pool with bobbing waves. Afterwards, we got back in the lazy river and rode it around again. We left the water park and went to the Caribbean Beach Resort for lunch. We stayed at this resort 10 years ago, but it was the year before we started Disney World Live so we didn't have any pictures on the website. We went to Old Port Royale for lunch, where they had a huge selection of entrees to choose from. We enjoyed walking around the resort, as it had been an entire decade since we had been there! We headed back to Saratoga Springs to get ready for the evening.
Tonight, we went to Magic Kingdom for a fun-filled evening! We stopped in the art gallery on Main Street to meet Larry Dotson, who was appearing this week. Larry is a very famous Disney artist, and we have some of his artwork in our house. It was very cool to meet him, talk with him, and watch him work on a new piece. His work is incredible! We headed to the back of the park for dinner at the brand new Be Our Guest restaurant in the New Fantasyland expansion. Courtney and Megan were excited to wear their Beauty and the Beast tanks that they got specifically for this restaurant! Walking into this restaurant is like stepping straight into the Beauty and the Beast movie. We were seated at the best table in the house, under the falling snow in the Ballroom. We started out the meal with the delicious bread, salads, and French Onion soup. We all had the steak which was incredible. The flavoring was amazing and we all enjoyed the meal. Courtney and Megan got to meet a Disney friend of theirs from Instagram, Frankie, who was also at Be Our Guest with her family. They were all so nice and we were so glad we got to meet them! For dessert, we tried the chocolate cupcake and creme puff. For our anniversary and birthday celebrations, we also got to try the "grey stuff," which is an item from the movie. It tasted like a cookies and creme mousse! After dinner, we walked around the Rose Gallery and West Wing, which are the other two dining rooms in Be Our Guest. Then, we got to see the Beast in the study. He was so glad we came to his castle for dinner! After dinner, we went to the new and innovative Enchanted Tales with Belle. The technology in this attraction was amazing! Neil was selected to play the part of a knight, and Courtney and Megan were one of the singing plates. The attraction was very neat and we all enjoyed it. We headed to Main Street to watch Wishes. We decided to watch them from the second level of the train station and the view was amazing! After a long day, we headed home to Saratoga Springs. Tomorrow, we are going to Epcot!
This morning we arrived at Epcot before the park opening. We went straight to Soarin', where Megan got the first fastpasses of the day. We got so many compliments on our Soarin' shirts! After riding Soarin', we went to the Sum of All Thrills. Courtney and Megan created their own roller coaster, then got to ride it using the simulator. Then, the cast member let them ride again! We went back to Soarin' to use our fastpasses and had another great flight. We had breakfast at our usual spot, Sunshine Seasons. We went over to ride the Seas with Nemo and Friends. Afterwards, we rode Test Track and loved creating and testing our own cars. We walked out to see Mr. Smee by the fountains and said hello to him. We took the Friendship boat from Mexico to Germany, and then walked over to Italy. We had lunch at none other than Via Napoli! It was our 3rd time during this trip to eat there, and we were greeted by the manager and chef. We had a great lunch and really enjoyed our pizza. We walked around the countries some more before taking the Friendship boat back across the lagoon. We headed back to Saratoga Springs to relax and begin packing.
As DVC members, we were invited to tour the model room of the brand new Grand Floridian villas. This DVC resort is scheduled to open in October. We arrived at the DVC Preview Center, which is minutes away from our room. We checked in and had delicious snacks, appetizers, and drinks. Then, a DVC guide took us to see the model studio and one bedroom villas. The features in this resort are incredible. There is a TV built into the bathroom mirror, which is considered to be one of the most innovative features of any DVC resort to date. The rooms are absolutely beautiful and we can't wait to stay here someday! We also got to meet Andrew, who is a DVC sales associate that Courtney has talked with on Instagram. We have done so much networking this trip, which has been great because Courtney and Megan both want to work for Disney. Afterwards, we explored Saratoga Springs some more, and we were allowed to take a sneak peak at the brand new spa that opens next week. We found a pool table outside of the Turf Club restaurant, and Bonnie, Courtney, and Megan enjoyed playing a game of pool while Neil took pictures of the restaurant.
We headed to Downtown Disney amidst the rain for dinner at the Crossroads restaurant at the House of Blues. We started with salads and meatball sliders. We enjoyed hamburgers, pasta, and French dip sandwich. We had a great meal and enjoyed the restaurant. It was still raining when we finished dinner, so we made our way to the bus. We stopped in the Harley Davidson store and Megan and Neil had fun on the motorcycles. We headed back to Saratoga Springs for the last time to pack up our bags. We went to the Artist's Palette for some late night ice cream treats. Tomorrow, we are moving over to our fabulous home, Bay Lake Tower! Take a look at our pictures, and check back for another update. The vacation continues, but starting tomorrow, the pictures will be posted on part 2.
Today, we slept in a bit before getting up to finish packing. We moved over to our DVC home resort, Bay Lake Tower! Saratoga Springs was a wonderful resort and we really enjoyed our time there, but Bay Lake Tower is our true home! When we checked in at the Contemporary, we met Andrew's dad, Larry, who works in the Concierge. He took care of our check-in and made sure that everything was set with our room requests! We got lots of compliments on our Bay Lake Tower shirts that we made last year at Downtown Disney. Our room wasn't quite ready yet, so we had lunch at Contempo Café and walked around the shops on the Grand Concourse. Bonnie got the text message that our room was ready, so we headed over to Bay Lake Tower! When we walked in to BLT, we all instantly smiled! Feels good to be home! We walked into our beautiful room to find the most perfect view waiting for us. We could see everything from the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, the monorail, Cinderella Castle, and Space Mountain. This was the best view we have had by far, because it was direct center! We spent some time unpacking most of our luggage.
We walked over to Magic Kingdom, which we love doing!! We walked around on Main Street USA and watched the castle stage show, Dream-Along with Mickey. We went to Fantasyland to see Mickey's Philharmagic! Neil and the girls rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then we took the train from Frontierland to Main Street. We watched the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade before taking the monorail home to BLT to shower and finish unpacking. On our way back to Magic Kingdom, we stopped at the Polynesian to meet Tony Caselnova. Tony runs Disney by the Numbers and a Disney podcast. We have followed his Facebook page for years and it was nice to finally meet him. We headed over to Magic Kingdom and shopped around in the Emporium.
Tonight for dinner, we went to the Plaza Restaurant where we met up with Jess. Jess is currently working as Concierge at Coronado Springs on the Disney College Program. Courtney and Megan have followed her posts and reports since she began in January. It was so great to meet her and we really enjoyed our dinner! We headed back to our room where we watched Wishes from our balcony. It was SO nice to hear the music from the special channel on our TV, watch the fireworks together, and then be in our room the moment it ended! Bay Lake Tower is such an incredible place for so many reasons, and this is just one of them! Take a look at today's pictures, which are now on part 2! Tomorrow, we are going to Hollywood Studios!
Today we went to Hollywood Studios for the morning Extra Magic Hours. We headed straight to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, where Courtney and Megan were in the very first super-stretch limo of the day! They got to ride it again, and requested their favorite spot both times - the last row! We went over to ride Toy Story Mania before having breakfast at Starring Rolls Café. We headed back and Neil, Courtney, and Megan rode Star Tours. Afterwards, we went over to the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream exhibit and movie. We were wearing our new Walt Disney and Mickey shirts and received lots of compliments from the cast members at that attraction! We answered a trivia question correctly and were given buttons saying we were Honorary Citizens of Walt Disney World! We headed out, and did lots of pin trading along the way.
We went over to Magic Kingdom for lunch at our favorite place, Tortuga Tavern. We all enjoyed our taco salads and nachos. We saw Jim, the piano player on Main Street, and enjoyed listening to his music. Afterwards, we went to celebrate National Ice Cream Day at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. We watched the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade as we headed out. We took the monorail back, and did some pin trading at the Contemporary. We went back to the room to relax, and then we heard a knock on the door. We received a beautiful white chocolate monorail plate from our friends at the Contemporary! It was such a nice surprise! We headed to Downtown Disney where we had a great dinner at the new Bodie's All-American Burgers. Afterwards, we went to World of Disney where we did some shopping and pin trading. We stopped by Ghirardelli's for some ice cream treats before heading home. Enjoy the pictures and come back tomorrow for another update! We're going to Animal Kingdom tomorrow!
This morning, we went over to Animal Kingdom for the morning Extra Magic Hours. We headed straight to Asia, where we rode Expedition Everest. We made our way over to Dinoland USA, where we rode Primeval Whirl and Dinosaur. We had some refreshing fruit and vegetables from the Harambe Fruit Stand. We did some shopping at Island Mercantile, and had it sent back to the hotel, which is a service we love to use! We went to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where we saw animal exhibits such as bats and tigers. We had lunch at Yak and Yeti, a restaurant that we have not visited in years. We enjoyed crispy honey chicken, sweet and sour chicken, tempura shrimp, and chicken fried rice. It was a delicious meal that we all enjoyed! We did some pin trading on our way out, and headed back to Bay Lake Tower.
Tonight, we had dinner at Trail's End, which is at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. Trail's End is a buffet, filled with delicious meats like ribs, baked and fried chicken, sausage, steak, and more. After dinner, we explored the resort and did some pin trading in the gift shops. Then, we went to Chip and Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long! Chip and Dale, along with the guitar player, entertained the crowd with popular campfire songs. There were campfires set up for roasting marshmallows, and we really enjoyed making s'mores! It was a fun event that we have talked about doing, and we were glad that we finally got around to it! We took the boat from the marina back to the Contemporary. We headed up to our room and watched Wishes from our balcony. It is SO nice to watch them in our pajamas and not deal with the crowds! Check out the pictures from our fun-filled day! Tomorrow, we are going to Epcot!
This morning, Bonnie and Courtney went out to the boat marina to watch the sun rise over Bay Lake. It was a beautiful way to start the morning! We rode the monorail over to Epcot, in our new monorail shirts, and arrived before the park opened. We beaded straight to Soarin' and rode it immediately, and got a fastpass for later. We had breakfast at Sunshine Seasons, and by the time we were done eating, it was time for our second ride on Soarin'. After the ride, we went shopping at Mouse Gear. We went over to the Imagination pavilion to ride Journey into your Imagination with Figment. It was raining when we came out, so we decided to leave and went to have lunch at All-Star Sports. We walked around the resort, before heading over to All-Star Music. These were the last two resorts at Walt Disney World that we had not yet visited, and it was exciting to finally be able to say we have been to all of the hotels in Walt Disney World. We came back to Bay Lake Tower and relaxed before heading to Downtown Disney.
We met up with Mitch to visit with him. It was great to see him again for a quick visit before dinner. We had dinner at Raglan Road Irish Pub with our cousin, Kylie. We were so glad we were able to see her again and enjoyed spending the evening with her. We had a great dinner at Raglan Road and loved watching the Irish dancers and listening to the band. Megan got a special birthday treat from the restaurant of their famous bread pudding. After dinner, we headed back to Bay Lake Tower. Tonight, we went to the Top of the World lounge to watch Wishes! We met up with our friends Larry and Andrew to visit before the show. It was nice to see them again. We have met so many great people on this trip, and it has been so neat to connect with many different people! After fireworks, we called it a night and headed down to our room. Check out the pictures! Tomorrow, we're going to Magic Kingdom!
We started off the day with Mickey waffles in bed, before walking over to Magic Kingdom! Megan ran straight to get fastpasses for Space Mountain. We met Pluto in Town Square, and hung out in the shops on Main Street. We walked over to Tomorrowland where we saw Stitch! Then, it was time for us to ride Space Mountain. After the ride, we saw Buzz Lightyear before seeing the Carousel of Progress. We headed back to Main Street where we visited with some of the citizens, including Scoop Sanderson, Mayor Weaver, and Miss Hildegard. They even sang Happy Birthday to Megan! We went to the Town Square Theater, where we saw Mickey Mouse, and then Rapunzel, Princess Aurora, and Cinderella. We decided to head out from there, and went over to the Boardwalk. We ate lunch at the ESPN Club, which is filled with TVs and sports memorabilia. After our great lunch, we walked along the Boardwalk and checked out the different shops.
We went to Welcome Home Wednesday, which is an exclusive DVC member event. Neil and Bonnie played a game where Bonnie had to direct Neil, who was blindfolded, to pick up different items. Megan played a game where she had to guess what answers the audience would choose. They all won DVC pins. They also do door prize drawings, and Neil won a year's membership to Owner's Locker storage and delivery service! We all received snacks and DVC hats as well. It was a fun event and we had a great time! We went back to Bay Lake Tower to relax and get ready for our evening. We had dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse, which is one of our all-time favorites! We started off with the delicious onion rolls and Caesar salad. We all had the filet mignon, which was absolutely incredible. Megan received a special birthday dessert for her birthday, filled with lots of chocolate treats, and even a white chocolate Mickey! After dinner, we came back to the resort and met up with Courtney and Megan's friend, Frankie, and her family. They came up to the Top of the World lounge to watch fireworks. We enjoyed visiting with them. We went back down to our room after another great day! Take a look at all of the pictures! Tomorrow is Megan's 16th birthday and we are going to Magic Kingdom!
Today was Megan's 16th birthday, and we were so excited to be celebrating in our favorite place in the world, Walt Disney World! When Megan woke up, she found decorations on the wall and door, and balloons in the room. After opening some presents and enjoying Mickey waffles in bed, we headed over to Magic Kingdom. We went to ride one of Megan's favorite rides, Stitch's Great Escape. We took some birthday pictures of Megan in front of the castle with her special tiara, birthday sash, and the beautiful bow that she made. Megan absolutely loves watching the bakers in the show kitchen as they make treats in the Confectionary. While she was in there this morning, she got to meet Elizabeth, the manager of the shops along Main Street. Elizabeth gave Megan a delicious chocolate covered strawberry for her birthday! A surprise treat from her favorite place was the perfect way to start Megan's birthday!
Afterwards, we went to the front of the park, because today we were going on the Keys to the Kingdom tour! We have been waiting for this tour for many years, because in order to take it, you have to be 16. This special tour takes you through the park, as well as backstage and in the Utilidors. There were no cameras allowed on the tour, but you will get to see the pictures that we took beforehand. We checked in and met our awesome tour guide, Patrick. We all received our adorable name tags (that we got to keep), and our headsets to be able to hear Patrick throughout the tour. We also made our selections for lunch. This tour dived into the history, heritage, and special attention to detail in the park. We had private guided tours of two opening day attractions, Jungle Cruise and The Haunted Mansion. We especially loved seeing the backstage areas and the Utilidors, and learning how everything comes together to operate the park that we love!
During the tour, we had lunch at Columbia Harbour House. Our food was waiting for us because it was pre-ordered during the tour check-in. At lunch, we each received our very own Keys to the Kingdom pin! We had a delicious lunch of fried shrimp, fried fish, and chicken. Overall, the tour was an absolutely incredible experience that we all enjoyed. Patrick was an outstanding tour guide, and his passion for the company was extremely evident. The tour gave us an entirely new perspective of the Magic Kingdom, and even though we have been countless times, we learned so much. We had been looking forward to this for so long, and it was definitely worth the wait! After the tour, we went to ride Tomorrowland Indy Speedway! Even though Megan can't get her license until we are home, she still got to drive on her 16th birthday! We rode Space Mountain before heading back to Bay Lake Tower.
Tonight, we had dinner at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary. The restaurant was undergoing some construction tonight, so they moved to one of the ballrooms. We started out by saying hello to everyone's favorite mouse, Mickey! Mickey gave Megan lots of birthday wishes, and loved that he was on her bow! We were seated and enjoyed the delicious buffet! Throughout our dinner, we were visited by Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto! They were all happy to see us, and gave Megan lots of birthday hugs and kisses. Goofy even gave Megan a special birthday dance! During one of the celebration songs, our waitress brought out Megan's beautiful birthday cake from Neil, Bonnie, and Courtney! Megan was so surprised, and loved her cake that was covered with pink flowers and hidden Mickeys! Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto all came by to see Megan's cake! It was a wonderful birthday dinner! Afterwards, we headed back to Magic Kingdom to end the day with fireworks! Check out the pictures from our amazing day! Tomorrow is our last full day, and we're going to Magic Kingdom!
Today was our last full day, and we walked over to Magic Kingdom! We were there before rope drop and headed straight towards Space Mountain! Then, we went to Adventureland to say hi to Tinkerbell and Vidia. We went back to the beautiful New Fantasyland area. First, we went to Ariel's Grotto and visited with our favorite mermaid. Then we went on the Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid ride. We went to Belle's village where we met the boastful Gaston. We went back to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. We headed out and took the monorail over to Epcot.
We had one more meal at our favorite restaurant, Via Napoli. We walked in and Gabriele, the manager, was happy to see us again. Joe, the sous chef, brought out an arancini appetizer for us right after we were seated! We enjoyed visiting with him. We enjoyed our pizza, as always! We are such huge fans of not only the food at Via Napoli, but the friendliness that we encounter from the staff. We walked through the International Gateway to the Beach club, where we had ice cream at Beaches and Cream. We went back to Bay Lake Tower to relax and pack.
We walked over to Magic Kingdom and rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Afterwards, we had dinner at Pinocchio's Village Haus. We love to eat here because a certain portion of the restaurant overlooks It's a Small World. It's fun to wave to the ongoing passengers! After dinner, we rode It's a Small World and Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel. Then, we saw the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor comedy show. We watched the Celebrate the Magic show and Wishes fireworks from Main Street for the last time. Afterwards, we went to Adventureland where we had our very first dole whip. Dole whips are pineapple ice cream treats that are very highly regarded in the Disney community! We headed back to ride Splash Mountain, which was especially neat because we learned and saw some interesting things about this ride the day before on our tour! We watched the Main Street Electrical Parade on our way out. Check out the great pictures from today! Tomorrow is our last day and we're going to Magic Kingdom!
Today was the only day of our vacation that we weren't looking forward to - the last! We packed up our suitcases and headed off to Magic Kingdom for one more morning of fun! We saw some Main Street citizens and shopped around in the Emporium. We had a light breakfast of fruit at the Liberty Square Market. We walked over to Fantasyland where we met Peter Pan and Wendy before riding Peter Pan's Flight. After the ride, we went to Town Square Theater for one last hug from Mickey Mouse. We went to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain. We had our favorite lunch, taco salad and nachos at Tortuga Tavern! After a stop in the Main Street Confectionary, we headed out of the park for the last time.
We took the monorail back to Bay Lake Tower and got on Disney's Magical Express bus back to the airport. We had an uneventful flight and we're already talking about our next trip to our home. This was SUCH an incredible trip, and by far the best one yet! We love having this wonderful connection, obsession, and addiction that brings our family together in so many ways, and we love spending this time together as a family! We hope you enjoyed following along with us on our magical 2 1/2 week adventure in Walt Disney World! As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us. We would love to hear from you!
Until next time,