Disney, Day Eight: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and more

Another very long day, and not a lot of photos to show for it! OK, perhaps "not a lot" isn't the way most people would describe it, but there are definitely fewer than I have taken on most other longish days of the trip.

Photos: today only (sorry, no captions yet, it is late!), all days

We started the day at the other Disney water park, Typhoon Lagoon. We went around their lazy river, which went all around the circumference of the park just like the one at Blizzard Beach. I think this one might have been shorter, but I'm not sure. We then spent a fair amount of time in the wave pool, which was different from the Blizzardish wave pool we saw yesterday–whereas the one at Blizzard Beach produced medium-sized waves on a continuous basis, the one at Typhoon lagoon produced only about one wave every two minutes, and that wave was positively giant. It was fun, although we almost lost the little dry box I had around my neck which had, among other important things, our room keys in it. That would have been a bad thing. Fortunately some folks behind us found it and were nice enough to return it to us almost immediately. That's all we really did at Typhoon Lagoon; we were there for a couple of hours, then we made our way back to the hotel bus.

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We went back to the hotel to change, and then headed out to Epcot for a bit, because I wanted to see the remainder of the "Innoventions" areas that we had so far missed. That area is where we got to ride a Segway scooter some days ago, and it's where I remember a robot arm drawing a picture of me when I was there fifteen years ago or so! Sadly, it appears to have gone through a major redesign since then, and the exhibits weren't nearly as interesting to me. We did however ride "Spaceship Earth" again (that's the ride beneath the giant Epcot ball), which is one of our favorites, so it was all worth it. We had dinner reservations at the Contemporary (read: "ugly") Resort at 4:50, so we headed for the monorail at about 4:00.

The monorail proved to be excruciatingly slow. We were held up in monorail traffic for what seemed like monorail hours, both before and after we switched monorails at the transportation and ticket center. (Monorail.) We actually missed our reservation time, and didn't make it to the (ugly) Contemporary Resort until about 5:00. It was all fine, though, they led us right to a table at the Contemporary Steakhouse.

Again, the Disney Dining Plan that we got for free with our tickets paid for itself today, as Anna and I both ordered filet mignon, an appetizer, and a dessert, and didn't have to pay anything. What a deal! A popular topic of discussion is whether or not the dining plan would be worth it, if we had had to pay for it instead. The consensus answer seems to be yes; although one is likely able to eat for a day less expensively than the cost of a day of the Disney Dining Plan, using the plan gives you better-quality food than you might otherwise get, and you don't have to worry about the cost while you're there!

After we finished eating, we were going straight to a special event at the Magic Kingdom, "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party." Anna had paid extra for these tickets, and had even bought us costumes for the event–Tinkerbell and Peter Pan! (I was concerned about dressing up as Peter Pan, but Anna did some extra research and made sure the costume didn't have tights!) We changed there in the Contemporary Resort, and were headed for the monorail when Anna discovered that she didn't have her room key. Actually, she realized, someone had come into the bathroom while she was changing in a stall and asked if someone by her name was there. Anna, mystified, chose not to respond, and the person was gone when she was done. An employee in the bathroom said that the person had gone to turn it in at the "front desk," so we walked around the hotel to many desks-front before we finally found the key right at the entrance to the Contemporary Steakhouse where we had just eaten. 🙂 The monorail over to the Magic Kingdom was much, much more pleasant than our previous experience–basically non-eventful.

The Halloween Party was great! They had a special parade twice while we where there, with Disney characters dressed up in Halloween costumes! There were lots of Disney villains in the parade, including Captain Hook, the villain from Peter Pan. When he saw us in the first parade he shook his hook at us, and then he walked right over to us and stared us down in the second parade! Before the parade started, the Headless Horseman galloped through the parade route–very cool. Throughout the parade and throughout the park, Disney employees were handing out candy! Anna collected quite a bit of it, despite the fact that neither one of us particularly like candy. Our costumes, and hers in particular, were quite popular–a manager in the Contemporary Resort came over and gave us a coupon for a free dessert because she liked our costumes so much, and we had lots of children asking to have their pictures taken with us. It was fun!

The party ended at midnight, but we left at about 11:30pm, and suffered through a long (but efficiently-managed) line at the bus stop for the trip back to the Pop Century. Tomorrow, we get to go home and see the dogs again! We are both very excited about that!

Disney, Day Seven: Blizzard Beach and Magic Kingdom

We started the day by going to one of Disney World's two water parks, Blizzard Beach. Given my avoidance of things heights-related, we didn't really take advantage of the many water slides that were available there. We did go on "Teamboat Springs", which is a long, gradual slide in a raft that's big enough for about four people, and we spent about a half-hour in largish tubes on "Cross-Country Creek," a meandering river that goes all the way around the park. We didn't spend more than a few hours at the park because we didn't get there until about 11:30 or so, and we planned to leave around 3:30 due to dinner reservations. After doing the above (and spending some time in the wave pool–just like the beach, only better in my opinion), we figured we had done enough there (especially since we're planning to go to Typhoon Lagoon, the other Disney water park, tomorrow), so we left at about 2:30 to go on back to the hotel to get ready for our dinner reservations at 4:45. We left just in time, too: as we were walking out, an announcer came over the intercom and said that the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for our area! It was raining quite hard by the time the bus got back to our hotel, but it never really got any more severe than that.

Photos: today only, all days

Oh, and I didn't take any photos (gasp!) at the water park, because I didn't even take my camera! We weren't planning to rent a locker, so I just took myself, my room key, some money, and a towel!

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Dinner was at the Polynesian Resort, in a restaurant called Ohana. It was awesome! They prepare one meal, and everyone who comes into the restaurant gets that (although it might change from day to day, I'm not sure). We started out with some fried wontons with three dipping sauces, and a large bowl of salad, then we had shrimp and chicken wings for appetizers, both cooked in a Polynesian sort of way, whatever that means. The entrees were served as in Brazilian barbecue restaurants–guys come around with big metal stakes and cut off portions of meat for you! We had chicken, steak, pork loin, and turkey sausages, all well-seasoned. My personal favorite was the pork loin; it was spectacular! After we were done gorging ourselves on that, we had dessert–bread pudding served a la mode, with bananas foster sauce. That was so good, we debated ordering another one, since everything there is also all-you-can-eat, but decided against it since we didn't want to be miserable for the rest of the evening.

After dinner, at about 6:30pm, we went down to the Magic Kingdom where we planned to watch the parade formerly known as the "Main Street Electrical Parade." Unfortunately, we had to stake out our seats almost as soon as we got there and wait for 90 minutes for the parade to start; people start grabbing seats that early, and we wanted a good view! The parade has apparently been renamed at some point in the 20 years since I've seen it to "SpectroMagic" and they've gotten rid of the neat theme song. Harrumph; I like the old way better! But, the float was just as electrical and fun as before! They dimmed the lights on Main Street so the floats were very visible.

We then stayed to see the fireworks show "Wishes" at 9pm, which we had seen earlier in the week from a vantage point behind the castle, but we really wanted to see it from the front. This really is one of the most beautiful, magical shows I've ever seen. We did capture it on video to share, but I'm not sure it will convey the spine chills that were present in the real show. Everyone that visits Disney should see this show at least once. The fireworks and music were beautiful in their own right, but together they are just phenomenal. I'd see that show again and again.

So, tomorrow, we're hitting several different parks: Typhoon Lagoon in the morning, Epcot in the afternoon to catch a few attractions we've somehow missed up to this point, and the Magic Kingdom in the evening for a special event, "Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party." It should be a long, but fun, day!