Disney Day #23

Animal Kingdom had extended hours this day so it was open from 8 am to 6 pm. I was out at the bus stop at 7 am. It was still dark which made it feel like a RunDisney morning!

The bus arrived shortly and there was only myself and another couple. Getting a scooter was a no brainer. I had my scooter and was enjoying Starbucks inside the park by 7:45 am.

The weather was perfect and it was so quiet. I had looked up where I could take the scooter and was happy to see that I could take it through most queues and the animal trails.

A little after 8 am, I went to Kilimanjaro Safari. The only wait was to go through the queue and a slight wait for a vehicle to come to the loading area for guests using scooters or wheelchairs. It was breakfast time and it was cool which made for some great animal sightings. I did notice that the giraffes and zebras were not out yet. When I was done with the ride, I did the animal trail that is right near the safari and saw the zebras having their breakfast in an area that you cannot see on the ride.

I did the second animal trail and had a great experience with a tiger. So often, they are sleeping and you can just about see them in the exhibit. The tiger today was walking back and forth in front of the windows. The cast member said he likes to see people and would often run to the windows if he saw a keeper come by when the park was closed because he missed seeing people at the windows. I watched him for a while. So cool to see a tiger so close.

I did the bird show next. This show had just recently been revamped to include characters from Up but right now those characters are not included. Honestly, I hope they don’t add them back in. The show is exactly what it needs to be… just about the birds.

After the birds, I took the train to Rafiki’s Conservation Station. There is a little area with goats and sheep that you can usually pet but right now you cannot enter inside with them due to Covid. There are also some display areas with reptiles and a viewing area for a vet treatment room. They were performing a wellness exam on a bird when I was there so I watched for a little bit.

Then it was time for the next Animation Experience presentation. This “show” is interactive as you have a clipboard and paper and a Disney animator teaches you how to draw a character. They now put guidelines on the paper which is helpful and speeds up the process. For my session, we drew Crush and Squirt.

My next stop after taking the train back to the main area of the park was It’s Tough to be a Bug. Again, no wait. Just the time it took to go through the queue.

I had started to notice the battery level on the scooter was going down. There is a battery indicator on the scooter that has red, yellow and green lights. The previous day at the Magic Kingdom, it never went below green. At this point, it was half way through yellow. I decided that I should go to the front and let the cast member know it needs to be charged. It was a good thing that I decided when I did. By the time I made it to the rental area, the battery was flashing red. I just said the battery was dying and they switched me to a different scooter that was fully charged.

I went into Pandora just to have lunch. I would have had to walk the queues for both of those rides. The wait was posted at about 30 minutes for each. It was probably less but I wasn’t up for walking.

I did a mobile order and it was ready in about five minutes. I had been wanting to try the hamburger pods for a while. In the end they were just ok but I am glad I tried them.

I went back to do the safari a second time. This time I saw the giraffe and zebras out and active. The lions were sleeping and hard to see. Tip: Do the safari at different times because it will be a different experience.

There was about an hour left for the park hours. I started to head out and saw that the Dawa bar was quiet. I decided to sit and have a “I don’t want to go home” beer before I left.

The weather was perfect and it was a great ending to my trip.

Here is a video summary of the day:

Disney Day #22

I arrived at the Magic Kingdom at the park opening. Easy and smooth entry and then I headed right to the scooter rental area. I have never rented an electric scooter before and the cast member was great about explaining everything to me. It was actually pretty easy.

It was such a life saver. I still had to modify my touring a bit as some of the attractions do not accommodate an electric scooter in the queue. For rides like Winnie the Pooh or Peter Pan, you have to park the scooter outside and then walk through the line which today was very short and manageable for me. For other attractions, like the Haunted Mansion, you need to transfer to a wheelchair (provided by a cast member) and then use the wheelchair to go through the queue or walk through the queue. As I did not have anyone with me to push a wheelchair and I didn’t think that I could manage it on my own, I did skip those attractions.

But it was all good. You can take the scooter right into shows, such as Country Bears, Carousel of Progress and Tiki Birds, so I was able to do all of those. The queue for Seven Dwarves Mine Train also accommodates the scooter so I was able to ride twice with a 30 minute wait because I could stay in the scooter for the line.

I really ended up doing many rides, some twice, and all of the shows. The scooter was also a built in sitting area so I was able to get a drink and move into quiet areas in the shade.

I caught all of the mini parade cavalcades which were fun to see! I had a late lunch so just grabbed some cookies to take back to the room for later.

I stayed until the park was closed. I was sad to leave my scooter and limp to the bus but it was a great day.

Here is a video of the day:

Disney Day #21

The moral of the story for this day is that I shouldn’t have been stubborn and rented a scooter as soon as I arrived at Hollywood Studios, as my knee was not doing well at all. I thought about it and even started to walk that way when I entered the park but then I thought I could make it through as Studios is a smaller park. I ended up not being able to last the full day and missing out on Rise of the Resistance… but lesson learned.

So I did start the day by getting on the Skyliner around 8:30 to head to Studios. It has just recently changed, but at the time you needed to be inside the park at 10 am to have a chance to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.

I was in the gates by 9:10 am and went to Starbucks for some breakfast. It was not crowded and with the social distancing procedures it was less chaotic then usual.

I found a cool place in the shade to have my breakfast and wait for 10 am. You have to be quick and jump on the “join” button right at 10 am. I did and secured boarding group 56. So it would be awhile before it was my turn to ride.

I went to Toy Story land. The posted wait time for Toy Story Mania was 30 minutes but it was just walking the queue and you were on. I saw a photo pass photographer and took some Toy Story pictures, including a magic shot.

Then I went over to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The wait time for Smuggler’s Run was 45 minutes. Again, the line moved along and I have never seen the queue because I have used a Fastpass in the past. Because of social distancing, I was the pilot all by myself.

I did some photos in Batuu as well. I knew the spot where they take the magic shot with “the child” from the Mandalorian. There was no photographer there when I walked through the first time, but he was out when I finished Smuggler’s Run.

I had been checking the boarding group status and it was stuck at group 18 for awhile which meant the ride was down.

My knee was really unhappy by this point. I placed a mobile order from PizzeRizzo and made my way over there. It was hot so I had the outdoor seating area almost to myself. Disney pizza isn’t the best but I went there for the pumpkin cannoli and it did not disappoint. They also had a frozen apple cider which was perfect for a hot day.

I took my time sitting at lunch. I had brought an instant ice pack with me so I was icing my knee while I sat. I did not want to leave without riding Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad as it was new since my last visit. The wait time had been posted at about an hour all day. I decided that I would do that and then decide if I would stay for my boarding group or call it a day.

The wait time ended up to be about the 60 minute posted wait. The line did constantly move except for one point when a cast member came around and announced that the ride was paused for a 10 minute cleaning cycle.

The ride was so awesome! It was so much more than I expected and I can’t wait to ride it again.

Standing for a 60 minute line did not help my knee though. I checked the boarding group status and I still had at least an hour to go. I decided that I would call it a day. If I had never done Rise of the Resistance before, I would have toughed it out.

Again, the Skyliner could not have been more convenient. Even hobbling along, it only took 35 minutes from leaving Studios to get to my room. I iced my knee for the rest of the evening and just ordered standard chicken fingers and fries from the food court for dinner.

Here is the video from my day:

Disney Day #20

I am happy to start reporting on actual at Disney “Disney Days!”

(As video editing has become a new hobby since being home for the pandemic, with the exception of hotel pictures, all of my other pictures are park of the video at the bottom.)

This day started out leaving Universal Orlando and moving over to Caribbean Beach for 4 nights.

I arrived at Caribbean Beach around 10 am. I had completed online check in and had received a text around 9:30 am that my room was not ready yet.    No worries.  I dropped my bags at bell services and made my way outside to go to the Skyliner to get to Epcot.

The line looked huge but there was nothing to do but get on it!   At one point, there was a cast member directing guests to different lines based on if you were going to Hollywood Studios or Epcot.   It took only 17 minutes to get on and the line moved constantly so really not bad at all.

This wasn’t my first time on the Skyliner but I fell in love with even more on this trip.   So easy and convenient.  And because of COVID, each party gets their own gondola.

Epcot’s hours were 11 – 7 and I arrived about 10:45 at the International Gateway Entrance.  They were already allowing entry, so a quick temperature check and I was in.

I walked through the World Showcase area and went directly to The Land.   I walked on to Soaring and Living with the Land.  

When I came out, I came across one of the modified character experiences.  Winnie the Pooh was out with his butterfly net but decided to use it as a cane and do a little soft shoe.  How cute is that??

My next stop was The Seas with Nemo attraction which leads into the Seas pavilion.   Again, it was a walk on.  To me, the ride is ok, but I see it as a gateway to get to the aquarium.  I walked around the aquarium a bit and headed out. 

I saw a photo pass photographer with no one waiting so I had a quick photo shoot.  My goal was a picture in front of the main icon of each park and as many Magic shots as I could get.   This accomplished both.

I moved on and walked onto Spaceship Earth. 

After that attraction, my plan was to finally enjoy the Food and Wine festival.  While I love the concept of eating and drinking around the World Showcase, any time I have been there it is too crowded to enjoy it.   So with the low crowds, I was hoping to finally enjoy it – which I did!

  In total, I enjoyed Corned Beef Nachos, Tortellini with Vodka sauce, a street corn funnel cake, gourmet mac and cheese, a Twix cake pop and a Frozen Smores cocktail with whipped cream flavored vodka.   Of everything I tried, the mac and cheese was my favorite.

  I did mix in some attractions between food tastings.   I got on line for Frozen which had a 40 minute posted wait time.   I was on the ride in 28 minutes.   I also got to see the full queue for the first time since I have only done the ride with a Fastpass previously.   I loved the little visit from Oaken.  I also did the Beauty and the Beast sing a long.   It was ok.. the Frozen one at Hollywood Studios is better.

  I also caught a Mickey and Friends cavalcade.  It was so cute.  Always makes my heart so happy to see Mickey!

  It was 5 pm when I had finished one trip around the whole park.   The wait times were basically walk ons and there was 2 hours left at the park.   But unfortunately, all the walking had amounted to 7 miles and my poor knee was done.

  I called it a day and took the Skyliner back to Caribbean Beach.   I had received a text message at around 3:30 that my room was ready.   So when I got off the Skyliner, I was able to go directly to my room.  

  I had a standard room with a King size bed.   It was pretty typical for a moderate resort.  These rooms have not been updated and they could use it.   I chose Caribbean Beach for this trip for the convenience of the Skyliner not really for the resort itself so I wasn’t disappointed.   

  I did mobile order from the food court for dinner so I walked up to get my food and then ate in the room.   I got a smoked turkey sandwich and fries.  The sandwich was very good.  I actually ended up saving half and it also stayed well in the fridge.

   Here is a video summary of the whole day:

Disney Day #19

The day finally arrived that was the start of this whole project – my 50th birthday. Due to a scheduling issue and some unexpected surprises, this Disney Day is actually two days in one.

My original plan was to get a tattoo on my birthday. I went to the tattoo place early in the summer to meet with the artist. I really liked her and wanted to move forward but unfortunately she doesn’t work on Mondays, which is where my birthday fell this year. I didn’t want to switch to someone else so I decided to go ahead and get the tattoo the day before my actual birthday.

So this Disney Day starts on September 27 with me heading to my tattoo appointment at noon. This is the photo that I went with as a model for the design.

I wanted the Mickey balloon only and I wanted the word “dream” instead of a name. I also wanted the word to be in a different font. Nasa, my tattoo artist, was awesome. She had me air drop the photo to her Ipad and then she searched for a Mickey balloon graphic. We quickly found one that was perfect and then we started looking for fonts. There were so many to choose from but we found one and she was then off to use everything to put it together. This was the final result:

It is perfect and exactly what I wanted. I really wasn’t concerned about pain and it wasn’t an issue at all. It stung a little for the lettering. The filling in for the balloon wasn’t anything at all.

I thought the rest of the day would just be relaxing at home. I definitely did not expect to arrive home to a surprise party with my family. It was all Mickey themed, of course. I didn’t take many pictures but I did get a picture of these awesome cookies.

The surprises continued as my husband had set up a surprise zoom call with bunch of my friends. It was nice to “see” everyone and I was happy that my friends took some time from their Sunday to come on and wish me a Happy Birthday.

That was definitely a great day of celebrating. The next day was my actual birthday.

I started out by going out to Starbucks to get my free birthday drink. Then I curled up on the sofa and got ready for another viewing of my favorite musical:

In the afternoon, a friend came over for a bit – outside and socially distant, of course. We enjoyed a beer and chatted for a few hours.

In the evening, we ordered dinner and then watched the new Mulan.

I enjoyed it. Not sure it was worth $30, but it was a good movie. I love the little nod to the original by snippets of the original songs from the animated movie showing up in the score and lyrics also added to the dialogue. It would definitely have benefited from being viewed on the big screen.

It was a great two day celebration – from a party to a low key movie night. I will still be celebrating with the rest of my Disney days into 2021. I have a plan on how and where I want to hit Day #50.. but at this point, I am keeping my plans to myself because who knows what will happen!

50 Disney Days Project During a Pandemic

I have been wanting to do a bit of an update on my project and today is the day.

So obviously, the goal of this project was to celebrate my 50th birthday by having “50 Disney Days” throughout 2020. And I was off to a great start. I had Disney on Ice in January and then had an amazing trip in Walt Disney World and on a Disney Cruise in late February / early March. I am so thankful that I got that trip in with no challenges because it wasn’t long after returning home that everything shut down due to COVID.

My husband and I have been very fortunate. Neither of us have been sick. None of our families have been sick. My husband is able to work from home. I am teaching from home. My second career as a travel agent has been challenging and has caused a lack of income but we are fortunate that it is not a primary income source for us.

So the challenge of what do with my 50 Disney Days project is a first world problem to say the least.

I knew that I would not be able to do all 50 days on a Disney vacation so I had already worked in some Disney Days at home. And I have done a few that weren’t planned already while we have been at home due to the virus. But there are only so many ways to have a Disney Day at home.

I currently have three Disney trips still booked for 2020. Will they happen? Don’t know yet. The COVID situation is so fluid that it is a “wait and see” scenario. If they happen, great. If they don’t, I will plan for the future.

The beauty of this project is that is my own. So I make the rules. At the end of it all, there will be 50 Disney Days. They just probably won’t all happen in 2020. I will just have to keep my 50th birthday celebration going into 2021…. and that sounds good to me.

I still have lots of Disney in my days. Let’s face it, half my wardrobe has something Disney on it. And I may have just a few Disney items around the house. I am still working my way through the Disney animated movies on Disney+ (next up is Jungle Book). I have really enjoyed watching social media posts from Shanghai Disney as well as Disney Springs. I will be definitely be watching in July as Walt Disney World starts to open.

So with 18 Disney Days completed, I look forward to resuming my official Disney days as soon as I can.

Disney Day #18

We are still under “stay at home” orders in NY so last week I decided to make today a Disney Day and celebrate Star Wars day. We pulled out the light saber we made in Galaxy’s Edge to take some pictures. It really makes some cool sounds as you move it around. My cats were not a fan!

I did have to actually work today remote teaching so I didn’t get to start Star Wars activities until this afternoon.

First thing was to watch the movie that started it all.

I bought a Star Wars lego kit to do today. I would LOVE to put together the big Millennium Falcon but I really don’t want to pay $800 for it (if I could even find it in stock). So I had to settle for a smaller kit.

After I finished, Chris found a small kit that he had but never put together so I got to do that one too.

A cable channel had a Star Wars marathon on so I left that on while I took care of a few items for work. Then it was time for dinner.

We had Endorian Barbok Alfredo – which was really pasta with alfredo sauce that I put green food coloring in. We also still had a bottle of Skywalker wine that we had received as a gift.

For our evening snacks, I made TIE fighter cheese and crackers and chocolate covered pretzel light sabers. Chris made us a Blue Milk adult beverage.

And we settled in with our snacks to watch Rise of Skywalker.

And that puts Disney Day #18 in the books. May the 4th be with you!

Disney Day #17

This may seem out of order but I wrote about day #16 out of order because I had gone to see Onward while I was in the middle of my trip report.

Day #17 actually happened a little over a month ago. I was in the middle of writing up by trip days so I waited to write this one up until now.

This Disney day was “Disney at Home” on the first weekend that we had to officially lockdown here in NY. I hadn’t really planned it out so I had to improvise with what I had available at home.

Started off with my Stitch lounge pants… which is actually how many days at home start!

Next was breakfast. I decided to try to make Mickey pancakes with the Golden Malt mix. Getting them in the pan wasn’t hard. Flipping it was the challenge. One ear came loose but I just pushed it back together.

I have been working my way through the Disney animation library in release order since Disney+ became available. Today was the perfect day to watch some movies. Up next on my list was Alice in Wonderland.

After the movie, I returned to the kitchen to make a cookie dough. The dough needed to chill before I can use it, so I got that started now. Mickey cookies were coming later!

I then started working on going through some prints and my pins. I had some prints that I had wanted to frame so I pulled them out to take some measurements and order frames. The long one with all the characters I purchased in Walt Disney World. The Mickey prints were free for Disney VISA card holders when I went to the Mickey Exhibit in NYC.

It actually has taken me so long to write this blog that I can actually show you what these now look like in their frames.

I also had a new pin board that I hadn’t opened up yet. So I organized my pins. I really like the full Mickey shape but I found out that it isn’t so easy to use the space well. Right now it is only has RunDisney pins, but that will change as my first board is almost full.

The dough was now ready to roll out. I love this Mickey cookie cutter. For my wedding (which was Disney themed, of course), I used this cookie cutter to make my wedding favors. I made all the cookies and then my sisters and Mom decorated them to be a bride and groom. They came out super cute. Today, I just went with a chocolate drizzle.

Then it was time for some more movies. Watched the next two on my list.

No Disney themed dinner. I wasn’t able to pull that together with no pre-planning.

After dinner though, Chris made a Disney Cruise inspired cocktail. We had done a tequila tasting on a Disney Cruise. The last drink in the tasting was a coffee flavored tequila and they put whipped cream on top. We have modified it by adding heavy cream and mixing it together.

We relaxed with our cocktails and decided to try Phineas and Ferb. I had heard good things from the ladies on my Disney Cruise. We watched about six episodes. Very cute!

All in all, considering that I didn’t plan for this day in advance, it was a pretty good Disney day!

Disney Day #15

It was our last morning. We had an flight around noon which meant a Magical Express pick up time of around 9 am.

Originally, I wasn’t going to even count this day as a Disney day as we would just be getting up and leaving. My sisters had an earlier flight so there was no way they could squeeze in a breakfast reservation. Chris is not a fan of getting up early but he said he would do an early reservation, if I could find one. The best option was Chef Mickey’s as it was right at our hotel. It is a tough reservation to get in general and I needed it to be early – between 7 – 7 am. It took a few weeks of searching daily and I found one at 7:10 am.

So we were up early and walked across the bridge from Bay Lake to the Contemporary. Love the view:

Chef Mickey is a buffet and a character meal. I have done it for breakfast once before. I didn’t really remember the food being that great last time but I really enjoyed it this time. It could have been because it had just opened so everything was hot and fresh.

The characters are Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy. We were seated right where the characters come out so we never knew when one would pop up. We had a couple with a young girl next to us and they commented that you don’t know when you should go get food because a character could come out and you would miss them. I said that all I really care about was Mickey so if I miss one of the others, no big deal.

I had my picture with Mickey and I was just going up to the buffet when I saw that Pluto had come out. When I came back the couple said, you missed Pluto! I said it was okay. Then, just before he was leaving our section, Pluto came running over to our table. I don’t know how they keep track but he knew he missed us!

And after breakfast, it was time to get our bags and wait for the Magical Express to go to the airport.

It is never lost on me how lucky I am to go to Disney at all and certainly how often I have been able to go. I have written most of these trip blog posts while being completely home bound due to the coronavirus situation. At the time I am writing this post, all the Disney parts in the whole world are closed and do not have an opening date. Yes, that does make me sad. But I know this will all come to an end. I look forward to seeing the parks open and the cruises set sail again. And, of course, I look forward to being there again.

Disney Day #14

This was our last full day in the parks.

My sisters and I started by taking the monorail to the Polynesian to have breakfast at ‘Ohana. I have eaten dinner there several times but never had breakfast.

‘Ohana is served family style. You start with a coconut bread. Then you get a platter that has eggs, sausage, potatoes, Mickey waffles and biscuits. You can have more of whatever you want.

‘Ohana is also a character meal so we got a chance to say hello to Lilo, Stitch and Mickey.

Our plan was to then take the monorail to the TTC and transfer to the monorail to Epcot. When we arrived at the TTC, there was a cast member that said due to construction the monorail wasn’t running until 10 am. He said we could take a bus to Epcot. I had this happen once before so I sort of remembered where the buses were. However, there was construction walls up at the TTC so it was not clear how to get to the buses. After some confusion, we found the bus and arrived at Epcot.

Had to take an Epcot selfie:

We had some FastPasses for the day and we went to check out the “Epcot Experience.” The Epcot Experience is a room with a huge 3D model representing Epcot in the middle of the room. Around the walls of the circular room, there are screens. The show runs continuously and consists of little presentations of all the new attractions coming to Epcot. There are projections onto the model that go with the theme of the attractions. It was pretty cool and I watched it all the way through a few times.

For lunch, we tried the new counter service restaurant in the American Pavilion. I don’t think you can compare it to “real BBQ” that you can get in other places around the US but we enjoyed it. We tried the ribs and the pork.

I can’t go to Epcot and not go see Voices of Liberty. They usually sing old traditional Americana songs but in recent visits, they have started to do a few modern Disney songs.

This is my dream job!!

We were going to the After Hours party at the Magic Kingdom this evening and we had to pack to leave early in the morning, so we decided to go back to the room for a bit in the late afternoon.

We had a dinner reservation at 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian. I love the lobby of that hotel:

1900 Park Faire is a buffet and a character meal. The characters are Cinderella, the Prince, Lady Tremaine and Cinderella’s step sisters. The step sisters are so funny and the interaction is awesome. The food is very good too. The Prince insisted on a “portrait” with us.

Our plan had been to hang out in the lobby a bit and then take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. We had hoped to get there around 6:30 / 7 so we could watch Happily Ever After at 8 pm and then stay for the After Hours event which was from 8 – 11 pm.

The Magic Kingdom is only one stop from the Grand Floridian on the monorail so we thought we had our timing worked out. However, when we got on the monorail, there was an announcement that they were in a delay due to a maintenance issue but it would be running in about 15-20 minutes. So we waited… and then they said it was going to take longer so we needed to get off. They said they had a water taxi or buses now running for us to the get to the Magic Kingdom. We went downstairs and were lucky to see the bus pulling up as we got to the bus stop.

We got to the Magic Kingdom at around 7:30. Main Street was pretty packed with guests waiting for Happily Ever After. I have seen it a few times but my sisters had never seen it. We found a spot in the entrance hub and I said to them “As long as you can see the castle, you are fine.” The show is a lot of castle projections so you really need to see it to fully enjoy the show. We were happy with our spot and had about 25 minutes to wait for the show.

I have been trying to keep my blog posts positive, but I have to talk about what happened as soon as the show started. All the way down Main Street, it was a domino effect of parents putting children on their shoulders. We had that happen right in front of us as well as a person directly in front of me that decided to hold up his IPad to record.

If you really need to put your child on your shoulders, do it while you are waiting so the people behind you know that is going to happen and won’t stand behind you. Or stand on the side. And as far as the IPad… just no. I saw what he was recording. It wasn’t good. Half the time, he didn’t even have a full view of the castle.

I really didn’t try to move. I had seen the show. As it got to the very end, a bunch of people started leaving. I guess they wanted to get a head start getting to the buses. Their loss that they missed the finale.

I finally had a pretty good view as people left and I took a bunch of pictures at the finale that came out pretty good.

With that over, we were staying for the After Hours event. However, the masses of people down Main Street were leaving. This was going to be interesting. We hugged the front of the stores and didn’t do too badly until we tried to cross over to start in Adventureland. It took some work but we made it through.

The After Hours event was just awesome. You can basically walk on to every ride. We started at one end and worked our way around the whole park. We enjoyed the free snacks this time too because it wasn’t freezing! The only ride we waited for was Mine Train and that wait was only 15 minutes.

There was also almost no wait for a photo opp that I have seen online and wanted to do.

I would do the After Hours event again in a heart beat. It is so great to walk around without crowds and do whatever you want.

When do you see Main Street like this:

It was definitely a great way to end our last full day.