Disney Day 41 – Disney in a Day

My original plan for my 50 Disney Days included a lot of variety – Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and some other ideas in a few different locations. Of course, Covid cancelled all of those plans so I had to revamp.

Walt Disney World became really the only option for “in park” experiences and I certainly never pass up a trip to Disney World. In fact, I will be finishing up my Disney Days there in September.

In trying to think of creative ones to do some Disney Days, I came up with the idea of doing Disney in a Day. The flight from NY is about about 2 – 2 1/2 hours long. What if I flew down early in the morning, went to a park for a day, and flew home late at night? It would be a long day but definitely an adventure.

My sister was up for doing it too and one day when flight prices were really cheap, we booked a day in March. It would have been a good time to get in a little Disney fix since it had been several months since I had been there.

At the time we booked, the vaccine rollout had just started. As we all started to get appointments, we decided to push our day to June so we would both be vaccinated by then. I knew it would be only two weeks after I had just been to Disney but that’s fine.

Fast forward to the day before we are going and the weather forecast was questionable. There was rain / possible thunderstorms in the forecast but Florida weather is just like that, especially in the summer. My sister was not up for dealing with the weather so she bowed out. I was still up for giving it a go.

I had a 7 am flight from NY to Orlando. I had set up a car service to pick me up at the airport. I packed a small backpack with what I would need for the day and included a change of clothes just in case I had flight issues getting home. With no checked bags, I met my driver and was dropped off at the TTC at 10:40 am. I had estimated 11 am to get to the Magic Kingdom so I was doing well.

I had already decided that no matter how long the line for Starbucks was, it was a necessity. It was a decent line but it moved along. Plus I got to see the Dapper Dans on the trolley down Main Street while I waited. I also mobile ordered my favorite cream cheese pretzel from the Starbucks line so that Iwas ready to pick up as soon as I got my coffee.

I had to leave the park by 6 / 6:15 pm to get back to the TTC for the car to pick me up. My flight home was scheduled to leave at 9:20 pm.

I had no plan but to walk around and ride whatever I felt like. I did the Peoplemover and then stopped in the hub for some photos.

I caught the Mickey cavalcade. I know they are not going to change this until the 50th Anniversary this fall… and I love you Mickey… but your birthday is over!! It is time to retire the outfit! The song is always catchy though.

I did quite a few attractions in a few hours – Haunted Mansion, Small World, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey’s Philharmagic. I had a lunch stop for a meat lovers flatbread at Pinocchio’s and a snack of a strawberry sundae in the late afternoon.

While I was enjoying my sundae, I took a quick look at the weather app and it said a heavy downpour and thunderstorm would be starting in about 10 minutes. I decided to head to the Country Bears and hopefully it would be done by the time the show was over.

I had just about sat down in the waiting area of Country Bears and it started to pour. Perfect timing!

When I came out of the Country Bears the rain had stopped but there was still thunder around. I checked the app and the radar still showed a band of storms coming through. I walked a bit and as it started to rain again I found a perfect spot to sit under a covering. I landed there just in time.

It took about 40 minutes for the worst of it to be done. I sat and charged my phone and started to investigate my flight situation. The weather in Florida would be clear for my flight to leave at 9:20 pm. However, the plane for my flight was coming from NY at 5 pm and NY was having a band of thunderstorms roll through. So that flight was already delayed an hour which would delay my flight.

The storm was over. It was still raining but not pouring. Thankfully at the last minute before leaving, I threw a small travel umbrella in my bag. I moved along towards the park entrance. There was a Disney photo pass photographer taking some really cute photos of families in their rain ponchos.

I left the park and got on the ferry back to the TTC. I took some video as we moved away from the park.

I got back to the TTC with about 30 minutes to spare before the car service was scheduled to pick me up. I stopped at Joeffrey’s for an iced tea and had time to regroup while I waited.

In the end, my flight ended up being delayed a total of 90 minutes. It was a late flight to begin with so I ended up getting into JFK around 1:30 am.

It was a long day but it was fun. I don’t NEED to do it again, but it is definitely doable if the situation should ever come up again.

Disney Day 40

I had an evening flight so I could get in a good part of the day at Hollywood Studios.

I was able to get into a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance at 7 am this morning. Whether I would be able to ride would be a question depending on the timing of the day.

I checked out of the room and dropped my bags at bell services. I then walked over to the Riviera Resort for a breakfast reservation at Topolino’s.

Took this picture on the Riviera on my walk over. It is a beautiful resort and I can’t wait to stay there in September.

This would be my second time having breakfast at Topolino’s. It has already become one of my favorites. It is a fixed price character meal. Similar to Hollywood and Vine, the characters right now come out for photos and to dance around. There are no autographs or photos with the characters at this time.

Your meal starts with a pastry basket and then you choose an entrée. I had the quiche the last time and that is what I wanted again. I ordered it and my server said “Ok, but I am going to bring you a waffle too. And I will bring you bacon because it’s vacation.” From reviews online, many people enjoy the sour cream waffle so I was happy to try that too.

The waffle was really good but I still would chose the quiche again. Love the roasted potatoes as well.

I was at a great table for pictures this time and all the characters posed nicely for me.

In lieu of autographs, they gave me this postcard with printed autographs on the back.

From the Riviera, I used the Skyliner to get to Studios. I love Tower of Terror but the wait times at been high on my previous days. When I walked into the park, it was a 20 minute wait so that was my first ride.

I caught the Pixar cavalcade which was fun.

I also did the Frozen Sing A Long. This is always a good spot for a sitting break in a cool theater. I always get a kick out of the full audience singing along, especially to Let It Go. Plus it snows in the theater… it’s just fun.

I knew I had to leave the park by 3 pm. I was watching the pace of the boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance. I had to be called by around 2 / 2:15 in order to make it in time. It was going to be tight but I thought I would make it, until the ride went down for a little over an hour. So that wasn’t going to happen.

I had a late lunch at Backlot Express. I had a pressed Cuban sandwich and a Wookie Cookie. The cookie was two oatmeal raisin cookies with vanilla cream in the middle. To go with the running theme.. the cream was too sweet for me but the cookies were really good.

I had just enough time to get in one more ride on Mickey’s Railway before I had to leave. It was time to say goodbye for now to Disney World.. but of course I will be back.

Disney Day 39

This was my last full day on the trip so I was spending the full day at the Magic Kingdom. I had a quick breakfast at the hotel before grabbing the bus to the park.

This morning I was doing a somewhat new experience called “Capture Your Moment.” The experience is 20 minutes with a Disney Photo Pass photographer all to yourself. Because I have Memory Maker for free as a perk for having an annual pass, I would then have digital copies of all of the photos. I had decided to bring all of my Dopey medals and use this as an opportunity to get castle pictures with my medals.

Because all the medals are heavy, I knew I didn’t want to carry them around all day. So another first for me – I rented a locker. It was $10 for the day and well worth it.

I went to the check in desk for my photo experience and had a few minutes to discuss with the photographer what I was celebrating and what photos I was looking for. I told her that my only “must do” was a photo with all 6 of my medals and then I was open to anything.

As part of the experience, you have two photo pass photographers with you. One takes all the photos and the other acts as assistant. The assistant will hold your personal items and helps move other guests out of your shot. The assistant also prevents other guests from lining up thinking it would be their turn next… which happened a few times.

I really loved the whole experience and I was so happy to see the photos. These are just a handful of them:

After I finished taking the photos, I made a stop back to the locker to stow all the medals. Then I was on a mission to get on of my favorite snacks – a cream cheese pretzel. These can be hard to find so I was happy to read that they were available in Tomorrowland. They are simply a soft pretzel with cream cheese inside but I love them

The rest of the day was walking around and rides. I did several of the attractions that I hadn’t gotten to this trip and did a little shopping.

At one point, I found a seat in front of the train station. This is a great spot to sit and catch the character greetings and cavalcades. In just 45 minutes, I saw several sets of characters, two cavalcades and a set by the Dapper Dans.

I had a dinner reservation at Tony’s Town Square. Tony’s does not get a lot of love when you read reviews online. I haven’t eaten there since our honeymoon which was almost 15 years ago. So I decided to give it a try.

I had a great table where I could people watch on Main Street. The meal started with some bread and olive oil. Then I chose the sampler option. It was a small portion of spaghetti with one meatball, a small portion of fettuccine alfredo and half of a piece of chicken parm. With the exception of the meatball being a little spicy, I enjoyed all of it. My favorite was the fettuccine. For dessert, I ordered chocolate gelato. Can’t really go wrong there.

I ended my day after dinner. It was time to go back to the room and pack up for check out the next day.

Disney Day 38

My initial plans for this day were to go to Animal Kingdom. Then about two weeks ahead of my trip, Disney Cruise Line announced the booking dates for the Disney Wish. I had a few clients who had their booking date fall on this day. I had another agent covering for me who would help but I also planned to bring my laptop and try to take care of as much as I could myself.

So I went into the trip planning to be up early and ready to take care of the bookings and then go to Animal Kingdom. But as the trip evolved, I decided to just make today a “no parks” day. I was meeting a friend for dinner at Disney Springs anyway so I would just go to Disney Springs for the day.

I grabbed an early breakfast at the hotel and was online and ready for the booking window to start at 8 am. I took care of everything I needed to and even spent an hour or so going through emails, etc so it would be less overwhelming when I got home.

By noon, I was on the bus to Disney Springs. There are so many choices for lunch there but I went with a favorite of mine, D Luxe Burger. So this was my view for lunch and my burger:

I had the afternoon to mosey around the shops. The M&M Store is new since my last trip so I went in there. Cute special merchandise for the Disney location.

I also decided to go see an actual movie! For the first time in over a year! I purchased my ticket on the app to see Raya and the Last Dragon. I had already seen the movie on Disney+ but it was a good activity for this day and I was happy to get back into a theater.

I had only a short time after the movie to meet my friend at Cityworks for dinner. There are many restaurants in Disney Springs that I have not been to yet and this is one of them. They are known for all the beers they have so I chose a flight so I could taste a few and then ordered fish tacos for dinner. It was all good!

I got the bus back to the hotel and that was it for the day! It was relaxing and a good parks break.

Disney Day 37

Today my plans were at Epcot which only opened at 11 am. That gave me plenty of time in the morning so I decided to mobile order breakfast from Primo Piatto at the Riviera resort. I ordered from my room and then took a walk over.

The beach area was looking lovely this morning.

I had ordered the Lemon Blueberry pancakes with bacon. I am not a huge lemon fan but I have read great reviews on these pancakes and wanted to try. They did not disappoint. They were nice and fluffy. The lemon flavor was very light.

The Skyliner runs from the Riviera so it was easy to hop on from there to go to Epcot. I was at Epcot by 10:15 and within a few minutes the gates had opened, even though the official opening time was 11 am.

I headed right to Soarin and was off just before 11 am. Living with the Land is right there so I decided to get on as well. That attraction did not open until 11 so there was a decent line that I expected would move quickly once it opened. However, they made an announcement that the ride was going to be delayed due to a technical difficulty. It took about 25 minutes before it was finally going. I thought about leaving the line several times but I ended up hanging in until it opened.

The Flower and Garden festival is currently happening. There are topiaries all over the park. Here are some of them:

The Flower and Garden festival also has food booths around the park. My plan was to not do a set meal but to munch my way around. I have had this plan many times before at Epcot and it has only really worked out once – which was October when the park was very quiet and there were no lines at the food booths.

I started off with avocado toast and cinnamon bites. The avocado toast was good, though nothing special. The cinnamon bites were really good.

As I kept making my way around world showcase, I could see it was already busy. The food lines were not too bad but there was no much for seating once you did get your food. I passed by a few more booths and got to Norway.

The line for Frozen was posted at 30 minutes and knowing the wait is usually shorter than what is posted, I decided to jump on. Unfortunately, this was one of the few times that the wait was actually longer than posted. I waited about 40 minutes. It was slow moving and out in the sun for most of the time.

After I got off the ride, I was tired and hot and wanted to sit. I looked in the app to see when Voices of Liberty would be performing in the American Gardens theater. Their next show was in 15 minutes so I headed straight there. I knew there was a variety of performers throughout the day at the American Gardens theater so I thought I would watch Voices of Liberty and then just hang out and watch the other performers until I could see Voices of Liberty again.

Of course, my luck ended up being that after Voices of Liberty was done, they made an announcement that they needed to have the theater cleared so they could reset for the rest of the afternoon.

At this point, I had abandoned the idea to eat around the food booths. It was hot and busy. Most lines weren’t bad but there was often no places to sit down to eat. So I did a mobile order from Regal Eagle Smokehouse which was ready quickly. There was plenty of seating inside so I was able to cool off and relax. I had a beef brisket sandwich and fries. The fries were very salty but the sandwich was really good.

I finished up and went back to the American Gardens Theatre to see another set from Voices of Liberty.

It was late afternoon at this point and I was kind of done. I really want to enjoy the food booths at Epcot but I have come to the realization that it just isn’t my thing. I walked the rest of world showcase and stopped in the France pavilion for some ice cream. I was able to find a seat in a quiet spot down by the water to enjoy it.

I called it day around 6 pm and took the Skyliner back to my room. I had a relaxing evening and ended up enjoying some more of the cake from Gideon’s.

Disney Day 36

This was going to be a Hollywood Studios day so my first order of business was to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. For those who don’t know, Rise is a Star Wars attraction and it does not have a traditional queue. The only way to ride is to get a “boarding group” which is basically a virtual queue. When your group is called, you get a notification and you go to the attraction. The boarding groups are limited and challenging to get. Your first opportunity is at 7 am. And then there is a second chance at 1 pm. They are usually completely gone is less than a minute.

I had a feeling I may have a challenge getting a group at 7 am. For whatever reason, in my room the Disney wi-fi wasn’t great AND my cell phone service wasn’t great. And I was right… I was not able to get into a boarding group at the 7 am opening. Not a huge deal.. I would try again at 1 pm.

A huge plus for staying at Caribbean Beach is that it is the hub for the Skyliner. I hopped on and was over to Studios by opening and grabbed Starbucks for breakfast.

Mickey and Minnie’s Railroad was only a 20 min posted wait so I jumped right on that. I really LOVE this attraction. I then went over to see the new little movie attraction, “Vacation Fun.” It is basically a little Mickey short that uses pieces of the newer Mickey cartoons and somewhat ties in to the Mickey and Minnie’s Railroad attraction. Very cute.

I then decided to do the Muppets 3D movie. I really haven’t done it in a long time and because it rarely has a wait, I have never walked the queue. With social distancing and the limited capacity in the theater, it had a short wait and did require walking through the queue. There were so many fun little “muppet-ized” elements added to the structures in the queue.

I did a mobile order to try one of the new hotdogs at Fairfax Faire and a new cookie. The hotdog was on a pretzel roll with sauerkraut and a mustard aioli. The cookie was two shortbread cookies with homemade marshmallow in the middle. The hotdog was really good. The bun was so fresh and the toppings were perfect. The cookie was way too sweet for me…so it wasn’t bad at all but not my cup of tea.

After lunch, I went over to walk through One Man’s Dream. This is a walk through exhibit with a overview of Walt Disney’s life, the history of Disney parks and ends in a little movie about Walt Disney’s life. At the end of the walkthrough there is usually a little exhibit presenting something that is coming in the future. This time there was a model of the new Star Wars hotel that is coming next summer.

It was soon time to try for a 1 pm boarding group. I found a spot to sit so I would be ready. I had good cell service so I turned off my wifi as that seems to work best. If you are ever in Studios around 1 pm, you will hear cheers as guests score their boarding groups. Yes, I got one too!

I had a 3 pm dining reservation at Hollywood and Vine. I have never eaten there before. Typically it is a buffet with characters. Right now, similar to Crystal Palace, it is a seated meal and characters come around for socially distanced photos. Honestly, it doesn’t have the best reputation for food but I wanted to try it for myself and I like to see the characters in different outfits.

I will start with the food. First are rolls and a salad. The salad was pretty standard (I forgot a picture). The rolls were not so great. For the entrée, I chose a turkey dinner. The sides were good. The turkey was just ok. The star of the meal was the white chocolate cheesecake. It was so good!

Now for the characters. The theme is “springtime” so the characters are in spring outfits. The theme does change with the seasons. I was seated in a good spot where I could see the characters come out.

You can sort of see from the video where I was seated. I was at a table for two along side a plexiglass barrier. There space for a table for two that was purposely left empty in front of me and behind me.

Mickey was the first character that came around for pictures and he posed for me on the other side of the plexiglass like this:

Certainly doesn’t make for great pictures. But I thought “Ok, it’s still Covid guidelines so this must be what they have to do. I don’t love it but it is what it is.”

But then when the other characters came around, they all came to the end of the area I was seated in and took great pictures.

Now I really wanted a good picture of Mickey! So I waited for him to come back around. When it did, he posed again on the other side of the plexiglass. So I said “Could you come around to the end?” and motioned to where the other characters stood. And he did this:

It was super cute how he peeked around the corner and I was happy to get my Mickey photos.

As I came out of the restaurant, I caught the Mickey and friends cavalcade.

I did more rides, including Mickey and Minnie’s railroad again. And then it was time for Rise of the Resistance!

I have done Rise once before and I felt like it was so much to take in that I didn’t really know what was going on all the time. With this time, I was able to pay more attention to the story and take in more and I really enjoyed it more. This is really the best room:

By the time I was done, it was almost time for the park to close. I had picked out a sweatshirt that I liked so I made a quick stop to pick that up. The line for the Skyliner was pretty long but it moves along. I was able to get this picture of the Tower of Terror from the line.

And took a little video of the Skyliners taking off above my head.

Disney Day 35

This morning it was time to say goodbye to the Grand Floridian and switch over to Caribbean Beach. Disney makes switching hotels fairly easy. You bring your bags to Bell Services and they will transport them over to the new hotel for you. They don’t arrive at the new hotel until late in the afternoon so you need to plan for that. I dropped off my bags and headed to Animal Kingdom.

My plan was about a half day at Animal Kingdom and then go to the Disney Springs in the afternoon. I did the safari and bird show again in the morning.

I had an early lunch (as I had no breakfast) at Flame Tree Barbeque. This was mac and cheese with bbq pork, cole slaw and onion rings on top:

The Festival of the Lion King had opened up a few days earlier for the first time since the parks had been closed. I was hoping to make it into the first show at 12:30. I walked over to get on line at 11:40. The line was already insane. I was not up for standing to wait for that long and possibly not even make it into that showing. So seeing that will have to wait until my next trip.

I ended my day at Animal Kingdom and headed to the buses. Currently there are no buses running directly from the parks to Disney Springs. So you can either do Uber / Lyft or take a bus to a hotel and then transfer to a bus to Disney Springs. OR you can do what I did and take the bus to Saratoga Springs, get off at the Congress Park stop and walk over to Disney Springs. This is first time I tried that and except for having to ask to be pointed in the right the direction when I first got off the bus, it was really easy. It is about a 10 minute walk on a nice path along the water. Here are some views of Disney Springs from the path.

My first order of business was to get on the virtual queue list for Gideon’s Bakehouse. This was the first time I have been to Disney Springs since Gideon’s has opened. You have to go to the shop and ask to be added to the virtual queue. They told me it would be about a two hour wait, which was fine as I had planned to shop and walk around until it was my turn. You get a text message confirming that you are on the list and then another text when it is your time to return.

Once you go back, you check in and then get on the line to enter. There was about 6 parties ahead of me and it took about 15 minutes until it was my turn. The shop is really small inside and with social distancing they were only allowing about 3 parties on the inside line at a time. It is really a funky little shop and I would like time to look around more at some point.

With my treats secured and shopping finished, I decided to make it an early evening and get settled in at Caribbean Beach. There was a little mix up with my check in that required a stop to the front desk, but once it was all fixed I headed to my room and had my luggage dropped off.

I had a standard two queen room in the Jamaica section. I had requested Jamaica because it is about half way from there to the Skyliner station, the Riviera hotel and the main area of Caribbean Beach.

I used mobile order to get some dinner from counter service restaurant at Caribbean Beach. I picked it up and brought it back to the room. I had stayed at Caribbean Beach in October and noticed an increase in food options on their menu this time. For tonight, I had fish tacos and fries.

Then it was time to get a look (and taste) of the treats from Gideon’s. I had an original chocolate chip cookie and a slice of Red Velvet cake.

The cookie was very sweet. There is a little salt on top and I would have liked a little more of that. The cake was moist and the frosting was not super sweet which is a big plus for me. I liked the cake more than the cookie. Both were huge and they were my “in room” dessert in the evenings for the rest of the trip.

Disney Day 34

Today was going to be a full Magic Kingdom day. I was really in no rush and didn’t even set an alarm but I was awake by 6:30, the Magic Kingdom opened at 8 am so I was up and there by 7:30 am.

I walked into the park and loved seeing the characters out welcoming guests.

Breakfast was really simple. I got a Mickey cinnamon roll and coffee from Starbucks. Grabbed a seat over by Casey’s. Love this view for breakfast:

Spent the morning doing rides. I waited about 30 minutes for Mine Train but the rest of the rides I did were less than a 15 min wait… even Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh.

I also finally did a few attractions that were firsts for me. Yes, there are still a few things that I have never done in Disney World. I think, like many people, I like to do my favorites and some other attractions just don’t make the cut. So for this trip, I rode the Barnstormer and the Liberty Belle.

Here is a short video of the Liberty Belle coming in for us to board and some sites on Tom Sawyer’s island that we saw as we rode around.

I was meeting friends for lunch at Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace is typically a character meal with the Winnie the Pooh characters and a buffet style meal. Since it’s reopening during Covid, there are not currently characters and the meal is a combination of family style shared dishes and a selection of entrees. There were corn muffins and a salad for the table to share to start (no picture, I forgot). For your entrée, each person selects their own. I chose the pork chop that came with a baked sweet potato. Then for dessert, there is a shared platter of different dessert items. I enjoyed it.

After lunch, I spent some time doing some rides with my friends. We had a fun time!

Then, I was off on a mission. One of the reasons for this trip was to celebrate completing the Princess and Dopey challenges virtually. Obviously, normally I would do the races in Disney and then get to walk around the parks with my medals and take photos. So for this trip, I decided to bring all the medals with me and take photos in the Magic Kingdom. I had something special coming later in the trip for my Dopey medals. Today I had brought my Princess medals with me and was now going to put them all on and get some photos.

I also finally came across the special shot that zooms in on you from afar. The photo pass photographer shows you a photograph that points out where there is a camera on a building at the end of Main Street, so you know where to look. You pose and the photographer counts to five for you to hold. And this is the result (that shows up in your Disney account a few hours later):

After doing all the photos, I sat for a bit and then did some more attractions as it was getting late in the day so most were a walk on. As I was starting to head out of the Tomorrowland, the sun was starting to set so I got some cool photos of the castle.

And just like when I came in, Mickey and friends were out waving goodbye to guests as I left.

Disney Day 33

Since I had an early night, I woke up to the news that Disney had changed its masks requirements. Masks were now optional when you were outside. Masks were still required for any indoor location, attraction and queue, even if the attraction / queue were outside. Going down for this trip, my expectation was that I would be wearing masks all the time (like my October trip), so this was a nice surprise.

I did a mobile order for my breakfast from the counter service location at Grand Floridian. Mobile order had started to become an option in some spots prior to Covid but it is currently the only way to order from counter service restaurants. I really like it. I would place my order from my room and by the time I walked to the restaurant, it would be ready to pick up.

I had a breakfast sandwich with tater tots and an iced mocha to get the day started.

My mission for the day was to visit all 4 parks. This trip was a good opportunity as no one would want to do this with me! What made it a little more challenging was that you cannot park hop until after 2 pm. Buses start to run to the other parks around 1: 30 pm.

My criteria for this day was that in each park I needed to do at least one attraction, have something to eat and take a photo with the park icon.

I started off my day at Animal Kingdom. With the change in mask requirements, there were new signs at the park entrance and cast members with microphones announcing the new guidelines.

I had a good chunk of my day in this park so I did several attractions. I rode the Navi River Journey in Pandora, the safari and the bird show. I also walked the Gorilla Exploration path.

Just like taking a castle photo every trip, I always have to take some animal photos in this park. The giraffes were very active on my safari and walking around the path of the vehicles which lead to some great pictures.

For my food item in Animal Kingdom, I went to Nomad Lounge. This has been on my “to do” list for awhile. I was close once but it is very popular so it can be challenging to get in. There is a virtual wait list available now but it fills up quickly. It opened at 11 am and I arrived around 11:15. I wanted to sit outside but it was already full. My only choice was to sit at the bar.

There were so many drinks I would have liked to try but for today I went with the Leaping Lizard. I also ordered the beef sliders with Yucca fries.

I made my way back to the main area for my selfie with the park icon and then out to the buses for my next park.

Park # 1 – Done!

The Magic Kingdom was going to be park #2. This transportation transition was the slowest of the day. With park hopping starting at 2 pm, the lines for the buses were fairly full when I got to the bus stop around 1:45 pm. The buses have limited capacity and didn’t seem to be as frequent as my trip in October. I waited about 20 minutes but luckily I was far enough ahead in the line that I got on the first one that came and I was off to the Magic Kingdom.

I knew I would have a lot of park time in the Magic Kingdom throughout this trip so I was going to make this a short stop and just do one attraction and snack.

It’s a Small World is my favorite ride and had a posted wait of 20 minutes so that worked for me. On the way, I took my selfie with the castle.

I decided to get one of my favorites as my snack – the Kakamora from Aloha Isle. I mobile ordered when I came out of Small World and still had to wait about 10 minutes once I got there. It was so good… though really messy this time as it was hot out and melting as soon as I picked it up.

That finished up the Magic Kingdom so I was off to Hollywood Studios as my next park. The bus come right away so no lag in transportation time.

I really love the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad attraction so when it was a 35 min wait that sounded like a plan. The posted waits are almost never as long as they say and I was on in about 25 minutes. Toy Story Mania was only 20 minutes so I did that as well.

I needed a little more than a snack at this point so I mobile ordered from Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land. I really love the totchos there but I wanted to try the grilled cheese. I did enjoy the grilled cheese but the seating area for Woody’s is small and the best I could do was a standing table. I really needed a seated break so I ended up eating quick and moving on so I don’t feel like I enjoyed the grilled cheese as much as I could have. I will have to try it again another time.

With plenty of time to spare, I was off to my final park. This transportation transition was easy with the Skyliner.

You use the International Gateway entrance when you take the Skyliner to Epcot. There was no way that I was going to deal with the busy Flower and Garden food booths on a Saturday night in World Showcase. So my plan was to walk towards Future World and hopefully find a quiet food booth on the way.

It worked out as the Honey booth had only a few people on line. I got a Honey Mascarpone cheesecake and Corn Spoon bread that was drizzled with honey. Both were very good.

Figment was a walk on as was Spaceship Earth so I did those two attractions and took my photo.

This was my first time seeing the new entrance plaza area. It was a great time of day to get a few pictures.

Mission accomplished! It took about 12 hours from start to finish and I walked about 8 miles in total. I really didn’t walk more than necessary so that was actually less mileage than I had expected.

So 4 parks in one day is done!

Disney Day 32

As planned, with the Princess and Dopey challenge completed, it was time to go to Walt Disney World to celebrate. This would be a solo trip with some meeting up with friends at different points.

I had an early flight down to Orlando which was thankfully uneventful. I had arranged a town car pick up so I met my driver and I was off to Disney.

In all of my many trips to Disney, I have never received an upgrade or anything special in regards to room reservations. This finally changed on this trip! My original plans were to stay at All Star Movies for 3 nights and then switch to Caribbean Beach for the remainder of the trip. I received a call from Disney about a week before my trip asking if I would like a complimentary upgrade to Caribbean Beach from All Star Movies. Now I would have taken it, but my first thought was that I wanted a split stay and I was already staying at Caribbean Beach. So the cast member said “Ok, give me a moment.” He came back and said “I think I have an option that you are not going to turn down. How about Grand Floridian?” Um… YES! So with that pixie dust, I was off to the Grand Floridian for my first 3 nights.

My room was not yet ready so I dropped my bags at bell services. My first task was to head over to the TTC to fix an issue with my annual pass. I went up to the monorail platform and look who was hanging out:

After getting my pass straightened out, I was on my way to the Magic Kingdom. I took the ferry over and while I was on the ferry, I did a mobile order for my lunch. I wanted something quick so I ordered from Tomorrowland Terrence. You choose a 30 minute window in which to pick up your order which worked out perfectly for giving me time to get over to the Magic Kingdom.

Of course, I had to stop to take some castle pictures. The castle is almost all decorated for the 50th anniversary.

I picked up my order at Tomorrowland Terrace. Nothing fancy….chicken fingers, fried fish, fries and some hush puppies.

Since I was in Tomorrowland already, it seemed like a good spot to start with attractions. The Peoplemover had just recently opened again so I headed there first. It is always a good spot to grab some pictures on the latest construction progress for the new Tron attraction:

At one point, Stitch came out for an appearance. With Covid guidelines still in place, all characters are socially distant. They make random appearances and there are spots for you to get photos and selfies. It’s not the same as regular meet and greets, but I like it. The characters are still fun and have great interaction.

At around 3 pm, I was starting to crash. My 4 am wake up was starting to catch up with me and even an afternoon iced coffee had not helped. So I decided to head back to the hotel and get settled. With the online check in system, you receive a text message when your room is ready so I knew I was all set to return and go directly to my room.

New to me on this trip was the walking path connecting the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom. I decided to give that a try. It is a beautiful path. It took me about 17 minutes but I was strolling along and stopped for a few photos as well. Got some great pictures of the Grand Floridian from the path.

I had a standard room in the Conch Key building with two queens. Great view of the castle from the end of the building.

I got settled in and relaxed for a bit. I had decided to try the Enchanted Rose lounge for dinner. I like going to different lounges on property. They usually have a small food menu and different drinks. Enchanted Rose is certainly popular. They started serving food at 5 pm. I arrived around 6 and got the last table. When I was leaving there was a wait.

I chose to try the Lavender Fog as a drink. It was unique. A little sweet, but not overly sweet. I also ordered the cheese board and short rib sliders. I really enjoyed the food. I always love a good cheese board and this one was great. The sliders had bleu cheese and an onion marmalade on top and the brioche buns were so fresh.

I went back to my room and took advantage of the beautiful weather and sat outside on the patio for awhile. After an early morning and a long day, it was an early bedtime for me as well.