Thursday, December 23, 2010

WDW Trip Report - Day 8 - May I Go Home Now? (and How We Beat The Crowds)

My flight was much later than the rest of my family’s flight, so I slept in a little and left the room later than they did. While they headed back to EPCOT (which I kind of wish I did), I went back to Magic Kingdom. I know this sounds lame, but I really wanted a picture in front of Cinderella Castle with the Partners statue. I think it’s a gorgeous and touching piece of art, and I’ve never gotten that shot before. I also wanted to do a few “haven’t dones” from my list.

I’ve been careful not to mention my three month long headache (much) or any major stresses from the trip because those aren’t the things I remember vividly from my trip (or want to remember). My headache actually went away until about Wednesday, and by Saturday it was coming back in full force. I’d been nauseous since Thursday evening, and by this day I was really not wanting to eat at all. It didn’t make for a super enjoyable day in the Parks, but I braved it and headed to Magic Kingdom anyways. Honestly if I hadn't been feeling so sick, it would have been an amazing day.

After getting my photo made (and eating a couple of chocolate covered strawberries), I decided to go see the Hall of Presidents. It was interesting but not a “must do”. I also rode the Liberty Square Riverboat.

I wanted to go walk around on Tom Sawyer Island, but I saw so much of it from the Riverboat that I was ok skipping it. I got quite a few more photos with the PhotoPass (which I haven’t much mentioned yet, but I got pictures as much as I could using it since we ordered the CD). That photo above is really the only one I have from that day. Others are on the PhotoPass which I'll post on Facebook soon.

After that I was so nauseous, I went back to the resort to try to eat lunch and doze in various spots I could find until time to get on the Magical Express back to the airport.

The flight home was uneventful, and Sprinkles was overjoyed when I walked in the door. Our trip was amazing, but I was happy to be home, in my own bed, with normal food again.

Since there’s room in today’s post, I’m going to take a minute to explain how we handled the crowds and NEVER had more than a 25-30 minute wait. My sister is amazing. She knew that if our Fast Passes said to return between 1:30 and 2:30, we could go anytime after 1:30 and still go through the Fast Pass line. Also, we paid good attention to the times we could go get a new Fast Pass, so whenever that happened, off Randy went to gather more for us. (Seriously, thanks a TON Randy!) The mornings we spent by first getting a Fast Pass to a big ticket ride and riding a ride that gets a long line later in the day. Then we’d ride some shorter line rides (like Small World), enjoy lunch, grab another set of Fast Passes, and go back to the resort for nap time. When we came back from rest time, we’d get another set of Fast Passes, and then we would ride all our Fast Pass rides (typically 2-3 rides) and a few more shorter line rides. That way we never had to wait in a long line.

People told me that the crowds would be HUGE over Thanksgiving week, and they were right. They also told me that I wouldn’t really notice the crowds because we had a touring plan, we knew the Parks well, and we knew what we wanted to do. They were more than right there. The only time I noticed the crowds was during shows and fireworks. Otherwise, I’d walk by 70 minute lines and giggle because I knew I had a Fast Pass or that I’d already enjoyed that ride earlier in the day.

I would definitely return to WDW during a holiday season. It doesn't scare me. I do greatly enjoy the off-peak season more though since all the ride are pretty much walk on rides, but the decorations at Christmas are phenomenal and worth going to see. I'd like to go at Halloween sometime.

Having a good touring plan, understanding how the crowd moves and how to get ahead of them, is a MUST. Understanding and using the Fast Pass system is another MUST. Disney World is never over-crowded if you know what you’re doing. People that leave complaining often forget that they’re in charge of their own happiness. Disney World didn’t sign up to make you have more logic or sense. ;-)

A few meals I didn’t mention:

The Tangeriene Café in Morocco was amazing and a change from the ordinary. I really enjoyed trying something new! I've got hummus in my fridge right now because I learned to love it in EPCOT.

The honey mustard (in the pumps not the packets) was like nectar of the gods for me the entire trip. I now know that the honey mustard at Whataburger is the closest to WDW around here. :)

The Sunshine Café in the Land Pavilion gives you so much food, and it’s as good as any home-cooked meal! I could eat there forever! Mom and I shared a meal there, and I was more than full by the end of it.

The Boulangerie Patisserie in France is my favorite place for a snack. Hands down.

In the food court in our resort you could get a chicken alfredo dish that was one of the best things I ate at Disney World.

No other food places stand out (that I didn’t mention elsewhere), so I’ll leave it at that, but I felt like those deserved a mention.

Next Post - I answer the question "when are you going back?"

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