Kill Refurb Marry — Animal Kingdom Drink Edition!

Kill Refurb MarryIt’s that time of month again! Time to play along with This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind where we choose something to execute, something to fix up, and something to profess our eternal love to. And what better category to play with than DRINKS? Especially those residing at the Animal Kingdom. So without further ago, let’s play…

Lost on Safari, Dawa Bar’s rendition of a rum punch. Its menu description states it is, “Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, and our refreshing Pangani Punch.” Sounds good, right? Wrong.

Here’s how the description should read: “Pre-mixed lame-ass over-priced fruit punch with just a light misting of some rum, likely not even enough to give an infant a buzz, but we’ll still charge you like it will!”


Initially, when I read this month’s theme, my mind immediately assumed it to be alcobeverages only (obviously), but apparently all imbibable liquids are fair game today. In that spirit (wink, wink), I shall be refurbing Kusafiri’s Mocha Iced Coffee. How so, you ask?

By adding alcohol.

(In Disney’s defense, they do offer this drink with Amarula added, but I’m voting we branch out a bit. What’s a good African whiskey???)


Dawa Bar’s Lost on Safari — made special.

Yes, that’s right. Same drink I killed… but… if you ask the bartender to “make it special,” the same pre-mixed over-priced punch is suddenly transformed with the addition of more than a shot of rum — at no extra charge. Suddenly, my rage is placated.

January Trip Report Day 3: A Monday’s a Monday, even at WDW

Pins Traded for: 9
Miles walked: 5.25

What can I say? This just isn’t going to be the most exciting trip report you’ve ever read. I don’t even have many pictures to distract you from the fact that this entire post is lacking in substance! Feel free to mosey along and come back for Tuesday’s report. Well, unless you want to read about the norovirus and how I was totally stalked around Epcot. Just kidding!!! Mostly.

The morning began earlier than anticipated with a disturbing phone call from my aunt: it seems she had caught the dreaded norovirus going around their office and had been up all night exploring various ways to expell sick from one’s body. This meant that My Mother needed to cover her at the convention that day, and that seeing as we all shared the previous two meals together, it was time to start chugging Emergen-C like it were bourbon.

As I mentioned previously, the first few days of this week were actually work days for me, so I hung out in our Boardwalk Villas hotel room, glued to my laptop. The only real pro to this portion of the story is that I was finally able to help put a small dent in the amount of food we had in the room — hello, leftover salmon omelette and garlic brocollini for breakfast, complete with the sriracha I packed (yes, I travel with sriracha).

Sure, my aunt had also eaten from the plate of brocollini, but microwaves kill things, right? Not to mention, I’m pretty famous for my iron stomach. I once made a breakfast of day old crab cakes that I had not refrigerated. They were tasty. If you’re ever in Baltimore, be sure to stop by Mo’s to get some! They’re the size of softballs!

Lunch boasted a quick lap around Crescent Lake for pin trading and fresh air, then it was back to the grind, with the addition of more food with sriracha on it for lunch.

The joyous reprieve of my walk didn’t last long, and I was soon going stir-crazy once again, so I opted to take my laptop on over to the Belle Vue Lounge to work there. And wouldn’t you know, of the other five people there, four of them were also on laptops working. It’s the place to be, apparently.

Much to my disappointment professional pleasure, I discovered that the bar didn’t even open until five o’clock, so there was no chance of giving in to liquid temptation to help speed up the work day.

The only real downside to this office location is the echo chamber that adjoins it; this space happens to be where wedding parties queue up to march out, and for some reason, they do not seem to respect the quiet of America’s workforce. Hey, Shrieky, if he really loved you, he would’ve sprung for a weekend wedding.

Finally, at 4:27 5:00, it was quitting time, and I was headed over to Epcot! My first stop was to use an entirely necessary and useful FP+ to Living With the Land (yeah, no, not really). After that, I wandered my way over to Innoventions to finally try Sum of All Thrills, seeing as it was a posted 0 minute wait.

Do you want to build a sandman?  It doesn't have to be a sandman...

Do you want to build a sandman? It doesn’t have to be a sandman…

You know what I don’t like? Liars. And that was what the times board was, because the actual wait time when I got to Innoventions was 30 minutes. Assholes. Just for that, I left (that’ll learn ‘em!), and headed over to Test Track to check out the single rider wait time there. Seeing as that was also more than my 10 minute tolerance limit, I decided instead to head toward the Duffy meet and greet.


I did, however, decide it was drinking time, and made my way over to the pavilion of my people*, Mexico. However, the line for Cava was out the door, and I suddenly got angry at the idea of a $15 margarita with no TIW discount, so I instead hoofed it to the other pavilion of my people**, the UK.

*1/8, according to my family tree. 2%, according to my DNA test. Stupid genetics.
** 7/8, according to my family tree. 97% (icluding their Irish neighbours) according to my DNA test. I am so white.



In a move of sheer geographic idiocy, I then turned around and went back past Mexico to Norway to use my Maelstrom FP+. Incidentally, I had 20 minutes until the window of time, but the line was only a ten minute wait (within my threshold of patience), so I just hopped right in. It only occurred to me afterward that I probably could’ve moved the FP+ up a skotch. I’m still getting used to the #Magic.

Meanwhile, the CM operating the ride had clearly given up on life and customer service, because he was no longer performing his lone job function of asking, “how many?” and following the guest’s answer with an assigned row number. It was a free-for-all of Viking proportions. And to the Brazillian family of five who tried to squeeze in the same row as me, would it have killed you to wait for the next boat? Or gee, I don’t know, to sit in the row behind me!?

At this point, Mr. @DrunkatDisney alerted me to his presence nearby, so naturally I ran as fast as my flop flops would carry me. Toward him or away? I’ll let you be the judge.

I kid!

Rather, it was far more mundane than that. We were simply passing ships in the night, two wrecking balls swinging and missing, with me already headed on out of the park, back toward the Boardwalk to change for dinner.

Granted, I was then informed that he, too, was also “coincidentally” on his way to the Boardwalk, so I made it a point to get out a whistle and dial 9-1 on my phone while repeatedly looking over my shoulder.

More kidding! He knows I kid out of love. Besitos.

We never did get a chance to meet up, though we drank together in spirit, and I’m sure given that both of my resort rooms were on the first floor, he became all too well acquainted with the bushes outside the windows. At least, that’s how I envision the story going…

Dinner that night was at one of my favourites, Kouzzina (may it rest in peace come September 30th). Though, as I mentioned in my Novemebr trip report, I’m still holding a slight grudge that they 86ed my beloved whipped feta and other spreads from the menu (was this a sign of its ultimate demise?!).

Otherwise, My Mother and I enjoyed a lovely meal, sharing several small plates and hoping neither one of us had a latent case of norovirus. The only real downside to the experience was all of the idiots celebrating birthdays that night. Look, I get it, you’re turning 40 for the fourth time, it’s exciting. But after hearing the shrill screaming that is what the Kouzzina staff refers to as “singing” Happy Birthday and Opa! couldn’t you please spare the entire restaurant from having to hear that again? And again? And again? HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE BORN ON JANUARY 27TH, DAMNIT?!!? WHAT PARTICULARLY ROMANTIC EVENT TAKES PLACE ON APRIL 27TH?! THE ANNUAL RECEIVAL OF TAX RETURNS?!

But you know, other than that, just lovely :)

Prettiness from the Boardwalk.

Prettiness from the Boardwalk.

And for those of you who actually made it all the way through this post without jumping ship to refresh your Twitter feed, I thank you for your patience. And I promise that you’ll be rewarded! The following days’ tales are far more interesting, I swear! Spoiler alert: open bars as far as the eye can see at DHS. I.e. One of the few ways to really improve that park.

Kill, Refurb, Marry!

Kill Refurb MarryThis month’s edition of This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind‘s ingenious Kill, Refurb, Marry game sets our sights on the counter service restaurants of the World Showcase. For those of you not familiar, this means we’re selecting one to kill, one to refurb, and one to marry. Simple enough, yes?


Not so simple! Why? Because who eats at counter service restaurants at Epcot unless they’re in the form of a festival food booth?!? Wait… hold on… oh, it turns out most people do. They’re quite popular. I see. Well, don’t I feel foolish now.

Ignoring my ignorance (is that a double negative?), we’ll just have to plod on the best we can. Bear with me.

I don't have any pictures of any of the counter service restaurants mentioned here, so you're going to have to settle on this three year old picture of my sister and I being obnoxious in the Norway pavilion to tide you over.

I don’t have any pictures of any of the counter service restaurants mentioned here, so you’re going to have to settle on this three year old picture of my sister and I being obnoxious in the Norway pavilion to tide you over.


Uhh… most of them? I’m vacillating between utter indifference because I do not frequent these establishments and a murderous rampage to burn them all down because they’re taking up valuable real estate of what could be another attraction, bar, or signature dining experience. Or a decent counter service spot — but I suppose that’s what the Refurb portion of this game is for?

I could say China because I’m pretty sure I’ve had better Chinese food in mall food courts than what I see people eating there. Or I could say Japan because their sushi selection is more boring than my grocery store’s deli counter after 10:00 PM. Or I could say America because everyone else is, and they all have a very valid point there. But instead, I’m going to be controversial:


Why? Because I don’t like school bread. Yeah, you heard me. Sure, I know they offer plenty of other things in there, but I’ve never tried them, and that’s not what they’re famous for. So down with School Bread, and while we’re at it — Aquavit can die too. We’ll just replace the whole damn thing with a Frozen retail store, it’ll make bank, and Disney can just point to the quarterly report and say, “surely fans can’t be that upset over a missing baked good, otherwise how would this idea be so wildly profitable?!”


Going to have to go with Canada on this one because there is no counter service. Canada, fix your shit. We all know that your pavilion, much like your actual country, is a vast expanse of nothing. Do something with it. Just give me a shack with 12 varieties of poutine and 12 varieties of Unibroue, and I’ll be one happy hoser.


My answer for this one depends: are we moving clockwise or counter-clockwise around the Showcase?

Clockwise: Tangierine in Morocco. Fresh, interesting, flavourful food. And as a bonus, if you ask the nice wine pourer to go heavy, he will literally fill the glass until it’s overflowing. Now that’s service!

Counter-clockwise: Mexico’s Cantina. Why counter-clockwise? Because using this method, by the time you arrive in Mexico, you’ll be sauced enough to be craving cheap, greasy, cheesy nachos adorned with a pool of salsa coming out of a pump. At least, that’s how I roll.

Wait, does this mean I’m now in a polygamist marriage? Kinky.

Holy Magical Miracles, Mouse Fans

My Mother, ever the helpful person, gave her e-mail address to an iPad-handed survey CM at Epcot back in February. Lo and behold, the promised survey appeared in her inbox today. Ever the helpful person, she opened the survey. Ever the helpful and genius person, she quickly realized what she was reading and shared it with me.

I present to you, actual proof that Disney may, in fact, be listening to customer complaints and attempting to address them:






Let’s sum up:

- Ability to reserve FP+ in more than one park per day.
- Not being forced to choose three FP+ if you don’t want to (I’m looking at you, Turtle Talk).
- Off-property guests not being royally dicked over.
- What amounts to pretty much unlimited FP+ if you play your cards right.

My heart feels so full right now.

Granted, it doesn’t cover everything. Like,

- Is there a limit on number of days AP holders can use FP+?
- Since when is Turtle Talk that popular?
- Should one of the “assumptions” also be that the bugs have been worked out of the app and that it doesn’t constantly crash and lag?
- When are we getting a purple MagicBand?
- Is this worth $4?
- Why Avatarland?

But still! Progress, yes?

January Trip Report Day Two, Part II: Needs more rum

So there I was, setting off to make my first official excursion into a park, selecting none other than the illustrious Hollywood Studios. I’m really trying to remember why I started with DHS. I know I had a good reason. I swear. Crowd calendars? Amnesia? I don’t know. Just assume I know what I’m doing, okay?

Continuing on a mission to not require a motorized scooter later in life, I opted to walk to DHS. I even measured the distance because I’m a weirdo and like to know facts like this: it’s 0.6 miles from the Luna Park Pool at the Boardwalk Villas to the turnstiles of DHS. You’re welcome.

Another personal mission I had for this trip was to get a crap ton of good pictures with my new camera I’d gotten for Christmas. It was my goal to get quality — even on dark rides! The smart thing to do would probably have been to test various settings and such at home before trying to capture the magic at WDW, but who has time for such pragmatism? So I decided to learn on the fly, starting on the Great Movie Ride.

The result? Operation: aborted, because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to turn off the focus light, and I didn’t want to be that jackass interrupting the ride for everyone else.

(Spoiler alert: I still haven’t figured out how to turn off the focus light, so I eventually said, “fuck it,” and took pictures anyway. Sorry.)

I always wonder how much is real dust vs. fake dust.

I always wonder how much is real dust vs. fake dust.

I then headed down Sunset Blvd for my FP+ times at Tower of Terror followed immediately by Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. After the coaster, I headed into the photo area to pin trade, naturally. But I was rather dismayed to encounter three young CMs crowded around a monitor, zooming in on various guests in the ride photos, and making fun of them. You try looking your best when G forces are riling up crock o’ pate and smoked salmon omelette from deep within you, assface.

I believe this to be a hidden Mickey.  Yes? Found it in the ToT photo area where CMs were NOT mocking guests.  That I know of.

I believe this to be a hidden Mickey. Yes? Found it in the ToT photo area where CMs were NOT mocking guests. That I know of.

As I shopped/pin traded my way out of the park, that bad CM experience was replaced by a rather remarkable CM experience: I was looking at the lanyard of a CM at Sweet Success when she noticed my necklace and exclaimed that she had the same one — and the matching ring. This is interesting only because the necklace is a vintage Minnie Mouse that my late grandfather gave me when I was six years old. And I never knew there was a matching ring. Now I have a new eBay goal.



I hopped on the bus to Animal Kingdom to accomplish another personal goal: see DAK after dark. In case you can’t tell, I’m full of goals.

I arrived right as the afternoon parade was ending, thus blocking the path to Harambe. And right as the path was about to open up, the skies did instead. So I ended up taking cover under the awning of a souvenir cart — just me and 27 of my new closest friends who apparently do not value “personal space” in their culture. SURE, LET’S JUST ALL TOUCH EACH OTHER. THIS ISN’T UNCOMFORTABLE AT ALL. IT’S LIKE THE WORLD’S LAMEST ORGY.

Finally, after what felt like hours though was probably just three minutes, the rain let up enough for me to bite and claw my way out of the pack and head toward… where else… Conservation Station. No, really.

You see, I had been told earlier that day that I was on a poster that was visible when riding the train out to Conservation Station. No more specifics were given than that. Pretty cryptic. Naturally, I was assuming that it was a Wanted poster with a picture of me and some gingerbread. Regardless, I had my camera ready, excited to capture just exactly what this mystery was.

And I missed it. I mean, I saw it. Barely, at the last second. But definitely not able to get a clear picture of it. And when the train arrived at the station, I thought, “you know, I have a lot of time to kill before dark. And I haven’t walked around Conservation Station in six years. I should do this.”

Yeah, I just remained seated on the train and rode it back to Harambe.

And then, as I sat there, I figured, “trains are nice, I have a lot of time, and a good picture of this poster would be cool…” so I remained seated. Much to the questioning looks of the train operator.

This time, as we came around the bend, I was ready! Sort of. Mostly. Not really. This is the best picture I could get. Yes, that’s a CM name tag with my name on it! You’ll just have to trust me, I guess. Or spend some quality time riding the train from Harambe to Conservation Station back and forth for no real reason.

Hey, that's MY name!

Hey, that’s MY name!

And then, as the train approached the station at Conservation Station for a second time, I thought to myself, “you know, I have a lot of time to kill before dark. And I haven’t walked around Conservation Station in six years. I should do this.”

And again, I remained seated, to the even more stupefied looks from the train operator, and rode back to Harambe.

And then, as the train approached the station…

Okay, I’ll stop. I got off the train.

It being about 5:00 and all, it was most definitely time for an alchobeverage, so I walked leisurely on over to Dawa Bar and ordered some rum punch something or other that I was hoping would pack a punch. Instead, much to my dismay, I watched as the bartender simply walked over to a dispenser of pre-mixed blah. Pretty sure Bud Light Lime has a higher alcohol content.

Then, minutes later, a gentleman approaches the bar, asks for the same cocktail I had ordered, but asked that it be “made special.” The bartender gave a knowing nod and proceeded to fill a cup with the pre-made blah, and then topped it off with well over a shot of rum. And, because I’m nosy, I looked at the guy’s receipt he left on the bar — SAME PRICE. I felt cheated. I was honestly thisclose to blatantly asking the bartender for a free shot of rum on the side because obviously she had overlooked offering anything special to me! But I didn’t. Because I’m shy.

Cold and gray.

Cold and gray.

That, and it was YETI TIME!!! I finished my lackluster drink and wandered on over to Anandapur, hopped into the single rider line for Expedition Everest, had a rocking, raging good time, exited, walked straight back to the single rider line only to find it was closed. WTF? Since when do they close single rider lines hours before park closing? Meanwhile, the stand-by line was 30 minutes or so, and I really wasn’t in the mood for waiting.

THIS ASSHOLE WAS DISRESPECTING MY YETI!!!! (Just ignore my use of flash)

THIS ASSHOLE WAS DISRESPECTING MY YETI!!!! (Just ignore my use of flash)

So there I was… at least an hour before real darkness, cold, wet, and sober. I considered heading over to Dino Land. Or maybe even something as expeditious as taking the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge to hang out there for an hour or so. But ultimately, I was tired. And we’d be back to DAK later in the week anyway when it was open until 8:00. I could see Yeti After Dark then, right? Right. So I headed out, looking forward to the warmth of a bus and cheaper/stronger drinks back in the hotel room.

This is as dark as it got while I was there.

This is as dark as it got while I was there.

In hindsight, I feel like a DAK failure. I had hours to myself to roam around, do whatever I want, experience new things, revisit old things, and what did I do? I rode around on a train and bitched about weak drinks. The only thing I can say in my defense was that at the time, I was trying to take a more relaxed approach to touring. I was trying to feel like a lifestyler — there would always be more time. Only, I’m not, and there wasn’t. Le sigh.

Meanwhile, back at the Boardwalk, as I pin traded at the concierge desk on my way from the buses to our room, I for once in my life could hold my head high — I belonged there. I wasn’t merely some unwashed leper in off the streets looking to pillage the Boardwalk’s esteemed concierge desk. Nay, this time I was a guest. It was a pretty good feeling.

I got bored while waiting for my dinner companions and starting taking selfies.  It happens.

I got bored while waiting for my dinner companions and starting taking selfies. It happens.

It was only after 8:00 and seated at the Flying Fish for dinner that I was reunited with My Mother and aunt. Something tells me my day was way better than theirs. We caught up. I told them about the CM having my necklace, and my aunt was able to provide some more details — it seems my grandfather got the necklace at WDW on a trip he and my grandmother went on in the early 80′s. Hard to picture them at WDW with no kids!

After that late dinner, we parted ways, and My Mother, my leftovers, and I headed back to our room. You know, because we didn’t quite have enough food there.



Coming up: I make WDW my home office, I continue to struggle with camera settings, and more food makes its way into our hotel room.

Trip Report Day Two, Part I: Shopping tales

Author’s note:

Yes, frighteningly enough, my account of Sunday, January 26, is so lengthy I feel the need to break it into two parts, just as a favour to you, my reader. This is frightening in so far as, we’re only on day two out of 11. And it wasn’t even a super exciting day (spoiler alert). At this rate, we could end up with six-parters when we get into the real meat of the trip. Strap in.


Miles Walked: 8.19
Pins Traded For: 19

Signs of a good night before.

Signs of a good night before.

Our second day, a sunny Sunday, brought us to Downtown Disney that morning. My Mother and aunt had meetings in the afternoon, so we were squeezing in a quick brunch at Raglan Road before they needed to go be boring. And as the title of this post suggests, there’s a heavy emphasis here on shopping. Consider yourself warned.

We arrived at DTD around 9:50 to do said shopping and aimless wandering before our 11:00 ADR, but we found, instead, that the shops didn’t open until 10:00. Why did I not know this? I swore they opened at 9:30. Disney Fan Fail. Either way, we milled about for a whopping ten minutes and then began shopping.

One shopping goal of mine was to get the men’s UNC Mickey t-shirt for my boyfriend. It’s really the only way I’m ever going to get him to wear anything Disney-related. Well, other than his growing collection of Disney underwear I keep buying him that he loves! And I’m sure he’d also love knowing that I’m discussing that here. Good thing he doesn’t read this blog.

Anycrap, I’ve been on the hunt for this shirt every time I’ve been at DTD in the past four months — the first time I saw it a year ago, Mark said he would never wear it, so I didn’t buy it. But I’ve since slowly broken him down over time (I’m a really great person), and over the summer, he finally admitted that he would consider wearing a Mickey t-shirt so long as it was Tar Heels-related. And wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t been able to find the shirt since. I’m pretty sure he engineered this.

That day was no different — well, one slight difference: once again, no UNC shirt. Only this time, it turns out, would be my last chance ever to look for it. It seems we were shopping in the Disney sports themed store on its final day in existence. RIP, Team Mickey.

Next up on our shopping to-do lists: Find a souvenir for my sister who was unable to come to WDW with us due to things like “having a job” and “being knocked up.” Okay, so maybe the latter wasn’t her real reason for passing on the trip, but I know it would give me pause — WDW with no roller coasters and drinking and caffeine? That’s not living, I tell you.

In shopping around for something for Lindsay, this led to my next brilliant idea* for Disney: maternity wear. Yet another untapped market. Seriously, Disney, are you paying attention here? I’m full of bright ideas; I’m enthusiastic, hardworking, creative, willing to relocate, and will keep the swearing to a minimum during work hours. Call me.

*Okay, so some credit needs to be given to My Mother who may have sparked the idea. But she has a job, I don’t. So I’m calling dibs.

Item #3 on the shopping to-do list: the Vera Bradley blanket. I’m not the world’s biggest Vera Bradley fan — I mostly think that all Vera bags look like diaper bags or bags that elderly women would use to carry around their knitting supplies or cats. However, I am a fan of the pattern that Vera came out with featuring paisley Mickey and Minnie. So when I saw that I could get a super plush blanket featuring this pattern, I was sold. This was back in November. On the last day of our trip. And sadly, I’d already tapped out my spending on multiple limited edition pins featuring gingerbread. So I put it on the future shopping to-do list.

And now, in January? Gone. All gone. I couldn’t even get a Vera diaper bag backpack if I wanted one. The CMs informed me that they’d pretty much sold out of everything Vera around Christmas and hadn’t gotten a new shipment in since. Over a month had gone by without restocking. Sounds to me like Disney could use an enthusiastic and minimally-potty-mouthed addition to their merchandising team, yes?

Aunt Char and I, soaking up the pinsanity.

Aunt Char and I, soaking up the pinsanity.



Now O for 3 on the shopping list, we headed toward the pin hut to indulge in pin happiness. After surveying the entire store and thousands of pins, I knew exactly which one I’d be buying. As I met back up with My Mother, she asked me what I had in mind, and when I pointed to the Limited Edition WALL-E Valentine’s Day pin, she just smiled and said, “perhaps you’d like to pick a different pin?” Yeah, she had already seen it and was planning on purchasing it for me as a gift. We’re psychically linked that like, My Mother and I — she knows me and my pin tastes.

Another funny psychic Mom story: Just days before our trip, I was at Kohl’s, shopping for Sketcher GoWalks. If you’re not familiar, they’re basically the world’s most comfortable shoes. But like anything, that comes at a price — and this price is ugliness. They’re no Crocs, thank god, but they definitely have a certain orthopedic look to them. I lamented that if only they came in fun colours, it could help a little. I left Kohl’s with regret and a pair in basic black. When I got home, I jumped on Zappos, and lo and behold — FUN COLOURS. I e-mailed a link to the neon yellow ones I liked to My Mother, saying how I wish they’d had those at Kohl’s. My Mother’s reply: “I just ordered you those 26 minutes ago. You’ll get them in 2 business days.” PSYCHIC.

How to stand out in public restrooms.  Legally.

How to stand out in public restrooms. Legally.

And in case you’re wondering, they’re still not the sexiest shoes by any means, but they are So. Comfortable. And, I actually received several compliments on them from strangers — one girl even chased me down in Animal Kingdom to ask me what brand they were and where I got them. Also, they’re great for finding me in a crowded bathroom. You know, in case you’re ever looking for me in a crowded bathroom.

Now where were we? Right, FOOD TIME.

By now, we were starving, and luckily it was time to head over to Raglan Road for my first time having brunch there (I’d already fallen in love with lunch and dinner, so I knew to be excited for this). Our strategy was a slow pacing of courses so that we’d still be enjoying our meal when the dancers started at noon. My real goal of the meal was to finally try the infamous bread pudding. Every time I’d been there before, I always end up too full for dessert.

Can we talk about the hair?  I thought giant flammable coiffures were a signature American toddler and tiaras move?

Can we talk about the hair? I thought giant flammable coiffures were a signature American toddler and tiaras move?

And woefully, this time was no exception. The whole “slow pacing of multiple rounds of food” thing probably didn’t help either. In fact, we were so full that we had quite a decent amount of leftovers that we packed up and brought back to the hotel room with us. You know, because we were really lacking in the in-room food department. <– SARCASM

I’m not entirely sure I’d finished digesting all of the previous night’s ‘Ohana offerings, and then this… I’m starting to understand the appeal of motorized scooters. However, we powered through and walked on down to the West Side for more shopping/browsing/staring incredulously at Food Truck prices.

At this point, we bussed it back to the Boardwalk, and I bid My Mother and aunt adieu as they headed off to work. Meanwhile, it was time for me to get my neon feet in a park! And what better park to start out with than everyone’s favourite, Hollywood Studios?!

January Trip Report Day 1: IT’S ALL HAPPENING!!!

Miles Walked: 3.48
Pins Traded For: 1

“The day has come!” the Walrus said. Granted he was talking about slaughtering a bunch of innocent and naive baby oysters (and who could blame him?), but I think that declaration of sheer joy is equally applicable for how I felt stepping off of my plane that Saturday afternoon.

I met up with my travel partner for the trip, My Mother, and we were off (as soon as we squared away the MagicBand/Magical Express situation which, of course, was already confused because of our split stay between two resorts; thanks, MyMagic+). First stop, Caribbean Beach. Second stop, BOARDWALK INN AND VILLAS! AKA our first home.

Every trip to Disney World is exciting, and every trip is unique — in this case, in my top five Reasons I Can Think Of Nothing Else Other Than My Impending Disney Trip would be Staying At The Boardwalk Villas For the First Time and later, Staying At The Wilderness Lodge For The First Time. (In case you’re wondering about the other three reasons, those are likely Because I Miss My Mommy, I Just Got Laid Off And Need To Escape Life, and It’s Disney — I Don’t Need A Reason).

We have all the #Magic.

We have all the #Magic.

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a Cast Member with an iPad for a hand who asked if we had registered online. Since I had, we were ushered into the lobby for what should’ve been a quick signature and room assignment. Instead, we had questions. About MagicBands. I could see the fear in the eyes of the poor little iPad-handed CM as we started to ask about such mysteries as, “we have five MagicBands — will they all work all the time for all the stuff?” Or “My credit card is assigned to my MagicBand… and My Mother’s. Can you fix that?” Or “When will there be a purple?”

After finally admitting that these were non-iPad questions, and that we must approach the desk with computers, the CM finally ushered us on our way to our room. As soon as we could find it, that was (signage is not great). Also, despite the fact that iPad Hand’s answer to our initial question was that all MagicBands will work on all things, it seemed only My Mother could unlock our door. #Magic

Room first impressions: Meh. I guess I had just spent so much time building up what a real Vacation Club Villa would look like that when I was presented with a fairly basic and slightly-outdated hotel room with a second sink and microwave, I was a little underwhelmed. Luckily, I had done my research online and knew to expect only one queen bed and a pull-out couch, otherwise I’d have been flipping tables. The theming was slightly lacking as well, though I suppose trying to decorate a room in line with “early 20th century boardwalk” may be a challenge. How does one accomplish that? Ashtrays?

My sleeping quarters.

My sleeping quarters.

The location, however, was perfect. We were the first room off of the exit out toward the Boardwalk, meaning we were minimal steps from dining, shopping, and the bus stop.

Ironically, I had called ahead months in advance to specify where our room was located. I said, “as close to the Swan and Dolphin as possible” (My Mother was working at the convention there for the first portion of our trip), and “not facing the Luna Park pool” (I’d read that it gets LOUD at that pool, and I was to be working during the day from our room). Curious, then, that this was the view from our veranda:

Yup, that's Luna Park pool.

Yup, that’s Luna Park pool.

Luckily, it ended up being a non-issue. Those sliding glass doors are pretty sound-proof! Also, I had overlooked the perks of being that close to the pool bar. Ultimately, the only real problem with this vista was that damn clown. A thing of nightmares, I tell you.

That, and I hadn’t packed a bathing suit because never once since I turned 13 have I gone in a Disney pool (my philosophy is: you shouldn’t be doing things at Disney that you can do elsewhere; I can go in a pool and get a sunburn anywhere). Helpful tip to Disney merchandisers: SELL BETTER BATHING SUIT OPTIONS. Seriously — have you tried shopping for a bathing suit at Disney recently? You have about two options, and both are all black hideousness to the tune of $60. How have they not realized this untapped market??? If you can sell ponchos at $12 a piece, how can you not be setting up elaborate Little Mermaid decorated bathing suit displays offering style after style for $65 each? GOLD MINE. See also: I’m looking for a job, so clearly, Disney, you should hire me for this and future genius ideas. Thank you for your consideration.

After we’d finished unpacking, we popped into the Screen Door store for some additional food for the room. “Additional,” as in we’d already both packed a fair bit of snacks and breakfast things, as well as lunch stuff for me while I was working from the room (a laid off person with only three weeks left of income can’t afford Crew’s Cup and Beaches and Cream every day; also, just to be confusing, yes — I was laid off, but negotiated three more weeks of work). Oddly enough, the prices of alcohol there seem almost reasonable (unless you’re from New Hampshire), as do chips and such. But yogurt? High holy hell. That shit is about 27 times as expensive as a regular grocery store. Incidentally, the stock pile of food we had in our room will continue to be a theme throughout this trip — just you wait and see. <– Foreshadowing

By this point, it was approaching 6:00, at which time My Mother needed to meet up with her boss and coworkers (including my aunt, our other travel buddy!) in the lobby of the Dolphin for a wee pow-wow. I underestimated just how wee it would be and had excused myself to bluezoo to drink in the meantime. I had no sooner been delivered my Serenity cocktail* when My Mother appeared to whisk me off to dinner. She informed my bartender that I was late for a date, and the poor dear genuinely thought this was the case, wishing my luck with my gentleman caller as I signed the bill.

*I cannot recommend this enough. Well, unless it were served in a fish bowl, then I would recommend it more. If this were an option at RapidFill stations, I’d own a Refillable Mug in every colour.

If only he knew… my date was something far more exciting than a gentleman caller… my date was with ‘OHANA!!!

For years, I’ve been in charge of our WDW itinerary and ADRs, and for years I’ve been trying to get an ADR to ‘Ohana with no luck. Finally, this year, I took no chances. I counted out to what would be 180 days in advance of our likely trip. I say “likely” as we hadn’t yet booked one. Every day for a period in July, I called WDW Dining and made a reservation for ‘Ohana in January. Every day. Just in case. And as soon as we had our trip booked, I got the honour of calling WDW Dining again to cancel approximately nine ‘Ohana reservations. Pretty sure the CM on the phone thought I was insane. Or maybe this is more common than I think?

Dining at ‘Ohana was possibly #6 on my list of Reasons I Can Think Of Nothing Else Other Than My Impending Disney Trip.

We cabbed it from the Dolphin to the Polynesian, which somehow ended up costing over $20 because the Dolphin valet put us in some town car as opposed to a real cab, but whatever.

Once upstairs, we checked in and eagerly awaited our table! (Warning: I’m likely to use so many exclamation points here, you’ll confuse me for everyone’s favourite Disney food blogger). After about ten minutes, we were seated and left with bread and dips. Happy and happier!

Happiness with my Aunt Char!

Happiness with my Aunt Char!

I was slightly nervous about the experience as My Mother doesn’t eat red meat, and I admittedly made this ADR rather selfishly, thinking of nothing but internet hype, bread pudding, and bottomless pot stickers. However, she was quite happy! (Either that, or she was lying to spare my feelings).

Out of the all-you-care-to-eat bread, salad, potstickers, wings, lo mein, veggies, shrimp, chicken, pork, steak, and bread pudding (no risk in starvation or the ability to button your pants here), I think the real highlights were the bread, salad, potstickers, and bread pudding. I could definitely make a whole meal out of just those components.

I’d read mixed reviews of the place — some claiming it was the best meal they’d ever had (this likely includes everyone’s favourite Disney food blogger), others saying the meat was dry and overcooked. I found it to be somewhere in the middle. While the pork was cooked perfectly, the chicken was definitely on the dry side. Though I’m sure, any other given night, it’s likely to be the opposite — just depending on the day of the week and timing. Hit or miss. However, as soon as you get that bread pudding… oh, sweet baby Mickey. Any sins are forgiven. There may or may not be a picture of me licking the bowl clean.

Okay, this is a picture of me licking the bread pudding bowl clean.

Okay, this is a picture of me licking the bread pudding bowl clean.

After dinner, our requests to be wheeled out of the restaurant were denied, and we were forced to waddle our way down to the cab stand, this time finding a real cab and only spending $10 to return to the Dolphin. We bid my aunt adieu and waddled some more back to the Boardwalk. Every calorie burnt helps, right?

Who were we kidding? We were trying to bail water from the sinking Titanic using a salt spoon. Such is the nature of a WDW vacation: miles walked!!! Yet enough food consumed by one person that could likely feed a poverty-ridden nation for several weeks. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.