Number of Pins Traded For: 39 AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK OF ME.
Number of miles walked: Just stop.
Sadly, this Saturday marked the final day at Walt Disney World for Lindsay. She opted to have a recovery day before reentering the real world. I say “fuck it” and go balls deep vacation style.
Y’all, we came so close to rope-dropping this morning. SO CLOSE! And we would’ve done it too, if it weren’t for some technical confusion checking Lindsay in for her flight. Lesson to all of you awesome people who know that Southwest is the best: if you happen to fly in on Southwest and out on Airtran (or vice-versa), for some inexplicable reason (possibly related to the overall technological incompetence for which Disney is known?), you will not be able to check your bag at your resort. The chick working with Lindsay didn’t know this, and spent over 15 minutes punching different buttons, trying to figure shit out. Finally, she asked a manager who, in a matter of seconds said, “oh — she came in on AirTran and is now on Southwest. Can’t do it. Next in line!” Bravo, Disney TSA, bravo.
After we finally ditched her suitcase with Bell Services for the morning, we were off to the Animal Kingdom. Being delayed at Airline Check-in not only had us missing rope-drop by a mere ten minutes, but it meant we got to ride on the same bus as a family I shall now be referring to as The Buttfacersons. The Buttfacersons, lest they don’t stand out enough with just their glowing personalities and voices akin to screeching forks on china, decided to get matching t-shirts. Now, I know this is a sadly common phenomenon at WDW, but I’ve never seen it used by a group of less than 10 people who didn’t also have kids. Or weren’t drinking around the World and proud of it.
The Buttfacersons used the ride to not only loudly announce their touring strategies to the entire bus, but it was also time for a nicotine fix. Yes, that’s right, out came the e-cigarette that they passed amongst themselves. I mean, seriously?! On a WDW bus. As if it were the back side of an Arby’s and they were on their 15 minute break. Keepin’ it classy, Buttfacersons.
Obligatory Tree of Life photo.
By the time we arrived at AK, we walked briskly around them, hoping that our pit stop at Guest Services for pin stalking would ensure that we missed them by the time we got to Expedition Everest (we knew they were sprinting there first thing for paper FastPasses; though, not sure their lungs are up to the task; also, at least one of them hadn’t brought their Key to the World card with them, so have fun with that, geniuses).
But wait, what’s this? Who waltzes into Guest Services behind us because they don’t understand how FastPass+ works and want a tutorial (I wish I were making this up)?? The Buttfacerson family!!! Facepalm.
We quickly flipped through the pin book and got the hell out of there. By the time we leisurely made our way to Everest and got in the non-existent stand-by line, guess who was right on our heels? Apparently those Buttfacersons are fast learners when it comes to FastPass+. Luckily we were two of the last people seated on the ride and made it out of the station without them.
I bet they have no Yeti respect.
I decided that morning to start working on my modeling career using the automatic photo snapped just before the big drop at Everest. My first attempt was an ugly bust, but I got Lindsay in on the action, and after we disembarked, we immediately jumped back in line — this time with a plan. Blowing kisses at the camera! How dainty!
I heart the Yeti.
We were tempted to ride a third time, but we had an FP+ to Kilimanjaro Safaris, so we grabbed a paper FP to Everest and vowed to be back.
Proof that the zebras exist.
As we made our way to Safaris (first stopping for a jalapeno cheddar pretzel for Lindsay, half of which I managed to steal), whom do we run into but… The Buttfacersons
. And this time they had a touring flag
. Seriously — Guano Joe tour guide style flag. As if their shrill voices weren’t enough to herald the family to follow. Where’s that specially trained raven when you need it? Luckily, their FP+ training hadn’t stuck well enough, because they got in the lengthy stand-by line as we tapped our MagicBands and went on our merry way.
(Thankfully, that was the last we saw of The Buttfacersons that day. Perhaps they fell into the crocodile pit and were eaten alive?)
I can usually take or leave Safaris. It’s scenic and fun, but after you’ve done it a dozen times, it’s pretty much the same. Yet today… today was special. First of all, it seems our safari guide had some issues staying on script. So instead of the usual, “welcome to Africa for your two week long safari!” we got, “mornin’, y’all. It’s a lovely Florida day!” Okay… different. And yet, different turned out to be good. This guide told us more about the actual workings of the park and animal habitats than you’d normally get from the guides trying to convince you that they speak Swahili.
Blurry phone picture of non-roaring lion. You’re welcome.
But beyond just the fun and no-nonsense safari guide, we also managed to have the best animal sightings ever. We had to stop multiple times for giraffes crossing the road in front of us. Those elusive zebras were finally spotted (striped? Hahaha!! I’m funny). We got to see the male lion roaring (!!!). And then we also almost got charged by a freaked out ostrich who didn’t appreciate lions roaring. It was awesome.
We brake for giraffes.
From there, we headed back to perfect our Everest modeling portfolio. Take one, I give you: Grr! We’re scary!!!
Take two, perfection achieved, I present to you: We’re so cool, we sleep on roller coasters. (It was a real trick for Lindsay not to crack up on this one, I tell you).
The effect my touring plans have on travel partners.
Again, tempting to ride Everest once more, as it is my absolute favourite at Animal Kingdom, we we decided four times was enough for one day. Plus we ran out of ideas for funny poses.
My favourite sign in all of WDW. Bear? Question Mark?
I had made a 2:05 lunch ADR for us at Sanaa, with the intention that Lindsay would just take a cab afterward from Kidani to Pop to catch the unMagical Express. But at close to noon, we were kind of dragging and wondering what to do. Dinosaur? Done. Primeval Whirl? Nah. Get in line for a show? Well, maybe not. So instead, we hit up Pizzafari for the pin boards and then headed to Kidani early in hopes they’d seat us anyway.
Yeah, we needn’t have worried. We were seated (admittedly almost two hours early) immediately.
I had but one real goal: Bread Service with all nine accompaniments. The rest was gravy (a tenth accompaniment???). As this was Lindsay’s final meal, afternoon drinking was in order. Not that one needs an excuse while on vacation (or weekends or sick days), but if you recall, I was broke. Luckily, in one final celebration of Lindsay’s birthday, we expensed the meal to our very generous father (or so we’d inform him later). We ordered up the lusted-after bread service, some drinks, and some sandwiches.
First course: dear god, just kill me now, because I’m not sure life gets any better. No, really. I’ve peaked at 30, at a lunch with my sister. Nothing will ever top this. I live for condiments, sauce, spices, and garlic. AND NOW THERE ARE NINE SAUCES WITH SPICES AND GARLIC AND PERFECTION. I think next time, I’m ordering this for myself. No sharing. As an appetizer. My entree? SAME THING.
I’m really phoning it in with these photos at this point.
Sadly, because perfection cannot be maintained, my fall from grace came with the entree round. I had opted for the turkey sandwich. It was advertised as, “served on ciabatta with avocado, smoked bacon, pickled red onion, lemon mayonnaise.” Let me go ahead and fix that description: “Dry, luke-warm, flavorless sliced turkey served on a cold, plain roll with 1/19th of an avocado, pre-cooked microwave bacon, two slivers of pickled red onion, and a dot of regular mayonnaise that makes Be Our Guest’s ketchup expenditure look generous.” I’ve had better sandwiches from a Hudson News in Newark Airport. I was so disappointed (and coming down from a condiment high), that I felt near tears.
Lindsay, on the other hand, was in love with her lamb kefta sandwich. I hated her.
I figured maybe my upcoming drink would help ease the pain — I’d switched from their house special caipirinha to my all-time favourite of all the cocktails on the standard WDW menu: the habanero lime margarita.
Out it came, I took a needy swig, and — WHAT THE FUCK!?!? This was not my beloved usual. This was… this was wrong. Lindsay helped me to figure out that they’d mixed up the habanero lime with another Sanaa specialty cocktail — the banana coconut something I don’t care margarita. WHO THE FUCK PUTS BANANAS IN A MARGARITA!?!?! It was at this point, welling up with emotion, that I was convinced by Lindsay to go against everything I stand for and actually confront the situation.
waived down the waiter waited for the waiter to come around and meekly said, “um, this sandwich… well.. it’s just… um… I mean, everything else is so wonderful!!! But this… um… well… it’s not great.” And so, for the first time ever in my life, I sent a dish back to the kitchen. I ended up ordering Lindsay’s sandwich, and it was delicious!! And I don’t even like lamb! As for the drink, well… baby steps. I’ll correct the guy another time. I choked it down.
After some much needed exercise (read: pin trading around Kidani), we hopped on the bus back to Jambo House to
do more pin trading try out another oft-hailed WDW food (oh, crap, I forgot to blog about the School Bread, didn’t I? Well, here’s the short version: Never tried it before, was told I must, so I did, and I didn’t like it. The end): Zebra Domes. We made our way down to the Mara, I bought the Zebra Domes, we cracked it open, we took a bite, aaaaand…. yeah, they’re alright.
Seriously, I think people need to stop building up various Disney foods as being “THE BESTEST THING EVER PLACED IN MY MOUTH!!!!” (With the exception, of course, being Sanaa bread service, or Raglan Road’s Wings and Fig & Goat Cheese Salad, because these are clearly beyond reproach). There’s just too much build up of expectation and then I’m left thinking, “someone has a Twitter account dedicated solely to this???” I don’t get it.
After the world’s most awkward pin trading effort at Jambo House’s Bell Services (we were asked if we were staying at the AKL, asked to scan our MagicBands, and asked to see our room key. Finally, I had to say, “is this really necessary to see your pin book???” and the kid replied, “oh, pins?? I thought you were asking what room number you are.” Nice.), we hopped on the bus back to AK to transfer to Pop. With this extra time, no need to spring for cab fare.
As for myself, I’d yet to figure out exactly what to do with my sudden alone time. My initial plans had me heading back into AK solo, taking in a show or two, and then hitting up Jiko for dinner. But at that moment, I was tired (damn you, day drinking!), wasn’t really in the mood to head back into AK, and I was so full from lunch, I couldn’t even think about food (I handed off the Zebra Domes to Lindsay). Oh yeah, and I was still poor.
So I accompanied Lindsay back to Pop. She actually had so much time to spare that we got to relax in the room for about 30 minutes before she needed to depart (this marks the first time I’ve ever returned to the hotel mid-day for a break; it felt… strange… new… different). I hugged her goodbye and then sat and surveyed the scene. A room all to myself. An evening all to myself. What to do???
Naturally, the obvious answer was to take over her bed and use its entire surface to organize the pins I’d traded for thus far in the trip. Duh.
After that, I needed a real plan. There was no way I was spending my last night at WDW alone in a value motel room playing with pins and watching Stacey Aswad on infinite repeat. I’m a sad weirdo at times, but not that sad.
So instead, I decided to spend my final night doing a tour of hotels for pin trading, of course! See — I told you I’m not a sad weirdo!!!! Shut up.
I took the bus to Hollywood Studios and walked from there to the Crescent Lake resorts. Starting to my left, I hit up the Swan, then Dolphin, then Yacht, and as I approached the Beach Club, I thought, “I’ve always wanted to try Beaches and Cream…” so I asked the hostess there how long the wait would be for a table for one. “For one? No wait, come right in!” But then I started having second thoughts because I actually wasn’t really hungry yet, I’m pretty sure I’d already gained 15 pounds that trip (with no pedometer, how can I tell how many calories I’ve burned!?!), and I was still broke. So rather than look deranged and say, “kthnx, nevermind,” I said, “actually, just give me a few minutes, I’ll be right back!” And then I ran away. I don’t know why. Because I’ve already explained that I’m a weirdo? I just… I can’t even blame the alcohol, because I wasn’t drinking thanks to poverty.
So I powered on to the Boardwalk, steadily losing steam as I went. By the time I passed Jelly Rolls, it was the ultimate question: walk back to DHS or wait for the boat at the Swalphin? As I saw a boat approaching, I went with option C: Run for the boat. Luckily, I made it. The wounds being gouged into the backs of my heels thanks to a new pair of “highly recommended comfortable walking shoes” (no, I’m not being sarcastic, Mom — they really were advertised as such) would surely have had me crying in public had I missed that boat.
A quick transfer (and by “quick,” I mean “limping”) to my Pop bus, and I was back at my resort. Dinner was to be some fun (read: cheap as possible) food at the food court. You know what would be more fun? If I knew how to get back to my room from the food court. I ended walking probably the longest possible route around the resort, carrying a tray of once hot food, feet bleeding, getting a little twitchy thinking of an in-room cocktail. By the time I made it back to the room, I never loved MagicBands as much as I did in that moment — not needing to put the damn tray down in order to unlock the door.
All grunting aside, I was back in the room by 7:00 that night. I can feel my WDW Rock Star Status being stripped away as I type this. Regardless, I managed to pack everything, get a good night’s sleep, and I do believe I kept my total spending for that day down to $-10.00 (I returned a shirt I’d bought earlier in the trip). Thrift Star Status? Yeah, I got that.