Did I have this post 100% finished and ready to go when I wrote Part 1? Yes. Did I forget about it and let it sit around for two weeks as a draft? Yes. My bad.
Anyway, since you probably need a slight refresher, I’ll bring you up to speed: My Mother and I, after a full morning and afternoon of boat issues, end up lost in the woods between Fort Wilderness and the Wilderness Lodge, finally find our way home, arrive entirely soaked to the bone, but naturally hit up the Concierge Lounge prior to returning to our room to change. #Priorities. Okay, now for the rest:
Only after stuffing cups full of gummy bears to bring back to the room (very necessary) did we actually go to the room to dry off and change. This respite didn’t last long, and we were soon off again to boat on over back to the Magic Kingdom in order to boat on over to the Polynesian for pins and Lapus. Boats boats boats!
Boat to MK: Captain literally dropped the rope in our face as we reached the dock. Mind you, this was the rope to the dock, as opposed to the rope barring entry to the boat. So, just to be clear: boat was still roped securely to the dock with the captain not even on board yet. But no, we were “too late.”
Once we’d finally ridden the next boat that had come along, we headed over to the Polynesian boat dock (because the monorail was down for maintenance between the hours of 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM each day; the boat was NOT my first choice by now). The line we encountered was astounding. We were finally granted passage on the third godforsaken boat to come by.
After this extravaganza, we only made it to the Polynesian pin board with two minutes to spare. Fucking boats.Luckily, we had a little over an hour to relax. We were able to kick back in the Tambu Lounge and enjoy a much-needed Lapu Lapu.
After this recuperation, libation, and time off our feet, we were off to our final stop of the evening: the Contemporary for some hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at the California Grill whilst overlooking Wishes. This was all part of my whirlwind tour to show My Mother all of the new gems (Tambu Lounge included) that I’d discovered in my Year O’ Annual Pass.
Unfortunately, given that it was still only 6:30, getting to the Contemporary meant one thing, and one thing only: MORE FUCKING BOATS.
Now, I may not have a background in Transportation Operations, but I think I could’ve organized this shit better. Even the line cook at Trail’s End who assembled the world’s saddest jalapeno poppers could’ve organized this better. It’s 6:30 PM: the Magic Kingdom doesn’t close until 10:00PM. This means that conceivably, you still have resort guests who would like to head in that direction at that time. Likewise, it’s late enough that you have enough guests leaving the park who want to head back to their resort. AND THERE’S NO MONORAIL. So why is it (as was confirmed by the one captain who pulled through in a span of 30 minutes on a boat already full from the Grand Floridian) that operations decided to reduce the number of boats running by half between 5:00 and 7:00 PM?? Riddle me that.
Goddamn fucking boats.
I was starting to get reaaaalllly cranky at this point, wet once again due to the rain returning, cold, and worried about missing our 7:10 ADR. I was trying to bribe My Mother with a cab when finally, in the distance, we saw a boat.
Boats. Like a bitch.
Our original plan was to walk to the Contemporary once we’d taken the boat to the Magic Kingdom, but luckily the travel karma gods took pity on us and decided to start running the monorails a whopping 5 minutes early, so we climbed into one of their warm, dry compartments and were finally on our way to another establishment that sells liquor.
My initial plan for the California Grill was just apps and drinks –- I mostly just wanted My Mother to see Wishes from up on high with a martini in hand; I figured we’d be full enough from other eatings, plus how many table service meals do we really need to fit into 11 days? (Answer: 12). Yet I made the ADR anyway, just so we were guaranteed a seat as opposed to winging it at the bar.
However, My Mother is not one to skimp out on experiences; she goes big or she goes home. So a full dinner it was! This was especially uplifting given that thanks to the aforementioned rain and accompanying fog, we may as well have been trying to view Wishes from the Utilidors.
First things first: wine selection.
While My Mother and I agree on many things, our taste in white wine is not one of them. I veer toward the sweeter end, while she likes it dry enough to feel like you’re drinking sand. (If you were to ask her, I’m sure she’d say something like, “I veer toward the palatable end, while Rhiannon likes it sweet enough to feel like you’re drinking liquefied pixie sticks.” This would be an unfair assessment: I do not like my wine that sweet. I’d say somewhere closer to the Skittles range).
We hemmed and hawed, finally seeking the advice of our esteemed waiter. I couldn’t help but notice that of his three recommendations, two were $60 bottles whereas the other was a “mere” $36.
I guess I forgot to mention my other criteria in wine: cheap.
(A brief explanation: I have a palate -– I do! I’m a bourbon snob, a vodka snob, a gin snob, a cheese snob, a BBQ snob, among many other forms of snobbery in my repertoire. But wine? Meh. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE wine. It’s just, if given a blind taste test, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a $30 bottle of pinot versus the $70 vintage. Tastes the same. Tastes like pinot. Tastes good! But when given the option of spending $60 on one bottle of wine or six cocktails or seven pins or a pair of shoes… the wine won’t win. A girl’s got to have her priorities).
Our waiter suggests we try a sampling of each bottle. What happens next is nothing short of miraculous (unlike, say, our view of Wishes): he returns with two glasses and all three bottles of wine. He talks about the first bottle and then pours a healthy “taste” for each of us. Ditto the next. By the time he gets to the third, another table was calling for him, so he left the bottle and told us to just finish it off – he’d be back to hear our final choice.
My vote? The $36 bottle, of course. My Mother was less than pleased. Apparently, after being given what amounted to almost two free glasses of wine per person, it’s considered rather gauche to order the cheap bottle.
I’m not used to being on the other side of snobbery judgment! It felt foreign and dirty.
I wish I could tell you that I caved and we got a nice bottle, but no. My Mother swallowed her pride and went low class. You’d think I was making her order a jug of Carlo Rossi. It was still a nice bottle of wine, damnit!
The rest of the meal went without incident (minus Wishes). When we left our table to go outside and view the non-existent fireworks, we returned to find that our table was covered in Mickey confetti! This was an adorable touch. Yes, I scooped it all up and took it home with me.
Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel, which meant only one thing: another fucking boat.
Luckily, fifth time’s a charm, and the boat from the Contemporary arrived quickly and dropped us off just as expediently. I didn’t even know there was a boat that went directly from the Contemporary to the Wilderness Lodge. You learn something new every day.
Good news: we made it back in time to head up to the Concierge Lounge for a glass or two of Courvoisier before heading to our room, and out to the terrace to end our day with a front row seat to the Electric Water Pageant. At least that can be viewed through the fog: I approve of those boats.