Friday. October 21
Woke up and got ready in the early morning for our ADR's at The Grand Floridian's 1900 Park Fare character breakfast. We drove over and talked to the gate guard, who reminded me of Grandpa in the way that old obnoxious guys give you a bunch of grief about nothing. When we told him we were having breakfast he didn't act like he was going to let us in, suspicious characters that we were in our Lincoln towncar. He asked a bunch of questions and had to consult several sheets of paper to be sure our name was on the approved list (usually they just wave you on in once they know you have ADRs), and he needed to see my picture ID. Then he was giving us a hard time about not knowing where to park when I asked him. He had no idea which lot we should be in and Ursula asked “isn't that a major part of his job?” once we had passed the 90-point inspection and granted access. Grouchy old goat. At any rate we got free valet service with our Tables in Wonderland card, so we just pulled up, handed them our keys and didn't give a fig after that.
We took many pictures in the lobby, none of us had ever been inside the GF before, and we admired the large bouquets of fresh flowers – even the garbage cans had planters decorating the tops of them. That's how you know you're in a fancy hotel: real flower arrangements and flowers growing on the garbage cans. We were plenty early for our ADRs, and wandered all over in the quiet early morning looking at all the décor and taking pics of ourselves.
Even the ceiling is lovely!
Lovely fresh flowers and lovely Mumsy
Giant classy staircase
Cute tiny classy kids seating area
Once we had our picture taken outside the restaurant we were seated. We were near the buffet in the main room, but seated near the kitchen door entrance. It ended up being an okay spot. We watched the characters come around and some of the little kids from other families were really cute.
Stitch meets Pooh and Tigger! I almost knocked Pooh over when I gave him a bear hug, oops!
Yay Mary Poppins!
She was quite taken by my purple hair, wished she could do a red stripe to match her dress.
The magic of Mary is that she makes us appear photogenic, too.
Practically perfect in every way!
The strawberry soup and lobster eggs benedict were big favorites, though Ursula noted the lobster was more of a flavor than an actual, identifiable food component. I really liked the Mickey waffles, but I don't think anyone else thought they were that wonderful. Ursula said “I did mistake a giant vat of cream cheese for butter. The waitress had to bring it separately. Strange.” So it's possible she would have liked hers better if the proper toppings had been on them. Stitch seemed to find things that she liked, but wouldn't touch the strawberry soup, even after I told her it was yummy. We all found food that we liked and met the characters, any way. I was excited for Mary Poppins, since I am a nanny and she is my professional role model. The Mad Hatter was funny and we all enjoyed Alice's quips as well. The picture we'd taken before being seated turned out really nicely so Mum decided to buy it, saying “We all looked happy and not hot/sweaty yet. Plus it came in a cute frame.” She is the only one with a copy of it though, so the rest of the world will suffer until she scans a copy for us.
this is me being horrified at nearly knocking Pooh over.
These guys were funny! I like that they came in pairs for great photo ops!
Pooh forgave me and came back later for another, gentler hug.
This is the large decorative piece on the wall. A CM saw me taking a picture and said they call it "Big Bertha" or something similar. Nice!
After breakfast we went upstairs to ride the Monorail. Ursula was displeased to see that there were no benches in the waiting area, and noted that CSR had benches at the bus stops.
We took the resort Monorail around a couple times and got some pictures (from each side). It was a gorgeous day and it was great to see the entire Bay Lake area.
No benches! It would have been easy enough the have some installed.
The Grand Floridian!
MK as seen from the Monorail
The GF from a bit of a distance
The Polynesian and the boat from TTC to the Magic Kingdom
Some hoodlum sharing our car with us
Ursula could have used more coffee
Once we got back to the GF we looked around in the shops. I was excited to go to Basin White for some bath items. I had tried out the salt scrub when I was in Las Vegas and loved it, but was unable to buy it at the time because I only had carry-on bags. I ended up getting grapefruit-scented scrub, some lotion and a few other items that I could pack in my checked baggage. We looked in the “designer” gift shop that had many more expensive, fashion items and I saw this really adorable purse. It was really too expensive for me however so I just took a picture of it and put it back on the shelf. I kept thinking about it, though I wasn't sure that we'd ever make it back to the GF even if I did decide I couldn’t live without it.
Cutest purse ever!
GF lobby from second story
Another lobby shot
We eventually went to reclaim our car and return to Coronado, but had to take some pics outside first!
Back at our real resort, we packed our swimming supplies up in my backpack and headed to Blizzard Beach! It was not terribly hot out, a comfortable mid 70's, so only the crazy Alaskans and British people were at the waterpark. Stitch and I left Ursula to sunbathe (after applying a liberal amount of sunblock), nap and read her book, while we went and checked out the areas of the park where one can actually get wet.
Wave pool with Plummet Summit in the background
The lazy river was actually a little chilly, especially the parts where waterfalls splash onto you as you drift by, and all the lifeguards had their jackets on.
Stitch kept calling it "the river of life," to which I replied "your life!" as she is notoriously lazy.
Stitch and I got out near some waterslides and went down once or possibly twice. We were in long enclosed tubes, which became dark and a little claustrophobia-inducing. We decided Mum would hate them, and I wasn't so sure I even liked them that much. The alternatives were the slides that were open at the top like a half-pipe and seemed like you might slosh right overboard and fall to your death as you careened around inside. Not sure which one was scarier! I lost my $5 sunglasses at some point but didn't bother to notify a guard to retrieve them. Seemed like my own fault and I didn't think it was worth trying to find them in the splashdown pool.
Cute details make it fun--better than "regular" water parks by far!
I got a lot of similar pictures, laying in the innertube looking up. I also got some upside down ones but I'll spare you!
AS you can see, there weren't many people utilizing the tubes because it was kind of cold out.
Stitch and I returned to check on Ursula occasionally, and brought her slushy drinks and funnel cakes to share. She kept insisting that she didn't want to swim or float the river and that she was happy laying in the sun. I didn't really put it together until later that she wasn't swimming because her feet were so sore with open blisters, she didn't want to get MRSA splashing around in the water.
S and I also enjoyed the wave pool, which has big swells to knock you around, as well as big inner tubes to hang onto. We had fun goofing around in there. Even when you're out of the water you can still “feel” the swells crashing into you and it seems like you're still bobbing around like a cork.
We did a couple of the innertube slides, which are fun because your bottom doesn't get beaten black and blue as you make your descent, but also seems a little scary because you could fly off the tube and get all scraped up. We both managed to stay on the tubes just fine, but I can tell I'm getting old because I was actually worried about stuff like that.
Finally S and I were ready to go up to Summit Plummet, the tall peak with a huge terrifying slide. There are ski lift chairs that take you up there, which is cool because walking up all the stairs to get to the top of the slides in exhausting! S and I stood in a short line and then sat down on the ski lift, which started rising. About 10 feet up we looked at each other and started to panic-- I was clutching onto the back of the chair and telling Stitch to hold on! Then the safety bar lowered itself across our laps and we were much relieved. We felt pretty silly but at the same time it was scary thinking there was nothing protecting us from falling out of our chairlift seats. Once the bar came down we laughed and laughed but we both were plenty freaked out. “We almost died from sheer terror on the ski lift,” Stitch said.
Once we'd reached the top we were too afraid to do the big slide. This little 7 yo British boy came up behind us as we were hemming and hawing about getting in the line for Summit Plummet. I asked him, is it really scary, have you done it before?” He responded, “12 times already today,” and clambered on up. Even though he was brave enough I wasn't, so Stitch and I went down the other, shorter slide instead. I made her go first, because even that slide looked pretty frightful. When she didn't end up in a pool of her own blood at the bottom I decided I had to go too and made it down without incident-- giant wedgie notwithstanding.
Here you can see a waterslide (I think it's the kiddie area), Plummet Summit and the gondolas taking unlucky sliders up to the tip top.
When I asked Stitch what she remembered about that day her response was “There was a lot of yodeling.” The music they pumped into every corner of the park was a blend of yodeling and Christmas songs, which alternated. It was enough to drive you nuts if you were just laying there trying to nap, like poor Ursula.
Time for more sunblock! Even so Stitch managed to get a little burned.
How we left Ursula for most of the day
Our preferred method of navigating water parks is to hop in the lazy river and get out near our next destination. Stitch and I had fun pretending to be “Uncle Jack” from Arrested Development; I would say “swoop Moose, swoop!” and Stitch would pull my inner tube around while I laid back and took pics with the waterproof camera.
Ursula was wearing a hideous floppy-brimmed hat, crocs and socks, as well as her swimsuit underneath a muumuu, and we thought she was not interested in joining us in the water. Apparently at some point during the afternoon she succumbed to temptation and got in the lazy river too, but only removed the muumuu. So she was floating wearing crocs, socks and a giant hat in the water for all to see, as “the neighborhood crazy woman,” her words, not mine.
I wish I had gotten a picture of that!
I love the icicles!
The park closed at 5pm and we were about ready to go anyway. We wanted to go back to the resort, take showers and get to our second buffet of the day at Animal Kingdom Lodge's Boma.
I took a fair amount of pictures in the lobby, and was looking all around for the real wildlife that I'd seen pictures of in other people's trip reports, an adventure that took me outside to the pool area and down a path. I found a person feeding flamingos, but that was the extent of it. I figured out later that the giraffes, zebras and oxen I was thinking of are at the other resort, Animal Kingdom Villas' Kidani Village. As is usually the case once I leave the main building (and restaurant area) I felt really out of place with the “real” guests and was worried I'd get called out for walking around the pool area. I read too many threads where people get reamed for pool-hopping (using another resort's pool) and I didn't want to be mistaken for such a rogue.
Ceiling in main lobby
Stairwell down to the restaurant
Boma's seating, we cruised right past it for the moment.
Neat water feature right outside
Looking back at the building we just exited
Naturalist CMs feeding the birds
Pretty pool area
Once we were seated we couldn't wait to get up to the buffet. There were so many good things-- the first section was predominantly meat, but they also had some fish and a bunch of delicious sauces that I added to my rice. Ursula really liked the creamy buttery sweet rice dish, and I enjoyed that myself. The soups and salads were all very interesting and tasty, I spent quite a bit of time sampling everything in that section. Stitch was tired and getting into a zombie type mode, but still managed to eat plenty of macaroni and cheese, and tried the butternut squash soup that I was raving about.
As is our norm, by the time we were ready for desserts we were too full to really enjoy them. I got one of everything and we all took bites. The zebra domes are the desserts that everyone makes a fuss over, but we were so beyond full by that point that they weren't huge winners. Ursula noticed a woman wrapping a bunch in a napkin and stuffing them in her purse. We discussed that buffets (especially at Disney) should have a dessert option that allows the over-full tourists to have a small box to fill up with goodies, a feature that we would gladly pay extra for.
After we ate we looked at the African-themed gift shop.
Interesting paper lanterns/sculpture
Once we were finally able to waddle out of AKL, we picked up our car from valet (love TiW for free valet!) and drove to the nearest drug store for supplies. Ursula bought out the pharmacy's selection of blister bandaids and tegaderm, and restocked our supply of sunblock and Ursula's favorite coffee drinks, the Starbuck Doubleshots. “The necessities of life!” Ursual happily said.
We decided to check out the budget tourist outlet too just for fun. I was unimpressed by all the crappy tourist junk, but Stitch got a sarong to wear to the pool, and near the register there was a whole basket of real Disney pins, some of which were currently still being sold at the parks for full price. A lot of the cards were beat up looking, but the pins were still fine, and we happily pawed through all of them. I ended up getting a handful (7 maybe?) for $20 or so, and I think Stitch bought 3 for $10. Good deal, and brightened us up quite a bit. Ursula suffered the pin selection gracefully.
We drove home and were all grateful to find our beds. All we did was eat and swim, but it still felt like a very long day. Don't all Disney days feel that way though? Getting up early, walking around forever, waiting around for things, it thoroughly exhausts all of us.
Next up is our day spent mostly enjoying the resort, which coincidentally ended up being one of our cranky days as well.