Thursday, 12 November 2015

Walt Disney World 2015 - Part I

So let's get to the good stuff! I was at Walt Disney World from the 26 Sept - 4 Oct 2015. I went solo, and found it a rewarding experience. It was nice being able to do my own thing, at my own pace, and not feel like I was slowing anyone down.

Getting There

I used Disney's Magical Express to get from Orlando Airport (MCO) to the Beach Club Resort. The lineups were long, but I think I only waited about 15 minutes before I got on the bus. And my luggage was picked up off the plane, and delivered to my room later.

Disney's Magical Express Lineup

The Bus - They showed Disney and Resort themed Programming

The Main Gate - At Last!

Beach Club Resort

This is a very nice resort, with an excellent location and pool (well, waterpark), but it's not my favourite. It seems a little, well, sterile is the word that comes to mind, and I am not sure why. One thing I do know was that my room was quite distant from the elevators. Almost as far as you could get. And there was this one very long hallway. I was quite impressed when walking along it once, a boy who could not have been more than 10 echoed my thoughts exactly: "This is like that hallway in The Shining!" It's nice when you run into kindred spirits.
My Spacious Room - with Balcony

My View 

The resort is sistered with the Yacht Club, so they share all facilities, and this may be part of the problem: the lounge and most dining options are in the Yacht Club, and after making that huge haul to the elevators, it just doesn't seem that convenient (don't judge me; I was using the cane for a lot of this trip).

First Day in Walt Disney World

Once I was settled, I thought I would head over to Epcot for some Food & Wine.  I had received my Magic Band at checkin, so I was already to go, with my park tickets, room key and fast passes all on my wrist. 

I have covered an overview of the Food & Wine Festival previously, so I will just say this: Don't go Saturday. It's ridiculously busy. It took me half an hour in line to get a beer at the Outpost. All the lineups I saw were dauntingly long. So, I bailed. Call me a coward, but the crowds were much larger than what I had been expecting. I had planned to go over to the Magic Kingdom after my Fast Passes, but since the system was new to me, I wasn't aware of how to cancel my FP's so someone else could use them. I did learn later that you could go to a kiosk and cancel or change them, or get a new one after your previous ones had been used or expired.

So, after a long digression, I jumped on the monorail, and transferred at the TTC to the Polynesian Resort. They have a new themed lounge called Trader Sam's  (after the Head Salesman on the Jungle Cruise), which I had been itching to try.

Passing the Magic Kingdom
I arrived 2 minutes after opening on Saturday, and was put on the waitlist and given a pager, so I went to the patio.

Patio at Trader Sams

Water Feature at Patio at Trader Sams

Shrunken Zombie Head 
The patio has the same menu as inside, but it doesn't have the same experience. Re: the menu, the poke was good, but I didn't care for the salmon sushi. It didn't seem fresh to me. The dumplings were good, though (I went a couple of times and needed something to absorb the cocktails).

After I had received food and libation my pager went off (about 35 minutes?), and I went inside. It is dark, or there would be pictures. I don't want to be that person who annoys everyone with her flash. It is interesting that there are rituals associated with the fancy cocktails (the server doing a zombie shuffle with the Shrunken Zombie Head, and various animatronics and special effects for other drinks, but I don't want to give it all away).  I should mention that your place on the waitlist entitles you to a seat. You may be seated with others. Your party may not be all at the same table. If you are waitlisted for 2, they will let you in when 2 seats open up, even if one is at the bar, and one is at a table occupied by 3 others. But the atmosphere is convivial, and lends itself to people being friendly.

Recommendation? A must see. After a few more drinks, I headed over to the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours (park only open to resort guests -makes for short lineups).