It’s trip report time again! I love trip reports! I’m recapping my April 2017 trip to WDW for the Dark Side Half. You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!
As is traditional, I slept rather poorly the night before a Disney trip – my paranoia about sleeping through my alarm runs deep. Luckily Pat and I woke up in plenty of time, Pat’s dad drove us to the airport (we spent the night at their house for airport proximity), and we checked our bags and made it through air security with time to spare. We even took off and landed early for once. A good start.
Our first act was to head directly to the Magical Express, where a bus was happily already waiting for us – and for anyone wondering, our Magic Bands worked fine despite their duplication. Sadly, Port Orleans was the last stop, but hey, that increased the odds that our room might be ready by our arrival.
We hit the resort around 9:30am with one thing in mind: food. Currently running on airline pretzels and coffee, we headed straight for the food court for what turned out to be a subpar breakfast. The good news was that a mere fifteen minutes later we received the coveted text message that our room was indeed ready for us.
Admittedly we were a little disappointed to find ourselves in the Mansion area again since that’s where we were last time, but it was an easy and pleasant enough walk across Ol’ Man Island to Acadian House. I took the time to change and put on makeup because I am an unashamed Disney Dandy.
Here we split off – I headed out to the expo to pick up my bib. Meanwhile Pat decided to take a nap; he had slept even worse than I had somehow and there was no need for him to come to the expo anyway. I left him tucked into bed and rolled over to the South Depot for an expo bus.
|Here I am waiting for the bus.
(Actually, I just wanted to show off my new ears.)
The expo wasn’t too terribly crowded; I picked up my bib and hopped into the main vendor area without difficulty. But I could see without even going in that official merch lines were insane. I took an exploratory turn about the area, but unsurprisingly nothing tempted me.
Another loop another the full expo area and I was about ready to go – yet it not even being noon, I saw no need to wake Pat. I found the perfect way to waste just a little more time: Senses spa had a booth set up, and they were doing chair massages, among other things.
I’d never had a professional massage before, and $15 for a ten minute sample seemed fair enough to me. I put my name on the list and wandered a bit more until a got a text message that my masseuse Angel was ready for me.
This being my first massage, what was my verdict? I would put it this way: a massage is equal parts ahhh… and AHHH!!!! A few days earlier I had stretched my back wrong and torqued the muscles in my shoulder next to my spine. Angel found the knot and hooooo boy did working it out hurt – but by the time my session ended I felt 100% better. Good show, good show. Money well spent.
Pat texted me just as I was finishing up – he had woken on his own and was ready to come meet me at the Magic Kingdom. I headed for the buses myself and picked one up for the Contemporary with the thought that I’d walk to the park from there. It worked, but verrrry slowly – the Contemporary was the last stop. Pat beat me to park, but we were reunited at The Confectionery in short order.
|Complete with its own security checkpoint, which is so secure that the guards don’t
even care if your Minnie ears set off the metal detector.
First things first: Pat had decided he needed a hat lest his close-shaven head get sunburned. We hopped into the Emporium and surveyed the selection, where I was extremely dismayed to discover that the Mr. Toad hat I had decided I did indeed want to buy was gone. A great tragedy indeed. But Pat found himself a suitable lid, so in that way the mission was a success.
Next, the grand centerpiece of our trip: Splash Mountain. This was Pat’s favorite ride as a kid, but it was being refurbished when we went in January 2015. Naturally I made it our first FastPass of the trip, and we breezed happily past the 80 minute standby line and onto the ride. It was amazing, Pat loved it, and my only regret is that Disney lost our photo. 🙁 PhotoPass was a little wonky this time around, as we shall see…
By this point we were hungry again, so we headed into Tomorrowland (site of our next FP) for an ice cream snack at Auntie Gravity’s. Unfortunately neither of us felt like soft serve at the moment, so we regrouped and braved the line at the Plaza parlor. Soft serve has its place, but sometimes it’s worth a little extra effort for hand-scooped. Also, the chocolate disc Mickey ears that come on the kid sundae are totally worth the smaller serving.
Our Space Mountain FastPass was now open, and we doubled back for our ride (65 minute standby for those wondering). We got the left track, back car, which is the best combination, I think.
We stopped for a bathroom break at the less-traveled facilities behind the ride, at which point Pat determined that he was mere steps away from a pretty bad toe blister. This is where traveling with a Disney vet comes in handy, because I was able to lead him immediately to the First Aid center by Crystal Palace, where the nurse gave him a giant handful of bandaids. Crisis averted. Yes, I am available for rent as a private guide.
Then it was time for our Haunted Mansion FastPass (standby: 40 minutes). I had noted Pat’s nearby birthday on my reservation, so the hitchhiking ghosts plastered Pat with birthday cake at the end. Oddly enough, this was the only acknowledgement he received all trip.
We popped into Memento Mori after, which is mostly important because of this:
On the way back we were just in time for the Muppets American history show, the Paul Revere version. I left Pat there a little early so I could book it over to the Harmony Barber Shop for my 4:30pm haircut appointment.
Unlike last time I checked, the place was a veritable ghost town; my only competition for attention was a little girl who solemnly asked the CM to douse her hair in glitter. After she was obliged, I was ushered over to my stylist.
I was going to do a full post on this experience, but it turned out to be such a quick experience that it’s hardly warranted. The CM asked my what I wanted done. I asked for a bangs trim – I do my own, but haphazardly, and I was hoping she could fix them. A little combing, parting, and a single snip, and done. It took like five minutes and she only charged me $7 plus I gave her a tip. Highly recommended for the budget-minded – and how often can you say that about WDW?
I shot a text off to Pat that I was shockingly done already, and we met by the Jungle Cruise. He was eating a popsicle; we discovered that we had, across the miles, had the same thought: maybe I’ll get a Dole Whip. And then we both saw the line and had the same thought: nope. Not happening. Ah, the mysticism of romance.
There’s no way around this: 97% of the time, the Magic Kingdom is hot and crowded. This was one of those times. We decided to head out a little early and take the resort monorail to the Polynesian, where we availed ourselves of a few drinks at Trader Sam’s before continuing on to our California Grill reservation. More on this to come in a separate post!
After an amazing meal and a goodbye viewing of Wishes (I didn’t cry, I only almost cried), we just squeaked onto a bus back to Port Orleans. Nightly ablutions followed. In the morning: the Animal Kingdom on Earth Day!