After our late night, I would’ve slept in a bit this morning, but I had a new 7am mission: an Advanced Dining Reservation at Le Cellier for my January WDW Marathon trip. I wasn’t able to secure the exact date and time I wanted, but I did end up with something that works. Success! I rewarded myself with an extra 45 minutes of shuteye.
But then it was up and off to the showers, because Walt Disney World awaited! Originally I had made our park pass for this day the Studios again, just in case we weren’t able to get on Rise of the Resistance. Of course, we did, and at Pat’s behest I was able to switch us to the Magic Kingdom. It was technically blacked out to APs, but because I was staying on resort property I was able to snag the pass with all the regular ticket folk.
We grabbed a bus to the park and discussed our options. Priority one: a breakfast snack. Pat has fond memories of the waffle fries from Golden Oak Outpost, so believe or not that was our first stop once inside the gates. Alas, the waffle fries are gone from that menu. Instead, we split some nachos from Pecos Bill’s. Remember when the guac was free? Those were the days.
Once sated, we took our places in the Splash Mountain standby queue. This is historically Pat’s favorite ride, and he wanted to be sure to ride it before the makeover. The posted wait was I think 40 minutes? Ultimately I don’t think we waited more than 30, but the mere act of queueing drove Pat to impulse-buy Genie+ in line.
Guys. Don’t do this. We tried it first hand and it just wasn’t cost-effective. If you want Genie+ to be worth your while, you’ve got to start at the beginning of the day and just keep adding on. That two-hours-before-next-reservation rule just kills the value unless you’re swinging for the Lightning Lane fences the moment the clock hits 7am (or 9am if off property). Do not let our sacrifice be in vain. Buy Genie+ early or not at all.
The weather was still a little brisk and I got sloshed more than I would’ve liked on some of the drops, but Splash was a fun time as always. Our logs were backed up all the way outside the final paddleboat scene, but we got cleared out quickly enough.
While in line I had snagged a decent Lightning Lane return time for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so we did that next. I don’t know if it’s the wildest ride in the wilderness as advertised, but we did get the back of the train, so it was enjoyable swooshy.
I hadn’t been through the Hall of Presidents in a while, so I voted to do that next. All political affiliations aside, I just love Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address. The man could write a speech.
Oh, on the way over we took a brief pit stop to try the recently free Frontierland Shooting Arcade. Or anyway Pat did. I am incompetent with shooters of both the real life and video game variety, so I just put down my gun and watched Pat shoot stuff. Where’s the Frontierland Melee Arcade, I ask you?
Post-Thunder we were feeling a bit peckish again, so we stopped in the hub for an ice cream sandwich (Pat) and some roasted candied nuts (me) before meandering over to the Tiki (Tiki Tiki Tiki) Tiki Room. The Cast Member at the front complimented me on my Oogie Boogie dress, and we commiserated how Cast Connection conspires to take all your money. ;D
Rumor has it that in Disneyland, they’ll let you bring Dole Whip into the Tiki Room. I don’t remember – is that true? Even without refreshments, it was a good show as always. The kid in front of us got scared when the masks in the wall woke up, which was a new one for me. I hope that poor girl can make it through the Haunted Mansion in one piece!
Speaking of the Haunted Mansion, that was our next Lightning Lane reservation, so we scampered over there. I discovered in the comfort of my Doom Buggie that my Oogie Boogie dress glows in the dark! Truly the gift
to myself that keeps on giving.
I pressed pause to use the Tangled bathrooms, from which vantage point I was able to see that the it’s a small world line was allegedly only 35 minutes. Perhaps this seems like a lot for small world, but the Magic Kingdom was HOPPING and lines were long across the park. We took a chance and were rewarded with what turned out to be a 15 minute wait.
Despite my desire to squeeze more value out of Genie+ by making one more reservation, Pat was dead set on heading back to the room. He was right, of course – we were tired and needed a break – but commando habits die hard. We had to wait a while for the Caribbean Beach bus to show up, but ultimately it was worth it for the down time.
We made a quick pit stop in Centertown Market for a quick cup of coffee, where I chatted briefly with a CM who said she was thinking of running the WDW Half in January. Naturally I enthusiastically encouraged her, and by the end of our conversation she said she was going to do it. The cult grows by the day!
After our room break, we grabbed the bus to Disney Springs (in my experience, the most reliable bus loop in WDW for some reason?). The moment we arrived, we immediately headed straight to Gideon’s Bakehouse for a spot in their virtual queue. With that out of the way, we were free to explore the Springs.
Wine Bar George’s The Basket was right next door, so our first act was to grab a couple drinks there. I love how you can stroll around Disney Springs with an adult beverage? Which is precisely what we did, strolling over to the Marketplace side to poke around the shops.
We started our tour in a store called I think Stance? I’d never heard of it but they were full of socks and Pat needed socks. I wanted him to get Coco socks but as it turned out they only stocked them in child sizes. Boo. We also swung through the Ron Jon Surf Shop for some face sunscreen. As a surfer, Pat is very particular about his sunscreen.
Next we hit up the Christmas shop, where we got the bright idea to buy a Nightmare Before Christmas snake to put around the base of our tree. Then we popped into the Marketplace Co-Op to look at the Dress Shop dresses that are beautiful and too expensive. Finally, we rummaged through Volcom and Uniqlo to find Pat a long sleeved shirt. Yeah, the weather was that chilly.
While in line to check out at Uniqlo, we got the much anticipated call back to Gideon’s! In case you’ve never experienced this magical shop, the aesthetic is magnificent and the cookies are amazing. The hype is completely earned. We bought some magnificent cookies and also a sticker because once again it had a black cat on it. Pat says that I will buy anything with a black cat on it, and he is right.
Oh, also, while waiting in line at Gideon’s there was an Irish musician playing at the Hole in the Wall bar across the way. He did the Dropkick Murphys’ “Rose Tattoo” and it made me really happy. We were too far away for him to see me singing along, so if you’re out there, Irish music guy, I love you!
By that point is was close enough to our ADR at Homecomin,’ so we headed over. We ordered enough here to warrant a separate review, but suffice it to say it was awesome!
After dinner we grabbed the bus back to Caribbean Beach. A little TV, a little hanging out, and it was off to dreamland. Epcot awaited in the morning!
Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email email@example.com. See ya real soon!