The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Fireworks At The California Grill

Continuing my trip report for my January 2019 WDW trip. See all the posts in this report here. Onward!

I bolted out of my Jiko dinner with one objective in mind: sneaking into the California Grill to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks. With that goal in my sights, I hopped a bus to the Magic Kingdom from AKL and then walked over to the Contemporary. 

Surprisingly, I was not the only hopeful solo patron hanging around the check-in desk hoping to be granted access to this exclusive establishment. But they let me onto the elevator within about 5 minutes and I had a seat at the bar 10 minutes after that.

With 45 minutes to spare before the fireworks, I ordered a glass of Malbec and settled in. My seatmate was wearing a Dopey jacket and subsequent medals, and we ended striking up that sort of very specific whirlwind mini-friendship one often finds in the Walt Disney World/runDisney community. Or is that just me? Am I hella intense?! DO I MAKE PEOPLE TALK TO ME???

Anyway. The fireworks were early that night – 8pm – and with the assurance that I could keep my seat at the bar I scooched out onto the observation deck to take it all in. Honestly, the view isn’t all that great, and depending the winds they fireworks can be super skewed by comparison to the castle, as they were this night. But it really didn’t matter; it was the music and the proximity that made me feel happy.

I wouldn’t be shocked if every night the fireworks are the unofficial signal to clear out of the CA Grill, and things settled down significantly back at the bar. Our bartender was able to slow down enough to chat a bit with us, and even took unsolicited photos of us with the castle.

Here I am demonstrating the face a bunny makes.

Right before the last call, some random businessmen showed up and bought me a glass of wine, which I’d heard of being a thing that can happen but not generally encountered personally in real life let alone WDW. Rare occurrence or not, that extra glass of wine led me to basically shut down the bar!

I’m so glad I decided to spend my evening this way. The fireworks are always lovely and something about the magic of WDW makes everyone a friend. Single individuals seem to be accommodated pretty easily, too. Solo WDW is the best!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Cinderella Castle Is A Swamp Castle

Speaking of Cinderella Castle

I maintain a longstanding tradition in my family, passed down from my grandmother, of Rejecting Reality in favor of A Fantastical World Of My Own Choosing, Thank You Very Much. This can’t be surprising; I mean, I looooooooooooove Walt Disney World. Duh.

Life being what it is, I am forced to keep one foot in the Real World, and when I’m there, I am often gently teased about the rest of me. I don’t mind; my head is in the clouds because that’s where I like it. Manic Pixie Dream Girls are my people and I would thank the media to stop being so mean to us all the time.

All of this is to set up a conversation Pat and I had at Trader Sam’s (so I already had the home turf advantage) in April. He was, wisely, agreeing with me that WDW is SUPER AWESOME and I have 100% converted him to WDW love… BUT he really wants to travel to other places, too.

I didn’t disagree with this statement outright – there are certainly other travel destinations that pique my interest. But I couldn’t help but note wistfully that I wished I could be at WDW all the time.

“Sure, but there are lots of other amazing places in the world,” Pat pointed out. “You should experience them.”

“But those are real places,” I replied.

He raised an eyebrow. “This isn’t a real place?”

“Nope,” I said, probably making that annoying smug face I reflexively fall into when I feel I’m about to make a really solid point, “this is a made-up place. Other places were formed organically. They already existed, and then people came to them. This wasn’t a place. It was a swamp. It was nothing, and then Walt Disney came along and made a bunch of stuff up and built a castle on top of the swamp and…”

I stopped. My eyes grew wide. I slammed my hand down on the table. “I BUILT THIS KINGDOM FROM NOTHING” I said –


“BUT I BUILT IT ALL THE SAME” I said, sloshing my drink around –

“IT SANK INTO THE SWAMP!” I gasped out, trying not to hyperventilate, “SO I BUILT A SECOND ONE” –

And then Pat started to laugh, and responded with “That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp” – and then I started to laugh, and that’s the story of how we discovered that Monty Python and the Holy Grail was about Walt Disney World all along.

How’s that for a fan theory?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Insists On A Photo In Front Of The Castle

The trip report proper is over, but we’re not done yet – I’ve still got lots of thoughts, including food reviews and photos! You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

Having failed in locating a non-swamped PhotoPass photographer outside Spaceship Earth, I was bound and determined to make it happen in front of Cinderella Castle. The closer you are to the castle the longer the lines – but if you’re willing to accept a slightly less impressive backdrop, the photographers further down Main Street are much easier to secure.

And may well be even better – or perhaps it’s only that they have more time without the press of a waiting line. Regardless, when we stepped in front of the camera, I thought we were in for a few perfunctory clicks and off you go. Instead, we were lead through such a lengthy, directed shoot that you could almost believe we payed extra to get these shots. But we did not. It’s just the Disney magic.

Is this the exact same photo? Or are there subtle variations?
It’s hard to tell…

Regrettably, I didn’t get our photographer’s name, but she was an older lady (60ish?) with short hair and a bubbly personality. Look for her!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!