The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/08

It’s trip report time again! I love trip reports! I’m recapping my January 2017 trip to WDW for the marathon. You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

Post-marathon, I snagged a bus immediately and made it back to my room around 11:30am. This would’ve thrilled last year me, who needed to shower and book, but as I wasn’t leaving until the next day I instead luxuriated in the gift of time. First I showered, then I ate a couple snacks and hung around on the computer. Indeed, I was so comfortable (and, let’s face it, tired and a bit stiff), that only a Frozen Ever After FastPass could drag me out of bed.

Guess what I had?

So I threw off the covers, put on some clothes, scrounged up a bus, and made it to Epcot in plenty of time – only to find the Frozen was down. Blast.

I pondered grabbing some food at Kringla but, as is often the case after a very long run, I wasn’t particularly hungry yet. Instead I consulted MDE and saw that the Three Caballeros had no wait, so I headed over to Mexico for a Gran Fiesta Tour. The Three Caballeros is actually a great, if somewhat disjointed movie. Check it out.

By the time I exited Frozen was operational; I backtracked to Norway and hopped into the FP line. I wound up with the front row all to myself and it was awesome. As I said the first time I rode: Frozen is whatever, RIP Maelstrom, but damn, Imagineers, well done on this one. The “Let It Go” room FTW!

I don’t full understand what this photo op is for.

Temperatures had rocketed to – GASP! – the low 50s, so my next act was to scuttle over to the China gift shop to warm up and check my FastPass options. They were limited, but I was able to push back my Living with the Land FP time.

Next I power walked over to France for one of my to-do list items: watch the France movie. It is – like much of, well, Epcot – pretty dated, but the soundtrack is amazing. I will never tire of Saint-Saens’ organ symphony.

By then my Living with the Land FP was open, so I headed over there and slid into another front row seat to myself. Certainly this isn’t the most thrilling ride in WDW but I’m rather fond of it for its gentle pace, relaxing ambiance, and the occasional oddball tour of worker wandering through the gardens. Interesting to note: the gator pen is now gone entirely, replaced with a catfish breeding area.

While still on the ride I secured a Spaceship Earth FP, which is not the greatest get but turned out to be a Godsend as the area under SE was a veritable WIND TUNNEL. The less time spent under it the better. I hid in a nearby gift shop until my time opened up because JESUS, FLORIDA, GET IT TOGETHER.

Once I was on the ride, though, I was back in my happy place. There’s nothing like kicking up your feet in your empty car and eating gummy bears while Dame Judi Dench explains communication.

I toyed with accepting my fate and getting in the standby line for Soarin,’ but that was never gonna jive with the fireworks at MK. I chose to prioritize the latter and picked up a monorail to the TTA and then MK.

Do you ever feel like a WDW Super User? I was in a monorail car with some people who were confused about the monorail loops; I was able to direct them to the resort loop they really wanted. I felt very pleased with myself. At least I’m good at something.

There was about an hour to kill before Wishes, and under normal circumstances I would’ve used that time to, oh, find a good FastPass, or take in something quick and line-less like the steam train or the TTA. But I was starting to get COLD!!! again, and my plans called for a lot of time wandering the gift shops.

They were, as you might expect, packed with people who were also cold + doing the traditional last minute shopping thing, but as I was in no hurry it didn’t bother me overmuch. I walked through both sides of Main Street before ducking into Starbucks and getting myself a large-ish cup of tea to sustain me through the necessarily outdoors fireworks. Unfortunately I missed the new Once Upon a Time projection show, but I was just too cold. Next time.

I took my tea down to the end of Main Street near the train station and took in Wishes, finishing my nice warm beverage just as the last firework exploded. I did an about face and beat it out the park ahead of the masses. I had briefly entertained the idea of bolting back to Epcot for Extra Magic Hours, but again, it was just too cold.

Pat says this photo is terrifying.

I realized too late that what I SHOULD have done was see if I could weasel my way into the bar area of the California Grill. They probably would’ve let a single person in even at a later hour. But then who knows how good my view would’ve been and how much money would I have dropped on drinks?

Anyway. One of those fancy double buses carried me back to Pop, where I snagged a surprisingly good turkey sandwich in the food court. I took it back to my room and ate it while watching TV, one of the simple pleasures of hotel life. And then I fell asleep, because marathons take a lot out of you.

Next up: one more day in WDW.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn is the Only Person On Earth with Candlelight Processional Reservations

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m taking my mom to Walt Disney World in December in our first trip together since 1998. Allow me to outline my plan:

  1. I organize a trip so amazing that my mom informs my dad that they have been making a mistake all these years, disbelieving my claims that WDW is awesome, and that more trips must be made with all haste.
  2. My dad agrees to go to Walt Disney World again in the next year or so.
  3. My WDW hotel bill for one trip is reduced to 1/3. Unless we want to get REALLY pie in the sky here and consider he might not make me go in on the room??? 😀

Clearly I am a MASTERMIND. There are many ways I plan to positively BLOW MY MOTHER’S MIND with the glory and greatness that is the WDW she has never truly seen before, but of course one vital element comes in the form of Advanced Dining Reservations. I’ve got it all lined up, guys: afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian; watching animals frolic out on the savanna at Sanaa; a fabulous tank view in the Coral Reef; breakfast with Winnie the Pooh at the Crystal Palace.

But there was one thing missing. One thing that plagued me. One thing that I waited and waited and waited to grab, terrified that the day I didn’t check for reservations would be the day they opened up and I would miss it and everything would be RUINED. RUINED!

Luckily I caught wind of the day reservations would open several days in advance, and so yesterday morning I was awake and ready at 6AM and I HAVE A 7:30PM RESERVATION AT CALIFORNIA GRILL, MY FRIENDS. Tell me that is not a PRIME reservation time for coffee and dessert over Wishes.


But actually, that’s not why I’m writing this post. Well, not precisely, anyway. I want to tell a small story about that Coral Reef reservation, for you see, it is not just any reservation. It is a Candlelight Processional Package reservation, another piece of the puzzle I obsessed over for longer than I care to admit. For awhile there I was getting up every morning at 6AM in case.

And then, one morning, by some great miracle, reservations were available! For some bizarre reason I could only seem to get them at Via Napoli. This was not what I wanted, as my mother is a great ocean enthusiast and would doubtless enjoy the ambiance if nothing else.  But if pizza was the thing, well, we’d survive.

Because I’m crazy To be sure, I called the dinner reservation phone line when it opened at 7AM, I had the following conversation, more or less:

ME: May I reserve a Candlelight Processional package for Coral Reef on December 7?

GUY: Oh, we haven’t started those yet. We just found out this morning that they’ll be available on July 9.

ME: … That’s funny, I made one for Via Napoli this morning. I was just calling to make sure that Coral Reef wasn’t available, since that’s the one I really wanted.

GUY: If you make a restaurant reservation, it’s not the same as getting the special Candlelight package.

ME: No, I made it through the Candlelight page. It says “CAN” at the beginning of the reservation and everything.

GUY: … Really? Can I have your reservation number? [I give it to him] Wow, you’re right. I see it. It’s a Candelight reservation. This is weird. They’re not supposed to be available until July 9. Let me see if I can bring it up… No, I can’t see it. Not even at 2PM [which is when our reservation is].

ME: I also saw availability at 4PM.

GUY: [tries that] Nope, it’s not available for me either. [He also tries other Candlelight package-offering restaurants, none of which come up] Let me call the help desk…

[Here I am treated to a hold music medley of Winnie the Pooh songs]

GUY: Okay, I talked to the help line, and they think it’s a mistake. The system took your credit card info [it does this just as a hold for more popular reservations; you aren’t charged unless you don’t show up] so you do have the reservation, but they’re not sure it’s going to stick. If it won’t, they’ll call you. If they don’t call you, it’s yours! But since you really wanted Coral Reef you can call back at on July 9…

ME: Yup, I’ll do that. No worries.

GUY: Just out of curiosity, let me see if anyone else made a reservation… Nope, you’re the only one.

I was able to make a new reservation at the Coral Reef on July 9 as instructed, and I cancelled the Via Napoli reservation accordingly. But for a brief moment there, I was the only person in the entire world with Candlelight Processional dinner reservations.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at See ya real soon!