The last few days were sort of a hodge-podge with a lot of napping at the Beach Club. The best adventure by far was spending time with Lilly the Gorilla and her family. Lilly is over 2 years old now and the contrast in size between her and her daddy Gino is incredible. They are part of a troop of endangered Western Lowland Gorillas with Gino as the alpha male. You can see them at the Pangani Forest Trail (Africa). They can be found either behind the glass of the first viewing station or to the right of the path just after. On the left side of the path is the all male troop. Its worth spending some time here watching both sides because its amazing how they move and behave – especially considering we have 98% of the same DNA.
As I mentioned before it was wicked hot so we stopped at the Dawa Bar for a cocktail. It is a nicely shaded area for relaxing and the one sip I had was wicked good.
FINALLY to my “home” at EPCOT at the Beach Club. It just doesn’t seem right till I get my greeting in the lobby and a grilled cheese at Beaches and Cream.
Since we were coming from Bay Lake we took the monorail to EPCOT. That ride through the park with the tour of Future World is just plain magical and has to happen at least once per trip. We walked through the park looking at the Flower and Garden Festival landscaping and went straight through to Beaches and Cream for an early lunch.
It was SO HOT so we stopped for some Grand Marnier slushies on our way to hanging out in the Mitsukoshi Department Store.
It happened to also be the opening day for Tutto Gusto at the Italy pavilion. It was FANTASTIC for a small bite and we had grappa, soda water with bitters, espresso and a cocktail.
I actually went into the American Pavilion for the first time ever so that I could see the Robert McCall painting in the back of the lobby. After walking around the rest of the countries we had dinner at La Hacienda for one of my favorites – vegetarian empanadas.
I started coming down with a cold. Are you supposed to feed a cold? Cause that’s what I did. Germany’s Biergarten, the place I avoided for so many years because of my strong distaste for sauerkraut has won my heart and fat ass over. There was some especially good spaetzle this year that when combined with apple sauce – was epic. The desserts suck though.
After eating that much, all you can do is lounge really and so that’s exactly what we did at the HP Red Planet Lounge at Mission Space. You couldn’t pay me to go on that ride but since its sacred ground I at least thought we should spend some time there. What’s cool is that the Lunar Rover is parked just outside the windows of the lounge so you can see it up close.
There was still more digesting and lounging to do so went went to The Land where I was happy to see they don’t allow strollers near the door. Once in there we went “exploring” then rode the boat ride.
After another day of hot Florida sun and merciless concrete we went to Beaches and cream for dinner and dessert.
This year we split the trip between Bay Lake and Beach Club and so the first two days were spent entirely at the Magic Kingdom – I’ve never visited ONLY Magic Kingdom for a single day let alone two! Here is the breakdown.
First, Bay Lake is AWESOME. Its got modern rooms with great art work, an incredible view, and the Top of the World Lounge is an awesome hang out. My favorite part of the lounge of course being the John Hench concept art work on display behind the bar and in a side lounge. After having a delicious breakfast with fresh vegetables at The Wave we WALKED to the Magic Kingdom!
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom – I couldn’t help myself. I think this is so neat. I like the idea of the technology and completely buy into the magic of an ordinary space magically turning into a portal! Only downside is waiting in line for it and if you are the only one in your group playing the others might not want to follow you where the game takes you which are random spots on the map.
Haunted Mansion – Tried the interactive queue. This may or may not have been the source of the horrible cold I got a few days later but any tribut to Thurl Ravenscroft gets my support.
SNACK TIME! Between the four of us we had 2 Citrus swirls, 1 Dole Whip Float with pineapple soft serve, 1 Dole Whip with vanilla, 1 Dole Whip with orange, and 1 pineapple juice. I don’t think I will ever be that refreshed unless I end up at tropical island before my next visit – although the Dole Cocktail Contest at Ohana might be close.
Splash Mountain – nice gentlemen gave us fast passes!
We ended the night at the Polynesian’s Tambu Lounge for some drinks and apps before heading back to the Lounge to watch the Wishes Fireworks.
We took the monorail over to the Polynesian’s Kona Cafe to start out the morning with Tonga Toast. Then another monorail ride and back at Magic Kingdom!
A visit with the Wicket Step Mother and Step Sisters
A visit with Princess Tianna
Enchanted Tiki Room – while I miss the fountain, I can’t complain about this version!
After it got hot and the crowds started in we headed out of the park for lunch at Sanaa over at Kindani Village in Animal Kingdom. For dessert, we went back to the Polynesian for more Dole Whips at Captain Cooks.
Not to be defeated, we went back into Magic Kingdom where I finished my Sorcerers game, got a veggie burger with all the fixins from Pecos Bill and a Walnut Chocolate Brownie from Main Street Bakery. Again, we ended the night at the Lounge watching Wishes.
So I came down with either the Tortuga Flu or the Interactive Queue Flu – either way I stopped updating on my final 3 days of the trip. This doesn’t mean fun wasn’t had of course. The last 3 days included eating at Germany, exploring Epcot lounges, more time at the Polynesian and spending some quality time with Lilly.
Detailed tid bits from the trip with pictures to follow!
Oh Epcot how I love thee. Let me count the ways…OK that would be boring and unfortunately it’s less reasons than there used to be but still something about this park makes it home to me. Probably the food.
Tutto Gusto opened and it’s FANTASTIC! Check it out on the Disney Food Blog as their pictures are much better than mine.
The Flower and Garden show does not disappoint and below is a tribute to the motherland, O Canada!
Day 1 was a great success in the Magic Kingdom! Bay Lake is incredible. The picture below is of the lounge on the top floor and yes, that is John Hench art work on the glass behind the bar. There is also a side room that has 9 backlit John Hench concept drawings for Tomorrowland. It’s like it was made for me.
Many a dole whip and citrus swirl has been consumed! Glad to have that little orange bird back in action!
Robert Sherman of the Sherman Brothers, a Disney Legend has passed. His musical accomplishments are amazing and will allow us feel and hum the magic. Progress City USA has done a wonderful tribute including audio and video. And now, to celebrate his life…
Book Review – Walt and the Promise of Progress City
Fantastic! This was such a fun read through the eyes of Sam Gennawey, an urban planner with a great viewpoint of Disney. Walt and the Promise of Progress City combines all the familiar elements we know about Disney and discusses with great enthusiasm the possibility of what could have been if Walt Disney lived to build his own city. After reading this book I have an even greater appreciation for these parks and the creativity and vision Walt had for his parks and the world.
Sam starts out by talking about the Disneyland episode that first aired in 1954 called Magic Highway U.S.A. I STRONGLY recommend that everyone see this at least once. We watched the whole 48 minutes on our TV and its fascinating. For many of us its hard to appreciate that highways weren’t always here and what impact the vehicle has had on our lives. Walt looked to limit the negative aspects of car congestion and fast cities with hubs of activity in a more pleasant atmosphere.
Other tidbits from the book that I found fascinating:
2. Escapism concept – Sam quotes John Hench as saying that Disneyland wasn’t selling escapism. Its just that the negative and inconsistent elements were strategically left out in the planning. You haven’t escaped – you’ve been reassured of an existence where things are clean, working, and you go at your own pace.
3. The original Progress City Model featured a “beautiful and sleek Mid-Century Modern civic building, an amusement park with spinning rides, and a lake with a Tiki restaurant on one edge.” Boy Walt knew how to live, I would do the same thing if I was building a city.
4. Disneyland opened in 1955 so each of its lands represent a cinematic genre of that time. There is nothing I love more than the 1950’s vision of what the future will bring so it makes sense that I flock to Tomorrowland immediately. Sam refers to Adventureland as “movie exotica” and so its also fitting that is where I choose to end my visits on a high but tropical note.
Be sure to check out what remains of the Progress City Model next time you ride the WEDway People Mover!