THE LAST DAY! Now based on over three weeks of memory.
Our leave time for the day was 8:30am because the park would open at 9am and all we had to do was take the monorail over. Although the Grand Floridian isn’t as fancy looking as the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it’s significantly more expensive purely because of how close it is to the Magic Kingdom Park. Apparently that’s the case for all the “Magic Kingdom resorts,” a term I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t know ANYTHING about Disney World, other than that I was told to purchase a 4-day ticket by Jessica and Laura. I was really blown away by the first day when I realized there were SO many Disney hotels.
All we had to do upon entry was walk up to the castle and we got to see a mini show where all the major characters are in front of the castle doing a dance. Amazing! Unfortunately, I failed to hit record on my camera, so I missed it all!!! I mean, it’s just a little dance and song, but also two fireworks go off over the castle after everyone says bibbi bobbidi boo, which is something I wish I had captured. Oh well – I’m certain there’s tons of recordings of the same thing on YouTube.
Right after the castle doors open, we then ZOOMED on over to Peter Pan and it was a 25 minute wait. The positive for Magic Kingdom is that since everyone had already been to Disneyland, AND because we’d already watched the fireworks (via boat) the night before, we weren’t in much of a rush, and were basically just trying to do any non-Disneyland things.
The nice thing to explore at Magic Kingdom is that the rides may be similar to Disneyland’s, but the line queue decor is often different and air conditioned, because they had more space to build out. For instance, Peter Pan’s queue was super cute, as if you were in the house. Apparently there’s tricks to some of the decor, like you could clap somewhere and Tinkerbell would appear, but we didn’t know any of the secrets.
Laura noticed that my mom KEPT taking photos of It’s A Small World which was right across from Peter Pan, so right after Peter Pan, we walked over to did that ride – it was like a 5 minute wait. Turns out, it’s my mom’s favorite ride!
Then our first fastpass was the Snow White Mine Train, which isn’t a ride in California. I didn’t enjoy it, though maybe it’s because the train took several unexpected stops during the ride. There WAS however, very cold AC in the line queue, and it was already pretty hot in the morning, so I enjoyed that aspect. Otherwise, it seemed like a more boring Big Thunder Mountain.
Next up, we watched Mickey’s Philharmonic, which is a great 3D show where Donald Duck is trying to get the sorcerer’s hat and ends up in a bunch of classic Disney films musical scenes. It’s a really well done show! The musical transitions were really clever.
Actually, I no longer really remember what was the correct order … I feel like we walked back and forth quite a bit in Magic Kingdom, and it was so hot, I didn’t take that many photos. I remember we did the Little Mermaid ride, and I really liked that line’s decor/design too. Then we went to go watch a mini parade before heading over to some Beauty and the Beast attraction.
I think this is when Jessica joined us – she had been doing a separate scavenger hunt. While we were waiting in line for the Beauty and the Beast thing, I don’t really know what I was expecting this to be, but all I knew was that there’d be a photo opportunity with Belle afterwards. It turned out to be the kind of thing where they get audience participation, mainly kids … AND ME. I got chosen to be a “knight” which meant I had to stand off to the side (I thought I’d have a more elaborate role, like maybe marching around the room or something, but I really don’t remember doing very much other than stand in a corner and hold a cardboard cutout of a knight). Laura’s mom also got chosen, based on her ability to sing a note, which was something she was very proud of.
This whole experience was a bit confusing because so much of my time was just spent standing off to the side without much direction. There was a photographer who took a ton of photos, and I assumed they’d let all the chosen participants take a picture with Belle first, then everyone would re-configure for family photos. But we never got a family photo! We just got ushered out of the room. So weird. Luckily for my family, I don’t think anyone really cares to take photos with Disney characters, so my mom wasn’t annoyed at all.
From here, it was time for our Be Our Guest lunch! Jessica was able to get us reservations at this very popular cafeteria. It’s decorated in Beauty and the Beast style, with the most popular room decorated like the ballroom. We had an eight person group, and our reservation just meant we could enter the place, but we still had to look for our own table. Laura ended up finding an eight person table in a side room, styled more like the Beast’s bedroom (so very dark but with a rose in a glass thing off to the side).
The food was ok – probably a little too heavy for my family’s taste. We ended up getting two pork dishes (how odd … I went to the website to look for the exact description but the closest thing that it describes is a chicken coq au vin and I’m pretty certain we had pork, not chicken), one quiche (which was really a giant plate of salad that came with a tiny quiche) and a croque monsieur for myself. My mom never knows what to order, so she asked me to help her pick (as always – this is something that really annoys me). I figured my brother was not planning on sharing his pork entree, and that seemed like THE dish to get here, so I told her to get her own pork dish, and my dad and I would share our dishes with her. She was like “mmm I think I want the french dip” and I was like “no! You’ll like the pork dish!” Turns out she actually enjoys french dip sandwiches, which is not something I knew, so when she got her pork entree she was like “I really wish I had gotten the french dip.” ALSO, we had ordered a side of green beans for my croque monsieur, without realizing that another dish we got ALSO came with green beans. So my mom was also really sad that she didn’t get to eat fries. This lunch was NOT well ordered.
Oh yeah, we also got two desserts – the grey stuff which was a chocolate cupcake topped with cookies n cream frosting, and then … uh oh I don’t know! Maybe it was this strawberry cream cheese cupcake. No – looking at my pictures, it looks like we got a cream puff. I really feel like the online menu for this restaurant has already changed from what we ordered because the menu says “lemon raspberry cream puff” and that does NOT sound like something we’d order.
Oh well – onto the next! We went over to the Country Bear Jamboree, and I was surprised to find out, my mom knew what that show was. She was like “oh good, that’s an excellent show.” I was asleep for nearly the entire thing. I wish the seats for these shows went up higher, because my head always rolls around during these shows. Not great for sleeping!
Then we had a fast pass for Splash Mountain, which was great! The decor inside is totally different from Disneyland’s! I like this ride a lot, mainly because I don’t have any movie association with it. And because almost all of it is indoors. Otherwise, I find sitting on those seats a little gross because who knows how much of that is water vs sweat vs sunscreen.
Then we walked over to the Tiki Room, another show I fell asleep in. I do not love this show! It’s hard for me to see everything that’s going on. I do like the decor off to the side though, which they also had replicated in Trader Sam’s.
After this, I think our group split off. Jessica and her dad went home, as did my brother and my dad. It was REALLY hot already, and we didn’t have any other rides planned, just a parade. My mom and Laura’s mom both wanted to watch the parade, so Laura and I stayed in the park with them. We found a nice, shaded spot outside of a store, and even better it was right in front of an open store door so I could occasionally feel the AC blowing past my legs. I did have to stand the whole time, but that was fine! Excellent views of the parade.
We ended up leaving pretty much right after the parade, so around 3:30pm. On the monorail back, my mom and I decided to stop in the Contemporary Resort to buy some cookies as souvenirs. My mom ended up buying a ton of cookies actually, and I got one box of coconut cookies for the office. (I tried one and really did not like them. The box only has twelve cookies, and I still see it in the office, so that must mean other people didn’t like these cookies either LOL). When we took the monorail back to the Grand Floridian and had our bags searched, the guard said “you have a lot of cookies” and I just went “yup!”
Of course, on the way back, we somehow just barely missed the monorail by seconds. I jokingly blamed my mom, even though she wasn’t really taking any photos. Actually, once we saw we had missed the monorail, I was like “welp I guess we can just stand around and take pictures then!” which she was delighted by. An employee thought we were trying to take photos of a hidden Mickey in the murals and tried to point it the hidden Mickey out to me, and I had to do my “oh … yes … I see it! Thank you…” when I had no idea where he was trying to get me to look.
Once we got back to the Grand Floridian, then my mom wanted to go around and look at the shops, since they’d all been closed the night before when she had gone on her solo walk. She spent a really long time looking for more souvenirs but ended up not buying any. I took a few photos of the hotel lobby which was nice. And I have in my notes … we got back to our hotel room around 5pm!
Just an hour of rest though, because we were scheduled to leave and return to Magic Kingdom at 6pm for the last few rides of the day, all in Tomorrowland. We did the People Mover (BORING), the Carousel of Progress (I was asleep for the entire ride) and then we had our third fastpass for the Pirates ride (just as interesting as the Disneyland version, which is to say, not).
Once we got out of Pirates, everyone had decisions to make! Laura’s family had already decided they were going to go out for dinner and skip the fireworks, since they were satisfied with the fireworks show from the private boat tour. My mom wanted to stay longer and walk around and experience all of the park. I had no clue what my brother wanted before we all started deciding, but it turns out he wanted to stay in the park until the fireworks show and then return, and my dad was happy to do that too. I LOVE fireworks, but I loved Chicken Guy even more, so I said I’d want to eat there for dinner and I’d skip the fireworks if I wasn’t able to eat any other time. Jessica hadn’t been able to try Chicken Guy the first time we went, so she wanted to eat there too. So the five of us went to get on a Disney Springs shuttle! Oh wait, it was just four of us – Laura’s dad had stayed in the hotel and didn’t return to the park with us after our mid-day break, but would head to Disney Springs on his own to join us at Chicken Guy for dinner. My mom split off on her own, and my brother and dad went off to do who knows what.
I felt kind of guilty for a while, because I thought my mom would’ve liked to have me there to take photos of her. But she didn’t care at all about having anyone with her – when I asked her if she wish I had stayed to take photos, she was like “what?! the sun was setting, we couldn’t have really taken photos anyway” so that makes me feel better. And my mom seemed to really enjoy her solo time because she seriously accomplished SO MUCH. But first –
We exited the park and then went to look for the shuttles… actually I’m slightly confused – I remember being at the Contemporary Resort. Maybe we had to monorail here in order to get onto a shuttle to Disney Springs. We once again JUST BARELY missed the shuttle, and the next one wasn’t for another twenty minutes. I’m very set in the idea of “Disney has all the transit to get you anywhere” so I was like “welp! ok then! Shuttle in twenty minutes!” but Jessica immediately was like HELL NO and looked up a rideshare, and pretty soon, we were off on our way to Disney Springs.
Which turned out to be a great idea, because we got there within twenty minutes, and at the time we arrived at Disney Springs, the shuttle would’ve probably JUST been leaving. Laura’s dad had already left the hotel room to meet us at Chicken Guy and was right at the front of the line where you’d be allowed into the restaurant to order. HA when he saw us, he just waited until we got near to his place in line, and then turned and walked away to sit down without saying anything.
I ordered a Southwestern chicken sandwich for myself and a second one for my mom to have later. The Kuos had a pretty nice, varied dinner – I think they had sandwiches and fries and maybe a salad? Maybe some tenders? I don’t remember. But it was a fantastic dinner! I don’t regret skipping the fireworks at all, especially because the night was not yet over!
Laura’s parents decided to take a shuttle back to the hotel room to relax, and they kindly took my mom’s sandwich back with them. It was probably already 9:30pm, so a pretty full day for them! Laura, Jessica and I ended up taking a shuttle to the Contemporary Lodge so we could go to the Top of the World lounge. Only Vacation Club members have access, and Jessica had never been here before. It was fantastic! Basically she just had to show proof of her membership and then this nice, old lady swiped her badge to let us into an elevator that went straight to the top. Then you kind of end up in a standard hotel hallway, and then have to walk through to enter the lounge.
It was a quiet, but somewhat slow bar. Jessica ended up ordering an apple pie martini, and Laura and I shared a “monorail yellow” which was just a pina colada with orange juice – light on the alcohol. Fun times!
The BEST part of this stop though, was that the women’s restroom included the TINIEST sink ever. I thought it was weird that the soap dispenser was positioned at a normal height. Of course we took pictures of this, in addition to some photos from the outside balcony.
The other best part of this time of the night was that I’d occasionally check my phone and find texts from my mom. I’d texted her when I first left her, because I was worried she wouldn’t know what to do (this was a dumb concern – she is very independent). But since she didn’t have the Disney App on her phone, I texted her a bunch of stuff like “you can ride the ferries if you’re bored. This ride has just a 10 minute wait. Why don’t you try this, it has a 5 minute wait” and she just IGNORED ALL MY TEXTS! Instead of responding to what I said, she’d just text me very brief texts:
Me: You can also go out of the park and take ferries around
Mom: Ok. I am on the boat now. Say thanks to Jessica
Me: What boat?
Mom: It’s a Small World
*sends photo of Winnie the Pooh ride, no text context*
*sends photo of cups ride, no text context*
Me: You can try jungle cruise
Mom: I am going after fireworks.
*sends photos of fireworks*
*one hour later*
Me: Where are you? Did you head home?
Mom: Just did haunted mansion ride
*sends photo of stand by entrance sign for haunted mansion*
Me: try big thunder railroad
*forty minutes later*
Mom: Ready to board big thunder mountain railroad
*sends photo of big thunder entrance*
*thirty minutes later*
Me: Try splash mountain
Mom: Did flying carpet
Mom: Very busy
Me: You could try Dumbo, far walk for you though
*sends photos of her with Little Mermaid*
This is the point where I show Jessica and Laura my phone and we’re all like, she’s doing EVERYTHING! The no-context Little Mermaid photos were the BEST. Later my mom told me she thought she was in the line to ride the Little Mermaid ride again, and she asked someone “is this little mermaid?” and they said “yes” and when she finally realized it was a photo opp, not a ride, she thought it’d be too rude to leave the line. Great photos though!
At this point, it was 11pmish – Jessica decided she’d head back to the hotel while Laura and I wanted to go back into Magic Kingdom, ONE LAST TIME! Laura asked what ride I’d want to do and I said Peter Pan. I’ve realized this is one of my favorite rides, purely because I love seeing little cityscapes and I love their London room! When we rode it the first time in the morning, I whipped my phone out but it was ZOOMED IN from when I had tried to get photos of the characters in front of the castle, so my photos were AWFUL! I wanted to go back and attempt another London photo, so off we went! Spoiler: I never got a good photo of London, even on the second try. BUMMER.
We went off to the Peter Pan ride – and of course my mom was ALSO in line! She was about one room’s wait ahead of us. I briefly thought she’d probably come back in line to join us, but Laura was like “no, she’s not going to” … and she did not! HAHA You have to be in line for a ride before midnight in order to ride it, so she was able to finish Peter Pan and then walk across and ride It’s a Small World FOR THE THIRD TIME that day! Meanwhile, Laura and I finished Peter Pan right around midnight, and then ended up sitting next to the carousel to wait for my mom to exit. I loved that carousel! It was very peaceful to watch it lit up, under the castle, at midnight and then to watch the last guests on the carousel.
Somehow my mom didn’t come out of It’s a Small World until like 12:15am. HAHA Laura was like “I don’t know how you and your mom have so much energy.” I remember her saying “you and your mom” but I know she mainly means my mom. Finally, my little mom comes out of It’s a Small World, with TONS of energy! Ready to go home! She was very happy with her last ride of the day, her FAVORITE ride. She said, “I rode this three times! First time, for video. Second time, for photos. Third time, to enjoy.” HAHA
We were one of the last few people in the park, at least it felt that way! I liked walking down Main Street at night – I find it much more enjoyable to walk around at the end of the day when the crowd is gone, more so than in the morning.
We were probably out of Magic Kingdom around 12:30am and I am almost certain that we were the very last people to be riding the monorail at night. The employees even came around to ask where we were headed – we’re not sure why since they didn’t skip any stops. What a successful day! I immediately went to shower, meanwhile my mom apparently sat and enjoyed her chicken sandwich! haha Jessica and Laura were like “she was still eating her sandwich when we fell asleep.” I remember going to bed around 2:30am, I was trying to write as many notes as I could for my blog. But that was the trip!!!
I won’t do an entry for the next day, since we just got up, ate oatmeal (I’m guessing) and then headed out to the airport. What a vacation! This was definitely a great family vacation 🙂