Feb 20, 2009






3 parks, lots of food and a change of plans


After a good night’s sleep we had breakfast in the room. Tom had insisted on a birthday cake for me and since he doesn’t like sweets for breakfast too much we only got a small Mickey Head Cake at the Boardwalk Bakery. It was decorated with a candle before this very nice and moist cake was eaten. We then headed for the Disney Hollywood Studios. On the way out of our resort we stopped for some more photos.

It was just such a beautiful morning, with all the blue skies! We arrived at the Studios right around rope drop and found them to be already crowded at that early hour. Our intention was to pick up a Fast Pass for Toy Story Mania, but when we arrived the lines were long and the Fast Pass time was already 11.30, so we gave it a miss, hoping to do it some other time in the summer. We walked over to New York Street where we had more photos taken, then we went over to our favourite ride, Tower of Terror.

We picked up a Fast Pass and got in line. The line was long, going all the way back into the garden, but we just stayed and enjoyed the setting of the Tower of Terror. After about 50 minutes it was our turn to ride and we really enjoyed it. I wanted to try one of the Spicy Cheese Stuffed Pretzels, so I got in line at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. Once I got to the front of the line, they were out of these, wait time another 25 minutes. Thanks but no thanks, so we tried Starring Rolls.

 The place was full, the line wound all the way outside, but the food was looking really good. We had decided on sharing a sandwich, so I got a Turkey Focaccia with Chips and some Diet Coke for us. We found a nice table and enjoyed our snack. Great value for money. When we left we picked up some Popcorn from one of the stands. Munching on our popcorn we walked around the Studios, browsing the shops and finally being able to ride Tower of Terror again.

This time the regular line was shorter, but we still passed by quite a lot of people in line. After the ride we decided to leave because we had planned to have lunch at the Animal Kingdom. Since this was our last full day and we were not coming back to the Hollywood Studios until August we decided to give the pretzels one more try. And we were lucky. They did have some fresh Spicy Cheese Stuffed Pretzels and it was a really yummy treat. Once we had finished it we said goodbye to the Studios and left for Animal Kingdom.

We arrived there and found a parking space not too far from the tram. Since it was already midday there were not too many people going to the park and the tram was fairly empty. No long lines at the entrance to the park and we were on our way to pick up a Fastpass for Everest before we went to have lunch. Lunch was at Flame Tree Barbecue. Tom had the 1/2 Slab of St. Louis Ribs, served with baked beans and a corn muffin. These are dry ribs and they are very good. I had the Pulled Pork Sandwich, which usually come with baked beans, but I substituted them with cole slaw. We ordered an Onion Rings Basket to share and they were just soo good. For dessert I chose the Key Lime Pie and Tom had a Chocolate Cake. We walked down to the covered area overlooking Everest, found a seat and started eating.

Here is where we discovered that it can be chilly in February. It was supposed to be a cool day anyway and even though the sun was out the temperatures were rather low. So therefore sitting in the shade made us shiver and the food got cold rapidly. We finished our main course, then packed up and went in search for a spot in the sun to have our dessert. There were a lot of empty tables right next to the pond with water lilies and this is where we had our desserts. I love Flame Tree’s Key Lime Pie, it is very good, considering that it is just a counter service place in a park.

Tom’s Chocolate Cake was really good too, it was just too much for him. After our lunch we walked the park a bit, looked at the wait times for Kilimanjaro Safari and it was just too long, being over an hour, so we slowly strolled over to Everest as our Fast Pass time was arriving. We rode Everest and it was a really cold ride.

Shivering once again we decided to have some hot tea to warm us up again. We went to the Royal Anandapur Tea Company and Tom had the Green Dragon Oolong - A Formosa Oolong. This tea stands out with its unique aroma, taste and dark green appearance, while I had the Assam TGFOP from the Mikir Hills, an extension of the Great Himalyan Range, in Umrangshu. The blackish tea leaves, with golden tips, brew to a bright copper liquor with a sweet musty smell and a bold malty taste. Once you choose your desired tea, the loose tea is spooned into a teabag and then hot water is poured over it. This was really good tea and it did the trick. It warmed us up again. So, what do you do when you feel nice and warm? You ride Everest again! This time we had to use the regular line, but even though it wound around the back of the building it moved fast and within half an hour we were on the ride again.

Since it was our last ride for this trip we really enjoyed it and asked for front row, which we had to wait for but it was really worth it. On the way to the exit we passed the It’s Tough To Be A Bug ride and since they only had a five minute wait advertised, we decided to go for it. Unfortunately once we reached the waiting area we waited for more than 10 minutes for the doors to open, but we were rewarded with lots of newcomers who really got into the show. The girl a row in front of us jumped out of her seat twice! The park was closed once we left the ride, so we headed for the exit. Right in front of the exit the characters were waving goodbye and needless to say did we stop to take some photos. We were sure we would never make it to our reservation at Tutto Italia at 6.10, so we decided to pop into the Animal Kingdom Lodge to pick up some Zebra Domes from Mara.

At the gate to the resort we were asked what we intended to do there and after my response about “needing” some Zebra Domes we were let through with a huge smile. Once we had reached the lodge we went to the front desk and cancelled our reservation at Tutto Italia and made a new one for Olivia’s Café at Old Key West instead. Then we went to Mara and picked up the Zebra Domes. We strolled through the resort for a short time, then headed back to the car and back to the resort room which we had decorated for our birthday celebrations. We had just a little time left to relax and get freshened up before we had to leave again to drive over to Old Key West. Once we arrived we had a few minutes left before our ADR, so we had a look around the shop and picked out a few items to purchase after our meal. We then checked in and were immediately shown to our booth and left to read the menus. Tom noticed a Fess Parker White Wine and we decided to both order a glass.

We also ordered some Diet Coke, since we were both thirsty. Since there had been so much food all day so that we were not really hungry enough to order a starter we just nibbled on the Welcome bread and butter. So Tom tried the Plantain-wrapped Mahi Mahi - with roasted garlic oil and warm potato salad. It was a huge piece of fish and even though I thought it was an unusual combination it really tasted very good. My choice was the Penne Pasta with Shrimp - with Asiago Cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach, olive oil and garlic. It was not what I had expected in the first place, but once I had started eating it was just perfect. Very juicy shrimp and perfectly cooked pasta that went so well with the cheese, tomatoes and spinach. Since we were spending our last table service credit we needed to have dessert.

I picked another Key Lime concoction, the Key Lime Tart with Mango and Raspberry Sauce. This is just a wonderful dessert, but it was a bit too much for me, could not finish it! Tom had the Chocolate Cake - served with raspberry and vanilla sauces. It was really chocolaty and very good.Once we had paid we went back to the store and picked up the few items we had wanted. It was Extra Magic Hours at Epcot, so we drove over there and arrived shortly after the park closed for the General Public.

When we entered the park there were still lots of people there but the line for Spaceship Earth was very bearable, so we got in line, showed our Keys to the World and off we went. Very relaxing ride indeed. After the ride we wondered over to Test Track, but the lines were just too long. So we went over to Mission Space and got in line for that. It said 20 minutes for the orange team but the wait was much longer.

Since Pal Mickey had been acting up all evening, we went into Mouse gear to ask if we could “operate” on him there and change his set of batteries. One really fun cast member let us do that on his counter and we had a fun conversation with him. Once Pal Mickey was “well” again we started walking towards World Showcase and explored Mexico, where we went on the boatride. We walked a bit further on to China and stopped at the shops before we went back and got in line for Mission Space again. This time the wait was a little shorter, but after the ride we decided to say goodbye to Epcot and head back to the resort. We arrived there shortly after 11pm, and I snacked on my Zebra Domes, while Tom tried to finish off some of his beers and Doritos. We did the rest of the packing, leaving just a few things for the last morning before we went to bed.