Sept 1, 2009




„Up“ ……… a visit to the Magic Kingdom and a birthday surprise!


We woke up later this morning, had some breakfast on the balcony and got ready to head over to Pleasure Island. We wanted to have a look at the Wolfgang Puck Restaurants and if possible try the Character in Flight Balloon.

The parking lot was empty, so we parked right where the Virgin Megastore used to be and walked towards the Restaurants. We studied the menus and then slowly strolled towards the balloon. All the shops were still closed, but it was nice to do a little window shopping. Once we had reached the Character in Flight Balloon we got our tickets and they actually waited for us to get onto the next balloon.

We have been on the one in Disneyland Paris several times and were really looking forward to this one. The CM accompanying the balloon was very nice and pointed out how the balloon worked and reacted and then she pointed out the several sights you could see from up there. All the landmarks of the parks were clearly visible and we were able to spot some of the resorts as well. They leave you a little time to walk around while up and we really enjoyed it very much.

Far too early the balloon went down again and we were to get off it again.

Once we were back at Pleasure Island we took a few more photos of the balloon and the signs with literally no one else there before we went back to the car.

We drove over to the Saratoga Springs Resort to have lunch at the Artists Palette. It took us quite some time and driving around until we found the restaurant. It is one of the very few ones which has a more unique menu, so we were really looking forward to it. Once we were inside the restaurant we studied the menu and ordered a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread and a Cheeseburger Flatbread.

These were made to order and instead of waiting we were handed a buzzer.

we could pick up our desserts and drinks, could pay for the meal and find a table. We went to the fridge and picked up a Carrot Cake for me and what appeared to be chocolate pudding for Tom. We got two Diet Cokes, paid with our dining credits and found a table. Shortly after we had settled down our buzzer went of and I picked up the flatbreads. Tom and I shared them and even though they were unusual they were both really nice. Then it was on to the desserts. I loved my carrot cake. It was sweet and moist and lots of icing on top. Tom opened his pudding container and had a spoonful of his pudding that was topped with cookie crumbs, only to discover that there were a few gummi worms hidden in the pudding. Only yet did we look closer and the label on the pudding read – “Worms in the dirt”!

After we had a good laugh, Tom finished most of his dessert and then we went to check out the resort and take a few more photos. Once we were back at the car we drove to the Magic Kingdom to meet with Mary Ellen and Joe. We called them from the turnstiles and they told us they would be at the Christmas Store in Liberty Square. So this was were we were heading. Spotting Mary Ellen was easy and we were able to creep up on Joe from behind again. Taking his picture from behind became a habit this trip. Joe was trying to reach Kristy and her fiancé Sean and Scott and his girlfriend Stephanie. Kristy said they were on their way over from I don’t know what land and that we would all go and see the audio animatronics in the Hall of Presidents. Tom and I are not huge fans of the Hall of Presidents, but at least it is air conditioned and dark, so always good for a little nap.

We waited for Kristy, but when they had not turned up when the show started we went to see it without them. Once it was over, no Kristy anywhere – they were going to see the next show! So we decided to stay put and wait for them. We checked out the Heritage House for quite some time until we heard that the afternoon parade was passing by.

So we walked outside and watched it, losing Joe again, since he was on his cell calling Scott. During the parade Kristy and Sean finally joined our group and a little later even Scott and Stephanie joined in. When the parade had cleared we all walked over to the Haunted Mansion for a visit. Next thing we wanted to do was ride Pirates together, so we walked towards that and met – Donald Duck!

Since he is Scott’s favourite character they got in line and had a few photos taken with Donald. He was really sweet and the photopass photographer took a lot of photos of the young couple. Next stop Pirates of the Caribbean – we love that ride, no matter what, it is always possible to scare Mary Ellen just a tiny bit! She screams nicely!

Once we had finished the ride, we stopped at the gift shop for “trying on” several things and watched the Cast Members interacting with the children.

Stephanie had never been on the Jungle Cruise, so we all decided to ride that next. The wait wasn’t really long and we had a really funny skipper, who even commented on Stephanie’s first ride on the Jungle Cruise, since she was “the only one following her instruction to lean in”! We all laughed so hard! After that ride we decided to stroll through the shops and leave the park to go to the Grand Floridian for dinner. We hopped on the resort Monorail and got off at the Grand Floridian, looked for the restaurant and signed in and with no wait at all were seated at a round table towards the back of the restaurant. We all ordered soft drinks and the “adults” in the group all ordered an adult beverage as well. It was fun to see the excitement on Kristy’s face to be able to order one too! It had just been her 21st birthday!

Tom ordered the Florida Sunshine, something very appropriate, since it had started to rain. And I ordered a Pina Colada, thick and smooth and sweet! Tom and I decided to share an appetizer, the Shrimp Appetizer for Two - Citrus Poached Shrimp, Tomato Basil Shrimp, Champagne Scampi over Lobster Bread Pudding. For my main course I had the Grand Floridian Burger - Angus Chuck Burger, Lobster, Asparagus and Horseradish-Chive Hollandaise Served with Tomato Salad. I had ordered my burger medium, unfortunately it came out rather well done and was very dry. Since there were so many people around our table enjoying their dinners I didn't want to make any fuss, so I dipped the burger in lots of Hollandaise sauce to give it a little more moisture!

Tom had the New York Strip - with Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes, Vegetables and Red Wine Sauce. He really enjoyed it! Mary Ellen wanted to do something special for Kristy, as she had turned 21 a few days before and had ordered her an Individual Castle Cake. She had called them beforehand to make sure it was ordered, but during dinner she got more and more stressed about it being served, so she and I excused ourselves and went for the "ladies room". Well, we went to the reception desk and asked about the cake and low and behold it was noted but they had not noticed it!!!! But the CM promised to have it brought out in a few minutes.

We returned to the table and a manager type CM came by our table to ask if we were celebrating something, a birthday maybe. We all pointed towards Kristy and he took her photo. A few minutes later a server and the "manager" CM came over to our table announcing that we were celebrating a birthday and brought out the castle cake and a Happy Birthday card! The look on Kristy’s face was priceless! And this was the ONLY time I have seen Kristy speechless!

We still had to order our desserts and Tom and I decided to try and share the “A Sweet Ending to Your Celebration... Dessert Sampler” - Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse, Key Lime Tart, and Lemon Cheesecake. Wow! What a deal as the ones on our table who ordered individual desserts got just the same size desserts but only one! Once we had finished our feast we all went back to the Monorail and went to the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Right when we arrived there the fireworks were going off in the Magic Kingdom, so though it was raining we stayed and watched the fireworks. Tom and I took Mary Ellen and Joe back to the resort in the car, while the “young folk” had to use Disney Transport. At Port Orleans Riverside we dropped off Mary Ellen and Joe and decided on where and when to meet the next day before Tom and I just went to the Riverside Mill to pick up some Magic Cookie Bars. Within a few minutes we were back and on our way to Old Key West. We spent a little more time in front of the TV before we called it a day and went to bed.