Sept 8, 2010




Rides galore, a parade and a final visit to the Animal Kingdom


 We had actually planned to sleep in a little today, but instead we were up bright and early and after grabbing a bite for breakfast out of the fridge we found ourselves on the way to the Magic Kingdom by 8.15am, which got us right there right on time for the opening ceremony. We had seen it before from the other side of the fence while waiting for a tour, so it was fun to watch it from the outside.

When we had finally gone through the turnstiles we could not believe how empty the park felt. Our quest for rides started in Fantasyland where we literally walked onto the Peter Pan ride. We then walked over to Liberty Square and had a look at how long the wait at the Haunted Mansion was. It was only 5 minutes, so we hopped in line and walked right on the ride.

All too soon it was over again and we walked over to Big Thunder Railroad. A 5 minute wait? Letís get in line and this was another walk on. Hm, should we do it again? Yes definitely, and again and again and again. By quarter past 10 we had ridden Big Thunder 6 times. After those 6 times we decided that we should move on and were surprised to notice that the wait at Splash Mountain was a mere 5 minutes as well. We didnít get in line as we didnít want to get wet.

We watched the logs go down the last drop and most of them were half empty. So after that stop we headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean and walked right into the Pirate Tutorial which had just begun. We watched for a good part of the show before we decided it was time to  ride Pirates of the Caribbean. . Once we got off the ride we had another half hour to kill before our lunch reservation at the Liberty Tree Tavern, so we walked over to the Jungle Cruise, to find that it was another walk on.

Needless to say that we got right on board and joined the cruise. When we got off it was time to head over to the Liberty Tree Tavern, where Mary Ellen and Joe already waited for us. But we had accomplished 10 rides and a tutorial in a little over two hours so we were pretty pleased with ourselves. We still had to wait for a while until they officially opened, but we had lots to catch up on, so we started chatting away. About 15 minutes later we were announced and led to the table. We were seated towards the back of the restaurant and the server quickly came over to introduce himself. We started out with ordering our drinks, then followed our rule of sharing appetizers. All of us had our heart set on one dish, the Tavern Fried Cheese - with marinara sauce. Thank god, we had worked up an appetite all morning as these pieces of cheese are quite filling. I had my heart set on the Pilgrimsí Feast, Traditional Roast Turkey and Herb Bread Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, and a Garden Vegetable.

Again, Tom agreed with our friendsí choice and ordered the New England Pot Roast... The Tavern Keeper's Favorite - braised beef in a cabernet wine and mushroom sauce served with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables. We shared a lot of laughs while eating and once we were finished we were handed the dessert menu. Joe ordered the Chocolate Brownie - dark chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.

Mary Ellen and Tom both ordered the Seasonal No Sugar Added Sorbet with berries and I had something that was not even on the menu, a new special dessert, the Decadent Chocolate Terrine, A slice of liberation topped with fresh Berries and vanilla custard. It took us a little over an hour until we had finished lunch and we were ready to conquer the World again.

First off Mary Ellen and Joe had a FastPass for Peter Pan and they wanted to ride it, so we waited outside. It didn't take long until they returned and then we were all off to the Peoplemover, to take in the sights and sounds and digest some of our lunch. Since we were already in Tomorrowland and lines were short we got in line to help Buzz Lightyear once again. And the next stop was the rose garden where we had some photopass photos taken.

And while we walked towards Main Street we had to stop as two castmembers, who were selling popcorn were putting on a fun show. They drew quite a crowd and earned lots of applause once they were done. We all stopped in the Emporium and did a little shopping and then Mary Ellen and Joe headed back into the park, while Tom and I decided to leave as we had Extra Magic Hours to catch in the Animal Kingdom.

When we left the sweet shop we noticed that the afternoon parade was about to start and the volunteerís car was already coming our way. There was more than enough space to stick around, so we did. We hadnít seen the parade in a long time and it was fun to watch, no matter how often you have seen it. Once it was over we really left the park, trekked over to the parking lot and went back home to Old Key West to chill a little.

Around quarter to 5 we drove over to the Animal Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours and dinner at Sanaa. Once we had gone through the turnstiles we headed right over to the Safari and caught one of the last Safari vehicles out.

Since we were one of the last Safaris the driver was able to stop a bit more, so we got lots of nice animal photos. After we had gotten off the Safari we walked over to Expedition Everest, fully expecting to find quite a line there. Comes to show that it was only a 10 minute wait and we were on the ride in no time. Since the wait was so short, we decided to get on right away, this time asking for front row.

And again we were on and off again in no time. So why not try it for a third time? We did and again it was kind of a walk on, only that the castmember who assigned the seats had us step aside so we could ride front line again. Well, we not only rode it three times but seven times, always encouraged by the castmembers to come back. We finally gave in after those seven times and went over to Dinosaur to ride that.

Dinosaur was a walk on as well, we threw that in for good measure before we headed out of the park and back to our car to drive over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Sanaa. We drove over to the Kidani Village, parked the car in their parking structure and walked over to the restaurant to sign in. We were handed a buzzer and walked outside to watch the animals but it did not take long until we were called back inside and were led to our table. It was right in the middle of the restaurant and our server came over to take our drinks orders.

I started by ordering a Kande Coconut Cooler - refreshing combination of Starr African Rum, coconut, vanilla ice cream and orange juice and a Diet Coke. Tom ordered a Tusker Premium Lager from Kenya, which he enjoyed a lot and a Diet Coke. We decided to order two appetizers to share and the Mustard Seed-crusted Scallops, with a Coconut Cream Sauce were one of them. The other one was the Salad Sampler. We chose the Carrot, Orange and Mint salad, the Chickpea with Cucumber and Tomato salad and the Roasted Potato, Corn and Spinach salad. Thankfully we had not snacked much all day so we were hungry enough to finish it all.

For his main course Tom chose the Tandoori Shrimp, served with Basmati Rice. I ordered the Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned, choice of two served with Basmati Rice. My two choices were the Beef Short Ribs and the Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce. Again very generous portions and while Tom was able to finish his portion, I wasnít able to do the same. There was still dessert and Tom chose the Chai Cream, while I wanted to try the Dessert Sampler - Chocolate Cake, Passion Fruit Kulfi, and Chai Cream.

We took our time to finish these and then slowly walked back to our car to drive back to Old Key West where we arrived shortly after. I did a little packing and after that we sat down on the couch to watch a little TV before we got too tired and headed off to bed.