Friday, March 15, 2013

The House of Mouse, continued

Mom and dad in the treehouse!
Day 7 was our final day at Disney World, and we'd decided to do a bit of park hopping. We started the day at Magic Kingdom, of course, crossing off a few of our final to-dos. Hubs hadn't had a chance to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so our first stop was hopping a ride on that. (What fun!)

Then, while hubs and Clay took yet another spin on Pirates of the Caribbean, I got us FastPasses for Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. I met back up with my guys at The Enchanted Tiki Room, a fun animatronic show featuring singing birds. This is one of those nostalgic Disney experiences that I'm sure they have plans to tear down, but I hope they don't! We also did a quick tour of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. I watched the movie as a kid, and I thought it was cool how they recreated it. Clay was less than impressed, however.

We hadn't spent any time on the far left-hand side of New Fantasyland yet, so we headed in that direction. On the way, we took a minute to practice our sharp shooting at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. We actually did pretty well! If you hit some of the more difficult targets, the arcade landscape changes, with fun figures popping up or responsive lights blinking on.

We also stopped to ride the Haunted Mansion again. This time, Clay wasn't scared at all. He knew just what to look for, and we saw all kinds of interesting things on the ride that we'd missed the first time around. We explored Belle's Village, mugging for photos outside of Gaston's Tavern. Even early in the day (It was around 10:30 a.m.), there was already a long line to get into the Beast's Castle, where the new Be Our Guest restaurant is located.

Clay catching water spurts at Epcot
By this time, our FastPasses for Under the Sea were active, so in we went. While this ride features all the fun things you remember about The Little Mermaid, it wasn't really my favorite. For whatever reason, I felt the animatronic characters here were a disservice to the movie. (Ariel looked kinda freaky, to tell you the truth.)

Having squeezed every drop of novelty out of the Magic Kingdom, we decided to hop the monorail (which we hadn't yet ridden) to Epcot. On our way out, I made it a point to stop in Adventureland for a Dole Whip, which I'd heard many good things about. Delicious! Clay and I took turns taking bites as we marched directly behind the afternoon parade down Main Street. Magical.

Riding the monorail was quick and fun, and it gave us a a glimpse of some of the other resorts on property. We rode it right to the entrance of Epcot, then headed off for more fun. We curved around the right side of the park, playing some fun carnival games they'd set up to promote the opening of Oz, the Great and Powerful. We also stopped at the playing fountains. Clay had the best time trying to catch jumping water droplets and dodge the water that hops over your head!

On the boat ride to the Hoop Dee Doo
Musical Revue!
Then we made our way to Living with the Land, which we'd missed on our previous visits to Epcot. I'm really glad we made the time to stop here! You ride in a boat through a multimedia presentation, and you also get a look behind the scenes to see where Disney grows some of the food they serve at the resort.

By the time we finished Living with the Land, we were starving! We decided to re-visit a favorite - Seasons - for lunch. YUM. This time, Clay and I both had the fish. Hubs got another stir fry bowl, and we had tiramisu for dessert. Delicious!

Full and tired, we headed back to our hotel. We had dinner reservations at the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue that night, and we wanted time to rest up and make the show on time. After our nap, we were trying to figure out the best way to get to Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, where we were having dinner. We decided to take the shuttle to the Magic Kingdom, and then take the boat to the resort from there. We hadn't ridden the boat yet, and it was a gorgeous night.

What a wonderful choice! We were able to catch a boat right when our shuttle arrived, and the brief trip over was lovely! Clay peered out the window, looking for alligators. The boat docks very near where the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue is performed, so it's a short walk. We checked in, got our table assignment, and then had a family photo made. While we waited to be seated, the kids played with hula hoops and a horseshoe toss. (There's also a small playground close by.)

The fried chicken at Hoop Dee Doo
is dee-licious!
Then, it was time to eat! They seated us, and we started with salad and cornbread. Wine, beer and sangria are also included. Once the first course was served, the lights dimmed and the show started. The show was so. Much. FUN!! Five very funny and talented performers sang songs, cracked jokes, and interacted with the audience. It was a blast. They took a short break while the main course was served (fried chicken, ribs, corn, mashed potatoes - YUM!), then picked back up later. This show features lots of audience participation, and all three of us had the best time! This was one of my favorite nights of the trip, and it was well worth the two table service credits we used for the reservation. The evening finished with strawberry shortcake and the whole audience playing along on washboards. Just a great, great night.

The next morning, it was time to go! :(  I checked our bags with the Magical Express, cashed in some of our remaining snack credits for a few breakfast items to take with us to the airport, and we were off on the shuttle! For first-time visitors, I wouldn't recommend booking a departing flight any earlier than 11 a.m. Our flight left at 11:15 a.m., which meant we had to be up early to check our bags and catch the shuttle. Any earlier, I think, would have been TOO early.

We absolutely relished our first trip to Disney World, and we will definitely be back! What an amazing place!

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