Wednesday 11 May at the Beach Club

Before turning in Tuesday night, I cleverly stopped at the Beach Club Marketplace and purchased a large bottle of water for making coffee in the room. That tap water at Disney doesn’t really enhance the flavor of anything in a good way.

So I was able to have coffee as I got ready for the day and did some of the unpacking that I was too pooped to do the afternoon and evening before. I get up between 6 and 6:30 normally so it was nice to have coffee on the balcony as the day was dawning, cool and no construction/refurbishing work going on yet.

By about 7:50 am I was arriving at the bus stop in front of the Beach Club and the bus for the Magic Kingdom pulled up just moments thereafter. Fifteen other people boarded with me and we proceeded to the Boardwalk, where three more got on. By 8:15 I believe I was going through the “no bags” entry in front of the Magic Kingdom.

I was wearing my black nylon mesh Recon Vest for its many pockets–no need to lug around a backpack–and hoping to waltz through the no-bag entries at the parks. This morning the officer stopped me and asked to look in the two big front pockets, but she didn’t make me go over to the bag tables. At all subsequent park entries, I did go through the bag inspection lines but all I had to do was go through with those big pockets unzipped and just let the officer look in–a lot faster than putting a backpack up on the table.

In that holding area between the turnstiles and the gates into the Magic Kingdom under the railroad tracks, I parked and watched the crowds gather prior to the Opening/Welcome Show. Not many people there when I got there:

Main Street Railway Station

One side effect of wearing this vest is that when you stand around by yourself while wearing it at WDW, people tend to get the impression that you are an employee or cast member or something. Several folks came up to me asking me questions about stroller rental, wheelchair access, bathroom location, etc. Usually I was able to dispense accurate information or at least point them in the direction of a real cast member, but it was kind of funny.

A few minutes before nine the Mayor of Main Street popped out on the platform in front of the railroad station to greet and welcome us and to be joined by the chorus of “Good Morning” singers. Then the train pulled in with its Disney character passengers led by Mickey who was, not surprisingly, very happy to see all of us waiting to get into the Magic Kingdom.

After the countdown I walked slowly and carefully to my destination. Which was really just to stroll up Main Street and enjoy seeing all the cast members waving hello with their big white Mickey gloves. The aromas from the Main Street Bakery pulled me in there for my big cinnamon roll which I devoured at one of the tables in front of the Plaza Restaurant where I enjoyed the still cool morning air and the parade of guests coming into the park.

From there I went through Fantasyland to pick up my FastPass for Peter Pan’s Flight on my way to Frontierland for my two favorite mountain experiences. Rode Big Thunder first, so I wouldn’t be wet for it. Then my all-time most favorite of all, Splash Mountain. The new lap bars made absolutely no difference in my experience. Others’ mileage may vary. One thing I noticed right away in the Zip-A-Dee Lady area was that the soundtrack had been equalized or otherwise adjusted to make the calliope as played by the pig a much more prominent part of the mix. I liked that, but it seemed to me that the bass was also pumped up way too far, making the whole thing sound kind of muddy and not as much fun as it could have been otherwise. But Splash Mountain is still THE laughing place! (I wouldn’t mind living here: )

A desirable dwelling

In Liberty Square I paused to listen to the band who were great.

The Marching Band in Liberty Square

Then into Columbia Harbour House for lunch. I usually have fish there but this time I wanted to try the BLT salad and it was quite tasty. What would really be magical though is to find an alternative to the ubiquitous chocolate cupcake for dessert, since it comes with the dining plan quick service meal. I love chocolate and I love cake, but somehow that cupcake that’s all over the World does nothing for me. But no big deal…

Now it was time to exit the Harbour House and make a right into Fantasyland for that journey into Neverland in a flying pirate ship. As I recall, the stand-by line wasn’t looking all that long yet but the walk-on experience is always great. I love this ride.

Watched my step as I exited and then went across to It’s a Small World, which was closed for refurbishment the last time I was here. Right off the bat I am hit with confusion and then I realize the biggest change from the refurb: now you enter where you used to exit and vice-versa. I enjoy this ride also but that hard boat bench is something I always look forward to getting up off of as we sail past the multilingual goodbyes.

Back down Main Street now. Prior to leaving the Kingdom, I boarded the Walt Disney World Railroad at the Main Street Station for the Grand Circle Tour. As you can see, the train was not crowded.

A not crowded car on the Walt Disney World Railroad

A little eery to pause for water at the “Outpost” which used to be the Toontown stop, but I am really looking forward to visiting again once the Fantasyland expansion is complete!

By this time the MK had crowded up quite a bit, so it was time to take the long way back to the Beach Club, i.e., via the monorail and a walk through Epcot. I stopped in to help Panchito and José Carioca in their almost futile effort to find Donald after fortifying myself in the Cava de Tequila with a Classic Margarita.

After some welcome down time on that big comfy Beach Club bed, it was time to get over to the Animal Kingdom, where I hopped off the bus from the Beach Club and on to one for the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The flavors of Africa were waiting for me at Boma.

While waiting for my seating time I watched a Goofy cartoon in the beautiful lobby.

Boma is my favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World and I made many many trips between my table and the buffet. Although I do sample–and like–many of the meat dishes, it’s all the different vegetables, salads, the hummus, pita, cous-cous, pastas and soups that I like best. I don’t exactly save room for it as the server counsels me but I do have and enjoy dessert too.

After dinner in the gift shop I notice that the Animal Kingdom Lodge has plenty of resort-specific merchandise whereas the Beach Club has, currently, a key chain.

Bus from AK Lodge to Epcot, where I walk off some of that Boma, making a clockwise tour of World Showcase Lagoon, visiting some of the countries I haven’t been to yet on this trip.

Moon over JapanThe moon over Japan

In France, another stop at the Wine Kiosk for a Grand Marnier slush is obligatoire.

A nice dip in the quiet pool is just the ticket prior to bedtime.

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