Saturday, August 13, 2011

Downtown Disney & The Magic Kingdom: Trip Report pt 6

When Saturday rolled around, we decided it was time to slow things down a little bit and enjoy some time at Downtown Disney and our resort before heading to the Magic Kingdom.  So after sleeping in a bit, we decided that the best way to get the day started was with a swim in the pool!  We headed down after a quick bite of breakfast and enjoyed a nearly empty pool.  The water was nice and warm.  What was really fun was that we were actually in the pool when the lifeguards came to open the slide!  Payton and Kendall both took turns on the slide while I just enjoyed the water.  After a few hours in the pool, I headed up to the room to get ready and the boys followed a bit later.

 Once we were cleaned up, we made our way over to Downtown Disney.  Oddly enough, it's my son who's addicted to this place because he loves to shop!  He was asking right away to visit Once Upon a Toy and the World of Disney store.  I, on the other hand, had only one thing in mind...Babycakes!

We started our morning at the Marketplace side bus stop.  Since it was time for lunch, we stopped at our new favorite DTD eatery, the Earl of Sandwich.  No matter what time of day, this place always has a line, but I have to say, they are extremely efficient and before you know it, you have your food in hand and the hunt for a table begins.  We were able to sit outside in the shade and enjoy some amazing sandwiches.

Now Once Upon a Toy was within visual range while we ate, so that was our next natural stop.  Poor Payton, every time we go there he finds stuff to spend his money on, and every time, we tell him to wait because we will come back by on the way to the bus.  Up next, Team Mickey!  This is Kendall's favorite DTD store, with all the various ESPN and sports related items.  He found a great buy on two ESPN t-shirts, and somehow, my son came home with a San Diego Chargers mini football helmet!  I'm still not sure how that happened!  After the boys made their purchases, we headed on to the World of Disney store.  I love looking around in World of Disney because there is just so much to look at!  Any possible item with a Disney tie-in can be found in this massive store.  There were so many T-shirts that I wanted to buy, and office items, and purses, and I could go on and on...but needless to say, I walked away empty handed.

A quick walk past the Lego store and we had finally arrived at the Pollo Campero/Fresh-A-Peel/Babycakes complex.  I am so looking forward to eating a full meal here in the future.  All of their offerings looked amazing!  We made a beeline for the Babycakes counter and each chose a cupcake to try.  Kendall picked up a banana cupcake, Payton got a chocolate cupcake with mint icing, and I picked out a lemon cupcake.  These were the best things I think I've ever eaten at Disney...and the only things we ate so fast that I couldn't get a picture of them!  If you don't know much about Babycakes, please check out their website at  It's hard to imagine that such amazing cupcakes (and everything else in their bakery cabinets) could be gluten free, refined sugar free, wheat free, vegan, etc.  But they are!  It got to taste Payton's but Kendall wouldn't let me near his!!  So next time you are in Downtown Disney, be sure to follow your sweet tooth to Babycakes.  It's totally worth it!

After our sweet treats, we made our way back across Marketplace and back to Once Upon a Toy so that Payton could pick up his souvenirs.  He built another light saber this trip and got a really neat Star Tours 2 poster as a gift.  Then it was back to the bus and back to AKL to rest up a bit for our evening.

The Magic Kingdom was on our agenda for the evening, so we headed over around five-ish, and our first stop was to meet Mickey Mouse at his new location in the Main Street Theater.  I have to say, I LOVE this meet & greet location, far better than Toon Town.  The theming is very well done, and carries over into the exit store.  I hope this one stays for a long time!

Up next, Carousel of Progress.  It had been many years since I had been on this ride, and my son had never been, so it was important to me to share this original attraction with him.  Needless to say, it brought back many memories and created a few new ones (as Payton's new favorite song to sing to me is "there's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow...").  Next it was time for me to smoke the boys on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin...325,700 points!!!

Because we've been to Disney so many times now, we really tried to do some new things this trip, things we've just not taken the time for in the past.  So we made a bee line toward Liberty Square in hopes of going over to Tom Sawyer Island.  Unfortunately for us, they were shutting it down.  Something to look forward to on our next trip!  Backup plan was Big Thunder Mountain, but it was having some technical difficulties and they weren't sure when it would reopen.  So, since we didn't want to ride Splash Mountain, we decided to take this time and have a bite to eat, and headed on to Columbia Harbour House.  We absolutely love this quick service restaurant!  My guys like seafood, and their chicken is pretty good too, so it works out for all of us.  Plus they have a wonderful seating area upstairs that is generally not very crowded and gives nice views of the park.

After dinner, it was time to head to Fantasyland, since Payton couldn't be convinced to do the Haunted Mansion.  Although we ride all of these rides nearly every trip, I really wanted to see the new queue line at Winnie the Pooh.  A lot of work has been done here to make it more enjoyable for guests.  Unfortunately, that work was really targeted toward the under 5 guests, and we were pretty bored with it quickly.  Also, the noise level was raised significantly in the honey bee section.  The walls of honey were a neat addition (lcd screens that appear to have honey dripping down, and when rubbed, sometimes you find hidden characters) but after exploring them a bit, you suddenly become aware of all the germy, nasty hands that have been rubbing on it before you.  Eww...  Of course, the ride itself is still one of my favorites, but we'll just stick with fast pass next time!

Another attraction that has become a family favorite is Mickey's Philharmagic, so naturally we had to take in a show!  If you've never visited this attraction before, prepare to be amazed.  This has to be the best example of what 4D should be.  You will experience flawless 3D animation along with amazing sounds and smells that leave you feeling like you are a part of the show.  It is well worth the time to see Mickey's Philharmagic!

Following the show, we decided to head toward the front of the castle to take in "The Magic, The Memories and You", as well as Wishes.  We found a nice little nook near Cosmic Rays and the boys found a seat while I went to pick up popcorn and sodas.  Once the MM&Y show started, we realized quickly that it wasn't the best viewing location and decided to catch the second showing.  It was nice though to just sit and enjoy our snack!  We watched a little bit of Wishes from that spot, then moved around to the Rose Garden area.  Of course, once Wishes was over, we were caught in the mass exodus across the bridge.  At that point, we just held on to each other and took baby steps as the crowd would allow.  Once we reached the hub, we moved over toward the Adventureland bridge and set up camp there.  We had a fantastic spot to watch the second MM&Y show near the bridge and across from Crystal Palace.  My goal was to move up the the Liberty Square bridge for the second Main Street Electrical Parade, then back into Adventureland following the parade and ride a couple of rides while the remaining masses left the park.  Amazingly enough, that plan worked!  So many people leave the park after Wishes, so if you are able to stay up a little later, I would highly recommend waiting for the second parade and enjoying the park with far fewer people in it!

I have to say, "The Magic, The Memories, & You" is a phenomenal show!  The technology combined with the music and photos of actual families visiting the park makes for a beautiful and emotional experience.  Videos don't do it justice, and mine was not that good anyway, but I've found one to share with you from WDWRadio!

Now the last time I had seen the Main Street Electrical Parade was when I had visited the Magic Kingdom at age 12.  I was so excited to see it again and share it with my guys!  SpectroMagic is amazing, but this parade holds a special place in my heart.  Especially Elliot the Dragon!  We were in such a great spot.  Still in the hub where we had the castle in the background, but right near the bridge with a very close view of the floats.

As soon as the parade was over, we made our way back to the Adventureland bridge as planned and were able to ride Aladdin's Magic Carpets and The Jungle Cruise.  Our cruise into the jungle was just a tiny bit too long and we didn't make it to Pirates of the Caribbean before closing.  So we headed back toward the buses and back to Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Gotta get some rest, another big day of Star Wars Weekend tomorrow!

 Next post, our final day of Star Wars Weekend and the trip home.  Hope you've enjoyed the journey with us thus far.  Please post any comments or questions.  I love hearing from you!

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