January 2014 Disney Trip: Part 4

Adam was getting a slow start on the morning of the 6th so Ben and I went ahead to Magic Kingdom.

As you can see from our flashy buttons, it was our 2nd wedding anniversary! We headed to Adventureland first and practically walked on to Jungle Cruise. Our skipper noticed our buttons and joked with us a bit. After Jungle Cruise we did Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Pirates of the Caribbean and decided to call it for Adventureland for the morning.

We walked over to Liberty Square by way of Frontierland and rode Haunted Mansion. We also wandered a little bit into Fantasyland just to see the famed Tangled Toilets, which is a lovely little area, actually. Ben then got a text from Adam, who was just entering the park, so we met him over by the Liberty Tree before heading to lunch at Columbia Harbour House.

We all had fish and chips, and Ben had chicken with his. Fried everything, as one does at Harbour House. Adam did not believe me that malt vinegar is the superior fish and chips condiment. This is, of course, ludicrously wrong. He tried it, at least. We were eating lunch rather early anyway, but the upstairs dining room was empty except for us and one other table. The upstairs dining room is always really quiet and peaceful. So nice for a lunch break.

Now that Adam had joined us again, we went back for another ride on Haunted Mansion and decided to head back toward Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. On the way we saw the Liberty Belle actively loading, and whenever we see it we tend to hop on if there's no wait. I decided to take pictures from the starboard side because I usually take them from port, but it turns out there's not a whole lot of stuff on that side of the river. I stubbornly stayed put while the guys yelled from the other side of the boat "ohhhh you're missing EVERYTHING." Psh. Got some sweet photos of fake meese.

After that we stopped at the Country Bear Jamboree before Adam and I did Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The line at BTMR was so short we didn't get to stop to play with any of the new queue things, which was a little disappointing, but the family behind us apparently had every intention of bulldozing us if we even slowed down a fraction of a second. In retrospect we probably could have allowed people to go by us while we were taking pictures and checking out the interactive queue, but I get anxious when people are rushing me and I didn't think of anything except "oh my god stop hitting me with your purse."

We went over to Jungle Cruise again so Adam could ride it, and it was the longest wait I have ever had for Jungle Cruise. The sign said 55 minutes and I figured they usually overestimate, but no. It was actually closer to 90 minutes. This was the point in time I decided FastPass+ might be worth another shot; I had attempted to book FastPass+ reservations the day before while waiting for Illuminations, but the system wouldn't let me pick an earlier date than the 7th. But more complaining about the terrible FastPass+ system later. We passed the time playing with a group of older ladies in front of us who had a riddle game on their phone. Adam solved one for them and I solved another! Great fun. We didn't get the same skipper as we did earlier, but we saw her in line and she waved at us and said, "Hey I saw you two earlier! Happy anniversary again!" She was great.

I should note at this point it was starting to get cold. Really cold. Remember that polar vortex? Yeah, you know who didn't remember it? Me. I did not. When I checked the weather before we left, it said the coldest it would get would be the upper 50s. I am a human iceberg and don't start to get uncomfortable without a jacket in the cold until about the upper 40s, maybe lower 50s with windchill. The weather forecast for this day was a high of 65, so I brought a cardigan (which you can see I was not wearing the majority of the day). I did not check the low. I do not know what the low was, but it was definitely starting to get into the upper 40s.

We crossed the hub and went to Tomorrowland to hit up Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and the Peoplemover. Ben and I were in one car on Buzz, and, as ever, he won. Adam was alone in a car and alternated between both guns. He still beat me on both those scores separately. I don't know what the secret is. I'm content to boost everyone else's ego by allowing them to continue soundly beating the crap out of me at Buzz, though.

Ben and I had a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest for our anniversary dinner, so we headed over to new Fantasyland to kill some time before that. We walked by the Beast's castle and Gaston's Tavern, poked around the Bonjour! Village Gifts shop and Big Top Souvenirs, I got my picture with Gaston (he congratulated us on our anniversary and I giggled at him the whole time because I am a joke), and then we left Adam to his own devices while we checked in at Be Our Guest.

We really didn't spend much time in Storybook Circus
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was still under construction while we were there

I felt a little bad about abandoning Adam; when we were originally going to have the group of 8 of us, Ben and I peeling off wouldn't have been as big of a deal. But Adam apparently got along fine, he rode The Little Mermaid's Undersea Adventure before any of us and found a Cast Member who plays Warhammer 40K and they had a good discussion. Sorry we abandoned you, though, Adam :(

So we checked in at Be Our Guest, and the check-in process was a little bit confusing but overall fine. There are two lines and neither of them were marked, so we spent a few minutes in the wrong line before figuring it out. Then we waited with our buzzer on the bridge, and it was COLD. Ben and I hunkered down next to one of the gargoyles and I muttered about how rude it was of the Beast to keep us out in the cold.

When the buzzer went off, we returned it and were brought behind the front gate to wait a little longer, but at least it was warmer behind the walls.

A CM came out holding a candelabra and called for us. He handed me the candelabra and showed us inside. As we made our way through the ballroom, he pointed out the painted ceiling and the giant chandelier, and I was mostly grinning like an idiot and trying not to cry because it was perfect and beautiful and I am still a 4 year-old watching Beauty and the Beast fives times a day in my very own Belle costume my grandmother made for me. Breathe. So we were seated in the West Wing, which is honestly where you want to be seated; the ballroom is stunning but it's SO LOUD and all the hard surfaces just make it echo-y and louder. The West Wing is dark, but so much quieter.

I wish my pictures were better but my camera sucks and I had to angle my elbows over small children in front of the rose. The rose's petals drop occasionally and the portrait of the prince changes to the Beast with intermittent flashes of lightning. Twice during dinner the Beast came into the West Wing and bowed to us as we were told we could get our picture with him on our way out.

Ben and I both got the steak, which was perfectly cooked medium rare. It was so tender. I had a glass of merlot with dinner (Ben doesn't do wine and generally not beer, so he was fine with Diet Coke) but noticed not many people were taking advantage of Magic Kingdom's only alcohol menu. Are people still upset about that? Hm. Merlot with steak is a gift from the gods and y'all are missing out, is all I can say.

Of course, I had to get the grey stuff for dessert. I believe they have a grey stuff cupcake for lunch but at dinner the grey stuff was on top of a brownie. Ben doesn't like chocolate so I didn't even have to share my brownie. Score. He took a few bites of the grey stuff, though, which is - wait for it - delicious. Though he doesn't like chocolate, he loves cookies and cream, which is what flavour the grey stuff is. Our waiter also brought out a little plate of just grey stuff and confetti, for our anniversary. Ben got all of that, as it was tragically chocolate-free. (And I also got champagne with dessert. Woo!)

On our way out, I got a few pictures of the ballroom and the Rose Gallery. The ballroom was pretty packed, the tables were very close together, and I felt like I was practically sitting on people's tables while trying to get pictures. Very glad we were seated in the West Wing. I had heard the Rose Gallery was only used for lunch but about half the room was filled when we went in; I'm not sure why a Monday night two weeks after Christmas was so crowded, but thankfully in the West Wing it didn't feel as crowded.

Angelique on top of the tree!

On our way out we stopped to get a picture with the Beast. They warn you beforehand that you won't be allowed to go back into the restaurant once you get your picture, so it's a good thing we did all our browsing around before. The mosaic from the end of the movie is in the hall on your way out, but getting a picture was really tough. I'm guessing the cold had pushed the outside-behind-the-gate waiting crowd into the foyer, and it was really crowded.

I know Ben was mostly humouring me and my Beauty and the Beast problem, but I think he enjoyed it almost as much as I did. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you're a big Beauty and the Beast fan.

So we met up with Adam outside Be Our Guest and headed up Main Street to get a spot for Wishes. We found a table up at the Main Street Train Station and the guys held that while I ran to get Adam and me some coffee. I had intended to try out the new Starbucks on Main Street but the line was ridiculous, so I ran over to the Launching Pad and grabbed some regular coffee. And then raaaaan back to the Main Street Station. All the running kept me warm, at least. As did coffee! Yaaaay coffee. Pro-tip: while the Main Street Station is usually the best place to watch fireworks, when the Christmas decorations are still up, there is a giant tree in the way. Oops. So we missed most of the show projected on the castle before fireworks, but it didn't block our view of actual fireworks. Strategically placed so we could race out of Magic Kingdom before the Main Street throngs, we grabbed a bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge and watched whatever Disney movies were on ABC Family until we decided to call it a night.

Next up, you are never going to believe it, but MORE EPCOT! Also polar vortex shenanigans, FastPass+ woes, and Hollywood Studios.

As a reminder, if you're interested in seeing all of my Disney pictures, I'm posting them on my Disney Tumblr and all of my own photos are under the tag 'swingingwake.' I've queued them and they're posting one per day, and I have about 900 pictures, so...it'll be a while before they're all posted. They're also on my Flickr, if you have me added over there.


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