Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Disneymoon Part 2: the Back Half of the First Week



Picking up where I last left you, part one here, we had stayed in Magic Kingdom for New Years Eve. 

Usually, when you stay out until 3 am for New Years you want to sleep in, and that was the case for us, but we had to be up the next morning for the Dolphins in Depth Tour at Epcot. This was something we had both been looking forward to since we booked it.

The tour meets outside of Epcot, and they take you backstage after signing a few papers.  Our main guide was Letty, an older lady that had worked in the Disney Reserve and came over to Dolphins in Depth. The tour it self took you back to the areas where they observe the Dolphins, and to the food preparation area. They took us to a "reserved" seating area for one of the study sessions. The castmembers repeated multiple times that if the dolphins didn't want to participate then they wouldn't be disciplined, as they want them to feel comfortable. The study session involved one of the dolphins coming to a trainer at one window and wait for the sign to go to another. That window would have an item that the dolphin would recognize and would in turn use a vocalization to tell us what it was, if he was right the trainer would whistle and we would clap, if wrong nothing would happen but the dolphin would still get a treat from another trainer. After we watched the study, we went back to the locker rooms to get changed into a wetsuit so that we could interact with the dolphins. Once again it was mentioned that if they didn't want to play then they wouldn't be forced to, they stated it in all the times the tours have been offered, only twice had they not wanted to play.

This was the best part of the tour, we had about 45 minutes in the water with the dolphins. There were eight of us, so two groups of four and we both had time with two of the four dolphins. We started off by getting to know the dolphins and then followed it with a few pictures. Once the pictures were taken, the fun began, the trainers told us to do different signals and the dolphins would respond. In between tricks, the trainers told us some different information about each of the dolphins, and would occasionally make them splash us.



We made our way through Epcot to our lunch reservations once we were done with the tour. Le Cellier Steakhouse was our destination. We had never eaten at this restaurant (along with Yachtsman that we had that night), so it made for a great day. All the people that had told us about it had great reviews, and we looked forward to this meal. Both of us ordered steaks, like you do when you are at steakhouse, and enjoyed the atmosphere.

After our amazing meal, and a trip to the resort to catch up on sleep, we returned to Epcot and walked around the World Showcase for shopping. We made it to Japan, where we spent most of the time looking around. The plan was to eat at Yachtsman and then make our way back into the park so that we could see Illuminations with the Christmas tag and new lasers.

We left the park early enough so that we could have a nice stroll to the Yacht Club for our dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. Sitting down at the table our waitress, Lulu, seemed super busy, and almost to the point of bad service. She came by a couple times for the drinks and food order, but paid a lot of attention to the lager group sitting next to us. However once that group was done, our experience with Lulu changed. She was probably the best waitress we had. She was asking questions about our wedding, how our honeymoon was and why we chose to come to Disney, she even went so far to tell us about her wedding planning and engagement. While the food was excellent, the service was perfect. 

After we finally left Yachtsman, I realized that our plan to see Illuminations was derailed as we saw that the show had already started, so we made our way to the buses to go back to our resort. We met some great families waiting in line and had a chance to talk and goof off a little with them. 

Friday had been planned to be our Hollywood Studios day, but we hopped on the friendship boat and made our way back over to the Beach Club resort for breakfast at Cape May. This is my favorite breakfast, only for the Mickey Waffles with whipped cream and chocolate chips. The characters and other food is also a great experience.



We decided to take the boat, probably should have walked, back to the Studios. Once in the park we saw the news that Disney had announced the Sorcerer Hat would start to come down starting that Monday, so naturally we had to get a few pictures with the hat in the background.   

Our FastPasses were mainly that evening, the only one we had right away was Toy Story Midway Mannia, which Beth beat me at this time. We made our way to the Animation building for pictures with Sorcerer Mickey, Minnie, and Baymax and Hiro. We love to do the animation class, but the lines were long, so we passed on it this time. 







Lunch was at the Brown Derby, and it was another first for us. I was honestly surprised by the size of the dinning area. It's not as small as it looks, which of course is good. Once again our food was great and service was outstanding. We got in and out pretty quick. We headed back to the resort for another afternoon break, only after Beth found our Bride and Groom Mickey hat, that she just had to have for us.  So we had them put our names and wedding date on them and left the park. 

That evening we came back into the park and first picked up the hats, which I was obligated to wear in any and all pictures that were taken. Momma Melrose's was our choice for dinner that night and we had always loved it. The hostess, Amber, was great and just talked to us enough for the wait for our table to fly by. After being seated, we found out this wasn't going to be a great experience. Our waiter took our drink order and waited a long while before getting our food order, these were the only times he came to our table, well besides to bring us the check, on his own. We felt over looked and under appreciated. The food was amazing, service not so much. 

With the platinum package we had gotten VIP seating for Fantasmic, and like always had the early show. We got in with perfect timing and got great seats. The show was on cue as usual and we noticed a couple of changes to the Evil Queen scene. They had given her and the old hag a new robe with lights, and the cauldron was lit up.

After making our way through the crowds, we headed back to Streets of America to see the Osborne Lights. Surprisingly the crowds weren't too terrible back there. We walked around and found the black cat, and took a few videos and pictures. It's just a beautiful scene and the snow just adds to it. 

With the Hat's removal announced, Photopass Photographers were all over the place, different angles were a great addition to our icon pictures. This also gave us an opportunity to talk to other guests about the removal and what they thought of it. 



Our FastPasses were for Tower of Terror and Rock 'N Rollercoaster. I absolutely hate the Tower. I'm not a free fall kind of guy, but Beth had never been on it, so we had to do it. The line wasn't bad, but the nerves didn't help any of it. I knew what to expect, but knew it wasn't going to be fun for me. Of course they set us up in the front row, and Beth never let go of the side handle or my hand. It wasn't as bad as I remember, but I still don't care for it. 


It was our first time on Rock 'N Rollercoaster, every time before we had gotten sick or just wasn't feeling it. The FastPass/Standby lines were moving a lot faster than the single rider, to the point of people complaining. I knew what to expect only in speed. But that ride was great! I can't wait to do it again. 

The intent for Staurday was to stay out of the parks, and be in the resorts for the majority of the day. We started it with breakfast at 1900 Faire. Beth finally got a picture with Mad Hatter,  the food was great and the character interaction was perfect. 

Our next stop was to Senses Spa at Grand Floridian. It had been a few years since Beth had had a massage, and I had never had one. The platinum package included it, so we went for it. This spa is amazing, and that still can't describe it. We were both escorted to the  male and female lounge and locker room.  Which had a very nice seating area, in the male at least, the locker room and showers were clean. After being picked up for the actual massage, my attendant made me feel very comfortable for my first experience. The massage lasted 50 minutes, and should have gone longer (I guess I should have paid more money). 

After the massage I was taken back to the men's lounge, I took some time in the spa room which had a steam room, hot tub, and two heated tiled chairs. Any in of these places, you instantly felt relaxed, even more so after the message. You are able to spend the whole day in the spa, but we chose to only spend about an hour in there before heading out. 


We were so close to the Magic Kingdom, that we went on in to just walk around and get some pictures with characters and hit some rides up,after all it was our last full day in the World before the cruise. The crowds weren't bad so we got to do what we wanted. 

After a little shopping in the Emporium, we left to get ready for our dinner at Victoria and Albert's, the dinner I was scared of, yet excited for. 

We looked really weird getting on a monorail in our nice dinner clothes, but why take the car when it was only a monorail ride away? The reservation was for 5, and we got there about 4:45. The hostess greeted each of us and made sure everyone was dressed appropriately, and a few minutes later came back and got each table and showed them to there seats. 

The restaurant was very small, but very intimate. We had a wait staff of 2 people, both were very polite and very attentive. Our menus were personalized for us, including our names and "Happy Honeymoon" on them. While they do personalize the menu for all guests, Beth has a gluten allergy and I am just a picky eater, so they had called to ask what we would/could eat. A live harpist played pop and Disney songs throughout the dinner. 

Beth had gotten the wine pairing with her meal, while I stuck with plain water. While I don't remember everything we had, I know I tried it all, which is an accomplishment for me. The wait staff would bring out our dishes and tell us everything we needed, and didn't need, to know about the preparation, and flavors of that dish. Three of my dishes were quail, duck and veal, all of which I had never had and was supposed to like. Beth had the duck for one of her  courses and I cannot recall the rest of it. 
My dessert was chocolate with gold shavings in it, while Beth had the Crême brûlée, both were fantastic. 





As we were getting ready to go, our wait staff came out and gave us a small bag that included a rose for Beth, a small loaf of bread from Babycakes, also for Beth, and our menus. They called us a cab as we were heading to downtown Disney for Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba. 

La Nouba was an amazing show. We had seats about three rows from the stage, and were also included in our package. I would highly recommend this show good and easy, fun way to cap off a date night. 

Sunday was our last day in Disney World before the cruise. We headed to Epcot after a breakfast at Chef Mickey's. We had the Behind the Seeds Tour planned for late that morning. This tour is short, but very informative, telling you how Disney is growing the different plants in the land pavilion. It was just three people in our tour, so it went by fast and was extremely personable. 

Our last meal was at Coral Reef. We have had mixed reviews over the past few years of us going to this restaurant, this wasn't a good meal. We sat close to the aquarium, which was a great view, however the food and service was miserable, and I believe we have eaten there for the last time. 

So what do you think of our week in Disney? Is there any questions about what we did, or what you would have done different? Let us know!

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