The morning of the 11th the monorail was running for the first time during our trip, so we took that over to the Magic Kingdom. We were early enough to catch the welcome ceremony again; though Tiana wasn't in it this time, Lady Tremaine and her daughters were, and they were hilarious. Once we made it in to Main Street, we almost literally ran into Mary Poppins and Stitch exiting Main Street Train Station. We rode Space Mountain first, followed by Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, then headed for Adventureland for The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Dole Whip floats for breakfast.
After an immensely healthy and well-rounded breakfast, we rode Mad Tea Party and the Barnstormer, the latter at my brothers' insistence, followed by immense disappointment upon realising the ride is a grand total of 17 seconds long. While in line we got to see the steam train refilling its water, though, so it wasn't a total loss. And Storybook Circus is actually a pretty cute little corner.
Next was Jungle Cruise, followed by Haunted Mansion. We went by Memento Mori where I did not buy everything, which, had I more money, I might've been in real danger of doing, but settled for a Madame Leota shirt and a pair of bat stanchion earrings, both of which I practically live in now, so souvenir money well-spent.
We had lunch reservations at Be Our Guest so that was the next stop. You may recall from my last trip, Ben and I had our anniversary dinner at Be Our Guest, and I had only positive things to say about it. Lunch at Be Our Guest was new for me this time, and again I really only have positive things to say. I'm sure someone out there wants to hear that Be Our Guest is totally overrated and people are losing their minds over it for nothing, but it really is so wonderful. Every detail in the theming is perfect, walking into the Beast's ballroom continues to be so magical, and the food is so, SO good. And at lunch it's even almost reasonably priced by Disney standards. My croque monsieur was perfect, so creamy and fresh, much better than the France pavilion's that sat under a heat lamp for hours. Of course I got my beloved and much-missed Grey Stuff, this time in cupcake form. Those new cupcake wrappers they're using are pretty but such a pain to get off. The Grey Stuff remains incredible and I must figure out how to make it. But like I said, Be Our Guest is perfect. It's so worth the hassle of getting a reservation, whether lunch or dinner. It's just so wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough.
After lunch we did Carousel of Progress, then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We walked back through Adventureland and caught up with the end of Festival of Fantasy on Main Street. It trapped us for a bit, but that was okay since I got to see my girl dragon!Maleficent again before we left. We hopped on the monorail over to the Polynesian, got a pager for Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, and waited on the Tiki Terrace for a bit.
The Tiki Terrace is truly delightful. I loved seeing the Disneyland tiki deities from their Enchanted Tiki Room scattered around. The view of Bay Lake is lovely, and the live music was wonderful. I'd honestly like to spend a less oppressively hot afternoon there even if we didn't end up inside Trader Sam's. It's really nice.
Our first experience with Trader Sam's was a little rocky, to be honest, but I would like to give it another shot in the future. When we walked in, there was a hand-written sign on a piece of cardboard stating, "NO KUNGALOOSH ALLOWED," which was immediately off-putting to us Adventurers Club fans. Considering how much it's been embraced at the Disneyland Hotel's Trader Sam's, it's not outlandish to expect to at least be able to order a Kungaloosh, even if it isn't on the menu. I've heard the argument that they're set in different time periods, but if your excuse is "they lost the recipe in the 30-odd years difference," that's honestly just flimsy. This comes off very mean-spirited and cold-hearted. Just let me overpay for the cocktail I want, Disney.
When our buzzer went off, we came in, but there were no seats available. We were told we would be able to stand inside and wait for seats to open up. I'd have preferred to stay seated on the Tiki Terrace and just be buzzed when there was actually space for us. The first seats that opened up were at the bar, but my brothers are under 21 and are not even allowed to sit at the bar, so we continued to stand. There isn't really standing room, so we were constantly dodging servers carrying full trays of drinks. We felt really in the way and uncomfortable. My mom was about to call it and leave, but finally a table opened up.
The food and drinks were pretty great, although I really wish I'd ordered the drink Mom got, the Dark and Tropical Stormy, instead of my Tahitian Torch, which was pretty but not nearly as tasty. Once we were seated and eating and drinking, I really enjoyed the antics every time a specialty drink was ordered, particularly the ones for the HILARIOUSLY expensive Nautilus drink:
I feel like I was probably a bit cranky about being pulled off the Tiki Terrace before a space was even available and being forced to sit next to an empty chair waiting for a non-bar chair to be available. I think in the future I'd like to arrive earlier, wait less, and have an all 21+ group, honestly. Alternately, just spend all my time on the Tiki Terrace. But I'm not entirely disenchanted with Grog Grotto. I am a huge fan of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea theme, and I loved the Easter eggs for Maelstrom, the 20k Leagues ride, and Rosita from the Enchanted Tiki Room. Hopefully next time someone will get that stick out of their butt about Kungalooshes, though.
The next morning we packed up the car and left Old Key West. Before we left WDW altogether, we stopped at Port Orleans French Quarter for Mickey waffles and beignets. We haven't stayed there in ages since there isn't a DVC thing, but it's so gorgeous and charming. Scat Cat's Lounge was empty so we ate in there and it was delightful. After breakfast we hit the road and headed back home.
And that's it! If you'd like to see all the pictures, they're on my Flickr, though I have it locked so just let me know who you are and I'll add you. Alternately, they'll all eventually be up at my Tumblr, though I'm still working through the January 2014 trip photos in the queue there. Next I have a few fairytale and Disney related posts in my head, so I'll probably be posting those soon.