Feb 24, 2012





“Yes, he is here today!”


We slept in a little and just forgot about the idea to go down to The Wave for breakfast. Instead we just made some coffee and tea in our little kitchen and had some of the Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast. About 10 minutes to 9 we got out the door and headed over to the Magic Kingdom. It felt so good, not to be dependent on any kind of transportation and just be able to walk over to the park. We arrived right after rope drop and when a boat AND a monorail had just arrived.

So there were quite a few people in line for bag check, but the line moved pretty fast and we were at the turnstiles. Walked through and once inside the crowds that were at the bag check just seemed to vanish. We walked around the town square and then I noticed something that caught my attention. They were looking for volunteers to play “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom”. We have helped Kim Possible in the past, so why not trying to cast a few spells. We were greeted and were shown what to do and how to go about it, then we left with a map and some cards that casted spells in hand.

Since we were already at the entrance to the Emporium and we would not have a lot of time, we just walked inside and checked out all the new merchandise. We walked through Casey’s and towards Crystal Palace, where we stopped for some nice castle photos. Then we headed towards Adventureland. It was very still very empty and we decided why not take another cruise, a Jungle cruise this time. So we strolled towards the entrance where we found out that there was only a 5 minute wait. There was only one family ahead of us and we were seated immediately. The skipper kept us entertained and we all had to tell her where we were from.

By then the boat was 3/4s full and we were all international cruisers. Only the last family to board was American and they got lots of cheers. Our skipper really got into the act and even had a few non scripted jokes, and all too soon our cruise came to an end. We got off and strolled further on to Pirates of the Caribbean. 5 minute wait again, so why not hop on board? We got into the left lane and walked right onto the boat. Again it took a while until the boat was “full” and we got to meet the pirates. When we got off we strolled through the gift shop and headed over towards Splash Mountain. We had no intend to ride it, as we didn’t want to get wet and since Big Thunder Mountain was closed we decided to walk towards Liberty Square.

There were lots of stores that had to be checked out and we took our sweet time to get to Liberty Square. Once there we decided to try to ride the Haunted Mansion. But the line was 15 minutes and we thought that it might be a better idea to pick up a Fast Pass for Peter Pan before the return time would be too late. We were excited to see that we got surprise Fast Passes too. They were for Philharmagic. We had a little time to kill, so we walked towards Fantasyland and decided to start playing “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom”.

We activated our game at a window behind TinkerBell’s Treasures and started casting spells to save the Magic Kingdom.There were quite a few other people playing as well and so we just checked out Sir Mickey’s while waiting. It got considerably warmer and we were starting to feel the heat and wanted to go on a ride where we could sit down and just relax. Now that ride for us is the Peoplemover. By then crowds had picked up quite a bit and we could not believe that even the Peoplemover had a line yet. But it didn’t take long and we were on our way up the elevator and onto the ride. It is always so nice to just sit and people watch from up there.

By then we were still discussing if and where we would have some lunch. Wherever we looked the restaurants were full and so we decided to just return to our room and grab some snacks out of the fridge. There were still the fast passes for Peter Pan, so we quickly got into the Fast Pass line and within five minutes we were on the ride and flying over London. It was around noon when we finally headed towards the exit and slowly walked back to Bay Lake Tower. The Tower feels more like a condo than a hotel and we were very happy with that. Once we were back to our room we decided on having lunch right there. We had bought several salads, some dipping sauces and nachos and we snacked on them for quite some time. By 2 pm I  decided to just hop down to the shop in the Contemporary and pick up a few stamps for our postcards. We had brought our own postcards, which had been designed by Tom and which we wanted to send to some friends. Since they were a bit larger than usual, they didn’t want to sell us stamps that would not be okay, so they sent us to the front desk. There they tried to figure out how much to put on the postcards, but didn’t succeed either. So we decided to just head over to the Post Office and mail them from there. We got into the car and drove over to Crossroads, went to the Post Office and sent off all our cards, then back to the car we went and we drove back to Downtown Disney, to do a little World of Disney shopping. There was still one thing on our mind, that I wanted to take a look at, the new Dooney and Bourke bags.

But before we headed to that department we looked through the whole store and picked up a few bits and pieces that we wanted to take home as souvenirs. Since we do not have a Disney Store anywhere in Austria, shopping at World of Disney is always a treat and we buy a lot more than we usually thought we would. So, once we had most of our purchases in our basket we walked to the Dooney and Bourke isle. The Cast Member helping us was very nice and I think I had her take down ALL the cartoon bags they had until I found the perfect one I wanted.

It again was a bit on the pricey side, but at least we got our 10% Annual Passholder discount. We paid for all our goodies, then headed back to the car and while driving towards the Magic Kingdom we decided that another visit to Krispy Kreme would be so nice. So we just used our GPS for the shortest way there. And indeed their “Hot Now” sign was on, so we got in line and while still in line we looked at each other and agreed that we would get another box of doughnuts for the Contemporary guards. Tom got some coffee and I got some Diet Coke and once we had our boxes in hand we sat at the back of the store, watching the doughnuts being fried and glazed, while munching our own wonderfully soft and still warm treats.

When we had finished our “gourmet” meal, we headed back to Bay Lake Tower and once back in our room we had about an hour to pack everything up. Tom made a list of what went into our Owner’s Locker, while I tried to fit everything into our suitcases. It was quite a task, especially since I wanted to pack our small Disney Cruise Line trolley into one of our bags, so we could travel a bit lighter. Finally the task was more or less done, but by then it was really about time to get ready for our dinner at the California Grill. So we got changed and got ready, then just headed down to the connecting walkway and over to the Contemporary.

 There was a long line of people signing in and we were cutting it close to our reservation. And then finally it was our turn to check in. Once the Cast Member had found our name on the list, I asked my question. Would Ron be working that day? The Cast Member looked on his list and yes, indeed, his answer was, “Yes, he’s here today”. So I put in a request to have him as our server, then I was told that there was a chance our request would not be met, but he would try any way. We were also told there would be at least a 20 minute wait until our table was ready. No problem, as we are used to the California Grill running late and we had plenty of time until Wishes, which we wanted to view from the platform on Bay Lake Tower again. The elevator was right there and waiting for us to get on and together with a few other guests, we were taken to the California Grill. Since we were supposed to have a 20 minute wait or longer, we were talking about going outside onto the observation deck to take a few photos, when our pager went off after barely 5 minutes.

We were led to our table and told that yes, Ron would be our server. Our table had Mickey confetti all over it and we sat down, were handed the menus and waited for what was still to come. A little while later we were greeted with hugs from the ever smiling Ron. We chatted for a little while and then he left us to study the menu again. It didn’t take long and Ron returned with two glasses of complimentary Prosecco. We chatted some more and handed him his goody-bag. He then told us that they had a new restaurant manager and that he was from Austria too. He had been looking for him to introduce us to him, as he was a very nice guy. So a few minutes later, Ron returned with the manager in tow.

It was fun to see another Austrian in charge here at Disney and Michael told us that he had worked for a huge hotel chain before he had moved to Disney and that he was really happy with the change. We talked for quite some time and Michael came back to our table lateron in the meal again. Once he had left, Ron came by to take our food orders and fill our water glasses again.

And while we were still talking about meeting the manager, Ron again surprised us with an Amuse Bouche, a tasting of the Heirloom Sweet Potato Soup, Smoked Bacon, Red Pears, Minus 8 Verjus, which was absolutely delicious. We were then served a basket full of still warm Sourdough Bread and some Butter, sprinkled with sea salt. We both nibbled a bit of the bread spread with the butter until our main courses arrived. And not only our main courses. Ron treated us to more complementary wine. Tom had ordered some Sushi, the Spicy Kazan Roll, Crab, Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Tuna and Fireball Sauce and the California Roll, Jumbo Lump Crab, Avocado and Cucumber. I had ordered an old favourite of mine, the Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Goat Cheese Polenta, Roasted Mushrooms, Zinfandel Glaze and Sage. We both enjoyed our main courses very much and took our time to fully enjoy them. Since we were full we were thinking about skipping dessert, but while we were still thinking about it, Ron served us two glasses of again, complimentary dessert wine. Tom thought there was something he might be able to handle, so he ordered Heather’s Cookie Plate, Mocha Toffee Bars, Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies, Butterscotch Crackle Cookies,  and Valrhona Hot Chocolate. I have a very soft spot for breadpudding and there was one on the menu, so I was going to order the Valrhona  Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding, served with Caramel Sauce and Dark Chocolate Sorbet. Both desserts lived up to their description and we really enjoyed them.

Once we were done, we settled the bill, hugged Ron goodbye and he went to hide his goody bag in the manager’s office. We took the elevator down to the 4th floor and walked over to Bay Lake Tower. There was still time left until we would have to go up to the platform to watch the fireworks, so we put our evening wear into the suitcases, slipped into something more casual and finished packing. At around 9.40 we went to the first floor, showed our Keys to the World and were escorted to the top floor again. There were already a lot of people there, but we still found a nice spot to watch a part of the The Magic, The Memories and You show and then Wishes started. Again, it was awesome to watch from this angle and we really enjoyed the fireworks and music. Once the fireworks were over we returned to our room to finish packing. All our luggage was stored close to the door and when it was all done we went to sit out on the balcony for a little while longer. We were just in time to see the Electric Water Pagent go past. It was past 11pm when we finally went back inside and decided to go to bed. We had nearly a full day to spend at Disney the next day and we needed to catch up on sleep for it.