Laura and Lee's Tower of Terror/Food and Wine/Halloween Trip Report
Part 4

October 26-November 2, 2007

Thursday, November 1 - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Boma

We might have gotten up before 9:00...but not much before. :-) It was a beautiful day outside! There was almost no one in The Mara - I had a yogurt parfait and Lee had a bagel and cereal.

And then we decided to go the Magic Kingdom - even though it was 10:00 by then and it had been an Extra Magic Hours morning. Are we nuts?

But actually it turned out to be a great morning to be there - the park wasn't crowded at all, and even at 10:30-11:00 we walked almost right onto Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Where we only got a little splashed, since we were sitting in the back. (I always ask to sit in the back, though this time that's where they put us anyway.)

We hadn't done this ride in several years, and I'm happy to say that the icky mildew smell is gone from the vehicles now. I'm glad, that was always rather unpleasant!

Let's see...we had a very short wait for the Haunted Mansion, and were able to enjoy the new effects some more, though the host didn't look nearly as ghoulish without the makeup that they wore during the Halloween party.

Over in Adventureland we saw the Captain Jack Sparrow Pirate Tutorial. That was fun - the actor playing Captain Jack was quite good in the role. Though it was only 8-10 kids from the audience that got to practice sword fighting and running away ("Look! It's the Governor's daughter!" :-)) we all got to take the pirate oath (different at WDW than Disneyland) and join in on the chorus of a rollicking rendition of "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me."

We saw the Laugh Floor Comedy Club again and battled the Evil Emperor Zurg, and took a turn through Toontown, which reminded us again of why we never go there (too many kids in strollers, and nothing to do!). Our "beautiful day" had turned a bit showery at times - we had to duck into Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe for a few minutes to escape the rain. By then it was 1:00 or so and we were getting hungry - there wasn't anything at Magic Kingdom that sounded good, so we headed, guess where, Epcot! The bus to Yacht Club/Beach Club was waiting when we arrived at the bus stop, so we took that to the Beach Club and walked through the International Gateway.

Christmas had come to Epcot since Tuesday - there were decorations in the shop just inside the Gateway, and also around the doors of shops in the UK pavilion. Of course the most noticeable decoration was the Epcot tree - we were surprised to see that up so early!

We *didn't* eat around the World this time - we had lunch at Tangierine Cafe at Morocco, which is one of our favorites, and it's only because of the Food and Wine Festival that we hadn't eaten here before now! I tried something a little different - the chicken wrap, which was very good - the flatbread was nice and soft - Lee said it was much better than the Moroccan bread that came with his Lamb Shawarma platter.

There wasn't anything else we wanted to do at Epcot, so we walked out the main gate to the bus stop. We were the only two passengers on the bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge!

After we got back Lee discovered that he'd been receiving a bunch of frantic phone calls from work - c'mon, the poor guy is on vacation, can't they give him a break??? - and ended up talking to them for a while and working on a brief that afternoon/evening. Sigh. (This picture was taken when he was working with his eyes closed. :-) )

We met our friends Meli and John that evening for dinner at Boma - that was wonderful as always. When our server was telling us the soups I mentioned that my favorite, the butternut squash soup, wasn't on the menu - but he magically made 4 bowls of it appear (since Mara serves it). A couple of my favorites were missing - the grilled vegetables and the stewed tomatoes - but I managed to find plenty to eat. They've changed my favorite dessert since I was last here - the chocolate mousse crunch is now just mousse in a bowl, rather than individual servings. So it's missing most of the "crunch" now - the chocolatey hazelnutty crunch cookie on the bottom was my favorite part. :-(

Meli and John wanted to see our DVC Studio, so they came up after dinner and we visited for a while longer - it's always great to see them!


Friday, November 2 - Animal Kingdom, Home

Our last morning...time to pack up and leave. Where did the week go? We went down to The Mara for breakfast - it was pretty crowded, with a long line for hot foods, so we got cold foods instead - I had a fruit cup and toast, and Lee had a bagel, banana, and coffee.

Remember the work thing the day before? Well, they had also decided that on the LAST day of his vacation, it was important for Lee to sit in on a conference call where they were doing a dry run of the big dog-and-pony show scheduled for the following week. So we packed up the car, drove to Animal Kingdom, and parked him at a quiet table along the river behind The Flame Tree restaurant. We got him there at 11:30, just as the run-through was starting.

Since he didn't know how long it was going to go, and I didn't have a cell phone for him to call me, I said I'd check back in an hour. Animal Kingdom was a LOT more crowded than it had been 2 days before - there was a 60-minute standby wait for the Safari, 40 minutes for Everest, 30 for Dinosaur...so I ended up just wandering around the entire park until it was time to go back. At which point he said that he'd be on the call until we needed to leave for the airport (1:45). I saw Flights of Wonder and wandered around some more, but there wasn't a lot I could do because of the limited time - it was frustrating. It was a beautiful day, easily the nicest day of the trip - no rain, temperatures in the upper 70s, and relatively low humidity. So of course that meant it was time to go home!

We can't leave Animal Kingdom without some final flower photos, though. :-)

We had an uneventful trip home - of course that's because we ate our Twix bars on both legs of the flight! :-) My parents had been taking care of our cats so the cats had a good week (for some reason they hide from our regular cat-sitter - I guess they always associate her with us being gone, but they love my parents.) Dad had been at our place sometimes three times a day to use our internet connection, and usually had a purring and very talkative cat in his lap while he was there, and one or two others walking on the table demanding attention.


Final Thoughts

This was one of my favorite Disney World trips ever - I loved the Food and Wine Festival, loved the Halloween party (except for the rain), loved the weather (the rain sure beats the heat/humidity we've had on other trips, and when it wasn't raining the temperatures were really nice!), and loved staying in the Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Villas. And although I was a little disappointed in the Tower of Terror 13K, it was an interesting thing to do - a nice accomplishment at least!

It was great seeing so many people I know from RADP and the internet this time, since I haven't managed to make any of the meets in several years. Kenny, Kim, and Marta at Epcot, Paul and Ilene at the Halloween party, Meli and John at Boma, and Deb and Masayo at the race. It was nice to finally meet Masayo - we've been corresponding via email for well over a year, but this is the first time our paths have crossed. And her Ponnichi-kun bear and my Tigger finally got to meet!

Food and Wine Festival...we did a pretty good job of hitting most of the food booths this year! Of the 28 different Marketplaces, we sampled something from 23 of them. And there were several things this year that we really liked. My favorites were the Lamb Slider from New Zealand and the Chilaquiles at Mexico (Goat Cheese quiche at France was yummy, too), and Lee liked the Chilaquiles, the Beef Empanada from Argentina and the Curried Butternut Squash Soup from India. I tried a lot of different wines that I enjoyed, though I think my favorite was the Meade Honey Wine from Ireland. I guess my only real disappointment is that there weren't any really good desserts this year. But we had Sweet Sundays for that - we enjoyed the presentation this year a lot more than the one we attended two years ago, mostly because the chef was a lot more interesting. And the Molten Chocolate Cake was really good. And the chocolate tasting I attended was interesting (and yummy!) too.

It seemed to be a really good time to be at the World as far as crowds went - the Food and Wine Festival was busy on weekends, but the rest of the park wasn't bad, and during the week the parks (even Magic Kingdom!) weren't crowded. Or at least not crowded Monday-Thursday - Animal Kingdom was busier on Friday than I expected.

The Halloween Party was fun - I liked it a lot more than the Very Merry Christmas Party and it was something that I'd definitely go to again. The parade was really creative and interesting - SO much better than the character procession they do at the Halloween party at Disney's California Adventure. (Though after I got home I filled out a survey on the DCA Halloween party and one of the questions was what would be #1 on my "wish list". A parade was one of the choices. So I hope that means they are seriously thinking about it.) The fireworks show was also great - though I would've enjoyed it a lot more if it hadn't been raining. :-)

It was nice to experience some new/updated attractions, though I can't say there was anything that really wowed us.

Thanks for reading! Our next trip won't be until April 2008 - guess I'll just have to content myself with Disneyland in the meantime.


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Text and photographs copyright © 2007 by Laura Gilbreath. Feel free to link to this document, but you may not redistribute it in any form without the express written consent of the copyright holder.

Laura Gilbreath lgil at lgil dot net
Last updated 11/14/07