Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Honeymoon: The Final Chapter

Turns out recapping our honeymoon took a lot longer than I expected. I mean, we did a lot over 5 1/2 days and took a lot of pictures, but geez. 

I loved reliving our awesome vacation, but I'm glad to be able to blog about other stuff after this (that is, until our wedding pictures arrive...). I already have a few posts ready for later this week, so start following me now to catch all of the updates!

In case you need to catch up on any previous honeymoon posts, here's everything I've recapped so far:

With that, I give you the fourth and final chapter in what I will now refer to as The Great Honeymoon Recap.

Day Five: Part 2

After spending Friday morning at EPCOT, Drew and I decided to upgrade our tickets to park hoppers so we could hit up our favorite rides at Magic Kingdom again and have a chance to go on the rides we didn't have time for at the Halloween Party.

The first stop? The Haunted Mansion. Of course.
When we got off the ride there were a couple of Photopass ladies taking pictures by the carriage in front of the ride, so we hopped on in there for a shot. They took this "normal" picture...
And then this "scared" picture (the version they took is much better both because we look less ridiculous and they added a ghost into the shot).
We're attractive.
We spent most of the rest of the evening walking around and enjoying the rides (Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress... we're obviously really exciting people...).
I love this place.

Welcome Home
We even got to see our friend Sari who still works at the Magic Kingdom (she was the one who hooked us up with VIP seats for the Halloween Parade). It was so good to see a familiar face!

Day Six: The End

Saturday was our last day in Florida, but we ended up with plenty of time for fun since our bus to the airport wasn't until 4:00 pm.

Our big activity for the day was miniature golf, thanks to a coupon in our vacation package for one free adult admission.

Disney World has two mini golf courses: Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. We opted for Fantasia Gardens to that we could try out Disney's toughest mini golf course, Fantasia Fairways.

The course is set up just like a regular golf course (in miniature, of course) with pars, sand traps, and insane frustration-inducing obstacles like this:
Needless to say, I had a frustrating experience.
Drew, on the other hand, rocked this course pretty well.
Our final scores were Kristy: 96 Drew: 77. Par for the course was 72. Seriously, this course was tough. Maybe next time we'll stick to something a little easier.

After mini-golfing we headed back to the French Quarter one last time to take pictures of the grounds and collect our bags for our trip home.

And that, my friends, was our honeymoon! We had so much fun and can't wait for our next trip back to Disney. Maybe for our anniversary?

I'll be back soon with some posts on our married life so far, and, as soon as we get our pictures from our photographer, a probably even more epic recap of our wedding.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Honeymoon Continues...

Where were we? Oh yes, day three of our honeymoon.

If you need to get caught up on what took place the first two days, check out my posts from days one and two and my recap of Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party.

Day Three

I don't have many pictures from day three, but trust that it was a good time. Even though I woke up feeling under the weather with a bit of a cold, we had plenty of exciting stuff to do. First on the agenda: massages!

We took the boat from French Quarter to Downtown Disney and killed some time in the stores (to buy a gift for our future nephew, Baby O!) before taking another boat across the water to Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa for our awesome couples massage. Sorry, no pictures.

We headed back to our resort to relax for a bit and get ready for our big fancy dinner at the California Grill. We were so excited for this because securing reservations at California Grill is ridiculously hard. But, having been a Disney concierge, I was on top of that and made sure we got our reservation ASAP. 

Even better, our reservations were late enough that we got to see Wishes at the Magic Kingdom by just stepping outside of the restaurant to the rooftop balcony of the Contemporary.

Even better still, we used the dining plan for this meal which meant that Drew's $47 bison and my $39 fish were essentially free! Score!
See that bison? That is some expensive bison.

Our food was super delicious, and we were in no way fancy enough to eat there, but we had fun!

Day Four

Thursday was day four of our honeymoon, and we had plans to spend the day at Hollywood Studios.
We got to the park right after it opened and, after stopping to take the above picture, we headed over to Toy Story Midway Mania to get fast passes. We know this ride is crazy popular and that fast passes usually run out quickly, but we had no idea it was THIS crazy:
Yeah, that's the line for fast passes about ten minutes after the park opened. It was probably a thirty minute wait just to get a fast pass to use later in the day! Ridiculous. We decided the smart thing to do would be to go on other rides while everyone was either in line for fast passes to Toy Story or in line for the ride itself. We ended up heading back to Toy Story later in the day and getting through the line and off the ride in about forty minutes. Nice.

Pretty soon it was time for our lunch reservation at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater.
I love this restaurant; it's so cool inside!
Our original plans had us spending the whole day at Hollywood Studios, but my cold got the best of me so we spent the rest of the day in our hotel room so I could get about 20 extra hours of sleep.

Day Five: Part 1

I woke up on Friday feeling much better than the day before, which was good news since we were headed for EPCOT and the International Food & Wine Festival.

Drew's big plan for the day: attempt to drink around the world. There are eleven countries represented in EPCOT, so in order to make it "around the world" Drew would have to drink eleven drinks.

Round 1: Moosehead in Canada

Round 2: Guiness in Ireland (replacement for France - thanks Food & Wine!)
Round 3: Boddingtons in the UK
Round 4: Hoegaarden in Belgium (replacement for Morocco)
Round 4.5: Sprite
Round 5: Sam Adams 16th Anniversary Ale in the good ole US of A
All done.
I didn't try to drink around the world myself (been there, done that during the College Program), but I did enjoy a beer flight in Belgium as an homage to my semester abroad.

I didn't even finish all three, and I fully blame it on all of the Benadryl and Claritin pumping through my system to relieve my cold. Drew ended up drinking one of my mini-beers, so his grand total is roughly 5.33 (repeating, of course).

FYI, when I tried to drink around the world back in '09 I made it to 5.5. Who's the lightweight now? Still me.

Somewhere around Morocco or Italy or something we stopped to have a kindly stranger take our picture. It didn't turn out too bad considering half of us were drunk and the other half was high on Benadryl.
And because I like to play fair, I'll post this ridiculous picture of me eating a Mickey ice cream bar to balance out all of the drunky Drew pictures I just shared with the world.

Up next: the rest of day five and day six! I'll finish recapping this honeymoon eventually, and it's going to be great to have it all done!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ten for Tuesday: Mickey's Not-So-Scary

I've been majorly slacking on posting a Ten for Tuesday post since my inaugural post three weeks ago, and I think recapping part of my honeymoon is the perfect way to welcome back this feature!

In case you missed it, Part 1 of my honeymoon recap went up last night with details on our hotel and our dining experiences at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue and Chef Mickey's. We left off right before Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, which we attended on the second day of our honeymoon.

The Halloween Party is a special event at the Magic Kingdom that requires a separate ticket from a regular park ticket, meaning that the park has fewer people, shorter lines and special entertainment. Not only that, but the Halloween Party is special in my relationship with Drew: two years ago we met in a break room at the Magic Kingdom during a Halloween Party. Of course we had to go back to where it all started.

Why I Love Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party

1. The decorations in Magic Kingdom. Anybody who knows anything about Disney knows that they don't hold back on anything - holiday decorations included (Osborne Family Lights, anyone?). I love the fall decorations in the Magic Kingdom, and Drew and I chose an amazingly gorgeous day to view them all.
Can you believe this isn't edited?!
Plus, everything gets kicked up another notch once the Party officially starts, making everything seem a little bit more special than usual.
Oooh, spooky!
2. Shorter lines for everything. Tickets are limited for the Halloween Party, so the Park is less crowded and lines move much faster. Twenty minute wait for Splash Mountain? Don't mind if I do.

We only had to wait about 15 minutes to meet Mickey and Minnie, too. (Technically this was before the party officially started, but the Park was definitely starting to clear out already. Gotta love the off-season).
3. Candy. Trick-or-treat candy. 

Yes, you do get to go trick-or-treating at "candy stations" set up around the Magic Kingdom during the Halloween Party. Yes, Drew and I went trick-or-treating on our honeymoon.

Somehow we still have some candy leftover from the Party, which is a true testament to how much candy they give out at this thing, considering how much and how often we eat candy in this apartment.

4. In case you didn't catch it the first time, this is where Drew and I first met. Just like the Park itself, our relationship started with a Mouse. Back in 2009 Drew and I worked as interns at Disney World, and we met when we where both working at a Halloween Party.

This was the first time since we met (and my first time ever) that we got to enjoy the party as regular guests. It was amazing, just like this picture a Photopass guy took for us.
If that isn't a good Castle picture, I don't know what is.
On a related note, this Saturday is the official two-year anniversary of that fateful Halloween Party. I can't believe the goofy dude I met in a Magic Kingdom break room two years ago has been my husband for more than two weeks already. That's pretty amazing.

5. Seeing everyone's costumes. People get crazy for the Halloween Parties, since dressing in costume is encouraged. I don't think I saw anything too memorable (except for the super-tall pirate who stood directly in front of us during the fireworks), but it was still fun to see all the kids and families in crazy get-ups.

Drew and I decided not to dress up, as you can see in the picture of us above. We did, however, rock our Tigers gear since they were still in the playoffs at that point.

6. HalloWishes. The regular Magic Kingdom fireworks, Wishes, get a total redo for the Halloween Parties in the form of HalloWishes. The music is totally different and the fireworks span more of the Park (usually Wishes is behind the Castle, but HalloWishes extends towards Tomorrowland and Adventureland at certain times).

I'd never seen HalloWishes before, although Drew and I have been listening to the soundtrack for a few months now. It was so cool, and I'm glad Drew agreed to take pictures during the show so I could focus on watching the fireworks live. I think he took some great shots!

Get your head out of the way, tall guy who stood right in front of us!
7. Mickey's Boo to You Halloween Parade. This, along with HalloWishes, were the two big reasons I picked up that fateful Party shift two years ago (the other reason would be the awesome bat headband).
Although, two years ago I never actually got to see the parade because my three-hour shift before the parade was enough to make me crazy so I never hung around to catch all the action.

This time was obviously different and definitely awesome. Drew and I have a friend who still works at Magic Kingdom, and even though she was out of town during our trip she still managed to hook us up with VIP seating (thanks, Sari!).

8. The Haunted Mansion. Drew and I both love the Haunted Mansion, and it's even better during the Halloween Party.

Parts of the queue are altered just for the Party, and even though I wasn't too impressed with the additions, I still thought everything was pretty cool. We didn't take any pictures of the line, so you'll all just have to live in suspense until you can see it for yourself.

The Cast Members on the ride definitely took everything up a notch, which was so fun. There's definitely a little more fun to be had going on a haunted house ride during a Halloween Party in October versus the middle of July.

9. Getting an awesome Castle picture after the Park closes. Being stuck in line for Space Mountain right as the Park is closing definitely has its advantages.

The Party ended at midnight, but we didn't get off of the ride until 15 minutes or so later, when many guests had already made their way out of the Park.

We weren't the only ones with the idea to get a picture of the Castle as we were leaving, so the view isn't totally unobstructed, but I love pictures of the Magic Kingdom that aren't flooded with other people. Plus, I get a little kick out of that guy smack in the middle of this picture. He looks so tiny!
10. We got a bonus Park day because of the Party. Drew and I only bought two-day tickets to the Parks, which we planned to use on the Thursday and Friday of our trip. However, our tickets to the Halloween Party essentially bought us another full day at the Parks.

The Party runs from 7:00 pm to midnight, but ticket holders are allowed to enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00 pm, which we took full advantage of. That meant we had a full eight hours to spend in Magic Kingdom, which was pretty amazing. We would have been way too exhausted to last all night if we had gone to the Parks earlier in the day too, so we lucked out by somehow having enough energy to last the full eight hours at the Party to make it onto most of the rides and see the fireworks and parade.

We did end up going back to the Magic Kingdom on Friday, but you'll have to wait for my next recap to hear all about that one!

Stay tuned for the next installment of this insanely long honeymoon recap!

Oh, and for those of you patiently awaiting our wedding pictures, I will post those as soon as possible, but we're still waiting for our official photos from the photographer. Hopefully we'll have them by next week, but whenever they arrive I'll be sure to post them quickly!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Honeymoon: Part 1

Two weeks ago Drew and I went on our awesome Disney World honeymoon, so it's about time I start recapping all of the fun we had!

We did so much fun stuff that I can't fit everything in one post, so expect to see the rest of my recap later this week. 

Honeymoon: Day 1

Our flight to Orlando left super early on Monday morning, so we arrived at our hotel before noon. Our room wasn't ready for us yet, so we headed to Downtown Disney to kill some time since we couldn't take naps to recover from our 4:00 am wake-up call! Lunch was of course at the delicious Earl of Sandwich. After a couple hours of checking out the shops we headed back to our hotel (via boat!) to get settled in our room.

We stayed at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, which was absolutely amazing. I had never stayed there before, and Drew hadn't been there since grade school, so everything was still fairly new to us (which is pretty tough for two former Disney employees to experience!).
Lobby of the French Quarter.
The rooms were recently renovated, so everything looked extra-nice and new. We had a corner room with two windows, which was a nice bonus. We absolutely loved our room and this resort.
Our room was the blue door on the top floor. 

Now we know why everyone on "House Hunters" wants two sinks.
Another view of our building. I loved the cute street names!
Cool fountain behind our building.
Drew and I would definitely stay at French Quarter again. It's a moderate resort, but feels so fancy and more like a deluxe resort without the added cost. We loved that the theme was done so well and the resort didn't feel too Disney (like the All-Star Resorts). We were also fairly close to most of the parks - the bus ride to the Magic Kingdom only took about 10 minutes and we had the choice of taking either a bus or boat to Downtown Disney which was nice (usually only deluxe resorts have boat transportation).


On Monday night we "officially" started our trip with dinner at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness. This is a dinner show with Old West, vaudeville type entertainment and is so much fun!
One of the best parts of our Hoop-Dee-Doo experience? Drew was chosen to be an audience participant during a "Davy Crockett" number. He did an awesome job as the Indian Chief.
Doing a little dance, like an Indian Chief should do, I suppose. I wish I had a video of this.
Drew taking a bow with the cast and other audience participants.
This was my first time at the Hoop-Dee-Doo, and I had so much fun. It was a great way to kick off our honeymoon and just great entertainment. We even got a free picture from Photopass since it was our honeymoon (yay for magical moments)! 

Chef Mickey's

After a looong first day of our honeymoon (7:00 am flight, Downtown Disney, dinner at the Hoop), Drew and I were really glad that our breakfast reservation on Day 2 wasn't until 10:00 am. We had plenty of time to sleep in and travel to the Contemporary for breakfast at Chef Mickey's. We even arrived early and had time to kill at the gift shops before we were seated.

Chef Mickey's is a character breakfast, which means that in between trips through the buffet line characters stop at your table for pictures. Chef Mickey's features all of the classic Disney characters: Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Pluto and, of course, Mickey!
It's Mickey Mouse!!!

We had a lot of fun at breakfast and were glad we got to see some characters, since we didn't stop for too many once we got to the parks.

The rest of Day 2 was spent relaxing and getting ready for the event we were probably most excited for: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! That's probably going to take up a whole post on its own, so I'll stop here for now and leave everyone in suspense on what else we did all week!