Monday, December 19, 2005

Vacations and mucus

We're back from DisneyWorld! Overall, we had a great time. The parks weren't too crowded toward the beginning of the week, and once people started coming in for the holidays, we managed to avoid the mobs for the most part.

Unfortunately, I managed to pick up a cold from one of the little outbreak monkeys running around the Magic Kingdom, so I'm sitting here at home when I really should be catching up at work.

Anyway, here's my NyQuil-induced quick recap of our trip...

The good:
- Tower of Terror is still as great as ever, and we managed to fit in five or six rides without ever having to wait in line very long. Also, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which was closed during our last trip) was fully operational and as fun as I remember from riding it as a 10-year-old.

- 'Ohana (the Hawaiian restaurant in the Polynesian resort) is amazing. Anyplace that brings you tasty, grilled meat until you tell them to stop is alright in my book. I had my birthday dinner there, and between the food, the atmosphere, and my very own super-fancy birthday cupcake, it was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had.

- Le Cellier (the Canadian steakhouse) and the Sci-Fi Dine-In Cafe (an MGM restaurant with a huge movie screen and tables shaped like 50's cars) are great, but I think we got them backwards as far as the ideal menus go. The Sci-Fi didn't even have burgers on the dinner menu, while Le Cellier's lunch menu was sadly lacking a lot of the dishes we had been expecting. Still, both were great meals. In fact, I really can't complain about anything food-related at Disney. If the mouse does one thing right, it's helping you gorge yourself to excess.

- The two miniature golf courses are the best I've ever played on. 18 holes of well-themed, interestingly-designed putting. The Fantasia course had better theming, but the Wintersummerland course had some really bizarre, fun holes (including a rotating "North Pole" that actually moved your ball uphill before dropping it in/near the hole).

The bad:
- The parks started getting crowded on Friday, and by Saturday you could barely walk around the Magic Kingdom. Not wanting to deal with the crowds, we grabbed a FastPass for Thunder Mountain, rode the cute little Transit Authority ride (which never has a line) around Tomorrowland, went back and did our ride, and got the heck out of there. On the way out of the park, we cut right through the middle of the SpectroMagic parade. What were they going to do, throw us out?

- The guys at Le Cellier telling us that we were screwed because we didn't have a reservation, and that all of the other restaurants at Epcot were booked through the end of the year. Uh, yeah, that's why I managed to get a Le Cellier reservation for the next day, and why we could walk right in to virtually any of the other restaurants and get seated immediately. Yeah? Well guess what, you Canadian prongers, we're really enjoying that Stanley Cup, and I think we'll hang on to it for a while. Take that!

- The aforementioned plague I managed to pick up. Fortunately, I didn't start feeling bad until the last day of our vacation, and even then it was just a runny nose. Now I've got sneezes, sore throat, aches, and all that fun stuff. Darn it, I was just sick a month ago!

Things I learned:
- I must be getting old. I enjoyed the food a lot more than the rides this time around. Not that I wouldn't ride Tower of Terror, Test Track, or any of the "mountain" coasters a million times, but the highlights really were the meals.

- Not all Mediterranean food sucks, as evidenced by our unexpected stop at Restaurant Marrakesh (in Epcot's Morocco). Kebabs, chicken in lemon sauce, and honey-apple crepes -- mmmm!

- The Disney Dining Plan is definitely worth the price if you plan on eating to excess every meal. Appetizer, drink, entree, and dessert each day, not to mention a counter-service meal and a snack, for $35 a person. Considering that a few of our restaurant tabs would have been well over $100 for the both of us, that's pretty darned good.

So there you go. We had a blast. We didn't get very many pictures this time around, since it mostly would have been the same as our honeymoon pictures from two years ago. My mom got several from Animal Kingdom and Epcot, so I'll try to post those soon.


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