This morning is our big character breakfast at O’Hana. This is one of the exciting meals for Dominica and I as we have never been to the Polynesian Resort before and, therefore, have never eaten at O’Hana so we are really looking forward to this. It is always a challenge for us to find new things in Disney and this is definitely one that we have wanted to do for a long time and just never got around to doing.
We were up very, very early this morning. I believe around six thirty. We were on the bus just after seven and at O’Hana by a quarter after eight! This morning is the only time on this trip when every one of us is all wearing matching t-shirts. The rest of the family has t-shirts that match for much of the week but I only have one for today. Dominica did a ton of work getting t-shirts made for everyone. They really look awesome. They have our names on them and she made a large variety of designs which are pretty cool. People would end up coming up to us all week asking where they could buy these shirts.
We got the first of many Disney-taken family portraits before our breakfast. Then it was into the big breakfast room for one hardy breakfast. The meal is family-style so it is one big dish of all you can eat breakfast fare. Because Dominica, Liesl and I are vegetarians the chef prepared us a special, vegan stir fry that was absolutely amazing. We totally luck out being vegetarians – the chef prepared special meals for us are always something really special. Our meal at O’Hana was SO much better than the food that everyone else got. Really something special.
This breakfast included Stitch, Lilo and a handful of other characters who each stopped by the table. It was overall a really great experience and probably the lowest stress of all of the character dining that we ended up doing all week and we definitely did a lot.
After breakfast I went back to the resort so that I could log in and get to work. Yesterday was my only day off. So I worked until it was time for my late lunch. We have reservations at 3:40 this afternoon at the Garden Tea Room at the Grand Floridian Beach Resort. Dominica and I have only managed to have tea in Disney one time previous and we really enjoyed it so we were quite looking forward to bringing the girls and letting them have a real tea – not something that you get in Texas very often.
The Garden Tea Room has recently switched tea suppliers to a new one from British Columbia which, I did not know before, is famous for its tearooms. I had silver leaf which was a truly outstanding white tea, which is my favourite. Dominica and I as well as her dad really enjoyed ourselves at tea. We really liked the food and tea selection. No one else appeared to like it very much, though, so the excursion proved to be a far cry from a hit. This will be a treat reserved for Dominica and I in the future, I guess. Hopefully Liesl will enjoy fine British-style tea when she is older.
After tea we returned to the resort for a little while to rest and relax. Then, when things were possibly slowing down a little at the Magic Kingdom, we packed back up and headed back in so that we could get in more rides tonight. It is tough getting through the MK when there are tons of crowds.
We got the Magic Kingdom at just the right time to see the Spectral Magic Parade from the bottom of Main Street. The family staked out a perfect vantage point just two hundred feet into the start of the parade and camped out there to be sure to get a great view. I am not into parades really and I was feeling hungry so I hoofed it up to the Main Street Bakery and got myself a giant chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwich as a snack. There was some awesome looking banana bread pudding there that I knew that Dominica would love so I got that for her and raced it back down to her through the massive throng of parade spectators.
With the good vantage point and the delicious snacks the parade was pretty enjoyable. Liesl and Garrett liked it. As soon as the parade was over the family raced as fast as they could up to Adventureland getting there ahead of most of the parade. While the parade is on much of the park stops to watch it so the rides become mostly empty. Pirates of the Caribbean is notably one of those rides that in the evening, and especially during the parade, becomes absolutely empty. Almost every time that we go there at night there isn’t the slightest line at all. Often you are alone in the boats!
No one had had a chance to ride Pirates of the Caribbean yet so this was a real treat getting there when it was completely empty. We raced right in and, for the very first time since we arrived, it was me who got to take the girls on the ride. Emily sat with me in the front row of the boat as she got to experience a truly classic Disney dark ride for the first time which was a lot of fun. I missed out on a lot of the girls “first time” experiences in Disney so I was really thankful to get to be there for this one. Pirates is possibly the most famous and classic dark ride in the world.
There was no line at all so we raced around and rode Pirates again immediately – something that no one really got to do other than this for the entire vacation. So our race to get there worked out really well.
After Pirates we headed into Frontierland where we were able to get everyone in to ride Splash Mountain. Francesca, being pregnant, could not ride it and so she and I sat out with Liesl and Garrett while everyone else rode the ride. The line was fairly long, but manageable, so the Wishes fireworks show started while they were on the ride. Garrett loves fireworks so this was great for him. Liesl had never seen fireworks before so we discovered, much to our dismay, that she is terrified by them. And, of course, when you are in the Magic Kingdom and Disney decides to start setting off tons of those loud, cheap “explosion” fireworks, there is no escape from the noise. So Liesl was made very, very upset by the whole ordeal. Disney really created a feeling of being “trapped” because I had no way to get Liesl away from the fireworks that just kept going and going. It did not help that Liesl had fallen asleep during the parade and was quite suddenly awoken by the fireworks. That made things much worse.
After Splash Mountain I sat out with Liesl, who was upset for quite some time, while everyone else went in to watch the Country Bear Jamboree. This was really unfortunate because we were quite sure that after how much fun she had had at the Tiki Room that Liesl would really have loved the Country Bear Jamboree too but she was upset and tired and we did not think that it was wise at all to take her in there. So I sat out another ride – not that I mind at all missing the Country Bear Jamboree. It was a good ride when it was new, fresh and not so dusty but time has not been kind to this ride and it desperately needs a total overhaul or just replaced. It has a lot of potential but the existing show has to go. It is dated beyond repair in both style and physical appearance.
From there it was on to Liberty Square. Dominica and I had decided to wait on dinner so that we could eat at the Columbia Harbor House. Everyone else had eaten at the resort before we headed back to the Magic Kingdom but we did not want to give up good and interesting food for the same resort food that we were getting almost daily. But, much to our chagrin, we discovered that the Columbia Harbor House had already closed by the time that we got there and, in fact, all of the food in the Magic Kingdom had closed except for the bakery on Main Street! We tried several places that had looked interesting and they were all closed. Extremely disappointing. We were starving by this point too having waited until around ten in the evening to try to get food after having done a really like “lunch” at the tea room.
While in Liberty Square everyone, except for Liesl and I, rode the Haunted Mansion. I’m not into “creepy rides” at all so even though the Haunted Mansion is an excellent ride and certainly a classic I did not mind missing it at all. Some parts of it are really awesome but overall I just don’t enjoy being constantly reminded of death. I find it morbid and depressing, not a form of entertainment. It is too bad because the Haunted Mansion is so well done and is quite a bit better since its refurb about a year and a half ago. It is one of Domincia’s favourite rides. There are a lot of great effects in it and some really funny stuff. But it worked out as Liesl was sleeping and needed me to watch her.
Everyone was pretty tired after doing Liberty Square and I could not talk people into doing the Hall of Presidents, the other big attraction that is open at night in Liberty Square so we decided that it was time to call it a night. During the day there is also the Liberty Belle Riverboat ride which I think is really awesome. That is one of my favourite things in the Magic Kingdom. The rides that were not completed in the Magic Kingdom tonight, like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Philharmagic, Peter Pan’s Flight, etc. are being saved and planned for Thanksgiving morning when we know that we are back in the MK for breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
On the way out, Dominica and I stopped at the Main Street Bakery to get in our dinner meal. They did not have any real vegetarian selection so we pieced together a meal from yoghurt and other healthy side items. Everyone was in a hurry to get back so just Dominica, Liesl, Frank and I stayed to eat and everyone else went on ahead to the resort.
After we were done eating we headed back ourselves and actually caught up with the rest of the family at the bus stop just in time to get on to the bus. So definitely a good thing that we had sent them on ahead!