Sunday, December 8, 2019

Never Homevember: 2019 Walt Disney World

Our travel schedule for November got full quickly.   Our traditional Thanksgiving vacation to Jamaica was booked in the summer of 2018 when we found a crazy cheap promotion for one of our favorite hotels.  We booked a short Disney World trip centered around the Swan and Dolphin Hotels’ Food and Wine Classic event and our wedding anniversary.   This summer a friend suggested we should join him in Las Vegas for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon - which of course was the weekend between the other trips.   We were on the fence about Vegas but when we canceled our Labor Day trip to Florida, due to Hurricane Dorian, we used the airline credit and budget from that trip to book the Las Vegas trip and then drowned our sorrows in Milwaukee (an hour from our house) over Labor Day Weekend.  That meant we would not be home 4 weekends in a row.  Of course this came at extreme busy times at work so lots of time was spent on the laptops at night during the work weeks.

Disney Highlights

Stayed at the Polynesian using our Disney Vacation Club.  We booked a lake view room which offers a view of the Magic Kingdom from the 2nd and 3rd floors.   We of course ended up on the first floor with no view.  Oh well...  One benefit of our location was the quick walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to grab the Monorail to access to Magic Kingdon, several resorts, and Epcot.  Another plus was access to Trader Sam's Tiki Bar for the chance to get the Hat Box Ghost mug.

Checking out the new land in Disney's Hollywood Studios:  Galaxy's Edge.   We were really looking forward to experiencing the land, especially after missing opening weekend.  Since the land’s opening crowds at Disney World were low....but not on Veteran's Day Weekend.   The place was packed with lines out-the-door to get into shops.

We experienced a lot in a short amount of time thanks to Holly's tenacious attack on Disney's online reservation system.   The morning started with cocktails and beer at 10am in Oga's Cantina. "Fortunately" they still had all the collectible tiki glasses including the Rancor tooth flight glasses and tray.  Next we went to build our custom remote control R2-D2 style droids. Around noon we finally got in the 105 minute long line for Smuggler's Run - the Millennium Falcon simulation.  Holly let people go ahead of us at role assignment time so we could be the pilots.    2pm:  Time for more cocktails since we had another Oga's reservation.   4pm: Build light sabers.

Overall the world was very well thought out, just wish we could have had the non-crowd experience of the prior months.   Dave felt it needed a little more nods to the old era like having the Jawas trade with guests and more random creatures walk around the area.

Food:  This whole trip was supposed to be centered around eating, but we had to cram all the Star Wars stuff in after cancelling the September trip.   We had a great night at the Swan and Dolphin's Food and Wine Classic.  The event gets better each year with more offerings and themed areas.  Epcot was still hosting their Food and Wine Festival.   Our original wish list of 75 items was created in August when we had two trips to spread the eating.    We culled that down a bit before the trip and maybe ended up skipping a 1/3 of what we wrote down.    We enjoyed the new night time show - Epcot Forever. Too bad it's temporary.

We grabbed a drink at the new Enchanted Rose Lounge in the Grand Floridian. The bar is a lightly themed to Beauty and the Beast and replaces Mizner's Lounge in a much larger space.   It will be nice to spend some time on their outdoor deck during a longer trip.

We decided to celebrate our anniversary dinner at The California Grill.   Food was good as always, but we had some issues with the check-in desk.  They had us wait a 1/2 hour past our reservation time in some dank corner of the Contemporary 2nd floor and weren’t sure they would have called us if Dave didn't check on the progress.   We had it noted all over the place it was our anniversary - so where do they sit us?  A booth in front of the chef's pass.    Not cool.   We told them we were not happy and were reseated a few minutes later.    Kinda put a damper on the mood and we left 5 minutes before the fireworks.    We did catch them at TTC - good spot for them.   

We scored a Mickey's Christmas Tree popcorn bucket.   It's our Christmas Tree this year.  Dave was really tempted to buy more for ebay after seeing the after-market price, but we believe in letting people have a chance to get one in-park.

Once again we were able to squeeze a lot into a short amount of time and had a great trip.   

The video below is our experience making custom light sabers in Galaxy’s Edge.  Dave gets to show some Star Wars nerdiness when a cast member asks him a question.

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