Hello everyone! I was lucky enough to be able to sneak in a week at Disney this September to experience Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, the Wild Africa Trek, and the Behind the Seeds Tour as well as a lot of Disney Dining. I thought it would be fun to bring to you a trip report to share my experiences and to bring a little Disney magic to your day. I love reading and writing trip reports as they help me to get over those Disney blues while at home awaiting the next vacation, so I hope this brings a smile to your face!
Sunday – Beep beep beep! The alarm clocks went off at 4am and my mom and I were off to the airport to catch the first flight out from New York to Orlando. While it is a very early start, I love taking that particular flight as we are usually checked into our hotel by 11am and in one of the parks eating lunch by noon. This trip was no different and after checking in at Port Orleans French Quarter we were off to Epcot to have our traditional first lunch in the ever delicious Sunshine Seasons. While you can’t ever go wrong with their turkey sandwich and strawberry shortcake, my mom’s smoked pork chop was one of the best things we tried on the whole trip! I definitely recommend trying it sometime. After lunch, we wandered around Future World hopping on some attractions and doing a little shopping in Mouse Gears before our Behind the Seeds tour in The Land. I don’t want to give away too much of the tour as I will be doing a review in the future, but I can definitely tell you that this tour was both informational and fun! The length of the tour is perfect, and despite not being able to touch most things, you are still presented with enough hands- on activities and experiences to keep everyone occupied.
After our tour it was off to take the monorail to the TTC and transfer to move on to the Polynesian. It has become a tradition in our family to have dinner at Kona Café on the first night of our vacation and this time was no different. If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I am obsessed with the Lapu Lapu and Kona Café is a great place to try it! In addition, I recommend the New York Strip Steak and their delicious Hawaiian bread and Macadamia Nut Honey Butter. Despite being tired from our early wake up and flight, we decided to head to the Magic Kingdom for a little while after dinner as that particular night featured Extra Magic Hours. This also provided me the opportunity to ride Space Mountain a few times as it would be down for a brief refurbishment for the remainder of our vacation. Finally, exhausted we made our way back to the resort to rest up for the following morning.
Monday – Bright and early my mom and I boarded a bus to the Magic Kingdom to get there for opening. We love taking our usual approach of visiting Adventureland first and then working our way around the park. I particularly love the courtyard in front of Pirates of the Caribbean first thing in the morning when all is quiet and there are few people around. Although, we ended up having quite an interesting ride on Pirates…we were stopped for so long that the boats moved backwards through almost two whole scenes! After about 20-25 minutes of being stuck with the swashbucklers, the Cast Members made the announcement that the water jets were about to start up and we were finally on our way forward again. For a few minutes there we thought we were going to have to be evacuated!
After that we continued our way through Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Fantasyland before finally arriving at The Plaza Restaurant for our lunch reservation. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but we ended up being able to get the Disney Dining Plan for only $65 more than our originally priced vacation so it was well worth the deal in the end! We wanted to experience some new restaurants that we had never tried before including The Plaza. I never realized just how small this restaurant was inside, but I loved the intricate details on the mirrored walls and beautiful light fixtures. I also had a delicious salad featuring fresh cucumbers, strawberries, and goat cheese. We ended up being really lucky with our lunch reservation in that we missed about an hour of rain while eating. Unfortunately, that rain storm lasted from about noon until 9pm that night and it was only the beginning of a very rainy week. But no matter, we just threw on our Mickey ponchos and went on our way! At one point it was raining so hard that I actually experienced Stitch’s Great Escape and while some parts are cute, I really do miss Alien Encounter. We later had our dinner at Columbia Harbour House where I love their Lighthouse Sandwich and fresh dessert cobblers. By then the rain was letting up a little, so we decided to take a boat over to The Grand Floridian to walk around and enjoy the live music in the lobby. We then headed back to our room as Tuesday was going to be a long (but fun!) day.
Tuesday – One of the experiences that we were most looking forward to on this trip was the Wild Africa Trek. For several years my mom and I had discussed wanting to take the tour, but the price always deterred us. Finally we decided it was worth the cost and booked an 8am tour- the very first of the day. The night before we alerted our front desk that we needed to be at the Animal Kingdom before 8am to check in, and we were assured that there would be a bus at the stop at 7am. To be on the safe side, we arrived at the bus stop at 6:45am…only to sit there and wait for the first bus to arrive at 7:20. While we were frazzled, we still figured 35 minutes would be plenty of time to get to the Animal Kingdom- until the bus began the Riverside loop of additional four bus stops after departing from French Quarter. All in all, we ended up getting to the Animal Kingdom at 7:55am and sprinting to the front gate. We were terrified that we would miss the tour and additionally not be refunded. Fortunately, we just caught the tour group as they were beginning to move away from the entrance of the park, but we were left panting, wet from the rain, and overall stressed from the transportation issues. Regardless, we had an amazing time on the Trek. In a future WDW Radio newsletter I will be writing a review of the experience, so be sure to subscribe as they come out every Wednesday night!
After our tour, we walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek, one of our favorite things in the Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately all of the tigers were sleeping mainly out of view, but it still is amazing to catch glimpses of them. We then had a lunch reservation at Yak & Yeti Restaurant which is a favorite of ours. If you look back to my previous post, you can find a review of the restaurant there!
After lunch and a somewhat hectic morning, we headed back to the hotel to relax for a short while before changing into our Halloween costumes and heading to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Dressed as Wendy, I was ready to trick or treat, see some spooks, and take in all of the amazing costumes that other guests had on. We had a quick dinner of flatbreads at Pinocchio’s Village Haus before heading over to Heritage House in Liberty Square at [6:45]pm to line up to purchase party merchandise when it hit the shelves at 7pm. After picking up some shirts and a pin, we headed over to the Haunted Mansion which is lit in beautiful and eerie purples and greens and covered in fog and smoke. The Cast Members here are absolutely amazing- they are done up in full undead makeup complete with cobwebs and they never break character. My favorite person to watch though is the Southern Belle sitting on the front lawn of the Haunted Mansion interacting with guests. Her advice to me as Wendy? Don’t hang out with Tinkerbell, she never never lands.
We then headed over to watch the Villains Mix & Mingle Stage Show; however, about three minutes in it was cancelled as the rain once again rolled in and started to soak everyone. Unfortunately, that show never ended up happening at all that night due to the rain but we weren’t too upset as we had seen it in previous years. After a few laps on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority to wait out the rain, we secured a spot on the curb for the first Boo To You Parade. This is by far my favorite Disney parade and it definitely didn’t disappoint. We then mingled around the hub waiting for HalloWishes to light up the sky above Cinderella Castle. After the fireworks, we switched positions on the curb and waited for the second running of the parade. Fortunately this time around it was a little dryer out, so all of the entertainment between floats including those amazing grave diggers, were out and performing. The only downside of both parades was that the Headless Horseman didn’t ride either time since the ground was damp. After last year’s fall we understood, but he definitely adds a level of excitement and spookiness to the crowd as the parade approaches! Finally we walked down Main Street and then waited at the flagpole to have our picture taken by a PhotoPass Cast Member and then called it a night.
So there you have the first half of our trip report! Despite the rain, we had a great time on our tours and at the Halloween Party. Stay tuned next Monday for the second half of my report!
Have you ever done the Behind the Seeds Tour of the Wild Africa Trek? Ever had a problem with the bus transportation like we did? What is your favorite part of Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween Party? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
*Photos are from my personal collection.
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.