I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!
On May 9, 2015 my daughter Emily graduated from college. Woohoo!!!
I had taken my oldest daughter to Disney World after she graduated from college three years ago. So of course, to be fair and equal, I must do the same for the other two. Right?
And since Emily loves her big sis and little brother so much (well, sometimes anyway ), she wanted to include them in her celebration trip.
So on May 12th our party of 3 (the 4th joined us two days later) embarked on our 17 hour looooong journey from Illinois to Florida, stopping only to get gas, go to the bathroom, and switch drivers (preferably all three in one stop ).
‘Cause we were on a mission…
So please join the jabead family (minus my DH, who had to stay home and work ) for their 9 day graduation celebration…
Oh, and for those of you who read my last dining report, you may remember that I left most of the dining choices for this trip up to my three kids (ages 19 – 25). I made some suggestions, a few which they accepted but many were discarded. So what did they choose??? Check out my Table of Contents to see where this party is heading.
Day 1 – One night stay Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level
Arrival at AKL and Kilimanjaro Club Afternoon Refreshments – COMPLETE
Kilimanjaro Club Afternoon Tea – COMPLETE
Animal Kingdom Lodge Culinary Tour of Boma and Jiko – COMPLETE
Kilimanjaro Club Evening Wine and Cheese Selections – COMPLETE
After returning to our room for a bit to get ready for dinner, we set off by foot toward Kidani Village.
(Photo taken during my last trip, while on the Wanyama Safari)
It took less time than I thought it would for us to walk the path between the two sections of the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. Therefore we reached our dining destination a few minutes early, but were seated shortly after our arrival at…
Dinner at Sanaa – COMPLETE
Kilimanjaro Club Cordials and Desserts – COMPLETE
I enjoyed all the options provided by Kilmanjaro Club back in our room while watching the season finale of American Idol, as I was quite anxious to find out who would be this year’s winner, Clark Beckham or Nick Fradiani (both of which, I loved)…
Day 2 – Animal Kingdom
I woke up very early on the morning of May14th and was ready to visit the Kilimanjaro Lounge shortly after it began serving its continental breakfast offerings at 7:00 a.m. I made an attempt to get one or both of the kids to join me but their response was a resounding, “NO”!!! Neither are really fans of breakfast, especially at 7:00 a.m. Though they enjoy breakfast food, when given the choice between food and sleep they will almost always choose sleep.
Kilimanjaro Club Continental Breakfast – COMPLETE
He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart. ~ C.S. Lewis
I recently came upon this quote by C.S. Lewis and it made me laugh. Hope it did the same for you. Anyway, if you haven’t yet guessed, the above pictured plate of breakfast food (including scrambled eggs and ham) was my first plate from our brunch at Tusker House. I say brunch because our ADR was for 10:45 and breakfast at Tusker House ends at 11:00 and that is when lunch begins. So I purposely made our reservation at this time so that I could have my breakfast and eat lunch too!
But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s rewind and start from the beginning. After checking out of the Animal Kingdom Lodge on the morning of May 14th, we drove to Animal Kingdom and arrived not long after it opened, which that morning was at 9:00.
As you can maybe tell from my face, the heat index on this day was somewhere between OMG and WTH.
So anyway, our first Fast Pass of the morning was for Kilimanjaro Safaris but the kids decided they wanted to first do Expedition Everest, which had a very short stand-by line. Then they met up with me in Africa for our safari ride.
This big guy gives a whole new meaning to “power napping”…
I swear I heard a “tick tock” sound coming from one of those crocodiles…
Oh, and this trio of elephants made a cameo appearance during our safari. I think their names were Big, Bigger, and Biggest…
Brunch at Tusker House – Part I (Breakfast) – COMPLETE
Brunch at Tusker House – Part II (Lunch) – COMPLETE
Following our brunch at Tusker House, we used our 2nd Fast Pass to ride Expedition Everest and 3rd for Kali River Rapids.
Correction: While I stayed dry on the bridge overlooking the ride, the kids used their 3rd Fast Pass to get drenched on Kali River Rapids.
Here’s their Snapchat photo post-Kali…
I’d say Kali nailed them, rather than the other way around.
Anyway, we were then able to get a 4th Fast Pass, followed by a 5th. We had about an hour to kill though before we could use our 5th Fast Pass and even though it was only 4:00 we declared it to be Happy Hour at…
Afternoon Cocktails and Appetizers at Yak & Yeti – COMPLETE
Dinner at Rainforest Cafe – COMPLETE
Arrival at Universal Studios’ Hard Rock Hotel (with a complimentary upgrade to their Rock Royalty Level) –COMPLETE
Day 3 – Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios
Our day at the Universal Studios Parks including a late breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron – COMPLETE
Rock Royalty Club Evening Reception – COMPLETE
Dinner off-site at The Melting Pot (fondue restaurant) – COMPLETE
Day 4 – Downtown Disney/Boardwalk Resort
Rock Royalty Club Continental Breakfast – COMPLETE
Brunch at Raglan Road – COMPLETE
After brunch at Raglan Road and a movie at AMC Theatres, it was time to head to the Boardwalk Villas to begin our 5 night stay there.
Review of the Boardwalk Villas – COMPLETE
Dinner at Trattoria al Forno – COMPLETE
Day 5 – Magic Kingdom
We had originally scheduled an ADR for lunch at Be our Guest but when the announcement came in March that they would start serving breakfast, we all agreed that we wanted to try something new. On March 17th (the day they began taking breakfast reservations) I was able to snag not just an ADR but at the pre-park opening time of 8:10 a.m. I must have had the luck of the Irish going for me that day, as I do have a wee bit of the Irish in me.
Now the kids were not quite as excited as I was about obtaining such an early breakfast time. However, once they got past the agony of getting up early that morning, they really enjoyed entering the park before a majority of the crowd and taking photos. According to the time on our first picture, we were in the park and taking photos by 7:45 a.m. on a day when Magic Kingdom opened at 9:00. We of course took some castle pics, although since it still had construction walls in front of it the best photo was actually a side view….
The kids also took this Snapchat pic…
…which was sent out to their friends back in Illinois, where it was only 6:45 a.m. I doubt if anyone saw that one for awhile.
Then we proceeded up the nearly empty walkway which goes through the castle…
…to take some photos of the Cinderella-themed mosaic murals which adorn the walls there.
Since this walkway is usually crowded with people, we had never really spent much time looking at these beautiful mosaics. Emily, being an artist and graphic design major in college, took special notice and posted this on Instagram…
“Walt Disney was a family man and a dreamer, but above all, he was an artist and it shows in every aspect of Disney World. Every inch of every park or resort is made to appeal to an artist’s eye, like the beautiful mosaic walls in Cinderella’s Castle that depict her story. Not to mention the service, Disney employees work very hard to keep up the illusion of this perfect world. And these details are what separates this theme park from all the rest.”
But soon it was time to get ourselves to the other Magic Kingdom castle…
The one which belongs to a Beast and his Beauty…
Pre-Park Opening Breakfast at Be our Guest – COMPLETE
Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern – COMPLETE
Dinner at Narcoossee’s – COMPLETE
Day 6 – Epcot
My Breakfast at Captain’s Grille and The Buffet – COMPLETE
As planned, I then met up with the kids at the International Gateway entrance to Epcot and we spent the next couple of hours in Future World.
About the time that World Showcase was opening at 11:00, Andrew declared that he was starving. Our lunch reservation was not until 1:30 so I thought it best to find the boy a snack. We happened to be close to the Refreshment Port at the time so I suggested that he have a cronut and he liked the idea…
He enjoyed this and rated it a 4. It held him over while his sisters shopped in Mexico. But by Norway he was hungry again…
Kringla Bakeri og Kafe – COMPLETE
Not long after our break in Norway, it was time to head to Japan…
For our lunch at…
Lunch at Teppan Edo – COMPLETE
We then went downstairs to the Mitsukoshi store so that Emily could once again attempt to find an oyster with the elusive black pearl, something which she has tried many times before.
She did the usual countdown from 3-2-1 in Japanese, as part of the “opening” ceremony for her selected oyster…
And though her oyster did not contain a black pearl, it did hold this very pretty silver blue one…
Which warranted the beating of the drum…
Emily was as happy as a clam!
After some shopping at the Mitsukoshi store and in Morocco, we found ourselves in France.
Ice Cream at L’Artisan des Glaces – COMPLETE
Dinner at California Grill – COMPLETE
Day 7 – Magic Kingdom
My kids allowed me to schedule just one more breakfast on this trip. Since I have two favorite breakfast places at Disney World, Kona Cafe (because I love their Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes) and the Grand Floridian Cafe (because I also love their French Toast), this was a pretty tough decision.
But after much consideration, I finally chose for us to head to the Grand Floridian Resort for breakfast at the lovely…
Breakfast at Grand Floridian Cafe – COMPLETE
After our breakfast, we walked outside to enjoy the resort’s beautiful grounds for a bit. Andrew took this kind of “artsy” photo of his sister…
From the Grand Floridian Resort, we took the monorail to Magic Kingdom where we were spending the day. For lunch the kids chose the Plaza Restaurant.
Lunch at The Plaza – COMPLETE
Not long after our lunch at the Plaza, Emily and Andrew went back to the room but Allison and I stuck around Magic Kingdom to see the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Immediately following the parade we left the park and hopped on the Resort monorail to the Polynesian. My goal was to make it there by 4:00, the opening time of…
Cocktails at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – COMPLETE
Dinner at Kona Cafe – COMPLETE
Day 8 – Hollywood Studios/Epcot
On our Hollywood Studios day, breakfast for Emily and me was from…
Breakfast at Starring Rolls – COMPLETE
Lunch at 50’s Prime Time Cafe – COMPLETE
Dinner at Le Cellier – COMPLETE
Dessert at Beaches & Cream – COMPLETE
Day 9 – Epcot
Breakfast from the Boardwalk Bakery – COMPLETE
Lunch at San Angel Inn – COMPLETE
Traditional Last Day Visit to Karamell Kuche – COMPLETE
Drinks & Snacks from the Rose & Crown Pub – COMPLETE
Dinner at Spice Road Table – COMPLETE
Reviews from My Nephew & His Wife
I’m incorporating into my dining report the Disney dining reviews of my nephew and his wife. They were at Disney World for 5 nights/6 days (July 26 – 31) to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary. This was their first trip to Disney World and they are foodies so they did the DeLuxe Dining Plan, using their 15 credits (each) to dine at 11 full-service restaurants (4 of which were 2 credit meals). They sent me photos and their notes from nearly all of these, including their lunch at Disney Springs’…
Lunch at Bongos – COMPLETE
Dinner at Yak & Yeti – COMPLETE
Dinner at Be our Guest – COMPLETE
Dinner at Narcoossee’s – COMPLETE
Lunch at Via Napoli – COMPLETE
Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table – COMPLETE
Dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby with the Fantasmic! Package – COMPLETE
Dinner at Monsieur Paul – COMPLETE
Lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – COMPLETE
Dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh – COMPLETE
2 thoughts on “You just graduated from college!! What’s next? – May 2015 Trip”
Haha! Just read your review of the winning CL. Thanks so much for letting us join you there!! I wish we could do it again!!
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