You just graduated from college!! What’s next? – May 2015 Trip

I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!
party:

On May 9, 2015 my daughter Emily graduated from college. Woohoo!!! :woohoo:

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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 :laughing:), she wanted to include them in her celebration trip.

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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 :thumbsup2 ).

‘Cause we were on a mission… :car:

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So please join the jabead family (minus my DH, who had to stay home and work :sad1:) for their 9 day graduation celebration…

DISNEY STYLE!!!
:earsgirl::earsgirl::earsgirl::earsboy:

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 TeaCOMPLETE

Animal Kingdom Lodge Culinary Tour of Boma and JikoCOMPLETE

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.

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(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 SanaaCOMPLETE

Kilimanjaro Club Cordials and DessertsCOMPLETE

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)…

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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 BreakfastCOMPLETE

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

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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! :thumbsup2

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.

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As you can maybe tell from my face, the heat index on this day was somewhere between OMG and WTH. :scared:

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”… ;)

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I swear I heard a “tick tock” sound coming from one of those crocodiles… pirate:

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Oh, and this trio of elephants made a cameo appearance during our safari. I think their names were Big, Bigger, and Biggest…

 

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Our safari was over by 10:30 and we were all hungry so checked in early for our reservation for…

 

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.
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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. :laughing:

Here’s their Snapchat photo post-Kali…
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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…

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Afternoon Cocktails and Appetizers at Yak & Yeti  – COMPLETE

Dinner at Rainforest CafeCOMPLETE

 

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 CauldronCOMPLETE

Rock Royalty Club Evening ReceptionCOMPLETE

Dinner off-site at The Melting Pot (fondue restaurant)COMPLETE

Day 4 – Downtown Disney/Boardwalk Resort

Rock Royalty Club Continental BreakfastCOMPLETE

Brunch at Raglan RoadCOMPLETE

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 FornoCOMPLETE

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 :shamrock: (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. :woohoo: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….

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The kids also took this Snapchat pic…

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…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. :laughing:

Then we proceeded up the nearly empty walkway which goes through the castle…

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…to take some photos of the Cinderella-themed mosaic murals which adorn the walls there.

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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…

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“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…

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The one which belongs to a Beast and his Beauty…

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Pre-Park Opening Breakfast at Be our GuestCOMPLETE

Lunch at Liberty Tree TavernCOMPLETE

Dinner at Narcoossee’sCOMPLETE

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.

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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…

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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… :laughing:

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Kringla Bakeri og Kafe  – COMPLETE

 

Not long after our break in Norway, it was time to head to Japan…

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For our lunch at…

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Lunch at Teppan EdoCOMPLETE

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.

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She did the usual countdown from 3-2-1 in Japanese, as part of the “opening” ceremony for her selected oyster…

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And though her oyster did not contain a black pearl, it did hold this very pretty silver blue one…

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Which warranted the beating of the drum…

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Emily was as happy as a clam! ;)

After some shopping at the Mitsukoshi store and in Morocco, we found ourselves in France.

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Ice Cream at L’Artisan des GlacesCOMPLETE

Dinner at California GrillCOMPLETE

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. :worried:

But after much consideration, I finally chose for us to head to the Grand Floridian Resort for breakfast at the lovely…

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Breakfast at Grand Floridian CafeCOMPLETE

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… ;)

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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 PlazaCOMPLETE

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.

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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…

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Cocktails at Trader Sam’s Grog GrottoCOMPLETE

Dinner at Kona CafeCOMPLETE

Day 8 – Hollywood Studios/Epcot


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On our Hollywood Studios day, breakfast for Emily and me was from…

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Breakfast at Starring RollsCOMPLETE

Lunch at 50’s Prime Time Cafe COMPLETE

Dinner at Le CellierCOMPLETE

Dessert at Beaches & CreamCOMPLETE

Day 9 – Epcot

Breakfast from the Boardwalk BakeryCOMPLETE

Lunch at San Angel InnCOMPLETE

Traditional Last Day Visit to Karamell KucheCOMPLETE

Drinks & Snacks from the Rose & Crown PubCOMPLETE

Dinner at Spice Road TableCOMPLETE

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’…

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Lunch at BongosCOMPLETE

Dinner at Yak & YetiCOMPLETE

Dinner at Be our GuestCOMPLETE

Dinner at Narcoossee’sCOMPLETE

Lunch at Via NapoliCOMPLETE

Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal TableCOMPLETE

Dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby with the Fantasmic! Package COMPLETE

Dinner at Monsieur PaulCOMPLETE

Lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – COMPLETE

Dinner at Restaurant MarrakeshCOMPLETE

 

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2 thoughts on “You just graduated from college!! What’s next? – May 2015 Trip

  1. 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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