Monday, January 17, 2011

January Trip Report, Day 2

Two weeks ago, it was my birthday.  And I don't think there are many things more magical than being at Walt Disney World on your birthday.  I sort of felt like I was in a dream, and I never wanted to wake up!  James and I woke up at 7 (my birthday, my rules, and I wanted to be at Epcot for rope drop!), and quickly got ready.  When I woke up, I already had a few birthday wishes from my fantabulous tweeps, and got quite a few more when I excitedly tweeted, "YAY it's my BIRTHDAY and I'm at DISNEY WORLD!"  I was very happy.  I put on the birthday ears I had purchased the day before, and before I knew it, we were headed to the food court.  For my All Star breakfast at the All Star Music, I had the All Star Bounty Platter, of course! 

Once we got on our bus, the magic had already started.  There were only six or seven of us on the bus to Epcot, and our bus driver put an announcement over the speaker system on the bus that it was my birthday!  It was so awesome!  We arrived at the turnstiles at around 8:30, and then the wait began.  Luckily, we decided to wait at the open turnstile most to the right, so when they opened more to the right of us, we scurried over and were the second group in line!  Christmas music was playing instead of the normal Epcot entrance loop (which is one of my favorites), but I didn't mind.  

At around 8:50, they opened the turnstiles, we scanned through, and then we did our "Soarin' walk" up to the next holding area.  At 9, the characters came out, welcomed us to the park, and soon we were doing our Soarin' walk to Soarin'!  We requested to be in the top row, and we were in the middle section... so awesome!  Soarin' really takes my breath away, and it's my second favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World.  I absolutely love the score, the smell... I wish I was there right now!

Anyway, like any good Touring Plan follower, we headed to Test Track next, and we walked right through the single rider line.  I love the part outside, but I absolutely hate the part with the truck right before you get to the break away doors.  After Test Track, we decided to skip Mission: Space, so we headed over to the Seas pavilion.  It cracks James up every time that the queue for the Nemo ride is SO long, but the ride is seemingly always a walk on.  It takes five minutes just to walk through the line!  Once we found Nemo (in the biiiig bluuuue world), we managed to get into Turtle Talk right as the show was about to start.  Perfect timing, and Crush was awesome!  He kept saying "totes," which reminded me of Katie and kinda cracked me up, and he was the funniest Crush I've ever seen in the show.  A+ to that Crush.

We are here to change the world!
Next we headed back to the Land pavilion for Living with the Land.  I enjoy the attraction, but the seats on that darn boat are so uncomfortable!  Then we hit Journey into Your Imagination and Captain EO!  James fell asleep in Captain EO (Mike would consider this a travesty), but I loved it as usual.  The only thing about Captain EO is that you can never truly believe that you're watching Captain EO.  You always know you're watching Michael Jackson, and they don't let you forget that.  Not that I'm complaining, just observing.  This time I actually left my feet on the ground instead of keeping them up on the seat, but I didn't like the whipping effect.  Next time, I'll probably keep my feet elevated again.  Thanks for scarring me, Honey I Shrunk the Audience...
Epcot Christmas tree

After some brief pre-lunch refreshments at Club Cool, I decided I wanted to have my birthday lunch at the new-and-improved Cantina de San Angel.  James and I both ordered the tacos de carne, and I thought they were good.  I would definitely have them again, but I might try something different next time I went before resorted back to them.  I had churros for dessert, and while they were good, they certainly weren't anything I couldn't get at any other park (except apparently the Magic Kingdom less than an hour before park closing, as we learned the day before...).  Next we rode the Gran Fiesta Tour (donde esta Donald?), Maelstrom at Norway, and we were on our way around the World Showcase!

Kim Possible Recruitment Center in Future World
We stopped at a Kim Possible Recruitment Center along the way, and by the time we made it to Italy in our touring, it was time for our mission!  We did the Japan and France missions this time, and we have done the Germany and UK missions in the past.  So far, Japan is my favorite!  Some of the effects are really cool, and it was actually a little bit of a tough mission!  After we saved the world from two of the seven villains, we decided to let some other agents finish up and continued touring the World Showcase sans Kimmunicator.  Our last ride of the day was Spaceship Earth, where we thanked the Phoenicians, smelled Rome burn, and were welcomed to our future!  Then we headed back to the room for a nap before dinner.

Dressed up for my birthday dinner!
Once we were refueled and ready to go, we got ready for my birthday dinner at California Grill!  After much deliberation, I finally decided that is where I wanted to eat on my birthday, and I was so pleased with that decision.  We took a bus to the Magic Kingdom and then got on the monorail to head to the Contemporary.  James loves the Contemporary, so he was very pleased.  After wandering the lobby and gift shops for a bit, we decided to head downstairs to check in.  We were given a buzzer for our table, and then we were escorted upstairs in a special elevator (this was awesome, by the way).  Our buzzer actually started buzzing while we were in the elevator, but once we got to the top, I requested a window table with a Magic Kingdom view.  The host offered us an Epcot view in the wine room, but I told him I would wait for a castle view.  Any other time, I wouldn't have minded, but this was my birthday, and I wanted to see the castle while I ate.  I made my reservation two hours before the fireworks intending to wait for a Magic Kingdom view.  I did not have to wait, however, as our host pulled some strings and sat us at a table for four (even though it was just James and I).  I kid you not when I say I sat down in my seat at the table and was looking directly at Cinderella castle.  I swear we must have had the best view in the whole restaurant.  It was perfect.

The view from my seat
Our waitress at California Grill was excellent, and soon we had ordered.  We were on the dining plan, so our meals only included a non-alcoholic beverage, entree, and dessert (for two table service credits).  That said, it was my birthday, and I was not limiting myself to that.  For our first course, James and I shared a three cheese flatbread that was delicious.  Then for our second course, James had mussels, and I had ham covered rabbit.  That is a huge step out of my comfort zone because I'm a very picky eater, and I honestly didn't like the rabbit, but I'm very proud of myself for trying something new!  Next, James and I both had the oak grilled filet as our entrees.  It was excellent, and a more detailed review of this restaurant is certainly coming in the next few weeks.

At this point, it was approximately 7:30, and our entrees had just been taken away.  Only dessert was left, and there were only 30 minutes until the fireworks.  It was absolutely perfect timing.  I was worried initially that two hours would be too long to spend at California Grill, but as Alli and Sam had assured me, it was just right.  Especially since we ordered all those courses.  Dessert was chocolate molten lava cake with eggnog ice cream (though we chose to have vanilla instead) and peppermint bark.  And mine came with a happy birthday sign on a piece of chocolate!  So awesome!  Just as I finished dessert, Wishes began, and we had a perfect view from our table.  Everything was just so amazing.

After we paid, I had the crazy idea that we could possibly make it IllumiNations for an epic night of double fireworks.  So we got on the monorail and attempted it.  And I wore heels because I accidentally brought along two left flip flops.  We had just gotten on the monorail to Epcot with 18 minutes to go, and we arrived at the park with just five left.  I was running in my heels like it was no one's business, and we got to World Showcase Lagoon Plaza with about a minute to spare.  Nevertheless, I was able to see almost everything from our spot (the water portions were all I couldn't see), and it was amazing as usual.  As I tweeted at 9:26 that night, "Epcot, California Grill, Wishes, AND IllumiNations. Best birthday EVER!"  And then it was back to the room to prepare for the next day.


  1. Wow! What a wonderful birthday! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I just got teary-eyed reading about your fantastic Birthday day! I'm so glad everything worked out so well and that the timing was as perfect as Sam and I hoped! Kinda reminded me of meeting you and James in The Seas and then exploring Epcot with you and JL and the kids a bit before dashing back to Pop! to shower and get dressed for my dinner at Cali. I never did get you send you birthday wishes because of my silly schedule but I'm so glad your birthday was so magical!

  3. what an amazing birthday!! glad you enjoyed!

  4. I'm glad you all enjoyed reading about my birthday!

    Alli, I hope we get to meet up again some day! Maybe we can all go to Cali Grill then! =P

  5. What an AMAZING birthday at the World! We just made plans to spend my 28th birthday there in September, and you've made me seriously consider California Grill for my birthday dinner. Sounds amazing!

  6. It really was awesome, just be warned that it can get quite expensive, especially if you get all the courses and drinks.

  7. Thanks, Amanda! I can't wait for Day 3!