Friday, January 21, 2011

January Trip Report, Day 4

With my backstage pass!
My birthday present from James was for us to go on the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and this day was it!  We were scheduled for the 9 am tour, so we woke up at 7.  Soon we were ready, dressed, I wrapped my knee, and we were at the bus stop.  Once we got to the Magic Kingdom, we headed to the breakfast reservation line to get in the park before it opened.  After a little scare (I momentarily thought I lost my Key to the World card, but I found it), we were in the park and headed to wear we the tour meets:  package pick up.  We "signed in," got name tags and temporary backstage passes, and we ordered lunch.  We got to order from the full Columbia Harbor House restaurant, and I chose the BLT salad.  I'm not enthused by the choices at Columbia Harbor House, but that's a blog post for another day. 

After all of our fellow tourers arrived (there were 19 of us total), we were given headsets to wear so we could hear our guide the whole time.  These were extremely helpful in hearing our awesome guide, Kate, and they worked great.  I don't want to go too much into the details of the tour since I want to do a separate blog post about it, but I will say that it was AWESOME.  It lasted until roughly 2 pm, and during the tour we rode two rides (Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion) and went backstage twice (three times if you count entering the Haunted Mansion through the "crew's quarters").  One of these times was in the Utilidors, which was very interesting to see.  Of course, about halfway through, we had that lunch that we had ordered earlier.  And here's something interesting, one of the people on our tour was a contractor for New Fantasyland and was doing a site visit to the Be Our Guest Restaurant the following day!

My new shirt!
During the tour, I had seen an awesome Haunted Mansion shirt that I really wanted (the Mansion is my favorite attraction, of course), so we took the Railroad over to Frontierland from where our tour ended on Main Street.  We then walked to the Haunted Mansion, bought the shirt, and headed toward the park exit.  Before we left, though, we stopped by Guest Relations to fill out a guest appreciation card for our awesome tour guide, Kate.  Kate said her dream was to one day have Meg Crofton's job, so hopefully the many appreciation cards that I'm sure she gets will help her get there!

We went back to the resort to take a nap, and soon it was time to get ready for our dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse (yet again, a full review is coming in the future).  Since we were taking Disney transportation, we decided to use a few skillful maneuvers (can you say Friendship Boat?) to get to the Yachtsman.  Of course, the boats are SO slow, and at one point we wished we walked, but my knee was still bothering me, so I was glad to be sitting.  Soon we arrived at the Yacht Club, and after a little getting lost... um, exploring... we were at the restaurant.

James' 24 ounce steak.  So big!
Turns out at the Yachtsman, they personalize menus, so we were given special Happy Birthday menus to take home with us.  So nice!  Our waiter was really nice, and he told us that on the dining plan, we get a nonalcoholic beverage, and that virgin daiquiris and pina coladas were included in this.  I felt like a kid who was just told she could have a Slurpee with dinner, and I ordered the daiquiri.  I also ordered the 8 ounce filet (what our waiter called the "lady steak"), and James ordered lobster bisque as an appetizer and the 24 ounce Porterhouse as his entree.  I was glad not to order an appetizer because I ate a TON of the onion bread that we were served.  I ate so much bread that I only ate about half of my filet.  Since James ate about 20 ounces of his steak, I joked that we could share one next time, and it would be perfect!

Yummy creme brulee!
After dinner, James had an interesting sorbet trio, and I had the first creme brulee of my life.  Although, as it turns out, I would also have the second and third creme brulees of my life on this trip.  It was SO good.  I couldn't believe I had never had it before!  Once I had eaten my fill, we left and James changed into "street clothes" from his more formal ones.  Many tweeps had been hanging out at the Studios all day, so we decided to see where they were.  But here was the problem:  they were at the Contemporary, but the Magic Kingdom was closed.  This is a nightmare for someone using Disney transporation...

Image from Nicole.  3/6 of #collegestudentsunite, as she said!
It took us a whopping HOUR to get from the Yacht Club to the Contemporary, especially since I'm not sure we did it the quickest way.  We entered Epcot's International Gateway, and speed walked through the park.  At the front, we hopped on the Tronorail to the TTC.  At this point, we probably should have walked to the Contemporary, but my knee was still bothering me, so we took the resort monorail which took FOREVER.  Finally, 55 minutes later, we made it to the Contemporary and met up with Nicole, Todd, Cheryl, Alison, Chris, Megan, and Shane.  We met in the Contempo Cafe, and it was awesome to meet people I have been talking with on Twitter for so long!  Many hugs were given!  Megan, Cheryl, and Nicole were staying at Bay Lake Tower, so we snuck in to the Top of the World lounge to wait for the Electric Water Parade to come around.  The lounge was awesome, and we hung out outside and all chatted for a while.  (The picture to the left is from Nicole's phone.  I think James has a camera quality one somewhere, but you get the point!)

After the Water Parade, some of us exchanged numbers, some went to bed, and the rest of us were driven back to our resorts by the very generous Todd (although his chauffeur services were actually offered by Cheryl who, incidentally, was not part of the carpool).  But really, thanks Todd!  Otherwise we would've had to get a taxi, I suppose!  Once back at our room, we pretty much conked out.  We were tired, and we had a fun filled day at the Studios ahead of us!


  1. I'm glad that you two enjoyed KTTK! I was able to do it for the first time in September and treat my parents (only chance I could take them to work/Utilidors haha) and we all really liked it!

    Next, the Segway Tour!

  2. That's awesome. The Segway tour is awesome too, and I highly recommend it! Totally worth the money!

  3. I had my first creme brulee on our Spain trip. I'm so addicted to them now!

    I can't wait to hear more about the Keys to the Kingdom tour - it's on our bucket list!

  4. The bread is so good, isn't it? They're still serving the butter with balsamic on it aren't they?

  5. We always say we are going to make it to Yachtsman Steakhouse and never do. I am going to make sure we put it on our to do list for the next trip!

    I look forward to reading about the tour - another thing I would love to try on one of our trips!

  6. Jessica, love Creme Brulee! And I bet you'll love Keys to the Kingdom!

    Brad, I think it was just regular butter, if my memory serves.

    Beth, you should! It was excellent!