We wanted to recover a bit before the big weekend, so Sarah and I decided to sleep in a bit on Thursday. This worked out nicely because my mom is a shopping fiend, and wanted to spend time at Downtown Disney, and we had no desire to go there. We thus decided that we would meet them for lunch at Whispering Canyon, and do our own thing in the morning.
Unfortunately, when we made the ADR for Whispering Canyon, we were feeling well (it was, after all, made around 2 months before the trip) and expected to be heading to EPCOT that morning before doing a late lunch. Since we weren’t sleeping in for that long of a time period, I decided to pull up Disney Dining on my phone (kudos on the nice mobile interface, Disney) and got an earlier ADR. I figured my mom would be pleased to hear this, but she was actually a little dismayed, as it would give her “only” a little over an hour to shop at DtD.
Sarah often gives me grief about buying too many things (rightfully so – I have more crap and clothing than I care to disclose), but it’s safe to say I’m nowhere near as bad as my mom. She loves to shop. Whether it be pins, keychains, sweatshirts, blankets, hats–you name it, she probably bought it. My dad, on the other hand, can’t stand shopping. While we were in stores during the trip, he would just park his wheel chair in an area of sun bundle up under a blanket, and take a nap. I can only imagine what people thought as they passed by. He looked like someone just abandoned him; always in random locations, always asleep in his chair.
In any case, the early ADR for Whispering Canyon made a lot more sense to me. One thing I hadn’t thought through, however, was transportation. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the Wilderness Lodge–or so we thought–but it turned out that buses didn’t go from the TTA to Wilderness Lodge, which threw a wrench in our plans. The really disappointing thing was that Sarah and I actually got off a bus headed for the Studios, from which you obviously can catch a bus to Wilderness Lodge, and onto a bus that was headed towards the TTA because the TTA was closer to Shades of Green (and Wilderness Lodge) than DHS, so I figured it would be quicker to go that route. Once at the TTA, we caught the monorail and then caught a boat for Wilderness Lodge. We were late, but it was no big deal, as my parents beat us there and had checked in. Even after checking in, we still had to wait.
I had a little time to do some shooting, so I went upstairs. Near a fireplace that was tucked away where I was shooting, there was an elderly couple sleeping on separate chairs. I quietly went about my business (thank you, D7000’s quiet shutter mode!), taking a few shots without waking them. It was too dark up there to shoot sans tripod, so I was using that. Then, I got the bright idea that a photograph of them might be ‘cute’ (although I don’t find old people attractive, this term is often used for them, and I don’t have a better term, so…). I grappled with the idea for a bit, thinking it was highly invasive, but also, that it would make for one cool shot. Ultimately, my mind was made up for me, as my phone vibrated–our table was ready and I didn’t have time for the shot (which would require a different lens).
Normally, I might consider getting the shot anyway and just making everyone wait (kidding!), but I was really hungry, so I quickly headed down to Whispering Canyon. I had heard there are a number of things you can do to get the staff to mess with you, but I wanted our experience to be more “natural” so I didn’t memorize a list or anything like that. The only thing, specifically, I could even remember was asking for ketchup. I hoped our experience would be cool even if we didn’t know any of the “prompts.”
It certainly was, and I’m glad we just let things happen as they may. Our waitress, who seemed disappointed by serving us (in a good, hilarious way), started by throwing a handful of straws at our table. On top of that, she told us that the tap water was from the pond, and made a few other witty remarks. The highlight of the meal, though, was her bringing a gigantic cup of Coke for me after I rather quickly finished my first glass. (I typically drink my table service Coke quickly in WDW to get as much caffeine as possible so that I don’t have to buy more later–yes, I’m cheap.)
My mom and I ended up ordering the Canyon Skillets, while Sarah got some sort of chicken or turkey sandwich. She was going to get the skillet, too, but when she asked the server for a recommendation as between the sandwich and the skillet, the server said to get the sandwich, as we had already ordered the skillet and Sarah could just try food from our skillets. I was surprised that she would suggest this, but it was nonetheless nice of her.
The skillets were excellent and very filling. Given my cold, I wasn’t exactly eating as much as I normally would, so I probably didn’t get exceptional value out of the skillet, but it was still a great meal. The mashed potatoes were a standout, as were the ribs and the pork sausage. Really, it was all good. Writing about it now is actually making me hungry for it!
While my mom waited for the bill, I went to the lobby to take some more pictures before we left. I figured I would be time-pressured, so I wanted to get a good head start. I didn’t realize my mom had shopping to do after paying, or I probably wouldn’t have left the table early. We ended up staying at Wilderness Lodge far longer than I anticipated.
Following lunch, we finally arrived at our first park of the day: EPCOT. Wait times were particularly bad this day, and we didn’t really end up doing a whole lot. To be fair, we did get there in the early afternoon, and would be leaving only a few hours later. Still, it’s a little disappointing to only do a handful of attractions in a day. It’s not as if wait times were prohibitive or because we had a bad touring plan; it was entirely by choice.
Before we left EPCOT, my mom and Sarah wanted to make a stop at the Art of Disney store, where I had been drooling over a few things (stops at the Art of Disney store–that I had initiated on previous days–and other such detours were a large part of why we were managing so few attractions per day). Since I figured they didn’t want me with them, I took my camera up near the front of the park, and took some photos.
It took them a while in Art of Disney, which at the time was frustrating since it was approaching 6 pm and MVMCP started at 7 pm, but it was worth it on Christmas morning when I opened a couple awesome prints!
We exited the park, right as the sunset was finally starting to get good (I swear I spent more awesome sunsets on the monorail this time than during any other trip) and headed to TTC. MVMCP had sold out for that evening, something we considered shocking given that it was still early to mid December, but if the crowds at the TTC were any glimpse into the crowdedness of the party (they weren’t) it would be packed.
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