Monday, May 25, 2015

Coolest Summer EVAH! - 24-Hour Disney Event Weekend (Thursday and Friday)

Remember how I said I budgeted $550 for this trip? How are we doing so far, after spending 24 hours at the Magic Kingdom?  We've only spent $204.20 (and that includes the stupid Resort Fee at the hotel)!  We've still got over $322 left in our wallets!

So, after getting back to the hotel around 8am, we took a quick 2 hour power nap before getting back up and heading to breakfast. I was famished!

We drove to Fort Wilderness and had to take a bus to the Outpost, which is where the majority of the 'stuff' at Fort Wilderness is - Hoop De Hoo, Trail's End, the water, all the rentals - why it's so far away, I have no idea, but it is what it is.

We checked in for breakfast (with it almost 11, it's totally brunch) and were seated fairly quickly.

I think that Trail's End is one of the best kept secrets on property - it's a buffet, but there are no characters, so many people don't even have it on their radar. But that is one of the reasons it is on MY radar.  I want FOOD in the morning, not characters. We've done character breakfasts. We've done the breakfasts that get you into the park before the park opens. They were all good, but they were all costly, and I never felt that I got enough food for my money (I really, really like breakfast).  And since it's not a Character Breakfast, Trail's End doesn't charge exorbitant fees for this meal. It's only around $15-20 (yeah, real life expensive, but not Disney expensive) and it's all you can eat, GOOD FOOD.  Check out these photos!

The view of the buffet from our table

Corn muffins, pastries in the back
Croissants and Bagels

(Krispy Kreme) Donut Holes

Sticky Buns (contains nuts - I think they were pecans)

Cereal with Milk

Various Fruits

Citrus Quinoa Salad, Watermelon slices

Cottage Cheese (far, far left), granola, various yogurts

Smoked salmon, salami, cheese, the aforementioned cottage cheese

Bread Pudding (I want to say French Toast Bread Pudding?)

Pecan glaze sauce, Chocolate Chip Mickey Waffles

Warm Maple Syrup and Mickey Waffles

Gravity-Defying Scrambled Eggs

Breakfast Pizza

Hash Brown Casserole

Some sort of quiche cup?

Pulled Pork and Regular Eggs Benedicts
Biscuits, Oatmeal and Grits

Breakfast potatoes (LOVE these) and biscuits again


Breads, Bagels, Butter
Olga, our waitress, was not the best waitress we've had, but she was serviceable.  Breakfast, with tax and tip, came out to $55.  As always, the food was awesome!

We took the bus back to The Settlement (the front of Fort Wilderness), got lost trying to leave, but eventually made our way back to our hotel.

With bellies full of bacon, we fell back asleep until around 6pm.

On our way to Hollywood Studios, we grabbed some Subway ($23.01) and ate on the way there.  It was still Star Wars Weekends at DHS and I wanted to shoot the fireworks.

There wasn't a lot of traffic, and the parking plaza was closed, so we scored free parking again (saving another $17!)

There were hardly any crowds at Star Tours, so we rode that with only a 10 minute wait.

3D Glasses for Star Tours
We checked out Cinderella's Golden Carriage on the Streets of 'Murica, but didn't stop for actual photos.

Is it just me, or is this tacky? Too much filagree
I took some random Muppets area photos while other family members hit the pottie.

I wish it wasn't so wet around the fountain from the kids playing though

Fountain with Balloon in Background

Fountain with Smiling Water Tank
I decided that the back of Echo Lake would be the best area for shooting the fireworks. I didn't want to be near the front, because it was pack-jammed with people. I also thought that the boat would be a good foreground for the shots.  I ended up at the bottom area of the lake, between Hollywood and Vine and 50's Prime Time.

The opening show of the fireworks seemed to go on FOREVER!  I just wanted them to stop talking and start blasting, already!

As I did my final set up and checks, I realized I left my shutter release at home... Crap.  Well, let's see how good we can do.

I think I did pretty good.

Once the show was over, the park began to empty out, and I took advantage of that for some Empty Park Shots.  Hubby and the Kiddo just sat around teching, until I was done.

I'm here to eat your soul... or serve ice cream...

Hello beautiful
We ended up leaving around 11:30pm, then went over ot the Magic Kingdom. The park closed at 1am, but had Extra Magic Hours (for hotel guests) until 3am.  You can stay IN the park during EMH, you just can't ride anything.

The parking plaza was closed again (really! I'm not making this up!), so again, we saved $17 on parking.

Welcome! To the Transportation and Ticket Center!
We stopped to get some sundaes at Storybook Treats ($12.97), and it ended up being the only thing we did there!  We were tired, cranky, and beginning to bite each others' heads off, so we called it a night and went back to the hotel.

One of the only places you can get a caramel sundae at the Magic Kingdom
Sunday morning, we packed up to leave, eating snackage for breakfast (leftover Oatmeal Cream Pies, or pretzels) and trying to decide what we wanted to do for the day.

We checked the My Disney Experience app, and all the rides were reporting crazy wait times (100 minutes for Rockin' Rollercoaster, at 10am, for example!) We debated Downtown Disney, but figured that would be busy on a weekend, too.

We settled on going to the Florida Mall - we used to go to malls all the time on vacation, but over the past few years, malls have become homogenized, and they all look the same.

Oh, and it's Memorial Day weekend. To say that the Florida Mall was busy would be an understatement.

So many bodies
We had lunch at Five Guys in the food court ($26.98), then wandered.

No frills, just good

Thanks, Keith - your potatoes were tasty!

We got a large and shared around the table
We tried out a Sleep Number bed and fell in love with it (but after checking ACTUAL prices, not lying salesmen prices, at home, I fell out of love with it).  We went to a Crayola Store, which I'd never seen before.

It's like Brach's Pick a Mix, but with crayons!!  It smelled so good in here, too!

Yes, that's a real crayon. Normal crayon for scale.
We stopped to get gas ($22.01) and grub ($8.08) at WaWa, then made our way home.  I was super tired by the time I got home, and I think I ended up only doing a bagel for dinner.  I went to bed early, and realized that I still have 2 days left of my long weekend!!

So, how's that budget?  After EVERYTHING we spent money on, we still have a grand total of $175.02 left over.  We only spent $374.98!!  So, yeah, you can do Disney relatively inexpensively. Is $375 a lot of money? Yes. Could it be spent in better ways? Yes. Would I have had as much fun paying down credit card bills with it? No!