Ah, friends, I am so sorry – I went and did the thing that annoys the ever-loving stuffing out of me when other bloggers do it, which is drop completely off the grid with nary an explanation for the prolonged absence. And so I apologize, with the weak justification that I was at Disney, because of course I was at Disney! Just trying to wring as much value as we possibly can from our annual passes (and at 20 in-park days, including a whole host of other little discounts, I think we’ve done quite well on our investment.)
We stayed at the Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, a quaint little resort styled like the very cutest and cleanest bits of New Orleans. I’ve wanted to stay here since Disney built it and its much larger sister resort, the Riverside, nearly 30 years ago. We somewhat recently soldiered on through a Disney accommodation debacle at Pop Century; the poor experience had actually soured me a bit on all Disney properties, so I was feeling a little nervous about what we might encounter at this smaller, older resort.
I really needn’t have worried, because we wound up having a fantastic stay, and we loved every minute we were there. The French Quarter’s older, meticulously maintained buildings and grounds – densely arranged, and occupying a fairly tiny geographical footprint – make the entire resort feel solid, protected and a little hidden. I liked its sense of small city intimacy and the attendant quiet, both in terms of between-unit noise (virtually nil, but for the faint flushing of those insanely loud air toilets) and the general level of ambient hotel noise. Plus it was just an adorable little cityscape to call our home for seven days, and the sea serpent water slide at the pool was bitchin’. Also, powdered sugar-dusted beignets, fried chicken on a biscuit at the food court and swingin’ jazz gators in the streets. Who wouldn’t love staying here when all that goodness abounds?
We spent six days doing all of our favourite Disney things, and also trying out a number of fun new experiences. We ate some incredible meals in-park, at our resort and, of course, at Disney Springs, which is basically a theme park of food, alcohol and merchandise. We always try to hit up Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ for night one cocktails and southern vittles; our vacations never feel as though they’ve really started until we’ve cozied up out on the screened-in porch with a basket of hush puppies and a couple of moonshine cocktails.
We tried out a number of new eateries and lounges. We ate – and mostly enjoyed? – a lot of weird snack food. One afternoon we wiled away a couple of rainy hours in an honest to goodness tequila cave – La Cava del Tequila – in the Mexico Pavilion. The queso and quacamole were excellent, as were the margaritas. And yes, I do fully cop to a Disney margarita problemo – I’m powerless in the face of vacation cocktail hour; does your sanity good!
Lest you think all we did was eat and drink (and that’s certainly what both our waistlines AND wallets are currently suggesting) we also rode a record best 21 rides one cold and rainy day. We hit up the Haunted Mansion five times over two visits and improved our scores on Toy Story Midway Mania over four total rides. We rode Slinky Dog Dash, the newest and hottest ride in any of the parks, twice, including a last-call ride that put us in the second last dog of the night. I had a small stroke when I saw that my favourite part of the Peter Pan ride – it’s not even part of the ride, just a small teddy tea table tucked into a corner as your flying pirate ship heads out of the waiting area and into the Darlings’ bedroom – had been removed and replaced with a jumbled pile of toys. I burst into tears at the sight of it. I’ve been fascinated with that little table arrangement since I was a very small child; its absence was genuinely upsetting.
We met a number of cool characters, including Edna Mode of The Incredibles and Mike and Sully of Monsters Inc.
Our favourite meet-and-greet, though, was with Vanellope Von Schweetz and Ralph of Wreck-It-Ralph. Vanellope was SO excited to check out my new Wreck-It-Ralph ears, and Ralph was just excited when my husband commented that he looked as though he had lost a few hundred pounds. 🙂
Hmm, let’s see, what else? I got You’d by Darth Vader at Hollywood Studios (I was sitting by a window having a little break when I looked up, and Darth Vader was just staring in the window at me. I threw him a nervous little wave, and he spun around and stalked off. That entire family is so freakin’ WEIRD, man.)
One morning when I couldn’t sleep (I get frazzled about flying days out from my actual flight, making sleep in an unfamiliar place pretty much an impossibility) I got up and filmed a solo walking tour of our resort. Look for that video on our YouTube channel sometime soon.
We watched some phenomenal stage shows (the Nemo show at the Animal Kingdom is incredible; live music, acting and puppeteering at a level that will make you question how you can be seeing something so beautifully produced and performed in a theme park) and incredible fireworks displays. Much to Mr. Finger Candy’s delight, we played a solid 10 or more hours of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, completed two games and amassed over 20 free packs of cards. That’s what you call dominating, kids!
So that’s where the f*@! I’ve been, once again with apologies for just up and disappearing on you. I promise now that I’ve gotten that Disney out of my system for the time being, I’ll settle down and get back to the serious business of nail art, literary takes, bath, beauty and wax reviews, and of course planning for our next Disney vacation, perhaps once again at the French Quarter. And hopefully by that point the teddy tea table will be back. 🙂