Day 6 is our first resort switch day at Walt Disney World. I mean, technically we check into our 5th hotel of the trip on Day 6 but it’s our first switch at Walt Disney World. We also do a bunch of other fun kinds of things, but I first wanted to just give a quick assessment of the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.
The quick assessment?
Seriously though, we really enjoyed our stay there. The rooms were a good size, the beds were very comfortable, and there was a good deal of “extras.” The pool (pictures in my last post was very nice and never really seemed crowded while we were there. We loved the Joffrey’s in the lobby. And it’s the closest you can get to Disney Springs.
The entire staff working there had a very “Disney” feel to them. They were not only attentive and helpful, but they seemed to enjoy being attentive and helpful.
And the price was pretty awesome – we ended up getting our room for 70 bucks a night. It really had a lot of what we love about staying at Deluxe hotels in Disney – on-site restaurants, interior rooms, walkable to a Disney location – for much less than it costs to stay in a Disney Deluxe hotel. There is even a character meal here (we never got a chance to try it out, but it’s there.) You even have access to all the Exttra Magic Hours at the parks.
There were a couple drawbacks. I mentioned the bus service as being a bit of a pain. It came relatively regularly, but each bus makes a large number of stops. And you don’t have access to a lot of the perks of staying on property such as access to the Dining Plan or Magical Express. And the biggest part was it was lacking in any kind of theming. This may be a positive to some, but we never felt completely inside the Disney bubble at the Wyndham. You’re sort of right on the outside on the bubble. When I am in Disney, I really like being IN Disney.
But for the price, I would stay here again if we needed a couple extra nights.
All that being said, we were definitely excited to switch to proper Disney resort hotels for the rest of the trip. We love the Disney bubble.
Day 6 – Our first resort switch day and our first day at Magic Kingdom
As today was a resort switch day, we had to be up pretty early. Like 6AM early. We hadn’t unpacked too much and packed up what we had to pack up the night before so we were mainly concerned with getting ready and getting to our next hotel. I called down to bell services, Nickie ordered an UberXL since our bags hardly even fit on the luggage cart, and we headed down to the lobby to wait for our Uber driver. And I made sure to let anyone who saw us know we weren’t checking out, just switching resorts. I didn’t want their pity.
I should mention we literally had THE BEST Uber and Lyft drivers this whole trip. One guy picked us up and had Moana playing on a drop down DVD player. Another talked to us the entire time about everything we were eating on this trip (which is one of my favorite subjects.) And another educated me on politics in Brazil. I loved our Minnie Vans as well, but the Lyft/Uber drivers really brought their A game this trip.
Plus, our drive this time resulted in us FINALLY seeing this sign.
Our driver picked us up and drove us about 15 minutes to our home for the night – Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort! We actually had never stayed here and were super duper excited to do so.
It was only for one night, but still exciting. And of course I took a picture of the Christmas tree in the lobby.
Nickie went up to the desk to check us in while Owen made himself comfortable.
The guy at the front desk saw we were celebrating Nickie’s birthday on this trip so he said he was going to hook us up with a nice view. He knew this room and said we would have a good view of the Magic Kingdom. Did we? I won’t spoil it yes I will we did. But you don’t get to see It just yet.
After we checked in, our room was obvs squad not ready so they took our bags and we decided to go have breakfast across the bridge at The Contemporary Resort. From the bridge, we had a nice view of what we had to look forward to a little later.
We took a quick look at the Gingerbread Cinderella Castle in the lobby, knowing we would be back for a closer look a little later.
Breakfast this morning was at Contempo Café. Since we were only at Bay Lake Tower for one night before switching yet again, we had the Disney Dining Plan for just one day before it reset the next day. So that meant we could get our refillable mugs today (and get another set later in the trip if we wanted.) I was more excited than I should have been to get this bad boy.
I mean, believe me we have enough refillable Disney mugs to build a 1-man igloo or maybe a yurt or something but we were pretty excited to get a holiday version. On account of we are easily excitable.
Nickie and I filled ours with coffee and the boys grabbed some hot cocoa. Most of us weren’t all that hungry for breakfast. Well, except for Myles. Because he’s legit always hungry. So while the rest of us just grabbed some drinks, Myles went for an apple Danish.
But don’t fret, Contempo Café. We will be back. We just had more important things to do.
Yup, just a short walk from the Contemporary lobby and here we were!
We were excited to make rope drop. I mean, think about that morning. We packed up and checked out of the Wyndham, made our way to Bay Lake Tower, walked over to the Contemporary, grabbed coffee (and Myles’s Danish), walked to the Magic Kingdom, and STILL made rope drop. The Goodys get shizz done.
Unfortunately, the entire world ALSO made it in time for rope drop it seemed. Not a huge surprise given it was the day before Thanksgiving. But we had our FastPasses booked and had a plan. The three boys and I would make the mad dash for Space Mountain while Nickie had a nice leisurely morning. Don’t judge. We were slaves to Owen’s need to ride Space Mountain. OK, you guys understand the plan?
I mean, just because I was rushing up Main St. doesn’t mean I’m not gonna snap some pics along the way. I’m not made of stone, you know.
While we were let into Main St. before 9AM, the process is that you get roped off around the hub in front of the castle and the entrances to all the lands. So Nickie made her way in front of the castle to watch the show.
We meanwhile walked over to line up with what looked like nearly half of the entire crowd to get into Tomorrowland. At 9AM, it was a mad rush to get to Space Mountain. And honestly, we did a good job. I think we ended up being about twentieth in line, which was pretty good considering.
But. BUT. As we were waiting in line, we could hear some murmuring making its way to us from the front of the line. That murmur became a declaration. And that declaration? It became, “the ride is down.”
Everyone sort of stood there for like a long, whole minute. We were all sort of wondering, “is this for real?” And as the cold harsh reality started to sink in, the boys and I devised a new plan – Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Once called the WEDway PeopleMover, then the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. And now, following the whole “ridiculously long attraction name” trend, called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Whatever.
We were obviously excited. As evidenced by all the thumbs going up.
It IS a good first ride as we all love Tomorrowland and this is a nice, relaxing way to sort of take it all in.
Plus. With Space Mountain being down, there was a good chance we would be able to see it with the lights on. And we did, my friends. We did.
And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. This looks like some sort of Jigsaw-invented revenge deathtrap device.
But in fact, it’s an attraction. Meant to inspire mirth. The lines are thin, people. Very thin.
After our tour of Tomorrowland, it was off to meet up with Nickie in…
Our first FastPass of the day was for Pirates of the Caribbean. ARRRRR you ready?
And it was our first time seeing the new revamped…erm…this
And while I still sort of had to let out a “We wants the redhead” for old times sake. I can get behind the whole movement against auctioning off women. I am super progressive.
Our next FastPass was for Big Thunder but it wasn’t for a while so we traversed to most congested walkway in Magic Kingdom.
And decided to catch a show.
No, no. Not THAT show. This show…
Man, I love me some Mickey’s Philharmagic. The songs. The smells. And the 3D still holds up pretty well. It just sort of screams Disney. It’s like, “DISNEYYYYYYY!!!”
Around the time we were getting out, our FastPass for Big Thunder was about ready to start so we walked over to Frontierland.
As you can see, the wait times were already climbing and it was just before 10:30. So yeah, crowds be like, “Hellooo.”
But the good news was we lucked out and got the front row.
Which is super fun, because it’s like we are driving the train. But since it’s sort of a runaway train, it’s like we are failing at our jobs. And that’s ok. Since we are on vacation.
I guess we were in a zig-zaggy mood because we walked back over to Fantasyland. We had a specific pre-lunch treat in mind over at Storybook Treats – the Peter Pan float!
Basically, it’s an ice cream float with Sprite as the soda and lime soft-serve as the ice cream. Topped with a chocolate feather, this thing is hella Insta-worthy. But more than that, I really REALLY liked it. The combination of lime soft serve and Sprite was very refreshing and tasted like…rul good. I know it may sound blasphemous but give me one of these things over a Dole Whip any day.
Our next FastPass for the Haunted Mansion wasn’t for a little while but we meandered over to Liberty Square anyways. And on our way, we caught some of “The Muppets Present Great Moments in History.” And when I say we caught “some” of it, I mean we literally caught the same last minute we always seem to catch of it. But still, Muppets.
Like I said, our FastPass wasn’t for a little bit so we decided to catch some Country Bears.
When crowds are high, this is always a good call. Country Bears is legit always easy to get into. And the temps were high that day, so it was a welcome respite from the heat. Plus, Liver Lips.
Good times all around. Plus, we didn’t get mauled or anything. So I mean, win.
It was finally time for our Haunted Mansion FastPass when the show ended. And I guess it was also time for like everyone else’s FastPass as the line was humongo-long.
Yeah. That was the FastPass line. I think the wait was around 30 minutes. FastPass? More like…SlowPass. But we did finally make it in.
And…our ride stopped at just the right time for a couple seconds so I could snap a pic of these jabronies.
But I guess they didn’t like us taking pictures of them. Because one of them totally followed us out and mad-photobombed us.
Regardless of the line, the ride still was awesome. I mean, Haunted Mansion. It’s best.
But, with the clock approaching noon, the crowds were growing past tolerable.
So we decided to force our way down Main St. and out of the park for some lunch. I will say, though, even with the crowds being what they were, if you go in with a plan and the right expectations, you can still have a good time. We had a really fun morning and we got to experience 6 attractions including our FastPass catch some Muppets AND get a snack. Plus, the weather was exactly what we were hoping it would be. All in all, a successful morning.
We obviously earned lunch.
We knew EXACTLY where we wanted to eat so we walked down to the ferry headed for the Wilderness Lodge.
Like I said, it was a beautiful day.
Ugh, I love taking the ferry.
Anyways, the boat arrived at the Wilderness Lodge, we unloaded, and headed down the walkway to our belly-filling destination.
Another new place for us – Geyser Point Bar & Grill!
Being on the Disney Dining Plan, this was going to be our Counter Service credit for the day. But an awesome thing about this place? It counts as a counter service, but you still have a waitstaff. They seat you, take your order, and deliver your food to your table. Coolio.
Our waiter brought us to our table and Owen made himself comfortable.
We started with some drinks. Owen ordered a soda and Myles ordered a Strawberry smoothie.
Now, we expected Myles’s drink to be covered under the Dining Plan as with the new changes, we heard specialty beverages were covered. But eh, it wasn’t. So…pro tip. Don’t get your kid what they want if you want it covered.
However, the cocktails Nickie and I ordered were covered under the new plan. So, I mean….score. I ordered (I think) some sort of blueberry lemonade drink. It was pretty good. Refreshing, but I don’t think I realized there was blue curacao in it when I ordered. Still…free drinks! Sort of!
Nickie ordered a Captain’s Mai Tai. An old standby. But an old standby for a reason. Thing is good. Also, she is pretty.
Oh and yeah, that was our view for lunch. We also noticed uncovered tables even closer to the water, but those were taken. This was still a really nice seat.
For lunch, Nickie, Myles, and I all got the bison cheeseburger with waffle fries. Really, really good burger here.
Owen ordered off the lounge menu (which they also let you do) and got the grilled angus strip loin with no accompaniments besides the house-made pita. He ate every bite, so I am assuming he liked it. Kid enjoys a steak.
Our table also afforded us a view of our own hotel -Bay Lake Tower.
Our meal here was fantastic. Seriously good and a seriously good use of a counter service credit. Highly recommend and don’t worry – this isn’t the only time we visit here on this trip. Foreshadowing.
After lunch, we decided to walk off our meal by checking out the Wilderness Lodge. It’s been a while since we stayed here, but it’s a great resort. Especially at the holidays.
Their tree is an absolute MUST when it comes to holiday resort-hopping.
We then headed back outside and down to the dock to catch a ferry back to the Contemporary. Again, it was an insanely pretty day.
And we were KING OF THE BOAT.
Meaning, no one else was on. Which is very cool considering the parks were so crowded that day. It’s always nice to find some quiet spots on days like that.
We pulled up to the Contemporary.
And we knew our room would be ready at Bay Lake Tower as we had received a text telling us so while at lunch.
We had a studio for the night, which was plenty big enough with a pullout couch and enough space for the four of us.
Plus we were greeted with this view from our balcony. This to our right…
…and this to our left…
They gave Daddy the Rain Man suite. Erm, studio. They gave Daddy the Rain Man studio. But yeah, we knew we would be back later to catch the fireworks from here.
We also knew we wanted to take advantage of what our hotel had to offer as we only had one night there so we called for our bags to be brought up, put our bathing suits on, and headed straight for the pool.
This pool was much MUCH better than we expected it to be. Not only was it really nice, with a good size hot tub and relatively tall water slide, but it was NOT CROWDED. Plus, check all this out right next to it…
Giant chess, Giant Connect Four, putting green, Bocce, a pool table, foosball, corn hole. TONS of stuff to do. Of course, Nickie and I did NONE of that. I took a quick slide down the water slide, Nickie grabbed us a couple beers from the pool bar, and we relaxed in the hot tub.
The boys went into the Community Center, grabbed a basketball, and headed to the court right near the pool. Definitely a welcome afternoon break.
But it was soon time to do more. So we begrudgingly got out of the hot tub, grabbed the boys from the basketball court, and headed up to the room to get ready for the night.
First part of the plan was to do a little resort hopping and check out the drinks. Er, holiday drinks. Er, holiday DECORATIONS. Check out the holiday decorations.
Out first stop was right over the bridge to check out the Contemporary real quick. As we walked outside, I couldn’t help but smile. It was a beautiful day and I was with my beautiful family. About to see some beautiful decorations. And drink some beautiful drinks.
As we saw before when we entered the Contemporary, our first holiday decoration was the Mary Blair-inspired gingerbread Cinderella Castle. Thing is cute.
We didn’t spend a ton of time at the Contemporary as we would be coming back this way for dinner in a little bit. Instead we boarded the monorail.
And took it to the Grand Floridian. Which is probably my favorite lobby at the holidays.
Their tree is legit whoa.
We walked in and took a seat at Mizner’s Lounge to grab a couple drinks for walking around the lobby.
Nickie had a Grand Cocktail (Ketel One Citroen, Pomegranate Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Club Soda).
And I ordered what I always order at Mizner’s – a Lagavulin 16 on the rocks. I know I can get this pretty much at most lounges but it just feels right at the Grand Floridian.
We paid for our drinks and walked downstairs to check everything out. We got another look at the tree from ground level.
And of course we visited the gigantic gingerbread house. I want to live there.
Nickie and I went over to have a seat and take everything in while the kids got in line for a treat at the gingerbread house. It was so nice just sitting there in front of the tree and gingerbread house, enjoying our drinks, and listening to the live music playing above. As we sat there, we saw an crowd of mini-princesses make their way to the main floor for some dancing.
These girls were dancing machines.
The kids returned with, surprise, gingerbread cookies as their treat.
It was getting close to dinner time at this point (I bet you forgot we hadn’t even eaten dinner, right?) so we went back up to take the monorail back to the Contemporary. We had dinner tonight at Chef Mickey’s.
We checked in at the desk and the woman at the front told us it would be a few minutes so she gave us a buzzer and we walked next door to the Outer Rim to hang out while we waited. Nickie and I each had a beer and the kids each ordered a Sprite. The buzzer went off, we finished our drinks, and walked back over to the restaurant.
Before your meal at Chef Mickey’s, they take a PhotoPass photo of your family next to a statue of Mickey Mouse. Before you meet Mickey Mouse. I always thought this such an odd photo to take.
The hostess led us to our table, explaining how the whole buffet thing works. I let her continue even though, believe me, I am a buffexpert.
We were seated and our waiter took our drink orders. Well he started to take our drink orders but was rudely interrupted by this quack:
Once Donald left, our waiter took our drink orders and told us we could go up to the buffet at any point but that we may want to wait as it looked like we were getting another visitor.
And Goofy noticed, as pretty much all of us have, that Myles doesn’t do all that much smiling in pictures. So he took it upon himself to try and fix that.
He succeeded in getting a smirk, but he kept on pushing Myles until he finally showed some teeth.
We obviously need to get ourselves a Goofy.
Immediately following Goofy, the big cheese himself paid us a visit. Yerp, Mickey the Mouse.
Since we missed his 90th birthday by a few days we brought him a card to at least let him know he was in our thoughts.
And the cavalcade kept on keeping on. And Pluto is literally the best thing ever.
And after Pluto? Well, after Pluto came the waiter!
With my drink!
My Captain’s Mai Tai!!!
Oh and then Minnie Mouse came over. Which was cool. But remember that Mai Tai?
Kidding, of course. Minnie is so cute. She was my first crush, you know. True story. And that was it. Just like that we saw ALL the characters (and a Mai Tai). This couldn’t have gone any better. All the characters came, we got our pictures, and got our autographs. And now, we could focus on food. And my Mai Tai.
Oh and speaking of autographs, I should show you what we had the characters sign this trip –
This book is an awesome Christmas book. You start reading it on December 1st and it has a Disney character story for each day leading up to Christmas. And now, it’s all signed so I’ve put it on eBay. OK fine, I didn’t. Yet.
We all walked up to the buffet and filled our dishes.
And being the buffexpert I am, I think I did a pretty good job with plate #1.
I got some prime rib, butter chicken over rice, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, pot stickers, chicken fingers, mini corn dogs, and in order to establish some balance – green beans. My body is a temple. So.
As is custom, the boys waved their filthy napkins around in the air.
Which helped to work up an appetite. Thankfully, it was dessert time.
That plate to the left was some bread pudding while the plate on the right has some cannoli, a Froot Loop cupcake, this salted pretzel chocolate tart thing, and UGH the best thing ever – Mickey Mousse Domes. I have a sick, sick Oreo obsession and adding mickey shaped mousse on top only furthers that problem. It’s a good thing I ate those green beans.
And with that, dinner at Chef Mickey’s was over. I should say that this dinner was really only planned for Myles, who said we hadn’t been there in too long. While we all love seeing the characters, the rest of us went in with somewhat low expectations regarding the rest of the experience. And I have to say, every aspect was better than expected. Even the characters.
The food was really tasty and there was a good variety. And the service was superb as well. Our waiter checked on us multiple times and as I said, the characters came so quickly at the beginning, that we could just relax and enjoy our meal afterwards.
Myles being Myles, he still wanted second desserts and asked if we could go get a Dole Whip at the Polynesian. Nickie and Owen wanted to get back to the room so I offered to take him on the monorail and meet those two back up at the room for the fireworks.
Before we knew it, Myles and I were back at my second favorite resort in all of Walt Disney World – the Polynesian. We walked downstairs and out the back door to the Pineapple Lanai so Myles could get his Dole Whip.
And then I made him eat the entire thing in front of this tree.
Heh, kidding. I kid. I also had a bite.
Once he finished his treat, we were back on the monorail heading to The Contemporary. We walked up to the room and got ready to watch the fireworks from our balcony. And added bonus? We could listen to the Happily Ever After fireworks track on the TV in our room. So cool.
It really was a nice view of the fireworks. While I of course prefer watching them in front of the castle, it’s cool getting a different vantage point. From here, it looks like the fireworks go off over Space Mountain AND Cinderella Castle.
Man, what a fun day Day 6 was. Don’t you think? No? Pfft, whatever man. See you on Day 7 I guess.