Aw Day 7.
Yep, Day 7 was Thanksgiving! And we all know Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year. And we all know why, right?
Yep, because Thanksgiving is the first day of Christmas. Obviously.
Ha, kidding. We all know the day after Halloween is the first day of Christmas.
But seriously, folks. Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World is amazepantz. I think this was our third Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World, but our first where it would just be the four of us. And while we have always loved being with friends and family on our Walt Disney World Thanksgivings and would miss being surrounded by so many of our loved ones, it was kind of exciting to have a Thanksgiving be just the four of us.
Did we have fun? You’ll have to read the post to find out.
Spoiler alert – we did.
Day 7 – Soooooo much to be thankful for, including a move to my favorite resort
Not only was Day 7 unique in that it was our first four-of-us-only Thanksgiving, but we also had nothing really planned for the morning. With our next and final resort switch coming up, we wanted to leave our morning sort of loosey-goosey to be able to gather our things without being all…
I woke up a little before 7AM so I could get a quick run in. I woke up, got my running clothes on, and headed down to the running trail.
It says “jogging” but I want you to know I ran. For at least the first few feet. Also…
The trail around Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary is a little over a mile, so I ran it a few times. It was a beautiful morning and a relatively pretty run. I mean, it’s not the best trail I have done at Disney, but it did the trick. And I love running through Disney early in the morning.
Very good start to the day. Now bring on the Thanksgiving.
I went back up to the room and Nickie and the kids were already up so I rinsed off my run and we all threw on our bathing suits as we had some water planned in our immediate future. But first, breakfast.
We decided to keep breakfast a little light since we had a lot of eating planned for the rest of the day. So we walked over to the Contempo Café at The Contemporary, refillable mugs in hand.
For breakfast, Owen got the kids’ Mickey waffles, which came with grapes, a Danimals smoothie, and chocolate milk.
Myles got the Bounty Platter (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fruit, and a mini Mickey waffle) and filled his mug with hot chocolate.
Nickie and I each got the breakfast sandwich but substituted the ham for bacon. Because, as Einstein put it, bacon > ham. Simple equation.
Yeah. This is us keeping it light.
I know Contempo Café is pretty much just like a food court but those breakfasts were GOOD. That sandwich was legit. Plus, I do love eating in The Contemporary. With Chef Mickey’s nearby and the monorail going overhead, there is so much to distract me once my sandwich is gone. I have the shortest attention spa…
Sorry I got distracted there. Anyways, after breakfast we walked back over to Bay Lake Tower and went straight to the pool. Well, technically we went straight to the hot tub.
As you can see from the above picture, it was pretty much empty down there. Sitting in that hot tub, surrounded by my family, and looking forward to a beautiful day at my favorite place I definitely knew what I was thankful for.
We were all feeling pretty happy at that point so we made the decision to each take a ride down the water slide. Even Nickie. Actually, Owen was the one we had to convince. It was a little chilly so early in the morning so he was a bit hesitant to hop on the slide. However, once he went down once he was addicted and proceeded to ride it over-and-over, about 5-6 times in a row. I may have ridden it once more and Myles joined Owen for the rest of his trips while Nickie and I hung out in the hot tub.
But soon, it was time to get back up to our room grab our stuff before checkout time. Because, yep, we were switching resorts once again. But this would be our last switch for the rest of the trip. And it was to my favorite resort in all of Walt Disney World. We called Bell Services, had the bags brought down and called for a Lyft.
And yes, I informed everyone who saw us that we were not leaving and were instead switching resorts and still had 8 days left. I just figured they would want to know. And also, I figured I would want to tell them.
A quick Lyft ride later and we were THERE!
Whoop whoop The Beach Club! Oh, it’s only THE BEST Disney resort. Once inside the lobby, we were struck by the INSANELY OVERPOWERING smell of gingerbread. And when I say INSANELY OVERPOWERING, I mean that in the most best way ever. Mainly because of this:
Yep, made entirely of gingerbread.
It was only like 11AM so our room wasn’t ready just yet. The plan was to go to EPCOT while we waited so we dropped our bags off at Bell Services and took the long way through the solarium.
And of course I took a picture of the Christmas tree in there. It’s how I roll.
And we caught a little reminder that it was Thanksgiving our way through – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
And we were off to EPCOT! One of the main reasons I love staying at The Beach Club is how close it is to EPCOT. And coming in through the International Gateway between France and the UK is such a nice way to enter EPCOT.
I am a little worried about how the introduction of the Skyliner will impact the “secret squirrel”-ness of the International Gateway. I always felt like it was my little secret entrance. Well, mine and like thousands of others. Which, in Walt Disney World, is like a small gathering.
The Skyliner station near the International Gateway is definitely progressing…
Once through the Gateway, we made a hard left and jaunted over to jolly old England, guv’nah Pip pip. Turn on the telly. Bangers and mash.
Yerp, the UK.
Myles and I decided to head to the back of the pavilion to take a spin through the hedge maze. Which is obviously designed for Lilliputians. It’s so short.
HOW SHORT IS IT?
It’s SO short, that Myles had to do it on his hands and knees.
I mean, seriously. What is this? A hedge maze FOR ANTS?
We then walked over the Kidcot stop in the UK to check out the new Ziploc Kidcot bags.
While we didn’t really do much more in terms of Kidcot beyond the UK, I do really like the new Ziploc bags. They act as little suitcases to carry what you pick up at each country. At the UK, we got a two-sided card with facts and a Merry Christmas wish on one side and a coloring sheet on the other AND we got a sticker. I don’t know. I mean, I know my kids are a little too old to enjoy that sort of stuff, but I definitely thought it was cool and a nice change from the whole “cardboard on a stick” thing. Everyone loves stickers.
Wait, did I say my kids are too old for this sort of thing? What I meant to say was that Myles then proceeded to sit down at the station and color his coloring sheet. Which is obviously awesome.
We kept on walking through that end of the Showcase, past Canada, and got our first Festival of the Holidays treat of the entire trip – eggnog! And since it was Myles actually getting the first treat, he opted for the non-alcoholic TG Lee eggnog at the Holiday Sweets and Treats Holiday Kitchen.
He did offer up a sip though and it was def a yummy nog. As far as non-alcoholic eggnogs go. Which isn’t very far.
I should also note that all the holiday kitchen names in these posts will bring you to the Disney Food Blog descriptions of the kitchens. Disney Food Blog is pretty much best, so enjoy!
A short walk ahead, we got our first look at the EPCOT tree. And of course I took a picture.
And as we got closer to the tree, we saw something else. We spotted our first Disney vloggers/bloggers of the trip – HappiestVlogsOnEarth. So these two, Jen and Scott, are a married couple that visit Disney a lot and we often watch their videos when we need a Disney fix or are looking to get psyched up for an upcoming trip. We watch these two A LOT. I mean, not in a weird way or anything. Like not from the bushes or whatever. They’re on YouTube.
And I kinda gotta admit – we were a little starstruck. I walked up to them and introduced ourselves as fans of their channel and they were insanely gracious. They said they love meeting their fans and we snapped a pic with them.
And throughout Day 7? We must have run into them like 5 times as we walked around EPCOT. We stopped to talk a couple more times as the day went on and they agreed this festival may be their favorite of all the EPCOT festivals. I think by the time these trip report posts are over, you might agree. Or you might say, “What’s an EPCOT festival?” In which case, I have no time for such nonsense.
And yeah, I did say these were the first vloggers/bloggers of the trip. Oh you just wait.
The next kitchen we hit was the Feast of the Three Kings.
I wanted to try the Queso-stuffed Arepas but since we were sharing and my family has this absurd distaste for shrimp, I went for the standard Arepas.
They were…eh. They were ok. Not a whole lot to them, honestly. I have a feeling the stuffed Arepas would have been magical. But I had to put my family first. On account of I am a super parent. When I’m sober, at least.
We kept on walking until we reached what may be favorite pavilion of all – Mexico!
And while it looks all cooltown from the outside, the inside is really where you’re like…oooooooooooh
No no. Not that.
Oh yeah. La Cava del Tequila. While it’s technically not a Holiday Kitchen, it IS like Christmas every day in here. Tequila Christmas. So. Much. Tequila. And there was like no wait to get in. Which like NEVER happens. It was like a Tequila Christmas miracle.
I ordered my usual – the horchata margarita.
It’s insanely good. I like a lot of the other options here, including the avocado margarita (of which the bartender offered a free sample…score!), but the horchata margarita is seriously delicious. Even Nickie, who doesn’t like margaritas usually, likes the horchata margarita.
We spent a little time walking around inside the pavilion, taking in all the sights. It really is one of the better pavilions. And. AND. They were giving out free chocolate.
I ended up trying a piece of dark chocolate with some hot pepper. It was like a Yumtown, Population: Me.
And the kids were much more happy to try on sombreros here than they were at South of the Border.
After Mexico, we sort of just wandered through Norway, knowing we would be back. And we went right into China. And ugh, we were bad Festival of the Holiday-ers this day as we visited the Joy of Tea, which is a year-round booth. I think, being our first day at EPCOT, we were also in the mood for some of our old favorites. But don’t worry – we do a lot of the Festival throughout these posts.
But yeah, Joy of Tea. Mainly for this whole situation.
Much like the horchata margarita, the Tipsy Ducks in Love is a drink we get on EVERY trip. It’s coffee, it’s tea, it’s chocolate, it’s bourbon. It’s A LOT of bourbon. And it’s delicious.
It also pairs nicely with the egg rolls they serve there.
Because everything pairs nicely with egg rolls.
And we actually found an open table so we walked over and enjoyed our treats against this view.
Much like we did with Norway, we sort of just walked through Germany.
And same with Italy, but it’s not like we weren’t enjoying our views along the way.
Owen was craving some funnel cake, so we again opted to go non-Festival and hit up the American Adventure for some.
Also, these ducks were having a similar craving.
Japan was next on the list to meander through.
And while I didn’t stop at the Holiday Kitchen in Japan either at this point, I did catch a little of Japan’s Holiday storyteller – the Daruma Doll Seller.
For those that don’t know, the holiday storytellers are placed throughout the World Showcase. Putting on shows and presentations in each country, they talk about the holiday customs and traditions of their specific country. It’s such a cool way to put a holiday spin on what EPCOT is all about.
But Daruma Doll Seller, I was on a mission. A mission to get me some holiday food stuff at another Festival holiday kitchen – L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen.
This was a new entry into the whole Holiday Kitchen thing and I was like kind of too excited about it. Focusing on Jewish foods, I was interested in one thing and one thing only. Well, I mean, the knish sounded good too. But I really really was looking forward to the Pastrami on Rye with House Made Pickles and Deli Mustard. Try saying all those words together and not smile. You can’t do it.
I paired it with a Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager. This thing was GOOD. I mean, it was definitely snack-sized but the pastrami was perfection and the mustard was just right. And the pickle was a welcome touch. I actually really liked the beer too. I liked a lot of what I had at the Festival but this keeps popping up as a contender for the top spot. I think I will wait until I get to my last post to declare a winner, but this little guy is a competitor.
At some point during all this, we got a text to let us know our room was ready and Nickie was getting antsy to get to it and get settled. She decided to go back to the Beach Club while the boys and I went to our first Fastpass of the day – Spaceship Earth, which is a pretty amazing first EPCOT FastPass to have. We were doing this trip right.
The boys sat in one set of seats and I sat behind them.
We got settled in and took our journey. Into learning.
And being that I was in my own seat, I think I ended up being the woman in my future relationship. Which, I mean. Live your truth, future Wayne.
I really make an attractive woman. Speaking of which, on our way out I decided to totally embarrass the kids and have them take pics of me posing in front of the bubblegum wall.
Ahem, hey look….a fountain.
We timed things pretty good as our next FastPass was coming up so after exiting Spaceship Earth, we decided to continue our education and went directly to the Imagination Institute for our Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
While I know this ride may not be all it once was, I still like visiting with Figment for a little bit and dang if that song ain’t catchy. But this time, when we reached the smell lab, I was really hoping we would maybe get Vanilla. No such luck.
Did I mention that song was catchy? Cuz. It really is. One little spark. Of inspiration.
After our visit with Figment and Dr. Nigel Channing, the boys and I were also getting a little antsy to see our room at the Beach Club so we headed back to meet up with Nickie at the room. We were home…
Since I had our mugs on me, I stopped at the Marketplace to get Nickie and I a coffee and let the kids hit the Coke Freestyle machine. And I came upon this wonder of a thing.
Cold brewed ice coffee? I legit feel like shaking my cane and saying, “I remember the days when we had to fill our refillable mugs with Nescafe. Kids today have it too easy.”
I brought the coffees back to our first-floor room and we had a little bit of downtime before heading back to the park. I know a first-floor room isn’t ideal but I didn’t hate it. We didn’t have to deal with any elevators and we had a path that led right to our outdoor patio so in the mornings I often ended up taking that when going for coffee.
We spent some time in the room, charging our phones, charging my fuel rod, and recharging ourselves. And then it was back to EPCOT. And being that we were once again entering via the International Gateway, we found ourselves back in the UK first.
And once again, we decided to take advantage of the Golden Hour and snap some really nice pictures.
We got a picture of a smiling Owen and a not-so-enthused Myles.
And the boys got a good picture of us.
I know we had Thanksgiving dinner to look forward to (you forgot it was Thanksgiving, didn’t you?) but I wanted to hit another Holiday Kitchen so we stopped by the Yukon Kitchen in Canada.
I got the Traditional French Canadian Tourtiere with Canadian Ketchup, which was like a small meat pie with ketchup basically. I asked around and no one really knew what Canadian Ketchup was, but eh. I assume it’s just like American ketchup but more polite.
And Myles got the Gold Chocolate Chip Cookie, which he seemed to enjoy.
I was the only one of us that liked the Tourtiere. But I thought it was really tasty. It was like a mini Beef Wellington almost with a little more…erm…tang to it. And the ketchup was good as well.
We then left World Showcase and entered THE FUTURE! Well, Future World. And turns out the future has kind of an 80’s vibe to it.
Did I mention it was a really nice time of the day to take some pictures?
As we were walking around Future World, we saw a bunny FROM THE FUTURE.
I love how there are all these attractions and what not and a crowd still gathers around this bunny eating grass. There’s some sort of lesson here I think about simple pleasures and what not I think. Or about paying thousands of dollars to stare at a rabbit. Either way, the more you know.
We had dinner reservations tonight at the Land pavilion.
But before dinner, we also had a FastPass. For Soarin’ Around the World. So we walked downstairs, bumping once again into Jen and Scott from HappiestVlogsOnEarth, and got in the FastPass line, which always take a little bit of time. But it wasn’t too bad that day and I think we were at our gate within 10 minutes.
OK, so here’s the thing. I have forever requested to sit in the center section (B), row 1. But as we were standing in line, I looked it up online and a lot of people seemed to think B2 was the better seating area. So for this go-round, I requested B2 for us.
Well, I mean…I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still Soarin’. But pro tip – always request B1 if you want the best seat. The obviously gross feet of random strangers dangling in front of you still takes away from the experience for me a little bit. B1 makes it so that you are in the middle (no distortion of the screen), highest, and don’t have to deal with any feet. But I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing, then B2 is for you. Weirdo.
We still had a little bit of time before our dinner reservation and we noticed there was less than a 5 minute wait for Living With the Land. And since some of what we were going to be eating that night is reportedly grown in the greenhouses you visit on the attraction, we decided to hop on board.
I have always liked Living With the Land actually. It’s a relaxing relatively long attraction and I think it promotes a positive message. I think it’s about eating vegetables? Taking care of the earth? One of those.
And we typically only ride this attraction during the day. I actually think I might like it more at night. The ride through the greenhouse felt even more relaxing with the darkness outside. Plus they had all their halls decked and what not, for the holidays.
When our boat ride was finished, it was time for our Thanksgiving dinner reservation at Garden Grill!
We have always liked Garden Grill. Good food, good character interaction, the whole revolving restaurant thing. And with its focus on comfort food (including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese) it felt like a good choice for Thanksgiving. Was it a good choice? Well, read on and find out. Please?
We went up to the hostess and informed her we had a reservation but were a little early (like 10 minutes or so). She said things were moving a little slowly but we should be seated within a half hour to forty minutes.
A half hour to forty minutes. Even though we had a reservation. Not like the best start. But we found a spot on the carpet near an outlet so we plugged in our devices and made ourselves comfortable.
And I mean, I get it. Things back up. It was Thanksgiving. So I wasn’t letting it get to me. But then we started noticing walk-ups that came in after us getting seated before us. Which made no sense to me. I started questioning the entire Advanced Dining Reservation system. And when I go down that rabbit hole, my entire reality is in danger of collapse. It just felt like…
I will give them this much – they were accurate. We were seated about 45 minutes later.
Once we were seated, the kids were definitely happy and ready to eat.
Myles was downright thankful to finally have a seat.
We were ready to put that bit of unpleasantness behind us and get down to eating. Well, first…
Yeah, Dale made his way over to us rather quickly and let us take a pic with our “THANKFUL” sign.
The waitress took our drink orders and started us off with some bread and salad. She informed us that, due to the whole romaine lettuce situation, we would be having macaroni salad instead of their usual.
I thought the salad was really good actually and wouldn’t mind if they just kept right on serving it. The bread and butter was good as well. But my family has a bit of a roll addiction so I think we are unreliable sources for such things. We also had 5 baskets of bread I believe. We may need an in-dough-vention.
Our next table side rodent was the big man himself – Mickey!
And as you can see from the below picture, Owen is the worst of us when it comes to our a-dough-ction. He couldn’t even stop eating it for Mickey.
After Mickey left, the food arrived. And I do love how it’s all served all-you-care-to-eat family style. I do NOT like how we can’t say “all-you-can-eat” anymore. I mean, all-you-care-to-eat feels like so much less of a challenge.
Oh. That’s the point? Hmph.
Anyways, we got turkey and gravy, carved pork with cranberry sauce (I think this replaced the normal apple chutney) slow-braised pot roast, buttermilk mashed potatoes, herb and leek stuffing, and green beans in the main pan.
And we also got a plate of Goldfish macaroni and cheese and French fries. Which I guess is for the kids? Or the kid in all of us? My inside kid was pretty hungry.
As we were eating, another rodent showed up at our table. If this was anywhere but Disney, I’d call the health inspector. That’s still a thing right? A health inspector?
But thankfully, this really cute dog came and scared all the varmints away.
That above picture is interesting as the kids do not look blurry but Pluto does. So I mean, it’s not me. It’s him. He was obviously very excited to hang out with us.
Dessert time was coming up and the waitress also informed us they weren’t serving the usual strawberry shortcake and instead were serving some seasonal bread pudding thing with raspberry sauce. I honestly see raspberry sauce as a tool that should be reserved for torture. Blech. So we were actually gonna skip dessert and told the waitress. When she heard why, she completely agreed with us and didn’t know why they would ever change the dessert so she said she would check and see what they could do.
Yep, she made it happen. You’re the best, Garden Grill waitress. She also brought some cookies alongside it.
As we were eating dessert, our table revolved to a view of the top of the house from Living With the Land.
And I love that this is something you don’t even see when you are on the attraction. They have an entire room up there and most of the people that encounter this house don’t even see that. That’s what makes Disney different.
Anyways, aside from our issue with being seated, I really enjoyed our meal at Garden Grill. Our waitress was great and the food was tasty all the way through dessert I thought. The turkey and stuffing were main entrée standouts and we ended up ordering seconds of both. And the strawberry shortcake was excellent.
We walked out of dinner full, happy, and thankful. And ready to find a spot to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. As we walked, I snapped some nighttime EPCOT pics.
We grabbed a spot in the UK near the Rose & Crown. Which works out not only because it’s a primo spot but also because there is a bar there.
I grabbed Nickie a Bass and myself a Black and Tan.
And we waited for the show to begin. Now, Illuminations is my FAVORITE nighttime show in all of Walt Disney World and hearing it was going to be replaced was def a bummer. I get that change needs to happen, but I was glad we were going to have multiple times to catch it on this trip, especially at this time of year. Not only do you get the full Illuminations show around the holidays, but they also add a special Holiday Tag at the end that is seriously amazing.
It didn’t disappoint tonight.
I took a TON of pics (that was only a sample) because we were also planning to catch the show on our last night and I wanted to really just sit back and take it in then since it would be the last time I would probably ever see it.
A really great Thanksgiving overall. The four of us know we have so much to be thankful for. Our family. Our friends. Our health and success. I know I was personally feeling #blessed as those fireworks were going off, looking around at my beautiful family and all the beauty that surrounds them. It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything that’s wrong these days, but at that moment I was simply thankful to be a part of this world and this life. It’s a good thing being reminded to be thankful.
So a great day overall spending Thanksgiving with my family in Walt Disney World. Day 8 will bring even more awesome as we are joined by friends.
Yahoo for friends. And yahoo for school.