OK you guys. So this is kind of it. Like, erm….
Yep, we have finally come to the end of this trip. And I know what you’re thinking…
Wait…what? You sonofa.
Whatevz. Anyways. I decided to cram both Day 14 and Day 15 into one post since Day 15 is, like, departure day. And we don’t do all that much besides depart.
Day 14 though. It’s pretty sweet. We try a new restaurant. We visit EPCOT. We eat at an old favorite restaurant. We see the Candlelight Processional. And we see Illuminations for what is probably our last time ever.
Yeah, it’s a pretty big day. And Day 15 also happens. So let’s get on with it, eh?
Day 14 – Where we make the absolute best of our last full day
Our last full day started at around 6:30. I took my morning constitutional down to the Beach Club Marketplace to get some morning beverages in our refillable mugs. At this point in the trip, these morning walks have really become something I have become accustomed to. I mean, I always miss the rides, and the food, and the characters, and the food, and all that but it’s these little things that I sometimes miss just as much. These little things – getting coffee, going for a morning run, etc. – are things I do at home but they are all just so much better at Disney. I think because these kinds of things make it feel like I live there. Which would be awesome. Living at Disney is my plan for the Zombie Apocalypse. I am pretty sure I won’t survive long but if I am going to get my brains eaten, I’d prefer it to happen in the Haunted Mansion.
So I brought back the beverages and we all got ready for breakfast. We had a 7:30 reservation at Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club. We booked this not only because we hadn’t eaten there before but also because we wanted to score a Candlelight Processional package. So for $38 per adult, we got not only breakfast but also a special entrance into the Candlelight Processional. Which is a good deal since people legit wait hours in line to see the thing.
So we headed out at 7ish into a relatively cool day. Warmer than the day before, but still a bit of a chill in the air.
And we took the short walk over to the Yacht Club to check in for our reservation. The restaurant actually opened at 7:30 so we had a little bit of time to mill about the lobby.
And the Yacht Club lobby at Christmas? It’s like super Christmassy you guys. It’s all “Ahoy, Christmas!”
Because it’s the Yacht Club.
The tree is really cool. It’s got all kinds of nautical Christmas stuff on it. Like boats. And erm…boat stuff.
And they have this train that I could stare at all day.
Right, ALL DAY. It’s got signs for all the different resorts.
And it even had a lot of Department 56 Disney Village pieces. Which is cool, because our village at home is Department 56 Disney, yo. Isn’t everyone’s?
We also took a walk through the Ale & Compass Lounge. It wasn’t open for business but it looked like a super nice lounge. A place I would like to get a drink sometime. But that doesn’t really mean much I guess since I have been known to drink on park benches and railroad tracks. Still though, nice place.
And finally, it was 7:30. So it was time to get our eat on.
They led us inside and we all really liked the feel of the place. Really clean looking and simple.
For breakfast at the Ale & Compass, you can either just get an entrée or get and entrée+buffet. And the cool thing about the Candlelight Processional package is that it includes the entrée+buffet option and an additional beverage (which average about 5-6 bucks). And this works out to be a good deal. The buffet+entrée option is $23.00 and, as mentioned, the package was $38.00. So, including the beverage, you are just really paying an extra $9.00 or so for the package. We win this round, Disney. Sort of.
We started off by hitting the buffet.
Don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but the buffet had stuff like pastries, yogurt, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, bagels, smoked salmon, biscuits and gravy, etc…and these amazing Parker House rolls.
My plate was, of course, a healthy sampling.
We also had some coffee to start. And check out the little milk bottle. Thing is hella-cute.
And as my additional beverage, I ordered a Tropical Green smoothie. Thing was green and it was delicious. Plus I felt all kinds of healthy after drinking it.
Despite being warned against doing so, Nickie ordered the Blueberry-Bacon Pancakes. She was not a fan, unfortunately. She said they were really dry.
Myles got the Salted Caramel Apple French Toast. He also didn’t really love his dish.
And Owen got the American Breakfast – two eggs (he got them scrambled), sausage, potatoes, and fruit.
But Owen being Owen, he would only eat the sausage and eggs. He did seem to like them though. Not blown away or anything, but really he didn’t leave himself much to be blown away by.
So yeah. So far nothing really stood out as all that great. Thankfully, I know how to order food. I went for the Breakfast Flatbread.
A flatbread with a sunny-side egg, applewood smoked bacon, ham, provolone, and arugula. This was soooooo good. In fact, it was so good Nickie ended up sharing it with me. It’s cool. You can look up to me. For I am the king of ordering breakfast. Hail me.
So, overall…breakfast was meh on average. But I really liked what I got.
Once breakfast ended, we walked down to the International Gateway and into EPCOT!
Since the park was just opening we walked straight to the Land pavilion to jump right onto Soarin’ Around the World with no wait. HOLLA!
Well, technically there was no wait. But since we wanted to make sure we got in section B, row 1 (BEST seat…so it is written) we waited through one round before getting on. Still though. Pretty sweet.
From the Land Pavilion, we then decided to do a little pavilion hopping and head over to the Imagination Pavilion. That’s a really fun word to say. Pavilion. Try to use it in a sentence today.
But yeah, we decided to visit with our pal Figment and Journey Into Imagination.
That was legit the only semi-ok picture I got on there. But you can imagine how fun it was.
OK so this trip, I was determined to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out on account of it is my absolute favorite Pixar movie and I felt sadness last time because we didn’t get a chance to meet them. I was ready for some joy. And Sadness. Joy and Sadness.
We got in line but as we were waiting, I felt like I had enough time to head across the street to the Fountain View or as us basics like to call it – Starbucks.
I ordered Nickie a Vanilla Latte and myself an Egg Nog Latte since by this time the next day, I would have to start eating like a normal person and not like someone on Death Row looking to make the most of his last meal. Only like for weeks.
And look what I had them write on the cups. I know, I am the cutest.
I met the fam back in line and soon enough we were ushered in. To meet Joy and Sadness! AHHHHH!!!
They were soooo fun. And legit the cutest.
We told them it was our last day and Sadness was extra sad about it. So we decided to take a sad picture.
Well, most of us did. Joy was still pretty happy.
After all that awesomeness, it was a time of reckoning for Myles. He and Owen had made a bet earlier in the week on the Giants-Eagles game. Myles, being the turncoat he is, of course took the Giants. The Eagles ended up winning 25-22, which made Owen victorious. And to the victor goes the spoils.
And the spoils in this case? Owen got to watch Myles drink a whole cup of Beverly soda at Club Cool.
I have mentioned Beverly before. Most recently, when we visited the Coca-Cola Rooftop Bar and I ordered the Beverly’s Revenge. But to refresh your memory, Beverly is a very bitter tonic-type drink from Italy that is part of Club Cool’s (completely free, by the way) tastes of the world soda fountain thing. It’s the “dare” soda of the bunch, as most people find it all bitter and what not.
Myles stepped up, filled his cup…
…And took a gulp…
Well, at least he pretended to take a big gulp. I noticed he kind of put it to his lips but didn’t really put it all that far up. He quickly discarded his cup so it’s hard to really tell what happened that day. And thus this will live on in infamy as the Great Beverly Mystery of 2018. Shenanigans. Shenanigans, I tell ya.
After witnessing first-hand the highs of victory and the lows of defeat, it was time to use our FastPass for The Seas with Nemo and Friends!
Honestly, I think my favorite part of this ride is the jellyfish. In fact, no matter what aquarium I go to, jellyfish end up being one of my favorite attractions (well, maybe a second to penguins). Probably due to my love of fruit spreads.
Our FastPass booking was ON POINT today because as soon as we finished up with Nemo, it was time for our next FastPass at Frozen Ever After.
Frozen Ever After is totally one of those rides that was super hyped up. Then faced backlash when it didn’t live up to it’s unrealistic hype. But then faced backlash-backlash when people like me rode it after all the hype had died down and realized it’s a really fun attraction. Because it is. Look, I love me some Maelstrom (RIP), but this is a beautifully done ride that my whole family enjoys. It’s a dark boat ride. What’s not to love?
So suck it, haters.
You know what’s not beautiful? My picture-taking inside said ride.
The original plan after Frozen was to just sort of walk around and snack, but we were all kind of more-than-snack hungry so we walked over to the Rose & Crown to see if they had any tables open.
And guess what?
Yeah, I mean did you think I would build all that up to NOT have gotten a table?
While the patio was open, it was still a tad chilly so we opted to eat inside. We did, however, snag a nice window seat.
My meal started as most meals at the Rose & Crown do – with a Black and Tan.
Hm? Of course it was delicious. It was a Black and Tan.
For my entrée, I ordered the Bangers & Mash.
Which is one of my favorite things on their menu. My favorite is the Scotch Egg, but with a day of snacking to look forward to, I opted for no appetizer. I am a planner.
Nickie went in with her heart set on the Cottage Pie, but it was unfortunately not on the menu that day. So she opted for the Shepherds Pie. She isn’t the hugest fan of lamb but she still seemed to enjoy it.
And the boys both got their usual – the Fish and Chips. Honestly, the Fish and Chips here is quite good. Nice, golden crispy outside and flaky on the inside.
Overall a nice relaxing lunch. Typically, Rose & Crown is a dinner spot for us so it was nice to enjoy it during the day. The food remained tasty and the fact that we only focused on entrees, we were left with room for some EPCOT snacking. Ha, only in Disney is just focusing on an entrée taking things light.
We still had some major Festival of the Holidays to check off our list. Our first must-eat was located in Future World.
SPACESHIP EARTH DAY 14 2018
We had our stomachs set on some super-duper snacktime snacks at Test Taste Track! This new booth had some really interesting offerings for the festival. Namely, CRONUTS!!
Well, officially, Disney calls them croissant doughnuts. But to those of us that like small words. Cronuts.
But not just any old cronut. Nooooo No.
They had three different cronuts to offer – a cinnamon sugar cronut, a chocolate frosted cronut with holiday sprinkles, and a…wait for it….cronut frosted with eggnog pastry cream and gingersnap crumbles.
We opted for the chocolate frosted and eggnog frosted options. Because the other one didn’t have the word “frosted” on it. We also could have ordered them with gelato but I mean, we didn’t want to be gluttons or anything.
And guys. GUYS. That eggnog masterpiece was incredibly good. One of the best things I ate all week. For realz.
Myles also ordered a pancake milkshake.
Which, while really pretty to look at just tasted….weird. It was one of those more gritty type milkshakes and the flavor was just sort of off. I don’t think Myles liked it all that much either.
Enough of Future World though, right? We had more booths to hit and Chip and Dales to find!
First stop – Mexico. Arguably, the best pavilion.
We quickly found our Mexican Chip and Dales, the kids applied their stickers, and we made our way to the back of the pavilion as there was no wait for the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros.
Have I mentioned I love boat rides?
This ride hits all kinds of “simple fun” vibes for us.
And I think this may have been my first look at the Three Caballeros animatronics at the end. Which were muy lindo!
We made a quick stop in Norway afterwards to take a pic with a troll.
And I waited forever to hear him sing some Justin Timberlake. Dude didn’t budge. Nothing. Stupid troll.
So right, this being our last day we definitely wanted to get in some more Festival Booths. So we hit up the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen to grab a Mongolian Beef Bao Bun (with fortune cookie) and a Jasmine beer.
And I know what you’re wondering. And the answer is yes – they will give you an extra fortune cookie so both of your kids can have one.
And I know what else you are wondering. The answer is also yes – if one of your kids drops theirs and breaks it, they will give you a replacement fortune cookie.
Anyways though – that Bao Bun was Bananas. Really really good. Love me a good bao bun. Lots of flavor in that little bun right there.
But with only that in my stomach.
And bangers and mash.
And some milkshake.
I was obviously still hungry. Next stop? The Tuscany Holiday Kitchen in Italy!
We got a Mozzarella in Carozza and some wine…
The Mozzarella in Carozza were like little fried grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing super WOW, but kind of a cool novelty dish. Tasty enough. I mean, fried grilled cheese sandwich.
Italy is a super pretty pavilion though….
Like I said before, as part of our package, we had reserved seating for the Candlelight Processional. Specifically, we reserved the earlier show at 5PM. Which meant we still had an hour to go til showtime once I had eaten my last bite of fried cheese.
So we headed over to the American Adventure pavilion to try and catch the Voices of Liberty before they took the stage at the Processional. And as luck would have it, they were about to go on in ten minutes. So we walked inside and found a spot on the floor.
And soon, the performers came out decked in their Victorian holiday best.
They really put on a good show in there year-round but it’s extra nice at the holidays. They sang a medley of holiday songs. I live streamed a bit of it on Instagram I loved it so much. Here is a little taste….
Really nice pre-show before the main event.
Speaking of, once the Voices of Liberty had finished, it was time to go find our seats for the Candlelight Processional. The boys and I got in line, grabbed our stickers, and got our seats.
Nickie went over to the American Holiday Table booth to grab some drinks and snacks. She got the kids some cookies and me a beer flight. Of which the eggnog white porter still remained a favorite.
The show soon began, starting with the orchestra…
And in marched the singers, each holding a candle…
When everyone is finally in place, it really is quite a sight.
Our celebrity narrator telling the Christmas story was Robby Benson – the voice of Beast!
I did a live stream from here as well, but the quality ended up being meh. So I hesitate to post it. You’d be better off watching the below clip on YouTube from someone who was at the same show:
If you have never done the Candlelight Processional, it’s a must for anyone visiting during the holidays. And this being our last night (November 29th), it felt like a perfect way to kick off the remainder, non-Disney portion of our holidays.
One the show was over, it was dinner time. Man, it feels like we never stopped eating on our last day. Oh right, because basically we didn’t.
Dinner tonight was at one of my favorites – Chefs de France!
I have written many, many times about my love for Chefs de France. I love it. There. I said it again.
Dinner started with a dirty vodka martini. Weirdly they don’t have Grey Goose…only Belvedere. I say weirdly because (A) Grey Goose is the superior vodka (B) it’s French, and (C) it’s available at the booth outside in slushie form. But whatevz. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? And I was BEGGING for some vodka. So, cheers.
The boys ordered sodas and Nickie ordered some red wine.
And as we sat there, I enjoyed my martini and looked around, taking in the whole of the restaurant.
And taking in the whole of what we did this trip. We did A LOT this trip. We drove from Boston to Orlando. We stayed in Virginia Beach. And Savannah. We spent like 12 days in Walt Disney World. We had some amazing time, just the four of us. And we had such awesome experiences with other family members and friends. We experienced so many attractions, met characters, and of course ate a ton of great food. It was quite an experience. This was truly an epic trip. I felt so thankful for the life I have and the people I get to enjoy it with.
And I thank vodka for giving me the clarity to truly appreciate it all.
But the experiencing wasn’t over. Because…food.
Dinner started for everyone with some warm, crackly baguettes and butter.
Both Nickie and Myles settled on the prix fixe, which started with either salad (which Myles chose)…
…or French Onion soup (which Nickie chose.)
I had a sampling of both (for research purposes) and both were actually very good. The dressing on the salad was very nice and the size was ample for a starter salad. But if given the choice, I would have to go with the soup. I have had the French Onion here before and it’s hella-good. That gruyere on top is like whoa.
For their entrees, they both got the Boeuf Bourguignon with linguine.
Which was good as well. That beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Owen and I went for straight entrees this time around. And yeah, I know…I always ALWAYS get the escargot here. It’s amazetown. But with everything we had eaten that day, I opted to skip the appetizer.
Owen got the ground beef steak off the kids menu minus the brioche bun, with French fries and green beans. Which he seemed to like a lot.
We both got the steak frites. Grilled flat iron steak topped with lemon and parsley butter and French fries.
Very good. That butter, man. Drool.
I was a bit nervous about the desserts at first because my favorite profiteroles were not on the menu anymore. But they did have the cygnet de chocolat. Which is a swan-shaped puff pastry with chocolate mousse, chocolate sauce, and chocolate ice cream. Eh, close enough. Plus, it was shaped like a swan. So that accounts for something.
It was a suitable replacement I suppose. A little too much chocolate compared to the profiteroles which used vanilla ice cream but still tasty. And I could make a lot of “stop looking at me swan” jokes. Which made everyone happy. Well, really just me.
Myles got the crème brulee. Which I have had here before as well. Good stuff.
Nickie and I also got some coffee drinks to end the night. Nickie got a Bailey’s coffee and I got an Irish coffee (translation: whiskey). And erm, they weren’t exactly what we expected.
I mean, they tasted fine enough but drinking hot coffee through a straw is something insane people do.
After dinner, the kids wanted to turn in their finished Chip and Dale Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt maps to redeem their prizes (explained here). So we went over to the Port of Entry to see what they had won.
Now, the following could be a spoiler. I have literally no idea. Because the prizes the year before were completely different. But consider yourself warned.
For their time finding Chip and Dale throughout the World Showcase, the boys each won a package of Christmas cards.
I thought these were a super cool prize to win. The year before, the prize was some sort of pin pack but these felt even more special. You had a choice of two different styles – Figment and Minnie Mouse (they chose one of each) – and each had a set of five cards. And each of the cards also had on them punch-out ornaments to hang on the tree.
I liked these so much because the kids could bring these home and fill them out to give as gifts to the people they care about. I don’t know. It was special because not only was it a cool souvenir to bring home, but it was something they could then turn around give to others. Sort of a really cool way to encapsulate the holidays for them.
Potential spoiler over!
We left Port of Entry and grabbed a quick last PhotoPass.
It was getting close to Illuminations time, so we walked back over to the World Showcase. And as we were walking, both Nickie and Owen said they were getting tired so they were going to head back to the room.
So it was just me and Myles for what would probably be our last ever viewing of Illuminations. We grabbed a spot near the Rose & Crown about a half hour before the show. I went in and grabbed us some drinks (one more Black & Tan for me and a soda for Myles) and…my phone died.
Which felt apropos. Being this was the last time I would ever see my favorite fireworks show, it allowed me to really take it all in. Plus, with that half hour before the show, Myles and I were forced to…converse. We played a few different word games to pass the time and talked about the trip. With Myles being a teenager now, we don’t get a lot of “talking” time so I was happy to have it.
And of course, Illuminations was awesome. And of course, I shed a tear saying goodbye. To it…and to this trip.
Weird side note…the wind must have been off that night because as we were walking back to our room, there was like a hella-ton of fireworks shrapnel all over the place. I feel like it was maybe Illuminations saying goodbye to us too.
Myles and I made the long, sad walk back to our room and got to sleep in preparation for our departure day. Thankfully, Nickie had already pretty much packed us all up by the time we got there. She is the best.
Day 15 – Ugh
We woke up on Day 15 at around 7:00 AM. We quickly got ready and took our luggage down to the lobby airport check-in desk to drop off our bags, not to be seen again until Boston.
For breakfast, we decided to walk over once again to the Boardwalk Bakery.
And as we were walking up to the door, we noticed a crowd of legit what looked like 100 kids coming in the opposite direction. We sped up our walk to try and slip in before them but it was looking dire. Thankfully, just before they walked in, the adult leading the group stopped right before the door to do a quick inventory of the kids. We slid in in the nick of time.
Goodys: 1, Innocent schoolchidren: 0.
Turns out this was some sort of school field trip. Which made me think this must obviously be the best school of all-time. I bet lobster is also a common school lunch option and they offer courses in, like, the Simpsons or whatever.
Anyways, for breakfast both Nickie and I ordered the Butter Butter sandwich, which is a brioche bread sandwich containing ham, scrambled eggs and buttery fontina cheese spread. Yeah, try saying “buttery fontina cheese spread” without smiling.
The kids. Well, they got cupcakes. Last day WHAT WHAT.
After breakfast, we did some shopping on the Boardwalk and used up our remaining snack credits and hurried back to get on the Tragical erm…Magical Express bound for the airport.
And surprisingly, the kids WERE NOT CRYING. They have literally cried on the last day of every single Disney trip. But not this one. I guess the key is doing a 15-day trip. So I mean, problem solved.
Once at the airport, we decided we hadn’t spent enough money yet. So we hit the Earport.
Owen seemed to think the souvenir totals were a bit off-balance so he picked up a t-shirt (the Winnie-the-Pooh Tsum Tsum was from home).
After making it through what is always the legit worst security line ALWAYS.
We took the boys down to the gate, left them with the bags and went to the Chil’s to-go to grab some food. Well, we also had a beer while we waited. WE’RE NOT MADE OF STONE YOU KNOW.
But I mean, we made it back with the food.
We quickly ate and were on the plane, headed for Boston. I sat with Myles in one row and Nickie and Owen sat across the aisle. We find that seating arrangement works well because Nickie and I can still sit next to each other and one of the kids a piece.
I took advantage of the in-flight entertainment to watch Won’t You be My Neighbor…
Great movie, by the way.
And after a few hours, we touched down in Boston. Once off the plane, we had to sort of reorganize our carry-on situation, which was INSANE.
We made some quick trips to the bathroom, walked down to retrieve our luggage, ordered up an Uber and were home within an hour.
Owen quickly caught up with some people he missed – Veronica…
And the rest of the Riverdale gang. And of course we were happy to see this little cutie and give her the souvenirs we got her.
And I mean…that was it. We were home. It was a Friday and we had to get our Christmas started. But man, what a trip. Thanks to all of you for coming along for the ride.
And of course, thanks to everyone at Disney and along the way for helping to make our trip a success. An especially big thank you to the Hills and the Florida Goodys for meeting us down there and helping to create some wonderful memories.
Thank you to my boys for being incredible travel companions. I have been blessed with two really special young men as sons. And sharing Disney with them is always an overwhelming experience. Every trip is different, and every age is different but the two of them have never stopped loving Disney and I feel lucky to be able to spend time like this with them.
And yeah, thank you to my amazing wife – Nickie. Not only a big thank you for spending these epic 15 days making every minute full of love and life and laughter, but for all the planning you put into these trips. These literally would not be the trips they are without you. I love you.
And don’t be too sad everyone. We have a lot of awesome stuff on the horizon:
- We have our big California road trip from San Fran to San Diego coming up this summer, including some Disney stops at the Walt Disney Family Museum and of course Disneyland.
- But before that, we have a quick overnight trip to New York with the Chagnons.
- And afterwards, we have a trip in September back to Napa to celebrate Tony’s 50th birthday of which that is all I can say for now.
- Another trip down to Florida in November to celebrate Shannon and Evin’s wedding!
- And beyond that, we are going back to Beaches Turks and Caicos next January, back to Walt Disney World summer 2020, and then onto Paris and hopefully Tokyo in the years to come.
So stay tuned. You can’t keep the Goodys down.