Well hey hey hey everyone!
Happy Spooky Season!!
Like, it’s official now. It’s officially a time for murder and demons and candy and pumpkin spice.
It’s a pretty magical time.
But let’s not go rolling around in the maple leaves just yet. Because I am here to take you back to those simpler times of July 2027. Before England lost its beloved queen. Or before any of us knew what was going to happen in the season two opener of Abbott Elementary.
Man, July 2022. Amirite?
Anyways let’s get on with it. Journey with me.
To mid-summer 2022.
Day 6 – A magical morning in a kingdom-y place
Day 6 had us waking up at around 6AM. As you might recall, in addition to the five of us in the room (me, Nickie, Myles, Owen, and Hannah), we also had Jeff and Shannon sleeping over. But, lucky them, they DID NOT have to be up so early on account of we were the only doofs with an early morning breakfast reservation.
So wake we did and we got ready lickety-split whatever that means and headed out. Our breakfast was at Magic Kingdom but since it was so early, we didn’t really feel like taking the bus. However, to Uber or Lyft directly to the park would have been an issue as well since Magic Kingdom is the one park where you can’t be dropped off at the gate (they have to drop you off at the Ticket and Transportation Center where you need to grab a monorail or ferry over to the park.)
The plan was to grab a Lyft to Disney’s Contemporary Resort and then make the short walk over to the park.
And that plan?
It was executed AF.
It was a beautiful morning, so the walk over to the park was lovely stuff.
We were at the gate by 7:50.
We used to love getting these early-morning Magic Kingdom breakfast reservations because it would give us the opportunity to take some empty park photos. But these days? Well, these days.
But yeah, with Disney letting people in early these days to line up at different areas of the park, those empty Main St. photos are a thing of the past.
However, like I said, they do make those without a breakfast reservation line up before properly entering the park when it opens. So while Main St. wasn’t all that empty, things did start emptying out once we left the hub.
So I mean, it was obvs squad time for pictures.
And being that close to the castle worked out because that was where we were having breakfast.
Yup. We were eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
Which is the royallest of all the tables.
Which is obviously exciting.
And magical as crap.
We haven’t eaten here in a LONNNNG time and this was Hannah’s first time ever eating in the castle. So we were all super dupes excited.
And the experience begins pretty much as soon as you walk through the entrance. I mean, because, duh, you’re walking into a castle.
Like, check out this hard-to-read menu.
And this suit of armor. Which is way better than just a regular suit.
Also, you may or may not have noticed that little pile of wands and swords to the right of that suit of armor…
…but yeah, it’s a pile of wands and swords.
And they just give them to you as part of your breakfast. I mean, I think they’re kind of intended mainly for kids but they’ll give you one if you’re an adult and have no shame.
So of course I got one.
And by “one” I mean a wand. It was way more sparkly than the sword.
Nickie also got a wand, you guys.
So stop. With the looks.
I really do love the vibe of Cinderella’s Royal Table though. It’s like I am in the middle of a Game of Thrones episode.
But you know. Without all the blood and incest.
And on your way to the main dining room, you get to meet THE Cinderella.
I love this pic btw. All the kids’ eyes are open but Cindy couldn’t manage it.
After our little photo shoot, we were led into the main dining room. As you can see, we had one of the first reservations of the day obviously.
These windows typically provide a really nice view of Fantasyland.
But, like, in case you didn’t know, it’s humid in Florida in July.
Once we were seated, our waitress took our drink orders and she brought us out a platter of pastries for the table.
Up there you got some croissants, chocolate croissants, and legit adorbs Mickey-shaped blueberry muffins.
I tried everything.
For research purposes.
And all were good. I remember really digging those croissants. Hella-buttery-and-flakey.
In addition to the necessary coffee which was obviously necessary and coffee, Nickie and I also ordered a couple mimosas.
Which was a good one. On account of it was light on the OJ, heavy on the champagne.
I must have been feeling that champagne because I was experimenting with showing teeth when I smile.
Which was obviously a failed experiment.
It’s a good thing Nickie is in a lot of my pictures. She really ups the overall “hawt” levels.
Looking through my pictures, I see I only took pictures of two plates.
Because my blogging skills? Unparalleled.
Hannah’s Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast (Decadent French Toast stuffed with Sweet Cream Cheese and Spiced Apples drizzled with Caramel Sauce and served with Bacon).
And my Beef Tenderloin and Egg (Beef Tenderloin, Potatoes and Cheese Frittata with Broccolini, Boursin Cheese Sauce, and Chive Oil).
And man, that was a GOOD breakfast. The steak was tender and flavorful but I really loved the fact that they went with the frittata over the standard fried eggs. And that cheese sauce? I kind of wanna take a bath in it.
Like I said, we haven’t eaten at Cinderella’s Royal Table in a while but it was good to be back. It’s of course not the full character experience it used to be but it still is worth a visit.
Our next stop after breakfast was the Sir Mickey’s (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/shops/magic-kingdom/sir-mickey/?CMP=OKC-90003322_GM_WDW_shops_sirmickeys_NA ) gift shop across the way in Fantasyland.
Which, like, is a purty cool gift shop. And it’s one of those spots in Walt Disney World where you have to look all around you to take in the story that’s going on. Like check out Willie the Giant trying to lift the roof off the place.
The Disney website says the shop is based around “The Brave Little Tailor” which does indeed feature a giant. However, THAT giant? His name is Gustav. So I don’t fully 100% know what’s going on in this shop. Do all giants look the same to you, Disney?
This seems like a pretty big faux pas.
You know. Because giants.
But hey, another good thing about this shop is you can ask a cast member to dust you with pixie dust. They do this whole magical incantation thing, wave, their wand, and douse your head with glitter.
Look, here’s Hannah doing it.
Which is so silly. I mean, this is obviously something for little kids. Hannah, you should really grow…
Yeah, I did it too.
Oof, I guess I forgot to suck in for that photo.
After we were good and dusted…
Hrm, that could mean so many things.
But yeah, after that.
We met up with Lani and decided to spend some time in Fantasyland. Our first stop? Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Nickie and I shared a shell to see Sebastian and some sea shells sing sea shanties.
Five times fast. Do it.
Oh look. Here’s the room where she sings “Part of Your World.” Look at this stuff. Isn’t it neat?
It was at this point that the ride broke down and our vehicles stopped moving. And like, I don’t know if you know but Ariel doesn’t sing the whole song here. It’s just a little snippet. We were stopped for a total of five minutes.
Which is hard to really convey in a blog.
But I’ll try.
Here’s what it was like…
I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty.
I’ve got whoozits and whatzits galore.
LITTLE MERMAID 4 JULY DISNEY TRIP 2022 DAY 6
I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty.
LITTLE MERMAID 4 JULY DISNEY TRIP 2022 DAY 6
I’ve got whoozits and whatzits galore.
LITTLE MERMAID 4 JULY DISNEY TRIP 2022 DAY 6
I’ve got gadgets and…
Well. You get the picture.
At least being stopped there for so long makes it easier to take some pictures. I was able to capture Sebastian here…
Man, crabs really get around.
And look at these sea monsters.
Finally though, we did start moving and we made it into the “Under the Sea” room.
And we stopped again.
Then we moved.
Then we stopped again.
Oh Disney. Why are your rides always breaking?
Next up? Dumbo!!
Which I mean, it just goes round and round.
But it goes round and round the best.
By the time we were off Dumbo, Jeff and Shannon made it to the park so we planned to meet them inside Big Top Treats.
Lookit. Lookit all the treats.
Soon enough, Jeff and Shannon joined us. The kids grabbed some slushies and a table.
And we kinda just chilled out for a while. This morning was turning out to be a nice one. All kinds of “hanging out” and what not. I love days like that in Disney. I mean, I dig running from attraction to attraction too, don’t get me wrong. But just kind of hanging out and talking and having snacks. I like how it makes it feel less like I am on vacation and more like, “oh hey I live here. With you, Mickey. We live in the same town now. Please make sure to not let Pluto poo on my lawn again.”
Since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to next hit up The Barnstormer.
And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “man, I love seeing you and your brother on rides together, Wayne. I would really enjoy more content like this.”
my friend my dude my acquaintance you.
You are in luck. On account of we next found ourselves BACK ON DUMBO.
We can’t get enough of that elephant.
And Jeff and I rode it together!
Dumbo? More like Dumbro. Amirite?
OK fine. We weren’t the only ones there. Here’s Nickie and Shannon riding Dumbo too!
And erm, me and Jeff in the background.
So yeah, we rode Dumbo twice in one day.
Day 6 was one hellephant day.
But after we disembarked our pachyderms, we left Fantasyland and headed to Tomorrowland.
Where, yes, they have a lot of attractions. But we were all fascinated by this giant water ball thing.
I don’t know why but that whole scene 100% makes me think of this…
Next up was the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. The ride whose central goal is to show you other rides you could be riding instead.
Oh and while we were in line? There was a girl next to us who was wearing shorts that matched Nickie’s Lily Pulitzer backpack.
So I creepily snapped a picture of such a thing.
Also, while we were making our way through the line, Myles lost his balance and fell into a bush.
There was a lot going on in this line.
Is what I am saying to you now.
Ah well, you know what they say.
A Lily Pulitzer backpack in your hand is worth one Myles in a bush.
Right? Isn’t that what they say?
We did eventually make it onto the attraction safe and sound.
Myles. Hannah. Get together and pose similarly to one another.
And look. There’s Jeff and Shannon.
And as one does these days when photodocumenting a ride on the TTA, here are your obligatory Tron Lightcycle Run construction photos.
Man, if this thing takes any longer to be built, Tron won’t be cool anymore.
It was at this point we decided to split up. The kids all wanted to stay in the park but Nickie, Jeff, Shannon, and I thought it might be a good idea to head out of the park in search for some lunch. So we said our farewells to the child-people and made our way to the exit.
On our way out, we stopped in at the Disney Vault store on Main St.
Which had a lot of cool stuff. Like this Mr. Toad statue.
We didn’t end up buying anything but there was a retro Walt Disney World lunch box I was very close to buying. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the thermos that went along with it. And I mean. A lunch box without a thermos?
Um, no thank you.
I also made my way into the Uptown Jewelers store and tried my best to buy Nickie a new Dooney and Bourke Disney bag but she found me when I was in line and made me put it back.
Which was really thoughtless of her.
We were out of the park and on the monorail by 12:15.
And I mean, I wasn’t gonna be the one to stop her.
We ordered up some bacon and brought it over to a table at Tambu Lounge.
I believe Shannon got some of the Dark Chocolate-Chili Bacon, the Pineapple and Coconut Chocolate-Covered Bacon, and the standard Dark Chocolate Bacon?
I love that I live in a world where someone might consider dark chocolate bacon “standard.”
Say what you will about the downfall of society, but younger me would never have imagined such a wonderful world.
All the bacon was good.
I mean, of course it was. But I think the Dark Chocolate-Chili Bacon was my favorite. I always dig that whole spicy-sweet situation.
And I mean. Of course we got drinks.
Jeff and I each got a Lapu Lapu (Plantation Original Dark Rum and Tropical Fruit Juices served in a fresh Pineapple topped with Gosling’s 151 Rum).
Which have made A LOT of appearances on this blog. It’s a very strong drink in a very real pineapple. Of course it’s made a lot of appearances.
We were having a large amount of fun here. Drinks in pineapples. Bacon. Awesome company. Lots of laughs. So fun in fact that it extended beyond that Lapu Lapu. Soooooo I also ordered a Backscratcher (Bacardí Superior Rum, Plantation Original Dark Rum, and Guava-Passion Fruit Juice topped with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.) Here it is pictured next to Shannon’s Mai Tai.
And as you can see, thing comes with an actual backscratcher. I love when alcoholic drinks come with free gifts. Like beyond the normal regret and shame they usually come with.
At some point, though, we realized we came here for lunch. So food should happen at some point.
Since Tambu Lounge wasn’t serving food at this point, we put in a mobile order at Captain Cook’s, which was just downstairs.
We got some plates to share – An Aloha Pork Sandwich (Pulled Pork with Cheddar, Asian Slaw, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes on a Brioche Bun served with French Fries).
And the Thai Coconut Meatballs (House-made All-Beef Chili-Garlic Meatballs cooked in a Coconut Cream served over White Rice).
Both were very good. Honestly, I’d have a tough time picking my favorite between the two. Gun to my head, I think I’d go with the meatballs. But please don’t do that. Don’t put a gun to my head.
The kids eventually made their way to us and chilled for a bit before, womp, we had to say goodbye to Jeff and Shannon. Which obvs squad was sucktown. It was, as always, a lot of fun seeing them and we were so glad they could join us. The saying goodbye part just always sucks.
The rest of us headed back to Animal Kingdom Lodge so that we could make the switch over to the evening portion of Day 6.
And man, YOU KNOW I took some balcony-animal pictures.
Tonight was a different sort of dinner thing happening. Myles and Hannah were heading off for a date night in Disney Springs so it was just gonna be me, Nickie, and Owen for dinner tonight. And it was kind of a fancy-pantsy situation so we got kinda snazzed.
And a nice thing about dinner tonight? It was in our hotel!
Which meant I could
get as drunk as I wanted and not have to worry about making it back to my room enjoy a nice walk to and from the restaurant.
Speaking of drin….er, enjoying a nice walk…we left our room a little early so that we could stop off at the Victoria Falls Lounge just off the lobby for a pre-dinner cocktail.
Nickie and I ordered our steakhouse staples – a Grey Goose Cosmo and a Grey Goose Dirty Martini.
Which were obviously delicious.
And we really enjoyed our time at Victoria Falls. It’s a place we have always talked about visiting but just never got around to it, even when we have stayed here in the past. You should go. There’s drinks.
Our dinner reservation was at 7:30 so we finished our drinks, paid our bill, and headed downstairs.
One of our FAVORITE restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. So this was all kinds of exciting.
We checked in at the front desk and they let us know our table would be ready momentarily. So I took the opportunity to snap some pictures of this beautiful space.
The dining room has a very “inspired by nature” feel. Not only do you have these floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a look out into the wilds of the lodge.
But the ceiling is painted a bold blue, representing the sky and the restaurant is flocked with these sculptures representing birds. Specifically, these birds are called prosperity birds, which are said to bring prosperity and luck.
Additionally, the lighting of the restaurant is lovely and adds to that nature-based feel. As the night progresses, the lighting changes from yellow to orange to red to make it feel as though the sun is setting.
So pretty right? It’s like Jik-OMG this place is pretty.
We were seated at around 7:40 and given our menus.
And since Jiko is all bougie and what not, our experience started when our waitress brought us out some warm, rose-scented towels.
This was a very nice touch and kicked the meal off with nice vibes and all. But I do have to say that Jiko used to bring out tea or even some small amuse bouche to begin the meal prior to their pandemic closing. And well, towels are nice and all. But you can’t eat a towel.
However, while trading tea for towels may be a downgrade, we were then treated to a more welcome post-pandemic change. Behold, friends. The new-and-improved Jiko bread service.
Jiko offers a giraffe and Egyptian bread as part of its bread service. Which, by the way, is included at no additional cost.
Yup. Bread for no additional bread.
And both of these were very tasty. The Egyptian bread had the consistency of a more fluffy pita bread with a tiny hint of sweetness and the sesame seeds added an additional depth of flavor.
But the winner here by a slight margin was the giraffe bread. This bread was the softer option of the two and had a nice doughy consistency to it. Plus, the giraffe print on top (created by a rice flour topping) fit nicely with the whole Animal Kingdom-icity of the meal.
The butter served with the bread was also real nice. On account of it wasn’t just butter. This was butter mixed with goat milk and goat cheese, topped with Black Sea salt. So. Good.
Being that we hadn’t had a drink in ten minutes, it was time to put our drink orders in at Jiko. Man can’t survive on bread alone.
I ordered the Kanu Old-Fashioned, which is made with orange bitters, bitters, and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. I also just realized the menu says it’s made with “whiskey.” No brand or anything. Just “whiskey.” So yeah. Whiskey.
It was a well-made drink for sure. The orange flavor came through but the vanilla cut it with a sweet creaminess. Plus check out that orange peel. It’s another prosperity bird.
We also put in our food orders, which I will get to in a second. And on the Jiko menu, each entrée is listed with a wine pairing option. I don’t want to spoil things, but I will say Nickie’s entrée choice was suggested as a pair with a glass of Glenelly ‘Lady May’ Cabernet so she went with the recommendation.
Thankfully, she let me try her wine as well. You know, for research. And oof, this wine was good. It was a nice, bold textured cabernet.
Onto the food.
We started off with the Braised Wild Boar Tenderloin to share, which is served with Creamy Pap, Chakalaka Tomatoes and Herb-smoked Oil.
The boar was incredibly tender and full of flavor. Boar has sort of a “sweet pork” taste to it, which was enhanced by the sweetness of the accompanying tomatoes, and this specific serving of boar was cooked a perfect medium-rare. The pap also was welcome as it provided a good base for the dish and a solid alternative to licking the plate in an effort to get to those boar juices.
Oh, and those crackery things were also there.
Both Nickie and Owen ordered the renowned Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. Man, what a beautiful dish.
The filet was paired with rainbow cauliflower and normally comes with four-cheese macaroni, though Nickie opted for broccolini (on account of we covered our macaroni and cheese needs elsewhere…stay tuned!) Though I will say Owen did stick with the four-cheese macaroni and let me have a bite (again, for research purposes). Stuff was pretty standard mac and cheese. And this is in no means a complaint.
The filet was finished with a chocolate-red wine demi-glace and, given my wife is very generous, she did let me try a bit. I am not the biggest filet guy, but I did find this to be a great piece of meat, as far as filets go. The one thing a good filet is supposed to have going for it is tenderness and you could cut this thing with a fork. The one thing a filet is often missing for me, though, is the level of flavor a more fatty cut might offer. So, thankfully, the demi-glace on this filet compensated for this.
When our server turned to me, I was between the Botswanan Seswaa Short Rib and the Moroccan Lamb Shank, which she informed me was the exact same dilemma someone at the table in back of us was facing.
Our server said I couldn’t go wrong with either choice, so I made the decision to go with the lamb shank.
And I was sure glad I did. This was a braised lamb shank paired with root spinach, parsnip silk, and a Medjool date chutney. In terms of accompaniments, the standout was that spinach. It had a perfect wilt to it and I legit ate every single bite of it.
But of course, the main star was the lamb shank. The meat itself fell right off the bone.
Lamb always feels like a risky proposition. Lamb should always have more of a gamey taste than other cuts of meat but if a restaurant doesn’t handle the dish correctly or it’s a cheaper cut of meat, that gamey flavor can be overpowering. I say this without hyperbole that this may have been the best piece of lamb I have ever eaten. Just the right amount of gamey flavor coupled with tenderness one should expect from a proper braising.
I also decided to go with the menu-suggested pairing of a glass of Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon.
This was another great wine choice. Not quite as bold as the Lady May, but with a more velvety texture. I’d honestly be happy drinking either of these wines.
I’d also honestly be happy drinking Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. So, I don’t know how much trust you should put in this palate.
As I mentioned, we had our macaroni and cheese situation well-covered in that we ordered a side of the Bobotie Mac & Cheese.
Now, I am going to say something shocking. Something appalling. Something I hate saying.
We did not get dessert.
I am a disappointment.
But I will say this meal was pretty incredible. Everything was hella-delicious and I mean, you couldn’t beat the company.
Like I said, Jiko was right at our hotel so after we finished our meal, we went up to our room, threw on our suits, and found our way to the hot tub.
Will it make me wet?
Will it make me sweat?
The hot tub closed down at 10PM so we eventually had to emerge into the night air and get back to our hotel room. But it was kind of no matter because we had some business to take care of.
Yerp. There was a new episode of Love Island UK to watch. So I casted from my phone and we settled in to catch up on what was going on with Paige, Jacques, Gemma, Luca, Ekin-Su, and Davide while we waited for Myles and Hannah to get back.
Seriously though. What an incredible season of Love Island.
And that was kind of Day 6 you guys. We spent the rest of the night watching Love Island and waiting for Myles and Hannah to get back. But I mean, a pretty good day all in all, right?
So I guess we will see you guys on Day 7.
Previous post – Day 5!