Our last morning on the ship we woke early, knowing they wanted us to scram no later than 8am (as was announced throughout the ship every 15 minutes.) We returned our comment card, bid a sad farewell to the (awesome) Concierge Team, and enjoyed one last sunrise from our balcony.
It could not have taken more than ten minutes from the time we arrived in the atrium until we were on the curb with our luggage awaiting our ride. (By the way, when you leave the magical boundaries of the ship, the wonder that is “Concierge Service” ends as well. We were herded along like cattle with everyone else moving through check out, luggage retrieval, and customs. But, at less than 10 minutes, who can complain?)
Lesson learned: when your driver gives you a card and says, “call me at this number when you exit customs,” you should do that. I figured it was the same number our confirmation letter advised to call. This was a mistake. It took a little over 15 minutes for the car to arrive, but this was my error for forgetting the card. However, once Jackie arrived, she was as friendly and efficient as she had been on our arrival. Two thumbs up for Southern Elegance Limousine!
She got us to our new home (Disney’s Beach Club Resort) in great time, arriving shortly after 9:30. I’d made our 1st Fastpasses for 9:50-10:50 at the Magic Kingdom®, and we all felt confident these would work…that is, until we checked in at the Beach Club.
Check in went well, except for two time-consuming issues. (1.) My dad had forgotten where he packed his magic band, so we asked for the standard-issue grey one. They had some technical difficulties, which took several people, in a couple locations, to correct. And (2.) the loss of our stroller. When we left Kidani Village, I gave bell services a box and a stroller (the former with an 8.5″x11″ sticker and the later with a large laminated page zip-tied to it, both with the resort and reservation information – “Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Rachel Horsley, Arriving 5/17, Reservation # xxxxxxx.) At the Beach Club they couldn’t find anything. I did get to tour the hold area though, which (to a Disney dork like me,) was fascinating. They checked the logs…nothing. They called Kidani…nothing. Then, in a last ditch effort, they called the Yacht Club Resort bell services. BINGO! Why they heck it went there, when it was clearly labeled to be elsewhere is a mystery.
Anyway, by this time, we were pushing 11am. During the wait, I’d managed to push out the first FP+, but were now in jeopardy of losing another. The excellent staff at the Beach Club arranged for private transport to the Magic Kingdom, and we made it with 15 minutes left in our window for Barnstormer. Yay!
We enjoyed lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (with Andrew noticing Sonny Eclipse for the first time,) spun as fast as we could on the teacups, raced along the Tomorrowland Speedway, and checked in on our favorite 999 happy haunts. Our final FP+ was for the Festival of Fantasy parade. Lesson learned: 30 minutes is not early enough, not even with a FP. We were not in the front row, but I did find us a spot behind a double stroller, so it wasn’t too bad. Either way, the parade was impressive. We all marveled at Maleficent’s Dragon. And I adored all the details and costumes. Andrew loved everything.
Off to check-in at Hollywood and Vine. So, I realize they’ve been offering this meal since 5/4, but it feels like they still have considerable kinks to work out. After check-in they put you in line to get pictures with Ewok Chip & Dale (20 minutes.)
Then they send you back outside to wait for a table (20 more minutes.) When my husband asked why, he was told “we overbooked the experience.” On the flip-side, once seated, it’s a great dining event. The food is pretty good and well-themed. The characters take their time (probably what was holding up tables) and are really special (how often do you get to duel with Darth Goofy?)
The atmosphere is absolutely giddy with Star Wars fans of all ages. As a bonus, we had the Fantasmic! package to go with. So, after dinner, we had just enough time to hop on Star Tours and run over to the amphitheater (with 8 minutes to spare.) Andrew seemed a bit stressed about riding Star Tours, but agreed to ride it again the next day if we bought him a “make your own lightsaber.” Not our best idea…but more on that later.
We all loved Fantasmic!, per usual, and headed back to the room humming along to the music in our heads (or at least Andrew and I were humming.) Then it was early to bed before our big Galactic Breakfast and Feel the Force Premium Package! Until then, May the Force be with you…