On Sunday night, we attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, an after-hours holiday event held at the Magic Kingdom. This extra-charge event includes a special Halloween-themed parade and fireworks show as well as trick-or-treating at various candy-distribution stations located all over the park. There also is a lot of special Halloween decoration, lighting, and music in the park in order to add to the mood.
Disney has wisely created a fun, very family-oriented event that is focused on the more light-hearted aspects of the holiday instead of the scarier blood and gore type of horror that is found at the Universal Studios and Six Flags parks and at the grandfather of theme park Halloween events, the Haunt at Knott’s Berry Farm. The focus here is mostly on Disney characters (and kids) dressed in Halloween costumes and Disney-style spooky characters like Jack Skellington, The Headless Horseman, and the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion. It is generally the right tone for an event at a Disney park.
I still have quite a bit more to say about the cruise, but since I haven’t had much time to write anything over the last couple days, I thought I’d switch gears a bit and write up a few notes from our first few days at Walt Disney World.
For this part of the trip, we have returned to the Wilderness Lodge, which is our favorite resort. This is my 4th time staying there and my wife’s 3rd stay. On my first visit and the first visit with my wife, I stayed in a regular room. While I loved the decor and location of the resort, my one complaint was that the rooms are a bit small.
I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that dinner on our first night was at Triton’s. This is the most upscale of the regular dining rooms, not including the special adult-only restaurant, Palo. The restaurant is lightly themed to The Little Mermaid, but doesn’t generally include any show elements or anything like that. It is a very attractive and elegant dining room. This is also the one restaurant that differs from those on Disney Magic, which has a dining room themed to Beauty and the Beast (Lumiere’s) instead. That made this one a somewhat new experience for us, although the overall atmosphere of the two is really pretty similar.
Dinners on our second and third nights of the cruise were at Animator’s Palate, which is the cruise line’s most showy restaurant. The restaurant is entirely themed to Disney animation and is designed so that, over the course of a dinner, the surroundings can transform from black and white to color. This is accomplished through a fairly sophisticated system of video projections and lighting effects.
Today’s port-of-call on the cruise was Nassau in The Bahamas. This morning, we got up early enough to go down to Tritons for a table-service breakfast. I ordered french toast and bacon. The french toast was very thick and rich with a dusting of cinnamon and powdered sugar. It was really very good.
As always, the service on the ship is a big part of the experience as well. The syrup for the french toast was served directly by the wait staff. They also had someone circulating around the restaurant with a big plate of various rolls, danish, croissants, and other similar treats. My son and I each had a cinnamon roll and really enjoyed them a lot.
Of course, one of the advantages of dining on a cruise ship is that there are a lot of choices and it is generally possible to have as much or as little food as fits your appetite at any given meal. Most of us had fairly good size breakfasts, including my french toast, eggs benedict for my father, an omelette for my mother, and pancakes for my sister. On the other hand, my wife and son each decided that they really only wanted a bowl of cereal and some bread or a roll and they were easily able to accommodate those requests as well.
For our first night at Walt Disney World, we stayed at Saratoga Springs, which is our DVC home resort. Even though it is our home resort, this was actually the first time we had visited that resort, much less stayed there. In our past visits, we have generally been able to get rooms at other resorts closer to the park (Wilderness Lodge Villas and Boardwalk Villas). We are staying at Wilderness Lodge (our favorite!) again for the WDW portion of this trip too, but decided to go ahead and try out our “home” for our arrival night before the cruise.
Our feelings about Saratoga Springs were somewhat mixed. It is a nice complex overall and the room was great (typical of DVC rooms), but I think the place is overall just a bit too big and spread out for our tastes. I know that some people really tend to prefer the more spread out resorts like this, but we generally like the more compact resorts overall. They just feel a bit more comfortable to us and we like the feeling that everything is pretty quickly accessible.