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The Bare Necessities - Day 12 Sunday 11th August 2019 Magic Kingdom and California Grill Dinner

Day 12 MK in the morning and California Grill dinner Sunday 11th August 2019

Welcome to The Bare Necessities Trip Report. I’m Abby and I went to Orlando at the end of July 2019 with my husband David, our children Max (14) and Kate (12). We’ve been to Orlando before But this trip was different as we had my parents Jac and Tom with us, they will be referred to as Mum and Dad or Grandma and Grandad throughout the report. I was so excited to take them with us as this was their first time to WDW.

Day 12

So, today was our last visit to MK.

When I was planning the ADRs I was in 2 minds about whether to go for the Cali Grill Brunch which we did in 2018 and loved or whether to try the dinner. In the end I went for the dinner as we’ve never eaten there for an evening meal and we didn’t bother going back last year for the HEA fireworks. I decided to stick with the Sunday with the idea of moving the meal to the morning if I changed my mind to the brunch. I wanted us to see the fireworks as this would be our last day in MK and therefore our last chance to watch the fireworks. In the end I didn’t change this ADR, it stayed put and in fact all the ADRs that were made back in January at the 180 day mark remained exactly as originally booked, there was no swapping for other restaurants or even for a different time. This is almost unheard of I think as I’m always feeling like I should tweak the plans to make them even more perfect.

There was an Early Morning Magic paid for event at MK in the morning so I figured there was little point in forcing ourselves through a tortuous early wake up to be at rope drop as there would already be guests in the park. So I rather generously allowed everyone a lie in until 7.30am I know, I’m very kind.

When we got to the bus stop at 8.33am there was only one time showing on the screens and that was for an Epcot bus in 2 minutes.

I was really beginning to dislike these screens . The lack of information was incredibly frustrating, plus they were invariably wrong. I wouldn’t have minded if they had shown we had just missed a bus and there would be a 25 minute wait for the next one as we could have gone to the food court and grabbed a snack and then come back to the bus stop, but as the timings were often incorrect we wouldn’t have trusted it if it had posted a wait time of 25 minutes. Before the screens, I never used to mind turning up at the bus stop and not knowing when the next bus for the park was going to turn up. You just had to wait not knowing if the bus would appear in 2 minutes or 20. But the screens are somehow worse than that, putting up the screen to tell you when the next bus would come and then for it to just be blank was annoying beyond belief.

There were loads of people at the bus stop so clearly there was going to a bus soon, of course we waited. There was a cast member at the bus stop with a clip board, who of course had absolutely no idea when a bus was going to arrive. I feel so sorry for these poor people as they have to deal with irate guests, it’d be better if there was no one there for us to moan at as it didn’t make a difference to the speed at which a bus would turn up.

He organised the people at the stop into 2 lines, 1 for HS and 1 for MK (there are 2 bus stops at POFQ so the MK bus and HS shared a stop).

Anyway he was trying to keep everyone cheerful with a Disney trivia quiz. Now I quite like a quiz so I happily played along. I am not so sure if his facts are correct but here goes.

Cast Member “Which Disney Princesses have their parents still alive and are not orphans?”

People were pretty poor at guessing here, myself included... any ideas?

The answers were Mulan, Merida, Moana, Aurora and Rapunzel.

Cast Member “What is the fastest ride in WDW?”

Now, I knew this one! I was pretty pleased with myself . Someone shouted out Rock and Rollercoaster, but this is incorrect as even though the story of the ride is that it goes from 0-60 mph in 10 seconds actually it doesn’t come close to 60mph. The correct answer is of course Test Track. Yay for me!

Cast Member “Where is the biggest hidden Mickey?”

Someone got this pretty much straight away as it’s at HS as apparently there is a massive hidden mickey if you take a birds eye view.

Cast Member “The Princess Club used to incorporate all the princesses. The last set of princesses that were done was when Merida became a princess, but there was a princess removed. Does anyone know who she is?”

Long pause no one was very sure someone guessed “Pocahontas”

Cast Member “No, Pocahontas became a Disney princess in 2014 with Merida”

Somebody else, “Snow White”

Cast Member “Snow White is still a princess”

Nope, I don’t think anyone is going to get it.

Cast Member “Alice, from Alice in Wonderland used to be a Disney Princess but no longer is.” Ok then.

At this point the HS bus came along so we all had to shuffle over and the cast member had to sort out the queue and organise the ECVs getting onto the HS bus so the quiz stopped.

The bus for MK came soon after at 8.46am so we only had a 13 minute wait. I had a seat but ended up giving it for a very elderly lady, she must have been close to 90 and there was no way I was going to be sitting and allow her to stand on the bus. Now, this leads on to another bus rant in the making, but this time it’s the guests that I’m cross with . We will frequently give up our seats if there is an older person standing or a parent with a small child. While I don’t consider my parents elderly they are 1 year away from 70 and many times we all had to stand while other passengers stayed in their seats. It would have been really nice if just 2 of them had stood so that my mum and dad could sit down, but this was few and far between .

My standing up today to allow the elderly lady to sit wasn’t me being nice, it was the right thing to do as we were packed in like sardines it was absolutely heaving on the bus. I ended up talking to a lady who was holding her toddler and trying to hold the hand of her daughter who was around 5 years old. She also had an older daughter who was about 7 who was holding on by herself. Unsurprisingly the poor lady was having difficulty holding onto her children and keeping herself upright. So, I shepherded the two standing girls. Then as we careered around a corner at what felt like break neck speed I just managed to catch her and stop her from falling over with the toddler in her arms. I ended up having quite a chat with her. It turned out her husband was way down the bus with the double buggy, her parents were also on the bus, but when the driver had told everyone to shuffle down to make room for others they had all got separated and she had drawn the short straw. We talked about what rides they wanted to go on and what both of our plans were for the day. She was trying to decide if going on Haunted Mansion would be a good idea. She was worried her 5 year old would be too scared. It’s a tricky one, I told her that on our first trip Kate hated Haunted Mansion and I’d had to cover her eyes and her ears as she was really scared, but the next trip she loved it.

It ended up being a really enjoyable bus trip and I enjoyed talking to her and sharing our plans for the day. I wished her luck with the Haunted Mansion and knew I’d never find out if they actually made it on there or not.

I met up with the others and trundled off towards the entrance. We made it to the bag check and through the scanners in good time in the end.

We were strolling under the Adventureland sign at 9.17am.

I was hoping we would be able to get on Jungle Cruise today as we hadn’t done it yet. I’d booked it as a 4th FP last night, but we’d ended up sacking off MK after the dubious meal at SBD and my headache so we hadn’t made it at all.

The standy-by wait for Jungle Cruise said 15 minutes so I was really pleased that it was still quiet.

Except in the end we waited closer to 35 minutes. Grr…still it was a funny skipper and we enjoyed a trip up De-Nile.

We hadn’t had any Dole Whip yet and as we came off Jungle Cruise I figured this would make the perfect breakfast, but our FP for POTC was coming to the end so we had to get on there first so the Dole Whip had to wait.

This was Max’s favourite ride when we first came to WDW and he ended up spending his money on a set of pirate miniatures with Captain Jack and the gang.

Pirate’s is still something that we love, the queue line really gets the ride going well where you wander through the dark and winding corridors past the jail cells and then of course the smell of the water hits you and you’re lining up to get in the boat.

It is a fantastic ride. We enjoyed it, but we were ready for something to eat, so back to Aloha Isle as I hadn't forgotten about Dole Whip. The kids were happy, they certainly didn't mind ice cream for breakfast.

I had the raspberry pineapple float.

This was delicious and was the perfect choice for breakfast.

Kate, Max, Dave and Mum all had the same vanilla soft serve with a wafer in a cup.

As you can see they are all melting big time. So a quick snap of these is all you’ve got. The server took pity on Kate and gave her another one that was less melty. Dad had the pineapple upside down cake and ice cream which he really enjoyed.

We were right outside the Enchanted Tiki Room and so it was decided that we would catch the next show.

I don’t think Mum and Dad really knew what to make of this, I suppose it is a little odd.

We followed this up with my all time favourite ride Splash Mountain.

I just love the theming of the indoor section. I love the big drop and hoping you don’t get a face full of water. I love that I always get in the boat first and make Dave get in last so that I won’t have the water spraying me when other boats come down the drop. I love the song and I love the Everything is Satisfactual sign at the end. Ahh! I love it. Again, I'm trying to be brave in the drop photo and not hold on, but I can't quite manage putting my hands over my head!

Next up was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Stand-by was showing a whopping 80 minute queue time.

Mum and Dad were really appreciating my planning with the FPs. We had barely waited for rides, the longest waits had been for buses.

I love these photos that I took on BTMR. The others look happy.

Max looks like he’s bored to death.

It was now around 11.15am and we caught the ferry boat over to Tom Sawyer Island.

This is one of those weird must do’s for us. I know there are plenty of people who’ve never been over there as it’s a bit of a hassle to get there, but we really enjoy it.

It was quite hot when we got there and Max and Kate decided they needed a rest, Kate borrowed Mum’s fan.

The tunnels and caves are great fun when you’re hot as they are all really cool and very dark and very scary!

The kids have always liked the barrel bridge and the fort. Some of the trails were closed today, so we didn’t get to do the barrel bridge, but it was still fun.

Kate was very keen for me to note down that it was her who won the game of draughts, just to avoid any confusion in the future! She was the winner!

We made our way back over to the mainland and as we still hadn’t been in Country Bears I suggested this. It was 12.30pm it was boiling hot and so everyone agreed that a show in the air con where we could sit down was a good idea. I much prefer this to the Tiki room, I guess it’s more my humour. I don’t think I have a favourite bear, they are all really cute and very funny.

But if you force me to pick one then I reckon Trixie from Tampa with her ‘Tears will be a chaser for my wine’ song is the best, but then I really like Bonnie, Bubbles and Beulah ‘All the guys that turn me on turn me down’. I didn’t dare ask Mum and Dad if they liked this, I didn’t want to hear it if they didn’t as I’d have had to tell they were wrong!

I knew that Dad wanted to go on the steamboat as this was the only thing he could remember doing in DLP when we went in 2000 for my Grandma’s 80th birthday. So, as we were nearby and there was a boat due in 10 minutes we went over and got in line.

It was very hot on here, we all split up and went separate ways, which made it somewhat tricky for the meeting up with each other afterwards! Dave and me were together and found somewhere to sit.

I booked up a 4th FP for later to meet Tiana and Rapunzel as Tiana is Kate’s favourite princess.

We all found each other in the end and decided it was definitely time for lunch.

At Columbia Harbour House there was no messing about with sharing credits we used 6 and each ordered what we wanted.

But, Kate fancied two things so I said I’d share with her, we ordered the tuna sandwich and the lobster roll and had half each. Dave had the land and sea platter (chicken and fish) with fries. Max had chicken nuggets and fries.

Dad had scampi and fish with fries. Mum had the lobster roll. We each had a soda as there is no alcohol at QS in MK (apart from BOG).

At the counter the cast member serving us thought she had already given us the drinks though as the tray with four meals had already been taken away by one of the kids. Looking at the tray with the four plates on now though I'm not sure how she thought she had squeezed on the drinks!

There was a bit of back and forth between her and me and in the end she gave in but she wasn’t happy as she thought we were trying to get extra drinks for free.

After eating we popped along to meet the Princesses.

Rapunzel told Kate that she liked playing chess.

So, of course Kate had to brag about beating her brother at earlier today at draughts.

Tiana said that she likes to bake and Kate agreed it is fun.

We went over to the Swiss Family Robinson tree house and enjoyed the views across the park from the top.

It was coming up for 3pm and we were hot and tired so it was time to leave.

I wanted to try out the new sundae from the Plaza ice cream, Kelly (Caitlinsmummy) had sent me a link to the post on DFB about this, it looked fab. But as the parade was about to start the queue was out the door and halfway down Main Street (small exaggeration) but it was long, this sundae will have to be added to the list for next year, which is now almost as long as the queue was for the Plaza.

So we went up to the confectionery store. Max got a caramel apple. Kate got a marshmallow dipped in chocolate covered with M&Ms.

I got a peanut butter cookie. Dave got a chocolate chip cookie and Mum and Dad shared one of the big Mickey head cookies. We got these bagged up so we could eat them while waiting for the bus, would you believe it but there was bus already at the bus stop so we ended up eating them in the room.

I was so pleased as already on the bus was my friend from this morning. It was lovely to catch up with her and find out how their day had gone. She introduced me to her parents and husband as the lady who had saved her this morning . Well, that’s not exactly true but I am glad her day didn’t start with her and her three girls falling over and being crushed on the bus. It turned out that they gave Haunted Mansion a miss this time but they did manage to get their middle daughter to agree to ride 7DMT and she ended up loving it. They also met Tinkerbell and Ariel and were really pleased with meeting up with all the princesses. They were looking forward to their dinner at 1900 Park Fare this evening. We had enjoyed this a few years ago as the step sisters are great fun and a little bit naughty. I told them we were off to Cali Grill tonight, they said they had been there on a previous trip and told us we should be able to see the fireworks. I was so pleased to hear the end of their MK story and find out what had happened with their day. She thought we had done brilliantly with all our rides and the two shows.

Back in the room me and the kids were hungry, ok not really but we still ate the treats we'd bought.

Dave didn't fancy his so put it in the fridge for later. That fridge was fully loaded with stuff for later.

I decided to do another load of laundry. Yes I did fancy a cocktail but I also wanted to do a last load so that we had enough underwear for the next few days of the trip. The pool was closed as there was lightning in the area even though it wasn’t raining, so the others stayed in the room and chilled out. This was my second load of the trip. We had only taken two large cases and two cabin cases with us and so we needed to have some bits of underwear and shorts etc washed for Universal. This visit cost £5 as it was $3 each for the washer and the dryer.

While the wash was being done I had a Captain’s Mai Tai from the pool bar which was $12.

A lady asked if she could sit at my table with her children while waiting for the pool to open, I said it was fine, but then they made a real fuss about a wasp that was buzzing around my drink. She rather loudly said “I think it’s after the pineapple”, I think she was probably right, but I just ignored the wasp and sort of her, as I wasn't really sure what she expected me to do about it. And frankly no one had forced her to sit with me, she had asked to sit down at my table, and the table was in the bar so it was hardly a surprise that I would have a drink. In the end I gave in and left the table, besides the washer had finished anyway and I had to transfer the wet stuff to the dryer.

While the drying was being done I decided not to go back and sit with my new friends, instead I went to the indoor bar and had a Whiskey Breeze (Jim Beam, Cointreau and lime juice) $13. This was very tasty.

When I went back to the room Dave and me had a drink from the fridge! I know, 3 cocktails in one afternoon! Although those little take away drinks from the QS hardly count.

We took a bus to MK and then walked to the Contemporary for our dinner at California Grill.

You have to go through bag check to be able to use the walkway to the Contemporary. I ended up in a bag check queue all by myself somehow. I picked poorly as the line took ages, but it was a fun cast member. She was joking with the people in line as she was looking through the bags. She said “push your bags forward I don’t bite” and then she pointed to the guest to her left and said “she bites” and then she pointed to me and said “she bites also” and I said “Yes that’s true, but not on a Sunday, tomorrow I’ll be biting all day long” and everyone chuckled. So, it was a slow bag check line, but it was funny. When I told the others who had been waiting ages for me they didn't seem so impressed!

I had made a 7.35pm reservation as I thought that would be perfect timing for watching the HEA fireworks and it turned out to be just right.

We had a little wander around the resort, dragging Kate away from the TV.

We checked in 5 minutes early and were taken straight up and shown to our table which had the lovely Mickey sprinkles on it.

Our server was called John and we really liked him. He was friendly and helpful. It really does make a difference to the meal.

Lovely bread was brought to the table with a sundried tomato oil dipping sauce.

John did offer to get more bread as we devoured this pretty quickly but even though we really fancied it we declined as we all wanted room for our main courses.

Max and Kate both had cokes to drink. We all chose wine to have as our drink for the meal. Dave, me and Dad all had red wine, the bottles were brought to the table so that we could taste them before getting our serving poured.

Mum had a sparkling rose.

Dave had another glass of wine with the meal, John said he would add this to one of the kids meals so that it was included in the cost of the meal and we wouldn’t have to pay for the 2nd glass. This was a nice idea and made me wonder why other servers didn’t do this as of course we ended up feeling a bit more generous with the tip.

For the main course Dave, me and Dad had the T bone steak with gouda macaroni cheese. I liked this, Dad thought steak and macaroni cheese was a bit of a weird combo.

Mum and Kate both had the surf and turf. This was a bison steak. Mum didn’t like this as much as the surf and turf at Narcoossee’s.

Max had the filet steak, which came with patatas bravas. He wished he had gone for the T bone as it was a much bigger portion.

I donated half of my steak to Max as I couldn’t finish it.

We watched HEA on the balcony, about halfway through the fireworks it got a little bit drizzly, but it was still good to watch from up there. I was trying not to feel sad about watching them for the last time.

We then went in and ordered our desserts.

Max and Kate both ordered the chocolate lava cake. Dad and me ordered the cherry toaster.

John ended up serving the cherry toasters to the kids and I was thinking it didn’t look like much of a chocolate cake, but I figured perhaps it was a layer of white chocolate or something.

Dave had crème brulee.

Mum had the lavender donuts.

Then when he came back and served the chocolate puddings to me and Dad I realised he had definitely made a mistake so we swapped.

John wasn’t happy as Kate had taken a tiny bite out of the cherry toaster so he went and got me a chocolate cake as well so I could have some of theirs. She only took a tiny bite from the corner of the biscuit.

I actually think I preferred the chocolate cake. Max was pretty cross that I’d been given 2 puddings! He then recalled all the times we had gotten extra servings this trip. Even earlier today Kate had got an extra dole whip as the ice cream had been overflowing and melted a lot. And Max couldn’t resist reminding us of the CRT meal where he’d gotten a 2nd steak.

For the four of us this would have been $420 before tip, it cost us 8 TS credits as it’s a 2 credit meal, plus the tip. There’s no way I’d pay this for a meal for us all, but it was lovely.

It is a lovely restaurant, but it is very loud in there and while I know at WDW the restaurants are a bit cavernous as they are trying to serve a lot of people it is sometimes nice to have a quiet more intimate atmosphere. This meal would have been better I think if it had been a little more peaceful. That being said, it was fantastic, the views are spectacular, the food was divine and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. I think I preferred the surf and turf at Narcoossee’s though.

The walk back to the MK bus stop was a slow one, we were full of food and tired. There were loads of people at the bus stop and we knew we wouldn’t get on the first bus. But as soon as this pulled away another bus pulled in so we ended up being pretty lucky really. We had to stand but at least we were on our way home.

And that’s the last MK day. An irritating start to the day with the lack of bus timings, but a fun cast member trivia quiz. My meeting with the American lady and her kids and helping her stay on her feet on the bus, then meeting up with them again on the way home so that we could find out what they did with their day was great. All the fun of Adventureland and Frontierland today, these are great themed areas and we enjoyed devoting the morning to them, plus no criss crossing of the park . Then we topped it off with the dinner at California Grill and the Happily Ever After fireworks. It was a good good-bye to MK and a day to remember.

Steps 19,066
Attractions 7

Coming Soon
Next up tomorrow is our final WDW day and we had a quiet morning at the hotel by the pool, before heading to DS for lunch and of course to spend our snack credits at Goofy’s Candy Store. Then onto Epcot and Chefs de France for dinner. It was our final chance to watch Illuminations and I was determined it would be good.

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