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Old 11 Jun 14, 08:02 PM  
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Arrow Returning to Jamerica! Day 12 - Magic Kingdom / Texas de Brazil

Returning to Jamerica! November 2013


Day 12 – Magic Kingdom / Texas de Brazil

Monday 18th November

Okay, I'm hoping it's just me, but once again, some of my photos are popping up in the wrong place. They are okay on the laptop but not on the ipad! My apologies if the photos don't seem to correspond with the text, I'll see if I can fix it!

Today was an early start for us again today, as we felt that a return trip to Magic Kingdom was long overdue, and there were two things we were still yet to do. One was to see Wishes, but with it being a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party night, that was out. The other was to be there for Rope Drop. I know we’d already been there to witness Rope Drop, way back at the start of the holiday, but from inside the park you don’t get to see the wonderful opening ceremony at the park entrance. So that was the plan.

After a quick breakfast in the villa, we piled into the car and pointed it in the direction of Walt Disney World. We parked up and after a swift trip on the monorail we were in front of the station by 8.30, plenty of time for the start of the show, which is, so I am reliably informed, at precisely 8.48.

If you haven’t ever been at MK in time for the opening ceremony, do try and get there – it’s a really lovely way to start the day, and in some ways I would rather see this on our first day than be inside the park having breakfast, but it just makes sense to do it the other way round. And with it being near the end of the holiday, it does make it a little bittersweet.

I do hope the madness of the Frozen Princesses hasn’t/doesn’t do anything to change the way they open the park. I’ve seen the pictures of people being slowly frogmarched down Main Street to stop the stampede!

Anyway, no such madness for us and we were able to make our own way down (or is it up?) Main Street, at our own pace!

Our plan, as usual, was for Simon to nip off and pick up Fast Passes for Space Mountain while the rest of us headed round to Frontierland for the other two mountains, Big Thunder being the first. However, when we got there Big Thunder Mountain was having some technical issues

And so we went on Splash instead.

We grabbed Simon afterwards to join us for a repeat voyage, knowing full well that it would probably be the last one for this holiday, and therefore for a few years

Once back on dry land Big Thunder Mountain was still not up & running but the FP machines were, and so, as our Space Mountain window wasn’t up yet, Simon said he would hang around for a few minutes to get some Fast Passes while we took a slow walk round towards Tomorrowland.

We stopped off on the way to try and lift the sword out of the stone

But none of us were able to repeat the success of 2011

Onwards towards Tomorrowland and we saw that there was no wait for the Teacups and so the boys went off on their own for a go. Funnily enough, neither me nor Grandma could be persuaded to join them…..

Daniel still looks half asleep on this picture, perhaps the early start was a bit of a shock to the system so late in the holiday!

Simon caught up with us here, Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain in hand, and we carried on towards Space Mountain.

Mum was happy to sit this one out and so the rest of us went and joined the FP line. Not that there was a line, we just walked straight through and didn’t stop until we boarded our little space mobile.

We met up with Grandma afterwards and stopped off at Auntie Gravity’s for a coke ($2.69) and then took a slow walk through the new Fantasyland area. Although I would have liked to have had a go on the new rides/attractions, I could not persuade the boys to go with me, (girly & lame) and as the wait times weren’t within the ride enjoyment/wait time matrix, I went with their decision.

I did manage to get them into Gaston’s Tavern though, as I wanted to try LeFou’s Brew, to see how it compared to Butterbeer. The brew was $4.39 and I also picked up a humous snack pot for Daniel, $4.49. So, what did we think of LeFou’s Brew? Put it this way, a couple of seconds after us all having a taste it ended up in the nearest bin. It really wasn’t nice. To me it tasted like sour apple juice, I really didn’t like it at all. It was a bit of a shock too, after anticipating a sweet drink like Butterbeer. The humous snack pot was nice though!

We walked past a growing line for Be Our Guest – it was just gone 11 by now so I presume they were queuing for lunch…..

We continued on our walk back through Fantasyland and on towards Frontierland where we were hoping Big Thunder would be coming round the mountain (when she comes), which she was. Flashing our Fast Passes we all boarded the choo choo for our last rocky ride through the wild wild west.

I had one last thing to do on my list for today, and that involved a trip to Aloha Isle for the infamous Dole Whip, or in my case a Dole Float. We stopped off first for the boys to have a climb in the Swiss Family Treehouse. The rest of us pitched up on a nearby bench, but before we’d had chance to get comfortable the boys were back. I’m not sure if they’d missed anything in the Treehouse, but they seemed quite bewildered and weren’t sure what it was all about. Can anyone enlighten me/us?!

Me & Mum then joined the line at Aloha Isle, and soon had in our clutches a couple of Dole Floats and a Coke Float for the sharing of. I might have mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of ice cream, but I will make an exception for these little beauties. I didn’t pause to take a photo, so have one courtesy of the Disney food blog instead 

I have since been informed that I should stop following the masses, bypass the long waits at Aloha Isle, and head to Sunshine Tree Terrace for a Citrus Swirl instead…… Maybe next time

Frozen treats in hand we took a slow walk back down Main Street and towards the exit. It was only 11.45 by now, but we’d done everything we wanted to. Well, the others had, I would have liked to have gone on Pirates (too much of a wait), and seen Philharmagic (too much of a wait) and perhaps explored the shops a bit more, but I had another suggestion up my sleeve so was happy to go with the flow.

I really like the Town Square area at the start of Main Street, and could quite happily plonk myself down on a bench there and watch the world go by.

In fact, when MK had the 24 hour opening a few weeks back, I did spend a lot of the day watching the webcam, even taking screenshots as the sun was coming back up…

We hopped on the monorail back to the T&T Centre. I nipped off to have a quick look at the Castle across the lagoon, such a lovely view. I even suggested we could pop to the T&TC in August just to view the castle (and maybe sneak a ride on the ferryboat) but Adam declared it a ridiculous idea as we’d feel terrible not being able to go actually go in. He has a point, the signs on this photo don’t help - "do not enter! "


Continued in next post...

Edited at 10:05 PM.
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Old 11 Jun 14, 08:10 PM  
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Continued from above...

On our way back to the car I offered up my suggestion of having a look round one of the Disney hotels. Simon was up for that, as was Mum, and so we chose Animal Kingdom Lodge as we’d never been anywhere near it before.

We found it easily enough and were waved through to the car park by the CM after explaining we were there simply to have a look round.

We were really impressed by the hotel, and looking round AKL is the closest Simon has ever come to seeing the appeal of an onsite stay….

We had a little sit down in the lobby, a wander around the shop and a look out over the pool. Then on our way out a CM called the boys over to do some brass rubbing with her, sat on the floor, which I thought was really sweet. We were only at the hotel for about an hour, but really enjoyed having a look round, and might try and squeeze in another hotel visit in August.

Once back in the car we decided to call in at Publix. A friend from home had asked me to pick something up for her which I duly did, and we also bought some salad & veg trays to snack on, as well as a few other bits & bobs.

We were home by 1.30 and after some snacking we were all in the pool. We’d deliberately not eaten much today knowing we needed to save ourselves for our meal later on!

We spent absolutely ages in the pool, just messing about, including an epic game of piggy in the middle doubles with the Waboba balls we’d brought from home.

All too soon it was time to get showered and ready to head out for dinner. Tonight we were going to Texas de Brazil, and I’d booked us a table online for 5.30pm. The restaurant is quite a trek, up by Universal Studios and so giving ourselves plenty of time to get there we left just before 5. We decided to take the more scenic International Drive rather than the I4 which was a big mistake as it was really busy, and so by the time we got to Seaworld, and could see we were going to be late, we hopped over to the I4.

We eventually arrived ten minutes late at 5.40 but it wasn’t a problem and we were seated straight away.

For those of you that don’t know, Texas de Brazil is an all you can eat Brazilian Steakhouse, quite pricey, but we’d been during our holiday in 2011 and really enjoyed it, and Adam particularly had been desperate to return!

Once we’d placed our drinks orders we were asked how we liked our meat. We all like it somewhere between medium & well done, so we let our server know that and then we were invited to go and help ourselves to the salad buffet. I’d remembered the buffet from last time, it was very sophisticated, not quite the cucumber & tomatoes of Sweet Tomatoes, and I remembered I hadn’t found much on there that I was brave enough to try. However, this time round I found plenty, and, Mum took loads of photos too.

And plenty more……

There wasn’t much for the boys, but there was cheese & bread which they helped themselves to.

Once we were sat back down the fun began. The gauchos started to appear with big skewers loaded up with all different kinds of meats. When the first one appeared he approached Daniel’s side of the table first. I sat back, interested to see how this was going to play out. Imagine my surprise when this happened….

Yep. Daniel grabbed his little tweezer things and helped himself to a slice of steak. And, he loved it! I was absolutely gobsmacked! So, just like his brother had two years before, Daniel found his steak mojo at Texas de Brazil!

We all tucked in to the various meats that were brought round, however several times you could see the offerings struggling to get themselves off the skewer they were that raw. I’m in the ‘well done’ camp for my meat, so if there’s any blood at all, I’m out……. We explained this to our server when she came to see if everything was okay, but it really didn’t make much difference so we had to keep saying to the gauchos that the meat wasn’t cooked enough for us. Not only that, I didn’t want Daniel to be put off now that he had expanded his repertoire!

Lamb chops went down well though

As well as the meat and salad, we also had mashed potatoes and cinnamon glazed bananas which apparently cleanse the palate….

I don’t know about that but they were really nice

After a while we were all starting to feel like we’d had enough, and Adam waved the white flag, or ‘red disc’ on our behalf.

The other side of the disc is green, which means ‘bring me more food’ whereas the red side means ‘please stop’!

In all honesty, I wasn’t full up, but I’d just had enough of what was being offered. I don’t know what was different, perhaps our expectations were high, but the whole experience wasn’t as good as the first time. Too many times the meat brought to us wasn’t how we liked it, and it wasn’t like having a proper meal, it was more like grazing. However, I was pleased that Daniel had joined in the fun, and Adam had loved it, and is adamant that we go back again in August. (We’re not!). I wouldn’t say the meal was bad, but considering the total bill came to $190, it’s definitely one that we will skip in future. The bill was made up of 5 meals @ $47 each, with a 50% discount for each of the boys, plus a further $25 discount because I had a voucher. We also each had a soft drink at $3.10 each.

I wouldn’t ever say to anyone not to go, in fact, I would say the opposite, give it a go as it’s a real novelty, but we certainly didn’t get value for money this time, and I’d rather have paid $20 for a proper steak meal at Longhorns……..

We left Texas de Brazil (some of us still peckish!) and called in at a rundown looking Toy R Us that we’d seen on our way in. Daniel treated himself to yet another WWE figure and then we made our way home and were back at the villa by about 8pm, tucking into the bits & pieces we’d bought earlier in Publix, including a big box of fudge glazed Krispy Kreme donuts and a bottle of beer or two.

Oh, and since coming home, Daniel is still tucking into steak and is looking forward to ordering something other than chicken tenders in August!

Day 13 - Crazy Golf / DTD/ Bahama Breeze / Wishes

Edited at 10:10 PM.
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All over for another year...
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Old 11 Jun 14, 08:55 PM  
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Another great day Jo, know what you mean about getting that close to Disney and not visiting ... Think we may find it hard too
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Old 11 Jun 14, 09:35 PM  
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Great day Jo, love the look of the food at T de B but it is a tad pricey! Pussycat

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Old 11 Jun 14, 09:37 PM  
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A great morning at MK! Shame you didn't like the brew! I quite liked it, but mostly the mango topping! Actually, did we not have this discussion on Instagram?! Haha!

Wow that is a pretty pricey meal, not sure I'd like it there to be honest, would probably be wasted on me!

Fab read x
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Old 11 Jun 14, 09:50 PM  
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Loved reading thanks for sharing!

We were thinking of going Texas de Brazil but I've read a few bad things recently and don't want to pay that sort of money and not be totally blown away!

I wouldn't torture yourself with going to the TTC to have a look - if that was me I would definitely be buying a day ticket!

Omg where were you accessing the web cams?! I want to do that!

Looking forward it the next instalment!
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Old 11 Jun 14, 09:53 PM  
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Nice day.
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Old 11 Jun 14, 09:57 PM  
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I'm sorry your meal was not as great an experience as last time, still look like fun though. 12 days done, you're on the home stretch now! I'm going to try and get my Clearwater days done tomorrow whilst watching World Cup footie!
Love Jo

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Old 11 Jun 14, 11:53 PM  
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Glad you managed to do all the things you wanted to at MK. Hopefully that made it a bit easier to leave.

Not sure about Texas de Brazil, it does seem like a lot to pay and still come away hungry. It's a novel idea, but not for us I think although it's nice to read about somewhere different.
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Old 12 Jun 14, 12:23 AM  
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Lovely read again Jo.
Glad you enjoyed the morning at MK.

Shame the restaurant didn't live up to last time : (
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