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Trip Report How Many Attempts Does It Take To Induce a Diabetic Coma: An Adult Adventure at Food and Wine Festival (Update 2/4)

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
How many attempts does it take to end up in a diabetic coma: An adult adventure at Food and Wine Festival

Hi there, Hey there, Ho there!

Most of the planning has been concluded and we are just in that waiting phase for the adventure to begin.
It all started with three friends enjoying happy hour in the late spring of 2018. Getting together we realized that we all loved Walt Disney World, wanted to return, and all agreed on key things for our trip, such as we must stay on site, we must spend about a week there, we must have the Disney Dining Plan, and we needed Park Hopper tickets to minimize line waiting times. Since then, there have been a lot of changes, including who is going. I’ll spare you the play by play of it all.

Who: All three of us are young at heart fans of the Disney parks.

Douglas – I’m the plotter, the planner, the organizer living in Philadelphia, PA

Keith – My roomie is a gigantic Star Wars fan. When we first started our plans, we weren’t sharing a 3-bedroom house. But life has brought the two of us together (omg, I just read that and thought, no, no, no. We are not Tiana and Naveen. He is like my brother. Purely platonic). We agree we are our favorite roommates ever.

Andy – A local Floridian who used to live in Philadelphia but moved to Naples, FL and signed up to share in our adventures.
When: Even that has changed. Originally, we were going to be visiting for the traditional first week of June to Gay Days in Walt Disney World. Now, we are visiting from October 22 through 28, 2019. We figured the three of us had enough of a gay factor we really didn’t need to go at that time. While we aren’t lushes, we do enjoy an adult beverage. A lot. The fact that this time is Food and Wine Festival time is great fun and I know that Keith and I have never been at that time before. Months after we had booked our vacation, Disney announced an earlier opening for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Keith is super excited to explore the planet of Batuu. I mean you should see his bookshelves. He has so much Star Wars literature I had no idea that it all existed until I moved in.

Where: We wanted to stay on site. For those few short hours where I am resting my head, it is Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter for us. A moderate Disney resort fits the bill. I’ve always wanted to stay there since it is frequently people’s choice for favorite moderate Disney resort. For me, the biggest bonus is the extra magic hour. Having a time in which I can have less line waiting is terrific.

Even though I’m an excellent planner, I hired a travel planner that I have known for over 15 years. I can’t believe that it has been that long. She owns her own Disney specialized agency. It is nice to bounce ideas off her. Why not have her be up at the crack of dawn contacting Disney for me while I get a decent amount of sleep. I’m not paying her, Disney is. Denise Lang is the best! Whatever you do, I highly recommend getting a Disney specialized travel planner.

Getting a park hopper option was important to me and Keith agreed. We can go to the extra magic hours and then move on to a park that has a predicted lower crowd level for the day. That leads me to one of the subscriptions that I purchased. I subscribed for a year to touringplans.com. It is the web tool brought to me by the folks at The Unofficial Guide of Walt Disney World 2019. I purchased that guidebook as well. A good guidebook is a $20 investment towards a better $4000 vacation. I’ve been using the touring plans in the Unofficial guide since 1994. They have worked incredibly well. Now that Walt Disney World’s popularity is bigger than ever, touring plans are more important than ever. That’s evidenced by the fact that there no longer is a slow season. There is just crowded and wildly crowded, it seems by all reports. It’s the crowded times that touring plans come into more importance.

I also subscribe to the Disney Food Blog mailing list. Much of the information that I learned over the past year is from the copious amounts of emails and YouTube videos that I received from that team. The DFB 2019 Guide to Food and Beverage is incredibly thorough and allowed me to make important decisions. I also purchased the 2019 DFB Guide to the Food and Wine Festival. Basically, we will be taking AJ Wolfe and team’s recommendation to use our snack credits from the Disney Dining Plan at food booths of the festival. There are so many choices. Let their guide help you make the necessary decisions about food and beverages.

Do I think the Disney Dining Plan is worth it? For me, it is worth the peace of mind. I like knowing that most of my meals are paid for in advance. Anything I can do to enjoy the moment is appreciated. Also, I like being able to pick whatever I want on a menu and not be concerned with price. Will I save money? I really doubt it. I figure the cost of the meal plan will be close to what I would spend out of pocket. But I intend to track all of that just as a curiosity exercise.

Another resource are YouTube videos. The DIS team have given me countless hours of insight, information, and excitement about my upcoming trip. Since I’ve been watching them over a year now on a weekly basis, I feel like they are my friends even though we have never met. DISunplugged is my church, if you will. The DFB team makes a plethora of videos multiple times a week and I watch them religiously too. You never know what tidbit I might pick up from a trip report like this one on the forums. One thing that any expert on Disney can agree on is that it is an ever-evolving destination. You might have fallen in love with a restaurant on your last visit. Well guess what, the executive chef has been changed out now and it is just not up to the level you are used to. You used to be required to go to your resorts check in desk. Now, your room assignment will show up on MyDisneyExperience and you can unlock your door with your phone.

Podcasts are another great source of ideas. I love the duo Annie and Brady from “Never Growing Up”. It’s geared specifically to those of us who frequent the parks without children. They are speaking my language. I have known Sara Vance Varney for over 15 years. She and her fellow travel planners are great at giving tried and true tips on their weekly podcast “Disney Park Princess”. The duo at “Gays on the D” are also great at providing a different perspective.

I can not overstate how much insight I gain from reading trip reports. For this trip my resource was mainly trip reports found over at Disboards. If a trip report had a lot of detail, I probably got more out of it. I really don’t need a list of all the attractions you visited. I need opinion, insight, and tips. Thank you everyone at the Disney community for helping me out.

Part of the challenge for our visit is no one, I mean, no one can predict really what the line waiting will be like now that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is due to be open roughly for a month before our arrival. Disneyland really can’t be used as a template because it is a different type of park. It is more of a park for locals whereas WDW has a much larger vacation crowd. Disneyland blocked the annual passholders from entering Galaxy’s Edge at the beginning. WDW will not. I say it is anybody’s guess what the heck will happen even though folx can see hotel availability for October. Walt Disney World’s answer to help manage crowd levels is to introduce what are called extra, extra magic hours. These are hours that only guests staying onsite may experience. During our visit, Hollywood Studios will open at 6 am. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will be open at 7 am for their magic hours. It is only on our first day that any evening extra magic hours are offered.

Based on touring plans crowd level predictors, I came up with a game plan for what parks to visit for extra, extra magic hours, and regular operating hours. Once I knew where I would be, I figured out my dining based on my location. I came up with a list of which restaurants to patronize in each park. I simply plugged my choice into the day I am visiting that park.

I created a Google Doc which was our itinerary of the day and contained some notes for myself so I wouldn’t forget to do or see some key things at that time.

Instead of boring everyone with where I will be every minute of every day, I’ll give you all highlights of my days because no one is interested in all of that, except me.

Dining plans:
Be Our Guest, Sunshine Seasons, Docking Bay 7, Ronto Roasters, Oga’s Cantina, Geyser Point Bar & Grill, The Wave…of American Flavors, The Edison, Restaurant Marrakesh, California Grill, Satu’li Canteen, Boma, Kusafari Coffee and Bakery and the International Food and Wine Festival.

Fun plans:
Eat to the Beat Concerts, Savi’s Workshop, Happily Ever After, Epcot Forever, Monorail pub crawl, Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party, Sangria Hour at Jaleo, and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.

Memory Maker: I’m happy that I could add this on later as opposed to having to order it at the time of booking my package, like travel insurance. Looking forward to seeing the three of us in front of the big icons at each park.

The gift bag will include the complimentary Magic Band, a cooling towel in the same color as the Magic Band (this way we will know whose towel is whose) and a dining tray for Food and Wine Festival. The tray is like what we had as children at the school cafeteria. It is decorated with a sticker from the Disney Food Blog to announce that this is a Food and Wine Festival Official DFB Tray. DFB where “food IS a theme park”. I get a cooling towel and a tray too. I also made customized t-shirts for each of us for the main day we visit Food and Wine Festival. I made a graphic that is consistent for each and then have a fun saying that is individualized for each person. Oh! I just discovered a travel rain jacket in purple which is Keith’s color in the basement, so I’ll add that in.

FastPass+ selections were complete for Keith and I since we are the ones in Port Orleans French Quarter. Since Andy is a local Floridian with an annual pass I will try to make FastPass+ selections for him once the 30 day window opens up. Obviously, the times I was able to make today for Keith and I, Andy probably will not be able to get. My plan is to just get the same attractions and later try to modify, modify, and modify. Just pound that app. Hopefully we can sync it so we share the same window and can then experience the FastPass+ attractions together. My plan is to experience Toy Story Land on a Hollywood Studio day during extra, extra magic hour. The majority will head to Galaxy’s Edge so I shouldn’t have too long a wait for Toy Story Land attractions. Andy already said he is only interested in doing Peter Pan Flight. Other than that all that he does will be gravy. Since he has an annual pass and visits regularly The good news is I was able to get all of my FastPass+ choices today and the majority at the beginning of the day so I will be able to get additional FastPasses the day we tour. Only time will tell.

Basically, my plan is to sleep when I get back to Philadelphia from Orlando.
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Look what just appeared on my doorstep yesterday! It feels like it is Christmas up in here. The luggage tags arrived for Magical Disney Express. You can't tell by this picture but Denise even included Band-Aids each with Disney art on them inside of a Ziploc bag with Mickey's face printed on it. Obviously, I'm easily made happy. All that is left to arrive are the Magic Bands. They should arrive tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

The Journey Begins!


Practically perfect in every way – that’s how I’d like to remember this journey. It might not have gone that way. But that’s how I’d like to remember it.

I had done my research and my planning, being the plotter and planner that I am. If there was a fault, I’d say I was ambitious. But will a dream become a reality if you don’t dream of it first?

It was Tuesday, October 22, 2019, and we took what was the very first flight of the day from Southwest Airlines at the crack of dawn. Philadelphia was still asleep as we traveled to the airport. Keith had just flown this exact flight two weeks before to see his grandmother. The flight was uneventful until the very end when we had a screaming child directly behind us who refused to stay in the seat. I don’t know what the parents are thinking not buckling him in when we are landing. It is for the child’s safety.

We are on our way on Magical Express to our first stop – Old Key West. Our bus is scheduled to visit Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Port Orleans Riverside and our resort, Port Orleans French Quarter. The bus already was mostly full when we climbed aboard so it wasn’t long before we were underway. Keith wanted a bag on the plane but wanted to store it at Port Orleans French Quarter and go bagless into the park as he did the entire trip.

Do the people staying at Old Key West get off the bus? Heck, no. We must circle around and try again. I actually liked visiting the other resorts. It allowed me to make impressions if I was interested in staying at them in the future. I totally would stay at Old Key West, but I have no interest in staying at Saratoga Springs. It’s just the aesthetics of the resorts – that’s all.

Keith dropped his bag with bell services, and I took a bio break. Before you knew it, we were on a Disney Transportation bus to the Magic Kingdom. When we entered it was a little bit before 11 am, score!



Me and Keith on the bus to the Magic Kingdom





Prior to our trip, I had created customized personal touring plans for each day in the parks. I had the ability to design them with the minimum line waiting and the fastest walking. We are brisk city adult walkers and lollygagging doesn’t enter our vocabulary. We both love all types of attractions.

What do you suppose we started with? I was surprised. It was the Tomorrowland WEDway People Mover. It turned out to be great because I have always loved this attraction. It was just what we needed. We were used to temperatures in the 50’s. It would reach 90 today. Bright, sunny, and humid is the weather of the day. Keith already was sweating. Plus, we were dynamos trying to find our way to the most magical place on Earth. This forced me to relax. The cars of the attraction glided through Tomorrowland with a small breeze. It was the perfect overview. On our walk over, we saw the new archway, just a few weeks old, for Tomorrowland. While I liked the simple, clean lines of the design, it lacks scale. It lacks drama. The font needs to be larger; the whole design needs to be larger. I don’t mind the simplicity, but it needs drama. Hello, I am a gay man. Give me drama, thank you.

Touring Plans gives the parks a crowd level rating for each day on a scale of 1-10. 1 being the lightest crowd. The scale is mostly based on line-waiting, not as much weight is placed on predictions of actual bodies in the parks. Today in the Magic Kingdom was rated a 1. The crowds surprised me. Based on the amount of people that I saw I would think it was a 3. But no, a 1.

I’ve been in Walt Disney World for only 20 minutes and I’ve concluded there’s a lot of confused, deluded people in this park that don’t know what they are doing. I feel for them. What I was most surprised by was the number of adults who were totally oblivious to their environment. They were completely unaware that suddenly moving at a diagonal you would bump into me. Oblivious that stopping suddenly I would be right behind them and might walk right into their person. Walking with their heads down, paying more attention to their phones than their surroundings. I expected impulsive behavior by children. I really didn’t experience that. My problem was with clueless adults. Not just today in the Magic Kingdom but the entire week in all parks.

Something that is new for me is Instagram at Disney. It has been over 10 years since I’ve visited, and Instagram did not exist. Now, a variety of walls at Walt Disney World have become famous backdrops for Instagram selfies. On this trip, I was on an unexpected scavenger hunt for the walls of Walt Disney World. Last trip I was on a hunt for character meet and greets. Now, its walls. Go figure.
First on my list was the wall that started it all – the purple wall which has expanded to the new galactic purple wall. Throughout my week I was on the hunt for Disney’s best Instagram walls.





NEXT: FastPass+ gets put through its paces
 

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MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
The flight was uneventful until the very end when we had a screaming child directly behind us who refused to stay in the seat. I don’t know what the parents are thinking not buckling him in when we are landing. It is for the child’s safety.
Agree. Even if the little tyke was upset (may have also been some pain in the inner ear, as I've heard that the changes in altitude can produce discomfort to kids), it is a safety RULE that everyone must have a seatbelt fastened.

I actually liked visiting the other resorts. It allowed me to make impressions if I was interested in staying at them in the future. I totally would stay at Old Key West, but I have no interest in staying at Saratoga Springs. It’s just the aesthetics of the resorts – that’s all.
I like riding around and seeing other properties, too. Interesting, I agree about Saratoga Springs -- just something about that place turns me off. Seems more like a housing complex of sorts, versus a resort area.

What do you suppose we started with? I was surprised. It was the Tomorrowland WEDway People Mover. It turned out to be great because I have always loved this attraction
That is also one of my all-time favorites! I ride it multiple times when I'm in MK.

What I was most surprised by was the number of adults who were totally oblivious to their environment. They were completely unaware that suddenly moving at a diagonal you would bump into me.
:D I know! Happens all the time!!
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Agree. Even if the little tyke was upset (may have also been some pain in the inner ear, as I've heard that the changes in altitude can produce discomfort to kids), it is a safety RULE that everyone must have a seatbelt fastened.



I like riding around and seeing other properties, too. Interesting, I agree about Saratoga Springs -- just something about that place turns me off. Seems more like a housing complex of sorts, versus a resort area.



That is also one of my all-time favorites! I ride it multiple times when I'm in MK.



:D I know! Happens all the time!!
Obviously, it's a case of great minds think alike.
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


Time for our 1:55 pm “Be Our Guest” reservation. Keith does IT for a major university. I am not stupid, but we tried to use mobile order for lunch while on Magical Express and did not find it possible. I could have sworn that before our trip I saw that it was possible. But not now. Tiny bit frustrating considering the wait to get in to order was the longest line we had in Walt Disney World. It wasn’t too bad of a wait, but in my life, I don’t do lines. Not even lines of coke. We had free reign as far as the menu goes because we were on the dining plan. We could have had anything we wanted to eat. We could each have had something different, but this was the first of more than one occasion where we ordered the same thing! I loved the theming. All the recent additions to Walt Disney World in the last 8 years have really upped the game when it comes to detail, immersion, and theming. How cool is it that the armor that line your wait to place an order makes sounds and speaks to you? That just cracks me up. After ordering on a touch pad screen, we were told to wander around the restaurant and sit wherever we would like. We chose the ballroom because it was well lit. The rooms were packed and we had little choice as to tables. We ended up on a 6 top. Soon we were joined by a very nice mother and daughter. We hit it off and were chatting away. Very soon our entire lunch arrived. We each had ordered the French Dip sandwich served on a baguette with au jus and pommes frites (French fries) for $17.49 each. We also had a glass of Simi Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley at $16 each. Dessert was The Master’s Cupcake, a chocolate sponge cake topped with Lumiere’s special, “Grey Stuff”. While the recipe is not known exactly, the grey stuff is probably a combination of white chocolate mousse with chocolate pieces blended in. With the cupcake you get an extra piece of chocolate bark that’s perched on top. And yes, Lumiere is correct, it is delicious. The dessert cost $4.99 and with fast casual or quick service meals does not come under the dining plan so we had to pay additional.





Ratings of restaurants – Scale of 1 – 10; 10 being the best

Ambience 10

Food 8

Price/Value 2

Overall 7

We enjoyed our lunch. It was tasty. I definitely would order it again, especially the cupcake and the wine. Was it worth the price? No, absolutely not. It was way overpriced. If I wasn’t on the dining plan I would have been ****ed. That much money for a lunch that was just tasty and not amazing? But you are paying for the overall experience. The theming is just outstanding.

Now for the cast members – everyone we encountered were so friendly and engaging. But one stopped by our table to find out how our lunch was going. Michael was surprised to discover that we were two parties that did not know each other and were willing to share a table. We must have looked like we were having fun sharing stories. By this time, Keith and I had already started having lunch. Another server remarked how guests are reticent to share a table.

Keith thinks the cast members believed that because I was wearing a name badge that was identical to the cast members but with a red background, instead of white, they thought I was a Disney executive. That the red “signified” something with which they were unfamiliar. Next thing you know, Michael brings out plates of Grey Stuff in the shape of Mickey with sprinkles for all four of us. As we are enjoying that, another cast member brings another set of grey stuff to the table for all of us. That’s a lot of chocolate mousse, even for me.

Once we were getting ourselves together, Michael stops by some more and after chatting he offers to take our photograph in the ballroom. He is a former PhotoPass photographer and knows what angle would be best. The result is wonderful. He made us feel like we are royalty, just like the Beast.

Part of the name badge situation is you can not get these anymore. I can’t get them form the company I purchased them from. I can’t find them on Etsy, not Ebay, nowhere. I was going to have one made for Keith, but it just wasn’t possible which is why these college program cast members were unfamiliar with it.
 

MississippiBelle

Well-Known Member
Loving the trip report! You are so right about people not paying attention to where they are going. It got so bad on our last trip that my brother and I made a game out of it. We'd hold our hands out in front of us like we were driving a stroller and walk directly into each other :hilarious: if you can't beat them, join them!
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Loving the trip report! You are so right about people not paying attention to where they are going. It got so bad on our last trip that my brother and I made a game out of it. We'd hold our hands out in front of us like we were driving a stroller and walk directly into each other :hilarious: if you can't beat them, join them!
Thank you so much!
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
BOGlunch.jpg

Be Our Guest Lunch

We end our time with the Enchanted Tiki Birds and the Haunted Mansion. Classic Disney. It isn’t a trip to Walt Disney World if I haven’t had the joys of these two attractions. The host for Tiki bird was the exception that proved the rule. She had such a dull monotone delivery she could have put the audience to sleep. Perhaps, she used to work at Tower of Terror and got into the habit (just kidding). Once again, I loved the full use of the room, but it is obvious that this is early audio animatronics (read with the voice going down three octaves on the word early).

I will always have a fondness for the Haunted Mansion because of the indelible memory of thoroughly enjoying this attraction at the age of eight. It was wonderful not being scared then and it is a marvel of old school Imagineering today.

cinderellacastle.jpg

We did learn an important lesson. We thought all we had to do after the rides Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion was tap our Magic Bands to any button at the wall with all of the pictures displayed. Wrong!!! The picture is connected with a line to a particular button on the wall. Consequently, we ended up with some other folx in our PhotoPass collection for these two rides. Ugh! Learn from our mistakes. Tap your Magic Band to the correct button. I thought Disney had screwed up, no, we did.

While waiting to order our lunch (around 1 pm), I got the message on my phone that our room at Port Orleans French Quarter (POFQ) was ready. It was time for a break and finally check in. Keith retrieved his carry-on at bell services.

From Bell Services we stopped into the Jackson Square general store to pick up our complimentary rapid refill mugs that came with our Dining Plan. I chose the Mickey Mouse Club design. I’m not really crazy about the illustration. I miss the days when the mugs were resort specific. Also, I prefer them like a tumbler without the handle but those were not available. We each made up our own Arnold Palmer concoction in the Sassagoula Float Works (the quick service restaurant) but getting some light lemonade from the fountain machine and mixing it with unsweetened iced tea. It hit the spot. We needed a little refreshment.
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
550597862.jpeg



Off we go to our room. I had put in a request for a corner room using online check in and had touringplans.com send an email request for a corner garden room. Corner rooms have two windows and possibly more sunlight. Through touringplans I suggested 1348, 1248, or 1148. Floor level wasn’t so important to me. We are young and can use the exercise. Or at least like Peter Pan I am in denial about my age. We ended up in building 1. Our room is 1339. It is not a corner room. On the inside I did a little harrumph. But I got over it quickly. Keith didn’t care about the corner room. For two it works great. If we were a family of four it might be a little more challenging. We had plenty of space and were happy with our room assignment. The room was tidy enough for me. I didn’t do an extensive dust test because ignorance is bliss. Building 1 is the furthest out from the main building and the pool. I’ve had a very quiet stay with no one disturbing us the whole week. Paying for a garden view was important for me. A view of the parking lot would have taken me out of the Disney magic just a bit. Even though it was the furthest out building on the top floor, it only took five minutes to get from our room to the bus stop.





 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
One of the best parts of our time was discovering our bags already delivered to our room. The last I had seen them was at check in at the Philadelphia International Airport. I must admit, the control freak in me was slightly worried that I would never see my bag again once out of my hands. But it was wonderful having Disney handle it all. We had a nice lie down in our room.

NEXT: The State of the Epcot
 
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