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Trip Report The Holiday Humdinger ~ PART TU

sheriffwoody

Well-Known Member
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When our server brought the check she asked Woody and Em if they wanted to-go refills of their shakes. Woody declined, but Em said yes “because I feel like I never got a full shake to begin with!”
I so wish we'd asked for another shake when we went. I'm still bitter that we never got a refill...I need to speak up more.
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
I've been looking at this place only because I want that fried green tomato sandwich, but I never see open ADRs for it. For $82 I can go to Homecoming!
The Plaza holds back reservations for same-day and during less busy periods accommodates walk-ups. It's tiny inside, hence the difficulty with ADRs.
OOP that sandwich would cost you $22 after tax/tip. Add in a beverage and/or dessert and you're easily between $30-35 for lunch at a sandwich shop. The DDP has especially hurt the value of The Plaza for cash diners.

I've suddenly become very depressed. Apparently the truth hurts. Anxiously awaiting a happier post, although that chicken sandwich look delicious. Is that arugula? :hungry:
The sandwich was delicious and made this arugula-lover very happy. It was a bright spot in the dining experience. Happier posts will come. :happy:

I so wish we'd asked for another shake when we went. I'm still bitter that we never got a refill...I need to speak up more.
I definitely feel that the shakes are now designed as a cash-grab, based on our experience and yours. Plaza shakes have always been a favorite of mine but I refused to order one this visit because I felt fleeced.
 

krisri18

Well-Known Member
Regular readers of my TRs may recall that The Plaza was one of our go-to restaurants. Rarely did we skip it, and there was a trip or two when we actually went twice.

The food was good and very reasonably priced ~ only a few dollars more than a counter service restaurant.

The shakes were phenomenal.

We knew the servers by name (and a few recognized us.)

And we always looked forward to a visit by Mayor Christopher George Weaver who would enter the restaurant with a flourish and choose a child (the “100th” guest of the day) as the “Junior Mayor of the Day.” (Smokey Miller the Fire Chief would do the honors on the Mayor’s day off.). The ceremony was one of those special touches that made Disney, “Disney”.

A couple years ago The Plaza began to lose its luster. The crispy signature fat fries were replaced by generic shoestrings. Entree prices increased by $3-4. Worst of all, the $5 shake was replaced with an all-you-can-drink shake for nine dollars....a single serving was no longer allowed, nor was “sharing” the all-you-can-drink.

Then the Mayor died. :cry:

Dining there lost its value to us. But as I mentioned earlier, Em got to choose the restaurants and she wanted to give The Plaza another try.

View attachment 339844

View attachment 339845

We did not know any of the servers. The one assigned to us did not show up for a LONG time. She was a bit scattered and did not refill our water glasses. Em and Woody ordered shakes which took FOREVER and when she delivered them this was all they got:
View attachment 339849
Usually the stainless steel container (that the shake was mixed in) with the remaining shake was brought to the table as well. Em thought perhaps this had changed too, until she noticed that every other table that had shakes also had the stainless steel containers.

Still there were smiles on their faces.

View attachment 339848

View attachment 339846

I am happy to report the food was good.
Cheesesteak for Em.
View attachment 339850

Club sandwich for Woody.
View attachment 339852

Gourmet chicken sandwich for me.
View attachment 339851

While we were eating a Main Street Suffragette entered and (with a little less flourish than the Mayor) presented the 100th guest of the day with a chocolate covered gold Mickey bar. We were too far away to see if the gold Mickey bar was candy or ice cream.

It was nice to see that this “special touch” continues.

When our server brought the check she asked Woody and Em if they wanted to-go refills of their shakes. Woody declined, but Em said yes “because I feel like I never got a full shake to begin with!”

View attachment 339853

Lunch came to $82....about $30 higher than it used to be. Sigh.
Um, that's my grocery budget for a week!
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
Friday, con’t

Astute readers may have noticed Woody wearing his Official Conductor of the MPB (trademark forthcoming, @bee 😉) shirt....which meant he wanted to get in one more grand circle tour before the railroad closure.

A242BD04-4DA7-4022-81B2-D4B1A9F433DC.jpeg

It was a bittersweet moment.
E4CD11A0-4CDA-453C-AE99-F18FA0A1DA99.jpeg

While onboard, the “unofficial” conductor of the MPB stated the closure could be as long as three years!!
What will poor Woody do?
What will any of us do when we’re in Frontierland and too tired to make the long walk to the front of the park?

The only way to see the details in this vignette now is flying by on the wildest ride in the wilderness.
1FFD475C-CE43-4D7A-8291-59357670A3B7.jpeg

Farewell, MPB. You’ll be sorely missed.
7A32DA57-3473-45F3-865E-30984D78AFB9.jpeg

After disembarking we headed back to the Lodge.

9CE9EA2D-4D2E-4D87-AE2A-980B7D272DFB.jpeg

We had a private bus ride.
DF3F70DD-02BB-4D0F-B715-9F32D1FA049F.jpeg
#ShirleyStatus
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
We bypassed the Front Desk on our way to our room. The plan was to finish a small bit of packing and then we would haul our bags to the new room one floor below (once we received the room number).

However, my band failed to unlock the door. Ditto Woody’s. Ditto Em’s. Clearly we had a problem.

“Wait here and I’ll go find out what’s going on,” I said to Woody and Em.

CM Mark was working the Front Desk. I was glad to have the opportunity to thank him again for the FPs he’d added to my account. They sure came in handy at the MK!

I explained that we were locked out of our room. He looked at the computer and said someone had checked us out. The good news was our new room was ready and our bands should open that door.

“Bell Services can bring your luggage to the new room,” Mark said.

“But our luggage is in our old room,” I replied, unsure why Mark was confused about that.

He accompanied me up to the 5th floor and unlocked the door for us. The timing was perfect......the hammer drill was grinding away at full force!

Mark’s eyes grew wide. “Wow. We’ve had other guests complain too, but I didn’t realize it was this bad.” :banghead::banghead:
We were in the room less than two minutes gathering our things and the drilling never stopped.

“Two Hours,” I glanced at Mark as we pulled our bags out of the room.

Mark escorted us to our new room in case our bands didn’t work. All of them unlocked the door and he returned to the Front Desk.

This room was in a different wing and away from construction noise. When I got our folio after we got home, I noticed the room was categorized as “Nature View”....so we had been “upgraded” from our Standard Construction View.

Plus an added bonus....
8C9FB6C3-7602-4211-A86A-3D05BB5E19FA.jpeg

.....two nightstands!
2EF23628-6D36-4ED8-AB93-D649EE60DEE4.jpeg
(Em was happy she had her own!)

And the view was nicer than overlooking the parking lot construction zone. (I see a boat!)
3CCBA29F-FBDF-4B74-9B56-77444F265479.jpeg

(Monorail too!)
33E9BC65-E166-4F8B-8627-3BEA6978FCD6.jpeg
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
We unpacked and settled into our new room. After a brief rest we headed out for an evening at AK. This park is where we’d booked our FPs, which is why our bonus ones for MK were truly a special treat.

We had a travel delay so by the time we reached AK I knew we’d missed our Dinosaur FP. Since there was now no hurry to enter the park, I requested we stop for a couple photo ops.

Look at the size of the snowflake on the tree!
722281E7-0E1E-4A07-A5FB-42E4B00BAF52.jpeg

The trolls....while cute....seem like an odd choice for an AK Magic Shot.
7851657C-27F1-46A8-8799-B9AA407043A3.jpeg

Hard for me to believe AK has been around for 20 years....the bad memories from our first visit a few months after it opened are still vivid in my mind! :joyfull:

DF3575D7-71CD-4379-8D18-24B964C61344.jpeg

While there have been many improvements to AK over the years, I really want to like this park more than I do. Each time I go in hopeful.....and yet come out thinking, “it’s just ok.” Maybe Tuvalette and Tuvaleen will end up loving AK and their enthusiasm will win me over. Time will tell!

83839267-DC8F-449C-A846-2D04F03D3D2C.jpeg

Em’s ‘rents by another tree. 😬
2302E6FA-E86D-47D5-B9A7-3D116BE9F726.jpeg

Funny thing though....the gift stores in this park have always been my favorites!

1175C546-994A-48DB-9884-44845D9EC6DA.jpeg

AD79D732-8C6B-4CCB-AFB1-8C35BA848693.jpeg
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
I gotta ask, what were your bad memories of the first AK trip?

I don't remember much from mine (I believe it was summer of 98, so also very close to opening (but could have been summer of 99)., except it was HOT (yes it was July in Florida, but it seemed to be 10+ degrees warmer there than elsewhere). There was hardly any air conditioning, and even the stores kept their doors open so there was no refuge. It was so bad that when we went back a few years later, my sister refused to go and stayed at the hotel (and on her one trip as an adult since, still didn't go back!)
 

93boomer

Well-Known Member
How about April 6-
Regular readers of my TRs may recall that The Plaza was one of our go-to restaurants. Rarely did we skip it, and there was a trip or two when we actually went twice.

The food was good and very reasonably priced ~ only a few dollars more than a counter service restaurant.

The shakes were phenomenal.

We knew the servers by name (and a few recognized us.)

And we always looked forward to a visit by Mayor Christopher George Weaver who would enter the restaurant with a flourish and choose a child (the “100th” guest of the day) as the “Junior Mayor of the Day.” (Smokey Miller the Fire Chief would do the honors on the Mayor’s day off.). The ceremony was one of those special touches that made Disney, “Disney”.

A couple years ago The Plaza began to lose its luster. The crispy signature fat fries were replaced by generic shoestrings. Entree prices increased by $3-4. Worst of all, the $5 shake was replaced with an all-you-can-drink shake for nine dollars....a single serving was no longer allowed, nor was “sharing” the all-you-can-drink.

Then the Mayor died. :cry:

Dining there lost its value to us. But as I mentioned earlier, Em got to choose the restaurants and she wanted to give The Plaza another try.

View attachment 339844

View attachment 339845

We did not know any of the servers. The one assigned to us did not show up for a LONG time. She was a bit scattered and did not refill our water glasses. Em and Woody ordered shakes which took FOREVER and when she delivered them this was all they got:
View attachment 339849
Usually the stainless steel container (that the shake was mixed in) with the remaining shake was brought to the table as well. Em thought perhaps this had changed too, until she noticed that every other table that had shakes also had the stainless steel containers.

Still there were smiles on their faces.

View attachment 339848

View attachment 339846

I am happy to report the food was good.
Cheesesteak for Em.
View attachment 339850

Club sandwich for Woody.
View attachment 339852

Gourmet chicken sandwich for me.
View attachment 339851

While we were eating a Main Street Suffragette entered and (with a little less flourish than the Mayor) presented the 100th guest of the day with a chocolate covered gold Mickey bar. We were too far away to see if the gold Mickey bar was candy or ice cream.

It was nice to see that this “special touch” continues.

When our server brought the check she asked Woody and Em if they wanted to-go refills of their shakes. Woody declined, but Em said yes “because I feel like I never got a full shake to begin with!”

View attachment 339853

Lunch came to $82....about $30 higher than it used to be. Sigh.
Eek huge difference!
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
The FP line for Kilimanjaro Safaris was cray-cray!!

43CAC706-D1C1-4AF3-BAD7-7D288F8978CF.jpeg
We stood here for several minutes and never moved.

Once the line moved and we finally were able to tap our bands, we came to a screeching halt again.
We waited.
And waited.
And waited.

Woody’s expression speaks volumes.
06101CDF-F229-4423-9124-86FA13778CA1.jpeg

We ended up waiting 25 minutes in the Fastpass line.

During that time I discovered that our Dinosaur FP....which we had missed.....had become a Multiple Experience pass. The attraction must have been down during our original FP window. Excitedly I told Em and Woody they’d be able to ride Everest with a FP!

Our Safari was interesting. There were no elephants to be seen anywhere, and we skipped the red clay pits completely. But we did see a lot of activity, especially on the savanna.

Rhino on the move!
10753369-A078-44CB-9446-5A27001A4B76.jpeg

Baby Hippo :inlove:
9D6BBF41-9288-4305-A53B-77733A6136EB.jpeg

The giraffes were hovering around the gate to their pen.
6A6E2C50-BB5E-4D05-97C6-3DDE722EA033.jpeg

Not much activity in feline territory but at least they weren’t in hiding.

82C6DF80-A72A-41D9-BD94-F487A409E17F.jpeg

4EAAC7C4-A74E-4439-94A6-CB423738931D.jpeg
The lioness on the lower rock had just rolled onto her side when Em snapped this. She had been sleeping on her back...which is how Kona sleeps! 😹

The most unexpected part of our journey was witnessing the artificial sunset.
0AFDEB25-DFDD-4550-9832-2984D4E99921.jpeg
(I believe I exclaimed, “What the heck is that?!”)
 
Last edited:

krause

Well-Known Member
Our Safari was interesting. There were no elephants to be seen anywhere, and we skipped the red clay pits completely
This is the same as our last evening safari! I don’t know if there’s different laws for how long the elephants can be out or something like that?

The most unexpected part of our journey was witnessing the artificial sunset.
I loooveee this thing lol it’s so bad and unnecessary 😂
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
Dusk had fallen in Harambe.

9FB718B5-AD31-4C02-9F21-8FAD4E73A2EF.jpeg

We began our trek to the famous mountain.

B1DFD438-FEE9-4AE3-B33A-9A4D5F0DE4FA.jpeg
No Rivers of Light for us tonight.

65FE76B0-7CB2-4377-90B6-1C3A9AE0C129.jpeg

42344456-09FA-4253-B85E-9728263B5241.jpeg

DB9D5B52-4B18-4161-A93E-ADF4F1C95BD1.jpeg

I waited for my explorers safely at the bottom of the mountain. Woody came out chuckling over a thought he’d had while looking at the mound of hair bands purposefully thrown by guests on the ride.

“Kona wouldn’t know what to do with himself!” Woody laughed.

You see, Kona LOVES chasing elastic hair bands (my generation called them ponytail holders.) We have a stash of them in a kitchen drawer. When Kona wants to play, he’ll run to the drawer and stretch up to reach the handle....and cries until one of us opens the drawer to retrieve a hair band. Then we throw it and he runs after it. He’ll pick it up with his teeth and bring it back to us....and the fetching process starts over.

He should have been a dog!
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
I gotta ask, what were your bad memories of the first AK trip?

I don't remember much from mine (I believe it was summer of 98, so also very close to opening (but could have been summer of 99)., except it was HOT (yes it was July in Florida, but it seemed to be 10+ degrees warmer there than elsewhere). There was hardly any air conditioning, and even the stores kept their doors open so there was no refuge. It was so bad that when we went back a few years later, my sister refused to go and stayed at the hotel (and on her one trip as an adult since, still didn't go back!)
Everything you mentioned plus a lack of things to do (an hour wait for a boat that went nowhere!); two of my kids traumatized by It’s Tough to Be a Bug (and still won’t do it even as adults); animals that were in hiding because it was brutally HOT, so there was nothing to look at; a long, boring, HOT walk to ride the train to Conservation Station and there was nothing to do once we got there; a 75 minute wait to eat at Rainforest Cafe, which was the only restaurant with air conditioning....then bad food and service.

I could go on, but I think you get the gist.....
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
How about April 6-
You might want to go to MK.....just sayin’.

This is the same as our last evening safari! I don’t know if there’s different laws for how long the elephants can be out or something like that?
I loooveee this thing lol it’s so bad and unnecessary 😂
I thought the no elephant thing was weird too....as was the “sunset”!

I think that "hippo" on the move is actually a rhino...the horn kinda' blends in with the background. :oops::facepalm:
Typo has been fixed, thanks.

AK is so beautiful at night. What lovely pics.
We don’t see AK much in the dark and I agree with you. Em gets the credit for the photos.
 
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