Day 3 of our whirlwind Thanksgiving visit was scheduled to be another fun-filled day with lots of stops, beginning with a 7:30a breakfast at Ale & Compass located inside Disney’s Yacht Club. This breakfast was part of a dining package that included reserve seating to the Epcot’s Candlelight Processional.
A Lyft ride was the fastest way to make it to the resort for breakfast. We arrived just before our reservation. When I walked into the Yacht Club it smelled exactly the same as I remembered from our 2018 stay. The resort is at the top of my favorites list and it was like walking arriving back home the moment we walked in the door. It was a very quiet morning in the resort and at the restaurant. We were seated right away.
Ale & Compass has a unique dining style. It’s partially buffet with a a plated meal included. I liked this style. We were able to have our fill of fruits, a variety of muffins, croissants, danishes, and breads, along with a light selection of cheeses, meats, and oatmeal. The menu for plated options included Mickey waffles making our decision a very easy one!
Even though we had a lot on our plan for the day there was no rushing around. Our FastPasses were set for Animal Kingdom. The bus from the Yacht Club dropped us off by 9am. Some of the initial early morning crowds had already made their way into the park.
The early morning Kilimanjaro Safari ride always seems to be one of the best. Our FastPass+ let us board right away. Morning proved to be the right time again. So many animals were awake and moving about the savannah. Some of them refused to leave our path creating a comical delay.
At the end of the ride a PhotoPass photographer was waiting in a location I’d never seen one before. I thought these safari themed spot was a cute and unique set up.
This trip the kids were very interested in pin-trading. While trading we stumbled upon a meet and greet from Timon and Rafiki that was tucked away. There were only a couple families in line so we decided to say hi.
Our friend was working at Animal Kingdom so we took a few minutes to stop and visit her too while doing some shopping as well before making our way into Dinoland USA. They love this little carnival area of the park. We had our first change to meet Launchpad McQuack, take a ride on Triceratops Spin, and a quick measurement told Diva she still wasn’t quite tall enough to try Primevil Whirl yet, so we set off to watch something new to us– Finding Nemo: The Musical. I put the camera down so I could watch the show for the first time and take it in. While it was cute it wasn’t something that I’m rushing back to see. If given the choice I’m definitely heading to Festival of the Lion King when in the park.
A must do every time at Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest. We had a FastPass+ reservation all set to ride right after watching Nemo. It was a pretty warm day so cooling off on the fast coaster was much needed, but then we decided another way to cool off was to take our chances on Kali River Rapids. I swear this ride brings endless laughter every time we’re on it. This one was extra funny. We weren’t totally soaked, but I definitely didn’t escape the water!
We continued cooling off with some ice cream treats before making our way out of the park.
We hopped the bus over to Epcot and while on the ride found a FastPass+ to ride Test Track. There was a lot of excitement that this one was available mid-way through the afternoon. While making our way to Test Track the kids convinced me to stop at Mission Space since there was only a 10 minute wait. After much debate I agreed to ride on the Orange side. I previously didn’t feel great after the Green ride but they suckered me into it. To my surprise I LOVED the Orange ride! Peanut, however, wants to stick with Green.
We rode Test Track as planned but he was definitely ready to sit down after the two back to back.
Test Track had experienced a short delay in boarding so we were arriving for the Candlelight Processional very close to the time general seating would start. Seating was actually pretty full already, which is typical for this show. We found a seat in the front row. It had it’s pros and cons. Both kids loved seeing the musicians up front and center. We could also see the night’s narrator, Ming Na, pretty well. Seeing the entire stage was more difficult and the front row is lower so as it filled up it seemed the orchestra blocked some of the view of other performers.
The music and singing was incredible. I had chills and a few tears as I sat and listened. I would absolutely want to do this again!
The show left us even more in the Christmas spirit than when we arrived. To take more in we wandered into the American Pavillion to peek at Santa and Mrs. Claus. Their line was still over 30 minutes so we did not want to wait to meet them. In Italy, La Befana, was just walking out to tell her story. This story was important for us to watch because my kids’ Nonna (grandmother) was born and raised in Italy. The Befana comes every year. Now they were able to see her themselves and here her explain her tale.
They were ecstatic after watching it and had to call Nonna to tell her about it. We stepped aside to a quiet area in the Italy Pavilion not knowing a moment of pure Disney magic was about occur. They were telling Nonna about the story they just heard when La Befana walked by us. She spoke to Nonna on the phone– in Italian! I’m not sure who was happier about this experience. I know I was speechless. It was the coolest moment we have ever had! And it would be the talk of the rest of our evening, but there would still be more magic to happen.
We walked through World Showcase listening to a few other stories, but only for a passing moment. We stopped at the Christmas tree to take some photos and with Spaceship Earth.
A debate started about riding Spaceship Earth on the way out. The line was supposed to be 10 minutes. Two out of three of us agreed to ride. We thought it may be our last chance before the ride closed for a very long, much talked about refurbishment. The line seemed to stall. Sibling bickering started. I used a phrase us moms use often, “if you don’t stop arguing, we’re leaving.” They didn’t stop. We really left. We exited the line, found our stroller, and went out the park exit. Diva was having a meltdown the majority of the time, crying loudly that she didn’t want to leave.
We kept walking towards the bus terminals, but I turned around when I heard a woman say “Excuse me?” twice. The first time I wasn’t sure it was direct at me. The second time I decided to look. She asked me if everything was OK. I explained the kids were tired, it had been a long day, and we skipped Spaceship Earth which was the final straw to bring on tears. We were still walking at this point and she asked if I could stop and talk to her. She introduced herself as Rachel, a manager in the park and said she wouldn’t like if our evening ended with tears. We briefly talked about the day and her own children. She asked the kids if they wanted to return to the park to ride Spaceship Earth. I had to make Diva stop hiding in the stroller to speak to her. She agreed she wanted to ride. Rachel asked if we could wait just a moment while she made a phone call, she borrowed my MagicBand, and then told us to head back through security and to the Spaceship Earth FastPass+ line.
My kids were required to say a million thank yous. I was holding back tears while thanking her myself. On the way back into the park we talked about her kindness and how she wanted us to be happy– and not bicker with one another. They were both much nicer to each other the remainder of the evening.
We rode Spaceship Earth and made our way right back out of the park. I wasn’t ready to risk the better moods giving way to being tired. It was better to end on a good note. I also wanted to get our bags packed for check out the next day.
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