Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Frugal Day at Disney


What a fun day! We did so much today. And, as Disney standards go, we did it all fairly frugally.
We opted not to go with the Disney Dining Plan. We would have had a plethora of food on the plan, and the Plan is a good deal, but we decided that we could do better on our own. We stretched our buck today, but we also pushed ourselves pretty hard, too. That's why we're getting ready to bunk down for the night at just 9:15 pm!

Here's the breakdown of the day:
  • We ate ham, turkey, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast in our room. (We stopped at Walmart on the way and picked up deli meat, cheese, bread, bottled water, and a few other things. We spent $32.)
  • We left the room just after 7:00 am, and had no wait for the bus. We stopped at Blizzard Beach before getting to Animal Kingdom at 7:30.
  • After entering the gate, we followed the rope drop on the left side of the path until we got to Expedition Everest, which was ready for us just before eight am!
  • We rode Expedition Everest. The stand-by wait time listed was 5 minutes. We made it through the queu and the ride in 7 minutes, 22 seconds.
  • We picked up fast passes for Expedition Everest, with a return time of eight:40. (Sorry, my eight button doesn't work.)
  • We rode Expedition Everest. The stand-by wait time listed was 5 minutes. We made it through the queu and ride in 5 minutes, 57 seconds.
  • We rode Expedition Everest. The stand-by wait time listed was 5 minutes. We made it through the queu and ride in just under 9 minutes. Yes, we did ride it 3 times in a row!
  • We took a quick restroom break just outside of Expedition Everest.
  • We rode Kilimanjaro Safaris. The stand-by wait time listed was 5 minutes. Our time for queu and ride was 26 minutes. This was one of the best safaris we have ever been on. I don't know if it was because it was so early, or what, but we saw so many animals.
  • Our fast pass time for Expedition Everest had begun by this time, so we got fast passes for Kilimanjaro Safaris.
  • We rode Primeval Whirl. The stand-by wait time was 5 minutes. Our time for queu and ride was 22 minutes. A large tour group got in line just in front of us, which I believe is the cause for our wait being more than triple what was posted.
  • We saw the first Festival of the Lion King show of the day, at 10:00 am. We arrived at 9:50, and the theater was already open and more than 1/2 full. We sat in the elephant section. This was the single best performance of that show that we have ever seen. Every element was superior.
  • We took a quick restroom break at Asia near Yak & Yeti.
  • We had a delicious snack at the Local Anandapur Cafe. A side order of chicken fried rice and two cups of ice water. We paid $4.25. What a treat. We ate outside in a little secluded portion of the dining area that most likely gets filled during lunch hour, but was quiet and empty - except for us - at 11:00 am.
  • We watched the first Finding Nemo: the Musical show of the day, at 11:30. We arrived at 11:10. The theater was open and was already 3/4 full. An okay performance. I'm not crazy about the actor playing Nemo, but Marlin was super.
  • We left the park to return to the Beach Club Villas for lunch. We waited less than 5 minutes for the bus to arrive. The bus ride took 29 minutes, with stops at Blizzard Beach, Swan, Dolphin, and Yacht Club, before getting to the Beach Club. The bus continued on to the Boardwalk. (Is it just me, or does that many stops seem extreme for a deluxe hotel?)
  • We stopped at the resort's market place (I'm sure it has a name.) and bought a resort mug. We paid $14.37. We have already filled it 6 times, so it's nearly paid for itself already.
  • We arrived back at the room at 12:55. We ate sandwiches in the room with Stacey's pita chips and Sabra roasted garlic hummus. We had Ghirardelli chocolate for dessert; we found it on extreme rollback -- just $1 for a bag -- at Walmart yesterday. (Since our shopping cost $32, and we have made two meals out of it so far, we are at an average price per meal of $16.)
  • We rested (too briefly, it seemed) before leaving the room at 3:20.
  • We waited less than 2 minutes for the bus. The bus ride took 19 minutes, with stops at Boardwalk and Blizzard Beach before reaching Animal Kingdom again.
  • We rode Expedition Everest with our fast passes from earlier in the day. Stand-by time was 25 minutes. Our queu and ride time was 11 minutes.
  • Animal Kingdom is doing this limited-time afternoon event (today was the last day; I hope they make it a permanent thing) called Taste of Africa: Eats, Drinks, Culture. The street party event takes place daily from after the parade until closing. After Expedition Everest, we stopped at the Harambe fruit cart and bought a coconut macaroon to share. We paid $2.12. This macaroon was so delicious. I can't even describe it. I was expecting something light and dry. It was dense, moist, and so coconuty-amazing. So worth $2.12.
  • We rode Kilimanjaro Safaris using the fast passes from earlier in the day. The stand-by wait time was 15 minutes. Our queu and ride time was 34 minutes. We didn't see as many animals this time, but we did have a great view of the cheetahs, which we hardly ever see. I also saw a hippo under a little waterfall with its mouth wide open. Kind of neat.
  • We stopped at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Africa and bought a Kenyan pork slider with coffee-barbeque sauce on a whole grain bun and a mango shake. We paid $7.44. I was expecting a tiny little sandwich, but it was really rather substantial for a "slider." And it was delicious. All the food in the Animal Kingdom was a home run for us today. I love that we shared so many snack-type foods. It really enabled us to try a lot of things without spending too much.
  • We ate our sandwich and shake while we hustled back to Camp Minnie Mickey for the day's last showing of Festival of the Lion King. We arrived just before the doors opened for the 5:45 show. We sat in the warthog section, in the first row of the bleachers behind the wheelchair section. I liked the different vantage point, but I LOVED that we were RIGHT NEXT to the exit doors. Literally, we were the first people out the doors after the show. I want to sit in that exact spot every time from now on.
  • We waited for a bus back to the hotel. We actually got tired of waiting and decided to get on the bus to Hollywood Studios and then transfer to transportation to the hotel. Over all we waited eighteen minutes for a bus. The bus ride was 13 minutes.
  • We waited eight minutes for a boat. The boat ride was 14 minutes with a stop at the Swan/Dolphin. This method of transportation was probably not faster than the bus to the hotel, but we enjoyed it.
  • We ate dinner at Hurricane Hanna's at the Beach Club. We ate at about eight pm, so the temperature was mild enough to enjoy sitting outside by the pool. We split a cheeseburger and fries. We paid $7.45.
  • We had dessert at Beaches and Cream. We got a hot fudge sundae to go. It was dripping down my fingers by the time we got back to the room to eat it, but at least we didn't have to pay tip for a server. Also, we didn't want to wait TWO HOURS for a table inside, which is what we were told the wait was. CRAZY!! The ice cream cost $eight.34.
  • Other than the cost of the groceries, we spent $43.97 today. This does include the cost of the resort mug. This is also much less than we would have spent for the dining plan for one day.

Tomorrow, we are headed to our favorite park, Epcot. I am so excited to have Epcot within walking distance. We plan to keep our dining costs down again tomorrow while maximizing the time in the park. Stay tuned!

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