There aren’t many other combinations of three words which will strike fear into the heart of a WDW fanatic more than “last full day”. It is inevitable and yet ignored for as long as possible. It is a day for savouring the details, drinking in the sights, sounds and smells of a place you may not see for quite some time. whilst trying to have some fun at the same time.
Ours started with me awake at 7. There was no sign of anybody else so I made some coffee and ate a Voodoo doughnut as nature intended. It turned out that Freddie had been unsettled during the night and so, of course, had Rebecca and Tom so they were a little slow to get started this morning.
Louise and I did some packing whilst we waited for them to be ready and by about 10am we were loaded into the van for the final trip to a park this time around. Every time we had driven to the parks on this trip, as we stopped at a set of lights as we joined the 192 we had seen a billboard, which alternated between three adverts. One of them was for Hollywood Studios and had a large picture of one of the aliens from Toy Story. Over time, Freddie had invented a game of “there he is”, every time the picture appeared. He played it for the final time. Am I getting across that we were very aware that today was the last day?
I had already shifted some FastPasses to later to accommodate out later start at some point before leaving the villa and after parking in Simba, we boarded the tram knowing it was for the final time. I tried to stop myself blinking so that I could drink in as much as possible of every single thing.
It seemed busier than we’d seen today but however busy it was, we were going in hard today for a full-on fun fest. As we made our way up Main Street….
We came across the start of the trolley show and we stopped to enjoy that before completing the journey to Caseys where we spent a few minutes listening to the piano player.
We were headed to Pirates for our first FastPass of the day. That was handy as the standby queue was forty minutes already. We had ridden in all sorts of different configurations on all sorts of rides over the course of the trip but for this one, Freddie rode on my knee and it was a treat. I’ve ridden this ride a lot, many times with my own young girls, and to see at close hand his wonder and enjoyment made this one as special as those early rides with my own kids. It was lovely.
It was by now 11.30 and of course, time for lunch as nobody had eaten breakfast and my doughnut didn’t count. We decided on Pecos Bill’s as Emily had heard good things about the veggie options there. I mobile ordered from within the building and waited for it to be ready to collect as the others found a table.
Louise and I had Beef Nachos
Emily had the Veggie burger and Tom a normal one
My notes say Rebecca had “chicken”….
Your guess is as good as mine. Freddie had a Chicken Rice Bowl.
Emily was so blown away by her Veggie burger that she had to double-check it really wasn’t meat. She has raved about this burger at regular intervals since returning which may be useful to you if you have one of those odd veggie folks in your party.
Rebecca was detained in the loo for a while so we made our way toward Tomorrowland. With no news via WhatsApp of her following us, I waited at Small World whilst the others walked on to ride Ariel, which I know she would be upset I wasn’t a part of. With Rebecca now with me we caught up with everyone else just as they exited the ride.
Next, we walked all the way back to the Speedway where some actor from the 50’s seems to have been hanging around.
After a twenty-minute queue, Emily and I rode together for the first time in what must be twenty years. I seemed to do better than previous attempts, wrenching the steering wheel from one extreme to another to avoid the middle rail.
Freddie did some steering apparently, and can’t have done any worse than I did. We then moved on down to the People Mover for a sit-down. There was no queue, but as soon as we boarded the ride stopped for a couple of minutes, denying us of the cooling breeze.
Freddie did his best to help out.
Totally by accident I then took one of those photos that I suspect we’ll treasure for a long time.
Once we got moving again I took some now very much out of date “update” pictures of the Tron construction….
We all know that size isn’t everything but it does look mightily impressive. I can’t wait to ride it.
Louise then took in some sunshine whilst the rest of us rode Space Mountain. For the first time many years, we were directed to the left-hand track. I’m not saying it’s wilder than the right but it was not possible for me to tense what I needed to for long enough and in the end just had to relax everything and scream.
To clam the nerves we got an iced coffee from the Joffrey’s nearby. Despite me clearly being an internet sensation and a black belt at blogging, this is one of the many reasons why I don’t do the same on Instagram….
Having polished off our drinks we quickly made our way over to Branstormer for our FastPass. There were just a few minutes left on our window so Rebecca, Tom, Freddie and I hurried and made it just in time.
This queue afforded us a better view of Tron….
I used the fandangled thing on my camera which allows me to point the viewfinder backwards to capture Freddie enjoying it for the second time.
At first, he maybe wasn’t too sure….
But he soon settled into it…
We met back up with Emily and Louise before riding Buzz. We were doing some serious crisscrossing of the park to get in as many rides as we could now. I inflicted a justified and crushing defeat on Emily, reclaiming my crown for at least one more year. We then made our way over to Liberty Square to take in the Muppets history show.
We paused at the castle to take some photos whilst it was relatively quiet there. Freddie’s nap did not stop me capturing him in this iconic location.
We spent a decent amount of time here, doing lots of last day photography.
We found a place on a nearby wall on which to sit as we watched.
We enjoyed the show and it’s a great addition to an area of the park most would just previously just walk through to get somewhere else.
We wandered a shop or two before heading back to the castle for the impending show. It’s difficult to reconcile what I will say next to the arctic sideways rain currently going on outside my UK window, but as we stood watching the show, I could feel the sweat, generated by the phenomenal heat, trickling down my back and other places. Nice.
With Emily in tears andFreddie now awake, new photographic opportunities opened up to us, and we tried to recreate the partners statue with mixed results….
The Dance Party parade came by just then so we watched that for a bit.
Freddie got to dance with Chip and/or Dale and this last hour or so just sort of fell into place as a lovely way to end our time at Magic Kingdom. It’s often the things that aren’t rides that stick in the memory the longest.
We made our way down Main Street through the shops. Freddie got a Mrs Potato Head to go with the male version he had back home and we ended up near the flag pole, deciding what to do for food. We had nothing booked and our later plans involved watching Reflections of Earth for the final time at Epcot. After a quick play with the dining options on the app and finding that to be unfruitful we decided to go off-site.
So this was it, our official MK goodbye.
So panic mode photos started….
It was as tough as it always is to leave this place and there were more Emily tears and longing looks over shoulders as we made our way to the monorail to get back to the car.
It took us just twenty minutes to drive to our restaurant of choice, Romano’s Macaroni Grill at Lake Buena Vista. This was a long-time favourite of our early trips but we had left it alone for a while as newer things had to be tried, but by jingo, we were glad we went back. This was one of the best meals of our trip and if you haven’t done it, give it a go. It was amazingly quiet and the service, probably due to that, was superb.
For a start, it begins with warm bread and dipping oil.
We gorged ourselves on appetisers of Goat’s Cheese Peppers and Mozzarella Sticks, which were all kinds of awesome.
Louise and I had Meatballs.
Emily had a Butternut Squash Pasta thing….
Tom had Mama’s Trio….
Rebecca had a strangely un-photographed Rack of Lamb.
Everybody raved about the quality here. Just superb.
There was cheesecake for Louise and Tom, Tiramisu for Rebecca and Sticky Toffee Pudding for me.
With three glasses of wine and various other drinks, plus a 20% tip it was $220.
Happy and full we made our way speedily to the Boardwalk. Here fine folks, is where I drop another of my “infamous” planning hacks. It can often be tricky to get parked at a resort if you aren’t staying there, and as we wanted to leave Epcot via International Gateway once the fireworks were done, finding a reason to park here was key.
Having realised that the Big River Grill place at the Boardwalk does not take ADRs, it was simple enough to drive up to the gate, flash some ID and say we were going for dinner there. We were waved through to park without question. Assuming that isn’t common knowledge, if anyone asks, I didn’t tell you.
We made our way up to the hotel entrance for our onward journey to Epcot.
With timing reminiscent of the D-Day landings we arrived at “our bridge spot” at 8.40 and took up our last ever viewing position for Reflections of Earth.
Now, I know we’ve all seen it, and indeed I have posted our video from our earlier viewing this trip, but it’s gone now, so have it again, this time with the added pathos of knowing you can never watch it live again.
There was genuine emotion, nostalgia and regret at it’s passing and it took a good amount of time pull ourselves together and move on, in every sense. You can even witness first hand my croaky cold filled timbre at the end of the video……I wasn’t well you know.
We stopped at the shop at International Gateway to get Emily an ROE T-shirt but they only had odd sizes left so we were denied, only to be rescued by the lovely Val Ramsay who got us one a few days later and posted it to Emily Thank You!
It was a long, leisurely walk back to the car via one of my favourite places on earth.
I’m pretty sure that this store was named after an actress known for her adult roles….
It was a subdued and uneventful drive home and once there, I checked us in for our flight home and then took my sad, tired (still ill) body to bed.
All that remains is our travel day and reflections of the trip and reflections of Reflections of Earth. Spookily the writing of this report will take me right up until Christmas as if this had all been planned. With the amount of planning cock-ups you’ve witnessed over these last weeks, you will know this was not the case, but I will revel in the neat, tied up with a bow satisfaction it brings me.
Till the next time……