Day 17: Second Star To The Right | Back To The Magic 2013

Back to the Magic Report Index (and here’s the Pre-Trip Report!)
[Today’s photographs can be found on my Flickr and the whole collection of days can be found here.]


Character Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, Contemporary Resort + Magic Kingdom + Dinner at Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge
August 30th, 2013

I took a LOT of photographs on this trip to Florida. On this day alone, I downloaded 1200+ photos from my SD card! 0_o Now, of course, I whittled it down by deleting duplicates (I shot the fireworks on burst mode) and out of focus ones, but after that I was still left with over 600 of them >_< To that end, I thought the easiest way to showcase them (as I really do love the photos from this day) was to put them into collages…a few choice ones are individual, but it gives me the chance to put a lot more pics in on one report! I have got it down to about 170 images now! Now you’ll see why my Disney trip reports are so photo heavy!

With that explanation out of the way, let me tell you about day 17 of our trip back to the Magic!

I love early mornings in Orlando – there is often a mist as we drive down the 192, but it’s boiling hot already, so it does feel a bit surreal to see that! We just love watching the sun come out from behind the clouds! The time on my first photo, below, as we drove out of Tuscan Hills says 6.17am!

So, as you can see, we were out very early, and the reason? Our Advance Dining Reservation at Chef Mickey’s for breakfast…followed by a day at Magic Kingdom, dinner at Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge and then back to Magic Kingdom for Wishes. With all that in mind, we decided to valet park at the Contemporary Resort and pick our car up at the end of the night, using Disney transportation for our to-ing and fro-ing!

We drove through the toll gate, letting the cast member know that we had a reservation at Chef Mickey’s, and he directed us where to go to get to Contemporary…however, neither of us were paying any attention, and we completed missed going right! >_< It was a long drive all the way back around for another try!


This time we did turn off and were soon pulling up outside the hotel and handing our car keys over to the valet for the day. The cost is $15, the same as parking at the parks.

The Contemporary Resort is very impressive – not the prettiest of buildings, as it is, well, contemporary! But it feels so posh as you walk in and then get into the elevator to go up to the 4th floor for Chef Mickey’s.

We checked in at the front of the restaurant and were soon called in for our reservation…oh, and yes, the Disney Monorail goes right through Contemporary Resort! LOVE that!

Before being shown to our table, we had a photo taken (which you can purchase) with the Mickey Mouse statue dressed up as a chef. We had the photos added to our PhotoPass card, but decided to purchase it anyway as you get a lovely display frame with some recipes on it. That cost $35.10.


The restaurant was bustling already, and we sat and waited for our server to come and see us. She served us some coffee and juice, explained about the buffet area and the characters, and we then went to go and grab some brekkie!

Every conceivable breakfast item is out for the picking. There are so many great things on the buffet, it’s hard to decide what to have! But my must have at a Disney breakfast buffet are the Mickey waffles!

As we enjoyed our breakfast, the characters went from table to table, and it’s always so much fun to meet them – whatever your age!

Donald Duck was first and remembered signing Liam’s cap before ^_^, then he gave me a kiss and the cast member with him started to rib him, telling him he was going to tell Daisy! It was hilarious!

Goofy, Pluto, Minnie and Mickey all followed soon after, and they do take their time from table to table, so you do get a chance to meet them all for a photo and autograph.

I really loved all the art work that was hung and displayed around the restaurant – the two canvases of Mickey and Minnie are gorgeous – would love them hanging in my office! Also loved the monorail going by every so often! Such a great place to have breakfast.

After filling ourselves to the brim with breakfast goods, we paid our bill, $99.02 and wandered to the gift store to have a nosey. I bought some Mickey Mouse sprinkles, an Alice in Wonderland teapot and some Disney coffee.

We didn’t want to lug our purchases around with us all day, so we took them down to the valet who kindly put them in our car for us. Then we went up to the monorail platform to catch it to Magic Kingdom.

We were soon through security and the turnstiles (that aren’t turnstiles any more!) and into the happiest place on earth! Which made me even happier because it was decked out for Halloween! I’m not sure what made me happier, the fact that I was at Magic Kingdom for the day, or the fact that I could see pumpkins everywhere I looked!

Just seeing Mickey carved into pumpkins was enough to have me squeeing all over the place! I really hope we get to go one year for Halloween – I know I would LOVE IT!

It was so strange (in a good way mind you!) to see Main Street USA decked out for my most favourite of holidays…I am not sure what date they go up in August, but I’m hoping we might just catch them on our trip this summer.

As I walked around taking photos of all the decorations, we spotted Marie from the Aristocats and Pluto, walking to do a meet and greet so quickly joined the queue to have our photo op with Marie, having met Pluto already this morning!

Marie was just the sweetest kitty cat! We took some photos ourselves, as well as with the PhotoPass photographer and she signed our autograph book too. With a wave goodbye to her, we headed off down Main Street USA towards Cinderella Castle.

I know that the guide books tend to say not to give Main Street more than a passing glance, but sometimes it’s nice to just take things at a slower pace, which we did a lot of on this holiday. There is so much going on as you walk towards the castle, it’s nice to just take everything in!

Oh, and next trip I am TOTALLY buying a Mickey balloon and have it float around the hotel room for 2 weeks!

We stopped in a shop that sold these gorgeous hats – I really do wish I had bought one now! And then we met the Mayor, whom we met a few years before ^_^

Here’s the photo I took of Liam and the Mayor in 2011!

Onward to the castle! I can’t describe the feeling I get when I am in Magic Kingdom – I love all the parks for different reasons, but MK is where all the magic is, makes me cry with happiness!

We stopped by all the Disney character sculptures and of course, the iconic Walt and Mickey statue…

…before heading on over into Adventureland.

We went first into the Enchanted Tiki Room, which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it! It’s so kitsch and I quite like toe tapping along to the choons!

We then went over to Pirates of the Caribbean, where the line was super short and before we knew it was sitting in the boats going through the dark caverns, watching the animatronics pirates!

We had a wander around the gift shop when we exited the ride before going over to Splash Mountain. We were rained off this ride on our first trip to Magic Kingdom in 2011 so this was a must do ride for us on this visit. We got some FastPasses, and didn’t have to wait too long before we were sitting in the log boats!

We all loved this ride – although, we love a log flume ride anyway, but this was so much fun! It’s a really long ride as well, with plenty of stuff to look at along the way. We knew there was a camera at the drop, so, in a tradition that we have for this sort of ride, we decided to pose!

We all would have loved to go around again, but the queue was so long and we had lots more to see and do today!

Then we saw Jesse & Woody and joined the line to meet them both. We had a bit of a wait, but nothing too terrible. Lining up is all part of the experience, and having only ever been in August, we just embrace the lines rather than fight them!

When making our autograph book, I put in images of each of the characters, and it’s always lovely when they notice ♥

Saying that about the wait times – the one for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was way too long, and having ridden that in 2011, we decided to bypass it on this visit. There will be other visits!

We were now in Frontierland, and so had a bit of a wander around…

…and then went into the theatre to watch Country Bear Jamboree. There was a short wait while the previous show was finishing, but it wasn’t long before we were seated in front of the stage. What a hilariously retro show this was! I loved the bears and the songs, so glad we watched this!

Liam then asked if he could have a go on the shooting range, so we took a break with a drink whilst he spent a few dollars hitting the targets.

The next cruise on the Liberty Square Riverboat was soon starting, so we dashed over there to jump on and enjoy a ride around the lake. Something we did at Disneyland Paris, but not when we visited Magic Kingdom on our first trip in 2011.

It’s a really lovely, relaxing ride with so much to see. Next trip we’ll go over to Tom Sawyer’s Island…

As you go around you get to see the other side of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…kinda makes me wish we did bother to line up!

Next up was Haunted Mansion – again, we did this in Paris, but not in Orlando, so we joined the queue, which, despite showing a bit of a long wait, actually moved along very quickly.

Haunted Mansion is a fab ride – although, we did break down part way around! No biggie, and we were soon on the move again.

Time for a loo break, mainly because my friend told me I MUST see the Tangled restrooms! They are by far the nicest toilets I’ve ever seen ^_^ And yes, I have zero shame in taking photos of the ladies room!

I really love the film Tangled, a modern Disney classic – kinda wish they did more with the film than just a small room :P

Now in Fantasyland, we headed towards It’s A Small World, much to the disdain of both hubs and the boy, but tough – it’s a ride I have to go on! I was handed a card that monitors the line wait time – we literally walked onto the ride, so that was a short one.

After singing our way around the boat ride, well, after I sang my way around the boat ride, we stepped out into the sunshine, with Liam still shaking his head at the horror!

We then went in to watch Mickey’s PhilharMagic which was fab, and then wandered around to find Cinderella’s Wishing Well as it was on my Bucket List to make a wish…

…along the way, we found the Sword in the Stone…

…we saw the back of Cinderella Castle, which we hadn’t seen last time around! On taking a slower pace through the parks on this trip, it’s amazing how many new things we saw!

When we found the wishing well, we all made a wish and then walked through the castle, just in time, as they were closing it for the next showing of Dream Along With Mickey.

I’ll throw this set of photos in here, as it amazes me how much nature can be seen around the parks – just beautiful to look at ^_^

If you read my first trip report you’ll know that I cried my eyes out to the show, Dream Along With Mickey, and not going to lie, there were lots of happy tears again when watching it! It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this show, there are some tears of joy streaming down my face!

It’s such a wonderful show to watch, full of Disney magic and the razzmatazz that the Americans do so well! I love the sweet storyline, especially how Donald Duck starts off not believing in dreams and then facing up to Maleficent and finally believing! ♥

My favourite part of the show though is the final song… ♬ ♫ ♪ Any dream is possible, wishes do come true. You can reach the stars if you just believe. Share the magic in your heart, there’s nothing you can’t do! Oh anything is possible, so find the dream inside of you ♪ ♫ ♬ ♥

With the show over, it was time to continue touring Magic Kingdom, so we headed into Tomorrowland. We grabbed some FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin and then went to ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.

We then went to go and meet Buzz Lightyear who thought that the picture of him was so awesome in our autograph book that he kept showing it to everyone and pointing to himself ^_^

We then went and blasted some aliens on Buzz Lightyear’s ride before we had to make our way to get a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge for our Boma dinner reservation. Another show of Dream Along With Mickey was just coming to an end and I caught a snap of the fireworks (I will never tire of taking photos here!)

And because Google makes photos awesome, I managed to turn a set of images into an animation!

Dream Along with Mickey

We had a family photograph taken by a Disney PhotoPass photographer, and then caught some of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party making its way down Main Street USA.

On the way out I saw Snow White with a mini me… So precious! Then we said goodbye to Magic Kingdom for now to go and find the Disney buses!

On the way to the resort, we got talking to a family from New York, which was really nice – and I suppose is one thing you miss out on when staying in a villa and driving everywhere – talking to other people! We discovered that the man of the family has family in Cyprus, as do I, so it made for an interesting bus ride!

When we reached Animal Kingdom Lodge we walked through the shop into the hotel lobby and I was blown away with it! It is GORGEOUS!

I wish I had bought this t-shirt though…hilarious!

We located Boma: Taste of Africa (it’s downstairs) and went to check in for our reservation. We were given a pager thing (I think!) and it wasn’t long before it was bleeping to tell us we could go and sit in the restaurant.

The restaurant was very busy and we were sat at a table quite near to the buffet. Having spent all day on our feet we had worked off our breakfast and was well and truly ready for some dinner!

Boma is a buffet, which lots of delicious African foods for you to try…and try we did! The food was amazing and even Liam found things to eat and enjoy. Although, he did ask for some fries, which the waitress was happy to get cooked for him. The soup was so tasty and the roasted meats were delicious. This African buffet did not disappoint!

I had booked this meal as a birthday meal – not sure if I’ll ever get a chance to on over my actual birthday (which is in September) and why not celebrate my unbirthday so close to my real birthday?! To my surprise, our waitress brought me over a Mickey shaped chocolate dessert, which was lovely, and then we went up to help ourselves to some of the mini desserts available.

I can’t remember what they all were, but the zebra domes (the stripy ones) have a little booze in them and were delish, and the ones with the coconut flakes, were made with cassava. I have no idea what cassava is, but they were really tasty morsels! Oh and the peach cobbler was amazeballs!

We paid the bill of $114.99 and had a final chat with our super friendly waitress, before walking to the bus stop to hitch a ride back to Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks!

On this particular day there was no Main Street Electrical Parade, so the Wishes fireworks was earlier than usual. Main Street was very busy and we didn’t want to fight the crowds down to the front, so we stayed around Town Square, but the view was just fine.

Wishes is a beautiful firework display, from the minute the story begins to with the words “When stars are born, they possess a gift or two. One of them is this: they have the power to make a wish come true.”

Then the poem, ‘Starlight, Starbright’ is sung and you know it’s going to be a magical journey!

Then you hear Jiminy Cricket telling you how he didn’t used to believe in wishes, but he’s going to share what changed his mind…and it all starts with a wish. With that, Tinkerbell flies across the sky… *wipes tear*

With wishful thoughts from Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Aladdin, the fireworks and the music builds up, I can’t help but smile when watching Wishes!

Various music from Disney movies is played throughout, and I wipe tears often! Music really does move me and I especially love ‘Go The Distance’ from Hercules and ‘Once Upon A Dream’ from Sleeping Beauty ♥

It is then the turn of Disney Villains lead by the Evil Queen from Snow White and the seriously dramatic music takes over.

But it’s not for long as good always overcomes bad! With the wise words of “We must always believe in our wishes, for they are the magic in the world”

The display ends with the opening song – ‘Starlight, Starbright’…and all our wishes, will come true ♥

I often read of people saying which fireworks display is better than the other – Wishes or IlluminNations, but you can’t compare them, they’re both so, SO different! I love them both in equal measures!

With the evenings entertainment finished, we retreated quickly out of the park to avoid the crowds, and being right at the back, allowed us to do that with minimal fuss.

At the time we didn’t realise you could walk to the Contemporary Resort, so we went up to the monorail station to get a ride back to pick up our car.

We watched the Electric Water Pageant float by – this year I hope we get to sit on the beach and watch it properly!

We picked up our car and drove home after a wonderfully magic day at the happiest place on earth! ♥


Read about the previous day: Day 16 – Something Wicked This Way Comes: Halloween Shopping + Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ + Florida Mall

Read about the next day: Day 18 – Island Hopping: Rest Day + Lunch at Bahama Breeze + Take Out from Bamboo Wok

Read ALL the days! Back to the Magic Trip Report Index 2013