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I normally celebrate my birthday at Disney each summer, but this year we had some family obligations that were going to make it impossible. When Chris and I heard about the Summer Nightastic changes, we decided that we had to make a trip, even if it meant going commando – which is something that we rarely do anymore! So, we booked a few nights at All Star Music, and headed down, determined to squeeze everything in.
We left as soon as Chris got home from work on Thursday. He got in, we loaded up the car, and pretty much headed right out. The trip was pretty uneventful, and we made it to All Star Music with no major issues. I headed inside to get us checked in and we were soon on our way to our room in the Broadway building. Our original plan had been to run out and grab takeout from Bahama Breeze, as we’d been given a gift card, but neither one of us really were that hungry, so we decided we’d just head to the food court after our fridge arrived.
It took about half an hour for the fridge to show up, so I unpacked while we waited, and then when it arrived, we plugged it in and loaded it up with water. We then grabbed the room keys and headed off to the food court to get some food. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but ended up with a kid’s hot dog meal with fries and a cookie. I also got a pack of apple slices with caramel dip, just in case I needed a snack. I was pretty much ready to crash and the food court was crowded and loud, so we got the food to go and headed back.
We settled in for the night, ate and relaxed, getting ready for the craziness of the next few days.
Now, when I say that this trip was commando, I should clarify that it was commando….for us. I should also mention (in case there is anyone who doesn’t know this) that I do not like mornings. So, I’m really not a rope drop kind of girl, and, for me to make it to a park before lunch is not a normal occurrence – not even at Christmas. Still, we had stuff to do and see, so we were up and at Animal Kingdom for about 10 am. We headed right back to Everest, for Chris to ride, while I sat on a rock and answered some emails. I also helped a couple decide to go to Yak and Yeti for lunch, and then read until Chris found me baking like a lizard. We wandered around for a bit, just taking things in, and taking some pictures, debating whether he wanted to go on a few other rides.
We stopped in lots of shops, because it was about 4000° and I like air conditioning. Eventually, we decided that we’d just head out and go to Kidani, where we had lunch plans at Sanaa, and see if we could check in early. We headed out to the parking lot, and in just a few minutes we were dropping the car off with the valet and heading inside and downstairs to the restaurant.
This was our second time at Sanaa. Our previous time we had split the club sandwich, so we were both looking forward to having something more adventurous. We started with the bread service opting for the triple naan bread, two tamarind sauce and a coriander chutney for dipping. We split the Tandoori Chicken, which was wonderful. For dessert, we decided to share the chocolate cake which was pretty tasty as well.
After the meal we were both stuffed, so we got back in the car, and decided to make a quick stop at Animal Kingdom Lodge, because I wanted to look at the Zawadi Marketplace, so we headed over there and did some shopping. Unfortunately (or, I guess, fortunately for Chris), they did not have anything that I couldn’t live without, so we got back in the car and decided that we would head over to the outlets by Downtown Disney. At this point I was trying to avoid being in the parks in the worst of the heat, so figured if we were in air conditioned stores it would be better.
At the outlet we found some good bargains. We got Chris a long sleeve tee, and a pair of shorts at a great price. We also checked out a few other stores, but didn’t find anything that we needed to have. As we were heading back to Disney property, I realized that I’d acquired several blisters, so we made a pit stop at Walgreens, where I picked up 2 pairs of flip flops and a box of Band-Aids.
Our plans were to head to the Magic Kingdom for the evening, but, since it was still pretty hot, we wanted to take our time and make a circle around the monorail, and explore the resorts before heading into the parks. So, we parked the car and went to the Contemporary first. I switched to the first pair of flip flops before I left the car, and in the lobby, I bandaged up the blisters as best as I could. We checked out the shops, and found another pair of shorts for Chris on clearance (I love those red tags!), then continued on to the Grand Floridian.
At the Grand, we got off the monorail and walked out to Narcoosee’s, so Chris could take a picture of the menu. It was there that I realized that the flip flops I was wearing had given me another blister, so I switched to the second pair, and slapped on a few more Band-Aids. Then we headed back to the main building, where we checked out the shops, and the new carpet before getting on the monorail and heading into the Magic Kingdom.
Once inside the park, we weren’t quite sure what we were going to do. The only real plans we had for the night were to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and to see Music, Magic and Mayhem, the fireworks for Summer Nightastic. Chris had seen the Main Street Electrical Parade when he’d come to Disney as a child but I hadn’t really ever seen it. (To be fair, at a Grad Class in Disneyland, we did have a Preferred Viewing experience for it, but we were running late. By the time we outran the parade and got to our spot, it had pretty much passed us by so I didn’t get to see much of it). At first, my thought was to sit on Main Street, stake out a spot and send Chris to go get food from Casey’s but I gave up on this plan when I realized that the air conditioning from the open doors wouldn’t reach us.
I couldn’t deal with sitting in the heat for that long, so I decided that instead, we’d go to Columbia Harbour House and eat. We made our way back through the hub and into Liberty Square. Chris got in line to order the food while I went upstairs to find us a table and wait for him. We usually split the fish and chicken combo meal here, and this time was no different. The food is always pretty good and I like to sit upstairs as it’s quieter. After we ate, we went outside to find they had taped and roped off Liberty Square for the parade, so we grabbed some spots right on the tape line and had a front row seat for the parade with only about a 25 minute wait.
I was excited to see the parade and I really enjoyed it, I’ve always loved the music from it, and it was great to finally see the whole thing! It’s probably what you could call the “Classic” Disney parade. After the parade, we headed up to Main Street and found a spot to watch the fireworks, which were awesome! My camera died partway through the show, so I didn’t get a ton of pictures, but that actually wasn’t so bad as I was able to just watch for a change. I loved getting to see the elements that they had brought in from the Pirates and Princess Party and I really hope that they bring this show back some time in the future!
After the fireworks Chris and I were both exhausted, so we made our way out of the park and headed back to the resort. It was a pretty quick trip back and a pretty short time before bed! The next day we had a lot of things to do – the Studios and Epcot!
Jessica Johnson has been sharing her love of Disney travel through her work with The Magic For Less Travel for several years now. After spending her honeymoon at Walt Disney World and later renewing her vows there, she has grown her love of Disney into quite the career. She has completed the College of Disney Knowledge, as well as onsite Graduate Course work at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. She has earned a Universal Studios Specialist designation, as well as become familiar with multiple cruise lines. In addition, she is a Master Cruise Counselor and a Certified Travel Counselor. She likes to take her knowledge and use it to help her clients have the best trips possible, and is constantly in the field testing new options and exploring new things to try!