Day 4 started with a bit of rain as we got ready to head over to the Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. We first had to check out of the Beach Club and store our bags for transfer to Bay Lake Tower. If you are staying at another Disney hotel, just need to take your bags down to the bell stand, or call to have them picked up, and they will take them over to your new hotel with a few hours. When you arrive at your new hotel and check in, just call down and they will bring up the bags to your new room. If you check out of one hotel early to hit the parks make sure to take with you what you need for the day, as you can’t usually check in to your new room till 3 or 4 in the afternoon.
We walked over to Hollywood Studios after checking out and arrived just before it started to rain again. We ducked into the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and a few other rides before making our way to Toy Story Mania. I had always wanted to try that ride but that ride is very popular and the lines are always huge. We thought we would be able to use out VIP passes but the fast passes were all gone by 11am. Undaunted, Matt suggested we ask the cast member who was standing in front of the closed fast pass machine if there was anything we could do with our VIPs. It happened that this particular cast member was from Pittsburgh and Matt was wearing his Pirates shirt so we had a very pleasant conversation for a few minutes before he reached into his pocket and pulled out two passes that where set to expire in 15 minutes. We were on the ride within 3 minutes and had a great time. Thanks Richard you are the man and that is the Disney spirit above and beyond.
I had to buy a poncho after that since it had started to come down pretty good. We did a few more rides with not much wait and then headed over to Animal Kingdom to attempt Expedition Everest. I say attempt because I had done it a few years ago with Matt as the very first ride of the day and it wrecked me for the whole day. Today it was not too bad and I discovered that if I felt like I was going to hurl, I just had to close my eyes to get through it. I know that takes away from the experience but I was doing this one so Matt had a riding partner, not for me.
We did all the open rides except the spinning thing outside Dinosaur and that would have made us both throw up big time. This was the first time I had closed down Animal Kingdom so we got to see the little dance party they have near the exit as you are leaving. Very cute to see all the little kids and some parents dancing with them
We took a bus back to the hotel and went to check into the Bay Lake Towers. When we got to the room it was still a 1 bedroom, so I figured the charged me one bedroom points instead of studio points. I went down to the front desk and sure enough she had booked me into the 1 bedroom for 2 nights and charged the 1 bedroom rate for the two nights. After another 20 minutes of ‘fixing’ things. I went back up to the room to wait for the new room to be ready. I went back down to the front desk got the new keys, went back up, moved the bags from the 5th floor to the 14th floor and took the old keys back down. At least we ended up with a nice high floor and a good view.
We quickly changed for dinner and walked over to the Contemporary Hotel to catch the monorail to dinner at Epcot. The Bay Lake tower is connected to the Contemporary by a bridge on the 5th floor so you can get to all the transportation easily. We boarded the monorail for the Ticket and Transportation Center (we need to change monorails there to get to Epcot) and the driver comes on the loudspeaker and says he needs to power down the systems and software to reboot to train. That was a first for us and it added an extra 5 minutes to the journey so we were almost late for our dinner reservation.
We enjoyed and excellent dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel, the new table service restaurant in the Mexico pavilion on the water. I tried their Margarita flight which is five samples of some of their more exotic margaritas and enjoyed the one on the right the most, the Orange Mango Fire. It includes tequila, ginger liqueur, orange juice, mango, fresh lime juice, tobasco sauce and Tajin chili powder on the rim.
We chose this place and the 7:45 reservation so we could have a nice relaxing dinner and then see the Illuminations fireworks from our table. The restaurant dims that lights and pipes in the music from outside so you get the full experience except for the evenings cold weather.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to go to the Top of The World Lounge to watch the BCS Championship where the Oregon Ducks fumbled their way to a loss to Auburn. A bit disappointing as I had hoped for a non SEC team to win it just once, but with Purdue not even in the hunt this year it was a bit hard to get into it.
Time to get some sleep before our last day in the parks.