I'm back for another installment, folks! Len's upcoming graduation trip has inspired me to finish my own.
When we last left, we'd had a great dinner but mixed experience at Cal Grill.
It's now Tuesday, May 24, and it's time for...Typhoon Lagoon and Via Napoli
5/24 was our second off-day in a row. In our original plans, 5/23 wasn’t supposed to be an off-day, but after such a big day at SWW, it was. However, 5/24 was always planned as a day for TL.
The family was sitting around the table a few days ago, and we started talking about our perfect Disney birthday, and I found out that H.’s perfect Disney birthday would be a day spent at Typhoon Lagoon. There really is something special about TL. Maybe it’s all the sand or maybe it’s the music or maybe it’s the incredible wave pool or the big lazy river or maybe it’s swimming with the sharks. I don’t know, but I understand why H. prefers TL to BB. It’s just got such a great atmosphere. It also never feels as crowded as BB. We seem to be able to get to everything we want to and still have time to enjoy the sand and the sun.
This day at TL was no different. Emilie and Judah wanted to go back to DHS in the morning, so we agreed to let them go alone then meet us at lunchtime at Typhoon Lagoon. The morning was just Adi, H. and me. We decided to start with Crush n Gusher because Adi was now tall enough to ride it. Since it was early in the day, we rode all three. Our favourite was the Banana. Then we rode the lazy river over to the raft rides and the family raft rides. More lazy river and back to our towels where we met up with the kids and had lunch. We always set out our towels nearby to Typhoon Tilly's and have lunch there. They have a very nice fried shrimp basket – way better than the usual burger or hot dog option. After lunch, everyone wanted to swim with the sharks, except Adi. And here is where we got into a bit of trouble. Adi wouldn’t admit that she didn’t want to swim with the sharks. Instead, she began dragging her feet. I should have figured this out. Normally, I do. But I don’t know if it was all the sun or the fact that I was so excited to swim with the sharks again, but I didn’t read her signals right. We also got into a bit of trouble with timing. They were just about to feed the sharks. Judah, Emilie and H. started swimming across. I agreed to go with Adi, who was hesitant. She wanted a different mask, so we got another mask. Then, that mask wasn’t right either….
Suddenly, the woman announced, “no more swimmers” in order to feed the sharks, so there Adi and I were, stuck at one end of the tank while H., Judah and Emilie were making their way through the tank. Of course, the staff had to wait until the tank cleared to feed the sharks, but H. wasn’t paying attention because he was really enjoying his time in the water, so he took an extra 5 min. to swim across. Then we had to wait for them to feed the sharks. Then I had to deal with Adi’s reluctance again, who wanted yet another mask. But she still wouldn’t admit that she didn’t want to swim. She just wouldn’t swim. Finally, I got completely fed up, which I don’t usually do as a mom, and I told Adi that I was swimming across without her. And I went.
Don’t you love that combination feeling of mad and guilty that you feel when you’ve yelled at a child and you know you shouldn’t have but you’re still mad about what happened? I hate that feeling, and it was exactly how I felt. Of course, it totally ruins the experience because you’re thinking about your anger and guilt, not the experience you’re having. Yuck!
After I made it across, I said that I needed a time out from Adi plus I wanted to swim again, because my experience had been so awful (I think I ended up waiting 30 min. then I didn't really pay attention when I was swimming because I was so frustrated). Judah immediately said he wanted to go again, so we split up. Judah and I went to the shark tank again, while Adi and Emilie went off together and H. rode Crush n Gusher. After we swam with the sharks a few more times, Judah and I went to the wave pool and had a great time body surfing.
We all met up again at the end of the day to ride the storm slides again. On the bus on the way back to the resort, Adi and I had a talk about her telling us when she didn’t want to do something so that it wouldn’t ruin other people’s experiences, and she and I hugged and made up. I also told her that she could practice with a swim mask in the bathtub at home before we came back to TL.
TL that day wasn’t my best memory of the trip, but on the other hand, that afternoon was the only time in two weeks that we fought as a family. Really it was, which is why I entitled our trip: practically perfect. Because having 5 very opinionated people in one family, that’s something like a record for us.
After we got back to the room and changed into evening clothes, we spent the evening at Epcot. First stop was Via Napoli, which was H.’s dining request for the trip. I’ve got to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. We have an excellent Italian pizzeria in Calgary, so I didn’t think this one could begin to measure up. But it was very fine.
We were seated almost immediately, and the waiter came by to take our drinks. I ordered a Moretti (Italian beer) and H. ordered a Sangria. The kids ordered fruit coolers, which came in either Blood Orange or Strawberry. We also ordered the Arancini appetizer (fried balls of risotto) because we’d heard so much about them from various dining reviews. They were very good. I really liked the tomato sauce that accompanied them. We also order the salad for 2. It was fine but nothing to write home about.
For the main course, we ordered one Mezzo Metro pizza – half funghi (mushroom), half ortolano (vegetables). We were worried it might not be enough, but it was huge! It was rectangular, like it was shaped on a cookie sheet and was plenty for all of us. It was also excellent. The wood fired taste came through nicely, and it tasted almost as good as our pizzeria at home – a little more doughy but still very nice.
Via Napoli with our server. He was from Milan, and he was great.
The three ovens, named after 2 volcanoes and a Disney character with an "explosive" personality [:D]:
For dessert, we had sorbetto, of course. And then we were done.
Here’s the kicker. We were in and out in about an hour and a quarter, and we didn’t rush and never felt rushed. That was remarkable to me, since Disney dining rarely is so quick and efficient, and I give Via Napoli high marks for its service.
A major thumbs up to Via Napoli for food and service. We’ll definitely be back (in fact, Via Napoli made my top ten over Teppan Edo in the Dining forum. That’s how happy I was.).
After dinner, we split up. Judah and Adi went with H. to ride Test Track again while Emilie and I went shopping at the Mitzukoshi Department Store, one of Emilie’s favourite places in all of Disney. We had quite a bit of time, but it's never enough. In fact, Emilie has made me promise her an entire Epcot shopping day next trip.
My beautiful daughter taking a break from a little shopping time with Mom
Around 8:30, I went to buy H. and me our favourite Grand Marnier Slushies (the orange ones) at the France kiosk. At 8:45, we all met up in front of the Japan Pavilion to watch Illuminations. The kids had Kaki Goris, while H. and I had our Slushies.
I wasn’t too sure about watching Illuminations at Japan. There are a lot of obstructions, the biggest one being the Japanese gate. And I wouldn’t recommend it if it’s your first time watching Illuminations, but since we’ve seen it lots before, I actually enjoyed the different view I got. Here are some pictures from our night:
See? They’re pretty cool, although, again, I don’t think I would have liked that spot if it had been my first time watching Illuminations.
After it was over, we got to experience my very favourite part of staying at the Beach Club, walking home after an Evening at Epcot.
We finished our slushies (okay, they were gone by the end of Illuminations, but I like the image of us strolling back with our slushies in hand [;)]). It’s a wonderful way to end the day – gets me every time. No wonder I love Disney.
Back “home” Judah and Adi decided that they were so hot, they just had to jump in the pool with all their clothes on, so they did:
They were joined by a family of ducks enjoying the empty pool:
Then we ate a quick dessert of leftover cupcakes from the DHS Bakery and tumbled into bed. Although the day had been bumpy in the middle, it ended perfectly.
Next up: Our VERY BIGGEST DAY at Magic Kingdom EVER! The challenge: riding every ride in a single day. Can they do it? Stay tuned to find out.