Instead of writing a full trip report, I decided to give a summary and opinion of the new experiences that I had this time around.
Mears Connect - Disney's Magical Express was discontinued at the end of 2021. I had planned to try Mears Connect going to the resort and use a car service on the way back. With a very last minute flight change, I was very grateful for Mears Connect when I could not change my car service pick up.
My arrival was very easy. I received an email the day before confirming my details and including a QR code. When I arrived in Orlando airport, I had a text with the same information. I got my checked bag and went to the Mears Connect area, which is the same as where Magical Express was located. A staff member scanned my code and I walked onto a bus. We waited for about 15 minutes and then left with 4 parties on board.
For our departure, we had a last minute flight cancellation at 10:30 pm which gave us 7 am flight the next morning. I went on the website and was able to book a return with Mears Connect. There was a little confusion as to where to pick up the bus at the resort but we figured it out. The bus was actually early and we had no issues.
Kitetails - This is a new show at Animal Kingdom. It has been around for several months but it was new to me. Basically, it is jet skis that fly around large kites of Lion King characters set to music. When the show began months ago, there were a lot of videos about the kites crashing into the stands. There were announcements made before the show started saying what goes up, must come down and that the "crashes" are expected.
Overall, for me it was kind of cute and kind of odd. I would watch it again but I definitely wouldn't wait for it.
Festival of the Arts Paint by Number - I have been to Festival of the Arts once before for one day and that was all the time I had there this time as well. Unfortunately, the weather was not great so I didn't get to really do and see as much as I wanted but I did finally get to do the paint by number activity.
The idea is there is a big paint by number mural. Each guest gets a little cup with paint and a number and a square foam brush. The cast member gives you a section and you paint 8 squares with your color. Chris had green and I had a peachy color. It is free and only takes a few minutes. We enjoyed it.
Meeting Mickey - Character meet and greets are coming back. You still can't give them a hug or take off your mask inside but I always love to see my main mouse. I saw him the Magic Kingdom in his new 50th Anniversary outfit and again in Epcot is his classic outfit.
Drawn to Life - This is the new Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs. As soon as it was announced, I got tickets. Then it was delayed due to COVID so I moved my date. Then it was postpone indefinitely. So the third time was the charm and I finally got to see it.
It was WONDERFUL! A lot of Disney touches and music with the stunts you expect from Cirque du Soleil. We went to the 8 pm show on a Thursday evening and it was only about half full. I hope to spread the news about how great it is so that more people will go and it will stick around for awhile. The tickets can be pricey but the theater is small so the less expensive seats will still give you a good view.
Enchantment / Dessert Party - Enchantment is the new night time show at the Magic Kingdom. My back does not do well with standing or sitting on the ground to wait for a spot to see the night shows so if there is an option that includes viewing, I am in. I have done the dessert party for the previous show and decided to do that again for this show.
There were changes to the dessert party. The first change was the price. It is now $99 per adult as alcohol is now included. I saw many negative reviews on the food in both variety and quality so I had low expectations. But I enjoyed everything that I tried. They were making crepes fresh with an apple filling and a vanilla sauce on top. I had some chocolate tarts and a push pop with vanilla cake, frosting and graham cracker crumbs. I don't personally like alcohol with my sweets so I enjoyed my desserts and then I went and made myself a plate of cheese and crackers and then enjoyed a drink or two. I will say that the last time I did a dessert party there were more savory options. I would have liked to have more than cheese and crackers but it was fine.
The party started at 6:30 but they let us in at 6 pm. Enchantment started at 8 pm. So many people rushed through their desserts to get out to the hub. It really doesn't make sense to me to do that. I stayed until 7:45 in my nice comfy chair and then went to the cast member to be escorted to the viewing area in the hub. I had a great spot and waited less than 10 minutes for it to start.
As far as Enchantment itself, I love the new song for it, "You are the Magic." I knew the song before I went down to Florida. Overall, I thought Enchantment as a whole was ok. I prefer Happily Ever After, the previous show. But I would definitely see this one again. (I did not get to see Harmonious, the new Epcot show on this trip. Hopefully next time.)
Storybook Dining at Artist Point - Now onto some new food experiences. Storybook Dining has just recently reopened after being closed for COVID. I was excited to grab a reservation and had a local friend join me.
This is a set menu which shared appetizers and desserts and then you pick your entrée. The star of the entire menu is the mushroom bisque appetizer. We told our server how much we enjoyed it and he said it is the only menu item that was carried over from the original Artist Point menu. The rest of the food was good. Nothing special, especially in the desserts, but the presentations are cute.
The characters that come around are the Evil Queen, Snow White, Grumpy and Dopey. Even though you need to stay at a distance, they were great at interacting and posing for pictures or selfies.
Overall, it was a fun night. I wouldn't rush back. If you have kids into Snow White, they would enjoy it.
California Grill - I have eaten at California Grill before but many years ago. It is currently offering a prix fixe menu as the only option. This is what is on the menu:
I chose the classic sushi trio, the beef and the crème brulee for dessert. It was all delicious! I enjoyed it more than the dinner that I had with their regular menu years ago. I had to take a picture of my friend's dessert. She got the "Five Magical Bites." It was little mini desserts which were so cute.
Space 220 - Space 220 is a new restaurant in Epcot. I was not able to get a lunch or dinner reservation but I did get a reservation for the lounge area. You can order the full lunch / dinner in the lounge but we chose to share appetizers and have some drinks.
After you check in, you take an "elevator" 220 miles up into space to the restaurant. The windows in the restaurant are screens that look into space. Sometimes you see some astronauts or space craft come by the windows.
For drinks, I did the Big Tang which came with astronaut ice cream. I don't remember the name of Chris' drink but it was fizzing from dry ice in a little container on the bottom when it arrived.
We shared the Buffalo cauliflower tempura, chicken with waffles and short rib sliders. Everything was really good. Chris does not touch veggies and he loved the tempura cauliflower. I would definitely go back and hope to do the full meal next time.
That wraps up all the new experiences I had on my most recent trip! There is definitely always some new to try in Walt Disney World.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.