Day 3 started with a morning and afternoon outside the parks, then Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that night!
We started the morning with two adults ending up standing outside their room door with no Magic Bands. I knew the Club desk could make a new room key, so one of us ran up to get that. Once we tried to use the new room key card, we got a red light.
Long story short, if the deadbolt is thrown inside the door, the electronic lock outside cannot open the door. Lucky for us, our 2 year hold could reach the deadbolt easier than he could reach the handle and probably threw it very early on in the process of us being locked out of the room. Eventually someone brought the key for the deadbolt, but it took several people attempting the lock before a manager finally had the magic touch to turn the lock. If you ever feel down, just think about that one time we locked our kid inside our room for 45 minutes.
By the time this saga was solved, it was nearing time for our lunch reservation in Disney Springs. We parked at the new Lime Garage connected to Town Center, which was slick and easy compared to the old days of prowling surface lots for empty spots.
We had some time to burn before lunch so we enjoyed walking through the The Landing and Marketplace.
Soon we checked in for lunch at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming.
We were excited to try a new restaurant in Disney Springs and Homecoming won out thanks to its local take on homestyle Florida cooking. I got the fried chicken sandwich with iron skillet sweet potatoes.
My other half got the HFK pork bbq sandwich with mac and cheese. We also ordered an extra side of cheddar cheese drop biscuits.
Art Smith was still around the restaurant 4 months after opening. We enjoyed the meal and loved picking a piece of salt water taffy on the way out. We probably would not plan a visit to Disney Springs specifically for this restaurant, but if we were hungry while there shopping we would definitely stop by.
After lunch we headed back to the car and drove to Port Orleans Riverside for a photo shoot tradition that started when I was pregnant.
After naptime back in the room we drove to the Magic Kingdom just before 6. With Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets you can enter the park as early as 4 pm but we did not want to cut nap short in hopes for a happy kid late that night. This plan worked well and our 2 year old happily lasted until 11:30 that night.
By the time we actually got inside the park there was only 30 minutes before official party starting. At this time we headed to Fantasyland to scope out our number 1 priority of the night, which was the Pool, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger meet. When we got to Fanstyaland they were still running the standard Pooh and Tigger meet, so we made the call to ride Pooh then get in line for the meet. This was a mistake because while we were on the ride they opened the line for the party meet. We got in line at 6:59 and were the second family cut off for the second set of the meet. Unfortunately these characters meet in 30 minute sets with an entire 30 minute break between sets.
Thankfully we were allowed to send runners out for free cookies and hot beverages during that break. We waited in a 1 hour line for our meet, but it was worth it. Our kid meeting his favorite characters all at once is now our favorite memory in Walt Disney World.
We were on a high after the meet and we did one of our son’s favorite rides, it’s a small world. Hungry for food other than cookies, we headed to Pecos Bill. The first parade was running through Frontierland so we watched that through the fence around the Pecos Bill outdoor seating. We love the current menu at Pecos Bill and it’s one of our favorite quick service meals now.
Next we rode Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion before watching Holiday Wishes from Fantasyland. We meandered around the park for a while without riding anything. We tried to meet Santa on our way out, but unfortunately he was busy getting ready for the second running of the parade and we did not want to wait for him to return after the parade.
Overall the diversification of the drink and cookie options was an improvement. The snowmen sugar cookies were our least favorite cookie. The peppermint bark cookie was absolutely amazing and I want to eat these cookies forever. These were the last cookies we had and unfortunately did not have a chance to go back for seconds.
The apple cider was a good addition to hot chocolate; we did not try the eggnog. The snow cones were a bust. They were prepped in advance to keep the lines moving fast, which gave the syrup time to migrate to the bottom and the ice to freeze to itself. It was impossible to eat without making a giant mess we threw ours away.
Overall we really enjoyed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The price increase this year almost prevented us from attending, but combining the party with a no park ticket day lessened that sting some. We’re also in a sweet spot for price and value while our kid is still under 3.