Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Trip Report Tuesday - WDW Day 12 // Exploring AK, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, and a Halloween Themed Resort Night

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I'm so glad you're here to hear about a fresh new day of Disney deets!  

Day 12 - Thursday, October 20, 2022

We enjoyed a lovely leisurely morning at the resort before heading off to Animal Kingdom around noon.

Our first order of business was picking up some yumminess.  The girls each chose popcorn while Jason and I decided to split some of our favorite mac and cheese at Disney World.

This baked macaroni and cheese topped with the scrumptious pulled pork and pickle came from the Eight Spoon Café.  This grab and go spot isn't always open, but if you pass it one day when it is, I highly recommend popping by and ordering up this marvelous mac!  

We followed those savory and salty snacks with some exploration time in the park.

Live music enriches the story of each park.  We thoroughly enjoy it here and throughout WDW!

Time for a sweet stroll through Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail to visit some beautiful wildlife and take in the pretty plants and wonderful waterfalls that line the trail.

We can't resist stopping to enjoy my hubby's favorite live performers in this park.

Next we enjoyed all the intricate details of the animal carvings on the Tree of Life before stepping inside it to see the many reasons that it's tough to be a bug.

We bid farewell to Animal Kingdom this trip with a family selfie snapped in front of the Tree of Life and a WDW 50th Anniversary banner.  Thankful for our time here and already anticipating a return on our next trip!

We hopped in our rental car and made our way over to Hollywood Studios just before three o'clock for our linner (late lunch/early dinner) dining reservation.

Time to revisit an old friend, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant!  We hadn't been there in many years.  Anyone care for a flashback photo?  The very first time Jason and I dined at the Sci-Fi was in November of 1998 during our honeymoon.  If you look closely you'll spy a "Just Married" sign that our server taped onto the back of our car (table).  It was one of the many sweet stand-out memories from our magical honeymoon that led to our great love of the Disney parks.

This theme restaurant is pure Americana retro magic!  Regardless of the time of day or year when you visit Sci-Fi Dine-in, the moment you pass through the doors you are instantly transported to an evening in the 1950's.  Guests are seated in cars that face a big drive-in style screen that shows sci-fi movie clips, movie trailers, and vintage advertisements to watch as they dine on a menu of classic diner style eats like burgers and shakes.

My memory of this place from our previous dining experiences here was that you come for the atmosphere and expect pretty basic, mediocre food.  However, my meal was much better than expected this trip.  I went with their Drive-in BBQ Burger.  Its menu description reads, "Our Signature-blend of Beef and House-made Seasoning served on a Brioche Bun topped with 9-hour Smoked Pork, Bourbon-Bacon jam, cheddar, lettuce, and Barbecue Sauce".  It was tasty and the fries were very good too.

Despite being plenty full, I came in with the intention of enjoying a hot fudge sundae, and that I did.

As I stepped out of our car (aka: the middle booth of this three seater dining car) I asked the girls to stay put for a moment so I could snap a pic of them. :)

While most guests are seated in cars, if you look closely you'll spot some umbrellas at the back of the restaurant.  Those sit above a few picnic tables that offer guests seats at more traditional tables.

As we exited I paused to snap pics of a few movie posters that line the hall and restaurant entryway.

While dining here isn't a "must" for us on a regular basis, we truly enjoyed our meals and our time here revisiting the Sci-Fi Dine-in.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this place to anyone who hasn't dined here before and is looking for a meal in a unique atmosphere, well themed for a park named after "Hollywood".

We followed our meal up with a brief 3D galactic getaway aboard Star Tours.

When we arrived back on Earth we visited our Muppet friends once more.

With that, we headed back to the Poly for our night of Halloween themed resort fun!

Earlier in the week when looking at events here at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort I spotted a Halloween flick on the Movies Under the Stars schedule.  Catching an outdoor movie at WDW is something we hadn't done in years.  When the girls were little we'd typically stay at one of the Disney All-Star Resorts.  They hosted their movies nights poolside.  Back then, maybe once per trip, we'd end an evening with a pool night, then park some pool chairs in front of the big inflatable movie screen and enjoy a family flick.  Staying at Disney during October (and perhaps feeling a bit nostalgic, remembering those Movies Under the Stars nights of old) I thought this would be fun to include in our trip.  I asked the girls if they thought that sounded like a good time and they agreed.  Always a lover of a good theme night, I checked Magic Kingdom's Halloween party schedule and was delighted to find that they'd be hosting a Mickey's Not-So-Scary party on this same evening which meant Halloween themed fireworks would be lighting up the skies on the same night!  So, we decided we'd plan an entire Disney resort Halloween theme night complete with a Disney Channel Original Halloween movie at 8pm followed by watching Halloween fireworks on Poly's beach at 10:15pm.  Needless to say, after making these plans earlier that week, this was a relaxing resort evening I'd been anticipating!

When planning a movie night, snacks are essential!  Thankfully something earlier that day aided us in finding the most amount of snackage for the least amount of money.  You see, in the mid-morning hours of our resort time, my youngest daughter was in the mood for some potato chips.  We initially popped by Capt. Cook's, the Poly's quick service spot, for a small bag of spuds.  When I saw the price and was hit by the same sticker shock that guests often experience in Disney shops, it dawned on me that they'd have bigger bags just upstairs in Moana Mercantile (a gift shop that offers a small grocery section) where I could also receive an annual passholder discount that wasn't currently being offered at Capt. Cook's.  We quickly exited the restaurant and up the stairs we went for some price comparison shopping.  To my complete and utter shock and absolute delight I found that with my discount I could buy full size Lay's potato chips bags for a little less than what I had been currently paying for it at our local Wal-mart!  (I checked Wal-mart's app to verify, because I was in disbelief - ha!)  It felt like such a big Disney win!  It's the little things, like saving a couple bucks while on Disney property, that make my bargain-loving heart smile!  Fast forward to this fine evening, just after 7pm, our family headed back to Moana Mercantile for some snack shopping.

Here was our tasty haul . . .

Time for a girls night!  We threw on our hoodies to keep cozy as there was a perfect lit'l bit of a chill in the air, packed up our snacks, and headed down for our super fun Disney Halloween themed night!

Sitting on the ground for a couple hours wasn't Jason's thing, which was totally fine as that just meant some girls time for us.  He relaxed in the room and we reunited later in the evening.  Fun for all! :)

Movie time!

Just before the start of the show a cast member with mic in hand "tried" to start the movie, but was unsuccessful.  She then asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to help out with offering her a magic word.  A kiddo hollered, "Action!", and that became our magic word.  We all counted to three, shouted, "Action!", and just like that it was showtime. 

As the credits rolled at the end of the movie it was almost time for the fireworks to begin, so we buzzed over to the beach.  My firstborn love saved four seats for our fam.  I texted Jason to meet up with us there for a fun and festive finale to the evening.  Then "Little One" and I headed to Pineapple Lanai to grab goodies to enjoy during the show.

We brought them back to the beach just before the sky was ablaze with Halloween fireworks over the castle at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  The resort pipes in the music, giving beachside guests all the fun of the special fireworks show from afar.

My Dole Whip fave, the pineapple float!

We lingered longer than the other guests as we love an empty beach moment.  The glowing reflections of Disney's Grand Floridian set a lovely scene as we chatted, laughed, and enjoyed our time as a family.

My youngest daughter left a note in the sand in hopes of bringing another guest a smile.

Thanks so much for being here for another Disney day recapped!  I invite you to join me here this time next week to hear all about our final full day of this vacation.  Spoiler alert, it's one of my all-time favorite Disney days! I can't wait to share it with you soon!  Meanwhile, wishing you a wonderful week, friends!


  1. I love the themed night and your view of the fireworks!

  2. Love the Sci Fi theming! Last time we were there one of our party was mistaken for Steven Spielberg. 😊 Your Mac looked delicious and is now on our Must Try list. Your very own Not So Scary Beach experience sounded perfect!

  3. I don't know ANYONE who does a better theme night (or day!) than you! What a spectacular day!!!


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