Posted in My Travels

Disneyland First Timers! Day 7

Sorry for the delay!  I have been dealing with a lot at home, and just hadn’t any time to draft this up.  Which is why I am using my lunch break to make this magic happen!

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As much as we loved the bustling city and relaxing beach stops of our Southern California trip thus far, this part, Disneyland, was as special.  We thoroughly enjoyed Disneyland (DL) just as we had hoped.

 

Day 7!

This was an extremely hot day!  It was pretty humid and the heat index was off the charts.  

We started by having a pretty big (delicious) breakfast at our hotel before walking over to the parks area.  We entered the parks via South Harbor Blvd, which was the opposite side of where we went the night before to Downtown Disney.  Being this close to the parks was fantastic.  We all commented on how it felt like going to the Magic Kingdom (MK) from the Bay Lake Towers (BLT) at the Contemporary in Walt Disney World.  Which is a resort we all enjoy staying due of the proximity to MK.  *With the major differences here of being outside of the property and way more people walking along with you.  The MK walk from BLT is literally like your own private entrance!

The walkway to the Disneyland Parks here had the most charming, manicured, square-cut trees.  With Pixar Fest happening, there was that faint Pixar music that we heard at Downtown Disney being piped in, which I loved so much.  Who doesn’t get amped up hearing The Incredible’s movie theme song early in the morning!? Your stride changes a bit, you seem to have a bounce in your step and a smile on your face. It’s pretty magical from that point on.

Since we planned one day per park, we realized this was going to be a challenge because of the amount of people slated to be at the park as they just reopened annual pass holders back from Summer.  Also, DL’s fast pass system is the old school paper tickets, and being unfamiliar with the park (wanting to see more) was a big obstacle, but also we were fighting time.

If you have never been to DL, but have gone to WDW, the set up is basically similar to MK. Meaning they both have themed areas at almost in the same directions as one another; with three exceptions in DL.  They have the following… Main Street, U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, Frontierland, Critter Country, New Orleans Square and Adventureland. Knowing where these are at WDW, you know Main Street USA is where you enter down to the castle.  The castle is the central point with Tomorrowland to its right, Fantasyland behind it, Frontierland and Adventureland to its left.  Did I get that right? Yes, ok. So. Knowing generally where the rides we wanted to get on first were, and how the fastpass system worked, we planned to opt out of chasing down characters we had met before, or, rides that we had gone on at WDW IF we had to skip something for time.

There is a MAXPASS system in place at the parks. It’s $10 a person per day, which we didn’t get the first day, stupidly.  We both thought it was $40 a person, for some reason. I am not sure what we were thinking, but we did get it on our next visit which was a HUGE help getting us on rides faster.  The MAXPASS grants you access to book fastpass (FP) and to see/save photopass pictures through their app. The rule is you book one FP per person, you can’t get another electronically till that one is spent.  Like at WDW, except you get three per person to book in advance to start.

Even with the FP set back, we did a lot.  And since they had opened the gates that day for their annual pass holders return from the Summer off, the amount of crowds was manageable. There were a lot of people there.

We did a lot for what we had to deal with and time!!

The rides we got on:

  • Snow White’s Scary Adventure*- I loved this when it was at WDW, it was the very first ride my husband had taken me on during my first visit. (Snow White is my favorite Princess of all time.) Naturally, we had to ride this first to show the kids. This ride makes its way through the Seven Dwarfs lives in the cottage and glimmering mines, the haunted forest, the Evil Queen’s room and exits to the happily ever after.   I miss this ride a lot!
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey*- This was a cute ride, similar to Snow White’s, with all its plot twists along Pinocchio’s story.  I loved seeing Figaro everywhere, he is my favorite cat.
  • Big Thunder Mountain- We all love this ride at WDW, and this one was very different but still the same.  It wasn’t as jerky, which made it a little more enjoyable, and I felt like it was more daring with its drops and swoops.  We definitely wished we lived closer to ride it more and more!
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride*- This was a first for me and the girls, my husband had ridden this at WDW as a kid.  The ride moves along pretty quick, though, but we thought it was a lot of fun!
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats*- This is the sweetest water ride to ever exist.  It is a simple cruise down a canal overlooking all the homes of the storybook characters and some Disney ones from over the years.  It was so well constructed, and adorable.
  • Mad Tea Party (twice)- This is a ride also at WDW, but it is outdoors adorned with colorful lanterns above.  So pretty at night!  I noticed it wasn’t as big, not as many riders can get on at once, so the line took some time to get through.  Overall, aesthetically we liked this location, but the short length of the ride and wait in line was a bummer.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure*- So, we all loved this ride a whole bunch.  It was super fun, thrilling and kinda creepy! Lots of twisty turns, bringing the action as close to you as possible.  Lots of effects that surprised us all. I wish they create this at WDW… but make it a little less jerky, please.
  • Jungle Cruise- This is a ride I have not gotten on in years, since my first visit in 2002 to be exact.  Each time we have brought our kids it was either down or they didn’t care to go on it.  This time, because it was so frackin hot and the line was at 15 minutes, we jumped on!  So happy we did.  The cruise takes you on an adventure with animatronic exotic animals and people along the way.  I re-lived a lot of the funny jokes.
  • Space Mountain (twice)- When I say ‘we’ rode this, I mean my husband and oldest daughter did.  Our youngest would rather die than ride it again.  ha  They did say that it was different from at home, one loved it more and one loved it less.
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage*- This is a super cute ride, that is themed with the Pixar movie Nemo, but used to be 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea- Submarine Voyage ride, which I never got to ride. It is an underwater adventure where you go “deep” into the ocean for exploration, then it turns into a Nemo adventure looking for him all over again.  Our kids really enjoyed it, looking at all the under sea ‘fish’.  BUT…if you are claustrophobic, do not go on this ride.  Like I don’t even have claustrophobia and I was feeling a little too uncomfortable for my taste.  But to be fair, it wasn’t the whole time, just when we had a small leak that dripped on another guest in our submarine.  My brain, apparently, was not having it. hahah
  • Autopia-Take a ride in the coolest gas-powered cars!  This is a racecar ride that most amusement parks have, but the cars at Disneyland were tres cool!  We had a blast letting the girls each take the wheel, as we feared for our lives… we keep doing this to ourselves.  To our surprise this time, they did great!  In my car, with our youngest, we only slammed into the guard rails at the center like 50 times while she screamed and let go of the wheel but leaving her lead foot on the gas.
  • Disneyland RR- After our non-stop running around, we decided to get to our next destination, dinner, by railway.  This was actually totally fun, and different from WDW’s.  The RR rides around the park, but also through tunnels of time.  Cute.
  • Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin*- We had to hustle to get here after dinner. Toontown closes early for the fireworks display, it was around 8:30PM this night.   It was such a fun ride, sort of like Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, but bouncy and kookier.  The girls loved it!
  • it’s a small world- This begins outside in DL, which is great, and it definitely went longer than its sister location at WDW.  There seemed to be more lands/countries and I appreciated them way more! I actually love looking at all the details of the cultures, clothing, and the DL version was just a touch better than at WDW because they peppered in some Disney characters.  Hands down cute!
  • Alice in Wonderland*- The ride takes you on the adventure of Alice in Wonderland in a giant caterpillar car.  Immediately you are shrunken down to fit through the doors. You avoid chases by the Queen of Hearts and her staff of cards. And you end up at the Mad Tea Party.  It’s really cute.

* Not at Walt Disney World

FYI- The Matterhorn and The Haunted Mansion, the two rides I was looking forward to most, were shut down.

We got to meet for the first time:

  • Kylo Ren
  • Rey
  • Darth Vader

We drank and snacked on:

  • Dole Whip (No swirls at DL, folks!)
  • Churros
  • Mickey Bars
  • Mickey Shaped Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Frozen Lemonades
  • Frozen Lemonades with Cherry
  • Waters..like I think fifteen waters a piece!  It was really hot.

 

Aside from all this, we did stop to have dinner.  We had booked reservations for the Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square.  This was a nice area of the park, set up to look like New Orleans.  If you have ever stayed at the Port Orleans Resort at WDW, which we had our first family trip- on the French quarter side, it had the same feels of that location.  Very ornate and pretty.

Cafe Orleans was pretty fun.The aesthetics inside and out felt like we were somewhere else; we sat outside on the patio. The mint julep drink was so pretty AND super delicious!  We ordered dinner at a snail’s pace because we found out that some of their items, like their fries, were fried ahead of time in my husband’s allergen. With a little maneuvering he got to order basically what he wanted.  Just no fries.  Which was a bummer, because those fries rocked!  Hey, I felt bad the whole time I ate them with the kids in front of his face.  😛

The waitress refilled our glasses a lot, which we needed in the heat. Even though the kids were drinking Sprite and Coca Cola, which I don’t normally let them unless we go out or are away, I wasn’t caring at all. They needed the sugar and liquid to make the rest of the night.  Did I mention enough how it was sweltering hot out there? I feel like I haven’t.  Not nearly enough.  The sun was shining bright and the sky had no cloud in sight.  Perfect but the humidity was over the top ridiculous.  I wore a sheer top that I was boiling in.  And I can handle high temps.  My kids were just sweating standing in the shade and every twenty minutes we finished a bottle of water running for another one. We even drank from the weird water bubblers around the park when we had no water bottles in sight.  It was so hot!  OHMYGOD, I forgot to mention, it was so hot that an older woman fainted in front of us waiting to get on Big Thunder Mountain!  She was about to get on and just dropped.  That is how hot it was!

Ok, back to dinner..in the heat.  As the food arrived it felt like a scene from some eating contest.  The plates were overflowing with food, holy portions!  The kids and my husband ordered 2 monte cristos and a three cheese monte cristo to split up, and I got the nicoise salad..with fries. 🙂   Their meals were not sandwiches, they were like donuts!  GINORMOUS SQUARISH & TRIANGULAR SHAPED DONUTS!  It was obscene!  I was pretty happy to see that none of them could put a dent in their dishes.

After dinner, we had to run on a few rides before the Pixar Fest ‘Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular’ Fireworks started. I put a list of all the rides above, basically, in order of how we got on them.

Once the night sky got real dark, the show started.  We got to watch the show by the it’s a small world building. WOW!  We were told they were pretty special there, and they weren’t kidding.  What a view!  We got to stand pretty close to the projections on the ride, and, there was a lot of space for people to sit on the ground!  It floats through all the music and scenes of Pixar’s great movies.  The best part for me, however, was Wall-E and Eve.  It was magical and perfect with the fireworks.

We did all this and we still had time to take our time walking down Main Street USA to shop around… twice!  I got the girls some birthday surprises, which they both celebrate their big days in September.  We left the parks by walking back to the hotel.  We were absolutely spent after all the running around and non-stop fun.

 

This was another great day!  We all felt that Disneyland had a great magical feel. We fell asleep looking forward to our next big adventure…Disneyland’s California Adventure Park!  YEE!!

Posted in My Travels

Walt Disney World April 23 and 24- Days 8 + 9

Day 8 

Disney Park: Magic Kingdom (open till 11PM)

Out of all the days we spent in Orlando, this was to be the yuckiest weather wise. The reports said it was to be thunderstorms from mid morning on. So we took our chances to spend our last morning in Disney walking the Saratoga Springs property to hang out down at the main pool. I am so glad we took this relaxing start. First, it was spotty with sunshine but no rain, so that was a win, and we all needed to enjoy some free time before the bustle of real life. With leaving tomorrow. 😦

Ok, no dwelling on that!!

We had great fun hanging out at the main pool, there are two hot tubs-and they were bone melting hot. Yes!! We luckily got ourselves ready AND partially packed by the time we made it to the Magic Kingdom!  We wanted our last full day to be at the MK.

The park’s attendance didn’t seem as crazy as our other two days there before, so we were thrilled. We strolled through Main Street USA, without bumping into a soul.  We kept our first FP for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride at 1:40PM. The girls and I loved this ride from the first day, and were looking forward to riding it one last time.

The queue for the ride is so darn cute. I love those seven little guys!The only thing that stunk about our ride was as soon as the mine carts hit the outside the large drops of rain started to fall.  Not a terribly big deal, I had my sunglasses to stop the splatter of water in my eyes. And even if the ride had a few minor stops along the way that got us wet, we don’t know what happened, we still had fun. That wait outside the cottage at the end was a fun opportunity to teach everyone that they can rock the carts back and forth to the music.  So, we swayed to Snow White dancing!  It was actually a lot more fun than it sounds.

About the time we got off the ride, the rain seemed over. The park was prepping for their big parade, and we wanted to get to Thunder Mountain before it was too late. But, by the time we got over to Frontierland through the bridge and roped areas, the rain had started coming down harder.  Ponchos on, we ran to Pirates of the Caribbean, which had a ten minute wait listed. I was happy to keep my poncho on for that ride as well.  The canon went off right next to our boat…  I stayed dry. After POTC, the sun came gloriously out but thunder started so all the outside rides had to pause till it was over.

The girls really wanted to have a Dole whip, because each day resulted in some fail to get one, so we raced over to grab one.  Our oldest is a huge pineapple nut, so she wanted the dole whip swirl over the upside down pineapple cake and our youngest wanted a simple vanilla, no pineapple.  The vanilla was so good, and swirled with the pineapple was pretty great.  I am a fan and not a fan of the Dole whip.  The first time I had it I got the float, which was literally so much pineapple that I couldn’t taste anything else for three hours. But our oldest remembers her very first one, in 2012, and talks about it like it was an ancient precious relic. Haha

I like rum. Maybe next time I will try the rum ones?

Since the sun was still out, and no thunder rumbles for a while, we ran over to Big Thunder Mountain which had virtually no line!  We ended up riding it twice in a row, taking full advantage of people stuck somewhere else due to the thunder.

After this, we planned FP to split up because our oldest wanted to ride Space Mountain again with her dad, and our youngest wanted to go on The Haunted Mansion with me. My ghoulish gal. We had a lot of fun splitting up! We walked through the store first to cool off from the humidity, then made our way. We laughed a lot, and the ride had a quick pause where we got spooked pretty good by the creepy skeleton that pops up out of the tombstone!

We met up after these rides in Liberty Square. The rain started again, so we ducked into The Hall of Presidents. Without too much detail or ranting crazily about my dislike for Trump. All the Presidents creep me out. They always have. Especially, the little guy at the desk behind Pres. Washington. I flashed the 8 gang sign to Pres. Van Buren, always representing Seinfeld. Cheered seeing JFK, cuz Boston. The show is a good watch overall. Our country is spectacular and we have had do many different types of leaders. My kids liked the video beforehand followed by President Lincoln’s address. I always do. Which is probably the best part of the whole show.

And, Trump sucks even as an animatronic puppet reading from a script. Ugh sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

We left the show to find blue skies and SUNSHINE! Woo! We took a walk up the side of the castle then realized each time we walked by the castle this trip it was closed for a parade or show. We saw it was open and finally made our way in!

It’s not a terribly big walk through but it is worth stopping to look at all the Cinderella reliefs. The lighting is dark, but what you can see of the mosaics is spectacular when you think about how many man hours the artist put into them. She did an amazing job. I especially like the gold tiles, so sparkly in each relief.

As we strolled down the castle paths, we realized the time. We had a FP for The Speedway and then reservations for dinner following, at Be Our Guest.

The Speedway is one of those ‘ride your own’ rides that crack me up with the girls because they can’t drive to save their lives and are overwhelmed if they bump the inner track. My husband rode with our oldest, because our youngest wouldn’t allow me to go with her. Notice how she is always with me? She is starting to attach herself to my hip. Well, we had good fun driving, or trying to drive. She was so funny because she has a lead acceleration foot and a lead breaking foot. She kept freaking out, letting go of the wheel and smashing into the inner track.

Let’s hope this isn’t her driving future.

Finally! Dinner!

We had only eaten lunch at Be Our Guest in 2014, and had a good experience. Dinner service is way different than lunch.

First, you check in at the front kiosk where you are told to await a text to enter the gates. Within seconds we got the text. We then were let into the gates, then told to await our party’s name to be announced. Every few minutes a footman would come out of the side door calling names. Once our name was called the footman walked us in the castle through the main doors telling us that the prince was throwing a party. The lunch ordering kiosks to the right were covered in lush velvet curtains and we were taken straight through the ballroom where we had sat before to our table.

We were seated in what I called the Thunder and Lightning Room. It was one the left side of the ballroom; beautiful plum wall paper, dimly lit tables and it had a lot of theatrics. The ceiling had tapestries hung that the Beast had clawed through during a fit, there was also a crackling fireplace with a painting hung above. Every few minutes thunder and lightning lit up the space, and with each clap of thunder the painting above the fireplace would flicker between the painting of the Prince to an image of him as the Beast. Super glad no other children sat in this space because the thunder and lightning was sort of loud …and spooked me a little! Also, next to the fireplace-in the corner of the room, there was the enchanted rose under glass twirling. It was a beautiful space but I wish the rose was more realistic rather than holographic.

When we got seated the Beast made a dramatic entrance into our space to say a quick hello to the room before heading to his character meet spot inside the study, the ordering kiosks area at the front. Our waitress was super nice and the atmosphere was pretty fun, though at times I’d joke that we were at the Rainforest Cafe with the lightning and thunder.

Our waitress encouraged us to take a walk around the restaurant and to see the Beast. After we ordered drinks we took a minute to check out our room and the other rooms across the way. We decided to hold off on seeing the Beast until after we ate and ready to leave.

The whole table was dressed so perfectly in a rose theme. Each place-setting was adorned with rosette napkins and a giant candle in the middle of the table. The girls loved the napkins a lot; so now I have to learn how to make rose folded napkins to surprise them.

Our experience this meal was actually nothing like the horror stories we had read. We ended up enjoying it way more than we figured we would. My husband got the salmon. Our girls got the grilled shrimp and mac n cheese. I got the roasted chicken- because I never order chicken ever but during this trip I ordered it like everyday. Haha. My husband had a beer and I had a rose champagne. We had a great time together, even if the thunder got the best of me once in a while. Hah

We, of course, had to get the grey stuff. My only meh moment of the night was this grey stuff. I’m the only one who didn’t care for it, too. It was sort of bland and the crust was so hard to get through. I took a bite and forfeited it to the big man. Which I am glad I did because I got a second round of champagne instead :).

After dinner we met the Beast. Well, he is the reason I wanted to take the girls to this restaurant; well, I had never seen him in person. Just wow. What a costume. The whole character meet was so sweet. He kissed our hands, hugged us and we were enchanted.

Now that we were all floating on cloud nine, we made our way to Big Thunder Mountain to use our last FP.  As we ran over, we noticed the park was starting their nighttime show, so the ride had virtually no line anyways.  We got onto the ride, my husband and I alone in front of the girls, who got to sit in the last seat  (which is the best seat on the whole coaster).  We popped outside to find the fireworks just starting.  IT WAS AMAZEBALLS! I mean, the locations of each display is staggered to look together from Main Street USA but from the side they are spread out so our view was literally surrounded on the right side… it was the best thing I had ever experienced on BTM.

The fireworks show is pretty long, and they continued as we exited the ride… so the girls wanted to hop back on, and I decided to sit it out to watch the fireworks.  I got to sit on top of these boxes near the water bubbler by the exit to watch the show as they went on.  It was awesome.  The best part of this stint of the night was when my family exited the ride my husband sat out the next ride to sit with me on the boxes as the girls rode again.

Kissing during fireworks that close is pretty special.  🙂

As soon as the girls exited, the fireworks ended and the rain started!  BAH!! almost perfect, right?  Well we ended up getting the girls on the carousel as we took cover near by.  We had one last FP for the night, Peter Pan.  It may have been the best way to end the night.  The girls wanted to ride it together, which was sweet, and left us alone. I know I said this last time, but I just love this ride so much.  We jetted after this ride to the Confectionary on Main Street USA to grab some last minute souvenirs for everyone.  They were shooting photos for some photo shoot inside there, which was fun to see.

Sad to say, that this was our last full day in the parks, but a pretty great last night of the trip.  The girls were wiped during the bus ride home, but so was I.  When we got back to the resort, I jumped on finishing up the packing and setting up everyone for the next day.  😦

Our last day.

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Day 9

Disney Park: EPCOT

We woke up to beautiful sunshine!  Of course, we were leaving.  We dropped off our bags to bell service to hold, grabbed a bite to eat and a few more souvenirs.  I needed my Mickey waffle key chain!  Then headed right to EPCOT.  We had to be back to the resort by 2PM to grab the Magical Express back to the airport. Which by my calculations left us not a ton of time to play.  We had one FP this day, because of the time constraints, to Test Track.  We literally got to EPCOT, took a few pictures, rode Test Track then left.

Or at least it felt that fast!

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Well, there we have it, guys!

It was a fun nine days with the people I love most on this marble creating memories, just having fun.  BUT, I think we have had our Disney Parks fill for a bit.  Wink Wink.  I will explain my winks further on Instagram sometime soon!

Hope you all enjoyed reading along.  I miss not waking up in Disney, it really has been magical.

xoxoxo

Posted in My Travels

Walt Disney World April 21- Day 6

Day 6 

Disney Park: Animal Kingdom (open till 10:30PM)

This was our first morning at Saratoga Springs Resort.  When I finally got to see what our view looked like from the room I was giddy and woke up the whole room to rejoice with me.

So to recap, we arrived for our first stay during the night hours.  Everything lit by lamps, you can’t really see much.  We were given a room in the Paddock /building 65.  Unpacked a little bit, then got right to bed..of course, after an hour of watching the Disney World parks today station.  We just found that station on a three-hour loop on YouTube, which we played all morning Sunday for nostalgia. hah  I wish I was kidding.

The view… It was perfect.  It was peaceful. It was beautiful. IT WAS JUST SO WONDERFUL!!  I should mention, that we had pretty low expectations of this resort because whenever we drove by it or saw it in print we were like..”OK, it’s pretty but where is the big Disney wow factor?”.  Well, folks, the whole property is it.  We really felt transported during this part of our stay because of the resort.  There was a lot of grassy space.  Each building was painted a different classic color, ours was yellow but next to us was a light green and blue, so pretty. There were not a ton of children, but there were a lot of kids, don’t get me wrong.  The walks to the two pools and to the main building gave us access to so many beautiful vistas of water and wildlife, and each pool are was different. The main pool had two hot tubs, a large swim area with a cool slide and a splash park, to the side there were table tennis tables and a thread hair wrapping station. The pool closer to our building had a hot tub, a main pool with slide and then a splash climbing park next to it.   They had surrey bike rentals if you wanted, which we all said if we go back we are renting them. The bus service was always on time, and there were multiple stops within the resort in case you wanted to catch it at another spot.  The property just had a real nice overall feel to it.  We didn’t regret any moment of this stay.

This day we planned to start off at the pool with breakfast and swimming, though the weather said the day would be cloudy with rain.  We took our chances! So glad we did, because as soon as we finished breakfast, the clouds broke with sun, a few sprinkles fell and that was it for the day!

We had a great experience at the hot tub, got to meet a slew of people from Massachusetts, which was a lot of fun.  We also got to hang out sunbathing in the graduated part of the pool together too.

AAhhrrg why do I live in Massachusetts!!?!?

After the pool, we all got dolled up and headed on to our second day at the Animal Kingdom.  We pre-reserved three FP for this day, but two of them we changed at the pool.  We kept our Avatar Flight of Passage.  We arrived to the park to find it was less crowded than our last visit, which was weird since it was a Saturday.  They had the Star Wars marathon happening this weekend, so maybe folks took off afterward?

We started off this trip with a fun leisure, semi-guided by me, walk over to Pandora.  haha  I just wanted to stay there all day! Plus we had our FP coming up.  That’s what I told everyone anyways.

So I love this ride to pieces.  It was even more exciting this day, maybe because I knew what to expect again but I just enjoyed every moment. And I kept my eyes open to my surroundings to see how it all worked out with us floating up to the screen.  SUPER COOL.  We exited the ride somewhat hungry, so we stopped in at the Satu’li Canteen for these bao buns we saw before. I hung outside to reserve a table, while the big man ordered the food.  The best surprise was that he brought me a pretty blue drink to go with everything, a dreamwalker sangria. The drink was pretty.  That’s really all I can say about it.. I love blue?

From Pandora we went to Asia for the Maharaja Safari.  But first, as if my kids didn’t just eat they NEEDED a dole whip and ice cream.  SMH, with all this junk!!   We got to Tamu Tamu in Africa, but the dole whip machine was down, so our daughters opted for chocolate chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches and my husband grabbed a malva cake to share (it’s a spice cake). We found a great hideaway spot to eat with lots of shade and seats.  So, the kids’ ice cream sandwiches were the biggest things ever, so both my husband and I grabbed knives to cut off at least a quarter piece.  I was full from the piece that I had eaten that I couldn’t go near that malva cake… Oh, but, our oldest daughter could.  HOLY EATER! And she is so thin, I don’t know where she puts it all.  (She eats like a machine every day)

We got ourselves to the Maharaja Safari and had the most pleasant time walking around.  The girls were finishing up with their Wilderness Explorer books that they started on the first trip; collecting stickers, talking to all the guides and drawing.  Such a great idea to get people involved with their surroundings.  After this we swooped down into Asia for more WE stops, then made our way to It’s Tough to Be a Bug.  Something our youngest didn’t remember at all. So seeing her flip out over the 4D stuff was funny.  To me anyways.  haha

 

I forgot to mention that our kids had been pestering us all morning to get over to Dinoland to ride Primeval Whirl.  When I say pester I mean bother me till I explode! Which takes a lot.  So after the 4d fun, we made our way to Dinoland.  We had a FP to ride PW, we gave them ours so they could ride it twice in a row. They got three turns because the lines were super low.  Then they darted over to TriceraTops before we got to leave the park.  We were heading to Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ in Disney Springs for dinner.

Ok, so this was one of the few restaurants I booked that I was actually excited to try out.  From our experience being checked in by the cheerful staff, to our so friendly waiter, whom we talked like we were old friends with all night, we just had great vibes this place was going to be good. And, well, it did not disappoint!  What a fun night.

We all ordered some type of fried chicken dish; whether straight forward chicken or a sandwich, then the girls ordered ice cream and donuts for dessert.  My husband and I had great moonshine cocktails that we ordered in these funny restaurant 22oz sippy cups.  So, no dessert for us, we decided to keep drinking our moonshine instead. I got 2 moonshine margaritas and he mixed it up; first he had a single of a berry lavender.  Then, per our waiter’s recommendation, they mixed a concoction of one berry lavender and one blueberry bliss.  A big purple drink emerged.  Then his third, yes his third, he opted back to the original one. The sippy cups can be refilled anytime during your stay there.  Love moonshine, kids!  The kicker is that they have a bar set up outside so you can get those same moonshine refills while walking around all day and all night..for like $10-$12 a refill!

I know, let’s move to Disney Springs..or better yet, let’s get Art Smith to open a place up here!!

Our meals were delicious, not a thing left on a plate. I even ate some of my husband’s food!  YES, ME!  Everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned just right.  The donuts at the end may have been the best ever too.  Crisp and tasty.  Just like a warm hug of vanilla.

We ended up walking around after dinner, shopping for souvenirs and being silly. It had started to rain just as the stores were closing for the night.  We grabbed some souvenirs, and those that we couldn’t find we found on the app at the other parks we were visiting next.. So we decided it was time to pack it in and walk back to the resort.  Saratoga Springs, particularly our building within the resort, is literally a five-minute walk from Disney Springs.  Super convenient.

Well, there is day 6 out of 9.  😦 I really loved this night of our trip.  We felt like we were away yet at home with all the good food and walking around.

Also, my moonshine margarita was amazing.  Got a refill without ice to bring to the pool the next day, too!  :)~

Posted in Random Stuff

Walt Disney World April 20- Day 5

I am pretty sad this is already at day 5, I have been having such a fun time going over all the details and pictures!!

Day 5

Disney Park: Hollywood Studios (open till 9PM)

This day we started off by packing so Bell Services could transfer our luggages to a new resort!   The first part of this trip has been at the Bay Lake Tower resort and we were moving to the Saratoga Springs Resort.  We, ourselves, were going to eat some breakfast at the quick service inside the Contemporary Resort then head straight over to Hollywood Studios.

Before leaving on this trip, we had planned to meet up with a local family we heard was also going to be in Disney during the same week. We tried to make a FP together or two. Then more plans were made when we landed in Orlando with an old high school friend,too!  Great day ahead. 🙂

We ended up having some spectacular weather this trip, and today was no exception.  It was 84F, but it was dry and breezy.  A perfect day, truly.  When we got to the park we had good fun talking with the Disney photographer on Sunset Blvd, who was a retiree from Maine, and a sweet sweet man.  I loved his ‘dad jokes’, like not knowing how to use iPhones so when he gave me mine back he told me that most of the guests he deals with go home with selfies of him.  hahah None on my phone though, I kinda wish I did!!

From the entrance, we contacted our hometown friends to let them know we made it to the park, and we made plans to meet up after they got off Toy Story Mania..which was at an hour wait at that moment. So we got ourselves to our first FP for Star Tours at 11:35AM.  I am not sure if you guys are noticing, I didn’t make one FP for before 10:30AM, not a one!  We enjoy not having to run out extremely early on our days off.  Our every day is getting up before 6AM, so when we go away we try not to do that much unless it’s absolutely necessary.

From Star Tours we took a quick jump to Muppet Vision, which is always a good time in the AC!  I grew up watching The Muppets, and I can’t ever skip this attraction.. like ever.  At about this time, our friends messaged us saying they were outside of Ariel to meet up, so we quickly made our way there.  We had such a great time greeting one another, these friends have been over for parties, they are just so funny and a nice group of people.  Their youngest daughter is besties with our oldest daughter, so they were so excited to finally see each other since they text all day as they don’t go to the same Middle School.  They try to hang out as much as possible after school, but without being at the same school it’s just not the same.  This crew was super hot by this time so we took a walk onto Star Wars Launch Bay to watch a quick video.  Then we parted ways so they could eat lunch at their reservations and hit up their FP, we made plans to meet up for our last FP for Tower of Terror at 4:50PM that we booked together.  So we went to get in line to meet Chewbacca as they went on their way to eat.

Well, we stood there for a quick minute then changed minds. The girls really wanted an ice cream, so we decided to break from the line to go get an ice cream.   While we were eating the ice cream, we made our plans before meeting up with our friends again.  We got back to meeting Chewbacca since the line was at under 10 minutes.  What a fun character meet up.  This costume was super impressive, and the CM in there did a top notch job interacting with my family.  We laughed a lot… and he loved my Starbucks pin in my ears. 🙂  I only shared one photo cause my bruises in the other family photos were kind of sickeningly gross, even for me who had them! haha

Our next FP was for Indiana Jones, which our girls had never experienced last time we visited four years ago as it was under renovation. I forgot about how well choreographed this show was, and all the fire and action!  The girls really enjoyed the show, and the tricks of all the stuntmen/women.  And the Mickey Mouse face shaped pretzel they ate during the show, as well.

Once we hit the sunshine, we took our chances at waiting for Toy Story Mania.  They weren’t processing FP for this ride while it’s been under construction, and the time for Stand By was 50 minutes.  First, on the way, the girls wanted to check out the Walt Presents museum; so we decided to make a quick trip of it before we got in line for TSM.  Glad to say that we didn’t wait more than 49 minutes.  hahaha  I am jk, it was more like 35 minutes, the longest we have waited in a line on any trip!, but we spent the time in line playing games, snapping and just enjoying the breezes.

The entrance was sweet. All the new graphics, and imagery.  Since we are all big Pixar fans, we enjoyed the revamp going up to Andy’s room. From Toy Story Mania we got ourselves up Sunset Blvd for our meet up with our friends to ride Tower of Terror.  They were leaving this day so basically after Tower of Terror they had a short time to make it to the airport.  The best part of this was that both moms of the families opted out of the ride, which gave the kids an extra FP each to ride it again…and for us, margaritas and sunshine.  Which was a perfect way to spend time.  The people watching in Disney is absolutely entertaining and not to be missed.  The things I had seen this trip, like the bald man sitting in front of us during the Star Wars Launch Bay film with HIS full face – mustache and sunglasses- tattooed on the back of his head, were memorable.  That must’ve hurt, that’s all I am saying about it.

Ok, so sadly, after Tower of Terror, we walked towards our dinner reservations and had to say goodbye to our friends. 😦  We all had a fun time together, but sad it had to be cut short… I am looking forward to our hang out this Saturday though!

Our dinner reservations were to a place we had taken our kids last trip, and they DID remember, 50’s Prime Time.  Why did my kids remember this place?  Well, it was the first restaurant we let them have a milk shake with dinner and there was a TV at the table. (We don’t have TV in the kitchen, cause I don’t allow it.  I don’t allow it many parts of the house actually. Especially NOT their bedrooms. I grew up with one in my room, and well, I don’t want that for them.)  This restaurant is such a fun experience for all of us.   We had a crazy waitress, who cracked us up the entire meal with her indifference and jokes.  She would call the girls to the kitchen entrance to grab things, which confused them, and threw straws at them when they got drinks, which sounds horrible but it was funny.

We sat at a cute corner dinette set with a vintage TV just like the 1950’s.  My husband and I both got the fried chicken, and the girls meatloaf. They, of course, got milkshakes, my husband a cocktail that lit up and I got a glass of NZ sauvignon blanc.  My fav wine.  I can’t believe it, but I ate my entire dish of chicken.  Something I rarely do!

I think my favorite part of the meal was, aside from the insanely good fried chicken, was talking about our family during this time. Because my parents didn’t grow up in America during the 50s, my stories of my parents past during the 50’s are totally different than what my in-laws had experienced. That quintessential modern era Americana.  So we got to talk to the girls in good detail all about the fun things my husband learned from Grammy and Grampy about this era and what we know of it.  They were so into the conversation with so many questions and comments.

I LOVE THESE TWO KIDS!  They are so inquisitive and smart, and beautiful.  That’s a bonus.  🙂

While finishing dinner, I got a message from my friends from our second meet up of the day! Our plan was to get together after dinner to see Fantasmic and maybe the Star Wars show.  Before getting to the arena, we grabbed a cider and wine, and set up the girls with their light up garb.  Our friends got to the seats first, saved us a bench.  We were about 8 rows from the show, and my kids were really excited.  We had met up with these friends a few times during our trips to Orlando before, last was in 2016 when we took a trip to Universal after a Caribbean cruise out of Ft Lauderdale.  They have a young daughter, but she was so little last time that she basically stayed in her carriage. My kids didn’t get to play with her much, plus another two sets of friends were with us at that time too, which both had children their age keeping them busy, it was a lot of people.

It also meant that I got reacquainted with her this night, too.  From the second the word hello fell from my lips, she was enchanted. (little girls seem to like me, idk why. haha)  And when I told her that my baby girl had the same name as she did, well, that was it, they were besties all night. I gave her some light up necklaces to match my kids, and well, she was all into being my bestie, too. She sat on my lap then my daughter’s, stood next to me, next to her, narrated the show, told me who her favorite characters are and cracked us all up dancing and singing.

We followed Fantasmic with watching the Star Wars fireworks show, Galactic Nights, together.  We stood to the right within the plaza.  We really enjoyed the theatrics and pyrotechnics of the show, it was quite thrilling actually.  The feel of the fire shots that they let out towards the end was blasting us all with so much heat, I felt happy (on the account that I love hot weather!).

We said our goodbyes then hopped on the bus to go over to our new resort..Saratoga Springs!  We were all excited to check it out, and sleep!  Ok, I was excited to sleep, I was wiped!

We checked in, grabbed our luggage and were driven to our room.  All in the dark, so we had no clue what anything looked like. We were in building 65 on the second floor.  The room was way bigger than at the Bay Lake Tower.  The layout was different, too. Like, the bathroom sink was unattached, and bonus they had a large entrance to the room.  We had a pretty great day at Hollywood Studios, loved seeing all our friends!

Posted in My Travels

Walt Disney World April 19- Day 4

Day 4

Disney Park: Animal Kingdom (open till 9:30PM)

🎂 This day was my eldest sister’s birthday, the one who lives overseas in Sicily. Our daughters wanted to make her a birthday video from the pool first thing to make her day bright.  Something we seem to make offsite for her annually as her birthday always falls during our school vacation weeks.

Like I just mentioned, we got to the pool before hitting the park today; we had a FP starting at 11:55AM for the safari. It was a perfect 80F start with the sun shining and the pool glimmering… and oh look, friends from home!  Yup, we saw more friends from my husband’s hometown at the pool.

Apparently, Bay Lake is the place to be during April vacation.

Because the weather was spectacular, we were willing to sacrifice the first FP for pool time since we had another FP for the safari another day at night.  This day we also reserved FP for Primeval Whirl, for the girls to ride it for the first time, and then Avatar Flight of Passage, for all of us to ride it together.

Going to the Animal Kingdom this day was our first shot at the bus system since our last visit. The buses for Bay Lake arrive at a station on the Contemporary side of the house.  We arrived to the Animal Kingdom only to be greeted by a handsome stranger approaching me.  He was fast talking with his family while holding a paper ticket, basically, asking if we wanted it. It was a free pass to ride Avatar Flight of Passage any time that day (kid swap).   So yea, I took it and thanked him, it was a great start to our day already!

On top of this we were hungry. We went to grab a quick bite to eat at the Flame Tree BBQ (one of the first spots where I had ever eaten at Disney World in 2002); so for nostalgia and love of BBQ’d meat, we have to eat there first each time.  The girls split the mac n cheese topped with pulled pork, my husband the pulled pork sandwich with a beer and me the BBQ chicken salad with a vodka drink!   So, just a heads up that portions of food at this location are crazy out of whack. Like, way too big. My kids split a KIDS MEAL and my husband had eaten some of it too.  I ended up splitting my dish with my husband, and leaving some behind.  As you may be understanding by now, my husband is an eating machine.  haha  He is a pretty big guy, and always ends up eating my food.  Sometimes I feel bad but he doesn’t seem to mind.  🙂 And I love sharing my food and everything with him anyways.

We flew to our first FP, the Kilimanjaro safari! They changed this experience a little. It no longer used the radios or anything that had to do with the chase of finding poachers along the route, which was actually pretty ok. I mean, the last time we rode it there was a little confusion on the ride because the driver didn’t set up the chase quite well and we had to explain it to a family the whole time.

Our next FP was the Primeval Whirl.  A ride the girls were too little to get on during the past two trips to AK.  We all got on it together, which was fun.  I had never ridden it either!  Another ride we didn’t make it on ever in my Disney life, shock and awe.

Is it horrible to say that I didn’t care much for this ride?  I liked the theme and it was silly fun and all, but the jerkiness of the turns at the end of each corner was bothersome.  I felt like an arcade pinball getting whacked around and spun. The girls loved it! Which is all I can ask for because they have been talking about this ride for months! We walked around Dinoland a bit after the ride, but I was pretty excited to get to our next FP… Avatar Flight of Passage!! So I basically forced everyone to get going!!

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon!!

Arriving at Pandora is pretty surreal as you are walking over the bridge.  Especially if you are a fan of the movie, which we all are.  The transformation from Discoveryland to Pandora is done in the most subtle way, then bam right after the river you are engulfed in this new world; so different from the others in AK.  The floating mountains in the valley of Mo’ara looked just like the movie, I wanted to fly up and touch them.  We all couldn’t believe it. The sounds of the animals, and the lush surroundings, all seemed so real.  Disney created such an amazing land, so beautiful.  We walked all around the space before our FP; from the leafy reaches of the Na’vi River Journey to the stone drums to the hidden stores.

Then we got on the Avatar Flight of Passage ride.  AFOP is probably the best ride I have ever been on in my life.  And I am a super scaredy cat of the unknown fast, high swooping rides and stuff, but this ride was so well done that I couldn’t get enough. The seats were super cool. The views were intense, and the 3D was the best I had ever experienced. That smell of the ocean was refreshing and I can still smell it, but my favorite part of the ride, though, was how I could feel the banshee breathing between my legs.  It was a whole lot of amazing details after another.

Never had I been so disappointed for a ride to end than that one.

After we rode the AFOP, we grabbed some fun drinks from Pongu Pongu.  We got a Rum Blossom, which had Passion fruit boba mixed in with two sized straws, for good reason! The drink was yummy and refreshing. Those boba balls were so good!

With drinks in hand, we went over to Discoveryland to grab the girls some Mickey bars (and a frozen margarita for me!) but within minutes we ended up going back to Pandora to ride AFOP again, using that pass from the kind stranger. After riding that twice, and the hour, we decided it was a great time to start making our way over to Asia because we had to be at our dinner reservations within the half hour.  We had made reservations for Yak & Yeti!

OK, I AM NOT COMPLAINING IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH BY ANY MEANS…

But our experience at Yak & Yeti was ….  meh.  The place itself was pretty.  I loved the Asian aesthetic.  And I am only saying our experience was ok because our oldest daughter has an all nuts allergy (which the place was fine for her) but my husband has a sesame seed/oil allergy.  Both cases are pretty clear. They go into anaphylaxis if they eat the actual food, but cross contamination isn’t usually a problem.  Our youngest got the chicken fingers with corn and jasmine rice, our oldest got tuna nachos, my husband got the blackened tuna and I got the tuna salad.  Simple tuna dishes for the most part, right? Well, for some reason it was terribly complicated for the chef to understand not just for my husband but also our dishes, as we stated, treat the entire table as if we have a sesame allergy.. So what happened?  He treated the appetizer, lettuce cups, as a gluten allergy, though it didn’t have sesame..weird, but ok, safe. THEN.  My dish and our oldest daughter’s dish came out riddled with sesame seeds.  SMH.  It was fine, we don’t have any issues, but sucked cause I know he wanted to try those nachos. My husband said his dish was fine in the end, blackened tuna with double jasmine rice, but also that it was not terribly exciting, and that the blackening seasoning was kind of burnt or smokey tasting…which I know he isn’t fond of. We grabbed a few drinks there.. beer, yak attack, a margarita and a sangria, they were nice.

While at dinner, we made a few more FP for the night.  We forfeited our River of Light FP to split up our time because my husband and oldest daughter wanted to ride Everest, but our youngest did not.  So I took her to Dinoland to ride whatever she wanted… TriceraTops and Primeval Whirl. So glad we did this, because as soon as we got off TriceraTops the other arrived and the kids rode Primeval Whirl two times on their own.

I had this great idea to paint everyone’s faces with UV glow body paint before heading back to Pandora for night-time. It was fun to draw the designs on. Though the paint from the bottle was messy, I also used a plastic fork, and the paint wasn’t as brightly lit up as I wanted it to be, everyone looked cute when it dimly glowed or when we got into regular light. Eh. Just goes to showya. Some ideas aren’t worth the cost or time… this was one!!

With faces painted, we went back to Pandora to close out the night.  At this point, the River of Light was just starting so we got a good tip to hit up the Na’vi River Journey, which would have shorter wait times. We couldn’t get FP to this ride at any point before our trip, and wanted to get on it at least once during our two days at the AK this trip.  So. We kept an eye on the app right from dinner, the lines were so long, but we saw the numbers drop little by little.  When we made it to Pandora, we raced right there.  It stated 45 minutes, so we took the leap of faith.

THERE WAS NO WAIT AT ALL!   We were all so glad to get on the ride because it ended up being the last moment to ride it for the night!

We left the Animal Kingdom super tired, but happy.  We did get on the bus to take us home, but someone got an ill tummy, me, and we got off at the Wilderness Lodge.

The best part of our night was actually this stop. Funny enough.

We remembered that the resort had a ferry service to the Contemporary Resort.  We walked to the dock out back to find the ferry-boat just arriving to pick up riders.  The night was perfect, the boat was basically empty.  First stop the boat went to was Fort Wilderness, which was actually pretty cool from this view-point.  It looked like a quaint camp site set on the water, set up in the middle of nowhere. Then we ferried right to the Contemporary, which was about 10 minutes.  It was beautiful.  The warmth.  The breeze.  The view of the resorts from the darkness.  The girls sat arm and arm, and, we did, too.  Well, with my shoulder on his, as well.  I was sleepy.  🙂

Also, this could also be funny for others, but, the driver of the boat was, to say the least, amusing. He was sort of dressed like a boat captain but messy. He was lanky with a 5 o’clock shadow, and spoke slowly, almost like a bit of a Scooby Doo creepy character. We docked at the Contemporary at the same time as another ferry.  The ferry captain of that other boat came over to ours and looked like The Skipper from Gilligan’s Island.  With all these old school show references I had a ball. (I love the TV shows I grew up on!)

Our full day at the Animal Kingdom was a lot of fun.  We loved Pandora, the kids loved all the fun foods and getting on Primeval Whirl, and despite some minor set backs, we ended the night on such a magical note.

Posted in My Travels

Walt Disney World April 18- Day 3

Day 3

Disney Park: Magic Kingdom (open till 12AM- Magic Hours)

We started off this day with some fantastic hot weather, so we changed our FP plans to hit the pool! One of my favorite pastimes is hanging out in the sun.  Our kids remember seeing the pool in old photos, and couldn’t wait to make their way to the featured slide. Which was a lot of fun. Oh and we had to ’emergency’ grab Mickey shaped pretzels and smoothies as soon as the bar opened or my kids “would just dieeeee”, my goodness, they couldn’t wait to eat junk!  But oh hey, margaritas.  🙂

Funny part about this morning was that we ended up seeing another crew from my husband’s hometown hanging out by the pool..like seven of them!  haha  I didn’t know any of them, and since they all played football with my husband back in HS I was happy to not talk to them and drink my margarita in the hot tub!  The hot tub was super hot, which made me happy, and it overlooked the Bay Lake, surrounded by trees, it really is a great spot to relax and forget your troubles..and soak achy muscles.  Speaking of which, because all of the bruises were so highly visible, everything I brought to wear was strappy tanks or mini shorts/skirts. I was kinda depressed over it till this Wednesday morning.  I got in my new bathing suit and said screw it if people are staring, I WANT A TAN!  And that was that, I definitely felt more confident about my appearance after that epiphany, and you can see it in my face.  Just happier.

We got ourselves showered and out the door in time to get to the Magic Kingdom right for our first fast pass at 1:20PM for Splash Mountain.  And as soon as we could, we made our way over to Fantasyland for some snacks. First we got a fried twinkie, which I didn’t eat, and then we made it to visit Gaston’s.  While there we took full advantage of the AC for a while, it was super hot out and the girls needed a rest. We snagged a fun table by the fireplace and tried LeFou’s Brew (frozen apple juice with passion fruit foam and a hint of charred marshmallow) and a giant cinnamon roll. Well, I actually grabbed hummus because I just can’t eat sugary junk like my family can all day.

From Gaston’s we got onto Dumbo, the Barnstormer, and then raced up the hill to get on Under the Sea to cool off a bit, which worked great.  As we walked towards Tomorrowland, we checked out some sights of the parade on Main Street USA, then went on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin for some competition with the kids.  They opted to sit on their own, so it was Parents vs Kids.  They won, of course.

From Buzz, we grabbed some iced coffee..and frappuccinos (blerg), walked through The Confectionary to cool off, and we got a caramel apple sample that was insanely good. We then headed back to the hotel to freshen up for our dinner reservations at The Wave.

We had eaten at The Wave our very first family trip to Disney, and we enjoyed it a whole lot.  This night didn’t disappoint either, and we, again, found that the food and drinks were better this year than our last visit.  My husband got pan seared salmon, and I got the tenderloin.  Both dishes were cooked perfect.  The kids had a blast being silly and eating their food, our oldest got crab cakes and our youngest a burger (which was amazing).  Once we paid the check, we changed back into our other clothes, which we weren’t planning but someone forgot something in the room, so why not change out of dresses?

We made a super fast bee line to the MK, and started on our fun night ahead. The walk between the park and hotel is literally five minutes, and the best part of the walk is that it has its own security line that NEVER had a wait and always had the funniest security officers. So walking right into the park a breeze.

The park was open till midnight, so we had a little over three hours left  which meant we had time to get on a lot of the rides we wanted..where first?  BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN!  haha  We rode it three times in a row, and had a blast because we all swear it is faster at night.  From there we saw the fireworks show was about to start, but since we saw it the night before we opted to take a chance to ride Peter Pan. The FP system wasn’t letting us make reservations, so we just winged it where we wanted.  The wait for Peter Pan was listed at 30 Minutes, but sometimes when the fireworks are about to start people flock to it and the wait times can be less.  SOMETIMES!!  So we got into line, something I had never done before because we always grab a FP for this ride.  I LOVED THE WAITING QUEUE SO MUCH!  The whole set up is magical, and we had so much fun playing with the shadow interactive and Tinker Bell’s light.  It was real darling. Plus I got to ride it with our youngest daughter like we had our last time on the ride, which was a lot of fun.  Pointing out everything to her again and enjoying Captain Hook’s demise at the end.

The weather this night was glorious.  Of course I am always wearing a sweater, because I am chilly when it’s 70F. haha I wish I was joking.  Ok, so after Peter Pan we decided to make our way to the front of the castle to see the next show, but then nixed those plans to head over to Winnie the Pooh then Futureland for Mickey bars and a ride on the ppl mover!  I missed the people mover!  Then after this we went over to Adventureland to climb the Swiss Family Robinson tree and ride Aladdin. After the girls decided to target me to get wet by the camel On the second ride together, I called it quits, then they rode it about four more times before we had to pack it in for the night.

Walking out of the park at night is a great feeling.  All the lights, the details, it’s so remarkable.  Sometimes I do wish that our real life downtown was like that, but that is why there is the Magic Kingdom.  🙂

Posted in My Travels

Walt Disney World April 17- Day 2

Day 2First Full Day 

Disney Park: EPCOT (open till 11PM- Extra Magic Hours)

Featured Event: 2018 International Flower and Garden Festival

The Bay Lake Tower is a beautiful DVC resort. Very modern aesthetic. It isn’t decked out with as much Disney kitsch as the other locations, but it has enough. Mickey Mouse is its main feature throughout. Which I love, cuz I love Mickey the most.

We had stayed here during the first half of our last trip and fell in love. The location is key for Magic Kingdom, EPCOT or any monorail service areas. The dedicated pool area is the great with a decent water slide, a kiddie water slide and splash park, and full bar. My favorite part, aside from being a five minute walk to MK, is the scent in the air as you walk in every day. It is intoxicating; just so clean and fresh. Ahh, I love scents, and theirs I just like lots n lots

Ok so this day we gave ourselves a little time to sleep in; it was the first day of vacation after all! The view from our room was the lake view, which was different from our last stay, which was park view. I actually liked our view this time a lot. It was so peaceful in the morning out there, just the breezes, the balcony, me in my pjs and the trees lining the water. Just perfect.

I have certain rituals while on vacation, like first thing in the morning I like to hang out balcony side alone in thought while in my jamz. I don’t care where the balcony is, I am in my pajamas enjoying the morning light!!

We got all dolled up then headed straight for the parks for 10:30AM, before our first reserved FP for Soarin’ at 11:40AM.  Ok maybe I do remember some times…I am jk I am looking at the itinerary I printed for the girls.  heehee

We all love EPCOT a tremendous amount, so we were looking forward to our first full day there.  Plus, my husband and I have only been to the Flower and Garden event before they had all the outdoor kitchens that now accompany it.  So, we grabbed some coffees ..and frappuccinos.. and took off to ride Soarin’.  They have revamped this ride since our last visit four years ago, and even though we loved the original, we all really liked the new one.  Me especially.  I am a big world traveling nerd, so seeing all those landmarks and the castle, well, I left it wanting to actually take off to explore!  Plus, the grassy plains scent they implemented smells so good!!

Soarin’ was the only reserved FP we made, but we ended up walking on Test Track and Soarin’ right after we explored the World Showcase.  Ok, so World Showcase was where we headed right after Soarin’.  Right before we arrived we saw a Cinderella and Belle character meet up being set up, so we took advantage of the short line to meet Cinderella. We love Belle, but we all had a pretty light breakfast on account that this day was reserved to binge eat all day, so we were starving!  Eating was kinda what we did this whole trip, #familygoals, but somehow I came back 4 lbs lighter than when we left… go figure? (It’s def from all the running around and walking)

After the meet up, we took the left side making our way towards Mexico.  We went inside the ruin to shop around then ride the Gran Fiesta with the Three Caballeros!  If you didn’t read that in the “The Three Caballeros” voices, that is just a shame.  Ok, anyways, we love this ride for so many reasons… it’s relaxing, it’s funny, it’s roomy, it’s cool inside, the fireworks at the end, but namely this is the ride our youngest daughter made us float on 8 times in one swoop since the lines were dead, I kid you not.  She is the same child who made us ride it’s a small world fifty times in 8 days, too.  She is so funny.   The ride is a good time, and we noticed that they have added on the three animatronic singing Caballeros at the end. Cute!

From Mexico, we went on to Norway to grab some school bread, of course.  Our kids have been talking about School Bread for four years.  Since the Kringla Bakery was under construction we had to grab it from an outdoor kitchen they had set up.  It seemed different somehow, almost like the bread was denser and whole wheat.  It was still good, we end up eating it again later, but just seemed different.  From Norway we trekked through Germany for some more food and drinks, and for the girls to play their first round of Agent P.  While grabbing some German wine and potato sticks snack for my oldest, I saw a hometown friend with her family there; my husband and hers went to HS together.  Big surprise!  While I was in the WeinKeller talking, the girls went with my husband to get some caramel snacks, and came back with the largest chocolate caramel cookie.  It was so good.

From Germany, you guessed it, we hit up Italy.  We just walked through the shops, talked Italian to a few folks as I smelled some pretty perfumes. Then we perused our way through America into Japan.  Ok, so Sake Mists, one of the drinks I had been dying to try was at the Kabuki Cafe, the first little house on the left in Japan.   The girls got the non-alcoholic kakigori slush, one got rainbow the other blue raspberry.  My husband got the blackberry flavored sake mist and I got (of course, I am Sicilian) blood orange flavored. It definitely did not disappoint, and was so much fun to …eat?  It was awesomely huge and you can’t order one thinking you will continue to walk around the showcase. Nahuh. No way.  You need a spoon, a straw, all hands on deck, and lots of napkins!   Right after we had our drinks, we did another Agent P while shopping around.

After this we walked through Morocco for a minute then landed in France.  Ok, I also have been dying to try the outdoor kitchen’s la vie en rose slushie from France.  I am a big St. Germain fan, elderflower or elderberry anything I just love. Plus it is pink, and so pretty.  🙂  It was listed on the menu to have Grey Goose Vodka Orange, St. Germain liquor with White and Red Cranberry Juice, so it was on my radar.  We first got a Grand Marnier Orange slushie, walked over to the other spot and grabbed a la vie en rose slushie.. which I fell instantly in love with!  We grabbed a tomato tarte, too!

After France, we walked our way through the UK and Canada, then made our way to Test Track to walk on as single riders.  We love love Test Track, but I sorta liked the old way they had the track indoors.  I still don’t understand what the futuristic looking city made from shards of plastic is for.. anyone?  From Test Track we went to Mission: Space, then munched on a Mickey shaped pretzel walking towards the character meeting area.  We got real lucky because both Baymax and Joy and Sadness were less than a five-minute wait each!  We got to interact, and I got to hug everyone, I am a hugger. We then walked around the park a little bit before heading back to Mexico for our dinner reservations.  We had seen the  butterfly garden they had set up before, so we decided to venture in.  The varieties of butterflies were beautiful, and a lot got out (must be native to the area) so as you walked along the park you’d see a dozen giant monarchs fluttering by.

We got ourselves to Mexico just in time for our reservations at La Hacienda de San Angel.  We ate here on our last trip, also the other restaurant in Mexico, but we liked this one a lot.  We had a super fun time talking to our waiter, and with each other. We munched on chips n salsa. Margaritas and cervezas showed up.  The girls got steak tacos. I got the carnitas and my husband got the shrimp tacos.  Everything was actually better than the last time we were there.  As soon as dinner was over we hit up the showcase, and made it to Japan by the time Illuminations was being announced.  We got to cuddle together along the rails and watch the show, it was beautiful as always.  Our youngest didn’t really remember it, or much of our last trips, so we got to see it through her eyes all over again new.

We left Illuminations right as it ended, only to be stopped at the drawbridge in the outpost to watch a boat towing the globe back to its hiding spot.  Which was a fun behind the scenes experience for us all that we actually saw on YouTube before leaving for this trip.  The girls were happy!

Since the park was open later, Magic Hours, we made a bee line back to Soarin’ then finally hit up The Land because we got a FP for it earlier that they couldn’t accept as the ride went down.  Then we decided it was time to make it to the entrance, and on our way out ride Spaceship Earth!

We left EPCOT super happy, and felt like we were finally on vacation after the week leading up to this trip that we all had.  You can kinda see it in my face and stuff, that I wasn’t right, but I wasn’t letting that stop me from enjoying my family and this time off!!

Ok, till next time when we go back to the Magic Kingdom for our first full day there! Yee!