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 16- Day 1

Day 1 Arrival

Hotel: Bay Lake Tower in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney Park: Magic Kingdom (open till 10PM)

We exchanged rainy and chilly Boston for the blue skies and sunshine of Orlando!  We arrived to the MK at 2:30PM, with fast passes ready to start at 3:50PM. This is the only time I will reference the times because I don’t remember any other day!  haha

We walked from our resort to the park to find the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade being set up, so we decided to beat the crowds by walking through our favorite Main Street USA shop, the Confectionary.  It is just a pretty shop set up to look like the 1920’s, with all the candy and treats set up perfectly, and the smells.  It’s super sweet.  Within five minutes of walking in we encounter Sheila working behind the glass production area assembling white chocolate covered Mickey Mouse apples.  She spotted us, smiled, reached into her drawer, walked around the case to hand us each a white chocolate and cinnamon graham cracker crumb covered marshmallows.  (WHICH WERE SO YUMMY!)

Soon after that we walked over to get some iced coffees and frappuccinos, which I promised the girls they could get a few on this trip (which is something I DO NOT DO OFTEN!).  They were so happy to be sipping their Starbucks on Main Street as we watched the parade.  There was this humongous crude metal constructed dragon that breathes fire you could feel up to yards away; it was so cool to watch go by.

Once the parade passed, we raced over to get a bite to eat before the first fast pass.  What did the girls want? FUNNEL CAKE  hahah  So of course, we ventured to Sleepy Hollow to get some spicy chicken and waffles…and funnel cake.  The chicken and waffles was so spicy good, and big enough for three people!  Holy huge!. Of course, the girls had their funnel cake happily sitting by Cinderella’s castle with their drinks.

Ok, so we caffeinated and ate, and were off to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. OH MY HOW MUCH FUN IS THAT COASTER!?!?! I had only seen it being built the last time we were at MK, which was a lot of fun seeing the construction crews walking along the top of the mountain.  Before coming on this trip, we watched some videos on YouTube so I wasn’t blindsided with large dips or twirls. Also, I was real nervous with how banged up I was from the car accident, that I was a tiny bit preoccupied with how I would feel. We had such a great time laughing and screaming our bums off, and rocking the whole seat dancing with Snow White.  No issues for anyone on that ride.  We all loved it so much and were glad we made it our first ride of the trip!!

Then we hit up Mickey’s PhilharMagic to cool off and before heading to our next fast pass Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  I love BTM more than any other ride in MK, like, I could go on it all day and just laugh crazily thinking I am going to bump my head on that swooping hill.  haha  I swear one of these times I will.  After this we grabbed some food at Peco’s Bill because our kids love that place, and my husband does too.  We had a great experience with the Mobile Ordering, which we used about three or four times on this trip..even for Dole Whip our last MK day!

After that quick service bite to eat we headed to Adventureland to check out the Tiki Room.  Weird that I had never seen this show, right?  I mean, in all the times I have been to the MK, it has either been closed for refurbishment or something was wrong with it.  Well, this visit we all got to experience this for the first time, and we thought the bird cast was funny..but especially loved the doorway tiki.

After that show, we raced to get on to our last pre reserved FP, the Haunted Mansion.  Ok, so I am the ‘gothy’ one in my family.  I have always LOVED the idea of gloomy, vintage estates, where you are transported into a spooky time where things take humor in death.  So, this whole ride does it right.  From the waiting queue to the entrance into the ride to the CMs acting ghoulish, you are just immersed into this great scene. And, the costumes of the CMs are literally the best in any of the parks, it’s just all kinds of good.

After this we grabbed some Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches/Bars for the girls, then grabbed a few more fast passes, starting with it’s a small world.  We reminisced on this ride about how many times our youngest made us ride it on our first trip.  Like fifty!  haha.

Then we headed towards the Mad Tea Party since it was still light out; where the girls rode it a few times on their own. THIS IS HUGE GUYS!  They opted to ride a lot of rides, including Big Thunder Mountain, ALONE!!  Leaving me with my Mickey to ride alone, too.  Yes, I actually call my husband Mickey..not because of the Mouse, but because I loved my very sweet Australian friend calling him that when he came to visit us for the first time when we were newlyweds. He traveled with his best friend Michael, who he called Mick, as well as my husband. So, I just started calling him that as a “remember Pat calling you Mick, too?”, that it became a thing for us.

After the tea cups, we ran back to BTM, but first The Muppets in Great Moments in American History was starting so we stopped to watch.  SOooOOoo here is another weird fact about me, I had a huge crush on Fozzie Bear, Rowlf and Animal as a kid.  Yup..  hahah  Just putting that right there.  So anyways, we watched this show briefly, as we were on our way to BTM.  We got onto the ride, and able to get on it a couple of times because wait times were so low.

While walking from BTM, we heard Happily Ever After starting and ran down to catch it anywhere we could.   It was a beautiful display with the castle projections, we all really loved it standing together in a big group hug.  But as we were watching it I said, “who’s with me to split to BTM again?!”, which was all of us!  And the best idea.  We got there with less than a minute wait, letting the kids experience the ride at night. We got to sit in the back which was amazingly fun.  Man, was it a blast.  You could hear our kids laughing and screaming, it was so much fun.  Oh and me too.  I am a laugher.

The night wasn’t over!  The castle had another projections show, Once Upon a Time, which we caught as we were making our way to Main Street USA from Frontierland.  Another beautiful display, and music, which we sang along to.  Then we walked to our resort, which was a cool five minutes from the MK.

We had such a fun start to our trip, our first day out of three at MK.

 

Posted in My Travels

Annnnnnd…. We Are Back!

We had a magical time …and made amazing memories! I still cannot believe it is over! 😦

AND, I cannot believe today is Valentine’s Day!  Where’d the time go 2014!!?!?  Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

We did have an amazing trip, which was so needed.  We started off on February 1, and from the second we landed till the moment we got back to Boston we had a blast.  Initially, the thought of 11 days seemed like too much to me, but it ended up being the perfect amount of time for us to really get into vacation mode.  Usually, when we go away it feels like right when I am really relaxing (around day 7) forgetting the world I have to get packing!!  So, this time, the extra three days left us enough time to run around at the parks and to relax poolside or in the resorts.

Weather..  The sunshine over the first handful of days was amazing. It felt so great to be in the sun again, and my skin was so happy.  😛  We kicked off our trip in the 80’s!  Yes, the 80’s! It wasn’t all peachy, though, because we got stuck with three days in a row where the weather wasn’t my personal favorite and we had to wear jackets and hoodies. It was in the mid to low 60’s, with a light rain at times, and even one night it got into the 50’s.. bah. This doesn’t sound so bad to most people, and my husband and children loved it..but this sunny heat seeker was not so pleased.  Thankfully we packed for the weather accordingly and never skipped a beat having fun!

Resorts.. The resorts we chose were a lot of fun. One we were familiar with and one which was new to us. We stayed at The Bay Lake Tower at The Contemporary for the first half. The BLT was just wonderful, and we had park view from our room. The view of the park was amazing! And, the view of the park at night..during Wishes (fireworks) was insane.  We were so close to the Magic Kingdom that we walked twice! The monorail system out of there was super convenient, too!

Then we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the second half. That resort is so beautiful, and we had savannah view again this route.  The attention to detail is just spot on throughout the resort.   We stayed there two years ago, but it wasn’t enough time. The resort is so special for us, and we definitely made use of it this time around. The amenities for the kids were the best part, and we loved the sights, sounds and smells of burning wood.  Agh, I love that smell.

Wait Times at the Park…  We ended up being at the parks during their off-peak time.  But, while there the HS cheerleaders across the country had a competition.  So, there were some great wait times and not so great.  But, we didn’t have much issue as we got lucky with most wait times.  So we didn’t experience a huge disturbance in our fun. Also, being at the parks for the amount of time we were, we weren’t in a rush to wait long for something since we would be back a couple more times in the week…and some of the time that day at Extra Magic Hours!  The worst consistent wait times were for some of the character meets (like Cinderella, or, Elsa and Anna!) and Peter Pan (why?? idk!), Test Track or Soarin. But we used our FP when we could and skipped out on stuff if it wasn’t a terrible big deal for the girls to go the next time.

MagicBands and FP+…We had no issues with the magicbands or FP+.  The bands were a lot of fun to use and more convenient than I had ever thought.  Having the kids using them was a little bit of a daunting thought… I don’t know why, but my mind was just nervous about them with their own access everywhere…like the kids would just go around using them without asking, or they would fall off one of their wrists during the trip, but they were sturdy and a HUGE convenience.  Especially, when they wanted to run ahead to our rooms.  And, the sound of the magicband when you entered into the parks or rides was so sweet, too!  We had heard a lot of chatter before our trip about the FP+, and everyone having their bitch sessions about it.. but other than being restricted to make 3 FP reservations a day, we had zero issue. We did use our My Disney Experience app a ton to switch out the FP+ reservations, as we were spending days at the parks, to flip things around or change them for the kids; which was über convenient. Phew!

My one observation, that I found odd, was the insane lines for the FP+ kiosks/areas to talk to or change-up FP reservations.  I saw a line wrapped for a while placed inside the corral where they usually have Aladdin and Jasmine set up in Adventureland!! CRAZZZY! 

——Now we are to the review of our time at the World.  My girls thought it would be fun to add-on a section here called:

OUR DISNEY WORLD REVIEWS!

We sat together at the end of each stint at the parks discussing the places and things we liked the best. I think this was my favorite part of our time together, snuggling in the big bed talking about our days.  We spent varied days at the Parks: Magic Kingdom (3 days), EPCOT (3 days), Animal Kingdom (1), Hollywood Studios (2 days). And, at the resorts: Bay Lake Towers at The Contemporary (4 nights) and The Animal Kingdom Lodge (6 nights).

Here are our reviews of what we liked on this trip!

OUR DISNEY RESORTS

The Bay Lake Tower at The Contemporary Resorts
The Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House

THE DISNEY PARKS

The Magic Kingdom
EPCOT
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Other

 – Around Disney

If you haven’t been to Disney World, you just have to ..at least one time in your life.  There really is no place else like it around.  The parks. The rides. The resorts. The people. The attention to detail. It is all, well, so Disney!

AND….one more thing!

A Daily Photo Recap of Our Trip!

I couldn’t let a trip go by without smothering you guys with my photos, now, could I? 

Day 1   Day 2   Day 3   Day 4   Day 5   Day 6  Day 7  Day 8   Day 9   Day 10  Day 11

ALSO!

As for my fears about the party girl in me coming out to eat and drink everything in sight.. Well, for the most part, I kept myself in check daily. I did make room for an occasional Mickey Bar, a super yummy, slushy booze (and wine, lots of wine), fries, or funnel cake. I mean, I was on vacation..so I hadta have some fun stuffing my fat face!!!

I did weigh in on the morning of the 12th.  Yes, stupidly, one day after coming back home, but I was dying to see!  To my surprise, and delight.. I gained 1 lb.   This is such a MAJOR relief.. I did a jig cheering on the scale when I finally had the courage to look at the number!  PHEW.  I already started my family on a detox eating only my home cooking! Lots of vegetables and unprocessed foods!

I am hoping to shed this pound before the end of this week, and get my head back in to the dizzying reality that is …la vita mia!

xoxoxoxo

Happy Valentine’s Day, again!