So we decided to have a look online to see if they had any tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party before we leave and the only dates they did have were for the next night, the 18th so we went ahead and booked :-D. The party started when the park closed at 7pm and finished at midnight.
We arrived at the park for around 6.30pm I think to collect our tickets from the desk. The chap that issued them told us a little about the party seeing as we had never been before – he said there were two parades, one at 8.30pm and one at 10.30pm. He advised we missed the 8.30 performance and make use of the low crowds to queue for rides and that by 10.30 the parade crowd is a lot quieter due to the people with younger kids having left. He also said the very first thing we should do was head over to the character signing for the Seven Dwarf – these characters only ever come out at special times and you’ll never see them in the normal park hours and because of this the queue gets really long.
We got out tickets and headed for the turnstiles – it did feel really special seeing hundreds of people leave the park after their day and us being special enough to enter just as the park was closing. The guy on the ticket desk said in a normal day for this time of the year the park has around 55,000 people but on special occasions like tonight the max tickets sold are 24,000!!!!
As we entered we were given wrist bands showing we were part of MVMCP and that way we couldn’t be asked to leave like everyone else at 7.
Pictures for the Seven Dwarf started at 7 so that was the first place we headed for – it was right beside ‘Big Thunder Mountain’ and ‘Splash Mountain’ and both of those queues for the rides were only 5 minutes so whilst L & I joined the queue, Mr S went on both rides.
We were asked to show our wrist bands as we joined the queue and already it was around half an hour long.
Mr S did both rides and still joined us whilst we were in the line for about the last 20 minutes – as he walked past the end of the line he heard someone being told the queue time was 2 hrs so I am really pleased we got there when we did.
The Seven Dwarfs were very cute. They entertained and were in character the whole time so they were fun to watch.
There was something quite special walking round in the dark knowing only certain people were allowed in – they had complementary hot chocolate and cookies all over the place as we could have as many as we liked – it reminded me of being at home just before Christmas – we used to pick L up from school and head off to do some Christmas shopping wandering round with a cup of hot chocolate that we bought from Costa .. except this was far better – Christmas Decorations and Christmas music everywhere and the buzz of Magic Kingdom.
We stopped by Cinderella’s Castle where the Characters were performing a show which was lovely.
Seeing the snow falling around was just so special, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, it was amazing
After the show we wandered around to Tomorrow Land because people were starting to get their spots for the first parade. Mr S went on Space Mountain with a very small queuing time. I think he walked straight on.
Afterwards we just walked around the various lands soaking up the atmosphere and getting some hot chocolate & cookies.
Around 8.30pm we headed back to the Castle so we could get a good position for the shows, fireworks & parades.
In January of this year the Magic Kingdom started ‘The Magic, The Memories & You’ show, on Cinderella’s Castle. It is presented just before Wishes. The show is projected on the Castle itself and it is just simply amazing – We saw it the first day we visited MK and even though this was the second time we saw it, it still blew me away. It was just magical and very clever.
Straight after ‘The Memories, The Magic & You’ was ‘Wishes’ – again this never fails to amaze me and that night was even better, they used more fireworks and instead of them just being over the castle they literally went everywhere, to the side of us and behind us. It really was lovely.
I said in my pervious MK blog I didn’t think the Parades were as good as they used to be but the one they put on for MVMCP was excellent – they had far more floats and as each one went past they had different Christmassy smells coming from them. They had cinnamon smells, gingerbread ones, vanilla, spices etc. The last float also had Santa on his sleigh so that was really nice.
I did take some photos but they didn’t come out all that good due to it being so dark but here are a few that come out best:
As Santa was the last float the crowd were getting up and walking behind and following down main street and we were lucky enough to be right behind. So there we were walking down Main Street in the snow, behind Santa with the parade still going on in front – it was amazing.
The snow was really life like as well – it was all fluffy and when it landed on you it dissolved.
So we’re really pleased we got the tickets – seeing MK with Christmas Decorations in the dark, with snow and fantastic shows and parades really was something special.
Coming up next Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios.
I thought I would do a little throwback series for the next few weeks re-capping our holiday to Disney World in Florida. At the time of going I kept a daily blog which was only ever used for that holiday and i’m so pleased I did. Every night I would sit down and document what we had done each day even down to what kind of weather we had. I love reading it back every so often reliving the memories. We had a break from the parks today, we popped to the Florida malls and spent the afternoon round the hotel pool.
Todays weather – 82f (27c)
We decided the night before we were going to have a day off from the parks today – we had a pretty long lie in due to no alarm and although we had decided to spend the day by the pool it was a little cloudy to begin with so we decided to head off for a wander around the Florida Mall.
We found it ok and right next door there was a huge ‘Toys r us’ so we took L in for a wander.
The Mall was ok – wasn’t anything special to be honest, we kept getting hassled by stall holders to test out hair straighteners which was highly annoying.
We did manage to find an Apple store though, so Mr S and I got to drool over the 4s (Can you believe the 4s was the newest phone back then?)
Don’t think there was much else really. They had a Disney Store and M&M world:
I guess we must have been there for about an hour or so by which time the clouds had lifted and the sun was shining so we headed back to the hotel so that L could go in the pool.
I thought I would do a little throwback series for the next few weeks re-capping our holiday to Disney World in Florida. At the time of going I kept a daily blog which was only ever used for that holiday and i’m so pleased I did. Every night I would sit down and document what we had done each day even down to what kind of weather we had. I love reading it back every so often reliving the memories. Today we were at Typhoon Lagoon.
Todays Weather – 85f (29c)
We arrived after a bit of a lazy morning around 10.30/11ish, it was little cloudy to begin with in the morning but by the time we arrived it was clearing and the sun was shining.
L loves the water & swimming so she was really looking forward to today.
The place was lovely – all set out like a beach, with gorgeous white sand leading into a huge pool with a wave machine.
We didn’t realise at first so it was a bit of a shock but every few hours for an hour and a half there was a big ‘boom’ and this MASSIVE surfer wave just come out of nowhere. I had just about managed to grab L’s hand as it hit us LOL. Of course after that first one we loved it – watching it come towards you is insane – I can’t imagine what those poor people felt like a few years ago when the Tsunami was coming towards them – this was big but nothing compared to that. I almost lost L’s hand in the wave let alone anything bigger.
We went on the lazy river first – was pretty relaxing except L kept falling out of her rubber ring lol. They had loads of rides – we went on two rubber ring type rides, water slides, a family raft ride, and the new water/roller coaster type ride, ‘Crush n Gusher’. This had to be the best I think. We were able to ride in a triple tube all sat one in front of the other – it was a white knuckle thrill ride which propelled you 400ft through hairpin turns, sudden drops and gravity-defying uphill climbs which then plunges into hideaway bay. There were three side to choose from, coconut crusher, pineapple plunger & banana blaster.
I think when we climbed to the very top and L noticed the first steep drop she was unsure but seeing as we were all able to ride together she was ok, in the end this is the one we went on the most.
We noticed they had a lagoon where you could go snorkeling so seeing as we were pros from Discovery Cove the other day we went to have a look. We collected our snorkels & masks and off we went …….. all was going so well until I stopped to read a sign. It said that the lagoon had rays & tropical fish (which were fine, been there done that blah blah) but then it said there were sharks swimming around freely!!!!! What – no glass wall??!!?? I looked at Mr S and said I don’t think I can do this lol, I daren’t tell L, she would have had kittens!
I must admit I was on the verge of walking back out but thought sod it – they wouldn’t be able to do it if they were dangerous, people have been doing this for days, weeks, years and nothing has happened to them right?? By this point we were at the front of the pool and getting the instructions from the lifeguard. We weren’t allowed to stop, swim back to where we started, we had to swim right over to the exit and if we did get into difficulty to stop and wave your hands (there were two lifeguards in the water) we also couldn’t kick our legs. So there was my safety net gone .. I wasn’t able to swim back if I wanted to .. I had to make it to the other side *gulp*
L was a bit freaked by the freely swimming sharks but the lifeguard told her they wouldn’t hurt, they were Disney sharks and Disney sharks are friendly. I thought to myself a shark is a shark but put the mask and goggles on and off we went.
I am really pleased I did it – what an experience. Swimming along watching sharks beneath me amongst rays & beautifully coloured tropical fish … L wasn’t so keen this time and held onto Mr S’s hand the whole way with her head up lol but we all got the other side alive!!!
The park closed at 5 so we got changed then bought the all important pin badge for L and the all important hot dinky doughnuts for me ;o)
Few photos from the day:
When we arrived home we showered and decided to head back into Disney to have a wander around ‘Downtown Disney’. (Downtown Disney is now known as Disney Springs). The first shop we went into had a local artist (Alan Foxx) signing his work. We stopped for a look and I fell in love with about 3 so we bought them and he signed each one personally & also wrote us a poem on the back of each one.
We did have a little wander around but I don’t think we were really in the mood and we were exhausted. We looked in Planet Hollywood, went into the Harley Davidson bike shop and sat on a Harley and Mr S went into for a quick look into ‘The House of Blues’ (I had to stand outside with L) but that was pretty much all we did really before we headed back.
Next up Florida Mall & Pool Time (a bit of a rest day)
I thought I would do a little throwback series for the next few weeks re-capping our holiday to Disney World in Florida. At the time of going I kept a daily blog which was only ever used for that holiday and i’m so pleased I did. Every night I would sit down and document what we had done each day even down to what kind of weather we had. I love reading it back every so often reliving the memories. Today we headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Day Nine – Disney Hollywood Studios (15th November 2011)
Todays weather – 85f (29c)
Today we decided to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As with all the other Disney parks they had a huuuuuge Christmas Tree just before the entrance so we stopped for a photo – the decorations were all film related.
For some reason I didn’t expect the park to be as ‘Special’ as the other Disney Parks – I don’t know why, maybe it was due to the fact I didn’t really remember what it was like from our last trip but as we walked through the turnstiles I realised I was totally wrong – it was just as amazing in the entrance as the other parks.
First off we headed to ‘The Tower of Terror’ & ‘Aerosmith, Rock n Roll Coaster’ for Steve to go on – both rides had super low queues, I think ‘The Tower of Terror’ was only about 13 minutes long.
After the rides we stopped for a quick bite to eat before we headed off to ‘Animation Courtyard’
Just inside we spotted the characters from ‘The Incredibles’ with a small queue so Lauren got their autographs and a photo with them.
We then went into a classroom for a 20 minute drawing class with a Disney Animator. This was ace and we all really enjoyed it. We had the choice to either draw Pluto or Mickey – the class majority voted for Mickey.
These were our drawings (top to bottom – L’s Mr S’s and Mine)
When we finished the class we went out to meet & greet Winnie the Pooh & Mickey and when Mickey saw our drawings he signed them for us.
This park was more visionary and there were lots of things to walk round and look at. This was an animators desk:
and this was another one with a lady actually sat working on some drawings (I know it’s not a very good photo, the flash kept reflecting off the glass)
Once we had walked round ‘Animation Courtyard’ we headed off back to the park to have a wander round. We came across a sweet shop and Lauren (and I) were in our element choosing all the different coloured jelly beans and sherbets
Today was seriously HOT and very humid so it was a struggle at times walking round so we had to keep popping into shops for the air conditioning and queuing in the shade. Lauren spotted a queue for Woody & Buzz and then another for Phineas & Ferb so we waited for them and both were super long. It seemed to take forever to get to the front.
There was a ‘Honey I shrunk the Kids’ kiddies play section so we went in there for a look around, the sign at the beginning said prepare to be the size of ants.
A huge dog nose that sniffed and blew hot air on you.
I think by this point time was pushing on, we were wanting to watch Fantasmic in the theatre. It started at 6.30pm but the park advised to seat early to make sure we got a spot so we planned to get there for half five. I think Steve went on the ‘Star Tours 3D’ ride then we headed off for some dinner before we headed off to get seats.
Fantasmic was just excellent, it really was very good & all three of us really enjoyed it. I didn’t manage to get any photos because it was so dark but it really was impressive. Its a lavish musical show combining explosive pyrotechnics, shimmering laser lights and dazzling dancing water effects with all of the Disney Characters, songs and animation. So pleased we stayed to see it, we were beginning to think about leaving to head back to the apartment because walking round in that heat was taking it’s toll but we were glad we hung on.
I thought I would do a little throwback series for the next few weeks re-capping our holiday to Disney World in Florida. At the time of going I kept a daily blog which was only ever used for that holiday and i’m so pleased I did. Every night I would sit down and document what we had done each day even down to what kind of weather we had. I love reading it back every so often reliving the memories. Today we spent a wonderful relaxing day at Discovery cove! It was just pure amazing.
Day Eight – Discovery Cove (Monday 14th November 2011)
Todays Weather 83f (28c)
We all woke really excited today – we were heading off to Discovery Cove to spend the day there and also swim with the dolphins :o) Neither of us have been here before – they had only opened up a year or so after our last visit 11 years ago.
We arrived around 9am and we checked in at reception – they took our details and took photos of each of us for our name/guest badges we had to wear on a lanyard for the duration of the day. We were also given our dolphin swim time of 2.50pm so were told to have lunch before hand as the restaurant closed at 3 so we wouldn’t have a chance after the swim.
Once we had checked in we had our complimentary photo taken and went off to get some breakfast – everything for the day was free and included in the price, (well I say everything was free … we had to pay for the photographs we had taken with the dolphins). Included in the park tickets – we were entitled to breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks and even locally produced alcohol. It did feel strange getting a tray of food and drink for breakfast and just heading off to a table without having to pay for it first.
After breakfast we headed off to get fitted for our wetsuits and to get a bag containing our snorkels, mask & dolphin friendly sunscreen.
First place we headed for was the ‘Coral Reef’ we weren’t really sure what to expect so we donned our snorkels & masks and off we went!!!
The water was a tad cold – they had the temperature set to 75f so I was expecting it to be warmer but having the wetsuits helped because it was only our arms and legs exposed. Steve went first and he came back saying ‘Wow you’ve got to come and see this”
At first I found the whole breathing through my mouth and not my nose a little odd and kind of started breathing really fast and feeling a bit light headed but I soon got the hang of it – as I swam towards Steve the bottom of the pool was only about waist height so I didn’t see much until I swam a little further to the edge of the rocks …… I peered over the edge and looked down into a cavern of coral reef and the most beautiful looking tropical fish – all different shapes, sizes and colours. They weren’t the slightest bit bothered by us swimming around them. The one thing I couldn’t get used to were the rays swimming around – some of them were absolutely massive – i’m talking 4-5ft diamater. I am pleased to say most of them were swimming below us (the Coral Reef must have been about 12/15ft deep.) We swam over to the other side where we came across a glass wall under the water and behind the glass were loads of sharks – some big, some small. There is something quite unnerving snorkeling watching a shark swim towards you until you realise there is the glass between us! The biggest shark in there must have been about 12ft long – he was HUGE.
I must admit I didn’t really hang around too long getting back to the ‘beach’ I wasn’t too keen on having huge sting rays swim and flap right next to me – Steve though it was hilarious at one point to stroke the back of my leg as he was swimming behind me – my god I must have lept about 3ft up in the air squealing inside my mask and snorkel …. the sod. I like to think he was swimming behind me because he was relying on me to make the way free ;o)
I still hadn’t got used to the whole snorkeling thing and my breathing wasn’t going right so we headed over to the warmer water and lazy river – the feeling of walking into that water after being in the salt water was amazing – just like stepping into a lovely warm bath. We went round the lazy river a good few times, it’s really long and relaxing and you swim through mini waterfalls and at one point you have the aviary above you with tropical birds and bridges. During that time we used our masks and snorkels so we could get used to them – Lauren picked it up so quickly and loved looking at all the fake artifacts that had been placed on the floor of the river. Pretty soon we all had the hang of snorkeling – Steve being Steve thought it was hilarious when he burped through the tube whilst swimming along – It sounded like a fog horn I don’t think he knew a couple of people were so close cause they passed us giggling thinking it was hilarious too.
After all that swimming we decided to give the Avery a go – you get the chance to feed the different birds in there. Certain birds liked to eat fruit & sweetcorn so we were handed a pot that we had to hold out for them to fly over to and some liked mealworms so a few were put in my hand for them. Lauren didn’t want to go the mealworm route after she discovered they were still alive. I must admit they were pretty wriggly and tickley lol. Steve was the photographer for this part – he had no interest getting up close to any of the birds so he wasn’t impressed when one landed on his shoulder lol.
ust as I said we’ve all avoided being pooped on a lovely bird decided to poop on my arm!!!
We were finished in the Avery around 1.30pm, we then headed off to have lunch so we were ready for the dolphin swim.
Just like breakfast we were allowed to eat and drink as much as we liked.
After lunch it was Dolphin time YAY. We went to the Seahorse Cabana where we had to sign consent forms and have a briefing on what was going to happen, then we had to watch a short 5 minute video.
We were put into a group with 6 other people and were taken to the waters edge to meet our instructors. We were told there would be two Dolphins we would be interacting with – Stella who is 6 & Marita who is 8.
The water was again salt water so the temperature was a little cold but we only had to stand waist height for most of the experience – the group had to line up and we got the opportunity to touch Stella as she swam past – a few people also got the chance to feed her some fish (Lauren & Steve did this) we learnt how to do certain hand signals to get Stella to do certain things. One example was to mimick casting your fishing rod for her to swim away, then we had to ‘reel’ her back in and she came swimming back towards us. We would also wave at her and she would wave back with either her flipper or tail.
We then had the opportunity to all have our photos taken kissing her and then have a group photo taken. (we’re collecting these on Friday so i’ll have to wait until then to upload them).
Marita was then brought out and we all individually were taken out to deeper waters so we could ride her back to shore – it was amazing and I wished it could have lasted for longer. Lauren did so well – she had the choice to do a shorter trip in shallow waters but she opted to go out into deeper waters.
I can’t believe how fast 30 minutes can go?? It was all over so quickly. Since we had mastered the snorkeling through the lazy river we went back to the ‘Coral Reef’ but OMG all the sting rays had decided to be in the shallow waters and they were everywhere :-0 Lauren was less keen on swimming this time, and I was too TBH but once you had walked past and avoided them swimming into you and were in deeper waters it was ok, I was brave enough to touch one as it swam by and it felt like jelly *shudders*
Looking at the different tropical fish was amazing – so many different colours, we swam over to the shark wall again and back to shore – Lauren didn’t come in with us the first time but we persuaded her for one last time to experience it, once we told her the rays weren’t in the deeper waters she was ok – we were both so proud of how well she took to it. I had a few underwater cameras with us and took loads of photos so hopefully we’ll have some nice shots once I get them developed.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave and get the photos ordered. We opted for the full package in the end which includes a photo album, a poster of the group photo with the dolphin, some wallet sized photos and 6 4×6 prints for the album, the DVD & the CD with all images taken throughout the day.
We started off the morning by saying next time we come we surely won’t need to do Discovery Cove again but by the end of the day we certainly felt different – we really will be doing it again – the place is amazing, so beautiful & peaceful and well worth the money we spent. It’s like someone there said you pay the price to go to a Disney Park but once inside you have to buy snacks, drinks, food, parking etc – at DC everything is included even down to the towels, shampoo & suncream. You can literally turn up on the day with nothing but yourselves. Well worth every penny and what an experience.