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Florida Holiday – Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party – Day 12

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.

 

Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12

Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12

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.
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
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:
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party - Day 12
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.

Florida Holiday – Aquatica Water Park – Day 12

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. On this day we went to Disney’s Aquatica water park.
Todays Weather – 77f (25c)
Well the drive into the park looked really promising, it was quiet n the car-park despite it being a good hour after it opened so we hope that meant the queues would be nice a low for the rides.
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
The first ride we went on was the water slide that sent you through the dolphin tank and you were meant to see them through a see through slide. The only bit that was see through was right at the very end and it wasn’t very long, plus with the speed you whizz past you’re lucky to get a look at anything. So we were disappointed and found the adverts really mis-leading.
The park was really very quiet – we went in the lazy river so we could get to another ride you were meant to ride the river in a rubber ring. The only problem was the current was so strong you were lucky enough to be able to stand up let alone struggle into a rubber ring – L got carted off at one point and she couldn’t even hold onto the wall to stop herself 🙁
We probably did 3 or 4 slides in total and none of them were particularly enjoyable.
L stayed and played in the kiddie area for about 15 minutes before getting bored which is unusual for her.
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
Florida Holiday - Aquatica Water Park - Day 12
We took at look on the map and realised there were only two slides left we hadn’t done so Mr S went to do them (I had lost interest by now) and L went into the swimming pool with the waves, which after Typhoon Lagoons huge wave machine the other day it really was quite lame.
So after about an hour & a half we all agreed we’d rather just get ready & leave. We found it really boring and what they did have we didn’t enjoy.
So thats two parks owned by Seaworld we’ve done this holiday and not liked, and we certainly won’t be doing either parks again – they just don’t seem to ‘get it’ as fair as we’re concerned so we shall be sticking to Disney in the future :o)
I’ll do another blog after this evenings for Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party.

Florida Holiday – Florida Malls – Day 11.

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?)
Disney Holiday - Florida Malls - Day 11.
Disney Holiday - Florida Malls - Day 11.
Don’t think there was much else really. They had a Disney Store and M&M world:
Disney Holiday - Florida Malls - Day 11.
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.
Coming up next Aquatica

Florida Holiday – Disney Typhoon Lagoon – Day Ten.

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)

Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten

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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
The place was lovely – all set out like a beach, with gorgeous white sand leading into a huge pool with a wave machine.
The place was lovely - all set out like a beach, with gorgeous white sand leading into a huge pool with a wave machine.
The place was lovely - all set out like a beach, with gorgeous white sand leading into a huge pool with a wave machine.
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
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:
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Typhoon Lagoon - Day Ten
Next up Florida Mall & Pool Time (a bit of a rest day)

Florida Holiday – Disney Hollywood Studios – Day Nine.

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)

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

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.

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

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.

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

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.

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

After the rides we stopped for a quick bite to eat before we headed off to ‘Animation Courtyard’

Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine

Just inside we spotted the characters from ‘The Incredibles’ with a small queue so Lauren got their autographs and a photo with them.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
These were our drawings (top to bottom – L’s Mr S’s and Mine)
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
This park was more visionary and there were lots of things to walk round and look at. This was an animators desk:
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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)
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
A huge dog nose that sniffed and blew hot air on you.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
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.
Here are a few more pictures from our day.
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Florida Holiday - Disney Hollywood Studios - Day Nine
Coming up in the next post – Typhoon Lagoon & Downtown Disney.

Florida Holiday – Discovery Cove – Day Eight.

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.

Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight

Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight

 

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.
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
After breakfast we headed off to get fitted for our wetsuits and to get a bag containing our snorkels, mask & dolphin friendly sunscreen.
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
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.
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
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.
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Florida Holiday - Discovery Cove - Day Eight
Next up Disney Hollywood Studios.

Florida Holiday – Chef Mickey & Epcot – Day Seven.

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 went for breakfast at Chef Mickeys in the Contemporary Lodge hotel & spent rest of the day at Epcot.
Day Seven – Chef Mickey & Epcot (Sunday 13th November 2011)
Todays Weather – 79f (26c)
Lauren woke very excited this morning because she was off for breakfast at Chef Mickeys 😀 We had the reservation booked for 9.25am in Disney’s Contemporary Lodge Hotel – a hotel located near the Magic Kingdom Park and the one with the Monorail running through the middle.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.

We were shown to our table and the waiter filled up our glasses with fresh orange and told us to go ahead and get our breakfast because the characters were about 10 minutes from doing their table rounds.

They had tons of stuff to choose from. They had fresh fruit, cereals, dried fruit, pastries, muffins, cakes, hot breakfast (eggs, ham, sausages, fried potatoes etc), pancakes and the very popular, Mickey shaped waffles.

Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
(Excuse the pretty tired looking faces – we’ve had a lot of early mornings and this morning in particular we all felt very tired).
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Lauren loved it – we were constantly getting our glasses of juice filled as soon as it was empty or half empty – Lauren could see the characters starting their table round again and she was getting so excited. Mickey was first to our table and I just love the look on her face when he arrived.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Minnie Mouse was up next, followed by Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven. Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Lauren loved it – all I kept hearing from her is “this is great, I love it”
Once the Characters had done their table rounds – they get everyone dancing and waving their napkins around for a sing and a dance. Even the waiters & chefs get involved :o)

So the whole experience was really quite special …… and it wanted to be for the price lol. But we’ve done it, Lauren has the experience but I don’t think we’ll feel the need to do it again.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
So yes with tips it cost $100 :-0
The Contemporary Lodge was really lovely and had some gorgeous views. I didn’t manage to take a picture looking out over The Magic Kingdom but I did take a few from the other side.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
So with Chef Mickeys done we hopped on the Monorail and went over to Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel for a nosey …. wow what a hotel, it was just stunning (and very expensive, I picked up a rates leaflet and the cheapest basic room this time of the year was $500 per night!!!!! Steve was chatting to some one in a queue later in the day staying in the Grand Floridian and between the nightly room rate and their daily food bill they were averaging $1000 per day!!!) Once we finished being nosey we jumped back on the Monorail and headed off to Epcot.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Needless to say after the previous night we all decided to stick together today ;o) There were a few rides Steve wanted to go on so we checked them out for the queue times , luckily they were low so he did them first and got them out of the way – he said the best ride by far was ‘Mission Space’ – he said it was amazing. There were two options to take – either the ‘Orange Team’ or the ‘Green Team’ The green team was a less intensive ride than the Orange, he opted for the intensive Orange Team, (quoted from the Disney website) The orange Team is an intensive training session and is the original version of the attraction, where you will experience forces up to 2.4G – he said he sat in a fairly realistic spaceship with a seat that lays back and a control panel is right in front of you – each rider is given a ‘job’ – Steve was navigator. He said the ride was excellent.
Afterwards we went into ‘Innoventions’ for Lauren to get hands on – she made a paper serviette out of water & recycled paper which she enjoyed and then her & I starred in our own video game. We had to stand in front of a camera and jump & run on the spot when prompted – they then uploaded us to a computer game which was pretty cool & we were able to play.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
We then headed off to World Showcase – they have been hosting ‘The food and wine festival’ since September and today was the last day so we were able to experience different tastes of food from around the world.
World Showcase is a collective of pavillions that wrap around the World Showcase Lagoon, each country has a range of shops and restaurants and in each country due to ‘Food & Wine Festival’ they had hut selling samples of foods and drinks from that particular country. The 11 countries include:
Mexico
Norway
China
Germany
Italy
United States
Japan
Morocco
France
United Kingdom
Canada.
We must have spent about 2+ hours walking round taking in all the smells of each country and admiring the different buildings and shops. Even the staff/Cast Members were dresses in the appropriate dress code for that country.
We stopped by to sample some food from the Caribbean, Steve had Jerk Chicken and I tried some Spiced Beef with rice – both were really lovely.
Lauren got to meet and greet a lot of characters whilst in the various countries as well so her autograph book is coming along nicely.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
We finally managed to find Snow White – it was one of Lauren’s missions to get her autograph for our neighbour & friend, Catherine who wants to see it when we get back.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven. Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Steve has been saying for ages how much he wants to try Sushi so as we walked past Japan we decided to be brave and give it a try …… :-/
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Hmmmm at first I thought it was ok until I tasted the raw, slimy fish – OMG it was foul, really wished I hadn’t taken such a huge bite lol. Steve was the same. On the plate there appeared to be a dollop of avocado so took a spoon to it and shoved some in my mouth – OMFG I have never, ever eaten something so spicy and hot in my life – I could hardly breathe and my lips and tongue stung, I have no idea what it was, of course I had to get Steve to try some, so I didn’t tell him what I was experiencing, and gave him a mouthful to try ;o) needless to say he felt the same as me and he almost struggled to breathe Haha. I just wish he never had such an urge to try Sushi now *bleugh*
So by the time we were finished in World Showcase we headed off for Steve to ride one more ride whilst Lauren & I hung out looking around and some things and buying her all important Epcot Pin badge – she’s been collecting them for each park we visit to go on her lanyard.
Here are some more photos from today:
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Florida Holiday - Chef Mickey & Epcot - Day Seven.
Reading back on this five years later of course I would absolutely go to Chef Mickeys again, I really want C to experience it, and it was so much fun. It’s funny how you change your mind over the years isn’t it? Or and the ‘green’ stuff on my Sushi  plate was Wasabi!
Next up Discovery Cove.

Florida Holiday – Animal Kingdom & Epcot – Day 6

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 went to Animal Kingdom today with a short visit to Ecopt in the evening.

 

Day 6 – Animal Kingdom & Epcot (Saturday 12th November 2011)
Today’s Weather 75f (23c)
We had decided to do Animal Kingdom & Epcot today – starting with Animal Kingdom then going over to Epcot in the afternoon. The plan was to park in Epcot and get the bus to Animal Kingdom so when we came out of Epcot, when the park closed that night we were near the car. We thought we would try and do the two parks in one day to try and give us a free day – we worked out the parks we still had left to do and the days we had left only gave us one free day to relax by the pool so by doing these two parks in one day would free up some time for us.
We got to Epcot around 9.30ish, parked up and waited for the bus for about 15 minutes, the bus journey then took around 10 minutes so by the time we arrived it was nearing 10am I think.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
First place we headed for was ‘Kilimanjaro Safari’ – when we did this 11 years ago we didn’t see anything at all – it was far too hot for the animals to come out so we wanted to make sure we saw something this time, we figured it was cool enough first thing in the morning.
The queue wasn’t too bad and luckily they have the safari jeeps running pretty quickly one after the other.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
We saw loads of animals this time …. hippos, elephants, monkeys, lions you name it we saw it – the guy driving our jeep was ace! He really made the experience.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
After the Safari we went on a ‘Jungle Trek’ – got to see lots of different things, bugs, creatures etc. Lauren was able to compare her hands with a 6 year old male gorilla’s.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
There was a Gorilla we had a good glimpse of – she’s 40 years old and in the wild she would have only reached 40 – the lady we spoke to said in captivity they live for around 10 years more. We watched her go and find some food and she carried it off to a nearby wall to sit and eat it.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
After the trek we were feeling fairly peckish so we stopped off at one of the restaurants for a bite to eat.
Next we decided to head over to one of the parks newest rides ‘Expedition Everest’ – Lauren & I didn’t go on it just Steve – he said it was excellent.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Next stop was Camp Minnie & Mickey to meet and greet some characters – we were able to see Dale (from the Chipmunks), Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie & Mickey – the queues for them we quite low so we were pretty lucky. (We got photopasses on all of them with the three of us with each character so we’re looking forward to seeing them).
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
By the time we had met with the Characters it was time to get our seats in the theatre for “The Festival of the Lion King’ I had remembered this from last time we were here so we were looking forward to seeing it again.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
As we were expecting it was excellent – Lauren enjoyed it – especially the naughty acrobatic monkeys.
After the Lion King we walked to another part of the park and caught a few rides for Lauren and met Pluto & Goofy, and spotted a place where Pooh Bear, Tiger & Eeyore were doing character meets and there were no queues so we took Lauren to seem them too – she did really well for autographs that day. Tigger was really good with Lauren due to the fact there were no queues – he went and hid round the corner from her playing hide & seek and when he did come out he danced with her for a bit.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Here are just some photos we took throughout the day, this is the HUGE Christmas tree they had at the entrance gate with all animal decorations on.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
‘The Tree of Life” (the photo doesn’t do it justice really, but they have carved animals into the bark of the tree trunk.)
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
Before we realised it was around 4ish and we had planned to be leaving for Epcot for 2pm so we decided to head out for the bus back to Epcot.
Florida Holiday - Animal Kingdom & Epcot - Day 6
We waited for about 15 minutes for the bus and by this time wondered why we just didn’t drive between the parks ourselves, especially when we did eventually get on the bus we had the slowest driver … ever!!!!
We arrived back in Epcot at around 5 and headed straight to ‘Test Track’ for Steve to ride – the single rider queue said 30 minutes so I said to him to do that and Lauren & I would head off to meet some characters and we would meet each other afterwards. Job done or so we thought …
Lauren and I headed off to meet some characters we queued for about 40 minutes and spent quite a bit of time interacting with each character so by this point I was expecting Steve to be waiting outside.
Well he wasn’t so Lauren and I sat outside on the wall – time by now must have been around 5.30ish I guess, we waited around for a good half an hour and I had began to wonder if maybe he did a ride next to ‘Test Track’ and that was what was holding him up …… time was pressing on and it must have been approaching an hour of us sitting and waiting – it was starting to get dark and I just kept scanning a sea of people walking towards us looking for Steve wearing a blue t-shirt .. but guess what? loads of people that night were wearing blue shirts.
Anyone who knows Lauren will know what she is like. By now I was getting the panicky “Mummy will we ever see Daddy again” “Do you think Daddy has been taken” “what happens if we never see him again”??? OMG lol We took a walk off to see if we could see him in the area where the ride was but we didn’t see him so walked back. We did this a good few times scanning everyone just incase we saw him … it never happened – in the end I decided to just stand in the one place back outside the character meet – Lauren was balling by now – I was getting bored (very bored) and my legs were killing – trying to console Lauren we would see him agan and to stop being silly and trying to scan the crowds – it actually makes you go lightheaded a bit looking at people walking in all different directions for over 2 hrs in the dark!!!!
Eventually after 2 hours I looked up and spotted him, my god we’ve never ran so quick, heavy bag on my back and all trying not to lose Lauren and trying to get his attention incase I lost him in the crowd again we finally met! Turns out he was stood waiting outside the ride and I was stood outside the character meet and each time either of us wandered to each area we must have been doing it at the exact same time FGS.
Well after that we certainly we not in the mood to do anything else so we left and headed back to the car – sod the extra day we tried to make up – it didn’t work LOL.
Coming up next ….. Chef Mickeys & Epcot

Florida Holiday – Seaworld – Day Five.

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 went to Seaworld for day five.

Day 5 – Seaworld (Friday 11th November 2011):
Today’s Weather 64F (17c)
Bit cooler today as the weather predicted, the sun was still out but there was a cooler breeze.
We decided to head off to Seaworld today – I remember it not being such a big park and we needed an easier day after such a busy day the day before – plus the park closed at 6.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Five.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Five.
We didn’t get there until about 11. We enjoyed the day but we won’t feel the need to go back there again the next time. We didn’t think there was much there (and thought the same last time too) we headed off to watch the ‘Shamu’ show first – mixed feelings about it really – yes it was impressive and they were very clever but I couldn’t help feel sorry for those gorgeous whales – 5 of them in a tiny pool, entertaining on demand … they seemed happy enough and was rewarded with plenty of fish and i’m sure if they were left to their own defences in the wild they would feel a bit lost I did still feel sorry for them.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Five.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Five.
Mr S went on the new ride ‘Manta’ – looked pretty hairy but he did it and said it was good.
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Lauren & I queued up at 1.30 for the dolphin feeding – we bought a tray of fish each and stood by the wall to feel them …. this was pretty cool – I love dolphins – we were able to touch & feed them for about 15 minutes – Lauren loved it and said they felt so soft and silky. We didn’t get any photos of us doing this – Steve took a video instead from the viewing balcony.
The rest of the day was just wandering round looking in various pools of stingrays, fish, sharks etc. We went through a shark encounter which was ok.
The only other ride we did/fancied was the ‘The Polar Express’ based on the Christmas Film – we at first sat in a theatre to watch a preview of the film, then when we left through the exit door we were then in ‘The North Pole’ they had a few things to look at, a few Christmas presents along a warehouse corridor, no other decorations, no music playing it just seemed half hearted. We saw a few white whales and a polar bear (who looked throughly depressed being in such a small tank 🙁
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Eventually we met Santa (it’s was ok nothing special to be honest and they clearly don’t put as much effort into things like Disney do).
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That was it pretty much – we had done the whole park, not missed anything and by this time it was 6 and time to head back.
So yeah good day but a bit ‘meh’. We’ve done it and won’t feel the need to go again.
Coming up next Animal Kingdom & Epcot.

Florida Holiday – Hotel Pool & Magic Kingdom Day Three.

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. Day three was all about shopping for supplies and spending some much needed time relaxing round by the pool after the long day we had travelling the day before.

So back to the current day – i’m having to play a bit of catch up – C has been poorly and we spent best part of the night & early hours of the morning in hospital with him with a possible stay. Luckily we managed to avoid him going on a drip. So i’ve been a bit busy tending to him. So after today i’ll be back to posting these daily.

Day Three – Hotel & Pool Day (Wednesday 9th November):
Todays Weather – 82F (27c)

So as expected we were awake bright and early – I think I was wide awake from 5.30am due to my body clock still thinking it was 10.30. Lauren came into us around 6.30.

We asked her what she wanted to do today and we knew what the response would have been – she wanted to try out the pool!! To be honest though we were hoping she would say that because we were still pretty tired after the journey the day before and we also needed to make the trip to Wal-Mart for supplies so a day by the pool suited us.
We did the Wal-Mart trip first – luckily it was just up the road so we didn’t have far to go to find it.
Hmmmm what an experience it was shopping there – firstly it’s HUGE .. absolutely massive, they sell everything! But we set about finding our way around the food asiles. Secondly we were so surprised with what we saw – everything they sell was from a cardboard box .. mashed potatoes come from a box, cakes, cookies, biscuits come from a box, cereals with no amount of colourings, sugar & god knows what else added to hype a child up for the day, hundreds of different types of cereal bars, gallons on Sunny D (which I believe was banned in the uk), sausages with added chicken … why would you want chicken in your sausages. No wonder people over here are seriously overweight 😮 we had to actually hunt out and search for stuff we wanted, healthy things, ingredients so I could make things from scratch rather then it being already cooked/processed. Also another thing I did notice were the prices – the non food stuffs like clothing, home, electrical weren’t too bad but food was more expensive than I thought it would have been. We were in the queue and the family in front of us had 4 boys and they must have bought about 20 boxes of cereal bars with added colourings – they give this stuff to their kids for breakfast??!!
Anyway Wal-Mart done we headed back to go to the pool. It’s gorgeous – really nice and big with plenty of seating & a pool side bar. There is a huge pirate ship with a log flume which Lauren is desperate to try but as of yet only goes up the stairs and a few minutes later comes back down again lol – I know what will happen – towards the end of the holiday she’ll try it and will love it.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

At one point we did laugh – Lauren was stood talking to us and I saw something pretty large flying up to her .. only problem is I didn’t see it fly past her – next minute a huge shriek from Lauren as she noticed a rather large grasshopper had landed on her …. she panicked and flicked it off and it landed on me – I tried to get it off and put on the table but just as I did it flew off right onto Steve’s nose! Poor thing then jumped into the pool but a boy fished it out and put it on the pool side.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

 

After about an hour of being down there Lauren made a friend – a girl her age who had only arrived the day before us from England – they hit it off really well and spent about 4/5 hours in the pool playing together.

Day 4 – Magic Kingdom (Thursday 10th November 2011):
Todays Weather 82F (27c)
We had set the alarm for 6.30 because we wanted to get to Magic Kingdom for opening at 9 – we had hoped to get there for the opening ceremony and this time of the year the park closes at 9 so we knew we would only have 12 hours there.
Huge excitement when the alarm went off – Lauren came running in grinning she was off to see Mickey :o)
We headed off around 7.45 so we were there in plenty of time – found Disney World with no problems and the signs to Magic Kingdom were easy. Driving under that sign just give you goosebumps and brings tears to your eyes – it just screams out magic to you.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four
We got parked up in Simba 11 parking lot – they had the parking lots named after Villians & Heroes and then numbered so you can remember where you parked. The car-parks are huge – they even had a guy whizzing round on a segway directing cars into parking spaces.
At the end of each parking lot there was a Walt Disney Cart train to take you to the Monorail.
I think the Monorail is great – love the little trip between the parking lots to the Magic Kingdom gate – it just seems to start the magic off and the views are lovely – always nice to get that first glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle and it’s pretty cool going through the Contemporary Lodge Hotel :o)
We arrived at the gate – had our bags checked & went on through – first job was to buy Lauren an autograph book & pen for those all important signatures :o)
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four
Main street is just gorgeous – they’ve got all of the Christmas decorations up and it really did look lovely.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four
They also had an area taped off for Daisy Duck & Pluto to do character meets just inside the entrance gate so we queued there first – Lauren had decided on wearing a Daisy Duck t-shirt – as soon as she got to first in the line for Daisy she noticed her top, pointed at it and blew Lauren a kiss – the interaction she had with Lauren was just great – she signed her book then posed for some photos getting Lauren to stand in different poses, it was a great introduction to the park for us and after the photos & the photopass photographer took their photos Daisy hugged and kissed Lauren.
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

As usual the music was playing and there were the occasional street performance going on – singing & dancing. In City Hall we picked up a badge for Lauren that said 1st Visit so she wore that all day.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

Mickey & Minnie Mouse & three of the Disney Princesses were doing character greets in the Theatre, the queues were a bit long so we got a fastpass and headed off down Main Street for some light breakfast/snacks (we had some toast when we left but we were getting peckish by now) We got something from the Main Street bakery & sat outside taking in everything that was going on.
Before we went back to the Theatre for the character meets we got the all important Minnie Mouse ears for Lauren and got her name inscribed on the back – something she has wanted ever since she knew they existed about 2 years ago!
Fastpass is excellent – we were able to head straight to the front of the queue – we went into see Mickey & Minnie first – I think Lauren was going to burst with excitement!
Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

They were great – Whilst Mickey signed her book Minnie hugged her & she had her photo taken (again by photopass) and whilst Minnie signed the book Mickey had her photo taken with her. Afterwards Steve & I joined in for a photo and the photopass photographer took one on our camera for us too.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

The Princesses were also really lovely – Cinderella was first – she took Lauren’s hand and took her over to sign her book, chatting away to her asking all sorts of questions then they posed for photos – Belle was second and I can honestly say the interaction with her was just fantastic – she asked Lauren’s name and personalised her book and sealed it with a kiss so she left her lipstick imprint – I didn’t see her do that with anyone else, third and last was Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

We did take photos but we got Photopasses on all of them so hopefully they’ll be a lot nicer.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

After we had finished with the autographs we headed off to the main part of the park, as we walked out of the theatre we saw Mary Poppins who had just come out to sign autographs so we were first up to see her – definitely at the right place at the right time there.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

Getting to the end of main street and seeing Cinderella’s Castle just gives you goosebumps how ever many times you’ve seen it but seeing your daughter see it for the first time beats anything – she was in awe <3

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

I have to say everyone I spoke to on the Disney Forums said November is low crowds and less queue times but we couldn’t believe how busy it was – there were people everywhere, queue times for rides were not the 15 minutes people said they would be – they were all more like 60 odd minutes!!!! We took a few fast passes for some rides so we could go back at certain times and go straight to the front but you can’t have too many fast passes valid at one time so we were limited. We went to Fantasyland first and we did ‘it’s a small world’, ‘Aladin’s flying carpets’,’Dumbo’ etc for Lauren and just generally made our way through the park and the crowds.
At around 2pm Lauren & I sat down for the parade and Steve took the opportunity to do a few rides whist the queues were quiet (which they weren’t, in the end he only got to ride the Haunted House). 3pm the ‘Celebrate Today Parade’ started and I was actually quite surprised how short it was compared to previous years we’ve seen it – 11 years ago it lasted for a good 50 minutes but now it’s about 20/25 minuted with about 6/7 floats – it was still lovely to watch and Lauren throughly enjoyed it but I did feel they didn’t put as much effort into as they had done in the past.
After the parade we did a few more rides, watched a show put on by the main characters in front of the castle, which was excellent & then headed off for some dinner, Steve then went on ‘Space Mountain’ and by the time he had done that the sun had gone down and it was nearly 7. We made our way back towards the castle for the ‘Wishes’ firework display.

As we left TomorrowLand and approached the Castle we couldn’t believe the difference in it at night – quite literally took our breathes away – it was absolutely gorgeous all lit up with the fairy Christmas lights – it really was something else. The photos really don’t do it any justice at all.

Throwback to Florida Five Years Ago – Day Three & Day Four

The Main Street Electrical Parade had started at 7 and from where we were stood for the fireworks we were able to see the floats which were really good.
‘Wishes’ started at 8 and I can’t tell you how good it was – I was on the verge of tears pretty much the whole time at just how wonderful it was and how magical they make it. It really was breathtaking – They started with a light effect show on the Castle projecting memories and photo’s from people and their magical moments throughout the day. Tinkerbell then flew from the Castle across the sky waving her wand at everyone to mark the start of the fireworks – no firework show will ever top that – ever. I just wanted to bottle the feeling I had and keep it forever!!
Leaving after the fireworks was really quite easy – Main Street looked lovely all lit up at night with Christmas lights and we managed to stay together working our way through the crowds – the lines getting onto the Monorail were pretty long but they have it all sewn up and the Cast Members make sure the lines are kept moving and the Monorails were in and out of the station one after the other – once off the Monorail the Transportation cart to the parking lot was ready and waiting and again as one pulled out another one pulled in – bearing in mind thousands of people were all leaving at the same time we were back in the car within about 20 minutes.

Driving home was an event – driving over here is fine and we’re used to that but things aren’t signposted very well coming home (going to the Parks is easy) so it took a while to get back in the dark and a few wrong turnings but we did it – our feet were absolutely aching after being on them for 12+ hours but it was SO worth it – we’ll have memories that will last forever – it’s such a special place.

Coming up next Seaworld.