Disney Planning & Preparation

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This week we have had my step-daughter staying with us so hubby and I thought it would be a great excuse to really start the Disney planning- well that was until they saw they volume of data and just went pop!  So the initial data cleanse and collecting was left into my capable or not so capable hands. Two nights later I had a reasonable spreadsheet that I could use to book arrival dates, costs, quiet days, busy days and visit options.  For me it is big kid in a tuck shop.  Having never been to Disney and it being a live long dream to do so whenever I get excited I curl my hands into balls put them on the side of my head jump up and down and squeal Mickkkeeeeyyyyy !!!!! Hubby has decided I look like a demented Reindeer – I am sure he will post clips or images at some point, which will be much to the amusement of friends and colleagues.  Step daughter just laughs and says she loves her not so sane parents…  In between now and then though I still have to finish paying for everything the plan is to have most things closed down by the end of May, with insurance and a few tit and tats to be done in June such as buying the long awaited  tablet, and some halter tops and new under garments for myself and then we are ready to go.  In the intervening time we are planning sites, to visit on quiet or moderate days including the new Universal studies and its Gringotts Bank Tour.  There are many things which excite us about this trip, having being to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, it will be intersting to see how the US have adopted this to their environment. Things that excite us about the HPWorld is the Gringotts bank tour, the ability to ride from platform 9 and three quarters on the Hogwart Express there feels like so much going on we are not sure how we are going to cram it all in.

 

As result of all this roller coasting and jostling about we are planning on doing over the summer we have renewed our Merlin passes for the coming year and are planning much of the weekends on rides, experiencing the thrills and get our adrenaline fuelling through our bodies for the fun that is to come.  Some of the rides we intend to throw ourselves onto our listed below

 

 

 

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Day 14 – Time to leave

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Well it has come to that sad part of all holidays when once again it is time to pack cases and head back to normal life.  With this being my first visit to Disney I can honestly say it has not disappointed and yet I somehow feel disappointed. I only feel we have only scratched the surface and there is so much more to do and explore and so will look forward to being able to comeback and explore some more over the coming years. 

This holiday in itself has been invaluable on assessing food places, dining plans, ticketing options, transport links, clothes, shoes, luggage capabilities.

Vital for any trip to Disney is the planning, the more you can do before arriving the easier your trip will be once you are out here.  Key advice comfy shoes.  You may think your shoes are comfy but you will be working between 5 and 10 miles a day, I would suggest using trainers or investing in some Crocs.  I have found the pair I purchased out here invaluable.  Over the last 14 days my family and I have walked close to 120 miles, this includes a complete pool day and does not include the walking around Typhoon Lagoon when the pedometer was in the locker on both days.

Other trips and tips if you are looking at going to other parks invest in an Orlando flex pass ticket.  Invaluable and will save you money upon your third visit. 

A great family holiday good for all ages and disabilities. Excellent time was had by all.  Look out for my top rides and eateries coming shortly for your review

Day 13 Typhoon Lagoon

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So today was supposed to be day 3 in the Magic Kingdom but given it being the day before we return to the UK we decided to be kind and spend another day at Typhoon Lagoon.  We re did the gangsta falls a family raft trip down effectively a rapidesque style ride.  My step daughter and I also did the other two crush n gusher slides which were water slides crossed with rollercoaster technology.  Great fun, although at one point we did nearly do both a 360 and u-turn the raft we were in, in one of the tunnels.  This time I also made sure I had my goggles on after losing both my contacts last time within the park.

This time I opted to leave kawabunga a miss mainly because I was in shorts and tee shirt having been so badly burnt from the last visit I wanted to remain mostly covered up.  Nonetheless we did a couple of trips around the lazy river to finish the day before heading back to showed and change before our evening meal at Jikos.

Jikos was based out at the Animal Kingdom lodge resort.  A signature dining restaurant experience.  The restaurant food was modern African cuisine.  Since it was our last meal we opted for both wine and starters which are not included within our dining plan.  Food was delicious well executed and nice portion sizes meaning we did not feel overly full as we had with other resorts and restaurants we had eaten at in the past fortnight.

Day 12 Magic Kingdom part 2

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Today was our second day back at magic kingdom.  Today’s plans included completing the trio of mountains with big splash mountain being booked in for the last ride of the day. 

Our first fast pass was with Pirates of the Caribbean a gentle log flume ride mainly in the dark going through various scenes of the movie – I know this is technically inaccurate as the movie was based upon the ride.  Given the time we then opted for lunch before doing a gentle steamboat ride along the river front before heading on to the haunted mansion ride a modern take on the ghost train experience.  We then had a small wander up a tree for the Swiss family Robinson, before wandering into fantasy land for Winnie the pooh and photos with Tigger too.  We then headed back to Frontierland for splash mountain.  Splash mountain is based around the Briar rabbit stories do nice little robotics take place before cumulating in a 50 ft splash to the bottom.

After which we grabbed the monorail round to Epcot for the evening meal at Tepen Edo Japanese style food.  Food and service again was delicious and thoroughly enjoyable.  Prior to the meal we managed to grab some more Christmas presents for family before finally heading back to the hotel to collapse

Day 11 Islands of adventure HP part 2

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Day 2 of our harry potter adventure was diagon alley and Islands of adventure.  The adventure really started when I decided to do my first bit of US driving. The simple matter was that it was not !y driving which was the problems but the braking, however, once I swapped  from using my left to my right foot the DRI e became easier and my passengers stopped getting whiplash!

Diagon Alley was one of those events which because it is removed from the park is fully immersive and leaves little room for interaction with the outside park.  Having eaten at the three broomsticks yesterday, today was the day of the leaky cauldron. The leaky cauldron had been promoted has doing English pub food healthily, an ironic thought to both my step daughter and I.  The food itself was delicious with lots of interesting drinks combination.

We then queued for our longest ride in the whole of our holiday which was escape from Gringotts.  A new 3d rollercoaster with the use of new technology on my previously used in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region .  Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and adrenaline fueled ride. 

We then wondered around knockturn alley, before opting to go and visitor Ollivanders wand shop. You are initially admitted in small numbers as a small wand choosing ceremony takes place with a chosen member of the audience – in this instance it was my step daughter who was chosen.  The actor playing Ollivander does a great job and goes through wand lore and the choosing of wands throughout the ceremony to the chosen one.

We then went to the ice cream parlour for some butter beer, toffee apple and chilli chocolate ice cream. After which we made the small walk round to Islands of adventure.  We quickly jumped onto the hulk ride which had only a 5 minute queue time before heading back to Hogsmeade for some present buying.  At which point it was time to head back to the resort before our evening meal at the boatswright cafe in Port Orleans Riverside.  The food was excellent, and was traditional southern food with Jambalaya, broths and fishes.  Food portions here were hearty to say the least and I struggled to finish my main course.  Nonetheless food was delicious and well worth a visit when we come back

Day 9 Disney Hollywood Studios

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Hollywood studios I had little in the way of expectations of being told it was a half a park day and to some extent that is true if all you want to do is form a couple of the extreme rides there, but there is lots more to do if you want to take the time to explore, interact with etc…

Out first ride of the day was the Aerosmith ride.  Unbeknownst to all of us prior to ride is that we would be doing loop the loop and helixes on this ride in the dark.  With a magnetic launch equivalent to or slightly less than Rita at the beginning, however it was a fully enjoyable ride and would do again.  One ride we had all agreed was off the agenda whilst we were there was tower of terror, for no reason other than it pulled on already pre-existing lift fears and did not make us feel all warm and fluffy inside. 

We then did the great movie journey some parts perhaps a little freaky for small children.  We then followed this up with the Indiana stunt show, which was thoroughly enjoyable.  We then made our way round to the star tours.  We sat and watched some of the Jedi padawan training session before entering into star tours ride.  A nice gentle 3d simulator ride. 

We followed this up with muppets 3d which had a combination of motion imagery, and live performance and interaction, including the grumpy old men.  One of the most impressive things about this ride was the complete rebuilding of the actual Muppet theatre.

We then met up with Mike and Sully which was good fun.  We were planning on doing the backlog tour, but given that this was an hour and we only had 15 minutes to our next fast pass ride we had was for the event I was looking forward to which was lights motor action.

As such we started to make our way round to the necessary set, we got seated and the show began.  Unfortunately as a direct result of incoming weather front and then a mini tropical storm hitting the performance had to be cancelled.  As a result of this and once the storm had started to clear about 5 minutes later we wandered round to customer service to see if there was something we could do a out effectively our last fast pass.  They instantly loaded our passes  with a new free VIP fast pass for us once we had explained the situation,which we then promptly went and used on Toy Story Mania.  A laser shooting 3d game based around Andy’s toy box.

That night was also villians unleashed but having not bought tickets we headed back to the resort and our evening meal.  Tonight we were eating at Bingos – Cuban style food.  The restaurant is apparently owned by Gloria Estavan, which was kinda cool.  Unfortunately because we did not what one of the fancy drinks, mainly due to my allergy to rum, temperature of our waitress dropped dramatically.  Food generally was be y good though and portion sizes were good to the point that we could not manage desert.  We did box up deserts but at the end of the holiday we had not finished it.

Day 10- universal Harry Pottering

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So today was day 1 of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Hogsmeade.  We arrived early at the studios to take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade village.  Personally I was very impressed with Kings Cross Station and their billboard of stations times and updates, which included Brough, Hull, Newcastle.  Journey into Hogsmeade was traversed with Dementors, rain, Hedwig, amongst others. 

Hogsmeade Village itself is fully immersive, with a stage where throughout the day you have the Triwizard champions performing their dances as they enter I to Hogwarts for the first time.

Their are three main rides within this section, dragons challenge where you can choose between a Hungarian horntail and Chinese fireball. For us the more enjoyable ride and possible!e the more extreme as it was more sweeping was the Hungarian horntail.  For a gentler ride option there is the flight of the hippogriff.  With the final ride being escape from Hogwarts which is a dark ride crossed with a simulator action and imaging.  Immensely enjoyable.  Although because the ride itself moves about quite a bit as it so operated on hinges basis I would suggest not doing this ride immediately after eating.

As we had not had breakfast that day we opted for brunch at the The Three Broomsticks.  Goof itself was very good, although I did traumatise the staff as I got some what excited when my wedding march started to get played – The Durmstrang music (Irish World Cup Theme Tune on the Harry Potter CD).

That nights dining was at the Grand Floridian cafe.  Set up as a traditional Victorian cafe the food was amazing and the service excellent.  A place we look forward to being able yo visit again on our next visit here. Once food was finished we headed back into the Magic Kingdom and caught the electrical parade, nighttime firework spectacular. We even grabbed some shoots with Mickey and Tinkerbell before heading back to the resort for some sleep

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