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





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 8 Magic Kingdom

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Yesterday was our first trip to the Magic Kingdom the ultimate epitome of the Disney kingdom- well for me anyway.  We did not get there until later in the day for a variety of reasons.  When we arrived it was time for pur first fast pass ride which was Space Mountain.  Space Mountain for me was the ride I had always wanted !y parents to pay to come to Disney for.  Now here I was at 38 riding it .  a virtually dark ride it was quick, fun and full of giggles.

Earlier in the day we had done buzz space rangers, and the people over which took you around the future world element of the park and in and around most of the rides.  In addition to this as I had promised my nephew a picture with Buzz, this was duly acquired after several failed attempts along with plenty of the castle.  What was nice is that most of the princess’ castles had been built up around the park including sleeping beauty, Rapunzel, and Beast’s from Beauty and the Beast. 

Our second fast pass was over in frontier land and was big thunder mountain, so we took the MK express over to Frontier land to save the legs.  Big thunder mountain is the second big round that everyone thinks of when they think of Magic Kingdom.  An effective runaway train coaster with lots of twists turns and drops.  Fast and speedy a cool ride to do.

We held off doing the third mountain ride until later on in the week to give us something to look forward to later on in the week.  We the headed over to our last and final fast track the newest ride of fantasy land the seven dwarfs mine train.  Not as extreme as some of the rides we have done but still enjoyable wit some nice twists and turns, proving a friendly coaster fun ride for the up youngsters too.

Last night we ate at House of blues.  Food was nice enough and service was good lots of atmosphere.  Can highly recommend the NY steak yummy.

Tomorrow it is Disney Hollywood Studios

Day 7 KSC aka Launch control NASA

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So today was the day we put aside to spend it at Kennedy Space Centre, launch control centre.  For me I was expecting this to be somewhat emotional given that from as early as I can remember I wanted to be an astronaut and on investigation I was gutted to find that my poor eye sight would prevent me from doing so.

Entry to the site was probably one of the most expensive of the all the trips so far at $150 for 3 adults, this however did include the KSC tour and the Hall of fame Astronauts museum a little further down the road.  Although to be fair this probably just felt expensive given that we had bought flexi-passes for the other theme parks in the area.

There were several real touching and amazing moments in the day including getting to walk the same platform into the Apollo module as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and co.  There is something very humbling about the whole experience and unearthly.  We topped photos of Jere with some amazing shots of the rocket garden, these will be added later.  I also got a photo taken within a shuttle capsule by some LATAM guests whom seemed really surprised that I could thank them in Portuguese – for those who were wondering fhw term is obrigado.

We choose to do the complete KSC tour and not disembark at the Apollo and Saturn discovery section due to time constraints but it was something we will go back and do when we come back and visit again soon.  When we were dropped back off at the main concourse we were near the Atlantis arena.  This resulted in another jaw dropping moment as it took us through a 12 minute presentation split into two sections.  The first was informative around building the shuttle and the problems encountered.  The second surrounded its maiden voyage and return to earth.  With an encompassing cinematography showing amazing footage and then the final event is just breath taking – I  won’t say what it was to spoil it for any of those who may go visit bit it is well worth the visit.

Both my husband and I were amazed by how much there was to do there and were disappointed we did not have more time to spend there and explore more.  We did however bor participate in the simulation of the launch which was an amazing experience and real good fun.  We also chatted with Docent who was the last person to see the astronauts into the capsule for the Apollo launch and had a lovely chat with him.  He also handed me a limited edition coin for Apollo which was printed in 2011 and has her reference number as her unique identifier.

That night we ate at Portobello Italian Trattoria in Downtown Disney ey.  I have to admit I was not entirely impressed, it was not that the food was bad but if you send out a half burnt chicken and serve it to paying customers really not a good move.  However to their credit when I raised a concern aboutit they replaced it without any question and got a perfectly cooked one back to me within 10 minutes.  Nonetheless it did leave an unsavoury taste in the mouth.  Desert we have the Biramsu which wasserved in a pint glass and was set to represent a pint of beer.  It was far lighter than it looked and it was delicious. 

An enjoyable day was had by all and tomorrow is our first trip to the Magic Kingdom woo hoo

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