February Disney Trip Day 9

So this morning we had the intention of getting up and going to Magic Kingdom for a bit before heading across to Animal Kingdom, but the reality of this morning led to us spending more time in the room trying to clear up some of our mess in preparation for leaving Riverside tomorrow, so instead we just left a little bit later and went straight to AK.

First up, we grabbed a traditional park breakfast of a Joffrey’s doughnut and drink, then our first fastpass of the day was Kali River Rapids, which we welcomed with open arms in the 28 degree heat – we were dry within an hour – then went to meet King Louie and Baloo, which we’d missed on our last day in the park.

Despite having fastpasses for later in the day, the queue time for Expedition Everest was quite short so we did that, then headed across the water to see Finding Nemo the Musical – Sarah’s first time! The show actually had a little interval due to technical problems, but it was only a few minutes before it was back up and keeping on swimming! We then headed into Dinoland for another first for Sarah: Primeval Whirl, and I’d forgotten just how much that ride throws you around!

Just outside the exit for PW, there’s a little photo booth which I’ve seen before and have always been curious to try out, so we investigated and amazingly it works with photopass and memory makers, so we gave it a go, although I did also pay the $5 for the printed photo strips too – it was too cute not to.. We also met Goofy and Pluto in Dinoland, and also Donald, then had a quick go on Dinosaur because the wait was only 10 minutes, before also meeting Donald.

From there, we left Dinoland and grabbed a late lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue. I’d just like to point out how great this restaurant is as a quick service, because our meals would have come to over $44 if we weren’t on the dining plan, and I got the biggest plate of ribs! Also, there’s so much seating available; we sat right down by the river looking across to Everest and it was beautiful.

After dragging ourselves back onto our feet, we went to Expedition Everest for our fastpass, then wandered back down to Africa where we walked onto a safari – yes, the park is that quiet today – then into Festival of the Lion King. Once the show ended, it was time for the Kilimanjaro Safari fastpass we had booked, but again it was so quiet we didn’t even bother tapping our bands and just did the standby queue. Night safaris are actually the best as well, we saw more lions, got super close to some zebras and we actually saw a mini stampede of the wilderbeast, which even the cast member said he’d never seen before!

We wrapped up the night with a walk on Expedition Everest, followed by a dark Primeval whirl, and closed the park with two rides on Triceratop Spin! We’ve now said goodbye to 3 out of the 4 parks, with tomorrow being our last full day here, and we’ll be in the Magic Kingdom for our last day and a half. Tomorrow morning we’ll check out of Riverside and into the Polynesian for a final night of magic!

February Disney Trip Day 5 and Enchanted 10K

Well that was an early morning, but I’ve done the 10K!


The race was a lot of fun. I took it pretty easy and stopped for quite a few characters along the way, including Tinkerbell who was with Terrence, Rosetta and Iridessa (AMAZING) and also Dopey, Marie and the Genie! Stopping for characters did bring my time up, but I had so much fun I didn’t really care and I still did pretty well considering!


After getting back to the hotel and recovering with a bath and a quite lay down, we hopped on a bus to Hollywood Studios, then got a boat over to Beach Club for breakfast at Cape May Cafe. It was a classic breakfast buffet, with Minnie, Goofy and Donald meeting in their adorable beach outfits!

Back to Hollywood Studios, and our first stop of the day was meeting Moana, which is at the back of One Man’s Dream. The staging of her meet is amazing; you queue through the cave from the film, with a waterfall backdrop, and you meet Moana on an island beach by the sea – it’s all super pretty! After her, we ticked Pluto off the list by Disney Junior’s, him being the final of the classic six characters for us to meet, then headed down Sunset Boulevard and caught a showing of Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.


Next up, it was our fastpass for Tower of Terror. If you know me, you’ll know I have a love/hate thing with this ride, but it actually seemed to be over a lot quicker than it normally is so win win! From there, we went to hang out and wait for the elusive Character Palooza, where we eventually met Tiana, Bert, Pinocchio and Pocahontas, then back to Pixar Place for Toy Story Mania. I, of course, destroyed Sarah, but she was a first timer so I’ll let her off..
Another character to tick off the ever growing list, we went to meet Olaf at Echo Lake because Mickey and Minnie had a crazy 50 minute queue. He really liked my medal and wanted one of his own, so he decided to run with me tomorrow, although I warned him there’d be a danger of melting!


The next character we went to see was Chewbacca, although Sarah was pretty surprised as she was expecting Yoda – these non Star Wars fans eh? Continuing her Star Wars education, we marched back across the park to Star Tours, which I was really happy with because it was a scenario I’ve never had before and I basically always see the same ones! Now the queue for Mickey and Minnie was a bit shorter, so we jumped in. I was a little upset that Mickey had been moved from his old spot, but when I saw the new area all was forgiven because that area is really nice and both Mickey and Minnie were really fun and Minnie’s dress was so pretty!


Starting to really feel the 5 hours of sleep I’ve had, we grabbed some dinner at Catalina Eddie’s, then left Hollywood Studios for Animal Kingdom so we could catch Rivers of Light. Well it turned out everyone else had the same idea. We got to the stands with 15 minutes to spare, only to find that they were already rammed, and were queueing people up for the later showing over an hour later. We did a full loop of the lake area, then I had a brainwave to follow the seating for Flame Tree Barbecue all the way down to the waters edge – it maybe wasn’t as great a view as you might get from the stands, but there was seating and hardly anyone there so it makes the perfect secret spot. The show itself was not mind blowing; sure it was pretty and the floats were beautiful, but I definitely wouldn’t be queueing over an hour like some poor unfortunate souls, and I won’t hurry back either.

I’m now exhausted and my feet are really feeling the events of the day, so we’re heading back to the hotel for a good nights sleep, and I’ve got another 3.30am alarm for tomorrow’s half!

February Disney Trip Day 4

Jambo friends! Today we’ve been exploring the Animal Kingdom, and I’ve become a Wilderness Explorer!


We got into the park just as it opened, and headed in the direction of Kilimanjaro Safaris as we had an early fastpass, but on the way over we managed to randomly meet Flik from Bugs Life and also Tarzan, where we were basically rendered to awkward teenage girls but he was really nice. We then hopped on Simba-1 for a safari, and were lucky enough to see a baby elephant and a young giraffe as well as the other amazing wildlife on the ride.
One quick breakfast later, we hopped on a train up to Rafiki’s Planet watch as Sarah had never been before, and met the main mandril himself, and also caught the It All Started With A Mouse show which was really cute and something I’ve never seen before, or even knew was a thing! A quick train ride back, and we walked over to Asia for our Expedition Everest fastpasses, and we got to ride right at the back which made the whole ride seem more extreme and awesome!

A few Wilderness Explorer stops later, and we headed to Yak and Yeti for lunch. I’d not eaten there before, and I know I’ve probably said this about every restaurant so far but the food was so good and the service was amazing! I had a chicken tikka masala and cheesecake for dessert and I was super happy the whole time.

After lunch we went to meet Pocahontas, which had a fair bit of a queue, then walked across into Dinoland for our Dinosaur fastpass, via a few more WE stops, then after the ride went to meet Russel so I could show him how great I am at exploring the wilderness. Then, with time closing in on me to complete all 31 stops for my badge, the pressure was on, and we spent the next half an hour or so rushing round so I could get my Senior Wilderness Explorer badge before the cut off of 5.15pm – AND I DID IT!


While I went to collect it, Sarah got in the queue to meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost, and I joined her, sticker badge proudly on my chest! From there, we dashed back to Africa for the last Festival of the Lion King show of the day. We got there with only a few minutes to spare, so we were sat really high up, but I still thought the view was pretty good and the show was it’s usual standard – monkeys tumbled, fire baton man batonned..


With the park now fairly quiet, we took the opportunity of a 10 minute wait time on Everest, although we probably only waited 5, and riding that in the dark was pretty awesome, then all the way back to Africa again for another safari – this time in the dark. OH MY GOSH THATS WORTH DOING. I’ve always sworn by early morning safaris, but we saw 3 lions in the evening – and I’m talking up moving around lions, not just the standard one lying on a rock that I’m used to. We were also so close to a white rhino it was incredible!

I’m so happy Animal Kingdom is being kept open later cos it just seemed to make the whole day more enjoyable. I feel like a total cliche because I feel like every day I’m telling you all that it’s been an awesome day but they all really have been! We’re back to the hotel now for a pre-race dinner and an early night as I’m up at 3:30 in the morning (which is actually before this post will even go live) to run the Princess 10K, so keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for updates!

Best Rest Rides at Walt Disney World

Speaking as a person who has not only had to do WDW parks on major jet lag, but also after being up since 3am and running a half marathon (hello RunDisney life), I know that there are always those days where you need to chill out, but also don’t want to miss out on any valuable park time, so I’ve got you covered!

Tomorrowland TTA People Mover

Magic Kingdom

TTA People Mover

Has anyone ever actually had to queue for PeopleMover? I don’t think I’ve ever been on it and not been allowed to ride around and around for ages because there’s no one else waiting. Its the perfect way to still experience MK while keeping your feet up.

Walt Disney World Railroad

One of my favourite things to do sometimes is just get on the train and ride a loop or two around the park!

Epcot

Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Hello 45 minute sit down! I will admit to drifting off while riding this one time..

Living with the Land

This educational little boat trip is one of my Epcot favourites; I love looking at all the plants and trying to spot hidden Mickeys, plus I normally follow it up with a trip to Sunshine Seasons for Mongolian beef and a red velvet whoopie pie!

Spaceship Earth

Its iconic Epcot, plus a nice relaxing trip through history and into the future!

Hollywood Studios

The Great Movie Ride

I don’t care if people think its a little cheesy, but its a nice gentle ride and I always like waiting to find out if I’m in a gangster or bandit car!

Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safaris

So I always try to make this a morning ride, but its the perfect way to ease into a day in the park, plus you never get the same experience twice!

What do you do on your down days in the parks?

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My Top 5 Most Underrated Places in Walt Disney World

It feels like forever since I’ve written a post about WDW, all the amazing other parks in the world have been busy getting in the way! But as it currently stands, my next Disney countdown is ticking towards my trip with Sarah in February, and I’m getting super excited to start properly planning again.

I know everyone has their special places in WDW, the places that they love over anywhere else, and we can’t possibly understand why not everyone shares our immense love for them, and here are mine:

1. The Boardwalk

Walt Disney World Boardwalk

It genuinely upsets me that there are a tonne of Disney World goers who have never discovered that little area of beauty that branches off of the World Showcase at Epcot. I love resorts, I love the peace and its just so damn pretty!

2. Japan

Epcot World Showcase Japan

Japan is definitely my favourite country on the World Showcase. The architecture is amazing and I love the huge shop of Japanese goodies; its so true to the country itself and it always gets me really excited.

3. Sleepy Hollow

Walt Disney World Sleepy Hollow

For starters, there are amazing waffles. For mains, the view of the castle is just stunning and its an awesome photo spot, plus its always been really quiet when I’ve eaten there. And for desserts, the waffles again..

4. Africa

WDW Animal Kingdom Africa

So often people overlook the incredible detail in Animal Kingdom, but I think this is truest in Africa. Disney Imagineers blow my mind.

5. Hollywood Boulevard

WDW Hollywood Studios

I know Hollywood Studios is considered a bit of a dunce park right now, what with all the development, but there’s just something beautiful about looking down the street and seeing the Chinese Theater at the end. It just feels like being transported to the era of classic movies and Hollywood glam!

Where are your favourite areas in WDW?

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WDW Transportation Links

Walt Disney World spans a crazy 40 square miles, did you know that?

With that in mind, your holiday can double as a logistical operation as you maneuver getting from park to park and back again, especially if, like us, you don’t have a car to get about. Fortunately though, Disney have thought all of this through, creating a bunch of different ways to get about, and on our January trip, Dad and I did a lot of exploring via some of the lesser known transportation options, and today I’m going to share all these wonderful links with you!

Magic King

Credit: itslizi.etsy.com

Bus

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can get to and from the Magic Kingdom by buses that run direct from your resort to the park entrance

Monorail

The monorail services the Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts, and also runs from the Transportation and Ticket Center if you do drive to the park.

Boat

Boats to and from the Magic Kingdom run from the Ticket and Transportation Center and Disney’s Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian resorts, as well as Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground.

Epcot

Credit: itslizi.etsy.com

Bus

Buses run regularly from all Disney resorts

Monorail

If you’re at the Magic Kingdom or monorail loop resorts, you can get the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and transfer to a monorail that travels direct to Epcot’s park entrance

Boat

If you’re at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club resorts or Swan and Dolphin hotels, you can travel by boat to Epcot’s International Gateway, where you can enter the park via the World Showcase

On foot

You can also walk to the International Gateway from any of the above resorts, and also from Hollywood Studios – a path runs between the two via The Boardwalk

Hollywood Studios

Credit: itslizi.etsy.com

Bus

Resort buses regularly travel to Hollywood Studios and back again.

Boat

You can travel to the park by boats from The Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach Club resorts and Swan and Dolphin hotels. You can use these boats as a way of transferring to Epcot too!

On foot

You can walk to Hollywood Studios from Epcot via The Boardwalk – during peak seasons, this walk is quicker than any other transportation!

Animal King

Credit: itslizi.etsy.com

Bus

Because its so far out from the other parks, the only way to get to the Animal Kingdom via Disney transportation is resort bus, and sometimes these routes travel to Blizzard Beach too.

Disney Springs

Credit: itslizi.etsy.com

Bus

All Disney resorts have buses that run to and from Disney Springs. If you want to travel from the parks, I recommend getting a resort bus to Saratoga Springs which is right next door, then you can either walk from there or catch a bus

Boat

A fun way to get to Disney Springs if you’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter, Old Key West or Saratoga Springs (including the Treehouse Villas) is by boats that run every 20 minutes or so to and from the Marketplace jetty. You can also get boats from The Landing to West Side.

Love these Disney inspired underground logos? They were made by the lovely Lizi and you can buy prints here!

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WDW Day 7!

Well that’s Four Park Challenge off my bucket list!

We started this morning with Extra Magic Hours in Animal Kingdom, and first stop was obviously Expedition Everest – did you catch it on Periscope? Rollercoaster out of the way, we stopped off at Creature Comforts (the AK Starbucks) for hot drinks – yes it was that cold – and breakfast pastries, then onward to Kilimanjaro Safaris where we got to see two baby white rhinos playing, eek! We decided that for our challenge, we would get photos with Mickey at each of the parks, so we stopped off at Adventurers Outpost to see him and Minnie before catching a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge to park-hop.

From AKL we transferred onto a bus to Hollywood Studios, where we first stopped off to see Mickey, this time in his classic Sorcerers Apprentice costume. On a character meet roll, we also got a selfie with a green army man, and went to see Mike and Sully, but as we’re headed back to Studios tomorrow, we decided not to queue for any rides.

Now midday, we caught another bus onto Wilderness Lodge, for a quick look around but also so we could transfer to the Magic Kingdom by the boat that runs direct from the resort, handy right? Again, first things first, we went to see Mickey in Town Hall Theater, then grabbed lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Would you believe we’ve never done Astro Orbiter before? Well we have now! With that experience under our belts, we got a spot near the castle for Festival of Fantasy, which was just as magical as it always is, and finished up out MK time with an obligatory Its a Small World.

 To throw another form of transportation into the works, we obviously had to take the monorail across to our final park, Epcot, and actually it wasn’t Mickey we went to first, it was Baymax. Yes again, no we don’t care. Mickey was next, at the Epcot Character Spot, then we went across to Journey into the Imagination. We had a Fastpass, but there wasn’t much of a line to bypass! Not quite hungry yet, we stopped off to watch Circle of Life in The Land, before dinner at Sunshine Seasons, probably my favourite quick service in the whole of Walt Disney World. From there we went to Spaceship Earth for our Fastpass, but again there was no line so we didn’t even bother scanning them. With time before the fireworks, we figured a 40 minute wait at Test Track (which we discovered a love for the other day) would keep us warm and indoors, but we actually waited less than 10 before we got to the design stage, then another 10 before the ride itself. In fact, we ended up doing it twice! That took us right up to our last Fastpass for the day, for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, which was beautiful as always. It was pretty chilly, so as soon as the display was over, we joined the brisk hoard of people leaving the parks and jumped on our last bus: back to the resort!

How’s that for a busy day?