WDW Day 9 – and onto Disneyland!

Today we said goodbye to the Magic Kingdom *sobs*

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After a quick run, and fighting with our suitcases before checking out of French Quarter, we headed into the Magic Kingdom; overnight all the Christmas decorations had disappeared, so Main Street USA was looking a little bare. First up was Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by breakfast at Liberty Square Market, then Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain and the TTA People Mover before our Haunted Mansion Fastpass time.

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With some time before our next Fastpass, we wandered back into Fantasyland and caught the railroad, doing a full loop of the kingdom, before getting on an entirely different train: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. High speed rides out of the way, we stopped off at Pinocchio Village Haus for lunch.

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A final ride on the carousel, and it was back to French Quarter to catch the Magical Express to the airport, and a 5 hour plane journey and a drive to Anaheim, and we’ve just checked into our hotel! We’re now 3 hours behind Florida time, so 8 hours behind UK, and off to bed for us!

WDW Day 8!

Today was our last full day in the parks, can someone tell me where that time has gone?!

The plan was to have a little bit of a lie-in, then get to the Magic Kingdom for the rope drop. Well, we missed the rope drop, but we did get to do Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder and Space Mountain all within the first hour of park time, so that was pretty impressive in any case! Fast rides out of the way, we stopped at Sleepy Hollow for breakfast: fresh fruit waffle sandwiches in the sunshine, right next to the castle as the first Dream Along with Mickey show was on – kinda perfect, am I right?

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After our late breakfast, we caught the monorail to Polynesian Village; the lobby was under construction on our last visit, so we were curious to see the changes for ourselves, and it made the perfect stop to hop across to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. First on the agenda was Star Wars Launch Bay to hang out with Chewie and Darth, and we even got to see a rogue Jawa hanging around! After another Great Movie Ride (gangster this time, in case you were wondering), we finally caved and bought ourselves a BB-8 sipper cup each as well as some popcorn to see Beauty and the Beast live on stage.

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After the show, we headed across to Star Tours, but as we were a little early for our Fastpass slot, we decided to watch the Jedi Training Academy show, which was pretty adorable. You might have caught my tweet about how it’s been updated to include some TFA stuff, but we asked a CM today and it turns out there are 50 different variations of the simulation, crazy!

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Next up some Muppet Vision 3D, followed by late lunch at Studio Catering Co, then One Mans Dream (all the feels!) before out Tower of Terror Fastpass. You may have heard me talk about my love/hate relationship with this ride before, and it’s pretty simple: I hate waiting for the first drop, after that I’m totally cool, and it works fine because I know that it doesn’t drop until you reach the top and look out over the park. Nope, not this time! The first drop was done totally in the dark; I felt betrayed, but at least it was over. After that we made our way to Fantasmic nice and early because of our Fastpasses, and to avoid the mad rush that happens so often. It was magical as per, when Mickey comes out on the boat as Steamboat Willie..

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After the show, we made our way to our favourite spot to watch Symphony of the Stars for our last time this trip. It was no less magical the second time; you can physically feel the bangs pass through you!

Tomorrow is our last day here (waa!), but I’m getting so excited to return to Disneyland!

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.

┬áTo 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?

WDW Day 6!

I slept a solid almost 11 hours last night, and it was so good!

This morning our first port of call was a Disney Vacation Club viewing; we had been talked into going by a representative in Epcot a few days ago, and were mainly in it for the free food, Fastpasses and $50 Disney gift card! Don’t get me wrong though, it was interesting to look at!

From there, we headed outlet shopping at Orlando Premier Outlets, about a 10 minute taxi ride away, and snagged some mega bargains, including new Asics trainers and some Vinylmation from Disney’s Character Warehouse. After dropping our haul back at the resort, we caught the boat to Disney Springs for lunch and the Cool Down Party.

The Cool Down Party is basically a bunch of the stores and restaurants in Disney Springs doing discounts and special offers for anyone who ran this weekend, so long as you wear your medal! This meant we got 10% off lunch at T-REX, and I also got 15% off some goodies from Basin, yay!

Still with plenty of the afternoon ahead, we decided to catch a bus to the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, then the boat from there to Hollywood Studios, as we’ve never done that before, and we had no idea how quick a ride it was! Straight away we headed to Rock’n’Roller Coaster, and passed the hour wait using our DVC Fastpasses, then we managed to catch the last showing of Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, getting to see some of the scenes we had missed the other day.

After that we did another Star Tours, and as luck would have it, the wait time for Toy Story Midway Mania was only 25 minutes, so obviously we were all over that, and in fact, we only waited maybe 5. With a little bit of time until the fireworks, we went back to the Star Wars Launch Bay to watch the film showing we had skipped before, then headed out to get a good view of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks.

Wow. I might go as far as saying it was the best firework display Disney has ever imagineered. Just phenomenal, the way they synced the fireworks to the music and how each rocket represented something.. I could go on but I won’t!

Instead I’m going to bed, goodnight!

PS. No photos from today, too busy seeing through my own two eyes!

WDW Day 5 and RunDisney Half Marathon!

Has anyone ever run a half marathon with a chest infection? No? Just me..?

Yep, today was the big day, and the cold I’ve been battling since arriving in Florida was rearing its big ugly head, manifesting in my chest making every single breath hurt. Throw in the stress of all this setting off the weird little heart palpitations I get from time to time after about 9 miles, and I was not exactly fighting fit..

But we did it. It was not a record time, and I couldn’t even muster a sprint finish, but it was still epic. Looking back on it, now 12+ hours later, it was even more epic, mainly because I can breath properly now but still! There was a tonne of great entertainment, the cheering crowds were incredible and some of the sights were phenomenal.

We started once again in the Epcot parking lot, and from there ran up to the Magic Kingdom, down Main Street USA and right into Tomorrowland, then into Fantasyland and through the gloriously lit castle, before heading through Frontierland and out backstage. We then took a fairly straight route back down towards Epcot, finishing up with a loop down to the World Showcase and back, and finally that magical finish line was in sight!

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To celebrate, lunch was at Beaches and Cream, and included an sundae the size of my face – not that I could finish it! From there we walked into Epcot via the International Gateway so we could catch a monorail to the Magic Kingdom ticket centre, then decided to get the ferry boat to the park from there.

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Despite exhaustion, we still packed a fair amount into our afternoon: Philharmagic, character meets, a ride on the train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain etc, but the rain began to pour down so we didn’t fancy sticking around to get soggy on a Jungle Cruise, and having been up since 3am, we settled on an early return to the resort so we could get some washing done.

Hello bed..

WDW Day 4!

Today was a successful day!

After an early start yesterday, we had crashed out by about 8-8.30pm, putting us in good stead for my 5.50am alarm. No, this wasn’t another race alarm, this was so I could join the virtual queue for limited edition RunDisney New Balance shoes. Back to sleep for another hour or so, and we headed over to the expo for my allocated pick up time slot. Yes, I got the shoes, and Dad got a pair too!

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Our park for the day was Hollywood Studios, and when we arrived it was raining Florida-style – warm-ish but fairly heavy. We arrived in time for our Star Tours Fastpass, and were super excited to discover it’s been updated to include some TFA scenes now! Keeping on theme, we went to see Path of the Jedi, a new attraction essentially showing an abridged storyline of the Star Wars prequels, then a few non-spoiler clips from TFA, before running through the rain to catch a showing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular. The rain meant it was a little cut down for safety reasons, but it was still great!

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After our second Fastpass, for Muppet Vision 3D, we grabbed lunch at Pizza Planet, one of my favourite QS restaurants, themed after the Toy Story classic. Beauty and the Beast and The Great Movie Ride next, then onto our final Fastpass, the ever popular Toy Story Midway Mania, which had a 95 minute wait! Even with a Fastpass we waited maybe 15-20 minutes, and unfortunately Dad did beat me by a few points but never mind.. From there we caught the last performance of Lights, Motors, Action, followed by Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and from there the force pulled us towards the Star Wars Launch Bay..

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It was awesome! We met Chewbacca and Darth Vader, and despite queue times saying about 50 and 40 minutes, we did the two in less than an hour and they were perfect! The launch bay has taken over the old Animation Academy, which I was sad to see go, but it has most definitely been put to good use! Now dark, we had a little walk around in the hopes that the Osborne Lights might still be lit (not wishful thinking, the lights were all still up, just not lit), and made our way back to the resort to prep for tomorrow!

WDW Day 3 and RunDisney 5K!

3.55 was the dreaded alarm for this morning. First race day was here!

Why so early? Well for starters, the races are all super early, today’s being 6am, and to ensure we had enough time to get to where we needed to be, we had to be on a bus to Epcot by 4.30, yikes!

It wasn’t so bad really; we were in bed about 9pm last night so we got a solid amount of sleep, and we were just so focused on the event that tiredness didn’t factor at all. The bus took us from the resort to the Epcot parking lot where all the race start and finish lines are. It was a huge area – had to be for 20,000 participants – and just like the expo, it was seamless; we could see exactly where we had to go, there were no queues for anything!

We were in Corral C, which meant we were set off about 10-15 minutes after the first group, but we were right at the front which was awesome! The count went down, the fireworks were set off and off we went! The course took us around the side of Epcot from the parking lot, underneath the Test Track course and into the park through Mexico, before running around the World Showcase, down the stretch to Future World, a quick detour by The Land and back out of the park by Spaceship Earth and to the finish line!

After the race, we went through the classic routine of collecting medals, water, Powerade and a cute little snack box of crisps, Oreos, a banana etc, then to the only queue: the wait for the bus back to the resort!

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Quick shower, change and snacks and we were back at Epcot just after park opening. We started off with Spaceship Earth, then went to meet Baymax(!!!) before doing the new Pixar short films show, and Living with the Land before starting on the World Showcase, this time in daylight! For lunch we had a reservation at Teppan Edo, which was awesome, and we to let that settle before going on Test Track, we stopped at China to watch the acrobat display. After TT, we did our last two Fastpasses for the day: Character Spot and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and totally exhausted from our early start, we headed back to the resort to recover!

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Did you catch us on Periscope?

WDW Day 2!

Good morning!

I say good morning because while it’s still the evening here, the time difference means it’s about 2am back home!

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Today was our Animal Kingdom day; we got up about 7ish, had a leisurely breakfast and got a fairly quiet bus to the park. Despite being earlier than opening time, we were let in to head down to the tree of life and wait for the remaining areas to open at 9am, before we joined the crowd making a beeline for Expedition Everest. Quite honestly, today was a really lucky day for wait times, and we hit all the big ticket attractions – Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, It’s Tough to be a Bug – with minimal waits, and pretty much walked into Flights of Wonder and Finding Nemo the Musical! In fact, despite having three Fastpasses booked, we only used one of them, for Dinosaur. We also went to hang out with Rafiki at Planet Watch for a little while.

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After feeling we were done for the day, and with the prospect of the races looming, we grabbed a cab to the ESPN complex for the RunDisney expo. Having no idea what to expect, I expected the worst: huge crowds, long waits, lots of pushing and shoving.. Nope. I honestly don’t think it could have been any easier. After picking up our bibs, then our race shirts and the commemorative jackets I had pre-ordered, all of which took maybe 15 minutes tops, we hit the main expo area. There were tonnes of great exhibitors with cool products, including the official RunDisney merchandise area, and the oh-so- popular New Balance, and we even got to meet Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and official ‘coach’ for RunDisney; it was cool, there was a selfie. Apart from a few little RunDisney bits, we didn’t really buy anything, although I’ve got my eye on a pair of the limited release New Balance shoes..

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From the expo we went back to French Quarter to drop our race stuff and hang out for a bit before we caught the boat to Disney Springs for a bit of light shopping and dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express, before calling it a day and boating back to the resort to get ourselves together and properly rested for the race.

So tomorrow is the 5k, which is really a no-pressure run, and it kicks off at 6am – 11am for my UK supporters. I’ll try and Periscope a bit of it, all depends on our wifi signal, but in any case, wish us luck!

WDW Day 1!

Ok Mouseketeers, we’re just coming to the end of our first day in the most magical place on earth, and you all wanna know what we got up to, right?

Thanks to jet lag, we were up well before the alarm was due, which meant we could sneak a little lie in before grabbing a snacky breakfast and jumping on a bus to the Magic Kingdom. We had the great perk of being allowed into the park before other guests, not because of a breakfast reservation, but because we were going on the Keys to the Kingdom tour, which began at 8.30am. Now the park didn’t open til 9am today, so Main Street was looking pristine and beautiful, before we watched the hoards of other guests descend.

The tour was incredible – a solid 5 hours long including lunch, and we got to see and learn so much, but we weren’t allowed to take any photos, waa! I’m also not going to go into any details due to spoilers (although I may write something on it another time).

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It was about 1.30pm when we finished up, so we headed into Adventureland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of my favourite rides. I think it was actually the longest I’ve ever waited to go on PotC in any park before, around 30 minutes. That was followed by the glorious feeling of skipping past a 2 hour long queue for Big Thunder Mountain because we had a Fastpass, then we waited for the Festival of Fantasy parade in Liberty Square. Its my all time favourite parade, and before now I’ve only ever watched it from Main Street, and honestly, Liberty Square didn’t do it the justice it deserves!

After fighting through post-parade masses we moved through into Fantasyland, where I picked up Cogsworth and Chip from Village Gifts (yay!) before going on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. From there we did a Carousel of Progress before going back to Fantasyland for our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass, which you might have watched on Periscope!

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Starting to flag, and also feeling a little chilly, we walked through the now beautifully lit castle, and headed down through the shops of Main Street, before catching the early viewing of Main Street Electrical Parade from a great spot, thanks to a lovely cast member! A quick, and dare I say disappointing ride on Buzz Lightyear Spaceship Spin and we caught a monorail to Contemporary a Resort for our dinner reservation at California Grill.

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While initially booking so we could look out over the Magic Kingdom, we were actually seated at the opposite end of the restaurant, so we ended up seeing the Epcot fireworks, and also a bit of Fantasmic pyrotechnics, and the food was amazing!

Exhausted, full of food and content, we bussed it back to the resort. Catch you tomorrow!