Schrodinger’s Plan

Hello friends. It is an appropriate point in time, I feel, for one of my walkthroughs of our holiday plans. I know that you get bits and bobs each week, but it is inevitable that at certain points in time, you must be afflicted with a detailed breakdown of where we currently sit. So now, just 44 days away from departure, it is that time.

Now, I know I have said that this trip will be “planning light”, but, if you believed that for a second you haven’t been paying attention to my obsessive over thinking, over planning nature all these years. It is not however as detailed as previous years and for that I should be applauded.

So settle in for my current version of the plan. It will be strikingly similar, yet crucially different, to all my other plans over the years, and therefore (almost certainly not) worth the investment of your time.

Day One

This is our travel day, and already we have something new and “interesting” to report. Our flight is not until 2pm in the afternoon, so this negates the need for one of those 3am starts driven by a 10am flight, to find Louise already up and hoovering the ceiling in an attempt to distract herself from the prospect of the flight.

Our taxi to the airport is booked for a very civilised 9am. This means that will be able to fully enjoy the M60 and all of its delights just as rush hour is ending. I am giving us an hour to complete what should be a 30 minute drive, getting to Manchester Airport Terminal 1 at 10am.

By the time we check in and get through security that may be getting on for 10.45 or so, and that means we will be in proper brunch territory at whichever eatery we select.

We land at 7pm local time, so this means we will leave the airport in our fun bus in the dark and therefore our chances of getting lost are at least doubled, despite all of my years of experience of driving over there and our trusty sat nav. It will happen.

With that late arrival and with Freddie probably having fallen asleep in the car on the way to the villa, we are not planning to do our traditional first night meal at The OutBack as it will be too late. Instead, a take away will be ordered whilst some folks unpack and I find the nearest supermarket for a very expensive shop.

Day Two

Who knows what time we will be awake, but what is not in doubt is that we will be going to Magic Kingdom. It appears that there is Early Morning Hours and one of those pay to stay late things planned for that day at this park, but it matters not. Day one means Magic Kingdom and the law must be obeyed.

We have no dining reservations made (see, I can play it fast and loose) and my expectation is that we will be flagging by tea time and we will leave the park for some off site dining around that time.

Day Three

We are off to Typhoon Lagoon. It’s best to get this in earlier in the trip before all the food has destroyed my Adonis like physique. We have always tended to attempt a rest day on day three, but sitting around the pool never seems to work out for us and we find ourselves getting itchy feet in the afternoon and heading out to do something not very rest like. So by doing a water park the aim is to get some rest but also not get bored!

Again, no dining plans are made. I have pencilled in, very lightly, an evening stroll around the Boardwalk, but hey, what will be will be, right?

Day Four

This is my birthday so there’s only one place we’ll be heading. Epcot today, ending with our penultimate viewing of Reflections of Earth. As we know we intend to stay in the park till close, I have reserved us some dining today. After loving it last year, Via Napoli gets the nod at 5.40pm. Assuming we are out of there by seven, that’s the perfect time for my ideal birthday activity, wandering around World Showcase at dusk, with the music, and the torches, soaking it all in before we take our spot for the fireworks.

This is one of THE highlights of any trip. That atmosphere is unique and magical and almost impossible to describe.

Day Five

The way this day currently looks on the plan it may be life threatening. You may find that this part of the plan changes before we go, but currently we seem to have two dining experiences planned that, when attempted on the same day, could be very damaging.

This is a rest day after a long day in Epcot the previous day. Rest days tend to get used for the few breakfasts we like to do, and top of that list is Hash House A Go Go. So if this plan stands we’ll need to be out early, eating as soon as we can to give us any chance for our dinner reservation (we won’t need lunch…probably) at Trail’s End.

That is a deadlier duo than double denim. If anyone can pull it off, we can. We have trained for years to undertake this sort of thing so please don’t try this unless you are similarly experienced.

If we survive, having parked at TTC, and taken the boat over to Fort Wilderness from Magic Kingdom, we will perhaps spend the evening enjoying the park, if we can still walk.

Day Six

This is Labor Day. I always have the fear that this will mean horrendous crowds, but we did DHS on this day last year and it was OK. So, the plan says Animal Kingdom.

Our dining options are again wide open with my expectations that we will go off site, but hey, I am a free spirit, and wherever our whims take us, I’m OK with that…..really.

One thing we are trying to do on this trip is snack. We’ve been watching a few of the Disney Food Blog snack videos and many of them look incredible. So on some days rather than a counter service lunch we may just snack from various places. Look at me, I am the free spirited hippy of WDW planning.

Day Seven

OK so the elephant in the room is Hollywood Studios. Galaxy’s Edge opens the day after we arrive and I have intentionally omitted that park from our plans for as long as possible on this trip. This will be a week or so after the official opening and I have no idea what the park will be like. So this is very much a “toe in the water” suck it and see day. With this in mind, no dining plans have been made in the park and considering we may not even make it into the car park, then we really will just see how today goes.

Day Eight

Look, another water park! It’s another pseudo rest day attempt and a nod that Freddie will absolutely love the water, so we are going to Blizzard Beach for the first time in decades. I honestly think that the last time we went, Rebecca was four and Emily six, and Rebecca got lost in the kid’s slidey bit and we had a horrible few minutes looking for her until we were reunited at the lost kids table where she was colouring in, oblivious to our nervous breakdown. That was sixteen years ago! Not much will have changed then right?

No dining plans again. We shall select our off site option of choice from our sun beds on the day. It *might* be Cowfish, as I have suggested an evening at City Walk. We didn’t get chance to do that one last year so it is a priority this time.

Day Nine

Epcot. I did say that my birthday would be our penultimate viewing of ROE, as I have low expectations of us making it all the way to 9pm on this day, but never say never. No ADRs again. Will this fast and loose madness never end?

The plan has a tentative suggestion of an evening at Animal Kingdom Lodge for a wander around and a look at whatever animals are knocking about. I am currently fighting the urge to book Sanaa. Pray for me.

Day Ten

Our second day at Animal Kingdom. No doubt having failed to get a Flights of Passage FastPass for either day I will be furious and will have to fight the rage so as not to spoil the day. We have an ADR at Yak & Yeti at 6.45pm, with a very loose intention to see if we can get into Rivers Of Light afterwards. We may FastPass it, if it suits our plans, so that we can wander in relatively late.

Day Eleven

This is unusual. Until this week there was absolutely nothing planned for today, so I guess you’d call it a rest day. Going against everything I said about not doing loads of expensive dining, we do now have plans for breakfast.

Freddie is currently obsessed with Despicable Me. The films mesmerise him and with us not doing Universal this year, it seemed a shame to not try to fit something in that would entertain him. So we now have a Breakfast With the Minions character breakfast booked at Royal Pacific Hotel at Universal.

Other than that, I don’t know what we will be doing on this day. I feel unwell!

Day Twelve

What? Another day with no firm plans yet. It’s a disgrace. We do seem to have another character breakfast booked though. Do my words mean nothing? This one is at Chef Mickey’s at the request of Rebecca to give Freddie (yeah right) the chance to meet the main characters amidst of buffet. Who am I to argue?

I’m sure we’ll head to a park afterwards but which one, who knows?

Day Thirteen

We are back at Hollywood Studios, maybe, crowds permitting. No dining plans of course, so this will be a do what we can, take it as it comes day, with a retreat if the crowds are as bad as feared.

Day Fourteen

Our last full day, so of course we are back at Magic Kingdom. Today is a Not So Scary Party so we will be turfed out at 6pm. This is fine on this occasion as we want to end this trip at Epcot watching ROE for the final time. It will be an emotionally charged farewell and will be an emotional affair. Our last night’s can get teary anyway, but this could be a sob fest.

No ADRs booked so we may eat on the way from Magic Kingdom to Epcot.

Day Fifteen

Travel day. No doubt we’ll buy an extra suitcase, eat a huge breakfast and head to the airport after a shopping spree. It’s only natural.

So that’s where we are. Clearly there are gaps to fill, details to add and in some cases days with nothing planned that need to be sorted but it’s broadly there now. FastPass booking is probably the last thing that may drive significant changes and those are available to us in two weeks time.

It is entirely normal and reasonable to block book 12pm out of your work diary so that you can book FastPasses uninterrupted, right?

If you managed to retain any sort of interest to the end of this post, I salute you.

Till the next time……

Mormons, Makeovers & Memories

The recent horror show at work led me to take drastic action last week. On Tuesday I booked Friday and Monday off. My body was telling me I had to. It was also telling me I’m a fat get, but I can only deal with one thing at a time.

The decision was initiated by the fact that on Friday evening Louise and I were going out to watch Book Mormon in Manchester. This was our glorious Christmas present from Emily and we’d been looking forward to it ever since. My commute being what it is, battling my home, to then turn right around and head back to half a mile from where I started seemed silly, so the day off made sense on many levels.

I didn’t do a great deal with it I am pleased to report. It was nice to take a breath, enjoy the nice weather and set off nice and early to avoid rush hour stress.

Our plan was to eat in Manchester pre-show, and despite our first choice being too busy we had a lovely Indian before heading into the show. It was fantastic. This might be the musical for people who may not feel that they like musicals. It isn’t your traditional, boy meets girl, love song driven affair. It is incredibly funny, fast paced, original and of course full of great songs. I think (and don’t quote me on this) it was written by the creators of South Park with the bloke who wrote Avenue Q. From that you may work out it is irreverent and rude, but for me that just makes it better.

I give it five stars and a Freetime thumbs up (ask your Dad).

This week has also seen some significant news coming from WDW. Whatever is going on at Epcot, it’s big. We already know that the entrance area is being rid of those Leave a Legacy things, but it seems the work and transformation also reaches all the way up to Club Cool and the fountain area. Institutions such as Electric Umbrella and Mouse Gear are to be closed, either temporarily or for good perhaps in some cases, and as with all major WDW changes that brings a mix of emotions.

Now, I am old enough to remember standing in front of a monitor in the area beneath Spaceship Earth and talking via video to a cast member to book our meal for later that day at China in World Showcase. That was in the early 80’s I think and that’s probably as good an example as you would need that things do need to change with the times. That blew our collective minds at the time and unless Epcot is going to fully embrace the retro modern motif, then I guess change is inevitable. Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom sort of has that going on, and bearing in mind what Epcot stands for, then with technology having changed so much since 1982 when it opened transformations like these make sense.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t had time to read up on what might be coming to Epcot. Honestly, if you are relying on my blog for up to the minute and accurate WDW news then I don’t think you’re doing it right! I’m not sure I’d even class whatever this is as a Disney blog, and I salute those bloggers who are always up the minute on the latest changes, rumours and announcements. I just wish I had more time to read them.

Whatever is on the way will need to be accepted, not that I have a choice, and trust has to be placed in the Imagineers doing all of this. I do appreciate the constant reinvention though. We all pay a lot of money for our time at WDW and it would be easy for them to sit back for a few years and watch that money come in, but they do seem to be constantly investing our hard earned into significant changes and upgrades. Of course, that’s a big driver for footfall. Many folks will go back specifically to see the latest new thing, but, then at times, many more will go to watch something before it vanishes forever.

Reflections of Earth is one of those. That thing has a really special place in our hearts. We’ve watched it on most of my birthdays over the past twenty years of course, but it’s more than that. So our final viewings this year will be a special time. There’s something special also that Freddie will see it with us. He was there last year of course but was too young to take it in. This year, as we say goodbye to it, he will take it in for the first time. The circle of life metaphor doesn’t need making.

Change is constant, time stops for no-one and Emily might still be crying on the flight home after saying goodbye to ROE. WDW is expensive, but very few holidays get you like that and I suppose that’s why we all keep going, right?

Till the next time…..