The “Why’s It Taking Long” Tour 2022 – Day Ten

Frost and Nixon. Torvill and Dean. Morecambe and Wise. Ali and Fraser.

Over the years there have been many momentous moments were two legends met each other, forever changing the shape of history. Today would see another such event, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’ll be time enough for epoch shaping meet ups later, first, I’m still asleep.

However 4am rolled around again, and in came another work call. I didn’t even answer this one and fought my way back to sleep till 6.30. Like all experienced Dads I made enough noise and created enough light in the room to make sure that Emily was awake not too long after. I showered, dressed and packed and we were out of the room by 8.40. We left our case with the folks in reception, bought some $20 painkillers from the gift shop and then Emily and I went to the Starbucks for breakfast whilst we waited for everyone else. I had a breakfast burrito and a latte and Emily’s veggie options were limited and resulted in a portion of breakfast potatoes and an Iced Macchiato.

We found a table in the courtyard area.

Rebecca, Tom and Freddie came down around 9.30 and joined us there to eat their breakfasts. It was a lovely spot and a really nice way to start the day and end our stay here.

One thing to note at Universal. I had persistent issues with my Caxton card. Everywhere I tried it on Universal property it didn’t work. It may just have been me and my card, but it worked everywhere else for the whole trip.

We made our way down to the water taxi by around 10am.

I have had worse commutes.

We disembarked and made our way to Studios.

It did not look any quieter today.

We rode Minions first, bypassing a grim queue with our specialness.

Those who could rode Rip, Ride, Rockit next. It was still early in the day and I was not ready physically or mentally for this experience. Rebecca’s inability to ride meant we bypassed the horrors of needing a locker and we were on within five minutes after going through another full airport style metal detector. Despite endless signs, announcements and videos telling you that riding with anything in your pockets is not allowed we still waited behind some chap who got to the detector with his phone in his pocket. Sigh.

Top tip: At Universal, if you can travel light, without bags and the like it will make your life so much easier. Clothing with zip pockets are a real bonus here too to hold your park ticket/front of line pass and of course your credit cards.

This, without doubt is the toughest ride physically. The initial climb almost induced a revisit to my breakfast burrito and I was in full rollercoaster Tourette’s mode for the entire ride.

We walked over to Transformers next for a first time ride for almost all of us. Freddie was very excited. We all enjoyed it but I would say it is basically Spider Man with a different film. When you’re four though, that doesn’t matter.

He was extra happy as his Dad had treated him to a couple of Transformer toys in the exit gift shop. We then spent the next half hour trying to get them out of the packaging.

Once we’d finished that and lost half of the small plastic bits that came with the toys, this appeared across the street, so we watched it.

So that Rebecca could take part in something we decided to do the Make Up Horror Show next. Outside was this chap….

This is always good fun but it does have the odd scene that a four year old may not be totally Ok with! It was more the film clips that are played rather than anything that happened on stage.

You will have been quite worried that we had not eaten for quite some time, so we rectified that in the ice cream shop over the road.

It was at this point that Rebecca went for a wee and Emily then spotted Tim and Jen Tracker across the street doing some filming.

When they had finished, they walked across the road towards us. I waved as if I knew them and they kindly waved back before walking up the street to film some more stuff with Scooby Do I think. We thought nothing more of it, but when they were done they walked back to where we were sitting and we had a lovely chat for a few minutes.

They were genuinely lovely, asked about our trip, previous trips, the weather and just general chit chat. Of course they must chat with idiot strangers who wave at them all the time. I felt it inappropriate to mention that he is clearly a long term reader of this here blog as he has commented on at least two posts. I didn’t want them to feel intimidated in my presence.

It was indeed a coming together of two Disney internet giants and they were suitably humbled to have this honour I am sure. They left us just as Rebecca returned. If you watch their video from Universal Studios, filmed on January 12th, Tom features in it for about half a second!

Having made the Tracker’s day, we wandered off towards ET.

I do wonder what sort of deal Spielberg struck when this was built as it is literally untouched since we first rode it. Yes they still collect names as you enter and yes of course they are inaudible as you finish the ride. Freddie did say, when he asked what he thought of ET, that he was adorable which made us chuckle.

Tom took Freddie on the Woodpecker ride….

before we headed over to The Simpsons Ride. Naturally we stopped off to pick up a couple of doughnuts.

In light of my Caxton woes I drew out some cash on it at the ATM here.

We rode The Simpsons ride after Freddie played a few of the carnival games outside, winning more quality items. This time it was a 4 foot inflatable alien which we left in the villa. Matt, you are welcome!

I realised that we had never ridden this before…

and even wondered how long it had been there as I’m sure I have never even noticed it before. We still didn’t ride it.

Men in Black was next.

We avoided both a queue and the lockers again thankfully and it is always a fun ride. I do always feel that it lacks some “feedback” as to when you are actually hitting stuff you should be. It’s all a bit manic and random with no way to know if you are hitting any targets.

Our loop continued onto Diagon Alley. The crowd levels were worse here but that is always to be expected.

It’s a shame as this is one of those places where it would be lovely to stroll around taking in all the theming and detail, but with the crowd levels today our focus was on not bumping into people.

On our last visit, Gringott’s was not a Front of Line ride, so again we had done it once after a lengthy queue. We were pleased to be able to miss the 60 minute standby line and board quite quickly….twice.

Tom was apparently too large to fit into the row we were allocated and we had to disembark and wait for the next one and get loaded into the “Fat Lad” row at the back. This is another very clever ride with lots of detail and it merits multiple rides to take everything in. I did feel that it never seems to “get going” concentrating more on a story line that personally I couldn’t hear or follow very well. I did enjoy it of course. It is very impressive but I do know that both Universal and Disney wait for my weekly posts to get their steer for their future plans so I need to express my thoughts.

We tried our best to have a look around but didn’t stay too long as it was too busy.

Our next ride was Fast & Furious. It was fast and I was furious. It is an awful, awful ride. Granted, I have never and will never watch the films so maybe it was lost on me but the whole thing was horrible. It is an incredibly poor and weak story and concept shoe horned into a previous ride’s infrastructure. I will try not to spoil it for those yet to ride, but the concept of a party bus doing stunts is the main premise. Endless bangs and crashes for endless bangs and crashes sake on an uncomfortable ride vehicle riding through a story that makes less sense than Brexit. Perhaps I was just over the whole simulation thing. There are lots of them here.

On our way over to Fallon, I stopped to get four packs of crisps. $8. Kerching. We sat and inhaled those sat opposite Fallon waiting for the upcoming parade.

We then entered Fallon (in previous years, when I was less mature, that would have been the set up line for a hilarious gag) and rode without any wait. This is another simulator, but one of the better ones.

At Freddie’s request we rode Transformers again.

Followed by a browse of a memorabilia shop.

That was said to be the guitar from Back To The Future. Freddie got a slightly cheaper Slimer toy from Ghostbusters.

It was 6pm now and Tom forced me to do Rip, Ride again. I girded my loins and steeled my body for the battering to come, just like Fallon did not long ago! Boom. That level of comedic genius is why you read this dross.

I was spent as we headed for the exit and the boat back to Royal Pacific. We were back there in no time, collecting our cases from Luggage Services before heading back to the van. Technically, I walked to the car park to get it and then drove it back to the hotel entrance to save Rebecca more walking.

Tonight’s dining plan was….

and we got there in about fifteen minutes. It was very quiet and we were told just to pick any table. It may sound strange but our server was a bit odd and it stuck us that he maybe wasn’t a regular server as he was a bit all over the place.

Anyway, we ordered appetisers.

A Mediterranean trio for me.

Mozzarella Bricks for Rebecca and Emily

Pretzel Rolls for Tom

Our server only took our appetiser orders and we waited an age after finishing them for him to appear and clear them away. As he did he asked if we wanted the bill! Very strange.

We pointed out we were fat knackers and wanted entrees too so he took our orders.

Emily and I had the Jack Knife burger, with a suitably non meaty patty for Emily.

It was OK but I instantly regretted venturing away from my usual Donut or Cronie Burger. I had chosen this one as it was said to come with Hollandaise sauce. If it did, I could not taste it.

Tom had The Pig

Rebecca, the Bolder Betty

Freddie had the burger from the kid’s menu.

Overall, this was probably our worst experience at Teak. It was not bad at all, just not as we have experienced it previously. How quiet it was meant there was none of the usual buzz and atmosphere and our server was bobbins, bless him. The bill was $175 including an overly generous tip and we were all very, very full.

A tired drive home saw us back at the villa and in bed by 10.30.

Till the next time……

The “Why’s It Taking Long” Tour 2022 – Day Nine

Before we move on, it’s probably right that I add a bit of context and follow up on what was a fairly negative post at times last week about our experience in Magic Kingdom that day specifically, which was a more extreme version of what we experienced a lot during the trip.

Disney have a lot of credit in the bank with us and we will of course return. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected our perception or even tempered our usual burning desire to return, so they don’t get a free hit. However, there were lots of extenuating circumstances that lead me to give them some benefit of some doubt.

  1. Our mood – Louise’s absence and the worry about her Mum’s condition definitely made the trip feel very different for all of us. No doubt this was reflected in our approach to things and my reporting of the trip here. Don’t think we didn’t enjoy stuff. It was just different and a bit muted.
  2. COVID – This was right in the middle of the Omicron wave and the parks and resorts were still heavily affected by COVID, not offering many of the experiences, attractions and shows that would typically soak up crowds. This inevitably had a huge knock on effect and led to long, long lines for the rides as there wasn’t as much to do aside from rides as there has been in the past.
  3. Pandemic pent up travel – I am sure there were many people there in January, like us, who would not normally be there at that time. Two years of restricted travel meant that crowds were bound to be higher once folks were allowed to and felt more comfortable travelling.
  4. Genie+ – It was and is still fairly new. Don’t get me wrong, I think its an abomination and an insult to loyal guests to have them pay out hundreds of dollars more for what was always included in your park ticket, but in terms of the practicalities of getting onto rides, I’m willing to cut them some slack as they were probably still getting used to it and optimising things. As I say, I still hope they kill it with fire.

So all of those things conspired to make our experience, at times, less than we would usually expect and enjoy. The world wasn’t in a normal place at the time of this trip and neither were we to be honest. So with all those caveats in place, I stand by my opinion that Genie+ is shite, the parks were less than they usually are and some “magic” was missing.

Right, on with the trip.

Today we were headed to Universal and our stay at the Royal Pacific. 4am features at the start of may day again, but this time not voluntarily. Some idiot back in the UK called me. It was work related and to make matters worse, it was some cold call about something not relevant to me or my role. Safe to say, he did not make a sale.

I regained slumber until 6am. I was up, finishing off packing, showering and breakfasting when Emily came downstairs at 7.30. We were all ready to go by 8.30 and I pointed the van up the I4. It was a clear run and we pulled into the car park of the Royal Pacific around 9.10am. I self-parked and we headed inside to check in. It took a while. I stood watching a bloke tap at a keyboard for more time than getting a hotel room should necessitate and in the middle of it he charged me $28 to park, which I felt was bordering on taking the piss.

On the plus side our rooms were ready so we headed off to 2429 and 2427.

I was very pleased that I had opted for the “Tree View” upgrade.

Emily and I literally dumped our case in the room and turned around, waiting in the corridor outside Rebecca and Tom’s room for about ten minutes whilst they did stuff necessary when you have a four year old and a bump.

It was early and still quite chilly so it was no shock to see an empty pool.

We were security’d and on board a taxi in just a few minutes. The park tickets, stored on their app all scanned fine at the entrance too.

It had been a while so it was nice to see some familiar sights again.

Armed with our Front of Line passes we felt invincible and unstoppable, so we had no need to be frantically refreshing an app to look at wait times. We wanted to ride Spider Man first, so we did.

There is a clear contradiction here, in that I have moaned about Genie+ and paying extra to ride stuff without a queue at Disney, whereas we have willingly paid to stay on-site at Universal to get those perks. I get that. The difference?

Well, we only ever spend 2-3 days at Universal, if we go at all, due to the extra cost in doing the on-site thing. It has been years since we visited and we only do so when we can afford the extra cash needed to do it. Universal is also easily just a 2-3 day thing, especially with Front Of Line. Disney can often be a two week adventure.

With that in mind, Disney is the foundation and mainstay of our trip and if charging extra continues and/or increases then we and I suspect many others, will begin to plan differently. Something has to give, so less would be spent on accommodation, number of days in WDW, on site dining, and souvenirs/merch if the only way to ride headliners is to pay $8-15 each or pay $15 each to have a chance at avoiding endless queues. It feels like optional spending is being replaced by almost mandatory spend, which if you are on the Disney board or a shareholder, in the short term that’s great. The long term effects as you lose long term loyal guests may not be the win you think it is.

Anyway, we rode without waiting and it is still an impressive ride, especially if you are 4 and obsessed with Spider Man.

Tom was impressed with the ride. Having seen videos of it on t’internet he said it was much more intense and enjoyable than he had expected. Speaking of intense, next Emily, Tom and I went to ride The Hulk. Of course before we could do that we had to strip down to our underwear and stow everything but that in a locker. That is a faff. They do love a locker at Universal and it’s just hard work, especially when it is busy.

Anyway, after longer than it should have taken we walked through the metal detector and onto the ride. We joined the main queue and waited about five minutes. We were lucky to be seated on the back row and well, wow, that launch.

I don’t know why all that netting is still there. Everyone is relieved of anything loose before riding so unless it’s there to catch vomit or body parts it may be redundant.

I left the ride weak at the knee and a bit light headed so the best remedy for that was food. It was 11.20 after all.

I whipped out the app and had a look at eateries. Keeping it simple we chose the one we were stood outside just by the Hulk.

I had a cheesy meatball sub, but that’s what happens at my age.

Tom had the same with pizza for everyone else.

We decided to wander across to the Seuss stuff next.

Cat in the Hat was first.

Rebecca obeyed the guidance for this one and sat out, but I’m sure she would have been fine. Still, not worth the risk of course. There is always a weird feeling riding these things with Freddie when about twenty minutes ago I was doing the same with the girls at his age and above. Life is what happens when you are busy surviving the never ending grind of earning a living.

Onward now to One Fish, Two Fish. There was no queue but that was not going to stop me using my Front of Line thing,

Emily and I played it sensible recognising the still very low temperatures. Rebecca suffered at the hands of Tom, who disobeyed all the instructions and got them all wet.

In the natural flow of things next we should have ridden Carro-seuss-el thing. However it was in a very bad state, looking like it was half way through being dismantled. Instead we moved on to the Circus McGurkus thing. I am slightly ashamed that after all these years I still don’t know the proper names of some of these things.

There was an upsetting ten minute wait despite our specialness. Louise called just as that ended and we were boarding so we promised a call back.

I appear to have taken a lot of photos on this ride. There were some interesting views of course, but I think it was more to capture the fact that it was running. Nearly every time we have been in the past it has been down.

I cannot explain this photo.

We got some cakes at the shop near the exit of this ride and had a seat whilst we chatted to Louise. Tom took Freddie off to meet/watch the Grinch in a show just down the street.

Having let the crowds build nicely, not caring one jot, cloaked in our special on-site status we meandered, nay, ambled over to the Potter stuff.

By jingo it was busy here.

This is the ride we did first, and I am grateful I took the photo as it will save me having to spell it.

Another hit with Freddie. We then left him and Rebecca to wander whilst the rest of us did Forbidden Journey. The last time we came this ride was not included in your Front of Line perks, so we have only ever ridden it once after a very long queue. It was nice not to have to worry about that today. We could also leave all our “stuff” with Rebecca and hooked onto the stroller to avoid more locker carnage.

It is safe to say that I had forgotten the intensity levels of this ride. Wow, it’s a sinus clearer. Very good, very intense and incredibly well done.

It had now been far too long between ice creams for Freddie (and Tom) so we went in search of one in the direction of the Jurassic bit. None were found so we rode Kong instead.

Freddie was tall enough, but on balance some of the “scenes” may have been a little intense for him, but he did not even raise an eyebrow.

This may not win any photography competitions.

Ice cream and churros were found not far from Kong as we continued our loop around the park. It was 3pm by now and still cool enough for hoodies etc. So it made perfect sense to take on a water ride.

First up the impressively insane…

We left Rebecca with our stuff and for once I don’t think she was too sad about not being able to ride. There was a minor kerfuffle as the team members shoe horned Tom into the ride, but eventually with only minor damage to his leg, we were off. There is a horrible moment once you set off on this thing where you realise that unless the ride breaks down or there is an act of God, you are going down the big water ramp at the end. It’s bad enough in the relentless Florida heat of August, but in the very cool January afternoon, today that horror was intensified.

Freddie was at the front and got soaked on the first tiny dip so it did not bode well.

All I remember now is as we crested the hill and started to dip downwards to our doom, a cry of “I have changed my miiiiiiinnnndddd” escaped from my lips.

Too late. We got wet.

We walked back to Rebecca, already chafing, already freezing cold, searching out strips of sunshine as they emerged. At this point, it made complete sense to ride the Bilge rat thing too. We couldn’t get any wetter, right?


This one is such good fun. Every time you ride it you are constantly scanning your surroundings looking to avoid splashes and soakings. You know it is pointless. Everyone emerges from this ride as if they had sat in a bath, but still you try. We all loved it.

Rebecca had brought Freddie a change of clothes so he was whipped away to be changed. Selfishly, she had not planned ahead for anyone else though so we had to fend for ourselves.

I swapped my wet T-Shirt (steady!) for the sweat shirt I had stuffed into Ryan so at least my upper half was only moist. Emily did the same.

Emily, Tom and I then set off hoping to ride Velocicoaster. We arrived hoping to do single rider to limit our wait times but that lines was closed, at capacity. The queue looked a bit grim, and this one was not included in our on-site perks.

A 40 minute wait was posted and to be fair it was pretty much bob on. In this case, that wait was absolutely worth it. My word, what a ride. It is very hard to describe, but this is clearly a “next generation” rollercoaster. Incredibly smooth, surprising, nicely terrifying, very fast and with a few “I’m out of my seat” moments. Incredible. Ride it.

We made our way back to Rebecca and Freddie full of adrenaline. They had walked back to the Potter stuff and Tom took Freddie on the Hippogriff again.

I restroomed.

Those who could rode Forbidden Journey again. We used our perks to get straight to the front where we then waited fifteen minutes to ride. It turned out they had to close the ride for all but one party with a disabled guest.

Freddie wanted to ride Spider Man again. We set off in that direction and it was chilly enough, for idiots who had got soaked to warrant a hot chocolate on the way. We rode with the web slinger again, and then Tom forced me to do Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall with him. I had never ridden this before, due to cowardice. It was, as I expected, fun and horrific in equal measure.

Whilst we did that Emily took Freddie on Spider Man again. See what happens when you have on-site perks?

I have to admit that my aging body was broken at this point and I gladly rested whilst Tom and Freddie played in the arcade.

The girls and I wandered some shops for a bit before leaving the park around 7pm.

They were setting up for some private event by the looks of things.

Once at City Walk , Emily and I went into the new Universal store in search of warmer clothes. It was downright cold now.

Emily got some joggers and a T-Shirt and over at the Legacy store I got a long sleeved top both for now and for tomorrow as the one I had brought from the villa was moist.

We had a reservation booked at

This did not seem to count for much as despite checking at 7.45 for our 8pm reservation we were still stood outside trying to keep warm until 8.30. I had a few moans at the lady on the podium, but it seemed everyone was waiting a long time tonight. Why take bookings if you can’t honour them?

We ordered drinks and appetisers.

These blurry beers are very cool….

Ah that’s better…

Our appetisers were appetising. Bacon Fries and Fried Pickles. They were not photographed but that did not detract from their deliciousness.

Entrees were –

Freddie – Chicken Nuggets

Cheeseburgerooshi for Tom, Rebecca and me. One the tastiest things in Florida!

Veg roll for Emily

I had a deconstructed Cheesecake

I didn’t write down how much it was.

We walked out into very chilly weather and over to the water taxi. We waited about five minutes which was long enough in the temperature that night. We went immediately to our rooms and beds, happy to get dry and warm. Sleep came at around 10.30.

Till the next time……

The “Why’s It Taking Long” Tour 2022 – Day Eight

I do not have to tell you that I was awake at some ridiculous hour today. I don’t have to, but I will. 4am again. I dozed till 6am. Maybe this is my life now?

Breakfasts were had by many, readying happened and we finally climbed into the van at 8.20am. We were returning to Magic Kingdom today hoping that the crazy crowds we had seen so far had eased off a little as we were now on the 10th of January, one of the quietest times at WDW……once.

Hook 312 welcomed us into its warm bosom at 8.50 and once again we walked all the way in admiring the trams we could see parked up in another section of the parking lot. We took the monorail and whilst riding I took some very average photos….

and blew another $45 or so booking us a LL for Seven Dwarves Mine Train later. This meant on principle we would not be buying the Genie+ thing today. It was bound to be a lot quieter today though, right?

After once again waiting in the queue for several folks to work out how Magic Bands and fingers work, we were in. We decided to start with Big Thunder before the wait got too bad. The wait was too bad, showing a 60 minute standby. Instead we thought we’d get some breakfast for Freddie who didn’t have any at the villa, before trying Haunted Mansion. To keep him company we all got a second breakfast too.

We went to one of the stands in Frontierland and had breakfast sandwiches or Bear Claws. Like some sort of startled deer in the headlights once at the front of the queue, I panicked and ordered a Cold Brew Nitro with little clue what it was.

It was, it has to be said, absolutely awful, until a helpful daughter told me to put some Coffee Mate in it, which made it tolerable. Whilst we ate and drank I was watching the MDE app and the wait times. In that ten minutes Big Thunder showed 65 minutes, then 30, 50 and then returned to 65. Shambola? Just a bit.

Recognising that Big Thunder was not going to get any better today and wanting Freddie to experience it for the first time we braved it and everyone but Rebecca joined the queue.

I’d like to say it wasn’t as bad as it sounded….

but I can’t. It took an hour, not helped by one of the two tracks going down for about fifteen minutes whilst we waited. Splash Mountain was at this point down for maintenance, which would mean Big Thunder wait times were bound to be horrible.

It was, as ever, a fun ride and one that Freddie really enjoyed. We wandered back to Rebecca who was outside the Liberty Tree Tavern.

Tom pretended that Freddie wanted an ice cream so that he could have one, so they wandered off in search of some. I sat refreshing the app, studying wait times and tutting. It was looking pretty grim to be honest and if we were to have any sort of day, I would have to give in and fork out for Genie+, so I did.

As we waited for Tom and Freddie to return, I have to say that I was in reflective mood and not really feeling the Disney Magic at this point. Why?

Well, so far today I had paid $45 for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, $79 on Genie+ and $65 on breakfast. We had stood in a queue for an hour, and managed on ride. It was now almost midday.

Over the years I have been an enormous and endless advocate of the WDW experience. I will probably say this again before this trip report is over, but had this been our first ever trip it is unlikely we would have fallen in love with the place as we did all those years ago. Things felt, at times, like a normal theme park, which is probably one of the harshest things you could say about WDW.

Trying to block out the financial pain and the feeling of being rinsed, I booked us onto Buzz Lightyear for 12 o’clock. Funny how there are LL slots immediately but the standby is over an hour. It’s almost as if they are forcing gullible chumps like me into buying Genie+.

Whilst we waited for Tom and Freddie to return a cavalcade came by. I was delighted to discover that we could watch this without additional charge.

Tom and Freddie were still not back, held up in another long queue, this time for Dole Whips, so the rest of us wandered down to Tomorrowland and waited on a bench outside Monster’s Inc.

We walked onto Buzz and this time I rode solo, scoring an average 163,000.

Emily, showing Freddie no mercy, as it should be.

Rebecca and Tom said they would take Freddie on Astro Orbiter next. I would pay another $45 not too, as there would be Bear’s Claw over everything, so Emily and I opted for the People Mover. Discovering a 45 minute wait for Astro, they decided against it and went off to meet Buzz whilst Emily and I did a loop.

Tron still wasn’t ready.

Whilst riding I booked us all on the Tea Cups at 1pm. Normally I would avoid this like the plague too after a distasteful incident some twenty years or so ago, after a buffet breakfast at 1900 Park Fayre, but we were getting every dollar’s worth of value out of Genie+ today and if that meant vomiting over some four year olds, so be it.

Tom rode with Freddie so they could spin all they wanted. I rode with the girls for the first time since the incident above so we were filled with nostalgia and a shared desire not to even touch the sliver wheel in the middle, so it was a sedate ride.

I had booked Barnstormer next. See how Genie+ allows you to easily book all the headliner rides? That was not until 2pm so we rode Dumbo via the standby line, waiting just 20 minutes. As we were boarding it started to rain so we get considerably moist as we rode.

Being damp already, Freddie was allowed to get damper in the water playground thing. I restroomed and wandered off to get us all some sugar. It had been a while.

Why I only took a photo of two I don’t know. We didn’t share, as if I had to tell you that.

Freddie was very wet by now….

and was welcoming all comers to the gun show….

I had a bit of a speed walk around the park trying to find him a dry T Shirt to wear. This was much harder than I imagined it would be and I had to go all the way to the gift shop at Winnie The Pooh to find one. It was not a perfect fit, but it was dry.

Now, we could ride Barnstormer.

An exciting thirty seconds.

On this tour of headliner rides, I had booked us onto Aladdin’s carpets next so we walked across the hub to get there.

On a day when I was feeling very grumpy and non-magical, one of those “perfect timing” things happened as we were walking. A cavalcade came just as we got to this spot so we had a front row view(ish)….

My ability to have characters not look at my camera is second to none….

We boarded our carpet at 2.35, as more rain came down.

It was now 2.45. We had an ADR at 3.10, so I thought we would kill that time with yet another headliner….

I honestly cannot remember the last time I did this. I’m not sure the girls ever had. I may have last seen it with my parents all those decades ago.

Having sat through it, I understand why.

It also lasted longer than I had anticipated and were now a few minutes late for our Skipper’s Canteen reservation. I had checked in via the app mid-show but now sped ahead to let them know we had arrived whilst the others found the stroller and followed along.

We were seated at 3.25, eager to experience the place for the first time.

Rebecca and I had the It Tastes Like Chicken, Because It Is

Emily had what I wrote down as “Curry”

Freddie had Crunchy Chicken

Tom, noodles

Freddie’s Kid’s Menu selection included a dessert…

The bill was $150 including tip. The verdict? It was good. Nothing spectacular and not one we would be desperate to do again, but would if you know what I mean?

It was now time for our very expensive ride on Seven Dwarves (could also be a film title) and on our way over there, our cavalcade of cavalcades continued.

Like some sort of death star tractor beam in human form, I drew them in….

I have to admit to not knowing who this is….

I found Aurora’s expression borderline offensive. I am not a piece of meat….

I think whiskey may have been taken….

We rode. The only thing that made it worth the $45 investment was Freddie’s excitement levels waiting to board. Seeing that kind of unbridled joy and giddiness was lovely.

Philharmagic was a walk on. I’ve not been using that phrase very often have I?

Here we are, walking on.

Here’s a photo of no queue. Enjoy.

Because it was half empty the Cast Members were allowing folks to sit down before moving all the way to the end of their row. I understood it, but could not agree with it. They are just forming bad habits that will impact everyone when it’s fuller.

Makes me uneasy….

You will have noticed a lack of dessert at Skipper’s Canteen? We decided to rectify that now with something sweet. We found a table outside of Gaston’s Tavern and I got drinks and Cinnamon Rolls for the girls and I. Tom fancied ice cream so he and Freddie went off on another quest.

They deserve two photos.

We all sat and sugared up. Freddie got his hands on the camera again. I have edited heavily…

We had a LL booking for Haunted Mansion at 6.30 so that was our new destination. I’d like to say Freddie still had the camera but I cannot.

It’s always better to ride Haunted Mansion in the dark in my view.

We had another LL at 7pm for Winnie The Pooh so we went straight there.

I said earlier in the day that we endured the one hour wait for Big Thunder as it wouldn’t get any better today. Obviously now it was showing a 30 minute standby. So off we went to ride it again.

Again, a ride better for the dark I think.

There was more excitement….

and prettiness…..

That was as good a way to end the day as any and we made our way to the exit, reaching Main Street just as the fireworks were starting. We had plans to watch them another night so didn’t want any spoilers tonight. We kept walking and not looking back.

Oddly, no doubt due to higher crowd levels than a crowd scene from Ghandi, we were being directed out via a backstage area.

I allowed myself one photo, to capture us being back stage.

By default we chose the resort monorail and headed back to the TTC. The trams were running but were very busy. It was very hectic and this time Tom ended up walking back to the car.

On the way home I put $30 of fuel in the tank and went through the traditional laughing at how cheap it was over here. We were home for 9pm and did some packing for our two day trip to Universal which started in the morning.

Till the next time…….

The “Why’s It Taking Long” Tour 2022 – Day Seven

I feel that I’m becoming a bit of a sleep bore, but it’s probably because I wasn’t getting much. I was awake at 6am again after what I noted to be a very bad night’s sleep. It was a very low energy morning. That’s what a rest day does for you!

Rebecca was also struggling with a lack of sleep and aches and pains. Like me, her protruding stomach was probably the root cause.

I spoke to Louise and had to try and talk her through some TV and washing machine issues as if I was in some call centre thousands of miles away. I left her on hold for forty minutes and then wasn’t much use before cutting her off, just to give her the authentic experience. Today was one of those days when Louise seemed to be struggling with everything which did not help my mood or condition.

Unsurprisingly we were very slow to get up and out today, only setting off at 9.40am. We were headed for the theme park closest to us, in Animal Kingdom and we arrived fifteen minutes later, parking in Giraffe 41.

Yet again, no trams were provided. Having since read several blogs on the subject of crowd levels at the start of 2022 breaking all sorts of records, I am bamboozled by the lack of trams. I can only guess a lack of CMs was the cause.

Christmas refused to die, despite it now being January 9th.

Rebecca’s struggles led her to the stroller rental place. Having established that absolutely nobody was willing to push her in a stroller, an ECV was rented for the day.

With our later arrival and the billion people at WDW, everything was stacked already so we headed up to It’s Tough To Be a Bug. There was no wait as such, just the walk through the entrails of the tree and the wait in the lobby.

Despite its often forgotten very dark and very loud bits, Freddie did well and enjoyed all of the show. Emily, at 26 still does anything she can to avoid the “exiting bugs”.

Off to Dinoland now.

Being all of something past eleven now, we of course wanted lunch. I mobile ordered from Restaurantosaurus.

I had nuggets once again which may explain my aches and pains. I also had some chicken to eat.

Hot dogs for almost all with an Impossible burger for Emily.

One of Emily’s all-time least favourite rides is Dinosaur. Unluckily for her, the app was telling us that this was the only thing with a tolerable wait time. You will have noticed that I had not purchased Genie+ today.

By the time we had parked Rebecca up and got to the entrance, it was a 30-minute wait. Still, in we went.

All I will say is that we were seeing parts of the queuing systems we had never seen before if that can be seen as any sort of positive. Finally, we got into the bits we recognised.

Here, we saw the remains and commemoration of my first telling of the turtle head joke from circa 2003.

We rode. Emily hated it. Freddie enjoyed it. He seemed to be unscareable.

Rebecca and Tom then took Freddie on a ride more traditionally suitable for his age in Triceratops Spin.

Emily and I did not ride, instead, taking a seat by the side of where Primeval Whirl used to be. It’s always sad when rides are taken away. They inevitably have memories attached and this one certainly does. As ever, we have to be patient and trust that WDW is going to add something new that will be better, or at least as good.

We invested in some drinks whilst Tom and Freddie played some games and won some cuddly toys before we walked past the closed Nemo show and the also closed Everest. It will not shock you to learn that the rapids had hardly any wait. This was due to the very cool temperatures today. We had little choice as nothing else was easily available, so we enhanced our “we live in the North and don’t feel the cold” reputation by riding.

There was still a bit of a wait and I was disgusted and intrigued by a young lad in the queue in front of us with what looked like his two sisters. He was around ten I think. He seemed to have a very bad and frequent habit of spitting. You know that thing where people spit through their bottom teeth? He did that, onto the floor, about once every ten seconds.

Being mid-pandemic and Omicron wave this was not ideal of course. I stared incredulously at him and we kept our distance from his emissions. Dirty little bastard. Thankfully we did not ride with them or it may not have been the water from the ride getting us wet.

With it being a bit chilly we were hopeful that the tame nature of this ride that we had experienced before would hold. It did not, we got soaked, much to a very dry Rebecca’s amusement, who we returned to in a soggy manner. We got a drink from the place opposite Yak & Yeti and Freddie had an ice cream.

This killed sufficient time to get us into the next bird show. This thing had had more rebrands than the Sugababes. I have no clue what it’s called now, but it was fun. In our house, it will forever be called “Birds of Flight”.

We left, heading for the safari.

It was a walk-on, which was pleasing. Rebecca took the advice that pregnant folks should not ride and waited outside. Whilst we saw some animals, Rebecca spotted a vlogger, Mr Morrow and exchanged a wave and a hello.

Meanwhile, on the ride…..

Sometimes it’s the little things that you could never predict that make the little ones happy. Freddie was obsessed with and delighted to spot which animals he had seen and mentally cross them off the spotting board above us in the truck.

You may remember that I was all up in your grill earlier saying I had held firm and not got Genie+ today, like some sort of Disney martyr. That’s mainly because I had forked out for the paid-for LL for Flights of Passage instead. It was, I had to come to realise, the only way you could ride these headliners with crowds like this. It stuck in my throat, I felt used and abused, but I wanted Freddie, and everyone else to be able to do it. I just want to be sure my resentment is duly noted.

Once again, Freddie’s excitement levels were off the scale. He couldn’t keep still, as the blurry photo confirms.

We only waited about five minutes but there was a whole load of “Why’s it taking long” before we entered the pre-ride briefings.

He was measured about four different times before we actually rode, which shows how close he was to being able to ride. He absolutely loved it. Well, we all did. It almost made the bitter pill of forking out what I think was $80 for us to ride it. Almost.

We were out by 4.30 and a little bit behind schedule to get all the way out to the Rainforest Café for dinner and our ADR. We arrived at 4.45 and were seated within five minutes, which gave us time to admire some fish.

We last ate here over twenty years ago and nothing seems to have changed.

Tom and I both had….

Cocktails were had….

Along with other fun drinks….

Rebecca had a Turkey wrap….

Emily another Impossible burger…Florida seems not to have yet embraced the vegetarian lifestyle it has to be said.

Freddie had something pasta based.

We went for the dessert, just to re-visit the Volcano thing we had over twenty years ago.

It seemed smaller and less impressive after all this time, unlike myself, as I am larger and less impressive. Whilst the adults shared that, Freddie had his own dirt and worms.

The bill was over $200 but I didn’t note it down exactly. Rebecca and Tom returned the ECV and we all trudged back to the car again bemoaning the lack of trams. Unaided by said trams we got a bit lost but did then find our way back to Giraffe 41. We were home in fifteen minutes and it was early nights all round. Had I mentioned that today was a bit low energy?

Till the next time…..