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

I have been less than positive about our Genie+ experience thus far. A lot of our failings and feelings have been due to us having the absolute nerve not to stay on site and prefer to have a seven bed villa with private pool rather than two double beds and a bathroom for 16 nights, at double the cost.

Well, today we were on-site special people as we were checking into Coronado Springs for a couple of days, so I was poised, pre 7am, to use that magical specialness to get us on Rise Of The Resistance, hanging the expense. Seldom have I resented the thought of spending $90 at WDW as much as I did at this moment.

As the clock ticked to 7am I clicked the relevant clicky thing on the app and there was a glorious spot available at 4pm which I gleefully selected and pressed “Next”. When that next page appeared it had changed my 4pm slot to 7.50pm, which we couldn’t do due to a clashing ADR. Thinking that was a bit odd, I went back a page to look for another slot.

They had all gone.

So you see dear reader, on site or off, this thing is absolute bobbins. Being pumped full of Disney magic in such a way by 7.01 is lovely isn’t it? It truly sets you up for the day with a smile on your face and skip in your step.

We had no plans to go to a park today unless we had got a slot for Rise so at least now we knew what we’d be doing.

I’ll make this point again. What chance does a first timer have of experiencing things at WDW now? Someone booking a trip for the first time and not even thinking they need to spend days researching and planning on the internet to ride stuff they think that have paid for. I’m sure many of you have heard of the people arriving at a park with a ticket assuming they are good to go, only to find the park at capacity and them with no pre-made reservation. I know it’s on them to find out what’s needed and it will be said that these are pandemic related measures, but if reservations ever get removed I’ll grow a fringe. The cost and complexity of how we found it in January 2022 was too much.

I lazed in bed until 8am, did the final bits of packing and tidied the villa a bit. Whilst everyone else got themselves packed, I had a chat with Louise and watched half an hour of football on the TV. We left bang on the 10am checkout time. We loved this villa and we shall return, on the off chance we should we ever return to Florida.

We had our hearts set on a large breakfast. Overnight and into the early hours there had been a huge rainstorm and that, in conjunction with a three day weekend. seemed to have pushed most of Florida into the restaurants in the area. We tried a Perkins and a Dennys, both having hour long waits for a table, so we decided just to head to the hotel and see what we could get there.

We parked up near the main tower and wandered in.

We had done all of our checking in on the app so did not need to go to reception to see that our rooms were not ready yet.

We made our way down there…

where we found the Barcelona Lounge which was to provide us with a breakfast, not quite of the volume or cheapness a Perkins or Dennys may have.

We ordered coffees, cookies, muffins and overnight Oats and found a seat to devour them.

The muffins were the recently declared “best on the planet” muffins that Emily and I had enjoyed at Riviera….

By the time we had eaten we got alerted via the app that our rooms were ready. We drove over to Casitas 3, a little disappointed not to be in the main tower but for a couple of nights, I hadn’t cared enough to request that.

The rooms were fine. A little dated, but absolutely fine for our short stay. Our view from the balcony outside of our door was….

and with some zoom….

We unpacked a little, leaving most of our cases packed for the journey home in a couple of days and settled in. Despite the less than glorious weather you can see in those photos, Tom and Freddie made it into the nearby pool. Rebecca and I sat and watched wearing fleeces! The plan for today pre-departure had been to either go to a park should we be allowed to ride the thing we wanted to or if not laze around the pool. The temperature made the latter impossible/unpleasant today so we needed another idea.

Emily messaged from the room saying she wanted to go to Disney Springs so we all got ready for that and drove there. Food happened in the shape of an Earl of Sandwich…

There was a fairly long queue, but after it….

Emily and I shared a Veggie thing….

Rebecca and Tom both had a Chicken and Avocado

Freddie had an un-photographed Grilled Cheese. All were delicious.

It will not surprise you to know, it was busy….

We went into the Co-Op to look at gifts for Louise. I wanted to get her a Dooney and Bourke handbag and maybe a purse too, as she always admires them on her trips to WDW, whilst I shake my head and say they are too expensive.

There was nothing suitable in there and we found none at all in World of Disney. We continued to stroll and browse…

We made our first visit to the new M&M shop.

Tom likes an M&M so he spent most of his annual income on sweets and merchandise in there.

We decided to go to the cinema next, as we were all shopped out and had some time to kill before our ADR at Sanaa later. There was not a great deal of choice that would suit a pan-generational group such as us, so for Freddie’s benefit, we settled on Sing 2. I had not seen Sing 1, but I was confident it would not be required viewing for me to benefit from the sequel.

With our upcoming ADR, we were denied the opportunity to eat the impressive range of snacks on offer. This was upsetting.

The film didn’t start until some time after its advertised time and we therefore didn’t leave until 8.05. The film itself? Freddie enjoyed it. Inexplicably, it contained Bono.

Our late departure meant we needed to do a speedy walk back to the car in Lime so we could make our ADR time at Kidani Village.

The crowds had gone up a level again and we were playing dodge the shopper all the way back to the garage. We were getting mild PTSD from the crowd levels at this point. We got to the car at 8.30 and courtesy of some awesome driving, arrived at Kidani at 8.50.

We checked in and were seated after just a few minutes.

We of course ordered the bread service. That is where the bread service used to be.

We briefly considered ordering a second lot but our entrees turned up.

Me and Emily – Biryani, hers without the chicken.

Butter Chicken for Rebecca and Tom

Pizza for Freddie

The service was good, but we did feel a little rushed as our ADR was a late one and the place was closing up. We were given the bill at the same time as being asked if we wanted dessert, which wasn’t ideal. We were too full anyway and we left.

We headed home feeling a little like we weren’t experiencing everything we normally would, especially after the last couple of crowd-filled frustrating days. Regardless, we were making the most of what we could do and we had one last full day tomorrow to squeeze the juice out of. Spoiler alert, it contains cake.

Till the next time……

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

For anyone still with me at this late stage, it is now Saturday the 15th of January. I salute your endurance and you may as well go all the way now just to say you persevered till the end. Not that I have any experience of marathons other than being old enough to remember them being the larger predecessor of a Snickers, but I assume this is the wall and we just have to push through now to the end.

Today started at 7. With a few days to go my body finally seemed to be adapting to this time zone. This would be very helpful for the return home. I called Louise to see how things were and she was stressed. I felt ready to go home at this point, but probably not as ready as Louise was for me to do so. This was to be our last night in the villa, with our final couple of days booked at Coronado Springs, so I did most of my packing whilst everyone was getting up, ready, dressed and fed.

With it being our last day in the villa it was only right that the waste disposal stopped working. It was probably my fault but I called the management company about it, and left them a message. Despite me using my best Hugh Grant English they would call back later having been unable to decipher a word of it.

“Aye, ecky thump, th’waste disposal’s buggered and it needs fettling” does not translate well apparently. I was feeling a bit “coldy” this morning and having rubbed shoulders with literally thousands of folks for almost two weeks it had been a minor miracle that I nor anyone else, had contracted the dreaded virus. I did a test and it was negative. What I would have done had it been otherwise I do not know. The thought of not being able to get home as planned to Louise was not worth thinking about at this stage.

I onboarded some cereal and a bagel for breakfast, and with everyone else now almost fully packed too we left the villa around 11am. We were headed for Animal Kingdom.

Peacock 14 housed the car for the day and we walked all the way in, wondering if the trams still existed.

Rebecca hired an ECV again and as we walked away from the entrance area, DeVine was a welcome site.

It was interesting to watch Freddie process what he was seeing and work out what was happening.

Our first target was the 12.15 kite show so we made our way in that direction.

Of course, you’ll know by now that by this time of day we needed food so we stopped at the quick service at Yak & Yeti. We congregated around and ate off of the parked up ECV, and tardily did not capture the food in picture form.

I had Egg Rolls, but not the Chicken Fried Rice which despite me ordering, did not appear on our tray, with Chicken dishes for everyone else, with Emily settling for fries. The queue was too long to bother going back for the missing dish and we were already going to be a few minutes late for the kite show.

We found seats despite our late arrival and settled in to watch what was a fun, yet brief show.

It feels like Disney are still searching for the right thing to do with this area and haven’t quite nailed it yet. I thought the Rivers Of Light was as good as they could do without being able to deploy their usual fireworks. Why that ended I don’t know, but the park does need that end of the day spectacular I feel. This day time effort was original and entertaining but doesn’t feel like it is the permanent solution. Like most Dads, I suspect, I spent the whole show wondering who was going to untangle all the wires afterwards.

As we left, I saw a 1pm Festival of The Lion King show was imminent so we headed for that arriving at 12.45. Getting to the park at 11am just was not conducive to getting on any actual rides, so we were concentrating on shows for now. Just as we were about to park up and join the queue a CM appeared announcing the show to be full already so that plan was scuppered.

Freddie took our frustrations out on some drums as we made our way back to the Rapids, yes, right back from where we had just come from.

Historically this was always a water ride that could not compete with the Universal ones, on which you got so wet, it was as if you had sat in a bath. This had always been much less moist. Someone at Disney had apparently noticed and we left it drenched, and in the January chill, bloody cold. It was good fun though.

Trying to find patches of warm sun, we did the Jungle Trek next.

I honestly have no idea what I was trying to take a picture of here.

However, I upped my photographic game considerably to capture a Tiger’s arse.


Next, a better photo, but of what, I do not know. Clearly, the main strength of these trip reports is my attention to detail.

More arse.

But now, some quality at last.

Having failed to dry out at all, upon leaving the trek we looked in dismay at the app, seeing wait times for everything over an hour. With that in mind, we took Freddie over to the Bone Dig play area thing.

Emily and I went in search of a Starbucks whilst he played. There was a hint of being fed up at this point I’ll admit. The wait times and general crowd levels were getting a bit tiresome now, almost as much as my moaning about them is to you no doubt. With Everest down for maintenance and no Nemo show, and Primeval Whirl gone, right there were three really good reasons why wait times were high. Those things would soak up lotsa people on their own. Understanding why something is happening doesn’t always help though.

We got a drink and sat outside, people watching for a bit. We also did a bit of app watching too, but with no improvements in the wait times or our mood. We passed the time by devising what Disney’s strategy should be around Genie+, being the corporate supremoes that we are, and most of it involved setting it on fire.

Rebecca, Tom and Freddie joined us at around 3.15 and we chatted to Louise whilst they got a drink and snack. We arrived extra early for the 4pm Lion King show and did manage to get into this one. We took our seats excited to see the show upon its return from the pandemic induced break.

It was a very modified and reduced version of the show, but very welcome and enjoyable nonetheless. There were three, not four, singers, no tumbling monkeys or flying “parrot” but we still left with a feel good glow.

Next, Emily, Freddie and I did the safari. There was a 35 minute wait posted but it was a walk on. That was welcome but what is happening with these wait times?

I’ll spare you the same blurry shots of animal arse’s but we had a very good, very exuberant driver called Selina. She was fab.

Freddie was desperate to ride Flights Of Passage. Any paid for option passed by at around 7.10 am for those staying on site, and the standby was 120 minutes and rising so it was just not possible. Instead, we invested in some ponchos and decided to ride the Rapids a few times. The cooler weather meant nobody else was stupid enough to want to get wet.

I think we rode two or three times and with nothing else available without ridiculous queues, we called it a day and walked to the exit, chatting again to Louise as we did. A bit of a disappointing day to be honest, not helped of course by our late arrival in the park, but we did manage to rescue it a bit at the end with the ever enjoyable Lion King show, which always lifts the sprits and then some good fun and laughs on the rapids.

On the plus side we were now headed for….

for what would turn out to be one of the best meals of the trip.

First we stopped at the nearby Aldi (yes, really) as Rebecca needed some “bits” and after a five minute wait at the restaurant, our pre-made reservation saw us bypass a healthy wait. In fact, the reception area was carnage. Book ahead folks.

We started with Nachos. Not just Nachos, but the best Nachos I have ever had.

If you think they look good, you need to taste them!

Emily followed that with Fettucine Alfredo.

I had a Chicken and Avocado Sandwich

Tom had an enormous Burrito, but we weren’t going to Centracare tonight.

and two milk shakes, but we won’t mention those.

Freddie had Sliders

and Rebecca, Steak Tacos

It was all fabulous and the service was probably the best we had all trip too.

We were unimaginably full, but you don’t go to the Cheesecake Factory and leave without some Cheesecake inside of you. I didn’t note what types we all had, as I was struggling to breathe, but here you go….

I think this was Freddie’s ice cream

I cannot convey with words how full I was. No matter. I loved it here. My arteries, not so much, but you aren’t on holiday every day are you?

I didn’t note down or care what the bill was and I somehow pointed the car at the villa, listening to the groans of everyone else, too full to even sit still in any comfort, and we were in bed by 10.45, until the sugar based dream fevers kicked in.

Till the next time…….

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

Every week you must toss and turn of a night waiting for my sleep updates from a trip you didn’t go on months ago. So let’s clear that right up, straight off the bat. A luxurious 7am awakening today. There was a fair bit of tiredness knocking around this morning. As if being very pregnant was any kind of excuse, Rebecca’s body had told her she would not be going anywhere this morning. She needed to rest.

After a bit of TV watching and lazing about Emily and I decided to head out and check out the Skyliner. We had never ridden it and knew little about it so we were looking forward to our adventure of discovery as we left the villa around 10am.

Hanging the expense, we parked up in Hollywood Studios rather than have to come up with some clever scheme to con a security guard at the gate of one of the Skyliner resorts to let us in. Spookily we parked in the same row as yesterday but this time we made our way over to the Skyliner station.

It was not at all busy and having had a quick look at the routes online we decided to start by heading towards the Art Of Animation resort.

Soon we were up, up and away both discussing how much Louise would absolutely hate this experience. She once almost passed out on the Old Town Ferris Wheel.

It is lovely just to ride this thing. The scenery is interesting and attractive and it really helps to get a feel for the layout of many of the parks and resorts.

At AOA/Pop Century we disembarked and walked from the exit to the entrance to start our journey over to Epcot.

Once at Epcot, we again, got off and walked back around to the entrance to start the journey back.

On this leg though we stopped off at the Riviera Resort to have a nosey. It had been quite some time since we had done any resort touring. I had forgotten how nice it can be.

We found our way into the reception where there was a lovely little coffee bar where we each had a coffee and what was without doubt the best blueberry muffin on the planet. This is not up for debate.

We sat here to enjoy it.

My impression of this resort was excellent. We weren’t there longer than an hour but it looked and felt lovely. Any resort on the Skyliner route also gives you a massive bonus.

We hopped back on the Skyliner and rode back to Studios to pick up the car. It had been a really nice way to pass a few hours, it was free (coffee, muffin and parking aside) and there were no queues.

On our way home our very foundations were shaken. We had to pick up some milk and other bits for the villa so we made our way to our “regular” supermarket at Formosa Gardens. For those that know it, it is close to the Outback and still had theming in it from when Splendid China was around just behind it.

It had closed!

This was devastating news. This place has featured in almost all of trips and it felt like a member of the family had died. In addition to that I now had to drive somewhere else for milk!

The 7-11/gas station near us was fine but it did not hold the memories that the now closed previous stop did.

Upon our return, folks were in the pool and relaxing. That continued until about 2.30. We headed out to Epcot. The plan was to do our ADR at Via Napoli and then stay for the fireworks, our first time seeing Harmonious.

On the drive there I decided to try and park at a resort around the Boardwalk to make the post fireworks exit easier for Rebecca and her achy hips. We drove to the Boardwalk hotel and as I flashed my ID at the security guard I said we were heading for lunch at the Big River Grille place. This is a lovely loop hole. You cannot make ADRs for it on the app so the chap on the gate could not check we had a reservation. He waved us through and we found a parking spot without any trouble. Sure, this is bending the rules but, being frank, I have more than paid for this “privilege”.

We strolled from the car park into the resort.

This area is, and probably always will be, one of my favourite places on the planet.

We got a bit lost looking for the elevator from reception down to the Boardwalk itself but made it eventually.


What a lovely stroll that was.

At this point the peacefulness ended. We made our way through a very busy security check at International Gateway into World Showcase which was incredibly busy.

Again, we could not walk together. We had to keep regrouping every once in a while as we made our way around to Italy for our ADR. It was impossible to look at anything. If memory serves today was the first day of a festival which probably explained the carnage. I’m very open to the concept that this was just bad planning on my part. Doing World Showcase on the first day of a new festival doesn’t make a great deal of sense at face value. However, we’re twelve days in by now and the only places that we’ve been to on property that haven’t been rammed to the gills were a chilly Typhoon Lagoon and the Skyliner.

On our way we spotted Mr Morrow (the vlogger) and his friend Jackie, who Emily got a wave at and from. It was just too busy to even contemplate a photo.

Eventually we arrived at Via Napoli and were seated in five minutes.

Our table was lovely but bloody hell it was cold. Everyone’s sweatshirts/jackets were soon on.

We started with some Garlic Bread.

It was then pizza all round of course.

Rebecca, Tom and Freddie shared the half metre pizza.

I had the pepperoni.

Emily the Four Cheese

A picture can paint a thousand words. Tom really stepped up to the platter here and powered through when others had fallen by the wayside.

However there is no amount of food that can prevent Freddie having an ice cream.

The pizza here is excellent. The bill was $190 including a good tip. Again, not our best experience here but nothing to complain about. We were, as you may expect, full.

We ventured out again into the chaos of World Showcase. Freddie was keen to do some rides. My stomach was not. So Emily and I wandered the countries whilst the other three walked down to Future World, where hopefully it would be easier to push a stroller.

All the festival booths had enormous queues. Not that we wanted to eat anything but it was just ridiculous. As the law dictates, we started at Mexico, where even the ride in there had a twenty minute wait.

It was very hard to take anything in with the crowd levels as they were so we didn’t stay anywhere very long. There was a half hour queue just to get into the Tequila Bar in here.

There appears to be a huge gap in my photos here. It was too busy to even get the camera out.

Suffice to say we made it all the way around to France where Emily (keeper of rats) wanted to get some Ratatouille merchandise. It was dark by now.

There was of course no chance of doing the ride. I had tried to pay the extra cash to do so first thing this morning, but as off-site scum I could only do so at park opening, which was 10am. All the LL slots had gone by about 7.10am. The standby queue was approaching two hours at this point.

The theming in the area is lovely though!

Eventually, with the help of a CM, we found the Remy shop, which was helpfully nowhere near the ride. Emily got a few bits and we both were delighted to see this chap helping behind the tills.

We continued our loop through the UK and into Canada. We passed Mr Morrow again with what looked like an entourage of about twenty people with him. We stopped in Canada and waited fifteen minutes to watch the new show there.

Look, all that matters is that it still contains “that song”, but I preferred the Martin Short version. The new film is pretty much a rehash of many of the old clips with a new narration.

As we left we messaged Rebecca and arranged to meet at America as we wanted to try and watch the Disney on Broadway show. They were currently in the UK. The pavilion. They had not flown home.

As we had continued our loop and we were now opposite America we tried to get the boat service across but as we reached the jetty the captain closed it and we had to hoof it all the way around. All these steps had at least walked off that muffin from earlier.

Navigating World Showcase on a night like this, with only minutes to get to your destination for a show about to start should be an Olympic sport. Dodging, ducking weaving, all at pace, takes some serious skills.

We got to the theatre outside the America pavilion a few minutes before the show was due to start. This was the second show. We had walked past the queue for the first one on our loop of World Showcase and it was horrific so we assumed it would already be full, Thankfully it was not.

Rebecca had decided to stay put in France where we planned to watch the fireworks to cut down on the walking.

Emily and I settled in.

This was fab and “proper” Disney theme park stuff. We loved it. Top quality, with a real feel good feeling. The two singers were brother and sister and had both done many shows on Broadway. I pretended not to know the words to the High School Musical songs.

We left and walked up to France to meet up with everyone else who were sat on a bench near the fountains in France.

I walked round to the shop at International Gateway for some waters before the show started. The view, considering we were able to sit down, was fine.

Freddie genuinely loved every second of this show.

I have spared you most of my typically useless photos of fireworks.

The show itself is very well produced and of really high quality. You’ll know our affection for Illuminations, so it won’t be too shocking to know we found it a little emotionless. It’s “another” Disney’s Greatest Hits to fireworks and that is great, but it just lacked the feel and heart of the former show.

We made our way slowly out to the Boardwalk area and strolled back to the car. Many others were doing the same but I always feel it is the better option than trying to get to the main exit and then get a tram etc. Indeed the Boardwalk at night is somewhere I would happily walk around in a loop for many hours. Have I mentioned I like it here?

We were home impressively by 10.15.

Till the next time…….

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

Day Eleven already. These weeks are flying by aren’t they? Only another 6 days (weeks) to endure.

Good news. I slept undisturbed until 6.30am. What a state it is to be celebrating that. After two very full on days at Universal the start today was a little lethargic. There were all sorts of excuses, like pregnancy and being four and tired. Folks were on very thin ice. I have proven this holiday that sleep can be optional.

Everyone showered, dressed and did breakfasts and we meandered from the villa around 10.30am. We were Studios bound this morning/early afternoon!

We parked in Mickey 314, again bereft of a tram and yomped across the car park to the entrance. It was by now almost time to leave again. This lack of a tram was not only a minor inconvenience for me (more so for pregnant Rebecca) but it was just one more bit of the experience that was missing. When we first ever went to WDW in 1980 and the years that followed, once back home we would talk excitedly about the scale of the place and how, once you’ve parked up you still needed a monorail, boat or tram to get into the park. Yes, they provide free trams from your car and back, it’s amazing we would say.

So you get used to stuff like this of course, but again for those first timers, it’s just another thing to lessen the joy and the magic and what makes WDW unique. Things continue to return to a pre-pandemic state it seems, so I hope we can get back to what we all love, know and expect.

It was 11.10 by the time we were stood here.

Was it still busy today?

Before we had chance to move off, a cavalcade appeared.

Knowing that by this time actually riding stuff would be a challenge we strolled through a few shops and made our way over to the Indy show. It started at 12 and we got in around 11.30.

This chap was excellent. He kept everyone entertained whilst also getting folks to move to where he wanted them. A reminder of the magic and a promise of its return hopefully.

It had been a while….

We were out at 12.30 and you will know that by this time lunch was very overdue. I wanted to go over to Galaxy’s Edge and try a Ronto wrap thing. This would not be up Freddie’s street so we got him some nuggets from the Backlot place. Whilst Rebecca did that, I mobile ordered our spacey lunch and we started to walk over to Galaxy’s Edge.

Upon collecting them, they did seem a lot smaller than my expectations.

After coveting these things for a long time, my verdict was….meh.

They were tasty, but small. Not that a lack of size is a guarantee of disappointment of course, but overall they were a let down for the $75 it cost for five of them (including drinks).

Whilst we ate, sat on a wall in Galaxy’s Edge, we called Louise for a chat. We tried to make her feel better with true tales of horrific wait times for everything. Determined not to pay for Genie+ today, having arrived late and sick of coughing up the extra dollars, we had no choice but to endure some long wait times. First up, Smuggler’s Run, currently showing a 75 minute standby wait.

On the bright side, it did give us plenty of time to appreciate the theming in the queue. Right?

75 minute waits and four year olds don’t naturally go together, but to his credit, despite his almost uncontainable excitement to ride, Freddie did well.

About forty minutes in Tom’s phone was deployed.

We arrived in the superbly themed loading area after a 55 minute wait.

Freddie was a pilot and absolutely loved it again.

We left the ride and started the walk over to the Animation Courtyard area where Rebecca was waiting for us. On the way, I did the decent thing and stopped off to get us all a Num Num.

Unlike the Ronto things these never disappoint. Girth, width, depth and taste all in one heart stopping package. I inhaled the disgraceful amount of calories in no time at all.

Looking at what to do next, Tower of Terror was showing a 45 minute wait. Resigned to this fate today we joined the queue which started waaaaaay outside the ride.

In a rare stroke of luck, just after we took our place at the back of the queue, a huge tour group joined the queue. There must have been a hundred of them all in matching T Shirts. They could have been one of the infamous Brazilian tour groups you hear tell of. To be honest, I could not tell if they had Brazilians or not from my position and it felt rude to ask.

We entertained Freddie as best we could and the queue moved pretty quickly.

More excellent theming greeted us at the entrance after about 45 minutes.

Another ten minutes saw us through the pre-show and boiler room.

The Goof was out on the balcony above the exit.

There had been no improvement in any of the wait times as we exited so we girded loins and other appendages for another wait. A 55 minute posted wait for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Emily couldn’t face it and sat out chatting to her boyfriend back home.

We settled in. Boredom levels led to play fighting….

I had got Freddie some lollipops for being patient in the queues. He licked it a bit and then hit his Dad with it. As a side note, those lollipops were my first ever purchase using the mobile app checkout process. It worked well and avoided a queue.

Before we even got inside the theatre the queue ground to a halt for a good ten minutes and overall it took well over 70 minutes to board.

The pre-show was clever and the ride is better than expected but the ridiculous wait left a bit of a sour taste and took the shine off. I was so miffed, my usual excellent photography skills were affected.

Our old friend Star Tours had a very welcoming 10 minute wait time posted so we went and did that. We wanted to ride Slinky but couldn’t endure another wait over an hour just yet, so we just hoped that would improve later in the day.

We got a new (to us) story on this one which made it even more enjoyable and upon exiting, we called Louise back who had called us just as we were getting strapped in.

We chatted outside Star Tours in the increasing dusk. Always a nice time at any WDW park.

We could not put it off any longer. We went over to Toy Story Land with Slinky in our sights.

Our plan of waiting till late in the day for a shorter queue worked brilliantly….

We sucked it up and settled in.

When I say it only took an hour, well you will take that in the spirit it is intended I know. It was bloody chilly in the queue, but once we were on, we had great fun. This is a belter for younger guests. Fast and just thrilling enough not to terrify them. Not that anything had come close to that for Freddie.

Rebecca had waited in One Man’s Dream to keep warm and we met her there after riding. It was safe to say that we were all queued out for one day and we headed for the exit and walked back to the car.

Is it just me or does that sight of a row of cars in a WDW car park give anyone else a warm and fuzzy feeling?

Dinner tonight was Olive Garden and we drove the short distance to Lake Buena Vista and parked up. There was a 30 minute wait for a table but after today we were well prepared for that. We were seated in 20.

I don’t want this entire trip report to turn into a moan fest. We enjoyed very large chunks of the trip, but I have to be fair and let you know how we felt. Our server here was less friendly and attentive than we have seen in years gone by.

Is this due to the staffing issues post Covid? Have the experienced servers got the better paying/tipping jobs now and places are having to take on inexperienced servers. I don’t know. He may just have been having a bad/busy night. Despite all that nobody could deny us the salad and breadsticks.


I had Tour Of Italy, as I tend to….

Rebecca had Chicken Parm….

Emily had Fettuccini Alfredo and loved it

Tom had stuffed pasta.

Freddie had a ridiculously children’s portioned pizza.

Soft drinks for all tonight. We paid the bill using the gadget on the table. I’m all for this. Once we’ve eaten we’re very ready to go and being able to do so without waiting for the server who may be busy elsewhere is a bonus. it was $125 including a 20% tip. Great value.

We left the restaurant and as we got back to the car there was a man lying down in the bushes nearby. We considered what to do and not feeling very proud of ourselves we got in the van and left. This really bothered me all the way home but you think of all the things that may happen if we had approached him. It’s terrible that you have to. I still feel very uncomfortable about the whole thing now. It was cold and he was probably genuinely ill/drunk or whatever. Not good.

Just as we pulled away Freddie announced he needed a wee. We pulled into a gas station where he expertly had a pee into an empty water bottle without leaving the van.

We were home by 10 and asleep very shortly after.

Till the next time……