Freddie Fun and a Few Other Fings

I do try and prevent this blog from becoming the equivalent of the bloke at work who keeps showing you photos of their kids/grand kids. It’s hard at times as of course Freddie is the most special being on the planet and my track record for not sharing stuff like that is poor as I have spent every year since 2003 writing about the girls on our holidays, but I think I’ve done OK.

So you’ll forgive me I hope a couple of short videos from last night. We had the pleasure of Freddie’s company for a few hours whilst Rebecca an Tom went to the cinema. We did all the things that grand parents are supposed to do, like let him refuse to eat his tea and instead fill him up with yoghurts and chocolate, no doubt making him difficult when he went home. It is the circle of life.

You can see from video one that he may have had some previous experience with his Mum and camera phones. Also, I know that the music is annoying, but you only get a few seconds of it, not the whole evening.

And in this second video, ignoring any recent revelations about the artist, he does like a bit of a dance and MJ is one of his favourites.  You may also spot him attempt to shout at Alexa. It is amazing what they pick up, and he is obsessed with technology, buttons and fiddling with things he shouldn’t.

I resisted the urge to measure him and then try to calculate how tall he will be in late summer 2020 for our next trip, for now.

The week just gone has been a blur. Busy, stressful, problem ridden and wet, and that was just the commute. That does not sound like a set of ingredients for a week of joy and indeed it was not. Having to work for a living does place serious limitations on my ability to enjoy day-to-day life.

I am vexed that this eating of my time has not allowed me yet to investigate any of the villa tips many of you sent me a few weeks ago. I mean, time is tight, we are literally now only eighteen months away from our intended departure. This shall need to be addressed promptly. I should also thank you all for the many comments and thoughts last week on the Star Wars Land opening. It was a real mixed bag, but I think almost everyone had big concerns over crowd levels.

I do wonder, with my “I want to be a Disney Imagineer” thought bubble on, how they plan and consider these things. You see, those are some meetings I would like to be in and not spend half of it wishing I wasn’t. My mind boggles at the data analysis, planning and general interesting stuff that must go into just the opening of such a thing, never mind the building of it.

Almost every part of WDW will be affected, from hotels bookings and obvious things like that, but how do they accommodate the costuming requirements for all the new cast members and characters, where do they store them, are the car parks going to cope, what impact might there be on the other parks, which merchandise is de-ranged to make way for the new stuff in the shops as again they have finite amounts of shelf space. It’s no wonder Disney employ so many folks. Think of all the project plans in play at once for this stuff.  Imagine being the person responsible for the thing being ready on time. That must involve a few sleepless nights.

I’m sure my tiny brain can’t even come up with 99% of the considerations for this type of thing. The number of moving parts in play just to facilitate folks like me going on a few rides is unfathomable.

Right, with this post meandering around aimlessly I should probably go and be more productive elsewhere. At the back of my mind, my stress levels are being enhanced by the impending arrival of workmen to destroy and then reconstruct our bedroom. We have to empty the room before that, and find places to house all that crap until the work is done and then it’ll be weeks before we are totally finished. I do hate this disruption and it makes me stress more than it should for any sane person. I’ll address it today, not by getting on with the work of emptying the room of course, more by watching the football and doing things that will make me forget it’s happening.

You know it makes sense.

Till the next time…..

Ride Or Ride Not, There Is No Try

As you will know by now, I like this blog to be right on the bleeding edge of Disney news. I understand that many of you count on it as your one and only source for all things Disney related, and as such I spend every waking hour researching and being one step ahead of every other Disney blog on the planet.

So, I can now reveal, way before you will have heard it anywhere else that the opening date for Star Wars Land has been announced. I know! Exciting stuff right, and I appreciate that this breaking news may take some time for you to digest.

Had we been going this year (and I never say never, as those lucky lottery balls may yet drop in our favour) this would not have been the welcome news you may think it might be. The date of the 29th of August is slap bang in the middle of our usual touring time, and an opening like this is enough to ride the proverbial coach and horses through my laminated spreadsheet.

Having seen what happened when Toy Story Land opened, those wait times for Slinky will seem like the blink of any eye once the Star Wars lot descend upon Hollywood Studios. Had we been there this summer, at opening, I think it would have more or less wiped DHS off our plans to be honest. That opening week will be like a scene from Ghandi, and I don’t mean that everyone will be wearing a bed sheet and sandals.

Image result for star wars gifs

The crowds generated by Disney vloggers (Hey Guys!!) alone would be enough to fill Wembley Stadium three times over and the chances of getting anywhere near a ride would be less than me growing a fringe.

So it’s good news that we have no trip planned for this summer right?  Right????

Ironically, the nominal date I have plucked from the ether for our potential travel in 2020 will be the one year anniversary of the opening, so that should mean that those at the back of the queue on opening day will just be leaving the gift shop as we get there, hopefully armed with FastPasses galore.

In the grand scheme of things, this opening is of course a good thing for many reasons.

  1. DHS has been half a park for long enough whilst they built the two new lands so it is fantastic to see those plans completed.
  2. I love Star Wars
  3. Nearly every park (come on Magic Kingdom, get that Tron ride built) now has new headliner attractions and it will spread out the crowds and FastPass desires of guests meaning that some of the current bottlenecks and frustrations around the likes of Flights Of Passage and Slinky will be alleviated.

The parks are in good shape, and with plans recently announced to renovate and modernise the Epcot entrance area, as ever Disney aren’t resting on their laurels, which is one way to justify their prices to myself.

There is a slight anxiety that big new stuff brings of course. The planner in me finds it easiest when I am scheduling stuff we’ve done before. With so much new stuff, I am poking around in the dark a bit hoping for success, although that is something I am relatively familiar with if I am honest. It doesn’t come much bigger than a whole new land, and as I sit in the comfort of my armchair this August, watching the absolute carnage that is Hollywood Studios, I shall be grateful for two things.

  1. I am not in those crowds.
  2. The internet, that will allow me to watch other folks navigate it and enable me to have a better stab at planning our assault on it a year later.

Over that time, there is much to do, not least trying to get Freddie to watch all the Star Wars  and Harry Potter films in readiness for our trip. That may well be a challenge at his age, but I’m sure his Dad will look after the Star Wars side of that bargain.

So if you are going this year after the opening I’d be interested to know how you feel about it. Are you happy or has it put a bit of a cat amongst your planning pigeons? Let’s be honest, I wish we were going too and I’d deal with whatever carnage that created, but if I can lie to myself that there are some benefits to not having a holiday then I shall cling to them like Rose did that piece of wood in Titantic.

Comment away folks….

Image result for star wars gifs

Till the next time……

Sense and Sensibility

As we bid a fond farewell to summer for another year, it has at least served its purpose and allowed us another American Adventure. Clearly, being a grown man, with a job that almost matters, bills to pay and real life day-to-day issues I have this week done absolutely none of the following –

  1. Researched if it’s better to stay on site at Universal or to buy the Front of Line passes instead.
  2. Checked hotel prices for our on site stay.
  3. Spent a not inconsiderable amount of time working out our departure date, based on pesky work schedules, flight prices, the ability to do MNSSHP again and my inability to wait longer than I absolutely need to.
  4. Looked at several menus for restaurants we may eat in eighteen months from now.
  5. Browsed some villa websites.

Nope, I didn’t do any of those things as that would have just been silly.

If I had been that silly I would have discovered that Universal wanted £1500 for Front of Line passes for two days for our party. That is of course is in addition to our tickets to get into the park. This, Universal, is madness. An on site stay for the same number of folks in two rooms, (suck it up Emily, you’re sharing with Mum & Dad), was about £500. I guess the method in their madness is that they want you to stay on site as they hope you’ll spend more than the difference when you do.

So, on site it is. I would suspect, had I researched prices, I would have decided that it will be the Royal Pacific again. We love the Hard Rock, but it’s about £300 more and as we’ll probably only be there for one night it seems silly. However, when we come to book at a time more sensible, we shall see what deals are around. I mean, what idiot would be looking so far away from their travel dates?

As if he somehow knew what was being planned, Freddie recently took part in a photo shoot, and naturally it had a strong Disney theme. Indulge me sharing a handful of them here….

He’ll thank his Mum no doubt for that Mickey costume when these are shared at his 21st!

Again, if I were an idiot, I might have had an extended conversation with Emily about how tall Freddie might be when we go and which rides that might mean he can go on. Thankfully, I am not that stupid.

Sticking to my declaration last week that I won’t over plan this trip will be a test of my resolve, mainly as it is a long way off and but also because I am a sad act.

I mean, how silly would it be for me to ask both my readers to send me their suggestions for any nice 4 bed villas they know of in developments around Sunset Lakes, Emerald Island, Lindfields and Formosa Gardens. If I had given it any thought at all, I would know that we only want to be staying in that area. Don’t be suggesting me stuff ten miles down the 27 that claims to be “15 minutes from Disney”, this isn’t my first rodeo.

Thankfully, such silliness has not taken place, and I am proud to see nobody else in our travelling party has indulged in any such nonsense. I mean, had I been an obsessed over excited idiot, I might have sent my daughter a text just to tell her that Caseys’s now do a foot long Corn Dog only to have her tell me that my other daughter had already messaged her the day before to tell her the exact same thing. They make me proud every day.

Till the next time…..

Hagrid Makes Me Happy

I have long been an admirer of Disney. I appreciate this may not be a surprise to many of you, but it is true. I do recognise they are not without their flaws. The fact that they insist on charging me to enter their parks and stay at their hotels being the largest. They are also a money-making machine, as is their right, but I do feel like many others, that they price things a little too high, and it has only been fifteen minutes since they increased the price for parking at one of their theme parks.

What really impressed me this week was their control of the weather. I know that may sound odd but there is no other explanation. Clearly, at the last Disney board meeting, as they were studying my latest blog posts, there must have been real concern and the risk of a profits warning at the news that we would not be returning any time soon. So they called the weather department with an urgent request.

Said department were clearly instructed to crank up the temperature and reveal the long hidden sun in the UK. These February balmy temperatures cannot be explained away with any other plausable scenario. Why did they do this I hear you ask?

Well I will tell you. If you trawl back through last (almost) ten years of this nonsense (who is sillier, me for writing these for ten years, or you for reading them? Think on) you will see that every time we say we have no Florida plans, it is pretty much always at the first sign of spring that we buckle and find some way to do so. Now, I am not saying at this stage that anything is booked. Certainly this year will not be possible, but alongside the Disney weather Gods making the weather nice, they also got their fierce competitor to announce a new roller coaster.

What nonsense is this? What am I going on about? Well, they realise that the decision to go to my happy place is always dependent on the green light from Louise. They also know, from my blogs, that Louise is a huge Universal fan too. So due to the combo of the nice weather and Disney making Universal do their bidding, this happened.

For those concerned for Louise’s health, she had been close to the toilet for many hours this week. You know she doesn’t mind me sharing this stuff, right back to the Vagisil episode of an earlier trip report.

So having sworn that we would not be darkening Florida’s shores within the foreseeable, with a caveat that nothing yet is guaranteed, the Disney board, along with their weather department and spies within Universal may have influenced Louise enough to have opened a door. It’s impressive.

When Craig, I hear you ask? When will you be returning? I don’t know dear reader, but thanks for asking. All I know is that next year contains a significant birthday for me and if I’m not stood in Epcot at some point during that day either the world will have ended or Louise will have changed my mind. It’s on!

For now, there’s no formal planning in progress (or real clue as to how to fund it) for many reasons. It needs to ferment a little in my mind first. Clearly Universal is “in scope” due to the newly announced roller-coaster successfully chipping away at Louise’s will, so that needs to be considered, and baked into the overall schedule. But, and this may shock you, I intend to learn the lesson of the last trip and not over plan things. This may strike you as strange and going against everything I stand for, and you would probably be right, but it needs to be done.

Things will be planned and organised of course, but I intend to leave more to ever-changing winds of freewill and the going of flows.

There is also the as yet un-researched (as I was sulking due to us not going) imminent opening of Stars Wars Land to look into. There are some practical things of course, like a wedding to organise and pay for yet, but the die is cast and the cogs are turning.

So thank you to the Disney weather department, you have played a blinder. I thank you, even though my retirement savings plan may not. Rebecca, Emily, don’t ever plan on inheriting a penny, you have and are enjoying it in the form of sunshine, fun and food, and I suspect you respect my decision.

Now that I have blogged about this, it shall be so, and the green light cannot be over turned. That is the law.

Till the next time…..

Airport Conventions

Well, here we are. The final post before our next adventure. At times I have seriously doubted that this countdown would ever end. It’s been a struggle I’ll be honest and one of the toughest to get through, but of course that may just be perception and me being a drama queen.

To add some last-minute spice to the mix, my Mum is hospital, suffering from some sort of virus/infection. She’s on the mend I think with some antibiotics and TLC and hopefully she’ll be home and fully on the mend before we leave.

As always seems to be the case, the final week at work has been a doozy, spectacular in its shitness, just to ruin any potential joy of knowing it is my last for a while. Work is doing its best to keep its icy tendrils dug deep into my being until the last possible moment . Hopefully, I’ll be able to switch the work brain off at Manchester airport as I remove my work email account from my phone for a couple of weeks with a deep joy.

Still no bloody FastPasses for Flight of Passage or Slinky and believe me, I’ve been trying. It’s personal now. I didn’t want to ride the bloody things anyway.

As it’s been far too long since we went away, the reminder of how stressful the final few days can be had been forgotten. There are a million things to sort out, mainly pet related, mixed with a good amount of work nonsense that I can’t detail here. Add to that my recurring waking nightmare of realising just when it is too late that I have forgotten something, and I will be delighted when we are finally on our way.

The holiday haircut has happened. Spending so long in the chair can be tiring in itself as I’m sure you will appreciate. Thankfully, it was a different chap this time, and one that doesn’t feel the need to make conversation. The toenails have been cut, and it is important that everyone appreciates this level of personal grooming. It’s all part of the million small parts that go into making one of these trips work.

We are so close now. I can almost taste that going on holiday excitement. The traditional by the door photo will need to be tweaked this time. Rebecca has had the audacity to go and live elsewhere, so she won’t be “home” on the morning we leave. Don’t worry, I will creatively solve this issue and we may even have some new photos and traditions now!

The early alarm call, the panic to get last-minute stuff into the cases, standing at the front window looking for the taxi whilst simultaneously shouting at females to be ready, trying not to get tearful whilst saying goodbye to the dogs and telling them you won’t be long, even though you will, and they have no idea what you are saying, and then the surreal journey to the airport. The sun is rising over the sewage works as we cross Barton Bridge by the Trafford Centre. The tiredness and adrenaline give a nice spaced out vibe as you’re new “what are you travelling in” clothes feel like you are wearing someone else’s gear. We are a beautiful mess of new trainers, bumbags and comfy pants.

As we come off the M60, I check Ryan for the 373rd time to make sure the passports are there and we then are deposited into departures, sweating slightly due to luggage exertions, craning necks to check the nearest screen for information on your check in desk.

The double-edged sword of wanting to be checked in within seconds, and knowing that in two weeks you would give several body parts to be right back at this point battle within your brain before security is endured followed by a huge breakfast, some WH Smith browsing and the purchase of some overly priced smelly liquids in duty-free precede us sitting at the gate with a Starbucks and a feeling that I’ve already put all the weight back on that I spent the last few weeks taking off.

This routine is so familiar it’s like a family friend.

Thanks for sticking with me during this countdown. Stick around for some social media action, including some Facebook live stuff as and when appropriate. Say hello, either online or if you happen to be over there with us, in person. Even if you don’t want to talk to me, which is understandable, you can have a photo with Ryan if you like.

We made it! See you back here on the 16th of September.

Till the next time……

Yearn To Fly

Yearn To Fly

I’ve not known what to do with myself this week. With no FastPasses to book, it has been a bit of an anti-climax following two weeks of frantic button pressing. I have been randomly trying the app to see if any Flight Of Passage (or Slinky Dog) FastPasses become available. Not for me it seems. It’s becoming a bit of a bee in my bonnet if I’m honest, especially with Emily regularly reading me loads of posts from Orlando Facebook groups all pronouncing how easy it has been for them to secure them.

I find this unacceptable. Don’t Disney know who I am? I am a world-famous blogger with handfuls of readers. I am a high level influencer with several top brands relying on me to promote their goods. Bright white trainers, twenty year old Adidas rucksacks, hair products, man thongs and other such things are just a few examples of the huge impact my implied approval can have.

Image result for i'm kinda a big deal gif

How Disney can allow me to be denied a ride on one of their attractions is beyond me. One utterance of my displeasure and all of my readers will never darken their doors again….probably. I am in no way resentful that my yearning to fly up a passage will go unsatisfied.

I did a bit of a “try on” session last week. Louise started getting stuff organised, with the case brought out to sit in the bedroom like some portent of impending joy and she needed to know which T-shirts I’d be taking. It was at this point that I realised that I have a lot of T-Shirts. To be fair, they come in many sizes to accommodate me in varying states of shape. With my pre-holiday weight loss regime almost done, I can fit into most of them for now, so I have some tough decisions to make as we near packing time.

That hasn’t of course stopped me ordering one more. We have decided not to do full costumes for Mickey’s Not So Scary due to fears of being too hot, but themed (non-matching) T-Shirts are the order of the day. Mine arrives shortly and you shall have to wait to see it in the trip report. I will set your expectations now that it probably isn’t worth the wait.

My dollars arrived this week too. There weren’t as many as I might have wished for due to the atrocious state of the exchange rate, but that is something I can’t affect so I’ll just silently fume about it and feel like I am being persecuted by the currency, Slinky Dog and Flight Of Passage Gods.

I do feel more organised than I did this time last week. I have gathered all the documents I need and they nestle in my planning folder ready to be tucked into Ryan. Yes, I do put them in the order in which they will be required during our journey…what of it?

One of those documents came from the villa owner, who sent me the instructions for our stay. It comes in three volumes, with a page count to rival a Tolkien novel. It may take me the whole nine-hour flight to digest the complex and intricate requirements to gain entry first to the gated community and then the villa. The recycling and refuse routine is one step down from launching a manned mission to Mars and if we don’t get something wrong during the trip it will be a miracle.

We have reviewed the food menu and entertainment options for the flight and both look promising. Of course, Rebecca, Tom and Emily, having Freddie on their row will be watching nothing with a ten month old to entertain, but I am hopeful I can squeeze a good number of films in to fill the time. Granddad privileges. I have served my time and have the Polly Pockets to prove it.

So now, all that is left is to fret about all the usual stuff. Will I get everything done at work that I need to pre-launch? Will we all fit into the taxi to the airport with our luggage, stroller and car seat? Will the journey be OK? Will I forget some crucial detail or document and ruin the whole trip? Will everyone enjoy the trip I’ve planned? Will the two weeks fly by in about two seconds? Well, yes it will, so I am reminding myself to soak up every moment, including the foreboding prospect of the long flight, and my insatiable desire to power through all the admin crap at Orlando airport and be released into the wild in my shiny hire car (van).

With one more blog to go before we leave, there will then be a brief pause to blogging whilst we holiday. On my return, the trip report shall commence. If you have any like-minded Disney friends whose Sundays you’d like to ruin, howsabout you share this crap with them? Encourage them along to marvel at our food consumption and let’s see if we can get my readership into double figures.

If they Like the Facebook page and/or follow me on Twitter, not only will they be alerted with each new post of the trippie, but during the holiday I’ll be over sharing all sorts of exciting updates, almost certainly to be food related.

Our digits will be single tomorrow. All of our suffering will end shortly.

Till the next time…..

Every Little Thing About The Magic

As much as everyone here in the world of Mkingdon will be delighted to finally be on this bloody holiday, that surely is nothing compared to the sheer joy for both of my readers who are being subjected to this tortuous and constant over sharing of every tiny detail.

Not long now.

Anyway, onwards with that over sharing, yes?

Not being one to leave things until the last-minute (that can’t be a surprise to you?) my mind has been working overtime, making both mental and physical lists of stuff I’ll need to get organised. This ranges from dog walkers, dog sitters, instructions for both, currency, the tragedy of the exchange rate, and this week most crucially, the contents of Ryan for the flight. Yes we have two weeks to go and I agree that I shouldn’t have left it so late!

The filling of Ryan involved the ransacking of several bedroom cupboards, wondering in which “really obvious” place I had put all that stuff I now needed after our last trip. This included, but was not limited to, my bumbag, a veteran of dozens of trips. I shudder to think how much cash has passed through its zips and compartments over the years.

The camera of course and this year I have a lovely new one, a Canon G7X, courtesy of Emily last Christmas, which is a far better a piece of kit than I’ll ever be a photographer and clearly, being a planning genius with foresight a plenty, a load of quarters that had been stuffed into my bumbag last year. This is very wise, as we typically get stuck at a toll booth after leaving the airport waving $50 bills at an automated teller that only takes coins. Somehow, we also returned last year with $1 in actual note form which I had saved. Returning with $1 in cash is another sign that my obsessive planning skills are a cause for concern. Anyway, that dollar will help our budget this year no end. I bought it at a crazy rate, something like 1.40 so it will represent great value for money indeed.

A new addition this year and again, another excellently thoughtful gift, this time from Rebecca and Tom was this, my official trip report notes book.

Usually I grab something from WH Smiths at the airport, but this, official Mkingdon merchandise is surely a line of business I should pursue to fund my early retirement. Let me have your orders as and when….

The FastPass fun continued last week and was broadly a success.  I left you at the end of last week’s post on the 3rd of September having just secured our Hollywood Studios FastPass+ bookings. Of course we didn’t get Slinky Dog, and as you’ll see when we get to the Animal Kingdom day shortly we also didn’t get Flight of Passage as we are just never that lucky, but no matter. Well, it does matter and I’m incredibly bitter but that won’t change things will it?

Image result for bitter gif

So the 4th of September, according to the plan, was a rest day. We have a long track record of planning rest days which somehow then turn into very busy days, and this was another. The plan said we were to go out for a large breakfast . These are not possible on theme park days as that is vital “doing stuff” time, so a rest day affords us the chance to eat ourselves to a near death experience. Keke’s is the plan, with some resting in a food coma for the rest of the day, desperately trying to get hungry again for our dinner at Cowfish around 5pm. Then we are to go into Magic Kingdom to watch Happily Ever After as for reasons, it will be the only chance we get to this trip.

I couldn’t resist seeing if there were any good FastPasses around just before the fireworks and got a bit carried away, mainly as I managed to snag a Mine Train FastPass. Add to that a Winnie The Pooh and a Buzz Lightyear Spin and all of a sudden we needed to be in Magic Kingdom by 5.40 and Cowfish was brought forward to an earlier time to accommodate that. We will have a job on our hands to feel hungry but, we must make sacrifices for the plan.

Onto the 5th, and Animal Kingdom. Despite being on the app seconds after 12, of course Flights of Passage was unavailable. We happened to be in the car at the time and so it was down to Emily and an intermittent signal to secure the necessary. She played a blinder, her finely honed phone thumbs flying across the app to get us, Everest, Na’vi River Journey and the Safari all by lunch. By the way, we hope to have that lunch at the Satu’li Canteen place before again fighting to get hungry for our traditional Yak & Yeti reservation at 6.15. Technically we have two reservations at 6.15 and 6.30 as I was unable to get one for seven, but could somehow get one for four and one for three fifteen minutes apart.

We’ll see after that if we want to stick around for Rivers of Light or not.

We’re now at the stage of the trip where we will be visiting parks for the second day. This is a luxury we have not been availed of for a while as, and I may have mentioned this before, on our last trip, we spent most of the holiday on a beach and only had four days at Disney. So this pleases me.

However, with a second day at Hollywood Studios planned for the 6th of September, and that park being in a state of flux I was/am slightly fearful that we wouldn’t be able to fill it. Having bagged three headliners on our first day, we now had some flexibility. It goes without saying that we didn’t get Slinky dog again. Other, less deserving folks got that again.

Image result for bitter gif

Anyway, we went with Star Tours, Rock n Rollercoaster again (you can never ride it too much) and Alien Swirling Saucers. We plan to nip out to Bahama Breeze for tea (dinner) before returning to watch the Star Wars fireworks thing for the first time ever. We were irked on our last visit to find that it started at the exact moment Fantasmic finished, making it impossible to do both.

The 7th of September is a day off from the FastPass malarkey, as we are at Typhoon Lagoon with The Cheesecake Factory for tea. So on to the 8th….

A return to Epcot for what will be a third time, but crucially for our first full day here. We kick off with the third of the big three, Test Track, followed by the Freddie friendly Turtle Talk and Journey Into Imagination. Having done a couple of late afternoon/evenings in this park already by this stage of the trip we plan to leave for dinner at Teak, one of our absolute favourites.

The 9th is our character breakfast at O’hana, some resting and then we are off to Magic Kingdom for our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I have secured a couple of tactical FastPasses from 4pm before the park closes to non party guests. We can do Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight before 6pm when we will be consumed with candy collection, special parades, fireworks and hopefully rides with no wait times.

The 10th is another day with no FastPass requirements as we are resting. We have brunch at Hash House a Go Go, a trip to A&E to address our gluttony, some wandering around Disney Springs and dinner at the Olive Garden at Lake Buena Vista. The evening is pencilled in for a Boardwalk visit.

So that leaves us with our last full day. Even the thought of booking FastPasses for our last full day makes me sad and emotional. We are of course in the Magic Kingdom, but with a twist. There is another Not So Scary party that evening so the park will close at 6pm. So instead of our usual last night watching of fireworks and some tears, we shall adjourn to Epcot, and watch some fireworks and shed some tears instead. The FastPasses for our day were secured a few moments before posting this and they are….

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Splash Mountain

Thunder Mountain

We finish strong with a couple of headliner favourites, before heading over to Epcot for final fireworks, tears and the start of the planning of how quickly we can get back.

Finally this week, I have a confession to make. Usually I am a pioneer of tastes and trends. I shape the zeitgeist, I set the pace and forge my own path. However, last night, I was led by the nose to a decision. In this case I am grateful to be that social media sheep. We were watching a recent Tracker video where they visited La Hacienda. We must have walked past this place hundreds of times over the years and never given it a thought, so caught up in a wave of pre-trip excitement, I accepted the challenge of trying to fit just one more meal into our bulging dining plans.

I think I did OK. A quick search found me a 7.45 reservation on my birthday when we of course are due to be in World Showcase anyway. The fact that we are at Beaches & Cream at 3.40 on the same day is merely a challenge that we need to rise to.

Whilst there can be no guarantee that we will be within viewing distance of the fireworks, the fact that I will be laying it on thick to the greeter about it being my birthday and three of our parties first visit, I am hopeful we will be eating somewhere close enough to a window to see some of Reflections of Earth.

We should be able to stretch the meal out for just over an hour, to get to the 9pm start time even if it means some of us having seven courses to do so. I suspect that restaurant has had a lovely uptick in bookings due to that video, but I don’t mind moving with the herd if I can eat lovely food in front of some fireworks.

Enough now.

Till the next time…..