A Passage To Whingier

So how’s your week been?

I can summarise mine like this….

So mainly I have been fighting the rising resentment of not being able to get a FastPass for anything built after 2010. Talk about first world problems right?

Of course, but it still ticks me off. It must be some sort of unwanted special achievement to book FastPasses for a full two week trip and not get a single one of the FastPasses you really wanted at any park? I don’t count Epcot in that as there is currently no “must have” ride and you can pretty much choose whatever you like, but wherever there is a tricky to get FastPass, I have failed miserably to get even one.

So having a daily sulk on this topic hasn’t detracted too much from seeing our countdown reduce to touching distance. Well, it has, but not enough to matter. With this huge chip on my shoulder, I doubt I’d be able to fit onto Flights Of Passage anyway so it’s maybe for the best.

Maybe this isn’t something worthy of my persecution complex? It could just be that the place is going to be very busy, with Galaxy’s Edge, Food and Wine and summer all happening at the same time. You see, I might believe that if I weren’t getting messages from kindly folks through the week telling me how they all got FastPasses for every ride they ever wanted, and in fact Disney hand delivered them to their UK address asking what time would suit them best. I’m not bitter…..

The new FastPass teiring system at DHS isn’t ideal either. Every ride you want to do is in the same tier so the choice is very limited. With Slinky always unavailable if your surname is Williams, after choosing one “headliner” the second and third choices are all for things that you’d rarely need a FastPass for, like Muppets, Indiana Jones or Frozen Ever After. Hopefully they will readjust that once the Galaxy’s Edge thing has opened and clamed down a bit.

Perhaps this is just Disney’s strategy to encourage folks to stay on site. It seems I have proven that it is impossible to secure first choice FastPasses at 30 days out (please don’t tell me that you got all yours at 30 days, I want to wallow in my own self pity). The thought of staying on site for at least part of next year’s trip has crossed my mind already so maybe it works. I get it. They spend a fortune on new attractions and if you wanna ride it, fork out for an on site stay fat boy or just suck it up on Journey Into Imagination and Carousel of Progress with the rest of the muggles.

In better news, on our commute home on Wednesday I was fighting the urge to run the car into the central reservation as we battled another shitty overly long journey home, when Emily emerged from her cataonic state in the passenger seat to share some exciting news she had just discovered on some social media thing. Reservations were open for some Galaxy’s Edge stuff.

Neither of us knew anything about what might be available but that didn’t stop Emily immediately going onto the My Disney Experience app to see what was going on. The initial signs were not good as there was a message saying that dining reservations were not available via the app due to high demand and they had to be booked on the main website.

Emily followed those instructions, managed to remember the relavant password and started frantically searching for the relevant dates. As we expected to get nowhere near Galaxy’s Edge this year we have done zero research and had no idea what was what, so we had no clue what we might be booking. There were several minutes of tension and stress as we lost 4G for a while mid-booking and the site died a bit but Emily valiantly succeeded in her quest.

As a side note, how far have we come in recent years? There we were doing 70mph on the M60….well probably more like 25mph, but the potential is there, booking stuff via a handheld device for a trip we wont take for a few more weeks. It was only ten minutes ago that I had to speed march to the FastPass ticket machines around the parks elbowing small chldren out of the way to do so. I miss that, it was fun!

So on our first day at DHS we now have a “lunch” reservation at Oga’s Cantina. I say lunch, but the menu looks to be mainly alcohol with some token nibbles but I’m not that bothered. It’s just a way to get us into the general area, in case they start restricting access, so we can have a look around.

In a world where our account has clearly been blacklisted and blocked from getting access to any recently built attraction, I’m calling this a small victory. I have zero expectations of being able to do anything other than that reservation and look round some shops, but we’ll take in the theming and do what we can.

In other trip related news, Rebecca and Tom, but mostly Tom, have been busy creating Freddie’s MNSSHP costume. He has played a blinder and the cuteness is, as the kids say, off the scale.

Up is currently one of Freddie’s favourite films to watch so it is apt too. Just wait till he discovers you get unlimted free sweets on the night too.

The trip is now playing on my mind constantly, mainly as I grumble inwardly about not getting certain FastPasses, but I am mentally remembering and reminding myself of all the things I need to do, sort out and remember to take. You’d think this was all second nature after so many years of practice but no, I still manage to find a way to worry about this stuff.

There are two weeks left at work and my only hope is that the two weeks of our trip last as long as these next two will.

Till the next time…….

FastPases, Frustration and Fiduciary Failings

Let me start by saying that yesterday was a significant day in the Mkingdon household. Yes, it was FastPass day for Animal Kingdom. It goes without saying that despite pouncing all over the My Disney Experience like the lithe and taught cat I am, I had more chance of a fringe than getting a FastPass for Flights Of Passage. I think it is the case now that if you are staying off site, you don’t get a FastPass for that thing.

If you are staying off site and got a FastPass, please don’t tell me. It is this one slither of comfort that is stopping me penning a strongly worded email to senior Disney officials or posting it on one of those Disney Facebook groups for the sole purpose of getting some attention and maybe getting some compensation.

Oh, it was also our 23rd wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a Chinese and an early night. Not that kind of early night. We were both a little under the weather so Louise had to retire to bed with a migraine and I played some PS4. Who said you can’t keep the magic alive?

So I’ve been booking FastPasses since Tuesday. The first day was a deja vu moment from last year, with the stroke of 12 (that’s the title of a pay per view movie I once say advertised in a hotel) seeing me wrestle with the web site and the app as they both crashed like some toddler after a bag of M&Ms. It took about twenty minutes for them both to start behaving. Of course by this time my only priority, Mine Train, had gone. Still, Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan is a decent return for our first day.

This midday crashing of their site still happening suggests to me that they don’t want to fix that. As far as peaks of trafiic go, that time on the FastPass booking site is probably one of the most predictable on the planet so there are things they could do I’m sure. There must be a reason they don’t want to. Inflicting frustration on paying guests doesn’t seem to be a good strategy but hey, I keep going back and handing over my cash so take from that what you will.

I didn’t need to book anything on Wednesday as we will be at Typhoon Lagoon but Thursday saw a little bit of pressure as I was booking for what will be my birthday trip to Epcot. I am pleased to report that this was the one day on which I got my main priority, Soarin’. With Mission Space and Spaceship Earth that’s a solid day’s activity before we move up to World Showcase for our meal and fireworks stuff.

The next day was just about making some “maybe we will use them” FastPasses for the evening as it will be a day of eating at Hash House a Go Go and Trail’s End, with either an evening in Magic Kingdom or, I have a tentative idea of going to the Poly to watch the fireworks from their beach. Our energy levels will dictate what we do. Don’t worry, I will of course cancel those FastPasses should we not intend to use them. I am not a monster.

That brings us to yesterday and Animal Kingdom. It does irk me a little that the best ride on WDW property is clearly beyond us but it is outside of my control and I will not pointlessly whinge about it on the internet like some spoilt entitled oversized baby….oh, bugger. I did manage to get a solid trio (which was also what I got after last night’s Chinese, but I’m feeling better now) of Everest, Safari and Na’vi River Journey.

Today at 12 I will be being dissapointed with things again as I attempt to book FastPasses for our first visit of the trip to Hollywood Studios. They are changing or have changed already, I can’t remember, the tiering for their FastPasses so I think you can only book restroom visits and access to the car park at the same time or something. We’ll see. I’m not convinced we’ll even get in the park so it may not matter.

Anyway, FastPass dissapointments aside, we’re at 23 days and at the stage where I almost don’t mind Mondays rolling round again as it is just another step to departure.

The other event in a planning filled week was the purchase of some dollars. Really, I should draw a veil over this as if I start ranting I may never stop…..

Suffice to say, for my many, many English pounds I got enough dollars to maybe buy a drink from one of the vending machines at the airport after we land.

Sigh, only I could be a mere 23 days away from a WDW trip and spend my time moaning about stuff. It comes from a good place of wanting to make the best trip I can or everyone…so if you could all log on and cancel your Flights of Passage FastPasses and somehow double the dollar rate, that’d be great.

Till the next time…..

Birthdays and Baldrick Brainwaves

Another week goes by, and as time tends to, so does another year. We had a birthday this week as Emily turned 24. Believe me she is struggling to come to terms with how that happened as much as you may be. At some point I’ll let her into the secret that no matter what age you actually are you never really feel like a proper grown up and everyone is just busking it and doing their best to get by.

We all enjoyed her cake, made expertly by Rebecca, who is developing a real skill for this sort of thing.

Freddie had some for brunch minutes after arriving with it.

As you may know from previous Julys, Oli shares Emily’s birthday and the big daft bugger is now a mature 8 year old with fading tolerance for the not very mature Bean. It gets to us all.

We had a family takeaway curry on Friday evening to commemorate the day and over ordered so spectacularly that our fridge still contains Naan bread and some curry. That is never a bad thing.

Onto matters of planning. Surely there can be nothing left to plan? The issue is that most folks have a lengthy countdown to these trips, and with planning being interesting, fun and a way to make trip seem closer (assuming you are wired in the appropriate way, and I am), over time you end up adding stuff and planning bits and pieces because of all of the above. However, with just the 30 days to go until departure, this week I excelled myself and conducted an act of planning genius so cunning that I can’t tell you what it is. It is more cunning than Mr McCunning, the teacher of cunning at Cunning Town School for foxes who wish to be more cunning.

There’s a few reasons I can’t tell you. One of them is that I know for a fact that Bob Iger reads my blog every week and if he realised the brilliance of my act he wouldn’t know whether to sue me or hire me, and I can’t take the risk he’ll choose the wrong option.

Other reasons include the fact that whilst it absolutely does not break any rules, if everyone did it, then Disney would probably put things in place to stop it or at least make it more difficult. Also, now that I have bragged about my brilliance I want to wait and see if it comes off before admitting to what it is so I don’t look (more) stupid. All I will say is that it has been an issue I have been wrestling with for a while and all of a sudden during last week inspiration came to me. I quickly made the relevant arrangements and felt pretty smug, if not smug or confident enough to tell you about it.

If you never hear of this again, you will know which way it went. If it works I will probably admit to it in the trip report and then you can all tell me you all do it anyway and everyone knows about it and I am in no way clever or special.

Loins are being girded right now, ready for the FastPass thing to start on Tuesday. As we are off site scum, I will need to try every day for two weeks to secure the passes we want for each day 30 days hence. Day one is usually fairly stress free as Magic Kingdom is our park of choice and there’s typically a good enough selection of rides and attractions to get decent FastPasses. The thinking is to secure Mine Train if we can, something like Haunted Mansion and then a ride ideal for Freddie. We may ride Peter Pan but only with a FastPass. It always seems to have at least a forty minute wait and we won’t be doing that.

The FastPass pressure will really be on for the days we are at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to get those rides everybody wants. Stay tuned for me trying to put a positive spin on getting FastPasses for the bird show at DAK and the car park at DHS.

Ryan has now been rescued from his cupboard where he rests between trips. All relevant documents, tickets and anything trip related such as the digital camera I only ever use in WDW, are being randomly stuffed into him. A tactical repack of Ryan will happen close to departure so that things are to hand in the order I will need them during the journey. This is in no way sad.

The next major milestone will come post pay day on Wednesday when I will sit weeping, looking at the dollar rate for a few hours before realising I have no choice but to order some anyway. As cunning as I am, I have yet to find a way to rig the currency markets for my own benefit as your Rees Moggs tend to. I spit on your Brexit. Anything which make my holidays more expensive, by definition, cannot be a good thing.

And on that political bombshell, I shall return to my Sunday and wish you well for yours….

Till the next time…..

Sanaaty is So Scary

Sanaaty is So Scary

37 days.

How can something feel so close and yet seem so far away at the same time? Over the years, I have to admit to getting very close a trip and not being ready. I don’t mean physically, as packing always gets done and plans get made. I mean mentally. Sometimes life is just so busy that I have struggled to get into the right mindset and it has taken a few days of the holiday to get into the right mode.

Well, I’m ready. This happened this week I think. This lovely bonus trip that was not going to happen is incredibly welcome, needed and almost upon us.

It may have been this holiday mode settling in that was responsible for my latest faux pas. All the things that we told ourselves about squeezing this trip in by cutting back on the more expensive things a trip can include lie in tatters. That’s harsh, we have restricted the number of ADRs but like some kind of Augutus Gloop of trip planning I couldn’t keep my fat fingers off another succulent looking morsel that came into my view this week.

To get the confession out of the way, I have booked Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for us for the 8th of September. Some random blog about it came into one of my social media feeds during the week at a time when I had a few minutes for it to catch my eye. I read about some of the new things for this year, remembered how last year was one of the highlights of our trip and as all good financially irresponsible planners do, thought, sod it, and pressed the button.

It fell nicely into the plan on one of those days that I mentioned last week that had nothing concrete in it, so, clearly, it was my density.

Image result for you are my density george mcfly

My weakness was welcomed by my fellow travellers with all the enabling support an addict does not need. It’s like having Oliver Reed as your Alcoholics Anonymous mentor.

Rebecca is now planning and putting together Freddie’s costume. We won’t be dressing up, mainly because when we went last year the temperature was ridiculous and the idea of being in some cumbersome polyester number is too horrific to consider. I applaud those that do.

So that solved one of my outstanding planning issues, as that day now has a character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s mid-morning, and MNSSHP in the evening. Whilst updating “the plan” with these details, I did have a minor meltdown and panic. It suddenly dawned on me that my birthday plans had some potential issues.

This year it falls on a Saturday, and based on Emily’s experiences when working in World Showcase during Food & Wine, Saturdays are generally to be avoided as she always found them to be very busy and very full of drunken people staggering from booth to booth. Options were considered, but the amount of surgery required to the whole plan to accommodate any change that may properly solve this and not cause carnage to the rest of the trip was too severe. So, we decided to leave it as it is.

I consulted Touring Plans and saw that they rated that day a 4 out of 10. This reassured me a little, as I could see they were showing DHS at a 10 out of 10 for much of that week when Galaxy’s Edge opens. At the end of the day, we shall play it by ear. If we focus on Future World (what remains of it) during the day we should avoid most of the crowds coming for Food & Wine and then we can do our ADR at Via Napoli and then wander a hopefully quieter World Showcase in the evening before the fireworks. Simply put, if it does get too busy, we’ll do something else. You know me, I just go with the flow!

To show that I am not a total idiot, I did resist booking Sanaa. This, despite spending a little time browsing the menu this week, is an act of self restraint that I applaud myself for. We already have a list of off site favourites that we will never get through so it made no sense. Then again, their bread service is sufficient to abandon all sense of sanaaty (see what I did there?) so I am quite pleased with myself.

Yesterday I found myself nesting. This seems to happen as a trip gets close enough to touch. It’s a desire to get things in order before we go I guess. Like some pregnant mother about to deliver, when holiday mode gets me, I too have a burning desire to get things done. So a number of tasks that I have been gladly ignoring for months got done. Some grouting, random repairs around the house and sorting of our spare room took place. That spare room has been a disaster since we did our bedroom and that was finished in May. Don’t get me wrong it’s still far from show room standards but we can now see the floor!

So my readiness is there and in a week we will be in FastPass territory. That’s when shit gets real, as somebody who doesn’t mind swearing might say. Be prepared for my inevitable rants about Flights of Passage and Slinky Dog not being available for the entirety of our stay. It’s all part of the process.

Till the next time…….

Schrodinger’s Plan

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

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

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

Day One

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

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

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

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

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

Day Two

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

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

Day Three

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

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

Day Four

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

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

Day Five

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

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

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

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

Day Six

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

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

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

Day Seven

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

Day Eight

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

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

Day Nine

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

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

Day Ten

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

Day Eleven

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

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

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

Day Twelve

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

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

Day Thirteen

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

Day Fourteen

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

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

Day Fifteen

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

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

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

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

Till the next time……

Mormons, Makeovers & Memories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till the next time…..

Yaks, Yetis and Yew Tree

You’ll have had enough work based whinging by now I imagine? Well, on the bright side I retire in about twenty years so not long to go now.

I was “darn sarf” for most of the week at Head Office. I was in meetings to kick off one large project whilst literally at the same time overseeing the delivery of another. Relaxing it was not.

Anyway, with one off my plate now, and team members back from holidays, the next few weeks look more tolerable. Wait, is that the countdown home straight I can see just around the next bend? I think it might be. 58 days folks. One more pay day. I can almost smell it.

The car hire balance was paid off on Friday and that’s the last chunk of expense to be paid apart from the spending money. Out of interest, how much spending money should I take for two weeks?

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Ah, the memories of that question being endlessly asked on Disney forums and no doubt still being asked today if I went on any to look.

Summer has arrived, Wimbledon is imminent, as is the Open Golf and these are all welcome tell tales signs that we will shortly be off on our adventures. After 73 weeks of rain, I intend to enjoy the lovely warm weather before autumn starts next week. Bear in mind, that right about now, somewhere in the UK, the John Lewis marketing team are pulling all nighters trying to decide which acoustic maudlin version of a song they are going to play over their Christmas ad this year.

Summer of course also means festival season. Glastonbury is on my telly showing several young folks I don’t recognise talking over music that nobody on stage is actually playing. Mustard have their own festival season as well which lasts over the space of the next two weekends. Today, we are off to Yorkshire to play at the Ravenknowle’s Children’s Gala. We are sharing the billing with Mr Zoot, a children’s entertainer and the Wrenthorpe All Stars. The latter being a majorette troupe and the former a Yew Tree court case waiting to happen. They may not sound all that but both will be better than Janet Jackson was. I believe this gala is similar to Glastonbury in that most of the crowd won’t have heard of us either. Still, if you are in the area, that being Huddersfield, then come along, take lots of illegal drugs and pee in a bottle but don’t throw it at the stage whilst we are on.

Then next weekend, specifically the 7th of July, we are playing at the Tottington Big Day Out. That, it won’t surprise you to learn, is in Tottington. We’ve played this one before and it is a fantastic day out as well as being Big of course. Again, come on down if you’re local. We are on from around 2pm I think. I cannot confirm if Mr Zoot or the Wrenthorpe All Stars will be appearing at that one so you’ll just have to take your chances.

I am still fighting the urge to books ADRs but forgive me, I have done another. One place that we have to eat at, as we rate it so highly, is Yak and Yeti. There’s little competition in Animal Kingdom of course for a sit down do, so it made sense to secure a table. With a party of six, walk ups are harder to come by and if we miss out on this eatery Louise would be very, very upset. It is one of her absolute favourites.

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So that is done for the 6th of September at 6.45. That’s our second day at DAK, the first being Labor Day. Expecting that day to be busy I suspect we may not last all the way to Rivers Of Light, so on our second visit, we shall eat and see if there is room in Rivers of Light after the meal. I doubt there will be if we rock up at 8.15, but it is what it is. See, I told you this trip is trying to be a more relaxed take it as it comes thing. Look, I know you won’t believe it, and I’m not sure I do, but I’m trying.

Time to go, I have a “festival” (gig in a field) to get to.

Till the next time……