To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Fourteen April 24th 2017

My celebratory tone at returning to a theme park and more specifically WDW was to be short lived. For reasons best known to those in charge and not me, today, we would rest. Yes, yes, I know we just spent what felt like three and half months on more white powdery stuff than was seen at an Amy Winehouse party, but these two very heavy theme park days had resulted in “tiredness” and the need to do nothing for bit.

You know me. I can moan about anything in even the best situations and locations and I will. But, should I need to not visit a theme park when one is located just a few hundred feet to my left, then I suppose an acceptable place to do so is around Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club.

Having no particular place to go, the 8am awakening was mildly annoying. I took as much time as I damn well liked after I had showered putting on my shorts and T-Shirt before wandering the long corridors from our room to the shop in the lobby for breakfast.

Having listened to endless apologies from Louise yesterday I granted her permission for her to join us today and so we ordered a breakfast platter for Emily and a Breakfast Sandwich for me and she who was so very wrong.

There were no seats available outside so we wandered into the solarium to eat.

Whilst eating, we had a quick chat about what our next trip might look like. We all agreed again, that Louise had been very wrong to only allow us such a paltry amount of time at WDW this time around and all future input from her would now be forbidden, leaving Emily and I to do all future trips properly.

After breakfast we wandered out to the pool, picked up some towels and found some suitable beds. This involved Louise calculating wind speed, the trajectory of the sun and the local plant life to ensure that she would be able to capture the optimum levels of sun.

Once she was happily prone, I assumed the position.

It was, as you can see, fairly quiet today. There was still a Cast Member checking that you were resident before allowing into the pool area. We rested and read for a bit until Louise and I ventured into the pool. This was followed by a couple of cocktails for the ladies from the wandering waitress.

The early cloud cleared up nicely….

We then Facetimed Rebecca…

She is there, honest.

It was, quite frankly, a real bummer not having her with us. We shall remedy that on our next trip!

We went back to our room at around 2pm to get ourselves ready.

Mousekeeping had been in….

Whilst Emily and Louise took far too long to get themselves decent, I picked up Mum & Dad from the All Stars, driving back to the Beach Club to be disappointed that they still weren’t ready.

With some mild tutting and polite herding, I was eventually able to seperate them from the hairbrush and other such faffing and head into Epcot via International Gateway.

Yes, I know I take the same photos every time I walk this way….what of it?

This picture reminds me that in the first version of the plan for this trip (one of very many indeed) we were booked to stay at that hotel. When we had to move dates and everything else it was no longer available and we ended up paying a fair bit more to stay at the Beach Club. I’m perpetually tight, but right at this moment I didn’t begrudge a penny.

Oh, I can now also explain why we had to move our dates. Shortly after booking the trip Rebecca discovered that she was pregnant and was due too close to our travel dates for us to risk it. So we moved the dates back by a month or so into April. Unfortunately Rebecca then suffered a miscarriage and began a heart breaking few months of that happening more than once. So in the end we needn’t have moved dates but some things are more important than when we holiday.

Thankfully, Rebecca is now well into a pregnancy with our first grandchild due this November.

Here is little Freddie cooking nicely.

We wandered around World Showcase, starting at France, heading towards Norway for our Frozen Ever After FastPass.

Thankfully we only went into one shop and that was Italy. It draws Louise in like a pasta based tractor beam on every trip and once again, we left much poorer, Louise the proud owner of a new necklace. Her other 612 seemingly no longer ft for purpose.

I think that at some stage of a Florida trip we have all felt like this young man….but speaking honestly, this is how I feel on most Monday mornings back home.

I applaud the mother for quite clearly tweeting that rather than dealing with it.

Here again, rather than queue to meet a character, a distant photograph with random strangers does just as well.

Arsene Wenger…..

Nope, I have no idea what Emily is doing with her hands either.

That’s better.

Once at Norway we scanned our bands and joined the FastPass queue.

The standby queue was like a scene from Ghandi.

Louise proved that it wasn’t my fault that a lot of pictures were blurry.

We waited about ten minutes to ride.

It’s a nice ride, obviously using the exact same track as Maelstrom. It won’t change your life but it’s lovely and must be magical for the young children.

We completed the World Showcase loop stopping at Mexico. Green Day haven’t aged well.

I had maracas to shake. I think my shorts had shrunk.

By now I’m sure this has been said a million times, but here, in Epcot, Donald got his wall at Mexico.

We walked down into Future World, making the long trek to Spaceship Earth for our next FastPass. It was very hot today and we needed a drink and sit down half way there.

It was a long slog but we finally made it to Spaceship Earth five big balls of sweat with tired legs……it was down! How I laughed.

In the desperate hope that it was a temporary blip we wandered the shop for a bit, used the restroom and loitered, but to no avail.

We admitted defeat and began the long walk back the way we had just come. We were distracted and cheered up by some singers on the fountain stage.

They were very good and improved our mood as we set off on the long slog back to International Gateway. Whilst watching them sing my mind was ticking over. The plan stated that we now must head out of Epcot to get over to Celebration for our evening meal. I was tempted to suggest we sack that off, stay in Epcot, eat where we could and just save us the hassle of the trek. I dismissed that idea only to learn that my instincts were correct, but a crystal ball was something I did not have.

We made it to our car, well I did, everyone else sat and waited for me in the cool porch of the Beach Club. Off we went then to Celebration for our evening meal.

Prior to the trip, I had been warned that one of our most favourite eateries, The Market Street Cafe, had changed ownership and was now a little bit pants. Being an idiot I ignored this advice and took us there anyway.

Celebration was still lovely though.

We were seated quickly and that’s where the quickness stopped really.

The service was a shambles from start to finish. John Barrowman’s more effeminate brother served us, not getting off to strong start by telling us they had just had a huge party in and he was tired and all over the place. We soon discovered he was correct.

We ordered cheesey fries to start as we had always loved those here. We waited an age and then they brought all the entrees out. We pointed out that we hadn’t seen our appetiser yet and they were taken away, no doubt to be kept lukewarm.

Eventually, said fries came, followed, unsurprisingly quickly by all the entrees again. Somehow Louise ended up with two lots of Nachos rather than the one she ordered, but worst things happen at sea.

We somehow ended up with –

Me – Fried Chicken

Emily – Chicken Parm

Mum – Chicken Wrap

Dad – Chicken Pot Pie

Louise – As you know by now…Nachos x 2.

He took some stuff off the bill for all the mess ups and as annoying as it was, he had tried his best so we pretty much put it all back on in the form of our tip.

We left having taken much longer than anyone should to eat a simple meal and headed over to Woof Gangs.

Alas, there was no sign of Otis, the huge Newfoundland we met on our last trip so we did a quick wander around the cinema and fountains…

Before jumping back in the car to get back to Epcot for Reflections of Earth. Our wandering time here had been severely curtailed by the overly long meal.

Mum & Dad were tired so we dropped them off home and headed back to the Beach Club. With all the delays to our meal we were now rushing to get there in time for the start of the fireworks, rather than having some time to wander World Showcase at night, which is one of my favourite things to do.

We rushed through security…

However, we then took up our usual spot on the bridge between the UK and France and didn’t have to wait long. Suddenly everything seemed right with the world again.

I shall spare you all the crap blurry photos I took.

As it ended, I turned to Emily and gave her a big hug as she was inevitably in floods of tears. Me being a very manly man I was nowhere near doing anything so silly.

We walked back to our room and quickly got changed as tonight, like me getting out of the bath, there would be Jellyrolls. The ability to do this is just fantastic and one of the best things about staying in this location.

We walked round and paid our entrance fee, with the door staff taking an age over Emily’s passport to confirms she really was 21.

It was busy and we started off on some chairs at the side but through the course of the night we table hopped as they became free. I was glad we did, as in our original seats we were right by a huge crowd of conference attendees who were leathered, loud and leary, dancing very badly right in our eye line.

We had a fab night. We started a tab with one of the waitresses and settled in. The performers are just superb and if you haven’t been, you must.

I won’t spoil this for those yet to go, but this is a highlight of the evening.

I think we were in there for over two hours. I’m really not sure. That’s because we spent $145 on booze. We left at around 1.30, very merry and highly satisfied with the time spent there.

I assume we then went to bed!

Till the next time……
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Cram Packed Planning

Thanks for your votes and thoughts last week. For those interested, it seems we are a trusting bunch around these parts…

a-poll

How productive was your week? I had a good one and got lots done, despite being at work for far too much of it.

As soon as we booked our next trip I added calendar reminders to my work diary on the days we could book the ADRs we wanted. That way, nothing silly like work would make me forget to get those sorted asap. Last week saw three of those reminders pop up and I snaffled them all with great gusto. Who he is and why there was a magician at work I don’t know?

We’re only on Disney property for four nights, so four ADRs seems an awful lot for someone who keeps saying they will be eating off site mainly. Whichever idiot planned to only have four nights on site at WDW is now desperately trying to cram in all the stuff we need to do and it may not be pretty. For example, our only day in Epcot (which is at least a two-day park) is the day we leave Siesta Key and check in at the Beach Club. So half the day, or at least half the morning will be taken up traveling back and checking in etc, so we won’t get into the park until close to lunchtime I think. I am planning on setting fire to the Siesta Key rental in the early hours of that Saturday morning just to make sure we’re all up and out nice and early though.

To make matters worse one of our must do ADRs (Sanaa) had to be on that day, so we’ll need to leave the park in the late afternoon to allow getting ready time (seven minutes for me, a couple of hours for Louise) to get to our reservation in time. It’s an early one as I want us back into Epcot before 9pm to catch Reflections. That may seem tiring but hey, we’ve just done a week at the beach, so be prepared to use up all that saved energy in the next few days.

So with only a few hours for such a large park I was getting a little concerned. At Emily’s suggestion I checked to see if Epcot had Extra Magic Hours that night, with us being on-site superstars and all that but alas it did not. However, I did see that Epcot has EMH the very next night. Well, that works nicely as we are at Animal Kingdom that day, which closes early at 7pm. So once done there, having eaten at Yak and Yeti (an ADR success from this week) we can head back “home” to the Beach Club, and stroll on into Epcot for another couple of hours until 11pm. If our legs can carry us, heck, we can even do Jellyrolls after that if we want to. It’s on our doorstop!

Sure we have to be up nice and early the next day to get to Hollywood Studios for another twelve hour park day but we have a whole nine hours of sitting down to do on the plane home a few days later so it’s all good.

Our final ADR is becoming a little bit of a tradition. Trail’s End is a nice way to break up our final day which of course is always at Magic Kingdom. A lovely boat ride over to the campgrounds, an all you can eat buffet that will threaten to sink that same boat on the way back in to the park just as the sun sets. That’s always a favourite and magical time for me and I love the parks at that time.

In theory we could do a park on the day we fly home but usually we spend that shopping for all those gifts we saw on day two and said something like “we’re here for ages, we’ll get it later” and then have to panic and run around in the final hours trying to remember where we saw it. That and eating. Speaking of which, I posted a few weeks ago about the Toothsome place at City walk.  I’ve also posted recently about WDW and Universal being good for us tourists as they have to compete. Well, as if I knew what I was talking about, did anyone see the extreme milkshakes that are on the way at the new Planet Hollywood place?

Image credit to Inside the Magic

Image credit to Inside the Magic

Yes, one has a full slice of cake on top, what of it?

The problem now is of course, I have to shoe horn these buggers into my plan too. I’m not sure what will kill me first, the calories or the stress of planning.

Till the next time…..

The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen – 10th September

Hooray and Hurrah, we’re back in a theme park today and I have notes that expand over multiple pages. My excitement at this prospect clearly was not shared by those I am allowing to share this trip with me. My daily moan about leaving late should be inserted here along with my grumpy attitude and protruding bottom lip.

This childish strop isn’t purely driven from my desire to get to every theme park at opening (as if we’d ever manage that beyond day one). With this new concept of booking your rides in advance, I had spent not an inconsiderable amount of time months ago setting out the schedule of the day ensuring that we got on more than the tram from the car park. Balancing that with the concept of this being a holiday is a struggle shared by every Florida holiday planner I would imagine.

Once again our journey to a park was spent (by me) glancing at the clock and the speedo calculating constantly whether the reading on the latter would mean that we got to Epcot at a point on the former that would work. The added pressure today was that the first FastPass was for Soarin’, the favourite ride of several of those in our group (Louise excepted). We dumped the car in Amaze 36 and waited for what felt like three days for the tram to arrive. My teenage sulk was now off the scale. It was around now that I realised (again) with the turnstiles and bag check still to do that you need to allow about an hour or more from leaving your villa to the time of your first ride.

Everyone knows that every villa in Florida is “only fifteen minutes” from Disney. Right?

After all the travelling, checks and swiping of things we stood on the right side of the entrance looking at the big shiny ball. After allowing about four seconds for that, knowing that we had exactly six minutes to get to Soarin’, we struck out, at my pace, to get there. Knowing what you know about the geography of the place, do you think that’s possible, with two of your party in their seventies?

I can’t say that we chatted much on that march, or smelled too many roses, but somehow we swiped our Magic Bands at the entrance to Soarin’ with the clock still showing 10.00 exactly. I don’t work this hard for a living!

Of course, we still waited ten minutes to board even with a FastPass but that gave us a chance to get our breath back and stop sweating. Louise got through the ride somehow despite her irrational yet very real fear of heights/flying. We were out by 10.25 and now the camera is released to record images of the day.

Worth the wait I think you’ll agree.

We turned left as we left The Land heading for The Seas. We entered of course via the Nemo ride which was a walk on and nice sit down. We spent the next hour or so wandering about looking at stuff behind glass.

We watched the manatees eating for a bit and finished our journey to the deep with the Crush show. I know this is aimed at young children, but frankly it is wasted on them. I urge Disney to do an adult version which could be very funny I think.

We emerged into the sunlight at 11.45 heading for our next FastPass which was Spaceship Earth.

We were a little early. Yes, that’s right, early. It’s no good now!

We spent five minutes in the shop near the entrance buying stuff we didn’t need before marching majestically past a sizeable queue with the smugness of Piers Morgan.

After looking for our funny faces on the big screen as left, we headed for Test Track to see how long it would be broken down for. After watching the Jamminators en route we were amazed to find it operational. The posted thirty minute standby queue was right at the end of our tolerance for a queue but we joined nonetheless hopeful for a shorter wait. Alas, it was the full thirty, but with the designing of our car it passed fairly painlessly and we all enjoyed the ride.

After all this fun and stuff it was inevitable pay back that we now had to spend some time in Mousegear. Hadn’t we done today’s shop browsing in the five minutes before Spaceship Earth? We bought stuff, but I didn’t record the details in my notes as the pain was enough first time around.

We moved on to what would be our last ever viewing of Captain Eo, although we didn’t know that at the time. Oddly, this was always in Rebecca’s list of top attractions. Her childhood love of MJ had never diminished and ever since its return this has been a must do. Oddly, there was no wait for this one but despite the half empty theatre we did of course move all the way to the end of the row.

After those few minutes of 1980’s funk we stopped at Ice Station Cool and introduced Sarah to Beverly. You can only imagine the delight of having someone new to play this trick on.

What you need after drinking some Beverly of course is to ride something which can soothe your stomach, so we set off for our Mission Space FastPass. Nana and Grandad opted to sit this one out as the first time we took them on they felt ill for about two and half years afterwards.

Of course we had to choose the Orange experience, as this would be Sarah’s first time. I have noticed, as the years go by, that my propensity to feel as rough as a dog after this ride increases. It is only a matter of time until I emerge from the pod with carrots and sweetcorn all over my bright white trainers. I haven’t eaten either of those since the late nineties but I know that doesn’t matter.

With thankfully clean trainers we left Mission Space and headed up towards World Showcase. With not having spilled my stomach contents it was inevitable that this led to serious turtle head at this point.

Normally, and without need for discussion we would start our world tour at Mexico. I don’t know why we have always gone that way, but it just happened. Today we had reason to do things differently. This was Emily’s first day on stage and so instead we headed straight for the UK to find her.

She was busy being trained of course so couldn’t distract her for long but we got a quick photo and left her to get on with stuff.

We moved on through France and continued the loop through all the countries in turn. Louise did her best to have a drink in each pavilion but had to admit defeat and inebriation after not too long. In Japan we found the drummers about to start as we were leaving so we took a seat for a rest and to watch them. I wandered off to a funnel cake stand near the America pavilion to acquire some much needed calories, and frankly, I played a blinder.

That my friends, is double chocolate funnel cake with ice cream. If possible, it tasted better than it looks and we all dug in and devoured it in no time at all.

Our wanderings continued through lots of shops and stuff.

Germany it seems is mounting a challenge to Mexico, where the law states you must try on the big hats and shake your maracas.

Which by the way we did as well.

We did the ride in Mexico too, although the term ride is a bit of a stretch to be honest.

We were done for today, both in terms of energy and stuff to do so we wandered down to the main exit somehow finding some energy reserves to do some more shopping. It had been a very long, hot and tiring day, and on the drive home most folks declared that they didn’t want to go out for tea so we stopped at a Papa John’s close to home and got enough pizza to feed everyone who was in Epcot today. Louise and I did fancy going out so we left everyone else in their PJs and a pizza coma and set off to eat out.

We had nowhere in mind and ended up at a Chilli’s. It felt strange to be eating as two again and the meal was OK, but nothing special.

I had Tacos and Louise had Fajitas. There was a two for one wine offer on which Louise was delighted about and the bill was a lovely $59 including a good tip. We didn’t get home until 11.20 so bed was the only thing on our minds, where I thrilled and delighted Louise….by falling asleep immediately.

Till the next time…..

The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Five

Day Five – 31st August

Back at the beginning of this report I moaned about how complicated it had been planning this trip. One of the reasons for that was Emily’s work commitments and today saw the first of those as she had to check in. So I apologise in advance that today may not be the most entertaining ever spent in Orlando.

I was awake at 6.45. I had also been awake for most of the hours preceding that as my “I should really be in hospital” cold now had a full grip on my weak and illness filled body. I administered yet more drugs, some of them even legal and added some fuel to fight the disease by eating breakfast too. It doesn’t matter what I had as I couldn’t taste it.

With a check in time of any time after midday for Emily, I was keen to get her packed, out and processed leaving enough time to do some holiday stuff too, as, after all today was also my birthday, which was, quite rightly taking a back seat today. So there was a lot of rushing around getting her organised and ready to go. This wasn’t helped by some apparent drama going on back home with her boyfriend that was distracting her from her own important day and instead of packing and getting ready she was hammering away at her phone with her thumbs.

We left the villa at 10.40 leaving Rebecca and Sarah to relax and rest after a tough few days in the parks. Nana and Grandad came with us and were dropped off at the discount women’s shop Louise and I found the other day. Grandad could not thank me enough.

The first job was a “big shop” at Target to get her set up with everything she might need in her apartment. Now, you’ll know that I love supermarket shopping, especially when it’s all for someone else. So we spent a long, long time choosing duvets, looking at hair dryers and suitable food stuffs that could be made quickly and easily….with a hair dryer.

At one point I did lose my temper ever so slightly with Emily as she was more concerned with the activities on her phone than the questions we were asking her about the stuff we were buying…for her. Louise played referee and things were calmed down.

After paying the huge bill I needed a coffee and a sit down so we got both in the Starbucks at the entrance to the store. Nana and Grandad met us there and we headed back to the villa to collect Rebecca and Sarah. See, not complicated at all this is it?

On the way to Emily’s check in location, which is close to Crossroads for those interested, we dropped off Rebecca, Sarah, Nana and Grandad at Downtown Disney (it was still called that at this point!). Our need for food saw us make a quick pit stop at a McDonalds and hoover up a burger and fries before finally getting to Vista Way. If you’ve seen Monsters University, it looks a bit like that, but with all different nationalities rather than Monsters wandering about. We parked up and Emily went to do her thing.

She was only gone for ten minutes, returning with a lot of paperwork and news that she had been allocated her first choice accommodation at The Commons. The drive to The Commons took a few minutes and after getting through what is pleasingly tight security we arrived at her building. We dragged her cases up to the door and knocked. We were greeted by a young lady who for the first minute or two we thought was American. However she soon explained that she was Norwegian and we could then start to hear that her accent was not from the US but did have a very distinct American “twang” . Lisse was lovely and we chatted for a while as Emily started to unpack. We got her settled in, said our goodbyes to Lisse and headed off back to Downtown Disney to meet up with everyone.

We parked up in the new Orange multi storey car park. I needed a restroom and had remembered from years gone by just how nice they were at the House of Blues so I made use of those. We walked all the way from House of Blues to World of Disney. Oh look, a photo….

And another…

You wait all trip report for one and then three turn up.

As we met up with everyone we soon discovered that Sarah and Rebecca had spent their time and dollars wisely.

Rebecca informed me that Grandad had paid for lunch so she had used the dollars I had given her to buy a Pandora charm instead. Female logic!

We spent a large amount of time wandering around the huge World of Disney store. Whenever Louise suggested we buy something I expertly dodged the bullet by telling her we should wait until Emily has her Cast Member ID and we can get discount. It worked a charm….which Rebecca should have waited to buy too!

We left around 4.30 passing the Lego shop as we did.

For the second time this trip we were now about to con Disney for which I heartily apologise. I still contest that over the years we’ve paid for a few white lies. We drove to the Beach Club to park up as we were going to Epcot and always prefer to escape through International Gateway after the fireworks.

A quick flash of the pink thing which had been stored in my shorts and the guard simply smiled, nodded appreciatively and told us to park wherever we liked. I don’t suppose he sees too many UK driving licences.

Again, these photos tend to be an annual event but I make no apology. This is one of our most favourite places.

We walked through the lobby, remembering again just how lovely that is and then out the other side, turning left towards Epcot.

Once through the entrance we stopped in the shop there to pick up my birthday badge. Remember, it is my birthday!

Of course, our first stop today had to be the UK pavilion to have a look at Emily’s new work place.

It was beyond warm today and Grandad was very happy to spy a comfy seat in one of the shops.

As was Nana.

Rebecca and Sarah grabbed a Duffy and settled in to do some colouring.

The rest of us wandered around looking at Emily’s colleagues to be and the incredible prices of a Twix.

We left the UK and we were Canada bound.

As we made that long journey it started to rain so our progress was more hurried than it might have been. Our plan was to watch Martin Short in O Canada as frankly it had been far too long since we did. As we got to the theatre we were confused to find it roped off. We crowded together in the entrance trying to keep dry until a Cast Member appeared to let us in. That was just the start of the waiting as we then had to sit in the foyer area for about ten minutes.

Once we were in, the show was slightly spoiled by three young folks stood next to us who had obviously been sampling a few drinkies around the world. The circle vision, standing up and the skin full they were on the wrong end of made them quite disruptive. My main fear was that Grandad would get annoyed enough to do something and we’d have a full scale international incident on our hands.

Having waited so long to see the film we were now bordering on late for our dinner reservation at the Rose and Crown. I hurried off at full man walking pace to book in.

By the time I got to the front of the podium queue everyone else had caught me up. We were given our buzzer thingy and it was going off within a few minutes. We were seated on the patio outside and we were served by Rebecca…but not ours.

I sat there looking there handsome for a while.

We ordered the following –

Me and Nana – Fish and Chips

Emily – Bangers and Mash

Grandad – Chicken Tikka Massala

Louise – Steak

Rebecca – Shepherd’s Pie

Sarah – Chips!  Yep, that’s all she wanted after their large lunch at Wolfgang Puck.

As ever, Rebecca left the vegetables and used them to recreate a photo we had seen years ago, at Bahama Breeze.

With it being a special occasion we all had or at least shared a dessert and we all chose the Velvet Cake.  Grandad had a very unsubtle word with our server explaining it was my birthday (have I mentioned that yet?) and could they bring something out with a candle in it. All the servers singing Happy Birthday to me around that poor cast member with a candle shoved up their nose was odd.

All of this eating and singing meant that time was pushing on and darkness was falling changing Epcot into that magical place it becomes as the lights come on.

As it was now 8.35 we did consider ordering more food and or drinks so that we could tough it out and watch ROE from our table. Our server second guessed our quandary and solved it for us by offering us a spot on the patio down by the water. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and the rain that had been on and off all afternoon had the decency to stay away too making our ponchos redundant other than to keep our bums dry on the wet chairs.

It’s customary about now, just before the fireworks start that I desperately try all the settings on my camera to try and make these photos not the usual crap blurry nonsense that all the others are.

So, that worked well.

ROE was the usual incredible spectacle that we have to come expect, and any of my birthdays that don’t include it, are poorer for it.

Full of fireworks afterglow we wandered out of the park back towards the car at the Beach Club. The rain was coming back again and everyone was very tired at this point. So just Sarah, Rebecca and I walked all the way to the car leaving everyone else back at the valet point for us to return to pick them up.

For the first time this trip we dropped Emily off home at The Commons and found our way back to the villa via the I4. We were glad to be in bed by 10.20.

Till the next time…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Winners in the World

Thanks to everyone who has already read my latest article for The Dis. My Country Needs Me is all about the UK pavilion in Epcot, so if you haven’t yet please do have a look. Having only recently done so myself, I would also recommend liking their Facebook page as all the latest news is there for you plus of course some very talented contributors!

I never truly understood the scale of the Dis to be honest, but if these figures are true, and I don’t see how they can be, surely I am pretty much famous now? I think they represent the whole section rather than just my little post!

dis shares

Having waved January off with two fingers, February is upon us, and we chalk off one more month on our countdowns. I use the plural as the three I have in mind are, (in chronological order) Louise starting work, Emily going to WDW for her year and then of course our trip starting in August. Wedged in the midst of all of those is Rebecca’s 18th birthday. Rebecca’s countdown to that started just after she turned five I think. She’s excited. Not that we have a great deal planned for it. Her trip to WDW is most of her present, as it was for Emily, although with May and August being so far apart it is not ideal and I’m sure we’ll do what we can to make the actual day as special as possible.

Anyway, following on from last week’s post, where I listed stuff I have never done in WDW, it would appear that these list things are quite popular blog wise as I had a good few comments, and most of you buggers read and run every single week!

So, on the theme of my Dis post above, where I whinge about the UK pavilion being a bit short on stuff to entice us in, it got me thinking about my favourite pavilions in the World Showcase, so here (imagine Fluff Freeman music at this point) are my top five….

5. Norway. This one gets points for effort as it has a ride, and probably the most intense one in the whole showcase, which I know isn’t saying much. It has a bakery which always scores well with me and the pavilion tends to be staffed by young female blondes who have no choice but to be nice to me. What’s not to like?

4. Mexico.  This pavilion scores very highly for theming. The night-time all the time interior is excellently done and no holiday is complete without shaking my maracas in public and the trying on of a big hat. The restaurant is also one our favourites in the World Showcase with the candlelit tables and moonlit backdrop doing a great job of replicating al fresco dining. Mexico would have been more of a contender for top spot had they not changed the fabulously kitsch 70’s film on the boat ride for the Donald Duck thing that is there now.

3. China. The food here of course has an influence as I love a Chinese, although the restaurant here isn’t the best example in the world. The counter service option is superb though and we’ve over ordered and over eaten there several times. I mark this one highly for the entertainment value. The frequent shows from the acrobats both amaze and shame me, as I wonder how two bodies, built basically the same way can be so different. These acrobats can perform feats that I would get inured just watching. As much as I do not like too much shopping, the shop here is always worth a good look around as it always has interesting items to browse and not buy.

2. America. Size isn’t everything but the scale of the place is impressive. However, my appreciation for this pavilion is based upon the unbelievably good Voices of Liberty. The soprano regularly communicates with dolphins with her high notes and when they start singing the patriotic American songs I want to invade a small country under the star spangled banner.

1. Canada. The song alone wins it for me. As you know I am likely to be in tears at the opening bars. If I were actually Canadian I don’t think I could cope with listening to it all the way through such is the effect it has on me. Add to that of course the excellently humorous film with Martin Short and one of the better eateries on property, and you have a clear winner.

My affection for the World Showcase is of course evident from all the birthdays I have spent there, and no doubt my top five will change based upon our next set of experiences in the summer, but those are my current favourites.

You may have noticed that I am trying to block out the reality of these cold winter times with thoughts and blogs about sunnier places and happy travels. Next week, as I did this, I have less happy travels down the wintry motorways to Head Office. As I scrape the ice from the windscreen at 5am on Tuesday, I shall be humming O Canada and closing my eyes hopeful that when I open them I will be stood in shorts and T Shirt in the ultimate happy place. I’m sure that will work!

Till the next time……

Damned if Disney Do, Damned if Disney Don’t.

One of the side effects of people being passionate about a subject is that it tends to drive some heart-felt opinions. This is very true for the ever passionate and dedicated Disney community too.

I would guess that this set of fans has one of the largest blogging communities on the interwebs, along with endless podcasts, forums and multitudes of other social media style get togethers. Hats off to Disney for delivering a product and experience that engenders such dedication, interest, and at times venomous hatred.

It may be a little extreme to call it hatred, but they only have to change something at one of the Disney parks, or indeed not change something, and the internet catches fire with vitriolic bombardments, stating each side of the argument as if folk’s lives depended on it. This week, the announcement to fuel this fire of fury was the one about the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, replacing the Maelstrom ride. I’m going to assume that if you are reading this you know what that is, and if you don’t then a short spell on google will tell you all you need to know. To summarise, they plan to replace a ride called Maelstrom that has been around for years with a new attraction themed around the incredibly popular Frozen movie.

Bye!

Replacing anything that has been in place for years at a Disney park is fraught with danger. The Disney company make a big deal about memories, and when you’ve got decades of them concerning a ride or attraction, when someone comes along and removes it, emotions can run high. I have similar anger issues over the fact that Stitch’s Great Escape still hasn’t been replaced by something that doesn’t suck.

So these Imagineers have a difficult balance to maintain, as well as the best job in the world. Firstly they have to do things which will keep the company profitable or else they won’t be around too long. They have to keep things fresh, without changing too much and they have to make sure they keep up with the Jones’ down the road at Universal.

Look at that queue!!

I can see both sides of the argument in this case. Sure, Frozen isn’t set in Norway, although there are obvious inspirations there. So it may seem that this new Frozen attraction is being shoe horned into Norway a little, but there is the alternative view that just next door to Norway, the Mexico ride has removed the more traditional view of Mexico in favour of the Donald Duck Three Cabaleros thing. I miss the kitsch nature of the old film, but I can see why they did it too.

Frozen is so huge now that I can see there was an urgent need to get something more than a queue to meet face characters in place. My main concern regarding the introduction of this into Norway is size. The crowds and demand for this will be enormous, and I just wonder where the queue might end up snaking too. They may be lining up past Spaceship Earth and out into the car park. I know that the pavilions around the showcase are much bigger than the facades may have you believe, but I just hope that they can build an attraction with the capacity to cope with the demand. As long as they keep those young Norwegian blondes who constantly undress me with their eyes whilst I queue, how bad can it be? The women cast members do it too.

There have been similar uproars and approval for the proposed Avatarland at Animal Kingdom. I have to say, I’m not doing cartwheels down the street over this one, but, I’m sure that when delivered it will be another high class, well executed set of attractions that we’ll thoroughly enjoy doing again and again.

In a conversation with Emily earlier, we gave the UK pavilion a make over too. I suggested that a new dark ride be built based on Robin Hood. We also then decided to put a traditional tea shop in place too, where we could charge silly amounts of money for a pot of tea, some crustless sandwiches and a Fat Rascal. We’d make it a Princess Tea Party, with Maid Marion, Wendy, Alice, The Mad Hatter and Pooh and friends in attendance.

Now, if someone can plant that as a rumour on some Disney forum we’ll have folks fighting in the streets before dawn. To the barricades!!

Till the next time…..