Every week you must toss and turn of a night waiting for my sleep updates from a trip you didn’t go on months ago. So let’s clear that right up, straight off the bat. A luxurious 7am awakening today. There was a fair bit of tiredness knocking around this morning. As if being very pregnant was any kind of excuse, Rebecca’s body had told her she would not be going anywhere this morning. She needed to rest.
After a bit of TV watching and lazing about Emily and I decided to head out and check out the Skyliner. We had never ridden it and knew little about it so we were looking forward to our adventure of discovery as we left the villa around 10am.
Hanging the expense, we parked up in Hollywood Studios rather than have to come up with some clever scheme to con a security guard at the gate of one of the Skyliner resorts to let us in. Spookily we parked in the same row as yesterday but this time we made our way over to the Skyliner station.
It was not at all busy and having had a quick look at the routes online we decided to start by heading towards the Art Of Animation resort.
Soon we were up, up and away both discussing how much Louise would absolutely hate this experience. She once almost passed out on the Old Town Ferris Wheel.
It is lovely just to ride this thing. The scenery is interesting and attractive and it really helps to get a feel for the layout of many of the parks and resorts.
At AOA/Pop Century we disembarked and walked from the exit to the entrance to start our journey over to Epcot.
Once at Epcot, we again, got off and walked back around to the entrance to start the journey back.
On this leg though we stopped off at the Riviera Resort to have a nosey. It had been quite some time since we had done any resort touring. I had forgotten how nice it can be.
We found our way into the reception where there was a lovely little coffee bar where we each had a coffee and what was without doubt the best blueberry muffin on the planet. This is not up for debate.
We sat here to enjoy it.
My impression of this resort was excellent. We weren’t there longer than an hour but it looked and felt lovely. Any resort on the Skyliner route also gives you a massive bonus.
We hopped back on the Skyliner and rode back to Studios to pick up the car. It had been a really nice way to pass a few hours, it was free (coffee, muffin and parking aside) and there were no queues.
On our way home our very foundations were shaken. We had to pick up some milk and other bits for the villa so we made our way to our “regular” supermarket at Formosa Gardens. For those that know it, it is close to the Outback and still had theming in it from when Splendid China was around just behind it.
It had closed!
This was devastating news. This place has featured in almost all of trips and it felt like a member of the family had died. In addition to that I now had to drive somewhere else for milk!
The 7-11/gas station near us was fine but it did not hold the memories that the now closed previous stop did.
Upon our return, folks were in the pool and relaxing. That continued until about 2.30. We headed out to Epcot. The plan was to do our ADR at Via Napoli and then stay for the fireworks, our first time seeing Harmonious.
On the drive there I decided to try and park at a resort around the Boardwalk to make the post fireworks exit easier for Rebecca and her achy hips. We drove to the Boardwalk hotel and as I flashed my ID at the security guard I said we were heading for lunch at the Big River Grille place. This is a lovely loop hole. You cannot make ADRs for it on the app so the chap on the gate could not check we had a reservation. He waved us through and we found a parking spot without any trouble. Sure, this is bending the rules but, being frank, I have more than paid for this “privilege”.
We strolled from the car park into the resort.
This area is, and probably always will be, one of my favourite places on the planet.
We got a bit lost looking for the elevator from reception down to the Boardwalk itself but made it eventually.
What a lovely stroll that was.
At this point the peacefulness ended. We made our way through a very busy security check at International Gateway into World Showcase which was incredibly busy.
Again, we could not walk together. We had to keep regrouping every once in a while as we made our way around to Italy for our ADR. It was impossible to look at anything. If memory serves today was the first day of a festival which probably explained the carnage. I’m very open to the concept that this was just bad planning on my part. Doing World Showcase on the first day of a new festival doesn’t make a great deal of sense at face value. However, we’re twelve days in by now and the only places that we’ve been to on property that haven’t been rammed to the gills were a chilly Typhoon Lagoon and the Skyliner.
On our way we spotted Mr Morrow (the vlogger) and his friend Jackie, who Emily got a wave at and from. It was just too busy to even contemplate a photo.
Eventually we arrived at Via Napoli and were seated in five minutes.
Our table was lovely but bloody hell it was cold. Everyone’s sweatshirts/jackets were soon on.
We started with some Garlic Bread.
It was then pizza all round of course.
Rebecca, Tom and Freddie shared the half metre pizza.
I had the pepperoni.
Emily the Four Cheese
A picture can paint a thousand words. Tom really stepped up to the platter here and powered through when others had fallen by the wayside.
However there is no amount of food that can prevent Freddie having an ice cream.
The pizza here is excellent. The bill was $190 including a good tip. Again, not our best experience here but nothing to complain about. We were, as you may expect, full.
We ventured out again into the chaos of World Showcase. Freddie was keen to do some rides. My stomach was not. So Emily and I wandered the countries whilst the other three walked down to Future World, where hopefully it would be easier to push a stroller.
All the festival booths had enormous queues. Not that we wanted to eat anything but it was just ridiculous. As the law dictates, we started at Mexico, where even the ride in there had a twenty minute wait.
It was very hard to take anything in with the crowd levels as they were so we didn’t stay anywhere very long. There was a half hour queue just to get into the Tequila Bar in here.
There appears to be a huge gap in my photos here. It was too busy to even get the camera out.
Suffice to say we made it all the way around to France where Emily (keeper of rats) wanted to get some Ratatouille merchandise. It was dark by now.
There was of course no chance of doing the ride. I had tried to pay the extra cash to do so first thing this morning, but as off-site scum I could only do so at park opening, which was 10am. All the LL slots had gone by about 7.10am. The standby queue was approaching two hours at this point.
The theming in the area is lovely though!
Eventually, with the help of a CM, we found the Remy shop, which was helpfully nowhere near the ride. Emily got a few bits and we both were delighted to see this chap helping behind the tills.
We continued our loop through the UK and into Canada. We passed Mr Morrow again with what looked like an entourage of about twenty people with him. We stopped in Canada and waited fifteen minutes to watch the new show there.
Look, all that matters is that it still contains “that song”, but I preferred the Martin Short version. The new film is pretty much a rehash of many of the old clips with a new narration.
As we left we messaged Rebecca and arranged to meet at America as we wanted to try and watch the Disney on Broadway show. They were currently in the UK. The pavilion. They had not flown home.
As we had continued our loop and we were now opposite America we tried to get the boat service across but as we reached the jetty the captain closed it and we had to hoof it all the way around. All these steps had at least walked off that muffin from earlier.
Navigating World Showcase on a night like this, with only minutes to get to your destination for a show about to start should be an Olympic sport. Dodging, ducking weaving, all at pace, takes some serious skills.
We got to the theatre outside the America pavilion a few minutes before the show was due to start. This was the second show. We had walked past the queue for the first one on our loop of World Showcase and it was horrific so we assumed it would already be full, Thankfully it was not.
Rebecca had decided to stay put in France where we planned to watch the fireworks to cut down on the walking.
Emily and I settled in.
This was fab and “proper” Disney theme park stuff. We loved it. Top quality, with a real feel good feeling. The two singers were brother and sister and had both done many shows on Broadway. I pretended not to know the words to the High School Musical songs.
We left and walked up to France to meet up with everyone else who were sat on a bench near the fountains in France.
I walked round to the shop at International Gateway for some waters before the show started. The view, considering we were able to sit down, was fine.
Freddie genuinely loved every second of this show.
I have spared you most of my typically useless photos of fireworks.
The show itself is very well produced and of really high quality. You’ll know our affection for Illuminations, so it won’t be too shocking to know we found it a little emotionless. It’s “another” Disney’s Greatest Hits to fireworks and that is great, but it just lacked the feel and heart of the former show.
We made our way slowly out to the Boardwalk area and strolled back to the car. Many others were doing the same but I always feel it is the better option than trying to get to the main exit and then get a tram etc. Indeed the Boardwalk at night is somewhere I would happily walk around in a loop for many hours. Have I mentioned I like it here?
We were home impressively by 10.15.
Till the next time…….