Monday, September 18, 2017

Visiting Epcot - Walt Disney World Day 4 Part 1

Our last day...LAST. DAY! I have to be honest, I love Minnesota and Peru, but being back at Disney World, it's definitely my other happy place and I wasn't quite ready to leave the next day. I was determined to enjoy this day. That's all there was to it!

This actually turned out to be a great day to use our review tickets that we were given by Walt Disney World. We knew we were going to be starting our day at Epcot, but it was our ONE day to do Park Hopping. I wasn't super sold on doing much at Epcot. Sound familiar to my thoughts for Hollywood Studios? lol I knew I wanted to do Mission: Space. That was about it. I clearly remembered it from all those years ago. I also wanted to eat a pastry from France. Fred wanted to do the Test Track. Snoozefest for me, but I agreed to go since it's not just about me on these trips! hahahaha

So, here's the thing. If you get to Epcot at 9am, you're probably going to get great parking! We were literally at the front entrance to Epcot. That was so awesome! We got into the park and definitely did the obligatory family photo in front of Spaceship Earth.

We headed to Mission: Space because my plan was to get the rides out of the way and head on to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Ok, I had NO idea that there were TWO rides now. I remember when it opened because it was new in August 2003 and we were there in January 2004. That feeling of being shot over the moon? SO cool. I guess they've changed it up so you can have an intense mission or a more family friendly one. I had no idea, but thankfully we got the more intense one! I love G-forces, especially when my feet are planted on terra firma!

Now here's where thing changed for me at Epcot. First, I remember it being a LOT bigger 13+ yrs ago. I have no idea why. We headed over to see Elsa and Anna in Norway. That went very quickly! It was fun to see both of them at once. We also went to ride Frozen Ever After. The wait right away in the morning was 45 minutes. We overheard one of the gals who works there that if people didn't ride now that in half an hour the ride would be up to 70 minutes and would stay that way for the rest of the day. So. We went. That was definitely a fun little ride. Just beware your bum will get a bit wet.

Ok, so finally we started heading towards France because...beignets! Unfortunately, Fred is distracted by Mexican food, and I'm distracted by all the shops where I could possibly trade pins, and then I'm distracted by United Kingdom! Fred grabbed some fish & chips while the kids and I looked through the shops. Oh my word, I'm SO ready to go to England now! I ended up buying a ring, but I'm actually bummed I didn't buy a tea cup that said, "Mrs. Always Right" and a Diana Memorial Scarf.

We finally made it to France and had a lunch of pastries! Not bad, and I tried to get my youngest to talk French to the gal who was waiting on us. No luck, although she spoke French to him. I think when we were in Norway I realized that all of the people who work at the countries are actually FROM that country. I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

From there we walked through most of the rest of the countries. Japan was cool! They had an assortment of some of the craziest looking packaged food and they had a ton of super cute plates and cups (all in mini size) on sale. Yes people...ON Disney World! Turns out, Epcot was a place I had wished I had more time to explore. We never made it to Germany. Next time we're going to have to eat our way through all of the countries!

We headed to The Land Pavillion to check out Soarin'. That was a fun ride we all enjoyed. The guys rode the Living with the Land ride. Brieanne and I headed to Future World to see Joy & Sadness and Baymax. We ended up leaving the Joy & Sadness line because it wasn't moving at all. I love that they spend time having fun with the families, but the line lasted too long. Other people ended up leaving the line as well. We went over to see Baymax, and I think they'd gone through 5 lines of people in the amount of time it took us to move about 4 families with Joy &a Sadness.

I was hungry by the time we were done seeing the characters and it was about an hour before we had to send Brieanne to her airplane. We went back to The Land Pavillion to grab some grub. We ate at Sunshine Seasons which was just a quick service cafeteria full of a variety of foods. A gal who was cleaning off her table showed me her pins while we were eating and told me that she had 4 other boards of pins! I was so excited. I ended up exchanging one pin. Have I told you how hard it is to trade pins? lol

Around 5pm Fred called an Uber for my daughter to take to the airport. Believe it or not, there's at least one car waiting to take people somewhere. They must make a mint at these parks! Sadly we said goodbye and headed up to grab the monorail to head to Magic Kingdom.

Disney World's Epcot

The FastPasses I'd get for Epcot:

Epcot: Frozen Ever After, RELAUNCHED! Mission: Space, and Soarin'

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Visiting Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World Day 3

Believe it or not, I wasn't super excited to go to Hollywood Studios. I know, how could I not want to go to one of the Worlds, right? I was mostly going because of my son's love for all things Star Wars. I thought, "I'd rather spend all of my time at Magic Kingdom!" There's stuff to do there, but not a whole heck of a lot. Now, when the new Star Wars area is completed, it'll give a whole new spin on Hollywood Studios. That being said, here's how our day went.

We showed up later in the morning, but just in time to see the March of the First Order. Captain Phasma leads Stormtroopers to Center Stage for a small show and then they march out again. Great timing! They do this on the hour pretty much throughout the day. Sadly later in the day we got to the front of Center Stage for Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away to see the show, but the storm coming cancelled it.

From there we headed over to see BB-8 Astromech on Duty. That went a super quick so seeing it is a must! Then we decided to see Kylo Ren. It was a bit longer of a line, but I figured we didn't have anything better to do. Well, that turned into quite the experience. The Stormtroopers singled out my daughter to interrogate. She wasn't able to find her "ID" so they put her in a corner. After a little bit, they marched her out of the Star Wars Launch Bay. You'll have to watch the Instagram video to see how she was treated by those Stormtroopers.

Our first FastPass+ of the day was for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Believe it or not, this is one roller coaster I'll do. I think that's because it's in the dark and I can't see the scary drops. Well, there really isn't scary drops. It shoots you off like a bat out of Hades and then it's all fun and games from there. My daughter's face compared to my son's is the best thing ever!

My hubby and oldest son went to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. They met us at Indian Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular where we had our second FastPasses. Right as we got our seats, front and center, the skies opened up and it poured like crazy! Sadly the show was cancelled. They gave us FastPass+ tickets to other areas of the park.

The rest of the crew used their replacements for Toy Story Mania. I went to see For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. Oh my gosh, GET the FastPass+ for the Sing-Along! I kept telling everyone we should go see it, not really knowing what it was, but that we got to sing the songs from Frozen. I'd say sit 6-8 rows back towards the middle. The first time I saw this, I got the family to come with me the second time, I didn't pay attention to the couple retelling the story. They are a HOOT! If you can go a second time, watch them during the sing-along parts. It was probably one of my favorite things to do at any of the parks!

After we watched the second time, we had our FastPass+ for Star Tours. Remember how my daughter was nabbed at the Launch Bay? Well, inside the pod we're supposed to be flying in, they pick HER out of our group as the rebel spy! They put her picture up on the side panel of the viewing area. We all laughed at how great that was! We decided to do it again, and learned that there are about 75 different versions of Star Tours to see.

As we waited for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular we made ourselves comfortable in front of Center Stage. Sadly, it wasn't the happiest place on earth for some of the people waiting for the light shows to start. Disney Movie Magic is a nighttime spectacular that shows just before the Star Wars show. People that were sitting behind our "walk through" line were yelling at a handful of people who were standing up before the show began. They were telling them to "sit down." I thought they were going to mob the people who were standing up. Once the light show began, everyone was standing and no one was complaining. Just remember, you can't control the crabby people around you.

Both shows were great. If you're my age you might enjoy the Disney Movie Magic more than the kids, but everyone will definitely enjoy the Star Wars show. Because of the weather, the beginning of the Star Wars show was a cloud of smoke. Thankfully the big cloud blew away and we were able to see the show without any issues.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The FastPass+es I'd get for Hollywood Studios are:

Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Disney•Pixar’s COCO Trailer & Poster

Look at how adorable COCO is going to be! Have you seen the trailer? If not, take a peek. These posters are super cute, too! This was my first time seeing the trailer and I can't wait to see the movie!

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.

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Visit the official COCO website here:

COCO opens in theatres everywhere on November 22nd!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Visiting Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Day 2

I think I was most excited about returning to Magic Kingdom. The day we visited in January '04 we were actually the family who got to open the park. I had wanted to do that again but my family was only interested in sleeping in. Crazy people!

We started the day off with the obligatory photos at the entrance. I was so incredibly delighted that we were wearing our personalized Disney shirts. We saw characters at Main Street, USA, and I knew I was at the happiest place on Earth! Our first stop was The Crystal  Palace. It was our other character meal. Seeing Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends is something I think shouldn't be missed.

My oldest and youngest recreated this moment from 13 1/2 yrs ago!

Our first ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. It wasn't a ride I was actually interested in riding, but since the hubster wanted to go, we went. I'd say this ride is on par with It's a Small World. I know, I know it's basically sacrilege to say that to all the Disney lovers out there.

We separated for a little bit. Fred and I had to go to City Hall to pick up tickets for Friday. My kids went to Tomorrowland. When we left City Hall, Fred saw Snow White so of course we had to stop so I could get pictures with her. Meanwhile the kids enjoyed the Tomorrowland Speedway. As we headed over to them for our Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin FastPass, it began to rain again. No sweat. We just waited it out for about ten minutes and the sky dried up and headed to our ride.

This is where FastPass+es come in handy and if you don't mind splitting up with the family, you can go in a variety of different directions. As a family we went to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh because we had time between our next set of FastPass+es. Then the guys went one direction and Brieanne & I went another.

We had a wee bit of surprise when we showed up to meet Belle and found out it was actually a reenactment of Beauty and the Beast. Surprise! I guess it pays to check out what you sign up for, eh? Thankfully we ended up getting photos with the princess at the end of the show. The guys in the meantime went on the Tomorrowland Speedway again and Astro Orbiter.

With time to kill before our next FastPass, Brieanne and I went to see Cinderella and Elena. What I love about seeing the princesses is that they talk to adults just like they'd talk to kids. They allow the adults to share the wonder of their world! And I was down for that. You're going to have a ball? I would love to come! I'll make sure to bring my husband! After seeing those princesses, we grabbed a sundae before getting to see Tiana and Rapunzel.

I wasn't interested in doing Space Mountain so I adventured through the park while the other 4 enjoyed it. I checked the My Disney Experience App to see if there was something I might be missing and I found that Tinkerbell was available to see, but it was a 50 minute wait. The family got to me right as I headed in to see her. After that was done we visited the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe because I wanted an ornament to commemorate our trip.

From there I knew we had to find spots to watch the fireworks. I saw the grass in front of The Crystal Palace when we had been there in the morning, and found a spot there. Their new light show is called Happily Ever After. It is NOT to be missed. I'm so glad I recorded it. It's a show I don't want to forget any time soon. Find your spot by 8pm or you're going to have a hard time seeing it well.

Everyone stands during the nighttime spectacular. Just remember that! You'll stand for the show, but it's so amazing, you won't mind.

The Fast Pass+es I'd get for Magic Kingdom are:

Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Visiting Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World Day 1

Going to Disney World had me absolutely giddy! Since everyone was along for the ride and really had no idea what to do down there, I pretty much had everything planned out for us. I think next time I'll make sure we look at all of the parks to see what rides they all want to do. My plan was to wake up early every single day and spend our day in wide eyed wonder until the very last firework at night. My family didn't share my enthusiasm.

We started our four day excursion to Walt Disney World at Animal Kingdom. Fred once again had to do two trips to bring everyone. He dropped Brieanne and I off first. She and I immediately headed for  Pandora - The World of Avatar. It was pretty amazing to see how incredibly detailed Pandora was.

First, before I go any further, download the My Disney Experience app! I absolutely wasn't going to do it. I thought it was dumb. I mean, really, I didn't need that. I had it all planned out. HA! Then as the day went on, my hubby kept telling me the ride times and when our first FastPass was. Let me tell you, it will be your favorite app! I still haven't taken it off my phone.

Now, back to Pandora. Brieanne and I got in line for the Na'vi River Journey. I think the wait was about an hour by the time we got there. Thankfully they have fans blowing down at various intervals. It was stinking hot at 9am! We got onto the ride after about 70 minutes and the rest of the family was getting to the park. They took the Wildlife Express Train over to Habitat Habit! where they got to see an aardvark having its annual exam. Then they went to the Affection Section where they got to pet and see farm animals.

Our first FastPass+ was for the Kilimanjaro Safaris so after the Na'vi River Journey, Brieanne and I made our way to Africa while we waited for the rest of the family. We walked through Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and African Birds. Sadly we didn't make it to the Maharajah Jungle Trek to be able to see the tigers.

We all met up at the Safaris and it was so cool! I remember it from years ago and it was still just as wondrous. Seeing all of those animals really makes you feel like you're on a safari. And yes, I know what that's like since I did an actual safari in Kenya.

Our lunch that afternoon was at Tusker House with Donald Duck and friends. We had fantastic buffet that had an African flair. I was like the little kids when the characters came into our section. My kids were all, "Mom, sit down, let the little kids go see them first. They'll come to our table." I'm sure my face fell. What if they DIDN'T come to our table? What if they missed us? lol I had nothing to worry about. They each took the time with us as we took a variety of pictures. One thing to remember with meals you've reserved, if you don't cancel within the time Disney specifies, you'll be charged a fee for each person.

While we were walking around at some point, I decided I needed a lanyard. Well, that took me to the deep end and I really haven't recovered. I became a pin trader. Oh my goodness...I didn't realize how addictive it could be. The one tip I have for pin trading, get a handful of the inexpensive pins that are in bags that are surprises. They're the cheapest and you can trade them with employees who probably have better ones. Trust me I found some great ones and missed one I'm still kicking myself over.

We finally got our family photo in front of the Tree of Life before we headed to the Primeval Whirl. As soon as everyone was done with the ride, the heavens opened up and gave us a downpour for under ten minutes. That's the best part of storms down in Florida is that they are so short lived. We brought down the cheapest ponchos you could ever find, but honestly, unless you're determined to walk in the rain, they weren't necessary. You could find shelter easily and wait it out. Heck, they ran the Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin throughout the whole storm!

Then we split up 3 and 3. Three went to ride Expedition Everest and three went to help me find a Dole Whip. I'd heard the most amazing things about it, and absolutely had to try it. Since it was hot as Hades I figured it was the best time to finally sample it. Well, I was underwhelmed. lol I know, for all my Disney friends out there, they're reacting with horror. It's ok. We tried lots of other treats and loved them.

Disney Animal Kingdom

After Fred, Amber, and Buddy rode Expedition Everest not once, but twice, they met up with us and we headed back to Pandora to try out the Avatar Flight of Passage. I had high expectations with wait lines upwards of 190 minutes. Yes, you read that right. One hundred ninety minutes! It's a 3D ride on the back of a mountain banshee. It. Was. Incredible! I was so glad we were able to experience it together. If you take a second while on the ride, you can look around and watch everyone else experiencing it. Don't look for long because you don't want to miss a second of the flight. This is a FastPass must!

It was dinner time by the time we got out and we decided to eat at Satu'li Canteen. The food was good and interesting. It took us quite a while to decide what to have because the options were so different. Amber and I wanted to try the Night Blossom and Mo'ara Margarita. I'd wanted to try the Night Blossom since I saw a picture of it. We opted not to add the Unadelta Seed which would make it glow in the dark with a souvenir cup. It was almost $10 more. lol

From there we made our way over to the Tree of Life to watch the Awakenings nighttime spectacular. I'd heard it was amazing, but I wasn't prepared for how wonderful it was. They have several "short" shows to watch as they lead up to the spectacular. The photographers kept reassuring us we'd know when it started. Boy did we ever! I have to admit, I got very emotional watching it. It reminded me of when my children were little and it ended with the lion on the tree. You don't want to leave without experiencing it!

Disney Animal Kingdom

The rest of the crew headed back to the time share. I opted to stay back because I wasn't ready to leave yet. Besides, I might find a pin to trade with someone! I actually moseyed around the park and ended up watching part of the River of Lights nighttime spectacular. Wow, was that impressive! I didn't get to see all of it because my chariot arrived before it was finished.

It was an amazing first day at Disney World. I was sad because it meant that the next day Amber was heading back to Minnesota. This is the last time I will have all 4 of my kids with me on a vacation like this. Next time Brieanne will be married and who knows where everyone else will be. Remember, it's been 13+ yrs since our last vacay!

Disney Animal Kingdom

The FastPasses I'd get for Animal Kingdom are:

Animal Kingdom: Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Na'vi River Journey

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.