Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 7 at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom

I'll be doing a recap for each and every glorious day of our last Disney vacation (14 days worth so in the words of Scar, be prepared)...

As we had thoroughly enjoyed our last visit to Hollywood Studios, we knew we would need to go at least once more before the trip was over (sob), so we donned non-matching outfits (shock horror!) and were off on our way. 

If memory serves me, I believe we had some fast passes booked first thing for the Aerosmith Rock'n'Rollercoaster and the Tower of Terror - our faves! I won't go over all the details of these rides again, but just have a look at our ride photos and you can see how much fun we had...

Yes, yes I know what you're thinking...what photogenic girls we are. What can I say? It's a gift. After we'd had our adrenaline fix, we rushed over to see the Beauty and the Beast stage show. Unfortunately we missed the first five minutes or so (and Gaston's main part much to our dismay), but from what we saw, the show was great. We did get a few strange looks from the parents sitting around us when we started to sing along, but it was just too hard not to!

I hadn't worn my classic Minnie ears that day as I was wearing a bright pink and purple Tangled t-shirt and I have a weird issue about wearing pink and red together, plus I was looking for any excuse to buy this bad boy of a bow! Only at Disneyworld could you wear such a tacky extravagant head accessory and not even get looked at twice. What a place. I've not yet tried it out on the streets of Glasgow, but I've got a feeling it won't be classed as appropriate attire.

Moving on, we spent quite a lot of that day in and out of the cool shops in Hollywood Studios where we picked up some souvenirs for ourselves and our family and friends back home who I have no doubt were missing us dearly. To be totally honest with you I can't really remember what else we done that day (probably a lot of eating and fangirling over Disney Princess merch) but soon it was time for the Frozen Sing-a-long Show! Neither of us had been to this before so we were both pretty dang excited, regardless of the fact that we were the only childless adults in the theatre. The show was lots of fun and really really funny at parts - but it was totally not what I expected! Although Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf did feature in the show, it was mostly narrated by two Arrandelle townsfolk. This slightly put me off at first but they were hilarious - especially the guy who was really quite camp. The best part of the show however, was right at the end when (spoilers ahead) Elsa made it snow! Inside the theatre!!! 

By the time we came out of the theatre, peed, had a snack, drank some water and peed again, it was starting to get dark. This was the perfect opportunity for some creepy photos in front of the Tower of Terror! Prepare to see the most photogenic gals in the world yet again...

The Magic Kingdom just so happened to be open until 11pm that night so we used this time to hop over to our favourite park and get our fill of our favourite rides, you've guessed it - the three mountains! (Although apologies, I only seem to have the Splash Mountain photo!)

We also used this time in Magic Kingdom to get something to eat for dinner. A week into the holiday we were more than a little bit bored of hot dogs and by some twist of fate Gaston's Tavern had started serving a hearty beef stew that very day - in fact the cast member that served us informed us that we were the very first people to try it! What an honour!

The stew was lovely and cosy and warm (although not a patch on yours mum!) and was exactly what we needed. There's that Disney Magic at work again.

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 6 EPCOT

I'll be doing a recap for each and every glorious day of our last Disney vacation (14 days worth so in the words of Scar, be prepared)...

Finally heading back to Disney after two days off, we donned yet another set of matching tops and set out for EPCOT. After encountering a really weird dysfunctional family that dropped F-bombs like T-Swift drops banging tunes, we arrived and posed for some classic EPCOT photos.

We had some fast passes booked that we decided to head for before hitting up the long awaited EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. First up was Test Track - a car themed ride sponsored by Chevrolet during which you are able to design a car then take it out for a spin on the test track. Obviously the car we designed was super stylish and practical...

Despite the fact that it was bright pink and covered in flowers, our car actually fared pretty well during most of the tests..so there you go. We were then meant to go on Mission Space but after waiting in the queue for the thrill ride, Carly chickened out and we left right as the doors were about to open! I can't really blame her though as the warning videos are pretty extreme and the ride itself is quite claustrophobic. The lack of being hurled around meant that our appetites were still intact - which was perfect for Food and Wine Fest! As well as the usual shops, restaurants, bars and stalls that the 11 countries in EPCOT's World Showcase have to offer, during Food and Wine Fest, there are tons and tons of pop up stalls from various other countries throughout the world. The smells are just incredible and it was so hard choosing which stall to go to first. We actually passed the Scotland booth straight away but decided to venture further afield than home grown food (plus the menu was far too fishy. I don't mean that it was suspicious..I mean that it was literally full of fish), but we couldn't resist a photo op!

Anyway, back to the food. I got a pulled pork and pineapple slider from Hawaii which was so juicy and delicious, followed by some butter chicken and naan from Africa (definitely one of the best dishes we had at EPCOT), and a weird chicken lasagna type thing from Mexico - I can't remember what it was called or what else was in it but as with everything else, it was good. 

During a brief moment that we weren't stuffing our faces, we stumbled upon a Canadian log rolling show, and just had to get our photos taken with the lumbersexuals, sorry, lumberjacks involved.

Satisfied that we'd eaten enough food and seen enough lumberjack logs, we made our way over to the aquarium that is secretly hidden in EPCOT. (Seriously, how did I not know there was a giant aquarium there?!). We saw dolphins, turtles, manatees, fish, fish, and more fish, before heading into Turtle Talk with Crush. 

After sitting down and realising that we were the only adults that were not accompanied with children, we were slightly skeptical about the show but were glad to have a seat in a nice air conditioned room anyway. Little did we know that it would be one of the funniest shows in Disney World. Honestly, it was friggin' hilarious. A CGI Crush from Finding Nemo appears on the screen and powered with Disney Magic, is somehow able to communicate with people in the audience, like having legit conversations and everything (sort of similar to the Monsters University show in Magic Kingdom). I don't know how they do it but it was very cool. Crush taught us some interesting facts about turtles and the sea and very openly made fun of the dumber kids in front of their parents. Hilarious. 

Having gone a whole 45 minutes without eating anything we were starving to the point of near extinction and more than ready for a sweet treat. We went straight to Italy in the World Showcase to get the snack I'd been salivating over for the last 16 months. The chocolate ice cream cookie sandwich. The cookies are fresh baked and just warm enough to slightly melt the rich chocolate ice cream. Ughh drooling just thinking about it now.

We knew we wanted to be in EPCOT for the fireworks later that night but had a spare few hours to kill - so what else would we do but hop back on the beloved monorail to Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours? I'm sure glad we did anyway because we experienced some ultimate Disney Magic upon entering MK. A kind stranger approached us as we were entering the park and handed us the Disney version of a golden ticket - a paper fast pass ticket - explaining that he and his family were leaving that night and didn't have time to use it. Now what's so special about this paper fast pass you might be wondering? Doesn't Disney provide you with free fast passes anyway? Yes, that's true, but the regular free fast passes can be booked up to two months in advance meaning that the fast pass slots for bigger or newer rides tend to fill up straight away. This is always the case for one ride in particular that we hadn't managed to get on yet due to hour long queues and a lack of patience. The Seven Dwarves Mine Train. At first we were dubious that the paper fast pass would allow us to skip the queue for such an illustrious ride - it all seemed too easy. But lo and behold it did. We actually skimmed the T&C's on the ticket and noticed that it was for up to 5 guests. It seemed like such a waste of an opportunity for just the two of us to use it, so we invited a family of three that were just about to join the 70 minute queue and they were totally grateful - nothing like passing on that Disney Magic! The ride was really really enjoyable, the animatronics inside were so realistic and enchanting, and the ride itself was probably as exhilarating as Big Thunder Mountain, but a lot more smooth. The best part however, is that the ride not only takes your photo, but captures some of the ride on video as well which can be viewed on the app!

We also used this time to go back on some of our favourites that had been neglected over the past few days. One of these was Splash Mountain which for some reason was so empty that we were able to get a log flume to ourselves!

All hopped up on Disney Magic, we zipped back over to EPCOT for a couple of cocktails from China, some raspberry wine from Poland, followed by some Italian Prosecco that we sipped on while enjoying the Reflections of Earth fireworks show. So lovely. So chill.

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 5 Universal Studios

I'll be doing a recap for each and every glorious day of our last Disney vacation (14 days worth so in the words of Scar, be prepared)...

On our second consecutive non-Disney day, we decided to go to Universal Studios. We were up bright and early to catch the free shuttle bus that our hotel ran, and enjoyed a healthy balanced breakfast on the way..

Upon arriving at Universal Studios we decided to head straight for the Simpson's Springfield inspired area of the park, mostly because I was wearing Simpsons shorts and was desperate for some photo ops!

The Springfield area of Universal Studios is really cool and really realistic and has so many of the locations from the show that you can go and explore. The only thing missing is the Simpson's actual home - although we did spot a professional photo spot featuring the iconic brown couch, but they were charging extra to get your photo there which I think is appalling considering how much you need to pay to get in the park anyway! Aside from that, we managed to get photos at Moe's Tavern, in front of the Springfield welcome sign, and beside a few familiar faces...

While in Springfield we started to have some hotdog withdrawals..so we gave in to our cravings and got our fix from Krusty Burger - along with curly fries, and a Squishee from the Kwik-E-Mart*.

*Squishee was actually purchased from a random bar in the middle of Springfield as the Kwik-E-Mart only sells Simpsons merch, but let's not ruin the magic eh? 

After this, we took a spin on the Twirl 'n' Hurl operated by the Simpson's alien pals Kang and Kodos, before heading on to The Simpsons Ride located in 'Krustyland' (which is like a world inside a world itself). The Simpsons Ride is a theme park/roller coasted themed simulator, which is totally immersive and lots of fun - the simulator screen is so huge it stretches up all around you so unless you really try, it's easy to forget you're not on an actual roller coaster (until you're jammed inside the mouth of a 50 foot baby that is...)

Also in 'Krustyland' is lots of arcade and fun fair style games. We played a couple and won some stuffed characters fairly quickly - which was a relief as just like most things in Universal Studios, the games were not that cheap to play. As exciting as it was to win the games, carrying the stuffed characters around with us got pretty annoying as neither of us had bags big enough to fit them, so we ended up gifting them to some little kids after a while.

After we'd seen everything that Springfield had to offer, we headed onto the Men in Black ride which was lots of fun but worth noting that the queue was one of the longer queues we encountered. We probably made a bit of a mistake by going to Universal on a Saturday as although it was nice and empty when we got there, it got very busy by about lunchtime. The other thing is that while Disney offer free fast passes to everyone for a limited number of rides, Universal offer fast passes to unlimited rides, but at an additional cost, so we did spend quite a lot of time waiting around that day.

Next up we came across the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the relatively new Diagon Alley area. You can really tell that Universal have put a lot of time and effort into this section as it really is a Harry Potter fan's dream to see, but because of this it was extremely busy. We didn't manage to get on the Gringotts ride as the queue was hours long all day, and the shops were packed with people so we couldn't get a proper look around them either (although from what I did see, the prices were crazy! Over $50 for a slightly interactive wand - I'm sorry but for that price I'd expect it to resurrect Dumbledore himself.)

We left this area pretty quickly as we were stressed out by the crowds of nerds all around us, and grabbed a quick snack before running into Jaws, who only went and bit my bloody finger off!

Next we came across what ended up being our favourite Universal Studios Ride..Revenge of the Mummy! It's the perfect mix of creepy, scary and fast with just enough surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time (well it would if you weren't strapped in but you get my point..). We enjoyed this so much that we went back on countless times, and just take a look at this simply beautiful photo of us that was captured on the ride..

By the time we'd tired ourselves of the Mummy ride, we'd worked up a hunger..and also a thirst.. we decided to catch the shuttle back to International Drive for dinner - but not before grabbing one or three cocktails each from the cocktail takeaway windows on Universal Citywalk. We managed to sneak these into our coke refill cups to enjoy on the shuttle.

By the time we were back on International Drive we were pretty damn hungry so decided to go to Chili's again for cheapness and easiness. I can't quite remember what Carly got but I settled for chicken soft tacos and they were god damn delicious. As it was a busy Saturday night we were seated at the bar which worked if our favour as it meant our happy hour margaritas were always replenished straight away, and our good chat and bants with the bartender resulted in free tequila shots! We ended the night with some more cocktails across the road in TGI Fridays, because nothing says worldy and well travelled than the safety of an international chain restaurant.

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 4 Outlet Shopping

I'll be doing a recap for each and every glorious day of our last Disney vacation (14 days worth so in the words of Scar, be prepared)...

Friday was the first day we spent outside the parks, and as much as we love love loved Disneyworld it was a welcome break away from the crowds and sore feet. We started the day off with a trip to iHop for some breakfast, and as it was quite busy we were seated at the breakfast bar like American truckers! 

It was pretty cool sitting at the breakfast bar as we got to see the mountains of pancakes and bacon being cooked up. We were loaded up with coffee and enjoyed eggs, hash browns, American bacon, double chocolate chip pancakes and nutella crepes! 

Satisfied that we'd eaten more than our bodies could handle, we waddled out of the diner and hopped on the shuttle down to the outlet shopping centre. If you've never been outlet shopping in Orlando I cannot recommend it enough. They offer discounts that you just can't get in the UK and depending on the time of year there are often special events offering further reductions. Anyone that knows Carly and I know that we live for a good bargain so this place was like heaven to us. We got some b-e-a-utiful Kate Spade handbags, matching pink trainers,make up, clothes, etc.

Basically we bought far too much and had about seventy shopping bags each, which paired with our iced coffees made us look like the whitest white girls to ever grace the Earth. So much so in fact that we caught an older Hispanic couple taking photos of us struggling with all our stuff.

It's also worth noting that the outlet centre has a Disney store which is great for picking up Disney trinkets and souvenirs without the hefty price tags. After we had exhausted ourselves shopping we headed back to the hotel to dump our bags before going back out for dinner and cocktails. I also had to change my outfit because I'm literally the clumsiest person in the world and had spilled various things down myself throughout the day. For dinner we decided on Chili's because I'd been craving their honey chipotle chicken crispers since my last visit a year and a half before, and also because they have a 24/7 happy hour!

I really want to say that we hopped from bar to bar and had a wild Friday night...but in truth we once again ate so much that we had to go back to the hotel for a lie down...we ended the night eating sweets and watching trash TV in our wee twin beds - 23 going on 83!

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!