Friday, 27 May 2016

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 11 at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

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)...

We knew we were going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party that night in the Magic Kingdom and that it would be on until midnight, so we decided to pace ourselves with a wee lazy morning eating American candies and watching trash TV in bed - I'm looking at you Say Yes to The Dress.

When we finally set off, we were wearing our matching Anna and Elsa tops, necklaces, and had our hair in co-coordinating plaits as we'd planned to meet them later that day. We couldn't contain our excitement the whole way there! Carly's got that Elsa pout nailed...

I'm not sure the exact order we done things that day, we were just buzzing about like little bees, happy to be spending the day in the Magic Kingdom. I do remember however, that there was a lot of hullaballoo that day as there were cameras filming the parade and other Christmassy things, so that added another layer of excitement to the day. We spent a lot of the day just taking our time enjoying our favourite rides, and exploring areas and things we hadn't had a chance to properly see. And our matching tops were a great excuse for more photos!

At some point in the afternoon we decided to grab a frappucino from the Main Street Starbucks and chill out in front of the castle to preserve some energy for the Christmas fun filled night ahead. I'm always nervous about big chain companies invading the Disney parks but I can't help but love the cuteness of these Disney Starbucks cups..

We were also lucky enough to meet some more characters that day - first up, the buff but not so charming Gaston! He was rude and obnoxious and everything you'd expect from the Beauty and the Beast villain, but we couldn't help but love him, I mean just look at those guns!

We weren't his only fans - when we were queuing to meet him, there was the cutest little girl in front of us who was wearing a Gaston themed dress, little shoes with pictures of him on them, and a badge that said "Don't marry Belle marry me". Adorable! She even came armed with gifts for him - two dozen eggs (from his legendary song) and a little knitted Gaston doll. He was absolutely over the moon and shunned everyone else to take a stroll with the girl - they were both in their element and it was so fun to watch.

The other characters we met were Frozen's Anna and Elsa. They loved our tops and were so cheery and fun to interact with. However. When you've been walking around in the Florida sun for hours you tend to turn into a sweaty red mess and it's hard to feel attractive. Now imagine meeting beautiful, elegant and pristine Disney princesses and posing for photos with them. They were horrific! We looked like mere peasants in their presence. So much so in fact, that I can only find one photo of us with Elsa, meaning that we must have instantly deleted any photos with Anna because of how gross we looked! Rest assured, it was for everyone's benefit. 

Finally it was time for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party to begin! We grabbed our snazzy wristbands and I bought a very exciting Christmas lights necklace as we set off to begin the fun. 

Part of the fun of the Christmas Party is the extra magical Christmas shows and parades. First up we watched Elsa light up the castle in a Frozen Holiday Wish. As if Cinderella's castle wasn't pretty enough, it was soon lit up with thousands of bright LED lights giving the effect of a glittering ice palace. We sang along with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf and our cheery spirit was rewarded by Elsa making it snow on Main Street! It was amazing!

There was also a super cute Christmas show in front of the castle featuring Mickey and the gang, along with some other special Christmas guests, as well as an incredible Christmas Parade. We watched the parade with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies and I didn't think it was possible to feel so warm and Christmassy in November but it turns out that anything is possible at Walt Disney World. The parade was full of classic characters - too many to mention - but it also featured some toy soldiers, reindeer, and Santa Clause himself! It was straight out of a Disney Christmas sing-a-long video I used to have when I was little so it was very nostalgic and magical to watch. 

Hopped up on sugar and Christmas joy, we ran around taking photos with random characters and decor, before making use of the shorter ride lines while everyone else was queuing up to meet the super rare characters that come out on events like this. As much as I'd love to meet the Princes, or the 7 dwarfs, I can't pass up an opportunity to go on Splash Mountain with a 5 minute queue time!

Overall, it was an extra magical night and I had lots of fun - although I'm still not 100% sure it was worth the additional cost - but as someone who's two main loves in life are Disney and Christmas I was never going to pass it up!

                      ¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 10 at Universal's Islands of Adventure

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)...

Although we were planning on spending the majority of the day at Universal's Islands of Adventure, we got up extra early and headed to Universal Studios first, purely so that we could try our luck for the new Gringotts ride at the Diagon Alley area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We were glad we did, as although the queue had been over two hours long when we tried on our last visit, it was down to 15 minutes which is much more manageable! (although due to a technical fault we did end up waiting slightly longer than that but if anything it just gave us more time to enjoy the amazing decor inside the queue area, the attention to detail was amazing and could even rival some of Disney's work!) As much as I detest queuing and large crowds, I can understand why the Gringotts ride had been so busy all the time - it was incredible. Well worth the wait - but I would advise going as early as possible anyway!

We used the opportunity of being in Diagon Alley to hop on the Hogwarts Express and made our way over to Universal's Islands of Adventure. I am constantly blown away by the amount of work put into new attractions at both Universal and Disney and the Hogwarts Express was no exception. Still to this day I cannot wrap my head around how it worked. It was like a simulation ride...except that the train did actually move and transported us to the other park! There was also an actual Platform 9 3/4 that we had to run through to board - magical.

The Hogwarts Express deposited us at Hogsmeade, where it had been snowing! We took in the cool sights around us and went for a ride on the "Dragon Challenge" which is two rollercoasters looping around each other at the same time. What's great about this is that you can hop off one track and right onto the other! Because it was a weekday, the park was fairly quiet anyway, but for some reason this ride was absolutely empty all day, and it was great! We must have ridden it a good seven or eight times. While in Hogsmeade, we also visited Hogwarts and experienced "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey".  Again this was great fun, and the attention to detail inside the castle is awesome. There's even hologram type videos of Harry and Co. dotted throughout which they must have been planning for years, as they only looked about 12 in them! Magic magic magic...

We'd worked up quite a hunger in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so we ventured over to Jurassic Park for a quick bite to eat before heading on the Jurassic Park ride itself. The ride is super nostalgic but still lots of fun, and we definitely got soaked at the end. We also took it upon ourselves to hunt for dinosaurs Chris Pratt while there, you never know right?

Just as we were starting to dry off, we stumbled upon Toon Lagoon, filled with cartoon fun and more water rides. I made the almost fatal mistake of riding one huge water ride known as Ripsaw Falls while I was absolutely bursting for the toilet. I honest to God almost wet myself - and I got so soaked that I might as well have, nobody would have even noticed! Instead of drying off, we decided we were in for a penny in for a pound, and headed onto Popeye's river rapids style ride two or three times in a row! I have literally never been so soaked through in all my life - I may as well have just dunked myself in a pool and called it a day.

Finally giving ourselves a chance to dry off in the beautiful Florida sunshine, we took a wander over to Marvel Superhero Island and snapped lots of cool photos for our Superhero loving boyfriends back home. We also went for a go on Spiderman's simulation ride which was similar to the Transformers ride and just as fun. Unfortunately the big ride there - the Incredible Hulk Coaster - was closed for renovations, which was a total shame as I had been looking forward to it since we booked the trip!

To make up for missing out on the Hulk coaster, we nipped back over to Hogsmeade for some more spins on the Dragon Challenge! By this point we were starting to get tired and hungry so we headed to Universal Citywalk to find somewhere for dinner. We settled on a Mexican place called Antojitos. Delicious but not quite our precious Chili's or Cheesecake Factory!

After filling up on tortilla chips and tacos we were ready to call it a day and headed back to the hotel for some leftover cheesecake and an early night.

                    ¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 9 at Mall at Millenia

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 with our last shopping day, we knew we were there to conquer, so we started the day off with a hearty breakfast to fuel us for some vigorous shopping. This time we tried a different iHop at the other side of I-Drive and were treated to a table rather than the counter!

After we'd had our fill, we hit up the Simon Outlet centre also at the opposite side of I-Drive than last time. It was much the same but with some additional stores thrown in for good measure! They had a massive Victoria's Secret that we spent about 12 hours in and got lost in several times - but all worth it for a discounted sports bra. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and drinking iced coffee's from Starbucks (brace yourselves, this is only the beginning of the white girl cliches), before we decided to hotfoot it over to the Mall at Millenia for some more upmarket shopping. Also worth noting that I encountered a sales worker in the Fossil shop that had NEVER heard of Scotland. American schools eh? Another fun fact - our taxi driver from the outlet to the mall was the sweetest guy ever, his name was Cesar and he kept showing us photos of his adorable little baby girl. 

When we arrived at the mall, we headed to the front service desk to inquire about special shopping trolleys that Cesar had told us about, 'special' being the operative word. Clearly we were not about to carry all those bags!

We got hella crazy looks from literally everyone we passed by. I'm not surprised, as I can honestly say I've never seen a baby buggy for shopping before. We didn't let the stares get us down, in fact we thought it was the funniest thing ever. Only us! The Mall at Millenia is a really classy centre with a Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and many other shops that were way out of our price range (Cartier anyone?), but the piece de resistance was the Cheesecake Factory! Oh heaven. I would pay the airfare to the states for the Cheesecake Factory alone. I had delicious chicken and mashed potatoes, while Carly had some kind of equally delicious pasta. They were also the hugest portions we'd ever seen!

We were (obviously) far too stuffed to order a we opted for some cheesecake to take back to the hotel! I was super sneaky and ordered two slices because I knew I'd want to have a stash to nibble on for the next few days.

I can't remember what exact cheesecakes we got, all I know is that they were a whole mess of chocolate and deliciousness. In fact I'm pretty sure I passed out in a chocolate cheesecake coma that night. Bliss.

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!