2 June 2016

Daimee Does Disney: First Two Days In Orlando!

Daimee Does Disney!

Day One

IN WHICH DAIMEE FLY TO ORLANDO

Well, almost.
(TL;DR - we got on the plane and it took off and landed and then we got some food)
At T-minus-1 I was struggling to finish all of my work and get out of that mind set. After struggling to load money onto the Thomas Cook Cash Passport for the past couple of  days, I was freaking the hell out. The only way I could get money onto this POS was to get to the nearest Thomas Cook shop and pay over the counter.

  • Hi, I don't drive. 
  • Hi, nearest shop was 7 miles away.

Best case scenario was leave work on time (rare) OR convince a friend at work to drive me aaaall the way to the Bay at lunch to get me my dollars. Oh, and a Subway :)
So my lovely friend gave me a lift and I bought her lunch and we made it back with time to spare!
And then, very lucky for me, I managed to leave on time and get back to the Bay to load another £250 on just in case!
Phew!
Followed by a haircut by my favourite hairdresser and talking Disney tips with my other favourite hairdresser, and last minute shopping in Matalan!

The real Day One:


Both wake up after about 4 hours of sleep ready to welcome a 5-6 hour sleep on the flight (best laid plans)
Quick spurt of last minute packing - "is Vaseline a liquid?" "Make sure you put scissors in the case not your hand luggage this time!" "Plugs?!" followed by goodbyes to the old girl Gwyn (cat).

Then we were in the car making our way to the airport!
Straight in, bags checked (no queue!) and through to security where we got stuck behind all the people that had just checked in their cases.
Took about 25 minutes to get through. Both our bags got checked - mine for the Vaseline and Dami's for a swab because he looks like an addict!
That absolutely made my day.

Through security and only two hours to have a look through the terminal. We browsed some books and magazines. My foundation ran out a couple of days earlier so I bought some new foundation and primer ready for the trip. We had a Burger King as there are none within 30 miles of where we live and it's sort of a travelling tradition at this point. Wherever we go, we get a BK.
At this point it was nearly time for boarding nearly an hour earlier than I expected so we hurried to the gate. Loads of people were in a queue but more were sat down so we just got in the queue - we were going to be sat down for 9 hours, not a massive deal to stand for 20 minutes.
It turned out it was for priority boarding but they opened it up to everyone just as we reached the front of the queue.


I think we must have taken off early in the end. The flight was great. I love flying anyway but Damien has never been on a long haul flight so he didn't really know how he was going to take it. We were both exhausted and I thought we were going to sleep but we only had about a 45 minute nap.
We're both not massively tolerant of screaming children (I don't think anyone is truthfully) and luckily we only got a couple of screamers at the beginning from the air pressure. There was the cutest family ever sat next to us. I think the little girl must have been about three/four but she was SO well behaved. No fuss the whole journey. She just put her massive pink headphones on and watched a film. So chill.
Watched a couple of films on the upgraded entertainment. Can't really say much more, just a really relaxed flight.

Landed in Orlando early, but there were two other flights arriving at the same time so we waited about an hour to go through the immigration part. Lucky for us, we won't have to wait so long next time. Both our photo's and fingerprints got taken for the self service machines which was exciting.
Then our bags were directly in front of us on the carousel so we were straight on the monorail over to the main terminal and getting on our transfer.

25 minutes later we were in the hotel room crashing out. We decided to go and get some food around 7:30pm local time after hitting the Walgreen's for some snacks and drinks. I was absolutely exhausted at this point. We were originally planning on hitting the outlets (dependent on sleeping on the plane) and I'm so glad we didn't.
I put on my new jeans from Matalan and took a selfie with my greasy, greasy hair. Ready to go!
We grabbed a fry-up at IHOP which was an I-FLOP. Pancakes were alright but we didn't feel the urge to go back at all during our stay. It was just like a Little Chef rather than the mind blowing experience I had as a kid. It's possible that the flight was still affecting my sinuses but who knows.

And then, we slept. Oh, how we slept. 21 hour day on around 5 hours sleep - I slept like a log!

And now, the boring bit is over because we are finally headed to Disney!


Day Two

IN WHICH DAIMEE VISIT MAGIC KINGDOM & EPCOT

Wake up at.. 5am! Because it's really 10:30am at home and I can no longer lie in apparently!
Try to go back to sleep but I'm too excited and now Damien is awake.
So, we wait until breakfast starts and go and get some free food. There is literally no one there so we help ourselves to toast and waffles and pancakes and juice and tea (because that is Dami's favourite morning drink). I loved the orange/guava/mango juice 
We had a stroll around the hotel which looked alright. Perfect for us because it was cheap-ish. I think we paid £1800 for the hotel and flights which is not that bad. Unfortunately we had to pay a resort fee on top to cover the transfers, wi-fi and not a whole lot else I don't think.
Hindsight is 20/20 so I would definitely book a different hotel next time, and probably wait a bit longer to book the holiday as the price was down to £1400 two months after we booked.
Oh no, I'm back to boring stuff - hang on.

TA - DA!!



So exciting seeing this sign! Look at our silly little faces!

We got quite confused because instead of being dropped at Epcot as expected, we were dropped at Hollywood Studios.
This was purely because of the Star Wars Marathon at Epcot. We figured it would be busy there for most of the morning so we headed over to Magic Kingdom for a magical morning.














Such a fantastic sight, every time.
When I see the castle, even in videos, its just this massive.. sigh of relief, in a way.
I don't know how to describe it. It's just pure happiness and excitement welling up inside me.

We rushed past Main Street, knowing that we could go back at any point to marvel at the buildings and sights and smells (which we did) and just stood staring at the castle for a long while.

It's bizarre to think that you can miss a building, but every day I look at a photo of us in front of Cinderella's castle and my heart aches for Disney World.

After a while, we decided to hit Space Mountain as it was still quite early and the line (did you notice this transition into American-English?) was only about 20 minutes. Of course, we got given the lanyard so it was a bit longer, but it was a fun wait and nice to be in the air-con for a little bit.
This was our first ride and it was fantastic.
It didn't take me long to get the banners up on Snap Chat! Couldn't help myself, makes for a perfect keepsake.
Please excuse the cleavage, the top is sooo low cut and I completely forgot! Oops!

 
Love the Space Mountain one, even if I do look haggard!

We didn't really do much exploring in Tomorrowland so we missed out on quite a bit. I know I wanted to do the Carousel of Progress but completely forgot all about it until about three days ago which is over a month too late!
A lot of the rides we weren't really interested in except Space Mountain so we headed over to a different area.

We headed around the back way to Storybook Circus. We passed the Goofy ride which had a massive line, and the Dumbo ride which also had over a 30 minute wait. Then we went through the big top shop and watched some Mickey Pops being made (because I watched this video before hand and loved the idea of watching them making the food) and then both admitted how rough we were feeling.

Quick stop for a drink and a wander around Fantasyland - passing Gaston's, the Little Mermaid ride and the big carousel (more massive lines)

Then we passed through into Frontierland I think. We saw this really cool boat, although that was the only time we saw it. Possibly the ride was down the other days, although we never arrived much before 4pm so that could also be a factor.

Started to get a bit peckish as it was lunch time by this point so we decided to get a Mickey Pretzel. They sold the last one as we got in line, but we only had to wait 5 mins before they brought out more so we got a lovely fresh pretzel and sat down for a few minutes. It was getting a little too busy for us so we decided we would walk around to the front and get the monorail to Epcot and see how busy it was there since the race would have been finished by this point.
Dami didn't actually tell me until the next day but the real reason he wanted to go elsewhere is because he had a massive earache from the pressure during the flight and it took a few days to get over it. Poor lad. 

On our way round we caught a great shot of the Castle, then headed out through Main St to the monorail for our first journey to Epcot.


Epcot



The monorail was excellent and took us through a couple of resorts which we both looked at longingly. I think staying offsite for our first visit was definitely a good idea as we were in an ideal area to visit everything that we planned to do. Next time we plan to do things differently but I will come to that later.

Obligatory artsy photograph of Spaceship Earth.

Last time I came (2000) I think we must have spent a lot of time in Epcot as most of my memories of Florida are either here or at the TTC waiting for the coach.
That sounds weird but even my memories of being exhausted from a day walking around the parks were happy enough that I would want to return. And returning as an adult, with someone who is actually my favourite person in the world, has been the best decision of my life.
Genuinely worth the money to spend time together.
Back to the story.

The best thing about getting the monorail here for our first time seeing the park is that the monorail takes a route through it! You can find various videos showing you this on YT if you are really intrigued.
We came though the entrance and had a nosey at the peoples faces on the walls and discussed the possibility of getting one of us done -- but wait, what is that?


How cute are these? Disney characters made out of plants. We literally have pictures of all of them as Damien wanted to complete the collection. I thought he'd uploaded them all to IG but apparently he didn't! They were so cool though and it was one of the nicest things to just stroll around the park looking for the grass sculptures.


We did quite a lot of the rides to 'get them out of the way' and to gauge which rides to come back and do again another day. The Finding Nemo ride in the Seas section was mindblowingly awesome. One of the most memorable rides of the trip. As you come to the end of the ride you see Nemo and friends swimming in a fish tank.. but wait.. that's real fish in the background.. How the? IS THAT A DOLPHIN?
The animation is projected onto a massive part of the aquarium that you exit into. OH IT IS SO GOOD.
We love seeing animals - any chance to go to the zoo or a great aquarium is a fantastic time for us! Love strolling round and seeing all these things that we would never get to see in our ordinary lives.
So yes, for me, best ride in Epcot.
We didn't do the ride inside Spaceship Earth as the line was really long and we didn't do Mission Space as by the time we got round to that area of the park we had to leave to get the coach.

We did, however, take a leisurely stroll around the world.

Starting in Canada, we went explored the whole area. We examined the menu for the expensive steak restaurant and made a face at each other like "people really pay $50 for a steak they can get somewhere else for half the price?"
But it's Disney so YES, people will pay that. I mean the restaurant looks amazing and I'm sure if we were hungry enough or had a special enough occasion we would have eaten there.
We did the Oh, Canada show which made me feel dizzy as anything and promptly moved on to merry old England.
Dami got some chips - I was holding out for some mexican food - and we had a look in the tea shop and walked through to France.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and type what we did in every land because it follows the same pattern -

  • Get there. 
  • Notice dominant landmark/structure (eg France/Eiffel Tower). 
  • Ooh. 
  • Ahh. 
  • Go through shops and see what there is. 
  • Laugh at puns (my favourite was the Tangierine Cafe) 
  • Take some pictures
  • Move on.


We got all the way around to China before we started to flag. This was about 6pm I think because we'd just missed the early coach back to the motel and had another three hours to spend before leaving. So we had a rest for 30 minutes. I got a hot dog as we went through Africa because I really needed to eat. It was not worth $10. Also I don't eat crisps and I was still in UK mode so I thought I was getting chips.

Took us a while to walk around and I think we were probably out and waiting for the coach earlier than we needed to be but we were both so exhausted.
We walked through the pretty much closed Norway part. They are opening the new Frozen ride soon so we can't wait to go on that next time. Sarcasm on Dami's part, honesty on mine.
Eventually ending up in my favourite, Mexico.
No longer hungry, I put off my taco until the next time, but we did go on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros!
This was one of my best memories from last time, and we actually loved it so much that we rode it twice! There was literally no one waiting in the line and no one in the boats before or after us! It was fantastic.

We will be dining in the restaurant inside next time as it is such a good view - look at it!!

Nice and cool. The only thing I can compare it to is when we went to Greece last year and had dinner by the sea. It was so similar to that, I think that's why we loved it so much.

We wandered around the front area of Epcot (on the left hand side as you walk in) and had a look at the wait time for Mission Space. It was a short queue but like I said, exhausted, so we went to wait for the coach.

We had a fantastic first day. It was full of magic and wonder and laughter, everything you could want.

I would say my favourite pavilion was the Japan area. I love Japanese culture - we were planning a trip to visit a friend who is living there teaching as part of the TEFL thing, but he is coming home a year earlier than we expected. It will be lovely to see him back in Wales though.
We saw people choosing their own oysters to get the pearls, and spent ages looking at all the merchandise. Loads of Pokemon items, Hello Kitty etc.
My favourite bit was the Studio Ghibli section. I could have bought everything. It was absolutely fantastic - I was in my element. We decided that the first few days would be browsing and we could come back to do real shopping later.

That was what we did as we wandered out of the park - had a look in all the shops to see what was on offer. I couldn't see any Mickey Ears that I liked though, so was quite disappointed.

On the way out we marveled at Spaceship Earth and Dami got what was hands down the most artistic photograph that was taken our entire trip.


And then, delirious but happy, we collapsed into bed ready to hit day three with as much enthusiasm as we had on this day.

Next time:

IN WHICH DAIMEE GO TO HOGWARTS

Thank you for reading this, I loved reliving this holiday as I miss Orlando every day.
Only 97 weeks until we go back!

I'd love to hear your thoughts - if you've been/if you want to go/if you just want to talk Disney I'm your girl! Leave me a comment below - maybe a link to your Disney holiday posts? 
I am devouring everything WDW related since we returned - its all I think about!




  

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