Walt Disney World September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015 was my last day in Florida and my flight out of Orlando International Airport was scheduled for 5:20 PM.  Therefore I only had a little over a half-day of fun left in Walt Disney World.

After getting up, dressed and ready.  I walked my luggage over to the Hospitality House area and I checked my bag with Airline Check-In and checked my carry on so that I didn’t have to carry my backpack around with me all morning.  I then boarded the bus headed to Magic Kingdom.  As I entered Magic Kingdom I saw how packed the park was by the line to bag inspection.  The line was so long, it was backed up all the way to the bus stop area.  Fortunately the line moved and since I wasn’t carrying a bag I could walk right through the security check without having to be inspected.

Once I was in the park I made my way to Fantasyland and used my fast pass for Under The Sea:  Journey of the Little Mermaid.  I really didn’t need a fast pass as the stand by line was walking right on to the ride as well.  I had some time before my next fast pass so I went into Storybook Circus and saw Goofy & Donald Duck followed by Daisy Duck & Minnie Mouse in their Pete’s Silly Sideshow outfits.  I then walked over and, for the first time, rode the Mad Tea Party.  I had a great time as I enjoy rides that spin.  It was different in that you as the rider control how much you spin but having that option I spun my tea cup as fast as I could!

Next I walked to Tomorrowland and went on the classic attraction:  Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.  This is an absolute must do attraction every time I go to Walt Disney World.  Next I used my fast pass to ride my absolute favorite attraction:  Peter Pan’s Flight.  I still have yet to walk through and wait for the ride and see the new cue which I hear is awesome.  I then decided to have lunch since it would be late when I would arrive home.  I went to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.  I had the bacon cheeseburger with fries and got a chocolate gelato for dessert.  I sat at a table that was close to Sonny Eclipse, which I had never done before.  It was cute to listen to but I have to say by this time I am sick of hamburgers as I had one each day I was in Disney.  I didn’t do the meal plan and I ate dinner at the resort each night and that was the basic on the menu that was somewhat affordable, if you call $10 for a burger and a few fries affordable.

I then went back to Fantasyland and waited in line for the Peter Pan character meeting.  I got there a half hour ahead of the scheduled time and was the third guest in line.  When the time came, it was the same friend of Peter Pan who I saw the night before and he was fun as always.  After getting my picture taken with Peter I used my fast pass to ride the Haunted Mansion and I did see the Hidden Mickey that is formed by the plates on the table in the ballroom which is something I hadn’t noticed before.  I had learned of this during the Keys to the Kingdom Tour that I went on this past Saturday.  Another fact I learned during the Keys to the Kingdom Tour is that Mr. Toad from the now defunct attraction, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is in the pet cemetery outside of the Haunted Mansion.  I looked on my way out of the attraction and there is indeed a bust of Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery grave yard.  It is toward the back so it cam be harder to see.  As an aside, the attraction Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is still present in Disneyland in California and I got to ride it this past April when I was out in Disneyland.

Adventureland was my next destination and I played a portal of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.  Liberty Square was my next stop as I went and got my daily allotment of cards for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.  Given that my pick up for the Magical Express was 2:20 PM, I decided to head back to Old Key West.  As I walked out of the Magic Kingdom I took pictures of the Halloween decorations as they have the pumpkins out and the fall leaves on the buildings such as town hall, etc.

It was then back to Old Key West where I waited for the Magical Express which was on time.  Then on to Orlando International Airport where I currently am writing this blog.  My flight is scheduled for 5:30 and it is listed as on time.  Per the Delta flight application, the plane is actually due in early to Orlando.  So I’m hoping that is a good sign for an on-time departure.  I will update once I get to Atlanta!

Disneyworld 9/13 Visit

Sunday, September 13, 2015 was my last full day in Walt Disney World for this trip.  My day started off by going to Animal Kingdom.  There were Extra Magic Hours that started at 8:00 AM but I didn’t get to the park until after 9:00 AM and it was pretty full.  The lines for bag check and to enter the park were pretty long.

I got into the park in time to use my 9:30 fast pass to see the Festival of the Lion King which is probably my favorite stage show in Walt Disney World right now.  I believe some of the performers are different than the last time I saw the show and I didn’t care for the woman who sang “Circle of Life” as much.  In the ending number she seemed to screech more than sing in my opinion.  As I left the theater the rain had begun.  I sough shelter at the Upcountry Landing where Baloo and King Louie meet.  Due to the weather they were not there but I was able to stay under cover for a bit.  I stayed there until it was time for my fast pass to the Kilimanjaro Safari.

I have come to enjoy the safari and this was, by far, the best one I was on.  First of all, for some odd reason they didn’t put anyone else in my row in the car so I had the entire row to myself which meant I could slide from side to side and get pictures of the animals no matter which side of the car they were on which was very cool.  Secondly, due to the rain, the animals were out more than what they normally are.  Evidently the animals enjoy the rain as it is cooler and so they tend to come out more.  We saw two cheetahs, monkeys, giraffes, and even both the male and female lions!  The driver told us that she can go up to two weeks without seeing one lion at all so that this was very special.  While I was on the safari, the rain had let up which was good.

After the safari I did some window shopping and picked up a few gifts for friends and family.  I then went to the Adventurer’s Outpost which is where Mickey and Minnie Mouse do a meet and greet.  I had a fast pass which made it easier.  After this experience I had decided to head back to the resort.  I took a break and filled my mug a few times and got a personal pepperoni pizza for lunch.

I then headed to the bus stop and took the bus to the Magic Kingdom.  Upon entering the park I went to Adventureland and played a portal of Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom but for some reason it didn’t work when I used my spell card so I had to go to yet another portal.  That time it worked and I then went to Liberty Square and got my daily card allotment.  For the heck of it, I decided to walk over to Fantasyland and see if Peter Pan was out.  Peter was, in fact, at his meeting spot in front of the Neverland Map aside of Peter Pan’s Flight but the line was already cut.  The cast member told me that he would be coming back out at 4:40 PM.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make that so I asked if he was meeting tomorrow morning and was told he would be meeting between 9:30 AM and 10:00 AM.  At that point I walked around Fantasyland and since it was already 4:15 PM by this time, I decided to hang around for the 4:40 Peter Pan meet and greet.  Getting in line around 4:20, I was hardly the first person in line.  But I waited it out and got to see my favorite character.  Peter liked my Darth Vader shirt I was wearing and asked about him.  When I said that Darth Vader cut off Luke Skywalker’s hand he chuckled and said he cut off Captain Hook’s hand so that Darth Vader must be like him but that he (Peter) smells better.

After seeing Peter Pan, I exited the Magic Kingdom and boarded the monorail which I took the Transportation and Ticket Center.  From there I hopped on the other monorail and went to EPCOT.  Immediately I walked to World Showcase and saw Duffy the Disney Bear which will probably be the last time I will get a picture with him as they announced that his meet and greet is ending.  I then went to the photography shop and got the complimentary print out from my picture at the Chase Character Spot from yesterday.  I then went over to the Chase Character Spot and got another picture taken.  It was Mickey Mouse and Goofy again which was ok as they are always fun.  They, too, liked my Darth Vader shirt and pretended to duel one another with lightsabers!

Lastly, I went to Mouse Gears and finished my shopping for this trip by getting gifts for the last of my friends and family.  The odd part was I was looking for something at Animal Kingdom and in the back of my mind I kept hearing, go to Mouse Gears.  And well when I went to Mouse Gears I saw something that one of my friends is really going to like.

I decided to call it a day at this point and made my way back to the resort.  I stopped and ordered dinner which I will heat up later and eat before going to bed.  I then started the worst part of vacation:  packing to go home.  At this point I am packed except for what I’m wearing and what I need to get ready in the morning but otherwise I’m under control.  I even have time to get some ice cream before retiring for the night.

Total steps walked per my Fitbit:  19,958 (but I will break 20k when I walk over for ice cream)

Disney World 9/12 Visit

Today after getting a refill of my drink at Old Key West I headed to the Magic Kingdom. I got here in time to see the Opening Show. I then checked in for the Keys to the Kingdom tour. I was early so they checked me in by giving me my name pin, the head set for the tour, a bottle of water and they took my order for lunch at Columbia Harbor House. I had time so I got my picture in front of the big Halloween pumpkins and then I went and had a picture with Marie from the Aristocats.

For the tour, phones and cameras are prohibited so wasn’t on social during the five hour tour. The tour started out walking on Main Street USA & explained how the railroad is the curtain and the castle is the main event. Cast members wear outfits like they are movie ushers on Main Street and the road is red as to be the red carpet. This is because the park is to be like a movie which was the company’s first product. What I didn’t know is that the names on the windows of Main Street serve as the credits as those people were instrumental in some way of developing the park. So real people who contributed have their names added in this way.

The tour explained how the park transitions from one land to the next. It also explained things about certain attractions and how they were developed. We rode the Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion as part of the tour. Some interesting tidbits about the Haunted Mansion is that the voice of Madame Leota is the same person who voiced Maleficent. The face of the singing bust that fell on its side is the same face as the guy who is getting the rhino horn to his butt on the Jungle Cruise. There is a hidden Mickey created by the hand of the Grimm reaper standing next to the woman who is wearing a Viking hat and singing in the graveyard scene.

We got to go behind the scenes and see where they keep and maintain the floats. While back there we would see cast members in casual mode including some characters in partial costume.

The tour ended with seeing some of the tunnel system below Magic Kingdom which was very interesting. The friend of Sleeping Beauty walked by in bedroom slippers!

There are four keys to the kingdom: safety, courtesy, show and efficiency. Safety of guests and cast members is throughout the park. Courtesy refers to their customer service. Show is that they can’t break from the show. With the behind the scenes areas there are lines that mark where you can and can’t be seen by guests. If a cast member is in front of the line they must be in character. And Disney strives to do all of this and do it as efficiently as possible.

It was a great tour and I’d highly recommend it to adults. Our tour guide was Seth and he was great. He does tours two days a week and works at Animal Kingdom on the other days.

After the tour I walked around Adventureland and played Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom. Today I was able to actually get a pack of cards.

I was pretty tired from the tour and I had already walked over 12k steps per my Fitbit. Therefore I decided to head back to the resort for a quick rest before going to EPCOT.

Upon entering EPCOT I headed to the Character Spot where I had a fast pass.  I got my picture taken with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Minnie Mouse.  I then walked to World Showcase and to Duffy’s meet and greet.  This was particularly emotional for me as this was a meet and greet Mom and I always did together.  I walked up to Duffy and told him I had to see him because he was my Mom’s favorite.  I said that I recently lost Mom and Duffy gave me a big bear hug and touched his heart and gave me another hug.  I said this picture was in memory of Mom and the photographer told me I was a good son.  Duffy put his arm around me and put his other hand on his heart which made for a beautiful picture. And then Duffy gave me another big hug.  I teared up a bit but did well and I know Mom was there in spirit.

Next I walked to Innoventions which is mostly closed but the Chase Character Meet is still happening.  I had my picture with Mickey Mouse and Goofy there which was fun.  I had a fast pass for Mission: Space but for some weird reason I walked to Spaceship Earth.  As I tried to use the fast pass the cast member nicely told me I was at the wrong attraction and I felt stupid!  So then I walked to Mission: Space.  I decided to do the orange, more intense mission.  I was expecting more spinning but it wasn’t that big of a deal.  You just feel more of the zero gravity than in the green, less intense version.

I then walked over to Test Track and got in the single rider line.  Well while I was in line they ceased operations as a storm moved in.  So I exited the attraction and it was lightning and there was light rain.  I had one more fast pass which was for Soarin’ and I wasn’t going to miss that.  Well as I started my walk, with my rain gear on, it started to pour rain.  By the time I got to the Land Pavilion, my shoes and socks were soaked and even my shorts were soaked.  But I went on Soarin’ anyway and had fun.  I then made my way back to the resort.

For dinner I had a hamburger and fries with some soft serve ice cream for dessert.  My socks and sneakers were soaked through when I got them off.

It was a great day overall but I decided to get a good night sleep as I was pretty tired, especially with the tour in the morning.  Total steps walked via Fitbit was 23,831!

Disney World Trip 9/11/15

My latest adventure in the happiest place on Earth is a long weekend from Friday, September 11, 2015 through Monday, September 14, 2015. This will be my first trip since my Mom passed away unexpectedly almost three weeks ago. I’m honestly not sure how this trip will go as this is my first trip without her as Mom came with me on most of my Disney vacations. I decided to take this trip solo which is something I don’t do often. It will be a good opportunity to relax and deal with the emotions that have resulted from everything that I’ve been going through. I do still plan on coming in October and December and I do have family coming on those trips.

This trip has not had a great start as my 6:00 AM flight has been delayed until 10:20 AM. Normally I take direct flights out of Philadelphia but I decided to try a different airline out of the local airport with me having one stop. Well in hindsight that was a big mistake as I am now projected to arrive in Orlando at 3:30 PM as opposed to 10:30 AM. So I will be losing a half day of vacation by spending it sitting in an airport. 

My flight from Pennsylvania took off around 10:30 AM and I got into Atlanta just before 1 PM which was in plenty of time for my 1:55 PM flight to Orlando. This flight departed around 2:20 PM and we got into Orlando by 3:30 PM. I was immediately let on to a Disney Magical Express bus and Old Key West, where I am staying, was the first stop. 

I was in my room by 4:30 PM and I will admit I cried a bit when I looked at the second bed. The nice thing about Old Key West studios is they have two beds instead of a bed and a pull out sofa. When I looked at the second bed where Mom was supposed to stay, I broke down a bit.

As if this day couldn’t be any more interesting, when I stepped out of my room to check something my Magic Band wouldn’t let me back in. I walked to the closest bus stop and called the front desk. They sent someone and the master magic band didn’t work either. She had to use the actual key to open the door. She said the lock mechanism is broken and maintenance will come to fix it but I could go to the parks and it should be done when I get back.

As I was walking to the Turtle Pond bus stop I saw a bus to Magic Kingdom depart so I was expecting to have a wait but after a few minutes a bus came. Immediately upon getting to Magi Kingdom I used my Fastpass to go on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which was amazing. I was able to video the animatronic parts of the ride.

I then walked around and played some of the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game. However when I went to get new cards they had closed the center because of Magic Kingdom closing at 7 PM for Night of Joy. So I decided to go to Hollywood Studios for the last hour it was open. I’m on the bus there now. 

Before leaving Magic Kingdom I stopped in the Emporium, the large gift shop on Main Street USA. I was looking for Halloween stuff as they always seem to sell out of the adult Halloween shirts by October. I found the shirt but all they had were size small and 1 XXL. I took the XXL figuring too big was better than none at all. I asked a cast member of they had any size large or XL. It figures now that I am in smaller sizes they are going to have the larger stuff. I was in luck as the cast member found an XL which I purchased.

When I got to Hollywood Studoos I did more damage to my wallet as I went into Mickey’s of Hollywood where I found some Star Wars: The Force Awakens shirts and pins. I also bought the new Figment Magic Band.

I then walked around Echo Lake and took pictures as I don’t know how much longer it will be there. Next I rode Star Tours that despite a projected 20 minute wait, I walked right on to. It was then that I spent more money in Tattoine Traders. I found more Star Wars pins that are new since I was here last. The sequence for Star Tours was Darth Vader, Tattoine pod race, Princess Leia transmission, Geonosis space battle with Jango Fett, Death Star and finally the rebel ship with Admiral Ackbar.

The Streets of America was my next stop where I took pictures including Mr Gold’s Pawn Shop from Once Upon A Time. It was then that I saw that Watto’s Grotto from Star Wars Weekends is still open. There I found more The Force Awakens pins which I bought with a gift card I have.

I then returned to Old Key West. I checked in with the front desk and they saw that more door still hadn’t been fixed. Evidently when the maintenance person came there wasn’t a manager available to get a key to open my door. The manager on duty paged maintenance who came immediately and fixes my door while I went to the quick service location and got my refillable mug and ordered dinner.

Later I went back and filled my mug a few time but then showered and turned in for the night. It was somewhat sad coming back to the room alone and I admit that I cried a bit. But then I ate my dinner which was the first I had eaten all day as well as some of the snacks from the airline and I felt a bit better.

Total steps: 19,716 on Fitbit 

Dorney Park September 5, 2015

Today we spent the day in Dorney Park in Allentown, PA again. Although the parking lot was full when we got here, right at the park opened at 10:00 AM, the amusement park was not very crowded. My guess is most people headed to the water park.

Our first stop, after walking through Planet Snoopy, was to the Muisk Express. I believe we were the first people to ride this attraction today as they took off the chain right before we entered. There were no other passengers on the train which was fun!

Next up was Thunderhawk the wooden roller coaster followed by The Scrambler. There was only one other person on Thunderhawk and we did Scrambler alone. 

I then used my all season dining to get a Subway sub. That will be lunch one day this upcoming week. 

We then walked around a bit and ended up going on the Monster. I was nervous the first time I rode this but have come to love it. The first time I was the only person on the ride so I went a second time. This go round there were more people so they operated two arms of the monster. 

Planet Snoopy was the next stop and Smoopy was walking around in his Hawaiian shirt so I got a picture with him.  We then walked around the candy store, the Sugar Shack. They advertised $1 deals. Well it turned out it was a ruler lol. 

Next I did the Sea Dragon which I am coming to like more and more each time I ride it. We were in the third row from the back which was fun. 

We doubled back and did the Musik Express again followed by the Tilt-a-Whirl. It was then that I got brave and decided to go on Steel Force which is a roller coaster with a 250 foot drop. I actually loved it. 

With the roller coaster done we had lunch. We had $1 hot dogs. I can see why they were a $1 as they were lukewarm at best. 

Dorney Park 6/20/2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015 started as a gloomy day in the Lehigh Valley. Like many weekend days this day was spent in Dorney Park.

Arriving just before 9:30 AM we got early entry at 9:30 because of our Annual Pass. I used this time to just walk around as there are only three attractions open during the 9:30 – 10:00 time and I don’t frequent those.

When the full park opened I headed to Musik Express and it was running with just two people on it. I waited in line and rode it all alone–only person on the ride.

After some more walking around, I came to the Scrambler which I personally call the Mixer Machine. I wasn’t quite alone on the ride but only one other car. 

Using the All Season Dining plan I purchased, I went to Subway. I bought my typical turkey sub with reduced fat chips. Fortunately, like a regular Subway, they wrap it up and put it in a bag as I wasn’t quite hungry yet but the way the meal plan works is you get two meals a day but they have to be four hours apart. So I buy my Subway early so I can get dinner before leaving the park.

The next ride was Tilt A Whirl. Although there are more people about now and the ride was full, I didn’t have a long wait. 

No visit to Dorney Park is complete without at least one ride on the Whip. I walked right on and got a blue car which is always my personal preference.

Next up was Cedar Creek Flyers. As I approached no one was on the ride and there was no line. So I got to ride it by myself. As I rode a small line formed which was good. 

I was in line for Monster, a ride I have never been on and was about to get on when the attendant came over to those of us in line and said they had to close the ride. A woman who was on had just thrown up so they had to close it so it could be cleaned.

Planet Snoopy was my next stop. At noon the famous beagle himself, Snoopy, came out and I got a picture with him.

I then returned to Monster and rode it for the first time. I loved it! I will definitely do again. 

Planet Snoopy was, once again, my destination. Sally, Charlie Brown’s little sister was on stage for pictures. After Sally left, Woodstock came out and I got a picture with him.

Dinosaurs Alive has quickly become one of my favorite parts of Dorney Park. Unfortunately this area doesn’t get a lot of traffic. That’s good from the perspective of taking pictures but I fear what the future holds for this area as the last few times I have been here it has been virtually empty. Entrance to Dinosaurs Alive is not included in park admission and costs $5 which isn’t bad. Annual pass holders do get in free though. Honestly as a pass holder I come almost every visit to Dorney but as nice as it is, I wouldn’t pay five bucks more than once.

It was then back to the Scrambler for round two of the day. At this point I had done just about all I wanted to do for the day but had some time to kill before I could use my meal plan again. So I decided to do some rides again. 

I decided to head back to Monster since I had so much fun the last time. Today they were only loading two arms of the Monster despite it having six arms. Each arm has four cars. 

Round two of Cedar Creek Flyers was next followed by yet another visit to the Whip. 

My day at Dorney ended with using the meal plan to get dinner. I got a personal pepperoni pizza with breadsticks from Amore Pizza.

It was a great day. 

Magic Kingdom & Hollywood Studios: Sunday, March 15, 2015

After stopping at the resort for a few minutes and getting something to drink, I headed to the Magic Kingdom. I met up with friends from Instagram and watches the Festival of Fantasy parade with them. We watched from the hub near Tomorrowland which afforded me the opportunity to get nice pictures of the characters who walk along the parade route as opposed to those who are on floats.

After catching up with these friends, we went over to Tom Sawyer Island. It has been many years since I was there so it was fun to take the ferry over, see the different views–especially of Big Thunder Mountain, and take the raft back to Magic Kingdom. 

After saying goodbye to my friends I played a few rounds of Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom. I then got my daily card allotment from the area in Liberty Square. I ended my day at the Magic Kingdom by picking up some gifts at the Confectionary.

Back at Animal Kingdom Lodge I got something to drink but then headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It seems from what we heard earlier in the week, it will not be called this for much longer. Although the construction wall is still up the Sorcerer’s Hat is gone. It was very odd to see the Chinese theater unobstructed but it is a very cool look. I enjoyed taking pictures of this “new” scenery.

I walked around Hollywood Studios before going to the theater where “Sounds Dangerous” used to be as this is where Disney was offering an extended preview of the live action “Cinderella”. They played a good chunk of the scene between the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella including the transformation of the coach, horses, and clothing. I can’t wait to see the movie!

I then rode Star Tours and this wa interesting. The cast member had everyone secure and was about to shut the door when a woman in the front row asked to leave. The cast member had to shut the ride down and let the woman out. The cast member then had to restart the ride process but she missed a step and had to call for help. Finally we got to ride the attraction and our sequence was: Millennium Falcon, Pod Race on Tattoine, Yoda and Naboo.

I did some window shopping but then decided to call it a night. As I walked to the bus stop the bus was there and was in the middle of a driver change. I was the first passenger to board. No one else came so after a few minutes the driver drove off thus giving me a private bus ride back to the resort!

Since I didn’t have dinner, I went to Jambo house to their quick service restaurant, The Mara, and got a pepperoni flat bread. The line was huge! After I got my food I walked from Jambo back to Kidani. I filled out mug and got ice cream bars as a treat. I was surprised they gave me a pass holder discount on them!

Animal Kingdom Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday, March 15th was allocated to Animal Kingdom for the morning. Tusker House was our first destination as we had 8:40 breakfast reservations. As soon as we were seated Mickey Mouse greeted us in his safari outfit. Shortly thereafter we were met with Goofy and Daisy Duck in their Safari outfits. After we were finished Donald Duck came to see us in his safari gear. I showed him my plush Donald Duck which is clipped to my backpack which he, of course, liked. 

Festival of the Lion King was our next stop as we had fast passes to the 10 AM show which is the first show of the day. The show was impressive as always and always sets a great tone for the day. One thing that touched me was during the final number when they invite kids out to dance with the cast, one of the cast member got a little girl who was in a wheelchair and wheeled her around with the kids who were dancing. Disney is magical and I bet that family appreciated it.

As we were walking by Daisy Duck was out greeting guests so we got in line. She was wearing her pink and purple dress which I told her she looked lovely in to which I got a hug and kiss!

Our mission of the day was to find DiVine as we have never seen her. As we got to thre front of the park she was exiting but I did get a few pictures of her as she walked away. I spoke to a cast member and she said DiVine was coming back in a half hour. So we did some window shopping and went back and saw the cast member who worked with DiVine. She came out moments later and was so beautiful and graceful. After a few steps and graceful moves DiVine stopped by a tree and posed with guests. So I finally can add DiVine to my list of characters I have met.

Mickey and Minnie in their Safari Outifits at Adventurer Outpost was our next stop as we had fast passes. This was a great time as the mice are always great. 

It was then on to two of my favorite characters at Animal Kingdom: Louie & Baloo. These two are alway hysterical and they did not disappoint this time either. They gave us hugs and joked around.

The Kilimanjaro Safari was our next stop and we got to see some great animals. I’m happy we had fast passes as the wait time was 70 minutes!

This concluded our day at Animal Kingdom so we headed back to our resort before heading out to the next park. 

EPCOT March 14, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015 is our first full day in Walt Disney World for this trip. We have breakfast reservations at Akershus in the Norway pavilion of EPCOT. It is a princess character breakfast that has great food. 

So an additional benefit of having an early dining reservation before EPCOT opened was the ability to take pictures without being obstructed by other people. This was especially helpful since there were several high profile topiaries that are on the way to Akershus including Mickey & Minnie and Anna & Elsa.

When we got to Akershus we got a shock. We presented our Tables in Wonderland card and they said this date is now blacked out. I went on the website as I didn’t know this and it turns out this was added after I purchased Tables in Wonderland. I spoke to the manager and he gave me the discount which is only right. He told me I should speak to guest relations.

For the morning we walked around EPCOT taking in the Flower and Garden Festival. We went to the butterfly house which has the Tinker Bell topiary outside of it. Unfortunately this year they are not handing out seeds as they had done in previous years. Near the butterfly house is the Fantasia topiary with Sorcerer Mickey. The radiator springs team is represented by Mater & Lightning McQueen topiaries and Buzz Lightyear is outside of “Mission:  Space”.  Monsters Inc has Mike and Sully from Monsters University in a play area. 

In World Showcase Bambi, Thumper and Flower are outside the Canadian pavilion. Peter Pan is atop the United Kingdom pavilion building looking down on Captain Hook and the Crocodile. Just beyond the UK pavilion Winnie the Pooh is alone this year.

Cinderella and her Prince have been relocated and are outside of France pavilion. Belle and Beast are also outside of France with the Clock and Candlestick behind them. Absent is Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip as well as the tea set from Beauty and the Beast.

Woody from Toy Story is outside of the American pavilion while Snow White and all Seven Dwarfs, who are all very detailed with faces, are outside of Germany. Lady and the Tramp as well as Miss Piggy are outside of the Italy pavilion. Rafiki holding baby Simba is outside of China pavilion as is the Year of the Sheep topiary.

As we exited World Showcase we had to stop and see my favorite Disney Bear. We had our pictures taken with Duffy.

Shopping was our next big activity as we shopped in the Germany pavilion as well as in one of our favorite stores: Mouse Gears. I bought a new Mickey Mouse polo shirt as all of the Mickey polo shirts I currently own are now too big for me. 

Still being exhausted from the week and the long day yesterday we headed back to Animal Kingdom Lodge to rest.

After a short rest it was back to EPCOT where we had fast passes to Mission: Space. There were not a lot of people at Mission: Space and we really wouldn’t have needed a fast pass but since we had it, we used it. 

Briefly stopped into the Festival Center before heading to Innovations for the Chase Visa Character Meet and Greet. This area has been growing in popularity and almost every time I come here there is some line. The line wasn’t extremely long as I was about the fifth group in line. The mystery characters were Minnie Mouse and Pluto.

Next was a quick stop at Club Cool to get a drink. It was really packed in there and the floor was so sticky my feet got stuck for a second to the floor. I did find a Figment phone case for my iPhone 5S and I bought it as I don’t have a Figment case and hadn’t seen one before.

It was then on the the EPCOT Character Spot for which we had a fast pass. We did pictures with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Minnie Mouse.

Journey Into Imagination with Figment was our next stop. To my surprise Figmenr had a stated wait time of 30 minutes. It didn’t take quite that long but this is an attraction you usually walk right on to. After Figment we saw the classic Captain EO. Much to my surprise I heard a woman coming out of Captaim EO saying she would never go back. I, personally, find the show nostalgic and visit every time.

We then used our fast passes for Soarin’ which is a must do every trip for us. I briefly talked to a cast member about the announced expansion to include another bay. He said something like they might be moving the cue back and adding on that way. Not sure exactly what he meant but time will tell.

Having used all of our fast passes and having seen all of the topiaries we decided to make it an early night and get some rest. This trip is meant to be a relaxing trip with the only real goal being to see the topiaries of the Flower and Garden Festival. With that goal achieved the next day and a half are going to be slower paced and more relaxed than most of our trips. 

Magic Kingdom

After walking around for a bit I headed over to Frontierland. I spotted Chip and Dale in their cowboy outfits so I waited in line to get a picture.

After a great meeting with Chip and Dale it was time to go with the other foolish mortals to the Haunted Mansion. 

After the Haunted Mansion we began walking from Liberty Square area toward Tomorrowland. As we got to the tea cups I saw that the Tweedles were out meeting with the White Rabbit. Unfortunately by the time I got there the line had closed and th cast member said they wouldn’t be back today.

After looking at some pins, we headed over to the Carousel of Progress. This is a tradition that we have to visit each trip.

We then spent some time playing Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom before stopping to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade. Although I have seen this parade multiple times now, I am truly amazed and in awe every time I see it.

Adventureland Veranda was my next stop as I had to visit my all time favorite character: Peter Pan. This was a different Peter Pan that I had not met before and he was great! Very friendly and outgoing and quite interactive. He asked my name, where I was from and when I said where he would go on about Neverland and how I should come. Was a great character meet.

Since we had time until next Fastpasses we decided to head back to the hotel and freshen up a bit. I wanted to change out of the clothes I had been wearing since 4 AM and traveled in. 

After freshening up a bit we headed back to the Magic Kingdom and headed directly to the Princess Fairytale Hall. We had a fast pass to meet Elsa and Anna. Both were terrific and very personable. Anna was adorable to boot.

We had some time before our next fast pass so we strolled around and did some window shopping. Then it was time for our fast pass which was Seven Dwarf Mine Train. This attraction just blows my mind with how awesome it is. The animatronics are amazing. We had a few moment wait before our train was to pull in for us to depart so I got some pictures of the animatronics at the end. 

Our dinner reservations were for Chef Mickey’s so we took the monorail to the Contemporary. I found the pressed coin machine for the Peter Pan coin. It is a pressed quarter and I added one to my collection.