I have finally got everything away and have even scrapped today - not the page I thought I would make first but it came to us when we were away.
One of the things we love to do is play the licence plate game - seeing how many different state plates we can see.
We are armed with a list of states in the car and tick them off when found. Florida is always the best place to do this as so many people country wide drive to Disney World. This year we managed 39 states.
I had great fun finding and printing off the licence plates
and even used a brand new piece of paper and some journalling blocks and die cuts bought on holiday.
I found a licence plate site where I could design my own plate and so I did and it acts as the title for the page - Hunting Licences.
Boy it felt good to have that glue out again!
Val, you said you are Florida bound but are not sure where to stay. If you are doing the whole Disney bit I can whole-heartedly and without reservation recommend the Caribbean Beach resort. we have been to see most of the other resorts and apart from Wilderness Lodge - which is a lot more expensive - I wouldn't personally put any of them, Grand Floridian included, above the aribbean Beach for a whole host of reasons. Feel free to ask if there are any questions I can answer.
Anyway, on to the next day of the holiday, along with copious pictures.
Thursday 17th July 2014
Today was to be the first full day of parks and we were bot worried how my ankle would cope. Last visit it had been awful and I was convinced it was because of the torn ligament couple of months before we travelled. Nigel was convinced the heat affected the already damaged joint. I was determined to walk this time and walk I did.
We started our day off with breakfast at Port Royale. It was a great package we had again. We paid $420 each for 14 day park tickets and 14 days on the Quick Service dining plan… a total of $840. This meant two full meals and a snack were included for each of us, plus resort mugs giving unlimited drinks. We sat an added up what we had had one day and it came to around $40 a day each. That meant $480 dollars over our 12 night stay each –a whopping total of $960 in food. Now bear in mind park passes were advertised at all the parks at $444 for 7 day park hopper passes with water parks too and you can see were up on the deal. And no – we didn’t pay more for our hotel room either! It also came with a whole load of vouchers for different things and a $100 free, no strings attached, Disney gift card. All in all an amazing deal. With food, gift card and passes adding up to somewhere in the region of $1948 you can see we were over $1000 better off. If only you could have real silverware it would be perfection, but I guess I can use disposable crockery and cutlery for a $1000 dollar saving.
Anyway I digress. Meals were included on property and so we had breakfast each day at Port Royale.
They did an Adult Bounty Platter which we really enjoyed each day and which more than set us up for the whole day so we didn’t eat again until the evening. I never ate the potatoes (Nigel and I traded potatoes for biscuits as he hated the biscuit … which is just like a scone … and I hated the potatoes) and used to have mine with all bacon and no sausage.
Coupled with unlimited free drinks with a huge choice from every type of soda, iced tea, hot tea and coffee plus an additional bottle of drink to take away (water for me and always chocolate milk for Nigel) we were well set up for the day.
It was also the first time we had a chance to really see the beautiful resort in the daylight and so here are some pictures from that first morning from the patio and boardwalk. Having chilled out we were ready for the off and so hit Epcot before it even opened. How amazing was that! (the benefits of our time clocks not fully adjusting I think!)
We were kitted out well this trip as the cancer scare had been a true scare. I was under orders from the hospital to not be in the sun. Now that is almost impossible in Florida. I was told to wear long sleeves and trousers, a hat, wear factor 50 applied every 1 ½ hours and absolutely no sun at all between 11 and 3. Well we did try. The long sleeves and pants were always going to be a no no. It was 94 degrees most of the time and very humid. I’d have died. But we had purchased proper expensive UVA Factor 50 hats at great expense and we did wear Factor 50 all the time regularly applied and we did stay out of the sun as much as possible, but we still came home quite tanned.
We had our picture taken as soon as we arrived at the park. Proof we were wearing our hats. We didn’t have as many photos taken this year as it was very hot and there is a limit to the number of shiny sweaty pictures one can enjoy, but the one of us with the frame at Epcot was our favourite.
It was very quiet as we entered and so we went onto Spaceship Earth first – no wait at all. It has always been one of my favourite rides and they have changed it in recent years and – thankfully – it is still as good, just more up to date, making use of technology at the end which was kind of fun.
Epcot is perhaps a more adult based park and we love it, but it is also very beautiful and very restful. Not often you can say that about a theme park!
As it was still quiet we rode The Land before our soarin' fast pass kicked in. It is a cute ride and I love the bit through the greenhouses showing off the new technologies for growing food.
We also saw one of my all time favourite attractions, the Circle of Life. It is an amazing film that has, again, been brought up to date. It used to be called symbiosis and they have kept much of the footage, but to sustain the interest from families they have added a Lion King story line with Timon and Pumba wanting to build Hakuna Matata Village and Simba explaining how we have to respect the land and live in harmony with it. I always come out of the film very moved and feeling it should be the THE LAW for every single child to watch the film so they grow up understanding why we have to look after the world and how important conservation is and that it begins right in our own backyard.
By the time we had done all of that – again with no wait at all, we were ready to use our very first fast pass. Now we had a read a fair bit of negative feedback about the fast passes and it is true that some of the less visited attractions developed longer lines because of fast pass, but we found it to be great. We booked our fast passes before we left home – though we did tinker with them when we were there. We never had one that didn’t work and all of our fast passes took us pretty much straight onto the ride. Worst case scenario was a five minute wait. When you consider that when we did Soaring it was going to be a 70 minute wait and The 7 dwarves mine train was 120 minutes and we just walked straight on it shows how valuable it was.
Anyway, we did Soarin' and enjoyed it very much. You ‘soar’ over California and it is very cute (though there is no way I would wait 70 minutes for it and I have no idea why it is SO popular.) We enjoyed it as, of all of the places in America, California is the state we have explored most of, from San Fran, Sacramento and San Jose to LA, San Diego, Newport Beach, Death Valley, Yosemite, Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe, the Napa Valley and so on.
After Soarin' we did somethingw e had been very very excited about doing. We had our first - of many - Disney Starbucks. It was a match made in heaven for us. Disney and Starbucks together! And the venti Frap - even though it was $5 - counted as just one snack credit. Free Fraps! What's not to like?
It was a glorious day and so we decided we’d take the boat over to Morocco. The ankle was holding up well, but why walk when you can sail!
We enjoyed Morocco, always beautiful with the red stone against the blue sky, and passed through Japan onto America. You can see how quiet it was…. Almost deserted.
We passed quickly through Japan.
And then on to America.
We loved watching the fife and drum band play and then we caught one of our all time favourites, the Liberty Bell singers. The acoustics in the dome are fabulous and this acapella group are awesome.
and these are the first two videos I have ever taken with my phone (daft I know ..
I just never use the video )
so it is a bit shaky but you get the general idea
We loved the American Adventure. It is so well done, tells such a great story and we always cry at the film at the end. We have also been ‘behind the scenes’ and seen the underground workings of the attraction… which are of course not underground but in ground floor level as everything else is on the first floor. You don’t get underground in Florida as the water table is so high.
I am sure this shouldn't have been filmed but it was - and here it is. If you have never been but are planning to go DO NOT watch these videos as it will spoil it. If you have been or are never planning to visit - do watch and enjoy ... part 2 has the film. I hasten to add I didn't film this - it was just on You Tube.
From there we wandered through Italy – more interesting to see as we have now been to the real Venice – and then on to Germany before visiting China for a snack at the Lotus Blossom Café which was lovely . The sticky orange chicken is delicious and finished off with ginger ice-cream.
Norway was very busy as it is where the Frozen things are based and Frozen is very much the film of the moment – so we headed on to Mexico and took the boat ride as there was no wait.
We debated staying for the evening but the weather looked like rain was coming in – it never did – and so we opted to leave early. We had to claim our $100 gift card from The World of Disney in the Disney Village Marketplace and, quite frankly, we were dreading it.
The marketplace area and Downtown Disney is all being remodelled. There was never enough car parking and now the remodelling has taken a lot of what little they had. It will be great when finished, with huge parking garages and the area is doubling in size but quite frankly it is HELL at the moment and not somewhere we were keen to visit. However, the lure of $100 was quite strong. We were very lucky and parked quickly and went to claim our voucher, meeting a very helpful cast member called Alan. Gift card in hand we went to spend it – largely on gifts for others – the girls have had their wish list largely filled!
We ate at Port Royal that night – I had been hankering after their grilled cheese – and we were treated to an almost perfect sunset. I have always wanted to be there for sunset and we have never managed it. If we have been there at dusk it has always been cloudy. I thought the sunset was perfect till we saw an even better one in our second week!
It was wonderful watching the colours change and also seeing the many turtles – sadly hard to capture on photos. It was the end of a pretty perfect day and we were pooped!
Today I am thankful for
- a place for everything and everything in its place