Day 10 (departure day) in review

Anyone who has ever left Disney knows the feeling that comes along with departure day! It’s kinda the worst! You will be leaving the magical Disney bubble and heading back to the real world! Thankfully I booked an evening flight and we are able to get our last fill of the parks before heading out! 

We woke up early to finish our packing and when we were ready we called bell services to come get our luggage! They met us at the resort airline check in. This is one of my very favorite Disney services. We were able to check our bags, store our carry one, and get our boarding passes printed! All we have to do when we get to the airport is go through security and board the plane! 

After checking our luggage we headed to Epcot! We were in the park for rope drop and headed straight for test track. Even with being there for rope drop they were already estimating a 30 minute wait for the ride, so we headed straight for the single rider line! It was awesome! We may have missed out on designing and customizing our car, BUT we were on the ride by 8:59 and even were ahead of those who started in the main line! 

After that we headed to Starbucks and used 2 of our 4 remaining snack credits! Using the credits at Starbucks gives you a lot of bang for your snack credit buck because you can order any drink any size! Both of us ordered Venti specialty drinks and our two snack credits were worth $13!!!

  
We had fast passes for Spaceship Earth, Soarin, and the Character Spot! We had a great time at all three! After our fast passes we headed for the world showcase for a few more beverages, and some culture! Margaritas in Mexico, shopping in China, lunch in Italy, Voices of Liberty in America, and a beer for Craig in the UK! 

   
    
    
 
Around 4pm we headed back to the resort to catch the “Tragical Express” (What we lovingly call DME) on the way home. The bus took us right to the airport and all had to do was go through security and board the plane (boarding passes and luggage were all handled back at the resort!) 

While it’s sad to be leaving our Disney home, I always miss my dogs and my own bed!!! 

M-I-C (see you real soon) K-E-Y (why? Because we like you!) M-O-U-S-E

  

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Day 9 in Review

Today was our last full day at Disney and what a LONG day it has been!  We started our day with an 8:05 reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant!  Having an early morning reservation was to our advantage, and allowed us the rare opportunity to see a nearly empty Main Street USA, and we were able to get some great pics of the castle with very few people in our way!

  
Be Our Guest restaurant was a nice experience and was much less crowded than it was during lunch.  We enjoyed dining in the West Wing.  Breakfast in my mind was a good use of a quick service dining credit, however, with that being said, I would not pay $19.99 for that meal outside of the dining plan.

   
   
As soon as we were done with breakfast we saw there was only a 10 minute wait for the Flight of Peter Pan!  It hard to find this ride without a 80 minute wait, so it was nice to take advantage of this short wait and see the new interactive queue.

   
 After Peter Pan we headed to Tomorrowland, and had time to check out Monsters Inc Laugh Floor before our Space Mountain fast pass!  I just love the laugh floor because it’s a different show every time!

Space Mountain was awesome as usual, and we were able to take in some of the favorites around Tomorrowland afterwards; Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, People Mover, and Carousel of Progress!

Our next fast pass was to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel, so I did a picture with Rapuzel (who played her character SOOOO well!!!) and Craig did a photo with Cinderella!  This was our first time in Princess Fairytale Hall, and would recommend it to anyone with young princess fans ūüôā

   
 After the princesses we headed to Haunted Mansion for one last ride through, and then we were off to Splash Mountain for our final fast pass at the Magic Kingdom!  Rather than walk back through the crowds to the park exit we decided to ride the Magic Kingdom Railway back to Main Street USA.  Saying goodbye to the Magic Kingdom is always saddening, but it’s never really a goodbye, it’s “Until we meet again!”

  
  
We enjoyed lunch and napping back at Pop Century before heading to Hollywood Studios for the evening.  When we arrived at HS we headed straight for a kiosk and got a fast pass for Star Tours.  We had just enough time before dinner to head to Muppet Vision 3D (everything else had AT LEAST a 1 hour wait!)

  
Dinner was at the Prime Time 50’s cafe and was AWESOME!!!!  I highly recommend it to anyone!  Food was awesome and the atmosphere was really fun if you’r willing to play along. We joined the elite club of “Clean Plate Club” and were told by our server that we were his best behaved guests of the evening ūüôā

   
   
After dinner wait times were still crazy long for just about everything, so we hit some of the shops before our 8:15 fast pass for star tours.  We were a little disappointed that everything still had such a long wait time!  Fantasmic was standing room only at that point, Toy Story was closed for the evening, and so was the Great Movie Ride.  Rockin Roller Coaster was a 150 minute wait, and Tower of Terror was 70.  With all of that we decided to just head back to the resort :-/  It was a little saddening that I didn’t get to ride RnR on this trip (it was broken down the first time we were there) because it’s my hand down favorite Disney Coaster!  Hopefully as HS goes through its re-vamp it will be better in the future.  It was definitely the most disappointing park on this trip.

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And the Highlight of my day was meeting Elsa, with absolutely no wait!

  

Day 8 in review

Today was our last non-park day of the trip. We took today off because we were transferring resorts. We decided to resort hop on the last two days, and Disney makes resort hopping super easy!

All we had to do when were all packed up was call bell services! They arrived at our door a few minutes after we called, and collected our luggage! The delivered it to Pop Century Resort for us! When transferring luggage between resorts the delivery could happen between 1 and 5 pm.  Ours came around 4 and in my mind is such a great service that Disney offers!

So in our original plan we were going to head straight from French Quarter to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, however I received a text by 9am saying that our room was ready at Pop Century.  We decided to use Uber to transport ourselves to Pop Century, rather than wait and transfer busses etc, plus this allowed us to get settled in our new room a little sooner.

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After we were settled in our new room we did head to Blizzard Beach for a little while. ¬†We hit the lazy river and a few of the slides. ¬†It was a fairly cool day for Orlando (around 78-80 degrees) and very overcast, so Blizzard Beach was not packed at all. ¬†We didn’t say long because we did want to enjoy our day of rest

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We further deviated from our plans by canceling our reservation for Beaches and Cream and picking up a reservation at Kona Cafe. ¬†We essentially did this because we really wanted to go back to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto again! ¬†I am so glad that our plans were flexible and that we were able to make that switch! ¬†We had an amazing meal at Kona and followed by more amazing beverages at Trader Sams, and another souvenir glass!

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Another great day at Disney!

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Day 7 in review

We are to the point in our trip where we’ve pretty much done most things at the park that we enjoy doing at least once.  We headed back to Epcot this morning and it was our first morning time at Epcot.  We had fast passes for Soarin, Spaceship Earth, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends.  We’ve really enjoyed taking this years trip at a more relaxed pace.  We are not rushing around because our trip is spread out, and that gives us a lot more time to take it all in and enjoy!


After we got of The Seas with Nemo and Friends, we headed to the world showcase starting with the Canada side.  We decided to watch the 360 degree circle vision movie “Oh Canada.”  I haven’t seen that since I was in 6th grade, and my husband had never seen it!  Sometimes the circle vision movies make me a little motion sick, but I was okay this time!  After Canada we headed to the UK for Craig to get his Boddingtons at the Rose and Crown Pub, and then to France for a Grand Marnier slush for me!  We had lunch at the pastry shop in France, and then decided it was time to head back to the hotel for napping and packing (we are transferring to the Pop Century resort for two more nights after tonight).

After napping (more napping and less packing) we headed to the magic kingdom! Our first stop was a fast pass kiosk. Here we were able to secure a fast pass time for haunted mansion after dinner. Before dinner we had just enough time to watch Mickeys Philharmagic… My favorite 3D movie at the parks!


We enjoyed dinner at the Crystal Palace. This was was our first time eating dinner there and I was not disappointed! We met pooh and tigger the other morning at park fare and we lucked out that Eeyore and Piglet were the two we met during dinner rather than duplicating!

After dinner we headed to our haunted mansion fast pass where the coolest part of our day happened! I noticed a cast member looking at the mansion when we got off and I went to look at his pins (I ended up trading for a really cool flounder pin). And we started chatting! He actually told me a secret about something that’s coming which I hope to share when it’s gone public). We chatted for about 10 minutes and he made our day Sooooo magical!!! He gave a special fast pass to ride anything because he had “kept talking so long.”


We had certainly enjoyed talking to him and it was a pleasure, but it was a nice magical touch that made our day just a little more special!

So after that we went to the fast pass kiosk (saving our magic fast pass for later) and got a fast pass for dumbo! I highly recommend riding this one at night or dusk because it’s beautiful!


Afterwards we headed to space mountain with our magic fast pass and it was down!!!! No worries though we were able to walk onto the people mover! And the cool thing was when we went through space mountain on the ride, the lights were on! You could see the inside of space mountain with lights on!!!!


Space mountain was still down, so we rode small world. As we were getting off Small World, we saw the that Space Mountain was still down but that Enchanted Tales with Belle was only a 10 minute wait, so off we went.  All I can say is WOW!!!! Well done Disney!  I highly recommend this experience for all ages! (I will do a full blog post on it at a later time)

  
By the time we got out of Enchanted Tales, Space Mountain was back up and running.  We headed there with our magic fast pass in hand!  So awesome!  It was the perfect ride to end our evening!  We headed back to the resort and got a cocktail at the Scat Cats Lounge.

What a great day ūüôā  Today’s Step Count-

  

Day 6 in review

Today was an interesting day full of firsts, as well as a first for the blog… hold the phone, because this mouskaholic is getting ready to talk about (shhhhh) Universal! ¬†Today Craig and I headed to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. ¬†Universal Studios has never held much appeal to me, nor have I had the desire to visit, that is until they added the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!

Our first “first” came by venturing off Disney Property by the use of Uber. ¬†If you’ve never heard of Uber, it’s a Taxi Service where drivers¬†use their own cars and you call them for pick up via a smartphone app.

We headed to the front entrance of our resort and scheduled a pick up.  The app was very easy to use, and our driver was there to pick us up in about 5 minutes.  I was able to see how close the driver was on the app as well as their name and the type of car they were driving.

When we left in the morning it must have been a very busy time because it said there was going to be a double fare surge charge.  Our fare from Port Orleans French Quarter to Universal ended up being $26.74 because of the surcharge.  It was still much quicker and more personal than riding a bus that stops at many resorts, and it was much cheaper than traditional taxi fares.

Disney and Universal are two completely different places, so it’s not fair to compare them, however being a self proclaimed Mouskaholic, it’s really hard not to compare! ¬†The first thing that took me by surprise is that we arrived right around 8am as the park was opening, and there was hardly anyone there! ¬†We headed straight for Diagon Alley and I was completely overwhelmed! ¬†It was a HUGE sensory overload! ¬†So much to look at and so much excitement! ¬†We were quite excited because the Escape from Gringotts ride was only a 20 minute wait, we ended up waiting almost an hour because the ride had broken down. ¬†We decided at 9:15 to resign ourselves and to just come back later. ¬†We got to the entrance and I said something to one of the cast members about being disappointed and he pulled me aside and gave me an express pass to come back with no wait! ¬†I was very impressed with that! ¬†It made my day a little more special!

Escape from Gringotts

Escape from Gringotts

Express pass to return to ride

Express pass to return to ride

After that we headed to the Leaky Cauldron for a butter beer.  There are three different versions of butter beer that you can get, frozen, cold, or hot.  We both went with the frozen and it was so wonderful!  It reminded me of cream soda slushy.

After purchasing our wands, casting a few spells, and visiting some of the shops, we boarded the Hogwarts Express and it was SOOOOO cool how they made it so you could walk through a brick wall to get to Platform 9 3/4! ¬†Super impressive. ¬†The ride on the Hogwarts Express was equally impressive. ¬†When we arrived at Hogsmeade station there was only a 10 minute wait for the Dragon Challenge. ¬†One thing that TOTALLY caught me off guard was that you had to go through a metal detector for this ride! ¬†I thought that was a little crazy. ¬†Craig ended up having to go back to the locker and put his cell phone in because it set the detector off. ¬†I get that they don’t want you to use electronics on the ride, but I see no reason that it couldn’t be in your pocket.

Hogwarts- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Hogwarts- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

After the Dragon challenge we headed to lunch at the Three Broomsticks. ¬†I had the sheppard’s pie, and Craig had the chicken. ¬†We got pumpkin juice and pumpkin fizz to drink. ¬†All I have to say is pumpkin juice > butterbeer. ¬†It was SOOOO good, I just wanted to stay and drink pumpkin juice all day!

We then headed to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  This was another great ride.  Truly the technology used in all of the rides, and stores and attractions was outstanding.

We headed back to the Hogwarts Express and Universal Studios around 1:30 and spent a bit more time with the other attractions.  We checked out the Transformers 3-D ride, Twister, and MIB Alien Blasters.

I did enjoy the attractions, and especially loved the theming in the Harry Potter area, but there were a few things that really annoyed me (this is where I start comparing to Disney). ¬†There were not enough trash cans, which resulted in a dirtier park (and even over flowing trash cans!) ¬†Craig in fact stepped in gum (part of the reason that Disney doesn’t even sell gum in its parks). ¬†Not to say someone couldn’t bring their own gum in, it was just an observation among others about the cleanliness of the park. ¬†The biggest frustration in our day too was that it seemed for every major ride you had to store your items in a locker. ¬†I was thankful that the lockers were free while you were riding, but it was a pain! ¬†We got out of line the first time for Gringotts, and then had to store our items again, then we had to store luggage for the Dragon challenge, again for Forbidden journey and AGAIN for MIB. ¬†Disney is very good at knowing that people will have carry on items and having a way to store them. ¬†(Um hello… you want people to spend money in your parks and to have items to carry around!) ¬†Craig was so frustrated by having to get a locker again at MIB that we almost didn’t ride it at all! ¬†The lockers were also in very closer quarters, and very hard to access with many people trying to get in and out. ¬†That portion was not the greatest experience.

Okay enough complaining… we decided to headed out around 4:45pm. ¬†At that point we had spent a good deal of time at Universal and were ready for dinner! ¬†We summoned a driver via Uber and went to Giordano’s (stuffed Chicago style pizza!!!). ¬†Our Uber fare was at a 1.5 surcharge rate (again guessing because it was rush hour) and ended up being $6.15.

Giordano's Stuffed Pizza

Giordano’s Stuffed Pizza

We enjoyed dinner and then headed back to Port Orleans. ¬†Our Uber fare on the ride home was $11.65 and definitely our most friendly driver ūüôā

It was a good day. ¬†I enjoyed the Harry Potter experience, but definitely felt good to be back “Home” at Port Orleans French Quarter!

Today’s step count-

¬†If you’re interested in planning your own trip to Disney or Universal be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravels.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

Day 5 in review

Today was another exciting day at Disney! And we had an amazing time even though we weren’t in the parks today!

We started by heading to 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort. This was a wonderful character breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice, Tigger, Pooh, and The Mad Hatter! They had a great food selection at the buffet, the Mad Hatter Juice was AMAZING (Orange, Guava, and Passion Fruit). The Mad Hatter was absolutely hilarious! He had us in stitches!

In our original plan we were going to head to a water park today, but after all that food, and the adventures we’ve had the last few days (and the weather didn’t look so “magical”) we opted to head back to the French Quarter for some R&R! We napped and while we were napping the most magical thing happened, the weather cleared and it got beautiful outside!!! We were able to spend some time at our amazing resort pool!

For the evening we went to Downtown Disney and saw Cirque de Soleil La Nouba. It was so incredible! Amazing artistry, acrobatics, and something I didn’t expect- funny!!! Super fun show!

We ended the evening with dinner at Cookes of Dublin (attached to Raglan Road) and some shopping!


A low key day was just what we needed… The next two days are park days, so the rest was needed!

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Day 4 in review

Today was a pretty standard morning at Hollywood studios. We had our fast passes set and were able to ride all three of them with no problem. 

  
  
I was slightly disappointed that Rockin Roller Coaster was down in the morning. We had planned to ride it first thing, and got to the park right at opening on hopes of avoiding a long wait.  We headed off to our first fast pass at toy story though in hopes of catching it later. We went back after our tower of terror fast pass because the app said it was a 50 minute wait. That’s the max we are usually willing to wait, and when we got there the cast member told us 90 minutes. We figured we will just catch that ride when we go back in a few days. 

So in addition to our fast passes, we also rode the great movie ride, saw the Muppet Vision 3D movie, and enjoyed the “One Mans Dream” attraction.

  
We had lunch at Bill and Mins Dockside Diner and we both LOVED the pulled pork Mac n Cheese! So so delicious!

  
The heat of Florida is pretty intense in July and can be very draining, so we like to head back to the resort during the hottest parts of the day, so that’s exactly what we did around 1:30. 

Around 4 we headed back towards Epcot for the evening.  We were able to get on the single rider line of test track, which helped us avoid a 90 minute wait! Yikes! 

We had dinner reservations at Restaurant Marrakesh in Morroco. It was a much quieter environment than a lot of the other world showcase restaurants, and had a belly dancer and live musicians! 

  
We bummed around the world showcase for a bit and got ourselves some margaritas from La Cava d Tequila. We saw illuminations on day two, AND had extra magic hours until 11pm, so we headed back to future world as many other guests were finding their spots for illuminations. We walked right on to The Seas with Nemo and Friends and the around 8:50 went to Soarin… Best idea EVER! Without getting a fast pass we practically walked on to the ride! We maybe waited for 15 minutes! It was perfect timing. As we were getting off the ride it was clear that illuminations was over as the Land Pavilion was flooding with people! Again, great timing and planning on my part ūüėČ

So today was another great day at Disney! I will say that I’m looking forward to another day of rest tomorrow!  

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