Archive for the ‘Trip Diaries’ Category

Different Angles at Walt Disney World

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Visiting a Walt Disney World park is all about fun. Fun at the attractions, at the eateries, at the hotel, and a lot more. For some guests one fun element about visiting the parks taking pictures. Me, I am one of these people.

Unfortunately not everybody in my family appreciates the constant stopping to take pictures, but I love it and can’t help myself taking pictures all the time. I did keep my promise to my son to leave the camera at the hotel on some days, but on other days I just clicked away.

A fun thing about taking pictures at Walt Disney World is trying to find some angles that are a little more uncommon. I am no fan of pictures with a lot of strangers on it and therefor I am always trying to find spots where I can leave the tourists out of my frame. By doing this I look at some spots that others might not use to take a picture from. It adds to the fun and gives a whole new look to the park.

It’s not always easy to get that shot without the other guests, but if I take my time I’ll find the right place for yet another unusual picture.

In this collection you can see how I try to get the castle from another view using some of the greenery that surrounds the castle. You can even get the castle into a green frame if you look around a little. Or you can use some of the rock works in the area to create some extra dept. It will not be your average holiday picture but could compliment them nicely when creating that photo book you want to show off. And don’t forget that you can never have enough pictures of the castle anyway, so why not try to find that different angle.

You can do the same thing with other iconic buildings in the park. Get that amazing Tower of Terror Hollywood Hotel popping up from behind some trees. Get a far shot of Expedition Everest without all the action around it or even get a close up from part of the iconic Spaceship Earth building. These are only a couple of ideas as there are unlimited options on taking that different pictures.

The picture I make are not that hard to take. You don’t need a big fancy camera (although those little point and shoots might be not the best option). These pictures are in no way professional and can be taken by anybody with some imagination. Of course you will be able to get even better shots with that big special camera, but for those that don’t want to spend to much on the equipment should just use the camera they own. At the end of the day it’s all about having some fun.

If you do like those amazing spectacular pictures have a look at this collection of Disneyland Paris gems in our side glance category!

Underneath some more pictures from another angle

Disney DREAMS Press event satuday 31st of March 2012.

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

It is something of funny to think that Fantasmic opened in Disneyland on May 13th 1992, just 1 month after the April 12th 1992 opening date of EuroDisney (as it was then called).

Disneyland Paris has always been considered “the most beautoifull Magic Kingdom style park”, it might have the best versions of Pirates, the Mansion (Manor in Paris), Thunder mountain, Spaice Mountain and the most magical castle but, due to both financial and logisitcal problems its never had a complete nightime offering.

Sure every summer a fireworks show (“Tinkerbells Fantasy in the sky”, then “Wishes” in 2005 and then “The Enchanted Firworks” used to light up the sky as well as the Main street Electrical parade (the WDW version from 1992 till 2003) and then Fantillusions (from Tokyo) roamed down the street in summer and for the christmas season

Yet Paris never had a show stopping amazing night time spectacle to Rival Disneyland’s Fantasmic, Epcots Illuminations and the similar offerings around the world.

Now it has!

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Trip Diaries Day 16: Harry Potter Time

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Today was Harry Potter day. No, I am not a fan and haven’t even seen all of the movies (only two so far), but we are planning a Potter marathon in the near future to catch up. We left to Universal very early in the morning to make sure we would be there before the big crowds. Well, even with another 30 minutes to go before opening there was already a big queue at the gates of islands of adventures. Got ourselves the 2 park tickets and the VIP passes to avoid queue-ing (Have I already mentioned that I don’t like queues?). We knew that Harry Potter  and the Forbidden Journey was going to be a queue, but at least we would be able to walk on to the rest of the attraction. And i can only say I was happy we got them as otherwise me might not have done as much as we did. But I am going to fast, let’s start at the beginning.

Harry Potter queue was a good hour and they used most of the outside queue area already to have to line moving. But it was worth it. This attraction is amazing! The ride system, the scenes, everything! And the experience already starts in the queue area. What a beautiful amazing area. It might have taken us an hour but it sure didn’t feel like it. The attraction itself is awesome. This is the future! The Kuka robot arms on a track, the 3D scenes with the amazing scenes build around it. I have no words!… Disney, wake up because they are taking some of the magic and starting to use it in their parks. I already was a IoA fan, but Potter will get me back there again and again. (I don’t want to even think what the expansion will bring and the new rides at Universal Studios (replacing Jaws) will do for the park. Next time i might have to miss two days of Disney to see it all.

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Trip Diaries Day Fifteen part 2 Back to Old Key West

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Why did I put day 15 in two parts? Well, I wanted to have the morning sun pictures from Vero Beach stand out without anything else. Didn’t see them yet? Scroll down and have a look. After that come back to read the next part of our trip.

Today we drove back to Want Disney World, checking in at Disney’s Old Key West (another “welcome home”) and would start our last 5 days of the trip. No, not complaining, still five days to go, but I couldn’t help thinking about it while checking in. It was crazy busy at Old Key West. A big queue at the check in and we had to wait a little while. We did had some problems on our first days at old Key West with 4 times chancing keys and problems with the pay option on our card forcing us to get another key. We did tell them we weren’t happy when we left and where promised a couple of special FastPasses on our next check in. So, once we got checked in we got 3 FastPasses that we could use in any park at any time. That was a nice little extra!

With the room not yet ready we decided to go and wander around Downtown Disney for a while. I still needed the special Annual Pass Orange Bird Vinylmation and I thought it would be a good idea to get it now. We got a small bite to eat before heading back to check into our room.

This time we got a slightly bigger studio. The studios at old Key West are not always the same and depending on what studio you get, you might have some more space. We were happy with it couldn’t help comparing the small Studio we got at Vero Beach. One we got everything in the room we made our way to our favourite park, Epcot. Here we used our first special fastPass and went straight on Test Track. It remains a favourite of ours, and we can only hope the rehab will do it proud. With a busy park (and not liking to queue) we did some of the smaller rides. So we got to see Nemo and his friends, visit Figment and got ourselves a nice helping of free drinks. (No, not Beverly). After that we wandered around the different countries and ended up in Japan for a quick bite while listening to de drums.

Always love Japan and for some reason get stuck there for longer than we are in most other countries. Still, we did make it out of Japan and walk towards Norway to see some Trolls. Well, with a queue all the way outside the building (and like I said before, we don’t like queue’s and there is always another day) we walked on to see if Donald had some room in his boats at Mexico. Look at that, no queue, so we could do another ride before we went for some shopping. My son found himself an amazing Pirates skeleton jacket we just had to buy. A nice finisher for yet another fantastic Disney day.

But I couldn’t go back to the room yet. I needed to stop at Olivia’s in Old Key West because I was graving for their awesome cheesecake. Got myself a nice piece of cake and a hot chocolate before we walked back to our room near Turtle Pond to call it a night.

Trip Diaries Day fifteen part 1: Sunrise

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

How about that for a view? Yes, you got to get up before 6am, but it is worth it. I can’t go to Disney’s Vero Beach and not see this at least once. If you go to Vero Beach, you have to get up and witness it for yourself. Beautiful!….

  

Trip Diaries Day Fourteen: Love Vero Beach

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

You know when you go to Vero Beach you have to swim in the sea. And so we did! The nice thing about this beach is how quiet it is. Only a couple of dozen people are on the beach. Really not to bad and it feels like a private place. (Last time I was there in the summer it was about the same). A real gem if you like your luxury, but also like a quiet place to relax too.

We did also get some more pool time and a whole lot of relaxing time and a nice dinner at Shutters. It was our last full day at Disney’s Vero Beach and we wanted to make sure we would be fully relaxed before getting back to Walt Disney World.

Didn’t take any pictures today, but just check out the next day for some fantastic scenes you get to see when you get up early in the morning at Vero Beach…

Trip Diaries Day Thirteen: Happy New Year Pool Dive!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Waking up to the sound of the ocean, there is nothing better than that. (to be honest, we do have to step out of the room to hear it… but still). I had to have a swim in the sea (even if there is a shark warning), so I made sure I could scrap that of my “things to do at Disney’s Vero Beach” list. It wasn’t the warmest of days, but that didn’t stop me. Nice waves and great fun to jump into them. You can feel the strong current pulling at you, but that’s part of the fun.

After the cold sea it was time for the warmer pool. Sure felt a whole lot of different, even if the pool isn’t that hot. We did catch a little sun before we went over to the mall at Vero Beach.

The mall was nothing special and not worth a visit, however I did find a great book at the book store. It was the “Comic-Con: Episode IV: a Fans Hope” book. I am a big comic fan (always loved the fact that Disney bought Marvel) and have been at this con so it was nice to see some of it back in this book. All pictures of fans at the con with some pictures of celebrities and panels. Fun book! We didn’t stay to long, it was going to be party time later on.

We had a nice home-made dinner in the room (as in sandwiches), before going to the party at the poolside. They played your average party music that most people know and sing along to. Nothing special. The fun part was at midnight though. Just before the New Year the DJ send everybody to pool side. 95% of the people had their regular clothing on, but they all knew what was coming. Then, 10 seconds before New Year the countdown started. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-JUMP… Everybody jumped in the pool to celebrate the New Year. This was so much fun. Such a simple idea, but I and my son loved it.

It was also a very clever way to celebrate as many people now had to go to their room to change. The party was pretty much over after that as most people left. Didn’t really matter as it was a perfect way to get into the New Year. My son said “I jumped up in 2011 and landed in 2012”…

Trip Diaries Day Twelve: Relax

Monday, January 16th, 2012

So we have the sea and we have the sun. What does that add up too? That’s right; a whole lot of relaxing fun. As you can see a Disney holiday doesn’t always have to be running from one ride to another (not that this is possible at Vero Beach), it can be just as fun enjoying the pool and the weather. It’s pretty much all we did this day.

In the late afternoon we did get to wander around a little bit to enjoy the wonderful view of the ocean. It’s like a beautiful dream you don’t want to stop. I did do some picture taking and just love the sign with all the Disney vacation Club locations. It’s these things that make Disney just that little more special than any other location.

In the evening we went to Sonya’s, the upscale restaurant at the resort. Nice menu and it wasn’t easy to pick something as there were a couple of good things on there. After talking the waiter and asking for some advice I finally went for the scallops and it was amazing. We had a great seating area to. At the back where there are only about 5 tables. Very nice place to eat and I highly recommend it.

I’ll leave it with this short update for this day and let you enjoy the sights on some of the pictures. Be back for more, especially to read how to celebrate New Year eve at Disney’s Vero Beach.

Trip Diaries Day Eleven: Vero Beach Here We Come

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

We got to sleep a little longer today as we would get a private ride to Vero Beach at 11am. So started to pack at 9:45am, packed at 10:15am and ready to go. (No time wasting on packing). The trip was about 90 minutes with not much to see or do. However I am always amazed how much more room there is in and around the Orlando area. Still so much green, and that’s nice to see.

90 minutes later and ready to check in. I just love hearing it; “welcome home”. We got ourselves a studio as that’s all we need, however we were a little disappointed. We had an amazing room last time (in the main building), with two beds, big bathroom and enough room to manoeuvre but with a parking lot view. This time we had a room in one of the other buildings and it was small. Only one bed, a pull out sofa and no room for our 3 suitcases. While the room isn’t that important, it would have been nice to have a slightly bigger room. I think there are bigger studios and we just got an unlucky small one.

It wasn’t going to stop us from having fun so we made sure to get changed and get some sun. This pool is so nice, love how it’s done and it has a very nice (fast) slide. Aahhh… the sun, we love it. Not much more to say about that as most of you will know how it feels. It loads your inner batteries.

We decided to get some shopping done to avoid spending too much money at the restaurants. We did need a taxi, but we got a phone nr (available at the front desk) from a driver named Johnny. He took us to the store and back for a reasonable fee (lower then a cab). We highly recommend him. Just ask at the front desk in case you need a cab.

We enjoyed an evening eating in (even in the small studio) before wandering around the resort for a while. It doesn’t take you to long to see it all, but gazing at the sea and listening to the waves hitting the beach is more than enough to put a smile on once face. We just love this place…

Trip Diaries Day Ten: A Highlight of the Trip

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Getting up early every day is worth it to be able to do lots of rides, but one cannot forget a holiday should be there to relax too. So this time we got up a little later and went to Animal Kingdom to see some of our favourite animals. We took the Wildlife Express Train and went over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here we took the time to see some of the smaller animals up close.

There were two birds being checked at the Conservation Station Animal Care centre but we lost interest early and moved on to see all the other cool stuff here. Some of these critters are amazing and well worth a visit. Too many people forget about this part of the park and think there is nothing to do or see, but they are so wrong.

The animal caretakers are known to come out with an animal and share their knowledge with the guests. This time we got to see a hawk. Some people say it’s not nice to keep animals as they should live in the wild, but care centres like this proof that sometimes there is no other choice. If so this hawk would be long dead. It was found with an injury on one of his wings loosing the ability to hunt as it would not have been able to fly anymore. At the centre they took care the bird would be helped and taken care of. Although it can now fly short distances again, it would never make it in the wild anymore. Now, with the care of the Disney Castmembers the animal can live even longer than most of his fellow hawks.

While we love to see the animals even we have to go back. Why? Well, there were still Everest FastPasses and we did pick one up before visiting the animals. You can never enough ride that monster, it’s just a shame the Yeti is still not working. (and won’t be for a long time to come). After the yeti encounter we went to see some other kind of animals, namely Nemo and his friends. Great show! Maybe a little too long, but still a must see on a WDW trip.

Now, after all the animals it was time for something completely different. Something we already wanted to do on our previous trip but because of the high ticket price didn’t in the end. This time we said we would do it. Cirque du Soleil’s la Nouba…

There were two performances this day and we opted to go to the early one. We did go early enough so we could walk around Downtown Disney a little but we couldn’t wait to see the La Nouba performance. From the moment it started we knew it was going to be fantastic. (Yes, we somehow expected that way before that). The artist kept on showing amazing stuff but especially the young Chinese with the diabolos and the aerial ballet in silk where amazing. But the Power track and trampoline was the icing on the cake. AMAZING. With my son being a trampoline athlete himself (over 10 gold medals) this one was the one we looked forwards to the most. And it delivered. Beautiful, breathtaking, Awesome, incredible… do I need to say more. This was one of the highlights of our trips and worth the price. We hope to do this again on one of our next trip and we can only recommend it to anybody going to WDW. An absolute must and a great way to end a day at Walt Disney World.

Trip Diaries Day Nine: Just the Two of Us

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Another day of fun, although unfortunately one family member was really sick today and stayed at the room to sleep it off. It’s always a shame to be sick, but it’s always worst when you are sick on a holiday. So it was up to me and my son to enjoy the park with the two of us.

Epcot was the choice for today and again we made sure we would be there at the moment the rope dropped. Once inside we took the route everybody takes, straight to Soarin! First of all get some FastPasses and then queue for it. This time the queue was no longer then 10 minutes, something that would change very early during the day. The Soarin flight was great. We got seated in the middle “glider” in the middle row. Perfect. It does make a difference where you sit and the middle of the middle is the best place as you will (almost) see no black sides and you can focus on the screen only. There are some cracks and black spots on the film visible. That’s a real shame of course and one can only hope Disney will not wait too long to get that fixed. It does take away from the overall experience.

Once we got out of the attraction there was already a big queue. At least 45 minutes, if you would want to wait for it in the stand by queue. Just enough time for a small breakfast before we go on it again. Shared some strange sandwich with eggs, potato and meat in it. Not the best as we didn’t even finish it between the both of us. Or maybe we where to excited to fly again.

Here is the fun part on our second trip on Soarin; we got the exact same seats on our second run! All we did was switch places with each other. We also did the Living with the lands attraction before our second Soarin ride, but let’s be honest, this one isn’t that much of fun. There weren’t even any Mickey shaped pumpkins.

Today we also went on the Kuka robotic arm at Epcot’s Sum of All Thrills attraction. These are great fun. We created a jet plane attraction and it was intense. However it was also very smooth. Great experience and one that already gave us some sort of indication what to expect when going to Islands of Adventure later in the holiday. We got some more time to kill and after trenching our thirst at the cool station (no, no Beverly) we walked over to Test Track. (We did get a fastPass before).

After lunch we took the boat to Hollywood Studios where we wanted to see the Comedy Warehouse again. But we came in a little late as the performance was already completely full. We got there 20 minutes before it started and they already had to turn down guest because of a full house. Hello Disney… bring it back (in some form). As most attractions had long queues already we opted to see some shows. (We don’t queue!) Indiana was first and we got an alternate show because of the bad weather (Heavy rain). The second part was split into two parts and we got some more funny elements. The plane part was completely cut. A shame, but the little extra funny stuff was nice to see too. (however if you haven’t seen the original it is a loss). After the show we got to see the Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special. We got there early enough this time, about 40 minutes early! But it was worth it. So funny, with laughs from beginning to end.

After that we went to see the stunt show. This being a Disneyland Paris original I expected to see the same but I was surprised how much differences there are in both shows. The US version seems a little faster (probably because they don’t have the language barrier as we have in France), but also because some of the rearrangement of the stunts. They did some good improvements and it was also nice to see the water jet in action again. Great fun. After the show we had a little time left and we went to see a cartoon in a movie theatre (sorry, lost the name of the location). First time I see this place open. We got to see the Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice short. Fun movie to see once, but that’s it. Would see it again.

Now it was time to go to one of my favourite eating places. Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Luckily we where back to three, although still not feeling 100%, my lovely wife didn’t want to miss it (or maybe she missed her boys way to much and wanted to see us). Jiko is an amazing place. The food is fantastic. If you go there make sure to order the Mack & Cheese as a side order. It’s the best one in the resort.

Trip Diaries Day Eight: How I Miss the Comedy Warehouse

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

This is the third day I force myself to get out of the room early so I could be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by the time it opens. Opening time was 7am and we got there by 6:50am. Our goal was to get to see all the different star Tour movies on this trip and after 4 rides today we seen all the different movies. No, not all 54 variations, but all short films. Our favourites are the Pod Race and the Bounty Bunter Boba Fett (with the Death Star) scenes. Before we tried to see all of them we did get another fastPass for Toy Story Mania. With Holiday crowds this is the only way to do it as lines go well over an hour, even early in the morning.

Now here is something I could not miss. The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special at the Sounds Dangerous stage. I always loved the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island and was not happy about its closure. Luckily Disney put this special (kid friendly version) inside the park and it was awesome. I just love the way they get some ideas out of the public and create a comedy sketch around it. Such a great talent! I hope Disney will bring this back in some form, not just during the holidays. It was a success as the room was packed to capacity.

Another show, not filled to capacity, we visited on this day was the Next American Idol Experience. I think we got to see the third show of 8 shows that day, but the room was only half full. The finals of the day might have been full, but with the attraction not being that old and the fully packed Hollywood Studios this attraction might already become a little bit of a failure. It was to be expected that this one couldn’t last that long. I might be wrong, but that’s the expression I got when I visited it. Still, it was fun to see the show,… once on the trip.

We also got ourselves some FastPasses for Tower of Terror today and we got to see Belle and the Beast. Nice sweet show, but Tower wins this round. It’s one of the best attractions out there and I could ride it again and again (and so could my son).

With the park being full and queue-ing not an option (I don’t queue… well, most of the time), it was time to do something different. So we took the bus over to the Wilderness Lodge to check out the hotel. I love this location, especially around the pool. We had a good look around before taking the boat over to the busses at the Magic Kingdom so we could make it back to our own hotel. It’s always nice to visit another resort and many people forget about this. Those places are also part of the Disney magic and they give you the chance to relax a little, away from the busy parks, while still being at a magical place.

Trip Diaries Day Seven: Christmas Day!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to be able to enjoy some attractions without queues. I don’t like long queues and as it are the holidays I will need to do something nobody really likes; getting up early. So up at 6am and at the park at 6:58am, just in time for 7am early extra magic opening hour on this Christmas day at the Magic Kingdom.

Honestly, I don’t know any better way to celebrate the holidays as an early entree into the park. Unfortunately I was the only one in the family that could get out of bed that early for a second time in a row, so the first part of today I was alone. But that didn’t stop me from having some fun at Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and my beloved TTA and all without the queues. What else to do? How about a picture taking bonanza. Not everybody loves it that I take my camera around, so this was a great opportunity to get some extra photo’s from the Kingdom. I also got a good look at the new Fantasyland and what I can see so far looks amazing. Can’t wait to see the finished land once ready and open.

But a Christmas day isn’t a Christmas day without a traditional Turkey dinner,… or lunch (as it was in our case). So back to Old Key West and meet up with my family at Olivia’s for just that. And guess what? It was great! A real nice lunch and one of my favourites on this trip. It wasn’t too busy either during the afternoon.

After lunch we got to go to Animal Kingdom. A guest leaving the park gave us 5 unused FastPasses for Expedition Everest. Nice! But we had enough time to see some apes first. We got there just in time to see them being fed a small snack by a Castmember. One of the big apes sat at the edge while he was thrown fruit to which he caught and ate. That was fun. We didn’t do much else in AK, but sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy the park without running from attraction to attraction.

A great Christmas day, but perfect when it ended with my all time favourite, Illuminations. Yes, that’s three parks on Christmas day, but it was well worth it.

Info: As I am back home from a great trip expect some more updates the next couple of days.

Trip Diaries Day Six: 5:50am

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

With crowded parks during the holidays the only thing to do is get up early if you want to avoid the big queue lines. So the alarm was set for 5:50am and although this sounds a little tough, it wasn’t too hard to get out of bed when you know it’s to have some fun. Well, it didn’t take us to long to see it was worth it. We got to the Magic Kingdom at 7:00am and where ready to hit some rides with the low crowds that had the same idea. (for those thinking we are a little crazy getting up at the crack of dawn)

Before the clock hit 9:00am we got to do a whole collection of rides. We’ve seen Pooh, Snow White and even Peter Pan without a person in the queue. Beats those 2 hours queues in the middle of the busy day. We rode the Speedway, did some shooting with Buzz, had a ride on Space Mountain, took a rocket ride at the Astro Orbitor and got a little wet on Splash Mountain. Big Thunder Mountain was closed (101), so we could not add that one to this run, but we added Pirates of the Caribbean to the mix before 9am.

How’s that for your first two hours in the park. And we didn’t even have to run or get into a sweat to get them done. Getting up this early does make you a little hungry earlier in the day so before we would continue it was time for a cup of coffee and a cookie. Once we enjoyed those it was time for some more rides at the Magic Kingdom. One of my favourites was next as we rode the TTA before heading over to the Laugh Floor. It’s a funny show!

Once we left the monsters behind we could see that the crowds where coming in. No time to lose as we headed to the Haunted Mansion. I needed to see the new queue area and enjoy the ride before queues would get out of hands. Still not too bad as the queue at HM was low. I even let people pass while I enjoyed some of the interactive fun before entering my beloved house for some Disney scares.

After that it was time for an early lunch and some 20% discount shopping. The discount came from a ticket you get when you buy food in the park. It gives you a 20% discount as long as you shop before 12:00pm. It’s also a good trap as we did buy some stuff we might have not if we didn’t have the discount. Once we got our shopping done we left the park. The crowds had build up so bad, queues would be well into the hour for the popular rides. Getting there that early was well worth it.

I also got to see some of the stuff they are building at the new Fantasyland. This is going to be amazing. Can’t wait to return for that in the future.

Once out of the park we grabbed a taxi and headed over to the city Celebration. I always wanted to see it and finally got to do it. The town centre is nice, but smaller as I thought it would be. We had some time for a drink and some ice cream and to take a couple of pictures, but stayed shorter as anticipated. The houses look nice and it might be a nice place to live, but a long visit should not be planned as there isn’t much to do. So back to Old Key West for some swimming, a little rest and to get ready for dinner.

We had reservations for the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We got there a little early so we could have a look around at the resort. It looks nice but for some reason not the place where I would want to stay. A little to busy for us. Doesn’t look like you can relax when staying there. (I could be wrong) The restaurant is always nice, although my 12 year old son’s food was too spicy and he could not enjoy it. I guess that’s the risqué when going from children’s menu to adults menu. The icing on the cake however is watching the fireworks from the top of the building. The best place to see it without the big crowds. Personally I am not a fan of Wishes and I will not stay in the park for it, but I am happy I could end the day seeing it from the Contemporary’s rooftop.

Trip Diaries Day Five: Hot Hot Hot…

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

It was a new record for Orlando with 85, a great time to be at Walt Disney World. It felt like a summer day! Another early start, just after rope drop, at Epcot. Soarin already had a hour line (even if it said 40 minutes it looked like a lot more once in the queue). As we don’t like long queues we were going to save that one for another day. We could not get fastpasses for it as we already got test Track once. We had enough time for Ellen’s Energy Adventure before going on Test Track. It was packed at Test Track with 50 minutes wait (and even 40 minutes on the single riders line), but our Fastpasses took us right in. Still one great ride that will need to be done some more times during this trip.

We continued to enjoy the park by wandering into Showcase (including one of those relaxing “Friendship” boat rides). Had an early lunch in Japan before going to Norway and Mexico to enjoy the rides over there. After that we did some games at Innoventions before heading back for our usual afternoon swim. Getting up early to hit the parks is paying off as we can do a lot before the big crowds.

The late afternoon started in Downtown Disney with some shopping as my son wanted extra Lego and a couple of Lego men to play with. There is some really great Lego stuff out there I wouldn’t mind owning (or playing with). Checked some more shops before we headed back for late dinner at Olivia’s in Old Key West.