Sunday we started off at Hollywood Studios we thought that we would get gifts and have another walk round
We went to the Nine Dragons for dinner which was very nice, we had a chicken dish and and ice-cream this was done just before going to Frozen Ever after. This is new ride, it used some of the new projection technology, you get taken along in a boat and see Olaf and Anna, you see Elsa and she does Let it Go which sends the boat speeding backwards.
Monday, we went to Animal Kingdom and rode Expedition Everest, which is a rollercoaster, partially in the dark and some going backwards, Simon, after trying to decide whether or not to go on it, went on it. He come off feeling rather sick, and unfortunately it only got worse. So after sitting around for about an hour we decided to go back to the Villa, Simon couldn’t cool down which was also not helping.
Thursday was May 4th so we decided to do all things Star Wars which of course meant Hollywood Studios, since knocking the backlot down there hasn’t been as much to look at, while we wait for Toy Story land and Star Wars land. We did Star Tours and watched a short video on what Star Wars meant to the people now making the films. Listening to these people makes me realise that the Star Wars is now in the hands of people who watched and loved the movies so much that it shaped who they wanted to be and what they wanted to do with their lives.
We met friends from home for dinner which was at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, we were taken to our table by what looked like the oldest waitress in the park. I recommend the restaurant the food was very good and reasonable. After dinner we went to see Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular this is fireworks, music and video clips from the films, the video is projected onto the Chinese Theater (great movie ride) and surrounding buildings.
Friday we were back in the Magic Kingdom and watched the parade and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, this is on the stage infront of the Castle, and involves Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, apparently they have been across the Walt Disney lands looking for new friends, who each come out and do a song, Tiana and Naveen are first then Tangled’s Flynn Rider and Rupunzel, with a couple of their ruffians, and to top it off we have the ‘special guests’ from Arendelle Olaf, Elsa and Anna. Elsa of course does Let It Go.
Then they all come out and reprise the opening song.
Cheese Cake Factory for dinner, which looks nothing like the Cheese Cake Factory on The Big Bang Theory, it looks better and has much more interesting food, Simon had Fried Catfish which he said was delicious and I had Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo which was also delicious. We took Cheesecake to go.
Saturday we had put aside for Shopping we went to the Primium Outlets, Simon went into the Adidas shop looking for shorts, but couldn’t find any he liked, but in the Nike shop he found exactly what he was looking for. We went to the Fossil shop where I limited myself to one handbag 😦 . We also went to the the Northface shop which had 50% off the already discounted prices, Gap and UGG. I’m not sure if they always have a sale on or just when we go over there.
Tuesday was Animal Kingdom we had a quick breakfast at Denny’s so we could get to our first fastpass which was Kilimanjaro Safaris, it was raining again as we got out of the car so straight into ponchos, which are far easier to get into if you start off dry 🙂
By the time we had got from the car to the park it had stopped raining but the humidity had gone right up, ‘just like a real rainforest – probably’ 🙂
The same as last year Animal Kingdom was fantastic we did Kilimanjaro safari again, Kali River Rapids and we also stayed to watch the Rivers of Light which is the new late night show. We saw the Gorillas and Colobus Monkeys.
We had dinner at the park Flametree Bar-b-que place.
We had an early start on the Wednesday we had early access Park Ticket to Universal which meant we could get in at 8am, we didn’t actually get to the the park until 8:30 but it still meant we could get onto the Harry Potter – Forbbiden Journey ride, which Simon adores. We went on it twice in quick succession. Then after travelling on the train to King’s Cross we went to the leaky Cauldron for a rather expensive greasy breakfast.
After breakfast we looked around Diagon Alley then went on the Men in Black ride which was great fun, we also went on the minions ride, shrek 4d, transformers and Spider-Man.
We had a really early start today, we needed to be out of the Villa by 10 O’Clock, but also Simon had booked a fast pass for Cinderella and Rupunzel between 11 and 12. We needed to drop our bags off at early checkin at Disney Springs, so we actually left the Villa at 9:05.
We drove up to Disney Springs, dropped the bags off with the Virgin rep, Simon was smug because he had weighed all the suitcases and knew they were under the luggage allowance, whereas the people in front of us had to do some juggling between their suitcases. We then spent a little time trying to get out of the car park in the end Simon found a lorry which looked like it knew where it was going.
We arrived in plenty of time to see Cinderella and Rupunzel,
we got accosted by a Lady in waiting walking across the courtyard.
For breakfast we went to Gaston’s and had a warm Cinnamon bun (which wasn’t warm) which was a little dry but quite nice, a fruit cup between us and two cups of coffee which weren’t very nice.
Then to ride Big thunder railroad for the final time 😦 and splash Mountain before going to Columbus Harbour for a Lobster Roll, we had one last walk round before getting in the car and driving to the Airport.
We spent today in the magic kingdom, we bought the last of the gifts, and rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again.
Day 12 was about finishing up our holiday, usually we don’t queue for anything but Tigger and Winnie the Pooh arrived at their photo spot as we walked past, so we decided to wait for them, I’m assuming that because of the thickness of the suits and the heat they were only allowed out for 15 minutes at a time. Half way into the line they went off either to cool off or change for another set of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.
After the success of waiting for Tigger and Winnie the Pooh we decided to try our luck with Jasmine and Aladdin
We had a fast pass for Ariel in her grotto
I didn’t take my camera with us so we only have a couple of photos from my phone
We spent the day a Universal, we had early access passes from our Holiday Supplier (Virgin) which meant we could get in an hour before the Park opened, and Simon had purchased Express Passes for both of us which meant that we could go on all the rides without waiting, these didn’t include the Harry Potter Rides but with did those first before the Queues got too big.
We went on Harry Potter and the forbidden journey which was brilliant, Simon got to go on this year, last year the shoulder strap thing wouldn’t go over his shoulders so he was unable to go on the ride but this year everything was hunky dory.
Then I went on Flight of the Hippogriff which is a rollercoaster, not too scary and you don’t go upside down. Then a quick jaunt on the Hogwarts Express over to King’s cross Station in Universal Studios Florida, where I went on escape from Gringotts. Out of the three rides I would definitely recommend Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey as being the best.
They do have a lot of 3d rides at Universal, Spiderman and Transformers appear to work on exactly the same movement software and the stories have been changed to fit the branding, both make good use of the action and it really makes you feel that you are part of the action.
We saw the mystery Machine parked on the side of the road.
Men in Black was a great fun ride, it makes you feel like you are in the middle of a video game, the back story is that you are in training to become a MIB agent and you have to go and shoot the aliens that have escaped/invaded I only managed to get up to 7000 something the people in front were up to 24000 and 120000 points.
The Simpsons and Minion mayhem are along the same lines as Spiderman and Transformers they might use the same software but they made different use of it.
I rode The Mummy and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit on my own as Simon didn’t fancy them, the Mummy was ok but I was left with a ‘just get on with it feeling’ as they setup the story with jerking you about a bit in the dark first but the second part of the ride was very good if not quite long enough.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket was really good as a roller-coaster but I was surprised that it didn’t have over the shoulder safety harness instead of just a lap bar, there were a couple of times where I was slightly concerned I might fall out, I did nearly lose my lanyard with tickets my over my head.
Not much to report for day 7 so here are a couple of pictures
We went to the magic kingdom and took some nice photos of the parade, these were taken from the top of Main Street.
It was Mothering Sunday over in America on the 8th of May, Simon wanted to check out the changes made to Downtown Disney since we were there last year. They had just started the rebranding to Disney Springs and it looks like they have almost finished.
In hindsight Mothering Sunday probably wasn’t the best day to go to Disney springs, not only was it very hot it was also packed.
The main thing we came away with was, we preferred it last year and the new shops that we went in were hideously expensive.
We also went to Hollywood studios for a meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, we also rode the Rock and Roller Coaster, which was very good, though if Simon had read up on it more he probably would not have gone on it.
Because tomorrow is going to be a really busy day, we decided to have an easy day so it was shopping at the Premium outlets early, we were out and about by 10 o’clock then Dennys for a pancake breakfast then home for 1 o’clock where we lazed around the pool all afternoon.
Not much to share for day 6, we decided to take it easy, so we went to the Premium Outlet to go shopping and we had a couple of late Fast Passes, so we had the afternoon off and went over to the magic Kingdom to do The Haunted Mansion and Seven Dwarves Mine Train, we also had a very nice Lobster Roll from Columbia Harbour House which was surprisingly good value.
The Haunted Mansion wasn’t quite what either of us expected, Simon thought it was just a walk round thing, and I thought it would be a Ghost Train with things jumping out at you. There were lots of visual effects and some animatronics, but no Jumping out at you.
We also caught a glimpse of the electrical parade
Simon had read somewhere that if you can’t get fast passes for Wishes one of the best places to see it was from the ticket and transportation hub, this had the added bonus that once it finished you were on the carpark side rather than having to catch the ferry/monorail with all the other people.
We didn’t do Animal Kingdom last year, so we decided we should do it this year.
We did the African safari which was amazing and totally worth the car parking, it was running a little behind but as we had fast passed it we didn’t have long to wait.
The ‘safari’ takes you though a couple of different bits of habitat.
I rather stupidly didn’t make a note of which animal was which but here are a selection on photos taken on the walks
This is going to be a very photo heavy post….
Today it was absolutely chucking it down, but we were determined to get over to Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Day so there we were in our one use ponchos which although keep you dry do insist on sticking to your legs and/or riding up your skirt.
Hollywood Studios is in the middle of a lot of renewal, which meant that a lot of the stuff we liked walking around last year (streets of America ) and the backlot have been taken out and boarded off so that they can build Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land.
Although the show is supposed to be on every hour for some reason they don’t have a show at 3:30 which of course was the showing we would have been ready to see.
We went to the Star Wars Launch bay attraction which consists of videos where people involved in the Force Awakens talk about what it means to them to be part of the Star Wars experience.