A Whole New SOLO World: A July 2015 WDW TR - My 1st! (complete)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by bamacmac, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    A Whole New Solo World: My First Solo WDW/Orlando Trip, July 18-26, 2015

    Hello! This is my first time writing a trip report! (So be kind. Ha. :)) I've been on the boards for a few months now and have read some really great TR's, and it made me want to share my amazing first solo trip to my favorite place.

    About me:

    I’m Christy…35, single and live in Alabama. Originally from Georgia, but moved for college and stayed here after graduating (with a degree in history). I am Mary Poppins…I mean I am a nanny for 4 amazing kids and have been for 7 years. Ok I’m not really Mary Poppins, but that’s a minor detail. This was my 5th trip to Walt Disney World as an adult, the other 4 all being in 2013 with my boyfriend at the time. My very first trip was with my family in 1985, then another family trip to Orlando that included MGM in 1992 and then I was there briefly during a high school trip in 1996. I am planning to move to Orlando next summer now, so this trip had many purposes. My primary goal was to HAVE FUN and just enjoy WDW. I also wanted to make WDW my own thing, after so many recent trips there with the now ex-boyfriend, and take a little time to go beyond the Disney bubble and explore Orlando a bit.

    So…I had been planning this road trip for several months. My last trip to WDW was December 2013. So it had been awhile and I was so eager to get back. At first I wasn’t sure about doing a solo trip. I have traveled solo several times, but never to a place like Disney World, a place so family oriented. And I was a little anxious to take myself back to a place where I had so many memories with someone who was no longer a part of my life…I was afraid it might be too hard. But I decided this was something I really needed to do, so I booked the trip and started planning.

    Before I get started, this trip was about a LOT of Walt Disney World firsts for me. So here is a list of all the things I planned to do for the first time while there.

    *1st time AP holder

    *Going solo

    *Staying at Caribbean Beach Resort

    *Be Our Guest

    *Rope Drop/Welcome Show at MK

    *Festival of Fantasy Parade

    *7DMT

    *Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Breakfast

    *Character Meet ‘N’ Greet

    *Finding Nemo the Musical

    *The Boathouse

    *Raglan Road

    *The Plaza

    *Frozen Fun at DHS

    *Wishes FP

    *Exploring Orlando/The Orlando Eye


    SO….let’s get started!


    Day 1 – Saturday, July 18th


    I left very early that morning, eager to get there! I chose the route with the shortest distance (about 530 miles), so I took mostly 4 lane highways through eastern Alabama into south Georgia, until I hit I-75 at Tifton, Georgia. This was my first time actually making the trip from where I live. I enjoyed this route. It was a lovely drive through the country. Tifton was almost exactly the halfway point. So I grabbed lunch and jumped on 75 South, ready to get to Florida!

    I arrived late that afternoon, about 4:30pm. For the first night, I had decided to stay off-property near Downtown Disney. So I checked in at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott (more on this hotel later), changed clothes and headed to Downtown Disney for my dinner reservation at The Boathouse! I was so excited to try out this new restaurant that had only opened a few months ago. Downtown Disney was crazy. I knew all about the construction and traffic issues, but it’s even worse than people tell you. It’s truly amazing that it can take THAT long to get into a parking garage, yet once you are in it, only a few minutes to park. I was starting to worry I wouldn’t make the 6:30 reservation, but luckily I parked and had 20 minutes to spare. So I headed straight to the restaurant and checked in. I really enjoyed getting to watch the amphicars while I waited for my table. If only it didn’t cost $125 to take a ride! But the wait was not long. I don’t mind dining alone, it’s something I have done a lot and am very comfortable with. However, it was a bit awkward to be seated at a large table for 4 right at the front of the stage where a man was singing. I went with it though and had an excellent server. The atmosphere in there is many things. It’s beautiful…all of the wood work and the boats and décor, it all works together well and creates a warm atmosphere. It’s fun and elegant in a way, yet also casual. The side of the restaurant opened out onto the deck with some tables out there and a bar. The weather had cooled off just enough to where it was actually pleasant sitting there, looking out over the water.
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    I ordered the steak sandwich with a baked potato. The bread that came out first was so very good. The sandwich itself would have been really great, except that it had a spicy sauce on it, and I can’t handle anything remotely spicy. I had asked about this and was told there was nothing spicy about it, but he said he would have the sauce put on the side just in case. This didn’t happen and normally I would have it sent back, but I was so eager to get to Magic Kingdom that night, I just dealt with it. I really should have just sent it back though. My mistake. So I scraped off what I could. The steak itself was very good and the potato was great. I would order this again and just be sure that the sauce is left off. IMG_1916.JPG

    I opted to skip dessert, being fairly certain I would get a treat at the park. But the dessert menu was very tempting.

    Overall, I loved this place. The atmosphere alone is worth trying it at least once. It is slightly pricey. But again, I found it to be worth it.

    I left dinner and was amazed at how crowded it had gotten outside of the restaurant. There was a sea of people as far as I could see. I headed to Guest Relations as quickly as I could, so I could activate my annual pass voucher. I have 2 other trips planned in the next 8 months, so I decided to get an annual pass. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was (and still am) about this! :) I was able to get my pass activated and get my card very quickly and with no problems. IMG_1935.JPG

    I then headed back to the car and over to the Polynesian. The plan was to grab a drink at Trader Sam’s before heading to MK. I underestimated how crazy busy that place is! I waited for a little bit, but finally gave up. I did get to take a quick look around. What a fun, cool place! I hope to try that again sometime. I then jumped on the monorail and headed to the park!

    Magic Kingdom does something to me, as I’m sure it does to many. I really feel myself turn into a 5 year old little girl at the slightest glimpse of that castle. I become so amazed and in awe of it all. It truly is magical. Especially at night. The lights, the sounds, the smells…the entire world just disappears and it is just me in that moment. It’s no longer hot or crowded, I’m no longer tired from driving all day, I’m just so happy to be there. :) IMG_2080.JPG

    I had booked some fastpasses for the night, so I set out to make it to my first one, Splash Mountain. I hadn’t done this ride since September 2013, so I was very excited for this one. Got through with it and then met up with a fellow DISer (shout out to catmom46!). Fun to meet up with someone from the boards! We watched Wishes from Frontierland and then headed towards Haunted Mansion. Love riding this one at night! Even though the attraction itself is indoors, it adds something to it to be in the queue at night and come out of the attraction at night. Next we headed to Memento Mori, which I was excited to check out for the first time. Really cool store! Love the shops that are specifically attraction themed.
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    Next I had to have some up close and personal time with the castle. I hadn't walked through the castle since I was a little girl. So this was a must. (And I'm very glad I did it that night, because the next day the walls went up for the stage redo that is currently underway!) I adore the Cinderella scenes found there. So beautiful. IMG_2078.JPG

    And I love looking up and seeing this...
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    From there it was on to Tomorrowland for Space Ranger Spin and the People Mover.

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    I’ve always liked Space Ranger Spin, especially since my very first time on it, I got a top score of 999,999. Yes I am that good. Ok, maybe just that lucky? I do have to say though, it needs some work done to it. I ended up with an impossibly low score, and it couldn’t possibly be user error. I’m a certified Galactic Superhero. ;) Haha. But really, I would have my laser right on something right in front of me and pull the trigger repeatedly and get no points. That’s just not fun.

    I adore the People Mover. I know some people think it is just a place to take a quick nap and put your feet up, but I really look forward to this little trip around Tomorrowland! Love the views, especially of the castle. I love that it passes through Space Mountain. And I love the narration along the way.

    After that, I was done. It was around 11:30 I think, and I had been awake since 5:00AM. So it was time to call it quits. I took my time with the trip down Main Street and browsed through some of the shops. On my way into the park I happened to spot something in one of the shops that caught my eye. Allow me to be a total girl for a moment. I’m not one who shops a lot. I don’t care about clothes shopping or buying lots of shoes or having tons of different necklaces and earrings to go with every thing I wear. I do however, care about bags and purses. That is my thing. My weakness. In my defense though, I typically don’t go for the really expensive, designer type stuff. I have an extensive collection of Vera Bradley bags and a lot of those are Disney patterns. I’ve had my eye on some of the Dooney & Burke Disney bags for quite awhile now, but they are pricey, so it has always been fairly easy to talk myself out of them. However, this one bag, the “sketch” pattern in the letter carrier style (for those of you who have some clue what I am talking about), has been the one I have wanted the most. And it isn’t nearly as pricey as so many of them are because of the material. “Placement” is a big deal with these bags though. Each bag is different with where the castle, Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale, the glass slipper, the rose, Tinkerbell, and many other characters and such are located. Well this bag I saw through the open door of this shop, had what I would consider “ideal” placement. I loved it. I didn’t want to buy it when I got there though and carry it around the park. So I told myself that I would get it as I left, if they still had it. Well they did! I am so excited to have this purse! And I love that I bought it in Magic Kingdom on my first night of this trip. What a great souvenir!
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    MK was having EMH that night, so it wasn’t crowded at all getting back to the monorail, which was very nice. It was also nice to have my car parked at the Polynesian. I was quickly off the monorail and back to my car and on my way back to the Fairfield Inn.

    Let me cover the hotel for a moment here. While the hotel itself was fine and seemed to have been recently updated/renovated, was very clean and the staff was very nice, I was slightly bothered by the location. I wasn’t familiar with this road when I booked it, but I thought it was close enough to DTD that it would be fine. The hotel is kind of jammed sideways in between the Sheraton Resort and a small strip mall, and behind a closed restaurant. There was very little actual hotel parking. So arriving back late at night meant having to park over in front of the strip mall. Being alone I just wasn’t a fan of this. It just didn’t seem like the safest place in the world for a woman to be parking alone late at night. I’m usually not overly worried by such things, but I am cautious and always aware of my surroundings. You never know what could happen. Once inside the hotel I always felt very safe. I had planned to stay here later in the week for 2 more nights. At first I considered changing that part of the trip to another hotel. But I decided not to and again it all turned out fine. The beds were very comfortable, the free breakfast was good and overall it was a fairly quiet hotel. However, I don’t think I would stay there again in the future. I had one night booked there in December, but I have cancelled it.

    So that’s Day 1! It was then time to sleep and rest up for Day 2, which included lunch at Raglan Road, checking in at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and an evening at EPCOT! I should be posting Day 2 very soon! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  2. DaisyDuck001

    DaisyDuck001 DIS Veteran

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    Here!
     
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  3. BostonJP

    BostonJP Mouseketeer

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    Great read and I love the night photos of the castle and Tomorrowland - did you take them yourself?

    Also I am a huge fan of the Peoplemover as well!
     
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  5. FosterLovesMickey

    FosterLovesMickey Ready for Disney......

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    Great start - looking forward to future updates!!
     
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  6. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for the kind words and for reading! :) And yes I did...all photos I include are my own and taken with my iPhone 6.

    Later in the trip I rode the Peoplemover 3 times in a row. It's the best.
     
  7. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so very much! :-)
     
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  8. KingLlama

    KingLlama Kevin says I'm "delicate".

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    Good stuff, C.
     
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  9. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Thank you sir! :)
     
  10. Sailormoon2

    Sailormoon2 DIS Veteran

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    Lovely start to your trip.
     
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  11. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Here are a few more pics to go with Day 1...should be posting Day 2 and possibly Day 3 tonight. :)

    The Boathouse
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    And a few more from MK...

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  12. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Day 2: Sunday, July 19th

    Part 1


    Thankfully I was able to sleep in a little bit, as I knew the next few days would be quite busy. I grabbed some free breakfast at the hotel and loaded my suitcase back into the car, since I would be moving from the Fairfield Inn to Caribbean Beach Resort that afternoon.

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    I headed over to Downtown Disney, which was much easier early in the day. I was able to get a decent parking spot in one of the lots available across the street and it was an easy walk over to the shops and restaurants. I had over an hour until my lunch reservation at Raglan Road, so I spent that time just wandering around, looking through the shops and getting a few souvenirs for myself and the kiddos I am a nanny for. My favorite part was checking out the Marketplace Co-op for the first time! I got a D-Tech on Demand iPhone case there too. So fun!
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    Time to head to Raglan Road!

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    This was my first time dining there. I had heard such great things about it. Despite having a reservation, I still had to wait over 30 minutes for a table for 1 person, which I did find to be a little ridiculous. But I finally got a table and had a good view of the stage. I loved the entertainment. The Irish music and dancing were so fun. I had a wonderful waitress. I can’t remember what I ordered to begin with, I only know that I had tried to go with something a little more authentically Irish. But 10 minutes later, the waitress came back out and told me that wasn’t available. So I ordered pancakes (I know, I know…but it was Sunday brunch afterall). They were some of the best pancakes I have ever had! My waitress and I got to talking and she had just moved to the Orlando area the year before. So she was able to tell me about some places where I should check out apartments and told me some places to stay away from. So it was great to get a little bit of info from a local!
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    While I was waiting for the check, I got a text that my room was ready at CBR! Yay! It even told me my room number and that I could go straight to my room. So that was very exciting. I quickly paid, made it to my car and was ready to go get settled into my “home” for the next few days.
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    I got to my building and had no issues getting into my room and getting settled. So happy to be back at a Disney resort! I had only stayed on property one time previously, at Port Orleans Riverside. I was so excited to get to check out a new resort. I was very pleased with this place. I was in a standard room with 2 queen beds, in the Jamaica section of the property (building 41). I was slightly disappointed not to find towels in the shape of a Mickey head on my bed. Boo to you Mousekeeping! (I have read that this isn’t being done as much anymore, but still…I was hopeful.)
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    Also, the pictures online of the resort had shown some subtle Finding Nemo theming in the rooms. However, mine really had zero Disney theming at all. This wasn’t a huge deal to me, but I do like to have at least a little “Disney” in the room. Oh well. I could live without it.

    I allowed myself about 15 minutes to “rest”, before I got ready to head to Epcot for the evening! Even though I had been at MK the night before and I love it dearly, there is just something about Epcot that feels like home to me. Whenever I catch even the slightest glimpse of that big ole geodesic sphere, it makes my heart happy. I find myself just staring at it. Sigh.

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    I arrive and have 3 fastpasses scheduled for the evening. I really only cared about doing Soarin’ on this first day, but it gave me one to meet Mickey and friends, so I kept it in case I decided to do it. I hadn’t done an actual character meet ‘n’ greet since…well ever I think. I might have stood in a short line to get a picture with Mary Poppins once, but that was really only because I am in fact Mary Poppins in real life, so it was a necessity.

    (to be continued in Day 2 - Part 2)
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  13. DaisyDuck001

    DaisyDuck001 DIS Veteran

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    Wow, then Raglan Road had the Irish dance show Sunday as early as lunchtime. They had changed the showtimes since my previous visit, and I expected to be able to catch it one evening at 9PM and 10PM, but only got to see the 9PM, as the bartender eventually mentioned that the showtimes had changed and it was now only running from 4PM to 9PM (for the first five minutes of each hour.) So I didn't know it also runs at lunchtime. Maybe next trip I'll just call ahead and ask, because what I saw on the website gave me the impression the shows run all evening, but unexpectedly to me, after 9PM it changed from tapdancing, to a band with no dancing.

    I've read that the rooms at Caribbean Beach are the largest of any moderate, and more recently read that they are the smallest of any moderate. I wonder if they actually shrank the rooms. As for towel animals, they seem to have been discontinued completely. I stayed at three on-property resorts this trip, and didn't see any towel animals at any of them.

    Looking forward to reading what happened next. ;)
     
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  14. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Day Two: Sunday, July 19th

    Part 2

    I had time before my first fastpass (which was the Character Spot with Mickey and Friends), so I headed straight to one of my favorite places in all of WDW, The Land. So many things to love here. I love the walk up to this pavilion. I love the colors of the tiles on the walls outside. I love the inside even more. All the bright colors…it’s just so inviting and fun. And then there is Living with the Land. I love all attractions that involve boats to be honest. I love boats and water in general. I love that this one is interesting, educational and yet fun too. At least to me. I notice something new every time. My favorite part is the greenhouse. Love seeing all of the different things they are growing in there and of course love that they have some “hidden” Mickey’s in there too.

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    After that I still had a little time to kill. In the spirit of “National Ice Cream Day” (does that really even need to be a thing?? Every day should be ice cream day!), I stopped to get one of my favorite WDW treats, the Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich. So very yummy and perfect on a hot day.
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    Finally, it was time for the first fastpass of the evening! So I headed over to the Epcot Character Spot and got in line. I did feel a little silly at first waiting in line to meet Mickey with so many little kids. And I definitely got some odd looks from parents. But I quickly decided I would not care. My money for this vacation was just as good as theirs and if I wanted a picture with Mickey Mouse, then dang it I was going to get one. So there. :P It was great how they had this set up. In a very short amount of time, I was able to get pictures with Mickey, Goofy and Minnie. And a big hug from Goofy. It ended up being really fun and I’m glad I did it. It’s definitely not something I would do every trip or very often at all. More of a random, every now and then kind of thing.
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    While waiting for the next FP, I got this great picture of the monorail passing by! (I’m kinda obsessed with monorail at Epcot pictures…you will see a few of these.)
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    My next FP was for Figment! I had only done this once. Ever. I think. There is a very slight chance I experienced the original Journey into Imagination, but I’m not sure. My very first trip was in 1985. I was 5 years old though, so I don’t exactly remember. I only vaguely remember 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (for some odd reason) at Magic Kingdom and I remember saying “konnichiwa” (in the cutest little 5 year old southern accent you can possibly imagine) to every Asian looking person I saw in the China and Japan pavilions at Epcot. I had just learned this word at school and thought that everyone who looked Asian must be Japanese. I vividly remember saying this and bowing with hands together repeatedly. According to my mother, this was cute for about 2 minutes, and then became a little embarrassing. Here is a pic of me, my brother and our Mom from that trip! BrianPMiles_2015-Aug-10.jpg


    Anyway, back to Figment…the only time I remembered experiencing it was in 2013 though. So I felt I owed it to Kathy Werling (of The DIS) to visit Figment again. I have to admit I enjoy this attraction. I think I would prefer it the way it used to be, but it’s a fun little thing to experience.

    Next up, time for Soarin’!!!! I’m not sure how to even explain in words how much I completely adore this attraction. The feeling you get as you rise into the air, the beautiful music that is beyond perfect, the amazing smells, the beautiful views…it’s almost too much to process all at once. And the Disneyland ending is spectacular. I have such a feeling of peace and contentment while I am on it. I could do this one 20 times in one day and still love it. I’m also always amazed by the story of how it came to be and how it involved an old erector set.
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    With the announcement this past weekend that this will soon be changing to “Soarin’ Around the World”, I have to admit I’m kinda sad to see the current California version go. L However, I do think the new version will be a much better fit and make sense with the World Showcase so close by. I am excited to experience the new one, but also glad I will have the chance to experience the current one a few more times before the change takes place.

    On to the World Showcase! I LOVE the World Showcase. (Yes, I know…I say I love just about everything at Walt Disney World. Well I do. It is what it is, just accept it now that I will be saying that a TON in this trip report. J) I took a little time wandering through Canada and the UK, until I made it over to my favorite pavilion, France. The beauty and detail of this one stand out to me and just make me want to sit there and stare at it. Forever. And take a thousand pictures. That fountain alone…I mean, really. Could it be more gorgeous? I’ve never been to France, but I want to go there so badly. Sigh. (The pics I took the following day were much better, so France pics will happen later.) :)

    On to America! (Japan is ok, but I really don’t care for Morocco. The smells are way too overwhelming for me. So I basically walked right through those.)
    mickeypretzel.JPG EpcotAGT.JPG
    Time for a Mickey pretzel and listening to some Eagles music at the America Gardens Theatre. The timing of my arrival was perfect. The tribute band was about to get started, the sun was about to set, and it wasn’t all that hot. The concert was fun and I so enjoyed just sitting back, relaxing a bit and taking it all in. It was a great moment to experience what it must feel like to be a local. Heading to Epcot in the evening on a Sunday, grabbing a snack, watching a beautiful sunset and just hanging out, listening to a band. This was definitely something I could get used to doing on a regular basis. :)


    (continue to Day 2 - Part 3 for IllumiNations from Italy!)
     
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  15. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Day 2: Sunday, July 19th

    Part 3

    After this I was on a bit of a mission. I really, really, really love IllumiNations. Usually by the end of it, a few tears have managed to escape my eyes. I had only watched it from the front of the World Showcase though, and had always really wanted to experience it from a different perspective. So I was determined on this night to find a good place to watch. I decided on Italy and I am SO GLAD I DID THIS! What an incredible view I had! I opted not to try to stand too close to the front/railing. I found a place to sit out of the way and just waited for it to begin. When it did, I stood up and found a little area with no one around and watched from there. It was perfection. I got some great pictures and felt like I was so much closer to all of it. This was so much better than getting a FP to watch. Plus you have the added bonus of taking your time wandering around the WS some more as you leave. Which I have always wanted to do! (I actually most want to experience EMH or NYE at Epcot…I want to be in the WS as late as possible! So excited that I should get to be there for EMH on my December trip!!!)
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    So after an incredible Epcot evening, it was time to head back to CBR and get some sleep. My alarm clock would be going off very early the next morning so I could make it to a breakfast date with Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora! I was slightly anxious about this one…wasn’t sure how awkward it would be. I mainly wanted to do it for the early Epcot access and to make sure I was ready to go deeper into the WS when it opened. Stay tuned for some great pictures of a very empty Epcot and to find out how breakfast with the girls went!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  16. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Day 3: Monday, July 20th


    This would be my first full park day! I was so excited, I actually woke up before my alarm went off. I was up early and so ready for a day at Epcot.

    I headed over to the park and got a great parking spot. Let me take a moment to say that I really love having my car there. I know some people really love to go to Disney and not drive at all while there. I hear people say all the time that it helps them to feel completely immersed in the Walt Disney World experience. Well, I for one am not a huge fan of waiting on buses. On one of my previous trips, we took the buses a few times, and I just found it to make things more stressful and we ended up spending so much time just waiting for the right bus or the next bus and hoping it wouldn’t be full. It’s so much quicker and easier to me to just drive myself. Even if I were flying down there, I would want to rent a car and give myself that freedom.

    Anyway, back on track. Epcot.
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    I really struggle sometimes with choosing my favorite park. It’s definitely very close between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. They are so different and evoke such different feelings in me, that it is so hard to choose. But I will say this. If I only had one more day (ever) to spend in any Disney park and I could only choose one park for the entire day, I would choose Epcot.

    This was my first time having an early breakfast at Epcot. I had previously experienced an early breakfast at Crystal Palace at MK, and I so enjoyed getting to walk down a nearly empty Main Street. It is still one of my favorite WDW memories. I was hesitant to book a solo princess meal, but my main reason for wanting to do so was to experience an empty Epcot! I walked through Future World without seeing even one other person. Not even any cast members. It was completely surreal. Oh the pictures I took!

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    Including possibly my favorite one (or two) from the whole trip.

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    (to be continued in Day 3 - Part 2!)
     
  17. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

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    Day 3: Monday, July 20th

    Part 2

    I took as much time as I possibly could making my way to the Norway pavilion and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Finally I had to check-in for my reservation though.

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    I had to wait maybe 20-30 minutes, but at least the waiting area was still somewhat in the shade. Finally made it inside and the first thing you do is have a picture opportunity with Belle. Belle is my favorite princess, but this particular Belle did not seem to be feeling very magical on this day. Or maybe she isn’t a fan of random 30-somethings with no kids. Who knows. It was an awkward encounter though. I was glad when that was over and it was time to be seated. I love the way this place works. So they have a “cold bar” that has muffins, pastries, fruit, cheese and fish. Yes, I said fish. Some of it raw. And for BREAKFAST! I guess that makes it an authentic Norwegian establishment? I found it disgusting. So I got some fruit and cheese and a muffin and headed back to my little table. THEN they brought out the warm plate to my table. This plate had heaping piles of scrambled eggs, a cheesy hashbrown casserole, bacon and sausage links. Yum. I was relieved that I was going to get my money’s worth out of the dining plan with this place!

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    As soon as I started to eat, suddenly princesses started dropping by to chat left and right.

    First up was Ariel. You know that you are going to have a good day when it begins with a selfie with Ariel and a conversation about dinglehoppers. I had my hair in pigtails and she told me repeatedly how much she loved my hair and asked if I had used a dinglehopper. I told her of course, that I use mine every single day. She got very excited and said me too! She also called me “mermaid” repeatedly. Two thumbs way up for Ariel. She rocked at the interaction!

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    Next up was Cinderella. She wasn’t quite as fun. She said she liked my blue shirt and loved that we matched. Other than that it was kinda awkward. Quick picture and away she went.
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    Next was Aurora. She apparently woke up on the same side of the palace bed as Belle did. She made a passing comment about my shirt being blue and the fairies letting it stay blue for the moment, but to watch out it could turn pink at any moment. Cute, but she was lacking in personality. And Aurora should be upbeat and happy….that’s who Aurora is! Needless to say, I didn’t like our picture together. Haha.

    And last, but most definitely not least, Snow White. Snow wins the day. She was fun and so chatty! We discussed, in no particular order, my earrings, her jewels, Happy (yes, the dwarf), her prince, guys in general, relationships and wishing wells. We then traded BFF necklaces and vowed to be friends forever. OK….I made that last part up. But still. She was awesome.
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    I took a few more pictures of the restaurant and then was on my way. IMG_2590.JPG
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    It was around 10AM at this point, so I had an hour until the rest of the World Showcase would officially open. Next to Norway, there is a little area with benches right next to the water that are perfectly shaded by trees. I camped out here for the next hour and it was one of the most perfect hours of my life. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, there was a breeze off the water, it wasn’t hot at all in the shade and it was quiet. There was beautiful Disney music lightly playing in the background. I took it all in and enjoyed every second of it. It was just amazing.
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    Got a pic of my fun magicband while I was hanging out too....loved the new DIS skins from magicyourband.com!

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    More to come in Part 3!
     
  18. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    828
    Day 3: Monday, July 20th

    Part 3

    It was getting close to 11AM and a crowd was forming at the rope between Norway and China. So I went over and got as close to the rope as I could. I was determined to try to get ahead of this crowd and walk through as much of the World Showcase as I could with no one ahead of me. And that is exactly what I did! Most of the people waiting stopped at the China pavilion, so this made it easier to accomplish. It was an incredible experience to walk across the bridge to the African Outpost and see no one at all. Then on to Germany. Still no one. Once I got up to the Germany pavilion, there were a few cast members standing outside. I headed on to Italy and was the only one there for a good 10 minutes. More amazing pictures! So peaceful. So fun. As I headed towards the American pavilion, I started to see a few people walking towards me from the opposite direction. Oh well, all good things must come to an end, right?

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    (This day was so awesome...it gets a Part 4!) :)
     
  19. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    828
    Day 3: Monday, July 20th

    Part 4

    More pics from the empty world showcase...

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    I hung out for a few minutes and was ready for the first showing of the day of the American Adventure. Anyone else LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH?!? I don’t know if it is the fact that I have a degree in history and love anything historical, or if it is how much I love being an American, or if it is how amazing the audio animatronics, set designs and the technical aspects of this show are or the beautiful music (who doesn’t love Golden Dream???) , but it just completely owns me. I get goose bumps every single time.

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    I walk out of that show just in time to sit down and listen to the Voices of Liberty outside in the America Garden Theatre. I had never heard them perform outside, so this was very fun for me! They are so, so, so good.

    So now that I was feeling all kinds of patriotic, it was time to grab a Mickey Pretzel (sidenote: I think anything shaped like Mickey is good….just FYI) and head to Japan.

    I had a mission to complete that would involve actually venturing into the Japan pavilion for the first time since 1985. The oldest child I keep turned 12 just before my trip. Not long before that I had discovered, thanks to the disboards, the whole Pick-A-Pearl thing in Japan. I somehow never knew this existed!! How fun! I had shown her a video of it and she decided that is what she wanted for her birthday. For me to go pick out an oyster for her, video the choosing and opening of the oyster and have some kind of jewelry made out of it. So that is what I did! She got a good size pearl (7mm) and it was a pretty, very slightly pink color and very shiny. While they were cleaning hers, I decided I wanted to choose and oyster too. And guess what? I got TWINS! I was so excited! They were very close in size and color so I decided to go for earrings. And I had the kiddo’s pearl made into a cage necklace. This is a very fun experience. If you just want the pearl and that’s it, it is also a fairly inexpensive souvenir, at $15.99 plus tax, if I remember correctly. The options for adding the pearl to a ring, necklace, earrings, etc….range from very affordable to very expensive.
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    (I can't get this picture to cooperate for the life of me, but you can at least see the pearls, dang it. ) :)
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    It takes about an hour for the jewelry to be ready to be picked up, so off to France I went!

    (This day had such incredible pics and I just had to share a ton of them with you all, so yes....we are going to Part 5 friends...it's like some crazy overtime college football game...)
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  20. DaisyDuck001

    DaisyDuck001 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,873
    Yes, American Adventure is a great show. I didn't manage to catch it this trip, but hopefully next time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
    bamacmac likes this.
  21. bamacmac

    bamacmac DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    828
    Day 3: Monday, July 20th

    Part 5 (yes, Part FIVE!!!)

    While the American pavilion has my heart and I would never miss it on any trip to Epcot, France has to be my favorite. It is so stunningly beautiful, I just want to spend as much time there as I can. I went into detail about my love for it on Day 2, so I won’t continue to repeat myself. But again, the fountain y’all. The fountain. I want to buy the fountain. I suppose I could just have a replica made. Along with an Eiffel Tower in the background. Maybe I should just recreate the whole pavilion. And have the music from the film on repeat. But I kind of want THE actual fountain. A girl can dream.
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    First things first in France, ice cream. If you’ve never been to L’Artisan des Glaces, I have one question for you: why the heck not? Just go. It’s SO GOOD. Really.
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    Next up, the best part of this pavilion (it’s a close tie with that fountain), Impressions de France. This 18 minute film is enough to make you want to but a ticket to France right then and there. Or at least that is how I feel about it. And that is the goal of this movie, right? Goal accomplished. The stunning French countryside, hot air balloons, Versailles, Bastille Day….and the music. Seriously, the music. I can’t tell you how often I listen to this in my car, but it’s a lot. Even if you don’t care about any of what I just mentioned, its still a great spot to take a break from the heat and crowds and enjoy the AC and peaceful music.
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    After this I made my back to Japan to pick up the pearl jewelry. I was very pleased with how it turned out and couldn’t wait to give the necklace to a sweet little girl back home.
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    At this point it was late afternoon and was beat. The heat and walking so much had taken a toll. I decided to do another first, and take the boat across the lagoon. It was a nice, short trip and I enjoyed the breeze and the views along the way.

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    I headed towards Ellen’s Energy Adventure for a much needed long break. I’ve done this attraction before and while it is great and all, it can be boring and it’s not something I care to do very often. But 45 minutes in darkness and AC sounded perfect. Very happy to get some good pics while I was in that area too.

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    I had made a FP for Soarin’ that afternoon that I wasn’t sure I would make, but now that I was in FW, it would work out perfectly to make it in time. So I went and flew over California one more time. Snagged another fun monorail picture as well.

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    From here, I went to Canada and watched the O Canada! Film, which I hadn’t seen in awhile. While it’s no match for the French Film, it’s good to see every now and then.


    (Only ONE more part to Day 3! I promise. For real....)
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015

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