I'm in a Sunshine State of Mind (updated 20th Nov!)

Mrs Doubtfire

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
The Luau looks to be a good night. We have been to the Disney one but this gets better reviews at the minute. By the way both of your boys are very cute, but don't embarrass them by telling them I said that ;)
 

Velvetia

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Sunday 12 July - Our last morning at Universal

Our last morning at Universal :( – we packed and had our yummy Cinnabons for breakfast in our room. Aw goodbye, lovely room…

We took our bags to the left luggage storage in the foyer of the hotel and I checked us out, which was really quick.

Then we got the boat to Islands of Adventure for our early entry. As we only had the morning here, and lunch, before heading off to Disney, we’d all decided on what our choice of last ride would be:

E – Escape from Gringotts
J – Minions
C – Disaster!
Granny – Men In Black (we hadn’t done this at all yet…)


We started off by getting the Hogwarts Express to Universal and then headed straight on to Escape from Gringotts to say our farewells to Bellatrix.

The ride was just as awesome as ever. My favourite ride ever, no contest!

We never had to queue at all during our stay, but I would happily queue for this ride for an hour, it is really really worth it.

We stopped by to say hello to the Great White:



Then we headed to the Transformers ride (I love this, Granny thought it way too jerky). We met this guy outside:



We did Minions ride, again with very little wait in the express pass queue, before splitting up as J and I were going to ride The Mummy whilst Granny and C had a wander around, then we were going to meet at Disaster! in an hour.

J and I stashed our bags in the lockers at start of The Mummy ride – these were much easier to use that either of the Harry Potter lockers, and as they’re outside it feels a lot less cramped too - and then we breezed through the non-existent queue straight to our ride vehicle, to take a trip into ancient Egypt...



I loved The Mummy but J wasn’t keen. He shuddered when he came off and said he wasn’t doing that again, he didn’t like going backwards…he did however love the gift shop and we spent quite a while in there before he eventually chose to fill a pouch with priceless plastic gems! Since we’ve got back, he has shown these off to his friends as gems he got from a Mummy’s tomb…he’s adorable! :love2:

As we hadn’t had any queue at all (love that express pass!), we had loads of time before we had to meet the others, so we wandered over to the Simpsons ride and we were on it within 10 minutes, in the express pass queue. We both really liked this ride, it’s so silly!



Then it was time to wander back to meet Granny and C at Disaster!

C and I wanted Granny and J to experience it too, as we had really enjoyed it the previous day. C and J absolutely loved it this time, as Granny got picked by the Assistant Director to play the part of the ‘Glamourous Granny’!! It was hilarious, she had to do some ham acting as a granny gardening, against the green screen, not knowing of course what was in store for her in the final cut… when you see the playback, she is blasted by aliens and turns into a skeleton. Well her grandsons (and her daughter, I’ll admit) thought this was hilarious. As did granny, good sport that she is. We were all laughing so hard, it infected the entire tram, and everyone was in hysterics. :lmao: So funny! Poor Granny!


We wandered over to Men In Black which was really good, and very very spinney! I didn’t really think I was a competitive sort, but this ride photo begs to differ! That’s the face of a mum who wants to win!! :rotfl2:



Then C & J and I rode The Simpsons, while Granny had a rest in the shade.




It wasn’t quite lunch time proper yet, but tummies were rumbling now, so we headed back to Diagon Alley to the Leaky Cauldron.

This wizard made us feel very welcome as we entered:



We placed our order at the register and received our drinks. We tried some of the crazy different drinks they have here:

The Fishy Green Ale (bubble tea), Pumpkin Juice and Frozen Butterbeer:





And our food arrived really quickly (You have a table number indicator and they bring your food to your table here, just like a proper British Pub!)

We all had fish and chips, kids’ portions, which were big enough for us all:



The fish and chips was really good, lovely crisp batter! Mmm...

We’d arrived I think around 11.30, and the place got busier and busier as we sat there. By the time we left it was rammed and the queue was out the door – so my tip would be to have an early lunch as we – by pure happenstance – did…

We all really loved the Leaky Cauldron. Loved all the detail:










After our lunch, we bid Diagon Alley farewell. We had to go and say goodbye to the snakes at the magical animals shop. The boys could both understand what they are saying! They can speak Parseltongue! :scratchin Here, C used some of his souvenir money to buy J a plush dragon in an egg. Sometimes they are little angels these boys...:littleangel: only sometimes though...



Then we headed over towards The Simpsons land, where we had a glance at the LardLad donuts, and thought about getting a HUGE one to share, but decided we'd get some Dippin Dots instead. We rode ET, which was really good and got the yummy ice-cream spheres as we walked out of the park. It was time for us to say goodbye to Universal.

We got the boat back to our hotel and retrieved our bags. We’d timed it just right to meet our pre-booked OrlandoTransfer car.

Soon, we were into the lovely airconned car, and spotting Mustangs :car: (C loves these cars) on our 20 minutes’ drive to Port Orleans French Quarter for the next stage of our Sunshine State adventure…
Up next: The house of the Mouse :mickeyjum
 
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  • Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Sunday 12 July – Disney Time!

    Soon we were pulling up at the Port Orleans French Quarter, our home for the next 8 nights:woohoo: !

    I loved the beds of creamy poinsettas at the entrance:





    We all liked that POFQ is little, we’ve only stated at the All Star Resorts before which are huge…it feels like you’re walking forever there to get between your room and the restaurant, we didn't find that here.

    Adjectively speaking, whereas the Royal Pacific is gorgeous, POFQ is sweet. It’s not on the same level, it is a moderate resort (whereas RPH is deluxe) but we liked it…we’d just been a little spoiled the past three days I think.

    The service when we arrived was great, we were warmly welcomed, and we loved the Mardi Gras theming of the hotel. :joker:

    Check in was quick, and we received our Magic Bands, all labelled with our silly nicknames, which I’d chosen but not told the boys…they thought this was very funny…:hyper2:

    We took it in turns to go and get our Magic Cups in the restaurant:




    Whilst the rest waited with our bags in the lovely foyer. It was a baking hot day again, and it was good to fill up those Magic Cups with lovely cold drinks, and sip them in the foyer :drinking1:





    Then we made our way to our room, which was in building 3. We lucked out on getting this building, as it is the nearest building to the main foyer building and restaurant, and very close to the pool and boat dock.

    Our room was good – clean and tidy, and we unpacked and again donned our Hawaiian-style clothes (Aloha!) before heading to the bus stop to make our way to our magical evening…

    We got the bus to Magic Kingdom and then got the monorail round to the Polynesian.

    We had a reservation at the Kona Café for dinner, but we had time for a little aperitif beforehand, so for this tiki-loving lady there was only one place to head: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto! TIKI TIME!

    I was so excited to go here, I had been reading about it’s opening and it sounded fabulous…Well, it was full ( :sad2: ).

    We could opt to receive a pager and wait for an hour or to sit outside at the back of the bar on the decking area – those tiki cocktails were calling my name so of course we sat outside.

    It was quite lovely, looking out over the Grand Floridian, with a Hawaiian guitarist playing.



    Service was a little slow…but attentive, Granny has an allergy to pineapple, and our server wasn’t sure which drinks contained pineapple juice, so the duty manager came out to chat to Granny and the good news was that she could safely have the Pearl cocktail!

    I opted for the Shrunken Zombie Head, J had to the Tiki mocktail and C had a coke – and was then a little jealous that J’s mocktail came in a Tiki tumbler but his coke didn’t. It was mild jealousy, a little purse of C’s lips and soon passed…

    My shrunken Zombie Head was (WOW!) STRONG! But very good, as was Granny’s Polynesian Pearl.






    With the plastic souvenir cups they will rinse them out for you, but the china ones they give you a brand new boxed one which you collect from the reception inside in the Grog Grotto bar.

    I was holding onto what was left of my Zombie Head in it’s china cup, yes sir! So I didn’t get a brand new china cup. Granny’s and J’s were plastic so they got those rinsed out. On our way up to the Kona Café we were given leis in the foyer. Ah, 'ohana'!

    We were seated immediately when we checked in at the Kona Café. We really liked this restaurant last time we came to WDW, four years ago, and it lived up to our memories. The food was mmmm... really lovely. We started with a huge sweet bread and macadamia nut butter:



    Granny and I both had the Sesame Seared Sea Scallops (try saying that after a Trader Sam's Shrunken Zombie Head cocktail!! :teeth: ) :



    The kids had Cheeseburgers:





    We all had dessert, the kids had ice cream and Granny had the Yuzu Citrus Tart with Coconut-Macadamia Brittle:



    and I had the Jasmine Tea-infused Cheesecake:



    All the food was really yummy! :-)

    We were on the Disney Dining Plan (first time doing this) so this was our first experience of paying with our Magic Bands. All went very smoothly – we all really liked the ease of the DDP (and the value as we’d got it for freeeeee (that’s a Bedtime Stories quote) with our booking package! 8-)

    Full and happy after our dinner, we went out to the Poly beach. They were toasting marshmallows on firepits, so we joined in and then C and J had a play in the sand while Granny and I took advantage of the loungers and had a little post dinner rest…it was a lovely atmosphere :grouphug: :















    We then took the boat over to Magic Kingdom and hopped on a bus to Port Orleans Riverside for our next adventure:

    We got off the bus at Port Orleans Riverside. This is the sister resort to Port Orleans French Quarter, it was dark and we weren’t quite sure which of the 4 or 5 bus stops we needed at this resort, for the main building, but it was obvious once we approached the main building.

    This resort is much larger than POFQ and really charming in it’s N’awlins Mansion Houses styling.

    We had booked to have a horse-drawn carriage ride at 9pm. We found the place where the carriage leaves from, and the boys found this hilarious... a horse poo bin, this kept them in giggles for at least 15 minutes! Little boys... :rolleyes:



    And we had a little time to wait so we relaxed on the porch – wow this resort was lovely!




    The carriage ride was lovely, it went right down the river, to Port Orleans French Quarter and back up to the Riverside.

    It was great to see the Mansion Houses, all lit up and cosy looking, lining the river, the styling here is fantastic. The driver was lovely and she took a photo of us in the carriage:



    And gave us a lift back to POFQ as we were the last ride of the night, and the stables are at POFQ.

    We happily followed our tired feet to our beds…what a busy and wonderful day :goodvibes !

    Up next – a Royal visit!
     
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    Mrs Doubtfire

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2006
    A great start at WDW. We stayed at POFQ but I found the room so noisy! At the minute my DD prefers CSR, the pool area there is really good for teens :thumbsup2
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Monday 13 July – Magic Kingdom

    We were up bright and early and ready to go, ears on, it was our first Disney Park day today :earsboy:... and a bus was waiting right there at the bus stop for us to take us to Magic Kingdom.

    We gained early entry into the park as we had a breakfast reservation, it was a real treat to wander up Main Street to the castle with hardly any people about and to get some photos by the castle.



    We went through the castle into Fantasyland and as we had a little time before our breakfast reservation, we rode Peter Pan just as it opened!

    This is Granny’s favourite ride. There was just one family ahead of us and we walked through the queue enjoying all the scenes in the Darlings nursery, and we loved getting ‘sprinkled’ by pixie dust just before taking off in our magical pirate ship, off to Neverland!

    :tinker:
    When we came out Fantasyland was filling up, and C and J took up the challenge to see if either of them were the rightful King…






    No, that sword stayed fast, no coronations today…:laughing:

    It was time for our breakfast reservation. I was really really excited about this, it was a (belated) birthday celebration for me…:hyper:

    Cue the trumpets, we had a breakfast reservation at… Cinderella’s Royal Table!

    Now, in Scotland…we have Castles and Turrets aplenty…we have stained glass and armour galore...

    (did you sing that in your head to the tune of Part of Your World? I hope so, if not, go back and do it now, I’ll wait…)

    BUT…none of ours is quite as spectacular as Cindy’s, I don’t think. Wow! You walk in on the street level (I’d imagined going upstairs straight away like in Sleeping Beauty’s castle at DL) but no, from street level you are transported into a grand hall with a wooden balconied staircase at the far end.

    At the near end is Cinderella looking regal and twinkly, and a tiny queue of people to meet her, with a Photopass photographer and a courtier (loved his courtly uniform) introducing the arriving guests to the Princess hostess…

    We waited for 5 minutes which was a great opportunity to take in the grand hall and all the details. Eagle-eyed C spotted the mice Gus and Jaq up on the wooden beams!

    Cinderella was lovely and she took lots of time to chat to us.



    We headed up the spiral stairs to the dining room…:lovestruc I LOVED the carpet up the stairs, it shimmered with glitter! I even got down to stroke it to see if it was glitter sprinkled on the carpet (and if so I was planning how much glitter I’d need to buy to re-create that at home!!!!

    BUT, no, it was a glittery carpet, a gorgeous mid blue colour with glimmering, glistening glitter woven all the way through it…wait til I ask if they’ve got that in stock at Carpet Right! o_O

    We were seated right in the middle of the wonderful dining room, which really is fit for a Royal Banquet! There are heraldic flags hanging from the vaulted ceiling and a medieval style chandelier.

    We were welcomed by the servers with ‘your majesty’!, C and J were given swords and wishing stars and Granny and I were given magic wands!



    First came a tray of pastries and muffins – Mickey shaped blueberry muffins! – all were lovely.

    Then Granny and I had the poached lobster and shrimp (and some really lovely coffee), J had a Mickey waffle and bacon and C had the mini Mickey waffles breakfast platter. Mmmm...










    We all sat and smiled! :goodvibes Wow, we had ridden Peter Pan, had tried to get the sword from the stone and were now eating Mickey shaped delectables inside Cinderella’s Castle!! We felt like we had truly arrived!

    It was only 8.30am, how could this day get any better?

    Well, how would you like some princesses with your meal? Oh, go on then!

    I loved how they give some clues over the PA system, by sharing a little of the princess’s story to give a clue as to who might be arriving to visit – we guessed them all of course! First up to enter was Aurora (in pink not blue).



    Then came Ariel:



    And Jasmine:



    And Snow White was adorable!:



    The server was good and kept us filled up with the lovely black coffee.

    As this was my birthday celebration, we’d booked the Cinderella Chocolate Slipper dessert. It was so pretty:



    And yummy - we devoured it between the four of us!

    We loved the Wishing Star ceremonies – there were two during the time we were there and we all screwed our eyes shut and made wishes – luckily we opened them in time to see the entire ceiling of the dining room twinkle with stars and Snow White gliding around in awe of the twinkling stars on the ceiling. Snow White was so adorable, she really was like the cartoon drawing come to life!

    What a really special breakfast we’d had – it really did live up to expectations! It was well worth 2 of our Disney Dining Plan credits, and having to make the booking 180 days before… We all glided down the gorgeous twinkly-carpeted spiral stairs, ready for more of this magical day.

    We wandered around Fantasyland for a while and had a lovely meet with the Fairy Godmother just at the back of the castle.

    Then we went to our first FastPass ride which was the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.



    While C and J and I loved this ride, Granny hated it and felt quite wobbly afterwards, so we went for a sit down and a rest in the nearby Pinocchio’s Village House. We used some snack credits for C to have a slush puppy, blue of course, my kids love any blue food and drink!:



    And for Granny to have a cup of tea. J had his heart set on a strawberry ice lolly so he and I went to get one from an ice cream stall and I got a cone of caramel peanuts too which were yummy! Love those snack credits on the Disney Dining Plan!



    After our little break at Pinocchios’s, Granny had regained her composure and had a new most unfavourite ride ever :o and we headed to our second Fastpass which was Enchanted Tales with Belle.

    This was a really sweet experience. I was picked as Madame Wardrobe but C and J didn’t want to volunteer as anything, they were happy being in the audience – and maybe laughing at mummy instead - as I had to do some opera singing, (eek) as my ‘part’ in the story !!

    All the volunteers got to meet Belle at the end and got an adorable bookmark from her. It was so sweet to see the little girls meet Belle, they were so in awe of her. One little girl who must have been only 2 years old went in for a hug with Belle and would not let go.

    For ages.

    And then a bit longer.

    Yep, still not letting go…

    It was hilarious, she was so cute! :cutie:

    As we were leaving C and J both said they wanted to do this again another day, and they would volunteer now they knew what to expect…:confused3

    Next for us it was a merry unbirthday spin in the tea cups:



    Then our next FastPass which was Peter Pan. The wait time for this was 60 minutes, but we only waited 5 mins in the FastPass queue. This queue doesn’t take you through the Darlings nursery, so we were pleased that we'd experienced the standby queue earlier. For the second time that day we went off to Neverland!

    Then we wandered through to Liberty Square and found somewhere to leave C and J to give Granny and me a break…



    Just kidding! :rotfl2:
    We headed to Haunted Mansion and the wait time was 30 mins so we joined the queue. :hmghost: We all loved this ride, we do love spooky stuff! C loved it even though he said he had his eyes closed for most of it!! Turns out he was a bit spooked early on by the pictures on the wall that change when the lightening strikes…


    It was really hot when we came out of Master Gracey’s Mansion ! It was the mad hot midday sun so we decided it was time to head back to our hotel for a break. So, we got some ice creams to help keep us cool as we headed towards the Frontierland station to get the train around to the front of the park, onto a bus and back to our hotel.

    Back at POFQ, we filled up our Magic Cups in the restaurant to take to the pool with us, and J had a craving for one of these (or possibly a craving for the novelty to use his Magic Band for a free snack!!) :



    Granny, C and J had a bit of pool time whilst I did a wash at the laundry. The machines are quick and only take credit cards.

    The pool at Port Orleans French Quarter was really nice. Much smaller than the Royal Pacific pool, but still really well manned by really attentive life guards. C and J loved the sea serpent slide.



    Up next: Is it a car? Is it a boat?
     
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  • JenB

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2001
    So enjoying your report!! Your family is beautiful (all 4 of you!). We leave for a Universal trip in 13 days and are staying at Portofino Bay. My kids are 16 and 20 and I'm really missing them being your boys age. Looking forward to more!!
     

    chocolateMinnie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2008
    Loving today's report. Long time since we did CRT - my two are now past the age of Princess Meals :( but I'm with GRanny the 7 dwarves mine train made me feel dreadful - I don't know about kids ride nor about wonderful theming - I didn't see any of it and my stomach was in my neck for hours :)
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Monday 13 July – Downtown Disney

    After our break, at around 4pm we caught the boat down the Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney. It’s a really good boat ride, we spotted some interesting looking birds.

    We really loved the location of the French Quarter, it’s pretty close to all the parks and Downtown Disney. It is a charming hotel. We appreciated that it’s little and has great downtown N’awlins styling and a really nice laid-back atmosphere, it’s the Big Easy!

    The boat dock at POFQ is just a little way down from the pool, across the walkway which links PO Riverside, POFQ and DTD.



    At Downtown Disney, we made a beeline for another adventure that we had been looking forward to…The AmphiCars!

    They only take three passengers so Granny had a seat in the Boathouse Bar and had a drink – I think she was secretly quite pleased the cars only take three, so she didn’t have to sail! :boat:



    While she sat in the shade in the bar, C and J and I sailed around the lagoon in a car!



    It was really surreal driving into water – a truly memorable experience! The captain was awesome and told us the whole history of the amphicars and as we sailed around, he pointed out all the venues in Downtown Disney.

    It gets quite hot out there on the water, so I put up the umbrella that was provided to shield us from the sun. It’s quite a long ride, around 45 mins I think and it’s pricey but I think worth every penny. How often can you say you went sailing in a car !!





    Our trip over, we drove back up the ramp onto dry land. We were greeted with glasses of ice water by the lovely staff. They really did look after us very well. There were always huge crowds watching the launches and returns of the amphicars.

    We bought the official photo package and J bought a rubber duckie in the Boathouse Shop. We were impressed by the whole style of the Boathouse – the restaurant/bar, the shop and the staff were all top-notch. It felt very posh. The menu in the restaurant looked good too - I’d love to go here for a meal next time we go back to WDW.

    Then we headed to the World of Disney, to collect our $200 Disney giftcard that was a part of our package. It’s quite confusing where you have to go to get this (we had to ask at a few different counters and were met with blank looks) but it’s at the jewellery desk which is in the villains room of this huge store!

    We found it eventually but then the servers took ages to process our voucher and load up two giftcards of $100 each (one each for C and J) so Granny and C and J went to check in for our dinner reservation at TRex Café whilst I waited for the gift cards.

    I caught up with them at the entrance of TRex Café just as our name had been called and we were seated in an area right at the back of the restaurant which looked spectacular when the meteor showers hit!

    We were all really happy with our table and our food but none quite so happy as C who just adored it here. He took hundreds of pictures and regaled us all with dino-facts and picked up on where some of the dino models were actually a little anatomically incorrect! He explained that palaeontology knowledge had moved on since this place was built!! o_O














    The food was good, not amazing, but good. I had the Tar Pit Fried Shrimp



    Granny had the Boneyard Buffet (Chicken and Ribs)



    C and J had - I think - pasta from the kids menu (no photo, sorry) and then for dessert they both had the Chocolate Tarpit Pudding, very cute with it's gummy dinosaurs:



    Granny and I couldn't manage dessert but as it was included in our DDP (and it'd be rude not to :rolleyes:), we had the:

    Meteor Bites for Two - Warm chocolate and vanilla donut holes with powdered sugar. Served with caramel and chocolate sauces for dipping.

    We had it To Go, they packed it up for us, and we kept it in the fridge in our room and enjoyed midnight snacks later, and some for breakfast the next day, the portion was huge!

    Dinner at TRex is 1 table service credit on the DDP – I think that’s very good value! The food is good and the venue is awesome!

    That TRex at the entrance isn't as tough as he thinks he is...we all called him out...'PutEmUp PutEmUp'!







    After our Dino-battle, Granny and C and J went to do some shopping at WoD – they were keen to spend their souvenir money gift cards! - whilst I went to get a sundae from Ghirardelli BUT they didn’t do my favourite (The Gold Rush with peanut butter ice cream) any more…and nothing else on the menu was quite what I wanted (fusspot, moi!?)… :rolleyes1

    So – ice-cream-less, I joined the shoppers…in the 4 minutes I’d been gone, J had chosen 3 Vinylmations and C had chosen to spend (most of!) his money on a large electric model the Disney monorail (and I was thinking I might have to buy another case!). :laughing:

    At the checkout, J opened up his Vinylmations straight away and was happy with them, he didn’t want to trade any. He was showing them to the girl at the check-out, and chatting to her about his collection and she told him they had a bigger selection of Vinylmations at D Street. So, of course, we had to go to D Street then !!

    Granny and C went into the Dino Dig at the TREX shop and J and I battled through the enormous partying night crowds of Downtown Disney – at the former Pleasure Island area - to get through to D Street, buy 2 Vinylmations, and brave the crowds again to get back to TREX.

    I hate big crowds. I will remind J of this trial by crowd until my dying day in order to make him feel truly guilty and realise the incredible, brave price I paid so he could get Vinylmations of Thor and Cap America!!! :rotfl:

    Oh my, the crowds were just crazy! I think it’s because the walkways are narrowed with all the construction work… I was wondering at one point if we would ever get back to TREX. But we did and re-joined Granny and C and then headed to the buses to get back to our N’awlins-type home…another busy day, and another restful night…

    Up next - Ready, Jedi, Go !
     
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    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Tuesday 14 July - Ready, Jedi, Go!

    We had a lie in this morning, well three of us did before we awoke to the sounds of C building his monorail model! Right in front of the room door of course, blocking our exit!!



    Once we were all ready (Star Wars tshirts for C and J today! They might need the force!) and had gently moved the construction project so we could actually leave the room…we went for breakfast at the French Quarter food court, The Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory.

    It took us a little while to work out what we were entitled to have as part of DDP as a quick service meal, but we got there eventually, and I was very excited to get beignets! I’ve wanted to try these for ages. The time we ate at Café Orleans in Disneyland, the queue for beignets was just tooo long and it was toooo late so now I finally got to try them and yep... they’re gorgeous! They are – perfect for a sweet-toothed person like me. Reluctantly (ha ha) I shared them with C and J and Granny…C and J both had Mickey Waffles and Granny had the bounty platter breakfast.





    We got the bus around 10am to Hollywood Studios and headed straight for the sign up station for Jedi Training Academy. They had space for our little Jedi-wannabes to get trained in the ways of the force at 2.30pm! Brilliant! I was a little concerned that they might be totally booked up by now…

    We went for our first FastPass which was the Little Mermaid Show – we had a little wait in the area before going in:





    The show was a little bizarre…best appreciated if you have already seen the film as it rushes right through the story at breakneck speed and poor Prince Eric is only in it for around 30 seconds in all! But the songs of course are wonderful and we loved the styling of the auditorium which is made like un under sea grotto so it is well worth seeing!

    We exited and I swear I could hear a Butterfinger cupcake calling my name, :listen: so we followed the sweet voice to Starring Rolls…

    As we made our way there we passed the FastPass Kiosk – I could not believe how long the queue was for Fastpasses! It must have been over a half hour wait – just for Fastpasses!

    Ah…how much do I love Starring Rolls:



    All of these delectable are only 1 snack credit each on the DDP! Brilliant value!

    We bought that Butterfinger Cupcake and a Red Velvet one too to keep it company (wink).

    They went into a bag to take back to the hotel, as it was now time for our early lunch reservation at Sci Fi Diner.

    We came here before in 2011 and loved it so we were really looking forward to returning. We checked in and were told we had seats in a car! Brilliant!

    This restaurant was just as good as we’d remembered!



    C & J loved the silly Sci Fi movie clips shown on the screen, like Plan 9 from Outer Space, they appreciated just how corny they were, and giggled away to themselves!



    We made our way to the Great Movie Ride - We had to queue for maybe 15 minutes which I was grateful for, as I loved the style of Graumann's Chinese Theater. I loved this carpet:



    (what is it with me and carpet- envy this holiday?! :o )

    Fabulous ride, it is a classic, C and J were totally intrigued by Alien, and I had to tell them over and over the story of the movie, and promise they could watch it when they're old enough!

    Then we made our way to our next FastPass - Star Tours – and Granny was rebel spy! That Granny!:lmao:

    James still had a little souvenir money left on his gift card so he made some droids at the droid factory in the Star Tours shop, and bought 2 droids:



    Then it was time to get some Jedi Training!

    C and J weren't fighting Darth Maul, he was right by us in the audience, he's one scary dark-side dude:



    But, not as scary as this guy:



    Luckily both C and J had the moves like Jedi ( the moves like Jedi, the moo -oo -oo -oo -oo -oo -oo -oo -ooves like Jedi) (that's to the Maroon 5 tune, case you were wonderin'! ) and managed to hold their own against Vader:





    They both loved doing this, I was a little jealous, I'll be honest, I'd love to square up to Vader!

    Vader gave up, C and J were certified as Padawan and we decided to find the Singin’ in the Rain umbrella...

    Easier said than done, we got misdirected to the Muppets fountain :confused3...

    But finally we found it. It is right up the Streets of America near the stunt show...

    We all love this movie...

    All together now…doo de doo doo, doo de doo de doo, doo doo…

    Just singin’:



    And dancin’:



    In the rain:



    J was being a bit too cool for (musical) school and didn’t want to pose!

    It was time for us to head back to the hotel to have some pool time, so we got an Ice Cream from Dinosaur Gerties, C had vanilla waffle cone and J had Mickey Ice Cream Cookie. C, of course, loved this kiosk!




    We exited park at around 3pm and got a bus back to POFQ where we had a bit of pool time and then got ready to go to dinner. We were getting Grand for dinner…

    We got the bus to Magic Kingdom and then hopped on the monorail. We had a dinner reservation at 7.30 for the Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, but, wouldn’t you just know it, we were way too early for that…were could we possibly go in the meantime for an aperitif??

    Hmmm...I wonder....:scratchin

    It’s….TIKI TIME!

    We got off the monorail at the Poly and headed to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. Into the bar, expecting the ‘hour long wait to sit inside or be seated straight away on the terrace’ but No!

    Wow! We were greeted with ‘yes, we have a table ready for you right now, in the bar’! Woo-hoo! So excited ! :hyper:

    We were seated in the Grotto at the back with a perfect view of all the fabulous stuff and nonsense that goes on!





    With each cocktail that is ordered something silly happens…

    C and J loved it in here too. They both ordered the tiki mocktail in it’s souvenir sipper this time (C had remembered how cool it was last time when J got one!)

    Granny had the Polynesian Pearl. When this is ordered, a bell rings and one of the bartenders dons a scuba mask and snorkel and dives into this conch shell behind the bar to retrieve the pearl cup:





    I had the Krakatoa Punch:



    Uh-oh, when this is ordered, a full on volcano erupts in the bar, the lighting flickers, a storm rages and the volcanoes which you can see through the slats in the windows erupt with flowing magma!



    This bar rocks! It is so fun, not giving any more spoilers (go, if you’re in the area, sit inside!)… fabulous nonsense happens when someone orders the Shrunken Zombie Head, the Uh – Oh – Ah and best of all the best nonsense happens when a table orders the huge cocktail to share, the Nautilius. We were in hysterics at how this is served! :rotfl:

    We really loved this place. It is just our kind of ridiculous! ::yes::

    We all got our souvenir tiki cups to go, and headed back to the monorail for the quick trip to the Grand Floridian, for dinner at 1900 Park Fare.

    Up next: Dancing and Dinner!
     
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  • Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Tuesday 14 July - Dancing and Dinner

    We found the 1900 Park Fare, our destination for dinner, checked in and had a family photo.



    Then we were seated, well almost seated, we were shown to our table but it would be quite a while before we could actually sit down…

    Lady Tremaine was there waiting for us. She haughtily signed the boys’ autograph books and asked about our British lineage!





    It seems she approved, as then Drizella came up to join her mother and oh my goodness, Drizella was LOUD and very upfront in her proclamation that, yes, J would make a very good husband for her in the future.

    She HOLLERED over a couple of other tables to her sister that there were two handsome British brothers over here she should meet, and wouldn’t you just know it, Anastasia came over too and declared just as LOUDLY that C as a suitable match for her! Lady Tremaine declared she approved and moved on. The sisters – they’re quite forward as well as being loud! – they signed their husbands to be ‘s autograph books and then asked the boys to dance!





    C and J were giggling away, loving the nonsense, and very happily accepted the invitation to dance and made their way with their partners to the middle of the ballroom. Granny and I looked at each other – where on earth had this come from? :confused3 These two boys who were reticent to volunteer as crockery at Belles were now chatting and giggling away with Drizella and Anastasia , in a room full of amused people watching them, and – we looked again, really? – teaching them Scottish Country dancing !?! :dance3:







    They were all having blast, very loudly, so Cinderella and the Prince came over too and joined in!





    The dance finished, and C and J both got covered in lipstick kisses! puckerup: puckerup: puckerup:









    They came back to sit down, on a giggly high – what a fabulously silly start to our meal!

    And finally, a server came over to us to order drinks, saying: ‘I couldn’t get over here til now, y’all had so many visitors!'.

    Finally we could hit the buffet! Wow! the food here was amazing, everything - and there was a lot of choice - was really delicious :





    A little while later Cindy came over to meet the boys officially and thanked them for the dance class!



    And then the Prince stopped by, and commented in his booming regal voice that he could see his Princess’s sisters had taken a shine to C and J (they were still covered in kisses)…:laughing:



    We ate our fill and as we were readying to leave, Drizella and Anastasia came over again to say goodbye ‘for now’ to their future husbands. :) They were just fabulous characters!

    This was such a fun experience, and the food was spectacular. I’d recommend this character meal highly. We all had a blast! :cool1:

    We got the boat from the Grand Floridian dock over to Magic Kingdom, passing the Electrical Parade on the way - which was cool - and then go a bus back home of our French Quarter.

    Up next: Gators!
     
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    Kivara

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 14, 2015
    Sounds like a wonderful meal! I loved seeing the boys teaching their "brides-to-be" a dance!
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Wednesday 15 July – Gators!

    We were up bright and early for a surprise trip today. Granny and I booked it and hadn’t told C and J where we were heading…

    After breakfast in the POFQ restaurant, we met our Orlando Transfer car and headed off for around an hour’s drive. The driver was really friendly, and when he found out we were from Scotland he put Rod Stewart on the car’s music player…so sweet! We love Rod! :music:

    You might have guessed from the title of this chapter, :tilt: that our surprise trip was an airboat ride to spot – hopefully - some Gators! I booked the trip with Orlando Airboat Tours – Marsh Landing Adventures. I’d highly recommend them, they were very easy and helpful to book with online. I booked the 8am tour, for 2 hours.

    As we pulled up at the office for Marsh Landing Adventures, and we revealed where we were going today, Charlie and James were awestruck! Phew, does anyone else worry that when they do surprises like this for their kids, they’ll be all ‘meh’ and not bothered! Well C and J weren’t, thankfully, they were very excited! :jumping1:


    They came in to the office to pay with me and clocked all the souvenirs in the shop…gator teeth and skulls…and were wide-eyed with wonder!

    We then drove another few miles to the river and met our captain and our airboat at the little jetty. We had Captain Chris, he was great, very patient with the boys and took the time out explain all about the wildlife and the environments we were in. He also had a great, cheeky sense of humour!




    We had two other passengers join us, a father and grown up son.

    C and J sat in the back row next to Captain Chris, with strict instructions from me to hold on tight, as there’s no seatbelts. Captain Chris chimed in ‘Yep, ya’ll better behave or I can push you over the side, easy!’ ha ha!

    And we were off! The first 10 mins or so of the journey isn’t very picturesque, nor fast, as you go out of the man-made river, but then… it gets breathtakingly beautiful.










    As we got out into open-water marshland, we put on our headphones and whizzed very fast over the reed beds and lotus flowers.

    Those airboats are noisy, very fast and very very thrilling – we all loved it! C had a Florida birds book and we spotted loads of birds, the Captain was great at pointing them out to C so he could tick them off:





    ... and yes, we spotted gators!

    A Gator Nest:



    Baby Gators bottom right of photo:







    It was just stunning, and we went to the uppermost start of the Everglades, Bonnet Creek, which was beautiful:









    The last adult gator that we spotted really didn’t like us being up quite so close and hissed at us showing us her mighty teeth! Wow!



    When we returned to the marsh, Captain Chris pulled up and picked the Lotus Flower nuts for us all to try. It tasted like coconut:








    It was an amazing trip – definitely one of the highlights of our holiday, I’ll do it again in a heartbeat…I think there’s a longer trip you can do, I’d do that next time, 2 hours just flashed by!

    After the obligatory stop at the gift shop to buy Gator teeth...we headed back to the House of the Mouse...

    Up next: Apricot!
     

    LanaBear-ox

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2015
    Wow what an awesome TR! I'm trying to persuade myself that we should go to Universal.. I think you have tipped it over the line for me haha. Your family are so cute it's unreal. You and Granny make a lovely Professor and News Reporter, you definitely pulled off Rita! Where about in Scotland are you from? We live in North Wales :boat: I can't wait to hear (or see?) your next installment!
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Wednesday 15 July – Apricot!

    So, after our drive back from Marsh Landing, our OrlandoTransfer driver dropped us off at the Boardwalk Hotel. We may have all had a little snooze on this hour long journey…I know I did!

    The Boardwalk Hotel was charming, we had a wander around the foyer:



    and then exited onto the Boardwalk itself:




    Pretty Bench:





    We were getting hungry now, so we had a look in Boardwalk Bakery, but there was nothing there that was really grabbing us, instead we all fancied fish and chips at the UK pavilion (what can I say we are British!) so it was time for us to visit Apricot!

    When we visited WDW for the first time, J was 4 and decided to himself that Epcot was called Apricot, so of course, to us, it’s been known as that ever since! I guess it makes more sense to a 4 year old to call it that than the acronym for Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow :D...

    We walked along the Boardwalk and over the bridge to the International Gateway at Apricot and (eyes on the prize) headed straight to the fish and chips stand!

    We took our fish suppers round the back of the pavilion to a shady table overlooking the lagoon.



    The fish and chips were great. As this meal was a counter service credit on the Disney Dining Plan we got drinks and little Victoria Sponge cakes for dessert.

    The cakes were awful.

    Yuck:



    There were a couple of ducks sitting by our table, . Had we been allowed to feed the ducks, I could have gone all Marie Antoinette and “Let them eat cake!”…;) but you are not allowed to feed them – they were very cute though and gave us big cute duck-eyes to tried to persuade us otherwise, but we stuck to the rules!




    Lunch done, we set off to tour the World!

    We started off heading towards France where I had a quick visit to the Guerlain perfume shop to get a map and be squirted with lovely perfume.

    The sky at this point was deep purple : da-da-da, da-da-di- dah– (the riff from Smoke on the Water :rockband:) so we headed into Japan just in time to avoid the downpour.

    The kids sat at the Kidcot station and coloured in the figures of Perry the Platypus on sticks:



    And watched the origami masters, who made a ninja star for each of the boys. These cast members were so friendly and lovely.



    I had a look around the Japan shop and sighed over the gorgeous silk kimonos – they are beautiful! We had spent around 30 minutes in the pavilion and a peek outside showed that the rain had stopped, so we ventured out.

    We watched the fantastic drummers for a while:



    Then we headed to Italy were the kids got stamps for their Perry on stick things. (are they masks? puppets? Not sure…o_O ).





    Then we decided we needed a little sweet treat so headed to Karamel Kuche in Germany. This store was really great – the smell of caramel is divine.

    There is an incredible choice but eventually we all chose our goodies: J had a chocolate caramel marshmallow wand, I had a huge caramel and peanut butter cookie, C a huge caramel and chocolate cookie and granny had a chocolate covered caramel square. Mmm they were all gorgeous, I highly recommend the Karamel Kuche.

    We sat on a bench in the Germany courtyard and enjoyed them while we soaked up the Bavarian atmosphere, we may even have been singing “Oom pah pah” from Oliver! to get ourselves Germanic!! Lucky that none of us embarrass easily! :lmao:



    The kids got their Perrys on a stick stamped here, in the shop, and the cast members drew German flags on them too. We stopped a while to watch the train going around the high shelf in the shop, and then we headed off again on our World Tour.

    Next up was China where it was fantastic to see the models of the terracotta warriors. (Can you spot the two which aren't made of terracotta ?! :scratchin):





    We walked through rest of world showcase, promising that we would come back to go to the other pavilions another day, but our fastpass for Test Track had opened up so we headed up past Mexico, to Test Track. The queue was an hour wait, we were really glad we had a FP!

    Granny waited in the car showroom where it’s nice and cool while C and J and I rode. The kids loved the design your own car bit. :car: The whole Test Track experience was a big hit with them. We had to spend about a half an hour in the showroom after the ride for the boys to sit in all the cars and play the computer games that they have there.

    We were all wearying a little now after our early start so we headed out of the park for a lazy afternoon by the pool at POFQ. We got dinner from the Sassagoula food court and took it back to our room to have a TV dinner.

    C and I both had the mac and cheese, mine with shrimp, it was really good. J had a the pasta and meatballs and granny had a pork dish. It was a good, chilled out way to end our busy day.

    Up next: Time for Tea!
     
    Last edited:

    mistanotguilty

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2015
    Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading this one. I read it a while back, but just got to registering to post!
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Wow what an awesome TR! I'm trying to persuade myself that we should go to Universal.. I think you have tipped it over the line for me haha. Your family are so cute it's unreal. You and Granny make a lovely Professor and News Reporter, you definitely pulled off Rita! Where about in Scotland are you from? We live in North Wales :boat: I can't wait to hear (or see?) your next installment!
    Hi Lanabear :wave2: - we are from Edinburgh. I am going to Wales for the first time next year! I really loved Universal it was brilliant - I definitely recommend it!
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading this one. I read it a while back, but just got to registering to post!
    Thanks for the lovely comment! I am determined to finish this trip report, so there'll be lots more chapters coming up...
     



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