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Old 07-26-2014, 08:10 PM   #1
SnapesGirl
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~~We're going to need a vacation from this vacation! 14 crazy days around the World~~

Hey everybody! I've always loved reading people's trip reports so when we went to Disney from May 1 to May 15th this year, I decided it was time to write a trip report of my own! Since this is my first one, I'll need you to bear with me a bit!

Quick backgrounder:



I'm Tonia and this is my amazing mom, Josie. I had been to Disney twice when I was younger -once with my best friend and her family and once with my high school. While I had a wonderful time on both trips, as an adult, Universal is what brought me back to Florida. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, I dragged my mom along with me for a quick 5 day trip. While we were there, we decided to do one day at the Magic Kingdom since my mom had never been. We had such a good time, that we decided to go back and do a full Disney and Universal trip the next year... and the next year. And since we skipped a year of vacation, we decided to do a 14 day Disney/Universal extravaganza trip. So here we go!
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Old 07-26-2014, 08:26 PM   #2
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Day 1 - Arrival!

The night before our trip, I felt like the kid in that old Disney commercial - "I'm too excited to sleep!" Somehow I fell asleep around 12am and my alarm went off at 5:30am. For once, I was wide awake and ready to go! (Gee, can't I be like that when I have to go to work?). Called the cab, picked up my mom, and off to the airport! Our flight was at 8:30am from Montreal to Orlando direct. It was a pretty bumpy ride, but we finally touched down around 11:50am. I had rented a car with Thrifty through Bookit.com ($198 US for 14 days!). Since we went through US customs at the Montreal airport, we were able to land, grab our bags, pick up the car and hit the road within about 20 minutes.

I absolutely love stepping out of the Orlando airport and feeling the heat, but we were not prepared for the humidity! We had previously done our trips in April and I was not expecting this kind of heat! But, after a very very long winter, we couldn't complain!

We headed to Walmart to pick up some stuff for our stay - grapes, cheese, crackers, muffins, and a Mickey Mouse stuffy for my cousin. With that all done, we finally headed to our resort - Art of Animation!

Since I booked the trip 500 days before, I had been obsessively reading reviews and seeing pictures of the resort. I was a bit apprehensive and thought I might have been disappointed, but as we pulled up to the gate, the only word my mom and I said was, "WOW!"









I was completely blown away by this resort and how big everything was! It was absolutely gorgeous and everything I thought it would be and more! I had done online check in so the check in process went extremely quickly. Within a few minutes, we had our magic bands and map. We had decided that using gift cards would be a better idea this time rather than carrying around cash to all the parks, so we picked up 2 gift cards and loaded them up.

After getting settled in, we headed to our first ADR - Chef Mickey's at 5:30. We got there a bit early and walked around the Contemporary. Both mom and I decided that this resort is just not for us. To us, it felt cold and lacking character. Granted, we didn't see any of the rooms, but based on the lobby and general surroundings, we weren't impressed. And that was the general attitude throughout dinner. Yes, I had read many reviews warning the reader to stay clear of this place, but hey. I like to live dangerously

Side note - I had bought Memory Maker ahead of time. I prefer being the one behind the camera and as such, I never really get many pictures of my mom and I together. This time, I decided we needed a few. Its definitely worth it if you use it! We stopped at nearly every photographer we saw!













Sorry for the half eaten pic!



The character interactions were great and I'm happy that we got to meet all 5 at once, but the food was just..blah. I didn't think it was disgusting (my mom disagrees), but I found that everything was just really bland and had no taste at all. Would we do this again? Nope. But at least we tried it once.

After dinner, we headed to the Magic Kingdom. To me, the Magic Kingdom is Disney and there's nothing better that walking around that corner and seeing the castle for the first time (whether it be the first time that trip or first time ever!). First we hopped onto Buzz Lightyear using FP+. Next we did Monster's Laugh Floor (which I highly recommend!), the Peoplemover, Jungle Cruise, and then met Rapunzel and Cinderella with FP. My mom asked Rapunzel where Flynn was and she said he was at the Festival earlier that day.







We walked around a bit and I decided I had to have cotton candy to watch the MSEP! The closest location was Casey's Corner. For some reason, I just can't stand the smell in there. Must be the sauerkraut. Anyway, I picked up a bag of cotton candy (which looked fairly pitiful as it was super squashed) and 2 lemonades. We then used our FP+ for MSEP. The spot was great and it was nice not to have to sit on the curb for an hour or more for a spot.





I figured we might as well just stay there for the fireworks, even though I knew from Robo's maps that it wasn't a good location. We only saw about 1/2 the fireworks, but since we would have other evenings at Magic Kingdom and since it wasn't the first time we saw Wishes, it didn't really matter too much. And no matter how many times we see Wishes, they make me tear up each and every time!







This was our first experience with Disney transportation and let me tell you, I'm happy I had a rental car. We waited a good 30 minutes+ for the bus to get there and another 20 minute ride with tired (aka. screaming) children and parents. Once we were back at the resort, I believe it took us a solid 5 minutes to fall asleep



View from our room!
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Old 07-26-2014, 08:37 PM   #3
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Friday, May 2nd

Day 2 - Ready for some magic!

When I go on vacation, whether it be an all-inclusive in the Caribbean, or Disney, I'm up early (7am) and like going to the park for rope drop. My mom on the other hand, gets up before 6am every day back home, but likes sleeping in on vacation. God bless her, she got up with me each and every morning without complaint

First thing we did was head to the food court and buy a refillable mug, which I believe was $17.99. Since my mom got coffee every morning and I got a drink in the afternoon, we feel it was worth the price. With fuel in hand, we headed to the Magic Kingdom.

My goal this trip was to get as many character signatures as possible. For the past few months, I had been drawing each character and wanted them to sign my drawings as my own personal souvenir. I haven't taken any drawing classes and do them just for fun. Hopefully in fall I can take some classes to really improve. Right now, if I look at a picture, I can copy it (nearly) perfectly. But I would like to get to the point where I can draw these characters (and other things) without having to look at a picture.

We arrived at the Kingdom at 8:30am. We were waiting for the welcome show (that didn't happen due to incoming weather), but I did notice that the woman in front of me had a Disboard card on her bag! It was none other than PoppyGirl! It was very cool to meet someone who you recognize from the boards.



It was also very entertaining to watch the rush to Anna and Elsa (or as our tour guide explained, the "running of the bulls). Since I had a FP for them on another day, we strolled over to meet Merida. We were about second in line and got to see her right at 9:30am.







I have to say, this was my absolute favourite meet and greet of the whole trip. She was right out of the movie! She was the second princess after Rapunzel to commission me to do drawings for her castle

By now, I knew that my favourite character was out signing, so it was time to head over to see Aladdin! And look who we spotted flying on a magic carpet!



For some reason, I turn into a child when I meet these characters, but Aladdin tops it all for me Oh, and keep an eye on this Jasmine for a later entry.. this girl gets around Disney a lot.





Next, we headed to my favourite ride - Haunted Mansion! It was a walk on. I had read something online which I never noticed before. In the stretching room, if you look up when the ghost says "There's always my way", you can see a body hanging from the ceiling. Quite creepy actually!





Next, we had a FP at Enchanted Tales with Belle at 10:30. We thought it was cute and the animatronics were amazing, but it's not something we would do again.







We did a few more rides - Little Mermaid and Teacups in particular. New Fantasyland wasn't open yet last time we came. I think the area is nice (especially at night) but we were a bit underwhelmed at what had been done and taken Disney so long to do. Maybe if the Mine Train was open, we would have felt a bit different!





Next we got in line to meet Gaston. I was hoping to get his signature for my drawing, but they had to rush since there was incoming rain. We got a great pic though! Like Merida, he has a great meet and greet and is totally in character. Doesn't hurt that he's a cutie too



By now, it was raining.. a lot. I had booked a FP for Be Our Guest. I read a few reviews that people weren't able to get in with the FP, so I had printed out the website showing my reservation just in case. We got in with no problems. The guy in front of us - not so much. He's was having a complete temper tantrum at the cast member. This seemed to be a trend on this vacation. I'm not sure if it's the new system or heat or what it was, but there were a lot more grumpy people this time around.



Although I had picked out our meal beforehand, there seemed to be a problem in the system so I just had to choose again. No biggie! Mom and I shared the Carved Prime Chuck Roast Beef Sandwich and the Grey Stuff cupcake and sat in the West Wing.



I was originally planning on taking pictures of everything we ate to add to the report, but sometimes my stomach wins over my mind Both items were very good!




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Old 07-26-2014, 08:38 PM   #4
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Following along.
Love your profile pic. I saw his broadway show a couple years ago in NYC.
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Old 07-26-2014, 08:55 PM   #5
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Day 2 continued

I had booked a FP for Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain for 12 and 1, but it was raining so heavily that we just wanted to get back to the resort and dry off. We make a quick pit stop at Mickey's Philharmagic and got back to the resort around 2:30pm.



Mom took a quite nap while I showered and wrote down some notes of the day and took some pictures of the room.









I absolutely love this shower! I wonder if we can do some renovations at home..



Around 5pm we headed to the Grand Floridian for one of our favourite dinners - 1900 Park Fare! We went a bit early so we can walk around the lobby and resort. This is one of my favourite resorts to walk around. I find it so elegant and beautiful.







We checked in at the podium and were given a buzzer. We waited about 10 minutes before we were called in.



Last time we came, in April 2012, we found the step-sisters and stepmother to be perfect - straight out of the movie! This time, they were so-so. We actually preferred this Prince Charming this time around. Food was excellent as it was last time, but yet again, I forgot to take pics of our plates throughout the meal.





I did manage to get one picture of my salad plate and one of my dessert plate Within a few minutes, we got to mingle with royalty. Our waitress was very good about telling us when to go up to the buffet or when to hang around for the characters.







Prince Charming was so impressed by my drawings, he went to tell his servant (aka handler) I'll post a link soon to all my drawings I did for this trip!





Overall, we really enjoyed our dinner and it has now become a must-do for our trips!

After dinner, we headed to Hollywood Studios. It was still drizzling, but we were ready for anything with our ponchos. We got to the park and found we were almost the only ones! In a span of an hour, we did TSM, (twice), Star Tours, RRC and Tower of Terror. All were complete walk-ons. I generally prefer the parks at night, but this was an amazing experience. We could walk around for 5 minutes and not see a single person.





I was also finally able to get some decent pics inside ToT. Definitely a great experience!







With the thrills out of the way, it was time to head back to the resort and hit the sack!
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:03 PM   #6
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Saturday, May 3rd

Day 3 - Time to take a walk on the wild side!

Woke up to another rainy and dreary day, but who cares when youíre at Disney! We went through our daily morning routine of going to the cafeteria to grab some coffee and then we were on our way to Animal Kingdom. Our experience there was similar to HS the night before Ė hardly anyone was there which was really nice, especially when walking the trails. It just would have been nicer if we we're completely soaked.



Can you tell we're fed up of the rain already?

The park opened at 9 and within the first 2 hours, we did the Safari, Pagani Forest Trail, Tough to be a Bug, Dinosaur, and Everest. I had booked FPs for the Safari, Dinosaur and Everest, but we didnít need them.













We stopped for a small lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. Mom and I shared a pulled pork sandwich and coleslaw. Yet again, I forgot to take a picture, but it really didnít look that appealing anyway. We found it was really bland until I discovered the sauce at the condiment section. After that, it tasted better, but not something I would order again.

It finally stopped raining a bit, so we were able to take a poncho-less pic together.



After a brief lunch, we were able to do the Safari again, the Maharaja Jungle Trek, and saw one of our favourite shows Ė Flights of Wonders. Iím not a huge bird fan, but I still really like this show. And the guy who plays the Tour Guide is too funny









We decided to leave the park and got back to the resort around 2. The rain finally stopped, so I jumped in the pool while mom took a nap. Even on sunny days, I found the Little Mermaid pool was really quiet, but this day, there was only 1 other person in with me, so I was actually able to do some laps back and forth.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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Day 3 continued

We had a 5:30 ADR for Jiko, so we left the resort around 4:30 so we could have some time to walk around Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's such a beautiful resort, but my only complaint would be that it's so darn dark in there!





We checked in for dinner around 5:15 and were given a buzzer. We took a seat on the bench outside Boma and people watched (which is an attraction in itself at Disney). I noticed a few people going into Jiko and then more and more groups.




After waiting about 35 minutes, I thought something was really strange, so I went to see the girl at the podium. We were seated right away. Looks like they forgot about us! I know some people would have made a stink, but honestly, weíre on vacation and very laid back, so we didnít mind.

Apart from being forgotten about in check in, we found the service to be amazing! Our server was very knowledgeable about anything we asked, whether it be the wine or the food. I knew before we got there that I wanted the filet mignon and the famous mac and cheese. My mom decided to go with the Lamb 2 Ways. I also ordered the Victoria Falls (and got carded, yay!).







We both loved our dishes. We have a lot of really good steak places in Montreal, so I wasnít blown away by the filet mignon (although it was very good, donít get me wrong!) but what really impressed me was the mac & cheese. So yummy and rich! We were too stuffed to order dessert, but our waitress did bring us 3 cookies with our bill.

We were out of the restaurant by 7, so we decided to go to Epcot for an hour or so. We decided to wait in line for Soarin even though it was 45 minutes. We didnít have anything else to do, so why not. Iím a thrill ride type of girl, so while I donít mind this ride, it's not one of my favourites. Although given the meal we had just finished, I think we made a good choice in choosing Soarin over Mission Space We were able to walk onto Spaceship Earth and head out before Illuminations finished.

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Old 07-26-2014, 09:15 PM   #8
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:16 PM   #9
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Sunday, May 4th

Day 4 - School's in session.. time to go to Hogwarts!



I know that not everyone on the Disboards is a Universal fan, but too bad!! I absolutely love Universal, so there is NO WAY we would go to Florida and not do a few days at Universal. Although we had 2 more days at the parks, I bought Express Pass for one day, just so we can make sure we got everything done. Theyíre not cheap Ė It came out to about $50 each, but thatís for both parks. And boy was I happy that we had it! I donít think we had ever been in Universal when it was that busy! Maybe it was because there had just been 2 days of rain, but it seemed that everyone decided to do the parks that day.



We started our day at Islands of Adventure. We got there around 8:30 and by 8:45, they let people into the park. Of course, we headed straight to the Wizarding World. I cannot stress how big of a Harry Potter fan I am (I even got my one and only tattoo as a lightning bolt!). So even though we had been to the park at least 3 times in the past, I still get this massive smile on my face when I see Hogwarts. It will never get old!





We hopped in line for Forbidden Journey which was showing a 10 minute wait. Once we got inside the castle, the ride broke down. So our 10 minute wait turned into about 60. Again, I canít complain because I love being in there and seeing all the details! I really do enjoy this ride, but as a Harry Potter fan, I find it a bit all over the place (story wise). Still a fun ride though!





We usually do this ride about 2 or 3 times in a row, but since we had already spent an hour in there, we decided to move on.



As we were making our way to Spiderman, we saw some heroes along the way.

Now we got to use our Express Pass. We walked onto Spiderman, and if I remember correctly, at 10am it already had a 45 minute standby wait. I then did Hulk, which is one of my favourite rollercoasters. My mom sat this one out as sheís not a big fan of going upside down.



We then walked onto Accelatron, which is essentially the teacups on steroids. We always have a really good laugh on this ride as you tend to slide around in the vehicle.

We had some time to kill before lunch, so we went back to the Wizarding World and grabbed a butterbeer before going to see Sinbad. Universal Tip Ė rather than waiting in line outside at the butterbeer cart, go inside the Hogís Head (its attached to the Three Broomsticks). Thereís hardly ever a wait inside, so I donít think many people realize you can get non-alcoholic drinks in there.







Sinbad is always a fun show to watch, but if Universal needed that space to expand Harry Potter, I wouldnít be opposed to them getting rid of the show (and Poseidonís Fury).





After watching Sinbad, we checked in early at Mythos (I had a 1:30 ADR, but they let us go in at 1). 2 years ago when we ate at Mythos, I got the pad thai and really enjoyed it. This time.. not so much. Both my mom and I found it was lacking taste and there was definitely less noodles than last time. And of course, I forgot to get a picture until we got outside.



After our somewhat disappointing lunch, we went back to the Wizarding World for some shopping! I had originally allocated about $300 for souvenirs, just for me (told you I love HP!), but I was disappointed that there wasnít much new merchandise since the last time we came. Maybe theyíre saving it for the new section.
I got a Slytherin hoodie for me, a Hufflepuff hoodie for my friend (who says the Houses donít get along? ), Dumbledoreís wand, Spectrospecs, a Slytherin drawstring bag, and some Lemon Drops from Honeydukes. Definitely not as much as I was expecting to buy, but that might be a good thing!

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Old 07-26-2014, 09:22 PM   #10
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Day 4 cotinued

We had finished doing IOA, so we walked over to Universal Studios. Our first stop at Universal was actually lost & found. We were told that we could leave our shopping purchases there rather than renting a locker or carrying them around. Best part Ė it was free! We filled out a quick form and were on our way. Our first ride was Despicable Me. This wasnít open last time we came, so its always nice to try a new ride.



We thought it was cute, but a lot jerkier than the Simpsons. Next we headed to Transformers, again a new ride we hadnít tried. We loved it! It is similar to Spiderman, but for some reason, we just had a lot more fun on it. Again, we were able to walk on with our Express Pass, but the standby lines were all at 45 minutes or more.





We then walked over to the Simpsons area. I love what they did with it! Yes, they really only added some quick service locations, but it was so cool walking into Moeís tavern! We walked onto the Simpsons ride Ė we really love this ride! I never really noticed how big the screen really is until I looked up. I always get a laugh out of Homerís comments (my bosoms are slapping my face!). Ah, good old Simpsons.





Next, we did Men in Black. My poor mom cannot figure out how I get such high scores on these rides. Neither can I. Maybe it's years of playing video games or just pure luck!

We have done Disaster many times before, but I still wanted to go in since there was only 5 minutes before the next show started. On our way, I tried snapping a few pics of Diagon Alley. It was killing me that we couldn't go in!







Our last attraction for the day was the Mummy. Mom wasnít too sure if she wanted to do this since she found it hurt her neck last time, so I quickly ran on while she waited in the gift shop. Again, itís a great rollercoaster!

By now it was about 4 , so we picked up our packages and went back to the resort. We chilled out a bit and since we didnít have any ADRs planned, we took the bus to Downtown Disney around 7. I wanted to go to the Earl of Sandwich, but the line was really really long. I know people say it goes fast, but we were too hungry to take a chance! Instead, we went to Wolfgang Puck Express. We shared a Margherita pizza which is really good! It's similar to Via Napoli, just much cheaper.

We walked around a bit, but mostly stayed in World of Disney. I can easily spend an hour or more in there, but I was on a mission. My 8 year old cousin was having her First Communion back home, so I wanted to get her a gift while we were at Disney. She likes Tinkerbell and I found this really nice silver Tinkerbell necklace. I bought myself a ring and a Mickey head wine stopped, which unfortunately wonít fit in the fridge!



Before we headed back to the resort, I had to go into Goofyís Candy shop. I bought a chocolate covered pretzel stick with mini M&Ms and a Mickey cake pop. I love cake pops in general, but this one was delicious!





Before going to bed, I got some pics in the lobby at AoA. They have a chandelier with Disney sketches. Would love to have this at home!



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Old 07-26-2014, 09:38 PM   #11
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Monday, May 5th

Day 5 - A trip around the world

Monday was our Epcot day. Last time we came, I wasnít too thrilled about this park, but this time we had a few days to explore. We got to Epcot around 8:30 and they opened the park around 8:45. Test Track was under renovations last time, so that was going to be our first ride. I find the queue at Soarin to be so boring, so we got a FP for Soarin and just walked over to Test Track first.







We enjoyed this ride, but I forgot to scan my Magicband before getting into the car, so there went our beautiful design!



It took a good 40 minutes to get through the queue so by the time we got out, it was time for our Soarin FP. After flying over California, we started walking to the World Showcase for our 11am ADR at Arkeshus. Last time we came to WDW, we did the dinner at CRT and I wasnít too impressed with the food. Considering this meal is cheaper AND we get a picture with my favourite princess, Belle, we had to try it.



We waited outside for about 15 minutes before being called in. At first I was a bit iffy with this new Belle dress, but she looked beautiful.



We really enjoyed this breakfast, but there was way too much food for 2 people. We had a great time meeting the princesses and had a really great interaction with Snow White. Not to mention our waiter who was very VERY cute!







Keep an eye on this Ariel for a later post!



I found the princesses a bit rushed, but considering how many people they have to get through, I thought they did a good job. I would recommend this over CRT just because of the price.

My next goal was to meet Mulan. Having done karate for 10 years, I loved Mulan when I was younger! Her meet and greet had ended, but the CM told me to get in line and she would come back in 30 minutes. So I sat down while Mom went to explore China.



In no time, Mulan came out and she was amazing! She kept thanking us for waiting outside in the hot sun for her and we talked quite a bit about my drawing. She was just beautiful and it was such a wonderful interaction. Definitely worth the wait!







At this point, we had some time to kill before our next FPs, so we slowly walked through the World Showcase.









We stopped in my favourite pavilion Ė Morocco. This area is just so gorgeous and I love the feeling of getting lost in those little shops. We stopped at Tangerine cafť for a quick rest. Mom was starting to get a sore throat so she got a mint tea. She wasnít sure which dessert she wanted so she skipped, but then the wonderful CM behind the counter gave her one for free.







As we made our way around the World, I had to try the oh-so-famous Grey Goose slushie. It was.. ok. The alcohol taste was really strong and I think it was just too hot for me to enjoy. I only drank about half and threw the rest out.





We had a 2:15 FP for Nemo which was really unnecessary, but we had to get a 3rd one anyway. Itís a cute ride and I love the part at the end where Nemo and friends are projected in the tank. Very cool! We did Turtle Talk with Crush and had a good laugh. One of the kids asked Crush how many babies he makes a day. Crush took a few seconds before saying thatís not usually his job.





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Old 07-26-2014, 09:45 PM   #12
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Day 5 continued

Finally we got to the ride that I had been really nervous about Ė Mission Space. Iíve never gotten sick on a ride and I LOVE thrill rides, but reading the reviews and reports of how many people get sick on this made me worry.





We had a FP at 3:15 so I took the Orange side while Mom did the Green. I was in a pod with a mom and her two young sons. They were very cute and explained to me that, no, we wouldnít crash and kill everyone if I forgot to push the button. All went well and my breakfast stayed safely in my tummy. I quite enjoyed it, actually. It does give you a very strange feeling, but Iím happy I didnít do it right after eating.

At this point, we were overheating and went back to the resort by 4:30. I took a quick swim while Mom jumped in the shower. We had a 6:15 ADR for Beaches and Cream and having never been to the Boardwalk before, we went there to walk around a bit. I found it.. eh. Thereís not really much to do and for some reason, neither of us liked the environment. Not that its bad, just not for us.





Finding Beaches and Cream was quite an adventure. For some reason, I thought it was right on the Boardwalk. I asked a couple of people working in the small kiosks and they had no idea what I was talking about. Finally we found someone who told us we had to walk over the Yacht & Beach resort. Still had a hard time finding it for some reason, but we did take a nice walking tour through the two hotels!







We were still a bit full from breakfast, so we shared a cheeseburger and ordered the Fudge Brownie Sundae. The cheeseburger was just average, but we really enjoyed the Sundae!





Although it was only about 7:30, we slowly walk back to the car and call it a night. We had a big day planned in the morning!



Before going to bed, I took a walk around AoA to get some pics of the other sections. I'm not a huge Cars fan, but I thought they did a wonderful job with that section!








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Old 07-26-2014, 09:54 PM   #13
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Tuesday, May 6th

Day 6 - We get the keys and the secrets to the Magic Kingdom

This was the day I was really looking forward to Ė our Keys to the Kingdom tour! I booked the earliest tour so that we would be free to see the 3pm parade. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 8am. Took about 10 minutes to get through the line of people with ADRs. Check in for the tour was on the left side near City Hall. They didnít ask for ID as Iíve heard they do, so I guess my mom and I donít look under 16. We got to choose our lunch, got our name tags, listening devices and then had about 15 minutes to walk around.







Of course we got a picture in front of the castle! Our photographer even gave us a Magic Shot.



Iím not going to give away any of the secrets we learned, but rather a round-down of what our tour consisted of. First, we met our tour guide, Kevin (who was fantastic btw!). If I remember correctly, we were about 12 in our group. We each got a bottle of water and got our radio/earphones. My mom and I brought our own headphones (the Sony ear buds) and found that it was more comfortable.

We started the tour on the small side street of Main Street. Kevin was really conscious about keeping us out of the sun and letting us sit as much as possible, so that was nice. We started talking about the 4 keys Ė safety, courtesy, show and efficiency. As he started talking, the park officially opened. We got to witness (what he aptly named) the ďrunning of the bulls.Ē Those parents were on a mission to find Anna and Elsa!

After discussing the Keys, we walked over to Adventureland and got to ride the Jungle Cruise in our own boat. Again, you will stop and discuss aspects of the park on the way to the lands, but I donít want to give too much away. I really like Jungle Cruise, but it was interesting to hear some stuff about the ride that I didnít know before. After the ride, we got to go to our first backstage area next to Frontierland. This was the first time we were backstage so we got to ask any question we wanted. One thing we were all dying to ask was if Mickey or any of our furry friends has a way to keep cool on those hot days. Unfortunately, they do not!

We got to walk around where they keep the parade floats and it was cool to see the MSEP floats close up!

Next, we walked over to Columbia Harbour House for lunch. I really wish they would have lunch at Be Our Guest for the tour. Columbia is fine, but I find the food and atmosphere a bit boring. Kevin sat at the table with me and my mom so we got to chat with him about stuff during lunch. It was cool to hear about the different places he worked at while at Disney, but he said doing the tour was the best.

After lunch, we briefly spoke outside about the Haunted Mansion and we got to ride and look for the things Kevin spoke about. Then we finally got to go down to the Utilidors. My mom says it looks like the basement of one of our hospitals in Montreal. She was right! It was what I expected and I was still excited to be down there. We actually stayed down there for a good hour and walked around. When we came up, we were somewhere behind Main Street near the Jungle Cruise. It's strange how everything is so close together backstage but so spread out in the park!

We handed in our headsets, thanked Kevin and headed right over to City Hall to fill out one of those CM appreciation cards. We had such a great time with Kevin that he needed to be acknowledged for it! Overall, we loved the tour and even though I think I know a lot about Disney, there were still things I learned. I didnít find there was too much walking or standing around as again, Kevin did a great job of finding places for us to sit. I would highly recommend this tour, so if youíre thinking about doing it, book it!

Our tour ended around 1:30, so we had some time before the parade. Our 3pm parade spot is at Sleepy Hollow, so we walked over there so Mom could get her funnel cake. It was extremely hot at this point so I wanted something cold. Had to walk around for about 10 minutes before finding a cart that had Mickey bars. I usually find it too rich, but since it was cold, I nearly swallowed it in 2 bites!

We normally watch the parade on the Sleepy Hollow side, but it was just scorching in the sun, so we crossed over and grabbed a shady spot outside the Christmas store. In no time, the Festival of Fantasy parade started.



















When I originally saw the concept art for this, I wasnít too thrilled. But now, having seen the parade, I absolutely love it. The colors are so vibrant and the floats are amazing! My only problem was that we were on the opposite side of where Flynn Rider was!



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Old 07-26-2014, 10:05 PM   #14
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Day 6 continued

By the time the parade ended, I noticed Mom wasnít looking to good and she didnít want to say what was wrong. We took the bus back to the resort and left the car at the TTC since I thought we were coming back. I went for a quick swim and when I came back, Mom was fast asleep. I woke her up around 5 so that we could get something to eat at the food court. I had the buffalo chicken sandwich (which was actually quite spicy) and Mom got a veggie soup. She finally said how much her throat was hurting her and she looked completely wiped. So I convinced her to stay in and go to bed early and I would go back to MK to get the car.

I really did feel bad about leaving my mom alone, but she assured me she was ok and just needed rest. Since I had booked FPs for the evening, I decided I might as well go use them! I missed the first FP for Buzz, but I made it in time for my 7:15 FP for Big Thunder Mountain. It's been many years since I had done this ride and I remember it being a lot smoother than it was! I prefer steel coasters, so once was enough on this for me!



I had a bit of time before my 8:15 FP for Pirates, so I walked over to Adventureland and got my roasted almonds. I actually brought back 2 bags of those to Montreal and ate them at work. They lasted 2 weeks and still stayed fresh!




I found a really cute Swaroski Mickey Head necklace at the Arribas Brothers stand outside Pirates, so I bought it. Then, I finally got to ride my second favourite Disney ride! I had read on the Dis that the front row of the boats now gets really wet, so I asked for a middle row. There were only 3 other people in the boat with me so I got the whole row. I didnít see the mermaid effects that I had heard they put in. Maybe theyíre not there anymore?

After Pirates, I went to see if Tiana and Naveen were there as I had had trouble getting both of them our first night at MK. Well, apparently Tiana had an emergency in the kitchen and it was only Naveen, so I skipped it and said I would come back another night. Instead, I went to see Tinkerbell and Rosetta.



Rosetta got excited when she saw my drawings, but honestly, I had no idea who she was so I didnít draw her. I told her I was more of a pirate fan than fairy fan. She didnít seem to like that...



I had done a drawing of Tinkerbell, so I got her to sign that.



After meeting Tink, I walked over to New Fantasyland. I prefer all the parks at night, but MK really is quite beautiful at night, especially this area (and the Tangled bathrooms!).





I didnít feel like riding anything, but since I had an extra drawing of Ariel, I figured I would go see her. This queue was HOT. Not just regular hot, but hot AND incredibly humid. Not sure if they normally have air going on in there, but it definitely wasnít working that night.



. And this is where something very strange happened and I only realized this about 2 days ago:

When I walked into the room with Ariel, she said ďOh! Have you brought me another drawing?Ē I was a bit stunned and I said ďYes, how did you know?Ē Then she said that she had seen me having breakfast with my mom the other day and that I had done a beautiful drawing of her. So I figured it must have been the same Ariel.





Well, the other day I was looking through my pictures and realized that this was most definitely not the same Ariel as the one at Epcot, so how on earth did she know?! I think it has to be Magic

By now it was 9:25 and the fireworks were starting at 10. I debated staying and watching them from behind the castle, but then I saw the hoard of people in front of the castle and decided I should get out of there or else it would take forever to get to my car. I left the park and was back at the resort by 10.

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Old 07-26-2014, 10:14 PM   #15
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Wednesday, May 7th

Day 7 - Back to the Dark Side

Wednesday was our second day at Universal. By morning, mom said she was feeling a bit better and insisted on coming to the park. Since we had already done almost every ride on our first day, today was a bit more relaxed.



We got to the park for about 9 and were able to get right in. Of course, we headed to Harry Potter first! We did the ride twice since there was no line. Afterwards, we walked through the stores again. I found a green Slytherin tank top, that I just had to get and bought a butterbeer. Before lunch, we were able to do Spiderman, Hulk, and Accelatron.











I wonder if we can bring Thor on the plane?



We were starting to get hungry so at 11:30 we went to Confisco Grille which had just opened. I remember last trip that I enjoyed my pizza that I got there. Well, the food going downhill seems to be a trend at Universal this trip and we didnít really enjoy the pizza. I found it too doughy and not cooked enough.

We had done what we wanted to at IOA so we walked over to Universal. As we were walking past the Hard Rock, we got stopped by a member of Fiery Sushi (I had never heard of them). They were trying to win a competition to get sent to Rome, so we agreed to walk in and like them on Facebook. I took a picture with one of the band members Ė hey, you never know if they might be big some day!



Our first stop at Universal was Transformers. The standby wait was 40 minutes, so we went for the Single Rider line. We were able to walk right on!



Next, we walked over to the Simpsons area and I decided to get the Flaming Moe. I should have asked for the price first as I got a bit of a shock when he said $10 (it was actually $9 something). It was basically Fanta in a cup with dry ice at the bottom. Cool for a picture, but not something I would get again. At least you get to keep the cup.



After doing Simpsons ride, we saw the Horror Makeup Show. We do this every trip, but the guy doing the show this time was pretty funny!









By now it was 1:45 and since we still had another day at Universal, we decided to go back to the resort and cool off. Mom picked up some tea at the food court and I finally went to the Big Blue Pool! Although there were tons of people, I still had room to swim around. There were activities going on for the kids and I thought those CMs did a great job of keeping them entertained. The music playing under water was also really cool!

We didnít have any ADRs planned, so we decided to go to DTD and try getting into Earl of Sandwich again. This time, we were successful! I finally tried the Holiday Sandwich which was super yummy (except for the mayo). Mom got a sandwich (can't remember which!) and a soup. She said both were very good.







Of course, we had to go into the World of Disney again. Mom bought me the black and white Mickey (which goes with my room perfectly!) and I bought myself a pen.







I picked up another Mickey cake pop and back to the resort we went!



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