Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Disney Jan 2018 ~ Epcot Day 2, Part 1

(Friday, Feb 2, 2018)

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As was the trend for this trip Hannah and I were up bright and early on this day and headed directly to Epcot.

Scanning her MagicBand on her way into the park.

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Since this was our second day at Epcot we took a few minutes to take some pics on our way into the park.

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Since we hadn’t had breakfast yet we stopped at Starbucks and used a couple of our snack credits for breakfast. 

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Starbucks is one of the special treats we enjoy at Disney that isn’t normally part of our daily lives.  So enjoy the Disney Dining Plan! Even though I had to pay for the dining plan after loosing our Free Dining trip to Irma in September, it was well worth the cost.  We live our lives on a budget so it’s a treat for both of us to be able to order whatever we want for an entire week and not have to think of it!!

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We also did a little shopping for a friend at home.

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By now our FP+ reservation for Test Track was up so we rode it plus Mission Space Green and a number of other rides too.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Disney Jan 2018 ~ Disney’s Hollywood Studios

(Thurs, Feb 1, 2018)

We enjoyed a slower, quieter start to our day on Thursday.  We spent some time walking around Pop as we waited for the Hippy Dippy pool to open at 10:00am.  As you can see, there wasn’t a long line at the gate when it opened!  Crazy Canadian’s swimming in January in 16oC/60oF weather!

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Hannah had the entire pool to herself for about 10 mins and then a few kids joined her.  I want to take this time to say how absolutely impressed I am with the care and dedication that Disney requires of their life guards.  What you’ll see here happens every single second that their pools are open.  Hannah is the only person in the pool yet all 3 guards are 100% focused on their section of the pool and constantly monitoring their section.  When another life guard comes on duty you will watch them diligently walk back and forth in the section they are taking over while the current life guard continues to do the same.  They give one another an all clear sign and the old guard moves to their new section and does the same.  it gives such confidence to the parents as their children are swimming.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long as we had a brunch reservation later in the morning but she enjoyed the bit of swim. 

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After her swim we got ready for the day and made our way to the Contemporary Resort to go to Chef Mickey’s for brunch.  This is one of Hannah’s favourite places to eat so it’s on our list each trip.   Meeting the Fab 5!

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When you leave your phone on the table when you go to grab more food, your daughter may take advantage of that and snap adorable selfies of herself with her dessert!

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After lunch we headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) for the remainder of the day. 

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DHS is a park under a lot of renovations right now so we knew we didn’t need a full day there. 

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Next time it will be a new story as Toy Story Land is opening on June 30th and we’re super excited to check it out on our next trip!!!

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For this trip we visited some old favourites and met a new one too.  Hannah was excited to meet BB8 although I think she might have been a little star struck when she did.

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We enjoyed a quieter afternoon of shows and rides.  After riding Star Tours Hannah wanted to use her money to add to her little droid collection.

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Something Hannah enjoys at DHS is the Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake that is found at the 50’s Prime Time CafĂ©.  She talks about these year round so it’s on her must-do snack list each time we visit DHS.

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As our day drew to a close we took a walk down Sunset Blvd.  One of the carts was closing up for the day and giving away their extra stock.  We enjoyed a free churro thanks to this generous Cast Member.

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We continued down the street and rode Rock ‘n Roller Coaster before finishing up our day with a couple of rides on Toy Story Mania.  (Another great touring tip is to get in line for popular rides close to park closing.  Even though the posted wait time for TSM was 50+ minutes, we got in ride at 7:25 and rode it twice before the park closed!  As long as you are in line before the park closes you get to ride)

One our way out of the park we found one of these great water drawings on the ground that was created using a broom and dustpan of water!  I love these little gems that you find at Disney that make us smile!

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Good night Mickey and Minnie!  See you at Epcot tomorrow!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Disney Jan 2018 ~ Animal Kingdom, Part 2

Soon after we returned from Rafiki’s Planet Watch it was time to return to Pandora to ride Flight of Passage again using our FastPass+ reservations.  We were excited to experience this ride again as truly it is an experience!!

The island of Pandora is nothing short of spectacular!!  It was designed by Disney’s Joe Rhode and Director, James Cameron so we knew it would be great but it is beyond that!!  When you are visiting Pandora, you are truly visiting Pandora!!

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One of the portions of the preshow is the creation of a digital Avatar for each person.  LOL – can you tell who’s who?

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Preparing to board our Banshees!

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Another one of the quieter, educational things we did this time was many of the Conservation Stations in Animal Kingdom.  Hannah enjoyed these opportunities to learn about our planet and things we can do to take care of it and in turn filled up her passport with stickers.

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One of the stations gave us a ‘new to us’ view of the Tree of Life.  So pretty!

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Now that Animal Kingdom stays open later in the evenings something we enjoy doing is riding Kilimanjaro Safaris around sunset.  Many of the animals are more active around sunset and it’s neat to see them moving around.  We hoped to see the baby hippo who was only a few weeks old at the time but unfortunately he was camera shy.  But other animals were not!

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Lions that are finally awake although daddy might be getting sleepy!

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Later in the evening Hannah did some digging for bones and artifacts in Dinoland

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and we ended our time in Asia with our traditional evening ride on Expedition Everest. Wheee!

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We wandered back to Pandora one last time with hopes of riding the other new ride there ‘Na’vi River Journey’ with a reasonable wait and it worked out perfectly!  Even though the wait time showed 35 mins we were on the ride less than 10 minutes later.  Getting in line for a ride close to closing is a good tip for some of the busier rides.  Looking forward to visiting Pandora again another time!

Na'vi River Journey

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Disney Jan 2018 ~ Animal Kingdom, Part 1

(Wed, Jan 31, 2018)

Wednesday was an early morning as we were both excited for the day ahead so we were up and out of the room before 7am!  We were on our way to Animal Kingdom  and going to check out Pandora – The World of Avatar, a new land that had opened since our last visit!  Pandora has been open for less than a year and one of it’s rides is the current hot item ticket at Walt Disney World!

We caught an early bus and arrived at the park around 7:15 for a 9:00 opening. 

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We were able to go through bag check and security and were in line at the tap stiles before 7:30am.  By that point every tap stile as lined up about 30 people deep and the line continued to grow behind us.

I believe it was shortly before 8:00 that the tap stiles were opened and we quietly sauntered lightly jogged towards Pandora.  We had made friends with a family in the line and Hannah kept up with them as this mama isn’t used to moving at much more than that gentle saunter mentioned above.  We met back up on the bridge on our way to Pandora and the next wait began.

This was the group in front of us….

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And the line extended further than the eye could see behind us….still about an hour before park opening!  And yes….95% of these people were all headed to the same ride!!!

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The ride of choice, Avatar Flight of Passage

I will say I was surprised that the line did not start moving into Pandora until 9:00 as it’s common for Cast Members to begin the controlled walk towards the ride early.  I will say that Disney has mastered the controlled walk when you think of the thousands of people that were now in line and how they moved it forward slowly and from 25 people wide to single file without pushing, shoving and just moving forward.  It really is quite neat and while it would give my friend M Winking smile heart palpitations to be in a crowd like that, it’s part of the excitement for Hannah and I. 

As we entered Pandora and made our way towards the ride I snapped a few pics of this amazing new land.  They really did a phenomenal job of theming it!!!

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I don’t want to spoil the surprise but if you’re going to WDW, try not to miss Flight of Passage (FoP)!  It is breathtaking and unlike any other ride I’ve ever been on!  We were thankful to have FP reservations for later in the day so we knew we’d get to ride again.  Woot!

We exited the ride about 9:20 and by that time the standby wait was over 2 1/2 hours long!  Oh yes, arriving early was the key for sure!!

After FoP we made our way towards Africa to Tusker House for our character breakfast reservation.  The food at Tusker House is delicious and the character interaction great. 

Mickey told us Minnie was busy fixing her makeup so we didn’t see her but we did visit with him and some of his best friends.

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Hannah had never been to Rafiki’s Planet Watch so we boarded an oh-so-crowded train and took the 5 hour minute ride to the Planet Watch area.  Yes, we had this entire car to ourselves.IMG_0888

Rafiki was there to greet her.  She was a little hesitant about greeting him at first but after a few minutes she warmed up to him and decided he was an okay dude to go see.

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My niece Rebecca was the same when she was Hannah’s age and she exclaimed that she was not going to get anywhere close to ‘For-freekie!’ Winking smile

We took time to visit the small petting zoo before taking the train back to Africa.

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A great day was under way and it was still only early afternoon. 

Tomorrow, part 2 of our day at Animal Kingdom.

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