A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts


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Disney – the journey home

It’s taken me a few days to get around to this, but better late than never, eh?

Our last day started off fine. We finished off the last bit of packing, got Bell Services to collect and store our  luggage, and headed off for Animal Kingdom on the Disney bus.

We hadn’t planned any FastPasses in advance as we weren’t sure how much time we’d have before being collected by the Magical Express, so I was chuffed that we’d managed to get what we wanted with such short notice.

We went on the Safari and Expedition Everest and saw Nemo one more time. We had lunch at the local café by the Yak and Yeti, which we always enjoy, and generally said goodbye to our favourite park.

everestEventually it was time to head back to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We retrieved our luggage and got on the Magical Express to travel to the airport.

It took forever to check in and get through security and by the time we boarded for our 9pm flight, I was nodding off. I napped for a while once we’d boarded but soon realised that there was something wrong. Apparently the pilot had seen a warning light and had been running tests to find the problem. Three hours later, at just after midnight, they announced that we were being offloaded and would be taken to a hotel for the night.

It was all a bit of a nightmare from that point on. We queued for the hotel voucher, with just one person dealing with all the economy passengers. Then we queued for the coach to take us to the hotel and finally we queued to check in at the hotel. Three hours after getting off the plane we finally saw a bed and collapsed into it. 3am is well past my bedtime!

The room was freezing cold and the heating/air con unit was very noisy. The fridge kept coming on too and that was also loud. Not what we’d been used to at Disney.

We had meal allowances for the hotel but they put on special food for us in a separate room rather than letting us use the allowance in the restaurants. The breakfast wasn’t too bad apparently but most of us were too busy trying to catch up on some sleep to take advantage. Lunch was pretty dire and there wasn’t much of it.

We’d been told to be ready to depart at 4pm, but that got pushed back to 5pm and again to 6pm. We still weren’t sure if we were flying or not. They’d had to fly in a part and engineer from Europe so the plane could be fixed.

The coach they sent for us was a fraction of the size of the ones that had ferried us to the hotel and we were lucky to get on it. I’ve no idea what happened after that but the rest of the passengers didn’t start to trickle into the gate area until several hours later.

Our plane did fly, but not until 10.40pm. We’d had to rearrange our connecting flight from Dublin and had got an earlier one than originally planned. It was a bit tight making the connection so we didn’t have time to eat at Dublin as planned, but we comfortably made the flight.

Our luggage did not. It seemed inevitable really. Just one more thing going wrong. We did get our luggage back the next afternoon though. It was delivered to us at home and was intact, so that was a relief.

I’m not sure if we’d fly with Aer Lingus again, which is a shame as their regional flights are fine and the pre-clearance at Dublin is brilliant. I’m just not impressed with their transatlantic flights. I guess we’ll look at all the options for next time.

It wasn’t the best holiday we’ve ever had, with all the mishaps and health issues, but any holiday at Disney is brilliant and we had a great time in-between resting our back and legs. We had some amazing food, enjoyed the warmer than expected weather, went on most of our favourite rides and saw lots of animals.


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Disney – day thirteen

Places – Magic Kingdom & Epcot.
Restaurants – Mara & Sleepy Hollow.
Steps – 24,468 .

We managed to get to the Magic Kingdom by 8am and headed straight for Space Mountain, followed by three goes on Buzz Lightyear. I beat Stephen’s score on each go🙂

We also went on the Haunted Mansion.

We got a couple of photos taken while we were in the park.

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We were getting a bit peckish after that so got a coffee and waffle at Sleepy Hollow.

wafflesAfter that we drove to the Dolphin to return our car and then walked over to Epcot.

We made our way to the DVC lounge for a coffee and a rest. Stephen’s leg was playing up a bit so we didn’t want to walk too far and we had an hour before our FP for Soarin.

After Soarin we did a bit of last-minute shopping, and then said goodbye to Epcot for another year.

Dinner was in the Mara. I had a chicken pita and Stephen had the African stew. We brought back a Zebra cupcake and a Pina colada cupcake for dessert. All yummy.

We’re all packed now and will be checking out tomorrow. We don’t get picked up by the Magical Express until about 4.30pm so we’re planning to get in one last visit to Animal Kingdom in the morning. Got to say goodbye to the animals🙂

 


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Disney – day twelve

Places – Animal Kingdom.
Restaurants – Boma & Perkins.
Steps – 12,960.

Great start to the day with a leisurely breakfast at Boma. We hadn’t booked anything there, which is unusual for us as we always have at least one meal there. We were planning to go to Sweet Tomatoes but we were looking at the rest of our plans yesterday and made an impulse decision to do Boma instead. Five minutes later it was booked, via the app.

We were booked in for 9.20 to give us plenty of time to work up an appetite for the fabulous buffet. So many different foods to try. We love the selection there.

This was my first plateful, with my glass of jungle juice (passion fruit, guava & orange).

breakfastI had oak-grilled tomatoes and asparagus, pap & chakalaka, turkey bobotie and corned beef hash and some freshly carved ham. All yummy. I love trying the African style foods.

Next I went for fruit and pastries.

dessertThe pastries are a cranberry/nut muffin, cinnamon swirl and an apple-filled pastry. The fruit is watermelon rind salad plus some melon.

The watermelon was so amazing that I had seconds. It tasted as if it was soaked in a ginger syrup. Mmmmm.

Stephen had a big plateful of savoury foods followed by a few pastries. We were both quite full afterwards so went back to our lovely rooms to check out the view from our balcony and watch the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The race went on for longer than anticipated due to the rain so we were later going out than planned. We had FastPasses at Animal Kingdom but managed to just miss the first one. Not a problem as we’ve been on Everest a couple of times already. We had time to do It’s tough to be a bug though and a couple of trips on the safari, one of which was the new night-time safari.

We took photos on the safari, as much as we could given that it was low light, and also round the park. These are some of my favourites.

elephant gorilla gorilla1 hyena lion1 lion2 lion3 macaw1macaw2 zebraWe stayed in the park almost until closing and on the way out saw the amazing light show on the Tree of life. That was so clever!

We fancied something nice for dinner so headed to Perkins. Stephen had a turkey dinner and I had some rather nice pancakes with bacon & eggs. I forgot to take photos though.

Last full day tomorrow and we’re hoping to make extra magic hours for the first time this year😉

 


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Disney – day eleven

Places – Hollywood Studios.
Restaurants – Dockside Diner.
Steps – 9071.

We spent a while this morning walking round our beautiful resort, taking photos. We also took quite a few from our balcony. I love it here. The theming is gorgeous and there are animals everywhere.

sign

giraffe2

lobby2

giraffe1

lobby1

Today’s park was Hollywood Studios and was our last visit there this year. We went on Toy Story Mania again, and then went on The Great Movie ride, Tower of Terror and saw the Muppet show. We also had lunch at the Dockside Diner. Nothing special, just foot long hot dogs, but they were filling and tasty. Also we got some photos taken.

dhs-tree

One of the things that I love about being here at this time of year is the amount of pumpkin flavoured foods available. I love pumpkin!

pumpkinThose bagels are yummy with lashings of cream cheese.

One of the things that I dislike about crowds is people who don’t look where they’re going. Like the chap in charge of a huge double stroller today who ran me over. I’ve got one heck of a bruise on the back of my ankle but the skin wasn’t too badly broken luckily.

Relaxing evening in front of the TV. Big Bang Theory yet again. I love that there are loads of episodes on each night🙂


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Disney – day ten

Places – Magic Kingdom.
Restaurants – Pinocchio Village Haus & Red Lobster.
Steps – 15,178 .

This morning we went to the Magic Kingdom. We had intended to get there for Extra Morning hours but umm, didn’t check what time the park opened and therefore didn’t realise that the normal time was 8am and we needed to get there for 7am. We found out while we were getting ready to go out. I could have kicked myself for not checking sooner but we both assumed it would be 9am with the early entry being 8am.

Ah well, we got there for just after 8am and it was still fairly quiet. There was some holiday filming going on down Main Street and a lot of people were waiting for that so we had nice short waits for Buzz Lightyear. We actually managed to go on it four times in an hour before the wait times got too long.

The first time we were just practising, both for the photo and the scores. After that I was scoring high and managed Space Ace twice. Obviously I beat Stephen😉

Next we had a nice ride round on the TTA before strolling over to the 7 dwarfs mine train for our first FastPass.

We’d gone out without breakfast as we weren’t hungry and were in a hurry. By the time we came off 7 dwarfs it was getting on for 11am so we had a very early lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus. I had the chicken parmesan sandwich with fries and Stephen had the chicken nuggets with fries. Both were good.

It was almost time for our next FastPass by the time we’d finished so we strolled over to Adventureland and took a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. I still love the Johnny Depp additions to that. We were right at the front so had an excellent view and got slightly splashed at the (small) drop.

Next was Jungle Cruise, our last FastPass. This was renamed to Jingle Cruise for the festive season and had been re-themed with all new corny jokes. Our skipper kept up a non-stop patter of jokes and was brilliant.

At this point the park was once again heaving and we’d done quite a lot so we came back via Publix for groceries and are currently (4pm) are sitting on the balcony watching the animals.

At the moment I can see:

2 x Somali Ass
6 x Impala
3 x Ankole Cattle
1 x Addax
1 x Scimitar-horned Oryx
1 x Giraffe
Many waterfowl and other birds.

Impala

Impala

Somali Wild Ass

Somali Wild Ass

Great entertainment!

I mentioned before that we could see a bit of Animal Kingdom from our balcony. I’m looking over there now and can see the tip of Everest, a huge yellow crane and floating islands that will be part of the new Avatar land.

avatarThey look pretty good.

Right, my laundry is nearly finished and we’re getting peckish. Time to investigate some dinner soon, methinks.

10pm: We’ve just got back from Red Lobster and are feeling nicely full. We’re chilling with some beer (Amber Bock) now that we’ve restocked.

We’d never been to Red Lobster before. We’ve been meaning to for years but never quite got around to it. We really enjoyed our meal. Stephen had Wood-grilled peppercorn sirloin with shrimp.

steakI had endless shrimp. I started off with Parmesan peppercorn shrimp. That came with a lemon aioli dipping sauce which was yummy. I also had the scampi which was swimming in a garlic butter sauce. Amazing!

shrimpI had room for more after eating that so finished off with the Korean BBQ shrimp, which was tasty with a fair bit of heat.

We’ll definitely be adding that to our list of to-do restaurants.

 

 


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Disney – day nine

Places – Animal Kingdom.
Restaurants – Mara.
Steps – 15,211.

Today we packed up and left the Beach Club Villas and drove down the road to our new home, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas. We got here just after 11am, checked in and as our room wasn’t ready yet, we went and had a drink by the pool. We didn’t have to wait long before I got the email to say we could access our room and we went straight up.

We’re on Zebra trail, which is where we were last time, but we’re a bit further round and have a lovely view from our balcony. Down below is the watering hole and in the distance we can see Animal Kingdom.

viewWe can see a huge crane that’s building the new Avatar land. We can see the floating islands and they look really impressive. Hopefully that’ll all be open next time we come.

Our villa is quite different to the one at the Beach Club. The decor is beautiful and we have a lovely big balcony instead of two tiny ones. There’s one bathroom instead two but I prefer having a shower over the bath so that’s fine.

I took a few photos…

living-room bedroom2 bedroom1 bathroomAfter unpacking, we had lunch at the Mara. I had a braai chicken flatbread – yummy, and Stephen had the corned beef sandwich.

Next we got the car and headed for Animal Kingdom as we had FastPasses. First we went on Expedition Everest, then Primeval Whirl and finally Safari. The Safari was brilliant. It was just getting dark and the animals were really active again. It’s definitely a good time to see them.

We saw the hyenas again but they were running about this time so we got a really good look at them. There were loads of animals out on the grasslands area and we got a great look at the cheetahs. I took some video of the cheetahs and lions. It’s quite bouncy due to the movement of the truck but I may upload it if I get time.

We also had a few photos taken.

everestWe picked up a few supplies from the Mara on the way back and had dinner in front of the TV, watching The Big Bang Theory as usual. No beer tonight as Stephen dropped the last two bottles😦

 

 


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Disney – day eight

Places – Magic Kingdom.
Restaurants – Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe.
Steps – 12,265.

After another really slow start to the day, we made it to the Magic Kingdom for lunch. We went to Pecos Bill as we both fancied Tex-Mex.

I had Nachos followed by churros with chocolate dipping sauce.

nachosStephen had the Southwest burger with pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

burgerI love the condiment bars there with all the extra goodies such as cheese, salsa, guacamole & pickle.

The Magic Kingdom was absolutely heaving. I’ve rarely seen it so busy. There was no way we were going to join any of the 60+ minute queues so we went for a ride round on the train as we haven’t done that for ages. There’s a nice view over the lake from the Main Street station.

boatAfter that we headed for Seven dwarfs Mine Train where we had a FastPass. The Standby queue had been 230 minutes long when we’d passed it earlier (insanity, if you ask me) but was down to 40 minutes by the time we went back. The FastPass queue looked a bit long as it was out of the gate and round the corner but it moved quite quickly and we were soon whizzing our way around – and on the very front row.

7dmt2 7dmt1We then walked round to the TTA but the queue was massive so gave that a miss. Stephen’s legs were aching again by now and as we had an hour before our next FastPass and no chance of getting on anything else without battling through crowds and waiting in long lines, we gave up and came back. I was feeling a bit rough with this cold too so we’re having another lazy evening with Big Bang and beer and maybe some maltesers.

Packing in the morning as we’re leaving the Beach Club.