Disneymoon Day 3 - Animal Kingdom!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Jambo! That's hello in the African language of Swahili for anyone who doesn't know, and the reason im speaking Swahili, Is because today on our travels we visited Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is themed around the continents of Africa, Asia, and er, Dino Land USA. Robert and I are both animal lovers, even more so since we added our little bun to our family, but I don't think Robert realised (despite the big hint in the name) that Animal Kingdom was going to have quite so many animals. And awesome animals at that!

Our day started bright and early again, with me waking up about 7ish. Robert was still asleep, but I got up and ready (doing my make up on the balcony again) before heading down to the Boardwalk Bakery for a coffee for Robert. There were so many tasty options available, but I had a snack in mind at Animal Kingdom so I went for a banana just to tide me over til then, and a wee milk coz I don't drink coffee or tea.

We had aimed to be at the park for opening, but by the time we got there it was about 9.20. It was already so warm by this time, so walking through the leafy entrance way with its shade and water sprays was lovely. The heat feels exhausting at the time but right now I'd give anything for that beautiful Florida sun on my skin! (I'm currently in the Spanish sun, which is an adequate substitute though!!)

We had 3 fast passes booked for today, but they didn't start until 10.45 so our plan was to head straight to Africa for the Kilimanjaro Safari. We hoped it wouldn't be too long a wait at this time, and also had heard that most animals would be out at this time of day (after a later visit I'm not sure I agree with that) because it isn't too hot for them yet.

Oh how I miss my little My Disney Experience app!
From memory, I think that the queue was about 20 minutes. Even though the queue had fans all the way along, we were still melting and I could feel my make up slipping off my face already.
Anyway it wasn't long til we were on the truck, and off we went!
There's a giraffe hiding in there somewhere!!
As you can see from the pictures the safari was pretty awesome and we saw a lot of animals, but no luck in spying the big cats. I actually don't even know if they have the lions on there anymore because we didn't see them either time! Anyone know?

Still, we were impressed by the animals we had seen, and I think it set a good first impression of Animal Kingdom for Robert. All through the trip, I was trying to make sure that Robert loved everything, obviously because I wanted him to have a good time, but I also wanted him to love Florida and Disney World as much as I did so we could come back! I'd be gutted if he didn't want to come back.

The best thing about the safari, is how peaceful and "safari like" it is. I know that probably sounds weird, but out on that safari you'd never know there was a bustling theme park, with thousands of people and Disney characters just 5 minutes away. It's amazing!

The Safari lasts about 25 minutes so by the time we got back it was shortly after 10, and almost time for our Everest fast pass. We were feeling a little peckish though, so on the way we stopped for the snack I had been saving myself for - The Jalapeño pretzel!! We got one each from the Harambe Market which was really close to the exit of the safari. It cost $4.69 (according to that link, not my memory!) and it was sooooo good.

I almost forgot to take a picture, so it has one bite missing ;)

After this is was time for Everest, yay! I always enjoy Everest, but when I haven't been on in a while I always underestimate the thrill level - my mind equates it more with Big Thunder Mountain in Magic Kingdom, when in reality it's actually a lot faster, steeper and scarier. It's not up there with the really scary ones like The Hulk, but it's really good, and luckily I don't get the horrible nervey feeling in my stomach before it starts!

As we walked over there, we stopped for a while to watch some monkeys playing on a big island made of logs and ropes. Again, it's quite surreal to see these wee animals just chilling in the middle of a theme park!

Everest awaits!!

We joined the fast pass queue, and within 5 minutes or so we were boarding. We both loved this, just the right amount of scary, some fab theming and a backwards section into the bargain! I thought I had taken a sneaky picture of our ride picture but I can't seem to find it so I must not have.

We had about 30 minutes until our next fast pass so we headed towards Dinoland USA, making a couple of stops along the way for some pictures.
Dinosaur was up next - I couldn't really remember what this was like, but I know it didn't register highly on my "love this ride" scale, so I guessed it was probably quite a tame simulated type thing. And I was pretty much right. I see loads of pics online of people looking terrified of this ride, and I have no idea what there is to be terrified of! It's a bit of a bumpy ride on the search for a Dinosaur, with a few speedy bits and flashing lights etc but it's definitely not a roller coaster. It's fun, but not really a thrill ride as such.
See ^ , everyone looks pretty calm in our car, no screaming here!

After this we had one fast pass left, for Kali River Rapids. This time we had 40 minutes to go. I was tempted by one of the shows, but by the time the shows were finished we'd be pretty close to the end time of our fast pass so we didn't want to risk missing it, especially when we weren't sure how far apart they were. We decided to leave the shows until our next visit. We walked back towards Africa, deciding to join the single rider queue for Everest.

This took about 10/15 minutes, which isn't too long to wait for a ride on the park's biggest attraction in the height of the summer. I ended up sitting next to a Spanish lady who spoke no English but communicated very clearly that it was her first time and she was terrified! I felt bad for her coz she screamed the whole way round, but she was smiling when she got off so I guess she probably enjoyed it at least a little bit!

The Kali River Rapids were next, and as we arrived we could see people coming off who were literally drenched. Like, as if they'd jumped in a pool with their clothes on type drenched. Robert seemed apprehensive but never one to be put off by a bit of water, I carried on, full steam ahead. I was slightly worried about my stuff (camera etc) getting soaked but in the middle of the raft they have some little waterproof boxes for you to hide your stuff.

This picture might give you some indication as to how wet we got...

PhoYeah so we were pretty drenched. Which was quite a nice, if not slightly dramatic, way to cool down, but to be honest the ride itself isn't as thrilling as we would have hoped. It had a 120 minute (!!) wait so it's obviously a popular one, but we would only go on again if the queue was (much) shorter or we had a fast pass.

It was about 1pm by this point, and there was football on again at 3pm that Robert wanted to go watch somewhere so we decided to take our little soaked selves back to the car, hoping that the sun would dry us of on the way so we wouldn't soak the seats of the Mustang. But right on time, the sky turned grey and we were getting hit with huge splodges of rain. It didn't come to much, not a full on Florida storm, just enough to stop us drying off.

When we got back to the resort I decided I was going to have some pool time so I headed down to the main Boardwalk pool, grabbed a diet coke and set up camp with my kindle. It was bliss! For all of ten minutes, because there was an announcement of inclement weather and the pool area being evacuated!! Argh! Although 2pm isn't the ideal time for Florida sunbathing in July, because this is what generally happens around that time!
It was around this time that I also started to feel really really sick, so probably best that I was heading out of the sun. What was worrying me though, was that that evening we had a reservation for California Grill that I was VERY MUCH looking forward to. I didn't want it to be ruined by feeling sick, and I also didn't want to spend the best part of $200 on a meal I wasn't going to enjoy very much!

I tried to chill out a bit, drink lots of water, and took some anti sickness tablets. I dozed while Robert watched the football in the room, but nothing really helped. I still got up and got ready as if we were going out but in the end I decided that I felt far too sick to enjoy such an expensive meal. I went to the front desk and spoke to someone about rescheduling our meal. He informed me it would be a $10 per person cancellation fee, which I had known about. I asked if there was no way it could be waived due to me feeling unwell and he said no.

We then went ahead and rescheduled for the following week, and as I was leaving the desk he said "I've removed the cancellation fee for you ma'am, I hope you feel better soon".

Aaah, I love the Disney Service :)

It was about half past 6 by this point, and Robert was starving so we decided we'd head out to Lake Buena Vista area, with me still feeling a bit worse for wear, and eventually settled on Longhorn Steakhouse. I had my first turn driving the Mustang, because Robert had had a beer watching the football. It was pretty fun to drive!

We were seated right away, despite it being peak dinner time, and our server was really friendly and helpful.

Robert ordered some jalapeño bites to start, but with my nausea I decided to hold off and just have a main. It was hard to choose because I felt sick but I was worried my sickness might have been because I hadn't eaten much during the day, so I knew I had to eat something! The jalapeño bites were nice, but an unusually small portion for American dining!


They also served us up some of this honey oat bread, and my goodness it was delicious. I had to stop myself from eating too much or I wouldn't manage my steak! It helped sooth my queasiness a little bit.

The meals all came with a salad and a side, so I got a filet mignon steak, with ceasar salad and upgraded my side to a "Premium" side of mac n cheese. Now, people think the idea of mac n cheese with steak sounds a bit odd, but believe me when I tell you it's absolutely amazing!! Robert switched the side salad for chips, at no extra cost. I love how flexible they are over there, they are so used to adjusting menu options for people.
Overall this was an absolutely lovely meal, and from memory it was really cheap too! It was a shame I had to run to the bathroom about 4 times due to feeling sick but luckily I was never actually sick. I didn't regret cancelling California Grill though, I wouldn't have appreciated it with the way I was feeling. We headed back to the resort, pausing to take this picture as we went.
I just absolutely adore the Boardwalk resort, it was an absolute dream to stay here and these pictures make me long to be there so badly! We headed back to our super comfy bed and settled down, satisfied with another amazing Disneymoon day.

Highlight of the day : Animal Kingdom Safari

Food of the Day : Longhorn Fillet mignon with mac and cheese.

Thanks for reading (or looking at the pictures if you got bored of my long chunks of text!)

Jilly xox











The Disney Tag

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hello lovelies!

It's no secret around here that I looooove Disney so when I saw a post on Cakey Dreamer called the Disney Tag I decided it looked like fun and I wanted to have a go!

I've spent the last three days working on day 3 of my Disneymoon trip report (here and there, not three solid days!) but when it came to uploading, Blogsy had an issue with one of the pictures, but won't tell me which one, and so it needs some tweaking and editing before I can upload it. So I decided to do something a bit more light hearted for fun in the meantime!

Here goes!

Favourite Disney character - This is hard - it switches between Minnie Mouse and Ariel, so I'm claiming both of them as my favourite. Minnie is so cute and I love all the amazing merch you can get, but Ariel is just so pretty, I love her!

Favourite Disney movie - The Little Mermaid is my favourite of the classics but I also absolutely love so many of the newer movies including Up, Wreck It Ralph, and not to mention Frozen. Initially I was put off by all the Frozen hype but I coukdnt deny it was a great film and now I just looooove it and all the songs etc.

Favourite Disney scene - hmmm hard one. I guess I'm going to say the bit in The Little Mermaid when she gets her voice back and prince Eric realises she was his true love all along! It's a total "yaaasssss" moment!

Favourite Disney memory - this is such a hard one, given that I worked in Disney World for 14 months and had so many amazing experiences there, but then also had a Disney Engagement and a Disney honeymoon; there's just too many to choose from! Although Disneyland Paris is not my favourite Disney resort, I think being there, in a fuzz of newly engaged happiness is probably one of my happiest memories. We treated ourselves to posh cocktails and beers in the Disneyland Hotel, and just enjoyed the first few days of being engaged all wrapped up in the Disney Magic.

Favourite Disney song - again, so many! I love Part of Your World, Let it Go, Do You want to Build a Snowman, and A Whole New World but the main one that pops into my head is Can You Feel The Love Tonight from The Lion King. I cried like a baby during this song when we watched The Lion King show at Animal Kingdom on our honeymoon. I also should give a special mention to You Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story as that's the song my dad and I danced to at my wedding last year :)

What is your go to Disney movie? At the moment it's probably Frozen, but I've recently started collecting the lovely new shiny cover editions of all the classics so I've been watching a variety.

First trip to a Disney park - I first visited Disney with my parents when I was about 14/15, and have absolutely loved it even more since then. I had always wanted to go - I used to love getting the brochures from the travel agent and sitting there adding up prices for all the different options. I was so excited when we finally booked it!

Favourite Disney park and ride - oh no, this is tooooo hard! I love love love the Magic of Magic Kingdom Park, but Epcot holds a special place in my heart after working there. However my favourite ride is in neither of these parks - it's actually probably Tower of Terror which is in Hollywood Studios park! I guess this shows it isn't all about rides it's about the experience and the atmosphere!

Most emotional Disney moment - This has GOT to be watching the Epcot fireworks, Illuminations - Refelctions of Earth, at both the start and end of my honeymoon. I watched the fireworks almost every night for a year when I worked over there so the music itself brings back loads of happy memories, but it was so surreal to be there again, 7 years later, with the most amazing man. I'd been planning our honeymoon for so long it felt so amazing to finally be there, and I was so overcome with emotion while watching them.

If you could pick any Disney character to be your best friend, who would it be? Well in all honestly Ariel already picked me, so it would have to be her. She did, honestly. During the Festival of Fantasy parade last year she spotted me and my red hair and started signalling that we had the same hair! She tried to offer me her fork to brush my hair with, so I'm takin that as a sure sign she wants to be BFF's. It was such an exciting moment! Everyone around was looking at me and I really felt like I was her BFF in that moment. Haha!

Thanks for reading my Disney Tag! If you decide to have a go be sure to leave me a link in the comments or tweet me and let me know!

Jilly xox

Brides to Be - Tips to Avoid Wedding Stress

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Although it seems an absolute life time ago now, this time last year I was on the 3 month countdown to our wedding and honeymoon. With a to do list that seemed to get longer more rapidly than it got shorter, it was pretty hard not to feel the stress!

With wedding season coming up, and lots of brides-to-be probably feeling the same way I did, I decided to put together a little list of tips for brides (or grooms!) who may be feeling the stress.
1. LIST LIST LIST. This is probably an obvious one, but the important part of making a list is that it's detailed enough to make sure that nothing will be forgotten. Initially when you start planning your list can be a bit more general, eg dress, grooms wear, flowers etc. When you get closer to the date, break these down so that every task is accounted for, eg

Grooms wear -

  • Choose suits
  • Order suits
  • Suit fitting
  • Collect suits
  • Steam suits
  • Shoes
  • Belt
  • Shirt.... And so on and so on

It can seem overwhelming when your list grows and grows but it really does ensure that nothing can be missed, and if you're anything like me you'll get a great feeling of satisfaction when you see more and more items marked off. (I used a highlighter to mark off my completed jobs and oh, the joy I felt when the page became a glowing shade of pink!).

2. Use a calendar to schedule in plans. As above, your lists can become huge and overwhelming, particularly if you are doing a lot of DIY tasks like I was, for example making your invites, diy candy buffet, decor etc. To keep me sane, around 3 months before the wedding I printed off a calendar and scheduled in when I expected to do each job. For the final week I used a weekly calendar with more space, which let me scribble on, in detail, what was happening in the final week before the wedding. Feeling like you have time to get everything done really helps to keep your stress to a minimum.

I printed mine directly from my printer but these pages here from Urban Girl blog are pretty similar to what I used -

3. Sort out the legal stuff as soon as you can. Again this seems really obvious but despite me seeming really organised, I'm actually a complete procrastinator and leave most things until the last minute. However this one - DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. I did joke at times that if I didn't get the legal stuff sorted and the humanist booked that we'd just be having a big party, but obviously we sorted it in the end, after a mild panic that I was going to be too late!

Read more for advice on Marriage in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

4 - Get hair and make up trials ASAP. Talking of leaving things to the last minute, this is another one that I left rather late. So when my make up and hair trial was a complete disaster (naming no names) I was left 2 weeks before the wedding in a blind panic about what to do. Get this done early, to give yourself enough time to book a back up if need be. In the end I did my own hair and make up and used the money I'd saved on some fancy make up (dangerous, now I have a taste for expensive cosmetics!).

5 - Let others help. A DIY wedding doesn't literally mean you need to do every bit yourself. It can be hard to let go of some control if you have a very clear image in your mind of what things will be like, but seriously, let your family and friends help you. Whether it's just cutting identically sized strips of lace or sticking a sticky fixer on each corner of a card (actual jobs my family did), these little jobs take time, and you won't lose any "artistic control " by passing them over to a family member. If they want to help - let them!

6 - Now that you've got family and friends roped in, put your feet up and take some time off! Kidding! Well kind of. I don't mean leave others doing your work for you, but you do need to make some time for non wedding life stuffs. Grab your fiancé and go out for a meal, read a (non wedding related) book, or put your feet up with a wee glass of wine and some trash TV.

7 - Utilise lunch breaks and commutes for contacting suppliers. The majority of my wedding planning was done via email or Facebook messages to various suppliers, and so I quite often used my lunch break to correspond with potential vendors, meaning I usually had a response by the time I finished work that day. This meant that instead of spending an hour in the evening emailing pianists or florists or whoever, I could do something else, like putting my feet up and watching Orange Is The New Black whilst tying 100 tiny pink bows (seriously).

8. Get a wedding website - this tip may actually be too late for couples who marry in the very near future, but having the wedding website was a massive time and sanity saver for us. We used gettingmarried.co.uk and were able to create a page with information about the venue, transport etc. We also used this for our RSVP's which made it quick and easy to see who was coming, who needed seats on the bus etc. We also saved some money by collating all the information on there, as we didn't have to print out loads of stuff to go with the invites. **If you want a peek at our wedding website, please email me and I'll send you the link and password!**

9 - Let it go! (Had to get a bit of Disney in somewhere!) This is easy for me to say now that I've made it out the other side, but honestly, no matter how big your problem might be, try not to panic (too much). We had some little and large hiccups during our planning, including the disaster hair and make up, BHS sending the wrong size dress for my 9 months pregnant bridesmaid (and subsequently being out of stock for the correct size!) and the biggie, my venue cancelling my entire wedding 10 months before. But you know what, we made little (and large) changes, moved on, and had a great day. Did we remember these things on our wedding day? No. Did we have an absolutely amazing day? Yes.

Have a cry, then Let it Go!

10 - Remember what it's all about! Similar to my last point, just remember that no problem you have will ever be bigger or more important than the reason you are getting married in the first place. I'm not going to lie, during the planning process there was at least 2 times when I cried while mumbling out the words " I can't be bothered with all this crap, I just want to be your wife", which made me wonder why I hadn't just run off to Florida and got married with Mickey and Minnie as our only guests. But it was all worth it in the end, the wedding itself went without a single problem (that mattered) and by the end of the day we were husband and wife, which really is the only thing that really, truly mattered.

I really hope these tips might help someone, but if you have any more questions please feel free to email me (jillyloves@hotmail.com) me or tweet me or just leave a question in the comments!

Good luck brides!

Jilly xox

Ps links below for more wedding related posts -

Wedding Planning

The Hen Do

Wedding Day Part 1

Wedding Day Part 2









Disney Wordless Wednesday - Four Favourites!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Hello blog hoppers, thanks for popping by for my Disney (almost) Wordless Wednesday link up post, hosted by Focused on the Magic! With the theme being Four Favourites I decided that I would share some of my favourite photographs by the awesome Tom Bricker. If you haven't heard the name, you may know him better as the guy behind the awesome Disney Tourist Blog, which is home to some of his fantastic photography. He can work some magic with a camera, especially his fireworks photographs!

Anyway, this is supposed to be wordless so here goes. Predictably, I suppose, I chose 1 of his images from each of the parks (and a bonus one that I added the title to!), but believe me when I say it took a LONG time to narrow down my selections. Please check out his blog and Flickr page for more amazing images.

Makes you wanna go back right now doesn't it?

Focused on the Magic