Disney World - The Return!!!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

So you might have spotted that on my last day of my trip report I mentioned that we have booked a new trip! Yayyyy!! I promised myself I wouldn't start blogging about this year's trip until I had finished my last trip report but I got too excited so here goes!
When we came home from Florida in 2014 we had decided it would be a few years before we returned, due to needing things done in the house and other family plans such as starting a family, family weddings etc. But as time went on the trip kept creeping further and further forwards. Summer 2017, Easter 2017, Christmas 2016.
When the dining plan offers were released last April, I thought bugger it, I'm going to book a package, even though we weren't 100% sure at that point what our circumstances might be. We booked a week at Old Key West for school holidays in October, and secured all the early booking offers of free dining, free memory maker and the $200 gift card. At the time of booking we weren't sure if we would be able to go at that exact time, but the bonus was that even if further down the line we had to change our dates / resort etc, we would still hold on to the early booking offers.
Fast forward to around December time. Bear in mind that I am the instigator of all things Disney around here, and Robert usually just goes along with things. We had been considering a quick anniversary trip to Disneyland Paris in July while we waited for our big trip to Florida... But then Robert said one day, "you know what, I think we should just do Florida in July".
Well you didn't have to tell me twice haha!
So.... the plans so far!!
Robert had holidays already booked at work for July, so I started to look at packages / flights etc. What I soon discovered was that we couldn't fly direct from Glasgow on a Saturday except with virgin which was £££££. We looked at indirect, going via gatwick again. I realised again that Saturday flights were coming in more expensive, and we could get flights and car for 17 nights flying on a Friday for less than going for 14 nights flying on the Saturday. Even the difference in 3 extra hotel nights was still coming in cheaper than the Saturday 14nt price.
So flights were booked yipee! Doing the same journey with BA as last time - Glasgow - Gatwick - Tampa, and picking up a mustang at the airport.
Robert insisted on a mustang while we still can! (When we have kids that will be a no no!) and I couldn't really say no considering how much we spend visiting disney for my pleasure :)
When we arrive we will be checking into Old Key West for 5 nights with free dining plan and the $200 gift card, yay!
After Old Key West it's on to Hard Rock Hotel!!! We stayed here on honeymoon and absolutely LOVED IT! We had only booked 1 night on the honeymoon to get the front of the line passes but when we got back to our other hotel we immediately booked another night for the following week. It's pricey, but such a fun experience, and totally worth it to get the front of the line passes for the full stay. This year we've booked 2 nights in a row instead of doing 2 separate nights and I'm looking forward to spending some time at this pool!
After that, we'll be heading to Lake Buena Vista although we haven't booked that hotel yet. I'm thinking about the clarion inn - basic but cheap (since we've blown a fortune on OKW and Hard Rock lol).
Clarion Inn is on Palm Parkway so walking distance to loads of restaurants and bars and it also has a regular shuttle to all the parks.
We have got 21 day tickets for Disney World and we'll get our universal tickets sometime nearer the trip. As I mentioned above, we have 5 days on the Disney Dining Plan, and all good disney planners know that to get the restaurants you want, you have to book early. Reservations open up 180 days before, and for us, that was a couple of weeks ago.
So my choices so far are.....
'Ohana - Polynesian resort
'Ohana is an old favourite, but we didn't make it there on our honeymoon so I'm looking forward to taking Robert there. It's all you care to eat meat, with a starter of chicken wings so I'm sure he'll be happy. For me, it's all about the pot stickers, mmmm!
Chef Mickey's - Contemporary Resort
I'll be honest, I chose this one for the characters not the food. We don't always find ourselves willing to wait in huge lines for characters while in the parks so I thought a character dinner would be perfect to meet the Fab 5.
Mama Melrose Fantasmic Package - Disney Hollywood Studios
This is a restaurant that I have never really considered until I read about it on a trip report where the poster had an amazing steak with four cheese macaroni. Which absolutely had me sold. I booked the Fantasmic Package because not only does it give us preferred seating for Fantasmic but it's also a set meal package thing which allows you to have an appetiser included on the dining plan instead of the usual entree and dessert that comes as part of a table service credit. It looks really sweet inside and I'm looking forward to this one. The steak looks to die for...
Yachstman Steakhouse - Yacht Club Resort
We visited here on the last night of our honeymoon and we both really really enjoyed it. The steaks were amazing! It's a disney Signature restaurant which means this will use 2 credits of our dining plan but in my opinion it's worth it. And I'm not gonna lie, I'm partly going back here for the amazing bread service. The onion pull apart rolls served with roasted garlic and salted butter are just.... Unbelievable! I know it's just bread but it's amazing.
Our final dining reservation is for my birthday, yay! This one isn't on the dining plan because my birthday falls a few days after we check out. We're going to go for Lunch, then hop on the monorail to Epcot for some cocktails around the world and then Illuminations.
Kona Cafe - Polynesian resort.
I've never been here before, but yet again I've spotted something on a trip report that I really want to try! This time it's a Teriyaki steak with pineapple salsa and sticky rice. It looks so nice!
This photo came from Disneyfoodblog.com which is a great website for restaurant reviews and keeping up to date with new additions to menus, seasonal foods etc. I highly recommend it if you're new to disney and don't know where to start with dining options! Or, if you're like me and just like drooling over a computer screen ;)
Aside from trying new restaurants, there's a couple of new things we'd like to try this year, including -
Orlando Eye -
Madame Tussauds -
Dolphin Spotting trip -

Aside from that we haven't made many other solid plans - Fast Pass plus will be done at 60 days of course, and I've done a rough itinerary so far so I could book in our ADRs, but it's flexible and I'm sure will change at least 20 times between now and then.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed and maybe even got some ideas for planning your own Orlando trip!

Disneymoon Day 6 - Magic Kingdom and Lake Buena Vista

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Hello there my friends!

It's been a long time since I've posted but one of my new year resolutions was to start posting here again so here I am... Please don't judge the fact we're now half way through January and this is my first time posting haha!

So thanks for popping in to read the next day of fun on my Disneymoon trip report! We actually just booked another trip for this summer so it's given me a kick up the bum to get this finished before we go again! And hopefully do the same with my project life album.

As I said on my last day, it was around this point that I stopped making detailed notes for my trip report, so I probably won't have as much to say. Although I'm sure you know I like a waffle, so I'll probably still go on a bit haha!!

So today was the day we had to check out of the Boardwalk Resort :( As we were staying for 3 weeks we didn't have the budget to stay there for the full time, so we booked a hotel in Lake Buena Vista for the next 12 nights.

I took a few photos of our final morning view before we left. This is such a beautiful resort, I would definitely love to stay here again.

The plan for the morning was to check out, head to Magic Kingdom for a few hours and then head to our new hotel before heading out to watch the football. I think by this stage it was the semi final of the World Cup, not that I can remember who was playing!

Don't you just love the classic disney gates car shot ;)

We packed up and were ready to head off by about 10am. When we were leaving, instead of traipsing all our stuff down to the car park, I waited at the reception with all the stuff while Robert went off to get the car to load up.

I'm normally quite angsty about leaving things on view in the car, but I felt safe enough leaving my car in a Disney car park as they are well manned and patrolled.

While we were driving to Magic Kingdom had the sudden realisation that he had left his iPhone wire plugged into the wall of the hotel room, so first stop when we arrived at the park was Guest Services to ask them to call the hotel and locate the wire. The queue was so long and it was boiling in there but we were soon sorted.

We had 3 fast passes set up for today - Space Mountain, Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Haunted Mansion.

First up was our old favourite, Space Mountain, which was fab as always. From memory, I think this basically a walk on with the fast pass, only really queuing briefly at the loading area.

We then had a while to go before our next fast pass and we were STARVING by this time so we decided to go into Cosmic Ray's for some food. I was in the mood for something "non fast food"-y so I went for the turkey sandwich. This was jam packed with meat! I took some mustard at the fixins bar, and also some runny cheese (healthy right :D) to dip my chips. It was tasty although my sandwich was just a touch on the cold side. Obviously they're kept in the fridge to be kept fresh but it was a little uncomfortable on my teeth!

After this it was time for our next, much anticipated fast pass, yay! Finally getting to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train after our cancellation last week. We were on in 5 minutes and it was pretty fab! It was short though and tbh I would be a bit raging if I had waited in a 2 hour queue for it as it was over so fast! Fun if you can get a fast pass though :)
Up next was one of my absolute favourite attractions in all of Disney World - Philharmagic! If you've never been, this is a 3D animated movie with a soundtrack from many classic Disney movies such as Lion King, Beaty and the Beast and Aladdin. The 3D effects are good but I think you really need to be a true Disney fan to truly appreciate this, because the music from the movies just creates a pure magical experience! Predictably, Robert said it was "okay". Non Disney fan, so there's my point proven haha :)
We had a wander around Fantasyland before heading down to use our next fast pass at The Haunted Mansion but all the wait times were pretty huge so we chilled out in Liberty Square and visited a wee gift shop while we waited for our next slot to open at 1.25.
The gift shop here has a lot of lovely kitcheny type things and I really liked some lovely wine glasses. I was slightly concerned about how I would get them home safely so I decided to leave them and think about it, but I never did go back for them. Lesson learned - don't leave things you want to buy until later :( I'm definitely going to buy some wine glasses this summer.

Soon it was fast pass time. I love this ride, the theming is great!

After the Haunted Mansion we decided it was time to head back to the car, the pit stop at the Boardwalk for the phone charger was going to add an extra detour to our plans and we only had an hour or so until the football started.
So after our quick visit to get the charger it was straight onto Best Wedtern Lake Buena Vista. This hotel was really good value; very basic but clean, spacious and an amazing location. We would definitely go back but the one thing letting it down is the pool area. It was only a wee pool and the area could have done with a general redo to make it a bit fresher and more relaxing. We had a resort fee of $11 per day here and from memory I think we paid it at check in.

Now we were all checked in we decided we would pop round to Millers Ale House to get some grub and watch the football. Robert drove, meaning I could enjoy a wee cocktail! Coz I haven't had enough of those yet this trip ;)
We also got some of their giant "appetisers", which were both fab. Robert chose the zinger mountain melt, and I went for the spinach dip with tortilla chips. I wanted to get a couple to share but Robert wasn't so keen on my choice so I was only allowed a tiny bit of his haha! I'd love to try loads more of their options here but everything is huge so we can never manage as much as I'd like!
My cocktail choice was a mango mojito which was delicious!
We stayed here for the second half of the football (we didn't manage to see all of the first half) before heading back to the hotel to drop the car then pop back out somewhere for a drink. We ditched the car then walked over to Crossroads, where there were a few different places to choose from. It was no more than a 10 minute walk to Crossroads, and it had cooled down a lot by now so it was fine.
We got there and headed for Buffalo Wild Wings. We had a seat at the bar and ordered some drinks. I had a frozen drink of some sort - from memory it was something like a raspberry and mango twist or something along those lines! It was really good but gave me serious brain freeze.

We stayed here for a few drinks but I started to get a bit of a sore stomach - I'm going to blame the food not the alcohol haha.

We headed to Goodings supermarket before heading back to the hotel. This is handy and it's a decent size so you can get most stuff but I've been told it's more expensive that other supermarkets like Walmart or Target. We only ever picked up a few bits and bobs so we didn't really find it to be overly expensive so it's good to have it nearby, especially for those who don't hire a car.

After this we headed back to the hotel, chilled and watched some TV before falling asleep. We had no park plans for the next day. Just World Cup Final plans so we didn't bother to set an alarm for the morning.

Thanks for sticking with me through our 6th day, hope you enjoyed reading about our day! If you have any questions feel free to comment below or email/tweet me :)