I'm back!~ We had a lovely extra long birthday weekend which is the perfect way to celebrate. And we spent it at Disney! Yupyup. Had fun too! We have the Florida Resident Annual Passes y'see so we had already pre-paid for the tickets into the park. Then there is the discount on hotels and restaurants and so forth and well, why not?
As you know from previous posts, we've been to Hollywood studios with Hurley and Jessie and then to Epcot on a whim one Sunday afternoon but there was so much we had not yet seen or done so.....Disney it is!
We stayed on the grounds in a Disney hotel, Port Orleans. And considering how much I love New Orleans, that was a great choice (thank you, Tim!) It was huge of course, seems like everything there is larger than life. Part of the fantasy I suppose. But our room was quite nice. I do love how Disney pays attention to details when planning a new part of the park, or the restaurants and hotels. This is where we stayed:
And like and proper plantation house, there was indeed, a river out front. In fact, we crossed one of the bridges multiple times a day and boated down the river as well. It was one of my favourite parts. Just relaxing on the water, floating away. And it was especially pretty at night:
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We started out at Epcot because there were specific things we wanted to do there that we couldn't that last time. Smarter this time, because eventually we figure things out, we used our "fast-pass" option for those things and cruised right on in. At my sister Joy's suggestion, we went on a ride called, "Soaring". Oh yeah, it was awesome! In fact, I think it might have been my favourite of everything we did this time 'round. And then we did "Spaceship Earth" because, well, it's the inside of the iconic Epcot giant silver golfball! Somethings, you just gotta do. This is one of them.
Trying to make the most of our time, we then headed over to the Magic Kingdom. We had reservations for dinner at the "Crystal Palace" and didn't want to be late for that! Pause for Disney Advice.
If you are staying in the park and relying on the Disney provided transportation to get from A to B, allow plenty of extra time. Disney is so HUGE now that it takes awhile for the busses to circle around back to your stop and sometimes you actually have to transfer from one bus or monorail or boat to another. Once you arrive at your destination, you will still have to walk to the gate, have your bags searched, walk through the metal detector doorway thingie and before you ever stand in yet another line to scan either your ticket card or band. Once you are inside, if you are not familiar (which we were not) it takes a few minutes to get oriented. We ended up always getting a map, and even so, sometimes, it can be a little tricky navigating.
Still, totally worth it. And speaking of iconic structures, one of the first things we saw upon arriving was:
Now I know where I am! We did have time to walk around a little bit looking at this and that and everything else then took a train ride around the park where the adorable little girl sitting in front of us sang, "It's a small world, after all" very quietly to herself the entire ride.
Finally, tummies rumbling with hunger, we headed back to our reservation. We got in pretty quickly and were seated. As soon as our drinks arrived we headed up to the buffet. Better than average food for a buffet restaurant especially considering the volume of people served by the way. I was surprised and charmed to find Disney characters frolicking through the restaurant.
We walked off dinner and considered waiting to see the fireworks but we were pretty tired by then having walked miles. So we headed back to our hotel. The next day, we headed to Animal Kingdom! Woohoo!
Animal Kingdom has an entirely new section called Pandora which is based on the film, Avatar. We did see the movie but it was so long ago, I don't really remember much about it, but we were wowed by that area. The entire Disney experience means suspending reality for a little while, anyway. But Pandora takes it to an entirely different level. The rides of course were crazyfull. We couldn't even 'fastpass' anything and didn't want to wait in line for the sometimes two hours reported. But just walking around was almost like going on a ride. They did have this thing out to sit on. Apparently it's what we sit on in the ride? We will find out another time. It reminds me of a Landspeeder from the 1st Star Wars movie:
Reluctantly, we left Pandora and checked out other parts of Animal Kingdom. We did a Safari ride and saw lots of animals in a more natural habitat. Even had to wait a few times for animals to cross the road. Saw a very shy tiger who, as soon as we knew he was being viewed, moved behind a large bush and refused to come back out and the most unusual bird show we've ever seen.
It began raining in the afternoon. We bought hats and dashed from doorway to doorway and tried to do indoor things for awhile, also very fun. To tell you the truth, I'm still in a Disney Haze today. I cannot even remember everything we did, everything we saw or everywhere we went! But I know it was a lot of fun!
The scenery was lovely. It's back to that thing about my admiration for Disney detail. I could have just taken scenery photos all day.
To tell you the truth, we returned Tuesday, but I'm still in a Disney Haze today and I cannot remember everything we saw, everything we did, or every place we went. I just know we had a birthday blast!
I'll finish up with two things. First, thank you to every one who sent me the zillion or so lovely Birthday Wishes. It really made me feel special all day long. Second, here are some random Disney shots to finish up the post.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.