Myself and three of my friends decided to treat ourselves to a nice Disney vacation for graduation! It was about $600 a piece (not including flights) and I'm sure you can guess how much we probably spent in souviners! Also, we couldn't have done it without Mouse Fan Travel! =D Everything was amazingly organized!
The four of us! (Kelsey, Nicole, Sarah (me!), and Ryan)
We arrived in Orlando on Sunday, July 5th from Providence, it wasn't a bad flight, surprising because of all the storms we've been having lately, I was expecting some turbulence, but it was fine. I was so excited to land I just wanted the flight to be over!
We stayed at Pop Century Resort, and because Ryan has knee problems, we brought along a motor scooter, and was able to get a nice first floor room overlooking the Hourglass Lake in the 60's. Personally, I thought the room was a just a tad too small for four teenage girls, (one sink, no separating curtain like at CBR) but we made it work! (And we spent most time in the parks anyway!) We had the MYW base tickets, and decided we would do one park a day, and do MK twice.
We did the new Online Check-In, I think it is a very good service. We were able to go straight to our room and freshen up a little, Ryan practiced driving on her new scooter, we went to the Everything Pop restaurant and ate lunch, (we have the DP, but had to save a table credit, so we paid for this first lunch.) We also bought the Celebrate mugs, and used them at least twice a day. The only thing is that there are only three color lid tops, and four of us! Strange they'd do that when usually families travel in fours. Nicole put a hair elastic on hers so that we wouldn't get our mugs mixed up. Always thinking ahead!
We went straight to Magic Kingdom and obtained a wheelchair accessibility pass for Ryan. She can't stand for long periods of time, and has to transfer with a cane onto rides, the Cast Members were all very nice to us in assisting her. They would bring the chair along to the ride exit for us, and even hold her cane for her until she got off the rides.
I personally HATE Splash Moutain, or just water rides in general. I like to think of myself as part cat or something, so Kelsey & I went on Thunder Mountain while we waited for Ryan & Nicole on SM. Kelsey had never been on a rollercoaster before, because she's freaked out by big drops, so I thought it would be a nice first experience for her. (She didn't hit me either!) We all then met up and went over to the Hall of Presidents.
I need to say, the new HoP show is GREAT. The narration is AMAZING, it doesn't put you to sleep, even through the roll call. (Nobody boo-ed at any presidents either, everyone was respectful and attentive in the audience, I was very pleased with this.) Obama's speech was short, I think it was shorter than Bush's if I do recall? But it was still very nice to see the work the Imagineers do when it comes to animatronics like this. It's just amazing.
We also went on the new Haunted Mansion ride, none of the Cast Members we're being creepy when I went this time. I like their little silly jokes that they do, (like, "Go to the dead center of the room") I always loved this ride, regardless!
Ate dinner at Cosmic Ray's, used a quickservice. Our first "real meal" in Disney, as we called it! We did as many rides as we could, we didn't end up staying for the Magic Hours because we were too tired. So we left around 8pm, I believe, and went back to Pop Century to have some time in the pool and go to bed.
July 6th - Animal Kingdom
Woke up nice and early for this park! We wanted to see the animals! (Note, even though we're eighteen, we act like we're ten most of the time when it comes to Disney World!)
We quickly went over to the new Picnic in the Park booth and ordered our lunch. It's in a strange location, and the directions most of the CMs gave us weren't too specific, but we found it. The only two problems I have with this new dining option is the sandwich choices, and the whole "picnic" part. First, I'm a very picky eater. I hate my vegetables, (I told you I'm really a ten-year-old at heart!) and we all ordered the chicken wraps and I ended up picking all the chicken out of mine & eating that and the bread. It was a little messy! Also, we obviously weren't thinking that early in the morning and picked fruit salad and potato wedges. Hot potatoes + hot weather = nobody wants to eat them. We pretty much fought for all the cooler pieces of fruit!
Onto the whole "picnic" aspect. One thing about Animal Kingdom, there really aren't any grassy areas to sit down and eat, when you really think about it. Next to the Tusker House Bakery (where we picked up our lunch) there is a small little cave-like area, and an open area with a tall table. We sat on the ground over there and had our picnic. At least it was shady! (The Picnic comes in a nice "green bag" that you can keep, it say "Animal Kingdom's Picnic in the Park" on the front.)
We rode pretty much all the rides because we had a reservation at Yak & Yeti at 5:30. When you have that wheelchair fast, there's no wait in line, so we get rides done a lot faster than everyone else. Everest was broken in the morning, so we went back later, and couldn't convince Kelsey to go on the ride, (she REALLY hates drops!) so the three of us went on it, and let's just say, the on-ride photo was the best one I've ever purchased! I LOVE rollercoasters, my friends? Not so much!
We went on the Primerval Whirl -- three times! We did it once, went to Dinosaur, came back, and one of the Cast Members asked if we wanted to ride again when we were on the platform, saying "We like to make magic moments in Animal Kingdom too!" So we went on the ride for a third time!
We took the train up to the Planet Watch, went to the pettng zoo, met Pocahontas, there was a skink on display so Nicole went to go and pet it. The 300 pound python was poking his head up in his tank, so we took some pictures of him too! We then took the train back and freshened up before dinner. We were a little early, but they seated us anyway.
Nicole & I ordered the Steak & Shrimp, it is EXCELLENT. If you ever go, be sure to order it! The Jasmine rice was great as well! Kelsey ordered the Sweet & Sour Chicken, and Ryan had a Lo Mein dish. No complaints! Except we had a hard time eating dessert!
After dinner, we left and went back to the hotel. Nicole remembered that the registering for her college classes started today, and we asked the concierge at Pop if there were computers we could use, she said to go to Coronado Springs, this was around 7:30pm. Ryan wanted to stay behind because she said she needed to prop up her knee for a little while, so we hopped a bus to Downtown, then to Coronado, we arrive at 8:30. The concierge at CS said that the computers close at 7:00 and that the woman at Pop should have told us. Needless to say, Nicole was upset because she wanted to register sooner rather than later, so we shopped at Panchito's Gifts, and bus-hopped back to Pop, thinking about coming back in the morning.
July 7th - Magic Kingdom
Come morning time, we all didn't want to get up. We had reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table that night, and decided that this would be our "lazy day". We bus-hopped to Caribbean Beach, spent some time in their pool and the beach, it started to thunderstorm VERY badly. It stopped, and we ran back to the Port Royale gift shop to eat lunch and look around the shops, because the rain picked up again. We wanted to go to Downtown, and it was still pouring! I'm not a runner, but I ran so fast to those buses because, as mentioned, I HATE WATER AND RAIN! Kelsey helped Ryan with her cane the whole way so they were soaked! It looked like it was going to flood the rain was so bad!
We stopped at the World of Disney store, and a woman at the door asked us if we wanted some pixie dust in our hair, acting like the children we are, we were very excited that we had glitter. We spent a good hour and a half in this store picking up gifts for our family. We left at 3:30 to go back to our resort so we could shower & get ready for the castle dinner.
This is my make-up drawer. Yes--one drawer for just make-up. I'm the Eyeshadow Queen, I love mixing colors, so you can bet that I did everyone's make-up for the night! We left our hotel around 6:00pm, giving us a good two hours in the park. It started to rain again, so we came up with a system because we only had two umbrellas. Kelsey & Nicole shared one, and because I was the lightest, I would sit on Ryan's good knee on the scooter, she would hold the umbrella over us, and I would drive. We got a few strange looks but it was too much fun! We had to stop most of the time because we were laughing so hard!
We went on Peter Pan's Flight, (it was broken on Sunday), It's a Small World, Pooh's Adventure, and we rode the train around the entire park. We then stopped at Sir Mickey's, I bought a Goofy golf ball for my dad, and we stopped at another little store, (the one next to Philhar Magic, I just forgot the name!) to buy a Cheshire Cat for my sister. (They have so little Alice in Wonderland gifts! I can't wait for the new movie to come out so they can make more items for this classic!)
Our dinner at the Royal Table was great! We all had the chicken, and thank god for the dining plan because it would have been $228! As soon as we left the restaurant, Spectromagic was going on, and it was a pure Disney moment right here, because as soon as we stepped out of the castle, we were all around that amazing blue light and we could see the entire parade from the top doorway. There were two or three other families up there, but we danced around and watched the parade. And as soon as it ended a CM asked everyone to leave off that part and find seats for the fireworks. We certainly had amazing ones when they took the rope down! We were right in front of the castle wall & had a perfect view of everything!
After the fireworks we waited in line for Thunder Mountain, but the lap bars wouldn't go down. Four trains passed by, and none of them would work. They had to close the attraction for the night. And because I had a poncho on me, I decided to toughen up and do Splash Mountain, Kelsey stayed behind again, I didn't get wet, but my friends did, (bwuhaha!) That was our last ride in MK!
We then heard that the monorail was working again, and being crazy, we took a ride on it hoping to get over to the Contemporary. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong monorail, and we ended back at Magic Kingdom, to an angry (yes, she was angry!) CM who asked us why we were still in the train. We told her where we wanted to go, and she said, very bitterly, that we got on the wrong train. So we just took the bus back to our resort instead of getting on the other monorail. Oh well!
July 8th - Hollywood Studios
We started today as early as we could, considering we were up until midnight with the magic hours. So I think we started our day at this park at 10am. The first ride we went to was the Rockin' Rollercoaster. As soon as Kelsey saw the trains speed off, she ran away and said she'd meet us at the end. Can't say we didn't try!
To make up for scaring her, we went on the new Toy Story Mania ride, I did enjoy the scenery, I felt like I was in Andy's bedroom! The only thing about the ride is that it's SO TIRING! Pulling that little string over and over can take a toll on your wrists! From there, we proceeded to the Muppets, Backlot Tour, Star Tours, Great Movie Ride, and ate over at Pizza Planet. We went back to Tower of Terror later, just me and Nicole this time because the other two chickened out, and then somehow Ryan convinced Kelsey to go on Rockin' Rollercoaster with us for the last time before we left. We made her look away from the trains so that she wouldn't see them pull away fast and scare her again. She surprisingly went on it, but as soon as the ride ended she ran away! We just barely caught her out the door and I had to chase her down Sunset Boulevard! I felt bad, so we bought ice-creams and she felt a lot better. We had early reservations at Planet Hollywood, and missed the Lights, Motors, Action show (and wouldn't make the next showing) so we left and waited for a bus.
We returned to our resort, and got all dressed up for our Planet Hollywood dinner. We were planning to go take a taxi to the Universal Citywalk, because there's teen night at The Groove, but we didn't feel like paying for a taxi, and we walked around the shops we missed the other day instead.
July 9th - Epcot
Because of the EMH that night, we left our rooms quite late, we got to Epcot at noon and went on the new Spaceship Earth, and I must say, I LOVE the updates to it! Especially when you get off the ride, and you see your face on the screen go to where you live! I think it's a nice, more interactive way to show how we're all connected. After that, we went over to the Ice Station Cool and tasted all the different Coke products, (I couldn't believe that my friends had never been here before! It's one of my favorite little stores!) We started to get hungry, so we went to the Yorkshire Fish & Chips, which didn't have a long line because not many people eat fish!
We went back to Futureworld, because our reservation at Le Cellier wasn't until 7:30, and we thought we'd tour World Showcase later on our way to dinner. My friends surprisingly survived Mission Space, I made them do orange, because frankly, after Star Tours AND Rockin' Rollercoaster, I thought they could handle the "flying" feeling and the "I can't feel my cheeks" feeling of that ride. I was right.
We went to Test Track, Soarin', Living with the Land, Journey Into Imagination, and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience before we started to go around the worlds. We went on Maestrom, not really a fan of this ride to be honest, and shopped for a very long time in Japan! I think Mitsukoshi is the best store in the entire showcase. We spent more time in Italy and Morocco because we still had another two hours until dinner, browsed around France and bought some ice-cream cones, and then met Mary Poppins and Alice in the UK. (We didn't exactly realize there was a line, or that there were two for that matter, the second line being for the Pooh characters, and we may have cut small children in line by accident because of how cramped and busy it was! Sorry if it was you!) We went to fix our hair and make-up before dinner, and Le Cellier took us about 15 minutes early.
Le Cellier was probably the best dinner all week, if you ever go there and meet the server Patrick O., you are in GREAT hands for the evening! He was hilarious and made our dinner so memorable! Nicole & I ordered the New York Strip, it was 14oz of pure steak-goodness! Kelsey & Ryan ordered chicken, (notice a pattern here?) I was TWO PIECES away from finishing my steak, and I couldn't do it. Patrick was even cheering me on! But you know that, I'm-so-full-I-think-I'm-getting-dizzy feeling? That's what stopped me!
For dessert Ryan ordered the creme brulee, I had the rasperry sorbet, Kelsey & Nicole ordered the Chocolate Mousse, and if you've been to Le Cellier, you know that it's shaped like an actual moose, right? Well, after Kelsey finishes her mousse, we were talking about it and she's says, "Oh! I get it! The mousse was a moose!" After laughing at her for probably ten minutes, Patrick overhears her, and says "There's a punishment for this," and brings over a moose hat for Kelsey to wear. It was a great time, I was laughing so hard at one point I couldn't even breathe.
After dinner, we found a nice spot to watch illumiNATIONS, and then we took some pictures in front of Spaceship Earth at night, and went on Test Track before leaving, we left close to eleven so we could go back to the Everything Pop store before it closed at midnight. (We had to make some returns, and use our snack credits before leaving the next day, as our Magical Express bus came at 6am) July 10th - Going Home/Adventures at Orlando Airport
The concierge left the Magical Express booklet on our door the previous morning, saying to our bus was at 6:45am, but to be on the bus three hours prior to your flight time. Our flight was at 9am, so we thought we would just go down to the bus stop at 6am. Apparently, we were wrong, but they let us on anyway.
Now, this is where the REAL adventure begins. The driver listed a bunch of airlines, including Southwest, (our flight) and said that they're on side A. Everything else was on side B. So we get to the airport, show the security officer our boarding passes, and she said to us, "Do you know where your gate is?" And we said no, "You can look it up at the board on the other side of security," We said okay, and moved on through security, all good and dandy. Until we were on the other side and asked an officer where our gate would be, he replied, "Southwest? You should be on the B side! Who told you to come here?" So he escorted us back towards the opposite side and we had to do the entire security check ALL OVER AGAIN! Because the first officer knew we were on Southwest and didn't correct us! Ughh!
Makes for a funny story, regardless.
Note: all pictures had to be watermarked because after I read a nice article about posting personal pictures on forums, and them getting stolen, I had to! I don't want my pictures ending up somewhere else!