Saturday 11th June – Day Four:
We were both awake before the alarm even went off this morning, perhaps because we had to went to bed slightly earlier than usual last night. We woke up to some devastating news this morning, what was to be the first of three terrible news reports we experienced within the next week – the Voice star Christina Grimmie had been shot dead after a performance in Orlando. Christina Grimmie was a phenomenal artist with the most incredible voice and amazing persona. It is absolutely horrendous that something like this could have happened. R.I.P Christina and sending all of my love and prayers to her loved ones. Watch the tribute to her here.
I sat on my phone and scrolled through Facebook, Instagram etc for a while and my mam had a shower. Once I was ready, we went to the Pepper Market again for breakfast and this time I caved and had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Honestly, I still can’t believe how big the portions are in the States. One meal in America, is probably about the same size as three meals in the UK. Still ate it all up though, just too damn good.
We were finished just after 8am and went for the bus at the stop just outside the reception. We waited only about ten to fifteen minutes for the bus, which wasn’t long considering the time of morning. We got to Epcot around 8:30 and it was straight through to the bag check. The queues weren’t too bad surprisingly, the park was due to open at 9am, but usually opens 15 minutes earlier. Of course, my mam got directed through to the extra security check AGAIN. I don’t know what about her makes her look like a criminal…
We stood in line for about ten seconds, before the cast members began letting people in, perfect timing then. We scanned our magic bands and power-walked towards The Land as Soarin’ was our first choice of ride, and we wanted to get there before the queues became too large. However, we only got about as far as Innoventions before we were stopped by a rope. Although they had let us into the park, they often rope off the ‘ride areas’ until official opening time.
When the park opened, and we had had the usual happy American voice of welcome booming over the speakers, there was a MEGA rush to Soarin’. We were quite close to the front of the line however, and only waited around 20 minutes. In the Soarin’ pavilion, there are now three theatres (there were only two last time we went), so the queue definitely passed much faster in general. However, on this morning there was only one operating theatre as the park had just opened. Soon, we were standing in the loading bay watching Patrick Warburton introduce the ride – we hoped it wouldn’t change for the new ‘Soarin’ Around the World’ ride opening on June 17th.
We thoroughly enjoyed what was to be one of our last times on the original Soarin’ ride. They had fixed the film so the picture was not as grainy, and the smells were even more prominent than we remembered. We were so happy to ride it again before it closed forever. When we left the ride, the wait time was posted at 50 minutes ALREADY, it was 9:15am.
Next, we stayed in the Land Pavilion and went to another of my favourites, Living With The Land. This is such a simple, yet enjoyable ride. You just board a boat and go through various scenes learning about Environmental impact. This sounds really boring, but it’s so chill. One of the things I love most about Epcot, is that it is an educational park which is really fun, you don’t feel as though you are learning anything. After sailing through various scenes, you go into a huge greenhouse where Disney actually grow ALL of their vegetables and fruits used in every park food. There was a really hilarious guy sitting behind me and my mam on the ride, he had us both in hysterics all the way through.
Our first fastpass of the day was up next, Test Track. Now, Test Track is one of my top three favourite rides in the whole of Disney World, so I was extremely excited to ride it. We went quickly through the queue, and into the design station. Although I do enjoy the design station, I think it is a terrible idea to improve ride efficiency. Around ten minutes later, we were climbing into the cars and fastening our seatbelts. The ride was absolutely great, just as fantastic as we remembered. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but this is a must-do ride. There is also a car ‘activity area’ in the departure area of the ride. There is a selection of Chevrolets laid out for people to sit in and take photos. We skipped this, as chevvys are not my favourite. There are also various racing games and photo stations in the next room. We had great fun sending funny photos to my Dad and Tom via email.
We left Test Track and went straight to Starbucks, as we were both really thirsty. It was already starting to get warm, so we trudged over the courtyard enjoying the slight spray of the fountain as we went past. We could have got a free drink from Club Cool, but it opened at 10:30 and we clearly couldn’t wait four minutes…could we? We bought a berry blast to share, it was alright but nothing special. Tasted a bit flowery to me.
After our refreshing, but not very tasty drink, we headed to Spaceship Earth. We both love this ride, another really chilled ride in the dark, cool air. I’m not even ashamed to say that both my mam and I fell asleep on many occasions throughout this holiday on this ride. It was a nice 20 minute snooze. Spaceship Earth had a problem all throughout our trip unfortunately as our photos never took, anyone who has been on it knows there is a custom made animation played at the end created with the pictures taken at the beginning.
Finally, it was World Showcase time! Both me and my mam love the World Showcase, we find it so interesting and it’s really fun to explore all of the different ‘countries’. We wanted an early lunch in the Mexican pavilion, so we opted for our favourite in La Cantina De San Angel. We absolutely love the food here – it’s just so tasty, and very different from the usual burger, chips, pizza and more burger you get everywhere else in Disney World. My mam went to order food, and I facetimed Tom for a bit which I loved. This technology is class, I don’t know how I would have felt if I couldn’t have ‘seen’ Tom for the whole holiday, I missed him too much! I chose cheese empanadas for lunch, while my mam chose fish tacos. We both really enjoyed them, and the mango paletas we got for dessert were also something special!
After our lunch, we explored the Mexican pavilion. We actually stopped to pay attention to the history around the wooden carvings and the Mayan Calendar Stone. It was really interesting, and not something we had ever paid attention to before. We also checked out the market area as usual. There are more Mexican sweets available to purchase in there now, the last few years there has been none at all apart from the lollies with dried up dead scorpions in them – ew! We also went on the little Mexican boat ride towards the back of the pavilion. This really isn’t the best ride, but it’s a nice little sit down in the cool air!
Next, we trekked to Norway (as if people could actually do that…). They are redesigning a lot of the area around ‘Frozen’. Frozen is undeniably one of the most successful Disney films in history, so it does only make sense in a business perspective to tailor a certain area around Frozen to attract more visitors. However (I know I’m going on a bit of a tangent), I wish they hadn’t ‘ruined’ the Norway pavilion by including film theming. The pavilions have always been purely culture based; no other pavilions have this much involvement from a film, so I wish they hadn’t done as much to edit the pavilion. Just my thoughts.
Anywaaaaay, I have to say I really enjoyed the new restrooms. I know that is such a weird thing to say, but they are the most beautiful restrooms I have seen. No judging please and thank you. The gift shop is also still there which is great as it’s full of nice merchandise. Unfortunately, Maelstrom was closed due to the fact it was being made into a Frozen ride. Although this ride was simple, I always really enjoyed it, and last time we were here we didn’t know it was to close, so I never got to say goodbye. Sad. The new ride opens on June 21st, but we are hoping there will be a soft opening so we actually get a chance to ride it.
The China pavilion was next, and this pavilion is so incredibly beautiful. We went into the gift shop to look at some present ideas for people. I knew I wanted to get some lovely incense for Tom’s mam, so I looked at the different fragrances to get more of an idea of what to buy. We had a brief look in the temple (fact: if you stand in the very centre circle the acoustics are 100% perfect due to the shape of the room), but then we were off to the next pavilion as we needed to get around the rest of the World Showcase in time for our Fastpass: a character meet and greet!
We decided instead to just walk around the rest of the world showcase and not venture into any pavilions as we didn’t want to rush exploring. However, we did go into France to get some sneaky ice-cream treats, a girl can’t help it.
It’s a good job we skipped the rest of the pavilions, as we only just got to our Fastpass in time to see the characters. We met Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, but Goofy was the most entertaining. He played along with everything – it amazes me the skills the people hired have, they are so entertaining to all audiences. My mam really enjoyed the film ‘Inside Out’ (I haven’t seen it), so we then stepped into Innoventions to meet Joy and Sadness. Unfortunately, with Inside Out being a fairly new movie, the queue was much longer than we were willing to wait for. However, we queued to meet Baymax instead, I think he is from the film ‘Big Hero 6’. He was really cute, and it was nice meeting him as we never have before. We didn’t have much interaction with him however; as the cast members were keen to move on to the next family.
As we were right next-door, it was time for a free drink from Club Cool. And yes, the Beverly is still just as horrible as it was the first time I tasted it. We then had a look in Mouse Gear – one of the best Disney merch shops to try and find a phone case. I had just a week previously got a new phone, and I hadn’t had time to find a phone case. I desperately wanted one from Disney World, but found that all of the designs clashed with the rose gold on my phone. I was also on the hunt for a car air-freshener, as on a previous visit I found they did really cool ones, such as mickey waffles, ice cream and strawberry scented ones. However, I couldn’t find any of these to my disappointment. I thought I would spend the rest of the holiday looking for one, until I found a Dole Whip car air-freshener in the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort that night!
We decided after this to leave the park for the day, we were still getting used to all of the heat and walking and quite frankly, we were both absolutely shattered! We got the bus back to our hotel at around 2:30pm, and got off at the stop closest to our room. I was dying to facetime Tom, as I was really missing him and loved getting to chat about our days. I rang him immediately when we got back into the room and enjoyed an hour and a half chat while sitting outside the room. After getting off the phone, I had a half an hour kip which really did me good. We were aiming to leave the room at around 4:50, but it was 5:15 by the time we left, sorry mam!
We walked the short journey to our bus stop, and waited for the bus that would take us to Animal Kingdom. It was actually quite a long wait, which was stressing us out as we needed to be on time for our BOMA reservation. We thought changing buses at Animal Kingdom would be the best bet – as Animal Kingdom Lodge is right next door! We finally got to Animal Kingdom at around 6:05, and waited 5mins for the second bus.
We got to the Animal Kingdom Lodge at bang on 6:20 (our reservation time). We checked into BOMA, and found out we needn’t have stressed as the service was delayed. In the wait, I started feeling really unwell. I didn’t know why, but persevered and felt fine after some food. After waiting for about 20 minutes, we were shown to our table. We have ate here once before, and we knew we had to return, and for good reason. This buffet/restaurant is absolutely phenomenal! The food is definitely something special – it’s African themed but includes twists on traditional American food as well for something a little different. The fried green plantain was a huge surprise to me – it was so yummy! I recommend everyone to get their little hungry tummies over to BOMA, I promise it’s worth it!
After our yummy meal, we paid the bill and had a look around the resort. This resort is one of my dream resorts; I would absolutely love to stay here, but the prices are a weeee bit too high for our budget. I mean, for goodness sake, there are giraffes, zebra, okapi and ankhole cattle chilling right next to your room’s balcony. Enough said.
We saw all of these beautiful animals and had a bit of a chat with the cast members that were supervising the enclosure. It’s good that there is supervision – knowing me I would have probably climbed in there to make friends with the giraffes myself!! This is such a beautiful resort inside and out, the theming is top notch and I could stare at all of the intricate details for hours, there is even a fire pit surrounded by rocking chairs! We had a little look in the shop, and then walked down to the bus stop. We wanted to get a bus to either Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios or Epcot, as Disney Springs and Magic Kingdom were a little bit out of the way. The Hollywood Studios bus came first, which was the best bus we could have got as our resort was right next-door. We were the only ones on the bus, which was a little eery but we had a nice chat with the driver, who was absolutely lovely. At Hollywood Studios, we walked to the Coronado Springs bus stop and within five minutes, were on our bus back to the room. We were both shattered, so got off at the stop nearest our room and were in bed for 9. We watched property brothers and I had a shower, and then it was straight to bed!
Tomorrow: Animal Kingdom and journey to Universal!