I could barely sleep, now I was excited. Or over stimulated by the colors and noise. Or missing my husband, I am not a good sleeper when he isn’t around, which thankfully- isn’t often.
Everyone is up and ready to leave the room by 7:45am which I love.
Hint number one: Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all open 15 minutes before the posted “opening” time. So, if the park hours are 9-10pm, the parks gates open at 8:45am.
We got to Epcot by 8:30am which is pretty good considering how far away Art of Animation Resort is from the parks and we had to load Mom’s scooter too. It was also pretty apparent I am not the only one who knows the gates open 15 minutes before the posted time, but it is manageable. Once inside, we take our traditional pictures by the globe and I head to the camera center to redeem my Photo Pass Plus voucher. (https://www.disneyphotopass.com/specialoffers/wdwppp.htm)
Now we strolled through Future World into World Showcase, purposefully taking our time. We checked in for breakfast at Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall with the princesses. We waited a bit outside (which is not a highlight in the hot Florida sun without shade or benches) only to wait again on line to meet Belle before we are seated. Now, for whatever strange reason, just as we are to take our picture with Belle, Mikey (my son) freaks out. He doesn’t want a picture with her and starts crying. I am DYING. Mom takes a picture with the girls (and all 3 of them are wearing princess crowns, not kidding!) and then I do. Now- here was my Disney difference of the day- the cast member who was with Belle asked Mikey (who was calm now because this cast member was chatting with him while we are taking pictures) for his autograph book to sign. He hands it over and then they (all 3) start chatting- causually walking into the picture area. Belle hands the Cast member the book and I am able to snap a picture with a calm and, now smiling, Mikey. Oh I wish I had that cast member’s name, but I did hug her and thanked her tremendously.
On to the food, which quite honestly- I could not remember much of before because having 2 daughters I probably didn’t eat much of it. The girls were always over the moon excited for the princesses. They were a bit more subdued this time- but still wanted their pictures and autographs, and still wore their crowns. OMGoodness was the plated platter they brought to our table was amazing. Now, my son has a nut allergy and they made him a special blueberry muffin, which he LOVED, as well as went through the buffet line as to what was and wasn’t safe for him to eat.
I have to say though, this was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. I almost feel cheated all of those years not appreciating the food because I was always so excited for the girls. Needless to say, our servers brought us seconds of the plated platter and we took a few turns at the buffet (which was more pastries, yogurts, etc.) line as well. As we were meeting Aurora (who made it clear this was HER castle), Ariel, Snow White, and Cinderella all made it over to our table for a visit (sometimes twice!)
Once breakfast was over, we back tracked to Future World because World Showcase wasn’t quite open yet (they open at 11am). Where to? The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Hint number two: Most scooters are permitted on most rides or cast members will help you transfer to a wheelchair or into the ride if need be. I did not know that before this ride. I saw scooters parked with the strollers and assumed Mom had to walk. Bad move. It is quite a far walk to a clamobile, but Mom made it. The ride was adorable, as always and we lingered a bit in the aquarium while Mom made her way back to her scooter outside.
Next up was the Land pavilion. Plan was Mom and Mikey head to the movie Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable (this is a 12-minute film about Simba describing symbiosis to Timon and Pumba) while the girls and I ride Soarin’. Mom and Mikey head off, Soarin’ has a crazy wait and the Fast Pass return time isn’t great. So we head to Sunshine Seasons for a soda and try to figure out what to do.
Hint number three: Sunshine Seasons’ drinks are REFILLABLE all day long. Just hold on to your cup. This isn’t easy because it is paper but it is in your best interest to do so. I did not know this until today, when the cast member checking us out told me.
Once refreshed, we headed to Test Track to pick up fast passes (which worked out with the perfect time- right before our dinner that night). Back at the Land Mom and Mikey were still inside at the movie, so we refilled our drinks and waited a minute or two for them.
Then we headed to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, which I don’t think I have ever done because it isn’t always open. Again, there was a wait outside, in the heat, but a much shorter wait. Once inside, it was dark and cool and we watched a video about energy/Jeopardy/etc. with Ellen and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Once we are directed to the trams, Mikey freaks out AGAIN. I am DYING AGAIN. We start to move and he calms down-as he sees the dinosaurs and really begins to love the attraction. To the point he didn’t want to get off because he wanted to visit the dinosaurs again.
Then we march over to Journey into Imagination with Figment. This has always been a family favorite, and once again I am perplexed because Mikey is losing it again. Afraid of Figment? At this point I ignore him and he settles down as soon as he hears the happy music of the attraction once we are inside the tram. And again, he didn’t want to get off because he was going to miss Figment- thank goodness for ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs! The kids played for quite a while inside and even emailed Daddy a few of their own specially designed Figments that they made. Here we ran into a close friend whom I worked with prior and her kids- it really is a small world after all!
Now we decided it was time to pick up our cell phone to try the Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. We had a choice of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, France, and United Kingdom as far as where our adventure would take place. The skies looked gloomy- so we chose Mexico- the only indoor pavilion. On our way, we all decided we were starving. So, we stopped at La Cantina de San Angel for some nachos, guacamole, and churros. It was 3pm and we didn’t want to spoil our dinner, but we needed something. Once we ordered the skies opened up. Mom scooted over and got us a table and we waited the rain out while we snacked. Just as we were finishing up, the skies cleared up. Off to help Agent P! The game was cute and took maybe a half hour to finish. We also started making Duffy’s in the KidCot stops and we also had purchased World Showcase passports that we got stamped as well. We would continue having the Duffy’s and passports stamped as we traveled around the world that afternoon and into the evening.
Mikey working at a KidCot stop
We toured all though World Showcase, lingering a bit more in France to stop at the Bakery- which looks more like a cafeteria now than when we visited last. The pastries were still delicious though. We stopped and took pictures with Duffy and then the girls and I headed over to Test Track to use our Fast Passes before dinner. The new Test Track is AMAZING, we really had a great time and we highly recommend it!
The car we designed on Test Track!
We checked in to our 7:30 reservation right on time at La Hacienda de San Angel and asked for a show table. What is that?
Hint four: Try to snag a table at La Hacienda de San Angel or Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room at 7:30pm for an amazing view of Illuminations at 9pm. When you check in, ask for a table with a show view and you will have an amazing sunset view of the lagoon and a front row seat for the nightly laser and fireworks show without having to fight the crowds. La Hacienda is inside and air conditioned, Rose & Crown is an outside patio with umbrellas. We also saw construction of Morocco’s ‘Spice Road Table’ which is on the water as well. Spice Road Table is expected to open at the end of this year and the location is another great spot to watch Illuminations as well.
We had an AMAZING view and could not be happier. We were quickly given our nachos (instead of bread) for the table and ordered their Queso Fundido (which is melted cheese with poblano peppers, chorizo and flour tortillas) – which is my favorite with a margarita (another favorite!). For dinner, we ordered the Parrillada “La Hacienda “Mixed grill (New York strip, chicken al pastor, chorizo and vegetables, served with beans and fresh salsas) and Parrillada Del Ma mixed grill (shrimp, fish, scallops and vegetables, served with beans and fresh salsas) for our table of 5. It was devoured by all of us! Dessert was 2 Empanada de Manzanas (Puff pastry filled with sautéed caramel apples, served with dulce de leche ice cream and caramel sauce) and Mikey wanted more churros. During dinner we were joined by some friends we were meeting on the cruise later that week. Mikey and George had such a great time playing together and hearing them countdown to Illuminations was precious! Once the lights dimmed, we were in for an amazing show. The restaurant pipes in the music and the view is absolutely spectacular!
After dinner, we said good bye to our friends and headed to Soarin’. It was Extra Magic Hours (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/extra-magic-hours/ )
tonight for resort guests and the girls and I really wanted to ride. Mom and Mikey waited for us by the dancing fountains and by the time we got back, Mikey fell asleep. We headed out of the park, exhausted 14 hours after we arrived. What a day!