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NYE & Magic Kingdom 19+ Hours (Part One) – 2012 New Years Celebration in Walt Disney World

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I’ve decided to split this trip report into two. There’s just too much magic to cram into one report without having it extremely long. Here is the first part and the second will follow a few days after! All the photos for both days can be found on Flickr. Also if you missed the previous day trip report you can always catch up!

To help you get into the mood I’ve went and got some music that pertains to today’s trip report! I think you’ll enjoy it.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime by Chris Nilghe on Grooveshark

Saturday, December 31st, 2011 

Our wake up call was for 5AM and it wasn’t exactly the easiest to wake up, but with the excitement of being in Walt Disney World for New Years was more than enough to get us out of bed! Since it was so early the food court at POP Century wasn’t open. Got to the bus stop around 6AM and we weren’t the first ones there surprisingly! There were a few more people just ahead of us who had the exact same thinking as us. The first bus came around 6:20am and there were maybe a handful of people on the bus and it was still dark.

Waiting for the bus at 6AM

Arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 6:40AM. While waiting at the turnstiles to get in the family that was right in front of us was chosen as the family for the rope drop ceremony. They looked pretty excited. I would be too if we were picked to open the park on the last day of 2011. Once they allowed us through the turnstiles we got a nice spot to watch the rope drop ceremony.

Rope Drop

Took a very nice Panorama of the the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. Turned out pretty good since there weren’t that many people there just yet.

Then it was time for rope drop….

Once the park was officially opened you could see the rush of people heading for all the attractions. We didn’t participate in the stampede down Main Street to Tomorrowland. Instead we veered to the right and got ourselves a locker to put all our supplies in (change of clothes, tylenol, batteries, snacks, etc). There was no way we were going to carry two bags full of supplies for the entire day and we knew the lockers would be all taken rather quickly.

Christmas Tree at the Magic Kingdom

After that we headed on over to Tomorrowland and grabbed a Fast Pass for Space Mountain (which was already for 10am at this point) and hopped into standby. Nothing like a fast paced attraction at 7:30am to get the blood flowing. Next it was off to Peter Pan’s Flight where the standby was only 15mins (the lowest you’d see it all day) then the Haunted Mansion. We were getting many of the attractions done early because it was obvious the wait times were going to be insane later in the day.

On our way to Splash Mountain we passed Donald and decided to get our photo taken with him. He took one look at my Chip Lanyard and he immediately crossed his arms and was tapping his foot. Then he preceded to point his finger at me to indicate he wasn’t a fan. For the photo he made sure to flip the lanyard around so it wouldn’t be visible in the photo.

Donald disapproves of my Chip lanyard

Even after the mishap he takes a photo with us

Once Donald was finished shaming me for having my Chip Lanyard we made it over to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain (also grabbed Fast Passes). It still wasn’t too busy by this point but you could tell it was getting more and more crowded.

Made the mistake of venturing over to Main Street USA to grab something to eat for breakfast. Casey’s Corner is where we decided to eat. There was not a table in sight, so we improvised and used one of the garbage cans as our table. This is the only place I’d trust using a garbage can as a table to eat.

Casey's Corner Breakfast Menu

Sausage Breakfast Dog

To allow our food to settle we walked through the shops on Main Street, then it was back over to Fantasyland to ride Dumbo (since it was closing soon for the expansion). Got to get a good ariel view of the new expansion. Then it was off to the Hall of Presidents to get out of the ever-growing crowd.

We did have a dinner reservation at the Liberty Tree Tavern but the time conflicted with all the shows we wanted to watch. Since this was our last chance to see the Christmas shows we decided to cancel our reservation. The cast member told us that they had actually overbooked for that evening and it would have been extremely crowded.

Secured a spot for the parade

Since we were in Frontierland and it was about an hour before Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade we grabbed a spot since tons of people were already claiming all the excellent viewing sections. I loved the fact that Duffy was on the first float with Mickey and Minnie! He’s been getting a lot of exposure lately and I cannot complain!

After Santa Clause made his appearance we followed him all the way to Cinderella’s Castle (also didn’t have a choice since the traffic was flowing that way). Since we were in the area we grabbed a spot for Celebrate the Season in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

Celebrate the Season with Mickey and Friends!

Decided to do a few more attractions before grabbing a snack. People Mover, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain were on the hit list. When we were getting off Splash Mountain the entire area was a huge traffic jam, there were literally people on every square inch of available space. Also at this time Cast Members began handing out hats and horns for New Years. For the rest of the day that’s all you could hear were horns going off in every corner of the park and a sea of black hats everywhere you looked.

Finally after a good 15mins we made it to the Dole Whip location and got ourselves some sweet Dole Whip. No trip is complete without at least one visit. Since the park is at capacity by this point it was very rare to find a place to sit. We found a “door step” a few doors down from the Dole Whip. It was nice and tucked away from everyone. After consuming the delicious dole whip, I actually was able to have a 30mins nap sitting there against the wall. It was well needed and completely recharged my batteries for the rest of the day!

By this point in the day the park is clearly at capacity and no matter where you go it’s a wait and wall to wall people. If you’ve been to Tokyo Disneyland or visited Walt Disney World during this time, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is our view for the next three hours

It was decided to find a spot for the next few shows along Main Street. We were basically forced into a spot near the end of Main Street. Which was fine with us, decided to stake our claim and stay there for the next three hours. We met two nice families from Arkansas and Texas. The family from Texas were there as a Christmas present, they gave the present to the kids on Christmas morning then drove all the way to Orlando that day. What a great present!

With the massive crowd level you are bound to run into rude guests. There were a ton of people pushing us and the two families so they could fit in, it’s one thing to try and fit one or two people but when you’re family of ten want to fit into an already filled spot, that’s not going to fit. Not much you can do but be polite to them and simply tell them they can’t fit.

Extremely crowded!

While in our spot we got to see four, yes four shows!

  • Cinderella’s Christmas Wish
  • Main Street Electrical Parade
  • The Magic, Memories, and You (with a Christmas overlay)
  • Holiday Wishes

Cinderella’s Christmas Wish is the show they put on after sunset to light up the castle in icicles. Mickey and his friends make Cinderella’s wish come true!

The Main Street Electrical Parade needs no introduction and was just as bright and fun as ever!

Main Street Electrical Parade starring Mickey Mouse

Alice in Wonderland

Don't worry it's not midnight yet!

The Magic, Memories, and You is the same show as usual but they add a bit of Christmas flair near the end.

That's a lot of colours.

Amazing how they can change the castle

Walt Disney himself

Finale Fireworks

Holiday Wishes was my favourite out of these group of shows we got to watch. It’s not just Wishes with some Christmas mixed into it, they do a completely different show.

That’s the end of part one. If you wish to view the rest of the photos for this day please head over to my Flickr. Make sure to check back in a few days for part two where we ring in 2012!

Arrival & Candlelight Processional – 2012 New Years Celebration in Walt Disney World

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Friday, December 30th, 2011

Arrive in Orlando just after 2pm and like most people that arrive at MCO we head on over to the Magical Express! Once we arrived at POP Century, since our bags weren’t here yet, we got our keys to the world and then it was off to the food court! I’ve now made it a tradition to start off any Disney trip with a cupcake.

On our way to POP Century Resort!

Was so excited I forgot to take a photo before I ate it.

Once the cupcake was nicely digested we wanted to see the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian before it was taken down. Took the bus to EPCOT and then hopped on the Monorail to the Grand Floridian.

As you walk into the Floridian from the monorail the first thing you see is the massive Christmas Tree in the middle of the open lobby. After you’re done viewing the beautiful tree you can see the Gingerbread House! I didn’t expect it to be as big as it was let alone have a small store inside of it that sold sweets! It was quite the site, don’t worry I took plenty of photos for you all.

Grand Floridian Christmas Tree

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House Second Floor

They also had very nice decorations just outside the resort. Went and took some photos of those before we headed over to EPCOT for the Candlelight Processional.

Reindeer

Reindeer

Next on the list was heading on over to EPCOT. We wanted to catch the final Candlelight Processional of the season, also who doesn’t love Marlee Matlin? Once we got there we noticed a few of the decorations that were still up, so we stopped to take a few photos.

Lights at the entrance to EPCOT

Donald & Goofy

We made our way over to World Showcase. The wait times for Soarin’, Test Track, etc were too long at this point and didn’t want to miss the performance. Made our way to the standby line and waited for them to allow us to sit!

The performance was excellent and we were both glad to have had the chance to see it! I’ve never seen a choir of this magnitude before and having a celebrity “read” the story was something special! Was able to find a video of the performance we attended, it’s not the full performance. Credit to JeffLangeDVD over at YouTube for taking the video and uploading it!

After the performance we walked the rest of World Showcase. Got to ride Maelstrom before they closed it for the evening (actually we were the last people on the attraction) and then we got caught in the crowd that was there watching Illuminations. Tried to time it right so we would miss the crowd but alas that didn’t work out. It was rather chilly, thankfully I had my bunnyhug with me.

While going with the flow of the crowd, I noticed something that I haven’t seen before. They project the word “Good Night” in all the different pavilion languages on the EPCOT ball. One thing about Disney I love is, that you’ll always find something you’ve never seen before, no matter how many times you’ve been there.

EPCOT Christmas Tree

Before we left we got our photo with the Mickey and Minnie Topiary. While we were waiting to get our photo taken a big family was getting ready to pose for theirs. They made poor grandma sit on the ground, she had quite a struggle to get up and down.

Mickey & Minnie

Once back at the Resort we did a little walking around just to see the decorations. We noticed they had a table full of smaller gingerbread houses that appeared to have been in some sorta contest. They were of course Disney themed and were very cute. Here’s a couple of them.

3rd Place

2nd Place

1st Place

Our first half day at Disney was rather short but enjoyable. Went to bed (after refilling our resort cups with pop of course) early so we could gear up for our 19 hour day that was awaiting for us the next day. Yes the next day is New Years Eve and we spend the entire day at the Magic Kingdom. Make sure you come back for that extremely long trip report (split into two parts), it’s going to be full of plenty of videos, photos, and music. It’s something to not be missed!

Photos from our first day can be found at flickr. The rest of the trip photos are there too if you wish to have a sneak peak of what the next trip reports will contain!

New Years in the Magic Kingdom

 

2012 New Years Celebration in Walt Disney World

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This year we wanted to do something a bit different for New Years. It was decided that Walt Disney World would be the most magical place to ring in 2012! Neither of us have visited Walt Disney World Resort during the Holidays and this was more than a perfect opportunity to do so. Since they don’t take down many of the decorations until the beginning of January, we would have plenty of time to see and experience it all. Also there are many of the Christmas shows still happening!

The trip was a full seven days and only once did we leave the property (Outlet Shopping). The trip was really about seeing everything we could at the resort and also experiencing shows and sights we haven’t seen before at Walt Disney World. We did everything from Space Mountain to breakfast at Chef Mickey’s to the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian.

Our trip was magical, hectic, chaotic, and relaxing all at the same time, believe it or not. The holidays at Walt Disney World are something that is not to be missed. There’s nothing more amazing than viewing Cinderella’s Castle lit up with icicles and having a live DJ ring in the New Year with Mickey and friends! Don’t worry there’s plenty of music, video, and photos to share.

There were a few things we did more of this time around than the last few times we’ve visited. Had more photos with characters, it’s a ton of fun and when you interact with the characters it’s always a surprise to see how they react. A lot more table service, one can only handle so much counter service. Also go to see more of other resorts to help us pick a resort we would love to stay at the next time we return!

As per my usual way of doing Trip Reports, this one will be no different. There will be eight different posts for each of the days we were there (I’m going to combine our arrival day with New Year Eve). They will be jam packed with photos, videos, and music for you all to enjoy.

Here’s a quick summary of the trip and what to expect in the upcoming posts!

Day One – December 30th – Arrival

 

Day Two – December 31st – New Years Eve

  • Magic Kingdom for 19 Hours
  • Arrive at 7am for Rope Drop
  • Watched almost every Christmas Entertainment playing throughout the day
    • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
    • Cinderella’s Christmas Wish
    • Holiday Wishes
    • Fantasy in the Sky
    • Electrical Parade
    • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas
  • Experience an at capacity Magic Kingdom
  • Live DJ spinning the latest in dance music at the stage in front of Cinderella’s Castle
  • and much, much, more.

 

Day Three – January, 1st – New Years Day

  • Waking up at 11am
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Walk to BoardWalk and view all the stores and restaurants
  • EPCOT
  • Eat too much chocolate at the Italy Pavilion
  • Biergarten in the German Pavilion
  • Downtown Disney for shopping

 

Day Four – January, 2nd – Downtown Disney & Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Use 20% off coupon to purchase a ton of merchandise at DTD
  • All the major attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Finding Nemo The Musical
  • Met our first Disney Princess, Pocahontas
  • Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade
  • Attacked by a pair of Chipmunks

 

Day Five – January 3rd – EPCOT & Resort Hopping

  • All the major attractions before lunch!
  • Walked to the Dolphin and Swan Resorts
  • Port Orleans French Quarter
  • Teppan Edo at the Japan Pavilion for dinner in EPCOT
  • Sat beside a Cast Member and his wife that works on the costumes for Disney Parades

 

Day Six – January 4th – Chef Mickey’s & Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

 

Day Seven – January 5th – Backstage Magic Tour

  • All day tour called Backstage Magic Tour (keeping the details for the post!)
  • EPCOT and many beers from around the world *hiccup*

 

Day Eight – January 6th – One World, Four Parks

  • Visit all four parks in one very jammed packed day!

That was a very short summary of our entire trip. I will be going into detail for each of those days! Make you check back often for the latest trip report.

Walt Disney World Family Vacation (September 11th) – Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party!

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This was actually a happy accident!

Our final full day in Walt Disney World. The morning started off in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This was the first time that we actually got to the park before it was opened, we even had to wait a few minutes before we were allowed in. There’s a first for everything. Before we did anything we had to get a family photo in front of the Tree of Life!

Family Photo time!

He always shows up at the weirdest times

First attraction on the list was Kilimanjaro Safari, my mother and aunty wanted to start the morning off slow. Being there so early the wait was minimal and well worth it. Afterwards we had some time to ride Expedition Everest before The Festival of the Lion King.

We took our time to walk through the park and enjoying ourselves, not rushing anywhere and enjoying each other’s company. Which in turn made us a few minutes late for the first showing of The Festival of the Lion Kong. One of the first times we were late for a show too!

Next up was It’s Tough to be a Bug. This time we were the first people in line for the next show. My family got a kick out of the Bug Glasses and enjoyed the show. After I went and grabbed FastPasses for Expedition Everest for myself and my brothers. There was no way my aunty or mother were going to ride it. While on the ride I snapped a few photos of myself and my brothers. The incline takes a while so I figured it was minimal risk of losing my phone.

He looks a bit nervous!

Here we go!!

Got some bad Mickey Ears Hair

He's having the time of his life! (HA)

Lunch was at the Yak & Yeti and we were unlucky enough to not be able to find a table was in the shade. But at least we had some ducks join us for lunch. Once lunch was finished we went on Rafiki’s Jungle Trek! Got to see some great animals!

Soon after was Expedition Everest once again! We even went and rode it again for a third time. One of my absolute favourites rides throughout Walt Disney World! Everyone was a bit tired and sweaty, so it was decided to head back to the Resort. We walked through the rest of the park to see everything one last time. Ran into another person that was from Saskatchewan, he was wearing a Saskatchewan Rough Riders Jersey (they are a football team).

Before we left, we had to do something silly ….

He's trying...

As is mom!

Once we finally got back to the Resort everyone went and did their own thing. Naturally I took a quick nap while my mother stayed in the room and my brothers went to the pool. Dinner was at the Resort for something small and light. We had to keep room for the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party.

Once at the Magic Kingdom I headed to Tomorrowland Terrace to ask if we would be able to add our Aunty to the reservation, since I tried calling a few days before and they weren’t able to. Thankfully the Cast Member there said it wouldn’t be an issue, we would just have one extra person at our table that is designed for four. Which was fine with us!

Before heading to the Dessert Party we rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. My aunty and mother were pretty competitive with each other.

Never ending competition between sisters

My brothers and I ditched mom and our Aunt to get a photo of us in front of the castle!

Three Brothers

Now it was finally time for the Dessert Party! Everyone had a light dinner on purpose so we could each plenty of dessert! Our table was right beside the buffet, bonus! There were three carts with a numerous amounts of pastries, chocolates, and chocolate dipped strawberries. Besides these carts was an ice cream bar! A cast member gives you a nice hefty bowl of ice cream then you get to choose from a ton of toppings which included toppings such as chocolate chips, sprinkles, strawberries, hot fudge, caramel, etc. I did at once point try all the toppings on my ice cream, and it was still delicious! As for drinks they had everything you could think of, including ice cold milk to wash down the numerous pastries you consume.

Welcome!

Delicious...

View from Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party!

My brothers ate the most out of everyone. My aunty and mom had their fair share too! There was so much there it was hard to eat it all! After all the eating we completely forgot about the great viewing area we get for The Magic, Memories, and You light show and Wishes! Went and grabbed a nice cozy spot right in front of our table.

The Magic, Memories, and You!


My middle brother and mother had so much dessert that they couldn’t stand for Wishes! I don’t blame them, the dessert was fantastic. After about 10mins it was time for Wishes!


What a great viewing spot! It’s worth the money alone to have an uncrowded area with a view for Wishes and not have to fight with the crowds. Of course having an entire buffet of desserts makes it that much better! I would highly recommend this to end off your trip! it wasn’t quite time for us to leave the Magic Kingdom just yet! We got our photo just before leaving Tomorrowland….

After the Dessert Party - We were the only ones left!

Now it was time to get as many attractions as we could before the park closed! Haunted Mansion was first up on the hit list. I love the changes they made with the hitchhiking ghosts at the end! After the Haunted Mansion we ran into a bit of trouble with the Disney Police ….

The Disney Police arrested me...

After I escaped we tried to get my brothers out.

Always knew these two were trouble makers

Mom and my aunty didn’t want to ride Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain so they headed down to Pirates while we rode the other two. We tried at another Splash Mountain pose…

Another attempt at a Splash Mountain Photo

The wait time for Splash Mountain shot up to 30mins since it was Extra Magic Hours and the FastPass line was no longer being used, but it was so worth it. Thankfully Big Thunder Mountain was only a 10 minute wait. After we met up with my mom and aunty everyone wanted to ride Buzz Lightyear one more time! I rode with my aunty this time and she actually beat me, I have no idea how she did it but I claimed that she cheated! She also bought the photo that was taken of us.

I think he's winning...?

Everyone was super tired and still full from our dessert party. My youngest brother and I stayed behind to ride Space Mountain one more time while everyone else headed back to the resort. The wait was 30 minutes but it was the last attraction of the trip so it was worth the wait.

The wait to get back to the resort was pretty long. When my brother and I got to the bus stop for Pop Century the rest of the family was just getting onto a bus that just pulled up. Finally made it back to the resort in one piece! What a fantastic final day in Walt Disney World! Everyone was tired and sweaty but we had an amazing time!

The next day we finished off our Dining Plan completely and said “See you at Christmas” to our Aunty as she took an earlier flight than us. Just hung around the Resort until it was time to leave for the Airport.

Used up all the points!

This was our very first Family Vacation and everyone had an absolute blast! My brothers were a bit apprehensive at first but completely opened up and let themselves have the time of the lives! My mom probably had the most fun out of us all! For once she didn’t have to worry about anything and let someone else worry about everything! Having the free dining plan really did help too! An absolute magical time and my family is already asking when we are going back! Lets just say we are looking at adding a nice 3-4 day Cruise on our next visit. When we do go there will be a Trip Report without a doubt! Hope everyone enjoyed this extensive trip report and had fun reading it as much as I had fun writing it!

Until next time!

See you again real soon!

 

Our second last day in Walt Disney World, can’t believe how fast the trip has gone by! Our aunty lives near the World and came to spend the rest of the time with us. She wasn’t in until the afternoon, so we spent our morning in Hollywood Studios. This time I made sure Duffy came along as well! Also here is some music for those that wish to add a little bit of extra magic to the Trip Report!


Duffy is coming today with us!

As soon as we got to Hollywood Studios the first thing on the list was getting FastPasses for Toy Story Mania. Before we did that we took the time to get our family photo!

Family Photo in Hollywood Studios!

As most know the Toy Story Mania FastPasses go rather quickly and you have to get them early. We got ours at around 10am and they were already for 1:30pm! At least we got em, you can’t complain with that!

These are always in high demand. Get them early!

The first attraction we did was Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, my middle brother loves this ride and insisted we go on it! Once we were done attending Aerosmith’s concert next up was Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! My middle brother hasn’t been on this ride yet and was pretty nervous, we talked him into coming on to it. He almost didn’t go on when we were boarding the ride, but got him to sit between myself and my other brother. He immediately grabbed the handles and didn’t let go until the ride was finished. He concurqued his fear and had an absolute blast!

After a few rides all of us were holding our arms up!

Rockin' Out!

Everyone wanted to see the first showing of Beauty and the Beast, and it was about 15mins before they started allowing people to go into the theatre. We just went through all the shops and saw some pretty neat things ….

Yellow Ranger from the 1st Power Rangers Movie!

Pink Ranger from the 1st Power Rangers Movie!

Stripe from Gremlins 2. One of my favorite movies of all time!

My brother also found a few pins to trade and is pretty close to completing a Hidden Mickey set! Once we killed enough time we went and got our seats for Beauty and the Beast.

Mom really loved the show and was very happy that we got to see it! Both my brothers wanted to ride Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster again so we did so before our FastPasses for Toy Story. We were done a bit early so our FastPasses weren’t up yet, everyone went and grabbed nachos and sat and enjoyed people watching for a few minutes. We must have been hungry since we still had to wait before heading to Toy Story. The Great Movie Ride was the perfect way to kill time!

Waiting for Beauty and the Beast

Belle!

Lumiere

Be Our Guest

Tale as old as time....

Finally it was time to head over to Toy Story Mania and it was fun as expected. I’m glad there are a few rides that my mom can go on with everyone! Before we headed out to meet up with our Aunty my brothers and I wanted to ride Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster one more time! While on our way we ran into the actors that drive around down the street interacting with guests. The one woman was complimented me about my Duffy Ears and said that it takes a lot of courage to pull them off and that I wore them well!

After Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster it was time to head back to the Resort and meet up with our Aunty. It was a really hot and humid day so everyone wanted to have a shower. My brothers wanted to head to the pool and I took a nap while my mom went to go meet up with her sister. Once I woke up from my nap I went down to the pool and visited with my mom and aunty.

It was decided that we were all going to spend the evening in Downtown Disney and have a relaxing evening. My family really enjoyed Wolf Gang so we decided to eat there again. Thankfully this time the inside wasn’t -30 degrees. It was delicious as usual and we were all stuffed from our delicious meals!

Downtown Disney

My brother and I did more Pin Trading while we were there and found a couple of really good ones! My mom and aunty went off and did their own thing for a while in the World of Disney store. I was really tempted to buy all the CDs there that had music from the attractions and shows. I opted not to do so cause I would easily spend the rest of my money and didn’t feel like doing that just yet. The living statues were out again and we got a few more photos!

Sing it!

Ended up in DStreet again and I bought some more Vinylmations (Urban 7). I cannot go into that store and NOT come out with anything, it’s a curse I tell you! My brothers both bought some Marvel Hats as well. Overall it was a very relaxing evening and we didn’t have to worry about running from place to place. It was really nice to spend some time with our Aunty as well!

DStreet

Holy expensive Vinylmations...

Mr. Toad

Everyone wanted to head back to the Resort early so we could get a good nights rest for our final day in Walt Disney World! Everyone was excited for our Wishes Dessert Party to end our vacation with a bang! We were also heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the morning!

Got a pretty good haul of Pins!

My brother also got a nice collection going!

Walt Disney World Family Vacation (September 9th) – Le Celier (Our most expensive dinner ever)

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Now onto our sixth day in Walt Disney World! We started off our day at the Magic Kingdom and rode Pirates. It was our first time getting “stuck” on an attraction. We were left at the very end and sat in our boat for about 10-15mins before we got moving again. Once we finally made it back to dry land we did a little Pin Trading. By this point my brother and I were on the search for very specific Hidden Mickey Pins! We lucked out and found two different pins here.

Next up was Splash Mountain, my middle brother absolutely loves this attraction and is by far one of his favourites now. As expected we tried to make some funny unoriginal photos.

Our failed attempt at something original

Once we were done that we headed next door to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. My mom didn’t want to come on with and and decided to take sneaky photos of us while we were waiting in line. How she was able to spot us is beyond me.

Mom took a sneaky photo of us while we waited for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Before we headed to Tomorrowland I had to take my family to have Dole Whip, it’s by far one of my favorite treats to have and cannot pass it up! We all ordered one and they all loved it! Once you have Dole Whip you’ll always be back for more.

Family's first time having Dole Whip

Family Photo Time

On our way to Tomorrowland we ran into the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party. We watched it come down Main Street. Mickey did take note of my Duffy Ears I was wearing and complimented me on them! At least I thought he did.

Move it!

Chip N Dale!

Space Mountain was next up on the list! After everyone wanted to take a quick break and relax a bit. While we were sitting in Tomorrowland I was standing up and facing everyone. They started laughing at me for no real reason, I was drinking water so I thought I looked funny or something, I looked behind me and Stitch was behind me giving me bunny ears. When I caught him he pointed and laughed at me then ran away. Gotta love Stitch! On our way to Cinderella’s Castle we caught the talking garbage can! If you haven’t seen him before I suggest you do, it’ll be hilarious I promise!

Here we go on Space Mountain!

Next was the Dream-Along with Mickey in front of Cinderella’s Castle! Thankfully there wasn’t very many people there so we got a very good view of the show! It was very cute and catchy. I’m not one to usually complain but there was a group of people who were yelling and screaming for no real reason near the castle and was making it a bit difficult to hear some of the dialog during the show. At first I thought they were maybe cheering for the show, then I saw they were not even watching at all. Either way I really enjoyed the show!

Donald

Minnie Mouse

Minnie, Goofy, and Donald

Donald isn't exactly light to carry

After the lively show in front of the castle we took the long way to Fantasyland, meaning we went to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, of course I got the highest score (not that I’m bragging or anything). Everyone wanted to get a quick bit to eat before we headed to Epcot for our dinner reservation for Le Celier. We stopped at Pinocchio Village Haus. After that everyone wanted to check out it’s a small world. It’s one of those things you have to do at least once. Once we were done everyone said that once was definitely enough for them!

They look so serious!

Better take me serious cause of the ears

Fantasyland Expansion

Pinocchio Village Haus

You can see it's a small world from inside here

Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade was just starting as we got to Frontierland. We went to the same spot we watched The Main Street Electrical Parade a few days earlier (in front of The Liberty Tavern). I’m a huge fan of parades and we all rather enjoyed the parade. There was a young family beside us with daughter who was maybe two years old. When the Princesses were coming down the street she was waving to each and every one of them! It was incredibly adorable. The look on Ariel’s face was absolutely priceless. You can see it clearly in the video that I took! At around 4:11 you can see Chip pointing at me clapping for my Duffy Ears!

Mickey in Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade

Pinocchio and Jiminy!

Aladdin

Now it was time for us to head over to EPCOT so we can make our 4:30pm reservation for Le Celier! The plan was to take the Monorail but when we got to the main gates of the Magic Kingdom we saw that the Monorail was down so we had to take the Ferry to the Tickets and Transportation Center and hop onto the Monorail there.

We made it just in time for our reservation, despite the slight detour we had to take. This is by far the most fanciest dinner any of us have ever had! Our waitress was from Calgary, Alberta! Which is only about 6 hours away from where we live!


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I got the Filet Mignon and it was by far the best steak I’ve had! It was delicious! My brothers wanted to share a Poutine, which was rather different tasting than the ones we have back at home. My mom loved her meal and wants to make sure we eat there again when we go back!

Our Table

Le Celier Menu

Filet Mignon

Steak and Fries!

Mmmmmm Poutine

Sherbert is what's for dessert

This was right behind us at our table!

After our delicious and filling dinner everyone wasn’t up for riding any attractions so we decided to tour all the Pavilions at a slow pace until it was time for Illuminations. We made our way through all the shops in every Pavilion as we made our way around. Took some time to get our photo taken with Belle and her autograph in the France Pavilion. Right before we had our photo taken with her a child was running around near the water where he wasn’t supposed to be. Belle stayed in character and politely told the boy that he was not supposed to be there.

We got to meet Belle!

The Pavilions were everyone’s favourite part of all the parks! Being able to see all the different cultures was a lot of fun and having the Cast Members from each of those countries really make it that much more authentic!

Canadians in Epcot!

It began to rain while we were in the Japan Pavilion. Hung out in the store for about 15mins to get the down pour finish. While we were there my brothers wanted to try some Japanese candy so I picked out my favourites (that I had when I lived in Japan). My favourite was Hi Chew and ended up buying a few packages of that for myself.

Flowers in Epcot

We had time for one attraction before we got a spot for Illuminations. Went and rode Maelstrom which luckily was only a 15min wait when we got there. Once we were finished it was up to 45 minutes. It was time to grab our spot for Illuminations and we got a nice view right outside of the Mexico Pavilion! We got our spot about 45 mins before the show and that was perfect timing!

Everyone loved the fireworks and said that they are going to have a hard time watching any other fireworks show that isn’t put on by Disney. They sure do spoil you with the shows! Before we left World Showcase my youngest brother wanted to buy a Poncho, so we went in there and got him one…

Shawn loves his new poncho

Once the poncho was in his possession we started making our way back to the buses. But before we left the park we had to see Spaceship Earth at least once! The family thought it was great and had a great laugh with the video that is made of you at the end. We then made our way to the bus and headed back to our Resort for the night!

Epcot at night

Everyone had a fantastic day and could not stop talking about the exceptional dinner we at at Le Celier. We have never been the type of family to go out to high end dining so this was really a treat! My mom was blown away with the quality of the food and also the price we paid for the four of us! It was well worth it and it’s a memory that we will all carry with us for a very long time or until the next time we visit.

When we arrived back at the resort we were pleasantly surprised at what Mousekeeping had done to our room….

How we found our room when we got back!

Adorable

Mickey and Minnie are holding hands!

The next day we head back to Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney! Also our Aunty joins us for the rest of our vacation, she is one of the lucky people that lives relatively close to Walt Disney World (I’m super jealous). Thank you for reading and cannot wait to share our last two days in Walt Disney World on our First Family Disney Vacation!

Real soon!

Walt Disney World Family Vacation (September 8th) – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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The only day that we leave the resort, and we have a very good excuse for this! My entire family are Harry Potter fans and there wasn’t anyway we were all going to be in Orlando and not go to Universal to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

We were only heading to Islands of Adventure since we knew we were going to spend the entire day at Harry Potter. Also everyone wanted to check out the Outlet Shopping once we were done.

 

 

The park opened at 9am so we were there right at opening so we could get as much time as we could there. We slowly made our way there and checked out the scenery as we made our way there.

We will be riding YOU later!

 

We finally made it! There was much rejoicing and complete awh! We were all blown away at how real the entire area looked. This is definitely a must for Harry Potter fans! We walked down the street just looking at everything. The first place we went to was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, before it got busy. Even being first thing in the morning, the area where everyone had to put their loose articles into lockers was a complete gong show. They could have done that a lot better in my opinion. But after that bit of frustration we walked through Hogwarts and my entire family loved it. It’s extremely detailed and gave me goosebumps of how real it looked!

 

Hogwarts Express

Snowy Rooftops!

Lots of Owls up there...

Diagon Alley!

 

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was a fun ride but it gave our entire family motion sickness. Mainly the sections where you are in front of a screen. As a family we are all prone to motion sickness. It wasn’t enough to make anyone sick but enough to make us all a bit dizzy for a while. It was still incredibly enjoyable and worth it to ride at least once!

Once our heads were clear my youngest brother and I went to Dragon Challenge, twice! We rode both sides and it was one heck of a ride! The queue was very detailed and Mom walked through the queue just to see everything.

 

That's where Ron parked the car.

The Goblet of Fire

 

You can’t visit Harry Potter and not have Butterbeer. The entire family got some ice cold Butterbeer and hung out in the Owlery while we enjoyed them!

 

Cheers!

Delicious

Top of the Owlery

 

Olivander’s Wand shop was next! We waited about 30mins to see the wand show, which was very neat to see! Once the show was done we headed into the store to look at wands. They had wands for all the main characters and also non-wizard specific wands. It was very tempting to purchase one of these magnificent wands but I personally have no use for it and not enough room at home to put it anywhere. The robes and sweaters were a bit over priced for my taste so I passed on those too. Finally decided on a Gryffindor lanyard for $10.

 

Inside Olivander's Wandshop

 

Everyone was very hungry by this point and figured we would eat at the Three Broomsticks. The inside was very authentic and you felt like you were actually there. Our family decided on the Feast for $50. It included Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Roasted Vegetable, Ribs, and Potatoes. It was extremely delicious and everyone enjoyed it very much. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good meal while visiting!

 

Inside the Three Broomsticks

That's my thoughts exactly, a lot of food!

View from the top!

 

To allow our food to settle we went back to Hogwarts and instead of riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey we simply walked down another line so we could slowly walk through Hogwarts and check out everything! You just ask the person at the entrance to Hogwarts and they will point you to another line that is just for walking through Hogwarts. We got some great photos and my mother absolutely loved it! It’s worth the time to go through there instead of quickly running through the queue.

 

All the photos moved!

Dumbledore's Office

I had to buy a chocolate frog!

 

Once we were finished that it was rather busy in that area of the park so it was decided to check out the rest of Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. But before leaving I had to get myself another Butterbeer, frozen this time…

 

 

Everyone was pretty tired from being in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter all day that we just simply walked through and checked out everything instead of going on rides. We did stop at the bridge that over looks Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw and both my brothers and I spent about $3 worth of quarters to spray the people on the attraction that didn’t get wet at the end. One guy didn’t look too impressed since he was bone dry before we soaked him! It was quite the laugh we had!

Before leaving my youngest brother and I were brave enough to go on The Incredible Hulk Roller coaster. It goes so fast that before you figure out which way is up the ride is already over. It’s still great fun and the wait time was only 5 minutes!

We had a great time at Universal and visiting Harry Potter was obviously the highlight of the day since we spent most of our day there. It was everything we thought it would be and more. It was well worth the time and money!

 

 

Before heading back to the Resort we went back to the Outlet Malls to pick up more clothes. It’s hard to resist great deals that we can’t get back home. I got to have Starbucks, which everyone knows you can’t get while staying on property. Overall it was an excellent day, even though it was hot and humid and we were all sweaty.

 

See you again soon!

That’s it for our adventure to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The next day we are heading back to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. We have our second table service in EPCOT at Le Celier! Make sure to come back for all the juicy details!

Walt Disney World Family Vacation (September 7th) – Disney’s Animal Kingdom & Downtown Disney

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Our 4th day in Walt Disney World – Today is Disney’s Animal Kingdom for Early Magic Hours! We arrived there shortly after park opening. Decided to enjoy our breakfast instead of wolfing it down this time. When we got there we made our way to Asia and rode Expedition Everest first. It was only a 10 minute wait so why not. Only myself and my youngest brother went on this one. The other two weren’t quite up for it just yet.

Tree of Life Photo!

Once we were done with that we walked all the way to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Again the wait times were very low since it was early morning. Our wait time was maybe 10 minutes at the most. The family really enjoyed the Safari and took quite a few photos ….

My what a long neck you have

Baby Elephant!

By the time we were finished it was close to show time for Festival of the Lion King. We quickly made our way over so we wouldn’t miss the beginning of the show. During the show one of the Tumble Monkeys made their way over to our section and stole my brother’s hat for a bit before giving it back. It was totally unexpected and he didn’t know what happened. We all had a good laugh at that. For those that haven’t seen the show here it is!

That's some awesome fire twirling

It was now time to meet Mickey and Minnie for the first time! My brothers were a bit nervous, I could tell they thought it was a bit childish to do this. Once we got up to Mickey they were all smiles and we got a great photo together.

We got to meet Mickey!

We then made our way over to Minnie. She was very fascinated with the amount of pins I had on my lanyard. She really loved my Wooden Minnie Ears Pin. I thought she was going to steal it. We got a great family photo.

Our family got to meet Minnie!

It was now 1pm and everyone was very hungry! We all agreed on going to Pizzafarri for lunch. While they all grabbed food I went to grab FastPasses for Kali River Rapids, but they weren’t distributing them for that week. Found that out after running all the way over there, should have read the Park Map. Instead I went and grabbed FastPasses for Dinosaur, even though we really wouldn’t need them, I got them anyway.

Make sure to recycle while visiting!

It was really hot outside so we all took our time to eat our lunch and enjoy the nice cool shade. Once we were done we wanted to try out Kali River Rapids. This was the only attraction that day with a long wait time. It was about 40 minutes. My middle brother and I were the unlucky ones in terms of getting wet. We got completely soaked. The other two got wet but not head to toe. There was non-stop laughter and smiles the entire time we were going down that river. Everyone really enjoyed themselves, regardless of how wet we got.

Some iced cold Coca Cola ... with some dust on it

Next up was Dinosaur, we took our time walking there since we all wanted to dry off at least a little bit. Air Conditioning is much cooler when you’re soaked, it’s a known fact!

Now everyone was a bit tired by this point, but everyone wanted to check out Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. Before grabbing a spot we all went and got nice ice cold beverages for everyone. My choice was the Iced Coke. Here in Canada we call them slushes. We got ourselves a nice shaded view for the parade!

While waiting for the parade I had a woman ask me if I spoke Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish so I politely told her no. She was the third or fourth person to ask me that question. I’m not sure but I guess I look like someone who would speak Spanish. It was rather amusing to me.

That was it for our day in the Animal Kingdom. It was close to 4pm and the park closes at 5pm so we figured we would head back to the resort for a few. Since it’s so humid we weren’t really dry from our little river ride a few hours earlier.

We got back to the resort and showered, rested, and headed out to Downtown Disney for dinner. We ate at Wolfgang Puck Express, since our Dinning Plan worked there. Our bill came to just over $90. By this point we have all made up our mind that the free dining was the way to go from now on. You really can’t beat that.

Our bill at Wolfgang - all free with our dining plan!

After dinner we went to the Pin Trading Post. I took photos of the 2011 Hidden Mickey Pins and decided that I would be on a mission for the rest of the trip to find as many as I can. I had about 30 pins to trade that I bought at the Las Vegas Disney Outlet store for $1.50. My youngest brother wanted to get in on the action and I gave him half of my pins to trade.

For those that do not know what Hidden Mickey Pins are, they are pins that only Cast Members are given and cannot be purchased anywhere. They will have a small hidden mickey on the pin to indicate that it is part of that series. They release sets every year. They are a lot of fun to find!

No trip to Downtown Disney is complete without a visit to World of Disney! It was a zoo in there, which is pretty typical. My brother and I did locate some Hidden Mickey Pins. Also I almost bought another Duffy the Disney Bear, but I only wanted the Halloween Costume. My brothers are into watches and were very tempted to buy a couple of the very nice Disney watches they had. Also who can resist going to the Lego Store?

Duffy dressed in his Halloween Costume!

Lego Store

While we were on our way to Pleasure Island we came across living statues doing various poses with people. It takes some practice to move the way these people moved. We also got some great photos.

Ah yeah!

Check this guy out

Random girls trying to scare the statue with their fists

DStreet was the next stop and I cannot go into that store without buying at least four Vinylmations. I grabbed some of the Urban Series 5 (they were on sale), and some random ones. Also picked up a Cars 2 Vinylmation set, they are adorable! The displays in this store are my favorite out of any of the stores in Downtown Disney. I really wish I could take the Mickey made out of Vinylmations and same goes for the table.

Cars Vinylmations

We did some more pin hunting and my brother and I found quite a few good pins! By this point the entire family was looking for Hidden Mickey Pins and helping us find more to complete our set. What a great family activity!

My first Hidden Mickey Pin!

My Pins I got in Downtown Disney!

Pins my younger brother got!

Once we were done we walked to the bus and headed back to the resort. It was a long but extremely fun filled day! Everyone was now really into the Disney spirit and couldn’t wait to go and see more! The next day we spend an entire day in Universal Studios and visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hope you all enjoyed this part of the Trip Report! There is still plenty to come, so please come back soon!

Walt Disney World Family Vacation (September 6th) – EPCOT & Hollywood Studios

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EPCOT

This day started off early since we wanted to head to EPCOT for Early Magic Hours! Everyone was still getting used to waking up early, so we arrived about 45mins after the park opened. The very first thing I said we had to do was grab FastPasses for Soarin’. Everyone that has been knows that this attraction gets pretty busy quickly. Once the FastPasses were in hand my middle brother really wanted to see Captain EO, he really enjoys anything retro and this attraction screams it. Everyone gladly agreed and off we went to meet Captain EO! I’m not sure if it’s just me or that the 3D in this has “ghosting” which really messes with my eyes. If this happens to you, let me know so I know I’m not the only one!

My brother really enjoyed Captain EO and said he was extremely happy he got to see it. He wasn’t even born when it was first released (September 12th, 1986) and I was only a year old! You have to admit, the King of Pop could dance like no other.

Once we were done being transported to 1986 it started to rain pretty hard so we ran to The Land Pavilion to escape the down pour. Decided to ride Living with the Land to take in the some times odd looking fruit and vegetables. It was still raining pretty hard outside so we did a little bit of Pin Trading and got some pressed pennies!

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

The rain finally let up and we were able to go and visit our good friend Nemo at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. My family has never been to an aquarium before, so we spent a little bit of time looking at the various aqua life after visiting our friend!

Sea Horse

By this time our FastPasses were ready for Soarin’. My mom was a bit tired so I said I would run over to Test Track and grab us some FastPasses before we went on Soarin’. The wait time for Soarin’ by this point was 50mins and we were glad to have grabbed our FastPasses earlier in the morning. My mom and youngest brother were a bit leery of this attraction since they didn’t really understand what it did. They don’t care for heights that much, but they really loved it! I knew they would.

 

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait very long for our FastPasses for Test Track! Everyone loved the attraction, even my mother! She did scream the entire time we went around the big track at the end though. We all had a good laugh at the various colorful words coming out of her mouth.

After that we checked out the various stores around Future World before heading to the World Showcase! We always start on the left side (Mexico) and work our way around. First up was the Mexico Pavilion where we rode Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. We then made our way through all the Pavilions and had lunch in America. Went through all the various shops and my brothers picked out a pair of Mickey Ears they wanted in the Canada Pavilion!

Donald Pinta in the Mexico Pavilion

Japan!

Family in Japan

More Family in Japan

My pokemon!

 

We had a reservation in Hollywood Studios at the Sci-Fi Drive-in Theater for 4:30pm. That was the only time available for anytime that week. Lesson here is don’t wait to book your ADRs! This is our first Table Service restaurant together as a family! The set up was very retro and dark but awesome. The dining room was a huge dark room made to look like an old Drive-in Theater with a huge screen at the one end showing old black and white movies and commercials. The tables were all 1950s cars that all faced the screen.

 

Taking the boat to Hollywood Studios

Enjoy movies while having dinner

Our dinner menu

 

We used to have Vanilla Coke in Canada but for whatever reason it was taken away, and it’s my absolute favorite beverage in the world. They had it here and there was no way I was going to let this pass me by! For dessert my brother and I shared one of their famous Sundaes and it was the perfect way to end supper! The food was good and I would recommend it for anyone that loves Drive-ins and 1950s vehicles.

 

Our delicious sundae!

Enjoying my Vanilla Coke!

Having dinner in our car!

Enjoying our Sundae!

 

Now that we had full stomachs it was time for attractions! I thought it was a smart idea. But to allow our food to settle my youngest brother and I grabbed FastPasses for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Only the two of us were going to ride but we grabbed four FastPasses so we could go on twice! Then it was all the way back to Star Tours to get chased by Darth Vader. I’ve had bad luck with getting Tatooine each and every time. This time my bad luck ended and FINALLY got to visit Kashyyyk. That was the only planet I haven’t visited yet. Both my brothers came on with me and really enjoyed it and thought the 3D was really done well.

 

Tatooine

 

Still full from supper we weren’t quite ready to tackle Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster we slowly went through Streets of America and checked out the various shops. We also stopped at Pizza Planet for some good ol’ arcade game action! Brothers played some Basketball and we got our photo taken!

 

Having fun taking photos in Pizza Planet

We also took a very quick trip to San Fransisco!

Look at that hill!

 

Now that our stomachs were close to being empty again my youngest brother and I went to Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster while my mom and other brother found some nice shade while they waited. Once we were done we thought it would be a great idea to head to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, since it only had a 10min wait! We quickly ran to Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster again then Tower of Terror right after! Yes we are insane but why not when there are very short wait times. Once my brother and I were done riding four rides we found my mom and brother and headed down to Fantasmic! to wait for the show.

 

Are you ready to ROCK!?

We were in the Jafar section and thankfully no one extremely tall was sitting in front of us. Like clock work we had the wave start within the crowd. At one point the audience was able to get it from one end to the other. Most of the time it just died in the middle. My brothers got a kick out of this and got a couple of waves going themselves.

Waiting for Fantasmic!

Shhh the show is about to start ….


 

The show finished and most people we walking at the top to all get out the same exit. We instead went right down to the water and walked all the way to the other end and then walked up. We bypassed pretty much everyone and got to the buses rather quick before they were completely insane.

While waiting for the bus we experienced our first witness of a family having a mini breakdown. The father was livid about something or other and was yelling at the top of his lungs to his wife. Everyone in line heard this and they continued to fight even on the bus with their crying children. Made for an uncomfortable bus ride home.

Despite the uncomfortable ride home we had a magical day and everyone really enjoyed themselves. We were all extremely tired and fell asleep rather quickly as soon as we got back to the room. The next day we are headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney! I hope you enjoyed this installment of our trip report! Come back soon for more!