Monday, March 25, 2013

The Rest of Our Vacation!

This week I keep questioning why we ever came back from sunny, warm Florida because it has been so cold here! That groundhog lied and was playing a very mean joke on us...

Okay enough complaining, back to reminiscing about our vacay!

For the remainder of our trip, we went to Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. It was our first time going to Hollywood Studios and Little Miss enjoyed the shows very much! We arrived at the park at opening and went straight to Toy Story Mania! to get our fastpasses. There was already an hour wait! We decided to see Disney Jr. Live on Stage but had some time to kill before the first show, so we headed to Staring Rolls for some breakfast. Like I said earlier, I have been reading the Disney Foods Blog and according to them, Staring Rolls is a must. I have to agree! Everything was yummy, Hubs ate a cinnamon roll, I had a chocolate croissant and a chocolate butterfinger cupcake, and my mom had a chocolate eclair. I love the taste of fresh baked goods and Staring Rolls does not disappoint! I especially loved the cupcake, it was full of flavor but not too rich. I hate when food is so rich you can only eat a few bites. 

The Disney Jr. Live on Stage show was awesome, it featured my daughter's favorites: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake & The Neverland Pirates, Doc McStuffins, and Sophia the First. It was interactive so Little Miss was up and dancing the whole time. She was so excited to see her favorite shows live on stage. 

We still had time to wait for our fastpasses to come up, so we snagged a few character signatures.

Hubs and my dad did a few other rides around the park while we visited the characters. They have quite a few "adult" rides, like Star Tours and an Indiana Jones ones. It was nice we could split up so they could enjoy those experiences while Little Miss caught up with a few of her friends!

Finally it was time for Toy Story Mania! I can totally see why this ride has such a long wait, it was awesome! Its an arcade-like shooting game combined in a ride and its all in 3D. Little Miss sat on Hubs lap so he aimed while she pulled the trigger. It was a very fun ride and I would totally do this ride all day long if I could.

Sporting our 3D glasses
While in Hollywood Studios, we also saw Beauty and Beast - Live on Stage and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Both are shows, one is inside and the other is outside. Arrive early for Beauty and Beast because it fills up fast! Little Miss loved both of the shows, the performers were fantastic and both shows held her attention the entire time. Which is quite a feat for a toddler!

We took a boat from Hollywood Studios over to Epcot, we had a 3pm reservation at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for a late lunch with the princesses! I was so excited we were able to get this last minute reservation. Little Miss fell asleep as soon as she hopped into her stroller in Epcot, so we strolled around the different countries while she napped. Right now, the Flower & Garden Festival is going on so there were flowers everywhere! They also had this new part where each country had a little food station where you could try out small dishes of local food and drink, like tapas style. The dishes were around $4 a piece and were a nice size so you could try out a few things!

While waiting to check-in for our lunch reservation, we came across this pretty big troll in Norway.

Onto the best part: Meeting the princesses! When we were called in, we immediately took 2 pictures with Belle, Little Miss took one by herself & then we did a family picture. We were actually given these pictures later at our tables as part of the meal! As soon as we took our seats, we were very promptly greeted and our drink order was taken. Since we were dining in Norway, the menu was filled with Norwegian fare. My mom & I went with the mushroom stuffed pasta and my dad & Hubs had the Traditional Kjottkake (meatballs with mashed potatoes & lingonberry sauce). Little Miss has cheese ravioli. After we gave our lunch order, we were able to go to the buffet for our "Taste of Norway". The foods were fresh and yummy, I barely had time to try it all before our lunch was served! While we were eating, the princesses started coming out to visit each of the tables. At the end, they bring out a dessert plate with 3 different items. I have never tried rice pudding but it was very good, there was also an apple pie and a chocolate mousse.

As each princess came around, they made time to chat with each child. Little Miss invited every.single.princess. to our house for a party. She was so excited, she keeps talking about when they are all coming over...

At one point, they call all the kids out to join the princesses on the floor and they parade around waving to everyone. Little Miss enjoyed working on her princess wave. She was very excited to meet each princess, especially Ariel "with legs". She was not familiar with Alice, but she liked her just the same as the others. Once again, she was "geeking out" when the princesses left our table. She kept balling her little fists and shaking saying she was so happy. Overall it was a great character experience with the princesses!

Our last day at the parks we went to Animal Kingdom. I had my touring plans in hand, but we were so tired that we ended up doing two rides then heading back to the resort. We picked up our fast passes for the Kilimanjaro Safari then walked around and grabbed some lunch at Yak & Yeti (Anandupar Local Foods Café). When it was time for us to use our fast passes, there was a mass of people trying to file in the line. No big deal, there was no line yet but mostly everyone seemed to go with the flow. Mostly everyone...when we filed in a VERY rude man yelled in my husbands face that we were cutting line. Yelled it. When my husband calmly asked him to calm down, it went from bad to worse. Eventually his wife yanked him away from the confrontation. I have NEVER had someone get so rude in the parks before, everyone was shaking their head at the rude man. I guess he didn't get the memo about Disney World being the happiest place on Earth.

Little Miss really enjoyed all of the animals on the Safari tour. The tour guide was very funny and kept us entertained. 

On our last day of vacay, we headed over to Downtown Disney to catch a movie. They have a dine-in theater, so we had lunch and watched "Oz The Great & Powerful". The lounging leather seats were pretty sweet and were comfy. Little Miss did really well, I think having a meal with the movie helped alot. After our movie, we walked around the area. We had smoothies, checked out a few shopes, and picked out a Christmas ornament to commemorate our vacay. I didn't realize that Downtown Disney was so big! It was a nice way to wind down our vacation.

I loved being able to share this vacation with my parents, Little Miss enjoyed it too. This year she was much more into the characters and seemed to understand what was going on better. I loved seeing how excited she got everytime she met one of the characters, I know I will remember that forever. Even if she doesn't remember it.

We spent a little more money this year, but we did have to pay for Little Miss this year since she is 3. Next time we visit, since we won't be able to stay at Shades of Green (we are getting out of the Navy next year) I would really like to try out another on site resort with a meal plan! The character meals were not cheap, you are definitely paying for the experience. But if you have a meal plan, you can trade in 2 meals for one character meal. Plus Disney will offer free meal plans during certain times of the year and I would like to do a comparison to see which way is better on the pocketbook. I remember back in the day Disney used to allow you to purchase meals plans regardless of where you stayed.

If you have any questions about how we did our trip, feel free to comment or email me!  


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