Saturday, 30 August 2014
Our final day, or our day travelling home, was spent saying goodbye to the Wilderness Lodge; we had breakfast one last time sitting out in the sunshine and vowing that if we could afford it in the future this resort would be top of our list!
We made our way to Downtown Disney to take advantage of the airline check-in desk there (we were with Virgin Atlantic), before doing some last minute shopping, having lunch at Wolfgang Puck Express and then watching Monsters University at the cinema.
Then the airport beckoned and so began the long trek home; 9 hour flight followed by a 3 hour car journey.
So the vacation was over, and although we don't know when we will be able to visit again, we do have some fantastic memories to keep us going. This vacation more than any other wasn't just about the parks it was all about the experiences we had and the people we met and the new friendships forged...it was about the Disney Magic.
As I write this post I have friends waiting to return home from their first family vacation to Orlando; they have had a fantastic time and are vowing to start the big save and head back in 2016. That's how this place gets you; it leaves you with an indescribable feeling and an urge to return as soon as possible. Not visiting this year has been tough with so many people I know able to make it. But I have enjoyed seeing the photos and the Facebook status updates, and yes there's even been a touch of jealousy on occasion but I know we will be back...maybe not soon but we will get back 'home' someday.
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
So this morning we took the boat and headed over to the Contemporary Resort...
...where we had breakfast at the Contempo Cafe. As we finished breakfast the kids went off to the arcade to use up their credits which gave me some time for a little shopping!
|Bay View Gifts|
|Trying on shades...this is the pair I bought|
We obviously needed refreshment after such a long walk and headed straight to The Main Street Bakery (otherwise now known as Starbucks!)
We then headed over to Big Thunder Mountain where the kids went off for a ride by themselves. We then had a little Disney Magic as a family gave us some of their unused Fastpasses for Big Thunder, and as there was more than we needed we decided to pass on the magic and gave the extras to another family.
|Kids on Big Thunder Mountain...honestly they are on there!|
|Molly activating something in the basket!!!|
|Me with Sonny!!|
|Goodbyes are hard to say|
Monday, 25 August 2014
So what did today bring us? Well it started off with a boat trip across Bay Lake to the Contemporary Resort...
|Waiting for the boat at Wilderness Lodge dock|
...so that we could hop aboard a monorail to the Polynesian Resort...but why? Two words...
|At Capt. Cooks enjoying our breakfast of Tonga Toast - yummy!!!!|
So for anyone who doesn't know what Tonga Toast is let me explain. It's a THICK slice of sourdough bread that is stuffed with bananas, deep fried and then coated in cinnamon sugar and it is AMAZING!! We chose to visit Capt. Cooks and had breakfast there but you could, if you wanted, push the boat out and eat at the Kona Cafe but as we had the Quick Service Dining Plan we were more than happy with Capt. Cooks. It also reminded Simon and I of the year we first stayed in a Disney Resort (Port Orleans French Quarter) and on our first morning we had breakfast here at Capt. Cooks, although back then we were unaware of the lure of the Tonga Toast! But from now on this will be a must do for all of us.
After we had stuffed our faces we decided to have a wander around the Polynesian and soak up the atmosphere...
|A little shopping!!|
|Enjoying the beautiful surroundings|
|Beautiful day at Epcot|
|Enjoying lunch at Katsura Grill in the Japan pavilion|
|Kids playing Phineas & Ferb in the UK pavilion and being somewhat perplexed by the choice of tea!!|
|When in Epcot!! Only chance we Brits get to experience one of these nowadays.|
|Inside the Land Pavillion, looking down onto Sunshine Seasons|
|Arriving at the Magic Kingdom, all decorated for Halloween!!|
|Now THAT'S a cinnamon roll!!|
|Even at 6 foot 2'' Ethan couldn't fill this chair!|
|Interior decoration Gaston style|
We finished the evening off by riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover during a performance of Wishes. We eventually left the park at 12.15am well and truly worn out from our day.
|Arriving home after a long day....but with shopping!|
Thursday, 21 August 2014
So here we are at Day 12...so what did we do? Well the mad one in our family, my husband Simon, decided to get up and out early and go for another run between the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground; not a long run by his standards but enough to keep him in training as he had a half marathon to run only a couple of weeks after we returned home. But after that the day started with breakfast in the sunshine; what better way to start the day?!
We then headed over to Animal Kingdom to catch up on a few things we hadn't had chance to do yet. Our first stop was to take the Wildlife Express Train over to Rafiki's Planet Watch and visit Conservation Station.
So after finding out about the behind the scenes at the Animal Kingdom we thought we would jump aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris. This was the first time we had rode this attraction since the storyline of 'poachers on the reserve' had been dropped...and I have to say I enjoyed it so much more! The guide we had was great and it really felt more like a trip around the outback somewhere with the pace of the journey much more dictated by the animals that we could see. We all really enjoyed our trip and managed to see a good array of animals, with some good close-up experiences of rhinos, ostrich, elephants and some baby giraffes.
But whilst we waited for them we took a walk over into Dinoland USA and had a little perusal of the shopping opportunities. I finally picked out a new phone case (I'd been looking at them every time we went into a shop and been struggling to make a decision!) and when Simon returned from paying for it he'd bought me a couple of Cutester Vinylmations as a surprise - ah!!
By now it was time for lunch and we headed over to Pizzafari in the Discovery Island section of the park. It was our first time eating here (our usual 'go to' tends to be Flametree Barbecue) and actually we were quite impressed. We had a mix of salads and pizza and chocolate mousse and cheesecake and we all really enjoyed what we had. The restaurant wasn't overly busy so we were able to grab a table in a relatively quiet corner and really enjoy our time there; we loved the bright and bold decorations throughout; in fact the room we were in seemed to have a theme of animals that hang upside down with painted murals of sloths, bats and monkeys - absolutely fantastic.
After lunch we headed back to the Wilderness Lodge and while the kids chilled out at the hotel Simon and I decided to go exploring and walked part of the route Simon had gone running along between the Lodge and the Fort Wilderness Campground.
|Views walking from Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness Campground|
|Some of the wildlife we encountered|
|View from the dock at Fort Wilderness Campground, looking towards the old Discovery Island|
So we decided to wait out the rain before taking a boat to the Magic Kingdom; we had a bit of a wait for a boat (which was very unusual) so ended up jumping aboard one headed for Fort Wilderness Campground that then went over to the Magic Kingdom but it was great just to take the time and get chance to show the kids where the campground was and to point out the old Discovery Island!
|Beautiful view as we travelled over to the Magic Kingdom|
and in particular Gastons Tavern to partake in a pork shank...
As we'd shared one pork shank between us we headed over to Pecos Bills for more substantial food before jumping onto Big Thunder Mountain which by this time was 'in the dark'! The kids then managed two rides on Splash Mountain back-to-back as there was no wait at all and we then all went back on Big Thunder Mountain to ride it during Wishes, which was amazing...so much so we rode it again!
|Roller Coaster buddies :)|