Category Archives: Travel

January 7, 2017

Since the half marathon was cancelled, neither one of us to wake up with an alarm on this day – which is one of my favourite things in the world ๐Ÿ™‚

I believe we slept until about 10am, and woke up feeling refreshed. I actually might have slept even later…

We took our time getting ready, and ate some of the snacks we had in the room for breakfast.ย We had no plans until supper, and we had planned on this being our day away from the parks, so we decided to head to Disney Springs for awhile. I packed only the essentials in my purse for the day – wallet, camera, fuel rod, bottle of water and lots of snacks haha –

As soon as we arrived in Disney Springs, we realized we hadn’t actually ate any real food all day and we were hungry, so we went to make Luke happy with a stop at Earl of Sandwich.

After eating, we went to Amorette’s to check it out. They had so many delicious-looking things there, I wanted to sample one of everything!

There was also a really cute Christmas tree still up in the store, so of course I had to take a picture of it…

And of course, we did buy a few things…

We took our time, walking around the Disney Springs area. I really like how it looks ๐Ÿ™‚

I found the Harley store, so I took this picture and sent it to my mom. Her and my step-dad own Harley’s, so she was excited about it.

After doing a bit of shopping (my mom had a birthday a few weeks after this trip), we decided we were cold and finished with Disney Springs. This day and the next were not the Florida weather we were expecting!

*Yes, I took this earlier in the day, and yes those are in Celsius*

We headed over to the bus stops, and found the one heading to the Polynesian. We didn’t wait long before we were off. This was the first time for both of us visiting this resort – wow! I really loved the feel of this place, it’s definitely on our short list for bucket list Disney hotels.

It was around 3:30-3:40pm by this point, and Trader Sam’s was due to open at 4pm. We decided to go and get our name on the wait list since it was somewhere we both really wanted to check out.

After enjoying some libations at Trader Sam’s, we headed upstairs to check in for our supper reservation – at ‘Ohana!

After our supper, we had planned on sticking around, and possibly heading down to the beach to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. I, however, had ate way too much and wasn’t feeling the greatest (and the same for Luke), so we decided to call it a night and called an Uber to take us back to Old Key West.

This was by far the most relaxed day of our trip, and I didn’t take many pictures at all. Sometimes, in the middle of a vacation, I just need a quiet day ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

January 6, 2017

We woke up a little later than originally planned (but still pretty early for vacation in my opinion). Luke started his morning with a coffee in the room while I got ready for the day.

We headed out, and caught a bus to Animal Kingdom – my favourite park! By the time we arrived, the park was already open, but the lineup to scan your Magicband was huge – luckily we remembered a tip we had read about going through the Rainforest Cafe! So, we veered hard left, entered the restaurant, walked through the gift shop and came out into a little courtyard with a scanner and a very bored looking cast member. There wasn’t a single other person in line ahead of us, so we quickly scanned our bands/fingerprint, and into the park we went!

I just love the tree of life, but I didn’t get a picture of our first sighting of it since I decided to Facetime my mom, who was still in New Brunswick visiting my grandmother in the hospital. I showed my Nanny the Tree, and then as we walked along towards Africa we came upon the monkeys right across from Creature Comforts (the Starbucks in the park). Luke decided to use that time to run into Starbucks to grab his “You Are Here” mug for his collection, while I let my Nanny watch the monkeys for awhile.

By the time Luke waited in line to buy his mug, and I said my goodbye to my mom and grandmother, we realized our original plan of a ride on the Safari wouldn’t be possible. So, instead we just headed towards our first reservation of the day – Tusker House!

Tusker House is on our must-do every time list, the food is great, the characters are great and I love the look of the restaurant itself. We were a few minutes early for our reservation, but we checked in anyways. We were told to have a seat in the outdoor waiting area, and we only waited about 5-10 minutes before being called and led to our table. The rest of the review can be found here.

After stuffing ourselves full, we decided to do something low impact to let our bellies settle from all that food – so off to It’s Tough to Be a Bug! I just love walking underneath the tree and seeing all the detail they put into it.

The show itself doesn’t change, and we’ve seen it multiple times now, but it’s cute and worth doing at least once. I always lean forward during the poke in the back part though – I honestly don’t even know what that feels like since I can’t bring myself to sit back for it haha.

The park was insanely busy this day – like way busier than I’m used to at Animal Kingdom. We took our time walking around, until we realized we were already in our Fastpass window on Expedition Everest – my favourite ride at WDW!

We stopped for a few Photopass pictures on the bridge since the line was not very long. I also love the shirts we were both wearing that day – people kept stopping to ask Luke where his Flash shirt came from. I don’t think many people understood what mine was…

From this picture, the park doesn’t look too busy, but trust me, it was insane for some reason!

We slowly made our way over to DinoLand, had a pee break and then it was time for our 2nd Fastpass of the day – Dinosaur!

Shortly after we entered the Fastpass line, the line came to a complete stop. So we waited. And waited some more. People around us started checking the app, and we found out the ride was temporarily closed. Since we were already in line, and wait times for everything were much too high for our liking, we decided to just stay put. It ended up not being too terrible, and about 20 minutes later the line began moving again.

I definitely don’t love this ride, but I don’t hate it either. I just think the Indiana Jones ride in California is so much better (and they are similar ride systems). We seem to go on Dinosaur at least once every trip though!

Due to the delay (from the time we entered the Fastpass line until we exited the ride was ~45 minutes), we didn’t have time for any other rides if we wanted to make it to the 5pm Festival of the Lion King show. So, once again we crossed the park to get back to Africa.

We had used our third Fastpass of the day for this show. We had watched it on our trip in 2016, but we were seated in the very back. We were hoping for better seats, since we loved what we had been able to see last time, and it worked out well for us!

I love this show so much! It’s definitely a can’t miss for us on every trip! The singers, the acrobats – everyone in this show is so talented.

Once the show ended, Luke decided he needed to grab a little snack for himself – and stopped for a Dole Whip with coconut rum, one of his favourite WDW treats.

He ate it as we walked out of the park and to the buses – we had a supper reservation to get to!

As we left the park, I had to stop to snap a picture of the Animal Kingdom tree:

We ended up waiting a few minutes for a bus back to Old Key West, which had me quite worried. We had a reservation at Olivia’s, and I just knew we were going to be late. We did end up getting there late, but it ended up being fine, and you can read our review of our supper here.

Originally, we had booked this supper as a way to ensure we were back at Old Key West so Luke could get a good night’s sleep before his half marathon the next morning. While we were eating, we found out the race had been cancelled, so this was no longer a necessity. Once we finished our meal, we caught the internal shuttle bus back to our room, and noticed these signs at all of the bus stops.

It wasn’t very late when we got back to our room, not even 8:30pm. We each showered, I checked the DisBoards, Luke drank some of the beer we had ordered from Garden Grocer, we watched a bit of TV. Eventually we realized we were tired, and called it a night by 10pm. It was also nice falling asleep knowing we had no alarm set for the next day ๐Ÿ™‚

 

January 28, 2017 – Part One

This was our earliest day of this trip, we had to be out of our hotel room and calling an Uber by about 6:45. Obviously at that time of day, the security lines at the parks were not bad at all, and we were through fairly quickly. We had a bit of confusion trying to actually enter the park – we tried the first line we saw, but turns out that one was for Extra Magic Hours (for the guest staying at one of the three Disney-owned hotels). We needed the line for early morning dining reservations – which we found.

This meal was one of the must-do’s for me on this trip – breakfast at the Plaza Inn! You can read all about that experience over here, in it’s own separate post.

We finished breakfast minutes after the park officially opened for the day, so we saw the mad rush of people entering. Once we left the restaurant, we turned into Tomorrowland. As we were passing Star Tours, the wait time was listed at 5 minutes – yum, yes please! So we walked on to that, I think it takes almost 5 minutes just to simply walk through the queue line to get to the loading zone for the ride anyways. It was awesome, as per usual.

From there, we headed towards our plan all along – grab fastpasses for Hyperspace Mountain! With Fastpasses in hand, we checked the wait times on the app and saw that the Matterhorn Bobsleds were listed as a 20 minute wait (one of the lowest we’d seen) – so we headed off in that direction. The wait was probably closer to 25 minutes by the time we got into line, but since there was no option for Fastpasses for that ride (at the time), we were fine with that and waited.

That is a rough ride! Fun, and the animatronic Yeti is pretty cool, but my poor back! Luke was fine on that ride, he was the perfect size for the seats so he didn’t move around too much, but since I’m smaller I was being tossed around a bit. Still worth it though!

We checked the app again, and Hyperspace Mountain had a 20 minute posted wait time! So, back over there to go through the standby line. The posted time was pretty much exact, and 20 minutes later we had this picture:

I love Hyperspace Mountain so much! The Star Wars theme just works so well for that ride!

From there, we stopped to use the bathrooms before ย heading over to Buzz Lightyear to help in the fight against Zurg since the posted wait time was 10 minutes on the app. I believe it ended up being closer to 10 minutes, but still no complaints from us!

We were now finally close to our Fastpass window for Hyperspace Mountain, so back over there to use up our FP’s.

Yes, I am force-choking Luke in this one…

We stopped to grab a Fastpass for Star Tours so we could ride that again, and then headed to the other side of the park – Big Thunder Mountain was listing a 20 minute wait. We arrived just in time, a huge line formed behind shortly after us but we were boarding the very back of the train about 20 minutes later.

We walked over to Splash Mountain, and again – a crazy short posted wait time! So, into another line! We ended up getting soaked on that one, and the storyline really doesn’t flow as well as the Splash Mountain in Florida. I also prefer the side-by-side logs in Florida as opposed to the single-file logs in California.

By this point, we were in the window to grab another Fastpass, so we stopped by Haunted Mansion and picked up a pair for later. We actually couldn’t find the Fastpass kiosk at first, and we had to ask a cast member for directions – it’s kind of tucked out of the way.

If you were keeping track – it was now only a little after 11am, the park had only been open since 8am (so 3 hours), and we had already been on:

  • Hyperspace Mountain (x2)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Star Tours
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain

That is what I call a successful morning! And, we still had 2 Fastpasses in hand! We were now in the window for our Star Tours Fastpass (seeing as we were able to get the Haunted Mansion fastpasses), so we headed once again across the park.

This is where our amazing timing ran out…as we approached Star Tours we saw a giant line of people snaking through Tomorrowland – and it was the Fastpass line for Star Tours! Apparently, two of the simulators for the ride were broken down, so it was only operating at half capacity. I hate waiting in line for rides, even more so when I have a Fastpass for it, but we decided to stick it out. It ended up being over 45 minutes before we boarded the ride!

I was a little bit cranky about it, but we’d already accomplished so much that morning, and the ride is one of my favourites so I quickly got over it.

By the time we got off Star Tours, we were over halfway through our Fastpass time for Haunted Mansion, so once again we crossed to the other side of Disneyland to use that Fastpass.

The park was now crowded, and it was a warm day. It was after 1pm by now, and we were starting to feel a little hungry again. We also realized we did not want to be in the giant crowds, and decided it was time to leave the park, so off we went to Downtown Disney.

Next: Eats & Drinks, and a Break

 

January 5, 2017 – Part Two

Once we finished the 5k and we had race medals and snack boxes in hand, we started heading towards the buses which take you back to your resort. But, our plan all along had been to not return to Old Key West where we were staying right away – we had Fastpasses to use! Originally, the plan was to jump on the bus heading to the Polynesian Resort so we could eat breakfast at Capt’ Cook’s ($8.49 for Tonga Toast there compared to $15 for basically the same thing at Kona Cafe), but once we finished the race we realized we were a little too late for that to work. So, we changed our plan on the fly and hopped on the bus to the Contemporary instead! The RunDisney bus let everyone off right in front of the main doors for the lobby, but that’s not where we were headed! We had a bit of confusion at first about exactly where to go, but before too long we managed to find the walking path that leads to the Magic Kingdom. There were only a few people in line ahead of us at the security check-in point along the walking path, and we entered the park within the first 5 minutes of rope drop. Success!

While I was being cranky about our early morning wakeup, I took a screenshot of our plans for the day and set it as my lock screen on my phone. Seriously – such a great Disney hack!

We followed the rest of the rope drop people down Main Street, but then instead of following the crowd turning right to Tomorrowland or onto the path to Fantasyland, we swung a left into Adventureland. First things first – a visit to the Adventureland bathrooms for a pee break! We were walking past a shop, and I decided to ask if we could have a plastic shopping bag, since we were both carrying our snack boxes from the race, and we both had on little running fanny-pack style things that we did not want to wear anymore. That was no problem, the cast member was really excited to see our medals and talk about the race.

As we continued along our way, we figured it was the perfect time to go on something we’d never done before – the Jungle Cruise! Since it still wasn’t even half an hour into the park opening, the wait time was under 10 minutes. It was still operating as the Jingle Cruise, so we still technically haven’t been on the Jungle Cruise…

Oh the cheese! The terrible puns! I couldn’t hear everything because of our location in the boat, but I laughed like an idiot at the things I could hear.

After our silly cruise, we continued on our journey to the first Fastpass we had made – Splash Mountain! Our reasoning for this was that if we were sweaty from our run, it would be just like a shower as we went over the big drop haha. (Don’t worry, we actually did go for real showers later).

Of course, we got stopped right by the little waterfall at the end and Luke was getting splashed pretty good from it. I just love this picture, he was laughing so hard!

And of course, our on-ride photo:

After Splash, we were close to being within our window for our next FP, so we walked over to Big Thunder and went on the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness! For some reason, I didn’t take a single picture of this – so just believe me when I say we did it.

By this point, we were starting to drag. We’d been up for hours, and we were getting tired and hungry. We checked the app, and saw that Peco’s Bills was opening soon, so we slowly wandered over there. By the time we arrived, it was open and in we went for one of our favourite quick service meals ๐Ÿ™‚ The review can be found here.

Once we sat down to eat, we realized how tired we were . We ended up sitting there for almost an hour.

Eventually, we were in the window for the third Fastpass we had made – to meet the Talking Mickey on Main Street. It’s a bit of an unconventional FP to grab, but we wanted a picture with Mickey with our medals and we didn’t want to wait in the standby line.

This was a really cute meet and greet, Mickey did a few magic tricks for us and was very chatty. It was worth the use of a FP, even if we were both exhausted. I just love our expressions in these following pictures haha.

After talking to Mickey for a bit, we headed out of the park and caught a bus back to Old Key West. Once we were back in our room, we showered and changed into clean clothes, and then set out again to catch a bus to Disney Springs. We had a reservation at 2pm for T-Rex, which was probably not the greatest idea looking back. We were both so tired, all we wanted to do was have a nap, but it was too late to cancel and we didn’t want to pay the $10 no-show fee. So, we went, and you can read all about it here.

Once we finished up our meal, we decided to take the boat back to Disney Springs. It’s such a nice, relaxing way to travel around the Disney property ๐Ÿ™‚

The boat lets you off by the main building at OKW.

The internal shuttle pulled up almost immediately, and we headed back to our room. It was pushing 4pm by the time we got back to our room, so we both fell asleep almost instantly.

After one of the greatest, much-needed naps ever, we woke up around 8pm. For this trip, we did not purchase Park Hopper tickets, so we knew we were going back to Magic Kingdom. While we were sitting at T-Rex, we had actually managed to grab our fourth Fastpass of the day – for a late-night ride on Space Mountain!

By the time we got up and got ready and actually got to the park, it was well into our Fastpass window. We did stop to take some pictures of the castle, and watch the projection show they were offering at the time (I want to say Celebrate the Magic?).

We checked the time and headed over to Space Mountain, making it before our Fastpass expired. I’m just realizing now that we didn’t get our on-ride photo from that, but that’s ok – I hate that on-ride picture, it’s taken from a really awkward angle.

We headed over for a ride on Winnie-the-Pooh.

I just love the dump shop the ride exits you into. The honey pot cash registers and drink cooler are too cute!

I also had to bring this guy home with me ๐Ÿ™‚

It was getting late, but we saw a short wait time for Buzz Lightyear, so of course we had to battle it out there. We’re so serious in our ride photo haha.

Luke somehow managed to get his highest score ever:

By the time we finished our Galactic Battle, the park was closed so we started making our way towards the entrance. I had to take a picture of the pretty castle all lit up

We also stopped for Photopass pictures along Main Street (facing both directions!)

We headed out of the park, caught a bus and went back to OKW to go to bed.

Next: An Animal Kingdom Morning

 

 

 

January 27, 2017 – Part Two

After being serenaded by some animatronic birds, we headed over to our lunch reservation at Cafe Orleans. You can read all about that by clicking HERE.

Once we finished up our lunch, we were in the window for our Indiana Jones Fastpass. I seriously love that ride so much, it’s so good!

After our ride on Indy, the park was getting really crowded. We later found out that the weekend of this trip was the last weekend for a certain type of pass to be used (I believe it was some kind of cast member family/friends pass?), so the parks were CRAZY Friday-Saturday-Sunday. Just a heads up if you’re ever thinking of going the last weekend in January…

Since the park was so crowded, wait times for pretty much every ride had skyrocketed. We decided to just head to Main Street, which was decorated to celebrate the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade.

We ended up going into quite a few of the shops along Main Street, and I had to take a picture of these cute little ornaments! I think I might need them for my Christmas tree at some point in the future…

We decided to check out Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln along Main Street, since it was something we had never taken the time to do before.

I definitely don’t feel like we need to do that on every trip. It’s a good spot to have a little nap though! (It’s like the equivalent of the show at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot haha).

After our American History lesson, we stopped to swap out our FuelRoad and then we decided to hop back over to DCA. Luke decided he could use a coffee, so we went to Starbucks where he waited in line FOR EVER. Seriously, I think every person in the park decided they all needed a coffee at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Once Luke had his coffee in hand, we checked the time and realized we could make the 5:30 showing of Frozen at the Hyperion Theater.

Our seats were almost at the very top/back of the theater, but not terrible considering we didn’t get in line until about 5:15. This show was really well done! It’s absolutely worth checking out! The show is about an hour long, and the costumes and set design are stunning! I’m so glad we took the time to go watch this.

By the time we got out of the theater, it was about 6:45 or so. We felt we had completed enough for our first day, so all I had left to do was meet Captain America (I was wearing my hoodie that day after all!). We headed over to where the Spiderman/Captain meet and greet was, but just as we were about to enter the line a cast member came over to let us know that Cap was about to leave for a break (she saw my hoodie, and immediately assumed that’s who I was there to meet). She did let us know the approximate time he would be returning, so we decided we’d kill some time.

We stopped by Award Wieners so Luke could grab a beer. According to my notes, it was a sour raspberry ale

We spent some time looking around in the shops in that area where we bought Star Wars couples shirts (which will make an appearance later in this trip), and at one point we sat down on a bench to people watch and let Luke drink his beer. We knew we still had three more full days to spend at the parks, and we had decided to take a much more laid back approach to this Disney trip, so this was actually nice.

After we had killed about 45 minutes, we headed back over to see if Cap was back from his break. He wasn’t, but the same cast member was still there so she told us it should be any minute, so we jumped in line. The line wasn’t bad at all, only a few families in front of us. Captain America came out when there was only two groups in front of us, so in barely no time at all we were getting these pictures:

It looks like my sneakers are supercharged haha! So if you were ever curious about the runDisney New Balances – they are really reflective! Captain America was a really fun meet, he kept commenting on my sweater. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but my dress had all of the Avengers on it, so he was really excited when he spotted himself on there as well.

Also meeting right beside Cap was Spiderman. For some reason, Spiderman had a Disneyland Photopass photographer with him, but Captain America did not.

Spiderman was pointing at himself on my dress ๐Ÿ™‚

After meeting some Marvel SuperHeroes, we stopped to swap out our FuelRoad again and then we decided to head out of the parks for the night. We went off to Downtown Disney and stopped at Earl of Sandwich for a very late supper, which you can read about here ๐Ÿ™‚

After our late meal, we walked over to the parking lot and caught an Uber back to our hotel.

Next: An Early Morning

 

January 5, 2017 – A 5k Run…I Mean Walk.

Our alarm went on this morning at some ungodly hour – I think Luke got up around 3am but I insisted on sleeping an extra half hour and didn’t get up until 3:30am (which is still gross). Luke always eats breakfast – like every single morning. I do not, I need to be fully awake and functioning for a few hours before I feel the need to eat anything – this is why I slept extra ๐Ÿ™‚

Luke told me he ate some Frosted Flakes (which are apparently different in the States?) and an apple – both of which we had ordered from Garden Grocer.

Eventually, I dragged myself out of bed and put on my favourite pair of Lulu Lemon’s and a Nike shirt. But, it was also fairly cold out so I also put on my jacket. Luke and I went out and had to walk allll the way across the street to catch an internal bus (the bus stop was so close to our room, I LOVED it!). The internal shuttle dropped us off at the main building at Old Key West, where we boarded a runDisney bus to take us to the starting line.

The bus dropped us off at Epcot, and then you walk the 37,000km to the security line for the race before entering a large pre-race area. Once we reached this area, we realized we still had over an hour before the race even started, and we were in Corral D so we knew we’d be even longer than that.

Luke kept asking what I wanted to do, but all I wanted to do was sit on the ground and be a grumpypants. I don’t do well with early mornings, and I was not happy about being up. I took a grumpy-face selfie and posted it on my Instagram haha.

Initially, back when I signed up for the 5km, the plan was to be up to running intervals of 10 minutes at a time, then walking for 1 minute. That did not happen – last summer was a bit rough with my Crohn’s disease, and I ended up being switched to a new medication at the end of August. That worked great, so I started training with Luke in September. Then, in November, I started getting sick again (it’s when my psoriasis first appeared), and I ended up with double eye infections at one point, which lasted for weeks. So, no training for that month. I got back to it a little bit in December, but I wasn’t even doing 5 minutes at a time of running by the time we left for Florida (which is actually still impressive for me haha). So, even though I wasn’t where I wanted to be with running, and I was not happy about being up so early – I was still really excited about my first ever 5k!

I had to take some pictures of some of the screens to prove I was there:

Eventually, I was fully awake. We both went to use the lovely port-a-potties, Luke filled his armband waterbottle and then we headed off to our corral. When we signed up, we both put the same expected time, hoping we would be placed into the same corral, and it worked! We were both in corral D, which was fine by us.

In the past, they would start each corral in 10 minute intervals, but they decided to do things a little differently this year. They sectioned off each corral into smaller sections, and then had a new group of runners start every 2 minutes. This new method definitely sped things up – with the old method, corral D would not have started the race until 6:30am (Corral A – 6am, B – 6:10, C – 6:20, etc). According to the time stamp on my pictures, we received the “Go!” at 6:22am, so 8 minutes faster than it would have been in previous years.

The first stretch is boring, and goes around some Epcot parking lots. It was also still completely dark at this point, but the path is very well lit!

When we started, I was actually feeling pretty good, so we immediately started a slow jog. We actually didn’t have to go very far before we came upon the first character meet of the race – Thumper and Miss Bunny! (I didn’t know her name at the time, I had to google that). We joined the line, since it wasn’t too terrible, and it moved along quite well. RunDisney events now use normal Disney photopass, so you just have to make sure your bib number is clearly visible and then you can just link all your photos later. It was very easy, and we ended up with a lot of pictures throughout the race!

Just as the people in front of us were about to go up and get a picture, Thumper stepped away and went on break, so we only ended up with Miss Bunny.

After that, since we had been stopped and resting for 5-10 minutes, we started jogging again. I was surprised at how good I was feeling, I think I had a little adrenaline from the excitement of the race.

Before too long, we hit the Mile 1 marker (but I didn’t take pictures of any of those). ย This was around the same time we were in the backstage area of Epcot, running underneath the Test Track tracks (from the speed part of the ride).

Soon enough, we were entering the World Showcase at Epcot! Right after entering, we noticed the Vikings were out in Norway so we stopped for another picture. This line was super short, and it only took a few minutes before we were continuing on our way.

Of course we had to stop for a selfie with Spaceship Earth in the background!

As we ran past Italy, we saw Minnie Mouse out for a character meet, but her line was huge! So we made the decision to skip that one. Somewhere around here, one of the race photographers snapped some pictures of me looking like I’m off in my own little world hahaha…

As we approached Morocco, Chip and Dale were out, and their line wasn’t terrible, so we stopped ๐Ÿ™‚

How cute are their little outfits?!

The character meeting in Canada had a CRAZY long line, but we said screw it and waited in it. We were probably 25 minutes at least before we reached the front of the line, but I just had to meet Canadian Donald Duck!

I’ve never seen this character costume before, but I love it! Plaid jackets are pretty popular in my hometown, and I’ve owned a few myself so this was awesome.

After this, we left the World Showcase and ran out the International Gateway, where we hit mile #2. We then re-entered Epcot, running past the Seas With Nemo and Friends. At some point, we saw another character meet, this time for Goofy, but we decided to skip it and just keep going. I did slow down enough to snap a picture of Goofy’s outfit though ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a pretty exciting moment to be running up to this:

Once you ran past Spaceship Earth, you leave the park where you hit mile #3, and the final stretch to the finish line. I was pretty gassed by this point, but I promised Luke I would run the last stretch with him, so I pushed through.

And then we were finished! We were both handed our race medals and a snack box.

And we stopped for a photopass picture with our medals ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a picture of the race map I found online:

Image result for rundisney 5k map 2017

And that was it, I was finished my first ever 5k! It was slow, since we did stop and wait in character lines, and I didn’t run as much as I originally wanted to, but I did it! I think we did end up running/jogging for about 60% of the race – so now I just have something to work towards beating on my next runDisney 5k!

 

Disneyland – January 27, 2017 – Part One

We had a fairly early wakeup this morning, but we were fine with it – it was our first full day in California! We woke up, got dressed and called an Uber to get us to Downtown Disney for our breakfast reservation. We arrived, went through security and headed to La Brea Bakery for our 8am reservation. That review can be found here.

We finished eating, and made the decision to enter Disney California Adventure Park first (both parks opened at 9am that day), so we hopped in line shortly before opening.

Once we scanned our tickets to enter the park, we headed straight for the Fastpass Kiosk for Radiator Springs Racers, along with half the population of California it seemed like. We got to the FP line and followed the snaking line to find the end – it was seriously insane! We got into line and stood still for about 5 minutes – the line didn’t move at all. We looked at each other, said screw it and decided to just head straight to the ride and wait in the standby line – it was barely 10 minutes past opening, how bad could the standby line be at that point?

When we arrived at Radiator Springs, the standby line had a wait time of 40 minutes posted – which isn’t terrible, We figure if we had have stayed in line just to get a Fastpass for it, we would have been at least half an hour. So, we got into line for our first ride of the trip! The actual standby time – only 28 minutes! Score!

This ride was great as always, I love that scene when you come around the corner and the waterfall is cascading down on your right hand side!

After exiting the ride, I snapped a picture of our on-ride photo – I knew our photos were included with my shiny new annual pass I had just purchased the day before, but I actually had no idea how it worked. Turns out I just had to enter the code shown on the preview screen into my app, and voila – our on-ride photos ๐Ÿ™‚ This is the first time we’ve been to Disneyland that we’ve actually got our ride pictures, so I was pretty excited about it!

After exiting Radiator Springs, we had to stop to get a picture with Stanley ๐Ÿ™‚

From there, we decided to stop at Luigi’s Casa del Tires, since it was not open on our first trip back in 2015, and we were strapped for time on our 2016 trip. The posted time was 5 minutes, but it actually ended up being over 15 minutes.

This ride was cute, but not something I need to do every time, and not something I’d wait more than 15-20 minutes for.

I also took a picture of our sneakers, since both of us were wearing our runDisney shoes on this day ๐Ÿ™‚

Since Photopass was included with my annual pass, we stopped for a few pictures in Cars Land ๐Ÿ™‚ The photographer there told me to pull up the Photopass barcode on my Disneyland app, then screen shot it and set it as my lock screen to make it super easy to use on our trip (and to save from opening the app every time we stopped for pictures – Disneyland was not offering free in-park Wi-Fi at this point).

By this point, it was 10:15 so we went and grabbed a Fastpass for Soarin’ (after falling in love with that ride on our trip to Florida a few weeks earlier). Our FP window opened at 10:55, so we had a bit of time to kill beforehand.

Luke decided to use that time to go pick up the DCA Starbucks “You Are Here” mug that he wanted, and thanks to my super-amazing annual pass we saved 20% on it.

There was a churro stand nearby, and you can’t go to Disneyland and NOT have a churro, so I bought one even though we had just ate breakfast 2 hours earlier. Sadly, no annual pass discounts on that ๐Ÿ™ The churro was delicious though – I’d say they are better in the California parks than they are in the Florida parks.

By the time I finished my snack, we were in our window to go on Soarin’. It’s the exact same ride in DCA as it is at Epcot, but it’s so good! I love the ride building in California – an airplane hangar just makes so much sense!

After our trip around the world, we stopped at the little store across from Soarin’. Luke had brought his runDisney lanyard that he had purchased at the race Expo in Florida, but he needed to buy one of the little pouches to put his park ticket into – so he found a super cute Baymax one there.

I’m not into pin collecting or pin trading, but I had to buy this one since it was an annual Passholder exclusive haha.

I also picked up a Grape soda pin – I think I want to use it for our wedding somehow ๐Ÿ™‚

At this point, we decided to park hop and head over to Disneyland. I love how close the two parks are, it makes hopping so easy and convenient!

We had checked the wait times on the app as we made our way over, so once we entered the park we headed to Critter Country and went on Winnie the Pooh.

After our journey through the Hundred Acre Wood, we went and hopped in line and met Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore – some of my favourites!

We stopped to grab a Fastpass for Indiana Jones (one of my favourite rides at Disneyland!) for a few hours later, and then went to the Enchanted Tiki Room.

I love the Enchanted Tiki Garden here! It’s so cute, and a great form of entertainment while you’re waiting to be let into the building for the show!

Next: Lunch and an uneventful afternoon

January 4, 2017 – Epcot Part Two

I don’t think I mentioned this in the previous post, but I took a screenshot of our plans for the day in the MDE app, and then set that as my lock screen on my phone each day. It made it extremely easy to check on FP+ times without actually entering my passcode to unlock my phone.

Here’s what our January 4th looked at the beginning of the day:

After meeting Anna and Elsa, we were now in our window for FP #2 – Spaceship Earth. This ride is a must-do for us every time, it’s silly but I love it!

After our quick trip through the history of communication, we had a few minutes to kill before we could check in for supper, so we headed to Club Cool to sample some drinks from around the world. Here’s photo proof of Luke trying the Beverly haha.

From there, we went to our supper reservation at Garden Grill. You can read that review here ๐Ÿ™‚

After eating supper with Chip and Dale, we went over to use our third Fastpass at the Character Spot – we had to try and meet classic Mickey, Minnie and Goofy (and I wanted to focus on a lot more character meets on this trip).

While standing in line, Luke went on his MDE app and started looking for a 4th Fastpass. He kept refreshing, and somehow ended up scoring one for Soarin’ from 7:40-8:40 (it was already after 7pm by this point – so it is possible to find great FP’s on the day of!).

Before we met Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, I decided I should wear my hat. I have no idea why, I look like a total dork with it on. Sigh.

After the meet-and-greet, we headed over to Soarin’ – and we were excited! This was our 4th trip to Disney since 2015 (2nd to WDW, plus we had been to Disneyland twice), but we had never managed to go on this. On our first trip to DL, it was closed for refurbishment, and the same for our first trip to WDW. On our 2nd trip to California, we only had a single day to try and cover both parks, and the line for Soarin’ was insanely long all day long and we just didn’t want to wait for an hour+.

Long story short – we’ve never seen the original Soarin’ over California film. We ended up being on the left hand side in the front row, closest to the middle section. I noticed the slight curve of the Eiffel Tower, but I found it much more noticeable when sitting on the right side of the ride for some reason (spoiler alert – we went on Soarin’ more than once on this trip haha). ย We loved this, and all the smells!

After scanning our Magicbands to enter the Fastpass line for Soarin’, Luke once again hopped on his MDE App and managed to secure us a 5th FP+ of the day for Mission Space for 8:25-9:00pm. We are chickens, and have only gone on the green side for this. I really don’t love this ride – once a trip is enough for me.

As soon as we returned from our mission to Mars, we decided to call it a night and head back to our hotel – but not before stopping to take some shots of Spaceship Earth ๐Ÿ™‚

In case you were curious, here’s what my planning spreadsheet looked like for this day. For the most part, not much changed – I was expecting the RaceExpo to open earlier than it did, and obviously we couldn’t plan/count on being able to secure two additional fastpasses. But, overall – not bad for staying on track!

This was a screenshot of my Fitbit steps at the end of the day – not too bad considering we didn’t even do a full day at the parks!

In case anyone was curious – Luke’s t-shirt with Gerald on it came from TeePublic, and my Alice in Wonderland dress came from Hot Topic ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

January 4, 2017 – Epcot Part 1

January 4, 2017 – Part Twoโ€‹

 

After dropping off our runDisney merchandise (and our awesome new sneakers), and packing up a park bag, we headed back out to the bus stop. I loved how close it was to our room – I’m sure I’ll mention that a lot in this trip report! We didn’t have to wait too long before our bus pulled up and we were finally off to our first park – Epcot!โ€‹

 

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Once we reached the park, we had to stop by a ticket booth to activate our tickets – we had purchased 7-day tickets using the Canadian discount, so we needed to show our passports to prove we were Canadian citizens. This was very easy, and it wasn’t too long before we were heading over and tapping our Magicbands to enter the park :)โ€‹

 

We stopped for our first photopass pictures of the trip -โ€‹

 

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Before I start posting too many pictures of myself, I feel like I need to explain something. You’ll notice in some of my pictures that my hair is insanely messy, or I’m wearing scarves, or you can see a bit of a rash on my face/neck. I started noticing problems with my skin shortly before leaving on this trip, and right after I returned to Canada from this trip, I ended up on a round of antibiotics due to how bad my skin was. It’s all due to psoriasis – an auto-immune disease that leads to abnormal skin. It’s mainly focused on my scalp, so it was sometimes really difficult to brush my hair – and by the end of the trip I just gave up due to how painful it was. So, I apologize now for the terrible hair you will see in this trip report, but I wasn’t going to let anything bring my trip down (if you read my 2016 trip report, you know I also have Crohn’s disease and it did take me down and out for a day on that trip – I did have zero issues with that disease on this trip though – so win?).โ€‹

 

And now, back to the trip report…

My mom was currently in New Brunswick visiting my grandmother, who has been hospitalized for months now, so I decided to Facetime them so they could see some of the park :) We started walking while Facetiming until we reached the Starbucks. The one thing Luke told me he really wanted to get on this trip was the Starbucks “You Are Here” mugs that they make for each park, so he headed in to buy his first one :) These things are really nice, and are quite large.

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While he was in Starbucks, I said my goodbyes to my mom and Nanny, with promises to Facetime them again the next day. When Luke came out, he had also made the decision to order drinks for us both – a Berry Hibiscus Refresher for me and some fancy iced coffee for him. Apparently we were both thirsty, since we had our drinks polished off by the time we reached Norway for our first Fastpass (and first ride) of the trip – Frozen Ever After!โ€‹

 

The line for this was insanely long, no way would I wait 105 minutes for any ride!โ€‹

 

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The Fastpass line was long, but it was moving fairly quickly. We were right behind a family with a teenage girl who was snapchatting EVERYTHING. Seriously, why do you need to take 4 million pictures of the wall, or your feet, or you making weird faces while in line? Ugh, anyways… we finally made it to the front of the line and were placed into the front row of a boat. My pictures aren’t the greatest, but I didn’t feel like pulling my real camera out of my bag, so these were all taken with my iPhone.โ€‹

 

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We also had no idea there was an on-ride photo, since I had refused to do much research on the ride (I wanted it to be a surprise :teeth:), so that’s why we look so stunned in the picture hahaha…โ€‹

 

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As for the ride – I’m one of those people who LOVED Frozen, so I loved this. I know there’s a lot of complaints about it being in Norway, and not really fitting with the original Epcot theme. My first time to Epcot was in 2016, so I never had a chance to ride Maelstrom. I personally have no issues with Disney adding more of their own characters to the park.

We noticed that the wait time to meet Anna and Elsa wasn’t terrible, it was listed as being only 20 minutes so we got into line for our first character meet of the trip (and surprisingly, the first face characters we’ve ever met!). The wait time was pretty much exact, and 20 minutes later we were led into a room to meet the sisters. They were so much fun, really in character. They were very intrigued by Luke’s tshirt, and decided that Gerald was an anterless reindeer :rotfl:. One of the character handlers in the room was extremely friendly, and very bubbly – she made up a song on the spot about Gerald the anterless reindeer (sung to the tune of Rudolph) and sang it to us.โ€‹

 

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The thing in Luke’s hand is what we decided to get autographed – it was the sleeve from a record that was released as a Record Store Day limited edition release in 2016. It ended up getting pretty beat up by the end of the trip, but I love how it turned out!โ€‹

January 4, 2017 – Race Expo!

January 4, 2017 – Part Oneโ€‹

Our original plans included a breakfast ADR at 8:15am on this morning, however once we found out that the Race Expo wasn’t opening until noon (as opposed to the 10am we thought), we were able to move our reservation to 9:15am. I will always agree with more sleep! Our alarm went at 7:30, but we hit snooze and slept until a little after 8am. Once I was able to drag myself out of bed, we got ready and headed to the bus stop – which was right across the road from our room – so handy!

I can’t remember if I mentioned it already or not, but we were in building #35 – here’s what it looked like:

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Our room was on the first floor, on the left side of this picture (kind of underneath that staircase that you can see there).

Once we arrived at the bus stop, the internal shuttle came almost immediately! We could have hopped on any bus that came along, but this was just the first one :) We didn’t have a very long ride, the Turtle Pond Bus Stop was the last one before Hospitality House (the main building) – which is where we hopped off. Our breakfast reservation was at Olivia’s Cafe – you can read that review here :)

After we finished eating, we went back to our room and brushed our teeth and packed my purse. Then it was back to the main building so we could catch the shuttle bus to the Race Expo!

We ended up arriving at the ESPN Wide World of Sports around 11:30, and the race expo wasn’t scheduled to open until noon, but quite a few things were already open. We were able to grab our 5k tshirts and bibs with zero wait.

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Once we had our 5k stuff in hand, the line for the half and full marathon had begun moving so we jumped into that line so Luke could grab his half marathon shirt and bib. I love that the race shirts show the parks you run through on the sleeve (Luke’s 10k shirt from last year had Epcot, the half marathon shirts show Epcot and Magic Kingdom and the full marathon has all 4 parks).

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When the 2017 runDisney New Balance shoes were released online, Luke got excited since the Toy Story ones were the exact style of shoe he wears for running. He tried to sign up for the Virtual Queue the night before, but the website wasn’t working properly – by the time he got it to work it kept giving him times in the evening, which wasn’t going to work for us. We decided to stop by anyway, and one employee said she could help us since Luke did technically have a time. Luke knew he wanted the Toy Story ones, and they are awesome!

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The lady helping us asked me if I wanted to try a pair on, and I made a spur of the moment decision and asked for the Haunted Mansion ones ::yes::. I tried them on, and even though I don’t typically wear New Balance shoes (I love my Asics), they were so pretty they just had to come home with me…

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The shoes are pricey, but they are so comfortable! We both wore them on our Disneyland trip at the end of January, and had zero issues or pain. Luke told me that his Toy Story ones are even nicer than all his other sneakers despite being the exact model he always buys. He thinks they might have extra cushioning?

We also spent a small fortune on runDisney merchandise:

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We each bought one of these bright orange shirts. The actual tshirts you get for the 5k are just cotton, but I wanted a technical shirt from the race and this one was really cute :)

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I also bought the 2017 runDisney Christmas ornament, but I don’t have a picture of that…

I loved the runDisney Dooney & Bourke, but I couldn’t justify the price tag since I had just bought myself the Haunted Mansion Dooney a few month prior…

We then caught the bus back to OKW to drop off our purchases, and pack a park bag.