Tag Archives: Travel

Park Bag Essentials!

You can get away with carrying nothing on you for a park day at WDW, since your Magicband acts as your hotel room key, your park tickets (combined with your fingerprint), and you can add a credit card/password to it so you just need to scan it and enter your pin to make a purchase. However, we are not those people.

We always carry a bag with us into the park – and we typically take turns carrying it since we only ever take one bag for the two of us. Lately, we’ve been using our Disney Vans backpacks that I found super cheap at Winners:

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But you can use any bag you’re comfortable carrying around!

Now – what could we possibly need a giant bag for? What do we keep in it? That all depends on the time of year we’re at Disney, what we have planned for the day, etc.

This list is not inclusive, and you don’t have to carry all of it (or any of it – just make your list based on your own personal needs)

  • Sweater/jacket – it cools off once the sun sets
  • Raincoat/poncho – Florida weather is unpredictable! We like having those small ponchos from the Dollarstore which we just throw away once we’ve used them.
  • Sunglasses/glasses and case – I’m blind, and need to switch back and forth between the two during the day
  • Passports – Disney has a rule where you can not purchase alcohol without a passport (unless you are an American citizen, then any government-issued ID will work). If my jacket has a zipper pocket, I like to keep the passport there for protection.
  • FuelRod – these are portable chargers that will work on basically any phone (they come with a few different adapters). The great thing about this brand is that they have vending machine-type things in every Disney park that let you swap out your charger for a new, fully-charged one as many times as you’d like (Luke and I only own one between us – my phone will be low so I’ll use the FuelRod, get my phone back up to almost a full charge, then we’ll swap it out for a new charger for Luke to use. On the day we got engaged, our phones were going crazy from all the text messages and Facebook notifications, so we ended up swapping out our FuelRod at least 5 times in one day).
  • Brita water bottle – we like this one since it has a built-in filter. Florida water is gross.
  • Sharpies – for character signatures
  • Pen/notepad – I like to keep notes of what we do during the day
  • Snacks – granola bars, fruit snacks, etc – you are allowed to bring food into the parks with you, some people bring sandwiches to save money (I like Disney food way too much to do that haha)
  • Gum – Disney does not sell gum on property – but you are allowed to have it/chew it
  • Camera/phone – If I have pockets in my pants/sweater I just hold onto these things myself, but it’s nice to have a place to put them while on rides.
  • Ziplock bags – Come in handy for water rides to stick our phones/electronics into
  • Tylenol – the parks are loud and can be quite crowded, which leads to headaches.

This seems like a long list, but most things are very light or don’t take up much space in our backpack.  I like to be prepared for anything!

January 28, 2017 – Part Two

As we were walking through Downtown Disney, we realized we were feeling a bit hungry, so we decided to go see if we could get in to the Rainforest Cafe.

After we left Rainforest, we still didn’t feel like going back to the parks just yet. Instead, we headed into the Grand Californian Hotel, and found some comfy chairs in a hallway to sit in. We were right by some large windows, so there was lots of natural light streaming in, and people were coming and going, but somehow Luke fell asleep and napped for about an hour while sitting up haha. I spent the time people-watching and checking in on social media (since the parks did not have Wi-fi at the time, but the Grand did).

Once Luke woke up, we decided it was time to go back to the park, so we entered DCA through the Grand – so convenient! I understand why people love staying there!

We walked around a for a bit, before it was time for our World of Colour dining package at Wine Country Trattoria. If you like negative reviews, you can check it out here...

After our not-so-great meal, I wasn’t feeling great (it was a pretty early morning that day, and unlike Luke, I hadn’t taken a nap). It was also a bit cold, so we decided to go to the Animation Academy building in Hollywood Land. We just sat on a bench in there watching the video on the screens surrounding the room for awhile. We could see the line to meet Anna and Elsa, and as it got shorter we decided to jump into line and meet them. I do like that you can get both of them in a picture together in California, but I thought the pair we met in Florida were a little  better (more in character, and more wiling to joke around with us).

We had never gone into the Sorcerer’s Workshop (located in the same building), so we headed there. It was kind of neat, but I find it weird how it just comes to a dead end, and then you need to back-track in order to get out.

We headed out of the Animation Building, and went to buy some matching Star Wars shirts I had seen earlier in the day (I finally convinced Luke to wear matching shirts with me, I was very excited haha). We made our purchase (and saved 15% with my annual pass!),  then continued looking around in the shops. After a few minutes, Luke realized that his FitBit was missing, and couldn’t remember the last time he saw it 🙁 We retraced our steps, and went back to ask the cast members in the stores we were just in, but no sign of it anywhere. We even walked out to Lost and Found to file an official report, but we have never heard back – it is lost forever (or someone found it, picked it up and got themselves a barely used FitBit Flex…). It ended up working out in the end – my company introduced an initiative where they subsidized the cost of purchasing a FitBit – so I was able to upgrade to a Charge for under $60, and I gave Luke my FitBit flex which was only a month old.

Once we re-entered the park we still had some time before we needed to head over to watch World of Colour, so we headed into A Bug’s Life Land and went to watch it’s Tough to Be A Bug – and no, I still didn’t sit back in the seat for the poke in the back part haha. Of course we had to go on Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train afterwards to help him search for candy corn – it’s the simplest most little kid ride in the entire park, but we find a way to go on it every single trip.

We headed over to the Preferred Viewing area for WOC, but made a stop at the Little Mermaid ride when we saw that it was practically a walk-on 🙂

We had an amazing spot to watch World of Colour thanks to the dining package. The show itself was as fantastic as always, It’s a show I never take pictures of, I just put my phone/camera away and enjoy it to it’s fullest. Of course I did snap a few pics of the Mickey wheel before the show started though 🙂

After WOC was over, we headed out of the park, caught an Uber back to our hotel and called it a night.

Budget Friendly Disney Eats!

Look, we know Disney is expensive. Just because we’ve made all those dining reservations does not mean you need to join us for them – but you’re still going to want to eat haha. We decided to put together a list of some great options we’ve tried (or trust the opinions of people who have tried) that might be little easier on the wallet…

Magic Kingdom

  • This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Peco’s Bills! It’s possibly my favourite quick service restaurant at Disney (that fixin’s bar doesn’t hurt my opinion of that). It’s a Tex-Mex style menu, and you can easily get an entree and a soft drink for under $20 (we recommend the fajita platter at $14.99 or the beef nachos, $12.49), and then you load it up with all the shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole and sour cream your heart desires – you end up with a large portion!  
  • Columbia Harbour House – we have never ate here, but it always has great reviews. The most expensive entree on the menu is $15, and you can actually get healthier options (like grilled salmon, salad, etc)
  • Another place we’ve never ate at, but is talked about a lot in the Disney forums is Casey’s Corner, located on the corner of Main Street. This place is all about the foot long hot dogs – topped with chili&cheese or mac&cheese – each $10.99 (includes fries) – or . I’ve also heard a lot of great things about the corn dog nuggets ($8.49 with fries).
  • I’m giving an honourable mention to Be Our Guest (lunch only). This is one of the only quick serve locations on property to accept advance dining reservations, as it is one of the most in-demand places to eat. We actually do have a reservation made for 20 people on January 9th for lunch, and you’ll be pleased to know the most expensive entree is $17 (the braised pork – which I highly recommend!). Soft drinks are self-serve, so you can get free refills throughout your meal as well.

Epcot

  • Sunshine Seasons is the top of my list for this park based on the size of the menu. There are options for everyone – soup, salad, sandwiches, chinese food, vegan – and everything is under $15!
  • We’ve never ate there, but Tangierine Cafe in the Morocco Pavilion is always raved about. The servings are generous, and cost is under $20.
  • If you’re feeling like fish and chips ($10.99), head to Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the UK Pavilion.
  • It’s very easy to make a meal out of snacking around Epcot. Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles has very cheap French pastries, if you like coconut you’ll love the School Bread ($3.49) from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway Pavilion, the curry chicken pocket ($4.50) from Joy of Tea in the China Pavilion seems to be well reviewed as well. Turkey legs (~$10) are found in the American Adventure Pavilion, as well as funnel cakes ($7.99).

Hollywood Studios

  • This is the park most lacking in food options, but you can still find things to fill your belly 🙂 The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge has a small menu that is surprisingly affordable. The actual restaurant is pricer, but you can get a smaller version of their famous Cobb salad in the lounge for $10, or wagyu-beef sliders for $17.
  • Backlot Express is considered the best quick service location at the Studios. The menu is fairly straight forward, with a few items having a Star Wars theme (like the Dark Side chicken and waffles, $10.99)

Animal Kingdom

  • Satu’li Canteen is a brand new restaurant that opened with Avatar Land in May of 2017. They offer a healthy “bowl” served with your choice of beef or fish for $12.99, or chicken or tofu for $11.49.
  • If you’re looking for a giant plate of fries, head to Flame Tree BBQ. We shared an order of their pulled pork and cheese fries ($6.49) on our last trip, and it was more than enough for us as a mid-afternoon snack.  
  • There is a Rainforest Cafe located near the entrance to the park. The appetizer menu is shareable and affordable – we shared a $20 appy platter on our last trip to California at the Rainforest Cafe located there and it was a generous portion of food.

Disney Springs

  • Our #1 recommendation here will always be Earl of Sandwich. Luke loves it – I’m not even much of a sandwich person and I’ve always enjoyed my meals here as well. They are very simple pressed sandwiches with straight forward ingredients, and cost under $7.50 each. Even if you make your meal a combo (add a drink and small bag of chips), your total will be only be a little over $10. You can’t eat on Disney property much cheaper than that! 
  • We haven’t tried it, but Blaze Pizza always seems to be loved! Who can complain about $10 pizzas?
  • D-Luxe Burger is also highly reviewed, burgers are $10-$13 with a side of fries costing about $5.
  • Morimoto Street Food is a grab and go location serving Asian-inspired snacks (Bao buns are $8-10 for 2, sushi rolls $8, etc)
  • If you’re craving something sweeter, Ghiradelli serves great ice cream sundaes, although they are a little pricy ($10 and up).

Disney Resorts

  • A lot of people seem to forget about all the options available at the hotels. A personal favourite is Saana at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This can an expensive option depending on what you order, but I highly recommend the bread service ($15). It is more than enough food for one person to make a meal out of!
  • The food options at the All Star Resorts are plentiful and affordable. I had a turkey dinner at All Star Music back in 2016 for under $11 – and it was actually really tasty! [IMG]
  • Beaches and Cream at Beach Club Resort is technically a table service restaurant and you will need an advance reservation, but the prices are very affordable! We have actually made reservations for the group on Friday, January 12th 🙂 It is an old, 50’s diner feeling, and serves up very basic fare – patty melts, burgers, sandwiches, etc. My personal favourite was the grilled cheese and tomato soup ($12.99) – honestly one of the best I’ve ever had. Also save room for dessert – giant ice cream sundaes large enough to share between 2-3 people ($7.99 for No Way Jose, the one we shared)

Honourable Mentions

  • I need to give a shout-out to Disney chicken nuggets. These can be found at select quick service locations in every park, as well as a few resort food courts. They are not your standard McDonald’s style nuggets, they are real chunks of chicken and are quite tasty! ($9.49)

January 8th, 2017 – Part One

When we woke up, the first thing we noticed was how cool it was. The temperature had dropped overnight, and we woke up to it being only +2 degrees Celsius. We weren’t going to let that stop us though, it just meant we needed to bring our jackets with us for the day.

We were up fairly early this morning, since we had asked bell services to stop by our room around 8am. We were saying goodbye to Old Key West, and would be checking in to Saratoga Springs for the remainder of the trip. Bell services was on time, and we handed over all of our luggage, just taking our park bag with us. We headed out to the bus stop, and the internal shuttle pulled up almost immediately so we jumped on that and rode it to Hospitality House. We checked out, then went to sit and wait for the bus to Epcot…and we sat and waited, and then waited some more. The estimated arrival time on the screen kept changing, and after about a 40 minute wait it finally showed up. That’s the longest we’ve ever waited for a bus, but we knew it was due to all the road closures on property to accommodate the full marathon happening that morning.

Luke’s only request for scheduling our park days was that we go to Epcot on the morning of the full marathon. His plan was to sign up for his first ever full in 2018, and he had found watching some of the race in 2016 very inspiring.

We arrived at Epcot, and it was fairly busy despite the cold temperature. Eventually, we were through the security line and entering the park. We stopped to cheer on some of the marathon runners while checking current wait times in the park. We noticed a low wait time for Soarin’, so we decided to go for a trip around the world 🙂

It was great as always 🙂 Once we exited, we realized we were kind of hungry, so we grabbed a table by Sunshine Seasons and split the Mickey Mousse we had purchased the day before from Amorette’s Patisserie.  

Once we finished our treat (who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?!), we were well within our window for our first Fastpass. You definitely do not need a FP for the Seas with Nemo and Friends, but I think it’s a cute ride and worth going on at least once each trip (and this was our second day at Epcot, plus you need to choose something from tier 2).

We then went and watched/cheered on some of the marathoners! I think this is such an awesome thing, it’s really quite amazing to see all the training and hard work these people have put in, and to see them so close to the end of their run. Seriously, if you are ever around Epcot on a marathon day, make sure you take some time to watch the race and clap for the accomplishment these people are about to achieve.

From there, we made our way over to Test Track for our next Fastpass!

We scanned our Magicbands and entered the Fastpass line, and 12 minutes later (according to the time stamps on my phone), we were designing this beauty…

I named her Alberta, after the province we live in – where people seem to love their jacked-up trucks hahahaha.

The ride was great as always (but not as great as Radiator Springs at Disneyland…)

We decided to start walking towards World Showcase, and entered on the Mexico Pavilion side. Since we had never done it before, we went inside the pyramid and saw there was no line up for the Grand Fiesta Tour! Off we went on a journey through Mexico with Donald Duck 🙂

We did not go any farther into World Showcase at this point, and instead starting making our way over to Canada for our lunch ADR. Of course, we had to stop to watch more marathoners! And I had to take a picture of the wonderful signs these ladies had made haha!

After seeing some people run by with absolutely fantastic costumes, we finally entered the Canada Pavilion – gosh it’s pretty!

We checked in, and had lunch at Le Cellier (review here).

Since we were already in the Canada Pavilion, we had to stop and ask for some of the Canada 150 Buttons they had created in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday this year. The cast member (who was from Regina, Saskatchewan according to her nametag) even wrote our hometowns on our pins for us (and dotted all the i’s with Mickey Heads!), and then covered the writing with a piece of tape to protect it.

While we were eating, we had decided to drop our Figment Fastpass, and were able to pick one up for Soarin’.

Soarin’ is such a great ride! I can’t believe we had never been on it prior to this trip (although it was closed for refurbishment on our only WDW trip before this one, and it was closed on 1 of our Disneyland trips as well).

 

January 7, 2017

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

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. 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 🙂

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

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  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 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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

Next: An Early Morning

 

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 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

Since Photopass was included with my annual pass, we stopped for a few pictures in Cars Land 🙂 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 🙁 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 🙂

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