It’s been a while since our last blog post, but here is the update from our trip to Florida.
After visiting Niagara Falls in the freezing cold and snow on Saturday, on Sunday we needed to wake up really early because my flight to Orlando was leaving at 06:20 am from Toronto so at 04:15 am the taxi was waiting for us downstairs and 45 minutes later we arrived at the airport. Of course my passport was not accepted at the Air Canada kiosk so we needed to wait in line to get my baggage tags. This was not moving at all so Sander got a little irritated and eventually we were allowed to go through the priority lane. But when you think it was over after this you’re wrong. We also needed to go through customs (yes the US Customs are already at Toronto airport) and after that there is the security check. It was stressful but 10 minutes before the boarding time we arrived at the gate to see that my flight had a 30-minute delay. Reason for the delay was that they had problems (??) getting the airplane out of the hangar.
After one hour we were finally ready to leave Toronto. Actually I did not mind the delay because Sander’s flight was leaving 2 hours later and I was going to wait for him at Orlando Int. Airport. The flight was OK for a 2,5 hour flight and my suitcase was almost the first one to arrive at the baggage belt. After that I looked for a place to eat while I was waiting for Sander’s flight to arrive. Unfortunately his flight was also delayed due to passengers who were stuck in customs/security at the airport. But after I had an early lunch and changed my Toronto-outfit for an Orlando-outfit I only needed to wait a little more and Sander was already standing next to me. Sander also changed his outfit at the airport and we went to look for the shuttle to bring us to Sixt rent-a-car just a little offsite of the airport. After a little wait we got our car, which was a Mini Cooper Countryman and we were on our way to our hotel.
The first part of this trip we were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando at Seaworld. This hotel is near the Orange County Convention Center where Sander is going to work the next couple of days.
As soon as we arrived at the hotel and checked in we leave for Epcot. Epcot is our favourite Walt Disney World Park. After getting our tickets at the “will-call counter” we’re entering the park.
First thing we do is going to the Character Sport to get our picture taken with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. There was only a 5-minute wait and we got ourselves a special picture with Mickey.
The rest of the day we do some attractions in Future World, also with Fast Pass+. I’m not sure if I really like this system, I just think I have to get used to it. Sander does TestTrack and Mission Space and together we do SpaceShip Earth and Soarin’. Then it’s time to leave Future World behind us and walk to World Showcase. I like this part of Epcot the most, it’s just great to walk around and see the different countries around the World Showcase Lagoon. We also got ourselves the MagicBand.
At 09:00 pm we watched Illuminations: Reflections of Earth from the German pavilion and after this amazing show we leave the park and drive back to the hotel.
On Monday we both wake up early. Sander because he needs to go to the Convention Center and I am going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios today. I’ve got Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania, Stunt Show Spectacular and the Beauty and the Beast show. Unfortunately there is a lot of construction going on in this park and there is no parade. I wanted to get my picture taken with Baymax and Hiro, but the line was soon long, I think it was over one hour. So I just took a picture of Baymax and then decided to leave the park. tonight I wanted to see Fantasmic! and I needed to get my vest at the hotel. At 05:00 pm I was back in the park and after I bought myself something to eat and drink I entered the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater and got myself a great spot, right in the middle. I think this was my best spot ever for this show. And then the waiting started, more than 90 minutes but I had a nice woman sitting next to me and we talked about everything and before we knew it the show was about to start. I know I say it al the time and I will keep saying it, this show is amazing and gives me goosebumps every time I watch it, especially the part where Mickey Sorcerer appears at the top of the mountain at the end of the show!
After this show I left the park and drove back to the hotel, where Sander and his colleagues were waiting at Bonefish Grill for dinner.
On Tuesday I went to Magic Kingdom. This park was really busy and there was a lot of construction going on but I had my Fastpasses. So I went for Peter Pan’s Flight and Winnie the Pooh. Afterwards I had a photo shoot with Elsa. Shortly after that it started to rain so I decided to get back to the hotel because I was going to rain almost all day long. I relaxed a bit at the hotel and in the evening Sander and I went back to Magic Kingdom to see Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes! Lucky us, it stopped raining and we enjoyed both shows.
On Wednesday I was going to visit Animal Kingdom. As I entered the parking lot an already saw 5 cranes in the parks, also here a lot of construction going on. Here I had Fastpasses for Finding Nemo the Musical and Festival of the Lion King. I also went to see Flights of Wonders for the very first time. All really great shows, but that is just what Disney does best. You can watch them over and over again. I realised that if you’re pregnant in this park there is not a lot you can do (no Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Primeval Whirl). And also in this park there is now parade anymore, so after I did those shows I left the park and went for lunch outside of the Disney Parks.
For lunch I had some strawberry banana pancakes at IHOP, just delicious! Lunch was followed by shopping at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlets and while I was there Sander already called me that they were done at the Convention Center so I drove back to the hotel and we spend the rest of the evening shopping at the Mall at Millenia and the Florida Mall.
On Thursday Sander did have to work and we were going to change our hotel. We started this day at Magic Kingdom and he finally could ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, twice, because he also had my FastPass. We did some more attractions with almost no wait time and watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade. A nice parade with great music, but for my opinion a little bit to short. We saw the parade twice, first in Frontierland and at the beginning of Main Street USA before leaving the park. Before we went to the Hollywood Studios we went to our hotel to check in. The last 3 nights of our short vacation in Orlando we were staying at the Holiday Inn Resort Lake Buena Vista.
We stayed here once in 2009 and the hotel is still great. After bringing our luggage to our room we went to the Studio’s for Fantasmic! and again we had a really good spot but had to wait for more than 90 minutes, but still worth it. As soon as Fantasmic! was done we got to our car as soon as possible and drove to Epcot to see Illuminations to end the day! Tired but satisfied we drove back to our hotel.
Friday was a rainy and cold day so we only went to the parks in the morning to use the Fast Passes we booked in the Hollywood Studio’s. Sander started with a FastPass for the Tower of Terror and together we went in Toy Story Mania, and guess who won….. I did for a change! Hahaha! Due to the bad weather we visited Downtown Disney and had a relaxing afternoon, Sander jumped in the hot-tube while I sat on our balcony. In the evening we went for diner with Ronella (colleague of Sander) and David in the Applebees in our hotel.
The Saturday we started with a really healthy and late Dunkin’ Donut breakfast before we went shopping. Due to the really bad weather we decided to visit as much indoor malls as we could find. In the evening the weather finally got better and we went to the Longstar Steakhouse for dinner. Rested as we were we packed our suitcases and left our hotel early at the last day of this trip to visit Animal Kingdom. We had a couple FastPasses for rides and the Nemo musical. As soon as we used them we left the park towards Epcot!
In Epcot the theming for the upcoming Flower and Garden festival was already visible. I’ve to say we really came in a spring mood today. After getting a lot of rides done and a picture with Duffy we ended the day with a trip to Spaceship Earth. And then it was time to leave for the airport.
We dropped of the car and everything was fine. Within 10 minutes we arrived at the airport where Air Canada messed up once again. The lines where crazy at the Air Canada counters. We split up Sander went for the kiosks and I stood in the regular line since most of te time my passport isn’t recognized due to the “ë” in Daniëlle. And this was the case today, the line I stood in didn’t move at all and it was probably at least a 1,5 hour wait. But Sander got himself including me in the Priority Check-inn lane, don’t ask how but in only a couple of minutes we walked through customs. We joined Ronella and David and had a lot of fun while waiting for our boarding time. And the boarding again was a chaos. But Sander got us in the pre-boarding… We had fun seeing all the people board the plane with to large cabin luggage which didn’t fit in the overhead-bins. Just to funny…
The flight went by fast and we arrived even a bit early at the airport. Since we needed to go through the international customers at the airport we arrived at the baggage belts within 5 minutes after exiting the plane. We figured we need to wait for our suitcases, but not 1,5 hour…
Except for the chaos caused by Air Canada and the other things which belong to flying this was a nice escape from the cold winter in Toronto.