Feb 20, 2014





„We did not expect you quite that early“


We had already made it into Port Canaveral when we woke up. We took showers and enjoyed a little time out on the veranda before packing up the rest of our stuff and heading to Cabanas for breakfast. We got in line, picked up the regular breakfast fare of scrambled eggs, bacon, some waffles and some strawberry compote and whipped cream and headed for a table. We found some seating along the long table running along the restaurant and enjoyed our last breakfast on board for this cruise. The Palo team was looking after Cabanas and it was neat to see some familiar faces. Soon we were done with breakfast, headed downstairs to our room.

After a stop to the restroom we checked everything once again for forgotten items, then picked up our carry ons and off we went. We had timed our exit for when the second breakfast seating was about to begin and were happy to see that there was no line at the exit at all.

Tom quickly took a few exit photos and off we went. Keys to the world card scanned we were now officially off the ship. Once in the customs hall we asked a porter to help us with our stuff, found it quickly and got in line. The line was longer, but moved fast as they had all the desk manned and people were going through constantly. Soon it was our turn and then we found ourselves waiting for the elevator to go up to the walkway to the parking structure. A minute later we were crossing that walkway and found ourselves in front of our car. We tipped the porter, then started to fit all our stuff into the boot and the Owner’s Locker Box onto the back seat.

GPS fixed in the car we were now ready to leave. All that was left to do was to pay for parking before we left the parking lot. As always we went around the terminal and the ship one more time, but then we were on our way. Traffic was light and we made good progress and about an hour later we drove under the Walt Disney World Arch.

It was only shortly after 9.30am when we heard the friendly “Welcome home” when we stopped at the Old Key West security checkpoint. We knew there was no way our villa would already be ready, but we wanted to leave our stuff with bell services and do a little shopping. It was hard finding a spot to park our car, but after three rounds around the parking lot at the Hospitality House we were finally able to find one and head inside, paperwork in hand. We were greeted by a friendly cast member with a tablet in hand, who asked us if we had done online check in and then sent us inside to the front desk. There was no one in line and we could go straight up. A very nice and friendly older gentleman checked us in and then said, “We didn’t expect you quite that early, so the villa that was assigned to you is not ready yet, but let me see what I can do.” And with that he went to work on the computer and a minute later he went to the back room to pick up our magic bands. He checked them, then handed them to us, together with a map and with a smile he said. I got you another villa on Turtle Pond Road and it’s on the top floor and it is READY! You can go and check it out right now. I guess both our jaws dropped and we thanked him a lot, then, still in awe we headed over to the shop to do some browsing before heading out to the car and driving over to Turtle Pond Road. When we arrived we picked up our carry ons and a few smaller bags and headed upstairs to our villa. It was perfect. It even had the bathroom with the two entrances.

So, as fast as we could we returned to our car and got the rest of our luggage. There were a few leftover drinks from the ship, which went into the fridge right away and after a restroom stop we were off to do some shopping. First stop Walgreens for some “over the counter” meds, then a quick stop at Publix to stock up on things to take home and some sweets for my pupils.

We also bought some of our regular salads and picnic supplies for a nice and easy lunch in our villa for a change. It was only noon when we were all done and on our way back to our villa. We were getting close to Old Key West when we decided we wanted something hot for lunch. So we drove over to Port Orleans Riverside, parked the car and headed to the Riverside Mill to pick up something. We checked the menu and while Tom got in line I picked up a piece of Carrot Cake and a Magic Cookie bar, then headed over to join Tom in line. Lunch in hand we headed to the check-out and paid for our food with a gift card before returning to our car and driving back to Old Key West. Once there we quickly took all of our purchases upstairs and started laying the table.

Lunch was really nice. We both enjoyed sharing the Southern Fire Chicken Sandwich with French Fries and the Barbecued Pork Sandwich with French Fries together with the salads and chips we had picked up.

Once we had enjoyed our lunch Tom took a dip in the Jacuzzi, while I started rearranging our Owner’s Locker box. And around 2pm we were on our way out again, this time to experience our first Fast pass +. We got into the car and were soon on route to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where we quickly were directed to parking in Music, row 51. It was a bit of a hike back to the tram and when we arrived, the one in the stop was just pulling out, but the other was coming right up. We thought about walking down to the gate for a second, but then decided on the tram. Well, we should have walked. It took quite some time for the tram to pull out of the stop again and when we finally arrived at the park and bag check we saw that a Friendship had arrived just ahead of us.

So we got into line at the bag check and it moved pretty smoothly until a woman with a stroller joined the man in front of us. They had a gazillion bags in that stroller and would only pick one up when asked to do so, it took forever for them to get through. But soon we were through too and headed for the entrance. We used our Magic Bands for the first time at a park entrance and it worked a charm. And off we went to our first ride of this trip, one of our all-time favourites, the Tower of Terror. We walked through the shops and did a little browsing and soon we could see that indeed today was a busy day. The posted stand by wait time for the Tower of Terror was 60 minutes, so we headed over to the entrance to see if it was really that bad. And it was! They were telling people that it was at least a 60 minute wait for stand by. We put our Magic Bands against the reader and quickly saw the green light and were on our way. The Fast pass line only started at the entrance to the building, so was very short and within a minute or two we found ourselves in one of the libraries. Pre-show over, the doors opened and we were about to head over to the boiler room. But ….. there were a lot of people right outside the sliding door and it took a while until we could all get in line and finally worked our way towards the boiler room.

It took about 10 minutes until we were finally assigned a seat. And since they filled ALL the seats, we were moved right to front row when a larger group needed more seats together. A few more instructions and “on the way”. The ride was fun as always and we just thought about getting into the standby line again, but it still was 60 minutes and we had more rides to ride that day. So we slowly strolled back towards the hat, checking out the stores along the way. We had another FP+ for the Indiana Jones stunt show which we had not seen in a long time and when we arrived they had already started to let people in. We found a fairly nice seats, leaned back and waited. It was fun to see how quickly the theatre filled up and soon the pre-show and selecting of “extras” was started.

And even though the show is a bit dated, it was still fun to watch. Once Indy had saved us all we made our way to our next FP+ location, Toy Story Mania. We could not believe the standby time of 75 minutes, but once we had gotten into the FP line, we KNEW, the time posted outside was correct. The FP line moved fairly quickly and we quickly were able to pick up our 3D glasses and once we went through the turnstiles we were stopped and sent into the completely empty line on the right. Another score on the Pixiedust. We walked right down to where they assign you to a special row to get onto the vehicle and were seated within a minute.

We walked right down to where they assign you to a special row to get onto the vehicle and were seated within a minute. The ride itself was fun as always, even though my arm always hurts like hell after a ride. We were done with the rides we wanted to fit in, even with a little time to spare. So we leisurely strolled toward the hat again and when we passed Man’s Chinese Theatre, we headed inside to see how long of a line there was. Well, the pre-show room was quite full, but people were moving, so we got in line. We saw two runs of the pre-show before we boarded our ride through the movies. It is one ride that never gets old. So nice to sit back and be transported through all the movies.

Once the ride had finished we picked up a Mickey Pretzel before we finally headed to the exit. A tram to the parking lot was waiting for us and soon we were back in our car. We drove right to Kissimmee and pick up some of our favourite treats, Krispy Kreme doughnuts. And for once we did not stick with just buying glazed doughnuts, we picked some speciality ones and some filled ones. Soon we were on our way back to Old Key West for a little break. Tom put the Jacuzzi to good use, while I checked the internet and started repacking. When Tom got out of the Jacuzzi we had some coffee and doughnuts before it was time to get going again, as we wanted to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks. When we arrived at the entrance, the crowds were pretty thick, but bag check was a fairly easy process and soon we had gone through the turnstiles. To say the Magic Kingdom was packed would have been an understatement. So we strolled through the stores and soon they announced that the projection show at the castle was about to start. We headed out and found a nice spot on Main Street where we waited for the show to start. It was just as awesome as we remembered it and once it was over we stayed around for the fireworks which were to start in just a few minutes. We chatted away the time and soon the lights on Main Street went out and the fireworks started. Unfortunately it was also the time when people were streaming in from the sides to stand directly in front of you.

And while I don’t mind people in front of me, I do mind that they then put their not so small kiddos on their shoulders and therefore give the people behind them NO chance to properly see the fireworks. So no fun at all. There was a lot of spot changing and shuffling going on, but after a little while we had found a spot where we were able to get a good look at the fireworks and enjoy them. After the fireworks were over we went up to the tipboard, but wait times were quite long, so we decided to hit the Peoplemover before heading out of the park. Well, guess what, even the Peoplemover had a line and quite a long one as well. But after a little wait we were on and off we went around Tomorrowland. Once the ride was over we slowly strolled towards the exit.

Before we left I picked up another treat, some Popcorn. I kept munching on it all the way to the car. About 20 minutes later we arrived back at Old Key West. And a few minutes after we had arrived we heard some noise outside. So we went out onto the balcony and low and behold we were able to see some fireworks above the trees. A quick look at our watch and we were sure, they must have been Illuminations. We could not see too much, so after a few minutes we headed back inside and emptied the contents of the fridge out onto the dining table and had a late but yummy dinner. After dinner Tom had some of the Fruit salad we had purchased earlier, while I sampled the Carrot Cake and Magic Cookie bar. Around 11pm after watching some TV and relaxing we knew it was time to call it a day.