Feb 21, 2014





We CAN stick to our plans ….


We were up again at around 6.30am. I took a shower and while Tom took one and then went on to prepare breakfast I started packing up our things. The master bedroom looked like a major disaster zone.

Once breakfast was ready we sat down and enjoyed what we had in the fridge and some of the leftover doughnuts from the day before. Bellies full we grabbed our bags and headed out to the Animal Kingdom. Once we had made it there we were shocked how many people were already at the toll booths, even though it was before park opening. It took us a few minutes to go through, and then we got in line to park our car. They still had a few spaces right at the bottom of the line, close to the tram, but the car in front of us was the first one to be directed to the end of the line again. Well, you hike a lot at WDW, hiking the parking lot is not one of our favourite things to do, so we decided to NOT park, but drive around one more time.

And when we got back to parking we were far more in luck as we scored a space in the lower third of the row. Car parked we headed to the tram that just pulled. It was now 9am and the park was officially opening and we were waiting for the tram to pull out of the stop. And waited … and waited some more. Finally the tram moved and we were on our way. Bag check took a while, but soon we were scanning our Magic bands and headed into the park. We only got a few steps into the park before we made our first stop. Right there, a few steps away from the entrance was DeVine. People just walked by, but as soon as the first few stopped, the circle around her grew and grew. We watched for a minute of two and then headed further into the park.

On the way to our ride of choice we first walked through the shops and then headed to the right. Many people seemed to have the same idea and soon we arrived at our destination, Expedition Everest. We were stunned to see only a five minute wait, so we hopped into line. And walked right through to the loading zone. We peeked around the corner, only one couple waiting for front row, so we asked to ride in the front row and were told to wait for the next train. Yippie. Even though we did not have any FP+ for this park we were on ride within 5 minutes of getting in line. The ride itself was fun as always and we walked out through the gift shop, where Tom found a lot of hats to try on.

Pictures taken we walked outside hoping the wait for EE would not be too long and we would be able to ride it again. When we saw the posted wait time we were both very happy. Only a 10 minute wait. So we hopped in line and walked right through the line. This time there were a few people in line for front row, so we just took the row we were assigned and got the last but one car. We were both very happy to be able to ride one of our favourite rides twice without FP+. When we got off the ride we did not even stop in the gift shop, but thought about getting in the single rider line. But not without checking the regular wait time. It had now grown to 20 minutes, but that was still not very long and given that we had walked onto the other two rides we decided to give it a shot.

Now, this time the wait was actually a bit longer, as they had even opened the tea garden, but still we were in the loading zone within 15 minutes. Now, this time two couples were waiting for front row and we decided we could wait three trains as well. So we asked for front row again, knowing that it would be the last time we would be able to ride Everest for the next 18 months. Didn’t take long and we were in the front row seat again and enjoying this great ride. Once we got off we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We made a quick restroom stop, then got ourselves a bottle of water to rehydrate again and off we went. The sign outside said 60 minutes, but we were sure the line would be that long. Well, it was.

It snaked right back into a garden after you initially got in line and while the line moved, it moved pretty slowly. 55 minutes after we had gotten in line we had finally reached the last check point and were soon assigned a row.

Luckily for us there were only larger groups, so we had a whole row to ourselves. It took a few minutes until we were able to head down the road and start our adventure as there were a lot of vehicles out. We were so lucky as there were lots of animals roaming around and we got to see quite a few giraffes, some white rhinos and even the lion and lioness were positioned nicely. Far too soon it was time to get off the ride and it was now close to noon, so we decided to have some lunch before leaving the park. I had done my homework and knew that Tamu Tamu Refreshments had something on their menu that we wanted to try.

Tom got himself some beer from the stand across the road and then we headed to place our order. A few minutes later we picked it up at the window on the other side of the building and headed into the nice shaded courtyard. We quickly found a table and after taking some pictures of the St. George’s premium Lager and my Coke it was time to dig into the Slow-Cooked Chicken Curry, mild African-spiced chicken curry served over Jasmine Rice and a side of Pita Bread. We had decided to share it and were glad we did as it was quite filling and absolutely delicious. Once we had finished our lunch we strolled back to Asia and Tom found another beer he wanted to try.

So we stopped at a little stand to get him another beer he had not yet tried, the Kingfisher Lager. We found a seat across the path and enjoyed the sight of the Tree of Life. About half an hour later we left the park and headed over to the car park. I was now the assigned driver and off we went. We made one more quick stop at Downtown Disney to pick up some items we had planned on buying before returning to Old Key West. We had some Diet Coke and coffee and shared some of the leftover doughnuts. Then Tom took another dip in the Jacuzzi, while I finished off as much packing as possible. Around quarter to four we got ready to head back out again. This time we were off to Epcot and the third park in a day and a half.

But first we had a reservation at Beaches and Cream. We arrived at the Beach Club shortly before our reservation and headed right to the sign in desk. We were stunned, as a host took us right in and we were seated.

It was easy to decide on what we wanted to eat. Tom ordered the Angus Beef Burger - served with Cheddar, Lettuce, and Tomato on a Fresh-baked Bun with French Fries, while I had long decided to go with my new favourite there, the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque – a six-cheese blend on Brioche Bread. It didn’t take long for both to be served and we were happily munching our early dinner. We were far too full for dessert so we just paid the bill and then headed over to Epcot. We had three FP+ set up and wanted to spend Extra Magic Hours in the park as well. And since we had a little time to kill before our first FP+, we strolled over to France, so Tom could sport the new hat, which he had bought at Disneyland Paris.

When we got to Morocco we asked at the host’s stand how long they were open and if they were open during Extra Magic Hours. They assured us they were and so we decided to come back after our last FP+ ride, to try some of their tasting plates. We made a u-turn and slowly walked back through France, England and finally Canada, where Tom had another treat, a Moosehead. We sat on one of the benches while he slowly emptied his cup and took in the hustle and bustle around us. Then it was time to head to our first FP+ ride, Mission Space. We would not have needed FP+. There was no line at all and we ended up joining the end of the regular line. Took only a minute or two until we were divided into teams and soon we were off on our mission.

And since there had been no line we just turned around and got in line again. This time we waited about five minutes until we were divided into teams. Mission accomplished we went over to Test Track, to see how long the standby wait time was. Too long, but the wait for the single rider line was pretty acceptable, so we got in there.

We waited about 20 minutes until it was our turn to fill empty spaces in the cars. And no matter how often we ride Test Track, I still like the old version better. Once we got off we walked over to Mouse Gear and did some shopping before heading over to Spaceship Earth, which again we had a FP+ for, which totally wasn’t needed. It was a walk on for everyone. So we soon ended up on our way through history and into the future. When we got off we still had time before our final FP+, so we cut through Club Cool and then over to Journey into Imagination. We got our own “train” as we were the only people riding at that time. And after a short visit to the gift shop we were off again. It was now time for our last FP+ ride, Soarin.

So over to The Land we went and down to Soarin, where we were greeted by a long standby line and quite a line to scan our Magic Bands as well. But soon it was our turn and we were on our way. For people in the FP line it was more or less a walk on until the point where the line splits in two. Everyone was directed to the left and we were the first people to have to head to the right. Well, both lines were pretty equal and within ten minutes we were divided into rows. We love to ride on the top row and were prepared to ask for it, but we were quickly directed to the last bay and put into the top row anyway. Score! The TV for the pre-show was broken, but no one seemed to mind. And before we knew it we were sent in to take our seats. Well, in our row not so much. There was one family who was supposed to sit all to the far left, but when they sat down they had decided to “split up”. They sat all over the place in that row and had quickly buckled themselves in. Quite a few of us were still standing and finally a cast member opened up the belts again and they had to move to the end of their row, so that the rest of us could sit down.

Once seated and buckled in we were off on our leisurely flight. And after we had landed again and gotten off we walked over to Living with the Land instead of trying to watch Illuminations. I think there were four people in our boat including us. But it did not take away from the fun ride this was. Seeing all the creative ways to grow crops never gets old. When we got off the ride and outside, Illuminations had already ended and we stopped at Mouse Gear to pick up a forgotten item and to refill one of our gift cards. There was still an hour and a half left of Extra Magic Hours and we thought we not sit down at Spice Road Table now for a while. So we strolled over to the restaurant, still way within the time they had told us to come back in.

We asked at the hostess stand and nope they were closed. Same person who had told us before they were open during Extra Magic Hours, now told us that they were closed and only the bar was still open, but if we wanted a drink it would have to be “to go”. We both didn’t feel like a drink, so we slowly walked back and then out of the park to head back to our car. And since we had left the park much earlier than expected we came up with the clever idea of driving to Krispy Kreme to see if they had hot doughnuts. 20 minutes later we saw the light on and quickly turned into the parking lot. They had just started baking again and there was already a long line of people waiting and watching the doughnuts creeping down the conveyor. One of the sales people then went to pick some doughnuts off of the belt with paper and handed them to the waiting people. We all were stunned and everyone thanked the young lady wholeheartedly. It took a while until the orders of the people ahead of us were filled and the young lady started a second round of handing out doughnuts. We told her that we had already had one, but she just blinked and said “enjoy another one”. So we both had received two doughnuts each. Once it was our turn we bought a dozen glazed doughnuts to hand to the security person at Old Key West and 6 glazed doughnuts for ourselves for breakfast. And after paying we headed back to our car and got on our way back to Old Key West. We arrived shortly after 11pm and we both picked a drink out of the fridge.

Tom’s choice was another beer he had found while shopping the day before, an Apple Pie beer. Well, it sounds unusual and so was the taste. I have to say that after a sip or two it went down the drain, not Tom’s taste at all. We watched a little more TV and were a bit sad that our only trip to the US was already coming to an end again. Around midnight we were ready to go to bed.