Posted in Florida 2016

24th December 2016 (Day 7)-Magic Kingdom

Back to Magic Kingdom today, and Christmas Eve already.

The weather today was amazing with bright blue skies and very warm.  So different to experience weather like this so close to Christmas when we would normally have grey skies and probably rain in the UK. So we definitely were going to make the most of it. Plan was to stay all day and see the fireworks at the end of the day, so we didn’t rush down to the park.  We were a little concerned about how busy it would be but it actually wasn’t too bad at all considering it was Christmas Eve.

Rosemary was wearing her amazing Christmas dress.

Christmas Dress
Christmas Dress

On the way in we grabbed some more photos in front of the tree, making the most of that free Photopass.

Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays

We had a little browse through the shops on Main Street.  And found a giant rice crispie cake to add to our “Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head” series.

Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head
Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head

We had Fastpasses sorted during the day but first we went into Country Bear’s Jamboree.  An attraction we’d never been to before.  Sorry no pictures (they didn’t come out well).  But after that we used our first Fastpass for the Jungle Cruise.  For Christmas everything is rethemed as the Jingle Cruise and the puns are absolutely as terrible as usual.

Jingle Cruise
Jingle Cruise
Jingle Cruise
Jingle Cruise
Jingle Cruise
Jingle Cruise

Afterwards we were in the Adventureland area and decided to visit the Tiki Room and watch that.  Didn’t want to exhaust ourselves as we were planning to stay late, and it was a good chance to sit down in the cool. Think we might have been our first time actually going into the show.

Tiki Room
Tiki Room

After that we used our second Fastpass to meet some Princesses.  Elena and Cinderella this time.

Princess Elena
Princess Elena
Princess Cinderella
Princess Cinderella

We had lunch reservations but had a bit of time before that and could hear something going on around the castle.  We went to investigate and it was a dance party.  So we stopped to watch and Rosemary joined in a little bit.

Dance Party
Dance Party

What was good was the different characters in the parade, including those from Zootropolis.

Dance Party
Dance Party

By this time we could go for our lunch reservation at Jungle Cruise Canteen.

Jungle Cruise Canteen
Jungle Cruise Canteen

This was a new restaurant from our last visit (I think) and although the food was OK it wasn’t that impressive and thought it was a little pricey for what it was.  Was nice though and a good experience.  Just not sure I’d worry about it again.

When we had finished with lunch we tried to catch the Christmas parade but were a little stuck on the Adventureland side with a lot of people in between.  So it was a bit further away than would have been ideal, but we did still get to see Santa before he goes off on his busy night.

Santa
Santa
Santa
Santa

Our next Fastpass was for Pirates of the Caribbean, so we headed back into Adventureland.  Stopping on the way to visit the Robinson’s Treehouse.  Rosemary was a bit unimpressed.  No ride features or animatronics.

Robinson's Treehouse
Robinson’s Treehouse

And then onto Pirates!  No photos from the ride as it was so dark. Great ride and that drop at the start still catches me out.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean

We then had some time to wander around the park and do some browsing in the shops.  The rides were pretty busy but honestly we weren’t that worried and it was just a good opportunity to see the park at night.  We thought the castle looked amazing all lit up at night.

Disney Castle
Disney Castle

But when all the lights came on it was even more amazing.

Disney Castle
Disney Castle

We weren’t feeling that hungry but wanted a snack so headed to Gaston’s, which was really quiet.  We got warm cinnamon rolls and coffee.  And the coffee is still the worst ever.

Gaston's
Gaston’s

The cinnamon rolls aren’t quite as big as your head but are pretty big.

Gaston's
Gaston’s

Gaston’s looked really good at night.  We’ve not spent that much time at the parks after dark because Rosemary would get tired and we’d head back.  So it was really good to see things.

Gaston's
Gaston’s

We bumped into one of the Photopass photographers by the Little Mermaid ride and got this great photo.

Ariel's Castle
Ariel’s Castle

We checked out the store at Storybook Circus and Rosemary had a short play in the water bit there.

Storybook Circus
Storybook Circus

Julia really wanted to see the Hall of President’s (again something we have never done) and it would give us a little break while we sat down.  Photography and video isn’t allowed in the hall and so just this picture from the lobby with the Seal of the United States. Interesting show, although some of the animatronics were a bit creepy.

Hall of Presidents
Hall of Presidents

By this time it was nearly the start of the fireworks show so we headed back towards the castle.  The position we ended up in wasn’t ideal but we still got a great view.  The light show on the castle is great and the fireworks were excellent.

Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks

By this time it was getting really late so we headed out of the park (along with pretty much everyone else) to head back to the hotel.  We had a busy day the following day so wanted to get as much sleep as we could.

Back at the hotel it was just time to hang up things ready for Santa.

Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve

What a lovely way to spend Christmas Eve!

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Posted in Florida 2016

23rd December 2016 (Day 6)-Discovery Cove

Off to Discovery Cove today and big day for Rosemary as she is going to get to swim with a dolphin.  May be an understatement that she was quite excited by this.

We got there nice and early, well before the pools had opened up, so we could complete our check-in and have some breakfast, and then we would have an absolutely complete day for all the activities.

Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove

While at checking we met a very nice sloth.

Sloth
Sloth

We were allocated a mid-morning swim with the dolphins which was just perfect, and then went and got some breakfast.  Nice buffet selection and didn’t skimp on the portion sizes.

Breakfast
Breakfast

By this time the swim areas were opening open and we got some wetsuits and went to the river to do a little snorkeling.

River
River
River
River
Swimming
Swimming
Snorkling
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Snorkeling

We stopped for a quick drink and then went for out dolphin swim.  Although this was not Rosemary’s first time at Discovery Cove it was her first time in the water with the dolphins, as you have to be over 6 to do that.  It was an amazing experience with feeding the dolphin, petting them and also being pulled along by them in the water.  We spent time with Thelma and Lunar.  We obviously bought the photos which the professional photographers took as it was the only way to get them, plus we then got pictures of us all together.

Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter

After our encounter we went for some lunch (everything is included in the day including all your food, snacks and drinks).  Sitting outside having just swam with dolphins 2 days before Christmas was a bit surreal, as it was freezing cold at home.

Lunchtime
Lunchtime

After lunch we visited the Grand Reef.

Grand Reef
Grand Reef

The river is maintained a really warm temperature but since there are the fish swimming in the reef the temperature is much lower, and it’s quite a shock when you first get into it. We snorkeled around for a while looking at the fish and following the rays around.

Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef
Grand Reef

We also spent some time looking into the shark area, which is all behind glass but you sort of forget it’s there which makes the experience that much better.

Watching the Sharks
Watching the Sharks
Shark Zone
Shark Zone
Shark Zone
Shark Zone

But it was still quite chill being in there and Rosemary was getting quite cold after a while.

Julia decided to go and get showered and I went with Rosemary for a few final goes round the river area. Virtually had to drag her out of the water.

Last Swim
Last Swim
Last Swim
Last Swim

And unfortunately that was the end to our day at Discovery Cove.  An awesome day.

Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove
Posted in Florida 2016

22nd December 2016 (Day 5)-Magic Kingdom

Going to be a long day today with lots of stuff packed in.  So we got up early, had breakfast at the hotel and headed to Magic Kingdom.  We got there early because the park would be closing early for the special ticketed Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  We had decided not to get tickets for this because of the extra cost, the fact that it would likely be very busy as it was the last one and Rosemary would probably be tired and we’d only stay a couple of hours.

The big tree was at the top of Main Street and there were various meet and greets going on there.

Magic Kingdom Tree

The countdown was also getting close to the big day.

3 Days to Go

While we sorted ourselves out after unpacking everything to come through security I snapped a quick picture of Rosemary with Walt and Mickey.

Rosemary with Walt and Mickey

Main Street was pretty busy but we caught a bit of the Royal Welcome show, which features Princess Elena being welcomed to the park by Cinderella. The Christmas decorations along Main Street were all (of course) Mickey shaped.

Mickey Decorations

And then headed towards Tomorrow World where we had our first FastPass.  But as we were still a little early for it we went into the Carousel of Progress.  Possibly not the best use of time as it’s not a ride which will ever be busy but we were in the location and didn’t want to walk off somewhere else.

Carousel of Progress

When we came out we got a pressed penny (we had got a few already and Rosemary’s collection is getting pretty large now).

Pressed Penny

And by this time our first FastPass was active for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  I went with Rosemary and Julia went on her own.  She was also the only one who realised there was a ride camera along the way and posed for it.

Buzz’s Spin

But we beat Zerg at least (partly because the ride paused for a while in one spot and I kept shooting a 5000 point target).

Zerg is Defeated

And when we came out we found Buzz meeting his fans just beside the Carousel of Progress so we went and side “hi” and got some fist-bumps.

Fist-Bumps with Buzz

We started to walk towards our next FastPass and on the way the wait time for It’s a Small World was only 5 minutes so we went basically straight onto the ride.  It’s the only ride in any of the parks which we have done every single time we’ve visited with Rosemary, so it will have to be our tradition to always ride it no matter what.

It’s a Small World
It’s a Small World

After that we went to use our second FastPass at the Haunted Mansion.  I’d booked them early in the day (although it’s often much easier to get on rides at that time) because we knew we were leaving mid-afternoon and being unsure on how busy things would be I wanted some guaranteed rides.

Haunted Mansion

As we came out we were going back towards the Castle and saw that Peter Pan was out beside his ride.  We’d never even seen him before in the parks so wanted to join the queue (which wasn’t even that long).

Peter Pan

Having a little time before our next booked event and being as it was snack time, we got Rosemary a Premium Mickey Bar (is there a non-Premium one that’s cheaper perhaps?) and had a little breather.

Mickey Premium Bar

While sitting down I checked the park app and saw that the wait time for the Mad Tea Party was basically zero.  So as we were so close we headed over to pick up another ride.  It’s such a short ride, which was a little disappointing because there wasn’t really anyone waiting for it and I thought they could probably have let it run a bit longer.

Mad Tea Party

But when we got off it was time to use our third and final FastPass to meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall.

Princess Tiana
Princess Rapunzel

After the app again came in handy for the wait times, which now shows that the Under the Sea ride was down to 10 minutes or so.  So straight in again (nice and cool in there as well).  The UV lights on the ride really lit up our clothes.

Under the Sea

Our last booking at the park today was going to be a treat for Rosemary, which she didn’t know about, and was to go to the Crystal Palace for a slightly late lunch with the characters from Winnie the Pooh.  Bit confusing when you first arrive but our waiter told us who was coming round and what would happen.  There aren’t any Disney photographers in the restaurant so you take your own pictures.  We got to meet Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Pooh.  Food was pretty decent we thought and there was a good choice.

Eeyore
Tigger
Piglet
Pooh

Pooh was the last to come round and we’d finished eating by the time he appeared.  He was worth the wait though.  And his chaperone offered to take a family picture for us.

Pooh

We really liked it as a restaurant.  Nice and airy.  Julia recognised the biscuits as being special for the Very Merry Christmas Party (for the Disney Food Blog) and not available all the time.

Crystal Palace
Christmas Biscuits

On the way out we just stopped for some of the PhotoPass photographers to get some family photos.

Cinderella’s Castle
Under the Tree

And that was the end of what turned out to be a really packed day at Magic Kingdom, but not the end of our day. We left the park and instead of getting the monorail back to the Ticket and Transportation Center we got the resort monorail to the Grand Floridian.  We wanted to have a look at the hotel decorated for Christmas really.

Grand Floridian

A Previous time we came (in 2013) we went for dinner there, which we weren’t doing this time but instead going for a look round. The tree was really amazing, but very hard to get a good photo of. Hopefully I caught a little bit of the glamour and size of it.

Grand Floridian Tree

And there is a huge gingerbread house as well, which they sell hot chocolate and gingerbread from.

Gingerbread House

While we were looking round a couple asked us if we were waiting for Mickey and Minnie, which we knew nothing about.  So we waited and sure enough they made an appearance. So that was a really nice and unexpected bonus.

Mickey and Minnie

We then headed back to the car via the monorail and went to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney).  Parking was a bit of a headache but we ended up at the very top of one of the multi-story parking blocks.  We had a quick look round and visited the Coca Cola store, which had a great glass display.

Coke Store

And the World of Disney as well just to see what they were selling and get an idea of what we might want to get as souvenirs.

World of Disney

And that was as much as we could do for the day.  Time to head back to the hotel and bed.

Posted in Florida 2016

21st December 2016 (Day 4)-Rest and Shopping

We decided to take a break today so we could completely get over the tiredness of travel, get an absolutely full nights sleep and do some shopping.  We had originally planned to go to Typhoon Lagoon today, but as the temperature had dropped overnight and it wasn’t going to be such a nice day we decided to drop it and instead had a late breakfast and headed to the Vineland Avenue outlet stores.

We got a few bits in the Disney outlet (Character Warehouse) store including some lollies for Rosemary which stained her tongue pretty badly.

Will that ever come off?

We also popped to the outlets at the end of International Drive afterwards to have the quickest look there. Not as much of interest and the Disney outlet store was definitely not as well stocked.

After deciding we were shopped out we drove back down International Drive looking for somewhere to eat and decided on TGI Friday. Where they had cheap cocktails and Julia tried an Appletini.

Appletini

And we even caught some Pokemon.

Pokemon

Then early to bed so we would have plenty of energy for the Magic Kingdom tomorrow.

Posted in Florida 2016

20th December 2016 (Day 3)-Animal Kingdom

Off to Animal Kingdom today.  We’d planned out our trip in advance and this was going to be our only day at the park, so we had a list of things we wanted to try and fit in and had our FastPasses all sorted out for the big ticket rides.

On arrival we go the tram to the entrance and had to collect our tickets which had been pre-ordered.  We had already connected our tickets to our MagicBands online, so didn’t need to do anything other than pick up the tickets themselves, just in case anything went wrong with the MagicBands (they are 18 months old so didn’t know how long the batteries would last).

The Christmas Tree was all set up at the entrance.

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree

We went straight in (and our MagicBands worked fine) and started making our way through Discovery Island.  On the way we met the Tree Lady.

Tree Lady

Rosemary was a bit nervous of her I think but posed for a photo and waved goodbye.

Our first FastPass was to meet Favourite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost.  That’s Mickey and Minnie, which we thought would be a great way to kick off our visits to the Disney Parks.  And they were even dressed in Christmas themed clothes.

Meeting Mickey and Minnie

We had some family photos taken as we had a PhotoPass and MagicMaker included as part of our tickets (it was a freebie at the time we bought them), so wanted to make the most of having it.

As we came out we spotted Tarzan and Terk with a small queue for him.  Never met him before so Rosemary queued up and got autographs and photos with them. One piece of advise we read somewhere was never to walk past a character you’ve not seen before (assuming you want character photos and autographs) as some don’t come out very often.  No idea what the deal is with Tarzan but we’d never seen him out before when visiting Animal Kingdom.

Tarzan

We were going to try and make best use of the PhotoPass system and got some family pictures done (so hard to get all 3 of us in them when someone has to take the photo).

Tree of Life

We wanted a snack at this point so picked up a couple of iconic Disney snacks.  We first went to the Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery and got a Mickey Cinnamon Roll.  Not as good in my opinion as the ones at Gaston’s Tavern at Magic Kingdom, but still pretty good and more than enough for us to share.

Mickey Cinnamon Roll

And Rosemary got a Dole Whip from Tamu Tamu Refreshments.

Dole Whip

We next had FastPasses for Dinosaur so started heading that way by heading towards Asia with a plan to cut down through Discovery Island and found Baloo and King Louie doing a meet and greet at a great spot with a view back towards the Tree of Life.  There was a slightly alarming sign there though.

Great!

I hope the alligators and snakes can read and stay away.  But after a short wait and no attacks from alligators or snakes (so they must be able to read) we met them both and got an autograph from Baloo.  As their minder told us “King Louie doesn’t do paperwork”.

Baloo and King Louie

From there we headed down to Dinosaur in Dinoland USA and used our next FastPass to get on there.

Dinosaur

Straight through the long line to the front of the queue. Managed to get a picture of the pipes around there which are labelled up. Apparently they are the formulas for ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.

Chemical Formula

The ride was great fun, although very rough.  Noticed a few tweaks to the ride with new animations on the sides of small dinosaurs running along. Rosemary never looks too sure in the ride photos but always says it was great afterwards.

Dinosaur

When we came out Donald was doing his meet and we joined the (quite short) queue to see him. He’s one of Rosemary’s favourite characters so she always looks forward to a meeting with him.  Shame he never seems to do it with Daisy at the same time.  That would be great.

Donald Duck

We always seem to find unique things in Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, so went to have a look round.  Nothing this time but the dino at the entrance was decorated for Christmas.

Santasaurus

We stopped for more snacks at Dino Bite Snacks and got a couple of Mickey pretzels with melted cheese dip.  They were bigger than Rosemary’s head!

Never eat anything bigger than your head

We then headed back into Africa to catch a performance of the Festival of the Lion King show.  Last time we got so lucky and Rosemary was picked to go onto the floor and we got front row seats.  So check that Blog out for better pictures and video.  This time we joined the queue as normal and got seats about 2/3rds of the way back in the giraffe section (same as last time).

Festival of the Lion King

After the show I wanted to take a look over the hoardings to see how the Pandora area was coming along. You can see the floating mountains and some of the lights which will illuminate the paths.  Will have to visit again once it opens.

Pandora

We had FastPasses for the Kilimanjaro Safari from 4:20 so wanted to kill a little time before that.  Some performers were just coming out so we stopped to watch and Rosemary joined in a little bit with them.

Street Dancing

And then we saw It’s A Bugs Life.  It was nice and cool inside the Tree of Life and it was good to have a sit down from a little while.  Packed show though, seemed busier than normal as it’s usually relatively quiet.

Bug Vision

Our FastPasses for Kilimanjaro Safari were active by this time so we jumped through the FastPass entrance and past everyone else who had been queuing up.  Wait time was 90 minutes, so did feel slightly guilty, but not much. Seemed to be a good time to go on it as there were a lot of animals out and about, presumably getting ready to sleep as it would be dark relatively soon.

Kilimanjaro Safari
Kilimanjaro Safari
Kilimanjaro Safari

This was the last thing we wanted to do in the day, although we did want to stay and see the lighting on the Tree of Life as this was new since our last visit.  We headed to Pizzafari for dinner.  It was very quiet, with no queues to speak of, and we got food and a table straight away.  Food was pretty decent for quick service, although I’ve never really had an issue with the quick service in the parks.

Pizzafari

So after eating we walked the short way back to the Discovery Island area to get a good view of the Tree of Life.  The projection shows were excellent and we stayed for a good 3 or 4 different ones.

Tree of Life
Tree of Life

We just stopped on the way out for a picture of the Christmas Tree at night and the entrance (which I’d forgotten to take on the way in, but it’s prettier at night in any case).

Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree
Animal Kingdom

And here is the video from the day:

Posted in Florida 2016

19th December 2016 (Day 2)-Kennedy Space Center (with Video)

Off to the Kennedy Space Center today.  We got up at a decent time, although we were a bit tired from all the travelling, and had breakfast in the hotel.  Decent selection and quiet because it was relatively early.

Mickey Waffles
Mickey Waffles

Rosemary dressed up for NASA in her pink t-shirt we bought for her our last trip (at the shop at the airport as we didn’t visit KSC last time).

Dressed for NASA
Dressed for NASA

We had an uneventful and relatively boring drive down to the coast.  And managed to make payment at all the toll booths.

We got our tickets on arrival (only thing we hadn’t pre-booked) and headed in. Pre-booking everything worked well for us, because it was done at an exchange rate of about $1.45 to the £, but by the time we went it was around $1.20.  So saved ourselves a fair bit of cash this way.

Kennedy Space Centre
Kennedy Space Centre

We headed straight for the coach to go out to the Apollo exhibition.  On the way we got a great tour of the facilities and all the changes that are happening around the launch pads to allow commercial companies like Space X to be involved.

Vehicle Assembly Building
Vehicle Assembly Building
Launch Pad 39A
Launch Pad 39A
Space X Facility
Space X Falcon Facility

When you arrive you first have a recreation of the Apollo 8 launch from the firing room which was used at the time.  Great little show, with the windows rattling as the launch “happens” outside.

Apollo 8 Launch
Apollo 8 Launch

Once we were in the main hall we were getting hungry, and although it was early it was at least mid-afternoon as far as we were concerned.  So we grabbed some food at the Moon Rock Cafe and ate it literally right underneath the Lunar Lander.

Lunch at the Moon Rock Cafe
Lunch at the Moon Rock Cafe
Lunar Lander
Lunar Lander

After some much needed food we looked around at the Saturn V.  Always shocked by how big it is, even though we’ve seen it a few times now.

Saturn V
Saturn V

And how small the command module is for those 3 astronauts.  Don’t think I’d be able to cope with the claustrophobia.

Command Module
Command Module

We had a good look around the exhibits and the spacesuits.  Some of them look like the could have come from a 1950’s sci-fi movie.

Spacesuits
Spacesuits

And we had to go and touch the moon rock.

Moon Rock
Moon Rock

We couldn’t leave without trying on the space helmets though.

Trying on stuff
Trying on stuff

We headed back to the main complex after that on the bus.  It was certainly hot, and can’t say we were quite used to it yet.  That warm in December just doesn’t seem quite right somehow.  So we got Rosemary a bowl of Space Dots.  Look pretty to start with, but by the time the colours melt into each other you have a bowl of brown goop.

Dipping Dots
Space Dots

And after that we went into see the Space Shuttle.  Rosemary was getting tired by this point so we were taking it relatively easy.  Think we were all feeling a bit of jet lag.  After sitting through the pre-show we went through to the main exhibition hall.  The very nice guy who was guiding people in offered to take a photo of us all.

Atlantis
Atlantis

We had a nice slow look around and Rosemary played on the simulator.  It’s a great thing for kids as there are hundreds of switches and levers to play with.

Shuttle Simulator
Shuttle Simulator

Rosemary was very brave (braver than me) and crawled through the ISS exhibit which has a clear tube which is about 3 stories from the ground.

Vertigo!
Vertigo!

She also had a number of goes down the slide they have there, which is super steep and meant to give you a moment of zero-g.

Super Slide
Super Slide

After this we went to the Mars exhibit, although didn’t stay too long there as there were some presentations going on and they were well underway.

Mars Rover
Mars Rover

At the end of the exhibit were some computers where you could send a postcard home from space.  The one of Rosemary came out great and you get a free souvenir of your visit as well.

Postcard from Space
Postcard from Space

We then went through the Rocket Garden to the Heroes and Legends exhibit.  This is new since our last visit and is about the Mercury astronauts.  It started off with a 3D show where you stand in a large room and the projections are all round you.  Unfortunately the show broke down during the performance and we were ushered out into the exhibit itself.  We would have gone round and watched it again but it was getting late and there was only 1 more show I think that day in any case.

There was a mock up of the Mercury capsule mounted ontop of a Redstone booster. Sorry about the slight distortion, it was shot as a panorama to get it all in shot.

Mercury Redstone
Mercury Redstone

They also have the control room set up with recording playing of conversations.

Mercury Control Room
Mercury Control Room

Was definitely getting late by this point but I wanted to take a walk around the Rocket Garden.

Rocket Garden
Rocket Garden

And it was a good opportunity for Rosemary to have a nice play.  There were some fountains that children could play in that came on and went off.  She got soaked through, but we popped her into a t-shirt we’d just bought in the shop and she was more than happy to sit in the car and dry off.

Fountains
Fountains
Rocket Garden
Rocket Garden

We had a great day at the Space Center and headed back to Orlando for dinner.

Posted in Florida 2016

18th December 2016 (Day 1)-Travelling to Orlando (with Video)

Just 24 hours after Rosemary found out she was heading to Disney World for Christmas we were packing the car and ready to head to Gatwick.  Long queues at check-in because the day before there had been a lot of flights cancelled because of fog.  It was still really foggy and we weren’t sure of what would happen to out flight at this time.  Finally, after about an hour, we were checked in, bags dropped and heading to security.

We got some breakfast at Garfunkels (which was OK) and while we were there the gate came up and looked like our flight was one of the few leaving on time.  So after a little bit of shopping we headed to the gate.

Gatwick
Gatwick

We were relatively late in arriving there and went straight through and onto the plane.  Always worry that all the overhead bins will be taken when it’s like this but in luck and plenty of space.

Ready for Take Off
Ready for Take Off

Our experienced trans-Atlantic traveler quickly settled down in her seat with headphones on and the movies playing before take-off.

Take-Off
Take-Off

Smooth flight and arrived pretty much on time.

Clouds over Florida
Clouds over Florida

Immigration was SOOOO slow and finally got through and collected our bags. Then  had to join another REALLY long queue just to hand in the slip that says we don’t have any vegetables. So very slow!  But finally, after getting the monorail and going down 2 flights of stairs we were finally able to pick up our hire car.  And no queue at Hertz!

Car was a Kia Soul which had a really small boot and we could only get one suitcase in.  Also a lurid green, which was the same as our last hire car.

Hire Car
Hire Car
A very green car
Our previous very green car

We drove the Hampton Inn we were staying at (the South Lake Buena Vista one and not the same one we stayed at last time, you can read my TripAdviser review by clicking here). Checked in fine and quickly in our room.  We’d booked a suite which didn’t have separate rooms but did have a lot more floor space.

Big Room
Big Room
Big Room
Big Room

We popped out to Perkin’s on SR535 (at the Crossroads area) for something to eat as we thought it would be quick and decent.  Unfortunately the service was massively slow and food took forever to arrive, and when it did one of the dishes was stone cold. We were so tired by this point we didn’t make a fuss but eat and left.

Back at the hotel it was time to collapse.

Time to sleep
Time to sleep