We packed up our bags and loaded the car and had decided to spend a few hours at SeaWorld before going to the airport.
We first headed the Wild Arctic and took the motion simulator (as there was no queue today) to gain entrance to the rest of the Arctic area.
The Beluga Whales were particularly active and swam past several times.
While in that area of the park we had some snacks (making sure we had used up everything we had bought in Walmart) and Rosemary had a Shamu ice cream.
And a ride on the Shamu Express as well.
After 14 days I was pretty burnt out taking photos so there wasn’t photos of everything and we just wanted a nice relaxing few hours before the long flight home. But were looked around some the aquariums and spent time just watching the animals.
We did get to ride the Empire of the Penguin ride and see the penguins at the end of it.
And a last visit to see the stingrays as well.
And then unfortunately it was back to the car to head to the airport. A smooth drop off for the car at the terminal and then a straightforward check-in followed (once we found the right set of desk, having gone in completely the wrong direction to start with). And then an overnight flight back to London.
Our last full day and it is New Year’s Eve. Our original plan before arriving in Florida was to spend the day at Hollywood Studios. But with so much closed there we decided that we had done all we wanted to do there and wouldn’t visit it again this trip. So we changed plans to and decided to go to Magic Kingdom instead. In hindsight this may have been a mistake. The queues to get into the park were massive and we spent probably over an hour in a traffic jam. As a result we lost our first FastPass reservation as I couldn’t access the app to change anything.
But on arriving and eventually making it into the park (getting the bus as the quickest option by a mile from the Ticket and Transportation hub) we went straight to the Tomorrowland Speedway.
It wasn’t the most comfortable drive for the passenger but Rosemary enjoyed it even if she did crash into the middle rail quite a lot.
We then decided to get some family photos with the Cinderella coach which was done up for New Year. The queue was quite long but wasn’t too bad and we did get a nice photo of us for the New Year.
We decided to take it easy for the day after the terrible start and needing some snacks we headed to Gaston’s Tavern for some cinnamon rolls.
We decided to avoid the TERRIBLE coffee they serve there and actually seem to be quite proud about being so bad. So we tried the Le Fou’s Brew, which we’d not had before.
After chilling and having something to eat Rosemary went to play in Circus, dodging the water sprays.
We also got some candy apples from the Big Top Souvenirs shop, which is never very busy it seems and has a really good selection of stuff, including a whole counter of candy apples, cakes and handmade stuff.
As we still had to fully pack we didn’t want to be out too late so unfortunately had to think about heading back to the hotel. So just a chance for 1 more picture before leaving for the last time (this trip).
We went to dinner that night at Red Lobster and Rosemary had her favourite Lobster, Spinach and Gruyere dip.
And while packing up there were was quite a lot of purchases to find space for in the case…..
Another day at Epcot today and it was a little on the chill side. Bit of a shock after so many days of hot, sunny weather!
In the entrance area we got some lovely shots with the PhotoPass photographer of the 3 of us and they dropped in an extra visitors as well.
We had some FastPasses reserved and these were around the entrance area rather than in the World Showcase, although we were going to venture there later in the day. First one we had was for Soarin’ which was great as ever.
Immediately after that we made use of our second FastPass, for Spaceship Earth. I’m always slightly reluctant to use a FastPass for this ride as it’s not normally got a very long queue. But there aren’t that many FastPass rides in Epcot and I figured I might as well.
We had a little time before our final FastPass, so went to Club Cool to try the different flavours of Coke products. Rosemary to tried the Beverly and was NOT a fan of it.
Our final FastPass was for Journey into Imagination with Figment, which must say was definitely not worth a FastPass, as straight in regardless. We’d not done this classic attraction previously. It’s a bit odd to be honest…
For the rest of the day we had no real plan beyond going into the World Showcase and seeing what happened. But first we got some snacks from the pop-up Christmas booths. This was a very good pecan pie.
We met Pluto just at the entrance area of the World Showcase and there was almost no queue to see him. Pluto is definitely Rosemary’s favourite so it’s always good to meet him.
We also met Princess Jasmine at the meet-and-greet in Morocco.
And that fairy also got into our pictures from the PhotoPass Photographer again while we were there.
While in the France area we got to see Sleeping Beauty and got a great interaction with her. She was very complimentary about Rosemary’s manners, and said she was going to speak to Mary Poppins about it.
We also met Pere Noel as he was passing. He seemed a bit grumpy though. Maybe he was cross that he was still working several days after Christmas!
While making our way around the area we were taking a short break in the quiet area at the International Gateway when some characters came out. So we got to see King Louie and Pooh. There weren’t many people there so Rosemary got some really nice interactions with them and got to dance with them as well.
Around this time we were into late afternoon and we were going to head to Disney Springs for dinner that night. But as we were heading out of the park Daisy Duck was meeting her fans at the front of the park.
Another day and another trip to a water park. This time to Aquatica, the entry for which was included with our Discovery Cove ticket. So we are managing to squeeze quite good value from that with a trip to Seaworld as well.
We started off with a little float down Loggerhead Lane in our rings. I find this lazy river to be a bit shallow and usually end up walking along the bottom. But it’s nice as you go through the big aquarium and also get to see the Commerson Dolphins in the tank where people come shooting down the tubes (down Dolphin Plunge).
After going around a few times we thought we would try out Roa’s Rapids, which we’d never been into before, and turned out to be huge fun. The water pulls you round so fast that it’s actually difficult to stop and get out. After a very short time in the water we decided that the easiest thing was to grab lifejackets and let them do the work so we could just float and whizz around.
Literally had to pull Rosemary out, partially as she wanted to carry on going around it and partially because she nearly got carried away by the water at the exit point. Very cool though and as close as you can get to flying in water.
After getting out we had a look around the shops.
We spent a bit longer at the park and played around Cutback Cove, which is the beach area at Aquatica and has a wave machine which comes on periodically. But after a while we decided to get dried off and changed.
Before we went we did go and watch the Comerson Dolphin’s for a little while.
As there was still some time that evening we visited the outlets, eventually managing to park up as it was so busy, and did spend about $2 buying a Space Slug hand puppet at the Disney outlet….I mean why wouldn’t you.
As as we hadn’t done quite enough swimming for the day, Rosemary decided to take a night time swim at the hotel. The water was way too cold for anyone else but she didn’t seem to mind!
Off to SeaWorld today. Having been to Discovery Cove we have our lanyards and this entitles us to access to SeaWorld and Aquatica for 7 days after visiting Discovery Cove. So at least we didn’t have to pay for our tickets. We did pre-purchase the all-day-dining tickets though so we headed there for opening time to get breakfast and then see how much we could actually eat by the end of the day. We assumed that it was a challenge!!!
We went to breakfast and got standard type food (eggs, bacon, pastries etc) at Seafire Grill.
After that we wandered through the park and first went to the dolphin nursery. There were a couple of small ones in there and the mums were starting to teach them to jump. There was one quite small one but couldn’t get a photo unfortunately.
We wandered round a little more with the plan to catch the next performance of the Blue Horizons show, which was the next thing we wanted to see. Also wanted to make sure we saw an early show because we wanted to have time for both the Clyde and Seamore show and the Christmas night time Shamu show. Show was good as usual, although felt a little cut short so not sure if the dolphins weren’t co-operating fully and they had to shorten it (which I know has been the case in the past).
After the show we thought we’d hit our all-day-dining option again and this time went to get lunch at the Expedition Café in the Antarctic.
We then went to see the manatees, which are a favourite animal as they’re so gentle and get a really hard time from inconsiderate boat owners. Like they haven’t go enough to worry about without being hit by a speed boat!
It was lunchtime when we got there (although it’s probably always eating time for them) and they were chowing down on some lettuce.
As you go underground to see the manatees this is also the turtle show, Turtle Trek, and as you wait to go into this there are the underwater viewing areas. Next to the manatees are the sea turtles and fish, and Rosemary got badly photobombed by a particularly inquisitive fish.
We walked over the Shark Encounter, where there are lots of really good aquarium exhibits, but Rosemary got eaten!
Unfortunately they had removed a shark which used to hang from the ceiling and we had taken a similar picture each time we had visited. So were quite disappointed not to get one this time as it was a nice record of the different visits. The previous ones are shown below.
We never really go to Seaworld for the rides but did go a few in Shamu’s Happy Harbour. Rosemary did insist on getting the manatee on the carousel.
We really wanted to get the shows in but had to head back across the park to the Sealion Theatre to see the Seamore and Clyde Christmas Show. Very good show and as always the mime was extremely funny.
It was completely dark this time and we spent a while in the Christmas Village area looking at the decorations and Christmassy stuff that was for sale, although we didn’t buy anything. Rudolph was there meeting and greeting but the queues were very long.
I seem to remember having dinner at Mango Joes using our wristbands and then went to see the Shamu night time show, Shamu’s Christmas Miracle. This was also probably the last time we would see a show like this as (quite rightly) they are stopping the Orca shows and by the time we come back they wont be going on anymore. It’s sort of disappointing to know we’d never see this again but at the same time it’s good to know that the animals will be able to behave more “naturally”.
And that was pretty much the end of our day at Seaworld. We did spend some time watching the Christmas Trees and the Sea of Trees show where the lights all go in sync to the music.
We made one last use of our all-you-can-eat wristbands at the Seafire Grill and then it was time to leave.
Rosemary’s favourite thing today, a visit to a waterpark!
Seems strange to be going to an outdoor water park just a couple of days after Christmas! But it was a beautiful day with bright blue skies, so it seemed like a really good idea and out first water park of our trip.
We whizzed into the park really quick with our Magicbands.
We got changed and went to find a locker for our stuff. The system for lockers had changed since our last visit and it is now done on a touchscreen. Bit confusing and took us a couple of goes to get it right but got sorted in the end. So grabbed the GoPro and we headed for to the beach area. Blizzard Beach allows inflatable rings into the main beach, Melt Away Bay, and there is a wave machine running quite a bit of the time.
After bobbing around for a bit on the rafts Rosemary decided to grab a life jacket and do some swimming about. We headed into the deeper area closer to the cliffs so we could really get hit by the wave machine.
After a good while swimming about we went exploring around the park and spent a little time in Tikes Peak, where there are some kid friendly stuff and Rosemary tested out some of the rides.
The ring ride was quite popular with her and she had a good few goes on that, but the waterslide was a complete failure and apparently the slowest, most boring slide she’d ever been on. She had to shuffle off the end of it just to make it all the way down….
There was also some cargo nets which you use to cross over some “ice bergs” which was quite challenging.
The lazy river at Blizzard Beach is called the Cross Country Creek and we spent some time in that as well. As the theme of the park is that it snowed in Florida and melted quickly there are water falls round the river, which are really cold. Rosemary did find a way of avoiding them though.
We had a very chilled (no pun intended) day although unfortunately towards the end of the day we had got changed and were just getting some drinks and doughnuts when I checked my phone only to see that Carrie Fisher had died. Rosemary was very upset by this as she had dressed as Princess Leia at a recent Star Wars show. Took the shine off our day a bit.
We had dinner at Perkin’s Diner that night and treated ourselves to deserts.
Boxing Day and not such an early start, but breakfast at the hotel and then heading out to Hollywood Studios for our first visit there of this trip. There was lots of work going on there and a lot of parts were closed off so we were only doing 1 trip there this holiday and we were going to do everything we wanted on that day.
We started off with a visit to Goofy, who was still in his Santa outfit.
We then headed to the Star Wars Launch Bay. Hadn’t been in here before and there were a lot of props and a couple of meet-and-greets.
First we met Chewie who was very pleased to see Rosemary wearing her Star Wars dress and I was wearing a Chewie t-shirt which made him laugh.
After seeing Chewie we went to see Kylo Ren. Slightly different attitude shall we say! He was being particularly moody that day apparently and wasn’t please to see my shirt. He posed for 1 photo and then sent us on our way as he didn’t want to conspire with filthy rebels.
We then had a look round at some of the props and the little scenes you can have your photograph taken in. I don’t think any of the models or props were screen used ones and were most likely recreations for the area.
Rosemary played a bit of holochess, and she did let the Wookie win.
As we were leaving we got accosted by a Jawa, but we sent him on his way and didn’t look like he stole anything.
We had booked a few Fastpasses for the day and first one was the Great Movie Ride. We’d never done it before and glad we did (especially as now writing this ages later the ride has now closed and is gone forever). Don’t think Rosemary was that bothered by it but we both liked it.
We then caught the Star Wars show which runs on the stage with all the characters. Very good and managed to get in quite near the front.
In what was turning into quite a Star Wars day we then used our second FastPass to go on Star Tours.
The ride was quite different from last time we were on it and the sequences we got were all different. And included the section on Jakku with the shuttle following the Falcon through the wrecked Star Destroyers. Coming out the ride we squeezed onto the Speeder Bike (despite it being really crowded there due to closed walkways and lots of people just milling about).
And our final FastPass was for Toy Story Midway Mania. Lots of fun as usual but no ride photos as the 3D means nothing comes out in any case.
We did some shopping after this, had some snacks/food and just took it easy for a bit. There were 2 fireworks shows that evening and we wanted to see both. The first was the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks show. We thought we wouldn’t get to see this as it had been stopped to make way for the Christmas themed show. But that had been getting some bad reviews and they fortunately reinstated the Star Wars show a few weeks before we came. Was really good and the projections onto the Chinese Theatre worked amazingly.
I managed to get the whole show on video and will upload that eventually onto YouTube.
At the end of the show we decided to visit the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream display, which is something we’d never been into before. We actually didn’t even realise that Moana was in there doing a meet-and-greet. So took the opportunity and the very short queues to see her.
The second fireworks show was due to start by this time and we headed back onto Hollywood Boulevard. We were quite a way back this time though. The show (Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!) was OK but I can see why they brought back the Star Wars fireworks as it wasn’t nearly as good.
And that pretty much brought our day to a close. We got everything we wanted to do achieved but look forward to all the closed off areas reopening so that the park is back to it’s old self.