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.
Yeah, Christmas Day and we are spending it at Epcot. After a lot of research we concluded that Epcot would be the least busy of the parks and also provide the most stuff to do which might not have long wait times. Magic Kingdom is meant to be packed and they often close access to the park within a few hours of opening because of the crowd levels.
We had some breakfast at the hotel and then headed down. Crowd levels weren’t too bad and we parked up quite close to the entrance, so no need to wait for the tram and just walked to the entrance. We had a few FastPasses booked for the day just in case lines were long but first we discovered that we could see some of the Pixar characters (quite hidden away really) and there was virtually no queue.
So first up we met Baymax.
Then we met Sadness and Joy in the control room.
Our first Fastpass was to meet the Disney Pals, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. We were hoping they might be in Christmas clothes but they were just in their normal outfits.
Our second Fastpass was for The Seas, so we headed over to there as it was just next door anyway. Great ride and we got straight onto it. After going to the ride we went round the aquarium areas and met Bruce and Chum.
After going on the ride and looking round the aquarium we started to head out round the World Pavilion. Lots of photos but will only post a few below.
As we were walking round and it was sometime until lunch we decided it was snack time and got a caramel apple (I think from the shop in Germany).
When we got to the American pavilion we got some family photos done by the Photopass photographer.
And as Santa had finished his duties for the year, his chair was free and we could use his chairs for a photo.
For our Christmas Day lunch we had fully tradition and had booked Tepan Edo in the Japan pavilion. Was absolutely delicious and cooked in front of us. We shared a table with 2 other families (a couple and a 3) which was nice and we had a great lunch. Rosemary thoroughly enjoyed it and loved having it cooked in front of us and the tricks the chef did, making a volcano out of onions.
The lunch I booked was a package so we could get seats for the Candlelight Processional which runs just in front of the American Pavilion and has a celebrity narrator, and is really a church service/carol concert. For Christmas Day the narrator was Jodi Benson. Not a name I instantly knew but she did the voice of the Little Mermaid and Barbie in the Toy Story movies. Was an excellent “performance” with lots of Christmas carols.
After the show we got as far as France and got an ice cream. By this time it was already getting dark.
By this time we started to head back towards the areas around the entrance. We still had one Fastpass left (which was late in the day but the only time I could get one) which was for the Frozen ride in Norway. The queues were quite long when we got there as we found out the ride had been down earlier in the day. But we didn’t have to wait too long (about 20 minutes?) and had our first ride on it. Unfortunately the ride photo never came through. It’s on a clever system which picks up your Magicband details and is meant to add it to your account. But clearly failed that night, which is a great shame.
We didn’t wait around for the fireworks because we wanted to get back to the hotel so Rosemary could open her Christmas presents.
While at the Christmas Tree me and Rosemary got a Turkey Sandwich as an evening snack. It was great, massive amounts of turkey, mashed potato and cranberry.
And that was pretty much the end of our Christmas Day at Epcot. We headed back to our hotel so Rosemary could open her presents.
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.
On the way in we grabbed some more photos in front of the tree, making the most of that free Photopass.
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.
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.
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.
After that we used our second Fastpass to meet some Princesses. Elena and Cinderella this time.
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.
What was good was the different characters in the parade, including those from Zootropolis.
By this time we could go for our lunch reservation at 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.
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.
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.
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.
But when all the lights came on it was even more amazing.
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.
The cinnamon rolls aren’t quite as big as your head but are pretty big.
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.
We bumped into one of the Photopass photographers by the Little Mermaid ride and got this great photo.
We checked out the store at Storybook Circus and Rosemary had a short play in the water bit there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While at checking we met a very nice 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.
By this time the swim areas were opening open and we got some wetsuits and went to the river to do a little 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.
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.
After lunch we visited the 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.
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.
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.
And unfortunately that was the end to our day at Discovery Cove. An awesome day.
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.
The countdown was also getting close to the big day.
While we sorted ourselves out after unpacking everything to come through security I snapped a quick picture of 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.
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.
When we came out we got a pressed penny (we had got a few already and Rosemary’s collection is getting pretty large now).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
But when we got off it was time to use our third and final FastPass to meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the way out we just stopped for some of the PhotoPass photographers to get some family photos.
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.
And there is a huge gingerbread house as well, which they sell hot chocolate and gingerbread from.
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.
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.
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.
And that was as much as we could do for the day. Time to head back to the hotel and bed.
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.
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.
And we even caught some Pokemon.
Then early to bed so we would have plenty of energy for the Magic Kingdom tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
And Rosemary got a Dole Whip from Tamu Tamu Refreshments.
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.
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”.
From there we headed down to Dinosaur in Dinoland USA and used our next FastPass to get on there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And how small the command module is for those 3 astronauts. Don’t think I’d be able to cope with the claustrophobia.
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.
And we had to go and touch the moon rock.
We couldn’t leave without trying on the space helmets though.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They also have the control room set up with recording playing of conversations.
Was definitely getting late by this point but I wanted to take a walk around the 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.
We had a great day at the Space Center and headed back to Orlando for dinner.
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.
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.
Our experienced trans-Atlantic traveler quickly settled down in her seat with headphones on and the movies playing before take-off.
Smooth flight and arrived pretty much on time.
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.
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.
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.