Double the fun : East & West coast Disney & Universal parks - UPDATED 1/14
DAY 9: Wednesday, 17 November 2010
WDW - here we come! (LA to Florida)
Please click here to read about our time in Sydney (including our trip itinerary)
Please click here to read about our time at Universal Studios Hollywood (including day trips to Warner Bros Studios and a VIP helicopter tour of LA)
After days of jokingly complaining about having to get up at times like 7am, 7.30am and 8am, this morning we had to get up at 4.30am ... enough said It was still dark outside, but the lights of the park and City Walk weren't on, which was probably a good thing, as I would've found them distracting.
Only having two hours till the Super Shuttle arrived to take us to LAX, motivated us to get moving quick smart. During that time, we packed out suitcases, tidied the room, and got ourselves ready.
The Super Shuttle people had rang us up the night before, requesting that we be out the front of our hotel by 6.30am. We would've made that time, but ended up receiving a call at 6.20am, saying that they were ready for us then!
With one last desperate sweep of the room to make sure we hadn't left anything behind, we dashed downstairs to checkout, being very conscious of the shuttle driver waiting for us by the concierge desk. Thankfully, the shuttle driver was waiting where he was, to help us with our luggage, not to chide us for being late (despite having moved the meeting time forward unexpectedly - phew!)
Only one other passenger was in the van when Nest and I got in. We stopped just once to pick up one other passenger. He was really caught out by the early pick-up, and took around ten minutes or so to eventually appear. As our flight wasn't due to depart until 10.10am, I wasn't worried in the slightest. The drive to the airport took about an hour. I was surprised to see how much traffic was out and about at that early hour.
Once at LAX, we checked in straight away, then staked out a seat at our gate. While Nest minded my seat, I went and grabbed us some brekkie from the nearby bakery. I returned with turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a sour dough roll, fruit cups, and bottled water for both of us.
After breakfast, Nest seemed to have developed a case of the sniffles and complained about feeling cold, so I went through all the stores looking for either a pair of long pants or a traveller's blanket for him, but drew a blank on both counts. Instead, I came back with some tissues from the newsagents for him to blow his nose with, and a Goofy postcard I was meant to send to work, but never got round to it.
I thought I'd be able to cope with the five hour flight to Orlando, but the conditions we were submitted to meant I was sadly mistaken . As this was an inter-state flight, the plane wasn't as big as that of an international flight - a fact made painfully clear in the way that the flight was totally full. The seating was unbelievably squashy - I was sitting in-between two tall guys. As they were unable to stretch their legs out in front of them due to the rows of seating being so close together, they sat with them spread so far apart, that it encroached on my personal space, and I wasn't able to move at all. The bathrooms were ridiculously tiny also - you would have to be the width of a cardboard cut-out to use them comfortably.
I tried to while away the time by writing postcards (while keeping my arms tucked into my side - LOL! ), and catching a few zzz's. There was an in-flight movie showing on shared screens hanging from the ceiling, but the sound reception from the earphones we were given, was ridiculously poor, so I gave up after a minute or so. It didn't really bother me, as I wasn't interested in the chosen movie anyway (Salt starring Angelina Jolie.) This was followed by an episode of 30 Rock, then Destinations (I can't remember which travel destination it focussed on, but it makes sense that it must've been Orlando ),but I wasn't in the mood to watch those at the time, either.
First Class and Business Class passengers were served complimentary meals, where-as those of us in Coach, had to pay if we wanted to eat Nest and I stuck it out with the bottles of Sprite we had purchased at the last minute before boarding. I do realise that higher class passengers deserve perks due to the amount they pay for their tickets, it's just hard to deal with when you can see this service going on through the useless see-through curtain they draw to separate the classes .
We arrived in Orlando half an hour early - woo hoo! Anything to get off that plane! Even though we had left LAX at 10.10am, and the flight had only taken five hours, it was 5.30pm Orlando time, due to the time zone we had crossed on our way there. I could feel my body clock getting all confused that the sun was already beginning to go down after feeling like we had still only just gotten out of bed.
Orlando International Airport is really nice and very large - I'm thinking because it also doubles as a hotel. Nest and I caught the train to baggage claim. Even though it took a while for our luggage to appear, I still remember being super happy about the WDW part of our trip finally being upon us.
Luggage in tow, we made our way downstairs to catch the Magical Express to the Pop Century Resort. I checked us in at the transport counter while Nest waited with our luggage in the nearby seating area. We were seen to and sorted in time to catch the Magical Express bound for the Pop Century Resort that was already outside and waiting to depart. It was already full of excited guests, yet Nest and I were lucky enough to find the last vacant double seat (red with gold stars) right up the back.
It was so massively exciting to be on our way to WDW after all the years of longing to go. We had so many exciting things planned, which we were busting to experience after having them be just ideas written down on paper for so long.
It was dark once we had gotten to that point, so the bus driver turned off the main lights (they went from bright white to soft greens and blues), and put on a welcome to WDW video as we pulled out of the terminal. This made me even more happy and excited, as the video started off with a montage of people surprising family members at home, revealing that they had organised trips to WDW for them. The one that stuck in my mind the most, was some parents opening up a huge pizza box in front of their kids, to reveal a giant Mickey head painted in sauce under the lid, to which the kids started squealing and jumping about (I think that example stuck in my head the most, as I was very hungry at the time - LOL!) The video had me starting to think about how to go about surprising Nest with our next Disney trip. The journey from the airport to the Pop Century Resort took about half-an-hour, during which time Nest and I kept our hunger pangs at bay by grazing on the lollies we had leftover from the Sydney leg of our trip.
Despite the full bus and being right up the back, by the time Nest and I made it to reception, it was empty and we were seen to right away. Nest was given a first visit badge, and then we were given an information pack and directions to our room, which was number 4162 on the ground floor of building number four in the 1960's section. The building in question was right next to the toddler's wading pool just a short walk from the reception building.
Our room was small, simple, and bright. The features I particularly loved, were the light bulbs lining the bathroom mirror like the movie stars had in the olden days, and the textured carpet. When I first walked on it with bare feet, I thought I had trodden in something, but on closer inspection, I saw (and felt!) that hidden Mickey's had been designed into the carpet at a shorter length than the rest of the carpet.
As we had spent all day relocating to WDW, we were now well and truly ready to have some fun, now that we were settled into our new 'home'. We checked the opening hours of the parks for that day from leaflets we had picked up from reception. Unfortunately, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot were about to close, with the Animal Kingdom and Epcot already having done so, so we decided to go to Downtown Disney to have dinner at the T-Rex restaurant I had read so many great things about.
On our way to the bus stop, we called into Everything Pop, the combined large shopping centre and food court in our hotel's main building. In the shopping area, there were so many great and exciting products to look at, especially with the Christmas season almost upon us. As we were on our way out, I controlled myself with the greatest of difficulty, and just bought some postcards, international postage stamps, and a small selection of emergency snacks for those unavoidable midnight munchies (tiny Mickey head-shaped puffy cheese crackers, Mickey head-shaped pretzels, and two big chocolate chip supreme cookies baked by Minnie.) Nest and I noticed that "Fun to Share" had been written on all the snack packets ... we both hoped that each other hadn't noticed this claim We left exploring the food court for another day.
As Nest is a massive fan of games arcades, we couldn't go past Fast Forward without checking it out. I knew without Nest even saying anything, that he had plans on returning here
We located the correct bus stop out the front of our hotel, and were soon on our way to Downtown Disney - our WDW experience was finally underway! At the time, we didn't realise there were two Downtown Disney disembarkment stops, and got off at the first one we came to, which turned out to be the one furtherest away from the T-Rex restaurant, but no matter, as we had the whole night ahead of us to explore.
On our way to dinner, we called into the World of Disney store. Ever since this holiday was set in concrete, Nest had been incredibly excited about finally being able to expand his intricately designed Disney pocket watch collection, and had saved up long and hard in anticipation. As Nest was so excited about this subject, the excitement rubbed off onto me too, and I was excited about which designs he'd find inside. You can imagine our disappointment when we got inside, only to find that they had been discontinued They had an awesome display of fun-coloured chandeliers though.
In our rush to get going that night, we had inadvertently left our map of Downtown Disney in our room, so to locate the T-Rex restaurant, we kept our eyes peeled for a giant dinosaur - surely there couldn't be that many of them around Having said that, the first giant dino we came across, was made out of bricks and located outside the Lego Store. LOL! No food in there!
It was second time lucky for us, with the next giant dinosaur we spotted. We sped up to the podium, and requested a table for two. We were seated straight away, much to our surprise, as we didn't have a reservation and the place looked quite busy. We were seated in the Coral Reef section, which was totally awesome, as it was such a bright beautiful area, and reminded me of one of my favourite songs, Under The Sea, which I had stuck in my head for the next couple of days as a result. The back wall I was facing, was a brown rock face covered with all different types of coloured coral. There was three foot of space where that wall met the ceiling, which had a blue moving water effect on it.
There were brightly coloured and lit up jellyfish hanging from the ceiling, the most impressive one being to my right - it was huge! It was cream and pink in colour, and decorated with fairy lights - I thought it was awesome, and thought the family sitting under it were so lucky - I wonder what it looked like from underneath?
If I twisted round that little bit further, I could see a fantastic fish tank, featuring my favourite ‘nose’ fish.
Directly behind me, was the absolutely awesome-looking ice cave seating area, as well as another seating area with a dark prehistoric desert feel to it.
To my left, was the bar area. Presiding over it, looked like what must’ve been the world's largest octopus.
Every fifteen minutes or so, the lights would dim and a meteor shower would ensue (mainly in the prehistoric desert area), causing the dinosaurs and woolly mammoths to roar and trumpet.
The meteor shower also caused the blue walls of the ice cave to change to a reddy orange colour, and the octopus in our section to wave his legs about (just in a subtle fashion - not flailing about - LOL! That would be something!)
Our waitress was fantastic, and brought us an appetiser of her choosing for Nest and I to share, as we were having so much trouble deciding what to have for dinner, as there were just so many fantastic dishes to choose from. Our surprise appetiser turned out to be Megalosaurus Mozzarella - crumbed and deep-fried creamy marinara and mozzarella fingers served with a little pot of mild tomato salsa. They were absolutely delicious, and left us wanting more.
Eventually Nest decided on T-Rexadillas for his second appetiser. These consisted of chicken, peppers, green onions, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, grilled in flour tortillas and served with pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole.
I skipped a second appetiser, and went straight to a main course of Bronto Burger - a beef patty with a huge onion ring, pickles, lettuce, tomato and Swiss cheese, with a side of waffle fries. Despite being terribly hungry, I was unable to eat it all - it was so big!
Nest had no trouble polishing off his main course of Fire-Roasted Rotisserie Chicken accompanied by sides of waffle fries and coleslaw - it must be because he's so much taller than me, therefore he has more empty spaces to fill
We had Cokes with free refills throughout our meal ... though Nest’s first drink was an apple juice, and my first drink to celebrate finally making it back to WDW, was from the cocktail menu. I chose a cotton-tini The cocktail was mixed and brought to the table in a blue dinosaur cocktail shaker I got to take home, accompanied by a martini glass stuffed with blue cotton candy. LOL - very sophisticated!! (That's me for you! ) The cotton candy immediately dissolved once the waitress poured in the mixture. It was a lovely sweet concoction.
There was no way we could entertain the thought of dessert after all the food we had eaten This was disappointing, as we had so been wanting to share the Chocolate Extinction dish - a huge chunk of chocolate fudge cake served with ice cream, whipped cream, and drizzled with fudge and caramel sauces, with Butterfinger crumbs sprinkled over the lot for good measure. I believe dry ice must've also been present, as when I saw it delivered to other tables, smoke had been pouring from the plate. Nest and I enjoyed our experience here so much, we couldn’t wait to return. Unfortunately though, this turned out to be our only visit
I wish I could say that we continued on to do more exciting things after dinner, but instead, reality had us return to the Pop Century Resort, where we spent what felt like the next 100 hours, doing a weeks worth of washing and drying in the laundry room, getting to bed at 3am as a result - nooooooo! Universal City Hilton didn't have facilities for us to do our own laundry, hence the backlog of washing. I swear that next holiday, I'm allowing for funds to get someone else to do our washing, in the budget!
Next entry: 17 hours straight in the Magic Kingdom!! (Includes our first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, and a Dreaming of a Disney Christmas surprise for Nest)
Great start. Your TRex meal looks fabulous. I've never planned to dine here as I figure it'll scare my girls. BUT if we could sit in the area you sat in, I think it'd be fine. Sorry you were up till 3am doing laundry. This is my least fav thing of all! Much less on vacation. Looking forward to your first fill day at the MK!
Great start. T-rex wasn't open yet the last time I went to WDW, but I hope to make it there on our next visit. From what I hear, everyone says the food portions are huge there...so I will be sharing a meal with my DD as we won't be able to finish a whole meal on our own.
**First up, apologies I've been absent from my TR for so long - I had lost my writing mojoGood news is, I just happened across it last weekend **
Originally Posted by Cam22
Great start to your WDW portion of the trip!
Originally Posted by Dlandmom2
So excited to be reading about the next portion of your fabulous trip!
Originally Posted by chezp
Great start to this section of your trip!
Originally Posted by Colexis Mom
Glad you've made it to WDW! Great pictures from T-Rex!
Originally Posted by clio
Great start to this part of your trip. Your food at T-Rex look very good. Can't wait to read more.
Originally Posted by lazanya
Great start! Great pics from T-Rex!
Originally Posted by ilovedisney247
Glad you liked T rex
Hello everyone! Thanks for all your awesome comments - I'm really glad you're all enjoying the WDW portion of our trip! Stay tuned for more adventures!
Originally Posted by tcmary
Loving your TR. I hope to try T-Rex on my next visit. I hate having to do laundry on vacation. I have a cousin that brings her old clothes, and never brings anything home.
I can't wait to read more.
Yes, definitely make time for a meal at T-Rex! We had a fantastic experience there, so hopefully you will too!
I love your cousin's way of dealing with washing while on holiday. Unfortunately, I don't own over six weeks worth of outfits to afford myself that luxury
Originally Posted by elisa1006
Great start. Your TRex meal looks fabulous. I've never planned to dine here as I figure it'll scare my girls. BUT if we could sit in the area you sat in, I think it'd be fine. Much less on vacation. Looking forward to your first fill day at the MK!
Glad you enjoyed my first WDW entry - thanks
Yep, our meal and overall experience at T-Rex was absolutely awesome! I'm sure if you go there and request a non-scary seating area for your girls' sake, that they'll be able to accommodate you.
Originally Posted by scrappyjae
Great start. T-rex wasn't open yet the last time I went to WDW, but I hope to make it there on our next visit. From what I hear, everyone says the food portions are huge there...so I will be sharing a meal with my DD as we won't be able to finish a whole meal on our own.
I hope you make it to T-Rex next visit too! It's probably a good idea to share a meal with your DD, seeing as the portions are so big. Besides, that way you should also be able to tackle dessert ... unlike my bro and I. Perhaps next time, we should start with dessert, and work our way back to entrees?
When planning this trip, Nest and I would discuss how we would take advantage of the extra magic hours whenever they came up. Guess which park was opening at the earlier hour of 8am today? The Magic Kingdom! I set our alarm for 6am so we could get ready in time, even though it meant getting only three hours sleep! :0
No prizes if you can guess how I felt when the alarm went off Determined to stick to our extra magic hours agreement despite the heavy blanket of tiredness enveloping me, I got up. Besides, we had an 8.30am breakfast reservation at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and his friends, so it was doubly important that I get up and be the one to get things going so that Nest's first day at WDW would be truly memorable (in a good way.)
After much encouragement from me, Nest got up an hour later at the slightly more civilised time of 7am. Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling too crash hot, as he had come down with a cold, on top of feeling super tired. I offered to cancel our breakfast reservation so he could get more sleep, but he said no, and got ready for the big day ahead.
A bus to the Magic Kingdom pulled up at the relevant stop out the front of our hotel just as Nest and I were approaching - we couldn't have timed it any better! Despite the line of people waiting to board, Nest and I were lucky enough to get a seat together, right up the back, just like the night before on the Magical Express. I was really happy to be on our way to our first day of fun in the parks after all these years of dreaming about it, but I felt really bad about how painfully tired Nest looked, and hoped he'd get a new lease of life once we were in the park and surrounded by excitement.
We pulled into the Magic Kingdom bus station around twenty minutes later. The park was already open by that stage, but before we could go in, we had to collect our annual passes from the Will Call hut. The line was soooooooo long, and really slow-moving While we were waiting to be served, Nest asked if it would be ok if we gave the Crystal Palace a miss after all, and just grab a couple of churros instead, as he didn't feel like interacting with Cast Members and characters with the way he was currently feeling. I said of course.
Eventually it was our turn to be served. It took longer than expected, as the Cast Member had trouble trying to get the computer to accept our Aussie address. Once they did though, Nest was the proud owner of a blue annual pass with Pluto on it, and I was the proud owner of an orangey yellow annual pass with Goofy on it, both due to expire in November of the following year. I was surprised they were made out of thick paper - I was expecting them to be like a plastic credit card, seeing as they're meant to last a year.
I had so been meaning to watch Nest's expression when he entered the Magic Kingdom for the very first time, but regrettably I neglected to do so, as I was so excited to be back, that my attention just scattered all over the place, trying to take everything in at once. I recognised the welcome melody from my WDW park CD I picked up back in 2005, noticed a Mum and daughter skipping hand-in-hand down Main Street in front of us, singing along ("I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street U.S.AAAAAA!"), and eventually got hit with delicious sweet scents emanating from unnoticeable grates we learnt about during a Christmas tour of Disneyland back in 2007.
Leaving Nest to look through a camera/gift store on Main Street, I quickly dashed around to the Crystal Palace to cancel our breakfast reservation, feeling guilty that I was ten minutes late in doing so. Thankfully, the Cast Member on duty didn't have a problem with it - phew! I then dashed back around to my arranged meeting place with Nest, where we continued on our way down Main Street, keeping an eye out for a churro cart along the way. Reaching the hub, we gravitated right, finding ourselves in Tomorrowland.
All thoughts of food soon left our mind, when we found ourselves in Space Mountain territory. Having said that, our very first ride that day ended up being Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. It was totally awesome being able to walk straight through the bright queuing area buzzing with activity and informing us of our mission to help defeat the evil Emperor Zurg, and board our space cruiser without a second of waiting.
Our space cruiser took off into the dark night sky, and flew us through brightly coloured galaxies inhabited by equally brightly coloured aliens. We battled our way through, trying to zap as many of them as possible with our laser cannons, sometimes having to reposition our space cruiser to do so. I particularly enjoyed travelling through the dark tunnel towards the end of our mission, with stars streaking overhead at sonic speeds, as it seriously gave you the sensation that you were travelling at that speed. As we emerged from the darkness, exhausted, but most importantly, undefeated, we were congratulated on a job well done. Just to make sure was hadn't missed anything, we went around for a second go
Nest is awesome at these kinds of attractions, and improved his score and rank to that of 756,000 - Space Commando. It wasn't long before he was hitting the highest score and rank of 999,999 - Space Ace, each and every time - I kid you not! I, on the other hand, are completely useless at these sorts of things, despite trying my hardest. The only thing this results in, is looking really stupid in the souvenir photo - LOL! The only time I graduated from the lowest rank of Star Cadet to the one above, was when the ride broke down and I found myself right in front of a target, allowing me ample time to plug away at it.
After those two missions, we moved on to explore a much safer part of the universe - Space Mountain. It was a long trek from entering the space station, to reaching the boarding area, so it was good that there were plenty of interactive space games to help pass the time. Having said that though, Nest and I never really got to play them properly, as on the days/nights there was a queue, it always seemed to move quickly enough. Anyway, everything I seemed to touch inside the space station, including the hand rails, sharply zapped me with static electricity each and every time, so I tended to keep my hands to myself and off the games
I want to say that I was beside myself with excitement at boarding our rocket, but I can't, as each rocket seated just three people, one behind the other, so I'll have to settle for being ecstatic instead
My anticipation of the journey ahead was just so great as our rocket glided out of the boarding area and on through the tunnel with blue flashing lights. Once out of the tunnel, we took a sharp turn and sped up, having our photo taken somewhere along the way. We passed the fictional control area, and continued at an upward angle, coming to a stop at the bottom of the launch tunnel lined with flashing red lights. I wanted to clap my hands and poke Nest in the back with excitement as the countdown began, but instead, I just readjusted my tight grip on the handlebars in preparation for blast off.
I cannot stress how totally awesome this ride is! It is my personal favourite rollercoaster at Walt Disney World! I love how it tears so fast around the track, and because it all takes place in the dark, you can't see where you're going, making all the turns and drops so unexpected and that much more thrilling!
We had been in the Magic Kingdom for around an hour by that stage without a crumb in our tummies, so we made eating our next priority on our way to Splash Mountain. As we weren't able to track down any churros in that neck of the woods (perhaps it was too early for churros?), we called into the Prairie Outpost and Supply in Frontierland. Here, Nest picked himself out a chocolate-dipped s'more as big as a housebrick, and a bottle of water. I suddenly didn't feel like eating (must've been all the excitement!), and made do with a bottle of water.
Splash Mountain is another majorly favourite ride of ours, which we hold in very high regard (despite this being Nest's first go on the WDW version.) Nest reluctantly slipped on an emergency poncho to prevent his cold from getting any worse (he doesn't like wearing ponchos on water rides), before making our way up the stairs of the wooden barn and through the cavernous passageways of the base of the mountain. Along the way, we saw and heard signs of life from a couple of the Br'er characters, which was a lovely touch.
Emerging from the base of the mountain into the bright sunshine, we found ourselves at a stream stocked with logs, waiting for us to board and set off on a merry little adventure. We didn't need beckoning twice, and scrambled in, automatically trying to dry the seat off before sitting down, like you do with normal outdoor seats.
I couldn't have been any happier* as we set off downstream in our log, to the musical strains of Zip-a-Dee-Doh-Dah. We travelled a bit in the open air, passing the cute little homes and gardens of some of the smaller Br'er characters. Right before we re-entered the mountain, I liked it how you could look to your left, and see all the people down below, going about their own adventures elsewhere in the park.
*The only thing that could've made me happier, was if Nest hadn't have caught a cold, and our three other bros could've joined us. Nest and I are pretty much alike, where-as our three other bros differ greatly personality wise (Byron's super serious, Johnny's sometimes comes across as a growly bear, but is really just a teddy bear underneath, and Kib is quiet like Nest and myself, but doesn't stay in the one place for long and is always super busy.) It would've been great to have seen their reactions to everything on this holiday if they had've come along. It would've made for some awesome alternative memories!
Travelling along the stream inside the mountain, is so much fun and very relaxing ... even with the fore-knowledge of what lies ahead at the end I sat back and immersed myself in the moment, taking in all the lovely scenes as we followed Br'er Rabbit on his adventures. My very favourite scene is the Laughin' Place. To get to the Laughin' Place, your log goes down a mini drop, which for some reason, makes me scream almost as much as the 80 foot drop at the end?! LOL! Once after going down the mini drop, I heard a young boy ask his parents, "Was that it?", with such relief in his voice, as if he had already made up his mind that it was. Little did he know just how mistaken he was! Unfortunately, I can't recall his reaction to the actual 80 foot drop It probably rendered him speechless!
My feeling of total relaxation soon passed, as we came to the two evil birds laughing at how it was too late for us to turn back, and we were cranked up a super steep ramp to our somewhat terrifying launching point. You momentarily forget about the dark 80 foot drop teeming with cold water and shrouded with a very prickly brambly hedge, when you look straight ahead at the awesome view of Cinderella's Castle. Your attention is soon ripped away from the Castle though, and returned to what awaits you below, when you feel your log begin to tip forward.
We shot down the drop in a split second, during which time I tried keeping my eyes open (you never know when one of those elusive hidden Mickey's will turn up! ) The last thing I remember seeing, was all this water rushing towards me, illuminated by the flash of the souvenir ride photo camera. Everyone was laughing with relief as the log levelled out and entered calmer waters, rearranging their hair and comparing saturation levels. While the major drop is no doubt the highlight of your adventure, there is still a great surprise to come afterwards, in the form of Br'er Rabbit's welcome home party, with loads of characters on a showboat in the bayou, dancing and singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah as you float by. It's such an uplifting scene, that you almost forget to feel sad that your adventure has come to an end.
It was extremely tempting to go around and experience the adventure again, but we decided to go and have ourselves a completely new adventure first, and hunt for gold on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I loved the jaunty Western music that was playing as we made our way through the wooden corral-type building to the mine train that would take us into the heart of our adventure.
As the mine cart we were seated in pulled out of the brightly lit station and entered the dark tunnels of the mountain, I was just so excited at what lay ahead, as was Nest. We rattled along the track in the dark, until we came to a very steep incline. The rocky walls were illuminated by abandoned miners' lamps, and up ahead, we could see a patch of daylight curtained by a misty waterfall. As we were noisily cranked up the steep incline, to our right, was an awesome cavern complete with stalagmites, stalactites, and an underground lake. The interior had an inviting warm red glow to it, but it was swarming with bats, therefore the appeal would've been lost for some people ("They're in my hair! They're in my hair!" - Homer Simpson.)
Having arrived at the top of the incline, our mine train slowly made it's way through the misty waterfall. The moment the last mine cart passed through, the whole train suddenly took on a new life, and shot off at a crazy speed around the rickety track through prime gold mining territory. We rocketed through many more dark tunnels, zipped past a saloon humming with life inside, and traversed the dry Wild West landscape featuring the odd animal, plenty of cacti, a windmill, and most surprisingly, a huge dinosaur skeleton. We slowed down as we came to a lake lightly covered in mist and buzzing with the sounds of insects, before pulling back into the station all too soon, without a single gold nugget to call our own
After all that adventuring, our appetites told us that it was well and truly time for lunch. We honed in on the nearest eatery, which turned out to be the Golden Oak Outpost. We both had a fried chicken and coleslaw burger with a side of fries and a chilled bottle of water. We sat in the shaded excess seating area of Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, directly opposite the Golden Oak Outpost, as their small seating area was fully occupied. Nest is such a fast eater, and fell asleep at the table while waiting for me to finish. I know that sounds as if I took ages, but I swear it wasn't all that long! Once I had finished, I felt guilty about waking Nest up, as I knew how tired he had been in the morning, so I just sat there watching the world go by, waiting for Nest to wake up naturally, which took about twenty minutes.
Our destination immediately after lunch, was meant to be the Haunted Mansion, but it turned out to be the bathroom instead, due to someone's choice of a brick-sized s'more for breakfast. Due to the unexpected lengthy pause at this point of the day, I nodded off on a bench while waiting for Nest. I started coming to when some old ladies sat next to me and started discussing in all seriousness, how they must go on Pirates of the Caribbean so they could see Johnny Depp. Later on, I felt a shadow pass over me, and woke to find Nest standing there. With a smile on his face, he asked me if I had been asleep, as he knew I'd outrightly deny it. Dang - my sunglasses didn't fool him for a second!
We picked up where we had left off, and continued on our way to the Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion is another massive favourite Disney attraction of mine, as I know I've got nothing to fear from it compared to other haunted houses I've had the misfortune to experience While Nest enjoys the Disney version, I know he much prefers the freak-yourself-out Universal version. Boys
Full of excitement for the nth time that day, we walked through the arched gates of the property, past a shiny black horseless hearse, and followed the covered walkway past an active graveyard and on to the mansion itself. We queued at the double doors, and were eventually led briefly into the foyer, before being ushered into the stretching portrait chamber. It would be a couple more visits until I realised, with a bit of a shock (what with this being Disney), exactly what the resulting scene in the centre of the ceiling was (it wouldn't have been clear to children, taking into account how long it took me to realise it, but it was a slightly moving image of a person who had hanged themselves.)
Once our time in the stretching portrait chamber had run its course, we were released into a dimly lit hallway which led to the doom buggy boarding area. Like with Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, I found myself concentrating extra hard while boarding the moving vehicles, as even though they were moving slowly enough at this stage, I could still picture myself falling over with excitement as I attempted to board (You know how you concentrate on not doing something, so hard, that you end up doing it, such as trying not to stub your toe on a rock in the garden you know has been there for ages ... or eating that whole packet of choc bits you knew quite well was reserved for your brother's birthday cake )
A ghostly voice emanating from the back of our two seater doom buggy instructed us to put our hands up while it lowered our safety bar, and with that, we started off down the darkened hallway, illuminated for a while only by glow-in-the-dark blinking eye wallpaper and walking glow-in-the-dark footprints and flickering candles overhead. Further on down the hallway, we passed a window, where the weather outside had suddenly turned into a fierce thunderstorm. The lightning flashes momentarily lit up a nearby coffin, which some unfortunate soul was desperately trying to escape from.
Lining the walls, were paintings which magically changed from a pleasant scene, to something scary. There were also a couple of doors - one which looked like it was breathing, one whose door knocker was knocking without any visible help, and another door violently shuddering due to someone on the other side thumping heavily.
The rooms and gardens of the Haunted Mansion are so beautifully detailed. You can easily ride it over and over again and not get board, as there are just so many new things to take in each visit. Rooms we travelled through, were a library, a séance room, and a very large cluttered attic. My most favourite part, was when we travelled along a track overlooking the grand dining room. The scene is absolutely glorious - it features a long heavily ladened dining tabled looked down upon by a magnificent chandelier. The room is full of ghostly activity, none more-so impressive than the couples in the left side of the room, ballroom dancing in all their formal finery.
Our journey ended with a trip through the most active graveyard I've ever been in. I didn't know which way to look, as there was so much going on. As I couldn't decide whether to look left or right, I ended up looking up at one stage, and saw all these white ghostly figures whooshing overhead constantly, which was just so awesome.
As we exited the graveyard, we passed through a hall of mirrors on the way to the disembarkment point. As we watched our reflections travelling along through the series of mirrors, we saw that we had picked up a ghostly passenger, who had joined us in our doom buggy for the remainder of our journey.
Back outside, we were pleased to see that the severe thunderstorm we had witnessed through the window whilst journeying around the mansion, had cleared up As the sun was out in full force, we dropped into the Liberty Square Produce Market for ice cold beverages. Nest got a blue Powerade, I got a Coke, and we both got bottled water for later.
Rehydrated, the next attraction the path led us to, was "It's a Small World". Surprisingly, Nest agreed to come on it with me (I couldn't get him to go on it more than once on our 2007 Disneyland holiday - LOL!) Nest got his video camera out in preparation to record our journey, while I simply settled back to enjoy the ride. While I'm aware that a lot of people can't stand this ride, I quite enjoy it due to its extremely happy vibe, super colourful scenes, and many things to notice. Unfortunately, I didn't notice much during the ride, as I settled back a bit too much and ended up going to sleep!! :0 LOL! Even worse, was that each time I jolted awake, I found that Nest had his video camera aiming right at me! Noooooo! I was mortified at this, but could see the funny side at the same time.
Determined not to fall asleep again until I was actually cosily tucked up in bed, we crossed over from "It's a Small World", to my favourite fairytale ride, Peter Pan's Flight. The queue to this attraction is always massive, so we thought that now was a good a time as any to fly to Neverland. Around one-and-a-half hours of waiting in the slowest line ever that day, it was finally time for Nest and I to board our very own flying pirate ship. The only time I consciously thought of sleep, was when we flew through the childrens' bedroom, I looked down, and thought how cosy the empty bed looked.
I have so many favourite parts to this ride (apart from reaching the front of the queue ), the first one being flying through the bedroom window and over London at night. And if you look at the moon, you can see the silhouettes of the children flying past it. Next, I absolutely love flying through the stars and approaching Neverland with its beautiful calm blue waters and lovely brightly coloured rainbow. My third most favourite part, is when we come to the end of the ride, and are met with a scene of a glittering flying pirate ship sailing off into the sky over a group of mermaids relaxing in a beautiful lagoon. I also love the soundtrack to this ride.
The next attraction we experienced, was Snow White's Scary Adventure. We both laughed when the mining cart that arrived to take us on our adventure, was called Dopey, after one of the Seven Dwarves. That suited us just fine
I do enjoy riding Snow White's Scary Adventures, as it has a bit of everything in it an adventure requires. Scenes that particularly stick in my mind, are:
· Travelling through a very dark forest where you can just make out the silhouettes of all these old gnarled-looking trees. I remember being so impressed at the spooky atmosphere this created, that I jumped when a peal of lightning went off, momentarily illuminating Snow White, who looked just as taken by surprise as I did;
· When you travel through the Seven Dwarves' cottage - it is so cute and cosy inside;
· Travelling through the Seven Dwarves' mine: a favourite scene of both mine and Nest's, due to the gemstones studded here-and-there in the rock walls, and filling up the trays of the little wooden wheelbarrows;
· Lastly, I love the mural you come to just before the end of the adventure, of the prince leading Snow White on a stunning white horse, off into the sunset. As our cart returned to the boarding/disembarking point, we passed under a bridge where Dopey was waving down at us, which I thought was really cute.
Emerging from our adventure on the lookout for our next one, we happened across The Friar's Nook, where Nest shouted me to a most super delicious strawberry shortcake sundae. It was so yummy, so yummy! It consisted of shortcake, strawberries in strawberry sauce, and a wallop of cream.
With our sugar levels back up at their maximum peaks, we then went on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Our mode of transport for the journey, was a human-sized honey pot. We travelled past some larger than life Pooh Bear storybooks, before travelling through a scene depicting a very windy day. Pretty soon, day turned to night, and the night brought with it the rain. I absolutely loved the golden ripple raindrop effects in the blackened river as we made our way through the storm. Not soon enough, we found ourselves momentarily in the safe cosy confines of Pooh's bedroom, where he was fast asleep. Before we left, an apparition of Pooh's dreaming self slowly somersaulted out the window before us, and into the crazy colourful fluorescent world of heffalumps and woozles. We followed in our honey pots, and were surrounded by large colourful fluorescent objects, some with swirling hypnotic properties, and others blowing smoke rings. There was also a lot of noise at this point. Soon, the strong properties of Pooh's pre-bedtime hot chocolate wore off, and we found ourselves back in the land of the living, where the storm had passed and the sun was shining once again. In a small clearing of the Hundred Acre Wood, a luscious party had been set up, and all of Pooh's friends were sitting around the table enjoying themselves, while he got stuck into a pot of honey a bit further up the track.
To see if we could make more room for snacks after having eaten a strawberry shortcake sundae each before visiting Pooh, we approached the Mad Tea Party. Nest is prone to motion sickness in extreme (and sometimes not so extreme) situations, but was willing to give the spinning teacups at least one whirl. He ended up giving them more than a whirl! I was so surprised when he spent the duration of the ride seeing how extra fast he could get our teacup to spin, by continuously turning the stubbornly stiff wheel in front of us. Our teacup spun so fast, I seriously felt as if I was going to fly out backwards! I'm not sure how I managed to hang on and video the experience at the same time - perhaps my shrieking helped keep me grounded We had a tremendously marvellous time on them, and I kept saying to Nest afterwards, how amazing it was that such a simple attraction could generate so much joy, especially for single people our age, with no kids. They were to become a regular fixture on our ride itinerary for the remainder of our time at WDW. The pink theme and super pretty coloured paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling of the attraction, added to the enjoyment for me.
Note the reflection in the wheel
By that time, it was around 5.30pm - one-and-a-half hours till our very first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) for the year! To conserve energy, we decided on a change of pace, and went to Main Street for a good look around the shops. We kept a sharp eye out for pocket watches to add to Nest's collection, but to our dismay, didn't come across a single one According to my receipts, our only shop purchase for the evening, ended up being a packet of tissues for Nest's developing cold. Honestly, you'd think we'd have something more exciting to show for our time in the shops than that!
For dinner, we gravitated towards the food carts in Frontierland, where Nest picked up a cheese pizza, and I picked up a much longed-for turkey leg. We ate them while slowly wandering around and taking in the fantastic atmosphere.
At 6.50pm, we made our way to Tomorrowland, where we had seen a check-in sign for MVMCP earlier in the day. Along with a small number of other park guests, Cast Members put a white wrist-band decorated with Disney-themed Christmas illustrations, on each of us, to show we had paid admission to the party for the night. For the next half-hour at least, small groups of Cast Members walked around the Magic Kingdom, holding a sign high up in the air, asking those of us nearby to show that we were legally meant to be there.
Our first stop after obtaining our party wristbands, was the Tomorrowland Terrace for complimentary holiday treats. Nest and I each came away with a hot chocolate, a small packet of apple wedges, and a Christmas cookie in the shape of a circle and sprinkled with red and green mini confectionary pieces. Despite having arrived in the area at the commencement of the party, the seating area was already well-occupied, but Nest and I were still lucky enough to find a seat, which was a happy relief. We sat and ate our treats, thinking of the massively exciting evening ahead of it.
As we were already in Tomorrowland, we started our evening off with an intergalactic adventure on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, followed by a speedy journey around Space Mountain, which was just as awesome as it had been earlier on that day.
For the first time that holiday, we then went on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover. I loved being able to sit back and relax to the piped in sounds of instrumental Christmas carols, while taking in the bright sparkling lights of the park at night from the lofty heights of the elevated outdoor track. During our journey, we:
· Saw the sparkly lights of Main Street;
· Caught a glimpse of the Contemporary Resort;
· Went past the hustle and bustle of the Tomorrowland Speedway, with the glorious illuminated Cinderella's Castle in the background;
· Saw the bright colourful lights of the Astro Orbiter attraction; and,
· Noticed the roof of the Space Mountain attraction, which was covered in large light-projected snowflakes, and looking very pretty as a result.
We also travelled through what I like to think of the attic space of some of Tomorrowland's buildings, discovering treasures not visible in any other way:
· Walt's original vision of EPCOT, including the forward-thinking City of Tomorrow;
· A bird's eye view of the interior of Mickey's Star Traders, bustling with people souvenir shopping;
· We went inside the dark recesses of Space Mountain, where we could hear vehicles whizzing by, people screaming off in the distance, and Mr Tom Morrow being paged;
· We also got a peek of a section of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin from above, which was fun; and,
· Over the queuing area for Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
I get the feeling that the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover is under-rated. Whenever Nest and I went on it, it never seemed all that crowded, but then perhaps we were just lucky with the time we chose to ride it (we only ever rode it at night - never during the day.) I was disappointed when our relaxing scenic journey had come to an end (I'm like that even when I watch the video! LOL!), and wished we could go around again without having to get off, but there was a Cast Member at the end showing us the exit. We could've gone down the escalator, and come back up around the other side, but we ended up heading towards the bright lights of the Tomorrowland Speedway instead.
Still going strong after only 3 hours sleep
The Tomorrowland Speedway ended up being a huge surprise favourite of ours, and we went on it every night we were in the Magic Kingdom, without fail, regardless of the length of the line (which was always pretty long.) As I have absolutely no driving experience what-so-ever, Nest took on the role of driver (despite having no driving experience himself - LOL! - unless you count go-karting and computer games such as the GTA series.) Having crammed ourselves and our backpack into the one car, and fastened our safety belts, we left the bright lights of the starting point, and set off on a leisurely evening drive around the race track. While it must frustrate some people, I think it's cute how the cars don't go over 7mph, giving you more than enough time to read the signs and take in the sights (my favourite being a ground level view of the exterior of Space Mountain covered in larger-than-life snowflakes.)
Immediately on disembarking, we hurried straight to the end of the line for another lap. Somehow, I ended up being the driver this time round Just the thought of it made me nervous! I have no idea why - the only thing I can come up with, was that it must've had something to do with getting stuck in the middle of the track and causing a backlog of traffic, resulting in people getting cross (thank goodness the cars didn't have horns!!) It turns out I was worrying for nothing - we both had so much fun as a result! Nest spent most of the lap laughing his head off, as despite the guide the car was restricted to travelling over, I couldn't for the life of me, steer the dang thing straight, and was constantly knocking hard into it and jerking to a stop.
As we hadn't been on Pirates of the Caribbean at all at this point of our holiday, we decided to head there the long way via Fantasyland and Liberty Square, instead of simply dashing across the hub. On our way, we stopped for a spin on the Mad Tea Party, and dropped in on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
I don't know why we didn't notice it before (or maybe we did, and perhaps thought nothing of it at the time), but there was an interactive play area directly outside the entrance and queuing area to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It was beautifully lit up with lanterns, which is perhaps why it caught my attention this time round. Before going on the ride, Nest and I entered the play area ... purely for research purposes They had drums in the shape of half cut watermelons and pumpkins, squeaky toys in the shape of beetroot and turnips, and flowers made out of bells which chimed when you spun them. There was also a cage of red ping pong balls which bounced and made a popping sound when you spun a wheel (Nest caught me on video, 'researching' that option quite thoroughly ) There was also a series of little dirt hills, which gophers would spring out of, laughing and saying something amusing, whenever you happened to stand on a pressure plate. Lastly, in the early stages of the queuing area itself, were about three giant computerised walls of honey that you could squiggle patterns in with your fingers. If you rubbed your hand over each wall quickly enough, you would reveal illustrations underneath.
From the Hundred Acre Wood, we walked past Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel and down Sleepy Hollow into Adventureland, making a beeline for Pirates of the Caribbean. We were full of excited anticipation as we passed under the warmly lit archways of the entrance and into the depths of the attraction. Boarding our boat, we set sail off into the eerie darkness.
We sailed past a sandy island sparsely populated with the skeletons of murdered treasure-hunting pirates with only the odd seagull for company. Up ahead, was a misty curtain of water with Davy Jones' face appearing in it somehow - it was a totally awesome effect. He gave us a warning about not going any further, which we took no heed of what-so-ever, passing right through him and into the inky blackness of a night at sea. Suddenly, the inky blackness was brought to life by cannon fire, the shells of which landed in the water right near us. We looked up at their source, and our small boat was dwarfed in size by a massive pirate ship with Captain Barbossa standing proudly at the helm.
We escaped with our lives off into the night, and silently sailed undetected through village upon village, over-run with drunken pirates up to no good. We came across Captain Jack Sparrow twice during our cruise, on his desperate search for treasure.
As we past a fully occupied jail on our way back to shore, we came across Captain Jack Sparrow one more time. It was obvious he had been successful in his search for treasure, as he had casually draped himself over a chair in a room full of gold, gems, and other valuable objects.
So far that night, we had tried our hand at being astronauts, train passengers, race car drivers, pirates, not to mention dealing with a blustery day in the Hundred Acre Wood, and venturing through the scary forest with Snow White. I think you'd agree with me then, that it was now most certainly time for a refreshment break! We each got a serve of holiday treats from the Sunshine Tree Terrace, and found a place outside to sit and eat. During this time, a bear from the Country Bear Jamboree show appeared and started interacting with us. I could tell poor Nest was hugely embarrassed at first, but he quickly clicked with the bear's silly sense of humour and enjoyed himself.
After the bear went on his way, we noticed huge light-projected snowflakes swirling over the ground nearby.
When I was a little girl, I loved the idea of magic carpets. I even made my own! It was a pink blanket with red flower lace tassels and reindeer bells. I don't know if it was the weight of the reindeer bells, but surprisingly, the carpet never flew I would never have guessed that I would have to wait over twenty years until I would find a magic carpet that would actually work! As there was not much of a demand for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin that night, Nest and I rode it three times in a row without having to get off. Nest was at the helm, where he was able to control at what height the carpet flew at, and I took a back seat, where I was able to control the angle at which we flew at. I think one of the reasons Nest lasted so long on the Magic Carpets, was because he perfected the art of flying at the exact level needed for me to get squirted with water by the camel each circuit.
Across the way from the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, was the Swiss Family Treehouse. Despite the many stairs involved, we still climbed them all for a good look around. It was really cool exploring the treehouse at night with no one else around, as it was so big, and there were many different sections to it, such as bedrooms, a dining room, and a sitting room. Out on one of the landings and through the sphagnum moss hanging down from the tree branches, was a beautiful view of Cinderella's Castle.
Nest being silly #1
Nest being silly #2
From the Swiss Family Tree House, we turned and mosied on down to Frontierland, heading straight for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was totally awesome riding it at night - the tunnels seemed darker, the outdoor tracks more exciting (we even saw a burst of that night's fireworks!), and the saloon we whizzed by was brought to life even more-so than during the day, as you could see peoples' shadows moving about inside. Having said all that, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is awesome any time you ride it, but my personal favourite time to go on it is at night.
Unfortunately, we decided to give Splash Mountain a miss, due to Nest's developing cold
As it was super late at night, how could we not venture into the Haunted Mansion? Even though it's not an outside ride, it seems to have that little extra something about it when you know that it's night outside.
There's a little archway you walk under on leaving Liberty Square and entering Fantasyland. To the left of the archway, is a little shop. Standing outside, was a Cast Member giving away packets of blue fairy floss - exactly what I felt like!
Full of sugar, we headed straight to the Tomorrowland Speedway, where we did a couple of solo laps of the circuit. Woo hoo! Afterwards, we ventured further into Tomorrowland, as there were still some attractions we hadn't checked out.
The first attraction we checked out, was Stitch's Great Escape!, followed by Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. Unfortunately for both these attractions, my sugar hit from the fairy floss had quickly worn off, and I fell asleep big time The bit I do remember from Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, was both Nest and I stressing out at how it was an interactive experience (I can't believe I missed this bit of info on researching our trip before-hand!) You didn't know when and if you were going to be picked to interact, which involved being spotlighted and simultaneously broadcast on the big screen up front. Nest was feeling really tired by this stage too, and I know we both would've been absolutely mortified if we were spotlighted whilst asleep. Thankfully, we were spared the humiliation, and eventually escaped with our dignity intact. Thank goodness we chose back-row seats! A guy down the front was volunteered to shout everyone to churros (woo hoo!), but it never eventuated (waaaaah!) The mention of this awoke Nest's appetite, so we hurried to find a place still selling food, as it was rapidly approaching midnight - the end of the party
At 11.58pm, Nest and I were sitting in the outside dining area of Casey's Corner. By the skin of our teeth, we managed to get Nest a midnight snack consisting of a serve of fries, a dish of chilli cheese nachos, and a bottle of iced water. We sat there and watched the park begin to empty, while Nest ate his meal, which didn't take long.
On our way down Main Street to catch the bus back to the Pop Century Resort, I commented to Nest how we had experienced almost everything the Magic Kingdom had to offer, on our first day at WDW, and began wondering if our planned 18 day stay was a bit excessive. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise what an absolutely ridiculous thing to say that was!
Despite the absolutely massive day we had just had, there was one more thing planned for that evening that I didn't want to sleep through. I had organised with Disney Floral and Gifts to set up their Dreaming of a Disney Christmas option in our room as a surprise for Nest to celebrate his first trip to WDW. I had managed to keep it a secret all this time, and couldn't wait to get back to our room for Nest to discover what awaited him there.
Nest knew something was up when we were approaching our door and spotted a long shiny red banner proclaiming, "SURPRISE!", hanging off it, with a few large solid glittery white snowflakes attached to it and a large patterned glittery white snowflake on the ground below.
On opening the door, we were met with a fantastic sight. On my bed, were super large Mickey and Minnie soft toys with a soft red blanket monogrammed with Nest's name, wrapped around them and propped up against a huge gift box. Scattered around them, were more patterned glittery white snowflakes, solid glittery white snowflakes, and large red and green Mickey head-shaped sequin scatters. Mickey and Minnie were wearing Christmas hats and light up Christmas necklaces. Mickey's Christmas hat was a jester-style one - red with a green crown and red round baubles which lit up, adorning the peaks of the crown and tip of the hat. Minnie's Christmas hat was a springy red coil with a white pom pom on top. The fringe of the hat (the bit that goes around your head - the proper word escapes me) was white, and studded with red stars that lit up. Their light-up Christmas necklaces were Mickey head shaped, and were decorated with a delicate snowflake pattern and the phrase, "Merry Christmas!" Minnie's lit up red, and Mickey's lit up green. Next to them, were three Christmas designed helium balloons - a red one with a very happy Mickey leaning through a Christmas wreath, a plain red one, and a plain green one.
The huge gift box was red with a yellow lid. The lid was wrapped with a thick black ribbon going four ways. The black bow in the centre, was topped with a red bow, and that was finished off with a glittery gold centrepiece. The large gift tag attached, said, "Owen, Merry Christmas! Your pal, Mickey Mouse." Inside, was a digital photo frame we'd be able to load our holiday snaps on once we got home. The rest of the box space was taken up with huge amounts of scrunched up paper, presumably to be used for packaging later on. Nest and I found it funny how just a small-sized gift was placed inside such a large box (Not that we're complaining, as it looked awesome!)
Our table was a sight to behold! The centrepiece was an absolutely beautiful black curvy lantern stand holding three lanterns flickering with light thanks to battery operated candles. In one of the lanterns, you could see Tinkerbell's silhouette, which was really magical. The base of the lantern stand was surrounded by a wreath of red Christmas berries.
Also on the table, was: a tall glass jar filled with individually wrapped red and white striped mints; three large chunky battery operated candles with a soft sweet scent to them; a seasonal photo of Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas outfits and standing in front of Cinderella's castle at night; an autograph book Mickey had signed for Nest, with "Merry Christmas Owen. Your pal, Mickey Mouse"; a chunky Disney pen; and, oversized Mickey head shaped sequin scatters in a variety of Christmas colours, not to mention more glittery snowflakes
By the time we had had a thorough look and photographing session of Nest's surprise, wrote the day's notes while waiting for the other to finish in the bathroom, it was around 4am by the time our heads hit our respective pillows I don't think we could've fit anymore into the day if we had tried!!
Next entry: Awake just in time for another shot at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party : capturing the Christmas fireworks and parade