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Trip Report DVC, Dinosaurs, Buckets & Booze! Now with added London & Paris! COMPLETE!

Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hello and welcome to my trip report! The title will make sense I promise… eventually!

We’ve actually been home almost 3 weeks now and I’ve been writing this report for about 2. I just haven’t sorted through all my photos (and had the Disney blues, which always makes visiting the Trip Report forum hard!) but I’ve got a nice free Saturday now to sort through the photos and feel ready to post :)

So I guess the DVC and booze part of the title is self-explanatory, so I’ll start with that! Having bought into DVC on our last trip… what better way to try out all the options now available to us then making this a super-split-stay… and staying in 6 different resorts!! o_O Ok this wasn’t all completely intentional; it just kind of worked out this way (which will be explained shortly!)
It may sound crazy to some, but we actually loved trying out a bunch of different resorts over the 16 nights of this trip! 16 nights meant there was plenty of time to do so!

Now the booze element of the title… well, there was a liiiittle bit of drinking involved! If you’ve read any of my previous reports you’ll know we like a Disney Drink… or monorail crawl! It adds a little extra magic to the already magical day…

Originally I had wanted to name this report When You Wish Upon a Cronut, as leading up to the trip I had been day dreaming about all the delicious Disney food that exists in the magical bubble (don’t we all?!) and the Cronut in all it’s delicious-sugar-filled-butter-pastry-delicious glory is just one of the items that had been most on my mind! I’d not found one over here (in the UK) and there’s just something about sitting down and looking over World Showcase whilst increasing my blood sugar levels & calorie intake by a bajllion with that crazy pastry! Just one of those little ways of knowing I’M HOME when doing so.
However, I didn’t even end up getting a Cronut once this trip!! Despite being there for 16 nights this kind of became a theme of the trip in that some of the things we’d been daydreaming about and talking about doing or eating before the trip- along with some Disney staples- we somehow forgot to do or completely missed! So much so that back home our go-to joke phrase that we say or randomly message each other throughout the day is “Did we even Disney?!” that sometimes goes to “Did we even America?!” “Did we even plane?!” :joyfull:

Don’t get me wrong though, we still had an awesome time and the Disney blues are hitting HARD. It never gets any easier! I literally want to walk out of work every second (yep I’ve been writing this at work… when I can… ssh… who doesn’t go on the boards when at work?!) go get my husband and grab our passports and board a plane back to my real home. If I had the money to do so I wouldn’t look back!

So with all that info already (these first few posts are going to be wordy, sorry!) let’s get onto the who, the when & the where (x6 :joyfull: )

Who: Me (Sam) and my husband Russ

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Ok how about a non drinking in Disney photo:

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We’re from the UK and this was our 11th trip to WDW together (I grew up going, Russ’ first trip was with me) and our first full trip as DVC members! We purchased DVC on the last trip- and actually used a few points right there and then- but this felt like the first “official” DVC trip!

Now onto the when and where…
September 21st-October 7th
16 days of glorious WDW. I can’t believe that it’s over a month now since we left for the trip!

So our last trip was in November/December 2018 and of course the Disney blues had hit hard as soon as we were home and it all felt like FOREVER ago within a month of being back! Although we had some tentative plans in place already for this year, by March/April we had to get bookings secured and make it real so that the Disney blues could become Disney excitement!

So first a little background, because this trip had some changes! And it will also explain the amount of resorts…
Originally we had a Disney Cruise booked for September 28th-Oct 5th. We planned to do a week in WDW before that and stay another 2 nights after the cruise. Having bought into DVC on our last trip (woo hoo!) we decided we wanted to try 2 different resorts in that first week. We quite like split stays and we wanted to try out places we hadn’t stayed before, which now being DVC members allowed us to do. So our original plan was for 3 nights at Copper Creek (our home resort) and 4 nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge, before embarking on our cruise and returning for 2 nights at the Beach Club (our favourite resort which we have previously stayed at).

Then along came a slight spanner in the works. We secured Copper Creek for our first 3 nights and Beach Club for the last 2 nights after the cruise. However, AKL was only available for 3 nights- leaving our last night before the cruise without somewhere to stay. We thought we would waitlist AKL, but then I noticed a Theme Park View Studio at Bay Lake Tower was available for that night- and we thought why not? We were planning to do MNSSHP that night anyway, so it would be convenient for that- and we have also done split stays many times before, including 3 resorts in 5 nights once and we actually don’t find it that much of a hassle. So that became our new plan!

Then as happens sometimes, a second much larger spanner was thrown into the works. In May, a bit of a family emergency/situation came up that made it seem like we might have to postpone our trip. As it was quite up in the air whether we would be able to go- along with slight financial pressures- it seemed cancelling the cruise would be for the best. If it later turned out we could still go away, a WDW trip would be more than welcome. So we went ahead and cancelled the cruise, but decided to keep the DVC bookings since they were less of a commitment at that time.

We weren’t too sure until August whether we would be going ahead, when the family situation had settled and we knew we would be ok to take our trip! Whilst we were disappointed to not be cruising with DCL again (we’ve been trying to go again ever since we took our first Disney Cruise as part of our honeymoon nearly 4 years ago) it now meant we had over 2 weeks to enjoy WDW! It had been a good few years since we had stayed solely in Orlando for that long and we can’t wait! 16 days for all the parks, dining and resort time seemed like bliss! We had thought it felt a little rushed the past 3 or 4 trips as they had been shorter and/or filled with plans in & out of WDW (not that those hadn’t been great, we’d just been craving a long WDW trip). There are always so many things we want to repeat alongside new things to try- there never seems to be enough time no matter how long we’re there! And, as we’ve just found out anyway from this trip- 16 nights still isn’t long enough!! I think we actually did less than we’d planned for this trip than on our shorter trips!

So now that we knew we were going and that it would be 16 nights just in Orlando- the only issue was sorting rooms for the week that we originally thought we would be on the cruise for. This was a little more of a headache now with being way into the DVC booking window- and the announcement that Galaxies Edge would be open at that time!
We could only get 3 nights at Saratoga Springs for Oct 1st-4th. We booked it and waitlisted Beach Club/Boardwalk for those nights and hoped it would open up and swap us- and that the night of the 4th would become available either with points or the cash discount. Then I could align those nights with our DVC booking for the 5th and 6th Oct. We had our fingers crossed that we would get our waitlist for Beach Club and end up with 6 nights in a row there at the end!

That just left the 28th Sept - 1st Oct with nowhere booked (and no more points left!). So we decided to do those 3 nights offsite, to save money along with that we also wanted to visit some of the other non-Disney Orlando parks (sshh!) as well as some shopping and relaxing. Even this didn’t work out how we planned! I’ll explain when I get into that part of the trip, but we didn’t get to any off-site parks lol!

So, the waitlist literally 10 days out of the trip moved us to Boardwalk for the 1st-4th! That still left the night of the 4th to book somewhere before the 5th & 6th that we had locked down for Beach Club (are you still following?! o_O). There was no availability with points and no decent discounts for the night of the 4th at the Beach Club or Boardwalk- and since it was just one night it didn’t seem worth the rack rate- so we went for 1 night at Coronado Springs instead! A little crazy when being at the Boardwalk and then moving to Beach Club that we were then popping elsewhere on property for one night in between, but when the Boardwalk/Beach Club rates were near $600 and Coronado was $200… it was worth it. Plus we had wanted to visit Coronado during the trip anyway to see the new tower and restaurants. So for us, it was perfect!

And so, that was our crazy itinerary! :joyfull: For some it might seem like a nightmare, but we do actually like seeing and staying in different resorts- we’d done it before so we knew what it entailed- and as it’s just the two of us we don’t find it too bothersome. In fact, in some ways it makes the trip seem longer and more exciting getting to experience different resorts! We actually enjoyed waking up, calling bell services to collect our bags, heading out to a park and then coming back to a new resort afterwards! When we switched to AKL from Copper Creek our room was ready when we were back and we already had magic bands, so we simply went straight to our new room. It doesn’t usually take much time anyway to pop to check in on the way back from a park if need be- we usually time it so we arrive after check-in time anyway- and our bags have always arrived in a timely fashion after calling, if not having already been in our rooms! The only slight inconvenient time we had was when we moved on and off-site, as this meant we had to grab an Uber (we hadn’t hired a car) and take our luggage with us rather than being able to transfer. At Disney it was easy!

We actually a few years ago spent 3 months travelling- and most of our stays in various cities were for 3 or 4 nights! A couple were even 2 nights- so simply moving around WDW a few times over 2 weeks compared to new cities and countries every few days for 3 months was nothing really!

Ok, finally, here is what the itinerary actually was:
Sept 21st-24th Copper Creek at Wilderness Lodge
Sept 24th-27th Animal Kingdom Lodge
Sept 27th-28th Bay Lake Tower
Sept 28th-Oct 1st Off-site
Oct 1st-Oct 4th Boardwalk Resort
Oct 4th-5th Coronado Springs
Oct 5th-7th Beach Club Resort

I’ll get started on the report soon- I’ll just give a little info on what the trip plans entailed in the next post!
 

Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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So a few final details about the trip before I begin the report...

We had tickets to After Hours at Animal Kingdom and tickets to MNSSHP and we were very excited for both! We’d done Magic Kingdom After Hours before, but not AK so we were excited to experience the low crowds at AK and get our Pandora on. For MNSSHP it was about the parade, fireworks and Trick or Treating!! Halloween isn’t as big in the UK as it is in America- it’s growing and is bigger than it used to be, but when I was a kid nobody went trick or treating. You only saw it in the movies! So we were excited to be doing that in Disney and cared more about that and the shows than the rides this night. Stay tuned to find out how both events went!

Hard ticket parties aside, the rest of the trip we were looking forward to Galaxies Edge (Russ is a giant Star Wars fan, of course!) and Food and Wine! Over the 16 nights we had booked 5 (lol!) Ogas Cantina reservations! (Spoiler alert, we didn’t need them all!). We’d never been there for Food and Wine before either, so we were really looking forward to experiencing it and all of the food booths!! We’ve been to Flower and Garden and the Festival of the Holidays, so we were ready for the big one! We’d looked over the menus a little bit, and mostly we just wanted to tour all the booths and see what we fancied on the day. I’d seen a few drinks I had wanted to try though (hello Baileys & Guinness frozen shake) and I knew that I wanted lots of the items that had cheese! There was even a cheese crawl available! I’ve had the beer cheese soup at Le Cellier before so I definitely wanted some of that again for a snack point! And the raclette of cheese at the Alps booth!! Oh boy. Stay tuned to find out how the dishes lived up to the pre-trip day dreaming and how much cheese went down… :hungry:

We also had the dining plan for a couple of the DVC bookings (hello snack points for Food and Wine!) and a few ADRs booked, some new and some old favourites- including doing California Grill dinner one night and then brunch there the next morning!! (Spoiler alert, of course that didn’t end up happening as planned!). Sanaa was also booked and was a first for us- as was Jaleo! We were also looking forward to pool days at our different resorts. All in all, we couldn’t wait for the trip! It’s funny looking back now though at all the planning vs. reality!

One last thing about our trip- that was also exciting- is that of course we got to be reunited with our American family!! Yep, @dclfan (Alisa) is no longer just my amazing Disney Twin, her and Jerome feel like family now! I can’t believe it’s almost 2 years since we met through this board and then met in real life for drinks in Epcot.

This was us on that first trip:

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The time has flown by, but also as it did when we first met, it feels like we always knew each other anyway. We’ve had 2 trips together since the trip where we met, both at WDW and at their home in Tampa (plus a side trip to Mexico!) and along with the fact Alisa and I message each other all the time, we feel like lifelong friends rather than having met on a Disney message board!

So these guys were in Disney from Sept 30th, and we all got to hang together for a few days once again. Alisa visited for a few days prior to that also (whilst Jerome was working) for an epic Disney Twin Day Adventure! Even Disney agreed Twin Day was real and encouraged our celebrations (more on that coming up!).

So, I think that’s all of the details and possibly the longest ever Pre-Trip Report within a Trip Report! My last few trips were live, but I decided to be more in the moment this trip- and hopefully be able to remember all the details and enjoy reliving it whilst I report it here! So… here goes!
 

Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Pre-Travel Travel Day! Friday September 20th

Ahh memories- that day when you finish work and the trip is just about to begin and is all ahead of you. It’s almost the most exciting day of the trip! I always get sad thinking about the trip days flying by and being over even when I’m on the actual trip. Especially once it gets just pass the midway point and then it feels like you’re speeding downhill to your flight home!

Anyway, let’s get back to the awesomeness of the pre-travel travel day! We were going to the airport the night before to stay in a hotel, as we had an early flight which would have meant getting up at 2.30am to drive there to be on time otherwise. Also it has kind of become a tradition to start the trip a day early at an airport hotel now, so we had to!

I finished work early at 3.30pm and raced home to meet Russ who had also finished early. We quickly changed and grabbed our suitcases that I had been packing and re-packing for about 2 weeks and started making our way to the station to grab our train to London. We live less than ten minutes’ walk to the station, so even though we had our suitcases and carry-ons, the suitcases had the spinny wheels making them easy to push (pretty sure the excitement adrenaline made it easy too!) and it seemed silly to call for a taxiand possibly wait just as long in traffic for it too (no Uber or Lyft over here yet where we live! Stupid England).

We often choose the train to get to the airport as it takes us 30 minutes into central London from where we live- and then with a change of trains we can to the airport in about 90 mins total. Driving from where we live- especially between 4pm-7pm on a weekday can vary dramatically with traffic and often take longer, worse case double the time! The train is actually cheaper too than paying for parking for two weeks (plus driving back home after a 9 hour flight on little sleep when we come back is NOT fun) and the train is also cheaper than getting a taxi all the way there. It’s also kind of become a tradition for us the last few trips and we quite enjoy it now.

Ready to go!

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Documenting waiting for the train, as you do.

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Another tradition… train cheers! Of course, the theme of the trip- drinking! We cheered our cans together as the train pulled away.

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I love this moment, leaving our hometown and off on an adventure, leaving all the boring day to day life rubbish and worries behind us. It really is worth a cheers! Once in London we got ourselves to London Bridge Station for the 30 min train ride to Gatwick Airport.

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There was a nice sunset happening, but I couldn’t quite catch it through the windows.

Another train cheers! And R2 was joining us!

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We tried to include R2 on a lot of our experiences this trip, alas as was the theme for a lot of the time… we forgot to! Before we knew it we had arrived at Gatwick- and with a short trip on a not-quite-the fonorail over to the North Terminal, we were at out hotel for the night! Sofitel London Gatwick. We love the Sofitel brand and have stayed at a few around the world (although we have to say the Gatwick one is probably our least favourite, as it’s the most dated/worn) but they all have CRAZY comfy beds and really warm customer service- and they always have awesome lobbies, bars and this smell that is sooo good. So we love starting our trip at a Sofitel!

They have this in both the Heathrow and Gatwick Sofitel’s and I always take a photo even though I have plenty of exactly the same thing! I don’t know why but I just love looking at this map and how it moves with the time zones so you can see the night and day of different countries all at once. I can do that on my phone, but still. It’s just another little trip tradition!

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Once we had checked into our room we headed out to the shops in the terminal to grab something to eat. We always end up buying a little hotel room picnic to eat in the room and have a few drinks and then go have some drinks in the hotel bar. I fell asleep this night in such comfort, both in the bed and from knowing I was going home! :inlove:
 

Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Saturday September 21st

I woke up before our alarm (pretty much the only time that happens ever!) and we were both up and ready by We dropped our room keys in the express check out and headed to the airport check-in. I hadn’t been able to check-in online and once we were at the self-service desks I couldn’t check-in there either, I had been randomly selected for those extra questions that had to be done at the desk in person. There were quite a few others in the same line that had also been randomly selected though- and the staff had made quite an efficient process so that it only took a few minutes. The questions were just general ones about the trip and didn’t take any time. I’ve had this happen a time or two before and it’s not really a hassle apart from the super-trip-planner brain of mine that likes to be checked in the night before!

Anyway, so after we’d checked-in we headed to security. Another slight delay- my bag got moved aside for a second screening! There were so many bags that also got set aside and it seemed to take ages to get to mine! I wouldn’t have minded too much usually, but for some reason we seemed to be running out of time this morning- the boarding time for the flight was an hour before take-off when usually it’s about 35-40 mins before and somehow we were already coming up to an hour before boarding time. Which is still plenty of time, but usually we like to wander duty free and grab some breakfast and some drinks before boarding. I don’t know how the time slipped away this time around! Anyway, it was due to my asthma inhalers- which I didn’t think I needed to get out of my bag and place in the bins separately- and the security lady confirmed this saying it was the machines fault, my bag shouldn’t have been set aside. She apologised though and we were then on our way.

After grabbing some duty free we only had 25 mins left before boarding and we were hungry and wanted something to drink- I’m not a nervous flyer (anymore!) but I do like having a drink to make the first few hours go quicker! We were flying with Norwegian for the first time and unlike Virgin Atlantic & British Airways alcoholic drinks weren’t complimentary- so the airport pub was even more of a must since we’d be paying triple on the flight if we were to buy them there! We managed an airport cheers (with R2!) before heading to board our flight to Orlando (yaaaaaaaay!).

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So as mentioned this was our first time flying Norwegian Air- their prices were significantly lower than the other options for our trip, so we decided to give them a try! The flight out was just fine, it kind of felt a little no-frills and the inflight entertainment was a bit rubbish with not many new releases and some really random selections of TV shows and films. The plane was modern however and had the windows that don’t have shades, but instead a button that darkens and lightens them. The announcements also noted several times how they have a special air filtering system that helps you feel less jetlagged. I’m not sure whether it worked or not as we did feel better and more awake and were able to stay up longer than most of the other times that we have arrived- however we also arrived earlier than any other flight we’ve taken to America. We landed at 2pm which is 7pm UK time vs. arriving 5.30pm and onwards which is 10.30pm and onwards in the UK. So I don’t know which one made the difference!

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Anyway, the flight was comfortable and uneventful, the food was actually better than most and tasted fresher than most plane food. And we arrived early! Only twenty minutes, but still- Norwegian has a reputation of not being the best for departures and arrivals (or even actually putting you on a Norwegian Airlines plane- which we experienced on the way home!) Overall the experience was fine- and if it hadn’t been for our return journey I would probably book again. I might still book if cheap enough, but I definitely wouldn’t over Virgin or British Airways now if the prices were similar. We definitely missed the complimentary drinks and snacks!

After landing we headed through customs- the queue for this took about 45 minutes which wasn’t too bad, we’ve experienced much longer before, but we’ve also whizzed by previously too so any wait is a little bit annoying after a 9 hour flight! Our bags were already there for us though when we got through, so that was a bonus. And it was on to the fonorail!

We’re hoooooooome!

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I made a quick stop at Starbucks before we headed to the Magical Express and with caffeine in hand and the excitement buzzing, we checked in at the ME stand. We didn’t have to wait long- if at all to go straight on to the bus! Before we knew it we were passing under the best sign in the world! Our driver was actually quite funny and obviously knew the importance of this moment- about 30 seconds out he announced the sign and proceeded to say “wait for iiiiit… waaaaaaiiiit… almost there… wait for iiiiiit…” and then as we went under he said “You are now surrounded by the MAGIC! Everybody cheer! We made it, we made it!” I have no good photos of the sign though of course!

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Wilderness Lodge was first- hooray! Not that I really would have minded stopping at other resorts at this point, I was just so happy to be HOME!!

Today had gone so quickly journey wise- check-in, the flight, ME- and even though customs was 45 minutes, as our bags were ready and the flight was early it didn’t matter! Before we knew it we had been given our room number for our first DVC Deluxe Studio of the trip (one of many!)

We were on the ground floor- which meant going down a floor from the lobby- and this confused us slightly for a moment where we got in the elevator in the lobby and then realised it didn’t go down! The lady at the front desk had told us where to go and then to take the elevator down to the ground floor, but in our excitement and travel haze we still ended up getting in the wrong elevator! After finding another CM and then Chip and Dale whizzing by (I was too slow with my camera! But it made me smile that characters were out and about) we finally found the right corridor to the right elevators that went down- and found our way to our room for the next 3 nights.

We had seen the Copper Creek studios before of course having done the tour before purchasing DVC- but it had been nearly a year since then and once again we loved them! They’re so new yet still rustic- I wasn’t sure if I was going to like being on the ground floor with a patio at first, but it didn’t take long for me to love that too! We were opposite the Boulder Ridge pool- perfect- and just around the corner from Geyser Point- even more perfect! I don’t think we could have asked for a better location to be honest, it didn’t take long to get to the buses either as there was a cut-through path directly to them just a few minutes’ walk from our patio and this location was SO QUIET. I didn’t hear a peep from any neighbours or outside at all!

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Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It was only 4.30pm once we had sorted ourselves in the room and freshened up- and we both felt we still had the energy to head out to Disney Springs for dinner, so that’s exactly what we did!

Already excited to be walking around this resort!

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Another great start to the trip- a Disney Springs bus arrived within minutes! And… as we pulled out of Wilderness Lodge there were deer on the grass at side of the road! How Disney is that? I didn’t catch a picture in time though.

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We had to stop at the Contemporary for this route, but it didn’t take long and I was happy to see the castle briefly and some monorails! (Spoiler alert- and shocker- we didn’t ride the monorail once this trip! Did we even Disney?!)

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We actually were surprised and happy that we arrived at Disney Springs in less than 20 minutes; to be honest we didn’t have any issues with the buses at any of the resorts this trip. The only time we waited more than 20 minutes was for a Typhoon Lagoon bus one day from the Contemporary, which was a 30 minute wait and then it stopped at all the MK resorts. Alisa and I had an occasion at the end of the night at the MK where the first bus was full so we had to wait for the next one, but even then I don’t think it was any more than 20 minutes for the following bus. Apart from those two times, we didn’t have a late bus at all! In fact I would say we waited an average of 5-10 minutes, sometimes only a couple of minutes each time.

Now where was our first stop in Disney Springs? Jock Lindsey's! It’s tradition! We actually wanted to sit at the bar as it’s our favourite spot- and pre-trip when we were having a tiring or bad day we always mentioned how before we knew it we would be cheers-ing at Jock’s at the bar. There were no seats free here though so a table it was. The view made up for it! And we still got to cheers!

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I LOVE Disney Springs. It’s got so many good bars and places to eat; I could probably spend every evening here. I find it so pretty and relaxing. And then on top of a nice place to go for dinner and drinks, there are Disney shops everywhere!

We also ordered some tuna tacos as they are one of our favourite items here. They were tasty, but not as good as usual- they had toasted the tacos rather than them being soft and it made them taste a little stale. The tuna was still delicious though.

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Admiring my nails and new magic band! :joyfull:

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After sitting for a good while and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Springs, people watching the amphicars on the lake and looking over at Saratoga, we decided to head out for a walk around the shops and decide on where to eat properly.

Love LOVE this Lego set! Along with the castle I need this! I’ll wonder if they’ll start doing all the park icons in Lego soon...

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We wondered for a while and took a brief tour into a crowded World of Disney- it was too busy for my now slightly jet lagged brain, we’d be back- and so we kept on walking and trying to decide what we fancied to eat. We both then started to realise that the 9 hour flight and 5 hour time difference was starting to kick in and that the tuna tacos would be able to hold us over for a while- so we decided to head back to Wilderness Lodge and grab something from the quick service there- with a quick stop at the Speedway near Disney Springs first for some cheaper drinks and snacks for the room.

I took this photo from the Speedway as I thought the sky and the Springs looked pretty!

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Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hello new home!

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When back we took a quick look in Roaring Forks, but nothing took our fancy so we headed to the Geyser Point Quick Service window to see what they had there. Bison burger for the win! This was SO GOOD. I think the best burger we’ve had at Disney- and the waffle fries too! Delicious.

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Our acquired snacks!

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This photo where us in the mirror so ergo we were art seemed hilarious to me all tipsy, jet-lagged and slightly delirious at 3am UK time! :joyfull:

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After this it was time to chill in the room and on the patio for a while before heading to bed around 11pm (4am UK time!), ready to be up for a 6am DHS rope drop tomorrow! Might as well take advantage of the jet lag waking us up super early whilst we can- it lasts a few days at the start of the trip where we’re up about 4am-5am no matter how much or how little sleep we’ve had!

Can you tell we were a little delirious yet? I had no shame sitting on our patio in my pyjamas and towel from shower on head...

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And that was our arrival day! We’d only been there half a day, but it felt like we were properly on our Disney trip already with a visit to Disney Springs under our belt and having settled in at Wilderness Lodge. The bed at Copper Creek was SO COMFY (actually all the beds at Disney this trip were- I don’t know if they’ve changed the mattresses out since our last trip?) and I fell asleep with no problem. Happy, content and finally home with a full 2 weeks in my favourite place in the world ahead of us, this was just the best feeling to drift off to ever!

Coming up, our first full day…
 
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Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Sunday September 22nd

I managed to sleep straight through from 11.30pm-3.30am and then I woke up, as usual on our first morning or two coming from the UK to the US. I tried to doze off for a little and between that and scrolling my phone for a bit, by 5am we were both awake and started to get ready for DHS Extra Magic Hours.

Nothing better than turning the TV on to this!

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When we were ready to leave we realised it was still dark outside! That was a little confusing along with jet lag! It felt like we’d slept through the day or gotten up in the middle of the night! It was sooo quiet.

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We only saw a couple of other people and we only shared the bus with one other person- and the bus had arrived just a few minutes after we had arrived at the bus stop.

On our way! What time is it?!

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We got our first look at the new bus stops when we arrived- very nice. And of course, the soon to open Gondolas! So here is an explanation for another part of the title- since they were announced we have called the Gondolas “Buckets”. Or to be more precise, the Death Buckets! Well, that is Russ’ word for them since from when they were announced he has NOT been keen to ride, convinced they are doomed to trap him (ha ha retrospectively now!) or drop off the line crashing onto the roads or lakes. I however had been super excited to ride them! I’m not even sure who coined the term Buckets/Death Buckets between us and Alisa & Jerome, but calling the Gondolas by their real name seems weird to us now, we’re so used to it. During the last trips when they were being built and on this trip as they were opening we’d just yell “Buckeeeeettts!” affectionately at them (well, Russ would grumble Death Buckeeeeetts)! I can’t begin to tell you his glee at being “right” about them after the incident!

Anyhow, passing the buckets we carried on to the front gates of DHS, noticing the new bag check lines/scanners this time. I actually think they did a good job here- and it went up fast.

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First mickey head scan of the trip- and we were in! Even though we were up early somehow we’d managed to not get through the gates until 6.30am. We weren’t too worried though as the wait times were still very low and the park didn’t have many people in it. First stop- caffeine! Got to get my first Disney Starbucks of the trip! Pumpkin Spice Latte for me and Russ went for a Cold Brew. As we drank our coffees we made our way to Toy Story Land for our first ride of the trip- Slinky Dog! The line said 20 minutes and I don’t even think it took 15. Perfect start to our first full Disney Day! I was so happy to be home and I just love this ride.

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After this we took in some of the small details of the land as the sun was rising- it literally got light as we were on Slinky- before heading over to TSMM- 5 minute wait! Russ beat me, as usual, but it was close! I blame the early start!

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Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Daytime now- goodbye Toy Story Land for now!

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After this it was time to head over for the big moment- our first look at Galaxies Edge!

When is Runaway Railway opening?!

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Florida skies and palm trees!! :inlove:

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Here we go…

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So… OMG the land is HUGE!! I had it in my mind that you enter and go into the area where the Millennium Falcon is, since that’s the area that most bloggers/promotion had shown. We’d tried to avoid any spoilers or watching any videos before we took this trip, but those shots of the Falcon were kind of hard to avoid. I had no idea the land was this big- and we’d have to really walk around to find the Falcon area!

Hello Chewie!

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Some Storm Troopers… act casual…

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Meant to get some of these... forgot to get some of these...

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I was impressed with the scale and the detail. I’m not sure how people aren’t impressed with the land, you’re in Batuu! But that’s a debate for another thread.

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Finally we made it through to the area for the big reveal… it’s the Millennium Falcon! :joyfull::joyfull:

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Ariel1986

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just wow. I think all I need to put here to show how Russ felt at this moment, is a photo of him and his pet AT-AT when he was 9 or 10 years old and then this day by the Falcon. Also because the AT-AT photo is both cute and hilarious! :hilarious:

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So now we were here- it was time to ride! The queue details are awesome. We’re in the Falcon! We got Gunners. No Pilots for us but at least we get to blow sh*t up!

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Time to ride…

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So, our thoughts. As an experience, I really enjoyed Smugglers Run. You really do enter the Millennium Falcon! It probably won’t be a super must do or something we’d queue over 30/40 minutes for (our wait time said 45 minutes, but only took about 25 minutes in the end) and the actual ride/simulator isn’t Disney’s best. It’s no Flight of Passage! And I’m not even sure it’s even as good as Star Tours- which is a bit nuts being how this is a brand new ride. But for us it really was enjoyable as a whole, and sitting in the Pilot seats (we got to be Pilots later in the trip) and launching the Falcon into light speed is just damn frickin’ cool. We’re super hopeful for Rise of the Resistance being mind-blowing and that Smuggler’s Run is the Navi River Journey of the land. When Rise does open I think the land will be even more of something special.

So, Smugglers Run done- it was off to explore a little more before our Oga’s Cantina reservation! We were getting a little hungry for breakfast now, so we decided to check out the breakfast offerings. Nothing appealed to us yet in Docking Bay 7 so we decided to try out Ronto’s Roasters and got the regular wrap. We liked it! We shared one between us as we didn’t want to fill up too much ahead of our plans for after DHS. We found the wrap tasty!

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Time to try Blue Milk!

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We went for the version with rum (of course! Hey it might be 8.30am in Disney but that’s 1.30pm in the UK!) Our verdict was that we didn’t mind it! It’s fruity- and we couldn’t quite place what it reminded us of, but we thought it had hints of a Solero ice cream (I don’t know if the US has those but it’s a popsicle/creamsicle in the UK. I could taste the hints of watermelon also, but Russ couldn’t.
 
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