Day 0: Okay, we’re off to the airport! I’ve got my Toy Story luggage tag, a fairly intense itinerary, and lots of excitement. LET’S DO THIS THING!
Oh, what’s this? A phone call from an unknown number as I’m sitting at the gate, waiting for our plane to come in? Let me just get thi–WHAT. Southwest, you really called me with an automated message saying my flight has been delayed an hour and a half? UGH, this was cutting into prime Disney time! But, you know, okay, I could be flexible. I could be flexi–
ACK, another call? Now telling me our flight was THREE HOURS delayed? GAH! NO WHY WHY ME **SOB**? Lance, never one to gracefully handle an unforeseen monkey wrench, had already resorted to Chickie & Pete’s airport location cocktails.
It’s probably around 11:00pm, some four hours after our flight was supposed to have taken off, before we’re airborne. This is what the Orlando airport looks like when we arrived:
…And, because our flight was so delayed, we couldn’t take advantage of the free Disney baggage pick/take to your resort hotel service I’d so been looking forward to. Southwest, you RUINED my magical experience! The $100 flight vouchers you provided in compensation for the delayed flight…will help, though.
Free Disney’s Magical Express shuttle from the airport right to the hotel! Given that it was 2:30am or so by the time we got to Orlando, we didn’t have to make too many stops at other Disney hotels.
Look at that face. It was so important for me that Lance have a good time at Disney World, since he’s basically a cynic (don’t ask me how Dollywood fits into that picture) who hates fun. I didn’t want this whole delay to irrevocably tarnish his experience!
And now, some photos of our hotel, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn:
This is “Disney’s Boardwalk,” nestled between the Hollywood Studios park and Epcot, which is not just the Boardwalk Inn but also a bunch of shops and restaurants that are meant to evoke a 1920s-’30s vibe.
Though the Prohibition-era design isn’t really our bag, like with most Imagineer’ed things, I was impressed by its scope and attention to detail. I’d never seen any of the Disney hotels up close before this trip, but now I think it’s safe to say that a lot, if not more, of the Disney “magic” that people talk about is actually about the immersive experience of the hotels! I mean, our hotel even had a seaside beach/saltwater smell in the lobby. I mean, come on!
View from our room.
Front entrance to the hotel. Those letters light up all nice and purdy at night.
Chandalier-y light fixture in the lobby. Gorgeous!
Not a hidden Mickey!
Day 1: After about 3 hours of sleep, it was time to get up and get to the parks–no time to waste! Based on the Disney Food Blog’s recommendation, we hit up the Boardwalk Bakery (thankfully right outside our hotel) for some breakfast.
While the coffee was awful (we didn’t have much luck with Disney coffee–we should’ve followed the advice from the Disney Tourist Blog and brought some Starbucks VIA with us!), this was the beginning of three solid days chock full of great food. Check out that cinnamon loaf!
And this apple caramel streusel thing. YUM!
This is Lance’s “I can’t believe you expect me to be outside in 95-plus-degree heat after only getting three hours of sleep” look. Or maybe that’s his perplexed reaction from some less-than-stellar iced coffee, I can’t tell.
In a moment of panic, I changed my plans at the last minute and instead of a full-day at Epcot, we took one of the Disney boats from the hotel to Hollywood Studios, where we’d try to get on as many rides as possible before noon, when we’d transfer over to Epcot.
First up: walking right on to Tower of Terror!
We were actually incredibly lucky with line waits on this trip. The big Disney secret that nobody tells you? At least this time of year, it’s not too busy (which was a shock to me, since I assume all of the families go during summer vacation), and the parks are actually fairly quiet for the first hour or two that they’re open. The next day at Magic Kingdom, we walked right onto Space Mountain as well.
Lance is making this face due to a combination hatred of both 3D and the Muppets.
Cute little padawans at Jedi Academy!
…And probably the best part of our truncated visit to Hollywood Studios: Starring Rolls Cafe, and this beaut, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake. I just gotta say right here that the cupcakes I had at Disney World may in fact be the best cupcakes I’ve ever had–definitely the moist-est (moist-iest? most moist?). This one (and the Cottontop Tamarin Cupcake in Animal Kingdom) were heavenly.
So, with with the cinnamon bread, part of a cinnamon roll, an apple streusel, and now a cupcake before noon, our schedule dictated that we head over to Epcot. In just three hours, we were able to ride the Tower of Terror, Star Tours, the Aerosmith Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and see Muppetvision 3-D. But unfortunately, even at 10 in the morning, the wait for Toy Story Midway Mania (which I’ve wanted to go on for the longest time!) was over an hour. GAH! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
So it’s off to Epcot…!
Tami Taylor making a special appearance.
Cool sand art in the Brave Highland Games Tournament set-up in Epcot. I’m still a little perplexed as to why they only offered Merida character greets in the Magic Kingdom, when this is by far the more extensive Brave set-up.
Lunch: Fish n’ chips from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the UK pavilion! (Don’t worry, all of you out there who know I gave up fries as my New Year’s resolution: I didn’t eat the chips. Though if they’re called something else, does it really count…?)
After lunch: Mission: Space, which seems to get more intense every time I ride it. I like thrill rides, but this might’ve been the first time that I really didn’t enjoy the ride and just wanted it to end. It could’ve also been the lack of sleep throwing off the chemicals in my brain.
So I may have lied to Lance about not getting any character photos. Before our trip, I was all like, “hey, man, it’s like, totally cool to not take photos and stuff. We’ll just to the character breakfast and get the big characters done in one go. No prob, dude.”
Yeaaah, that didn’t happen, and I definitely waited entirely too long to take photos with people in furry costumes. I get it! I know they’re not real, but when you’re at Disney and you see those characters, how can you NOT have a smile on your face?
(Except when it comes to Duffy…)
For mid-afternoon snack #1: school bread from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway pavilion. Delish!
We can’t even escape Philly when we try. NOOOO!
In the Germany pavilion, there’s a shop that just sells stuff covered in caramel. (**doubletake**) Yes, that’s right: all the caramel!
What everybody fails to mention to you before you go to Karamell-Kuche is that all of the caramel is actually Werther’s Original caramel. NO JOKE.
Check out this freshly-made caramel popcorn. Lance and I 100% endorse you buying this product. It’s Fantasmic!
Whoops. More characters. Here’s me discussing with Tigger how we should pose in our photo.
A bold squirrel, sitting right on the sidewalk. She was way more interesting to a lot of people than she had any right to be.
And the following photo was taken around 3:30pm, and I am bushed. Even the requisite “trying on hats at the gift shops and giggling” wasn’t lifting my droopy eyelids.
We ended up checking out of Epcot at around 5:00 or 6:00–we didn’t even make it through to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth 😦 😦 😦