Hi Guys I am back with another installment of my Florida adventure (you can read the first post here), enjoy …
As mentioned previously, before I went to Florida I did some research to get a rough idea of some of the things I wanted to do. I was very happy to find out that the Food and Wine festival would be taking place whilst we were there as from my previous restaurant reviews you will know that I love food.
However the first thing we headed straight for was the Nemo ride as this was at the start of the park and we didn’t want to double back on our selves. Now I knew this was mainly a children’s ride as the family teased me that it would be too fast for me, after learning from the Harry Potter ride at universal (more about that in another post) that I don’t do speed. I actually found this ride a tad disappointing, granted I love the fact that you hardly went at any speed but at one point we actually got stuck and had to watch the same screen for what felt like forever. This being said the sea life that I got to see afterwards completely made up for it, my favourite being the dolphin’s. I tried to record the dolphin but it just went past too quickly.
Whilst on the monorail to Epcot I decided to check what characters were at Epcot for the day using the My Disney Experience App on my phone (all parks have free WiFi), I was very excited to learn that there was Snow White, Belle, Aladdin and Jasmine as well as Anna and Elsa. We made a group decision to visit the characters first and then visit the Food and Wine festival stalls. As many of you will know the idea of Epcot World Showcase is that you travel around the world and visit characters and themed shops. As the Food and Wine Festival was also taking place the stalls were in-between the normal pavilions, which meant you got lots of different aromas of food as you walked through. As mentioned before Belle is my favourite princess however I was a little disappointed that she wasn’t in her gold dress, although I do understand it is hot. In my opinion she didn’t have a great resemblance to Belle (compared to the one I saw in the Fantasy parade) however she was very good at acting the part. Belle commented on my stick on nails and thought that the pattern was musical notes; she went on to mention Maddame Wardrobe and Lumiere which made me smile. There was an opportunity to meet Alice from Alice in Wonderland in ‘UK’ but the queue was quite long and as she was based outside, after waiting to see Belle outside I didn’t fancy waiting in the Florida sunshine again.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Whilst on our travels around Epcot we purchased two sampler menu cards ( me and my boyfriend shared one and the other four shared it between them), for $62 we got 8 passes on one card to then exchange for 8 items of food and drink around the Food and Wine Festival. I had read about this on Facebook before arriving in Florida and used the My Disney Experience App to locate the kiosks selling the passes. Most dishes were priced around $8- $9 however I did notice that a glass of champagne was $32 so depending what you brought I think the sampler menu was well worth the money. I like the fact that I just handed over a pass and didn’t have to worry about having the money and getting lots of change or worrying whether I have enough money on my card.
My favourite item that we tried from the Food and Wine Festival was the Lamb Chop from Australia, this was the first thing I smelt as we walked in and I waited all day to try it and it didn’t disappoint. My least favourite was the Apple Wine from Canada, this was mainly due to the size, we literally got one mouthful each ( I was so disappointed I forgot to take a picture). Another favourite was the Pulled Pork Slider from ‘Hawaii’ this was amazing, we only got a couple of bites each but it was so good. My boyfriend’s sister also brought Fish and Chips from ‘United Kingdom’ which was not part of the festival, but definitely deserve a mention as they were very yummy and a nice reminder of home. I also have to give a mention to the Shaved Ice from ‘Japan’ which again wasn’t part of the Food and Wine festival which meant we had to purchase it separately but was exactly was we needed to cool us down (Did I mention it was hot in Florida?), I choose the rainbow option with different flavours it was yummy. Please see below a selection of the food and drink we tried, although it was all good I have only given a mention to the ones that were exceptional.
Magic Kingdom- Wishes and Fireworks
After a great day at Epcot we then headed to Magic Kingdom to catch the Electrical Parade, Wishes and the Fireworks. Due to the news earlier this year that the Electrical Parade was moving to California (the last showing was October 9th 2016) I made sure I didn’t miss it. We got to Magic Kingdom around 7pm even though the show didn’t start till 9pm to make sure we got a good view. We manage to get a place right near the start of Main Street and I got to sit down on the curb and take the weight of my feet. Whilst researching Florida I did watch a video on YouTube of the parade and was quite looking forward to seeing it, I didn’t watch all the video as I didn’t want to ruin it. However after watching the Wishes, Fireworks and Festival of Fantasy parade I wouldn’t say the Electrical Parade was in my Top 5 Experiences (In cases you are wondering what they are, I will list them at the end). For what it was (before I had seen everything else) I thought it was good, I got some great pictures however it seemed to be over too quickly. But I am still glad I got to see it as the next time I visit it won’t be at Magic Kingdom.
Once the parade had finished we made our way down Main Street to get a good view of the castle for Wishes and the Fireworks, this wasn’t easy as everyone had the same goal. We finally managed to get a spot and waited patiently for the Wishes to begin. I had again seen a clip on YouTube so knew what to expect, but this exceeded my expectations. The amount of different images they projected and the music was amazing; they showed pretty much every Disney film which brought back so many good memories. I am sure if I asked the Frozen fan of the group she would say her favourite part of Wishes was when they played Let it Go and everyone including myself joined in.
After wishes we had a slight break as we waited for the fireworks to begin. On our first night arriving we actually saw the fireworks in the sky as we collected the details for our villa so I knew it was going to be good. Hands down the fireworks were by far the best experience of the whole trip ( I think my party would also agree, I know my boyfriend does). Even just thinking about it now makes me smile and well up a little and I will let you in on a secret I actually cried while watching it (I saved for ages and have dreamt for years about coming to Disney and in that moment it all hit me how all the struggle and stress was worth it). The fireworks where just magical and beautiful, every time I thought it was over more would appear it was the best 12 minutes of that holiday. I stood there without a single care in the world enjoying the magic of Disney. I can’t even explain to you how great it was, as I am still welling up just thinking about it (told you I was emotional).
Extra day at Disney
Now unfortunately we got caught in Hurricane Matthew and was informed on Wednesday that our flight was going to be delayed by a day. Due to the hurricane we did end up spending from Thursday afternoon till Friday evening in the villa as we were advised not go out and for the first time in a long time Disney closed early on the Thursday and was closed on the Friday. This was also the case for all the other theme parks, restaurants and shops. However the curfew was lifted at around 2pm on the Friday which meant some of the restaurants re-opened Friday afternoon. The silver lining in this was that we got to go back to Magic Kingdom on the Saturday as our flight had now moved to the Sunday evening and our tickets were still valid till midnight on Saturday. This extra day allowed me to see the much talked about Festival of Fantasy which was cancelled on the first day we went due to rain and then due to having so much fun at Epcot we didn’t make it over to Magic Kingdom in time. Now does this parade make my top five? (You will have to scroll down to find out), I did really enjoy it as again we has a really good view. It was also a chance to see some of the characters that either don’t do meet and greets for example the Seven Dwarfs or to see some I missed like Tinkerbell and also a different Belle in her gold dress which I much preferred.
As I was waiting for the parade I was scrolling through my Facebook, making the most of the free WiFI when I came across a post on a group I am in called Orlando Fun in the sun ( A group where people share their hints and tips). In Disney there are dedicated Christmas shops where you can pick up lovely decorations for your tree. I had noticed they had a lovely collection of princesses in flowing dresses but no Belle. A lady kindly posted that the only place that you could get the Belle one from was at the gift shop near Gaston’s Tavern. After the parade Lee’s sister kindly went into the Christmas shop which we were conveniently sitting next to and asked for directions. To my delight there they were all hanging up nicely, I was so worried there would be none left even though the lady had only posted the message that day. I cant wait to hang my decoration from my tree, I brought other decorations and Disney Merchandise but I will talk about that in another post. So although we got stuck in Florida for another day I am glad I got to go back and see the parade and get my lovely decoration that I wanted but didn’t even know existed.
My Top 5 Disney Park Experiences in Florida
- Fireworks at Magical Kingdom – If you haven’t already guessed it from reading my post or not read all of it, it’s of course the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Nothing beats this experience, I recommended everyone sees it. The effort and time that must go into putting on that show is well worth applauding. This was by far the most magical Disney experience I had.
- Festival of Lion King – Now this was a tough choice between 2 and 3. I think due to the fact that this show almost made me cry it has to go second after the fireworks which made cry with joy. They really did put on a performance and I loved hearing the Lion King classic songs.
- Wishes – Due to the technical magic that I know must go into this, I have chosen this as my 3rd favourite experience. It was an amazing showcase of all the different Disney films which I have grown up with and love as well as all the more recent films which of course I have seen.
- Festival of Fantasy Parade – I only just got to watch this due to our extra day in Florida and I am so glad I did. I got to see some of the characters I had already seen which was great and some I hadn’t seen before.
- Monorail – This may seem like a strange one, but I really enjoyed sitting on the monorail getting all excited knowing where I was heading to.
Please let me know in the comments what your favourite experiences at the Disney Parks has been. I plan to go back in 2018, so if you have any suggestions of things to do, please let me know. I will be back soon with more tales from my adventure.