Day 8 – Brunch with Pooh and more Disney Springs

 

Today was a strange day to be in the parks, with Irma due to hit tomorrow all the parks have announced they will be closed for it. Today I was expecting it to be busy with people getting a bit of magic before everything shuts down. Magic Kingdom today, like Universal yesterday was eerily quiet.

We had a dining reservation at 10:30 we got in just before it, this was main street…

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Crystal Palace was one of the dinings I was most looking forward too, I’d heard good things and was excited to try the famous breakfast lasagne. Plus there’s nothing better than getting a hug from Pooh, he’s like a big teddy bear who cuddles you back 🙂

Again it was quiet in here so I think we got more of an interaction than normal with the characters just strolling about and playing with the kids rather than just stopping for pictures and to sign. I booked at a time so we could try breakfast and still be there when the lunch buffet came out but we were all a bit stuffed so we didn’t get to try that as well.

 

Food here was really good one of the better buffets, and if you are doing breakfast you must have the lasagne, it’s like some sort of heavenly trifle with waffles, pancakes, bananas and all manner of good sweet breakfast stuff.

Weather wise today we did get caught in a few showers meaning we spent a bit of time looking in shops and spending our snack credits. I haven’t had nearly enough ‘Disney’ themed snacks so far so I had a Mickey marshmallow bar which I was most pleased with 🙂

These snacks are great ways to use your snack credits on a dining plan, the toffee or dessert apples are great too but to me they always look far too good to eat!

Trying to stay away from the dodgy weather we did a lot of indoor stuff today, Philharmagic, and a lot of character meets. Including my favourite Donaldo and Pauls Ariel in her grotto 🙂

We went to see the boss man today as well in his theatre and this is the Mickey that talks to you. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this one. There’s always a kid in front of us who is seeing a talking Mickey for the first time and their faces are always priceless. It’s a must do for anyone on a first trip and one to fastpass as it does get really busy.

Another first for me today was meeting iCan the robot in Tomorrowland, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve spotted him whilst on the Peoplemover only to get off and find he’s gone so this was a special moment 🙂 He’s really cool so keep an eye out for him when you’re there.

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I finally got to have my ‘balloon’ photo today as well, it’s one of the magic shots you can get with the Disney photographers, make sure you ask them when they’re taking them if they have any magic ones. It’s fun to see what they are when you check your memory maker ones after. I love this it’s one of my favourites from the whole trip…

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Dinner today was in Rainforest Café, not somewhere I generally like to eat. It’s too loud for me and after doing T-Rex as well I wasn’t that enamoured with doing this one. But the weather was getting more and more dodgy and it was the closest restaurant to where we got off the boat from our hotel therefore we didn’t have to walk too far in the wind 🙂

Amelia loved it here, they got our name wrong when we were asked for it, we were the ‘Buff’ family. I’ll take that!

Food is pretty similar to T-Rex being that it is owned by the same company, we enjoyed it food was good, service was good and we had a few cocktails.

We had a very quick wander around the Springs, the weather was getting worse and more windy and going on a boat for someone who is a little bit scared of them is bad enough but doing it in bad weather and the dark is just not fun so we headed back before it got too blowy and spent the evening watching Disney movies which were kindly put on our TVs for free for the duration of the hurricane.

We’re not sure what tomorrow holds to be honest, no parks are open so we will be confined to the hotel. Disney were great at keeping us informed as to what was going on so for the time being the hotel facilities – minus the pool – are all there to use, including the arcade on free play for the kids and Disney movies in room to keep us occupied. I guess if anything it gives us a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep!!

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It’s NEXT WEEK!!

Excuse me while I squeal a little!! I can now finally say we go next week!! The excitement is getting a bit much now to be honest I may well burst at any moment!

I get asked loads why I love Florida so much and how there are ‘loads of other places in the world’ but you know what? Apart from Italy (and maybe Germany after watching a Vlog about Europa Park) there isn’t really anywhere else I’m that bothered about visiting and I don’t think they’ll live up to my expectations after being to Disney.  I’m not a sit by the pool and drink type so a package holiday being stuck in a resort is my idea of hell I need things to do!!

I get asked why I don’t get bored being that I’ve been before – this will be trip number 6 – I don’t get bored because there’s always something new to see. In the space of 17 years I’ve seen loads of things come and go.  Rides like Snow Whites Scary Adventures and Mr Toads Wild Ride and Toon Town where you could visit the houses of Minnie and Mickey Mouse have gone and are missed and then there are things like Alien which scarred me for life and I’m not sorry to see the back of.

Of course the big new thing is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which has now stretched over 2 parks instead of just the one that there was on my last trip.

Even in 3 years there has been loads of development and new stuff to check out this time. Aside from the WWOHP extension there’s also the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, the new Frozen show and new parades at Disney. As well as the developments at Downtown Disney.   Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure now has a Raptor encounter and Universal Studios has Transformers and Springfield USA is open.

Seaworld has opened Empire of the Penguin and opened some new shows as well, not to mention the big opening of I-Drive 360 which comprises of the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and Sealife Orlando.

With more changes and new rides/parks opening over the next few years – Avatarland at Animal Kingdom, the Star Wars expansion at Hollywood Studios (or whatever it will be called then…) and Universals Volcano Bay as well as the much talked about Nintendo Partnership at Universal.  And then there’s the King Kong ride that I totally forgot about – I remember the original one!! You can never get bored of Orlando there’s always something new opening!

The other thing I love is how accessible it is and how completely suitable it is for anyone with a disability. Be it a mobility issue like me or more complex needs no matter where you go in Orlando they will do whatever they can to help you and have policies in place for everything you could think of. Nothing is a hassle to them and unlike some other holiday destinations – I’ve been put in upstairs rooms in hotels with no lift and been felt like I’m causing the problem when I’m unable to walk up the stairs!! Here any sort of Disability isn’t seen as a major problem and rather than make a fuss they just figure out how to help you rather than huffing about it!!

The one thing I haven’t done properly in Orlando is a water park – I did Aquatica last time but all I did was bob along in the lazy river – I’m curious to see how they are geared up for someone like me.  There’s quite a few things I’m doing for the first time on this trip, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon which I’m really looking forward to. Discovery Cove which is something I’ve heard nothing but good things about (and that’s not just because all the food and drink is free), We’re doing a Penguin Encounter at Seaworld where we actually get to meet a real penguin – I’m a BIG fan of anywhere where I can cuddle any sort of animal, not sure the penguin will want me to cuddle it but I will give it a try.  We have an Airboat ride as well which I won’t lie, I’m a little bit scared of. I don’t really like boats at the best of times – unless it’s a cruise ship – so being on something that doesn’t look that steady and surrounded by gators isn’t exactly filling me with excitement. I panic in a kayak so goodness knows what I’m going to be like on this.  Also I’m finally getting to do a character breakfast – the bonus of taking kids – we’re doing both Chef Mickeys and Universals Superstar Breakfast (if the tickets get sorted in time) and also the Pirates Adventure Dinner Show. Last time I went to a dinner show I was ill with sunstroke and it wasn’t a pleasant experience so fingers crossed this one will be better.

The only thing that could make this trip even more perfect is that elusive booking at ‘Be Our Guest’…..

Disney Dining Plan and a TALKING MICKEY MOUSE!!!

The Disney Dining Plan or DDP seems to be one of the only things about Disney I can’t find a definitive answer on and splits peoples opinions equally. In short what it is is a pre paid plan that you can opt for if you wish that can give you free dining at Disney Parks and Resorts. Whether or not it’s worth the money is one of the most talked about subjects amongst disnerds. I’ve done quite a bit of research – and some actual maths!! – I knew the extra tuition would come in handy one day, just wasn’t expecting it to be 20 years later…. and this is what I’ve discovered.

DDP is well worth the money if you are planning on spending your whole holiday on Disney property. It gives you the chance to book into all the pricey restaurants for your table service meals, including Be Our Guest, Cinderellas Royal Table and some of the character dining. There are differing levels of dining plan but for the sake of this post I’m going with the one that gives you 1 table service, 1 quick service and 1 snack a day.  It works by giving you a certain number of credits a day, they do roll over as far as I’m aware and some dining experiences require 2 table service credits.  Snack credits can be used on things like Dole Whip which is good and drinks.

If I was planning on staying solely on resort I would do it. It would give me a good opportunity to eat at all the really nice places I wouldn’t normally eat in, instead of having to just pick one or 2 to do each trip. Believe me if I was not planning on leaving Disney I would make the most of it and eat ALL the food.

It’s around $60 for the dining plan per person per day (over 10- $25 under 10) I did a bit of maths today based on some of the places I would choose to eat and to spend a day at Hollywood Studios, lunch at Pizza Planet and Dinner at 50s Prime Time, along with 3 snacks during the day (shared between the 3 of us) I worked out we would save $40 by being on the dining plan. However, if we weren’t on the plan we would have chosen less expensive places to eat and not even spent $60 between us. I think that having it encourages you to eat in the ‘nicer’ places because you do save money if that’s where your eating.  However if you’re not a big eater then its a waste of money.

It’s also a bit pricey I think for kids, most kids are fussy and won’t eat enough food for it to be worth it. One option is to just pay for the kids as they go along and just have the plan for the adults.

I looked at a few of the nicer restaurants and thought it would be nice to have DDP for a few days during my stay and if you did that then really it’s probably worth it, but you can’t do that. You have to have it for the whole duration of your stay and it is only available to those staying on site. There are so many amazing, and inexpensive, places to eat in Orlando that it’s a shame to miss out on them because you have the plan and feel like you have to use it. (I’ve done a whole page about eating out in Orlando, have a look at the top, there’s some money saving tips as well)

Disney do offer the plan free at certain points of the year which is great, however it’s only valid at certain resorts. Our trip for example we wouldn’t be eligible because we’re in a value resort, all of those are exempt from the offer. You also need to look at the prices of the rooms because generally you’ll find if you’re getting the plan free your room might be a bit more expensive.

Honestly, I still can’t make my mind up about it!! There’s good points and bad points with it and it’s totally dependent on personal preference.  I think having more options for it – like being able to purchase for a few days rather than it having to be for the entire stay – would make it more appealing. We all know the majority of people will spend at least 4 days out of Disney during their holiday for Universal, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and shopping or the beach. Why pay over $200 for food for 4 days when you won’t use it…

On another note….

I  might have mentioned on here a few times that there will be tears when I get to Disney, seeing the castle from the boat gets me, walking into MK gets me, the parade does it as well and I’m pretty sure when the hotel says ‘Welcome Home’ I’ll be a mess but I think I found the thing that’s really going to get me this time…. MICKEY TALKS!!! Why I never knew about this I don’t know but it’s so real!! I know the characters in Orlando are actually the real ones anyway but my goodness this takes it to another level it’s insane!!