Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Walt Disney World Orlando: An Awesome Fantasy World of its Own (Walt Disney World Orlando Series 10)

Walt Disney World Orlando 
An Awesome Fantasy World of its Own
(Walt Disney World Orlando Series 10)

We initially planned to visit Orlando in the summer of 2007
 and we already started preparing for the trip a year earlier,


…but when we traveled to New York and Boston  in summer 2006,
my two year old son was very hyperactive that I needed to
restrain him on a baby backpack carrier most of the time. 

We were worried that it would be difficult to let him stay
put on a much longer flight to Florida, so we hired a nanny
to travel with us, applied her a US Visa but it was denied,

…so we visited the nearby Hong Kong Disneyland instead,

^^^Tim with his Nanny at Hong kong Disneyland

We then limited our travels to Asian countries
to gradually acclimatize him for a future long
haul trip so we visited Bangkok, Thailand,

^^^Tim with his Nanny at Bangkok, Thailand

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which
we all traveled with a nanny.

^^^Tim with his Nanny at Putrajaya, Malaysia

We also tried traveling without
a nanny when we visited Guam,
and it was a pretty tolerable trip.

We returned to the US thru California
finally weaning him from Nanny travel,

We had a European tour a year
later where we visited Berlin,

…and Amsterdam. 

We traveled to Jakarta once,

…then returned to the US again
and visited California,

…and Arizona.

Nine years older in 2016, he has matured and  behaved, this time we knew, he is 
ready for the long haul trip to Orlando, Florida.It took us nine years and thirteen
international  travels to finally realize this long overdue trip to Orlando, where we intend
to have  a 2 weeks vacation, the first week dedicated for Walt Disney World alone.

It was a long an exhausting trip to Orlando that began in our 
hometown  in Naga City, by a short 45- minute flight to Manila,

…on overnight stay at Holiday Inn in Makati,

…an early morning four hour flight
from Manila to Narita in Tokyo,

…a 12 hour flight from Tokyo to Atlanta,

…and finally about an hour flight from Atlanta to Orlando.

Day 1

We arrived at little past seven in the evening
WDW’s Hotel Boulevard near Disney Springs.

The check in was a breeze,

…and the kids were amused by the
scenic elevator on our way to our room
at the 8th floor of the Tower Wing.

It was a very spacious room,

…that had a balcony with a view of the pool,

Disney Springs nearby,

…and some of the distant WDW parks. 

This hotel has one of the most comfy beds
among the hotels that we stayed in  the past.

We went to have dinner at Palm Breezes,

…and we were delighted to discover that the food
was very delicious and we ended up dining here
everyday during out one week stay at the hotel.

Day 2

We all woke up at almost noontime on our second day
at WDW, nursing a jet lag and adjusting to a 12- hour
time difference between Florida and the Philippines.

We leisurely walked our way to Disney Springs, 
where we intended to eat a very late brunch,

…but we were we were captivated by the various shops
at the Village Causeway, that traverses the Marketplace.

While my wife and daughter were checking the shops,
my son and I decided to watch a youth orchestra concert,

…snacking on soft baked pretzels.

We all later headed to the Boathouse located at
the Landing to have a very late afternoon brunch.

It was one of our best dining experiences as
they served some of the freshest and the most
delicious seafood dishes we have ever tasted.

It rained hard while we were dining
stopped only early in the evening,

…so we still had a chance to visit other
areas of Disney Springs like the West Side,

…where most of the entertainment centers are located,

… and the newly opened Town Center.

When the rain stopped at past eight in the evening,
we slowly walked our way back to Holiday Inn,

…and had a good night rest in one of the most
comfortable hotel beds that we ever stayed.

Day 3

It’s our Magic Kingdom day and we all woke up early in the
morning and ready for the first 8 AM shuttle to the theme park.

The shuttle took us to WDW transport center,

…where we took a ferry boat that
crosses the Seven Seas Lagoon,

…to the Magic Kingdom entrance.

From the Main Street America’s cobbled street lined
with buildings with turn of the century architecture,

…that leads to the courtyard plaza,
in front of the Cinderella Castle,

…we headed to the Adventureland, 
as we always do on all Disneyland Parks
where we usually begin our park exploration.

It is where the Swiss Robinson Family House,

…the Magic Carpets of Aladdin,

…the Jungle Cruise,

…the Enchanted Tiki Room,

….and the Pirates of the Caribbean are found
and we were able to enjoy almost all of them.

We accessed the Frontier Land from this zone,

where Tom Sawyer Island is located 

…and two of our favorite classic rides
 the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,

…and the Splash Mountain.

The Country Bear Jamboree a musical
animatronic show is also found in this zone.

We had lunch at the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café,

…where we also watched the Disney Magical Parade.


After the parade we went to Liberty Square,

…to watch The Hall of Presidents,

…and braved the long queue at the Haunted Mansion,

..and marveled at Liberty Square Riverboat.

We the proceeded to Fantasyland,
for the Peter Pan’s Flight.

…It’s a Small World boat ride, 

…Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

We skipped Prince Charming Regal Carrousel,

…and went directly to the delightful ride of
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,

…and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train,

…and had a snack at at the Pinocchio Village Haus Restaurant. 

We chanced upon the Ariel at Ariel’s Grotto while
queuing for Little Mermaid’s Undersea Adventure.

Nearby was the Storybook Circus

…where the kids had fun at
Dumbo the Flying Elephant,

…and the Barnstormer with the Great Goofini. 

There was also a circus-themed waterplay area
called Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station.

It as late in the evening, and we didn’t have time for Tomorrowland anymore, but we 
were just in time to watch the colorful Laser and Light Show at the Cinderella Castle,

…that precedes the magnificent Fireworks display.

We went back to the hotel past midnight and had a good night
sleep and in anticipation for our EPCOT visit the next day.

Day 4

We unxepectedly woke up a late, and we hurriedly
downstairs for the hotel shuttle after quick breakfast,
that took us to EPCOT Themepark.

They were celebrating Fresh Epcot so there
were a lot of green and garden exhibits.

We had an eleven o’ clock fastpass to Spaceship Earth,
so we decided to pass time at Project Tomorrow,

…and Innoventions when it started to have a thunderstorm
and we were advised to stay indoor as lightning precaution.

The heavy rains stopped after more than 2 hours,
we immediately proceeded to Spaceship Earth.

After the ride, the thunderstorms returned
and we were trapped at Project Tomorrow,
that serves as an exit of Spaceship Earth.

We decided to buy raincoats to look for a restaurant as it
was getting late and the rain showed no sign of stopping
We went to the Land Pavillion at the east side of
the park and it was a perfect thunderstorm shelter,

Where the Living with the Land,

…the Circle of Life

…and Soarin’,

It also had restaurant called Seasons,
that serves excellent international cuisine.

The rain stopped at 6 PM when and we went to
the Sea Pavillion, for the Nemo and Friends Ride,
Turtle Talk with Crush and the numerous aquariums.

We also enjoyed Journey Into Imagination with Figment,


and the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival .

It was already 7 PM, and we only explored ¼ of the park
that was closing at 9 PM, so we had to forgo the West Side
attractions we decided to relax at the  Showcase Plaza,

…and admire green sculptures, of various Disney
characters, as a part of Green EPCOT Celebration.

We then went to explore EPCOT World Showcase
is often referred  as a "permanent World's Fair” that
has eleven pavilions, representing a country, surrounding
a man made lake called the World Showcase Lagoon.


The countries represented by pavilions are Mexico,


…and China.

Although not a full pavillion, The Outpost, is a small African 
themed refreshment shop that represents Equatorial Africa.

We extremely enjoyed Germany pavilion,

…because of  Werther’s Candy Factory  that sells various flavors of
caramel candies, and the freshly popped Werther’s Caramel popcorn.

There was also Italy,

United States,


…and Morocco pavilions.

We initially intended to at the France pavilion,
where there are some excellent French restaurants,
but we did not have enough time to do so  when we
realized that the park was closing in less than an hour.

There was also United Kingdom,

…then to Canada pavilions,

…where we bought cookies at the Jofrey’s stand,
and  watched the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth,
a spectacular musical water fountains show that features
fireworks, lasers and fire at the World Showcase Lagoon.

The park closed at 9 PM, we took a shuttle back to
the hotel where we had a room service dinner,
while my son enjoyed his cookie from Jofrey’s and
concluded the night with a milk cookie dunking snack,

…looking forward for another awesome
day in Animal Kingdom the next day.

Day 5

We always visit a zoo when we travel, and Animal Kingdom
made it possible to visit zoo and a theme park at the same time.

We started our exploration of the Animal Kingdom
at the Oasis where we roamed scenic garden pathways
amidst a wide variety of exotic animals exhibits.

We crossed bridge connect to the Discovery Island,
where the park’s centerpiece Tree of Life is located.

It is a sculpted tree with about 325 various images of
animals  carved at the surface of the tree and its trunk.

The Discovery Island Trails also allowed us to explore
the numerous animal exhibits scattered around the roots,

….where we bypassed It’s Tough To Be a Bug attraction
like we always do as we found it awfully gross and scary.

Cropped from source: HERE  by Michael Gray 
We directly went to Africa zone of the themepark,

…and patiently queued at the Kilimajnaro Safaris.

The line was kilometric and took us more than
90 minutes to finally reach the end of the line,

…but it was worth the wait.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is also found in the zone but they closed
it as a lightning precaution because of a sudden thunderstorm.

It was 3 PM when the thunderstorm stopped
and the park was closing at 5 PM, and we had
a very  late lunch at the Harambe Market.

We walked to the Asia zone to enjoy
the Kali River Rapids at the Asia Zone,


…and Expedition Everest.

It was less than an hour prior to theme park
closing and we went to Dinoland USA, as the
attraction is unique to  the Animal Kingdom  

There were a lot of attractions at Dinoland USA,
but we only have to choose to ride the thrilling
Dinosaur as the park was closing very soon.

We weren’t able to visit all the attractions
because of the thunderstorms, but we still
enjoyed our first time in Animal Kingdom.

We went back to the hotel early, we lazed
in the room doing nothing and later dined
by room service before going to sleep.

Day 6

We intended to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios but
there has been frequent thunderstorms for the last three
days, so we decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon instead.

We have included Typhoon Lagoon in our itinerary
as the kids wanted to experience the huge tsunami- like
waves reaching up to ten feet at the gigantic wave pool.

Of all the WDW parks that we visited,
we enjoyed Typhoon Lagoon the  most,

…unfortunately our photos were accidentally deleted
on the waterproof camera that we used during our visit.

The water park closes at 5 PM, we returned to the hotel early
and had a leisurely dinner at the Palm Breezes Restaurant.

After dinner, while my wife decided to stay and rest at the hotel,  
the kids and myself returned to Magic Kingdom. We took 
a shuttle from the hotel, to Disney’s Transportation Center,

…then the Monorail,

…back to the Magic Kingdom,
and directly went to Tomorrowland.

It was already seven in the evening and we had
a very limited time so we decided to forgo the
Space Mountain because of the very long queue.

We watched Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor,

… the Stitch’s Great Escape,

…and finished just in time for our Fast Pass
reservation at the Tomorrowland Speedway .

We used our third and last fast pass privilege
at the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

We also tried the Astro Orbiter,

…and we got an extra treat of watching the magnificent
fireworks display while whirling up above Tomorrowland.

We found relaxing People Mover as the train
rolled through  Tomorrowland’s attractions.

…and concluded our night at the Carousel of Progress.

It was past midnight when we left and went straight to bed to
rest as we would be visiting Hollywood Studios the next day.

Day 7

It was our penultimate day at the WDW and we  are scheduled 
to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios,  the fifth and the last 
Disney park that we would be visiting on our first week in Orlando.

The kids seem to be experiencing theme park
fatigue already as everyone woke up late so
we arrived at almost noontime at the park.

Hollywood Studios reminded us of
California Adventure Park in Anaheim,
as both have main entrance gates, that
resembles the Pan Pacific Auditorium.

There was also recreation of the
Crosswords of the World Tower,

…that leads to Hollywood Boulevard, inspired by Los Angeles
 streetscape,  lined with themed buildings that houses
 various stores selling Disney merchandise.

It is dedicated to show business, inspired
by Hollywood’s 30’s and 40’s heyday.

We immediately went to the Chinese Theater
replica, which houses the Great Movie Ride,

…then watched the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular,

…at the Echo Lake,

We then went to the Animation Courtyard, to
watch the Voyage of the little Mermaid show,

…and saw Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit.

We accessed the lovely Sunset Boulevard,
from one end of the Animation Courtyard,

…where the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror thrill
ride  based on the classic horror TV series is located.

We had a late lunch at the Fairfax Fare,

…before heading to the Theater of the Stars
for the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.

We returned to the Animation Courtyard
to watch Disney Junior Live on Stage.

We later visited the Pixar Studios,
for the Toy Story Mania Ride.

We returned to Echo Lake just in time for
our late afternoon Fast Pass at Star Tours.

We then headed to Hollywood Hills Amphitheater
to watch Fantasmic, an evening show featuring Disney
characters with fireworks, lasers and water effects.

We concluded our theme park visit watching the
spectacular Star Wars themed fireworks display.

We had a leisurely late dinner at Palm Breezes.

We have come to love this restaurant and we
will miss the good food as this would be our last
night  at the hotel and the Walt Disney World.

Day 8

We all woke up very late, but that was okay
as requested for a late check out at the hotel.

After packing, we took a cab that would take us
to Turkey Lake Road near the International Drive,

…where we are booked for another week
at the Westgate Lake Hotel and Resort.

This would be our home for the second part of our Orlando
vacation where we could explore the city beyond WDW.

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