I can’t believe, firstly that it’s Christmas Eve (& shortly to be Christmas Day in Australia), secondly that it’s our last full day of this trip and lastly that when I woke up at 6am it was zero degrees celsius. Definitely the coldest we’ve ever experienced in Orlando and I’m just so glad it’s not a park day for us. I do feel for those who have to do an early entry today. A bit later it was showing -1C.
Our windows were badly fogged up but even when Kevin dried them with a towel there were still no animals to be seen. It wasn’t until their feed was delivered after 8.30pm that one of the African cows and a couple of zebra came around to eat.
My fibro was bad again today and with the weather so cold we were just happy to stay inside, nice and cozy.
We actually just stayed in the bed (since the couch wasn’t too comfy here). I edited a vlog (just finishing up the Universal part of the trip), did some reading (in a nice bubble bath to warm up) and after lunch we watched some YouTube.
For lunch we had the leftover samosas from last night and I had some salad while Kevin had the remainder of the flatbread. Then for our Christmas Eve dinner Kevin cooked up some dumplings in the frypan and reheated some spring rolls in the oven. Not the healthiest but a fun picky tea. Which we had picnic style in bed.
I’ve been very (fibro) sore the last days and it’s been lasting well into late morning. Not sure if I overdid it one day and set off a flare or if body has just had enough (after the last few weeks).
It was a lovely morning outside today – blue skies and white fluffy clouds – which I wanted to enjoy. But by the time we headed out at it almost clouded over.
We decided to take a detour on our way to the car to go check out the pool area. It’s in a funny location kind of across the road on the other side to the savannah. Since it was coolish today there were only a handful of kids in the pool and spa. I’m sure it would be a nice place to hang out for a few hours on a hot day.
We were even able to see a few animals that are in a different savannah to the one we overlook.
We then hopped into the car and drove to Celebration – which was about 15mins away. It’s somewhere that’s been on list to visit for many trips but we’ve never actually made it.
Such a cute town – well, it was developed by the Walt Disney company.
So many of the homes were decorated for Christmas.
We found parking near the main town shops, complete with a huge christmas tree (which sadly has a fence around it), an “ice” skating rink and area for fake snow in the evenings.
It surprises that such an upmarket town has such an ugly fence around it’s Christmas tree.
There are only a couple of shops here and one had so many good things but was SO cluttered it was almost overwhelming. And it was really hard to see what was there since there was so much. But I did manage to pick up a few things :-). Definitely a good place to find Disney things not seen at the park. I mean look at all these loungefly bags.
We then wandered down to the lake area – which I’m sure is just stunning on a sunny day. We had a seat in the rocking chairs but it was getting a little fresh (the temps were dropping in the afternoon as part of an Arctic Blast that was coming through).
Kevin was keen to eat at the Downtown Diner (since that’s where some YouTubers, The Lodge Guys, over go to. We were offered to sit either inside or outside but we chose inside since it was a bit cold out.
We were seated at a booth, which was nice, and we could still look out to the lake – again it was be extra nice on a sunny day.
I order cheese quesadillas and Kevin order dutch pancakes with berries. When his arrived at the table it he was given a waffle with the berries so just ate it (instead of complaining). We both really enjoyed our meals and ate every bite.
After lunch we walked back to the car. Once again I’d love to visit here sometime when the main street in not closed off.
Kevin was keen to get some more of the madeleine cookies/cakes that we’d bought from Publix and demolished in one day – they were too good. So went back to the Celebration Publix to buy some, but we couldn’t find them there. So we drove to other Publix (which is near to the AKL anyway). We couldn’t find them in the bakery aisle either but we eventually worked out we’d picked them from a stand at the back of the store, so we were able to buy another 2 boxes. These things are dangerous.
I noticed that there was a TJ Maxx across the road so we drove over there. But it was pretty mad with people buying last minute Christmas gifts. I didn’t find much so we just bought one thing and got out of there. And while the Christmas decor was well picked over, there was plenty of nice looking Valentine’s Day decor – shame I don’t decorated for that anymore (not really since I’m a minimalist).
We drove back to the resort and settled in for the remainder of the afternoon. Once again, since my legs and body was still rather fibro sore, I enjoyed a nice bath. To make it even more indulgent I have even started to read in the bath during this stay.
We decided to do a pick up order from Sanaa for dinner tonight. We got the bread service which comes with 5 types of flatbread and 9 different dips (I left the hot ones to Kevin). We also order some samosas but didn’t eat them (we’ll have them tomorrow for lunch). While having our dinner, picnic style in bed, we watch YouTube.
I woke up this morning around 6.30am. No great sunrise since it’s still very overcast today.
Kevin wasn’t feeling good today so I spent the morning working on yesterdays blog post and looking at the animals outside. I also did a bit of tidying. I have no idea what happens on holidays. I just DON”T care about the mess – at least not enough that it bothers me like it would at home. It’s very strange. I really had good intentions for this trip but I think it’s just because things don’t have proper homes that makes it very hard.
At 12.30pm the sun tried, unsuccessfully, to come out from behind the clouds. And I moved on to doing some reading. Since we had an early dinner planned and it was past lunchtime, we had a light lunch of some egg rolls (which I did not like – they were substituted in our instacart order the other day.
Kevin had had a couple of bath already today but at 3pm I finally dragged myself to the shower to get ready for our 3rd and last Christmas Party. As we walked towards reception Kevin realized he didn’t have ears in (as he says) ie. didn’t have his hearing aids. So he went back to get them while I checked out one of the outdoor viewing areas they have here.
Once he returned we walked to the bus stop to catch the bus to the Magic Kingdom. It’s been really good not having had to drive to any of the parks – while it’s not bad on arrival, at the end of the day/night, when your feet are very sore, it’s not the best.
Unfortunately as we arrived at the Magic Kingdom it had started sprinkling. It wasn’t too bad though and we managed without our rain jackets. Since we arrived earlier than we had for the other parties, at 4.30pm, there was a line up to get in.
But it wasn’t too long before we were in the park and our party wristbands (which they check A LOT between park closing at 6pm and the official party start time of 7pm.
We used the party entrance, which runs behind main street, and collected another xmas ornament (we are going to give the spare ones away).
We wanted to have dinner at Pinocchio’s Village Haus, which closed at 5pm, so we headed there first, and managed to get a table up against the table that looks over the It’s a Small World loading area.
Kevin did a mobile order for our shared dinner of tomato soup and cheese flatbread. Both were delicious though Kevin (who still wasn’t feeling and was suffered with some dizzy spells) had more of the soup and I had more of the pizza. Love this fast service. There is lots of seating (more upstairs if you need it) and if you eat an off time (which is what we always do) it’s nice and quiet.
We had managed to get a DAS pass for Seven Dwarves Mine Ride – which we were very excited about but it wasn’t yet time so we went to watch Mickey’s Philharmagic, which we always enjoy.
Then time for our first ride on Seven Dwarves – and we even managed to get front row. Which was great for viewing but maybe not the best for the experience. It was a cute and fun ride – we really enjoyed it – and now understand why it’s a crowd fav.
Time for another ride on the Haunted Mansion. We had a DAS pass but didn’t really need since we between 6 & 7pm. Not sure exactly where the camera is on this ride but at least we worked out the general area.
While it wasn’t raining anymore, the ground was still very wet and giving off great relfections in the evening light. We took some nice photos as we walked over to Big Thunder.
Next up another ride on Big Thunder.
As we were leaving I spotted Captain Jack – with a very short line for photographs – I think he must have just arrived. I’m pretty sure I haven’t had a photo with him (though I may have) so I was excited.
It was then time for a little rest while we ate some of the popcorn that Kevin had bought earlier. We then went back to Fantasy Land to ride Small World – from the back row this time. We always spot different things on the ride.
And just as our ride was finishing the clock opened up since it was 8pm.
Time for a second ride on Seven Dwarves – this time in the back row – which we preferred.
I was getting rather sore by now and not sure how much more I wanted to do. But seeing this cute puppy cheered me up (oh, ok, so I followed this cute little puppy).
Time for one last ride on the People Mover – always love how long it is and the great views you get from here.
We weren’t sure what to do next and with not feeling great and having all everything we wanted to we decided to just finish up. However, on the way back to Main Street we decided to stop and have a hot chocolate at the same place we did the other night. And as a bonus we got to kinda see the parade again.
Once the parade has passed by we waited another 10 or so minutes to let the crowds disperse and then went into the shops (I was wanting to exchange sizes on a t-shirt I bought but they didn’t have that size left). Time to say our farewells to Main Street and Disneyworld for this trip. We will be back in a few years.
We walked back to the bus stop and then had the 20mins or so ride back the resort. I quick photo stop in the lobby and then on our room and into bed. Funny thing was we both ended up wide awake so watched some vlogs and then read until about 11pm.
After a bit of a wakeful night (I realized at 12pm that Christy hadn’t let anyone at home know what was happening yet), I woke up at 6.30pm and got myself a cup of tea. I played on the laptop for a bit before writing up yesterdays blog post – which was a quick one since we didn’t really do anything. At 9am I went for my shower and to get dressed ready for our day at the Animal Kingdom.
Christy was feeling slightly better this morning so that’s good. We said our farewells to Chrisy (again) and left to catch the bus to the Animal Kingdom. Christy set numerous alarms in case she fell asleep before she got an uber to the airport at 1pm. We waited about 10 mins for the bus, and a very short trip later we arrived at the park. You can probably tell from everyones clothing that is was a lot cooler today, and though we didn’t get any rain, it was overcast all day.
There was a bit of a line to get in so we could tell it was also going to be a busy day (it’s getting close to Christmas after all). Once through the gates we made our way onto Discovery Island.
The tree of life never ceases to amaze.
After getting some photos and admiring the awesome puppets that were interacting with guests, we battled the crowds as we made our way over to Expedition Everest.
The Animal Kingdom is such a stunning park. Every area so incredibly themed. I think Asia is one of my favs though.
I don’t think I’ve ever been at this park when it’s been this crowded – but it was still managable. Thankfully I was able to get a DAS pass for Everest. If it’s wasn’t for the DAS pass I wouldn’t have been able to ride anything today, not without buying Genie Plus (and that wouldn’t work as well).
It’s been 6 years since I’ve been on this ride and I can see they have changed some things but it felt like major changes had been made – or else I just don’t remember it too well. So fun!! I think because of the length this might be my fav ride in all the parks. Kevin said the same. (Hagrids would be a close second).
When then headed over to the Safari, stopping to take lots of photos along the way.
We also got to see a few of the character boats – in Pocahontas and Russell & Doug.
Africa was SO busy with crazy long lines for the Safari. We still had a bit of time before it was our time to go Safari so we tracked down the place that sold corn cobs. Kevin had one with African spices but I just mine plain. Kevin really enjoy his. I did too but mine was a little on the small side.
Time for our Safari. It was midday now – not an ideal time (early morning or dusk is supposed to be best as the animals are more active) but I fell we did okay.
And we encountered a real Giraffic-jam (not my saying) !! Not sure where they were all going but the we had to stop for them to cross the road.
As you’d expect I love seeing the Greater Flamingoes.
A sleepy lion
After a pretty decent safari we headed over, using the shortcut, to Pandora. They were still building this the last time we were here in 2016. And even though we had seen plenty of vlogs and photos of it, it was still impressive to see it in real life, especially the surrounding garden areas.
Since both rides in this area were currently down we decided to go to the Nomad Lounge for a drink and some lunch.
We ordered some drinks – Kevin had the Zingiber Fizzie and I had Kiama Mamma (watermelon & Sprite) – with that name I just had to order it. Really really enjoyed these. For food Kevin had the tuna poke bowl and I had Cauliflower bites – which was one of the chefs specials. Though we enjoyed our food it was very different from what we’d had here last time. It was still a nice break and a nice time off our feet.
One more photopass photo and we were back on Discovery Island where we checked out the shops. Last visit the shops had things not seen anywhere else but I think Disney are still suffering with post covid shortages.
We did have a great squirrel encounter though.
We headed back into Asia to see Finding Nemo : The Musical – arriving just as they were seating people. I really enjoyed this. It was different to what we saw last time but just as good.
We had managed to get another DAS pass for Everest so went to ride that again.
We came across the zoom photo.
Can you find us in this photo?
As we walked back to Discovery Island we were saying how we hadn’t seen Kevin (the bird from UP) yet, then not a minute later I spotted him yelling out “There’s Kevin” and making my Kevin jump. We managed to get some photos with her (remember Kevin’s a girl !!) but she must have back eye sight as we weren’t allowed to go to close. So fun though. Sadly I’m unable to share any photos here (silly program).
We then went to slowly explore the Tree of Life gardens. We’ve never had/taken the time to do this properly before and it’s just amazing how many animal “carvings” you can see. And the more you move the more you see. You just can’t take them all in. The landscaping through here is beautiful. It’s also nice and quiet, even on a busy park day.
We saw more animals in this area.
A catfishThe lesser Flamingo
And found thd 360 photo spot. It took awhile to get this as we got there right as It’s Tough to be a bug let out and there were people everywhere.
Then it was back into Pandora to explore some more.
Navi River Journey was back so we were able to use our DAS pass for this (which had been booked for earlier before the ride when down). Sadly we were only able to get a pass for Flight of Passage at 7.50pm and since it was just after 4pm we didn’t think we’d still be at the park at that time.
Navi River Journey was lovely. Nice and relaxing and very pretty. Not sure it would be worth a long wait (but then I don’t anything is worth a long wait) but we did enjoy it.
We though got a snack from Pongu Pongu which had been recommended – a Night Blossom frozen drink and some cream cheese & pineapple spring rolls. I enjoyed the drink, though Kevin had most it, and I imagine it would be even better on a hot day. We both LOVED the spring rolls – they were so good.
I had wanted to see Pandora at night as it’s supposed to be really magical but with still well over an hour to sunset and even longer to full day, plus the night show wasn’t until 6.15pm, we decided to end the day and head back to the resort. Though we had been taking it slow it had still been a 7 hours day and we were both pretty tired. At least we know we’re coming back.
Before we leave some more photos of Pandora.
We walked back to the entrance, stopped briefly to look at the Christmas tree, were too tired to be bothered with photopass photos, walked ALL the way to our bus stop (why is the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus stop one of the furthest from the Animal Kingdom entrance ???), rode the bus to the resort and then walked ALL the way to our room (which only about 1/3 the distance from the lobby that it could be but is still a decent distance).
My legs were feeling now (not necessarily from walk but probably more from fibro) so Kevin ran me a nice bath – which we shared. After relaxing in there for awhile he made Mandarin chick’n again for dinner. What a sweetie. It was very appreciated. We then watched some YouTube before going to sleep.