Friday, 30 December 2011

A Magical Experience

I'm back from my vacation in sunny Florida! Arrived in Toronto at 2:00 am this morning and took many intermittent naps throughout the day. Spending my Christmas with the family in Florida at Disney was truly a wonderful experience - something that I will always cherish because visiting Disney World had been a childhood dream of mine. We spent 4.5 days at Disneyworld (including Downtown Disney) and spent one day per park. I have no idea how people can visit more than one theme park per day because each Disney theme park is MASSIVE. Not to mention the long wait times for the most popular rides - these can definitely take a large chunk of your time. Luckily though, my friends had told me about Disney's Fastpass system which enabled my family and I to bypass the long wait times (sometimes as long as 3 hours!) thus waiting only for a maximum of 10 minutes before going on the popular rides...

Day 1 - Animal Kingdom
We started our day at Animal Kingdom at around 1 pm in the afternoon. Luckily for us, it was 26 degrees celsius that day (love the Floridian weather!) which was perfect for walking through the jungle-like inspired park. The attractions and shows that we saw included:
  1. It's Tough to be a Bug! - 3D show housed in the Tree of Life
  2. Festival of the Lion King - a high energy tribal celebration of joyous music, dance and various performances whereby we danced and sang along with the characters from the Lion King. I have to admit that I did get a bit emotional when the songs "The Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" were performed. I remember first watching the Lion King when I was 3 or 4 and crying during Mustafa's death (that scene still gets me even now). It's definitely one of my favourite Disney movies.
  3. Kali River Rapids - got completely soaked on this ride!
  4. Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain - definitely a thrilling roller coaster ride with some sharp turns and drops
  5. Dinosaur - this was an interesting ride whereby one would journey back to the age of Dinosaurs.
  6. Taking pictures with Goofy and Mickey Mouse! - I told Mickey that I had waited 21 years to meet him to which he gave me a very big hug (yep - childhood dream fulfilled right there)
Day 2 - Magic Kingdom
This is the most popular theme park in Disneyworld and I can definitely see why. Once you enter the park and get onto Main Street USA, it's almost as if you are in the midst of this very magical and "happy" place. Cinderella's Castle was a wonder in itself with its beautiful blue and golden roofs - the firework display in the evening was just breathtakingly beautiful. A funny story - I remember back in elementary school reading the Babysitter's Club novels and I distinctly remember reading one book whereby Karen was talking about how she got a Mickey Mouse hat with her name embroidered on it. Imagine my delight when I entered into one of the souvenir shops to see Mickey Mouse hats for sale with the embroidery machines located right next to it! The first hour of our day started off with waiting in line to take pictures with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse followed by pictures with Princess Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella. I was surprised that Snow White wasn't present since she is such an iconic Disney Princess. We stayed at the park until 11 pm whereby the entrance to the park was completely jam packed with people waiting to see the Electrical Parade and the Fireworks, which  may I reiterate, was completely phenomenal? The following is a summary of all the rides we went on:
  1. Splash Mountain - not as bad as Kali River Rapids. Luckily, the weather was still in the high 20s so I was able to get dried pretty quickly
  2. Space Mountain - loved this ride! So many unexpected turns and drops which was exhilarating considering it was in the dark
  3. Peter Pan's Flight - we had to wait until 10 pm to go on this ride because it was so popular! The ride mimics the sailing ship seen in the movie Peter Pan whereby passengers feel as if they are sailing in the sky overlooking Neverland and London.
  4. Pirates of the Carribbean - indoor cavern ride full of piratey scenes!
  5. Stitches Great Escape
  6. Tomorrowland's Speedway
  7. Dumbo the Flying Elephant - more of younger toddler ride which was acceptable for my 8 year old brother
Day 3 - Epcot
Epcot had a very futuristic theme to it which I guess is the whole point of the park. The park wasn't as large as Magic Kingdom which made day 3 at Disney World a bit more relaxing after our previous day at Magic Kingdom. Most of the park was dedicated to various countries that served specialty foods specific to that country. I was craving Chinese food so naturally, my family and I had to stop by China in the evening for a delicious (but quite expensive) meal. We didn't end up seeing the Illuminations - Reflections of Earth Show because all of us were exhausted though I'm pretty sure it would've been a spectacular show and would've not been as crowded as Magic Kingdom since the show was to take place in the center of the park, on the waterfront, enabling all vacationers to have an excellent view of the spectacle. The rides that we went on at Epcot included:
  1. Spaceship Earth - a slowmoving omnimover "transported" us from 40 000 years ago to modern day Earth.
  2. Mission Space - After my friend told me that he and his family got quite nauseous on this ride, I was very cautious and kind of reluctant to go on this ride and thus, decided to opt for the Green option - a less intense ride with fewer spins. Definitely makes you feel like you're an astronaut travelling to Mars. I think next time, I might give the Orange option a try ;)
  3. Test Track - we were the automotive test subjects in this high-octane thrill ride that exposed us to unpredictable terrains and sharp turns.
  4. Circle of Life - An Environmental Fable - nothing special about this show since it was more of a movie screening/wild life documentary set to scenes and songs from the Lion King
  5. Ellen's Energy Adventure - a multimedia attraction that started off with us viewing Ellen on Jeopardy and then riding through the Big Bang and the age of the Dinosaurs
  6. Journey into Imagination with Figment - a kid-friendly ride that tested our sense of smell, hearing, taste, sight, and touch
  7. Living with the Land - a relaxing boat ride that took us into this massive greenhouse where we saw how innovative technologies were being used to grow various crops and exotic fruits and herbs
  8. The Seas with Nemo and Friends - we rode in an oyster shell through various aquatic tanks housing a plethora of species of fish, turtles, dolphins, and corals,
Day 4 - Hollywood Studios
This was the park in which we went on all the rides and attended most of the shows. We also attended Fantasmic!, a spectacular nighttime show filled with lasers, lights, dancing fountains and special effects. What I found to be the highlight of this show was that various scenes from classic Disney movies (ex: Aladdin, Hercules, Snow White, Pinnochio etc) were projected on water that was sprayed across the stage. The rides and shows that we went on included:
  1. The Great Movie Ride - this was an interactive ride whereby we were taken through various classic Hollywood films like The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca
  2. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular - an exciting and hilarious 30 minute show showing how some of the stunts in Indiana Jones was carried out. There was also audience participation so that made the show a lot more interesting and comedic to watch.
  3. Star Tours 3D- Definitely made you feel as if you were in Star Wars
  4. Muppet Vision 3D - hilarious 3D film starring the Muppets
  5. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show - I loved this show! It was definitely thrilling featuring edge of your seat big-vehicle stunts from blockbuster Hollywood films
  6. Toy Story Midway Mania - we were advised to get Fastpasses for this ride first thing we entered the park and good thing we did because the Fastpasses for this ride was fully distributed by 12 pm and the wait time at that time was 90 minutes long! Definitely had fun in this 4D virtual reality game playing ride
  7. Walt Disney: One Man's Dream - this was more of an exhibition documenting Walt's life and his creation of Disney Land
  8. Voyage of the Little Mermaid - a very condensed broadway musical of the Little Mermaid
  9. Rock n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith - a "road trip" with twists, turns, and loops through Tinseltown
  10. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - I actually don't think this ride is as scary as Canada's Wonderland's DropZone (granted, I've never been on Drop Zone) but the "drops" on this ride wasn't as scary as I thought
  11. Fantasmic! - Awesome!
Day 5 - Seaworld
I was kind of disappointed with my visit to Seaworld because for the price of admission, I was expecting more from the park. The only thing that I enjoyed were the dolphin, seal, and shamu shows which I thought were pretty neat. Other than that, Seaworld didn't have too many rides (other than Manta). Nonetheless, it was an interesting experience.

Day 6 - Shopping!
After our 4 days at Disney World, we decided to take it easy and go shopping at the second largest outlet mall in Orlando featuring 150 designer stores and yes, we did manage to go to all 150 stores =)

Day 7 - Downtown Disney
We concluded our vacation by visiting Downtown Disney for the first half of the morning whereby we visited Disney Quest, an indoor theme park. One can think of it as an indoor virtual reality arcade. I know my siblings (especially my brother) loved it since they love Chuke Cheese and Disney Quest is more of a 5 story building of that.

Overall, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation in Florida. Even though it was exhausting for most of the days, I wouldn't change it for the world. Next up - a cruise to the Caribbean!


  1. Wow! Sounds like you had an awesome time!

  2. I really did Cerena! I was like a little kid again at Disney =)


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