Hotel: Pop Century
Arriving at the Pop Century, Magic Kingdom and EPCOT:
On the 4th June this month Jon and I went on our first trip together to Walt Disney World. It was also our first Disney trip together.
We flew from Baltimore to Orlando.
It was the first time I had stayed onsite at WDW property and thus also the first time I had used the Disney’s Magical Express service (DME).
Apart from a small complication when checking on for the DME (if only the CM had used the reservation number I had told her to!) everything ran pretty smoothly, and by about 11am we were in WDW.
I had hoped that we were housed in the 1960’s section of the Pop Century, and my wish came true, as when we checked in we were indeed put in the 1960’s section!
The Pop Century is a GREAT value hotel. It is larger than life, bright and colourful and has a great atmosphere.
The 1960’s section is the closest to the main entrance and all the resort facilities which is really great.
There are a lot of cool things to take pictures of at the Pop, including the giant Baloo and Mowgli and the giant pot of Playdoh in the 1960’s section.
The rooms are pretty basic, but are clean and serve the purpose for which they are required.
After checking in and dropping our hand luggage (our main cases being dealt with by the DME to maximise your time and enjoyment), we made our way to the bus for our first park – EPCOT.
On arrival at EPCOT I purchased an Annual Pass as we also have a 9 day trip in September and it is cheaper and more convenient to have an AP.
I was quite excited about going to EPCOT. The last time I had been to WDW was in November 2006, and since then EPCOT had made a few changes.
First of all Spaceship Earth no longer donned the giant wand. Also the ride inside had undergone some enhancements. The best of these being the new interactive video at the end, which provides some amusing entertainment…
They had also made a new interactive area at the end of the ride.
Other attractions we did in EPCOT this day were:
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Living Seas tanks
Turtle Talk with Crush
Journey into Imagination with Figment
And the Mexico ride with the Three Cabelleros – which was also different since I last went on it.
We managed to also visit Mexico, China and Norway.
We met the following characters at EPCOT:
Mulan and Mushu
We managed to eat lunch in EPCOT at Seasons in The Land. We also stopped for a drink at the Electric Umbrella and visited the EPCOT 25 Years Exhibit in the Innoventions building behind the Character Spot.
As you can see we managed a lot in EPCOT that day – and we were only there for about 4 hours from lunch time until we left for the Magic Kingdom – aboard the Monorail.
We made our way to the Magic Kingdom for the Pirate and Princess Party that evening.
Our driver aboard Monorail Pink from the TTC to the Park was amusing to say the least, wanting to know if we were there for the weekends “events” (Gay Days).
On arrival at Magic Kingdom we were presented with another hiccup – our tickets that were sent to Jon were the wrong date! So we had to get new ones printed at Guest Relations, which was fine! Phew!
So into the Magic Kingdom we went, picking up the special event guide maps and wrist band as we went in.
At the party that evening we made it a priority to do Pirates of the Caribbean seeing as it was going to be closed for the rest of the trip for refurbishments.
We also managed to ride the Haunted Mansion – which had also undergone some cool new changes since I had last ridden it.
We also managed to meet a whole bunch of characters:
Aladdin and Jasmine
Pirate Mickey and Pirate Pluto
Pirate Donald and Pirate Goofy
Pocahontas and John Smith
A Pirate Wench
That night we watched the cool Pirate and Princess Enchanted Adventures Parade and the Music, Magic Mayhem fireworks, which were awesome! The perimeter fireworks during this display are far superior to the Halloween ones.
We managed to also see Mickey’s PhilharMagic and some other attractions.
We ate that evening at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café where they had the Eclipses Mini Mixes disco where Lilo, Stitch and Chip and Dale danced the night away.
Overall in the Magic Kingdom throughout the trip we managed to see every attraction, and all the parades (Dreams Come True – twice, SpectroMagic – 3 times) and fireworks (Wishes – twice).
The only listed attractions that we did not see were:
The Hall of Presidents
The Walt Disney World Railroad
The Country Bears
Tom Sawyers Island
The Liberty Bell Riverboat
Main Street Vehicles
Carrousel of Progress
We managed to see everything else, including some things more than once.
On this trip Dumbo was a “new” attraction to me as I had never ridden it before. Since my last visit Monsters Inc Laugh Floor was new too, and we managed to see that once. I thought it was very funny, and definitely a worthwhile replacement to the old Timekeeper.
New to Jon this trip was the Flying Carpets and Goofy’s Barnstormer in Magic Kingdom, as well as Turtle Talk with Crush in EPCOT.
New to both of us was Storytime with Belle tucked away behind the Castle.
After we got to meet Belle.
We also visited the Magic Kingdom all day on the Thursday (5th June), and all day on Saturday (7th June).
During this time we managed to meet even more characters including:
Winnie the Pooh
Peter Pan and Wendy (several times!)
Snow White – met randomly while exploring Expo Hall (somewhere else I had never been)!
Woody and Jessie
Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drisella
We ate or got snacks or drinks from a variety of places on this trip, including:
Sleepy Hollow – mm waffles!
Crystal Palace (Character Buffet with the Winnie the Pooh gang!) on the Saturday morning
The hotel (Pop)
Pinocchio’s Village Haus – great view from the terrace upstairs!
Pecos Bill Café
Magic Kingdom had Extra Magic Hours on two days of our trip which we took advantage of – Thursday morning and Friday night.
On the Saturday while we were there was Gay Days at the Magic Kingdom, which was a new experience to both Jon and me. Gay people from the world over donned their red shirts in recognition of their pride.
It was really great to see so many gay people all having fun in one place – a place that I love so much too. Disney attracts a lot of gay people period, and usually one gay person can spot another pretty easily, but having it so visually presented to you was amazing. The Park was flooded with red the whole day. It was quite extraordinary.
On Thursday we met with 2 of Jon’s friends who are CM’s and had dinner with them in Cosmic Ray’s.
Downtown Disney and the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
On Thursday we took a sidetrack from the Park on the monorail to the Grand Floridian hotel. I had never been inside the GF before and thought it would be nice to check it out after a long day in the park, and Jon agreed!
We walked about the grounds, took some photos, went in the 2 gift shops and checked out the grand lobby.
It’s a very nice hotel – with a nice price attached to it too! I look forward to eating our Character meal at 1900 Park Fair there in September!
Saturday we decided to take some time out and visit Downtown Disney.
We ate at The Earl of Sandwich, which I had never eaten at before, which was really nice. We only visited Market Place, but spent about 2 hours walking around the stores and taking photographs.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Star Wars Weekends:
On Friday and Sunday we attended Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This was a new event to both me and Jon. The weather was extraordinarily hot the whole trip, but Friday was over my limit. It was to the point of beyond unbearable, and made for a very uncomfortable day.
Waiting in the VERY long lines all day, and standing out in the heat for the Motorcade and Block Party Bash was exhausting.
But, we did get to see Star Wars Weekends, we did pick up lots of cool merchandise, we met LOADS of excellent characters and experienced some new things along the way.
Some of the many characters we were able to meet include:
Sorcerer Mickey (which I was extremely pleased about!)
Jango Fett and Zam Wesell
Green Army Man
Vader Goofy, Leia Minnie and Stormtrooper Donald – which absolutely ROCKED! Despite the wait and the heat!
Lilo and Stitch
Ahsoka Tano (Jedi)
Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable
Annie from Little Einsteins
Prince Caspian (which we were both very happy about!)
We both experienced the NEW Toy Story Midway Mania ride for the first time. That’s cool. Not quite worth the hype and 110min line that it has been attracting I don’t think personally, but it was pretty neat nonetheless.
Also new to me was Block Party Bash. I originally had my reservations about this “parade”. But was soon won over by the relocated show piece from Disney’s California Adventure! It is a very cool, lively and colourful event – despite the blazing hot June sun…
Places we ate / got drinks from included:
Toy Story Pizza Planet – nowhere near as cool as he Disneyland Paris one – and MEGA busy, with very little seating
Other attractions we saw:
Muppet Vision 3D
We stayed to watch the Hyperspace Hoopla too, which was entertaining! Star Wars character doing Thriller and the YMCA… Interesting to say the least!
The Star Wars Motorcade we saw twice and included three celebrities from the Star Wars saga:
Warwick Davies (who I have seen before incidentally at a Star Wars event in the UK!)
They gave out special guide maps for the event and presigned autographed photos from the celebrities.
Overall I would say it was a great weekend for die hard Star Wars fans, but you have to be prepared to wait a LONG time in BLAZING heat and INTENSE Florida sun before you get anywhere.
I am glad I went to experience it, but I won’t be going in that weekend again in a hurry. I prefer the quieter, cooler times! Lol.
In conclusion we had a totally AWESOME trip.
Was fantastic to every degree, but it was HOT, and that made it tiring and a little uncomfortable.
You know how you over time forget things? How details get lost? And how annoying that can be? Well, in a bid to "keep the memories alive", I am going to post here some of my more extended comments from my Flickr pages.
The other thought process behind this was that over time comments get pushed back, deleted, the pics get deleted... or I just plain can't find them.
When posting a comment to Jon, I wrote:
I loved meeting the Fairy Godmother. Cool how we met 4 Cinderella characters all in one trip hehe.
I remember walking past her again on another occasion and shouting out "hello Fairy Godmother!" and she waved back lol (me thinks she looked a little different that time tho *wink wink* lol)
Also loved how she said her "carriage" used to pass by where you live a lot in the past...
Following meeting Aladdin:
He remembered us later on as we walked past and shouted out "hello Peter Pan's!"
Lol. Those hat's got us so much attention hehe...
We saw this Peter in the day parade where he pointed to our Pan hats, then in the evening he spotted us again in the SpectroMagic parade! He walked right up to us!
When commenting to Jon on this I wrote:
"Your feather is bigger than mine" *feels for feather* "I lost my feather!"
Jon replied with:
Yeah... that was great :D It was really kewl getting to meet him a day or two later when he remembered us!
We also met this Peter in Adventureland for a meet and greet, where he remembered us too, saying "I'm seeing you guys everywhere I go!", and he further expanded on the fact he had lost his feather at some point before reaching us in the Spectro parade!
I wonder if he will remember us in September if he is there...
These broom guys look WRONG I tell you!
I responded with:
Lol I actually think the brooms are really cool and was excited about getting pics of them :P Ask Jon! Lol I was all like "yay I'm so happy I get to take pics of walking brooms" hahaha
Your goofy smile made me laugh so much!
I replied saying:
Lol I'm surprised I'm smiling actually! :P
This was taken like at 10pm when we had had VERY LITTLE slep the 3 days before, and had been up and in the intense sun ALL DAY prior to this. So here we were on the Tea Cups at 10 o'clock spinning wildly at 50mph and I was still smiling...
That's dedication to your passions I tell ya!!! Lol.
Was an awesome trip tho, and would I do it all over again, inc. the 2 and half hours sleep a night? YES :D Lol
So for now that's all the pics and comments I am going to post for "keeping the memory alive".
When more comments are posted, or more memories thought of, I will check back and update :)
New Experiences and Florida Firsts:
During my trip to Virginia and Florida with Jon, we both experienced a number of "firsts", either as individuals or together.
This list is as comprehensive as I could make it without being too ridiculous! Most of them are Disney Firsts, but there are others listed here too.
May 2008 Firsts:
Jon and Dan's first meet
Jon's first visit to Uxbridge
Jon's first trip to Ontario
June 2008 Firsts:
Jon's first trip to Niagara Falls, ON
Dan and Jon's first trip together, inc. eating first time eating at Rainforest CafÃ©
Dan and Jon's first time meeting a RFC Character and first character met together
Dan and Jon's first international trip together
Dan's first visit to PA, MD and VA, inc. Dulles / Sterling
Dan's first visit to DC
Dan and Jon's first visit to DC together
Dan's first stay at Pop Century
Dan and Jon's first WDW trip together
Dan's first Pirate and Princess Party
Dan and Jon's first Disney trip together
Dan and Jon's first Star Wars Weekends inc. special characters and Gay Days
Dan and Jon's first and second time seeing a movie together
Dan and Jon's first time entering the White House grounds
Dan's first time flying completely alone
Dan's first time flying BWI and BUF
Dan's first cross-border journey completely alone
Dan's first time flying Southwest
Dan and Jon's first ride on Toy Story Midway Mania
Dan and Jon's first time seeing Storytime with Belle
Jon's first time riding the Flying Carpets
Jon's first time seeing Turtle Talk with Crush
Dan's first time holding a WDW AP
Dan's first time riding Dumbo
Dan's first time seeing Monsters Inc Laugh Floor