Posts Tagged ‘Best Week Ever’

Julia’s Best Week Ever, January 18, 2018: Art in the Park

by on January 18, 2018

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Out of all the festivals that Epcot offers, my absolute favorite is Festival of the Arts. Yes, the food at Food and Wine is yummy, the holidays are festive, and Flower and Garden is beautiful, but the folks in charge of Festival of the Arts really hit it out of the park last year and this year looks equally as amazing. With cold weather coming to Florida in wave after wave (and when I say cold, I’m not talking Florida cold–I’m talking 30s tonight), my family decided to squeeze in a quick trip this week, just to see the tip of the festival iceberg.

When we arrived at Epcot on Monday (albeit a holiday Monday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), crowds were brisk. I’m guessing many people had a similar idea. The secret is out about this festival.

 

Truth told, we were also looking for Pokémon on that day, and one showing up on sightings was over near the old Universe of Energy pavilion. That was a very lucky thing for us, because we might have missed the amazing chalk art over in that area. The 3-D chalk art always amazes me.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, January 11, 2018: New Year’s Magic

by on January 11, 2018

Last year, my family set an interesting bucket list item–to sail on all four Disney Cruise Line ships within a calendar year. We sailed on the Wonder in February, the Fantasy in June, the Dream in September, and now it was time to get on board the Magic in December for a New Year’s cruise. Part of the reason we wanted to book this cruise, aside from our first time seeing the Magic, was that this cruise made a stop in Key West, a place we’ve always wanted to visit. The challenge for us is that it sailed out of Miami. We got a hotel for the night before (out of fears of traffic going from the Orlando area to Miami), and on a beautifully clear morning, headed to the port. A word of warning–if you’re used to the ease of getting around Port Canaveral, the Port of Miami is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. The way we were directed in by GPS meant that we didn’t have any signs telling us which dock the Magic was at, and there’s parking scattered everywhere. We ended up spotting the ship, pulling in the next available parking lot, and walking about 1/4 of a mile with our luggage to find a porter. In the end, there was a closer parking area, but it fills up much faster than Port Canaveral, so take parking where you can find it. Also note that the terminal where you leave may not be the terminal you return to. We left from terminal F, but returned to terminal G. Just some background about how “getting there is not half the fun”. I can’t say I’ll never sail from Miami again, but I can say that I love Port Canaveral all the more now.

 

But enough about travel fun. Once in the terminal, it was all Disney experience. Check-in was quick and efficient, security was brief, and even the wait time for our boarding number to be called went quickly in a much more comfortable setting than Port Canaveral. Time flew by very quickly between getting on board, doing a bit of exploring, and then time for sail away. And what a view! Here’s where sailing out of Miami beats the pants off of Port Canaveral. Sailing from a big city is amazing!

In one brief article, it wouldn’t be possible to write about everything that we experienced on the cruise–Key West, Pirate Night, New Year’s parties, exploring new places, and so on–so I figured I’d just give some snapshots from the cruise experience and snippets of details about what we did.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, November 16, 2017: A Most Merry (Merriest?) Night

by on November 16, 2017

Family achievement unlocked. Our daughter spent her first overnight weekend campout this past weekend, and so that meant her mom and dad were child-free for more than 24 hours. On a whim, I had entered a Disney Parks blog contest for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets and I won. (I’m wondering just how random it is, but I can’t complain–and I have no need to enter next year, but plan to save my luck for that eventual lottery win.) This time, I didn’t have to spend an extra $100 so that we could go as a family, and after looking at the list of events for the evening, our daughter said that it wasn’t her thing–but we were happy to try it out for her! After we dropped her off with her troop leaders, we made our way to the Magic Kingdom.

 

We arrived a while before the party started and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Columbia Harbor House before making our way back to Main Street. My primary goal was to get the special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card, so we were waiting by the fire station when the party started….and it started snowing!

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, November 9, 2017: Disney Springs, I Choose You!

by on November 9, 2017

Greetings, all. This week’s Best Week Ever came about because of my daughter’s love of Pokémon. For those who are not in the know (which, admittedly, included me until last week), the 20th Pokémon movie has come to American theaters in a limited release–as in four days only (and only two of the days offering a rare Pokémon card for those who saw the movie). What does this have to do with Disney? Well, one of the theaters holding a showing of the film was the AMC at Disney Springs. I’m not much of a movie theater person–not counting movies I’ve seen on DCL, I generally see one or two movies in theaters per year at most. It was a perfect Daddy and Daughter date, though…and it gave me some time to wander around Disney Springs for some solo window shopping. Woo hoo!

We arrived early to grab lunch before the movie. With the time change, everything still felt a bit out of whack, and so we had more time for lunch than we intended. Originally, we had thought about just grabbing a bite at Blaze, but we decided to switch things up and grab lunch at Splitsville. I do enjoy the food there, and almost always order this lovely sushi roll as my meal.

With the other two of my party heading into the theater, I decided to take the water taxi over to The Marketplace and then walk my way back. By the time I would get back, they should be done with the movie, and we’d head on home. I love taking the water taxi any chance I get. The view is beautiful and it is such a peaceful ride.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, November 2, 2017: Off to Animal Kingdom

by on November 2, 2017

Those who have been following Best Week Ever for the past few weeks have watched me squeeze in “just one more park” before my work schedule changes, making it more challenging to take a quick morning trip to the park. I’d already done Magic Kingdom and Epcot, so Animal Kingdom was the obvious choice. (Sorry, Studios!) After dropping my daughter at school, I headed on to Animal Kingdom. The weather was brisk, and the crowds were as well. Thankfully, I have an annual pass, so off to the passholder line I went. I love this perk!

With most of the crowd going to Pandora, I started making my way to the Safari, but first I stopped to see the river otters. They’re only out for a little bit each morning, but they are so fun to watch. This morning they were running around chasing birds and then jumping into the water for a quick swimming game of tag.

With the animals being in such a good mood due to the cooler temperatures, I figured that I’d have a good Safari ride. It was only about a 15-minute wait and I was off through the wilds of Africa.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 19, 2017: Epcot Expedition

by on October 19, 2017

Hi Everyone! Yep, it’s me again for another Best Week Ever. Thank you all so much for your comments on last week’s tour of Magic Kingdom. I had so much fun that I decided to sneak away from work for a morning in Epcot. It was such a gorgeous fall-ish day, how could anyone stay inside? My husband was kind enough to take our daughter to school, and so I got to get a bright-and-early pre-rope-drop arrival at Epcot.

It has been so long since I’ve rope dropped Epcot that I wasn’t sure where we’d be held and for how long. They ended up holding us just before Spaceship Earth until 8:45, and then crowds split three ways–Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’. Guess which one I went for…

 

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 12, 2017: Mom’s Magical Morning

by on October 12, 2017

Last Friday, I got a note from my part-time job saying that they’d be closed Monday for the holiday. I checked my daughter’s school schedule–she had school. Then I contacted my full-time job, and asked them “Hey, um, I feel silly asking this, but do we have Monday off?” A handful of emails later, the staff realized that we did (although most people were planning to work during the day anyhow to avoid production falling behind, but as an hourly employee and not salary, that wasn’t an option for me). I checked with my husband–nope, he had to work.

I had a day off ….. by myself!

I hadn’t been to Magic Kingdom in ages, and that sounded like a great option for a quick solo trip. I dropped my daughter off at school at 8:30 and was pulling into the Simba section at 8:50. Ah, the local life! After a quick tram ride to a bus ride to a leisurely stroll, I was at the front entrance, which was surprisingly empty for a holiday.

Halloween decorations were all up, and I love the character that they have. It really does add something for the season.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 5, 2017: Epcot 35–Something Old, Something New

by on October 5, 2017

 

Ever have one of those weekends when you really don’t have plans? This weekend was one of those. With the weather predicted to be a washout, we thought about just staying at home. But when we got up on October 1 and the weather wasn’t too horrible, we piled in the car (with umbrellas) and headed over to Epcot for the visionary park’s 35th anniversary. We weren’t the only ones–the line of cars extended as far as the eye could see.

 

When we arrived, we got a special Epcot 35 button and a unique map for the day. We unfolded the map, and it was a neat poster souvenir.

 

We had no interest in buying merchandise, but I think we were the only people in all of Walt Disney World who didn’t. The line for I Was There merchandise stretched from Innoventions all the way to the main entrance. On the other hand, this was the “line” for Spaceship Earth.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever, September 28, 2017: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on September 28, 2017

Hello, friends! This week I dedicated myself to falling in love with Disney’s Hollywood Studios again. Well, it didn’t really start out that way. I popped in to do a little shopping but ended up spending the day appreciating the chill atmosphere. I was surprised how much we enjoyed ourselves, so I wanted to take you along to see how much fun a day can be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

So what was I out hunting to buy? Well, I heard there was a new Hollywood Studios mug for sale at Starbucks featuring the aliens from Toy Story! Since the ride doesn’t open until next summer this seemed too good to be true, but there they were on the shelf. I snapped one up and decided to shop a little before heading out.

Want to see what else I found? Join me for the rest of my day! Click to read more.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, September 21, 2017: A Week for the Birds

by on September 21, 2017

Talking with my family on the phone this week, they asked how things were going in the wake of Hurricane Irma. My comment was “Things are business as usual, but not yet back to normal.” We were lucky in that we had very minimal damage (a couple torn screens and a leaning sapling tree), only lost power for 17 hours, and largely went on about our life as usual. Of course my daughter had more than a week with no school, and getting restocked with supplies after the power came back on was challenging, but by and large we did A-OK. We also learned that three people and two cats can rest comfortably in our walk-in closet, which didn’t feel that much smaller than our first DCL stateroom when we traveled with a toddler and seriously overpacked. 😉

To give you an idea of some of the ways that things aren’t yet back to normal in this area, aside from many people (including hard-working Cast Members) who still don’t have electricity more than a week after the storm rolled through, some supplies are still hard to find. This is from late last week–finding a gallon of milk meant calling to a half dozen stores to track one down.

Along the back side of Walt Disney World property, behind the Magic Kingdom, there’s a huge parking lot for Cast Members. The road that runs alongside the parking area still has significant standing water for about 1/8 mile–these are from one week after Irma (and yes, the water is deep enough on the edges to splash it over the hood of a car).

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