Sunday, February 26, 2017

US Vacation 2014 - Disneyworld

This post is so long delayed. I've grown to rely on FB as my memory album but I know nothing beats a blog. With my really undependable memory, I should resolve to write down stuff again before I forget.

My husband and I first visited the US together in 2011. At that time, it was only the 2 of us as it was a delayed honeymoon of some sort. When we got married in 2007, we jointly applied for US Visas and was approved. But before we could book a flight, we found out that I was pregnant. Thus, we postponed until 2011 but we decided to leave our 2 year old son behind. When he turned 5, we decided to bring him with us thinking that he wouldn't be too much of  handful as compared to bringing a toddler.

Of course, the first thing to do was to get a visa for our son. I blogged about it here. When he was approved, we looked around for flights and we settled with Cathay. When we first went to the US in 2011, we rode Eva Air where the stopover was in Taipei. It was the first time that we considered Cathay as previously, their port of entry in the east coast was in JFK in New York. But they recently opened flights going to Newark, New Jersey which is nearer to my sister. Since we heard good reviews about the airline, we booked 3 tickets with my friendly neighborhood travel agent.

We left Manila on May 16, 2014 and it was such an exciting day. Though we have previously traveled as a family, it will be our first long flight together! I prepared myself as much as I could by bringing my son his art materials, crayons, and of course, the ever reliable iPad. However, it can only entertain my 5 year old as much.

The MNL-HKG leg was uneventful and he had a kick exploring the terminal. However, the HKG-EWR leg was the killer. He fell asleep sometime at the start of the flight but he woke up 8 hours into the 15 hour flight and started screaming inside the plane out of sheer boredom. It was the nightmare of parents! Fortunately, we were able to calm him down enough and make him sleep again until we finally landed at Newark at 940 in the evening.

Our schedule though was a killer. My sister was prompt in picking us up and bringing us to her house where we stayed most of our trip. However, we had to be awake at 3AM as we had to catch our 6AM JetBlue flight going to Florida for our Disneyworld adventure! I think I only ended up sleeping for an hour or so before we had to get ready.

JetBlue was a budget airline so not much frills about it. The flight was around 2 1/2 hours long and my son was able to sleep on the plane (again) but I couldn't. Probably from excitement as we'll be going to the most magical place on earth!

Day 1

We arrived in Orlando at around 8:30 in the morning where the Disney bus picked us up. Just sitting there and seeing the monitor with the trademark Disney castle really made my 38 year old self all hyper. Though how old you are, Disney brings out the child in you.

We were booked at Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside. One of the numerous hotel resorts in the humongous place. After an hour of riding, we arrived at the hotel. Unfortunately, our rooms were not yet available so we had to wait. There were 4 families so 4 rooms--and our room was the last one to be ready. By that time, I was falling asleep at the really nice lobby as jetlag was catching up. When we were firmly ensconced in our rooms, we decided to take a nap as we're scheduled to visit Animal Kingdom in the afternoon. However, the nap turned out into a long deep sleep. My sister kept on calling us and we eventually just decided to meet up with them at the Animal Kingdom lodge to have dinner.

One cool thing about the whole experience was that we all had to wear the bracelets like the one above. Each family had a customized bracelet which we use in lieu of bringing cash and IDs. We just swipe whenever we need to buy something or even for fastpass purposes. Really you can walk around the park without worrying about cash. If I'm not mistaken, it's waterproof too.

Anyway, here's a pic of our bed at the hotel. I really like how they did the mickey logo with the towel and look at that awesome headboard!

The lobby of our hotel has an arcade place and out of all the hundreds of things that one can do at Disney, my son decided that this arcade game is the best. At his age, he was a bowling fanatic and we could just leave him there for hours without him getting tired. Like father like son as his dad is not a fan of amusement parks. I remember during out first date at Enchanted Kingdom, he never rode any of the rides. I had to ride the rollercoaster all by myself. He did however, accompany me at the Ferris Wheel.

Anyway, we managed to bargain with him to go around the resort with the promise that we will begin and end our day at the arcade.

After a sumptuous dinner at the lodge, we went back to our hotel where we got our much needed rest.

Day 2

The next day was the real start of our adventure at the happiest place on earth. We decided to visit the Magic Kingdom theme park first. Kids were encouraged to be in costume so my son decided to go as Spiderman.

Before meeting up with the rest of my family, we took the chance to explore our hotel/resort. 

Facade of our building where are room is located

Gazebo by the lake

at the hotel lobby

with the kids dressed up for Magic Kingdom

We wanted to have breakfast near Magic Kingdom so we settled for 1900 Park Fare Grand Floridian. It's such an awesome place. While having breakfast, mascots go around and you can take pictures with them.

Selfie with Tigger

With Winnie the Pooh

Everyone crowding around Mary Poppins! And she speaks with an English accent too

with Alice

amd the Mad Hatter

Trying to take a pic of the humongous lobby of the restaurant's hotel

After that very filling breakfast, we excitedly lined up at the theme park. The kids were excited but Basti and hubby are not fond of rides so he was content with having his face painted and I just hung around with my mom.

I think we left the park early but my little family left for Downtown Disney where we explored the place. My son was happy that we found a place which has bowling a bowling alley and he bowled a few games while we had dinner. Instead of taking the bus, we took the ferry from our resort all the way to Downtown. Definitely faster than the bus and it lets us off near our hotel too.

Day 3

Our third day at Disneyworld was spent at Hollywood Studios. Back then, there was the American Idol experience. Now that there's no more AI, I'm not sure if they still have that in the park.

The American Idol Experience

We also visited the Pixar Place and the ride where we went through scenes from different movies. 

The shot below is interesting as the backdrop is actually just painted and not an actual sky. 

For dinner, we went to Yachtman Steakhouse. I think we rode a boat going there.

Day 4

The last theme park in the place, EPCOT or as what my husband told me, is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. What makes it notable is the big golf ball in the middle of the park.

Posing with the golf ball

The golf ball actually has a ride inside. They also have different places around the park that features a different country. By then, I learned that one of the "things-to-bring" in Disney is sunscreen. Though it's not as humid as here in the Philippines, the heat can easily bake you. 

That sky is real

Basti finally completed his autographed book

That night, we went back to Downtown Disney where we met up with a former boss.

Day 5

Though we haven't been to Animal Kingdom, we didn't want to go there so we went back to Magic Kingdom to find the Frozen dolls that people back home seem to want as pasalubong. Fortunately, we were able to buy some.

Disneyworld was definitely an experience and one I would hope to experience again. As my husband and son are not fans of amusement parks, hopefully, I can visit again with other members of the family. I love rides and would certainly want to experience more of this magical place.

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