Our Disney passes were valid for two weeks. There are six parks in total (including the two water parks) and our original intention was to spend a full day in each, alternating with ‘rest days’. However, things worked out quite differently. A full day, from park opening (usually 8am) to closing (as late as 1am in the Magic Kingdom) would be quite tiring, and it seemed unnecessary to wear ourselves out when we had two weeks in which to see and do everything. On the other hand, a day doing nothing would be boring for all of us – and finding other things to do rather pointless. So we ended up going to Disneyworld every day, but kept the days (usually) relatively short.
Epcot and Blizzard Beach
The plan for Thursday 2nd April was to go to Blizzard Beach, but thunderstorms were forecast, which made it not ideal for a water park. We’d already scheduled Epcot for the next day, but Charlie was keen to have a preview, having heard that it was Opa’s favourite park. So we ended up spending most of Thursday and Friday there. This gave us plenty of time to explore Futureworld and the World Showcase Lagoon. Of course, we had to start with ‘Spaceship Earth’, aka the Giant Golf Ball. In the ‘Sea’ pavilion, the boys enjoyed watching the real fish and manatees, as well as going on the ‘Finding Nemo’ ride.
The highlight however, was walking around the lagoon, visiting all the different countries ranged around the lake. We discovered you could get Epcot passports, and have them stamped in each country visited. To Charlie, really interested in geography and flags, this was great. One evening we stayed to see the ‘IllumiNations’ show, with fireworks and laser lights on the lagoon.
By this time Oskie was fit again, but earlier in the week Ian had had a sore throat. He soldiered on, knowing that otherwise we would all have been stuck, as he was the only person insured to drive the car. But then Sandie caught the bug, and on our second day in Epcot she felt really bad. So the following day she stayed at the villa resting, while the others made their delayed visit to Blizzard Beach. They all had a good time, apart from Oscar who managed to fall off his ring into the Lazy River!
Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
On Easter Sunday we went to Hollywood Studios, our first visit since 1999 when it was relatively new and known as MGM Studios. We went on more rides, and the boys collected more autographs. We saw the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (the set alone was mind boggling) and at the end of the day watched the Fantasmic light and sound show on the lake. It was while we were waiting for that show to start that Sandie picked up an email informing us that Ian’s Aunt Margie had died. Although she had reached the great age of 95, she was in relatively good shape when Maggi and Sandie visited only a month ago, so the news came as quite a shock.
Our visit to Animal Kingdom the previous week had been somewhat spoiled by Oskie’s illness. This meant that quite a chunk of the day was lost taking him to the Urgent Care Center, so we returned to Animal Kingdom on Monday 6th to make up for lost time. We did a lot more rides, got more autographs, saw tigers and a komodo dragon (real) and a musical show featuring the Lion King characters (not real).
While at Hollywood Studios, we’d noticed that children aged 4-12 could enrol for the ’Jedi Training Academy’ and take part in shows where they individually fought Darth Vader. We watched one of the shows, and the boys were really keen, but they had to be registered early in the morning (we were told places were always filled within an hour of the park opening) and we were much too late. So on Tuesday we got up early, Oscar became an honorary four-year-old for the day, and they succeeded in getting places for the 12.35 show. This, as you might imagine, was comprehensively photographed and filmed. The light sabre training was entertaining, especially as Oscar (by far the smallest of the potential Padawans) had problems activating his weapon. But it was great fun, and something we shall all long remember.
While waiting for the show, we tried out other attractions in Hollywood Studios. After lunch we took the boat which connects the park with Epcot, as there were a few more things we wanted to do there. While we were on our way, it began to rain – our first wet day at Disney. By the time we reached Epcot, it was pouring down. Fortunately the boat landing is close to the ‘UK’ section of World Showcase, so we were able to take refuge in the British pub!