Travel • January 5, 2016

Our Holiday to Orlando, Florida- Part Two

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about our holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida with Thomson. It is time for the second part of our trip, I have wanted to space them out as to be honest reminiscing over the photos and writing about what we got up to, is a very welcome escape from the absolutely grey and gloomy weather we are currently having in the UK. As I sit and type all about our holiday, I can actually feel tears at the back of my eyes, I am sure half of it is pregnancy hormones but I still can’t believe we were lucky enough to experience such an incredible experience.

In my last post I did a day by day account of our trip, which I am going to do again in this one, although I am slightly skimming over our days at Disney as I want to do a full post about them…

TUESDAY

floridaoctober15zzkWe woke up on the Tuesday, having had a bit of a lie in due to a crazy first day at Magic Kingdom where we didn’t get back to our hotel until almost midnight. The first thing we did was get up and go for a drive for some lunch- we introduced our big girl to the world of Five Guys which she thought was rather delicious! We loved visiting the malls for an hour or so while we were there- our favourites were The Florida Mall and the Mall of Millenia.floridaoctober15zzzzyThen it was time to go back to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This is a ticketed event that we paid extra to go into. You can only go into the park from 3pm and it is different to normal days, with Halloween activities such as trick and treating, a different parade and different fireworks. (Hallowishes instead of Wishes) It was lovely to see the park dressed up for Halloween and the girls loved trick or treating- you lined up whenever you saw a big glowing pumpkin and got a huge handful of ‘candy’ each time- they were in heaven.floridaoctober15zzzzpAll dressed up in our especially bought Disney t-shirts for the Halloween party!
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Mickey also dressed up for the occasion in a different outfit and he even pointed at my mini baby bump! We didn’t stay right until the end as it took us so long to leave the park at the end of the night the previous night, but we stayed for the parade and then headed off while we could get on the monorail back to the car park with relative ease! (TIP- It does take about an hour or so to get out the park at closing time, it is so busy, so if you have young children and don’t want to queue to get out then it is worth leaving a little early- you definitely need to watch the fireworks at least one day though!)

WEDNESDAY

floridaoctober15pWednesday was our day at Hollywood Studios, another day we were really looking forward to. Unfortunately it was the one day of our holiday that had bad weather. Still we donned our Mickey ears and headed out for the day. Here we are at the entrance. (I will do a full post on our days at Disney with more photos!)floridaoctober15zzzzgWe headed for an early character breakfast at Hollywood & Vine, which we really enjoyed. The breakfast was delicious and the characters that came around were from Disney Junior- so we got a chance to meet characters such as Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sofia the First. The girls don’t know them as much as the other traditional characters, but it was still fun to take a photo with them and get their autograph.floridaoctober15zzzzhWe indulged in a LOT of Mickey waffles over the course of the holiday- they were delicious and were at most of the Disney breakfast restaurants! I am craving one looking at these.floridaoctober15uLunch was spent at the coolest restaurant- the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. I was really excited to manage to get a reservation here. It is basically a retro themed cafe (I loved it!) with old fashioned TV’s playing classic films and TV shows.  The waiters and waitresses are really quite rude to you (they are playing a part- they don’t mean it I hope!) telling you to get your elbows off the table and other funny things.floridaoctober15zzzzlIt was quite expensive (all Disney restaurants are more than what you would normally expect to pay) but it was so much fun and worth it for the experience. The food was classic American comfort food, I had chicken and mash!floridaoctober15yI love this shot of all of us which we got a nice passer by to take.floridaoctober15zzzznVery excited to meet the guys from Monsters Inc. We met lots of characters that day and also got to watch lots of shows and go on lots of rides- the favourite of ours of all being Toy Story Mania. (which was also everyone else’s favourite which is why the queue was so long! 90 minutes stand by time!)

THURSDAY

floridaoctober15zzzzsOn Thursday we woke up to an amazing treat. When I was making reservations and planning our trip, I was really disappointed to find that nearly all the character breakfasts had booked up well in advance. (where the characters come and give you a cuddle/take a photo/sign autographs while you have breakfast) However I was so excited when I found that there were reservations left through a company called Attraction Tickets Direct. They are basically a ticket agent, with tickets for attractions all over Orlando and other cities, but they had some reservations left at Chef Mickey’s (based in the Contemporary Resort), supposedly the best of all the character experiences. It was a real treat having them pick us up in a limo!floridaoctober15zzwPosing with my girls.floridaoctober15zzuThe character breakfast was brilliant, with Attraction Tickets Direct organising the whole thing for us. The characters who came round were the traditional most loved ones, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy. I had tears in my eyes throughout it watching my girls with some of my favourites. They are so good with children of all ages. floridaoctober15zztPosing with Minnie.floridaoctober15zzsI love this one.floridaoctober15zzoAnd this one too. The characters really spent time with each table and it was so incredibly magical for the girls. The whole trip was magical but as they are so young, it was definitely a highlight meeting all their heroes and I can’t believe how many we managed to meet- their autograph books were full by the end of the trip. Before we went I wondered whether a character breakfast was worth it, but I can definitely say they are, they were amazing. floridaoctober15zzzzuAfter our limo dropped us off back at our hotel, we quickly got ready and headed out to the Typhoon Lagoon, one of Disney’s two water parks. We ended up spending our last two days here as the weather was just glorious and the girls loved it so much. My bump has grown so much since this photo!floridaoctober15zzznThere was so much to do at Typhoon Lagoon, I thoroughly recommend it. There were loads of slides, including some mini ones with rings that LL especially loved. The highlight was the massive wave machine which Mr E and the girls played in all day. It was so much fun. floridaoctober15zzzaAfter going back to our hotel to freshen up after a day at the waterpark, we headed out to somewhere that someone recommended to me on instagram- the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. But first we had a little mini photo taking session as the sun was setting. I love this one of my cheeky monkey!floridaoctober15zzzbI cannot express how thankful we are to be able to experience these things as a family, even writing now and thinking about them makes me get choked up with emotion.floridaoctober15zzzcMummy and LL.floridaoctober15zzzdMy little family. I am the proudest girl in the world.floridaoctober15zzzgI love these two photos of them lying down on the grass.floridaoctober15zzziAnd this one too.floridaoctober15zzzzvThe Beaches & Cream Soda Shop was in the upmarket Disney Beach Club Resort. Like I mentioned, someone recommended it to me on instagram and I am thrilled that they did. They do signature ice creams in a metal kitchen sink which is huge- we settled for a smaller Mickey sink ice cream to share (we got to keep the tub!) which was still huge. The photo doesn’t do it justice.floridaoctober15zzzjThe Beach Club resort is gorgeous and is opposite the old fashioned Boardwalk which we didn’t get a chance to go to, but looked lovely all lit up at night. We sat outside under the stars eating our ice cream and feeling very thankful.

FRIDAY

floridaoctober15zzzkWe woke up on our last full day and decided to head back to the Typhoon Lagoon waterpark as it was so much fun. I love this photo of my little diva’s. floridaoctober15zzzlShe loved the man made beach, obviously Orlando isn’t that near to the coast (I think the nearest one is about an hour away) so it was lovely she still got some sand action!floridaoctober15zzzmTaking a break in the shade.floridaoctober15zzzoAfter heading back to our hotel to get ready we headed back to Disney Springs for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. The girls loved eating in the rainforest and it was really entertaining, plus the food was good too. As we were leaving the sun was setting and it was such a beautiful light. (my favourite type!)floridaoctober15zzzpI love this one of them all, I think it is one of my favourites I have ever taken.floridaoctober15zzzrMyself and my little girl.floridaoctober15zzztHopefully one day we will be able to take our third little person back to Orlando, but at least he was there in spirit!floridaoctober15zzzuDisney Springs is such a great place to go, especially as you don’t need a Disney ticket to go. There is lots of entertainment, we sat and watched a rather annoying boy/girl band sing cheesy songs for ages and the girls loved dancing to them.floridaoctober15zzzzwTravelling has always been one of my biggest passions, before becoming a Mummy I worked in the travel industry and I travelled a lot in my late teens and early 20’s. I am thrilled that my family have caught my travel bug and I am ever so grateful to be able to give my girls experiences that I could only have dreamed of as a little girl.floridaoctober15zzzvAs it was the last night of our holiday, we booked an extra special treat for our last night. We boarded a boat very late (around 10pm) for the Wishes Ferrytale Dessert and Fireworks Cruise. It was really quite expensive but was an incredible experience. You head off on the iconic General Joe Potter ferry boat around the Disney parks before mooring up and getting a spectacular view of the fireworks. It was great to experience a different location for them rather than being amongst the crowds in the Magic Kingdom itself.floridaoctober15zzzzzIt was a dessert cruise and there were lots of yummy sweet treats, plus a treasure hunt for the girls. We were also inundated with glow sticks, flashing necklaces and glasses, which came home in our suitcase for our regular bedroom party discos! Like I mentioned it definitely is a treat as it is quite expensive, but we thought it was an amazing end to our holiday and I again cried during the fireworks.

SATURDAY

floridaoctober15zzzzoAn early morning sunrise (and our last one-boo!) from our gorgeous suite at the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa. The hotel was lovely and in the most incredible location- we would definitely go back there if we were to ever visit Orlando again, while I can imagine a Disney hotel would be amazing, this was a perfect happy medium. floridaoctober15zzzwOur flight home wasn’t until the evening so after checking out of our hotel we headed into downtown Orlando city (the business district) to a park that our local friends who live there recommended called Lake Eola.floridaoctober15zzzzLake Eola was beautiful, a huge expanse of greenery in the heart of the city. You can hire swans pedalos to cruise around in. We sat in the sunshine and took in the last of the Florida heat, while watching a running for breast cancer event.floridaoctober15zzzxIt was a lovely place to pass the time and sit in the sun until we had to head over to the airport.floridaoctober15zzzyI love this photo of my cheeky girl!floridaoctober15zzzza Attack of the birds!homefromfloridafeat

We flew economy on the way home and as it was a night flight, our little girls surprised us and slept the entire way. We were ever so proud of them as it is a long flight, around 8 hours so not quite as long as the way there as you are in a tailwind on the way back across the Atlantic. Economy on the Thomson Dreamliner feels like Premium anyway, it is a really lovely plane, and that is from someone who doesn’t like flying much at all! Having flown Premium on the way there, there really isn’t much difference, bar the food is a little bit more luxurious in Premium and you get more leg room and a better seat. To be honest though, Economy on the way back actually suited us better as in Premium you can’t lift the handles of the seat up, whereas you can in Economy. This meant we could lift up the seat handle dividers between myself and LL and she was able to lay across my lap and her seat. We lucked out as well as a man next to us moved seats and she and I got a whole row to ourselves- not that it was me that benefited from this.

Here is the final video I made of our time in Florida…

It is really hard to end a post like this as it is really hard to sum up a holiday in just words and photos. Of course they play a part, but going to Orlando and to Disneyworld has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, so it is hard to portray just how much the holiday meant to us in a couple of blog posts and lots of instagram photos. It really was incredible, the holiday of a lifetime, and everything from start to finish was easy and straightforward with Thomson Holidays. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I am not just saying that.

Orlando is an incredible place, really crazy and hard to describe if you haven’t been. It is such an experience though- so many things to do for all the family, I think you could stay a month and not even scratch the surface of all the things there is to do there. It is a long way away, especially for a week, but it is a million percent worth it- I was worried about the flight but our girls were literally as good as gold. We didn’t even suffer too much with tiredness afterwards and Mads went straight back to school the next day bless her. I know that I just have to take my family there again one day if we can, so we will have to save up a little each month so we can take all three of our children there in years to come.

Our lives are going to be changing a lot next year, with the arrival of our third baby, and it meant so much to me that we were able to treat our girls to such an amazing experience. It was everything I could have wished for and more, and I find it hard to even look at the photos without tears springing at the back of my eyes. (Damn pregnancy hormones!) We all have memories that we will keep forever.

If you are thinking about a holiday to Orlando, but aren’t sure, whether that is because of money, or because you are worried about the long flight, or the fact that your children are too young/or old, then I can promise you there is not a single part of you that will be disappointed- it was absolutely magical and I have since heard from people with children of all ages (or no children at all) who can’t stop talking about the magic of Orlando.

Thank you to Thomson for making our dreams come true. As cheesy as it sounds, they really, really did.

(See Part One of our trip to Orlando here)

NB: We were invited on this trip of a lifetime by Thomson Holidays, although all words and opinions are entirely my own. All our trips and itinerary were planned by us.

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