On our last evening in Orlando, Laker, Taryn, & I went to Disney Springs. Disney Springs is a large shopping area with tons of cool shops & things to do.
I had been researching before the trip & found out one of my favorite Disney artists was going to be meeting in Disney Springs while we were in town, so our first stop of the night was the Wonderground Gallery. Jerrod Maruyama designed the hipster Mickeys & several other cute pieces. His work is so fun, & I was glad to have the chance to meet him!
After leaving the gallery, we explored the shops. We ate at Earl of Sandwich, visited Disney's new TAG travel store (which opened that week), & had Ghirardelli coffees. I'm looking forward to trying the AristoCrepes shop next time we visit!
Disney Springs is always a great area to explore if you're visiting Orlando!
We had a girls' day the day after our Disney World day (notice: we're already pre-sunburned). We toured a couple of the Disney resorts, starting with the Polynesian. We had breakfast at 'Ohana, where we were able to meet several characters. I Disneybounded as Lilo (Lilo & Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies!). She was the first to come to our table, & was very energetic, dancing & moving around. Mickey was next, dressed in his island attire. Next was Pluto, with his lei. This was my first time to meet Pluto - Donald is the only one of the classic 5 characters I haven't met now! Finally, Stitch came through. I loved getting to meet him!
Breakfast was served family style & was all-you-can-eat. We had eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits, Mickey & Stitch waffles, & sausages. There was also a tropical bread with pineapple & raisins.
You can see Cinderella's Castle from the beach outside. We took the monorail to the Grand Floridian, & on the way back, Mackenzie & I grabbed Dole Whips for the ride home.
The Grand Floridian is the prettiest hotel I have ever seen. We stopped to get bath products at Basin White, one of my favorite bath stores, then explored the hotel.
I was so excited to see that they already had their Easter eggs on display! Disney makes incredible Easter eggs, & I have wanted to see them for some time now. There is so much detail put into each egg, & they're made with edible products. I was so impressed!
Our third stop during our fully-packed Disney day was Hollywood Studios. Laker & I had never been to Hollywood Studios before, & I don't think Ben had either. We were so excited to see all of the Star Wars stuff! I made Kylo Ren / Darth Vader ears, & Taryn did my nails for the occasion.
I had heard of Character Palooza, an unlisted meet & greet that changes daily. There are different characters every day, & the cast members aren't allowed to tell when or where the meet & greet will take place each day. I desperately wanted to go, though! We were lucky enough to walk right into Character Palooza as we entered Hollywood Studios. I did a quick scan of the characters & noticed Robin Hood was out, & since he doesn't meet anywhere in the parks other than Character Palooza, I made a beeline for him. We were also able to meet Mulan & Tiana! There were other characters out too, but I had met most of them before.
We split up at this point, & Laker & I explored a bit, went to see the Muppets 3-D show, then decided to go meet Mike & Sully. Monsters Inc. is a favorite of ours!
Next was the Launch Bay! We rode Star Tours (which nearly killed me - do not ride if you have a heart condition!), then hung out with some jawas & went to meet Kylo Ren & Chewie. Kylo Ren singled me out & questioned my faith in the resistance. Chewie didn't like me much - My Dark Side ears were a turn-off for him, & he actually moved Ben so he wouldn't have to stand by me in the photo!
As we were walking around, we saw two storm troopers. They snuck up behind this lady & stole her park map!
We had a quick dinner, then Mackenzie shared the magic of Fantasmic with me. I won't share too many photos, because the show was a surprise to me, & I want it to be a surprise to anyone who might go!
No one does fireworks better than Disney. I had seen the fireworks at Magic Kingdom & Epcot, but this was my first time seeing them at Hollywood Studios. They were set to Star Wars music, & Disney somehow made the fireworks look like outer space, galactic battles, & even planets. It's amazing!
Our last stop of the night was Magic Kingdom. I only got one photo here, since this was pretty much the only time we stopped to pause while we were there. In Magic Kingdom, we walked through to see where Mackenzie works, then went to her favorite attraction - Disney's Philharmagic, which is another 3-D show. After that, we came back for a castle photo & headed back to the house! It was exhausting, but a great day!
We actually crossed a Bucket List item off my list & went to all four Disney World parks in one day over Spring Break. It was exhausting & I will probably never do it again, but we still had a good time! We only had one day to spend inside the parks, & we had things we wanted to see in each one, so we just hit the highlights, buzzed our way through, & made it to every one!
Our day started in Animal Kingdom. Most of us had never been to this park before, so it was a new experience! Half of our group was experiencing ticket issues, so those of us who got in without issues went to the Bug's Life attraction, It's Tough to Be a Bug. This is my mother-in-law's favorite, so I knew I wanted to give it a try for her! We had a lot of fun - we went in through the ant hill, wore bug-eye glasses, & saw an interactive 3-D show (there were a lot of those on this trip!). Afterwards, we met up with everyone at Dug & Russell's meet & greet. Up is one of Mackenzie's favorites, so I loved seeing her enjoy it so much!
We ventured on towards Dinoland, with a stop to meet Pocahontas! She was one of my favorites as a little girl, so I was excited for the chance to meet her! She asked us about our village, complimented my "tribal tattoos," & said the mice in her village didn't have ears like ours. Next, we split up while everyone rode rides. Laker & I attempted to explore Rafiki's Planet Watch, but it took longer than expected, so we basically rode the train to the island & then rode it back so we could make it to the Lion King show on time! The Festival of the Lion King was fun. It's one of Mackenzie's favorites. Laker & I barely made it on time, so we had to stand in the back, but we still enjoyed it!
I LOVED seeing the Tree of Life! Seeing iconic Disney spots is one of my favorite things on trips. The Tree of Life did not disappoint, & I was so proud of our cameraman (a random guy I asked to take the picture) - he got all of us in the photo, PLUS the tree. That never happens! Usually someone is cut out, or the angle is awful, or it's crazily zoomed in. This guy was practically a pro.
Our second stop of the day was Epcot. I haven't decided if this is my favorite park. I love them all, but something about Epcot is just a little extra great. We knew we needed to stop here because we were in town during the Flower & Garden Festival, when Epcot is covered in gorgeous flowers & character topiaries. I am so glad we stopped by! We did a quick walk-through of the World Showcase, ate some of the festival's special treats (like that awesome violet lemonade pictured below!) & then went on our way.
The topiaries were so wonderful. There are always a few scattered throughout the parks, but during the Flower & Garden Festival, they're everywhere! They're themed with the locations too - Pooh & friends are in the UK, Belle & friends in France, Snow White & the 7 dwarfs were in Germany, etc. All of the flowers were so beautiful, & the food was great!
The first pastry pictured is a troll horn. It's not specific to the festival, but it is my favorite pastry I've had at Disney. You can get it in the Norway pavilion. The duck in the second photo sat & watched me eat the whole thing! They were surrounding the pastry shop, so I'm sure they get fed often! The last small photo in this section is candied strawberries from the China pavilion. Those were not quite so good. They tasted like hard candy-coated strawberries covered in soy sauce.
The festival was so beautiful, & I loved getting to see another special event at Disney!
Over Spring Break, we went to visit Mackenzie in Florida. "We" meaning me, Laker, my parents, Taryn, & Ben. We had a very full week, with lots of fun activities & good time together. Hopefully I'll get all of this stuff on the right day, but here it goes...
We drove to Orlando (20+ hours over 2 days). Taryn & I took turns taking pictures of each other sleeping. We arrived on Saturday. This day, we just relaxed & settled into our rental house. This palm tree was in our front yard. I love all of the trees in Florida - they're so much different than in Oklahoma!
On Sunday, Taryn, Laker, my parents, & I went to the Orlando Farmer's Market at Lake Eola. We ate lots of good food (I had a jerk chicken taco from a Jamaican food booth, a beef empanada, & a lemon Italian ice), & wandered around by the lake. Taryn & I learned that black swans are real (there's one in one of these photos!). We also saw several swan boats & other various birds. It's a really pretty area!
On Monday, we all visited Mackenzie's Disney College Program apartment, then went to the giant outlet mall (which I didn't get photos at). That evening, Laker, Mackenzie, Ben, Taryn, & I went to downtown Orlando. We had dinner at Sugar Factory, which was so great! Our waiter was so fun, & took a picture of all of us, then took a selfie of everyone & posted all of the photos to Taryn's Snapchat. The other waiters were fun too, dancing & joking around. Our drinks were insane (& non-alcoholic!). Mine & Laker's was a tropical drink with two giant lollipops & a candy necklace. My sisters got one filled with gummy sharks. I'm one of those embarrassing people that keeps up with the Kardashians, so I was a little sad that Kylie Jenner had been at that location for the grand opening 3 days before we were there & we missed it, but we did explore the candy shop afterwards & I got to hold the $30 lollipop she & Kendall designed. Close enough, right? The big ferris wheel is the Orlando Eye, which we didn't get to ride this time, unfortunately, but it was so pretty, I had to get a photo!
On Tuesday, we took the day to rest for the most part. Laker & I went to lunch at Tijuana Flats, a taco shop we don't have here in Oklahoma. We were there for Taco Tuesdaze, & got their awesome dessert, cookie dough flautas! I think we also went to Target later that day, which may not seem too special, but Walmart & Target near Orlando have so much neat Disney & Harry Potter stuff, it's always fun to explore!
Wednesday was spent at Disney World, which will get a couple of posts of its own. Thursday was spent touring Disney resorts, which will also get its own post. Friday, we went to Indian Rocks Beach, where I furthered my sunburn & mostly just read my book. We also saw a one-legged seagull, which was a little crazy. & that evening we went to Disney Springs, which will also get its own post!
Christ. Laker. Lily. Padfoot. Puns. Polar Bears. Travel. Tea. Tattoos. Tigers. Books. Belle. Buffaloes. Wonderland. Creativity.