Only in the Movies

There’s a lot more to Orlando than just Disney World. I wish we had the time to explore the local malls and outlet stores, but the theme parks took up most of our time. Not that I’m complaining.

We didn’t want the hassle of packing and unpacking, so we continued to stay at our Disney resort, and took an hour long bus journey to get to Universal Studios. TIP: Bus tickets, like all other tickets, should be booked in advance, ideally once you get your dates sorted out.

There are two parks: Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. (Actually there’s also Wet ‘n Wild, but I consider waterparks another category altogether.) We went to Islands of Adventure first, and made a beeline for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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Giving the Disney magic a run for its money is the magic at Hogwarts. From the time you board the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9¾, you know something wicked is coming your way. What you’re looking now at is just a prop, but by the summer of 2014, there will actually be a train that travels between parks! Yes, the theme park people are making it happen.

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The Hogwarts Castle houses one of the most popular rides, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Without FASTPASS (which is a Disney thing), we had to rely on smart planning to make the most of our time in Universal. Since we arrived fairly early, we only had to queue for about 20 minutes. Sometime after we took the ride, the estimated waiting period was over an hour! O_o

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The queue takes you through various parts of the castle, so you better bring your camera along! It’s also recommended that you wear something with pockets you can safely store your belongings in. It’s a shaky, bumpy ride!

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To be honest, I did get scared during one part of the Harry Potter ride. It was our first ride of the day, and I didn’t know what to expect. Overall, it’s still an awesome ride that managed to pack elements of all seven stories. So if you’re a fan, then buckle up, and remember your spells!

In Universal, it’s blockbuster after blockbuster, so it’s no surprise that their rides are larger than life as well. Unlike Disney, which is mostly tame, family-friendly fun, Universal has a go-all-out, no-holds-barred approach. Everything’s bigger and scarier, and the special effects are insane. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then just about everything’s a must-try.

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“Don’t poke T-Rex in the nostril, honey. He won’t like that.”

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“Now look what you’ve done.”

(By the way, the Jurassic Park theme is playing in my head as I’m typing this.)

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This is what I look like when I’m hungry. Give. Me. Food. NOW.

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We’ve left the land of princesses behind, and quite literally stepped into a world of superheroes. And all I can say is… hello, boys.

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The nefarious Dr Doom approaches! Help!

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As if on cue, the heroes arrive to save the day!

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Brawny and big-hearted, Captain America is the stuff of dreams. This is how our story began:

“Hi! Where are you from?”
“We’re from Singapore.”
“There are no bad guys there. It’s the safest place in the world!”

So this dude actually knows where Singapore is. He started to chit chat and talk about the flyer, but the other staff had to cut him off because a queue was forming behind us! Aww…

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Ah… Cheerful, chatty, and chivalrous, what more could a girl ask?

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After days of theme park touring, the fatigue was finally kicking in. We didn’t take as many pictures on Day 2, and channelled our energy towards surviving the rides. But first, back to Downtown Disney for dinner at Portobello!

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We didn’t make a reservation for this restaurant. Halfway through our Disney madness, I found out that we still had unused dining credits and we decided to try our luck with Portobello. It certainly didn’t disappoint!

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Mozzarella stuffed rice balls. If it’s crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside… EAT IT.

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Complimentary bread basket with olive oil and roasted garlic. If I had a steady supply of roasted garlic, I may never touch butter again… Okay who am I kidding here.

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Grilled pork tenderloin with olive oil, poached Tuscan beans, and farmer’s mixed vegetables.

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Linguine vongole. I love how they’re so generous with the clams and cheese!

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Fantasia di Meringata. The name itself just oozes deliciousness. It’s gelato and sorbet with Italian meringue.

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Fragole con Saba. Marinated strawberries and berry sorbet. Another lovely dessert.

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With our batteries recharged, we hit up Universal Studios Florida the next day!

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Let’s get minion-ised!

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“Bello! Luk-at-tu! We’ve become minions!”

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Big goofy minion and mini mini minion. Can’t get enough!

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Attack of the monster… dog?

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IT’S SO FLUFFY!!

Both parks had so much to offer, it’s impossible to pick just one. Anyway, here is a list of my must-dos (not in any particular order):

Islands of Adventure
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
2. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man (rode this twice!)
3. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
4. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
5. Flight of the Hippogriff

The Spider-man ride, like the Harry Potter one, also features amazing special effects. Universal wasn’t kidding about you being in the middle of the action. The Spider-man ride was full-on thrilling from start to end, and I swear it’s not the kool-aid talking.

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is for those who love vertical drops. It’s a simple up-and-down ride, except it’s much faster than other vertical rides I’ve taken before. And better. The Incredible Hulk Coaster was smashing good fun, pun intended. I don’t really like roller coasters that feature loops, but there’s a surprise in this ride which you’ll never see coming, and that was worth it.

One of the downsides of Universal is that there aren’t many family-friendly rides. The aforementioned rides would probably rattle the little kids in more ways than one. Flight of the Hippogriff (next to Hogwarts castle), is a safe option and a good beginner coaster that still has a kick. Like garlic chilli sauce.

Universal Studios Florida
1. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
2. Men in Black Alien Attack (a shooting ride which we took twice too!)
3. Revenge of the Mummy
4. The Simpsons Ride

The minion ride is a 3D motion simulator. It’s quite bumpy but still kid-friendly. Alien Attack is an interactive shooting ride which really brought out our competitive nature. The Mummy ride is similar to the one in Singapore, except it’s bigger and scarier. The real surprise here is the Simpsons Ride. Just like the show, it’s wacky, hilarious, and very creative.

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And with that, folks, we’ve come to the end of my gushing about the wonders of theme parks. I really hope to wrap up the honeymoon series by mid-April, as Edwin and I will be heading to Taipei with his parents over the Easter long weekend! After that, summer is just round the corner! Edwin’s sister’s wedding is in June, and we’ll definitely be back for her big day. I’ll also want to celebrate my birthday with family and friends. Aaaah… so much to look forward to!

But first, let’s squeeze in a little chapter about a big, big city…

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Around the World in 80 Ways (Disneymoon Part 6)

A lifetime is simply not enough to explore the great big world out there, but we’ll try anyway. It’s lovely to travel to new cities and countries, especially while we’re young and have relatively few responsibilities. As a couple, we’ve travelled to just a few places: Penang, Macau, Shenzhen, Bali, Orlando, and New York. If all goes well, we’ll have more to add to the list this year!

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Similarly, a day is not enough to take in all that Epcot has to offer. Epcot has two realms: Future World and World Showcase. Its sheer size makes it hard to cover everything in a day, doubly hard if you’re travelling with children and/or seniors. Moreover, the pavilions have such rich detail and you’ll want to see every attraction, try every snack, and visit every shop. I didn’t know this until we were actually there, so next time (which could be a decade later – SIGH), we’ll definitely spend two days at Epcot.

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Future World is fairly self-explanatory. We may not be in the sparkling space-age Walt Disney imagined the future to be, but the rides will definitely keep the engineers and science geeks happy for hours. Test Track (pictured) has a design-your-own-car-function element, although it doesn’t actually affect how fast or bumpy the ride is. TIP: Sum of All Thrills, a design-your-own-coaster simulator, features some amazing technology and is a must-do.

World Showcase features the culture of 11 countries: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. Of the lot, I’ve only been to two (China and USA), and I wonder how many of the remaining nine I’ll get to see later in life. In the meantime, it was great to explore the world on a smaller scale, complete with cuisine, architecture, and history, all in a tidy little package.

Oh, and booze, if that’s your thing. It’s probably why the adults enjoy Epcot so much. It was Oktoberfest all year round in “Europe”, parents chilling with their alcohol of choice while the kids ran around, faces stuffed with caramel.

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“Run along, darlings. Let Mummy enjoy her special drink.”

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This will probably be the closest I’ll ever get to dining with royalty! The princesses were impossibly perky and bubbly, and also very chatty. Aurora never stopped talking, and was more animated than an animated character. She’s no sleeping beauty!

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If you’ve been following the Disneymoon series, you might have noticed the two round badges I wore every day of the trip. One says “1st Visit!” while the other says “Happily Ever After”. When we booked our vacation package over the phone, they asked if it was our first visit, and if it was a special occasion like someone’s birthday. And then on arrival, we were given these badges after checking in.

“Happily Ever After” is given to honeymooners and couples celebrating their anniversary. You may get some perks from displaying the badges, depending on your luck. In one of the attractions, a cast member led us to a special telephone, which played a message from Mickey and Minnie. We also got lots of congratulatory messages from the cast players, and even other guests, which was nice. 🙂

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So yes, back to Epcot. Let’s head over to “China”!

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I’ve actually been to the original site! The replica is quite cute, with fewer steps to climb too!

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Stereotypes galore! Apparently this is what all Chinese babies look like. Also, the doll on the far left says “Kungfu Maiden Mei Ling”. If anyone needs me, I’ll be outside laughing. And practising my kungfu.

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Guten Tag! And yes, I’m probably overdressed. Maybe just a little.

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The future is beyond the horizon… Okay, that’s Future World across the lake.

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Needless to say, we were in love with everything in “Japan”. The gift shop sold everything from Hello Kitty pyjamas to fancy origami paper to Japanese pearls! I wanted to get one of everything, but finally settled on getting just a cookbook. But not just any cookbook…

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This insanely adorable bug of a book. A feast for the eyes, indeed!

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Getting artsy in the winding alleys of “Morocco”.

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Nous sommes arrivés en France! I wonder if Paris really is as dreamy as the movies will have us believe.

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Epcot’s a great place to indulge in snacks from all over the world. French crepes, Chinese dimsum, Moroccan baklava… It’s a good thing you get to walk it all off!

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Yes, another character meal, this time at the Garden Grill! It was a toss-up between this and a fancy restaurant. In the end we went with this because…

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CHIP CHIP CHIP CHIP aaaaaaaaand DALE!!!

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Honestly they have got to be the cutest duo.

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The food was rather good too! Plus the rotating restaurant meant that we could get a 360 degree view without even leaving the table!

Alright, this wraps up the last of the Disneymoon series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and stay tuned for stories on Universal Studios Orlando and… New York!

And for some reason, I really feel like eating an apple now. A big apple. I wonder what Snow White would say to that?

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Disneymoon Part 5)

Disney not your thing? Forced into a trip by your family/partner/friends? Give Animal Kingdom and Epcot a shot. Mickey and the movies are less in-your-face in these two parks, and there’s no shortage of fun activities. Trust me.

Animal Kingdom is basically a theme park/zoo hybrid, in the best possible way. Where else can you find an animal reserve right next to some of the best thrill rides Disney has to offer? There’s even a 30 minute version of “The Lion King” musical that’s part-Broadway, part-circus, all-entertaining.

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Let’s go meet Barney!

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Check out the cute kid clinging onto his dad! The adults seem only mildly amused.

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Animal Kingdom is divided into a few sections like “Asia”, “Africa”, “Discovery Island”, and so forth. “Dino-Rama” is part of “DinoLand U.S.A.”, and home to one of my favourite roller coasters, Primeval Whirl. The coolest part is that it could easily be a stand-alone amusement park, an old-school one with a dinosaur theme. Apart from my Mickey ears, you wouldn’t even know that it’s Disney World!

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Of course, if you do want the Disney magic, you don’t have to look far. I can’t emphasise enough the amazing convenience of Dining Plans and Character meals. Here at the Tusker House Restaurant in “Africa”, you don’t have to worry about missing Goofy or Daisy while you’re at the buffet spread, as the cast members will give you ample prep time.

TIP: Grab a FASTPASS just before lunch, and you should be able to waltz into the attraction after enjoying your meal!

While planning for the trip, I read that the trails would be jam-packed with tourists ambling at a snail’s pace. We were so lucky that it wasn’t like that for us. Sure, there were other people, but it wasn’t so bad that all you could see were humans.

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In the aviary, Edwin descended into trigger-happy madness. I’d turn around to see him half-hidden by tree branches, photographing some bird minding its own business. “Gotta collect them all!” he said. Right.

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If I never get the chance to go on a real African safari, this might just be enough. We managed to get good seats on the 32-seater vehicle, and the driver would stop whenever possible for us to take pictures. The more dangerous animals are separated from the tourists by almost-invisible barriers. These barriers also ensure that the lions don’t eat the zebras when the rangers aren’t looking.

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Other animals get to roam about freely. We were actually interrupted by an ostrich crossing the road. The driver had to make an unplanned stop and we sat there in amusement while the ostrich took one look at us and strutted off like a boss.

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The Tree of Life is to Animal Kingdom what Cinderella Castle is to Magic Kingdom. About 325 carved animals make up the surface of the tree! TouringPlans.com describes it beautifully:

“The Tree of Life, apart from its size, is quite a work of art. Although from afar it’s certainly magnificent and imposing, it’s not until you examine the tree at close range that you truly appreciate its rich detail. What appears to be ancient gnarled bark is, in fact, hundreds of carvings depicting all manner of wildlife, each integrated seamlessly into the trunk, roots, and limbs of the tree. A stunning symbol of the interdependence of all living things. The Tree of Life is the most visually compelling structure to be found in any Disney park.”

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The 3D show “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” is housed within the Tree of Life. WARNING: This will be scary for small kids unless they’re into bugs. This will also be a little scary for adults who don’t like bugs.

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Since fireworks and wild animals don’t go together, Animal Kingdom closes relatively early. TIP: You might want to consider having dinner at Downtown Disney, where there are shops and attractions galore!

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The lobster mac and cheese at Crossroads at House of Blues was THE BOMB.

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The shop I was most excited to visit was Goofy’s Candy Company. Mainly because of…

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Picture from DisneyFoodBlog.com

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the “Create Your Own Treat” awesomeness that you can purchase using Dining Plan credits. (You can use cash too, but I stand by the plan.)

I picked Mickey Krispy Rice Treat + Dark Chocolate Dip + Reese’s Pieces + Dark Chocolate Drizzle, and the result is THIS:

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This baby was so big it took me several sittings to finish. In fact, it even travelled to New York with us!

All this talk is making me hungry! I’m off to have dinner now. Ciao!

Disneymoon Part 4: Castles and Christmas

Being the Disney nut that I am, I needed two days to take in as much of Magic Kingdom as possible. With Disney World being unimaginably large, I didn’t want to regret going all the way there and seeing only half of it. Go big or go home! (That could have been what Walt Disney was thinking of too.)

Morever, we had a fantastic deal. 8 nights’ stay + 5 days’ tickets + Disney Dining Plan = around USD2500 for the two of us. Remember, this included every meal we had on site, and we dined at some really fancy restaurants. As far as honeymoons go, I’d say it was worth it!

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And so the magic continues! How pretty are these bride ears?

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Peter Pan’s Flight turned out to be one of my favourites! A unique and beautiful way to immerse yourself in the movie!

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Tip: For a memorable meet-and-greet session, go to New Fantasyland and hunt Gaston down. The dude is hilarious, and there’s a hardly a queue because he isn’t a popular character (y’know, compared to Mickey). While we were in line, he said the funniest things, and may have traumatised a few kids.

“Have you met Ariel? Did she tell you I beat her in a swimming competition? Not a very good swimmer, that Ariel.”

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Where did they dig this guy up from? Also, when we parted ways, he said to me in that deep voice of his, “You know your day isn’t going to get any better than this, don’t you?” It didn’t hurt that he’s also very tall and buff. I almost swooned a la blonde triplet.

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Tip: If you’re a fan of “Beauty and the Beast” in any way (and who isn’t?), make your way to Be Our Guest Restaurant. It’s located in the beast’s castle in New Fantasyland. While our meal was rather average, the interior of the castle is breathtakingly beautiful.

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There are three themed rooms to dine in: the West Wing, the Rose Gallery, and the Ballroom.

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Even the desserts have pretty details.

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In the evening, we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This required a separate ticket, but it meant that there were much fewer people in the park, and after the parade and fireworks show, we managed to catch the popular rides with almost no queue! There’s also free cookies, hot chocolate, and apple juice. 😀

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The Christmas parade ended with the man himself, Santa Claus.

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And it’s snowing! Does it get more romantic than this?

More details about the Christmas party:

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/mickeys-very-merry-christmas-party/

Disneymoon Part 3: Magic Kingdom + Lilo and Stitch Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The iconic castle. The timeless charm of Mickey Mouse and co. The essence of Disney awesomeness. It’s Magic Kingdom!

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Aloha! We had the ‘Ohana Character Breakfast at the Polynesian Resort. It’s a buffet, but they bring the food to you, family-style. There’s only one type of breakfast available, but it isn’t a problem because the food’s amazing.

There’s bread and fruit (health points!), which is served first, and your “ohana” then brings a gigantic platter to the table, piled high with sausages, island-style potatoes, scrambled eggs, BACON, Mickey-shaped waffles… YES!!! There’s also free-flow juice, milk and coffee. An all-round breakfast for champions!

If you can somehow finish a platter, you can ask for a second one, though I wouldn’t recommend stuffing your face right before heading to the rides.

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Does “Ohana” sound familiar? You’ve watched “Lilo and Stitch” right? Hands down, one of the best Disney movies EVER. Once you’ve arrived, the cast members will address you as the (insert family name) cousins, and present you with leis, as though you’ve really landed in Hawaii. Everyone was amazingly warm and friendly, even by Disney standards. And there’s Stitch. STITCH!

(Yes I get that it’s a person in a costume. Shh… Don’t spoil it.)

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Character meals are THE way to go. Do your research to see which restaurant is likely to feature your favourite characters, then MAKE RESERVATIONS. Then all you have to do is show up, sit back, and enjoy your meal while the characters work the room. When you see them coming towards your table, quickly wash down your food, whip out your camera(s) and start jumping around like an excited kid all over again.

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Why go to them, when they can come to you?

The characters must have had loads of improv training, because they stay in character no matter what. They’re obviously more playful with the little ones, but don’t worry, they’re nice to the kids at heart too. Most of them have distinctive quirks, so it’s quite fun to see what they’ll say or do. Except Mickey, who’s quite boring, really.

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Some of them also do fun things like “kidnap” you and bring you around the restaurant. I didn’t see Pluto do that to anyone else, so how’s that for special?

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On with the rides! Aim for the more popular rides in the morning, before the crowds pour in. Splash Mountain turned out to be really kid-friendly, i.e. not steep at all. And we came out fairly dry, so it’s makeup-friendly too!

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See the disparity? Dear Edwin, can you please take better pictures of me?

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The Citrus Swirl (pictured) is supposedly a must-try, but personally I didn’t get what the fuss is about. It’s a huge, dense, half-and-half orange and vanilla soft serve, which was a sizeable snack for the two of us! We had that while we were watching a mini-show in front of the castle, and the hot Florida sun made it one big sticky mess. Well, it kept our sugar levels high. Not that I needed it.

If you haven’t already read about it, the Disney Dining Plan is a must-have. All the plans include snack credits, which you can use to get selected ice-cream, fruit, chips, drinks etc.

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Stitch souvenirs!

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I haven’t seen a Disney park during a non-holiday season, but I imagine that it looks most beautiful with the Christmas decorations. Can it get any lovelier than a “snow-covered” castle?

Disney Fireworks

Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the fireworks in Magic Kingdom. Everything’s perfectly timed to the swelling music, and easily captures the heart of every Disney fanatic. I swear I almost shed a tear. Almost.

As I’m typing this, I really wish I could be back there now! Well, I guess these posts will tide me through till the next trip. The Mickey Christmas Party will be up next, so stay tuned!

(Last picture taken from greencupboards.com)

Disneymoon Part 2: Hollywood Studios

So “Day 1” officially kicked off with Hollywood Studios. And I’m already in love. You put a Disney fan into Disney World, with its sheer number of attractions, each one more magical than the last… ultimate dream come true! We’re definitely going back. I’ll make sure of it. I’ll arm-wrestle Edwin into it if I have to.

So… out of four parks, how does one decide which park to visit first? We picked our parks based on the days they would have “Extra Magic Hours” (EMH), which means a park would either open earlier or stay open longer on a certain day. EMH is only available to guests staying on Disney property, which is yet another reason to stay on site!

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Another advantage of going early is that you get to beat the crowds. We got a bit lost at first, but we also got to take some great shots without having literally a hundred people in the background. You get to pose as long as you want. But not too long. The attractions await!

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I could burst from reciting all the awesomeness of Disney and its parks, but I’m going to try anyway. FASTPASS is another thing you have to utilise in order to make the most of your time. For example, here I am in the FASTPASS lane for “Toy Story Midway Mania!”, one of the best and most popular rides. As you can see, there’s no one in my queue. The regular queue, on the other hand, had an estimated 60 minute wait. And who wants to wait an entire hour? Throughout our entire week, we didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for any single attraction. Most of the time, we could just walk right in, thanks to FASTPASS, and more importantly, planning ahead.

You will need to take a look at the list of rides that offer FASTPASS. You’ll also need a map of the park and strategise where to go first. All the parks are insanely HUGE, and it’ll seem even more so if you’ve only visited small parks (such as HK Disneyland or Universal Studios Singapore :/). You will need the entire day to cover as much ground as possible, and if you’re a fan of Disney, trust me, the planning is worth it.

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Ordinarily, I wouldn’t dine at such a fancy restaurant within a theme park, but The Hollywood Brown Derby is one of three restaurants that offer the Fantasmic dining package. (Fantasmic is the night show at Hollywood Studios.) While making reservations, mention that you want this package. After your meal, you’ll get a ticket which allows you to skip the queue for Fantasmic, but you’ll still have to show up 30 to 45 minutes prior to the show to get a good seat. This is a pretty good deal, as opposed to the regular queue/wait time of 90 minutes. For a show. Crazy!

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However, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant. While the starters were great, the main courses and desserts were really underwhelming. If we ever go back (and we will), we’ll pick a different restaurant for the package.

If you’re watching your budget, don’t simply order the most expensive item off the menu like we did, because the dining plan doesn’t cover tips. Our meal would have cost us USD200 (ouch) if not for the plan, but we still paid USD40 in tips. For a group of six or more diners, 18% is automatically added to the bill, so it’s not necessary to tip beyond that.

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We got a free dessert because I mentioned that it’ll be our honeymoon while making the booking! Turned out to be the best of the three. We also had the Mickey confetti on our table as a honeymoon perk. 🙂

As you can expect, we promptly ate ourselves into a food coma, and barely touched the desserts that we ordered. Luckily we could have them to go, and they became our snacks/pre-breakfast the next morning. Yep, pre-breakfast. You read that right.

Alright, enough rambling. Next up: Magic Kingdom!

Walt Disney World: Our Magical Disneymoon (Part 1)

Happy Halloween! It’s the end of October! Soon it’ll be the end of 2013, and we’ll be looking at new beginnings all over again. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been ticking anything off my list lately. Okay, let’s get back on track, and I really really want to share our experience honeymooning in Disney World last December. (Where has the time gone!?!?)

By the way, I won’t be celebrating Halloween in Lan Kwai Fong this year. Hopefully the opportunity comes around next year!

I am a huge fan of Disney. I love how fun and colourful Disney parks are, and how they make you feel like a kid all over again. That aside, we had a great experience in Disney World because it was so well run, and everyone from the hotel concierge to the drivers to the restaurant staff did their jobs fabulously.

Let’s start with our arrival in Disney! Edwin and I must have spent more than a day getting from Hong Kong to Orlando. First we flew from HK to Tokyo, then to Detriot, Michigan. We barely slept on the flight because travel noobs that we were, we wanted to catch as many in-flight movies as possible. Oops. We then spent around 6 hours in Detroit’s airport, where trying to get some sleep was a futile mission. Finally, we reached Orlando at night, dragging our grimy, jet-lagged bodies to our original hotel of choice, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort.

When we first booked the hotel over the phone, we requested to have a room with a King-sized bed. However, upon checking in, they informed us that all those rooms were already taken, and so they transferred us to another hotel, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, at no additional charge. (All-Star Sports is a bit nearer to all the parks, and thus more convenient.) Also, there was no need to check in again, so they arranged to have a driver pick us up in a private car and he drove us directly to the block where our room was. Yay!

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Our home for the week was clean and spacious, with cute little details like the towel Mickey. It’s quite bare though, with no wardrobe (only a few knobs to hang your clothes), no electric kettle, and no bath gel (only bar soap). But for a place to sleep and shower in, it’s decent. The biggest problem was that the water from the shower smelled bad. I read on a forum that it had high sulphuric content, but I don’t know how true that is. :s Anyway it’s still clean enough to shower with, but I wouldn’t drink it.

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Dining in Disney was great! If you’re staying on-site, get the Dining Plan, and reserve restaurants well in advance. The food courts and fast-food style places don’t accept reservations, but these same places will have enough tables to seat everyone with a reasonable waiting time. You should definitely plan all your meals, and utilise every meal and snack credit wisely. We had breakfast at our resort every morning of our stay, except when we had the character breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Generally, it’s a good idea to wake up early, have breakfast at the resort, and then reach the park 15 minutes before it opens, to make the most of your day. 🙂

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Every guest will get their own “Key to the World” card, which functions as an entrance ticket, credit card, and more. You could carry nothing more this card into the park, and play, shop, and dine using it. Your Dining Plan is also linked to the card, and it can help you keep track of your credits.

Hopefully, that covers the basics. I’ll write more about our experience soon!