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disney diary

August 20, 2017

Jazzabelle's Diary

Well, this post has been a long time coming! Earlier this year, Rob and I embarked on a Florida adventure; our first trip abroad together and the longest we've spent just the two of us - so, quite the milestone! Four months later (where has this year gone!?), I've finally found the time to document our holiday of a lifetime on my little corner of the internet. This post is a long one, so grab yourself a cup of tea, put on your favourite Disney playlist, and enjoy! THE SURPRISERob completely and utterly surprised me with this holiday, revealing the full itinerary (Disneyworld, Florida Keys & Key West) as my final present on Christmas Day. Many tears ensued - I was overwhelmed with love and excitement - even to this day I still can't believe that he had kept such a big secret from me! The previous week he even gifted me a Nala soft toy as a clue... I honestly thought he was going to take me to see The Lion King Musical - never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Disneyworld! Every detail had been thought of, and over the next few weeks we started to finalise plans, book fast passes for the best rides and make restaurant reservations on the My Disney Experience app. I have never experienced anticipation like it, it's a feeling I'm always going to remember. JOURNEY & ARRIVALI'm not a nervous flyer at all, but one thing I do get is airport anxiety - I have an irrational fear that my passport will suddenly become invalid or my details aren't on the system - ridiculous, I know! Of course everything turned out to be fine, and it was actually the smoothest airport experience I have ever had, all thanks to Rob taking the lead. Once we were all checked in, we treated ourselves to a big breakfast at Jamie's Italian and stocked up on sweet treats for the flight. When we boarded the plane, that's when my excitement really kicked in. In the early evening we touched down in Orlando, collected our suitcases and jumped on an empty Magical Express to Jambo House, our home for the next week. Rob has been to Disneyworld quite a few times and has always wanted to stay in The Animal Kingdom Lodge - I'm so happy that I got to share this experience with him. Walking through the entrance, it felt like we had been transported to Africa; the music, details and atmosphere were incredible. We checked in and to my delight I received my first visit badge, and were handed our snazzy, personalised Magic Bands, which we could use to unlock our hotel room door and pay for meals and snacks on the Disney Dining Plan. We quickly freshened up in our beautiful room, then made our way across the hotel to Boma for the most amazing buffet dinner. As tiredness kicked in, we headed back to our room and cosied up in bed with hot chocolates, ready for a busy day at The Magic Kingdom... DAY ONE ~ THE MAGIC KINGDOM Rob and I knew early on that we wanted to start our holiday at the Magic Kingdom, so we were up bright and early, filling ourselves with Mickey Mouse waffles and coffee for breakfast, before jumping on one of the first buses from Jambo House. Disney have it spot on when they say it's the happiest place on Earth. Making our way down Main Street hand in hand, I couldn't stop smiling. It was perfect. Our first rides of the day were It's a Small World, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain, before we stumbled across Gaston's Tavern, with a queue forming to meet the main man himself! Beauty and the Beast is one of mine and Rob's favourite Disney films, so it was super fun to have a chat and picture with everyone's favourite guy. For lunch we headed to Be Our Guest Restaurant inside the Beast's enchanted castle, choosing to brave the West Wing to enjoy our French onion soup. We didn't try the grey stuff, but the food was delicious and gave us the energy we needed the the second half of the day. We soaked up as much as we could, going on almost every ride in the park - Barnstormer, People Mover, Astro-Orbiter, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Speedway, Peter Pan's Flight, the Railroad train and lots more! We stopped for Disney themed treats, escaped from the heat by browsing all the air-conditioned gift shops, and I treated myself to Monster's University cap, which came in very handy for the rest of our trip! It really was the most magical day - laughing our way around the park with the love of my life - what more could I want? With tired legs and smiles on our faces, we headed back to Boma for a buffet dinner (again!) and late night swim in our Animal Kingdom Home. DAY TWO - TYPHOON LAGOON & HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS Another morning up and early - this time to head to Typhoon Lagoon! Swimming in the glistening water, soaking up the sun, tucking into donuts, and slippin' & slidin' around the park without a care in the world - this really was our happy place. The main attraction at Typhoon Lagoon is the massive wave pool, one of the biggest in the world, with six foot high tidal waves! As I'm not the most confident swimmer, it took me a while to pluck up the courage to go in the deep end, but I'm so glad I did! It was so much fun, and even though I ended up getting mild concussion after Rob rode a wave and accidentally crashed into me, we had the BEST time and it certainly makes for a great story! A bus ride home and a quick change later, we made our way over to Hollywood Studios... As soon as we arrived at Hollywood Studios I fell in love with the aesthetic - art deco designs, pretty pastels and beautiful signage, I was in my element. We had booked fast pass tickets for the Rock'n'Roller Coaster, which took me right back to my memories of Disneyland Paris as a child. Rob and I also had the Disney Memory Maker, allowing us to get pictures taken by the Photo Pass photographers in all the parks - our snap with Mike Wasowski is one of my personal favourites! Not one to miss out on good food, we made the most of our Disney Dining Plan by getting the most delicious ice cream sundae that was as big as my head! Probably not the best idea before dinner at the 50's Prime Time Cafe as the portions of were absolutely massive, but we couldn't resist. The cafe atmosphere is so fun and authentic, with formica tables, retro tvs, and a very enthusiastic host who told us off when we put our elbows on the table! Then it was time for the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Hearing the screams of people falling to their doom as we waited to go up in the elevator, I was absolutely petrified, knowing going on a ride with a full stomach and a headache may not end well... But I survived, even if I did hold onto Rob for dear life! DAY THREE ~ EPCOT Oh my goodness, Epcot! Never have I walked so much in my life! Rob warned me in advance just how tired I would be after a day at Epcot - he was not wrong! We walked around The World Showcase a total of three times, exploring eleven countries, sampling the local cuisine and spotting iconic landmarks along the way. Morocco, France and Italy were my favourites, while walking through a very picturesque United Kingdom took us right home - who knew I'd be so excited to see a telephone box and a shop selling Twining's tea! Norway was our destination for lunch, where we had booked a meal at the Royal Banquet Hall. We were greeted by Belle at the door, and throughout the meal Ariel, Snow White, Aurora and Cinderella came over to say hello - it was pretty magical! I had no idea what to expect food-wise before we arrived at Disney, but I honestly don't think I have eaten so well in my life - the food was amazing at every single place we went to. For us Epcot was all about soaking in the sights and tucking into food, but we still made time for a couple of rides - going on Soarin' twice and luckily making it on Test Track after it was closed for a few hours. As the sun set we walked around the world one last time, finding the perfect spot to enjoy the IllumiNations firework display. DAY FOUR ~ THE ANIMAL KINGDOM The Animal Kingdom is one of Rob's favourite Disney Parks, so it felt only right to visit in our most appropriate attire! We arrived just as the park opened, and shortly after, it started raining, so we made the most of everyone else seeking cover and jumped on both Expedition Everest and the Kali River Rapids without having to queue - result! Lots of fun was had on the retro rides in Dinoland, before the rain was back - this time a torrential downpour - so we took shelter in The Rainforest Cafe (how very apt!) for an early lunch. Never have I tucked into steak, shrimps and ribs all before 12pm, but the amount of energy I was burning from walking around so much every day meant my appetite was bigger than ever. After lunch the sun started to shine again, perfectly timed for our fastpass for Kilimanjaro Safari, where we spotted so many beautiful animals, include giraffes, lions and the cutest baby elephant playing beside its mum. After our safari we watched a Flights of Wonder show (featuring a hilarious bird that did not want to do what he was told), and braved the Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest one final time. In the late afternoon we headed back to the hotel, popped on our smartest clothes and headed to Texas de Brazil, one of Rob's favourite restaurants outside of the resort. DAY FIVE ~ BLIZZARD BEACH & FANTASIA GARDENS MINIATURE GOLF Another day, another water park! This time we headed to Blizzard Beach, a ski resort come watery wonderland, full of slopes, toboggans and one of the tallest water slides in the world... Summit Plummit! I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go on Summit Plummit, so after Rob gave me mini pep talk, we climbed up to the top, then flew over 40 miles per hour down an almost vertical 180ft drop. My bum hurt for hours after, but I had to do it again, this time with Rob filming, just so I could prove to everyone back home that I had done it! After Summit Plummit, we scooted over to Fantasia Gardens for a round of miniature golf on the 18-hole Fairways course. Rob is a pretty big fan of golf, and over the years I've definitely picked up some of his skills and tips. This made for a very competitive game, and even though he came out on top, I did pretty well, if I do say so myself! DAY SIX ~ HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS & MAGIC KINGDOM For our last full day we had kept the morning free to venture back to a park that we wanted to revisit - so I picked Hollywood Studios! I really wanted to go on the Tower of Terror again, and whilst we didn't have a fast pass on this occasion, it was certainly worth the wait as I enjoyed it so much more this time! Coincidentally, it was May 4th (aka Star Wars Day!), something which didn't click until we noticed lots of people all dressed up, so there was lots of Star Wars action happening around the park too. For our final afternoon at Disney, we headed back to The Magic Kingdom to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade and have a massive lunch at the Crystal Palace Buffet with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. Luck was on our side, as Splash Mountain was back up and running after being out of action on our first day, so we giddily joined the queue, singing zip-a-dee-doo-dah... As the sun set, the Happily Ever After fireworks show began, and let's just say I got very emotional. My first proper holiday with Rob was everything I wanted it to be and more, at the moment I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. We squeezed a ride on the the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as the park started to close, then headed back to our Animal Kingdom Home for the last time. AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTEROur last morning at Disney! We were very sad to leave, but our adventure wasn't over yet... We jumped on the Magical Express back to Orlando airport, picked up a red convertible (!!!) and started our journey to Florida Keys. More on the blog very soon! Love Jazz xx P.S. Thank you to Accessorize for the handy backpack & flipflops, Next for the yellow blouse and All Sole for the Keds!