Today we had planned for a rest day, and we have plans to meet some friends at their villa in the afternoon for a swim and pizza. Amazingly, for all the times we have been to Orlando we’ve never been to a villa. We’ve rented an apartment a couple of times but never a villa with a pool, so I’m quite excited about that.
We decide that we’ve been to slow to get up and out, resulting in us arriving at the parks when it’s hot and busy. This is hardly news, we’ve been doing this for long enough to know it’s better to get there early, but we get complacent. About 11pm last night, I’d had a look for a few early morning fastpasses in Epcot, and managed to get Spaceship Earth and Soarin’. I had to try three or 4 times to get Soarin’ at a good time, it kept offering me 7pm but eventually 11am popped up so I grabbed it.
We get up and out quite early, and head to Epcot before opening. The difference is amazing. It’s warm but it’s not melty warm, and when we get to the International Gateway there is no one there.
We have to wait until 5 to 9 when we are allowed in, and a small crowd has gathered. As soon as they let us off, there are some of running, but we are trying to remain calm and cool so we walk towards Norway and Frozen.
There are quite a lot of people heading in the same direction, and I’m a bit worried that there will be a lot of people in front of us by the time I get there (as I am not running). The girls steam ahead, and when Phil and I arrive they are already boarding. We see a sign that says 10 minutes but actually we pretty much walk straight on. It is a cute ride, but it’s basically the old Norway ride with Frozen songs. I was pleased we saw it but definitely not something I’d be prepared to wait very long for. I spent more time trying to work out how they’d changed the Norway ride. You definitely used to board the boats from the other side, and there was a theatre that has disappeared, I think to make the queuing area? I noticed on the ride, that both Anna and Elsa are wearing different dresses, which are sold in the shop after the ride. That’s a bit sly Disney, but I can’t say I’m surprised.
Frozen ticked off, we start to walk our of Norway when we see that there is a 20 minute wait to meet Anna and Elsa, we decide we can cope with 20 minutes so in we go. It’s a lie – there is literally no queue and we just walk straight in.
They have a little chat with each character – they are so good at thinking of things to say and keeping the interaction going. I am sure they must have a set of phrases they use but it works really well.
We are in a good mood as we leave Norway, it’s still not too hot, we’ve done the Frozen ride without a fastpass or a long wait, and we are determined to have a good morning without getting too hot and bothered.
Quick picture in front of SpaceShip earth and than a wander through the shops
Our first fastpass of the morning is Spaceship Earth. When we arrive there is no queue – at all – so we scan our bands anyway and walk in the fastpass queue. You need to scan in so you can make any additional fastpass later. But it was definitely the most pointless fastpass ever. I do like Spaceship Earth, it’s calm, gentle, Judi Dench talks to you about history and the internet, and you can relax. It’s my kind of ride…. We return from our trip through History, and are headed towards Starbucks when I remember there is a DVC lounge in Epcot. So we change our course, and head for the lounge. We pass the Character Spot on the way, and pop in to meet Joy and Sadness, and Baymax. We have a short wait for Joy and Sadness but not really any wait at all for Baymax.
Then we walk over to the Imagination pavilion and find the DVC lounge, in highsight we could have ridden the Figment ride first, but I was focused on Coffee!
The lounge is lovely, just as we arrived they were walking around with a trolley with snacks on, we got cookies and Phil had gummy bears, they also had crisps on offer. Phil and I had a coffee and the girls had soft drinks from the Coke machines with 100 flavours.
We found a table and just sat for a while. I did think if they had a similar lounge in Animal Kingdom, we would have lasted until the evening show the night before, I think one in every park is required!
I used the computer to print out a voucher I’d been sent for Wolfgang Puck Express. We must make sure to use it as a lovely Dibber found it for me and now I’ve managed to print it, it would be a shame not to get there and make use of it.
Obviously while you are in there, they want to promote DVC, so there was a guy there with a virtual reality headset to show you the different properties. We had a look around the Polynesian bungalows which look lovely but they are a lot of points, I don’t think we will ever be staying there!
We probably spent a half an hour in here, it was nice to just take a break and a free drink and snack is always appreciated in a Disney park!
After our break, we walked over to Soarin’ for our fastpass. This had a relatively short queue for Soarin’ about 45 minutes but so much nicer to just walk straight in. They have a new movie since we were last here, Soarin’ around the world and it was so good, much better than the previous movie which was starting to look very tatty with lots of scratches on it.
While we had been in the DVC lounge, I’d booked a third fastpass for Living with the Land, so when we came out of Soarin’ we had some lunch in Season’s cafe and then went on the Land. We all enjoy this, but there was a 30 minute queue. That wasn’t happening….. We took our tour through the greenhouse, and then it was time to head out of the park.
We walked back to the International Gateway and got the boat back to the Boardwalk. We all got changed and then we drove out to our friend’s villa in Providence, Davenport. We’ve never been out this way before, it was a real mix of villa communitys and trailer parks, and real homes. You definitely see the real side of Florida rather than the tourist side. We found Providence, and went through the gate. This is a nice community and it appears each street is being built by a different developer, it’s going to be quite a big place when it’s all built.
Our friend’s villa was lovely, with a big open plan kitchen / living room / diner and then 4 bedrooms, and the all important pool out the back. The kids were straight into the pool and we sat and chatted by the pool for a few hours.
While we were outside it started to rain a little, so we moved under the Lanai and the kids stayed in the pool. Then it started to rain a lot and all of a sudden it turned into a full blown thunder storm. We all retreated inside and marvelled at the incredibly black sky where it had been beautiful sunshine not that long before.
We ordered some Pizza and chatted, and I may have had a few glasses of Wine… and then the sun came back out so the kids went back into the pool, so we chatted a little longer, The tv was on, and there were the usual random adverts, and then one so completely random that I just have to mention it.
Before I knew it it was nearly 10 o’clock. So we gathered everyone up and said our goodbyes. It was a really lovely afternoon. I have never fancied a villa, but I can see the appeal, it was very relaxing and nice that the kids could be in and out of the pool while we were inside.