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Photo TR: viking86 returns to Orlando


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For the first time in foreve..... errr, since September last year; I went BACK to Orlando!

 

Yes, that is correct folks! Ever since I visited Orlando back in September last year (read my trip report here) I knew I had to go back. However I had no idea it would happen so soon. It all started in early January, when I started looking at flight tickets and was surprised at the low cost. As there was no one on my friends list who had the possibility to go, I decided to look for people to meet up with here at the TPR forums. As response was quite good, I decided in late January to book the trip.

 

Fast forward a couple of months and I was all ready to go. So here it is folks, my trip report of what would become another amazing Orlando adventure, featuring great rides, fantastic people, silly people, queens and princesses, lying on grass, fireworks and lots of general awesomeness!

 

Day 1 - Travel (see below)

Day 2 - Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Day 4 - Busch Gardens Tampa and Downtown Disney

Day 4 - Magic Kingdom - First meeting with Elsa

Day 5 - Part 1 - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Day 5 - Part 2 - Magic Kingdom - So many girls...

Day 6 - Universal - quick report

Day 7 - EPCOT & Garbles joins the fun at Magic Kingdom

Day 8 - Sea World Orlando

Day 9 - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Day 10/11 - Last days of Disney before going home

 

 

Day 1 - travel day

 

In order to get from Bergen (Norway) to Orlando you have to travel for quite some time. So I’ll start off this trip report with a quick summary of my travel to get there.

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The trip started with a fairly short flight to Heathrow. The weather over the North Sea was great.

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Flying into London!

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The flying machine that would take me to Miami.

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I was not overly satisfied with the legroom for such a long flight.

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But at least the selection of movies was fairly good. Watched American Sniper for the first time, thought it was pretty good.

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MUCH better legroom on the short American Airlines flight from Miami to Orlando!

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Good night Miami!

 

Day 2 and EPCOT coming up very soon!

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Nice. Looking forward to this report. Orlando is one of those places I need to visit. Ever since that Harry Potter-land opened even the spouse wants to go there.

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As it was a long journey to get to Orlando and I arrived late, I figured it would be good to start with a relaxing stroll around EPCOT as that would allow me to sleep for some time in the morning. Well, that didn’t happen as I woke up super early due to the 6 hour time difference. As there was no reason to stay at the resort I decied to head out and I was inside the gates at EPCOT at 9:45 in the morning.

 

Overall I love EPCOT. There isn't a whole lot to do in terms of rides so I can understand that not everyone enjoys this park, but to me the park has such a unique and relaxing atmosphere that I have not experienced anywhere else.

 

In the evening I was joined by Robb, Tom and Jen for what would be the first of many great evenings!

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Good morning Florida!

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Back at the giant golfball for...

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... EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival 2015

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The Radiator Springs area was really cool!

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Went for an early single-rider lap on Test Track. Really love the single rider line on this ride, you get on so fast. And the ride itself is so much fun!

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EPCOT is an amazingly beautiful park!

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Sorcerer Mickey.

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Time for a stroll around World Showcase, but first...

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...time to get myself a Magic Band. I went for the Flower & Garden festival edition, LOVE it!

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Started off by taking what I can only assume is a highly accurate and realistic boat ride through Mexico.

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Construction walls up in Norway.

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There is absolutely NOTHING sad about this!!!

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Time to go to church.

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And some people claim that a Frozen ride doesn’t belong in Norway....

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Moved on and came across some Lion King characters.

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs can be found in Germany.

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Lady and the Tramp in Italy

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Woody in America.

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The Japanese pavilion is my favorite place in all of World Showcase (Until the Frozen ride opens in Norway that is..)

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Of course you can always expect to find some weird stuff in Japan.

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Entertaining street performers in France.

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Beauty and the Beast in France.

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Winnie the Pooh in England.

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The Bambi topiaries were really cute.

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Helloooooooooooooo Elsa!!!

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I can’t believe I walked around the entire park before I found the girls.

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You can’t write a trip report from EPCOT without including some food pictures.

Food #1.

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Had Fastpass for Soarin as I didn’t try it last time. It was alright, but definately needs an upgrade. Would not be worth waiting in the standby line.

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Food #2.

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Monorail shot. I keep being amazed of how beautiful EPCOT is!

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I know there are mixed feelings about this ride, but I think it’s quite fun.

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In case you forget where you are these signs are all over the park

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Food #3

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The sun sets over EPCOT, but the beauty of the park remains.

 

At this point I was joined by Robb, Tom and Jen who arrived at the park. We did a quick ride on Test Track using the single-rider line, followed by a walk around the World Showcase before watching Illuminations.

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Fire and fireworks is always a good combination (well, thinking about it there probably are one or two exceptions...)

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BADABOOM!!!

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Illuminations finale!

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After Illuminations we went down to the Boardwalk area. I had not seen this area before, but it was really beatiful.

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Tom says “It’s not as comfortable as the grass”. At this point I did not know what he was talking about, but I would soon learn over the coming days (picture by Robb)

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How many parks can you think of where you are allowed to enter the park 90 minutes AFTER park closure because your car is parked in the main lot on the other side?? This is what the fountain looks like with no other people around (except Robb who was kind enough to walk back to the main entrance with me, and was right next to me at this point)

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Final shot of Spaceship Earth. While the park was still mostly empty, there were still some people leaving the park. This is one of the many reasons why I love Disney so much, they are not rushing to get people out of the park.

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Actually I believe the main reason Robb walked back through the park with me was that so he could get this picture and spend some alone time with the girls... ;)

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Thank you for the nice comments, I had a wonderful time indeed. Lots of good stuff coming up over the coming week.

 

 

Can't wait to see the rest of this report! It was fun hanging out a few nights

 

It sure was a lot of fun!!

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Wish I could have met up with you guys one while you were here. Would have been fun! Glad you enjoyed your trip. Have you started planning the next one yet? (For when Frozen takes over Norway right?)

 

Brian

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Maybe I'll see you next time. I haven't started planning the next trip quite yet, but I'm pretty sure I have to go back when all the new Frozen stuff opens in Norway. Visiting Elsa in my own country would make me a very happy man! And whatever the ride will be I'm sure it will be more "educational" than what it replaced...

 

It's quite funny, the wooden houses with the souvenir shop in the Norway pavilion are from my hometown Bergen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryggen) and houses several souvenir shops also in real life, selling the same and similar stuff as they do in EPCOT, except the Frozen stuff. My conclusion?? The souvenir shops here in Bergen needs more Frozen!

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The souvenir shops here in Bergen needs more Frozen!

 

Just open up a store. "Yngve's Trading Post" Dedicated to all Disney movies but mostly Frozen!

 

Could even get it as a spot on the Adventured by Disney tours that come through Norway!

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Could even get it as a spot on the Adventured by Disney tours that come through Norway!

 

I have to hurry up then, Disney Magic will be in Bergen twice next month, June 11th and 27th.

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Day 3 - Busch Gardens Tampa & Downtown Disney

 

Okay, time for some more pictures. As Kumba was scheduled for maintenance from May 7th I would have to visit BGT by this day if I was going to make it before it closed. I was still suffering from lack of sleep at this time so my body was not overly pleased with the intense rides that BGT has to offer, but I did all the major rides and I still enjoyed my day. All the rides were running well, and with the exception of Cheetah Hunt all rides were walk-on.

 

Met up with Austin (rcrider4) who joined me for a few hours, which was great.

 

In the evening I also headed down to Downtown Disney to have a look at some of the new stuff.

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Here we are at Busch Gardens Tampa.

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Lion topiary at the entrance.

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We started off with a ride on Cheetah Hunt before it got a line.

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Definitely one of the coolest looking rides I know.

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Most random inversion ever! I kinda wish they had left it out so that it could run with lapbars only, but its still an incredibly fun ride that I could ride over and over.

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Then we headed off to Montu.

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Walk-on and two trains running. Way to go BGT!

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Rode Montu in the backseat. This ride is incredibly forceful, particularly through the batwing. I love the ride, but due to the lack of sleep my body was not overly happy with the raw intensity.

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The ride is a bit weak towards the end, but it's still one hell of a coaster!

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Digging near Montu...

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Hello kitty!

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Time for a ride on Falcon's Fury!

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I do like this ride, and the point when you feel your weight shifting from the seat to the restraint can be a bit nerve-wrecking. However I do prefer the standard drop towers as I feel they have a much better dropping sensation.

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Skipped Scorpion on this visit.

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It sure looks great tough!

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Time for some real old-school B&M! Kumba was only running one train, but there wasn't really any need for more.

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I love this ride! So forceful and it only gets a little rough when it gets to the corkscrews. I can't believe this ride is well over 20 years old considering how well it's running!

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Am I back at EPCOT?

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SheiKra was running great as always! Love the first drop.

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The second drop is also pretty damn good!

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SKLOSH!!!

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Disney aren't the only ones who can do beautiful topiaries.

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Loved the octopus topiary.

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Gwazi entrance closed and sign removed...

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...but the Gwazi giftshop was still there (as well as various Gwazi games).

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The only sad thing about this view is that the ride occupies a huge plot of land that could actually been used for something good.

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In the evening I headed down to Downtown Disney to check out some of the new stuff.

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"The Boathouse" looks great!

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The amphicars are sooo cool!

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Also went to check out the new bridge.

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Downtown Disney looks fantastic in the evening!

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Overall I really like the look of the new bridge, and it definitely helps connect everything together and spread out the crowds in the marketplace.

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My favorite store in Downtown Disney.

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So much awesome Disney art. I was however surprised by the lack of Frozen art. Last year there were tons of it, now there was almost none.

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I found this version of Elsa to be slightly creepy.

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Again this place look fantastic at night!

 

At this point my left knee was hurting really bad, so I decided to head back to the resort. I was worried that it would affect the rest of the trip, fortunately it was fine by the next morning. This was good because the next days would fall into the category of truly epic Disney days...

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Day 4 - Magic Kingdom

 

After waking up and happily confirming that the pain in my left knee was pretty much gone, I headed out for what would be an absolutely amazing day at Magic Kingdom. Started the day alone, but in the evening I was joined first by Robb and later by Tom and Jack.

 

This would also be the day when I met Elsa for the first time, which was not planned when I arrived at the park. So sit back and enjoy the tale of what would become one of the happiest days of my life...

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I decided to take the ferryboat across the Seven Seas Lagoon. Takes a little longer than the monorail, but well worth it if you have plenty of time. Oh, and I spy a castle in the background...

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Got a great look of the new bungalows at the Polynesian Resort. Staying there must be an incredible experience.

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Getting closer...

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FINALLY I’m back at Magic Kingdom, possibly my favorite park!

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Got into the park just as the dance parade started.

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To be honest I didn’t really like it that much, found it kinda more annoying than fun

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The view down main street never gets old.

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Castle selfie! (no stick required)

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The show in front of the castle I did like!

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Plus it has fireworks and that makes everything more awesome!

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Had to got the toilet after this so there was only one thing to do.... look for the tower!

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I still can’t believe they made an entire restroom area themed to Tangled. And yes, it’s awesome!

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I had heard many great tales of the evils that lie within these walls. Little did I know I would be forced to experience it for myself..

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When I took this picture my date with Elsa was still scheduled for the next day.

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90 min wait on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train? I think I’ll leave this one for later...

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Such a great looking ride (and a lot of fun too).

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Space Mountain is always great fun!

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With the main parade getting closer I headed over the newly refurbished hub to do one of my favorite activities at Magic Kingdom.

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Yup, just chillin’ on the grass! It’s such an awesome place to rest, and there’s always plenty of space available. I would have liked to have a wee bit more shade, but it’s still awesome!

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Some of the beautiful details of Magic Kingdom.

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Parade time! Here’s Beauty and the Beast!

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And this is why the spinning platforms on the float is such a stupid idea. Seriously, who came up with this?? I had a fantastic spot and this was the view I got of Anna and Elsa as they passed by!

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This was the best view I got of them... I was not happy!

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The Tangled float was pretty spectacular, everyone gets a great view and Rapunzel looks fantastic!

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Everyone loves half-naked Ariel!

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Merida is pretty bad-ass!

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FIRE!!!

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This dragon was seriously awesome!

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Dwarfs, Snow White, Alice, Jiminy Cricket and more all at once...

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And of course it all ends with Mickey and Minni. I'm not a big "parade person", but this had some pretty damn good parts.

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Upclose shot of the stunningly beautiful castle.

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Big Thunder Mountain is a great ride. Night rides is a must on this one!

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Happy riders on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Went back to the grass to get a little more rest. Here’s how Robb found me when he arrived at the park.

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First up was Splash Mountain.

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Me and Robb got front seat and experienced what can only be described as an unacceptable amount of wetness...

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Tom arrived at the park and got this shot of us.

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Time for sillyness on Space Mountain. Jack seems to enjoy the ride

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Space Mountain sillyness #2.

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With the wait time for It’s a Small World posted as only 135 minutes we simply had to ride.

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“No Tom, I’m not amused!”

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Oh....

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After some more rides, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (off the ride in less than 20 minutes, even though the wait was posted as 40 mins), we headed off and watched Celebrate the Magic. Loved this show! Screencap from Robbs Periscope stream, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that he sent me a screencap from the Frozen part!

 

After this Tom and Jack left, and me and Robb went to check out the wait time to see the girls. It was posted as 50 minutes, but a quick look inside revealed a wait time that was more like 5 minutes. So I hereby bring you my first encounter with Elsa...

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OMG ELSA IS TOUCHING ME!!!!

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Happiness level reached a new all-time high!

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Or to tell the truth it was more like trying not to simultaneously pass out/poop my pants, Robb is being all “Look at this guy” while Elsa goes “Who is Craig?”.

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My heart might belong to Elsa, but meeting Anna was pretty damn awesome too!

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And Robb is always happy to meet Anna!

 

So that was it for an amazing day/evening at Magic Kingdom, and the best part about it?? There were plenty of awesome nights to come during my trip!!

Edited by viking86
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"L-o-o-o-o-k into my eye-z-z-z-z-z . . . You will do my bidding . . ."

 

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My god! The eyes follow you around the room!

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Elsa definitely did not say that! I am unforgettable and as she did make me an official Knight of Arendelle she will never forget me! She loves me so much that she made sure it was snowing for my when I landed back in the UK!

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She loves me so much that she made sure it was snowing for my when I landed back in the UK!

 

Well, I woke up the next morning to the news that it was snowing back home so that does not make you special!

I may live in Norway, but we are talking May here and the Norwegian west coast isn't excactly well known for getting a lot of snow, you need to go up in the mountains for that...

 

 

"L-o-o-o-o-k into my eye-z-z-z-z-z . . . You will do my bidding . . ."

 

My god! The eyes follow you around the room!

 

It is a creepy picture isn't it??

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Day 5 - Part 1 - Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

Day 5 would bring another amazing evening at Magic Kingdom, but first I would spend a few hours at Animal Kingdom. There are many mixed opinions of this park, and I’m not even quite sure myself what to think of it. It’s a beautiful park, but it just seems to lack something. I consider myself an animal person, but after spending a few hours looking at animals last year there wasn't really any big need to repeat it. Please don’t get me wrong, I do like the park, but I do think it really needs the new additions it's getting over the coming years. I’m really looking forward to see how it will be with Avatarland and the new nighttime show.

 

Okay, onto the pictures...

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Today I started the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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It was nice to see the Tree of Life without construction walls all around it

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Started the day with a ride on Dinosaur, which was walk-on.

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The ride was fun. Saw many dinosaurs that were “Not our Dino”.

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Moving onto my least favorite area in all of Walt Disney World.

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Rode this one last year, no need to ride again.

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I get the idea behind this area, but it to me it doesn’t work at all and it just ends up feeling rushed and cheap.

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Moving on to beautiful Africa.

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Drummers and dancers...

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I didn’t go on the safari this time as I did it last year and didn’t feel like waiting 30+ minutes in line, but if you like animals I highly reccomend doing it. I thought it was really good last time.

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Didn’t feel like getting wet either today...

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Watched the bird show, which I thought was good.

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Okay, some of the stuff happening on stage was beyond cheesy, but overall I liked the show.

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Time for Expedition Everest, one of the best rides of Walt Disney World.

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Love the theming in the queue line for Everest.

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This is a good place to get rid of coins.

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Expedition Everest is smooth, fast, has great theming and is overall a ton of fun.

(no bird on a stick though)

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The gorillas gave the audience a great show. The big one turned its back against the crowd and took a crap, while the little one was facing the crowd and just sat there pulling its penis. Then they both wandered off...

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Time for an upclose view of Tree of Life.

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This truly is a piece of art.

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The details are incredible.

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Wherever you go you keep finding new animals.v

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Stunning!

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I’ll end this report with a picture showing the beauty of Animal Kingdom. I’m really excited to see the new additions over the coming years, because while I do like the park, I cannot help but not feeling fully satisfied when leaving the park.

 

After leaving AK I went back to the resort for a couple of hours of rest before meeting up with Robb and Tom for what would become another amazing night at Magic Kingdom!

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After getting some food and a little rest back at the resort I headed once again up to Magic Kingdom to meet up with Robb and Tom, for what would become another incredible night at Magic Kingdom. Hightlights of the night would include getting to see Space Mountain with lights on, getting stuck on Peoplemover and meeting a lot of girls!!!

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Back at Magic Kingdom for the evening!

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Compulsory Main Street/Castle shot.

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What do you do when you have an hour to spare while waiting for the other people to arrive? Lay down on the grass of course...

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Grass, castle and sunset. Does it get any better??

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As it got closer to 8 PM they closed off the grass to prepare it for firework FP+ viewing area.

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The view towards Tomorrowland at sunset.

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Our original plan was to start using our fastpass on Space Mountain, but as it was broken down we quickly moved over to ride Peoplemover and got some great views of Space Mountain with lights on.

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Credit goes to Robb for all the Space Mountain pictures as mine turned out as complete crap!

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You don’t get this view too often.

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Such a giant mess of steel!

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Since we got on Peoplemover to look at broken-down Space Mountain, it was only fitting that Peoplemover broke down right after. Tom and Robb are very happy to be stuck...

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...and so was I

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When you’re stuck on Peoplemover there isn’t really a whole lot to do. You can take pictures of random trash...

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...or you can start a 30 minute live stream on Periscope.

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Alexa (??) became the star of the live stream.

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Eventually we got evacuated. I don’t remember for how long we were stuck, but it must have been a good 30-40 minutes.

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But we did get an extra fastpass for our suffering...

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At this point I think we did a night ride on Big Thunder Mountain (this is a must for anyone, it’s crazy at night) before we watched Wishes from Fantasyland, which is a great place to watch the fireworks. Low crowd level, fireworks on two sides and overall really close to the action.

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Wishes blah blah blah...

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I cannot remember at what point during the evening we rode Barnstormer, so I thought this would be a fitting place to throw in this picture. As you can see I am very excited to ride! Tom also looks fairly happy to be on a Vekoma kiddie coaster.

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Then it was time for me and Robb to play armored knights in Enchanted Tales with Belle. (thanks to Tom for providing the pictures)

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Don’t I look handsome in my shining armor??

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Somewhere in this picture there is an adult male...

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WOW!!!

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Belle was very impressed by her knight in shining armor.

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Oh yes, definitely impressed!

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Happy boys!

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“So Elsa, you wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with the fact that it was snowing back home this morning?”

 

Elsa says no, but she’s clearly looking away so I’m not so sure...

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“See Elsa, I bought the summer magic band. Summer is good, okay? No more snow please.

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“Oh what the hell! I don’t care if you made it snow back home, I still love you Elsa!!!”

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Meeting Anna is always a lot of fun!!

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Time to head under the sea! Not quite sure what Ariel has been taking here, but judging by her face she has definitely taken enough of it... (again thanks to Robb for providing the pictures from this ride)

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Same with these fishes, they are just way too happy...

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Yup, it’s obvious that life under the sea is just one big party!!

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Ariel seems to be enjoying this!

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Who doesn’t love a close encounter with a real half-naked Ariel?

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Big thanks to Stacey (hope I got the name correct) for hanging out with us during the evening and joining us for a ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!

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Hi hoooooooooooooo!

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This ride is so much fun!

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This ride is so much fun! (didn’t I just say that??)

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And we once again say good night to Magic Kingdom after a truly wonderful and magical evening! After meeting so many girls I was totally exhausted and needed to relax by doing both Universal parks the following day....

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You accused me of being bad for seeing Belle behind Elsa's back and you not only go see Belle but Ariel as well! Victory is so now mine haha.

 

Great updates though does make me think I should win the lottery so I can go back to Disney!

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You accused me of being bad for seeing Belle behind Elsa's back and you not only go see Belle but Ariel as well! Victory is so now mine haha.

 

I know, I feel terrible about it! Must be something in the drinking fountains at Disney that makes all the girls irresistible... be sure though, I will never give up fighting for Elsa. So if you ever thought you could relax, think again!

 

Great updates though does make me think I should win the lottery so I can go back to Disney!

 

I'm working very hard on the lottery thing, but for some reason it's not going very well so far...

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