Let me start by saying that our weather hasn't looked like the above picture in quite a few days. We were slogged in with rain, cold weather, and overcast skies for a good four to five days. While I know I can't complain about the weather here in Florida to those who are going through a rough winter up north, we Floridians sure do get used to seeing the sun every day. So this, up there? That was a welcomed sight on Monday morning.
On Friday, I ventured out to Epcot to check out what had been set up so far for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Like I said, it was overcast and chilly; I don't think it got out of the 50's that day. So, these pictures aren't as vivid as they could be; guess I'll just have to go back on a sunny day, darn.
I spied some Lilly lovin' ladies on my way in.
Cold, grey skies. And lots of birds.
You may remember my affinity for succulents from this post. So you can imagine my excitement to see them being used in displays around the park.
Funny story here. As I was walking up by Spaceship Earth, I heard a marching band. Odd. I caught them right as they were passing by the Fountain of Nations and tried to catch up. Man, they were moving fast. I did some speed walking and was able to follow them toward Journey Into Imagination and snapped a pic right before they disappeared backstage. Not sure why they were there, but it was a first for me. Then I heard this podcast by the guys over at Retro Disney World, and it made me chuckle when they talked about Ronald Reagan's Presidential procession at Epcot in 1985, complete with marching bands.
Thanks to the Disney Hipsters of tipping me off to these guys, the Paul McKenna band. Catch them in the UK- they're so, so good.
Mexico had some beautiful flowers. Along with succulents, I also love air plants. They showcased them in a really unique way here.
One of my favorite Flower & Garden details was back in full bloom (see what I did there?!) again this year. They line the wheelchair ramp/walkway leading up to the Mexico pavilion with trees full of orchids. Catch these early in the festival, because they begin to peter out mid-festival. They're so beautiful though.
So Saturday it rained. And it rained. And it rained. (The Living Seas, anyone?!)
John and I stayed in all day and didn't do much, aside from finishing our Harry Potter marathon. Oh, and WE BOOKED OUR HONEYMOON CRUISE ABOARD THE DISNEY FANTASY! That's right, we're going on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise with stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas/St. John, and of course, Castaway Cay. We're staying in a verandah room.
This will only be my second cruise ever, and my first Disney cruise. If you've got any tips or advice about this boat, or our ports of call, please fill me in. I've been doing tons of research by reading trip reports, some of my favorites being by Kelly aka sweetpea_1993 over on the WDW Magic forum. In fact, she's the one who put the bug in my ear about Disney cruises, when I stumbled upon her TR's a few years ago. We also booked through Tammy at Storybook Destinations based on her recommendation. Tammy's been great, I'd recommend her in a heartbeat.
So, Saturday was spent reading about our cruise. We'll be eating at Palo twice, Remy once, partaking in Pirate Night, scuba diving off of St. Maarten, touring St. John, and doing whole lotta nothing in Castaway Cay (well, snorkeling and bike riding, thanks again Disney Hipsters for that rec.)
You know I'll be filling the blog with my clothing purchases and packing list leading up to the trip, so stay tuned.
The sun returned on Sunday (fitting), and John and I headed to Universal. We have Annual Passes here, but don't go nearly as often as we go to Disney. It's a bit farther away, and as much as I try to go in with an open mind, I just end up being disappointed and constantly compare it to Disney while I'm there. I like the thrill rides, and there is some neat stuff, but I don't know. The professionalism, cleanliness, pride of the 'cast members', nostalgia, layout, whimsy...is just lacking, with the exception of all things Harry Potter. Again, in my opinion.
I'll give you a few examples. (Feel free to scroll on down and skip this little rant altogether)
We stopped at Moe's in Citywalk on the way in to Universal. John hadn't eaten all day (this was around 2 pm) and was hangry. You know what I'm talking about, and I can so relate because when I get super hungry, I become an angry bear. Watch out.
We're in line at Moe's and John orders nachos. The lady behind the counter asks him what kind of meat he wants. He says something like, "Hmm, what are my options..." while obviously looking around to see where they are listed. The lady just stands there looking at us. A good 20 seconds goes by (which doesn't sound long, but is in the moment) with John still looking, and the lady still is not offering up any help. I'm sure she could rattle off the meat options in her sleep. I finally found it on the menu and told him. I know, it sounds so trivial, but come on lady. Work with us here.
Our Annual Passes allow us Express Pass entrance to most attractions after 4pm. We were walking in to the Mummy ride and approached the employee, who apparently needed to scan our passes. (This is why we wear the stylish lanyards around our neck while there. Oh, and there's a reason why John is sporting a fanny pack too, see below.) So we walk up and she just stands there, holding her little scan gun. We look at her. She looks at us. Instead of saying something along the lines of, "May I scan your ticket please?" she just holds up her gun. We paused for a few seconds, and she waves the gun around in front of her face in a 'come on already' gesture. Again, little things, but things that really stick out to me as unwelcoming and unprofessional.
Speaking of unwelcoming...
Below is the Krusty burger from the Simpsons area. It tasted as bad as it looks. But curly fries are always good!
Krusty burped in my face during the Meet & Greet. I told him I just ate some of his burger and felt the same way.
One area that's really nice is the little 'Central Park' spot that goes by the water. I like the shaded trails, birds, and foliage. If only there were more benches in the shade, this would be one of my go-to spots for sitting and people watching.
J.Crew Factory denim shorts (old, similar here) // Gap tank top (old, similar here) // J.Crew linen cardigan (old, similar here) // Havaianas flip flops
I wear rubber flip flops, like Havaianas, when I think it might rain. As much as I love Rainbows, they're horrible when they get wet. They stay damp, stain the bottom of your feet, and can be really slick.
Also, above is a perfect example of what I wear during these Spring months when the weather doesn't know what it wants to do. A light sleeve for layering, a tank for when you're in the hot sun, and shorts. The outer layer can also be used to cover your head in case it decides to rain. In the summer, you know the rain is coming, so pack a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella.
I'm not a fan of Spongebob, but I am a fan of puns.
My fiancé is such a cutie.
Lacoste t-shirt // J.Crew shorts // Quicksilver hip pack (it's not dorky, if you call it a 'hip pack')
John uses this when we tour Universal because they don't allow any bags or loose items on most rides. Sunglasses? Get a locker. Cell phone in your pocket? Get a locker. My Dooney wristlet that I loop through my belt loops and wear like a make-shift fanny pack? Get a locker. Granted, the lockers are next to each attraction that mandates this, and are free for an amount of time, but it's still a pain. And forget about taking a camera on any ride. I heard an employee yell at someone on the Cat and the Hat ride to "PUT AWAY THE CELL PHONE! NO PICTURES! NO CAMERAS!" once. Cat and the Hat is akin to the Winnie the Pooh ride, for comparison sake. Pretty tame. Plan accordingly.
So! We were really excited to get back to Diagon Alley after finally finishing the Harry Potter series. It all makes so much more sense now!
This ride. THIS. RIDE. It's intense. But so, so fun. I feel my age when I ride it though, and can only do it once per visit. They videotape your ride, and you can pull it up on kiosks and watch it after. Do it, it's hilarious.
Sidenote: There's an entrance/exit to Universal Studios back by Rip Roarin' Rocket. It opens an hour or so after the park opens, but is a nice, uncrowded area, and cuts off quite a bit of time if you're walking between the Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Come back tomorrow for a look at the new Magic Kingdom hub and Cinderella Castle shrouded in fog. That was a first for me. I'll also be showing you a Lilly dress I already bought for the cruise, a gem of a walkway between two deluxe resorts, and will fill you in on our D23 Early Screening of Cinderella. John and I are going tonight-- yay!