Michyloulou's DIBB Photo Blogs

Alarms were set for 6am! We all got washed/dressed & collected up the remaining few bits from the villa. I left a little ‘thank you' for the cleaners in the form of $20 tip, a bottle of wine in the fridge + 2 spritzer cans I hadn't opened.
When planning the holiday, one place I'd told the kids about from my previous trips was iHop. So we decided to have a last breakfast there. We left the villa at 7am & arrived at iHop at about 7.20am (the one at West Bronson Irlo parkway).
Most of us just had a plain stack with Maple syrup, one DD had waffles & chicken and the other Nutella & banana crepes! 😋

It was quite busy here despite being early, but we were finished & paid up by 9am.
We then had our long drive back to Fort Lauderdale Airport (roughly 3hrs, but with kids obviously you have to allow for a comfort break. Traffic was light & total journey time was 3.5hrs.
As I've said before, I think we'd avoid FLL in future- on arrival it was a killer journey after a long flight, and today all I could think of was that if we'd been flying from MCO, we'd have had a whole morning free to enjoy. Ah well, you live & learn. If any of you are thinking of book through Ocean Florida, a little tip is that they offer to hold your cases after checking out of the villa (10 am is usual check out time). Obviously we couldn't make use of this - although I can't complain as flying to/from FLL meant we got a cheaper deal.
Back to the journey to FLL - we had 1 comfort break for our youngest. DH then looked at where we could re-fuel & nearest garage to airport was still a 20 min drive away. He brimmed the fuel as much as possible and we continued to airport, dropping car back to Alamo.
We were at Terminal 4 so early that the BA desk hadn't opened- although it meant a bit of waiting- this was a good thing as when they did open there was an IT issue with various staff coming & going, an an hour after the desks opened, they'd only just got 1 family checked in! They then opened 2 other check-ins, and by this time the queue was absolutely huge - couldn't even see the end of it! The kids were fed up but glad they weren't at the back of the line!
Security seemed like a bit of a shambles- no notices up, but an officer tells us to put all bags & belongings in trays & take shoes off. Then another one wanted the bags out of the trays, just next to the trays. There was no conveyor & no one helping to slide trays along. If they'd had signs out about bags sitting next to grey trays, it would've saved a lot of people coming backwards & forwards, unsure exactly what they had to do!
Finally through, we bought ourselves some lunch (about 2.15pm by now), and then had a look around the shops.
We boarded on time, tears in our eyes, all sad to be leaving after such a wonderful holiday.
The flight departed on time, and I managed to watch ‘Can you ever forgive me?' starring Melissa McCarthy & Richard E Grant.
I also watched ‘Muriel's wedding' (a classic in my view - so funny), and then a programme about Madonna's changing personas & music. After this I could feel my eyes getting heavy so had a little sleep.
After landing we breezed through passport control & luggage re-claim and got a bus back to APH (at this point we discussed doing ‘Meet & Greet' next time - again I think it was a cost-saving thing at the time of booking).
Then we had a long journey back home from Gatwick to North Cambridgeshire- about 3hrs.
At least there's only 1 load of washing + the clothes we are in today as we kept on top of the washing at the villa, and my lovely sister (when checking on the house), took the washing from the Friday we departed (when we'd all been at work/school), and washed, dried & ironed it for me - bless her - what an absolute angel 👼🏻 (as well as school uniform there was all the kids PE kits as well!).
I've bought her her favourite perfume to give her (Coco Chanel), some Ghiraldelli salted caramel squares & other bits for her & my nephews when I see them (not that she'd expect anything).
The kids all just took themselves to bed on reaching home - they found it hard to sleep on the plane & although we have a 6-seater car, they're used to the very spacious 7-seater Dodge Caravan we had, so having to squeeze back into a 6 seater (with an extra suitcase) meant they all felt a bit cramped in the car, although at one point 3 of the 4 kids were asleep in the car.
DH & I had a coffee back at home & I set about emptying one of the suitcases. Tiredness then washed over us, so me & DH also had a couple of hours sleep. When we woke (about 4pm), a couple of the kids were awake & we woke the other 2, all had a drink and now we've just had an easy dinner (pasta & garlic bread - don't think I've ever had that as an Easter Day dinner before!).
I'll do a highs & lows report in a few days on general chat. Again, thank you if you've read along- I'm off to catch up on others' reports now! 😊

Discount Florida Car Hire

Well, it's our last full day today (tomorrow is largely taken up by the drive back to Fort Lauderdale, dropping car back to Alamo & also ensuring we have 3 clear hours before flight.
So here it is, and we're ending back at Magic Kingdom where we had our 1st day. However...
Watching the weather on TV, we are due for a big storm, possibility of a hurricane even according to Klystron TV. 😮 However, looking at other forecasts, a hurricane isn't mentioned, just the storm, cooler temperatures and lightning occurring anywhere from 1pm - 3pm.
As I knew we'd need the afternoon to pack, our 2 of our 3 FP's are in the morning. We also plan to use to Monorail as the kids haven't experienced this yet!
As we are about to leave (at 9am), we get a text saying our 1st FP (Splash Mountain) is unavailable, but we can choose from the list & these are available all day. This has 2 positives for us as 1) we are running late & would otherwise have missed our 1st FP, and secondly my older 2 kids wanted to go on Space Mountain (which they haven't ridden so far), and this is now available.
So, on arrival I took my 2 eldest & rode Space Mountain with them - fortunately it wasn't as bad as I'd thought! Meanwhile DH took the 2 youngest on Its a Small World (their choice!).
We noticed a smallish line to meet Stitch. and as my 3 girls are mad in him, we queued & had photos taken and phone cases signed! It actually took 45 minutes as Stitch had a break midway through the line. Stitch was really good I interracting with all the kids & families meeting him.

Here is one of me with him as well!

Our next FP was Buzz Lightyear Lazer Spin - very enjoyable again. As we entered the Buzz ride, I noticed it was an English CM from Yorkshire called Izzy. I said to her “A big hello from England!” - this got a big smile & a “hello, hope you’re having a wonderful holiday” from her - not sure if she’s the daughter of a Dibber, but thought it’d be nice to speak rather than just file past.
We had brought a packed lunch with us, so after we sat & ate it next to Merchant of Venus shop.
Next it was onto the people mover - we made the bad choice of all squeezing into 1 car, and it was soon very uncomfortable! We could see the area under development (and sorry if I have missed this information already on the Dibb), a CM we spoke to told us it’s due to be a roller coaster opening in a couple of years (a reason to re-visit which I quickly told DH!). In fact, not just in the parks, but driving around there is so much building work everywhere- homes & apartments popping up everywhere - I’m surprised they’re not 2 a penny! Right on cue at 1.23pm, the skies darkened and we felt a few big splashes of rain.

We still had our last FP at 2.40pm (Big Thunder Mountain). One of my DD didn’t want to ride, so she sat undercover with DH while I walked over to the ride doing a few last castle photos & selfies on the way (at this point before walking over, we were near the main entrance at beginning of Main Street). As we walked over, the heavens opened & we got very wet. I did wonder if they’d close the ride (as before this, I just realised I forgot to mention, we were at the front of Dumbo ride when they announced its closure due to inclement weather- at that point it wasn’t even raining). Anyway, we got to BTM 5 mins early, but they let us in & we managed to ride.
The only disappointment of the day (other than the weather) was that DH had wanted us to ride the railroad, but both at the beginning of the holiday & today it wasn’t operating (even though we saw it moving into the station on entering the park).
We left the park to get on the monorail about 3pm (the parade having been postponed). As we did the rain became torrential and there were big cracks of thunder and lightning (which made us all jump). I happened to be doing a video on my phone at that very moment (haven’t had chance to watch it back yet).
Bit by bit (sheltering where we could), we made it back to the land tram (the seats all had pools of water & we had rain blowing into us as well), but this was easier than walking since we were parked in Mulan 127.
Back at the villa, first thing we did was put dry clothes on & wash/dry all the wet ones + try and dry out all the trainers, then it was onto the dreaded packing.
After discovering lots of bigger items we’d forgotten about (those doughnut shaped drinks bottles from Universal, toys, food we bought to take home & other stuff), it was clear we’d need another suitcase (having decided on the way out not to bring an extra one!).
We had a very final trip to Walmart & got one for $55 + a padlock- it was really busy & we struggled to find a parking space, but it is the start of their Easter weekend. DH had already told everyone on entering that the only thing we’d be purchasing was the case & padlock (worried we’d add more purchases!).
Even with the extra case we just about managed to squeeze everything in.
The kids went to bed about 10.30pm and we followed, exhausted about 11.30pm with alarms set for 6am tomorrow so we can have a final blowout at Ihop before our journey back to Fort Lauderdale.
Thank you to everyone who has read along & replied. Also for all the wonderful tips I’ve picked up reading the Dibb, and for all my pre-trip questions you’ve all answered. We’ve had an absolutely wonderful time with great memories made and I’ve fulfilled a wish to take my kids to Florida (for the 1st time! &#128521.
I look forward to reading more of your trip reports until we go back!

The plan for today was back to Universal (sadly no front of line passes though!).
After yesterday's late night, everyone was tired, so we'd planned a later start as we wanted to see the fireworks & water spectacular around the lagoon tonight as well.
Despite being near the end of the holiday, we had completely run out of milk, bread & water bottles. So off to Walmart again this morning for these items (and some more breakfast items).
We also decided to have an early lunch at the villa as we'd previously bought some pizzas which were still in our freezer (and to save money which is fast running out!).
Lunch consumed, we headed off to Universal Studios, and first ride was The Simpson's (as it had the shortest standby queue- 25 minutes). We've ridden this a few times now,
so the videos they play in the queues are getting a bit repetitive now. however, the main thing is that the kids still like it, and the ride itself is quite enjoyable.
It was quite a hot day & we'd already gone through most of the water bottles we'd bought with us, so we stopped for lemonade slushes, sprites & diet cokes at one of the kiosk bars nearby. At the time of paying, DH had youngest DD next to him talking 19 to the dozen. The total for the drinks came to about $25 and as we were low on cash, DH wrote the tip amount onto the receipt. Luckily we stood near the bar drinking, as the bar tender came out to check the tip. DH had accidentally given them a 100% tip! At least they were honest & it was rectified quickly!
The 2 older kids wanted then to ride RRR while we took the 2 youngest back to Minions (which had a 75 minute standby as opposed to 30 mins for RRR). On the way through Central Park we saw Spongebob & co in a little parade along the street, so we stopped & watched the action for a while. We continued on our way to Minions & older kids to RRR. We'd been queuing a while and were situated in the back queuing row (near to a CM who asks how many in your party). Obviously there were only 4 of us, but middle DD forgot & said 6. Low & behold, we then see our eldest 2 waving at us just outside the ride (having walked back from RRR). It's a bit cheeky, but the CM saw them as well & must've thought they'd been out of line & returned (as a few people had done to get snacks etc), anyway she let my eldest 2 in to join us - so they got a bonus ride back on Minions. On the exit, we saw a short queue to meet the Minions so 3 of my kids have their photo taken (the other deciding not to have it done! 🤷‍♀️
We were stood debating about which ride to go on next, when we notice security marking out the pavements for the parade, and as this is something we'd not done so far (and most ride queues were 1 hour plus), we decided to watch. Luckily the kids had enough room to sit along the pavement edge, and DH and I benefited from another Dibb tip, that being to stand behind the bins so no-one can stand in front of you! Fortunately they weren't smelly (which I was a bit worried about).

Again,I seem to have lost some photos from my phone 😭 as took loads in the parade, but they just not showing.
We had a general wander after this. The kids wanted to look inside the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium (we will have to save eating here for another trip). It was really busy, even the shop part, so we literally just had a quick nosey.
The standby queues were still horrendous, so we purchased a few snacks at the kiosks (in place of lunch), and ate these. It does make for an expensive day at Universal not being able to take your own food in. I was sorely tempted to bring sandwiches etc in. Have any of you managed it without being stopped? Just to add, I saw a few people in the queue for Minions with what looked like home-made sandwiches & pasta salads.
We stayed for the water & fireworks show (which was enjoyable, but not a patch on Fantasmic I feel). We sat on a bench in Central Park, but had a side view of the water fans. When I stood up after the show, I had a soaring pain in my left ankle, which looked a little swollen (although I haven’t injured it), and also have a bit of a rash on my lower leg, so hobbled all the way back to the car.
Apologies again for the lack of photos, I just don’t know what’s happened to my photos!

Apologies for the delay in posting- we had quite a long & tiring day yesterday (but very enjoyable!).
We arrived at Blizzard Beach by 10.20am (only 20 minutes late then!), and sorted our locker, hired towels ($2 each) and found ourselves somewhere to sit (just at the side of the main pool). Being a water park, we'd stowed camera & mobiles away as didn't want to leave anything valuable laying around, so therefore we don't have many photos of BB.
The continuous wave pool is lovely, as is the lazy river, which the night before I'd compared online to Typhoon Lagoon. The one at Typhoon is apparently 2000m long, but BB's is 3000m long. DH & I have visit Typhoon before, but were easy about which water park we went to. My eldest DD was keen on BB as one of her friends came last year & raves about it to her. The other kids agreed, so BB it was!
After the lazy river & wave pool, me & DH headed off to Teamboat Springs (raft ride) with the 2 youngest kids (the 2 eldest went to check out the big slides). There is a chair lift at the top, but as there was a queue, the kids decided we should take the stairs-oh my goodness, my poor legs! Throughout the course of the day, we did this another 5 times (all 6 of us together which was lovely), and each time the kids sprinted up the stairs like gazelles, with me languishing behind
At about 1pm, we had a mixture of doughnuts, crisps & drinks for lunch (healthy!). We were deliberately trying not to eat too much, as the plan was to visit Mall at Millenia after the park & The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. 😋
We left BB around 4pm, and headed to the Mall and had a quick look in Forever 21 for eldest DD. We then decided we'd better see about reserving a dining slot at Cheesecake Factory (it was now 5pm). They told us they don't take reservations, but could give us a pager & we'd be seated within 20 minutes.
We decided to take this option as we were all hungry by now, so sat on the wall outside & exactly 20 minutes later we got a table. The server told us it was a good job we hadn't waited longer as 7pm is peak time every evening (he wasn't wrong - we left before this & the queue was massive!).
Anyway, back to the food. As the kids never finish their mains if having starters, we decided on mains only & we were brought out some bread (free) to share.
I had equivalent of Spaghetti Parmigiana, DH spaghetti & meatballs, eldest (fussy) DD Mac cheese, DS & youngest DD flatbread pizza & middle DD bbq chicken wings & fries (really an entree but it was a big enough portion as a main - I think we counted 9 wings on her plate!).
We knew the cheesecakes would be very rich & settled on sharing 3 between 6 of us (which it turns out was more than enough!).
Between us we had 1 x Hershey chocolate, 1 x marshmallows s'mores with Graham crackers, 1 x lemon meringue. Omg, absolutely delicious! Here are the delicious food photos:

All in all $139 (with 6 soft drinks - free refills) + 18% tip.
There was still shopping to be done - mainly in B&BW, Pandora and The Game Store.
I sneaked a little look in Tiffany’s as used to own some Tiffany Heart earrings & necklace many moons ago. Couldn’t obviously see those- but the cheapest ones I saw were $17,500!!! It’s nice to dream!
Me & eldest DD (who got a Pandora bracelet for Christmas), had been talking about getting the passport charm each, so both ended up with this one each. $40 each + tax.

B&BW had a buy 3, get 3 free on body sprays, again me & eldest DD got 3 each (the other DD having spent their money now!). They were $14.50 each, but as I say on offer.
I also got the Tranquil waters 3 wick candle & a candle stand.

It was then off to Dick’s Sporting Goods as the other day DS saw a football top he wanted in a sports shop at the Florida Mall, but we’re not due to go back, so DH had a look online. This shop was about a 20 min drive from the Mall (not quite sure where we were tbh), but managed to get there at 8.45pm (with it closing at 9.30pm).
I don’t have photos, but an Orlando City football shirt was purchased plus a ‘Champion’ branded tee, $55 each.
We also had a good look around the other sections & I got our neighbours (sports mad) boys an American Baseball each (as they’ve kindly seen to putting our bins out while we’ve been away & looking after the house.
Then got home, had showers & applied after-sun to our burnt backs & shoulders (despite many applications of water-resistant sun cream), I think it just gets washed off.
Tomorrow (now today), a lazy morning start, need more water & bread from Walmart, then off to Universal this afternoon/eve to catch the evening show.

Today was HS, but as our 1st FP wasn't until 1.25pm (and we wanted to stay & see Fantasmic), we decided to have a relaxing pool morning at the villa, and an early lunch before we left.
We arrived at HS at about 12.15, and the parking Gods were on our side as we got directed to the end of row space (next to where you catch the trams) in Buzz section! Hoorah! 😁
As we were driving in, they were testing the new cable car system, as we saw ‘wrapped' cable cars moving around. A few were unwrapped, but most seem covered (see above photo).
On entering, we caught The March of the Storm Troopers (sorry if that's not the official title), but very impressive & funny when unsuspecting visitors come face to face with them!

Our 1st FP was ‘Star Tours'. DD had me check with a CM about how enclosed (or not) this ride is after yesterdays awful Mission Space experience. When the CM said “Oh yes, it's enclosed mam” (not the answer I was looking for!), but I asked if it was as bad as MS, which he then confirmed it is nowhere near as bad, so we all braved it, and luckily enjoyed it.
We had a bit of a gap before our next FP, so opted for the Muppets 3D, again the kids loved it (especially the youngest 2).
We had a look around the gift shop, where I decided to start off my very own pin collection (after being inspired by a lady I saw yesterday who had them pinned to her Kipling handbag). Just to add, my Kipling bag is a cheap 2nd hand deal from EBay, so I’m not too bothered if it gets too many pin holes! I opted for the Mickey/Minnie sliders & the house from ‘Up’, plus a Mickey head 3D ice cream magnet.

The slider pins were $14.99
Up house pin was $12.99 and
Magnet was $12.99
My eldest DD also finally bought the rose gold ears she’s been looking at since we arrived ($28.99 + tax).

It was then off to Toy Story Land for our 2nd FP at Toy Story Mania - TSL was absolutely heaving, but the fantastic ride & theming made it all worthwhile! Just a shame it's so difficult to get on the other rides (huge standby lines).

Our 3rd FP was for Rock'n'Roller coaster, which the youngest 2 didn't want to do. Now this is a learn for me for the future (and it may be obvious that younger children wouldn't like this ride), but back when booking FP, I didn't want to keep splitting the family up & didn't really know what to do, so ended up booking all 6 of us for exactly the same rides. I also didn’t want to assume that the older 2 kids would be happy to go off on their own, just in case (turns out they are more than happy to go off by themselves to get a ride they want!). However, on a few occasions throughout the holiday, this is exactly what we've done.
Today I took eldest 2 on Rock'n'Roller coaster while DH queued with youngest 2 for Alien Saucers in TSL.
Rock’’n’roller coaster I really didn’t like- I felt a bit queasy after (I must be getting weak in my old age as used to love these type of thrill rides!).
In the shop after the ride, my Stitch obsessed daughter found a rock’n’roll Stitch on the counter which she wanted to take with her! Instead we opted for a photo!

Restrooms were needed & the rock’n’roll signs bought a smile to my face, so I just had to take a photo!

I promise you I didn’t go into the men’s! 😂
After our 3rd FP was over, I hoped & prayed that Fantasmic would be available- good news - it was (although we had a bit of time to kill), so I quickly added a FP here for us all. However the eldest 2 (adrenaline junkies), decided they'd rather queue for 90 mins for ToT.
After dinner which was QS Pizza - as we didn't have an ADR (we tried Mama Melrose on the off chance they'd have availability, but they didn't). There was another Pizzeria near MM, but sadly this was closed. However the QS Pizza was fine, served with a Caesar salad & filled a hole.
Anyway, after the pizza, again we had a little time to kill until Fantasmic started, so we walked the eldest 2 to ToT & agreed where we'd meet them after their ride (as they'd be finished before Fantasmic ended). All holiday I’d been meaning to go to guest services to get my kids their 1st visit badges, but never got round to it. Youngest DD reminded me, and just along the path was a CM at a little booth, so asked her where we could get the badges. Low & behold, she had them at her little pop-up station & kindly wrote my kids names onto 1 each. She then offered me & DH. I politely declined as it isn’t our 1st time. However, she wasn’t taking no for an answer, and told me “but you’re celebrating your children’s 1st visit!”, so me & DH ended up with a base each also! Love a bit of Pixie 🧚≈♀️ dust!

We still had time before Fantasmic, so decided to go to the Oasis Canteen and try the much talked about Funnel cake.

As they're so huge & we'd not long had pizza, we shared 1 between the 4 of us (Oreo version). I'd looks forward to this (and they look lovely), but was very greasy & we didn't finish it off (the 2 youngest preferred the Oreo cookies on top). I'm glad I tried it, but would probably opt for a soft-whip ice cream next time.
We finally entered Fantasmic arena - gosh this wasn’t here on my last visit & the size of the area is amazing!
DS & DD texted me to say there were nearly at the front of ToT queue & could they try & get on Slinky Dog while we were watching the show. I said ok, unaware that all rides closed once the show started. I always thought people said this was a good time to get on rides! Anyway, luckily after finding out they couldn’t go on more rides, they still had the Fantasmic FP on their magic bands (again I’d booked for everyone). Apparently the CM questioned them as the show had started, but when their said that we were waiting for them, they let them in (obviously we were in different sections), but at least they got to see it!
We all loved the show (having never seen it before). One of the memories that I think my youngest 2 will cherish however is the Mexican wave that went backwards & forwards around the arena before the show started, with lots of whooping & clapping! I had a lump in my throat at this point before the show had even started!
A great day all in all! Tomorrow we’re off to Blizzard Beach, followed by Mall of Millenia.

We woke everyone at 7.30am, but as usual the sleepyheads needed several reminders to get up & have breakfast.
Today was planned as an Epcot day, with an ADR for the ESPN Sports Bar at 3pm (5pm UK time so DS & DH could watch the Arsenal v Watford game).
We arrived at Epcot (car park) at 9.20am, but the queues for bag search/security were huge! Our 1st FP was for Journey into Imagination with Figment at 10.20am (which since showing my middle DD a YouTube video of before the holiday, she has been obsessed with!). As you can probably imagine, my eldest DS & DD we're not impressed! 😆 I think we made it onto the ride at 10.40am, then DD bought herself a Figment for $19.99 + tax. We persuaded her she didn’t need a Figment hoodie at $65 (namely because she doesn’t have that much left!). Here she is cuddling Figment.

Next FP we did was The Sea with Nemo & friends (for my youngest). This was a bit of a disappointment after the Ariel ride in MK which I feel is much better (although we did enjoy looking at the marine life in the Aquarium after). DH enquired about the Manatees & whether they have access to a larger area of water. A CM there said they do have another area & both were rescued (one has a fin injury & the other is an orphan). Apparently they tried to release them back to the ocean 3 times, but they don’t do well & don’t swim to the warm water they need to keep their heat. Apparently despite looking blubbery, they’re only 3% body fat & she had a replica manatee rib which is really heavy. So this part was interesting & educational, but the ride was a bit rubbish I thought. Again, eldest 2 kids were not impressed! Cue moaning from the about going on a ‘proper' ride. As we exited the aquarium section, we saw a sky-writer with a message! Middle DD got very excited as she thought it was her name being written “I love u Jess” (turned out to be “I love u Jesus!”), lol!

We had a bit of a gap after this, so decided to look at standby times for rides (our 3rd FP being Frozen Ever After at 1.35pm). My eldest chose Mission Space (orange lane). Now, I know they give you various warnings & options to back out, but I really didn't think it'd be that bad. I must admit, I don't like confined spaces & when the ride closed in, I felt ill before it began & started looking for a button to call for help/end ride. I also had the youngest 2 with me who didn't like it (though they both held it together until the doors open - I think we all reassured each other). I personally couldn't wait for it to end - and when it did even my eldest 2 had to sit down for a while. DS said he liked the ride, but not the confinement.
This will definitely be a ride I'll never opt for again. I know there's a less intense experience in green zone - is it still closed in though?
Anyway, after we'd recovered & had a drink, my eldest 2 were moaning about having to go on Frozen Ever After. The standby for Soarin' was 1hr, so we decided to let them go off & do this and then meet us by the lake.
DH, youngest 2 & myself enjoyed Frozen & the other 2 came back raving about Soarin'.
It was time for lunch by now, so we walked past the UK Pavillion & took the friendship boat to the Boardwalk & ESPN Sports Bar.

The Boardwalk is lovely and after being on the Dibb for so many years & reading all the other wonderful trip reports, it just seems surreal to be experiencing these places myself!
We found ESPN a lot better than the NBC Sports Bar at Universal. The volume of the games being shown was a sensible level (in that we could still hold a conversation), against the NBC where everything was full volume. Food was good at ESPN. A selection of pictures is below.

We'd finished lunch (starter & main) before the end of the game, so I took the 3 girls for a walk around Boardwalk while the boys finished watching the match. Hooray Arsenal won 1-0, so DS was happy.
I made a few purchases in the shop (namely a few little gifts to put away for my kids birthdays- and a Grape Soda keyring for my nephew who loves it. Eldest DD bought herself a Stitch plush for $28 + tax. Sorry, just realised I don’t have a photo of it, so here’s a Stitch topiary instead!

We caught the boat back after the game, and kids weren't really interested in World Showcase - they wanted more rides.
By this time, middle DD decided she didn't want to do any more rides, but eldest 2 wanted to do Test Track (70 min wait on standby- although they switched to single rider line & managed to get on quicker, even ending up together on ride). A big thumbs up from them.
I took youngest DD on Soarin' (50 min standby, although we actually got on in 38min as I timed it). DH sat out with middle DD. Youngest declared it her best ride of the day, and I have to agree - absolutely loved it!
We left Epcot about 8pm (DH was tired & just wanted to get back), so told kids we'd all have pool time when we got back (which we did - it was lovely to rest my tired feet & legs in the pool after a lot of walking).
Tomorrow is HS but as 1st FP isn't until 1.25pm, we've decided on more pool time & an early villa lunch.
Here's a selection of other photos from today:

I woke at 7am today, and then woke everyone else as we were off to AK and unfortunately I'd not been able to secure a FP for Pandora. So the aim was to get there early (checking the elusive FP availability on the way) and/or possibly join the standby line.
We parked near to this old police car, which we had a good look at!

By the time we'd parked up, gone through bag search & security, there were already streams of people coming in - and it's hard to march your kids straight past wonderful sights (like the ant-eater & tree of life) when all they want to do is see what's in front of them & soak everything in. So sadly the plan didn't work and standby was quickly at 4hrs. I'm sure it's fantastic, but no ride is worth that wait imo.
Anyway, we had a good look around at the animals & tree, and the ‘Maharaj tour’, and then headed to our 1st FP which was Kali River Rapids. My middle daughter had a wobble & couldn't decide if she wanted to go on - she was scared of drops despite fact she recently went on simulator rides with drops. A lovely English family re-assured her that there are no drops, more a slide into the water & DD decides she'd give it a go. 😀 She loves it & wanted to go again, but standby was already 70 mins & next available FP was 6.40. We all got drenched but seemed to dry out quickly & all had a good laugh.
We had a further look around, and then had our picnic lunch (which my lovely DH prepared the evening before for us).
After this we watched the Finding Nemo stage show - wow, just loved it (as did youngest DD).
Our next & last FP (yes, we only had 2 today as didn’t need to FP the show & nothing else at all seemed to be available when I booked) was Expedition Everest. Again middle DD had a wobble & adamantly wasn’t going on. DH isn’t keen on coasters, so happily stayed with her & youngest DD who also decided she wasn’t going on.
Me & eldest 2 kids absolutely loved it! Omg, the broken track part where you go backwards! I thought that was the end of the ride when we’d ridden backwards to the bottom!
After this we decided to get various ice creams, including this deliciousness which me, DH & youngest DD all shared.

Eldest DD then bought this set of flip-flop pins for $14.99, very cute! (my girls are all mad on Stitch!).

After this we decided to head home for a swim in the villa pool.
Now, without kids I’d love to stay morning til night & take in all the shows, but it’s just too much for youngest 2, so we’re trying not to do too much.
Also, DH & my eldest 2 were a bit underwhelmed with AK (basically not enough rides & the amount of people on the park means that it seems very crowded (as it’s the smallest park), and also means the rides they do have get very busy. The 2 eldest were disappointed not to be able to ride FOP (as was I).
Bit of a back-story, but at the 30 day out time period for booking fastpasses, unfortunately as I work in a school, I don’t get time when I can log on & do this. DH is at home in the mornings (as works lates), but typically had had a few very very late finishes meaning he wasn’t able to secure the FP either. So on some days I had to do them when I got home from school (4pm ish), therefore didn’t get the FP we wanted. Not sure what we can do about this for a future trip?
Anyway, we drove home & had a swim in the pool & I then cooked some of this ravioli & marinara sauce + garlic bread for dinner. 😋

After clearing dinner things away, we drove to Target at Rolling Oaks (as we were all itching to shop here!) - I love the massive size of their stores. DH isn’t a keen shopper, but tonight was quite happy as he managed to get his new iPod touch! Yay!
The kids bought various sweets & gifts for their friends (and themselves), and I managed to get an Oxo measuring cup.
(I’m hoping to get a few bits myself when we go to Mall of Millenia).
That’s all for tonight & tomorrow we’re off to Epcot.

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Park Hours - Monday 24/02/2020

WDW & Other Florida Park Hours
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios
Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach
Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens
Legoland Water Park
Legoland Water Park
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Extra Evening Hours Extra Late Hours for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of Florida Park Hours

Disneyland Resort Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Walt Disney StudiosCalifornia Adventure 9:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of West Coast Park Hours

Disneyland Paris Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Walt Disney StudiosDisney Studios 10:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
Extra Morning Hours Early Entry for On-Site Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of DLP Park Hours

US Dollar Rates
Covent Garden FX  $1.2796
FAIRFX  $1.2665
John Lewis  $1.2773
M&S  $1.2549
Post Office  $1.2480
Sainsburys  $1.2600
Travelex  $1.2573
Updated: 06:02 24/02/2020

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Euro Rates
Covent Garden FX  €1.1799
FAIRFX  €1.1665
John Lewis  €1.1762
M&S  €1.1559
Post Office  €1.1496
Sainsburys  €1.1677
Travelex  €1.1644
Updated: 06:02 24/02/2020