leah's stupid life, travel

Floridian Adventure!

So, I’ve been gone a little while, thought I’d tell you about my Florida adventure, stay tuned, this post will mostly be Post Disney Depression and general flailing. Be warned. Also I am writing this whilst watching Saving Mr Banks, which is really not helping me feel better about the fact that I am back in England!

On May 4th (I know right, Star Wars day) I got a train to London town, got several trains in London town and then got a plane to Orlando, finally arriving somewhere incredibly hot, incredibly green, incredibly full of ducks and ready for my Disney adventure!! When I awoke on my first full day, it was to a downpour, which was disappointing, but after five minutes or so, the rain disappeared and was replaced by sunshine and intense heat!
Our first port of call was this place:

Epcot is genuinely one of the coolest places I have ever been. I don’t really know what I was expecting from Walt Disney World, but I wasn’t really expecting a theme park that was about science, innovation and conservation, which is exactly what Epcot is!

When you enter the first thing you see is a giant golf ball, in which there is a ride called Spaceship Earth which takes you on a little time travelling adventure starting in ancient times and then going into the future. There was a feature where the ride took a photo of you and then created an avatar so you could see what travel and home life would be like in your future, naturally, my friend and I decided to pull the stupidest faces we could think of and after three attempts, the ride gave in and let us get away with it, meaning that this gem was on display for the rest of Epcot to see!

As well as time travelling, we also went on a Mars Mission (my favourite Epcot ride tbh), tried a variety of cokes from around the world (honestly, carrot flavoured coke was disgusting and I probably should have known that before trying it), was taught all about the ocean by Nemo and his friends, saw some rescued dolphins and manatees (had my mind blown slightly about the fact that Disney isn’t just a huge corporate thing, but also a conservation area – I’ve never been to sea world, but my travel friend has and she tells me that Epcot is a much nicer place for animals to be.). Epcot also has a land based science area where you can visit green houses and have a look at the different ways that they are studying plants which was super interesting. Other places of interest included Journey into Imagination, which reminded me a lot of Small World, but without the racism, the Energy area where a very young Ellen teamed up with Bill Nye the Science Guy to teach the world about how energy works, honestly, it was interesting, but it was also the longest ride I have ever been on! It was like 37 minutes! But there were dinosaurs and all sorts and if you know me IRL, you’ll know I bloody love dinosaurs!
My favourite area of Epcot though had to be the World Showcase! The UK bit was hilarious and considering how stereotypical and slightly over the top it was, I’m sure that the other countries were just as daft, but honestly, it was incredible, especially the food! I spent far too much time and money in Japan, the shop there was like heaven to me! It was full of amazing Japanese pop culture stuff from anime and Studio Ghibli movies, I ended up getting some Ghibli prints, not that I have anywhere to put them currently… And lots of food! I even tried sushi for the first time and am now a convert!! The whole of the World Showcase was amazing to be honest and we spent most of our Epcot time there before the Illuminations show at the end of the day which was pretty spectacular as far as light shows go. I even managed to meet these two while hanging out in Epcot:
IMG_5865 IMG_5874Squad goals if ever I saw them.

Our second day saw us head to Universal Studios, which was where I was most excited about visiting for Harry Potter reasons and honestly, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is freaking amazing.
Like, I know we have the studio tour here in the UK and I know that I really enjoyed my day there, but seriously, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter completely and utterly blows it away, Universal have not only built Hogwarts, but also Hogsmead, a working Hogwarts Express train AND Diagon Alley with actual shops and eateries and oh my God, it was like I had actually been transported into the pages of one of my favourite series!
The main Harry Potter ride in Hogwarts was amazing! Even the queuing is fun! You get to walk through Hogwarts, there are moving portraits, students, a great hall, it is just amazing! Once you eventually get to the ride, you sit on a quidditch bench and go on a little journey around Hogwarts! Our first go on the ride was super fun, the second one, not so much! The ride broke down on our second attempt, with us hanging upside down whilst being traced by a dragon. Not fun. It was so traumatic that we ended up forgetting which locker we had stored our stuff in, which lead to the supervisors having to call security to try and get it back. OH GOD. NOT GOOD. But, even the trauma couldn’t make me hate Universal. Universal is so much fun! I got to visit Jurassic Park and drink two varieties of butter beer and meet Spider Man and hang out with the Avengers and the Simpsons, I saved ET, became a minion and shot some aliens as part of the Men in Black team! I pretty much spent the entire day having a complete nerdgasm.
IMG_5885 IMG_5888 IMG_5962 IMG_5894

Butter Beer in the US is pretty much exactly the same as in Watford, only lighter in colour and a much larger portion (obviously). The Harry Potter magic continues into Diagon Alley where there is a Forlean Fortescue Ice Cream Parlour which has the most amazing ice cream flavours! I tried Butter Beer ice cream which was like a party in my mouth, even though I really shouldn’t be eating ice cream! Other flavours included Sticky Toffee Pudding, Apple Pie and various other excitements.  The only thing that I had a problem with at Universal is that there wasn’t a single place in the entire park that I could eat. I know that I’m a vegetarian, which is my own choice, but I am also allergic to milk… Which meant that even the stuff in Universal that didn’t have meat on it, did have cheese on it. That was a bit rubbish and sort of let the place down slightly because it did mean having to go most of the day without eating anything!

Day three was the big one: the Magic Kingdom.
IMG_5913Oh Dear God.
The Magic Kingdom is honestly the most beautiful place I have ever visited. I spent pretty much every day declaring that each park I visited was my favourite, but now having gotten home, Magic Kingdom has to claim the title. The amount of detail included in even little things like the dustbins and the pavement slabs was amazing, each section was so intricate and beautiful that I spent most of my time flailing over everything!
Pirates of the Caribbean is still my favourite ride, even if it is slightly more exciting in Paris, Haunted Mansion is also pretty great!
Tomorrowland was awesome, you might have noticed a pattern with my love of space and all, but I also had a lot of time for the Peter Pan and Little Mermaid rides, as well as Big Thunder Mountain. Of course, the best part of the Magic Kingdom is the food, we tried dole whip (amazing), dole whip floats (refreshing), funnel cake (pretty special), sweet potato nuggets (tasted a lot like donuts) they even have vegetarian food that doesn’t involve cheese! Well done Disney!
Though we didn’t get to see the famous parade that everyone says is incredible, we did get to watch the evening show, Wishes, which was by far the most amazing fire work display I have EVER seen. Seriously, I got emotional over fireworks. They started playing I see the Light from Tangled and I lost it a little bit. Many tears were shed which was a bit ridiculous but… I couldn’t help it, it was all so beautiful.

The next visit was to Hollywood Studios, when I was in Paris, I found that I much preferred the studio aspect of the park than the actual theme park bit, Hollywood Studios looked amazing and smelled amazing. First stop was The Great Movie Ride, which although wasn’t the best ride in the park, was a giant nerdgasm for me, being someone who loves films and wants to make them properly one day, the fact that we were wondering around a place that looked like a studio lot was very exciting. There was also an exhibition about Walt Disney and yes, ok, he was a bit of a racist, but I came out of there loving Walt Disney, apparently, Disney World was created because he wanted a place where he could spend time with his daughters and give other families the opportunity to spend time together, that’s just so lovely! Maybe Disney has become a corporate place where the point is to make money, but knowing that originally it was a place for families to experience joy together made the whole journey much more magical.
Hollywood Studios also has Star Tours, each time we rode it we got a different experience and we both ended up being selected as rebel spies at various points which was very exciting! There is also Toy Story Midway Mania, the best game on the planet, which I happen to be very good at. Of course sing a long Frozen had to be done, as did the Indiana Jones stunt show and meeting Hiro and Baymax.



My two favourite meals of the journey happened in Hollywood Studios, the first was in the Sci Fi Diner, where you get to sit in a booth designed to look like a car and watch an old fashioned drive in, they did put sugar and cinnamon on my sweet potato fries though, which was kind of odd… The other place was Pizza Planet, as in actual Pizza Planet from Toy Story! I was told before hand that Pizza Planet did vegan cheese, which I ordered, but the chap at the counter wasn’t overly sure that they could swap the cheese… Either way, the pizza was amazing and I didn’t feel too ill after, so I’m assuming that it was vegan cheese after all. The evening show at Hollywood Studios wasn’t as spectacular as Wishes, but it was pretty exciting, there was a lot of pyrotechnics and characters and was in equal parts terrifying and amazing.

The next park we experienced was Animal Kingdom which looked exactly like how I imagine Jurassic Park would have looked like if it had ever been a real place. Like Epcot, this was also a park that mainly dealt with conservation, there were areas where you could view rescued animals and even go on a safari, I’ve been to safari parks before, so that wasn’t too big a deal, but the amount of space and care that went into keeping the animals was a bit eye opening. Animal Kingdom also houses the world’s weirdest petting zoo (instead of rabbits and the like you are allowed to play with goats and pigs…) jungle treks where you can see beautiful birds and butterflies, a few animal themed rides and dino land. Dino land was my fave. Seriously, you got sent back into the past and got to try and find a dinosaur whilst being chased by another bigger dinosaur and trying to escape a meteor crash. Probably the best ride of the lot to be honest. Animal Kingdom is also the only place in the whole of Disney that has dedicated vegetarian restaurants. Like for serious. Also, their falafel is incredible. Unlike the others, it is a fairly small park, so after we visited all the bits we wanted to see, we headed to Downtown Disney, which is basically a shopping area that is disney inspired. There is also a Planet Hollywood where I got pasta and was warned that it didn’t come with meat. Like duh. Downtown Disney does have the world’s biggest Disney Store on it and I think I must be the only person in the world that couldn’t find what I wanted there, but I did get back in time to watch Game of Thrones. EXCITEMENTS.

There were also visits to Mall of Millenia, which was way more expensive than I thought it would be, it would have been better for us to go to the Florida Mall, where they have a Hot Topic (seriously, the UK needs a Hot Topic) but alas, they were too far away. And that concludes my trip to Florida, it was the most fun I think I have ever had, I’m already weighing up whether I should buy a house or save for another trip! Has anyone else ever been to Walt Disney World? What did you think? Did you like the foods I tried, was there anything else that I should have done? Let me know!



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