After returning from our cruise through the Bahamas and Western Caribbean, we had originally planned to spend our final few days in the US exploring the Florida Keys. Hurricane Irma put an end to that plan. With a lot of the infrastructure in southern Florida still recovering from the devastating hurricanes, we decided to head a few hours north to Orlando. And so we spent our last few days in the US, visiting Disney World in Orlando and pretty much relaxing (after all a caribbean cruise can be exhausting).
Disney World in Orlando is 40 square miles, or roughly the size of San Fransisco City. It is ginormous and actually comprises four different theme parks and about 1,000,000 different hotels (Ok, maybe not that many). We decided to visit two of the parks - Disney Animal Kingdom and Disney Magical Kingdom.
When you book tickets for Disney World online it shows you a calendar with the projected crowd numbers. According to the website, mid-October was a great time to visit with lower than normal crowds. By the time we had parked our car in one of those massive endless concrete carparks you see in the movies and then boarded the shuttle train to the front gate of the park, any thoughts of this being a 'quiet' day at Disney World had disappeared.
Despite the crowds, heat and humidity, we had a brilliant time at Disney Animal Kingdom. The park was much bigger than Disneyland in Anaheim and the different themed areas based on regions of the world was amazing. Thankfully the new online Fast Pass system meant that we could avoid the queues into a few rides throughout the day and we spent the rest of the day exploring the different animal enclosures within the park. Sienna managed to join in a couple of the street dancing parades, while Thomas proved that there is no roller coaster too big, scary or fast for him.
After a days rest we headed to Disney Magical Kingdom, which is broadly based on Disneyland in Anaheim. Thomas had already compiled his list of the scariest rides and rollercoasters, while Sienna made her list of the different characters she hoped to meet. We were thankful that a breeze kept the temperatures down and, more importantly, that the queue gods were smiling on us. By lunch time, we had ticked off almost a dozen rides and activities. After lunch, Thomas and I whip lashed our way around Space Mountain, while Karen and Sienna chose the more sedate but lots of fun, Buzz Light Year ride. Sienna also got to meet Mickey Mouse, which was definitely a highlight for her (even though she knows its a person in a suit, she is at that wonderful age where she can suspend logic and just go with the moment).
Having been on the road in the US and Canada for six weeks and driven more than 7,000kms, it was now time for us to head home. We had an important 90th birthday to celebrate and the last leg of our Big Lap to complete...
Disney Animal Kingdom
Disney Magical Kingdom
Back to Miami