Walt Disney World Vacation: Days 1 & 2 (Disney Springs & Magic Kingdom, Epcot) – 9.29-30.19
October 25, 2019 | Travel Photography
I’ve been pretty burnt out on shows this year but hey, I went to Walt Disney World with my family back in September/October. It was the first time going there in over 15 years for me and first time my son went to WDW. It was a great vacation and we managed to do a lot of stuff, even though he’s a 4 years old. Surprised me on what he went on.
For these write-ups, I’m just going to talk about the trip and only show non-family type of photos of WDW. Every time I went to Disney, I would bring my camera but this was the first time bringing a digital camera. I’ve always used a film camera so it was nice to finally bring good gear down there. Granted it was only 1 lens (24-70mm f2.8) the entire time, still got some cool shots.
We landed in the afternoon on Sunday September 29th, hung out by the pool at Port Orleans French Quarter and waited for our bags to show up. We used Magic Express Bus which is great, except next time I will just take my bag with me. I hated not having my luggage for a few hours and wondering when it was going to show up. By the time we were ready to go out to Disney Springs, the bags show up and was able to change into some less smelly clothes.
We had Dinner reservations at like 7:30pm at the T-Rex Cafe since my son Connor loves dinosaurs. A little late for dinner but that’s all that was available. We decided to go to Disney back in late May/early June which seemed even too late to decide since you can book dinner reservations up to 160 days or something. so had to make due with what was available. We took the boat to Disney Springs, which was pleasant despite the constant horn honking from the boats.
I haven’t been to Disney Springs area in a long time. I remember it as Pleasure Island with the comedy club, House of Blues and things like that. I saw Michael Rose and Andrew Tosh there one time on vacation with my parents. Things have changed but it’s a nice shopping spot on a off-day for Disney. T-Rex Cafe was cool inside with all the different rooms and my son loved it. Maybe a little scared to pose next to the T-Rex in front. Afterwards, my son did the dino digging thing outside and it was getting late so we had to leave. No dessert that evening unfortunately because Disney Springs looked like they had a lot of good stuff there.
The next morning was Magic Kingdom and had to wake up early but not as early as I’d like. We still managed to get to Magic Kingdom during Early Magic Hours opening at 6:45am and took some photos with the Disney PhotoPass. Highly recommend getting that even if you bring a camera. I wish I took more pictures with it but sometimes the photographers wouldn’t be around as much. Epcot, they were really scarce.
We headed towards Seven Mines Car Train ride to rope drop that. Of course it was down and we stayed in line to ride it because the line is usually 60 minutes long. We didn’t wait long and it was our turn to go on. Thankfully my son didn’t cry or get upset on that. He seemed a little bit in shock but he managed. I think he was more afraid to go on Peter Pan and Mickey’s Philharmagic because of the darkness of those attractions. We were warming him up to the rides since this was his first time and barely made it over the 40 inch height requirements on the rides. We did It’s A Small World, the carousel, Dumbo, and the Barnstormer, which he loved. The line wasn’t too crazy so we did that back to back.
We did Little Mermaid ride, which wasn’t there when I was there last back in 2003/2004. We walked over to Liberty Square to see the Muppets show that they did there, to talk about American History. We caught the very end of it, so for the hell of it went inside the Hall of Presidents. Connor definitely got bored of that and I enjoyed the majority of it, until the current “president” was speaking and I was having a tough time holding back laughter. I was joking that that rest of the Hall of Presidents animatronics voted to impeach out of the Hall of Presidents.
We waited a few minutes for the next Muppets showing since we wanted to see that since Disney stupidly was getting rid of that. It was probably the best thing they have done since Muppets 3D. They haven’t really done a good job on that franchise since they took it over. It’s a shame, hopefully they will bring it back and expand on it. Muppets need more of a presence at the parks and feel like they are just shutting all their stuff down.
We walked down to Adventureland for Pirates of course, which is always a blast. I haven’t been on the new version with Captain Jack and Barbosan added to it so was interesting to see what they added. I felt like the ride was longer to me back in the day, at least the old version. Love the smell of that ride. The gunpowder and fire. Got to get me one of those candles that has that scent. After that we had FastPass for Jungle Cruise so we did that, which I haven’t done in a very long time since it’s kind of lame. It’s still silly but depends on who you get as a captain of the boat.
By this point, got some food and then got out of the parks which was later than we wanted. Our goal was to leave after lunch because it gets too hot, too crowded and the lines are nuts then so went back to the pool for a but and relaxed.
That night I made the silly choice of going to Epcot to see the last ever Illuminations since we used to see that all the time with my family. My Dad loved that so I felt the need to show Connor. All of Orlando seemed to be there that night and was the most crowded I’ve ever seen it. We got through the slow security line, and went to Soarin’. This time we brought our stroller because even though my son can walk, he still wants to be picked up a lot when we don’t have it so felt like we needed that. Well, after we got out of Soarin’, that Florida weather of course, it was pouring out! Thankfully it didn’t last but the stroller was soaked. I put my cheapo poncho on top so Connor could sit in the stroller still.
We went to Spaceship Earth and did that, Connor was bored. I like the ride but even I was starting to get bored with it. I remember it being so much better with the narrations of Walter Cronkite and Jeremy Irons. The Judi Dench one just wasn’t as powerful with the narration for me. It’s closing for 2 years now so I hope they get someone better and they make the ride less…boring.
We wanted to grab some food at Food & Wine festival at this point. We tried to find anything since we were starving but World Showcase was mobbed from the last ever Illuminations. Got some beef in France, and something in Italy and we were hanging out in that area for awhile. Connor LOVED the trains in Germany, so much so that we had to go back there 2 other times to see them for our trip. It’s a bit insane that something like that is the highlight of Disney trip. Once we got Connor out of there, we started to walk closer to Mexico to watch the fireworks, then it started to rain again so we got sheltered at Nigeria booth.
It was time for the show and I put Connor on my shoulders since it was like 10 people deep of a row to see the fireworks and Illuminations show. I made sure people behind me could see since I hated that when I wasn’t a parent. It wasn’t raining at this point, or maybe drizzling and the fireworks were amazing as usual for Illuminations. After that, made the mad dash to the Buses and managed to get on the first one without waiting. The next morning, we were going to wake up at 5:30am, and try to be at Disney Hollywood Studios for 6:30. Woof but it was so worth it!
More to come….
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Tags: disney park photography, disney world, epcot, Florida, hall of presidents, illuminations, last ever illuminations, little mermaid, magic kingdom, muppets, orlando, pirates of the caribbean, theme park, travel photos, vacation, walt disney world, WDW