Friday, September 06, 2013

Thanksgiving at Disney: A Trip Report - Day 8 - Can't Get Enough Epcot!

The first time my brother-in-law told me about EPCOT's International Gateway, I thought he was playing a trick on me! A "back door" into my favorite park? Just a quick boat ride in from Disney's Hollywood Studios? It allows you to enter the park right at World Showcase? No way! Well, my friends, it is true and open to all! The International Gateway is all those things, and it's how we entered EPCOT for our last trip into the park on this trip.  As you can see, my super family loves this park entrance!

The beauty of vacationing at Walt Disney World multiple times is that you can take time to stroll through parks in a leisurely manner.  No need to rush through.  If you miss something, you'll do it next time. It gives you time to try something new without feeling like you're missing things too. Prior to this trip, LaRae and I had gotten the numbers for the phone booths in England. Once we got the kids to go into the booth, we called them. I put on my best Mary Poppins voice and had some fun with them! (Sadly when LaRae and I went back in March, the numbers we had would not work. *sad face*)

Who's calling us?

At this point we were all super hungry. Lunch at Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion is another family favorite.  No, there's no honey mustard in the pump, but the servings are large enough to share, and the food is delicious! I always look around and then get my old standby: rotisserie chicken. The yellow rice and beans that it's served with are the perfect compliment to the moist, savory chicken.

Since this final jaunt to EPCOT was about just staying calm and having a bit of time in the park before afternoon rest time, we spent a while looking through Mouse Gears for last minute purchases, and we visited Club Cool to sample the beverages. Joshua LOVED Beverly! No joke, he kept asking for more!
More Beverly, please!

Somehow we'd made it all of these days without thanking the Phoenicians. That meant a trip on Spaceship Earth was an absolute must! While LaRae and Randy ran to the restroom and figured some things out for the afternoon, I stood under Spaceship Earth and had the kids run to the fountain for me to test the camera zoom. It kept them quite entertained, and I really enjoyed the photos I ended up with!
Switch places!

On the way out of the park, I bid a fond farewell to one of my favorite characters, and we got one last PhotoPass photo. Check out the awesome flare in the photo!

Now this is where things got a little tricky. Remember how I said that we had to change resorts because we decided to stay an extra night after we'd already made our reservations? We decided we would do something cheap for the final night. After our morning at Disney's Hollywood Studios and lunchtime at EPCOT, we loaded into the van and went to check in at Holiday Inn Resort at Lake Buena Vista.

For a budget "resort," I was fairly pleased. Our room (yes, we went from a condo to ONE room) had a king size bed, 2 pairs of bunk beds, 2 desks, a fridge, a nice countertop area, and a fairly large bathroom. The bunk beds were in a separated area of the room with walls around it but no door. The walls did not go all the way to the ceiling, but they did give us a sense of privacy when we slept which was pretty nice. For our family of 5, it would have been a bit cramped if we'd stayed here for an extended time, but for a family on a budget (maybe with one less adult because those bunk beds were not comfy for me) who doesn't plan to spend a ton of time at the resort, I'd recommend it. The pool area was really nice, but we didn't swim.

Here's where the "tricky" part came in. We packed just well enough to move our stuff planning to pack better at the new hotel. When we started to pack for the airplane, LaRae and I realized things weren't fitting back in the assigned number of bags as they should. (Yay for shopping!) While the kids laid down for a nap, Randy went to WalMart (again) to get us space saver bags. I'm going to stop here and say these are a must have on trips for me! Get the kind that you roll to remove the air from, and put your dirty clothing in them on the way home. Leaves space for souvenirs and makes for easy unpacking when you get home. Space saver bags purchased and packed, we got everything ready to where we could crawl right into bed when we got back from Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party that night and would be ready to go fairly easily in the morning when we got up for our flight. Things might have been tense there for a bit, but changing resorts wasn't nearly as bad as I was worried it would be since we timed it with our afternoon rest time.

Next week we'll start the end of the series with Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. If you've ever wondered if the price was worth the party, you should come back next week. Monday I'll share our pre-parade antics. Wednesday you'll be able to join us at the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Friday I'll share how we made the most of the post-parade time in the park (until it closed)! We're two weeks away from the end of this trip. Can you believe it?

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