Yes, you read that right… we are doing it all again! Not sure really why we are up for this, but we got a fantastic deal on our tickets for the theme parks which gives us the opportunity to keep going for a while. So we decide to do all the parks again for a week to make sure we have not missed a single attraction/show/parade :-p.
Day 8: EPCOT Re-run
EPCOT is the park that is open the longest, until 21:30, so we are in no rush to go there as we plan to stay till the end to see the parks closing show. So we spend the morning running errands, doing laundry and clearing out a few things. We do have a deadline though as at 1pm the virtual queue for the Guardian of the Galaxy ride opens up. We arrive just in time to claim a spot, which is very close to the park’s closure some 8 hours later, so we were really close to missing it!
We start this round with all the rides at the front of the park which are the older rides here and are actually surprisingly entertaining! Especially Soarin’ where you sit in a glider type ride and fly over some of the most beautiful parts of the world is a really cool experience. It is easy to spend a few hours in this part of the park, and we even catch a picture moment with Mickey without a 1hr line! Then it is on to the RV for a quick dinner before the last leg of the day/night in EPCOT. In this park the Frozen attraction is the one with the long lines that never let up, so we saved it for last, but we now have to suck it up and get in line.
With more than an hour until the Galaxy call-back we should be able to do both. But as we are in line for 15 minutes our group is called and we face a dilemma as staying in line could mean us missing our window for that. So we get out of the Frozen line and head out to the Galaxy ride which again proves to be epic. As we head back to Norway to buy a gift we see the waitline for Frozen drop to 40 minutes… again a dilemma: Frozen or the fireworks show that starts in 15 minutes? We go for Frozen and miraculously make it to the ride in 10 minutes, which means we are out before the fireworks show which is breathtaking and a memorable way to end our day in EPCOT; All the boxes ticked 😊.
Day 9: Animal Kingdom Re-run
With Animal Kingdom closing at 7pm we are not going there too late, so we arrive at its doorstep 10am. It is a busier day than the last time we were here, so we pick and choose some of the less crowded rides first that we have already done, and spend some more time in the dinosaur playground that we missed last time we were here. It is really relaxing to do a park again after a good full day at first, as the pressure is really off. We take the Jungle Safari again, this time with a much shorter row so a good deal all around.
We also get to finish the Wilderness Explorer booklets that we still were missing a few stickers in, and hand them in to get the Explorer badge…. Which turns out to be a sticker as well ☹… After all our Junior Ranger adventures in the National Parks it is quite disappointing that a park like Disney can not come up with a proper badge or patch for this scavenger hunt? We shake off the disappointment at the Lion King show which is really entertaining, and then roll back towards the Himalayas for another ride on the Yeti rollercoaster (another favorite!).
Now the difficult decision comes: do we get in line for the Avatar ride with almost 2h wait? Mom is for sure not, but Luc and Sven want to do it again, so they head out to the wait while Bo and mom go around a few more rides and catch the park’s closing show on the tree of life before heading back to the RV and preparing dinner – one of the great perks of the RV – which is ready right as Sven and Luc come back almost 2h later. We have officially ticked off all there is to do in Animal Kingdom, one of our favorite parks!
Day off – Saturday Break
So technically we could go to a theme park again today (we have a 14-day pass for Disney), but we need a breather before our last theme park leg and want to enjoy the great campground we have been staying at in the last week. This means the boys enjoy themselves all day playing in the dirt and discovering the park we are staying at including its playground and kids farm while we take our time to relax and get some more things done in the RV. With the end of our journey drawing nearer it is time to start clearing out stuff and take inventory of all the things we have in the RV that we may or may not want to take back home, so it is a perfect day to do that!
Day 10: Volcano Bay Re-run
The waterpark of Universal is so much fun that we decide to tackle it once more, and use our final day of the pass we bought for a combined day of the theme parks. Unfortunately the weather is not really cooperating, which means we spend again a very quiet day with no lines in the park, but the cold is a bit of a damper on the joy. Halfway through it looks like it might actually improve, only to go grey again straight after. This of course does not take away the fun of the park for the boys, as they continue to run around and play, alternated by a warm shower.
For the parents however it is chilly to sit around, and later in the day it is even warmer to be in the pools than it is out of them. We take turns in relaxing and reading vs taking slides and rides with the boys, and while we are all kind of freezing at the end of it (the showers are also not very hot so no end of day heating up), it was still a lot of fun. We bike back from the valet parking to our campsite for a very tasty hamburger meal prepped by our F&B master Sven, and look forward to a last day of Universal!
Day 11: Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure Re-run
Being able to combine the two parks at random through the fun Hogwarts Express ride between them is really a great way to park hop and make the most out of Universal on our last day. We start off by the race through NY with Jimmy Fellon, then do a smooth round of Transformers, E.T. and Men in Black before taking the train out to the Islands of Adventure park. It is really fun to do these parks with no pressure of having to do many of the rides still, so we do the full rounds and hop around finding the best waiting times to make the most of the day. We missed the Poseidon’s Fury the last time we visited so we tackle that now and it actually turns out to be really fun!
At the end of the day we finish up in Harry Potter land of course, as the crowds get lower and the X-mas light shows get activated. We have to conclude that what the rest of the Universal parks are missing in atmosphere, is made up for in the part that is Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. As we are dead set on taking Hagrid’s rollercoaster again we decide to do that last, and thus exit the park through the main exit of IoA. As it is late already and we still have to bike back, we order a two foot long hot dog as a quick snack, so we make the bike ride easy and can go straight into bed when we get there. Universal Florida; Done and dusted!
Day 12: Magic Kingdom Re-run
While the day before was quite full, we are all awake quite early today, maybe it is the excitement for the ‘main’ park of Disney? So we get up, have breakfast and get on our way to do a re-run of the park. This still means we get there 1 hour after early admission, but interestingly the Seven Dwarfs ride (that usually backs up very quickly in the day) has a 45 minute stand-by line so we make a dash for it to get it off our list early in the day. As we enter the line however it creeps up to an hour and turns out to be even slightly longer, but hey anything to tick it off and move on.
The rest of the day we are pleasantly surprised by lines being much shorter than posted, and overall it being a quite relaxed day to visit the park. We opted again for a park day with a X-mas party event in the evening, as it forces us to leave on time (6pm) and means the crowds during the day are lower. Proves to be very successful, not in the least because our long day the day before and early rise kick in at some point and the moods begin to turn. Time to chill and catch some parades and a ride on the river steam boat before wrapping up the day in the Haunted Mansion.
We are proud to say we have not skipped one attraction at MK between the two days we visited and managed to re-do quite a long list of them as well, while soaking in the X-mas atmosphere. While officially the last time we see the park, we may still opt to hop here tomorrow on our last day, but for now we make some pasta in the Disney parking lot before driving back for a last night in the campground. One more day of Disney to go!
Day 13: Hollywood Studios Re-run (and a bit of EPCOT and MK)
This final day in the parks we decide to give the priority program of Disney a go: Genie+. To make the most of that, mom gets up at 6:45 to bike to the campground reception and use the Wi-Fi to purchase this service AND make sure the first attraction reservation is done at 7:00 sharp… the things you do… But as this is successful, we have a relaxed breakfast and head out to the final park on repeat: Hollywood Studios. Last time we were here we ignored the Toy Story part of it as the lines were much too long, but this time we make sure we tick off the attractions here.
Other highlights were the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster and the Star Wars ride that is most popular and thus a lengthy line. We do not have priority there so we get in line and use the time to play the online game provided for those waiting and checking in on our next priority attractions. As we are quite efficient this way and have no other must-do’s here, we take another ‘ride’; the skyliner – a cable cart that connects Hollywood Studios to Epcot and a fun experience in itself. This way we get to spend a few more hours in Epcot where we take on our favorite rides again.
If that were not enough, we then upon return take the RV and drive to our final park of the day: Magic Kingdom, which today closes only at 11pm, so we have plenty of time in the evening to enjoy it. With our priority service we get to go on rides quite quickly, but it is clear that the crowds are getting heavier and our timings for the other days here were spot on. Of course the one thing we have not seen yet is the fireworks show at night in this park, which is a great experience and now tops the list of closing shows, pushing Epcot’s to 2nd place. With a few more rides we finish our theme park adventure and head back super tired… We need a break after this!
Next week: Cruising the Carribean!