Day Three - Full day at Epcot and the International Food and Wine Fesvital!

Our third day in Walt Disney World was spent entirely at Epcot getting to experience a lot of new things! Soarin’ Around The World was fantastic! So much better than Soarin' Over California, though I do admit that I miss the orange smell from the original. Because we're Chase cardholders, we got to go to a special meet and greet with Minnie and Pluto. We also met Baymax from Big Hero Six - probably the highlight of my life - and Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. We did pretty awesomely on this trip with some of our character meetings! We also got to meet Anna and Else, both of whom were beautiful and literally the ones from the movie.

We finally got to ride Frozen Ever After. Honestly, I was ready to hate it because I was SO angry that they got rid of the Maelstrom. I have been so annoyed how everyone is still freaking out over Frozen...HOWEVER, this ride was everything I could have ever hoped for a Disney ride! The most important thing to me is being immersed into the story that Disney is trying to tell with their rides, and Frozen Ever After might just be one of the most immersive Disney rides ever. It made me want to cry every single time. The animatronics are mind blowing, and if this is the future of Disney rides, I am going to be very satisfied. It also reminded me why Frozen was such a good movie in the first place (before people ruined it), so it’s become one of my top five favorite Disney attractions of all time.

We got to experience the International Food and Wine Festival for the first time! It was one of the primary reasons why we went during this time of year. We *almost* got around to trying one of almost everything at almost every one of the F&W carts this day. But we also kept receiving a lot of free goodies and treats because we were celebrating our birthdays/anniversary, so we wound up getting full earlier than we expected. We checked out the Chase Cardholder Lounge in the American Pavilion - and that was pretty sweet, though a little too crowded for my taste. There were some booths we just skipped the whole trip entirely - Africa, Australia, Canada, The Chew Collective, Chocolate Studio, Greenhouse Guru, Italy, Wine and Dine Studios - simply because it was food we wouldn’t eat (basically any Italian), or it was just too hot for what they were serving (like the soups).

F&W dishes we tried: The Belgium waffle with berry compote from Belgium...crispy pork belly and cheese bread from Brazil...chicken pot stickers and mango bubble tea from China...pretzel cheese dip and beer flight from Craft Beers...coke floats from Desserts and Champagne...loaded mac and cheese and raspberry, pear and elderberry hard ciders from Farm Fresh...escargot croissant from France...bratwurst and apple strudel from Germany...chicken gyro from Greece...pork slider and Florida sparkling wine from Hawaii...New England lobster roll and carrot cake from Hops and Barley...pumpkin chai tea from Ireland...mojo pork from Islands of the Caribbean...spicy sushi roll from Japan...shrimp taco from Mexico...spicy hummus fries from Morocco...green lip mussels from New Zealand...beef empanada from Patagonia...potato pierogi from Poland...potato pancake from Scotland...and barbeque beef from South Korea.

We both agreed that the worst dish we tried was the spicy hummus fries from Morocco. We got them because we heard such good things, but they were disgusting. The best dish we agreed on was the loaded mac and cheese from Farm Fresh, which we had also heard many good things about and, luckily, it turned out to be right. My personal favorite dish was the spicy sushi roll from Japan, and hubby's favorite dish was the escargot croissant from France!

We left before the nighttime show because we’ve seen it so many times, and honestly, the screens/video on the globe needs to be updated. I'd like to see them utilize the geodesic sphere with projections someday. By the time we did get back to our resort, however, we were hungry again and picked up a delicious cheeseburger and fries - plus a free birthday cupcake! - from the food court, then promptly fell asleep.

Day Four - Half day at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom!

When I woke up on the fourth day, FIVE hot air balloons were floating over our resort. It was so cool, but I never did figure out why there were so many! We started our day at Hollywood Studios and, of course, rode the Tower of Terror as much as possible (one of our most favorite rides). But because the park is under such heavy construction, we were only there for about three hours before we had done/seen everything we wanted to. I am excited for Toy Story Land to open - even if I wish it were more of a Pixar Land than a single film focused area. Star Wars Land will be cool too, though I'm still not a fan of the fact that they removed the Sorcerer's Hat, though...

We went back to our resort and took a nap, then changed and headed out to our lunch at Sanaa in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We were really excited for this restaurant because we had heard so many good things about it...but we actually wound up really disliking the entire thing. The bread service was pretty cool, but otherwise, I think we discovered that that style food just isn’t for us. Seeing the animals outside the windows was so cool, though, and I know husband dreams of staying in that resort someday.

We ended our night at Animal Kingdom. This has also always been a half day park, but we wanted to spend the evening at it this time to see the new Tree of Life show. We were bummed that the water show STILL isn’t up and running and seeing the empty amphitheater made me sad. I also had THE BIGGEST panic attack of the entire trip at this park, because as we were getting on the Expedition Everest, we had to walk past a kid who had just thrown up (it was already covered up by the time we got there, but he was still sitting there in front of a trash can). Throw up is my number one anxiety trigger, so I just about lost my mind - although in all my trips to any Disney park, that is the one and only time I had ever seen an evident of someone being sick. Which is not bad, and means the cast members at Disney parks are great. After that, we met Mickey and Minnie in their safari outfits, and I think Mickey knew I had been upset because he gave be the nicest, longest hug ever. It made me feel so much better.

I've never been a fan of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride because every time I'd go on it, I'd never see any animals. We decided to give the night-time version a try, and it was so good! We saw so many animals, and it was such a neat experience to do that in the dark. It was like a whole new ride for us! We picked up our favorite treats from Starbucks (which we totally approve of being in the parks, especially because it’s not obnoxious) and they wrote Princess Erika and Prince Camden on our items. :) Finally, we watched a few different versions of the Tree Of Life Awaken Show, and it was so beautiful. We wish it were a full running show instead of few minute clips and then long intermissions in between, though.

We got to meet Pocahontas while there. She is one of my favorite princesses, and I'm actually related to the real life one. I had never met her before, so I was super excited when we did! But since this park is such a quick park for us too, this was our only visit to it during this trip. However, we’ve never seen any of the shows there - which we have to do - and I'm sure once Avatar Land opens (we’re so excited about it!), it’ll make it even better.