All the Parks we visited – as captioned by Marike ;)

When telling someone about Disney World, I always tell them there are two extremes. Either I can rave about how fantastic it was, (detail, acting, colours . . . ) or I can tell you exactly why you should never visit Disney World ever.

I really enjoyed the experience of all the parks we visited, but I have to admit that in the end I was really tired. Not just of walking all day long, but also of being brainwashed. Disney has this thing that everybody has to be happy all the time. That it doesn’t matter what you believe in, you must just believe, as if that is the objective in itself. While you are in the middle of the fireworks and lights it all seems as if it could be almost true, and there is where I find the problem.

However, apart from the brainwashing aspect of the Disney parks, it was a lot of fun, even though we were exhausted at the end of each day! We were there when the parks opened, backpacks stuffed with all manner of snacks, water bottles full and lots of energy.

We were quite limited as to what we could take into the park, since my Mom can’t eat any sugar or starch products. One of the tastes I most vividly link with the Disney parks, is nuts. We would each have a bag of nuts and raisins packed, and that would be one of our snacks.

Here are all five parks summed up in some photos. (There are quite a few of them. Fair warning.)



01Our first Disney park we visited was Epcot. In this photo we are hurrying over to the very first ride (which turned out a little disappointing, as it didn’t complete it’s run) and as you can see, none of us are paying any attention to cameras at this critical stage of “hurry, hurry, hurry!”.







When we planned our Disney park days (we had a big fat book that told us where to be at what time) we did NOT include “character greetings.” It seems like a really silly thing to do – have a picture taken of you greeting an unknown person in a suit! But once you’ve been in the park for a while, I guess you catch the disease – even if only a little – and you feel more inclined to imagine along with everybody else that this is actually Pluto, and not some poor employee (or ‘cast member’) sweating away inside the highly colourful suit to get his/her pay check.


Donald Duck by Disney World EPCOT

We were overcome by Donald Duck. 😉 At that point between country pavilions (we had just come from “Mexico” where there had been a ‘The Three Cabelairos’ ride in which Donald had starred), the line was short – and Donald looked so cute in the Mexican outfit!

So out came our little books, which we had brought for the purpose of stamping at the Kidcot stations around the lands, and we all had him sign our books. XD

Four in a row – that’s not a thing to be undertaken lightly, especially with gloves on!


These photos represent the ‘Frozen’ attraction. When the movie “Frozen” came out and was such a big success, Disney made the most out of it by changing the Norway pavilion into a Frozen country. Easy enough to do, since Frozen is based on Norway anyway!

In the photo below you can see us standing in line and as you may notice, the line does not seem so very long. It is my personal opinion that Disney has perfected the art of stretching out your patience. They do not show you how long the line actually is, therefore you are able to be more patient than is your habit. Also, if by chance you actually do happen to catch a glimpse of the line, you would typically already have been standing for 20 minutes. So you just give in.  

You wait in a state of constant hopefulness, that maybe around this bend, maybe, just maybe, you will actually be there. Or at least close to there. Surely within 15 people of there . . .

(That was the longest line we had in the whole collection of Disney parks!)0809One of the decorations while you wait in line – open the picture to full size so you can fully appreciate the notice board. 😉


Here Karin is posing next to a ‘stone’ lion in the China pavilion. If you look to where I drew an arrow pointing to under the lion’s front right paw, you will see a grey ball under it. This was part of the “missions” you could do with Perry the Platypus from the Disney show “Phineas and Ferb”. This is an area where Disney world really excels – animatronics, sound and visual effect perfectly coordinated.

In this specific mission, we, as Agent Z, were pretending to be Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s contact. To activate the effects, you follow the program on your phone (helpfully installed by an employee of Disney), which tells you where to be when you press your button.

The results were very varied and amazing. Among others we recovered a monkey statue from a pond with much bubbling of the waters and sound effects, rang a gong to warn the ‘pandas’ to flee china, and opened a window using a laser-beam. In this case our button made Dr. Doofenshmirtz aware of our presence, so that he ‘took away’ some stone and peeked from the ensuing hole. (This was all done by projecting an image on the inside of the screen which makes up the grey ball.)


From here you can see the lake, with Epcot’s landmark white ball in the background. It’s around this lake that all the ‘land pavilions’ are arranged.


Just had to take a photo here – this is in the England pavilion, and since at that stage both my dad and I drank tea from the Twinings brand, we thought it appropriate to take a photo.


It is very very difficult to take a photo of any type of fireworks show. Epcot has a really big display (I cannot imagine what Disney parks spend on fireworks every day!), which includes sound effects – music, not just the bang of the fireworks – lasers and a big “earth” float that sails out onto the lake. Compared with the other Disney parks’ fireworks, I’d give it a 4 out of 5.


             Animal Kingdom


Disney Animal Kingdom - D'Vine

Look closely at the photo on the right> > > > >

Still don’t know what you’re looking at?

Look closer . . .

Disney Animal Kingdom - D'Vine

‘De-vine’ was one of the artists you could see around the park. She walks around on stilts and has poles for her hands, so that when she is walking around she looks like a giraffe. When she isn’t, (which is most of the time), she drapes herself over trees and lampposts, looking like a . . . well, vine!


24These are all “ruins from India” built for decoration, and I think they did their job really well!

Disney Animal Kingdom - a Hidden Mickey



Here Sophia is pointing out a ‘hidden micky’. Built into quite a lot of the decorations, you can find the trademark mouse ears almost anywhere if you look hard enough.







Here we are listening attentively as this lady tells us about the ferret she is holding. This was at a more isolated part of the park, as you had to get on a little train to reach it. There were no “rides” and was the most like a zoo of the whole place. Our guide book had reported that people didn’t really enjoy this part of the park so much, as there isn’t much action, but we could have spent our entire day there! I mean, people were rotating with different animals on display, (after the ferret came an owl), just waiting around to tell someone about it.



29Here are two photos to show you how many animals were “carved” into the trunk of that big tree! I have no idea how long it took the artists to make that tree, but I do know they add some roots to it from time to time.


30Appropriate to do a ‘meet and greet’ with the mice, since they are just SO Disney, and it was fun to do it at their ‘traveling station’.

31This one is just a really nice family photo to end the day with. The mountain in the background is in the “Asia” section of Animal kingdom, and the whole thing is basically hollow, with the ride ‘Mount Everest” housed inside. (That was SUCH an awesome ride! In terms of detail  (Disney’s main feature) and thrill. It was great for the whole family, and us girls even did it twice. We did it as soon as we entered the park, which was good, since by the end of the day we were way too tired to appreciate it enough.





Before going in.


33There were only a few rides in Sea world compared to a Disney park, but these had a much bigger ‘thrill’ factor! (I.e., they were real roller coasters!)

Manta you climbed into a hanging seat (a lot like the ‘Anaconda’ ride in Gold Reef City, SA) but then before the ride begins, you are tilted completely so that you are lying horizontally, tummy down. It was a really smooth ride, and we all enjoyed it a lot! ^_^ If it hadn’t been high season I know I would have done that one over a few times in a row!


34“Mako” was the newest roller coaster at Sea World, and absolutely THE one to go on! Mako is a type of really fast swimming shark, and this ride was modelled after it, going at 117kmp, it has some really high (up to 60m tall) lift hills. It is credited with being the fastest, tallest coaster in Orlando.

Sophia said she would go on it.

Sophia DID go in it.

From the first drop, Sophia never stopped screaming.

She went on it a second time!

It was a really awesome roller coaster (I love thrill rides 😉 ) but after the first drop, when all the rest of us had basically stopped screaming, Sophia was still at it! She was terrified! It was as though her screaming was completely out of her control – she only inhaled long enough to scream out all the air again. Franci and I were sitting next to her and tried to soothe her but didn’t do much good.Afterwards she said she hadn’t been at all aware of us.  I was really rattled – her staccato screams will be something hard to forget.

However, once we exited the ride and had all apologised sincerely to Sophia for having convinced her to come onto the ride, Dad, Franci and I saw that the line had not yet, increased very noticeably in length. We decided to ride again quickly before lines became unmanageable later ……. and Sophia came with us! We were very surprised, but she wanted to come. This time she kept her eyes open, so she wasn’t quite as frightened and her screaming had toned down somewhat, although that involuntary quality was still present.

My very, very brave Sophia had a sore throat after all of that and abstained from joining us on the Kraken. However, she did come with us on Manta, and enjoyed it tremendously. ^_^ (She informs me that she did enjoy Mako better the second time round, and Karin told me I could put in that she was too cowardly to ride on ANY of the roller coasters there.)



The “Antarctica” section of SeaWorld.

No, we are NOT actually cold – it was Florida and summer, that equals HOT


37The Kraken. I want you to particularly make note of these photos, because Karin was the one who took them. On the left there is Sophia with “The Kraken”- the name of the ride – and below is Franci, my Dad and I riding it. This photo is worth notice because of the amount of photos Karin had to take to get this specific one. When they first noticed it was possible to see the riders at some point in the track, she started taking photos – needless to say, she had to discard a lot of them before we appeared. 😉





SeaWorld had various shows that you can watch during the day. There is of course, the Sea Lion show – except that this one unexpectedly included a Walrus! (We had NOT been expecting that one).


The major show SeaWorld had to offer was their Orca show. Of course it’s very impressive. I’ve never seen Killer Whales in captivity before – to say nothing of them doing tricks – but it still wasn’t my favourite show.


Just a really cute photo 😉


We had seen manatees before in Puerto Rico, but only from a distance – this was so cool! We were there right at feeding time and it was so cute to see the small manatees use their . . . I’m not sure if you call them flippers? . . . like hands to bring the salad leaves up to their mouths. It was adorable!

43We could even see them from below!

They are really fascinating creatures. Those huge bodies all built up from leaves, and the way they look bloated all the time. Completely different to anything I’ve ever seen before. I supposed the captive ones would be better fed than the wild ones though.

I really like them.


Here you can see them between meals . ^_^ Not satisfied with the huge quantity of leaves provided for them, they insist on devouring the scenery as well!

The little one on the right was pushing himself up into the crevice to try and reach the ferns. ^_^





Dolphins =)



Sophia watching the dolphins

Here are three photos from the underwater viewing chamber where we went to hide from the sun before the Dolphin show.

Air conditioned, relatively quiet, it was somewhere to reload our depleted resources.


Our two Karins trying to stretch out the reprieve as long as possible



Me, (Marike), standing in just the right place at the right time.

50Included in SeaWold’s selection of shows there is, of course, also the Dolphin show.

We consulted our book as to what shows and rides to attend on our SeaWorld day, and the commentary they had for the dolphin show was that it is “people and animals doing tricks we’ve seen before.”

For us, it was the best show of the day! Trapeze artists and birds hadn’t featured in the dolphin shows I’ve had the privilege of seeing.

There are many photos of these, but I only included the photo below . . .

49THIS trick I have never ever seen before!

It was really an impressive show, and we loved it! ^_^












This is a touch tank where you can touch some little sharks.  (We all touched the sharks! ^_^)



Magic Kingdom

54The “Seven Dwarves mine train” was our first ride for the day. It was set up really elaborately, with perhaps the most decorative line that I’ve seen in Disney world. They even had the key outside the mine!



I do not count this as a roller coaster. (As I’ve said before, my idea of a roller coaster is more like Mako or Kraken), but it was very beautiful. 😉 Excellent detail everywhere!


Cinderella's Sisters

These are Cinderella’s stepsisters. What I love about the two actresses who were impersonating them is how well the acting compensates for anything you may find lacking in their get-up. They simply ARE the step-sisters, with all the mannerisms, remarks and voices (as good as can be expected) fully embodied.


When my parents had visited Disney world before we were born, they had taken a photo here. (Only my Dad had been in that one though.)


I REALLY liked all the references to the movie ‘Tangled’ they had! It was the most realistic and beautiful.


Rapunzel’s tower! It’s only a little one, but on the photo it looks like a big one in the distance. 😉

Disney - Hollywood Studios - Buzz Lightyear character meet

Buzz Light-year also seemed to be a meet-and-greet worth doing. The time we spent in line for that also gave us time to chomp on a snack and rest a bit before moving on to the next item.



The iconic Disney World castle! I remember seeing adverts for Disney world when I was little, and I seriously never thought I’d actually ever go there! ;P


65To attend a parade had not been on our list of things to do, since it just eats away time you could have spent somewhere else. (Preferably somewhere air-conditioned.)

I’m very glad we did get caught up in a parade though – it has the same elements as a carnival parade, (floats and in-between character dancers), but done with A LOT more excellence!

<<<<<< The ‘Tangled’ float was my favourite!


“Flinn Rider” just looked SO exactly right! You can see him on one of the swinging “axes” here, with Maximus (the horse), on the opposite side.



The “Frozen” float



Peter pan


69<<<<The Peter Pan float. (You can just make out Captain Hook on the swinging pendulum anchor under the rainbow.)


This is the “Brave” float. I admire the way they made her hair very realistically. >>>>>>>


Some of the dancers that came before the “Brave” float.





Here we are following a treasure map. It’s a lot like the missions you do in Epcot with Perry the Platypus, but here you get a card. You press this card onto the swallow sign at the locations the map leads you to. Again, different things can happen.


Sophia pressing the card to the powder horn. Result: a spark travels down the trail of powder to reach a chest which is then blown to pieces. I can’t remember if it revealed a treasure or not. Probably not. 😉


74Tom Sawyer’s Island was awesome! Here you can see a sign that was supposedly put up by Tom that reads:










The fireworks over the castle are the prettiest Disney world has to offer, in my opinion. It is still VEERY hard to photograph fireworks, but I think in this case Franci captured it very nicely.








Hollywood Studios

78I think Hollywood studios is a little empty of attractions compared with the other parks, but it was almost more fun because we didn’t have to rush about quite as much.

The whole place was definitely Star Wars mad!


A walker!



We firmly decided before coming to Disney world that we would never buy anything inside the parks. It just isn’t worth it.

I think if I hadn’t been convinced of this I might have bought this Sven teddy. ^_^



We went to go see the “Indiana Jones Stunt show spectacular” and I was one of the extras! ^_^ We had read in our trusty book that the best way to get picked for an extra is to “jump up and down, showing unbridled enthusiasm.” They had failed to mention that the candidate should be at least 18, so none of my sisters could try to get in, but I was old enough with a week to spare. 😉

When they called us onto the stage, the first stunt had been completed, and while they were introducing us to the audience they were changing the scenery behind me. Of course they only introduced us to buy time with the scene shifting, but it was completely disorientating to find that the wall had suddenly vanished into sunshine and buildings.





The Tower of Terror is behind us, which was my favourite ride in Hollywood Studios. It was like a giant lift going up, and then falling down, just to stick and then fall again! It was a lot of fun. My favourite part was that my bag, which had been on my lap, started rising up into the air on a fall! That was so cool.


As I said, Hollywood Studios is Star Wars crazy, and here are a few of the sights we saw while at the park:





A tiny little BB8! Soooooo adorable! When we came out from meeting Chewbucca, this little robot was running around on the floor – the operator wasn’t immediately apparent so it almost looked alive! Sooooooooo cute!


Disney - Hollywood Studios - Princess Sophia character meet

Sophia meeting ‘Princess Sofia the First.’ (So cute! ^_^)


Right at the end we got Karin’s favourite character’s signature – Pluto! She likes him the best because he is a dog. 😉


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