Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

It’s funny when we showed the picture of our snow covered car to our friends, the first question they ask is “Will the car start?”. The simple answer is Yes. First ignition. Don’t have to try and try again. This is a very modern world we’re living in. Fuels are protected with anti freeze solution ūüėČ

This morning, yes, the car started, but we had a little trouble trying to get out from the parking spot. The tyres couldn’t grip onto the snow covered road properly. I think God knew what was going to happen, and along came a local man. He saw us in trouble, and he quickly ran behind the car and started pushing. I couldn’t have done it. Mat was at the wheel. The man didn’t give up. He just kept helping to push and push the car till it got properly on the road for us to drive off. Kind man. Did I tell you Icelandic people are such nice people?

Even though the snow stopped since yesterday, and snow ploughing trucks went over and over the roads, it was still a challenge to drive. Powdery snow kept being blown over the road. So some parts of the road were still slippery. It was still very challenging for Mat to drive. More over, the car that we rented wasn’t a 4wd.

This is the car we rented. A hyundai.

First stop of the day, Dj√ļpal√≥nssandur. It’s suppose to be a beautiful pebbled beach. But as you can see, it’s not at the moment.

If we hiked a few kilometers, maybe 2km, we will reach a pebbled beach,¬†where four famous stones used by fishermen to test their strength. They are Fullsterkur (“full strength”) weighing 154¬†kg, H√°lfsterkur (“half strength”) at 100¬†kg, h√°lfdr√¶ttingur (“weakling”) at 54¬†kg and Aml√≥√įi (“Useless”) 23¬†kg. They were traditionally used to qualify men for work on fishing boats, with the H√°lfdr√¶ttingur being the minimum weight a man would have to lift onto a ledge at hip-height to qualify. The bay is now unused.

Unfortunately, because of the snow, we will just appreciate the information on the board.

Lovely views from our drive along the west coast.

Next stop, Arnarstapi, a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell.

The beach holds a particular attraction called Gatklettur, and three rifts,¬†Hundagj√°, Mi√įgj√° and M√ļsagj√°. It’s very much like the London Bridge at Great Ocean Road. As for the rocks, very much like the rocks on Jeju Island. I guess, lava stones have their similarities.

Views around Arnarstapi.

You can’t really tell, but these 2 next pictures¬†are taken from the mountain top.

We didn’t get to do much, or should I say, get down of the car much. One: there’s snow everywhere. Even though we were wearing proper hiking shoes, it would be safer if we wore crampons, those “spikes” that keeps your feet planted on the ground. Two: The wind is really strong. You can’t tell from the pictures, but, I-kid-you-not. Three: With the wind blowing, your face is constantly hit by icy waters. Not fun. So I think I’ll enjoy the view from inside the car.

We made it back safely to our hotel for a rest.

Tonight, we have a reservation with the Blue Lagoon!

Tip: If you have only limited days to spend in Iceland, you’ll only have to visit these three places: Reykjavik city, The Golden Circle, and The Blue Lagoon.

A time slot reservation is required when visiting Blue Lagoon. Book early to avoid disappointment.

If I were to visit Blue Lagoon again, I would have booked the day time slot, in order to see the blueness of the lagoon. At night, you can’t see a single hint of blue.

But, if your aim is to HOPEFULLY catch a glimpse of the northern lights/Aurora, then, book the night slot. (FYI: Auroras do not appear every night and everywhere).

And you know what, of all the three nights that we stayed in Iceland, and of all the time slots that Mat could have got us in Blue Lagoon, how perfect timing could it be. God must have known the desires our hearts, because, it was only at THIS destination, THIS time 7-8pm, we saw the aurora with our very own eyes.

I’m sorry for the quality of the photo because all we had was an iPhone camera. It’s much better enjoyed in person.

What a perfect end to our trip in Iceland.

A few tips about Blue Lagoon:

  1. Bring your own towel, even if it’s the hotel’s towel. Don’t waste your money renting the one at Blue Lagoon. Don’t even need to bring your toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner and body shampoo are¬†all provided. USE IT. It’s spa quality!
  2. It’s not that bad walking in the cold(if you come in winter). Only takes 2 seconds, and you’ll be in the warm waters.
  3. Remember to put on the mud mask. Put it on till it dries up, then wash them off in the water you’re soaking in (yes, along with other people’s dead skin). lols!
  4. If waiting for the aurora to appear, find a good spot to sit, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
  5. Best way to end the night after a good soak in the blue lagoon? Go back to your hotel and make yourself a nice cup of Shin Ramyun Noodles (that you packed with you before flying to Iceland). Bliss.

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Today, we visited the most famous sites in Iceland, and they are all in what they call the Golden Circle Tour.

Driving out of Reykjavik was a surreal experience. It feels almost like you’re driving on¬†Mars. The landscape is barren, but yet, there’s an eerie beauty-ness about it.

Our first stop of the Golden Circle Tour is¬†√ěingvellir (also called Thingvellir) National Park. This is where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plate meet.

A view of Lake¬†√ěingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.

I have seen and experience snow fall many times especially when I was living in South Korea, but what we were about to experience was definitely a first. As we were walking down this cracked cliff, the weather changed without any warning. A snow storm? blizzard? was passing through. It was crazy. After a few seconds, we thought it will be extremely ridiculous to be walking in this weather, so we quickly walked back to the Information Centre to dry out and wait for the blizzard to pass.

As soon as it came, 10 minutes later, it was gone. The sun shining, not a wind in sight.

Apparently, there’s a lava tube somewhere in¬†√ěingvellir National Park. I’m not sure where it is. But it’s ok, we’ve seen many lava tubes in¬†Jeju Island, South Korea.

So, our next stop, is Geysir, or The Great Geysir.

The word “geyser” comes from the Old Norse geysa, “to gush”, has been adopted into English.

Boiling hot water is shot up into the air as high as 70m. This happens approximately every 10 minutes. So if you want to get a shot, or a video, you’ll just have to be very patient, and keep your finger on the record/snap button. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for another 10 minutes or so.

After missing 2 geysers and successfully snapping one, off we went to out next destination, Gullfoss – Golden Waterfall.

This mighty waterfall cascades 32m into the river gorge. It’s like the niagara falls of Iceland. Awesome sight.

This next waterfall is called The Faxi (or Vatnsleysufoss) waterfall. It’s a smaller version, and less visited by the crowd.

It’s interesting that they specially¬†built a staircase for salmon? or trout? to jump up the river.

And then that’s the end of our Golden Circle tour. And good timing too. Because if we left a little later, we would have bumped into more trouble driving back to Reykjavik.

The snow storm came again. It took incredible concentration for Mat to drive, and I too had to keep my eyes on the left side railing to make sure Mat kept the car on the road. Visibility was almost zero.

Really praise God we made it back safely to our hotel.

Stay tuned for the next post, because the snow is about to get historical.

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Iceland – Day 1

Iceland is¬†considered one of those unique countries on a traveller’s list. But the weekend that we went, it could not have¬†been more unique.

Mat has been to Iceland, maybe 3 years ago? And he went during summer, and even bumped into summer solstice, where the sun never sets. I couldn’t follow him that time because he was on a week’s course staying at the Uni’s hostel. After his trip there, he had a goal of taking me there for a holiday with him, and also, the ultimate goal of seeing the aurora!

Mind you, flights to Iceland is not cheap. So at last when we found a reasonably priced flight, it was in the peak of winter. hoo-ray-

(If I would give you one important tip, it will be, “Don’t visit Iceland in Winter!”)

So, we booked ourselves on the Icelandic Air. Flight was fairly smooth until we approached the land. Visibility was crazy, strong winds, etc… Praise God indeed we landed safely. We soon found out that half of Iceland was closed because of the weather.

It is recommended to rent a car when visiting Iceland, unless you are travelling single. There are plenty of tours, but it will cost you a bomb. Since Mat has been to Iceland, he was very confident he could take me around in a car ūüôā

Most shops in the¬†capital city, Reykjavik (pronounced REYK-ya-veek), closes early. So since we arrived late evening, we had to hunt down dinner quickly. This is Iceland’s most popular hotdog stand,¬†B√¶jarins Beztu Pylsur (translation: The best hot dog in town)

If you want to eat it as a meal, one hotdog is definitely not enough.

So is it the best hotdog in town? Yeah… the sauce, the hotdog, the bun, is nothing unique, honestly¬†speaking, but what’s under the hotdog. They put fried onions, so it gives that additional sensation of texture. Without it, this will not be the best hotdog in town. Warning: The line is always long, made popular by Bill Clinton.

So, since one hotdog wasn’t enough for me, and I didn’t want to queue up again, so off we went to look for a supermarket. There was only 1 supermarket left open in the whole of Reykjavik at 7pm. Bought ourselves some fruit, and breakfast, and also lunch for the next day.

Tip no 2: Food in Reykjavik is really really really expensive. So to save yourself some money, get some sandwiches from the supermarket, especially for the following day’s lunch. The cheapest supermarket is B√≥nus.

After that, we walked back to our hotel for a good night’s rest.

Here is a sneak peak at one of the city sight’s.

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Our ticket package comes with an additional free entry to one of the 2 water parks of disney world, Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. We chose Typhoon Lagoon.

It’s not linked to the monorail too. But not to fear, free bus.


After slathering up with sun screen and changed into our swim suits, we went walking around the park. Not very big.


This is the wave¬†pool, but I don’t think the waves are big enough for surfing. Didn’t really see the fun to this. Everyone was just sitting in the water facing the direction of the incoming wave. The floor was rough too. I think many people had a few scratches here and there.


We took a lazy ride on the Castaway Creek. Just grab a tube, sink in it, and let the water flow you effortlessly around the whole park.


Good thing we got on it first thing in the morning, because by the afternoon, almost every inch of this Castaway Creek was filled with people.


There’s one cool feature about Typhoon Lagoon. You can snorkel with sharks and sting rays. Not the great white. But mini harmless ones. It was so fun, that we went twice.


There are also a few rides, the Crush n Gusher, which we could both sit together. We went down on this twice, because there were 2 different tubes to go through.


As you come down this ride, there’s a photographer ever ready to take your photo.


Obviously I didn’t purchase these photos (as you can see from the watermarks on the photo). Because one photo is so expensive, something like USD15 per photo.


We managed to sit on every ride, except for one, because it was too extreme.

Overall, a fun and sweet day.


Tonight, we went to another Disney Resort for dinner. We either take the bus or the boat. We shall take the boat.

This is the jetty behind our hotel, to catch the boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.


View of our hotel from the jetty.


Another view of another part of the hotel. If I’m not mistaken, this building is for Disney club members.


Here comes the boat. Free!


Selfie on the boat.


Welcome to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.



So much more character to the hotel.


We ate at one of the restaurants in this hotel. Very interesting experience. When there was a table ready for us, the waiter said something like this “I’m afraid it’s a loooonnngggg walk to your table. I hope you’ll all be alright with it”.

And I kid you not, our table was literally 5 steps away. I said to the waiter “WOW… that was a LOONNNGGG walk!”. And he replied, “I know right?”.

Your first impression will be that the waiters are incredibly rude. But actually, it is all in great fun. Just play along with them. If you need ketchup, you just have to shout for it, and then you’ll be given like 20 bottles of ketchup. One lady ordered a large cup of soda, and the waitress made her a really tall tower of straws. You have to be there to experience it. Great fun.

I ordered a vegetarian dish, Red Quinoa cakes with salad. Nice, but very filling. I think the quinoa was expanding in my tummy as I ate.


If you even come to Disney World for a holiday, I highly recommend staying in this hotel, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. So much more character. The only disadvantage is that there are no monorails connected to it. It’s the bus or the boat, which can be quite slow. The other hotel I would recommend is the Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Both these hotels are family friendly.

IF you are a couple, and would like a more “princess-y/romantic” setting, then I would¬†recommend Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. When we went there, Mat’s friend said, “whoa, so white”. There’s a mini chapel there too if you are thinking of getting married, equipped with a horse carriage and etc…

There are many many other Disney resorts. But those are the ones that I came across.

So, here ends my blog about Disney World. The very next day, we had to fly home „Ö† „Ö†.

We transited Newark Airport again, because my husband wanted to avoid JFK. Had lunch here at one of those “high tech” cafes. You order your meal through the ipad thingy, and also pay through it using a credit card.


While eating, you can also play games and win prizes. I kept playing with the free coins, and won 2 mini chocolates. Not bad eh?


You can just see New York in the horizon.


The air hostesses on our flight back weren’t as good as the one we flew to Newark. For some reason, they were not as attentive. But anyway, Praise God it was a good flight.

And Praise God once again for the amazing opportunity and provision for this trip to Disney World!

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Welcome to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
There are no monorails to Animal Kingdom. But there’s the free disney bus.

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Couldn’t help notice a very interesting rock sculpture.

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After passing through the entrance, you’ll be amazed with the fake tree right in the middle of Animal Kingdom.

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A closer view of the tree. There’s a 4D show right under the tree, not to be missed.

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If you arrive there just before the opening time, maybe 8.55am, watch out for these beautiful parrots. They fly over you, and then fly off over you again to officiate the opening time. Very magical.

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Our first ride brings us to Dinoland.

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I forgot to take a photo of this ride. It’s sort of like a roller coaster. We are joined by another colleague of Mat’s. We could sit together in one pod. It’s a roller coaster that whirls and twirls, with 2 drops. Not intense.

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Another big dino.

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Remember that tree, now we’re about to go under it. The Tree of Life Theatre presenting It’s Tough To Be A Bug!

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It’s a 4D theatre. Very nice. There was one part where giant spiders came down from the roof, and Mat told me he kept his eyes closed.

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The next ride we took was the Kali River Rapids. I was excited about this ride. But after the ride, I was a little dissappointed. It could have been a little wilder, and also wetter. All I had was a few sprinkles of water on me. Our friend who went to Universal Studios the next day said there’s a similar ride, but much much better, wilder and wetter than this.

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Expedition Everest. The wildest ride of all of Disney World’s theme parks.

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I was pretty anxious getting on this ride.

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But hey, I can’t disappointment my ride mates.

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And this was how I looked like on the ride.

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And you know what, it wasn’t that bad. It was pretty good actually.
Another view of Expedition Everest from a distance.

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Next, be sure to get a fast pass for this, Kilamanjaro Safaris. Because the earlier, the more awake the animals are.

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Even though we had a fast pass, the line was pretty long.

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So of course we had to take the opportunity to take more selfies.

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Almost there.

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And finally we’re on it.

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Even though we took the first fast pass time of the day, the animals were already starting to laze around because it was already very warm.

Nice to see hippos.

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A very tall ant hill.

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There’s got to be a giraffe.

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Our driver for the Kilimanjaro Safari was her first time ever driving and giving out information. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t excellent. But since it was her first time, we’ll give her an applause.

Also, don’t miss Flights of Wonder, a bird show.

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I found it very entertaining. Saw a bird that could sing 3 songs by heart. Amazing.

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And also, the highlight of Animal Kingdom is the Festival Of The Lion King show.

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It’s been a while since I last watched a live musical. Very nicely done.

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Finding Nemo The Musical was alright.

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Since they are all fish, so the fish had to be carried by the actors. Not bad.

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And finally, a walk through the Gorilla Falls.

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I’m not sure if you can see anything, but there’s actually a hippo there, having a spa. The fish that is around it is giving the hippo a good clean.

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A sleepy gorilla.

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And another gorilla.

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After going to 3 parks in Disney World, if you have to choose only 2 parks to go, I would recommend Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom.

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So many photos to choose from. Finally. The day you’ve been waiting for… I think ūüėõ

We are going to Magic Kingdom!!!!!! The main attraction of Disney World. Today, we are joined by Mat’s friend. As I said, our hotel is linked with the free disney monorail service, directly to Magic Kingdom. How convenient is that ūüėČ
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Welcome to Magic Kingdom.

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Cinderella’s Castle! The castle you always see at the beginning of every disney movie/cartoon.

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We’re getting nearer. Statue of Walt Disney and Mickey mouse.

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Yay! It’s like a dream come true eh? Feel extremely blessed to have this “once in a lifetime” chance to come to Disney World.

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And of course I have to jump for joy…. „Öč„Öč„Öč

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While walking to our first ride of the day, we stumbled upon King Arthur’s sword. Mathias tried to take it out of the stone. Of course he couldn’t, because he’s not King Arthur… duh…

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Our first ride of the day was actually Peter Pan’s Flight. Slow ride. It was all the way on the other end of Magic Kingdom. We did it this way to beat the crowd. Our friend who didn’t have the fast pass, joined the queue, and he said it will take around 45 mins. The ride was so quick, that we quickly went on another ride called “It’s a small world after all”. After this ride, our friend just had to wait for us for 2 mins.

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This is a slow ride on a boat. It’s just little figurines “around the world” singing It’s a small World After all in different languages. So after the ride, my head just kept singing “It’s a Small World After All”.

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Towards the end of the ride, we saw our names on the screen. There were like 4 other people on the boat, but only our names came out. How did they know who we were? Scary…. like there’s a camera stalking us.

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Next stop, The Haunted Mansion.

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We were requested to put on our most scared facial expression. I thought it would be a scary ride where¬†“things” jump¬†out at you suddenly. But, no, it was a pretty cool ride. The technology of making the holograms were pretty cool.

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Next, the first “scary” ride of the day, Splash Mountain.

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I am NOT a fan of rides that consist of big¬†drops. But I couldn’t disappoint my fellow ride mates right?

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So yeah… I looked like that during the big drop.

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It wasn’t too bad I have to admit.

In the park itself, there’s a slow moving train that takes you from one end to another in case you don’t want to walk the whole length of the park.

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Little Mermaid time.

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Another slow ride. You side in a big shell.

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And will be pleasantly entertained with digital graphics…

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And sculptured stuff.

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There’s Mat’s friend.

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A view of a cafe.

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This next one is a theatre showcasing all the Presidents of the United States.

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This was the cool part. They had a Madam Toussaude style of all the presidents of the USA, and they move. Very very cool. At the end of the show, you can’t help but feel patriotic, even though this is not my country… lol.

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The longest waiting time that we had to go through was the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. We didn’t know this ride was so popular. Should have gone to it first thing in the morning.

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We were in the line for 1 hour. Actually it didn’t felt too bad because there was a very chatty man from Jamaica that kept us entertained.

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And along the way, there were interactive stuff that you could play with.

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And finally, it’s our turn.

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Not an extremely ride. It’s just very fast. I don’t remember if there were any big drops. Just a lot of twist and turns. And there, sitting beside Mat’s friend is our new Jamaican friend. He looks as if this ride is a piece of cake.

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The next fast pass we used on is the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Slow ride.

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How I would describe this ride is: Stand up comedy on a boat. Not as the name of the ride suggests, Kilimanjaro Safaris, there are no live animals. All fake. Just listen to the person steering the boat, have a good laugh and enjoy the ride.

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The “scariest” ride of all in Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain. All 3 of us had fast pass for this.

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You know what, it was great! It’s a roller coaster ride in the dark. I said I”m not a big fan of thrill rides, but this one I highly recommend.

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This next one, we all thought was wasting our time. Stitch’s Great Escape. If I were a little kid, maybe I’ll like it.

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It’s one of those 4D experiences, but without the 3d glasses.

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Pirates of the Caribbean.

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A slow ride on a boat in the dark.

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A funny scene.

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Then it’s time for the day parade. I’m wondering why I didn’t take any photos of lunch.

Beauty and the beast, and behind them is cinderella and her prince.

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Frozen, Anna and Elsa.

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Not quite sure who this is.

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Little Mermaid

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Peter Pan

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Tinkle Bell

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A dragon that spits out fire.

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Merida in Brave.

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One of the seven dwarfs.

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Mickey and Minnie mouse of course.

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Donald Duck

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And be sure to stay till 9pm for the fireworks. With all the disney music, felt pretty magical.

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After the fireworks, Mat’s friend said let’s go meet Mickey.

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And this was the strangest experience.

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Mat looked sooooo awkward. He was like “what am I doing here taking a photo with a person in a mickey suit?’ When Mickey asked if he could hug him, Mat’s face was like “NOOOO DON”T HUG ME”. But yes, mickey did hug him… hahaha

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I think if I was a kid I may have enjoyed meeting Mickey. But since I’m all grown up now, it was weird. But yay! We met Mickey in person… lol

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Today, Mathias had to be in the conference (that’s the main reason why we came right?) for almost the whole day. So slept in the hotel with the amazing pillows and just chilled.

Mat had time during lunch, so we decided to take the free shuttle bus to Disney Springs. It’s an outdoor shopping area, still within the Disney World land. Did you know Disney World properties cover around 28acres? (110¬†km2)

That’s bigger than the town I’m living in at the moment.
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They claim to sell “special” disney merchandise in the World of Disney shop here in Disney Springs, and you can’t find it in any other Disney parks. All I got was a magnet, and yeah, true enough I didn’t see the magnet I bought in the other Disney parks.
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We had lunch in Earl of Sandwich.
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Mathias was quite impressed with the sandwich. The meat “melted” in his mouth, he says. I on the other hand wanted something healthy. I was already feeling vegetable and fruit deprived. So of course I ordered a fruit & vegetable salad.
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Strawberries? Good… Vegetables? Good…

Mat posing awkwardly with Buzz Lightyear.

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We still had some time to kill, so we walked around Disney Springs. Went into the Lego store.
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Me with the lego version of Buzz Lightyear.

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And of course Woody!
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Another entrance to World of Disney. At a certain spot, Stitch will spit water on you.
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There are many restaurants here too. One of them is the T-Rex Restaurant. If you don’t want to be dissappointed, be sure to make an reservation. Queues are long.

This T-Rex will move and roar. And, you’ll also get to eat in front of an aquarium with live fish. It will be funny if you ordered fish, and told the live fish in front of you “I’m eating your cousin… muahahaha…”
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Then it’s time to go back to our hotel because Mat’s session is about to start.

I spent the evening in the pool.

Dinner was at the hotel’s cafe. I had a salmon, beans and rice dish. It was the healthiest choice on the menu. Fish was ok. Beans was squeaky and rice was weird. Well hey, we’re in Disney, something has to squeak.

Mat ordered a dirt and worms cupcake.

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We went¬†back to Disney Springs the next night for dinner, and we couldn’t find a single available seat in almost all the restaurants. So if you do plan to eat in Disney Springs, make a reservation.

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