Type 1 Diabetes

Blogging – 6 months on!

Six months ago, when I wrote my first ever blog post, I was so nervous.

I didn’t think for one minute, anyone would be interested in anything I had to say and so I decided to approach it with the view that it was to record memories for the boys to look back on when they are older; to remember all the fun times we had and the places we went. And if a few people were interested in our little lives along the way then so be it!

Today, I woke up to 1,000 followers on Instagram and I can’t quite believe it!

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In just 6 months, blogging has brought me so many opportunities and allowed me to “virtually meet” so many people.

I have befriended the most gorgeous little girl Katie and her mum Sonja from Melbourne, Australia and I look forward to seeing her beautiful pictures and reading her posts. She inspires me with her positivity and writes so eloquently for a 9 year old girl.

I have received support from other mums in the middle of the night when I have been battling to keep Fin’s levels up, making me realise that I am not alone in all this and there are plenty of others out there fighting the same battle; day in, day out.

I have picked up tips on the latest gluten free foods released in stores and found delicious gluten free recipes to try.

By others sharing how they administer different percentage splits of insulin doses, I have managed, through trial and error, to prevent huge blood sugar spikes after “problem” foods. (Shout out to dougiesdishes – you are doing an amazing job!)

I have spoken to people who are newly diagnosed and given them advice on carbohydrate counting and had mums of newly diagnosed children message me privately for support after the shock of a diagnosis.

I have been asked to be the parent representative in the All Wales Diabetes group by the Local Health board and have been speaking to Dexcom’s representatives for Wales to discuss the promotion of the G6 and to work with them to improve the postcode lottery of NHS funding for the CGM sensors.

Fin has been asked if he would like to be “the first Welsh mini ambassador” for Dexcom and we are looking forward to collaborating with them on some local events in the new year.

And on days, where I feel like a rubbish mum who is doing a rubbish job, people I have never met are there, with encouraging comments and a reminder that tomorrow is a new day!

It’s been a mad, crazy journey so far but I have loved every minute and I would never have dreamt of being in touch with so many different people all over the world in such a short space of time.

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Out of all of these people there are 2 messages that I have received which have stuck with me and made me feel grateful that I took the plunge and started this blog.

The first was a message from a mother of a Type 1 child who after watching the video of Fin inserting his own sensor, sent me the following:

“I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. My 11 year old son has always needed numbing cream for G5 changes and has never been able to do a sensor insertion himself. We received our first G6 kit this week, and tonight, after watching this, he did his own sensor with no numbing cream. Your T1 hero inspired my T1 hero to become more independent in his care and I am ever so grateful.”

The second was from a lady who has a daughter with a number of health conditions, including Type 1, who sent me this:

“I have been working with a counsellor who has done lots of work with families of children with chronic illnesses when she was training. She told me that there are 3 types of parents who deal with a diagnosis.

Some who bury their head in the sand and do nothing.

Some that feel it’s the end of the world and find it hard to see past the illness (that’s me)

and

Some who show their children that whilst they may have this illness, it doesn’t need to stop them doing anything and they can still achieve amazing things (I believe that’s you).

At the moment whilst, I am the 2nd parent, I want to be like you, the 3rd, and I am getting better at it.”

Both of these messages made me incredibly emotional because once upon a time, I was the 2nd parent who couldn’t see past the illness and I had a little boy who was so terrified of needles, that I had to do cannula changes by commando crawling into a bunk bed with a head torch in the middle of the night.

And so, to think that we have come so far, that other people are looking to us for inspiration is totally overwhelming and makes me extremely proud of us both.

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I always said that if this blog helped one person on their journey, then it would make all the hours I plough into it worthwhile. In 6 months, it has exceeded my expectations massively and I am so glad that I took the plunge and pressed that very first Publish button.

Long may it continue.

Beth
xx

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 12

Day 12 – Busch Gardens

Everyone had a lie in today and no one woke before 8.30 am.

We left about 9.45 and arrived at Busch Gardens, which is located in Tampa Bay just before 11am.

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It was empty there and we didn’t wait more than 5 minutes for any ride. First of all, we watched a Cheetah training exercise.

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Then, we did Cheetah Hunt, Kumba, Montu and Cobra’s Curse.


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We then went to look at the lions, hippos and crocodiles and then caught the cable cars up to Stanleyville where we did Sheikra and then made our way over to Pantopia for lunch.

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We went to the Dragon Fire Grill where they made us two bake in the bag Gluten Free Cheese pizzas which were delicious.

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Next, we went on Scorpion and Falcon’s Fury. This is a new ride which drops you 300ft at 60 miles per hour after your seat tilts 90 degrees so you are facing the ground! It was amazing but one of the scariest rides I have ever been on! Once we recovered, we rode Sandserpent and then Andrew and Fin went back on Scorpion while me and Cian went on the Phoenix which is an upside down pirate ship. I absolutely hate this ride as it hangs you upside down for ages but Cian really wanted to do it and it was every bit as bad as I remembered!!

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After this we went back to Stanleyville and went on the Stanley Falls Flume. It was a bit lame but we got soaked. Cian was desperate to go back on Sheikra and wait for the front row but for some reason it was closed and then as we were about to give up and go back to the front of the park, it re-opened and we walked straight on and got to sit at the front.

We caught the Skyride back to Edge of Africa and talked my mother into coming on Cheetah Hunt with us. It was one of the funniest experiences I have ever had. She screamed and howled all the way around with her eyes shut and kept asking ‘Have we been upside down yet?’

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We then went back on Cheetah Hunt for one last time before getting ice creams and heading home.

Nobody could be bothered to get ready to go back out so we stopped in Applebees on the way home and then had a couple of Coronas in the villa while the boys played pool.

Beth

Xx

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 11

Day 11 – Volcano Bay

We packed up as soon as we woke at 7.30, put all the luggage in the car and headed to the diner again for breakfast. Me and Fin both had bacon, sausage and breakfast potatoes. He also had scrambled eggs with his.

After this we headed to Volcano Bay as guests have early access from 8.30 am before the park opens to the general public. You have to catch a shuttle bus in from the main Universal car park if you are not on site.

I had read before we left that as it was newly opened, some people were arriving at 6.30am to start queuing and some were still being turned away as the park was at capacity.

From our hotel, it was a 2 minute walk into the park and we were there with sunbeds right in front of the volcano by 9.15am.

The park operates a Tapu Tapu system where you are issued with a wrist band upon entering the park. Then, if there are queues for a ride, you tap your band against the sensor and it puts you in a virtual queue and vibrates when it’s your turn to ride.

We decided to try and do all the rides beforethe official park opening of 10am to give us the best chance of walking straight on. We managed to do them all apart from the main drop slides in the actual volcano by 10.40am and didn’t have to queue for anything.

The Aqua Coaster which attracts the biggest queue was ‘Ride Now’ and we went around twice as there was no one waiting.

After we had done most of the rides we sunbathed for a bit while the boys played in in the waves which occur every 20 minutes and then went on the wild river which was good fun but the currents were really strong.

Lunch was carnage. You had to queue in a 4 deep line only to then be directed to a specific window depending on what you wanted to order and then queue again to actually order then wait for your food and queue again to pay! It was a totally ridiculous situation and took me 40 minutes from starting to queue until paying, by which time I had lost the will to live.

Then, as I was walking to the table with the 2 GF meals and 3 drinks, a boy walked backwards into my tray and knocked 2 of the drinks all over the floor. He was mortified and kept apologising. Told him it was fine even though I wanted to kill him but at that point was just relived that none of the drinks had tipped onto the food and just made do with the drinks we had left between us.

After lunch, I built up the courage to do the drop slides. I hate them but have this weird thing where I don’t want the kids to think Andrew is more fun than me so make myself do everything that he does!

I did the blue one first. You stand in a capsule, then the floor disappears and you shoot down and then corkscrew in twists and turns until the bottom. It was horrific and water shot into my ears making me partially deaf! Finally, I braved the red one which is pretty much a vertical drop into a horizontal tube. It looks worse than the others but in actual fact it was nowhere near as bad.

The worst part of both rides was the 200+ steps you had to climb to the top! I needed oxygen by the time I got there!

We left around 5.30pm even though the park doesn’t close until 7pm as we had a reservation at Bahama Breeze and wanted to pick up some presents on the way back.

We headed to Bahama Breeze by 8.30pm and was a bit disappointed with the place. There was no real atmosphere there and they had very little GF options meaning me and Fin both had sirloin and mash (which was lumpy) and even though I asked for the steaks to be Medium / Well they were quite bloody and chewy. My mojito was also probably one of the worst I have ever had.

Cian had chicken wings with fries, my mother had goat curry and Andrew had Seafood Paella. They all loved their food so think we were just unlucky. Fin ate half of his then laid out a napkin on the table and promptly fell asleep!

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Water parks seem to wipe him out!

We paid the bill, headed home and went straight to bed as we were all exhausted from a busy few days.

Beth

Xx

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 10

Day 10 – Islands of Adventure

We all woke relatively early this morning, showered and packed all our stuff and took our cases down to the concierge to keep for the day.

We caught a water taxi and then headed to the Hard Rock Café for breakfast. I find breakfast the hardest meal of the day to accommodate for gluten free. Fin was fine as he had an omelette but I hate eggs so had a glass of orange juice and a gluten free cereal bar I brought with me.

Cian and Andrew shared a pancake stack and my mother had an omelette with potatoes and toast. It came to just under $60 for five of us whereas breakfast in the hotel was $23 per person.

After breakfast, we headed straight into the park and were accosted by a photographer who made us have about 20 pictures by the Universal ball.

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After this, me, Cian and Andrew went on the Hulk and Dr. Doom’s Fearfall. Fin requested we do these first to get them out of the way as he was too short. Next, we waited for all the superheroes to arrive and the boys had loads of autographs and pictures with them. Then we went on the Spiderman ride which I love!

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We decided to leave the water rides until after lunch as I had a 1pm reservation in Mythos so headed from the Marvel area to Kong: Skull Island. Lots of people have said they weren’t impressed with this but I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought the special effects were fantastic.

After Kong, we had half hour to kill before lunch and so Andrew suggested we ride the Jurassic River Adventure as we would “only get splashed a bit!” We ended up in the front row and got totally soaked which was ideal as we headed to lunch!!!

The air conditioning was blasting in the restaurant and so we all sat there shivering while waiting for our orders. The food was delicious. I had a GF Chicken BLT and fries and Fin had a bacon burger with fries. Cian also had a burger, Andrew had a crab sandwich and my mother had an Italian pork panini. The prices were really good value and on a par with the Quick Service prices, despite being a table service restaurant, with all our meals priced between $12.99 and $15.99. Mythos has been voted the best theme park restaurant 6 years running and it’s easy to see why!

After lunch, we tackled the water rides. We did the Ripsaw Falls first and we were absolutely soaked getting off there despite our ponchos! Then we headed to Popeye and Bluto’s barges and went around twice as there was no queue. We were completely drenched through by the end of it but it was such a good laugh!

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We then walked back to Hogsmeade and the boys did all the remaining spells with the interactive wand on that side of the park. We had photographs with the castle in the background and then went to Honeydukes and bought a Chocolate frog, some fudge flies and some Every Flavour Beans and finished off with a pint of Butterbeer.

We then rode The Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff and then caught the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade back to Diagon Alley and sat with a lovely family from NYC.

Once we got off the train, we had another ride on Escape from Gringotts and then walked through the park to do the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket in the dark. The lady there was lovely and let the boys pick which row they wanted to go in (the front, obviously!) and then when the ride ended she let us go straight back on in the front row again!

We had a fab day in both parks and bought the Universal Photo Pass. It was a bit steep at $99.00 but so worth it as we ended up with over 40 photographs to download and 2 free prints. Considering the ride prints are £25 each, it worked out far better value.

Got straight on a water taxi back to the Hard Rock Hotel, picked up our luggage and headed to our next adventure at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

What a fab place! We had a lovely room overlooking the pool with a kitchen. The rooms are really funky and the pool is open until 10pm with films showing on a big screen. We headed to the Bayliner Diner in the hotel for our evening meal and they were really accommodating.

The chef came out and said he could pretty much make us whatever we fancied and so we both went for chicken strips as we were sick of burgers!

We finished eating around 9:30pm so the kids had the last half hour in the pool while we watched them with a glass of wine. There was such a lovely, friendly feel to the hotel and I would definitely think of staying there in the future.

We all had showers then settled down for the night, looking forward to witnessing the new water park, Volcano Bay, the next morning.

Beth

xx

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 8

Day 8 – Discovery Cove

Today was our long awaited Discovery Cove day. We had visited the park once before in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma hit which meant the park didn’t open until 2pm and the conditions were horrific.

This visit couldn’t have been any more different. The weather was gorgeous and there was a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. We got there about 8:30am and managed to get a dolphin swim at 12:45pm.

Andrew and Cian had also booked onto the SeaVenture experience which was allocated at 10:45am.

As part of the entry fee for Discovery Cove, all food and drink is complimentary throughout the day and so we headed straight for breakfast. It wasn’t great and was served in tiny portions on plastic plates with plastic cutlery which wasn’t that easy to eat with. Whilst you were able to go back for a second portion, the queues were huge and so nobody could be bothered.

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As soon as we finished breakfast, we went to pick up our wetsuits and snorkels and the boys practised snorkelling in the pool.

Then it was time to head for the Seaventure experience. We couldn’t see a lot from where we were standing but Andrew and Cian said it was an amazing experience and they managed to get some really good underwater photographs.

Next, after a bit of sunbathing, we had our dolphin experience with Bimini and Rose. It was such a fantastic experience and every one of us thoroughly enjoyed it. As soon as the swim ended, they took us to a hut to see the professional photographs and of course, they are so lovely that you end up buying the whole package for $243.00!!

Once we had chosen our photographs, we headed to the restaurant for lunch and it was nothing short of a shambles on the gluten free front. I had emailed before hand and the manager had sent me a spreadsheet with all the allergens detailed and stating that they could provide gluten free hot dog and burger buns.

Firstly, I stood in the line for ages before I got to the front and then when I asked for GF options, I was told I needed to speak to a chef. There was another lady there with her son who were both coeliac and so when the chef came, we both ordered pulled pork rolls for ourselves and bacon cheeseburgers with fries for the boys.

An hour and 20 minutes later after enquiring twice and the actual restaurant closing, we received cold food and the most pathetic excuse for chips that looked like they had been scraped out of the bottom of the fryer. The man who brought them out simply said “Sorry about the wait, the machines are rubbish!”

By the time we had eaten what was edible, we had missed almost 2 hours of the park. I wasn’t going to complain but as I headed to pay for the photographs, the other lady was speaking to the manager and called me over. I explained what had happened and he said he couldn’t understand what the issue was as they deal with these type of food allergies every day. He very kindly gave me 30% off our photograph package as an apology, which I was more than happy with, and said that he would follow up the incident to ensure it didn’t happen to anyone else.

Despite this little blip, we made the most of our last 2 hours in the park, snorkelling in the grand reef and I totally faced my fear of fish and snorkelled all the way around.

All in all, we had a brilliant day and Andrew and the boys said it was their best day, bar none.

We headed to Outback again for dinner on the way home and this time I went for the ribs with a loaded jacket.

We got back to the villa relatively late and needed to start packing for our mini break as we had booked to stay in the Hard Rock hotel the following night and the Cabana Bay Beach resort the night after.

Beth x

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 7

Day 7 – A mad day of park hopping!

So, today was scheduled as a rest day but for various reasons, instead we decided to do a park hop to fit in some extras.

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Firstly, we went to Animal Kingdom as the boys wanted to do Everest and Flight of Passage again. We had a lie in and got to the park at 11am.

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We did Everest first, then the Jungle Trek and It’s Tough to be a Bug again before heading to the Rainforest Café for our 1:15pm reservation.

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Our meal was lovely once again and we were served personally by the chef. I had the bacon cheese burger and Fin went for the ribs with fries. We then shared the white chocolate and raspberry cake for dessert.

Our Fast Pass for Flight of Passage wasn’t until mid afternoon and so after lunch we made our way over to Dinosaur again.

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Flight of Passage was every bit as good the second time around and I was a little sad that it would be the last time we got to experience it.

Next, we got in the car and headed to EPCOT as Cian wanted to do the Test Track ride which was closed due to a technical error when we were there on the Sunday. He is obsessed with cars and so if he had missed out on this opportunity he would have been gutted.

As we had used all 3 of our Fast Passes, I was then able to book an additional Fast Pass for Test Track in EPCOT.

Tip: You can only book Fast Passes in different parks once you have used all your first three in one particular park. Also, once you have paid the parking at one Disney Park, your ticket covers you for any of the parks on that day.

The boys loved designing their own cars but I was totally unprepared for the speed of ride which took my breath away.


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Lastly, we headed to Hollywood Studios for the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular. We were scheduled to go to Hollywood Studios on the 9th November but the Star Wars event finished on the 8th so we didn’t want to miss it.

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En route, I booked a FP for Rock n Rollercoaster so that we could ride as soon as we got there. I had forgotten how rough this ride was. I love rollercoasters but this really bashes your head around and I had quite a headache by the time we got off. Once was definitely enough.

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There was loads going on in the Studios. There was some screening to do with the Christmas Parade which there were huge queues for and there was also a Christmas event being filmed. In addition, Fantasmic was taking place at 7:30pm which meant we had front row seats for the Star Wars show.

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I’m not a Star Wars fan by any stretch of the imagination but it was really impressive with illuminations of scenes from the films along with music and finishing with fireworks. We were really glad we had made the effort to see it.

We didn’t eat at the Studios as we were still quite full from our meal at lunch and so we grabbed some pizzas on the way back to the villa.

Our much anticipated dolphin swim was scheduled for the next day at Discovery Cove and we could not wait!

Beth

xx

 

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 5

Day 5 – Aquatica

None of us woke up until 8:45am and so didn’t get to Aquatica until 10:15am but it was empty and so we parked right by the entrance.

We had such a lovely relaxing day. We bought the dining package which was $25 for adults and $15 for kids for an entrée, dessert, snack and all day refillable drinks in a souvenir cup which we definitely maximised the use of, as the weather was scorching.

The boys spent the majority of the day either riding the slides or just having fun in the pool.

The gluten free options for lunch were probably the worst we have come across. They were able to do hot dogs but no fries and I had a burger in between two pieces of hard gluten free bread.

We managed to do all the slides and I even braved the one in a cylinder where the floor disappears form under you. I was terrified but it was actually not as bad as I expected. I made the boys go on first to suss it out obviously!

We left the park at 5pm and then the boys spent a couple of hours in the pool back in the villa before we went for food at Outback.

I love Outback and it’s probably one of my favourite restaurants in Orlando and as an added bonus, they have a extensive gluten free menu!

I had a rib eye steak with a loaded jacket potato and Fin had bbq ribs and a jacket potato. Randomly, as I didn’t want my second side, they brought me two loaded jackets.

The food was delicious, as always and everyone agreed it was our best meal yet.

A very long day awaited us in Magic Kingdom the next day and so we headed back as soon as we had paid our bill.

Beth

xx

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 4

Day 4 – Animal Kingdom – 31/10/17

I first set foot in Animal Kingdom in 2005 and I fell in love with the place. Since then, it has been my favourite Disney park and I couldn’t wait to get back!

As it was Halloween and there were huge events on in Magic Kingdom and Universal, we scheduled Animal Kingdom thinking that it would be quiet! WRONG!

We got to the park at 9:05 and the car park was already rammed!

As we walked in, there were loads of photo pass photographers waiting to take photographs in front of the Tree of Life and we had quite a few done before we headed to our first planned attraction – The Lion King.

This is a show and I wouldn’t waste a fast pass on this as it shows almost every hour and holds a huge amount of people. As long as you are there 15 minutes before the next showing, it’s very unlikely that you won’t get in.

The Lion King is one of my favourite films and I love the show that they put on in AK. It is bright, full of vibrant colours, music and acrobatics. It puts you in such a good mood and it’s impossible to leave without a smile on your face.

After the show, we posed for a picture with Timon before heading to our first fast pass of the day – Kilimanjaro Safari.

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This is extremely popular and the queues are 60 minutes + within an hour of the park opening. With our FP we only queued for 10 minutes before we were loaded on to our truck.

As well as seeing lots of animals, the ride itself is made even more entertaining by the guide and the totally uneven paths throwing you around the jeep.

Next, we made our way to “It’s a Bug’s Life” which is a 4D show inside the Tree of Life and I won’t give away any spoilers but it is really good fun with a few surprises thrown in!

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We then decided to make our way to Pandora, stopping for lunch on the way at Pizzafari.

The chef made us gluten free pepperoni pizzas and brought them to our table despite it being a self service restaurant which I was really impressed with.

After lunch, when we walked into Pandora, all I could say was WOW! Even though we had seen pictures, they do not do it justice. The attention to detail and workmanship is out of this world and you literally feel as though you are in another land.

We then entered the queue for the long awaited Flight of Passage. Despite being in the fast pass queue, we still waited approximately 25 minutes but it was totally worth it!

It is without a doubt THE best ride I have ever experienced. You feel as though you are actually riding on a banshee through Pandora. The colours and the smells are amazing and I really can’t put it into words, you need to ride it to understand! If you are unable to get a fast pass I would definitely wait in the standby queue. You won’t regret it!

Next, we went straight over to the Na’vi River Journey which was nice enough but nowhere near worth the waiting times in the standby queue.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, we managed to ride Expedition Everest 3 times, Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl by constantly booking one fast pass after another.

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We also had photographs with Russell from up and the one and only Donald Duck!

We then made our way back over to Pandora for the Na’vi Drum Ceremony!

Finally, as we had utilised all our fast passes, we booked the last one of the day for the Rivers Of Light show on the lake.

The whole stadium was packed and the atmosphere was really peaceful with lanterns blowing and music playing.

Whilst I enjoyed the show, it wasn’t up to the normal Disney standard and I much prefer Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios.

Our last stop of the day was at the Rainforest Café which is located at the front of the park. Again, I hadn’t made a reservation but I presented my Landrys card and we were seated within 10 minutes.

The chef came to see us straight away to discuss gluten free options and we both ordered Bacon Cheese Burgers with fries which were delicious.

Then after a very long but enjoyable day, we headed back to the villa for a well needed rest. We got in at 10pm after leaving at 8:30am that morning.

Luckily we had a lazy day planned at Aquatica the next day.

Beth xx

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 3

Day 3 – Sea World

As Sea World didn’t open until 10am, we had a later start and arrived as the park opened.

It was relatively quiet so we decided to try and do all the big rollercoasters first on the basis that the queues would be smaller than later in the day. There are currently 3 rollercoasters in Sea World, Kraken, Manta and Mako. Fin was a few inches too short for  all 3 of them so he also wanted us to “get them over with” as he was gutted that he couldn’t ride.

We loved all three of them. Mako was a new addition since we were there in 2012 and the VR headset had been added to the Kraken ride which was out of this world!

We watched the sea lion show and then headed for lunch where we visited the Spice Mill restaurant. As there was nothing specifically gluten free on the menu, I asked one of the servers if they could cater for us and they immediately called the chef.

He offered to make us bacon cheeseburgers on gluten free buns with fries and despite there being huge queues, he told us to sit at a table and he would bring them over. It was absolutely delicious and one of the best Quick Service meals of the whole holiday.

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After lunch we managed to fit in the dolphin show and the main Shamu show along with at least 3 rides on Journey to Atlantis where we got soaked and one last ride on Manta which is my favourite.

The park closed at 6pm and we had more than covered everything that we wanted to. My main reason for visiting Sea World is for the rollercoasters rather than the shows and in reality, I don’t feel there is enough there to fill a whole day.

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At some point this year, their new ride Infinity Falls is due to open which is a high speed family rapids ride. This was being built when we were there and looks like it will be great fun.

Once we left the park, we headed to the Disney Wilderness Lodge resort where we had a reservation at the Whispering Canyon Café. The restaurant is based on the ground floor of the Wilderness Lodge hotel and the entrance hall / reception is stunning.

I had read about the restaurant before we travelled, hence the reservation, but nothing can prepare you for how totally random it is.

If someone asks for ketchup, the server screams “Ketchup” and every single table in the restaurant ends up bringing their bottles of ketchup to your table!!

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In the middle of the meal, the servers will just randomly shout instructions such as everyone stand and sing / dance to a song of the waiter’s choice or all children ride around the restaurant on a hobby horse. It was one of the noisiest, least relaxing meals I have ever had but Fin, especially, thought it was hysterical.

The plus point was that the food was delicious. We had the “All you care to enjoy skillet” which consisted of Family-style Mixed Greens Dressed with Apple Vinaigrette, Fresh-baked Cornbread, Slow-smoked Pork Ribs, Barbecued Pulled Pork, Oak-smoked Beef Brisket, Herb-roasted Chicken, Western-style Sausage, Mashed Yukon Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Seasonal Farm-fresh Vegetables, and Cowboy-style Baked Beans. As an added bonus, it was all gluten free.

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We also had a gorgeous gluten free chocolate cake with marshmallows, chocolate chips and ice cream for dessert.

While the food was lovely and the kids really enjoyed the atmosphere, I don’t think the meal justified the $230 price tag for 5 people. This was by far the most expensive meal of the whole fortnight but I suppose you pay for the location and the entertainment. Again, all this would be covered if you are on a Disney or Deluxe Dining plan which is amazing value.

Animal Kingdom tomorrow – my favourite Disney park!

Beth

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays

Orlando 2017 – Day 2

Day 2 – EPCOT

We agreed to leave at 8:45am and so I had set my mother’s alarm for 8am the night before. I was awake off and on from 5am and eventually got up at 7:45am and started breakfast.

My mother was in the master bedroom on the ground floor and by 8:25am, I realised I hadn’t heard her moving around. I sent Cian to knock on her door and she ran out looking like the guy from the Prodigy’s Firestarter video. Apparently, her phone had turned itself back an hour and so she thought it was only 7:25am.

Despite this, we were out of the villa and on the road by 8:40 (without me having to use my whistle) and we arrived at EPCOT by 9:15am.

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The bag search took slightly longer as I need to show them the medical note for all of Fin’s medication and gluten free snacks but we were in the park and heading for our breakfast reservation by 9:30am.

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We had booked a character breakfast at the Garden Grill which is a revolving restaurant in the Future World West area of the park. I had come across the restaurant after reading several gluten free blogs and everyone raved about the GF Mickey waffles and they were not wrong.

The food was amazing!

We had cinnamon muffins, the all important Mickey Waffles, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and hash brown barrels as well as a massive bowl of fresh fruit and juices. You could order as much as you wanted but we found that the first serving was more than enough for us all.

During the meal, Chip n Dale, Mickey and Pluto stopped alongside our table to sign autographs and pose for numerous photos much to Andrew’s delight. I have literally never seen a grown man get so excited to have pictures with Disney characters in my life!

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All in all, it was fab start to our day and whilst it wasn’t cheap at $156 for 5 of us, it was worth every cent. For those people on a Disney Dining Plan or a Deluxe Dining Plan, this would be fully inclusive. You can read more about all the different types of Dining plans here.

We then queued to have our pictures taken with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy as you can’t go to Disney and not get a photo with the REAL Mickey!

After this we used our fast pass for Soarin’ where we spent the whole ride laughing at my mother who kept squealing and wiping imaginary mud from her face.

Originally, I had a further two fast passes booked for 2:45pm and 5:30pm but during the day, upon checking the app on my phone (all the parks have fantastic free WIFI), I found fast passes for Living with the Land and The Seas with Nemo at earlier times and booked these instead. This meant I used my 3 fast passes by 2pm and I could then make further selections for the rest of the day.

Tip: Whilst you can only make 3 fast pass reservations in advance, once you have used these on the day, you are free to make more, one at a time, for the rest of the day. There is a whole web page dedicated to getting the most out of your fast passes here. And whilst it is quite a complicated read, bear in mind that most non fast pass queues are in excess of 45 minutes, which means planning your day in advance will save you a LOT of time.

Living with the Land is THE most boring ride in the world and Nemo was a little young for the boys but we did them anyway and by 3pm, we had used all our fast passes and ended up getting 2 more for Pixar Movies and Spaceship Earth which meant we had utilised five in 6 hours.

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In between, we also managed to fit in Frozen Ever After, Mission Space and the Donald Duck ride in Mexico before leaving the park at 6pm so all in all, a pretty successful day.

 

We then headed to Applebees near the villa for a cheap and cheerful evening meal. They have quite a good choice of gluten free items as you can see below.

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After our meal, we went back to the villa where the boys played in the pool for an hour before we all headed to bed in preparation for the following day at Sea World.

Beth xx