Perhaps spending over 15 hours in theme parks isn’t the best idea. I later learned from my fatigue and illness when I got back that my body was over it. But the entire time I was there I felt like I could keep going.
The key to good theme park days are what you bring with you. Here is what I brought for my solo long theme park days at Universal Orlando and Disney World. (listed from the top down, some are hyperlinked)
Waterfly Bag – this water resistant bag is perfect for water rides and Florida rain. It’s extremely light and has enough pockets to stay organized. It fits in the free lockers at Universal with all of the below items in it.
Light jacket – it get’s quite cool during November nights in Orlando.
Ziploc bag – an extra layer of water protection for my electronics: portable chargers, cords, plug (I used the theme park’s apps, Instagram, and the camera all day and my phone never died thanks to my 2 chargers).
Magic Band – synced with My Disney Experience, my ticket and FastPass+ were all on this band.
Snacks – sometimes I didn’t realize I was hungry until I was in line.
Collapsible silicone water bottle – hydrate! All quick service locations at both parks will fill a water bottle. I used the key-chain clip to hook it on the bottom of my bag when I wanted my hands free. Because it’s silicone, I wasn’t bothered by it tapping my leg when I walked.
Waterproof phone pouch – I’ve used this on a previous trip to film a water ride. I forgot I had it when I was caught in the rain during this trip. My fingers were wet and I was trying to order my Lyft. The pouch would have come in handy had I used it.
Disposable ponchos – I wore 1 poncho to ride Jurassic Park and Dudley Do-Right back to back. I was dry after Jurassic Park. Because of the seating on Dudley Do-Right my lower body and shoes were wet but my hair and top were dry. Also I had to use ponchos when it rained during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Hard glasses case(sunglasses inside) – with all of the buildings and indoor queues I didn’t need my sunglasses much. With the hard case I didn’t have to worry about breaking them when I didn’t have them on.
Sunscreen – I neglected to use my sunscreen but due to me being inside and in the shade so much I didn’t get burned. I had makeup on my face so that acted as a physical sunblock.
Floss – I’d rather carry floss than be irritated by something in my teeth all day.
Hand sanitizer – rides, handrails, doors, are all touched by thousands of people a day. I sanitized before I ate and sometimes I just grabbed it after I got off a ride.
Hair tie – for eating without hair in my face.
Lip Balm – a necessity.
Fanny pack (inside: ID, ticket, room key, debit card, credit card) – I used my fanny pack as a wallet and to bring my phone in queues. Phones are allowed on rides(except for Hulk and Rip Ride RockIt) as long as they are put in pockets/fanny packs before boarding and kept away during the ride. My backpack had to go in the free lockers for almost all rides.
Thursday, November 8th 2019, I arrived at the turnstiles for Islands of Adventure at 7:15am. I was the ONLY guest there. People gradually trickled in until there was a full crowd for the 9 a.m. opening. They opened the gates around 8:30 a.m. When the gates opened people broke out into a full sprint as soon as their ticket was scanned. Cast members were along the journey back to Hogsmeade to attempt to make people stop running. I was able to keep up enough not to get too far behind the first parts of the crowd. The ground was wet from early cleaning so running was extremely dangerous. My bag went in the lockers before the line. The trains were running and all seemed well. The part of the queue that goes into the castle opened at 9 a.m. and we all made our way through the long indoor queue portion until we reached the final room. The ride did not open. After a long wait with no time estimate given, they emptied the line at 11 a.m. and provided everyone in line at that time with passes. There was a yellow pass that could be used at any ride except Hagrid’s and a burgundy pass(the team members called it ruby) that could be used and any ride and Hagrid’s. I enjoyed the rest of my day and set an alert in the official Universal app to tell me when the ride reopened. In my fitbit app I turned on my notifications for the Universal app.
When I was pulling my bag out of the locker for the Hulk, I felt my wrist vibrate for the notification that Hagrid’s was open. I briskly made my way over. Using the ruby pass I was able to enter what will be the Express Pass line in the future. From there the wait was about 20 minutes. I was placed in the very back row with another single rider. He had already rode the ride and was more than happy to have the side car.
It was totally worth all that day’s trouble and it was the best ride ever! Hagrid’s feel very fast! In the side car I felt like I was flying. I didn’t use the handlebars much at all. The drop track was a pretty intense even though I knew when it was coming.
Friday, November 9th, 2019, I did early admission for Universal Studios and got to ride in the front row of Escape from Gringotts with the entire 2 car train to myself. An excellent start to my birthday. I got to ride and re-ride my day away. I was making my way to Islands of Adventure when I realized it was near 3pm. Per the app, the line closes daily at 3pm(not always the case). From what I’ve heard, the ride needs extra downtime for maintenance. I entered the line right before cutoff.
One hour into my wait they announced a delay. One hour after that they emptied the line and closed the ride. The same two passes were given again. I used the yellow pass on the then very busy Forbidden Journey ride. Upon exiting I missed first the bridge from Hogsmeade by accident and ended up walking in front of Hagrid’s. I saw a crowd of people. There were team members outside talking to guests and the sign said “extended delay.” They were still working to reopen the ride for the night. I stood in front of the ride talking to other Potter nerds and team members. The ride reopened around 6:30pm. Because I was at the front and a single rider, I was able to get to the front of the line first. I was so far ahead of everyone that I got to ride in the front seat. I chose the motorbike side again and the next people behind me were at the back of the car. It was a solo ride experience. It was quite dark at this time and the headlights on the motorbike lit the ride for most of the experience. It felt even faster at night with the very cool air and dark skies. Best birthday gift ever.
On Friday, November 8th, 2019 I attended the first night of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
The monorail was down on the way in so I was forced to take the ferry. I’d never taken the ferry before so this was definitely a treat that I’ve been missing out on. It was a beautiful ride in to all of the Christmas decorations and lights. I arrived around 6 p.m. Party guests had been allowed in since 4 p.m. and day guests were about to get the boot.
The first thing I did was hang a right at the hub to get on Space Mountain. This was by far, the best part of the party for me. Everything about Space Mountain seemed like its regular spacey self. But as soon as the ship rounded the corner to the uphill climb there was a whole different ride. A rock guitar version of Deck the Halls was blasting and the lights were flashing Christmas colors up the climb. The difference didn’t fully hit me until the top of the lift. The Christmas colored lights were flashing in all directions, seemingly to the music. The metal structure was a little visible with the flashes but not lit enough to be considered a lights on experience. For those Space Mountain lovers who want to ride with the lights on one day, this is a good in between. I could see when the drops and twists were coming but it still felt faster than it’s actual speed of 35 mph. I rode it twice with about a 30 minute actual wait each time.
Secondly, I hurried over to Pinocchio Village Haus where I heard the vegan offerings last year were Just brand birthday cake cookie dough and a pack of Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies(from this site). I was very disappointed that the only offering was the Enjoy Life cookies but at least there wasn’t a wait. Tortuga Tavern appeared to have the small snowman pretzel and a drink that would be vegan friendly like last year but the line was entirely to long to justify it. I mobile ordered a plant based loaded slaw dog from Casey’s Corner and ate it with a decent view of the castle. It was crowded around the seating areas so I stood outside on the fairly empty pathway. The slaw dog was delicious and filling.
It was drizzling lightly at this point so I rode Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Small World. The walk between the rides was about the same or longer than the wait time in line. The temperature had dropped so much and I was wet and shivering. I went to Main Street to get a hot drink from Starbucks since there weren’t any vegan drink options that I could find(I’m pretty sure they had cider somewhere). I got a veganized Caramel Apple Spice(steamed apple juice, caramel syrup, cinnamon dolce syrup). The plan was to go ride Big Thunder Mountain and possibly Splash Mountain. I at least wanted to experience Frontier Land visually. It started raining so much that I put my disposable poncho on and bailed on my journey to Big Thunder Mountain before I made it. I took of my poncho when I got to Tomorrow Land so I wouldn’t soak the seats on Buzz Lightyear. Then I enjoyed a ride on the Peoplemover while fireworks went off. Due to the rain the fireworks made Magic Kingdom very foggy. Seeing the Tron coaster progress in person and seeing Space Mountain from the Peoplemover lifted my soggy spirits.
This was my birthday eve so the plan was to bring in my birthday with the park close at midnight but it was so miserable that I made the choice to leave at 10pm. It felt very cold and rainy on the brisk ferry ride. I had another poncho on so I wouldn’t be drenched.
Overall it was a great night considering the rain. I brought my birthday in away from the rain and happily in my hotel room.
I finally made vegan crab dip using this recipe. I didn’t measure anything and I used the ingredients I wanted to use.
hearts of palm
extra virgin olive oil
Annie’s vegan worcestershire sauce
vegan cream cheese
mini red sweet bell peppers
himalayan pink salt
I cut up the hearts of palm to the size of lump crab meat, Sauteed in a pan with a little olive oil and minced garlic. Then seasoned with Old Bay. I then mixed it with the other ingredients in a bowl using the portions that I would for regular crab dip.