The alarms started going off very early Friday morning.  The first alarm went off at 3:30am though I was a little luckier and didn’t have to wake up until 3:45.  The timeline had us in the car and on the road by 4:50 so that we could catch the 5am train.  Of course things didn’t go exactly to plan and we were running a few minutes behind.  Since we were cutting things so close with the train an extra 2 or 3 minutes can be a problem.  Thank goodness we managed to make it there about 30 seconds before the train pulled in….you think I joke , let’s just say that a minute later and we would have been vacationing in New Jersey.  We were leaving so early the train only took about 45 minutes which put us at the airport in plenty of time for our 7:45 flight.

Good thing we got there early though because wouldn’t you believe that 3 out of 4 of us got flagged at security and had to have our bags inspected.  They kept thinking that they saw things in them.  With my aunt, they were worried about the size of her shampoo (it was exactly 3 oz).  My sister had a mirror in her bag and we learned that if it falls at the right angle it throws a reflection at the x-ray machine so they have to go through it.  With mine they never did say but im guessing that it was a random selection as they didn’t go through it, they just swabbed with the thing that checks for chemicals and let me go.  At least we know that they are paying attention 😉

Once we were finally through security we found our gate.  We still had a half hour before our flight so off we went to find food.  Everyone else ate at McDonalds (the usually fair) while I checked everywhere I could think of and couldn’t find anything to eat.  Airports are not the most vegan friendly places and because of this I usually try to be prepared with my snacks. This time, however I just didn’t have time. Finally, I just bought some pretzels from one of the shops and called it breakfast. 

Our flight took off on time and it was a fairly good flight.  To save time since this trip was only going to 4 days we only packed carry-ons.  Once we were off the plane it was straight to pick up the rental car.  Then we were on the road and on our way.  Yay, we are in Florida…

Before we knew it we were seeing….

Only a short time later we were pulling into Old Key West.  While the others had stayed here in the past, this would be my first time here.  First impression, I really like the feel of the place but don’t know if I could stay here without a car as it is really big and spread out. While my mother went to check us in we amused ourselves in the gift shop and made our first purchase….sun screen.  After some maneuvering my mom was able to get us a room that was ready in Turtle Pond.  We were staying in a studio this trip and I would like to apologize as I didn’t get any pictures of the room.  In Old Key West you get two beds in the room instead of a bed and a full out couch.  This was really nice as my sister and I usually have the pull out.  I did steal this room layout picture from google so you get the idea. 

Once we were in the room we dropped our bags, did a quick change from airplane clothes to park clothes and we were off to Epcot.  This trip we decided to drive to most of the parks to save time.  As we were pulling into the parking lot I got my first glimpse of Spaceship Earth. I know that a lot of people get that feeling of being in Disney when they see the Castle for the first time, but for me it always comes with seeing Spaceship Earth as Epcot has always been my favorite park. 

Once we were through the turnstiles we split up.  My mother and my aunt had to go to guest relations to exchange our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party vouchers for the actual tickets and my sister and I started to make our way to the Land Pavilion.  My sister does not care for the food on offer at Sunshine Seasons so we stopped at the Electric Umbrella to pick up a burger and fries for her.  She also got the sugar free brownie.  I believe she said it was just okay, but the burger was good.  I should mention that the four up us were one the QS meal plan this trip.  Once in The Land my sister went to find a table and the rest of our group, I went to get us fast passes for later.  It was a little after 12 then and the passes would be for 6:30 that evening. 

Fast passes in hand it was time to find lunch.  I had read on allears that the Tofu Noodle bowl contained dairy so I asked what I could get on the vegetarian plate that was also vegan.  They didn’t have broccoli at that time so I was able to get tofu, white rice and stir fried Noodles.  The veggies that they have (that also come in the noodle bowl) contain dairy so I wasn’t able to have those.  Sunshine Seasons also has a section for special diet snacks so I was able to pick up some yummy Divvies chocolate chip cookies for desert…I love these cookies they are sooo good.  The meal over all was really good and just what I needed before we started walking around the countries as I knew through my research that I couldn’t have any of the items on offer for the festival.

PS, not sure why but i was so excited to see that right in the walkway to the world showcase there was a big cranberry bog.  I thought it was the best thing ever and decided i too wanted to have one someday and took what too many pictures of it.  There was a guy working there who’s sole job was to stand in the bog and answer questions. 

We started our first trip around the world via Mexico.

This was also my first stop of the trip.  I wanted to try the Strawberry Lime Margarita on the rocks as it sounded good and I prefer my margaritas on the rocks rather than frozen (though ill drink them either way!) 

This was really yummy, not too sweet.  You could taste the tequila, but it wasn’t overwhelming.  I did run into a little problem, the first two cups they gave me had cracks in the bottom so they kept trying to find me a cup that didn’t have a hole.  Someone must have dropped the stack.  It was worth it though.

Our first time around we didn’t really get that much or look into the countries.  We were just looking at the different booths and deciding what we would like to try.  There was so much to choose from it was hard for all of us to narrow things down.  My sister did stop at hops and barley in America for a Sam Adams. 

I forget which one it was this time around, but whichever it was I had a sip and it was good. While we were there my mom, sis and aunt got one of the lobster rolls to share.  They really liked these and would eat a lot of them this trip.

After our first trip around the countries we were still a little full from lunch and decided to spend some time in Future World and go back a little closer to dinner.  We stopped some of the booths in the area that connects future world to world showcase.  They have a really neat vendor there that makes all of the natural beauty products and soaps. My aunt picked up a few things and I got her card so that I can order some online once what I have runs out.

We also made a quick stop in mouse gears to see what they had on offer.  As we were walking out a woman with her family stopped us and asked if we have ridden Soarin.  The way she phrased it I thought that she was going to ask us a question about it, so I told her yes.  She then said would you like to ride again and gave us four fast passes.  Our first bit of Disney magic, we thanked her very much and continued on our way to Spaceship Earth as the fastpasses were for around 3:30.

Our feet were hurting a bit and we thought it was a good time to sit for 20 minutes.  Off to Spaceship Earth we went.

I have always liked this ride, but I confess I liked the previous ending with the children talking from different countries.  Surprisingly, we selected a future that I hadn’t had before.  We had a “green” house in the country and turns out I garden…who knew? 

By now it was around 3:30 so it was almost time for our fastpasses so we started making our way back to the land.  My mom and aunt don’t care for this ride so they got something to drink and waiting for me and my sister.  The ride was good and our seats were in the first row in C.  It was funny because we were on the end of the row and the first person next to me in B had to be on this ride for the first time.  He was in his late forties I would guess but his reactions were priceless and genuine. Disney really does bring out the kid in all of us.

Once we were finished with Soarin we started to make our way back to the World Showcase for Round 2.  It was getting a little more crowded at this point, but it wasn’t so bad.  We started in Canada this time.  We made our way though Canada and the UK.  The first stop was for me, I wanted to try the Pomegranate Kir from France.  This was champagne with a bit of pomegranate syrup.  This was so yummy.  I took a sip and carried it with me to drink with dinner.

For dinner I stopped in Morocco for the vegetarian platter.  When you eat here you tell them that you would like the vegetarian platter, but you are vegan and don’t eat eggs or dairy, they will bring out the chef.  The chef was very nice and selected all of the items that I could eat.  I had hummus with special gluten free allergy bread (way better than the GF burger rolls) salad, tomato salad, beets, onions and falafel (I know there is some debate on it this is vegan, but he said it was fine).  I know this sounds like an odd combination, but the idea is to combine the different flavors in different bites and it was soo yummy.  Since I couldn’t have the dessert I was able to get two drinks.  This was perfect as my mother wanted to get water as well.   While I was inside the others went to the Morocco booth outside to get a few things to try.  My sister had the kafta Pocket and they also shared the Chicken Roll I believe.  It was gone before I made it to the table to its hard to say for sure…lol. 

After Morocco we stopped in Japan to look around the shop.

I used to live in Japan so I always enjoy looking at a lot of the things that they have there.  I took a look around and though about what I would like to purchase later in the trip.  Before we knew it we were back in America. 

My mom and sister went for the lobster claw this time and aunt stayed with the lobster roll.  My mother and sister both liked the lobster roll better than the claw.  They said that you actually got more of the meat with the roll.  My sister also got another Sam Adams, this time she got the cherry wheat.  I liked that you got a really good cherry flavor from this one.

We sat to eat in the American Pavilion concert area as the Eat to the Beat 5:15 show was about to start.  The band was Starship.  I didn’t know any of the songs really, but my mother and aunt did.  It was a pretty good show, although a few women that were sitting in the front must have had a little too much wine and not enough food at the festival because they were standing and cheering the whole time(and not in the fun we like this band so we are excited way) so much so that their behavior cause cast members to ask them to leave the theater.  It was actually kinda funny. 

After the show we continued on our journey and before long found ourselves in Germany.

I picked up a sample of the Riesling classic (this might have been my favorite wine of the festival) and joined the others in the shops.  The caramel shop smelled sooo good.  I really have to make some homemade vegan caramel treats one of these days.  One of my favorite shops in the Germany Pavilion is the little Christmas Shoppe there.  It is so nice and festive in there.  I always want to buy a pickle for my Christmas Tree and never end up buying one (this trip included).  For those unfamiliar with the German tradition, the idea is that once the tree is put up and decorated someone hides the pickle ornament in the tree.  The first child to find the ornament gets a special gift or surprise.  In all the years I looked for it my cousin always managed to find it before the rest of us…

While I was looking in here my aunt was shopping in the Glass Shoppe at the end.  She saw an anklet she liked but was looking for one is a specific color scheme to match things she already has.  The woman who makes them was there that day and said that she could make one special in any colors that she wanted.  It was going to take about 20 minutes so we had some time to kill so we did some more shipping.

As we had been in the pavilion for a while now I had long finished my small bit of Riesling and my sister and I were looking around the wine shop.  While we were there my sister pointed out this wine that is drunk in the Fall and around the holidays.   They happened to have it available at the counter so we decided to get a glass to share.  We didn’t realize when we ordered it that it would come hot.  It makes sense considering it is a winter/Christmas wine, but we just didn’t think about it.  Well, it came out really hot.  It was about 10 plus minutes before either one of us could take a sip.  Once it cooled down it was really good and I will definitely be picking up some to have in the house this holiday season. 

While we were enjoying our wine my aunt was looking through the tiaras that they sell there.  She decided to pick one up to wear to the Halloween Party on Sunday, because you know “Crowns never go out of style.”

At this point we were starting to get a little bit tired as we had been up so early that morning to fly down.  So we decided to head back to the hotel around 7 with the thought to go spend some time in the hot tub before bed.  Well, that didn’t exactly happen.  By the time we got back in the room no one really have the energy to change and go swimming.  We called it an early night and we in bed by 8:30.

See you tomorrow…

Day 2