Honeymoon Day 7 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom!

We had a super early start on what should have been our final full day in Orlando (more on that later!) As we had to get to The Magic Kingdom in time for our breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest Restaurant, inside the park.

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I felt like a kid at Christmas getting ready for the day ahead. Excited to visit the most famous Disney park, plus excited for my favourite meal of the day – breakfast, in the heart of my favourite Disney Film – Beauty and the Beast!

We got the shuttle bus from our hotel to Epcot, as they didn’t have an early enough one for Magic Kingdom, but it didn’t matter, as from Epcot we then got on the free Disney transportation bus to Magic Kingdom instead. Due to the change, we did have to power walk to make our reservation in time, as typically the restaurant is located in the furthest area/land from the entrance in Fantasyland!

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The look of the Be Our Guest Restaurant is amazing, it really does look and feel like the Beast’s castle.

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I had made our reservation online a good few months in advance and a couple of weeks before we went, we were asked to pre-order our meal & drink choices (I believe this is just for breakfast and not for lunch or dinner.) There were quite a lot of options to choose from, but in the end I opted for the waffles and Matt went for the Croque Madame. We also ordered 2 of the Master’s Cupcakes, as I had been told we had to try them! All breakfast items also come with a side of fresh fruit and selection of pastries.

When we arrived our reservation was checked via our Magic Bands (park tickets) and we had to pay up front for our choices. You are then free to sit wherever you like and they will bring your food straight to you. I still have no idea how the waiters/waitresses find you after you have sat down as there are 3 dining rooms to choose from!

The first one being the The Grand Ballroom. This looked stunning in all the pictures I had seen beforehand, however it was carnage when we entered, lots of screaming kids and it felt like a cheap canteen. I was gutted as I really wanted to sit in there.

 

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The Grand Ballroom

 

Instead we went into the second room, The Castle Gallery inspired by Belle’s library. It wasn’t as elaborately decorated as the previous room but it was a lot calmer!

 

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The Castle Gallery

 

You have to get your own cutlery, napkins and soft drinks from the dispensers but the food was delivered quickly. The meals were average, but the pastries were tasty. I didn’t really know what to make of the cupcake though, as it didn’t really taste of anything?

 

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My waffles, could have done with a lot more syrup!

 

 

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Matt’s Croque Madame & the pastries

 

 

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The Master’s Cupcake

 

Afterwards we ventured into the third and final dining room which is The West Wing, this looked amazing exactly like the film, including the enchanted rose!

 

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The West Wing

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The Enchanted Rose!

 

I may have a few moans about the restaurant but I’m still glad we visited, however next time I definitely want to go for dinner, as I feel the whole experience would be a lot better then!

 

After breakfast we took a stroll through Fantasyland to Story Book Circus. This may be a toddler friendly area but I really wanted to go on the Dumbo ride as it’s a classic!

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Afterwards we made our way down to Tomorrowland as we had fast passes for Space Mountain followed by Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Space Mountain was so much fun. As it’s in the dark you can’t see what’s coming next and there are a few sharp turns and drops, don’t think I have ever screamed so much on a ride!

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Buzz Lightyear was a bit boring and nowhere near as good as the Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios.

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We then jumped onto Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as it had no queue and is one of Walt’s original rides, great to see how it all started and features a very catchy song which we found ourselves singing at random times of the day!

The last attraction we decided on, in Tomorrowland was Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. It’s a comedy show and is pretty funny for both kids and adults, especially if you enjoy the films, like we do! 😉

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We then walked through to Adventureland, but we just couldn’t get over how busy it was and the wait times for all the rides were roughly an hour each!

In the end we decided to join the queue for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I feel like they could make the queue a little more exciting as it’s quite boring, especially when you are waiting that long. The ride is fun though and I loved the new addition of Captain Jack Sparrow at the end!

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By the time we had left the ride, it was time to find a spot for the parade at 3pm. Some people had already waited for an hour to secure the perfect spot! But we grabbed a couple of snacks and found a space in Liberty Square to sit and wait ready for the parade to start.

We worked out pretty quickly though why the spot we had chosen was still free, it was in the direct sunlight and even just sitting down, we were melting. We stuck it out though as we had a great view for the parade and ice lollies definitely helped!

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I loved the parade, the songs are so catchy and seeing as we didn’t meet any characters (apart from Mickey of course!) it’s a great way to see them all. If you aren’t interested in watching the parade this is a great time to go on the more popular rides as the queues are much quieter!

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After the parade finished we made a quick dash to ride The Haunted Mansion. We still had about a 25 minute wait but was much quicker than the hour wait it had been all day! I loved this ride although a lot of it did make me jump! I love that Disneyland in California turns theirs into a Nightmare before Christmas theme for Halloween, I wish Orlando did the same, as that’s one of my favourite films!

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Finally we had a fastpass for Splash Mountain which was great, as we pretty much just walked straight on. Water rides are Matts favourite so he was very glad I managed to get a fastpass for this one! It’s a fun log flume ride with lots of drops along the way and a cute story with yet more catchy songs! Plus it cooled us down as we were so hot from walking around all day in the sunshine.

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Having rushed around for most of the day, trying to ride as many rides as possible, we decided to have a couple of hours chill time. We had a look in some of the shops, we met Mickey Mouse and then we ate an early dinner at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. The food isn’t the most amazing but the pizzas were pretty tasty and huge!

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Before we left for honeymoon, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was one of the rides I really wanted to go on, however I was unable to get fastpasses for it, as it is new and very popular! All day we kept an eye on the queue but it was always around the 2 hour mark which we agreed was too long a wait. So after dinner we made our way back over to Fantasyland with everything crossed to try to ride it, thinking lots of people might be at dinner! But unfortunately we had no luck, the wait time was still 2 hours, so it’s still on the list, along with the Frozen ride at Epcot!

Instead, I dragged Matt onto the Winnie the Pooh ride ha. It’s so cute and I think you have to act a big kid at Disney as when else can you?

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The weather had taken a turn for the worse when we exited the ride, it was very dark, overcast and about to chuck it down with rain, so Disney ponchos on we walked back around to Liberty Square to find a spot for the evening Electrical Parade. Again people wait for ages to get a good spot but we managed to squeeze in just before it began. Sadly they have now stopped this evening parade, so will be interesting to see what replaces it!

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We then made a dash to ride It’s a Small World before the fireworks started, again Matt wasn’t thrilled about this one, but I told him it’s a classic and he had to ride it at least once in his life! 🙂

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Still raining and now singing its a small world constantly! (Why are Disney songs so catchy?!) We found a spot by the castle ready for the fireworks.

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Disney sure know how to put on a fireworks display. They are just stunning and the songs and stories that go with it always get to me. I always start tearing up when ‘wish upon a star’ starts. There is just something so magical and special about it all. Sad but true!

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 6 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

After our super relaxing day the day before, I was shocked when I woke up feeling a bit run down. I guess the build up to the wedding and then a few busy days at the parks had finally caught up with me. Nothing a little lie in and sunshine couldn’t help fix though.

 

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The view from our room

 

We drove to Animal Kingdom with the roof down enjoying the morning’s weather.

As we weren’t planning on staying all day at the park and with me not feeling 100% we decided it was easier if we drove ourselves.

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We arrived about 10.30am and after grabbing a map and taking an obligatory picture with The Tree of Life we decided to head straight to Festival of the Lion King – a 30 minute musical extravaganza showcasing the best songs from the film, we loved it.

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The Tree of Life

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The Festival of The Lion King

 

As we had fast passes booked for the bigger rides after lunch, we went back to The Tree Of Life to watch It’s Tough To Be A Bug as this had barely any wait time, it’s meant for kids but I jumped a couple of times from the creepy crawlies under my chair!

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Such big kids!

We decided to keep walking anti clockwise (away from the crowds) and ended up in DinoLand U.S.A. which wasn’t too busy, probably due to the fact that Dinosaur the ride was closed for refurbishment.

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Personally, I don’t feel that DinoLand is that exciting and it looks a bit tacky with the funfair style games and big brightly coloured rides. But it’s great for kids who love dinosaurs as they have the huge boneyard play area and then TriceraTop spin which is basically a dinosaur themed Dumbo ride.

The only other attraction in this area is Primeval Whirl. A spinning family friendly roller coaster. This had a 40 minute wait time but we decided to join the queue as I think Matt was ready for something a bit bigger then It’s Tough To Be A Bug 😉

I’m not going to lie I felt a bit scared queuing for this ride, as you know I hate roller coasters and even though this one wasn’t actually that big, the thought of drops and spinning made me fear I might be sick. Also doesn’t help that you are just watching the ride go round and round while queuing which made me more anxious!

The line moved quickly though and soon enough it was our turn. Matt used the GoPro on this ride and I really wish I knew how to upload the video as it makes me laugh so much. I am constantly screaming but actually I really enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun and the spinning weirdly made it better.

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We had fast passes for Finding Nemo the Musical so that was next on our list, it came at the right time too as we were absolutely melting from the humidity, so an air conditioned theatre was just what we needed! This show was amazing, all done with puppetry it was visually stunning and had some really catchy songs too.

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I was starting to flag a bit by this point and as I hadn’t fancied eating breakfast I was starting to feel quite hungry. We hadn’t booked anywhere for lunch as most places in Animal Kingdom seemed to be quick service, so we made our way around to Africa to Harambe Market. It was pretty busy as it was right in the middle of lunchtime but I managed to grab us a table in the corner, next to a fan hooray, while Matt kindly stood in the long queue, in the heat to get our lunch. Thanks Matt!

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The food options are a bit random but Matt went for the corndog and I had the vegetarian stack which was roasted peppers, aubergine, courgette and onions with coleslaw. It was nice to have a rest in the shade and refuel, as it was just so hot.

We had fast passes for the Kilimanjaro Safaris after lunch, and we were lucky enough to see quite a few animals on our journey including rhinos, lions, giraffes and even elephants to name a few.

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Afterwards we made our way over to Asia, as we had fast passes for the Kali River Rapids.

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Unfortunately though we still ended up in a pretty long queue, clearly a popular time for them! We felt that the actual rapids themselves were pretty boring and over really quickly, which was such a shame, as we love water rides, but these are nothing like the Popeye rapids at Universal which are so much fun. Even though we got pretty wet and had a much needed cool down, we were a bit disappointed with them, especially after queuing for so long too!

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The only ride left to do, which I had been debating over all day was Expedition Everest. A very big roller coaster, and we all know how I feel about those! I kept seeing it from a distance thinking no way it’s too high and then I would have a talk with myself and say no you have to do this, you have to face your fears. Matt also really wanted to go on it and didn’t want to ride alone, so he kept asking me to go on it with him. But I just didn’t know. In the end I stood watching it from the viewing point for ages and decided I just couldn’t do it. The drop, the going backwards in the dark, none of it sounded appealing and it just terrified me. I felt bad for Matt and he still tried to persuade me to get on it but in the end he rode alone. Sorry Matt! The only positive of that was he didn’t have to join the 45 minute normal queue, instead he joined the much shorter single rider line and he was back again within 10 minutes! I also managed to get some great pictures of him on the main drop and he was happy having gone on all the rides available, that day.

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Expedition Everest in the very distance!

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Spot Matt in the blue T-Shirt!

As the park was really busy and we had done all the rides and shows available (the only things we missed were all the animal encounters you could walk around and the train which I believe goes around the park) we decided to call it a day and drove back to the hotel, eating some delicious Mickey Mouse Ice Creams along the way!

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That evening we decided to drive to Disney Springs as we hadn’t ventured there yet. The weather had once again taken a turn for the worse (it seemed to be an afternoon/evening thing!) so was a mixture of rain and thunder and lightening, yet still very hot.

We had tried and failed to get a dinner reservation for The Boathouse, which looked absolutely stunning on the water. Make sure you book way in advance for popular dining options! However we did manage to secure a reservation at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe.

It’s quite a small restaurant located above the Wolfgang express cafe, overlooking Lake Buena Vista where we had a great display of the lightening.

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Matt went for the sashimi starter which he said was amazing and I chose the crab cakes which were so tasty. For mains I had the crispy pork schnitzel which was enormous and came with potato salad, tomatoes and a really yummy sauce, I didn’t manage to finish it all though. Matt went for the roasted duck breast which unfortunately he said was pretty bland, so wasn’t too impressed and said he wished he had stuck to the sushi which was delicious. For dessert we shared Wolfgangs famous apple strudel with cinnamon ice cream which was so comforting. In the end I was totally stuffed.

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It was so big!

We spent the rest of the evening leisurely walking around all the shops that Disney Springs had to offer, and there are a lot! Including a huge LEGO Store and World of Disney – The World’s largest Disney store!

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I would love to build this!

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 2 – Universal Studios!

Even though I had an amazing sleep my body still decided to wake me up at 6am! So I decided to go for a little explore. I wanted to check out the breakfast options, always my main priority when staying at a hotel and I also wanted to book us onto the free shuttle bus which dropped hotel guests off at some of the parks. Although we had the car, some days we decided it would be easier to use the free transportation on offer, especially if we wanted to stay at the parks all day and would be tired or wanted to have a couple of drinks.

The staff were more than happy to help me, even at that time of day! I found a couple of options for breakfast and was told we were welcome to visit the neighbouring Marriott Hotel to use their facilities and restaurants too, which was good to know.

We decided to try out Highball & Harvest for breakfast, which was a restaurant and bar area in our hotel. It offered an à la carte menu as well as the all you could eat breakfast buffet. It was pretty pricey but I guess that’s to be expected in the type of hotel we were staying at, but the food was super fresh and delicious so made up for it. Matt even finished off his breakfast with an American frosted doughnut! When in Rome….

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Even at 9am the mixture of heat and humidity was fierce! Waiting outside for the shuttle bus to collect us, I was already melting and the day hadn’t even begun.

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Such a tourist with my backpack!

We arrived at Universal Studios ready and raring to go, map in hand, our plan was to visit both parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) in one day. Some people might think we were crazy but we just didn’t have enough time to do it any other way. Due to this we upgraded our tickets to the Express tickets, which meant we could skip the queue once at each ride or show. This was actually really useful and worth the money as it meant we could do all the rides we wanted to without getting stressed or rushing around. The only attractions these tickets didn’t work for though were the Harry Potter rides.

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Phew I’m tall enough!

Now, I could easily talk about all the attractions in great detail and go through step by step every single thing we did, which is what I originally started doing when first writing this post, but it was going on forever and I just thought you would get a bit bored! So I’m going to try to condense it all as best I can and just show you a lot of photos instead!

We started the day at Universal Studios which consists of 7 themed areas. Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, World Expo, Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone and finally The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. We made our way around all these areas apart from the kidzone and went on the rides, looked in the shops and just enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement of being there. I must admit though I hate big rollercoasters which is annoying for Matt who loves all rides, so he did have to go on a few alone 😦 Sorry Matt!

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One of Matt’s favourite films – Back To The Future

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This ride was so good!

One of my favourite rides in this Park was probably Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, it’s really well done and quite funny, plus Matt and I are such big kids who love anything Minions! I also loved the Simpsons ride and the whole Simpsons area. It was pretty cool to be able to go into Moe’s for a drink, Krusty Burger for food or to the Kwik-E-Mart for gifts!

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A couple of the areas didn’t have much going on, as they were either working on new rides or had just demolished old ones. I get that they constantly need to be working on new ideas and attractions but I’m not sure how I feel about the new, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon ride which opens in 2017. I appreciate he’s a big deal in America but just sounds weird to me and I don’t see how it relates to Universal, also I think it’s going to be yet another 3D or 4D Ride! Personally I really miss the old school rides like Twister, Earthquake and Jaws. I really wish they would bring some of those kind of attractions back!

Now this may offend some people haha, but I am not a Harry Potter fan. I have never read the books and have only seen tiny snippets of the films if my sister, dad or Matt have had them on, I just don’t get the hype. So before we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I must admit I wasn’t really bothered or excited about it. In all honestly I was actually annoyed when they started building the areas as I just couldn’t understand why they had to take over the Universal Parks. Why couldn’t they just build a whole new Harry Potter theme park of its own?

Vent over I promise.

As when I actually stepped foot inside HP World it really did look pretty impressive, even though I had no idea of what shops, streets, people I was looking at, I could still enjoy it and embrace the wizarding experience. Plus the rides are really good too!

 

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Trying Butter Beer – Matt was very disappointed when he realised it wasn’t real beer!

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As we had been on everything we wanted to go on and seen everything we wanted to see, we decided to take the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station over to Hogsmeade Station, located in Islands of Adventure.

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Universal’s Islands of Adventure is also split into 7 sections. Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing and finally The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

We were flagging a bit by the time we made it over to this park, so we decided that our first stop would be lunch at Mythos Restaurant. We needed time out of the heat and we just needed a sit down after all the walking! We opted for a light lunch which arrived quickly and was tasty.

Fuelled and raring to go again, we went out to explore what this park had to offer. Starting with HP Hogsmeade. Again this area was visually stunning and the main ride was full on. Not at all what I was expecting!

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Sorry Matt for making you ride alone!

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The newest attraction at I.O.A which is pretty impressive

Our favourite rides more often than not are the water rides. So by the time it got to late afternoon and we were absolutely sweltering from the heat, we decided it was time to cool off and Toon Lagoon seemed the place to go. Starting with Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls which I was quite scared to go on, the reason I don’t like roller coasters is due to the drops, so when I saw the height of this log flume I panicked but Matt basically forced me to go on and I’m glad he did as I loved it, even though my face tells a different story…

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This photo will forever make me laugh!

Then we found  Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges which is a rapids ride. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much on a ride before. We got absolutely drenched through, but this was by far my favourite ride of the whole day. We even went on for a second time which we filmed on the GoPro.

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Drenched from the water rides!

We made The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man our last ride of the day as it was about 6pm and we were uncomfortable in our wet clothes. We ended up getting changed in the toilets ha, but I was just happy I was dry! I’m so glad we brought a change of clothes and shoes which we kept in our backpacks inside lockers when we were on the rides, as this meant we could then carry on the evening without having to head back to the hotel.

We then spent the evening at Universal CityWalk which is located just outside the entrances of both parks. We mooched around the shops, brought some amazing macaroons at The chocolate Emporium and then finally treated ourselves to cocktails and burgers at Hard Rock Cafe.

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The Texan: Hickory-smoked pulled pork, chipotle barbecue sauce, cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, crispy fried jalapenos & onions all on a toasted brioche bun. Yummmm!

An amazingly fun but long day!

Love, Chloe xx