At a glance:
Where I stayed: Wilderness Lodge
Type of Trip: Family vacation
Length: 7 days
Tip: No tips, just raving
Look, Disney by itself is to-infinity-and-beyond fantastic. I’ve only been a couple times - when I was a first grader (a perfect time to go for the first time), when I was a high schooler for senior trip (God bless those chaperones), and when I was a freshman in college with my parents and sister (including a Disney cruise which will warrant it’s own blog post). So going again when I was a 30 year old is a whole different magical experience.
This time I went with my sister (not of the evil step sister variety), her prince charming, and their two kids who I’m obsessed with. They were at the perfect ages (my niece was 6 and my nephew was 3) and are two of the most well behaved yet goofy kids you'll meet. PLUS, we went with a friend who works for Disney and vacations there often. She knows the ins and outs of the parks, when the best time to go where is and how to avoid the tourist traps. All this meant, I just had to show up and have the time of my life with a bunch of awesome humans. Hakuna Matata. (ok I’ll stop)
I can’t even pretend to give you tips and tricks here. Plus there are already whole blog sites devoted to all things Disney. All I can say is if you’re not enjoying yourself in Disney World, you probably don’t enjoy yourself anywhere. It’s not just for kids - especially Epcot (which is my favorite). I’ll give you a quick rundown on what I loved so much.
The hotel: We stayed in the hotel portion of Wilderness Lodge. They have villas there too which I’m guessing are spectacular because the rooms are fantastic. We could also see the nightly fireworks (not the whole show you see in the park obviously) from our balcony. There’s a pool for relaxing, an eatery for quick meals and the buses and boats pick you up right outside for easy park access.
Magic Kingdom: Where I become a kid again! I hadn’t been to Disney in almost 10 years so there were a lot of new attractions. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train did not disappoint but that line can get LONG! Either get there early or get a fast pass (hey, look! a tip!). I also loved the Be Our Guest restaurant complete with the west wing where the snow is falling outside. And just like the movies, the classics never get old. Space Mountain, the spitting camels at Aladdin’s Magic Carpets, It’s a Small World! Yes, I’ve always loved and always will love It’s a Small World. Don’t judge me!
…also, just hanging out in the shade
Epcot: Like I said, my favorite park. The traveler in me can’t help it. I love the food, the drinks, and the architecture. We met Elsa and Anna in Norway and Jasmine in Morocco. I got my face painted like a fool at the Outpost and bought a “Fiesta, Siesta, Repeat” shirt in Mexico. I ate an ice cream sandwich macaroon in France and pizza in Italy. I regret nothing.
As a bonus, here’s a cute little story. We met Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. My nephew had fallen and scraped his knee earlier in the day. He was a champ but of course was bawling - remember he was only 3 and it was a long, hot day. When we got in to see the characters he walked over to sadness to show her his bandaged knee. She was so sweet and adorable, you could feel her emoting empathy! Her signature is also hilariously sad. Definitely my favorite character encounter.
Hollywood Studios: All I can say is I cannot WAIT to go back a see Toy Story Land. It wasn’t open yet but the part that was there, including Toy Story Mania and the Buzz & Woody meet and greet, was a ton of fun. I’ll also be stoked to see the Star Wars section!
Animal Kingdom: I don’t know anyone whose favorite park is Animal Kingdom (no offense if it’s yours). It’s worth going though just for Expedition Everest. Go jump in the single rider line and then go back to a more fun park (oh look, another tip!). Avatar is a crazy popular attraction but I wasn’t really a fan of the movie so that section is lost on me. If you like the movie though you’d probably love the park.
Russell from Up was a really cute character to meet though. He played a game of hide and seek with my niece and nephew before posing for pictures and signing their stuff.
Cutest kids ever
Melts my heart
Disney holds a special place in my heart. This will definitely be my favorite trip of the year but it has an unfair advantage. Not only was I there with the best people and I didn’t really have to plan anything but Disney is magic! Truly.