Hi friends! I promised that I would share with you our trip to Disney World, and here it is! It may get a little lenthy. I can gush about all things Disney forever. It’s one of my favorite things ever. If you don’t know that yet, you will. I promise. 🙂
So Disney World. The place where all magic happens? Yes, indeed. The place where I met my husband, which makes it even more magical? Also, yes. Is it my favorite place in the world? Absolutely.
Way back in March (I think? Correct me if I am wrong, Ashley.) my older sister asked me to help her plan a trip to Disney World for her kids. She and her husband, Dennis, wanted to go all out, and because I worked there, they wanted my help. And, because I love Disney almost as much as I love them, I had to help without a doubt. I know a few insider secrets and things that they absolutely had to do while they were there, although a lot has changed since I worked there in 2010. And then, my sister, being the awesome and amazing big sister that she is, asked if Peter and I wanted to come with them. She offered their hotel room to us so that all we would have to do would be buy park tickets and get ourselves there. She said we could come for the entire week they were there, if we wanted, or just part. Whatever worked for us. We couldn’t turn it down! There was NO way I was going to miss Alex and Juliana’s first time at Disney World.
So, Ashley and I had many phone calls and texts back and forth, and finally, we had their entire trip planned out. The hotel was set; They were staying on property at The Art of Animation, because they decided if they were going to do Disney World, they were going to do Disney World. They had a couple reservations set, they had their park tickets, and their flights. They were excited.
Pete and I were excited as well. As it was a closing week at his job, he couldn’t take the full week off for the trip, unfortunately for me. But we were able to go Thursday through the following Monday. We would be able to spend Friday and Saturday with Ashley, Dennis and the kids, as they were leaving on Sunday morning. But it allowed Pete and I to have a day at the park just the two of us to really hit the park as hard as we wanted to. And man, did we hit it.
Once the decision was made, and all of the tickets and everything were purchased, my sister and I started counting down days. Literally. Did I have my suitcase entirely packed two weeks before our trip? Yes. Yes, I did.
Finally, the end of May rolled around, and it was time for our trip. Pete and I drove for about 6 or 7 hours from Mississippi to get to Orlando, which wasn’t too bad of a drive. By the time we got there, it was around dinner time. We managed to get into my sister’s hotel room so we could change our clothes, then we drove over to Disney Springs for dinner at Earl of Sandwich, where we used to frequent. We wandered around for a while, taking in the new sights of the shopping district of Disney. That has been built up so much since we lived in Orlando! We got shakes at Ghiradelli’s, which if you haven’t done, oh, my God, go get one. What are you doing with your life?
By that time, Ashley, Dennis and the kids were on their way back to the hotel, so we drove back to meet up with them.
Let me tell you: This trip was perfect. My niece, Juliana, and nephew, Alex, are at such a great age to experience Disney World, and I felt so lucky that I was able to see them there. They are 6 and 8, respectively.
Our time with my sister’s family was precious to me. It had been almost 6 months since I had seen them, so I was just soaking up all of the love and cuddles and giggles that I could. We went to EPCOT first. We went on a couple rides and saw a few characters, which was really cool. I won’t lie to you: I almost cried a couple times. Ashley kept teasing me about it. Oh well. Then went back to the hotel and swam in the super cool pool at The Art of Animation Resort. We ate dinner at the hotel and then headed back to EPCOT to watch the fireworks. The next day, Alex HAD to go on Tower of Terror with me and Peter, so we went to Hollywood Studios. It was awesome. We also managed to get into The Little Mermaid show (which is like a 10 min musical show that has live actors who just sing the songs from The Little Mermaid, which happens to currently be Juliana’s favorite princess movie right now). The cast members saw that she had a birthday button on, as she turned 6 while she was at Disney World, and asked her to open the show for them. That was pretty cool.
For Juliana’s birthday, we went to the Grand Floridian Resort for dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Tremaines. Seeing my niece interact with my favorite princess was the best thing that I have ever been able to see. That little girl did not want to stop looking at Cinderella. It was precious, and, while I was close to it, I did not cry. I swear.
After dinner, Peter, Dennis, and I went to Animal Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours (which is when the park closes to everyone, except those who are staying on Disney property at one of the designated Disney hotels) in hopes of getting into the new land Pandora, which is based off of the movie Avatar. Peter was extra excited to get back to Animal Kingdom because that was where he used to work. When we got there, the line to go into Pandora was already obscenely long; Peter figured it probably had about 10,000 people in it, and the park hadn’t even closed yet. The opening of Pandora was for people staying at Disney Resorts first. It opened to the general public the next day. So we decided to wait to jump in line at Pandora until the park emptied out a little more. Instead, as much as I hate it, Dennis and Peter made me ride Dinosaur: The Ride. If you’ve never been on it, it’s awful. It’s loud, and dark, and it throws you all over the place. But not in a fun roller coaster way, because I love roller coasters. But in a way that you feel like you might fly out of the car you are in. I hate Dinosaur. But I was going to be a trooper. We made it onto the ride just in time, because they were getting ready to close. Then we ran over to Mount Everest and walked onto that ride. Literally, there was no line. It was awesome. And if you have never had the chance to ride Everest at night, oh, my God, do it. It is 100% better at night than during the day. We managed to get onto Everest twice before we investigated the line for Pandora again. By this time, the park had probably been closed to general guests for about half an hour. We jumped in line, and as all of the guests filtered through the park towards Pandora, we found out that, yes, we would get to walk through the new area, but the lines to the rides were already closed because there were too many people. The three of us decided that wasn’t worth it to us, as Dennis had an incredibly early flight in the morning with two kids, and Pete and I were planning to run around Magic Kingdom all day the next day. So we decided to head back to the hotel.
Saying goodbye to my sister’s family is never a fun thing. But I knew that I would be seeing them again this summer, so it wasn’t too bad.
Peter’s and my last day was spent at Magic Kingdom. We went to dinner at one of our favorite date night restaurants, Tony’s, watched the fireworks and ran all over Magic Kingdom, just the two of us. It was pretty wonderful. It was the first time we had been back since the Fantasyland Expansion had opened up, and I was ecstatic to see that. I worked in Fantasyland when I was on my internship, and I saw them doing something of the building, so I was over the moon to see it finished. It was hot as all get out, because Florida in basically June, duh. But I loved every second of it.
As we walked around Magic Kingdom, we talked about eventually getting annual park passes, because Orlando is only around a 5 hour drive for us now that we live in Pensacola. We haven’t bought them yet, much to my chagrin. But eventually, maybe. Leaving Disney World was a sad day, because it will always hold an incredibly special spot in my heart, but we will be back.
So that was our short trip to Disney World (because in my opinion, a trip to Disney is never long enough).