My recent trip to Walt Disney World is further proof that no two trips are the same.
It was nothing like last Wine & Dine when I felt more social over productive and I didn’t exactly follow this must-do list I made about a month before I was leaving. (Why am I always missing the fresh ice cream sandwiches in France?!) I mean, I don’t go into trips hoping to follow these lists religiously but I do like having an idea. But still! Pumpkin ice cream, someday we will meet! Someday!
Unrelated but related: getting up super early on a Sunday morning to upgrade my iPhone before the trip was a GREAT decision. I went from the 4S to the 6 and whoa, the picture quality was superb. I can’t wait to share my pictures from this trip’s safari.
Just a sidenote: it’s never easy to travel with anyone from your best friend to your mom to your husband to people you’ve known for years or just met. Group trips are hard, I’m totally imperfect (as we all are), but it’s still one of the greatest destinations to make memories with your pals (especially with people who understand this obsession like you do).
So what did I like? What did I hate? All your burning questions should be answered below, and if they aren’t, I’m sure there’s a future blog post where I will talk in excruciating detail about drinks and decor and more fun stuff. Enjoy!
Hit: The Art of Animation Resort
Yeah, yeah, it’s a value resort but you know what? I am growing to love Pop Century and The Art of Animation Resort area. The fact that they two are an easy walk from one another and there’s a body of water separating them makes it feel more like a moderate. For my first time at this resort, we stayed in the Nemo building which was adorably decorated — so much more detail than you see in the All-Star Resort rooms. For six people, the family suite was doable — although I’m not sure I would have been able to sleep on a full-size bed after three nights. Sadly, the weather was not on our side… I didn’t get to swim in the Nemo pool. Only means I have to stay there again.
Miss: The rain.
More so for my friends who were taking part in the marathon (check out Jenn or Alex‘s soggy recaps) … the rain was pretty ungodly. I can’t remember the last time I was in a theme park and it rained continuously for hours. It was also cold and the parks are surprisingly dark so I was bouncing around in puddles all night without knowing I was actually swimming. But otherwise…
Hit: The weather.
Warm during the day, and cool at night. Nothing like the humidity we experienced last year; I wasn’t uncomfortably sweating but it was nice enough to wear my dresses without carrying a jacket with me all day. (There was one day I had to wear leggings and a jean jacket, but otherwise, I packed pretty well.)
Hit: New Harambe at Animal Kingdom.
I don’t think I can properly express how beautiful this new corner of Animal Kingdom is. I heard about it but I surely was not prepared for how meticulous it looks, how spread out, and how much there is to see. I spent a majority of my day in Animal Kingdom walking around solo, and I found myself drifting over to New Harambe when I didn’t even need to be there. So many picture opportunities, a fitting venue for a fantastic show, and a general good feeling. (Animal Kingdom is so inviting as a park, isn’t it?)
Miss: This Muppet ornament. What is up with Dr. Honeydew?
Hit: Holidays in Walt Disney World.
Once again, I was completely captivated by a winter-sized castle (missed the Frozen show, though), the brilliant Osborne Lights, and the rest of the festive decorations around WDW. Although this time they seemed a little late hanging decorations in parks other than Magic Kingdom. No other trees were up and the “Happy Holidays” was missing from the Kiss Goodnight. Despite that, I was still rightfully in the Christmas spirit.
Miss: Do not lose your wallet, ever. Okay? More to come on that. (There was a happy ending but it was still a sucky experience.)
Hit: Mine Train.
Even though the wait times are truly ridiculous, I was lucky enough to hop on in the rain storm (great in the dark but wet in the rain — who knew) and then got a special fast pass because it broke down (of course) and tried it again in the daytime. (Still fun, loved the view of the park but there was such a glare on the window at the end.) All in all, I thought this was very sweet and I’m glad I didn’t watch any videos online. Sure, it’s short but I think it captured the spirit of the dwarfs.
Miss: The crowds.
Was it Food & Wine or Run Disney or Veteran’s Day because it was b-u-s-y. There was a line for MuppetVision 3D. Surely not everyone has been reading my blog and was convinced to get over there. (Or maybe they were…haha) Even entering the park seemed like a big to-do. Lines were so far back. Honestly, not sure if this would be a weekend I would choose to vacation in WDW again.
Miss: My Disney Experience App
I’ll have a more lengthy post about this soon but wow, talk about undependable. Out of six people, my app was the only one that worked and that wasn’t even all the time. Let’s get it together, guys. Soon? Maybe?
Hit: Jingle Cruise
I loved it last year, but they really went into full Christmas elf mode this year. The decor was great, the jokes were cheesier and I’m so glad this was our last stop on our trip. So fitting. I know many aren’t a fan of the overlays but it’s nice to be in the park when there’s one to actually experience. (As Co-President of the Jingle Cruise fan club, I’d say it turned a solid 5 Santa Hats.)
Home run hit: Live entertainment in the Grand Floridian lobby.
I’ve been wanting to do this for my last 3 trips and never made it happen until THIS ONE and I’m so so so glad I went. I’ll share videos soon but whoa, so great to chit chat and listen to some great music. Moments like this make me feel like I’m on vacation. (Thanks to Jenn at Fairest Run of All for accompanying me!)
All in all, I’d say that was a great escape (no Stitch included) from the real world for a long weekend.
Looking forward to sharing more super soon! (Although I’m sure you understand… the holiday “coverage” takes precedence!)