I’ve decided to work backwards talking about my trips from the most recent to the furthest back. Since my memory is decent and ever since I got my first camera I’ve been taking tons of pictures I should be able to piece those trips that are further back together but I make no promises on the ones I took as a kid, only broad overviews…
This trip was a little more on a whim than most of my other trips since my sister wasn’t sure if she’d be going to the work conference in Disney or not until only a few months ahead. She invited me to come with her, but, of course, we couldn’t make any definite plans until her boss confirmed she would be going. The other thing that made it difficult was that it was the week I got home from my honeymoon and as much as I hated ditching my husband the moment we got back…Disney. But, my boss didn’t approve me taking yet ANOTHER week off of work since I was out almost two weeks between the wedding and the honeymoon so she finally agreed to a day. Fine, I could do with a long weekend and my sister was in a conference all day during the week anyway. So I booked my flights, and my sister added me to her reservation!
Both of us were extremely excited when our Magic Bands came in the mail! It was her first time using them and my first time staying on property with them so neither of us had ever had the experience of receiving them in the mail before!!
Since Jenn was taking the Magical Express, I wasn’t sure I would be able to. I was getting very anxious about flying on my own for the first time (I know, I’m a grown woman, but still, I’d never done it before) and then having to find a cab when I got to the airport since they didn’t let Ubers pick up at the airport. Add to that my reluctance to get in an Orlando cab again after the last time (I’ll be talking about that in two weeks), I decided it wouldn’t hurt to call up and find out if the Magical Express could bring two parties in the same room on different days. Turns out it could! I was so relieved (as was our mother who worries about us constantly) and when I got down to Orlando I got right on! I already knew to wear my magic band since my sister got told to put hers on when she got there so I was ready. I loved the trivia while waiting for the bus to leave as I had brushed up on a lot of trivia in the months before the trip and did really well 😉
Finally, the Magical Express started it’s journey to the resorts and I had the perfect window view!
Since Jenn was in the conference and my phone was dying, I got directions to the room to plug it in and then wandered around the Grand Floridian with my camera and saw some interesting characters (lol).
We met up before lunch and she and a colleague were hoping to sneak me in but we didn’t want to risk it so I got lunch on my own and enjoyed just being in the warm Florida weather until they met me with dessert 🙂
While they went back to the conference for the afternoon, I spent it laying by the pool, which was magnificent! The sun was out and I think I got the best tan that day than I did all summer.
We then had plans to go to Disney Springs for dinner at STK! Jenn was super excited about that because she had been wanting to go to STK in New York forever but hadn’t had the chance so when she saw it was at Disney Springs she immediately made reservations. We had a blast enjoying a drink at the lake, eating at STK, and enjoying a nice dessert at Ghirardelli’s (making grandma jealous, but that’s a story from 2000)! Since the last time I was at Disney Springs was before the remodel was finished, we had so much fun going in the shops and exploring how much larger it was than just under a year ago! We also got our souvenirs early at Alex & Ani, taking our time to pick out Disney themed bracelets.
When we got back to the Grand Floridian it was time for sleep since we planned on hitting up Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom in the morning.
We didn’t originally plan on going to Animal Kingdom since we didn’t have a lot of time in the parks (just a day and a half, really). But when I saw Extra Magic Hours were there I knew we needed to go, if for nothing else than to ride Expedition Everest (which I affectionately call “The Yeti”) since it’s my favorite roller coaster in Disney (second favorite ever).
So we grabbed the early shuttle out to Animal Kingdom and got on It’s Tough To Be A Bug (which was way scarier when I was 12) and Expedition Everest (twice!).
The difficult part came when we were trying to get the shuttle back to the Grand Floridian. Shuttles were bringing lots of people to the park, but since we only took the hour before official opening to explore and go on rides, it was early yet and not many people were leaving. We had planned on going back to the Grand Floridian and running to our room for our leftovers, so, since we couldn’t get a ride back there, we decided to get a ride to the Magic Kingdom and take the monorail back. This was yet another setback since the Magic Kingdom shuttle wasn’t coming either. I finally convinced my sister to hop on the shuttle to Epcot and monorail back that way since that bus was here. Once we got on the shuttle, however, we just decided to stay at Epcot and not go back to our room since we were planning on going there next anyway and didn’t want to waste too much time.
At Epcot we had a great time! We went to Test Track first and then Mission: SPACE and The Seas with Nemo and Friends before heading to The Land for our Soarin’ fastpass. After Soarin’ we further explored The Land pavilion by going on Living With the Land. This was an experience I highly recommend. I don’t remember ever doing it (at least in the last ten years) but we vaguely remember it from possibly our first trip and plan on going again since our Dad would definitely love it.
By the time we finished there it was time for lunch and to start our trip around the world! For my sister, nachos in Mexico is a must, so we headed out there to start the journey.
We then explored the rest of the world, stopping for some photos along the way. We got photobombed by some guys in Norway, then went in to see the giant troll and reminisced about the Maelstrom, one of our favorites that will now only live in our memories because of the Frozen takeover. The line for Frozen was way too long so we moved on. We tasted sake in Japan, played in a phone booth in Great Britain, and looked at a book in America.
We also did something new for both of us which was the Wine Walk. It was one of Reenie’s recommendations and it was truly an awesome time! You can purchase it at Italy, France, or Germany and then you get two tastings in each of those three countries.
For dinner we ate at Monsieur Paul’s. I wanted to do something special for Jenn’s birthday and I really wanted French food and it was spectacular. Every single thing we ate was delicious. I’ll probably never have the opportunity to eat there again but I highly recommend it for a special occasion. We also bought a bottle of champagne to share while we ate and when we didn’t finish the bottle they put the rest in to-go cups for us to take with us. What an amazing experience!
When we finished dinner we decided to work our way to the monorail and finish the evening in the Magic Kingdom! We rode some rides like Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion (yes, I may have got turned around a bit) but didn’t stay too late.
We had a great night but got tired and decided to take the ferry back to the Grand Floridian to hang out and get some rest for our last day in Disney.
Sunday got us excited for Hollywood Studios which was one of our favorite parks. With a lot closed, it was frustrating, since much of what we used to love was inaccessible (Singin’ In The Rain umbrella) or closed for good (Backlot Tour, Pizza Planet). We still had a great time riding one of Jenn’s favorites – Tower of Terror – twice and Rockin’ Roller Coaster and the Great Movie Ride. We ate lunch at the Backlot Express (which was nothing like the Backlot Tour 😦 ) and visited Star Tours as well. We had a fun time, but it didn’t compare to the Hollywood Studios (or MGM) of our previous trips.
After that, we hightailed it back to Magic Kingdom where we would spend as much time as we could before we had to go back to the Grand Floridian to catch the Magical Express to the airport :-(.
We did get on Splash Mountain, and into the Hall of Presidents which I hadn’t seen in a long time (and quizzed our dad and my husband on Presidents trivia). We spent the afternoon exploring around the Magic Kingdom and going on some rides before running into my favorite, Pete!
I LOVE Peter Pan. As a small child I both wanted to be Pete and also have him as my best friend. I was Peter Pan for Halloween when I was 3 or 4 and afterward I would just sit around in my Peter Pan hat constantly and daydreaming about Neverland. So, naturally, I needed to get my picture with him even though this wasn’t exactly a character trip.
So we spent the afternoon wandering and ended up at Gaston’s Tavern for some LeFou’s Brew and a Ham and Cheese-stuffed Pretzel (yum!!).
We really didn’t want to say goodbye to Disney, but we also didn’t want to miss our Magical Express or our plane so we said “See Ya Later” and had to head out.
Our Favorites: I know my favorite part of this trip was spending a weekend with my sister. Yes, we get cranky when we get tired and Disney is full of being tired, but we also had some awesome experiences and sister times that I highly value since it’s not often we go away just the two of us. Also, we didn’t have to share a bed. That was definitely great 😉
Food: The food we ate on this trip was phenomenal. Between STK at Disney Springs and Monsieur Paul’s at Epcot I’m not sure we could have found better food if we tried! It was definitely worth what we paid (we were celebrating, so we splurged) and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about our dining reservations.
Haul: Our Alex & Ani bracelets were the souvenirs we picked out to remember our trip by but Jenn also bought some soaps from Basin White at the Grand Floridian and gave them out as Christmas gifts (she gifted one to Dom and I and it is one of the best soaps ever). And, of course, I had to bring something home for Dom so I found the Donald Duck t-shirt he was eyeing up at Disneyland but wouldn’t buy himself and some Canadian boxers that according to this other couple in the Canada pavilion they were pretty much the best boxers ever. Dom seems to like them.
Tune in next week as I discuss my one and only trip to Disneyland (so far!) 🙂