Wow! It’s been months since I posted anything. It’s almost embarrassing. But, it’s been months since I went anywhere new for me to write about. However, that slow spell is about to end. I’ll soon be travelling to Nashville and San Antonio and hope to have pictures and stories from both. But before all that, I’m at Disney World!
Being from California, I’ve explored Disneyland many times. I’m just an adult-sized little girl, so I love it. I’ve always wanted to go to Disney World. And, since I’m one of the luckiest people ever, my real job has sent me to Disney World to represent the company at a convention. Yes, I fully appreciate how awesome my job is.
My daughter flew in to join me for a couple of days, and we were able to get in a good amount of play in addition to my work duties. I’ll share with you what we learned about traveling to Disney World.
Disney World is divided into four parks and a couple resorts. We stayed at the Disney Yacht Club resort and visited Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom.
The first tip is, as you may guess, be prepared to spend a lot of money. I’d love to tell you I found some secret to making Disney World affordable for the average family, but my credit card statement would tell you otherwise. On my budget, this is definitely a splurge. But, you only live once and sometimes you just have to do the big things. We had more than one meal that came to about $100 for the two of us, but we did balance those with some nachos-and-hot-dogs meals that came to about $30 total.
Speaking of food, most of the food we had was outstanding. I was most impressed with the perfectly cooked medium rare steak I had at the Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom. The all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at the Beach Club was also amazing. Both those meals were of the $100/two people variety.
The next tip – forget about looking beautiful and dress for comfort. I don’t care how ugly the shoes are, make sure they’re meant for walking. My lightest walking day (Epcot Center only) was 6.5 miles. My heaviest walking day (Epcot and Hollywood Studios) was 10.6 miles. Our day at the Magic Kingdom was about 9 miles.
You may have noticed above that I visited Epcot twice. It was my favorite of the three parks we visited. I loved exploring all the different cultures. Also, while there are a couple of rides that I absolutely love, I’m more excited by good shopping – and there’s plenty of that at Epcot.
Someone gave me a tip that Hollywood Studios was a “half-day” park, and I agree. We spent a half day there and that was enough to satisfy me. My main reason for going was to ride Star Tours, which is my favorite ride at Disneyland. It’s just as good in Orlando. I also enjoyed the Muppets section, perhaps because I am exactly the right generation for it.
The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is basically like Disneyland back home. We spent a full day there, and my daughter went back for a second full day while I was at the convention. It’s almost a tie with Epcot. I loved it! The castle is bigger than Disneyland’s, but California beats out Orlando on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (my second favorite ride). Orlando’s is shorter and not quite as dramatic.
As with anything Disney does, the shows are amazing and not to be missed. There are fireworks shows, street show, character shows, impromptu shows, animatronic shows, you name it. The entertainment is endless.
One of the best things about anything Disney is the customer service. I don’t know how they do it, but Disney hires the most wonderful people. I royally messed up my travel plans, and had to call customer service two days before my trip to change dates and things. Jean was incredibly helpful and patient. I would have hated helping me, but she was wonderful.
Our waiter, Craig, at the seafood buffet was hilarious and also extremely helpful. He chatted with us and gave us some great tips that made our visit even better (start Epcot with the Frozen ride because it opens early; don’t be afraid of spending the extra $60 on a park hopper pass because you’ll really want to go back to Epcot – he was right; Fantasmic is different in Orlando than CA, so be sure to catch it…).
And a tip I really loved came from Shelby K. in the Mouse Gear gift shop in Epcot. I bought post cards there, and she told me to take them with me to the Magic Kingdom. If you mail your post cards from the mail drop at the newsstand just at the entrance to Magic Kingdom, they are stamped and postmarked Main Street, USA (Disney’s official main street).
Overall, the trip was a wish come true. As my daughter prepares to move out of the house and begin a grown-up life, this was a beautiful opportunity to spend some time together, being young.
If you’d like to see more pictures from the trip, check out my flickr album.