A Grown Up Disney Vacation
Good morning and happy Monday everybody! If you follow me on IG and Twitter, you know that I spent last week in Walt Disney World, Florida. The trip blew my mind in such amazing ways that I didn't want to delay a post all about it. My husband and I went on the trip with his cousin, and his cousin's girlfriend - and to be honest, I think we were all a little skeptical about going to Disney as adults. We had all been 20+ years ago, as small children, and we anticipated the experience to be very much geared for children. We were so wrong, in the most positive way possible. All four of us left true believers - Disney really is the most magical place on Earth!
First off, I booked the trip back in July around my husband and my 10 year dating anniversary, and since we haven't been on a true vacation since our honeymoon, and we spent our actual anniversary camping, we decided that Disney would be our "real" anniversary trip. Upon checking in at the Disney Beach Club, we were greeted by the absolute nicest hotel staff ever - and then we were surprised by congratulations for our anniversary milestone and an announcement that we were the "Family of the Day". A small entourage of Disney staff came out with balloons and anniversary pins, snapped pictures of us and may have even sang a song - I was too shocked to take it all in! Part of "Family of the Day" we would have special access to a members-only lounge within the resort, where we could enjoy snacks, beer, wine, soda, and other refreshments all day long. After checking in, we left our bags with the Bell desk, and a Disney host escorted us to the lounge, where we each picked up a refreshment before being escorted to our room.
When the host brought us to our room, he said "Well, here's one door". We all looked at him, confused, but followed him as he opened the door into the standard room, with two queen beds. Then he motioned to our "second door" which opened up into a full separate apartment style suite with a living room, kitchen, master king bedroom and master bathroom. Oh my goodness, the four of us sketical adults were suddenly filled giddy-children-in-a-candy-store excitement.
And in that very moment, standing in the middle of our giant suite, with balloons and bags in hand, we were instantly Disney believers.
We seemed to no longer care about the dismal weather forecast, which predicted, with 90% certainty, pouring rain for the duration of the trip. Ponchos in hand, we went straight to the Magic Kingdom. The park was practically empty and there were no lines for any of the rides. In four hours, we were able to go on every open ride - something we definitely would not have been able to do if the weather was nice and the park were packed.
We booked our trip as a "Disney My Way" package with the Deluxe Dining plan, plus park hopper magic bands (more on those in a moment). The meal plan meant we each had a breakfast, lunch, and dinner included every day, plus two snacks (water bottle, ice cream cone, pretzel, etc). By doing this, our entire trip was like an all-inclusive resort, and I would absolutely recommend it for anybody staying at Disney hotel. The Deluxe plan meant we were able to eat at some of the more gourmet, higher quality restaurants, and the only cost for us was gratuity and alcoholic beverages. The first night we went to the Coral Reef, an incredible seafood restaurant hidden inside an Aquarium in Epcot; the second night we went to Yachtsman Steakhouse (in the Disney Yacht Club hotel), which was, hands-down, the best steak I have ever had in my life; the third night we went to Via Napoli, in Italy (Epcot); and the fourth night, we went to Chef de France, in France (Epcot), where I had the second best steak of my life.
I had no idea that Disney was such a foodie experience, but, as it turns out, the food was some of the best I've ever had. Epcot has authentic restaurants from each of the countries, with staff from the representative country. When you eat in France, expect the wait staff to all be from France, and don't be shy to ask them which menu selection is their favorite! You have to make dinner reservations well in advance, as the more popular restaurants are impossible to get into without reservations, and if you're dining in one of the parks - we mostly went to Epcot - you need valid park admission tickets. Also, be sure to pace yourself - it's really a lot of food. I was only able to eat about half of each course, and that was still more than enough! On our last day, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival started, which featured dozens of food stands featuring small tastings of foods from around the world. As a foodie, I would highly recommend visiting Disney during the Food and Wine Festival, you will not be disappointed.
Moving on from the food, let's talk about the rest of the details! First off, we had the new Magic Bands, which were electronic wristbands that stored all of our trip information. The bands could be swiped at our room to open the door, they held our meal plan points, our credit card information, our park admission tickets, fast passes, and even got us the shuttle to and from the airport. When using them for any kind of food or purchases, they worked like a debit card where you would hold your wrist up to a card reader, and then punch in a PIN that you created when checking in at the hotel on day one. I loved the bands, they made life so easy and they worked perfectly everywhere we went. We fast passed our favorite rides, which saved us over an hour of waiting, per ride - I highly recommend Test Track (Epcot), Toy Story Midway Mania (Hollywood Studios), and Soarin' (Epcot).
Overall, the trip really was more magical and amazing than I could have ever expected, and I'm already planning a trip back with a group of friends and family. The staff were incredibly helpful, accommodating, nice, and welcoming - which was a breath of fresh air. The experience really set the bar high for any future trips I'll take, as I don't think that I'll ever find such high quality customer service, paired with the overall experience that Disney works so hard to create for each guest.
Even though it rained every day, I did snap a few photos, so here are a few highlights:
I cannot recommend Disney enough, and I'm looking forward to going back many times in the future!